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Archive for November, 2022

It’s Wednesday, dear reader! And, in the United States, it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. There is a great deal to be thankful for in my life, including you, dear reader. I appreciate you being a part of my blogging adventure.

The last three weeks have been hectic for me with daily commitments and appointments. I had a procedure done on my dental implant which caused some mouth soreness for almost a full week. A follow-up appointment with the oral surgeon has been scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon. If all looks good, I will schedule an appointment with my dentist sometime in December to make an impression to order my implant crown. I also got my annual mammogram which came back with good results. Gals, it’s important to get your yearly mammogram despite having your boobies squashed. In addition, I had to take my dog Comet aka Tooty to the vet for his annual visit which involved senior bloodwork. It looks like additional testing will be needed to rule out a few issues.

After three weeks, I have finally started a new 4-week program on Beachbody on Demand called Job1. The instructor and creator of this program is Jennifer Jacobs. I have only completed two workouts this week, but I already like Jennifer’s instruction, energy, and attitude. There are five workouts per week, and each workout is literally 20 minutes. There are three strength training days, a HIIT day, and a cardio day. If any of you are like me and did not know what HIIT means, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Oh boy, it has earned its name! HIIT was my workout yesterday, and it was intense for me, but I loved it. Of course, the only exercises I cannot do are ones where my wrists are bearing my weight. There has only been one so far, and I substituted the move with squats.

The program does require dumbells and resistance loops. I purchased the 12″ resistance loops, which comes in a package of three, from the shop on Beachbody.com’s website. Thus far, I have only used dumbells, but anticipate using the resistance loops at some point in the remaining workouts for this week.

I should also mention that there are five additional Overtime Workouts (20 minutes each) that target the upper body, legs, glutes, and the core. There is a recovery stretch as well. These workouts can be done after the daily workouts or on their own. I have not done any of these workouts, yet. Finally, the program also has four 20-minute Cycling Workouts for anyone who has a stationary bike which I do not, so I will not being doing those workouts.

My last weigh-in was this morning at 153.5 pounds. I have gained 1 pound back since 02 November; so my overall weight loss is 8.5 pounds since 01 June. What a bummer! I did track my weight for six days (11/07-11/12), and my weight fluctuated between 152-154. For the most part, I am eating clean, in moderation when I indulge, and following the intermittent fasting guidelines. As I mentioned in my last post, I think menapause is contributing to my weight-loss issues. Thankfully, my annual well-woman visit is next Tuesday morning, so I am hoping to get bloodwork scheduled and some answers regarding menapause and my weight-loss issues.

Knockout Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are my new favorite vegetable. I hated them growing up; however, I have learned, as an adult, that it is not the Brussels sprouts I hate, but it is the way my mom prepared them. I have tried a couple of different ways to cook Brussels sprouts, and the recipe in Ian K. Smith’s book, Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance, found on page 282 is one of my favorites.

Gather the following ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts (1 pound)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  • Balsamic vinegar (1/3 cup)
  • Honey-optional (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and ground black pepper (to taste)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees while prepping. Make sure to trim the ends of each Brussels sprout and remove any outer leaves that look yucky. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and place in a bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss, so all the Brussels sprouts are coated evenly. Spread them apart evenly, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the leaves of the Brussels sprouts are caramelized (dark brown and crispy).

In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey. Add the roasted Brussel sprouts into the vinegar-honey mixture and toss, so all the Brussels sprouts are coated evenly.

This recipe requires minimal ingredients, is easy to prepare, and is yummy. Let me know in the comments if you try it. If you have any delicious Brussels sprouts recipes that are easy to prepare, please email me at katloyacano@gmail.com.

Dear reader, have a wonderful Wednesday! Whatever the plans, goals, or dreams you have set for yourself, I hope you intentionally strive to enjoy the process by focusing on the journey and not the outcome. Happiness!

