Coffee · Starbucks

When Coffee Attacks

Morning Coffee Kisses

When your morning coffee is just too damn excited to see you it has to give you a morning kiss … 

Too often I’m attacked by my coffee when I’m driving.  It’s that constant drip that you don’t realize is happening every time you take a sip.  Eventually you notice that your pant legs are wet … if you’re lucky.  Other times you don’t notice you’ve got it down your shirt until a co-worker points it out or your checking out your hair in the bathroom.

This only happens to me at Starbucks … which tells me I’m not the problem (always my first go to theory).  No problems at Dunkin Donuts, Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Tim Hortons, etc…

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Why does this happen?  I have a theory that involves the cup design and the proper preparation of coffee.

  1. Poor cup design -it always leaks along the crease
  2. Sip hole isn’t lined up properly with set cup design
  3. Filled to the brim – Too much coffee! I’m all about value for money but when I’m paying for dry cleaning to combat the coffee stains on my nice clothes it defeats the purpose. Starbucks is already overpriced so why make it even more expensive?
  4. Lid isn’t pressed down all the way – I know the staff is busy but it’s so important the lid is secure.  I’ve had it fall off when it’s been passed to me through the drive thru window.  It’s popped off while picking it up.  It has been only on part way and then I’m basically pouring it down my shirt.  Yes I’ve learned the hard way that I need to triple check the lid security — but I shouldn’t have to do that for a $3 cup of coffee.
While I love the customer service and ambiance at Starbucks, I’m not in love with how they serve their coffee.  PLEASE FIX YOUR CUPS!
End rant.
foam roller · IT band · j/fit · knee pain · massage · muscle groups · physical therapy · Running · TFL

The Hell That Is Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Is A Necessary Evil

No physical therapy is not a fancy “sports massage” … it’s an “evil massage”.

Physical therapy is something I avoid as much as possible. There were several instances throughout my childhood where I had to go to physical therapy for various sports injuries and the memories had been fogged by time … or merely suppressed by my subconscious because to revisit those sessions would be too traumatizing.
Fast forward twenty years (ah … twenty physical therapy free years); and you’ll come to a moment in time where my husband thinks it’s a good idea to pick me up and fling me over his shoulder. Only this cave man behavior doesn’t go quite has planned and there were a few re-adjusting hops that involved a strained hip-flexor on my part. The kids thought it was great because mommy was being man-handled and tossed around like a rag doll. The husband thought it was great because the kids were cheering him on and he felt super strong. I was not nearly as enthusiastic and proceeded to make the following 9 months one great big guilt trip.

This happened in November 2014.  I saw a doctor sometime in March 2015 because I had a half-marathon scheduled for April which I knew I couldn’t hobble through.  I had been continuing my runs as normal but found that by the end of the day I was limping around and was unable to stop it.  My hip hurt standing, hurt when I sat, hurt when I slept … but oddly enough didn’t hurt as bad when I ran.

My first guilty admission to the pain was actually in January but I procrastinated. My running times suffered by about 30-35 seconds/mile on pace.  The fact that I thought pain was in my oblique shows how clueless I am about human physiology.

Runkeeper run dashboard

 

The doctor gave me some muscle relaxers, pain killers and told me not to run in the half.  None of the medicine worked; the pain killers just covered up the problem.  I went back to the doctors a few months later and they referred me to a physical therapy office.  The doctor new the owner and said that they know how to work with runners. Okay brief victory dance … she labeled me as a runner … that’s a first!  I’ll take it!

I ended up going twice a week for about 8 weeks. I was looking forward to that first visit because the pain was becoming more than a nuisance. I had to warm up for 10 minutes (usually running no faster than 7.0 mph) and the next 30 minutes was spent doing squats and all kinds of strengthening exercises for my core as well as exercises for flexibility and stability.  I felt like I was in a boot camp. All the little old ladies in for back mobility therapy were laughing at my sweaty ass doing agility ladder drills. Up until this point it was fun … almost like a gym session with a personal trainer.

Then it was “evil massage” time. This is when the gel comes out and the elbows come down. My IT bands were so tight the petite physical therapist had to climb up on the table and use her elbows (with all her weight behind them) to roll out my muscles. I’ve never felt so much pain!  It was awful! This is the stuff I remember from back in high school.  The dark side of physical therapy … the side they keep secret until you’re already laid out on the table immobilized!

