Sunday, December 18, 2016

Finishing Up The Fault in Our Stars & 2016 Books Without Borders Wrap Up

Oh my gosh, this was our last book of 2016 Books Without Borders. The reason I started this book club was to read more books in 2016. I went above and beyond my goal and completed 45 books in 2016. :) 

I would love to hear what you all thought of the book club and any suggestions you might have for next years books for Books Without Borders. And thank you all for following along with my journey

Now let me tell you what I thought about The Fault in Our Stars. I love this book!! It is such a sweet story that is sad but by the end you do not feel sad. It ends leaving you feeling happy and hopeful and remembered that no matter what there is always something good to look for and hold on to. 

What did you think about The Fault in Our Stars? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought!

1. John Green derives his book's title from a famous line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." (I,ii,139-140). What does the line mean—and why would Green have used it for his title? Even more important, why would he have altered it to read, "The fault in our stars" rather than ourselves? How does Green's meaning differ from Shakespeare's?

2. How would you describe the two main characters, Hazel and Gus? Do either of them conform, in behavior or thinking, to what we normally associate with young cancer patients? How do the two differ from one another...and how do their personality traits and interests complement each other?

3. How do Hazel and Gus each relate to their cancer? Do they define themselves by it? Do they ignore it? Do they rage at life's unfairness? Most importantly, how do the two confront the big questions of life and death?

4. Do you find some of the descriptions of pain, the medical realities that accompany cancer, or the discussion of bodily fluids too graphic?

Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Our Favorite Gifts To Buy The Health And Fitness Lover In Your Life

Ways To Keep Your Students Active This Winter (4).png
It can be hard knowing what to get the health and fitness lover in your life but we are here to help!! We have both tried a huge range of health and fitness products but we are both going to bring you our top three favorite health and fitness products of 2016.
Brianna’s Top Three Picks
My first favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is the Fitbit Charge 2. I absolutely adore this product. I use it every single day to track my sleep, exercise and nutrition. One of my favorite things about the Fitbit is that it helps to hold me accountable by sending me reminders. It is also nice that you get to compete with your friends who also have a Fitbit and send them friendly reminders and even give them a little push. The Fitbit really is a great support system to get you moving, sleeping and eating right. The Fitbit app is also very simple to use and lets you track food, water, sleep, and movement. I love my Fitbit and would not be as active without it.
My second favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is the Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat. The main reason I love this yoga mat is because it is extra thick and it is also longer and wider than a traditional yoga mat. I use it for every single one of my workouts. This would be a great addition to any home or classroom.
My third favorite health and fitness products of 2016 is BigOven.  BigOven is an app that allows you to get food ideas, create menu plans, make grocery lists and add of your favorite recipes. This app is a lifesaver for keeping my nutrition on track. Each week I sit down and create my menu for the week with new and old recipes that I add into my account. I then create a grocery list that is laid out into categories so shopping is easy and I never forget anything. This app is perfect for anyone who is busy but wants to stay on track with their nutrition.
Julia’s Top Three Picks
My favorites are things I can’t live without now. First is my pre workout my favorite is called Energize. Now pre workout is something I didn’t think I needed 2 years ago. I tried many before and I hated that feeling like my face was on fire and my body was tingly. This brand was different. Energize by Beachbody is something that I use everyday now, I call it my liquid energy. Even the days I feel good enough to push play or to get up and do that workout I still take it. It helps me get my mindset right and it actually does push me to give more in my workouts. Sometimes I even take a scoop mid afternoon if I just really need to focus on something and I don’t want to have a second scoop of coffee. Best part it is lemon flavor and it is all natural.
My second favorite must have and makes a great gift for that fitness lover in your life is a S’well Bottle. Now these are a pricier water bottle and a glorified one at that. I will say though it is my favorite water bottle and I guard with my life. All the cool kids are drinking their water with these you might say and for me it helps motivate me to actually get my oz in. The idea around this water bottle is the design and the fact that it can keep your water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. The creator of these bottles designed them to get rid of plastic water bottles and now they partner with charities all over the world to help the environment. Another perk of this fashionable and trendy bottle you will be giving back too!
My third must have is a shaker cup that is on my wish list as well. Every fitness lover needs a good shaker cup for their post, or pre, or even during workout. My biggest annoyance with shaker cups though is I always forget or lose the ball. Most of the time I just go without and my protein doesn’t get shaken well enough. This Beachbody Performance Hybrid Shaker Cup by Beachbody is perfect because the ball comes with the cup and it attached to the straw. Making it easy to use and forget proof. ;)