“The groundwork for all happiness is good health.” ~ Leigh Hunt

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What a weekend I am having thus far! On Friday evening, I attended the play, The Way We Say Goodbye, written and directed by Donna Gay Anderson and presented by Southeastern Theatre. This play is a celebration of Southeastern Louisiana University launching a new B.A. in Theatre program this fall.The production’s entire cast and crew consisted of Southeastern students, faculty, and alumni. And, one of those cast members happens to be my good friend Sue, who I worked with for many years at Holy Ghost Catholic School. She also taught Andrew, my youngest son, science at HGCS. The Way We Say Goodbye is about 15 women saying goodbye for various reasons.

Sue played Sorter, and her character was saying goodbye to some of the sentimental things she had been holding onto for years and reminiscing about the impact those things had on her life. Sue has not been on stage in several years because for the last 27 years, she has been directing children’s theatre. Andrew performed in three plays under her direction. She has also been super supportive of my acting journey. I’m so proud of Sue. The play was incredibly moving, humorous, and entertaining. The entire cast gave phenomenal performances. Bravo!

On Saturday afternoon, Helen and I attended The Jungle Book at the Columbia Theatre in downtown Hammond. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I was fortunate to participate in readings of The Jungle Book over the summer. Being a part of the readings was super special because the playwright, Tommy Jamerson, was there with us via Zoom. It was incredible to see how the cast and crew brought this play to life. I loved seeing so many of my talented friends performing. Bravo!

Tonight, at 7:30 PM CT is the series finale of The Walking Dead. Earlier today, I watched a couple of the episodes leading up to the finale. I LOVE The Walking Dead! I am prepared for an emotional evening as this incredible series wraps up 11 seasons of outstanding storytelling. The 90-minute final episode should be spectacular since it was directed by Greg Nicotero. I have watched this awesome show from the beginning as well as the other shows set in The Walking Dead universe. Over the years, I have met a few of the actors (Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Scott Wilson, and Michael Rooker), who have portrayed a few of my favorite characters, at Comic Con in New Orleans. And, I even have plenty of TWD merchandise. I will miss my group. Thank goodness for streaming, so I can revisit my favorite characters from time to time. And, thank goodness for more series in TWD universe coming out in the future.

The last few weeks since I launched my YouTube channel have been busy reading and creating content for my new channel. Being a newbie has its challenges, especially with filming and editing videos. However, I have released four videos and have been having a ball meeting other booktubers in the Booktube community. My latest video is a Booktube Newbie Tag where I answer questions about my reading journey, my reading preferences, the reason for starting my channel and much more. Every time I create a video, I learn something new, and I find that exciting.

Well, dear reader, that is all I have for you today. I have to finish a few tasks before I park myself in front of the television to say goodbye to The Walking Dead. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. May your upcoming week be filled with lots of joy, laughter, and good cheer. Happiness!

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ~ Meister Eckhart

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The spooky season was a bootiful reading month for me! I completed six books in the month of October. As of today, I have read 57 books throughout 2022. I have surpassed my Goodreads goal of 50 books, and I still have two more months left of the year with plenty of terrific titles to tackle. What an awesome reading year for me!

Nonfiction Selection

Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King, edited by Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller, is a fascinating collection of literary criticism focused on Stephen King’s earlier works (short stories and novels) prior to the publication of Christine. There are 9 essays, an introduction by Peter Straub, a forward by Stephen King, and an afterword by George Romero. Anyone who is a fan of King’s writing and has enjoyed reading Salem’s Lot (my personal favorite), The Shining, Carrie, The Stand, Firestarter, The Dead Zone, and Cujo will enjoy going

back in time and discovering why Stephen King became a popular writer and a household name for horror fans.