Tiger tail portable foam roller

At one point I was rolled by a “Tiger tail” (above) … I had problems walking for two weeks. No joke. Couldn’t run.  Coworkers laughed at me walking like an old cowboy around the office.  I refused to take the stairs … lest I become the strange smell two weeks later when people actually came looking for my body.

Symptoms

  • Tight IT band
  • Tight TFL
  • Sore hip flexor
  • Knee pain
The physical therapy team said that my knew pain is a result of the tightness in my IT band. When I run it pulls my knee off center and causes discomfort. I also apparently have to work on my core and my balance. So many little things to focus on to fix two areas of discomfort.
Solutions
  • Therapeutic ultrasound. Takes me back to my pregnancy days except they weren’t looking for a baby in my knee. Felt okay until they hit a tender spot and then it was slightly better than agony. Not a fan.
  • Stop wearing heels at work. Well crap. I’m already short. Guess I’ll go from average to stumpy but hey … my knee doesn’t hurt as bad. It was a huge adjustment switching from 1.5 inch heels (which is short) over to flats.
  • Do 45 minutes of stretching 3x per day. Yeah because I don’t have a job, commute or family. I squeeze in 10 minutes 3x a day if I’m lucky.  I will say it does make a difference. Do it.
  • Leg strengthening exercises. Squats squats SQUATTTSSS! Yeah these are fun so no problem there.
  • Improving core. Okay so I think I have a four pack in there somewhere? My obliques are great but the middle needs some work. More stability in core = more stability everywhere else. But I don’t get FitBit steps for crunches dammit! Lots of planking, crunches and she must have mentioned pilates like a million times.
  • Use a foam roller daily. This was new to me. I hate it but I love it. (little Tony Horton #P90X reference there).  Check out my purchase below:)
36 inche j/fit Super High Density Foam Roller

This is the video on a full-body rolling routine. I watched it for guidance on how to use my new foam roller. Ashley Borden makes it look so easy and so painless.  Don’t be fooled.  She’s definitely fit but her body is also used to the foam rolling.

Your take away on physical therapy?  While it may be hell on earth it’s really a necessary evil. The longer you put it off the worse it’s going to get. Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist questions. They are a great resource and a wealth of knowledge on how the body works. You’d be surprised at how much you’ve been doing wrong when it comes to stretching and exercising (or lack thereof). Just don’t head into your physical therapy session expecting a relaxing massage … that’s a terrible mistake.

I’d love to hear about your physical therapy experiences so please do comment:)  If you’re in the physical therapy industry … I hate you, but I love you. #necessaryevil

couscous · pumpkin · soup · sweet potatoes

Pumpkin Soup

Fall is all about pumpkin. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cake, pumpkin scones, pumpkin candy … I need my pumpkin fix in a healthier way!

After two weeks of being sick + a week of travel for work I felt undernourished.  This comes from a combination of not eating while sick and then overeating on the wrong foods while on travel.

My mum made some pumpkin soup the other day and it sounds delicious so I thought I’d give it a try and I used only what I had in the house.
Hearty pumpkin soup with chicken broth beans and vegetables

  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree (the stuff you use for pumpkin pies)
  • 1/2 carton of chicken broth (organic from Costco — love it!)
  • 3 sweet potatoes – cubed
  • 3 potatoes – cubed
  • 1 onion – chopped (not too small)
  • handful of fresh green beans cut in half
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup couscous (barley is also another great option — better IMO)
  • Lots of spices (whatever you want!) – salt, pepper, garlic, turmeric, parsley, basil, sage
Boiled the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes before adding everything else.  Let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Makes a ton of servings.  So many in fact that it may go bad before I can eat it all!
Hearty Pumpkin Soup

Great hearty soup.  It reminds me of split pea soup.  When I reheat bowls I have to add a bit of water (or chicken broth) to thin it out some … otherwise you can enjoy it like stew.  Your preference!
Enjoy:)
Califia · coffee creamer · International Delight · Pure Silk

Battle Of The Coffee Creamers

How To Cream Your Coffee In A Healthy Way

I absolutely LOVE coffee.  Love it! Most of the time I drink it black but my stomach likes to remind me that it needs its lining. 

Now you’re left with how do I cream my coffee?  Here are some of the ways I opt to cream my coffee:
  1. Non-fat milk (at home)
  2. Half and half mixed with non-fat milk (this is usually done at Starbucks because I’m breaking my bank so why not break my waist line while I’m at it)
  3. Almond Milk (Pure Silk unsweetened — consistency is a little bit too thick)
  4. International Delight (super guilty after drinking)
  5. NEW: Califia Almond Milk Creamer … this is it … I’ve found my dream creamer! Tried the Pecan Caramel and I’m in heaven! Not too thick and full of flavor!

