Tag Archives: in review

July: In Review

I’m blogging to you from my tablet and it is not easy. I was supposed to have a new PC by now – well, not completely new. My monitor’s still the same and my hard drives are still the same, but everything else – that will all be new. None of this is by choice. Last weekend, my beloved computer decided to commit suicide. It’s been slowly becoming problematic anyway, so it will be nice having a new computer, but man is my pocket sad about the unexpected expense. Especially since I spent a great deal of time this month planning and preparing for the Baby Sprinkle I’m throwing my sister in the beginning of September (money and I aren’t friends right now, clearly). What’s worse is that the new computer arrived this week, already defective. There is some sort of complete revolt going on against me where technology is concerned (seriously, my computer’s not the only malfunctioning product around me this week – I’m going nuts).

Anyway, July! Talk about passing fast. I don’t think I’ve ever been as busy in July as I was this year and to tell you the truth it was kind of annoying. And it definitely hurt my productivity elsewhere.

I only managed to read two books this month: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 6) by Charlaine Harris. I didn’t really have time for reading and when I did have time I tried to write. There’s no sense in photographing them together since that’s such a measly number, but one of them is worth talking about.

My Life Next Door was surprisingly good. I’d bought it on a whim, just because I was on a book buying binge and I thought it’d be a fluffy summer read. Like the main character, I was immediately drawn to the large, loving family next door. The story is also set near the water, where boat people come and go. As a kid, being out on the boat and visiting various marinas was the only thing I liked about summer. This aspect spawned a lot of good memories for me. The love story is perfectly sweet. But in addition to this is a political campaign staring the MC’s mom. And appalling, unexpected twists go down. And long story short, I found myself sobbing ugly, snotty tears for a good 40 pages towards the end as the author ripped me from this perfectly lovely summer story and stuck me in hell with the MC. There aren’t too many books that move me to this level of emotion, especially when I don’t see it coming. Really, this was one hell of a read and I’m eager to see what else Huntley Fitzpatrick has up her sleeve.

As for writing this month, well as you might remember I was participating in a private session of Grapemo over on FB. There are about 19 of us there, though not everyone is actually active. Still, the interaction on FB was far superior to the normal Grapemo and I’m positive it helped drive me to work harder. While I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped, I did write (which is better than the nothing I reported last month) and I shared a snippet from Dreamsters twice a week all month long. It’s the most I’ve shared of my book ever. And the members ate it up. It shocked me how receptive they were to the story, but was more encouraging than I could have thought it’d be. There are plans to leave the board open into August and I’m grateful for it. The accountability is extra important in the summer for me, when it’s so much easier to just forget about my book altogether until fall arrives. I doubt I’ll pump out some huge number next month, but I am confident I’ll write something and that’s fine with me.

Total July Word Count: 3,812

So, nothing all that exciting to report for July. I’d say the coolest thing that happened in July was that I dyed my hair peacock colors. I’m rather in-love with it.

2

4

How was your July? Anything fun to report?

June: In Review

Well, June was mostly a waste. Okay, not entirely, I’m just in a negative state of mind these days. I blame the heat for it.

I read quite a lot in June. I had hoped to complete another book before the month’s end, but I’ve still got about 100 pages in that book so I guess it will count towards July. For some reason, I’ve been craving the feel of paperbacks lately, which is completely strange since I’m pretty much a strictly hardback kind of girl. Something about the books being paperback lately is tricking my brain into thinking they’re shorter (when in fact, they’re not at all – even longer in some cases) and since I’ve been trying to read as much as possible, I’m constantly reaching for the “shorter” reads first. Anyway, here’s what I read in June:

June Reads

Ascendant (Killer Unicorns, Book 2) by Diana Peterfreund
Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 2) by Charlaine Harris
Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler [not pictured]
Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 3) by Charlaine Harris
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 4) by Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 5) by Charlaine Harris

*Clicking the title will take you to my review on GoodReads*

I know I’ve stopped talking about photography in this monthly post, but I had a lot of good photo opportunities in June that I was actually pleased with like Huff Baby #2 Sex Reveal and Gideon’s 2nd Birthday Shoot. A friend of my sister’s has asked me to shoot her family this weekend and even though I said I was done with offering out my services, I said yes. I’m a bit nervous, but I’m hoping since they’re going to be outside, daylight shots, they’ll at least be better than the last family I shot in the dark. *fingers crossed*

And so now, I suppose I should mention writing. It’s obvious I was avoiding it, isn’t it? Well that’s because it’s the first month of the year that I have to report writing NOTHING. Not even a single word. If I thought I felt like a failure last month with my 3K report, imagine how worthless I’m feeling this month. Sigh.

