A Weekend of Reading

Good morning!

Care for a smoothie?

banana protein shake

In the summer, protein-packed smoothies are a go-to breakfast for me, but I often forget about them during the winter. Today I brewed myself a hot cup of coffee to sip while I drank my smoothie. Gotta offset the coldness!

In today’s breakfast smoothie:

protein shake vanilla banana


A Weekend of Reading

Over the New Year’s weekend, I spent a lot of time reading. I started and finished What Alice Forgot, the December PBF book club book that we’ll be discussing on the blog on January 7. (Don’t forget to send me your reviews if you would like your link included in the review post!)

What Alice Forgot

The book definitely kept me engaged, but I felt frustrated while reading it at times, too. It’ll be a fun one to discuss!

I also started reading Terra, a dystopian novel written by my blogging buddy, Gretchen.


Gretchen knows of my love for dystopian novels and sent me a copy of her first novel ever (she’s only 24!) to read and I’ve been eating it up! I’m about halfway through and am anxious to crawl into bed early tonight to continue reading.

If you’re a big fan of dystopian novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent and have ambitions to read more in the new year, you might be interested in this post with additional book recommendations: If You Liked The Hunger Games…

I hope to continue reading a lot in 2013. It’s a hobby that relaxes me, excites me and engages me!

Question of the Morning

  • Do you have a hobby that you hope to dedicate more time to in the new year?
  • Is there a hobby out there that you hope to take on in 2013?

Though it is not a current hobby of mine, I hope to learn how to knit in 2013. I’ve tried before and lost patience, but hopefully 2013 will be my year!


  1. Brittany says

    I really hope that this year I can spend a little bit more time reading and journaling. I often find myself putting those things on the back burner, deeming everything else (i.e. working out, running errands, class work, etc.) more important. In reality, though, it’s also healthy and necessary to have down time and relax (something I need to work on this year!). Hopefully, I can find a balance 🙂


    • says

      i hope you can find time for that, too, brittany! it took me a while to get back into reading after college when i felt like i always had studying to do that would take precedence. when i have a book i want to read, i try my best to get into bed earlier than i otherwise would to read. it doesn’t always work out, but i think knowing that you WANT to make time to read/journal is a great step!


  2. Julie @ sweetly balanced says

    I need to learn how to make these smoothies you are always posting, I tried a couple of times, but they just did not turn out very good!

    I started taking gymnastics classes in the fall I hope to continue with those in 2013, so much fun!!


    • Ariana says

      I agree. All the smoothies that you post look SO delicious, but when I try and make them, they just…aren’t good. Not bad, just not good. Like thick, creamy, nothingness. Move to Chicago and open a smoothie place! I’ll come by every morning! 😉


  3. mj says

    knitting! i watched some fantastic videos from woolandthegang.com and started on a “scarf” … you might love the videos … they helped me because i knew zero about it. now its gone from frustrating to fun. happy new year! 🙂


    • Kristen says

      I started knitting a few months ago and am having so much fun with it! A great book, that was recommended to me, for new knitters is “Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook” by Debbie Stoller. It has all the basics and explains everything really well with pictures. I still refer back to it a lot when I forget what I’m doing! 🙂 Have fun knitting!!


  4. says

    I loved What Alice Forgot! I cruised through that book, I couldn’t stop thinking about what life would be like if I forgot the last 10 yrs! Oh how I admire you for trying to knit, I have tried several times and I just don’t have the patience or attention span for it!


  5. says

    I love reading, I am always trying to make more time for it. In 2012, I made a goal on Goodreads to read 36 books (3 books/month), and this year I upped it to 50.

    What Alice Forgot was awesome. It totally blew my mind that I disliked the “new” Alice until the very end, when her memories came back. I loved how it played on the whole “There are two sides to every story” — and in this book we learn sometimes there are three, four or more sides!


  6. says

    I justed started out my blog, so I’m hoping to continue posting, and be able to connect and watch it grow a bit. In 2013, I’m really wanting to pick up running. Yes, I do do the physical aspect of running occasionally, but I don’t want it to be a “necessary form of exercise”. Instead, I want to think of running as something that I enjoy to do, that just has health benefits that come along with it. Looking up What Alice Forgot right now, I want to check it out!


  7. says

    I have always been an avid reader–in fact I read a total of 101 books this year! I ended up making my New Year’s Day post a list of the books I’ve read this year, some with links to reviews. You seem to like the same books as I do so you should check out the list for ideas! This year I think I’ll focus more on writing. Finally moving into content development in my office job and have a freelance job on the side; would LOVE to explore the freelance side even more!


  8. says

    Happy New Year! Reading is my “go-to” hobby as well. I finished “The Happiness Project” yesterday & loved it. I am also studying for NASM certification (I think you are also?) so hope to knock that out early this year!


  9. Courtney Williams says

    Hi Julie! I just want to say I love your blog. You truly have a gift for connecting with people. Recently I have been thinking about starting my own blog about healthy living as well. I love love love writing and running but the thought of starting my own is very intimidating. I admire how you put yourself out there everyday through your writing; it’s very brave and inspiring…so thank you for being so brave!


