This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv-shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.
If I had to sum May up in one word it would be hectic. As the post title suggests, there was a lot of university related stuff to be done, but even though I had a massive to-do list even I had some time to enjoy the sun!
I’m back on Instagram! I dusted off my SLR camera and am taking bookish pictures again. I forgot how much fun that was. I am, and never have been, good with props, so I am using nature as my props. I love grabbing a bunch of books and just going outside and see whatever catches my eye. The weather is just perfect for this approach right now! In the meantime, I will try and improve my inside picture-taking skills (while not sharing it because I usually do not like the way it looks).
Something I also shared on Instagram: I started a bullet journal! Well, technically I started one at the beginning of April, but as I have been trying out what works for me I have kept my trap shut about it, haha. I always loved journals. I love lists and keeping track of whatever I want to keep track off. I have tried SO MANY different journals over the last few years, but they never quite fit my needs perfectly… My solution was to taka matters into my own hands. I have tried quite some different layouts over the last months, and this is the latest development for my ‘weekly spread’. Since I started my Bujo I have discovered I love the start of a new month because setting it up is so much fun! The way I have set it up right now I am able to track my habits, can manage my blogging, and have an overview of what is to come the current month and in the future. Who knows, if you are interested, I might even do a post on it somewhere in the future, as it really is a learning curve.
In terms of working out, I have been slacking this May. Unfortunately, being hella busy at university means you have to make some sacrifices, and May is exam month after all. I haven’t been running as much, although I squeeze in runs wherever I can, gym time has been non-existent. However, all things come to an end, and so will my deadlines! If there’s one thing I am looking forward to about June it is the fact that I will have more time to spare. Which means BACK TO TRAINING!
Reading: reading-wise this is going to be a very sad score… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses. 4/5 (reread)
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury. 5/5 (reread)
- Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin. 4.5/5
- Gillian French – Grit (2.5/5)
- Blair Thornburgh – Who’s That Girl (currently reading)
Once Upon a Time season 1, episode 1 – 22. Never finished it before, loved it!
Thirteen Reasons Why season 1, episode 1 – 13. Very mixed feelings about this… So many mixed feelins I could write an essay.
Grimm season 5, episode 1-3. So addictive!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. SO MUCH LOVE.
Finding Dory. So freaking adorable.
Inside Out. Finally watched this, it was so good!
Moana. The bomb!
Trolls. Fun enough, not a whole lot of depth.
What did you do in May?
I’m going to warn you in advance, this recap will be filled with kitten spam. I take way too many pictures as it is and hardly share them online, so I will use my monthly recap posts to unleash them upon all you unsuspecting readers. What I love most about these monthly recaps is that at first the month in question seems so boring and normal, but when you think about it there are tons of small things that stood out and you can tell about!
Mid-March I had midterms, which isn’t all that extraordinary, but during my midterms the rumor spread that Emma Watson was supposedly in Leiden filming the BBC show the Miniaturist. The Rapenburg was closed down and off-limits fo two days and the whole city was in an uproar about it. The Dutch film company that filmed there firmly denied Emma Watson ever having been there, so who knows. Maybe she was here, maybe she wasn’t. I had exams anyway, so no time to gawk where they were filming, haha.
The Song Rising is out in stores! Doesn’t Fury look adorable next to that beautiful stack of books? I love that Bloomsbury released a limited edition that fits the original books as well (instead of the new cover designs) because I get so annoyed when my books don’t match. I do think a reread is in order though… It’s been a while since I read the first two books and the details have become a bit blurry. So The Song Rising has to wait a bit. Have any of you read it already?
Something that also happened this month: Beauty & the Beast! I was so pumped to see the movie and finally watching it was perfect. The cast was so damn good! The little extra backstory they gave the characters, the songs, just everything… I have so much love for this movie and I need to see it again, stat.