I did print and redline the novel at its current 35K state, but I didn’t even make the revisions to the text document yet. I was busier than normal in June, but I’m really not sure why I couldn’t even write one word. I’m mostly blaming it on the heat because my mental state has been slowly crumbling as a result of the weather. I really need to move somewhere colder, bad.

Despite feeling pretty low about writing nothing in June, I’m trying to be hopeful for July. Jeannine Garsee () set up a private Grapemo session on FB and I’ve joined with the goal to write at least 5K. Back in February when she hosted the regular Grapemo here on LJ, I tripled that goal. I’m not confident I can do that again, but if I can pump out at least 5K in this hellish heat, then I’ll be pretty happy with myself. Plus, I need to get past this “middle of the book” phase. Apparently this happens with real authors, too (Victoria Schwab was just talking about this recently), and so hopefully once I get away from 35K and reach for 40, writing the second half of the book will come at a better pace like the first half did. It’s not like I don’t already know what happens; I just need to get it on paper.

So anyway, that was my June. It had its highs and lows. How was your June? Any hopes for July?

P.S. If you missed June's Music Review, click HERE. It's definitely worth it this month. :)

May: In Review

I've been pretty good at getting this post up on the 1st so far this year, but I guess my disappointment with last month's achievements (or lack thereof) had me in no rush to tell you all about it.  Still, facts must be shared so here it goes.

Writing was hard this month. HARD. And I spent far more hours trying than my word count might suggest. My word count was built in 200 word increments this month and it sucked. It's not that the story isn't all there, it's not that I don't know the in's and out's or that my characters have vanished from my mind – the right words just wouldn't come out of me. I'm tempted to blame the weather since it's gotten exceedingly hotter here now and you probably know I hate the heat by now and that statistically I write less in the summer, but I'm really trying not to let hot weather win this year. I want to write all year dammit and I'm determined to push through whatever is holding me back at the moment. Anyway, final word count for May: 3,208 – so disappointing to not even hit my 5K min. goal.

Reading wasn't much better, which isn't usually the case when my writing is low. I spent the first two weekends reading the same, unimpressive book – essentially wasting time I could have been reading better books and in truth, only one of the books I read in May really shined. Reading too many 'just okay' books in a row didn't exactly make me too jazzed up about spending free time reading. Not to mention, I was so stressed about my word count that I spent a lot of the time I'd usually be reading trying to write and failing.

May Reads

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
The Dead & the Gone (The Last Survivors, Book 2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
From Baghdad, With Love by Jay Kopelman
The New Language of Toys (3rd Edition) by Sue Schwartz [not pictured, educational]

*Titles take you to my GoodReads reviews*

So that was my month, mostly a letdown for me. I'm really hoping that June will be better and I'll somehow get back into the decent rhythm I've achieved so far this year. I think one of the most disappointing things about this month is that at the start of it, I realized that I'd already written 4K more words in the first 4 months of 2013 than I had in ALL of 2012. It's like I jinxed myself with this knowledge or something.

Anyway, enough moping. How was your May?

April: In Review

I know I say this every month, but seriously where the heck did April go? I do not like the way time moves as an adult. I remember feeling like time moved so slow as a kid, now I’m desperate for it to slow the hell down.

There’s not much reason to separate this post with headers anymore since it’s withered down to just two topics now. Best of Music Friday can be found HERE and you can read about why Photography won’t be listed HERE.

I read a lot of really great books this month as pictured below. I had hoped to read more than this, but finding the balance between writing and reading in my free time is still a lopsided thing for me. All the titles below the picture are clickable and will take you to my GoodReads review if you’re interested.