Only 15 calories and no fat!  Not to mention it doesn’t have all the nasty preservative that International Delight has … really?  Not sure what some of this stuff is …

  1. NON-DAIRY PRODUCT INGREDIENTS: WATER, CANE SUGAR, PALM OIL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: SODIUM CASEINATE* (A MILK DERIVATIVE), DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, POLYSORBATE 60, CARRAGEENANSALT.
  2. Coffee creamer goal: Go as natural as possible and avoid all the extra calories I don’t need.  Sugar is bad!  Artificial is bad! Ingredients with long scientific sounding names are bad!

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China · desserts · India · lychee · Ramadan

International Flavors Are Not Scary

The joys of working in a diverse work place include being exposed to diverse foods.

Just get over how strange it may look and try it!  You’d be surprised out how good new experiences really can taste!

lychee fruit from China
Lychee
I hit the food jackpot this past Monday at the office. There has been a lot of fasting recently because of Ramadan. Weeks of tiptoeing around the office trying to make sure I’m not making it too obvious that I’m chowing down while others are abstaining. So when Ramadan ended last Friday there was talk of good things to come on Monday … you can bet I didn’t miss out on that!
One of the healthier of the treats I got to sample for the first time was lychee.  A small fruit grown in China that reminded me of a strawberry on the outside and tasted like a juicy coconut with a hint of orange.  Hello Vitamin C and Potassium! Sure it was a bit difficult to eat but it was fabulous!!
Gulab Jamun sweets from India
Gulab Jamun
Sweets from India - pastries
Assortment of Indian sweets
The other two types of food I had the pleasure of trying were far less healthy but equally as yummy.  I’m a donut fanatic so the Gulab Jamun didn’t have to work too hard for me to sample it … several times.There was also a wide assortment of sweets, also from India, that had everyone enthralled.  How could you not want to try something so brightly colored and so uniquely shaped?
Everyone enjoyed the different flavors to such an extent that we’re talking about having another potluck that focuses on bringing foods from whichever culture or country your origins hale from.  I jokingly said I’d bring moose jerky and maple syrup … should be too hard to guess part of my ancestry:)
canning · cucumbers · garden · pickling recipes · pressure cooker

What To Do With 12 Pounds Of Cucumbers

Pickling is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of what to do with too many vegetables.

Who doesn’t like pickles? Crazy people that’s who! Pickles are the best!

In my humble opinion, cucumbers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and they take over the garden if you’re not careful. It comes as no surprise when each year we end up with more than we can eat within a reasonable amount of time. We either eat them, give them away or they end up as compost for next year’s garden.

My husband complains that all he grows in his garden are vegetables that I like.  The result … 12 pounds of cucumbers in one evening’s harvest … plus a few green peppers. Now some of these cucumbers are monsters; meaning he waited too long to pick them so they’ve grown to monstrous proportions and have gotten slightly gutsy inside (i.e. too many seeds for my liking).

Normally I could eat 2-3 cucumbers a week but there was no way I could eat all 12 pounds of cucumbers before they went bad. We’ve always talked about it but we never actually made the time commitment nor willingly sacrificed that many hard grown vegetables to a potentially failed pickling attempt.  This past weekend we took the leap and made pickles.  It also helped that it was close to 100 degrees + humidity outside and there was no way we were going to be doing anything other than inside activities.

I sliced and diced the cucumbers along with the handful of green peppers we had.  Some of the green peppers were so small I thought they were jalapenos but I was quickly informed that we didn’t plant any. There have been many times where we’ve had “surprise” produce grow in our garden … thank you birds!!

canning cucumbers and green peppers with a pressure cooker

The cucumbers that were too big were cut into spears and I scrapped all of the seeds out.  We made sure we had all of our canning jars ready to go by cleaning them in the pressure cooker.  This sounds quick and easy but my husband and I both watched about 20 minutes of pickling videos … separately.  Yes that sounds odd but we used our tablets to conduct separate searches and apparently different keyword combinations. We used the video I found because well … I found it. Ha!