  10. says

    I want to read more in 2013. I was am avid reader growing up (Baby Sitters Club and Goosebumps!) and most of the time I’ll finish a book within a day or two of starting it. The problem is starting. I’d actually like to start writing too. I took a creative writing class last year and I would love to see where it takes me.


  11. says

    Did you know that on Goodreads you can set a reading goal for yourself? Last year I challenged myself to 30 books in a year, but changed it to 40 around July. Sadly, my reading went by the wayside as I got busier and only made it to 36, but it’s fun to see how much you can read in a year.

    BTW, how do you feel about Chick Lit/Mysteries? My first book came out in paperback this week, and if you’d like to read it, I can send you a copy. I’d love to have your opinion. 🙂

    Here’s the link if it sounds like something you’re interested in.


  12. says

    Thanks for the introduction to Terra! I haven’t stopped by Gretchen’s blog in ages, so I had no idea she had written and published a book. How exciting! I’m allllllll about dystopias, so this sounds right up my alley. I’m not normally much of a book-buyer (I’m in a committed relationship with the library), but my library doesn’t have Terra and I’d really like to read it (and support a fellow blogger!) so this just might be a late Christmas present to myself 🙂


  13. says

    I am hoping to read a lot more in 2013. I love to get lost in a good book and although I am way behind in What Alice Forgot, but I look forward to finishing it and then reading the book discussion when I am done.

    I hope to bake more in 2013. I know how to cook, but baking is something I struggle with – all those dang precise measurements. Good luck with learning to knit!


  14. says

    My husband really got into reading last year, and I have followed his lead within the past few months. I never used to be a big reader, but I’m really enjoying it these days! I feel like I am learning more, it relaxes me, and it stretches my imagination – all good things! That being said, I hope to make it a regular habit to continue reading this year. I also hope to get back into running after the baby comes. 2012 involved hardly any running thanks to some health stuff and now my pregnancy, so I’m looking forward to getting back at it and running a race or two!


  15. Becky says

    Knitting, yay!!! I’ve been an avid knitter for years. In the midst of a sweater for my husband at the moment so I’m hoping to continue developing my skills there. I’m also looking for do more with sewing- I’ve got a couple of projects in the works that I want to finish. Finally- I really, really, really want to revive my blog. I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head but I need to sit and TYPE now.


  16. says

    I also hope to dedicate more time to reading this year. I’m much happier with an hour of reading at night versus an hour of television..but sometimes shows suck me in and I can’t help but get addicted (read: Downton Abbey). I also finished What Alice Forgot this weekend, I’m excited to read what you thought of it!


  17. says

    I really love your book choices! I fell in love with “What Alice Forgot” and am looking forward to your review! I totally understand the frustration you felt, haha!


  18. HilJo says

    I read the BEST book at the end of last year. It is called Kristin Lavransdatter–it is very very long and has a relatively slow start, but it is one of the best books I have ever read on so many levels.

    It is sort of historical fiction about a woman in Norway in the 14th century–it is really probably the best book Ive read (I read a lot). I HIGHLY recommend it for some 2013 reading! (also get the Nunnally translation, \thats what I read and from what I hear it is much preferred to the older translation)


  19. says

    I always have to offset my cold breakfasts with something hot, too. I thought I’d gravitate away from yogurt, fruit, and cereal in the colder months, but I’ve been craving them as much as ever.

    As for hobbies, reading is already a daily thing for me, but I’d love to start cooking and baking a little bit more.


  20. Mary says

    Happy New Year. When do you write your Nasm exam. Good luck with the knitting. I’m left handed so found it a little difficult. I’d like to try again this year.


  21. says

    That smoothie sounds delicious 🙂 when I was going to Fit Camp I would have a Herbalife shake after and I would always be freezing after I finished it.
    The hobby I want to focus on for 2013 is my new blog that I just started. I really want to see it grow and to keep up with it. Also, I want to do more crafty stuff. I took a little sister last semester with my sorority and surprisingly enjoyed all the crafts I made for her!


  22. says

    I love reading. 🙂 I was an English major in college for that reason haha.

    I want to put more time into photography, as well as writing outside of my blog; I’d love to be able to publish more of my writing! I’ll definitely be checking out your old posts about how to break into the freelance world.


  23. says

    Julie, have you tried crocheting? I taught myself how to crochet by watching videos on YouTube. Super easy and a great starter to knitting. I plan to teach myself how to knit this year and I’ve been told it’s easier if you already know how to crochet. I made everyone in my family scarves and hats for Christmas – cheap and simple! 🙂

    I loved What Alice Forgot. It kept me interested always wondering where all the missing pieces were in her memory. I can’t imagine losing 10 years of memory… Where am I going to be in 10 years? People change SO much without even noticing.


  24. Terri says

    I think the only hobby I would like to find more time for this year is actually getting my weight down and my health in check. I’ve used school as an excuse in the past and this semester starts student teaching so I will be less able to use that excuse. That’s my goal anyway! 🙂 I read What Alice Forgot quickly but I think also because I was frustrated with expectation. Can’t wait to discuss!


