(belated) weekly gems

  • This interview with a Special Olympics athlete and her mom is a must read!
  • Absolutely adore this slideshow of fathers and the advice they’ve given their daughters.
  • Foods that can boost your mood.
  • Check out this new crop of money-saving websites. Also, tips for improving your credit score.
  • A CUP OF JO‘s Joanna’s son Toby got grumpy about beer.
  • An awesome checklist of photos to take each month.
  • So happy same-sex marriage was legalized in New York! Here’s a slideshow of the event.
  • Nine happiness boosters.
  • An interesting article on five U.S. women’s every day finances.
  • Why am I always so drawn to Chanel nail polish? And speaking of nail polish, I am in love with this new take on glitter polish.
  • Katie’s love letter to her dresses is such fun!
  • Want to be a food blogger? Here are some etiquette tips.
  • I can’t get enough of gray and yellow for weddings (well, pretty much gray and any color!).
  • Love this photo essay of senior dogs. Beautiful.

get fit get strong recap: week one

Hello, everyone! How was your weekend and your Monday? I’m sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, I’ve been a bit busy the past few days with social outings, work, and the full-time job search. Sunday marked the end of Week One of my new fitness journey, so it’s time for a recap.

Overall summary – I have to admit, I didn’t do so hot this past week. I started off strong, but got derailed by a day that went in a totally unexpected direction, and then never really got back on track. I like using My Fitness Pal (both the app and the site) and my Twitter account to track my calories, exercise, and thoughts, but once I started slipping up I avoided them. I need to stay consistent and honest with myself. The more I record, the more accountable I can hold myself, and the better I can adjust unhealthy behaviors/habits.
Healthy eating – I am struggling with eating well when out with friends and avoiding the concession stand at work. I am, however, doing better about portion control and with eating more fruits and veggies.
Exercise – This past week was so busy I mainly just walked the dogs for exercise, but it felt good and is worthwhile. This week I plan to walk the dogs every day, as well as do the 30 Day Shred or Nike Training Club on days I have more time.
Attitude – I need to maintain a positive attitude and not a perfectionist one. Once I started getting off track, I thought, “Ah, well, I’ll do better tomorrow.” I need to let a bad choice just be one bad choice and not become a whole bad day.
Goals for Week Two - I let my struggles from Week One start off Week Two, but I still have five days left, and I am going to make them count. For Week Two, I will follow my My Fitness Pal account and walk the dogs every day. I will also do a full work out at least twice.
Any tips on how to manage stressful days without derailing your healthy habits?



weekly gems

Source: tumblr.com via Kelly on Pinterest

watch it: x-men: first class

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest



Movie: X-Men: First Class
Viewed: June 2011, in theaters
Notable Cast Members: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Bryne, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult
Overall Rating: (rating rationale)

Plot Summary: What caused the X-Men to come together? A mutant villain named Sebastian Shaw. In the 1960s, mutant Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) wants to avenge his mother’s death, who was killed at the hands of Shaw. The CIA, who wants to stop Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from successfully starting a war between the Soviets and the U.S., asks Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), both a mutant expert and a mutant himself, to help track him down. Together, Charles and Eric recruit other young mutants to join the fight against Shaw, becoming close friends along the way. But will the battle against Shaw cause them to grow closer, or will it tear them apart?

Personal Thoughts: While X-Men: First Class is a prequel to the X-men trilogy, you don’t need to have seen all the movies to understand the plot (although it does make it a bit more fun). I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the acting was great, the story interesting, and the special effects awesome. It is a great entry into the X-men film franchise and into the comic book movie genre in general. I definitely recommend seeing it!

jane austen

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

I read Pride and Prejudice at the end of my senior year of high school, and immediately fell in love with it. It is just such a hilarious, romantic, sentimental, lovely book. I vowed then I would read all of Jane Austen’s books. Well, four years and a college degree later, and I still haven’t read of the others. I’ve waited long enough! I want to read the rest this summer. Any suggestions on what to start off with first? Sense and Sensibility? Emma? Mansfield Park? What is your favorite?