Those are our top three favorite health and fitness products of 2016. Enjoy! And let us know if you try any of the products and what you thought.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Finishing Up Sarah's Key & Starting The Fault in Our Stars

I remember reading Sarah's Key in the past but I have to say now that I read it when I was older I was amazed by this book. I could not put it down! It took me less than two days to read and I was so sad when it was over. I also rented to movie and watched it with a glass of wine. Such an amazing book!!

What did you think about Sarah's Key? Here are a couple questions about the book. Let me know what you thought!

1. What did you know about France’s role in World War II --- and the Vél d’Hiv round-up in particular --- before reading Sarah’s Key? How did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history?

2. Sarah’s Key is composed of two interweaving story lines: Sarah’s, in the past, and Julia’s quest in the present day. Discuss the structure and prose-style of each narrative. Did you enjoy the alternating stories and time-frames? What are the strengths or drawbacks of this format?

3. Per above: Which “voice” did you prefer: Sarah’s or Julia’s? Why? Is one more or less authentic than the other? If you could meet either of the two characters, which one would you choose?

4. How does the apartment on la rue de Saintonge unite the past and present action --- and all the characters --- in Sarah’s Key? In what ways is the apartment a character all its own in?

Out next book is The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenWe will be starting it today Sunday December 11th and ending on Sunday December 18th.

Synopsis From Goodreads: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Lets Get Reading! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Black Bean Brownie For One

I have been experimenting with black beans over the past couple months and I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you all! 

This is my new go to recipe for when I am craving something sweet or want a little treat. This recipe has around 215 calories and 10 grams of protein! 

Let me know what you think and remember you can always find healthy alternatives to things your want to eat. :) 

1/4 Cup Black Beans
1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg White
Pinch Of Baking Powder
1/2 Tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips


Blend black beans in a food processor.

Add flour, cocoa powder, honey, milk, vanilla, and egg white.
Blend again until smooth.
Place mixture into a greased microwave safe mugs.

Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes. I microwaved mine for 2 minutes and 15 seconds on the medium power and it turned out perfect. 

Let cool for a minute. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

3 Ways To Keep Your Students Active This Winter!

From The Healthy Tip Corner With Jules4Life and Living Light and Breezy!

Everyone knows that it can be hard to stay active during the winter months. Keeping your students active over the cold months will help to keep your students motivated, focused and happy.

Today, we are bringing you three awesome tips on how to keep your students active this winter.
The first tip is to introduce GoNoodle into your classroom.

GoNoodle is an amazing free tool that has helped more than 10 million kids get active each month. GoNoodle has helped kids to become their strongest, smartest, bravest, bestest selves. The thing we love about GoNoodle is that it makes movement fun. GoNoodle turns movement into games that allow kids to be silly, playful and energetic. GoNoodle is also very simple to use! All you have to do is press play on one of hundreds of custom videos that will get kids running, jumping, dancing and stretching.
The second tip is to get moving and dancing to Cantata Learning music.

We love Cantata Learning because they combined music with teaching fundamental skills. Songs can help to strengthen language skills like pronunciation, grammatical structure, and vocabulary.

We love the new series Me, My Friends, My Community: Songs about Emotions! We feel this series can help kids this winter to stay positive and get the wiggles out while still learning some very valuable skills.

The third tip is to do a HIIT workout or find a short workout you can do that is fun for your kids.