While the jars we’re cleaning (I pre-washed them) I made the pickling liquid with Mrs.Wages Quick Process Zesty Bread & Butter Pickles[Ingredients: Salt, Spice, Dehydrated Vegetables ( Red Bell Pepper, Onion, Jalapeno Pepper), Celery Seed, Spice Extractives (including Turmeric), Citric Acid.] I only had to add sugar and distilled white vinegar.  After that it was simply a matter of filling the cleaned pickling jars with the cucumber/green pepper combo and filling to the top with the pickling liquid.  I think it took more time to seal the jars (back in the pressure they went) then it did to prepare the vegetables and the pickling liquid.

Thanks to Ball’s Utensil Set for Preserving!  Totally had everything we needed (and nothing we didn’t) to make it an easy process! No burnt fingers and no bubbles in our jars!

Canned cucumbers zesty sweet and spicey

All in all the total time to can was about 4 hours.  Then we had to chill them for 2 days.  Well I chilled them all as I prefer COLD pickles.  We didn’t seal all the jars as I fully anticipated eating them well within the 2 month time limit.  The remaining jars we’ll give away or just eat as we have a craving as they’ll last 1-2 years or more.

Just tried my first one … YUM. Totally motivated me to write this blog post! I couldn’t stop popping the pickles.  They were so crunchy and had a great flavor that was both sweet and spicy.  The spicy sneaks up on you at the end!

We’re going to keep on canning any produce from our garden that we can’t eat within a reasonable time frame.  Everything except tomatoes that is … we love them raw with mozzarella cheese or pureed for soups and sauces. I’ll keep sharing our crazy ventures in to amateur cooking … it is amateur at its best!

hydration · vitamins · wellness

Colds: No Getting Around Them

The thing I hate the most about being sick is that I can’t workout … at all! I’ve tried the whole take it easy approach but when I’m sick my body won’t function on a level that could be considered adequate to work out.  I literally feel like I’m going to pass out and it astounds me that other people can muster the energy and constitution to get a workout in.  I guess everyone is different but this makes it extremely difficult for me to stay in shape in the winter months as I’m perpetually sick.

I’d love to hear what remedies others are using to prevent sickness.  I’m looking for something beyond the standard drink lots of water, plenty of sleep and take your vitamins.  I admit that I’m not very good about the middle item but I’m decent at the other two.  I’ve also tried taking Zinc supplements when I feel something coming on as I have friends who swear by it but that never seems to work.  When I travel I pre-emptively guard against ill travelers by popping Airborne like it’s going out of style.  Considering I just got back from a trip and I’m sick, it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t always work. Could have been the NYC metro system or maybe the train? #dirtytravels

Activities that I can’t do while sick:

Running — quick way to get light headed and pass out
Swimming — really do I want pneumonia?
Weight Lifting — raises my pulse too quickly … again with the passing out
Yoga — yeah so I can’t have my head lower then the center of my body … quickly fills up with “cold”
Walking — sorry … that’s too boring and I would be attempted to run (see item #1)

Right now I’m about 5 days into my cold with little to no exercise.  I tried running on Day#2 but only made it 1/2 mile before I realized I wasn’t sweating and I wanted to take a nap … or pass out.   Wish me luck tomorrow … I’ve got to get a workout in!  Gone are the days when I would go a week or more without working out.  Heck I get irritable if I don’t work out daily.

End rant.

gel packs · goals · half marathon · JustGoGirl · protein · Running · running shoes · stress urinary incontinence · water

My First Half Marathon

If you told me two years ago, hell … even two weeks ago, that I could run a half marathon I would have laughed.  The farthest I had ever run was 8.15 miles and that was just recently (in the last few months).  Even in high school, when I was a good 40 lbs lighter, the farthest I had ever run was about 6 miles and that was just conditioning for swim team.

This has been a long, but steady, journey and I’m going to keep going with it.  Since March 2013 I have lost about 50 lbs and have gone from only being able to run 1/2 miles to being able to run 13.1 miles.  I’ve dropped 6 sizes in clothing and wonder what took me so long to get my butt in gear.  I removed all of the excuses and even as I sit to right this I’m looking at the clock realizing that I need to go on a run in about an hour.  The old me would have just looked out the window and thought it was too cold to go running.  Now I can’t wait to pull on my +Under Armour leggings and top, strap on my +Garmin ForeRunner10, iShuffle for tunes and my +Nike running shoes.

