Thoughts on Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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I’ve read three Gillian Flynn novels thus far: Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places. I finish Dark Places late last night and definitely could not go to sleep based on what happened at the end of the novel. While I was up, I thought a lot about her three books and decided that Gone Girl is my favorite, Sharp Objects comes in close as my second favorite, and Dark Places is my least favorite.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Dark Places, but there were times where I skimmed over some pages because I thought they were too drawn out or getting a little chatty (know what I mean?) I didn’t feel like that at all with the other two books. Not to mention, this story line was GRUESOME. It creeped me right out!

Libby Day is the only survivor of a mass murder that occurred when she was 7-years-old. She was able to escape out a window while her two younger sisters and mother were brutally killed in the middle of the night. Her brother Ben was the only real suspect and was put behind bars due to Libby’s testimony claiming she saw Ben kill her family. This is a lie.

The novel places Libby being 30’ish years old where she meets a young guy in his early 20s named Lyle. Lyle is part of some bizarre Kill Club where famous murders are studied….Libby’s family being one of them. Lyle and his group members are convinced that Ben is NOT the murderer after studying the case for years. They begin to intrigue Libby with new evidence and cause her to think back on that fearful night. She realizes she didn’t actually see anything and that the lawyers pressured her into saying she saw Ben kill.

As the novel progresses, Libby goes to the end of the earth to find answers and closure about what happened to her poor family. She herself is caught in some dangerous and life threatening situations and learns more than she wants too.

Rumors about satanic worship, molestation, and desperation come to light and it is almost too much for Libby to handle…

This is definitely a book to read, especially if you have read other Flynn novels!

Has anyone read this? What did you think compared to the other novels?

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A New Way to Use Chocolate Shakeology

I am always looking for new recipes for Shakeology whether it be for an actual shake or energy/protein balls. I like to experiment quite a bit with food, so during my last round of the 21 Day Fix I decided to mix my chocolate Shakeology and greek yogurt. IT IS AMAZING.

When I first mixed the two, it didn’t look like it would come out okay because it seemed as though there was way too much chocolate Shakeology and not enough of yogurt. I measured one of my red containers from the 21 Day Fix (protein container) for the yogurt. I kept mixing the two together though and what do you know? It turned into a chocolate pudding/mousse mixture. I added some raspberries (in this picture those were all I had left in my fridge…not even enough to fill 1/2 of a purple container).

This is the BEST creation…you can add any fruit, nut, etc. It is like eating dessert…but it is extremely healthy!! If you are following the 21 Day Fix this would count as 2 reds, and 1/2 or 1 purple (depending on how much fruit you decide to add).

I have a hard time fitting in all of the protein needed for the day (4 servings of the red containers) so this is ideal for me since it takes care of 2 of the 4 servings I need. Then, I eat a protein for lunch and 1 for dinner and I am all set.

You might ask why I don’t just put all of these ingredients in the blender to make a shake. Well, I do that too, but this has a completely different texture and taste for me. You’ll have to try it out to see for yourself!

If you are wondering what Shakeology is or the 21 Day Fix, check out my “Shakeology” and “21 Day Fix” pages at the top of my home page!

Do you have any unique recipes using Shakeology?

Doggy Backpack to the Rescue!

I know what you’re thinking. A doggy backpack? Really?

I have an 8lb, 8-year-old Yorkie, Brady. My husband and I just got married and don’t plan on having kids for a couple of years so Brady is basically like our child. The last couple of summers Kyle (my husband) and I did a lot of hiking. I was always so jealous when I saw families with their dogs. I know Brady is a small dog so I can’t compare him to the Labs and Golden Retrievers we saw bounding up the huge mountains, but all I could think about was how much Brady loved to be outside and it was a shame he couldn’t come with us.

For about two years I tried finding a dog backpack or carrier that would be hiking friendly. All of the ones I saw, and ordered, were either too small where he was extremely uncomfortable or not mobile/flexible enough for us to wear and use.

On top of needing something for hiking, I love to take long walks and try to bring Brady along. The walks never last long with him because he is so little he gets tired out after 15 minutes and plops himself on the grass and doesn’t budge. I end up having to carry him which is uncomfortable for me and him!