I especially enjoyed the introduction by Peter Straub and the afterword by George Romero. Stephen King’s forward is also wonderful because it gives insight into his struggles of becoming a writer and how he achieved brand name status as a horror writer. Stephen King is my absolute favorite author, so I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane to learn more about the start of his writing career and his early works from the perspectives of other writers as well as the impact his work has had on both literature and film. This was a four-star read for me.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three children’s literature selections this month, two middle-grade selections about witches and a young adult novel centered on clowns in a small town. All three books were fantastic in their own way.

The Witches by Roald Dahl is a wicked good time. An 8-year old boy, who lives with his Norweigian grandmother after the death of his parents, narrates this delightfully dark tale. The fantasy novel is set partly in England and partly in Norway and follows the young boy and his grandmother as they encounter witches on their summer holiday. The vile and disgusting witches despise children and hatch a plan to get rid of them everywhere. This middle-grade selection is entertaining, terrifying at times, but excudes a great deal of heart. I adored it and gave it 5 stars.

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare is a young adult novel with spooky season feels. Quinn Maybrook, a high school senier, is uprooted from Philadelphia when her father takes a job as a family doctor in the small, seemingly quiet, town of Kettle Springs. Quinn and her father embark on a fresh start and begin adapting to rural life. Quinn has even made a few friends at school. Unfortunately, her new friends have objectionable reputations and a turbulent history with the town’s elders. Small town secrets, deep-rooted grudges, and death-dealing clowns make for a terrifying tale. 4 stars!

The Power of Poppy Pendle by Natasha Lowe is a magical middle-grade adventure. Poppy happens to be an amazing witch, who loves to bake and is quite awesome at it. Her desserts delight everyone except her parents, who only want Poppy to concentrate on witchcraft and carry on the legacy of her great-grandmother Mabel. The only problem is Poppy hates magic. Since her parents refuse to let her bake along with studying magic, she makes a dastardly decision that could cost her everything and everyone she loves. This story is warm-hearted, at times heartbreaking and dark, but full of charm. The book includes baking tips from Poppy and recipes which I would love to try in the future. 5 stars for Poppy Pendle!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas is an AWESOME selection for the spooky season. It has all the ingredients to keep a horror fan engaged from beginning to end, Gothic vibes, a haunted house, and a pervasive evil that hungrily awaits those who dare to cross Kill Creek’s threshold.

Four esteemed horror writers receive an invitation to spend Halloween night in an abandoned house that is purported to be haunted. All four writers, reluctantly accept the invitation, hoping the publicity will bolster their careers.

Unfortunately, they are not prepared for what will greet them and the aftermath of that one meeting. Kill Creek is a slow burn that builds tension in the most satisfying way, leading the reader to a gratifying conclusion that stays with you long after you have finished the book. I gave this brilliant horror novel 5 stars.

Year of King

Kelsi and I chose Needful Things for October. This delightful story was a reread for me, and I was thrilled to revisit it. Leland Gaunt, the mysterious but charming proprietor of Needful Things, sets up shop in Castle Rock. His store offers the most curious items for sale. Sadly for the residents of Castle Rock, the treasures they purchase cost them more than money. Their quiet little town will never be the same when Leland Gaunt is finished doing business with them.

Needful Things is one of my favorite novels written by Stephen King. I love the well-developed characters, especially Sheriff Alan Pangborn and his cunning adversary, Leland Gaunt. There is more to the story than residents playing pranks on one another. It is a story deep-seated in greed, hypocrisy, and the harmful effects of selling one’s soul to fulfill one’s deepest desires. Needful Things is a definite 5-star read for me.

Kesli and I had a devilish good time discussing both the novel and the film adaptation of Needful Things on November 6th. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

November is well underway, and I am participating in three readathons. I am currently reading Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Mongomery for #Read21in21. My book club selection for November is Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. Kelsi and I will be reading The Dead Zone for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 11 December at 12:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is Maud: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Harry Bruce. 

My sister Rachel and I are reading the last chapter of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. This Wednesday evening we will be discussing Chapter 10, “A New Earth.” Rachel and I have had such a blast buddy reading A New Earth that we are planning to read another book together which we will start in January.