At the beginning of my journey I was all about running 5K races here and there but that quickly Outerbanks Half Marathon over this past Veteran’s Day weekend (11.9.14), starting slightly north of Nags Head, NC and ending in the town of Manteo.  A nice scenic, level, 13.1 mile run.  Well the only part that wasn’t level was the bridge but I conquered that so I’m going to push it from my mind.  Haha!
drains the pocket book and the distance is so short it’s almost over before it begins.  I’ve since refrained from doing the 5K races and jumped right into the

Stacking up my times with my Garmin.  I’ve gotten faster times than what you see below but they’ve all been indoors on a treadmill so they can’t be measured against a Garmin.  I think my fastest time on a 5K was sub 27 but that’s been indoors.  These are my outdoor stats since August 2014 when I started using the Garmin.

Notice there is no “Marathon” time … perhaps some day ….

I want to preface this next part by saying that I had some serious angst leading up to this event.  For the past 10 months or so I’ve had some serious stress urinary incontinence that has been quite the hurdle. Apparently having two children puts a strain on a woman’s pelvic wall and often leads to problems such as this.  Sure it’s a challenge and embarrassing but I got over it (I’m writing about it in this blog post aren’t I?).  I had sought help from my doctor in the form of medicine but found the side effects, dizziness and headaches, to far out weight the perceived benefits. I explored running with protection in the form of feminine products and even entertained the idea of Depends … but both options were too “bulky” and not conducive to running comfortably … not to mention fashionably 😉

So here is a serious shout out to +JustGoGirl for their awesome product.  I tested it in the days leading up to the half marathon as well as during the event.  Their product fit perfectly and worked as it was designed to so I could focus on what really mattered … my race. Not only was their product fantastic but so was their staff.  They rushed the shipment to me (at no extra cost) so that I would have a chance to try it before the race.  They also took the time to include a hand written note of encouragement and followed up post-race to see how I did.  Sorry for the delay in response +JustGoGirl!

Morning of the race with Tausha “Slaush” (5:40am)

I was lucky enough to run my first half marathon with someone who had run this distance before.  Thanks Tausha for the support and kicking ass on that ridiculous bridge! We had to wake up at ass o’clock to make the trip in for a 7:00AM race start. We stayed at a friend’s beach house down in Corolla. We were both very good with a short run the previous day and eating the right amount of carbs the evening before.  We went through a whole case of water that weekend just to make sure we were properly hydrated for the race.  Not that we needed it as the event was very well managed and they had water and +Gatorade stations every few miles.  Those stations also included +GU Energy Labs gels, which gave me the boost I needed when I was running out of energy.  I do have to say that the caramel or chocolate flavor was pretty gross but to be fair it was the first time I had ever tried an energy gel.  I think I’ll go with fruit flavors for the next run:)

Going into this race I had a goal of getting under 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I figured at 10 min/mile pace was a good one to start with since I had never run this far. My 8+ miles were run at a 9:30/mile and that seemed to be a pretty comfortable pace. The race folks said I did it in a 9:54/mile pace and my +Garmin had me coming in at 9:50/mile so that worked for me!  I beat my goal time and I managed to run almost the entire way without stopping (stupid bridge with your stupid steep hill that never ended).  The portion I did walk for was forced as I felt some heart palpitations coming on … which sometimes happens when I push myself too hard.  If you’ve ever had them you know that they make you dizzy and nauseous and I can only make them go away by slowing my breathing and avoiding activity until they pace.  Mine are the slow kind, as opposed to the kind that make your heart race. Not making any excuses; it is what it is.

Some stats on the run:

In hind sight I would have started closer to the front of the pack.  We were forced to the back near the 2:30 pace keeper.  We didn’t catch the 2:15 pace keeper until the down turn on the bridge hill (more like MOUNTAIN).  Next time I’ll start in the 2:00 pace group.  It was hard trying to weave through all the slower runners (and walkers).  Folks really do like to walk on the left … not sure why.  Running is kind of like driving … if you’re going to walk don’t do it on the outside … stay to the right.  Also … don’t run 5 or 6 abreast … folks can’t pass and you can’t run around others when you’re all strung out like that.

If you’re planning on running it (which I will be doing next year) look out for that hill on the bridge!