FINALLY….a couple of weeks ago I found a dog backpack that works!! It is amazing! I had a gift card from Bed Bath and Beyond and couldn’t find any typical products I wanted to order so I started browsing in the pet section. I couldn’t believe it! I ordered it right away!

Doggy Backpack

As soon as I got the carrier, I put Brady inside to make sure he fit and sure enough he fits perfectly. There’s even enough room so he can lay down. I love this carrier particularly for a couple of reasons besides the fact that he fits comfortably…

1) My back is supported. Now I know that sounds ridiculous with an 8lb dog, but that’s like carrying a small child. The straps are thick and don’t rub on my shoulders and there’s an extra strap across the waist for extra support

2) The padding on the bottom is soft and the same material as his dog bed

3) There is a mesh screen so when he is laying down, or sitting, air is coming in from the front and he can see

4) There is an opening at the top that you can either zip shut or keep open. I like to keep it open so when he is sitting his little head can pop out and he can see what’s going on.

5) There is a hook inside to attach to Brady’s harness so he can’t fall out or jump out of the pack

My friend and I went for a power walk the other day and decided to bring him and use it! He loved it!

Sooooo many people beeped, stopped their cars, or stopped us on our walk to laugh (in a nice way) and pet Brady. I think the carrier is much better than the strollers I see for dogs. That’s a little much in my eyes…or maybe just not my style since I wanted something so I could be active with him with me.

I find it funny I’m even writing about this! But there has GOT to be more people out there looking for a solution…right!?

We plan on taking him hiking with us next week so I will keep you updated!

Has anyone used one of these before?

Sharp Objects Review

I was pretty amped up about this book since I read Gone Girl and absolutely LOVED it. Gone Girl was also written by Gillian Flynn and it is by far one of the top 5 books I’ve ever read.

I read this 254 page book within 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down. I was not expecting the plot to play out the way it did and I certainly was shocked at the end! Suspense was constant and the idea that this happens in real life made it creepy and interesting.

The crux of the novel is basically about a young (30’ish) newspaper reporter, Camille, who is sent back to her home town to do a write up about two murders that have taken place in the last 2 years.  After living at home with her deranged mother and psychotic half-sister, Camille realizes a lot of strange things happening in her family home that have connections to the murder cases.

Camille is a smart and intuitive reporter who doesn’t take no for an answer which inevitably results in her solving the case, but not without some difficulties. She risks her own life to get back at someone in her past. We learn near the end why the book is titled “Sharp Objects” and it definitely has double meaning and is ironic.

The bizarre circumstances revolving around the murders, including teeth being pulled out of dead little girls’ mouths, and the fact that her own sister died years ago makes this novel an eye-catcher and one you can’t put down! It will haunt you and leave you thinking about what happened for days.

Has anyone else read this? If so, did you like it?

Why Should I Drink Shakeology Every Day?

Why should I spend the money and drink shakeology daily?

This is the ongoing question I asked myself over and over again for weeks before I finally decided to faithfully drink this shake. If you haven’t already read my Shakeology post at the top of my page, it is right next to “Contact” and you should check it out.

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Basically what happened in my situation is I tried the shakes once because I was involved in a 21 Day Fix challenge group. I LOVED the shakes and saw a positive change in my digestion and stomach issues, had more energy, and it kept me full so I wasn’t snacking as much. The problem was the price. I am a teacher and don’t make a million dollars so I didn’t re-order a new month’s supply when I ran out.

After 3 days of not drinking the shakes, my stomach issues slowly came back, I took a nap from being tired, and of course I started snacking again. I had to decide if my health was more important or the money. The irony of this is…is that the shakes are actually CHEAPER to buy rather than trying to buy all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients included.

This blog states, “Trying to get all of these supplements in your daily diet would cost you a ton of money. Unless you are Donald Trump or Bill Gates, this would be a bit too much (around $1256.40 per month, at $41.88 per day). One serving of Shakeology is around $4.33 or $129.95 per month.”

Also, keep in mind, this can be used as a meal replacement. Therefore, think about how much one of your meals cost every single day and multiply that by 30. I will bet that most of you spend more money on a meal than you would on a Shakeology shake! For example, I would go to Dunkin Donuts every day and order a medium coffee with skim milk and splenda with a wheat bagel and cream cheese. That cost $5.10. Shakeology is actually cheaper than that!