  25. says

    Oh my gosh! Way to go Gretchen! I’ll keep an eye out for it. And I am READY for your January book club. I got a Nook for Christmas, so I’ll have an easier time getting books that are popular right now without having to wait 6 months. 😉


  26. Jenny says

    Happy New Years! I found your blog through a pinterest board. I can honestly say that I am already motivated to continue with my new healthy lifestyle for 2013 and I think the discovery of your blog couldnt of come at a better time. I am going to get back to my routine of going to the gym during my lunch hr.

    I am so excited to join your book club! It was on my to-do’s for the year. Keep up the good work and looking forward to reading your posts each morning for that little extra motivation!!


  27. says

    Very cool on such a young writer first novel publication! I am reading Insurgent right now as we speak. I am also looking forward to the discussion on What Alice Forgot.

    I hope to sew and knit more this year. I go on and off, but it is a favorite hobby. That isn’t a bad idea about trying a new one. I have to think on that.


  28. Barb says

    I love reading! Just read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire over the weekend( started and finished it on Saturday). I would recommend it!


  29. rachel says

    I studied Japanese for about 12 years, but since moving to Turkey I haven’t had much chance to speak/ study. My goal for 2013 is to start studying Japanese regularly again, and maybe even take the big Japanese Proficiency exam that is held once a year (twice in a few countries). I also knitted something last year (I am a real beginner!) and home to knit something again this year, or maybe learn to crochet.
    My friends and ı got together tonight to read the predictions we wrote 12 months ago, and write new ones to read January 2014, so I feel super motivated.
    Apart from that, I hope to continue to train regularly and bake for my colleagues!


  30. says

    I really liked to scrapbook my photos in the past, but have fallen several years behind. I hope to get my scrapbook room all organized and get going on that again before my kids are grown! I don’t take near as many pictures of the kids as when they were little, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to catch up. However, I take way more trip photos because of the great trips we take and because of the travel blog. I have been making books on Shutterfly for my trips to help ease the scrapbooking process. 🙂


  31. says

    One of my goals for 2012 was to read 1 book a month and I was so happy for sticking with it! It seriously helps keep my sanity. This year, I’m upping it to 2 books a month and am really excited. I’m actually reading Divergent right now and am obsessed – I’m excited to pick up Gretchen’s book next!


  32. Amanda says

    I love knitting and highly recommend it as a hobby. I prefer smaller projects but my goal this year is to finish my first knit cardigan that I gave up on a few years ago. I’m ready for it to be complete! Good luck learning to knit. You should look for knitting stores that offer classes.


  33. Jessica says

    I flew through What Alice Forgot. I also scoured your blog for other books to enjoy. Over my holiday “break,” in addition to What Alice Forgot, I also thoroughly enjoyed 13 Reasons Why, Divergent, and Insurgent. My husband enjoyed a “break” from me and enjoyed his new Call of Duty game…it was a nice change of pace for both of us. Thanks for including the link to “If You Like Hunger Games…” I pulled off 3 more books I’m anxious to read. I’m a newer follower to your blog (about 2 months now) – I LOVE IT. I’m excited to get my email every day and it’s introduced me to many other blogs. Best Body Bootcamp, here I come! 😉


  34. Michelle says

    I am going to learn how to use my DSLR camera – on manual setting mode! I’ve had it for 2 years and have only used the automatic settings. And as a tag-along, I received Photoshop for Christmas so learning to use it this year. The nice part of these 2 resolutions is that I love photography so unlike other resolutions, these should be easy to complete!!!


  35. says

    Flexibility! I used to be very flexible in high school, but I don’t stretch nearly enough anymore. I’m also hoping to work on my blog more. I found yours through pinterest and have appreciated your section with tips on blogging.


  36. says

    One of my goals for 2013 was to start a fitness/food blog which I did a few days before the new year, so my goal is to continue working on it as a way to hold myself accountable for my fitness and health goals!

    I also want to “smashbook” regularly… and read more! I’ll have to check out “What Alice Forgot”… looks good.


  37. says

    I would like to pick up knitting again, but I know the likelihood of that is pretty slim

    I would also like to read more for pleasure. I am a librarian, and I do a lot of reading for the book clubs that I run, but those aren’t necessarily the books that I really WANT to read 😉 I love dystopian novels, and have enjoyed “The Hunger Games,” just recently read “Divergent” (the sequel “Insurgent” has quite a few holds at the library, but I’ll get to it soon!) I also liked “The Road,” both book and film. I am trying to think of others I have read…for some reason, I am drawn to the “what would happen if it all went to hell, how would society change/react” type books.


  38. Lianna says

    I read “what Alice forgot” in 3 days over Christmas! I also found it extremely engaging and also frustrating at times. Had me in tears the last couple pages until it was finally clear that her husband was the one still beside her. A great read!


  39. Barbara says

    I really like the idea of setting a goal to read a specific amount of books in a year! I never thought of doing that exactly…I always just set a goal of “reading more”. I’m definitely going to do that this year!


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