Fury and I took a little walk outside and it was adorable. He was so curious and a bit hesitant, after a while he started chasing flies. I live on the fifth floor, so he normally stays inside, but on the weekends I usually visit my parents and they have a huge garden. Perfect for little Fury to explore the outside world.
I haven’t read much besides thesis related books, but am already working hard on April (finished my first book already)! I am also working on a more regular post schedule for the blog. AND I started bullet journaling, maybe I’ll share a few pages with you in the next recap!
How did March treat you?
This might be an issue every book-nerd has, but boy, lately it’s been worse than ever. New books come in, and I keep stacking new books onto that every growing pile of books, but I hardly ever find the time to sit down and actually read them. There are so many series that I started and loved, then bought the sequels to and are now collecting a pile of dust on my shelves.
The list goes on and on…
I’m going to show you a small peek into that every growing pile of unread books. These are all books I own, either part of a series or a standalone. All books I am actually dying to read, but just haven’t found the time (or peace of mind) to do so.
- The Vanishing Throne, the sequel to The Falconer, one of last year’s favorite reads.
- Glass Sword, the sequel to Red Queen.
- Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows.
- Winter AND Stars Above, the two last books in the Lunar Chronicles series.
- Fire AND Bitterblue, the sequel to Graceling and the final installment in the series.
- Dragonfly in Amber, the sequel to Outlander.
- Lion Heart, last book in the Scarlet trilogy.
- Pretty much all of V.E. Schwab’s books.
- Rogue, the sequel to Talon (and all books that follow)
- I HAVE AN ARC OF ROSEBLOOD BY A.G. HOWARD THAT NEEDS TO BE READ
And the list goes on…
I am going on a self-imposed book buying ban! First one EVER since I started blogging, but I am going on a book buying ban. That’s right, no more books for Iris UNTIL I’ve finished some of those pretty books that have been collecting dust on my shelves. I am going to keep a score and am going to maybe set up a reward system. Something along the lines of: for every six books I finish (ones that have been sitting on my shelves) I will reward myself by buying ONE book. So it might not be a total book buying ban, but it’s a partial book buying ban, a last resort, preventing that gigantic stack of unread books to somehow fall over and kill me in my sleep some night.
Shocker, I’m still floating around somewhere in the blogosphere. Although, maybe floating isn’t the most accurate way to describe what I’ve been doing these past two months. It was more like looking around every now and then, and then disappearing again. I promised change, then partly delivered, but disappeared right after. It was terrible, I was terrible, and I’m REALLY (don’t want to use the f-word, but it’s the only word that will suffice here, so just imagine it’s actually here) sorry. Now, let’s not focus on making this a 1000 word post on how sorry I am… I’ve said it once and truly, unquestionably, absolutely, without a doubt, mean it, but no one wants to read a post where someone apologizes 100 times by saying the same thing (but putting it a little differently every time). So I’m not going to.
Okay, you’ve been stating A LOT of things you aren’t going to do Iris… What ARE you going to do? Well, first of all, I’m going to tell you what actually happened, and then I am going to do things differently.
Let’s change things up and get down to business
One of the last things you heard from me was that I was going to switch things up. Then that change partly came through, and then you didn’t hear anything from me for two whole months. Change? No change? What’s going on? Well, what happened is that I completely and utterly lost all motivation to blog. I just didn’t feel like blogging at all anymore, so I didn’t. It’s sad, but it’s true. And I realized this week that I don’t want three years of blogging passionately to end by just quietly fading into the background of the blogosphere. These three years have given me so much and pulling a disappearing act is a really crappy move on my part.
I wanted to figure out the why. WHY did I lose motivation? Tough question, very tough question, and it took me a while to figure out. Actually, it took me quite a while to figure out, and I shed quite some tears over it when I did. Whoah! That dramatic? No.