IMG_2170 [50%]

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson, Book 4) by Rick Riordan
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson, Book 5) by Rick Riordan
Dead River by Cyn Balog
Inferno (Chronicles of Nick, Book 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Breathless: A Firelight Novella by Sophie Jordan [not pictured, e-book]
The Walking Dead, Vol. 4 by Robert Kirkman

As for writing, I also hoped to write more than I did, but I’m not entirely disappointed with my word count this month either. Partly because it’s still over my minimum monthly goal of 5K and also because I closed up all the holes in the start of my MS. Dreamsters is now officially a little over 31K and this blows my mind in such a good way. Just a few months ago it was still a baby of a story. I’m really grateful for the cooler weather holding out for a change and blessing us with a chilly April. I have no doubt that it helped me stay focused on Dreamsters instead of letting Summer Novel butt its ugly head in before I was ready for it. I don’t know if I’ll be as lucky at the end of May, but I’ll certainly try really hard to keep Summer Novel at bay at least until June. Final April Word Count: 7,231 words

So that was my April, sort of mediocre, but not all that horrible really. How did you spend your April?

——————

March: In Review

Doesn’t it feel like March almost didn’t happen? I could have sworn it was still February yesterday. Between being unusually busy this month and falling into a depressive state because of the season change, the end of March seriously snuck up on me seemingly overnight.

Writing:

I’m disappointed in my word count this month, though it’s still at least the minimum of what I’d like achieve every month. With the changing weather approaching fast, I was hoping to write as much of Dreamsters as I could before warmer weather pulls me away from it and summer novel starts to get chatty. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Maybe I’ll be able to keep Dreamsters alive in April, but Beyond the Trees (BTT or Summer Novel, whatever you’d like to call it) is already starting their summer dance in my head. I know it will be hard to keep it at bay much longer now that the temperatures are changing.

Anyway, total word count for March was: 5,064 words.

Reading:

Within the first few days of March I’d already read 3 books and I think that says a lot about how much I deprived myself of reading in February. I had high hopes of finishing my current read and another whole book before March was over, but this three day vacation weekend I’d planned to do that in ended up being more exhausting than my average workweek. Still, I did read quite a lot this month, almost all of which were really great reads.

March Reads

Carrie by Stephen King (part in a collection)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
Reasons I Fell For the Funny Fat Friend by Becca Ann
Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, Book 1) by Jeff Lindsay
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (not pictured, e-book)
The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson, Book 2) by Rick Riordan
The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson, Book 3) by Rick Riordan
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

(Titles are clickable and take you to my reviews on GoodReads)

I’d like to take a moment to say something that’s been on my mind a lot lately in regards to books. I read an e-book in March for the first time and am currently in the middle of another. I’d read a short story on my tablet before, but that only took a few minutes as opposed to the hour plus for these novellas. I always thought I wasn’t an e-book fan before, but now that I’ve read some, I can absolutely say I loathe them. These books I’ve bought on the tablet were only purchased this way because it’s the only format they’re available in, but I really wish they’d been available another way. For me, reading them on a tablet was like reading anything else I read online all day/night. And the story’s themselves are really good, but being forced to read them this way takes something away from the power of the story for me.

I just truly hope e-books are not the way of the future, not the end to the printed word. While I can tolerate an e-book here and there when I have to, I can never imagine myself learning to love them enough to choose them over a physical book in my hands.

Photography:

Even though I don’t love the weather change, I do have to say that, for photography purposes, the longer, brighter daylight has allowed for better photo opportunities. This probably means it will be a while before I test out my lights again because I’m just more comfortable in shooting in natural light so why not take advantage of it as much as I can, right? Anyway, I took lots of fun pictures of Gideon this month and the weather, but since I posted some of those in their own posts like ANNOUNCEMENT and WINTER’S FAREWELL, I’ll just share a few others I captured this month.

Blue Eyes
He's starting to look less like my sister and more like his dad.

Gideon in Lollie's Glasses
Gideon in Lollie's (my mom) glasses, with his dad. He think it's hilarious.