Here are some of the many benefits of drinking Shakeology and why it is worth every dollar!

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  • Shakeology is PACKED with fiber and protein which helps reduce food cravings and keeps you full for hours. My school starts at 7:30 and I drink one of these around 7:15. I don’t feel the urge to snack at all and I’m not starving when lunch time comes around at 11:15.
  • The Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals in the shakes  help fight radical damage and help support a healthy immune system.
  • Adaptogen Herbs are included and are meant to help the body positively adhere to the effects of stress
  • Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes  help nutrient absorption and increase healthy digestion and regularity.
  • Shakeology builds and repairs muscles and helps skin, hair, and nails become healthier and shinier.
  • There are no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavors, or fillers.
  • INCREASES ENERGY!

The best part is there are 6 different flavors to choose from: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Greenberry, Vegan Chocolate, and Vegan Tropical Strawberry.

You can find Shakeology here Buy Shakeology

Another option if you are interested, but still hesitant, is becoming a Beachbody coach which entails a 39.95 start up fee and paying 15.95 each month for a service fee, but you get 25% off ALL Beachbody products. That means even if you don’t intend on selling anything and just want the discount you’d only be paying $110.42 vs. 129.95. If you are interested in that, click here: Beachbody Coach

I would love to chat about any of this! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me at liveteachfit@gmail.com

 

Startling Review of The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

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I am always looking for new books to read for my pleasure and also for my students’ pleasure. I incorporate an independent reading component into my classroom, therefore, it is imperative I have a large and expansive classroom library. I never order books via a Kindle or my Ipad because I love being able to hold a physical book and then keep it and add it to my classroom library.

I browse the New York Time’s Bestseller’s List quite frequently and this particular book has been listed in the top 5 for awhile. I ordered a bunch of books for summer reading including this one.

To my dismay, this novel, comprised of over 750 pages, was a disappointment for me. I kept reading hoping I would fall in love with the novel since so many others seemed to enjoy the plot, but by the time I finished, I was excited to be done so I could start a better read.

The novel starts out okay…Tartt describes a horrific tragedy that takes place in a NYC museum with Theo Decker and his mother. The two are separated and in the mean time a terrorist attack takes place and Theo’s mother dies. As Theo struggles to find his bearings and leave the building, an older man, Welty, whom he saw earlier gives him a ring and tells him to go see a man named Hobie. Confused by Welty’s directions, Theo takes a painting of The Goldfinch and leaves the building just as another explosion occurs.

With his mother dead and a deadbeat, alcoholic father, Theo has no one to live with except the Barbour’s, family friends with a son Andy who Theo went to school with. As time progresses, Theo musters up the courage to go see Hobie and becomes friends with the older gentleman. All the while Theo tells no one of the stolen piece of art because it has made headline news across the country that millions of dollars worth of famous art was stolen from the museum. Theo looks up to Hobie and finally feels like he is settling into life without his mother being around when out of the blue his father shows up with his new girlfriend, Xandra, and whisks Theo to Las Vegas where he now lives.

The entire novel is completely unrealistic and boring at times as 13-year-old Theo illustrates dramatic and intense occurrences in his life. He finds one lone friend, Boris, in Las Vegas and goes into detail about how addicted they both become to alcohol, prescription pills, cocaine, meth, and marijuana. Being hungover and scrounging for food becomes popular while Theo’s father and girlfriend leave him alone for days at a time.

As the novel continues we find out Theo’s dad dies, Theo sneaks onto a bus and makes his way back to NYC, and is still hiding the painting. He gets into some serious trouble with the painting and unrealistically “fixes” his problems.

I felt like I was reading a kid’s journal about all of the fantasies he had. There was no point of real suspense and the plot dragged on quite a bit. Some of the novel didn’t even make sense!

Maybe I am the sole minority here, but did anyone else read this? Did you feel the same way?

Hello world!

After years of procrastinating, I have finally started my own blog!! I am always saying to myself, “If I had a blog I could be writing about…” or “That is such a great topic for a blog post…” I jumped the gun and did it!

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I love to be open about my thoughts and opinions and also love to help people so a blog is an ideal outlet for me.

I am passionate about being healthy and fit and staying active, teaching, and reading. What better blog can there be than to write about the things you love?

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