Archive for the ‘Temporary Obsession’ Category

The one hundred push-ups and two hundred sit-ups challenge

I’m always up for challenges! And I found a new one, or actually: two!

Lately, I’ve become very interested in fitness without complicated machines and equipment. Of course, running is already a low-equipment activity (because essentially, you only need running shoes), but in my additional training I did use the fitness equipment at my local gym. But it turns out that training your muscles by just using you body weight is much better for both you muscles and you body orientation. And of course it is a big upside that you can do no-equipment exercises wherever and whenever you want.

I’m going to start with the basics: push-ups and sit-ups.

A few days ago, I came across this website, and decided to accept the challenge of one hundred push-ups, and two hundred sit-ups. After doing an initial test, you can look up the ideal training schedule for your current ability, which consist of a 10-20 minute workout of 5-7 sets of push-ups/sit-ups. This was exactly what I needed.

Training schedules can be annoying, because they can create a sense of obligation. But the one thing I love about them is that they give you the confidence that if you stick to the schedule, next week you will be stronger/faster/better than you are right now. Looking at the exercises in week 3, I gasp. But I know that because the number of push-ups are gradually increased, in 3 weeks I’ll probably be able to do as many as 28 consecutive push-ups.

There is one ‘but’: I’ll stop once my arms get too big. I like muscled arms, but I do not want to look like the hulk! I’m still a girl who wants to wear cute summer dresses. I have no limits for the sit-ups, I won’t complain if my belly will become ‘too toned’ (:

Moleskine Passions Book Journal – My Review

Since yesterday, I am the proud owner of a Moleskine Passions Book Journal, and I love it! All my life I have tried to keep a record of my reading, but all my initiatives to keep a book journal ultimately failed. I’ll still have to see whether I’ll keep up with this journal, but I think the beauty of the journal will help me (as will my 30 books a year challenge). I thought I’d give a little review of the Book Journal!

I don’t know why, but somehow I had expected a pocket-size Moleskine, so I was very pleased that the journal turned out to be the size of a normal Moleskine.The pages are thinner than in a normal Moleskine, so instead of 192 pages, the book journal has 240 (which are numbered! Jay! No numbering by hand!). The first three pages can be used for planning.The format for books starts at page 5, and is organized alphabetically.

There are 6 pages for ever letter of the alphabet, followed by 60 pages you can categorize yourself, using the stickers you can find in the back pocket. I used these stickers: My favourites, Wish List, Lent, Borrowed, Holiday Reading and Present list. I’ll finally have a central place to record the books I lent and the books I borrowed, which I always forget. I don’t know how many books I’ve lent out and never got back, and there are at least 10 books in my library that I cannot remembering buying or receiving as a gift (This is why I always write my name and phone number in any book I lent out, but of course that’s not a guarantee you’ll get it back either).

I like the tab for Holiday Reading, because for me planning my holiday reading is almost as much fun as planning the rest of my travels. Moreover, careful planning is absolutely necessary as I’ll need a book for every mood, varying in heaviness (both physically and content-wise!).

Finally, I love giving books as a present, but sometimes it can be so hard to find the perfect book for someone (especially when you have only 10 minutes left before the bookstore closes and you panick and decide to buy a best-seller they already have). It is such a good habit to write down which book to buy for whom at the moment you come across a book that screams your friend’s/mom’s/dad’s name.

At the end of the Journal there are 15 blank pages, which can be used for drawing or collages or whatever you’d like. These could also be useful to record information on favourite authors, or to make year-lists of books read.

On the Moleskinerie weblog I have read several comments by people who did not like the new passions journals and say they are unneccessary  because it would reduce people’s creativity now they did not have to make their own journal (from a plain Moleskine). Some claim that Moleskine’s uniqueness is being lost (which was on the website), and that it’s becoming too much of a ‘brand’. I disagree.

To me, these people sound just like those who complain that the small town band ‘they discovered’ is getting too ‘commercial’. They like to think of themselves as unique and pride themselves in having found a quality notebook (or a good band). Then they claim the Moleskine brand (or band they ‘discovered’) has changed because so many people like it. But in fact, they miss being (or feeling) unique, and therefore start looking for something else. But the the Moleskine Passions line does not change the fact that there are still good-old plain Moleskines, waiting to be turned into something creative (or less creative, in my case ;)). I love  the simple blank or lined Moleskine Notebooks, but I also like the Book Journal and I think it will actually enhance my creativity and really make me think about my reading more.

Well, I’d better start reading.

My yellow pages

Rhodia ruled notepad no. 19

Large ruled Rhodia Notepad

Just like buying books, buying a new notebook makes me happy. I am a happy Moleskine user (not very original, but I love them!), but I recently discovered a new great writing tool; Rhodia notepads. My local stationery shop down the street sells two types. One is a (small) 5 x 5 squared notepad (Rhodia No. 16)  and the other one is a larger ruled ‘travers’ notepad (Rhodia no. 19).

I bought the small one a couple of weeks ago, and was very satisfied with the quality of the paper and the way the yellow paper stands out from my other notes and printouts. However, I needed more space to write on, so I also bought the large ruled notepad, which is perfect, because there is a lot of space left of the vertical line. This leaves space for numbering, topics, after-the-fact remarks and besides that  just looks very nice.