Easter Egg Hunting
At the church Easter egg hunt.

So, that’s it. March came and left with the quickness for me. How was it for you? Accomplish a lot?

P.S. Reminder – March Music can be found HERE!

————-

February: In Review

February has been interesting as far as life achievements go. Well, maybe interesting is the wrong word to describe it. It was a sort of lopsided month, but for once this also doesn’t disappoint me all that much.

Reading:

Unfortunately I only read one & half books this month. I wrapped up Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it finally and while I think it was very informative, it wasn’t as useful to me as I’d hoped it’d be. I use different editing software so basically everything I read on that was useless to me and while I have equipment, I don’t have nearly as much as I’d need to completely recreate the book’s shots. Still, I think it will come in handy later down the road, the further into this photography thing I get. I also read Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine. You can click that title to see my review.

Writing:

I can hardly contain my excitement where writing is concerned these days.

First, I posted a short story for Valentine’s Day. If you missed it, click HERE to read In Pursuit of Jenna Mae.

Second, you may remember me saying I’d be participating in GRAPEMO this month and that my goal was to add 5K to Dreamsters. Well, not only did I meet that goal, I tripled it. It has been too long since I’ve had such a successful writing month and I can’t really even explain how excited it makes me that Dreamsters has grown from this baby of a project to a meaty 19K thing now.

As part of GRAPEMO, we were allowed to post teasers every Tuesday and Thursday. I didn’t participate in every opportunity, but I did post three snippets. You can check them out by clicking the following links: SNIPPET #1, SNIPPET #2, and SNIPPET #3. (Look for my LJ name and the title Dreamsters on the page and I’d suggest reading them in order.)

In addition to working on Dreamsters, I started a short story for St. Patrick’s day that I’m not really sure I’ll finish in time now, but we’ll see. :)

Total February Word Count: 15,842

Photography:

I didn’t get to use my camera nearly as much as I’d hoped to this month, but the pictures I did capture were adorable. At the start of the month my sister made Gideon this awesome Sock Monkey hat (I swear she’s a crocheting genius, she doesn’t even use patterns, just wings it when she gets an idea). Anyway, about this time last year, we had done a photo shoot of Gideon with his Sock Monkey doll (Click HERE to refresh your memory) so it seemed fitting to do something similar with this hat a year later. I swear my nephew is going to be such a little heartbreaker. Here’s the BEST OF:

IMG_0404 [50%]_edit [50%] IMG_0635 [50%]_edit [50%] Gideon/Sock Monkey 2013

So that was my month. For as fast as it moved, it wasn’t all that bad. How about your February?

P.S. Reminder: If you are looking for February music, click HERE!

—————–

January: In Review

This month has managed to feel both long and short at the same time, which really shouldn't be possible. For the most part I've started off my 2013 resolutions pretty well, with the exception of weight loss – that's at a standstill at the moment, but I've tackled some other things worth being proud of like….

Writing

I had started a short story two years ago for Valentine's Day, but for one reason or another abandoned it a few hundred words into it (this happens a lot unfortunately). I suddenly got the urge to work on it again at the start of the month and finally finished it! I'm excited to share it once Valentine's Day is here. Keep an eye out for it! 😀

In addition to writing a short story, I've been plotting for Dreamsters. I'm not sure if it will be the book I aim to actually complete this year, but it's the one demanding the most attention at the moment (which I guess makes sense since I started it around this time last year). In February, I plan to participate in author Jeannine Garsee's GRAPEMO (which is like NanoWrimo, but cooler). My personal goal is to add 5K to Dreamsters. Even though I can change that goal as the month progresses, I really hope they remain chatty enough to actually complete or surpass 5K in February. I came somewhat close this month, so I really hope I've set a reasonable goal. Wish me luck! 

January Word Count: 4,201

Reading

Somehow I ended up reading a heck of a lot more this month than I set out to, but I'm not complaining. Getting a good jump start on my TBR pile for the year is A-OKAY with me. Most of the titles below the picture are links to the reviews I wrote for them on GoodReads. 