We have two suggestions for you.

The first workout you can do with your students is what we call a HIIT workout or a High Intensity Interval Training. Now this doesn’t have to be super intense or long but the idea is to really get your blood flowing and to get something in that is quick and easy for your students to do. This article shows how beneficial HIIT workouts can be even for younger students and how it can help with the ever increasing obesity level. HIIT workouts can range from 3-5 minutes long. No equipment needed, not a lot of space, and they can be really fun. Here are a few examples of HIITs for your classroom.

HIIT Options:

The second option is to find something fun like Zumba, Yoga, or a fun easy to do workout to do.

We find Youtube is a quick and easy way to find fun and short workouts that are also free. These again don’t have to be long but can be just a quick 5 minute get up and move time with your kids so they can take a break from learning so they can come back re focused and energized. We picked a few of our favorite Youtube channels.

Have fun keeping your students active this winter and don't forget to share these tips with your families and friends too!  

You will find this post and all of ours on The Healthy Tip Corner page here.

Brianna and Julia 

Introducing The Healthy Tip Corner

Welcome to The Healthy Tip Corner! The Healthy Tip Corner is going to be a new weekly feature that I share with you all. My friend Julia and I will be the writers of this awesome new blog series. 

We are super excited to start sharing with you. Here is an introduction to let you know more about both of us. :) 
My name is Brianna Cua.

Welcome to my blog...Living Light and Breezy.

As the title says, I am excited to show you my journey as an Army wife, college student, coach and someone living life to its fullest.

I graduated from Van Meter High School in May 2012. I finished my associates degree in May 2013. I am currently attending my second to last term at CSU-Global to get my bachelors degree in marketing.

From the time I was little, I have always loved to cook and live healthy. I have also been very interested in new ways to eat and cook clean. Having these interests has brought me to the conclusion that I would love to live a life that incorporated nutrition, exercise, and living healthy.
After I finished my associates degree in 2013, I moved to live with my husband in North Carolina. We lived there for two and a half years. It was a huge change for me since I had lived in Iowa my whole life. It was a struggle moving across the country and learning to live on our own.

Staying active and coming up with new healthy recipes helped me a lot with all the changes. It was something that I was familiar with and made me feel more at home in our new environment. We moved to Belgium on July 14, 2015. We love it here and have had many great experiences. It is so interesting seeing the difference between Europe and America.

I am going to do a few things to get ready for this new adventure. Along with my blog, I am going to start connecting to others in the nutrition and healthy cooking world using Twitter (@brimariecua) and Facebook (brimariecua) .  
Hi guys! I’m Julia aka JulesFit4Life!

I’m a health and fitness guru who loves helping others through social media leading them and inspiring them to get fit and healthy and achieve their goals.

I’m a midwesterner at heart but in February 2016 I moved to Washington to live with my boyfriend. I moved here a recent college grad, graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors in Event Management. However my true passion was in health and fitness I was lucky to have had my Coaching business when I moved. I feel in love with working out even in high school but never saw the results I was wanting. In 2013 I found a solution that worked for me. I became a Beachbody Coach in October of 2013. Only 2 months later I had finally lost the weight I’d been working on for years to lose and inches were falling off with it. These inches I remember being told would never come off.  

I’m now a full time Health and Fitness Coach and work from my home here in Gig Harbor, Washington. It may be dark most of the times but fitness does help me stay motivated and positive.

How I know Bri from Living Light & Breezy is from high school. Her and her mom, Shannon, are good friends of mine to this day almost 6 years later. Both workout with me and coach with me on my team. Bri and I became closer together through our PLN class in high school and even many years later we still talk about that blog we started so long ago. Shannon was a great teacher and I credit her to helping me love social media so much!

Follow along my journey as a Fit4Life advocate on my blog Living Fit4Life. I am also inspiring people and sharing more of my day to day life on Facebook and on Snapchat @JuliaAalbaugh.  

We can't wait to start sharing! :)