get fit get strong

Earlier today I posted an update on my New Year’s, All Year Challenge, and mentioned that I am starting an exciting new journey as part of my effort to complete one of my most prioritized goals, reaching a healthy BMI. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, BMI stands for body mass index, which WebMD explains as follows: “BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.” BMI is not foolproof – it doesn’t take into account people who higher muscle mass or women who are naturally more “pear” than “apple” shaped. However, it is a good guideline to follow, and according to it, I need to lose about 40-50 pounds.
In the past, my BMI always hovered a bit into the overweight range, because I swam competitively and had a high amount of muscle mass. I hope not only to lose weight to lower my risk of disease and feel more confident, but also to grow stronger and have more energy. Quite simply, I hope to get toned as I lose weight. So once I am around the 40 pound mark, I will also reassess my waist-to-height ratio, which better assesses people with high muscle mass. Right now, my waist-to-height ratio is .05 higher than it should be, putting me at WebMD says is an increased risk – basically, between what they term “healthy” and “take action” body shapes.
Have I been making efforts to reach a healthy BMI and waist-to-height ratio? Yes. I have been eating more fruits and veggies, reducing my portion sizes, working out more. Have these efforts been consistent? Not really. I let my health take a backseat during college, but now with college behind me, and so much ahead of me, I want to be healthy and strong.
I am going to make consistent, full-fledged efforts to do so. My efforts have been getting more regular, but to be completely honest, this big push to get health was inspired by two things: 1) once again reflecting on my New Year’s, All Year Challenge goals, and 2) Kelly (of Fabulous K)’s new blog, Skinny, which has an excellent focus on positivity, community, and accountability.
Accountability and community are key for me. When I was in high school, swimming kept me healthy because I had a set routine and I had teammates and coaches who depended on me. Accountability and community are what I need again, and here is how I am going about getting them:
  1. I’ve started a new Twitter account, @getfitgetstrong. I decided to go the “micro-blogging” route rather than starting a separate blog because I can use my iPhone to easily and briefly update Twitter on the go.
  2. Every Monday, starting next week, I will do an extended “Get Fit Get Strong” update in the form of a blog post here on beagle and bear.
If you have a Twitter account, please follow @getfitgetstrong and cheer me on – I would greatly appreciate it. If you don’t have one, I would love if you still checked it out every now and then and sent me some positive vibes (either mentally, via a comment here on the blog, or via e-mail)! And of course, I look forward to sharing greater details of this journey with you every Monday.
Do you have any fitness goals right now? What motivates you? What steps are you taking?

update: new year’s all year challenge

If you have been following this blog for awhile, then you may remember that this year I decided to embark an adventure I call the New Year’s, All Year Challenge. I intended to post monthly updates on my adventure on this blog. That fell apart in March when I got pretty sick. April and May were super busy with graduating and moving, and I didn’t have the time to really sit down, reflect, and write an update post. So here it finally is! An update on how I am doing on the Challenge.

A complete list of 2011 goals are here. This is the progress I have made in the past few months:
  • Developed blog further
  • Applied for full-time teaching jobs; attended job fair
  • Read a few books (with reviews to come soon!)
  • Cooked a couple new recipes
  • Gathered wardrobe inspiration and bought a few new pieces
  • Began eating healthier and exercising more
  • Have made more progress with Madison learning “stay”
  • Began using Mint.com to budget better
  • Doing better with more thoughtful/meaningful gifts for loved ones
  • Using Pinterest to document home inspiration; got my first interior decorating book
While I would love to meet all the goals on my Challenge list, I recognize that might not happen, especially with how busy this summer is shaping up to be. I will continue to work on all the goals, but the ones I will focus on the most are the ones that I think will have the largest and most positive effects on my life right now. These goals are:

  • Get a full-time teaching job and/or apply to graduate school
  • Reach a healthy BMI
  • Save a substantial amount of money
  • Bake one new recipe a month
  • Cook one new recipe a month
On a different note, you may have noticed that I had multiple goals on my Challenge list that related to health and really could be considered stepping stones to the overall goal of reaching a healthy BMI. I am starting a new sort of journey to reach that overall goal, which I will discuss on a second post later today. Be sure to check it out, I am so excited to share it with you all!
Have you kept up with any 2011 New Year’s Resolutions? Similarly, do you have any summer goals or a summer fun /”bucket” list?

(belated) weekly gems

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