Books Read in January

Touched by Cyn Balog
Red Run: A Short Story by Kami Garcia (not pictured, e-book)
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, Book 1) by Gena Showalter
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Jinx by J. Torres
Easy by Tammara Webber
The Archived (The Archived, Book 1) by Victoria Schwab

Photography

I did my first little mini shoot with myself to test out my new lights finally. You can read about that HERE. Outside of that, I only photographed Gideon once this month, but boy did it yield some cute pictures. So cute that Sock Dreams posted this photo on their social networking sites because he's wearing their socks! 

Gideon - Sock Dreams

On this day, probably the biggest highlight of my month occurred. Gideon's been addicted to phones for as long as he could get his grubby hands on them. He has several of his own "play" phones, but still fights to play with real ones. While shooting him in the socks, he started playing with the house phone – making it ring, playing the saved messages, etc… when suddenly he said, "HELLO!" It sounded a little more like "herro" but it was obvious what he was trying to say. It's the first full word I've heard him say and it totally made my day. I'm not sure if this link will work, but we got him to say it a few more times and recorded him. Click HERE if you want to hear it. 

Usually this would be the point where I'd review my favorite music of the month, but to not make this post as terribly long as it's been in the past, I've decided to make the music part of my monthly review it's own thing on the last Friday of the month called, "Music Friday" which is sort of a 'Best Of' of the weekly Music Friday posts I make on tumblr and FB all month. If you were reading this for the music and missed last Friday's post click HERE

Overall, January was pretty decent for me. How about you? 

———-

2012 In Review: Music (Part 2) – Best *New Bands

*New to me, not necessarily to the world

Despite currently having 121 GB worth of music on my computer, I am always on the hunt for more. Something new, something I missed out on somehow, just anything appealing to my ear. While I come across plenty of music every year, there are always a few bands that really stand out over the others, bands that become favorites. This year I discovered a lot of really great artists, but the following four are easily my top finds.

letlive.

letlive

Cory Eaves, drummer of Artifex Pereo, can take credit for me falling for this band, though he probably has no idea. I think it was an ‘ask’ about his favorite bands or maybe bands he’d like to tour with (I don’t know, it was a long time ago), but he listed letlive. along with a couple other bands I already knew I liked and it spiked my curiosity. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that a talented musician like himself would have killer taste in music, but I don’t think I was prepared for how much I would love letlive. I can only imagine the kind of energy they must create performing live and I really hope I get to experience it one day. I would later fall in love with many more bands because of Cory’s music recommendations, but letlive. will probably always hold the top spot.

Circa Survive

Circa Survive

It was April, my birthday weekend, and I was going through a music buying binge on Amazon after receiving a MP3 gift card. I’d already spent more money than my gift card offered when Amazon suggested I’d like Circa Survive, as if I needed more music at all. I don’t think that Amazon’s ever really been completely right with their suggestions to me, but you can’t really blame them since my music taste is so all over the place. But I previewed Blue Sky Noise and fell so head-over-heels for Circa Survive I spent even more money and acquired every album they’d released immediately. Amazon loves my wallet. Needless to say, this is a band I don’t see myself ever growing tired of.

O’ Brother

O' Brother

My newfound love for Circa Survive is the reasons behind my love of O’ Brother. When they announced their latest album’s release and tour, they offered a free download sampler of the bands they’d be touring with and on this sampler was O’ Brother. I couldn’t get enough of their sound and just had to hear more. Everything I’ve bought since has been so, so solid. It is absolutely a band worth checking out.  

Relief in Sleep

Relief in Sleep

I guess because I post music so often, it’s not uncommon for unsigned bands to contact me asking to be checked out (I assume this is why, no one’s ever actually said it, but I do get a pretty significant amount of requests like this). Unfortunately, I don’t get a lot of winners, but Relief in Sleep was the biggest winner of them all this year. They’re like this lovely clashing of old Paramore or Flyleaf against a perfectly complicated musical arrangement. I’m not sure what their future holds, but I hope it’s making more music and being further recognized by the music industry.

What were the best bands you came across in 2012? I’d love to check them out! 

**If you don't already know these bands, click their name or pictures to check out their sound!

2012 In Review: Books

I had really hoped I’d read more than I did last year and while I did, I didn’t exactly read as much as I’d hoped either, but it was close at least. Total, I’ve read 54 books this year!