As usual, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in November. To see my complete November TBR, follow me on YouTube at Kat’s Novel Adventures (see below). To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ~ Anna Quindlen

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Happy Weigh-In Wednesday, dear reader! I have finished another round of Clean & Lean and 4 Weeks for Every Body. I did skip one week of the exercise program between Week 2 and Week 3. I will be honest, the instructor for this program is not my favorite of the three instructors I have experienced thus far. I needed a break, so I pretty much walked that whole week. I also had a bunch going on during that week and weekend. With that being said, I liked most of the exercises, the format of the program, and using the core ball. As I mentioned in my last post, the instructor goes a little too fast between floor exercises and standing exercises. I am still having issues with my wrists doing some of the weight-bearing floor movements, especially pushups and planks. I modify the movement or do another exercise working the targeted muscles.

I did NOT lose the amount of weight I set my sights on by the end of the 30 days. I was hoping to get down to at least 149 pounds. In this moment, I need to give myself some grace and remind myself to focus on the journey and not the outcome. My journey is about being healthier not hitting a certain number on the scale. The reality is my journey is never going to end because eating healthy and exercising regularly is a lifestyle, not a chore, not a quick fix, and certainly not a means to an end.

My last weigh-in was this morning at 152.5 pounds. I have lost 1 pound since 03 October; so my overall weight loss is 9.5 pounds since 01 June. Losing weight this time around is going much slower than past attempts. I do think I am building muscle which weighs more than fat. My clothes are fitting better, especially in the belly region. However, I also think menapause has reared its ugly head and might be interfering with my weight loss efforts. I recently listened to Molly Kimball’s podcast episode, “Menopause, Hormones, and Weight Gain – Oh My!,” with Ochsner Health OB/GYN Robin Bone, MD. They discussed that menapause is more than hot flashes and night sweats. There is research about the connection between hormone shifts and weight gain. Therefore, I figured it could not hurt to get some blood work done and see what is going on with my hormones. I scheduled an appointment with my gynocologist for the end of November. I have included Molly’s interview with Dr. Robin Bone below for anyone interested in this information.

So, what’s the next step? At this moment, I have not started a new fitness program on BOD. This weekend, I plan to research a new program to start next week. In the meantime, I will keep walking. The last couple of weeks I have been striving for 10,000 steps per day, and hitting the mark more than not. I will continue intermittent fasting and eating clean but adding in more foods besides the 30 specific foods listed in Clean & Lean.

I have another recipe to share from Michelle of Pocketful of Primary. It is a Buffalo Chicken Dip that is a healthier version and tastes great. My hubby and I ate it a couple of weeks ago while watching a horror movie off my Halloween Movie Marathon list. In addition to being quite tasty, it has minimal ingredients and is easy to prepare. The best part is you can pair it with veggies, pretzels, chips, or crackers. We opted for carrot chips, small sweet peppers, thin pretzels, and tortilla chips. I focused more on the veggies.

We had some leftover baked chicken that we used for this recipe. I also chose a buffalo sauce with a “comfortable heat” which basically means medium heat.

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl and top with shredded cheese (40 grams). Place mixture in a baking dish. Bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

  • 150 grams of cooked shredded chicken
  • 150 grams of non-fat cottage cheese
  • 100 grams of fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 50 grams of buffalo sauce
  • 50 grams of onion

If you decide to try this recipe, dear reader, please let me know in the comments how you liked it and what finger foods you paired with the dip. Healthier finger foods are better!

I am a big proponent of time tracking. It is a wonderful way to see how I am spending my time. I am considering keeping a diet/exercise journal and weighing myself each morning to see how my diet is affecting my weight. I have kept this kind of journal in the past, and it can be time-consuming. However, bringing this kind of information with me to my doctor’s appointment may be helpful. I will think about it this weekend along with choosing my next program on BOD. Happiness!

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.” ~ Robert Tew 

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