I learned many things from this race:

  1. You can do almost anything if you set your mind to it.
  2. Don’t doubt yourself.  Persevere.
  3. Make sure you have good shoes. Your knees and feet will thank you.
  4. Make sure your tunes are charged. (It was a miracle I had any with almost zero battery)
  5. If it’s below 60 degrees and near the ocean wear something to cover your ears!
  6. Chapstick … don’t forget it.
  7. Drink at the water stations … sure it slows you down but you need to hydrate
  8. Walk and drink at the water stations … don’t try to drink while running 😉
  9. Don’t chew gum while trying to eat energy gels.
  10. Make sure you have fog proof sunglasses
  11. Invest in friction gel if you’re prone to blisters … may not prevent but will help!
  12. Listen to your body and know when you can push past or when you need to stop
  13. Have your tech gear if pace is something you need to track…like constantly. (see picture to the right)
  14. Beer is good after the race (thanks for the Blue Moon)
  15. Don’t give up!
  16. Have a support group.  Thanks y’all!!

Until next year!!!

“Slaush” and I post race
Feeling good. Digging my insect glasses … ugh:(

dragons · fantasy · swords · witches · wizards

Wizard’s First Rule: Terry Goodkind

I’ve started this series as a journey of sorts as there are twelve books in The Sword of Truth series.  My brother read these many years ago and declared them his favorites series; although I don’t think he’s actually finished it.  I had previously avoided the series because the book covers and illustrations did little to draw me in.  Yes that could be considered shallow of me as I’m judging a book by its cover but I’m trying to break out of that habit.  I have a seriously long commute (90-120 minutes one way) and I’ve decided to listen to this book on audio versus reading it.  This is a first for me as I’ve never done audio before.

Wizard's First Rule - The Sword of Truth Series - Terry GoodkindDay 1 – I begin Wizard’s First Rule. I’m a few chapters in and have gotten used to listening to the story versus actually reading.  I find it hard to concentrated sometimes as traffic pulls my attention away but so far I’m enjoying the experience.  I find myself getting slightly impatient with Goodkind’s writing style as I’m excited for the story and want the plot to progress.  It is in no way a compliant about the author’s writing style but rather a self observance that I’m too impatient when reading due to lack of time to actually read!  I need to slow down and enjoy the story and all of its detail (even though some is repetitive).

The characters names always intrigue me.  I used to try and write my own fantasy short stories and found developing the names the hardest part. It amuses me that the main character’s name is Richard (which is a fairly common name in the “real world”), and his brother’s Michael, and the rest of the characters have very unique names that seem more suited to a world of fantasy.  Zed has a very unique name with both middle and last starting with a Z as well! Chase and Addy are also more unique than Bill. Perhaps this coupled with a lackluster cover made me skip over this series so many times in the past.  When I pick up a book to consider reading it I always read the back cover and then one or two pages in the middle to get a sense of writing style.  It could be the names Richard and Michael bored me at the time?  No offense to all Richards and Michaels out there, they’re not boring names … just not what I expect (or have been used to) in fantasy writing … the names tend to be more abstract?

Okay so the voice of Zed has totally grown on me and I love his character!  Rachel is a sweetheart who pulls at the heart strings as she is treated so poorly. Hope it works out for her 🙂  I’m not sure how I feel about Brophy …we’ll just leave it at that.
By the way…started to watch The Legend Of The Seeker and it is so different from the book that I couldn’t bring myself to continue watching it.  It also had a certain level of cheesiness that I have a low amount of tolerance for.
I love that moment when you realize why the book has the title it does. We get there about 3/4 through this book.  Incidentally the world of wizards is better explained at that point as well.  I’m impressed with how patient Richard is with everything, seriously this group keeps too many secrets from each other.

This book definitely builds as it progresses.  The chapters on Denna of the Mord-Sith were intense.  Goodkind truly explores and tests the limits of the human mind and what it can handle.  For some reason all I can picture in my mind when I think of Mistress Constance is Virgo of Fairy Tail and her gorilla appearance.  I know … not even even close but the voice + description cause me to think her!

Fantastic start to a new series! I’m thrilled that there are so many to read!  Moving on to the second book!  5 out of 5 stars for this one!

angel · demons · paranormal · romance

Beauty Awakened: By Gena Showalter

Yet another quality paranormal romance set in a world full of demons and angels. This one focuses on Koldo who is part demon, part angel.  His mum is not a nice person.  Won’t tell you why but he had a rough upbringing which was even further compounded by his violent father.  Intriguing story about a set of human twins that are dogged by evil spirits which causes them to become seriously ill with heart issues.  Good thing Koldo takes a liking to Nicola and rescues her twin sister from impending death with the water of life.  For there it’s a lot of demon chasing and confronting his parents.  Wonder if he’ll get his wings back…

This novel falls into a beach read category.  We’ll written with an engaging plot but not so engaging that you get a headache reading it or heaven forbid (pun intended) you fall sleep out of boredom.