It’s always really hard to put this list in any sort of order because mostly I read a lot of really great books this year, but I’ve tried to list them from most favorite to least favorite. Also, I’ve written small reviews for every book I read this year over at GoodReads so all of the titles are clickable!

Dreamhouse Kings Series by Robert Liparulo
(The House of Dark Shadows, Watcher in the Woods, Gatekeepers, Timescape,
Whirlwind, Frenzy)

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
(The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Infamous (Chronicles of Nick, Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Guardian (Dream-Hunter, Book 5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Ghost and the Goth Series by Stacey Kade
(The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, Body & Soul)

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Dull Boy by Sarah Cross

Endure (Need, Book 4) by Carrie Jones

Firelight Series by Sophie Jordan
(Vanish, Hidden)

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Starstruck by Cyn Balog

Foxfire (Other, Book 3) by Karen Kincy

Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck

Spell Bound (Hex Hall, Book 3) by Rachel Hawkins

Just for Fins (Fins, Book 3) by Tera Lynn Childs

In Honor by Jessie Kirby

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, Book 1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 1) by Charlaine Harris

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, Book 17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
(Carrie Diaries, Summer in the City)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Purity by Jackson Pearce

Winter Town by Stephen Emond

Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
(Fallen-in-Love, Rapture)

~Miscellaneous Other~

The Curiosities: A Collection of Short Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, & Tessa Gratton

Scott Pilgrim Series Vol. 1-6 by Bryan Lee O’Malley
(Precious Little Life, Vs. The World, And the Infinite Sadness,
Gets it Together, Vs. The Universe, & Finest Hour
)

The Walking Dead Books 1, 2, & 3 by Robert Kirkman

Vampire Knight Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino

I currently have 109 books in my possession and I know I’ll have at least 15 must-have pre-orders to add to my TBR in 2013. I suppose my goal is to cut that TBR pile in half if possible. I’d feel pretty good if I could report that I did that or close to that this time next year!

What were your favorite books in 2012? What does your 2013 reading list look like?

2012 In Review: Weight Loss

In preparation of writing this, I went back and read last year’s weight loss review. I sat here laughing at myself in the most pitiful way.

Last year, I vowed to return to Weight Watchers and lose my fat suit by my 30th birthday in April.

While I did return to Weight Watchers in January, I’d quit again by March because 40 bucks a month was just too much strain on my pocket, and by the time my birthday rolled around in April, I actually weighed more than I ever have. I’d reached a whole new level of shame.

Then one night this past summer, while perusing Pinterest, I stumbled upon a series of before and after pictures of girls from tumblr dubbed ‘fitblr’s’ that made my jaw drop. I read everything I could about each of them. How they began, how they succeeded. I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could from these people who did exactly what I was trying to do. I followed their progress quietly at first, but eventually my intrigue over these ‘clean’ lifestyles they lead, while still eating more food than I would have ever dreamed you could eat and still lose weight, got the best of me. I had to give it a shot.

And so at the end of July I marked my starting weight and measurements down, took before photos, calculated my needed calories, and set out to try ‘clean eating.’ It was slow moving at first, it takes some adjusting to when you suddenly start paying attention to the things you eat and how they can/can’t benefit you, but I started to lose weight – in a healthy way. By the end of October I’d lost 20.1 lbs.

Things have been rocky since then, with the holiday season arriving and my uncontrollable desire to bake these days, but I’ve only gained 3 of those 20.1 lbs back. And while it’s still nowhere near the total weight loss I hope to achieve, I think that I at least have a better, more realistic formula to follow this year than last. I really hope when I’m reflecting on this journey at the end of 2013, I’ll have made enough progress to share my own before and after photos and join the league of successful fitblrs.

I suppose it’s time to give a little shout out to the four main girls who’s drive to live healthier lives encouraged me to do the same. Caitlen, Brynn, Shae, & Sharee, what you’re doing is amazing and inspiring. And I am really grateful for all of you.

Best of luck to all you out there trying to lose weight or just generally be healthier!