You gotta give me more than no…
Short answer: I changed. I changed and while I did, this, my blog, just no longer felt right to me. This caused irritation and frustration and I no longer felt like blogging. I’ll go one step further by saying that I didn’t want to blog anymore. Which sucked. My blog used to reflect me, and the moment I said that aloud (teary eyed) I was able to put my finger on the problem. I changed and the blog should’ve changed with me, but it didn’t, which is why it never felt right to me. My blog no longer truly reflected me, it showed a part of me, but not really ME, not anymore.
I think we can all agree that’s a pretty big problem to have. So, now I know the problem, that means I can work on finding a solution. True, and I did think of one: change the blog, fix the problem. Easy-peasy right? Unfortunately, easier said than done. I don’t have the skillset to make the kind of changes I want to make, but changes need to be made. So the search began for someone to help me. That road has been a little rocky. I thought I found someone, I was hopeful, then that someone let me down and I was back at rock bottom. Time passed, I looked around but found nothing that seemed sufficient, or it was sufficient but too damn expensive for me. Frustrations grew even more and at the same time I grew sadder about this.
Where’s that sappy happy ending we all love?
BUT… now we’re here, and this is a blog post… which means that somewhere along the way something changed. Well, let’s just say that it turned out help came from closer than expected. Even more importantly, it means that if I hadn’t tried to solve this all by myself I probably would’ve found help way sooner. Whoops.
If there’s anything this whole issue taught me is that sometimes you just have to speak up and let somebody else help you find a solution to your problem. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and if I’d just told my friends and family about what had been going on with my blog sooner it wouldn’t have taken me quite this long to climb out of this nasty rut.
Some of you might have seen me mention my workouts on Twitter or Instagram. Now, I know that IrisjeXx is a book blog (in case all the book related content didn’t give it away already), but it’s also my blog, and there’s simply more to me then just my love for books. So I thought it was time to tell you all what’s up with all the workouts I’ve been doing! I’ve wanted to share for a while now, and figured it was time to do just that!
Where did all this craziness get started?
A year ago I started running. I set the goal for myself to run a 5k, but never really thought beyond that. At the time I just thought being able to run a 5k would be really cool and a great way to get a bit more fit. It wasn’t always fun: lungs burning, legs hurting, cussing at myself for being crazy enough to do this. But that feeling after completing a run: that feeling of accomplishment, of being proud of yourself for grabbing your running gear and just go, of feeling like you’re on top of the world; that feeling got to me. I caught the running bug. That feeling is what motivated to keep me going, and THAT feeling is what’s so addictive about exercising.
What happened when I accomplished that goal?
So I could run a 5k, what now? Well, I just ran a 5k distances for a while. Running outside, and not always running the same round will keep you interested for quite a while, but after a while I pushed myself to run a little longer and a little harder. My average pace started improving, and before I knew it I was running up to 10k! I ran in the Rotterdam marathon (1/4 marathon, let’s be realistic here) with my sister and my dad and everything was going great!
Then, I fell off the bandwagon…
Even though I loved running, before I knew it I hadn’t run ANY distance in a whole month. One month became one month and a few days, and I was REALLY disappointed with myself. I have asthma, and not training in such a long time meant that I basically had to start from rock-bottom again, which kept me from finding that motivation again and getting off my ass and back to training. I had a major exercise rut and had a hard time getting my motivation back. I’ve often heard that it’s not hard to start exercising (and this is so true), however, what IS hard is finding the motivation to keep going when you’re sore, or tired, or just don’t feel like doing anything.
Changing up the routine
So I decided it was time for some change. I started looking for ways to make training fun again and add some variety to my routine, and by searching online I happened upon Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide. I talked to some girls who were doing the BBG program and their excitement was so palpable that I decided to purchase the guide. The combination of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) turned out to be a golden combination for me.
Six weeks ago (January 11th) I joined in on The Kayla Movement 2016 together with TONS of other women all over the world. I started a separate Instagram account (for those of you who’d like to follow that account: iris.does.bbg) to keep in contact with others doing the same program as me (which was a golden move! Motivation to find in abundance!). Six weeks of 3 HIIT workouts, 3 LISS workouts, and one rest day a week and I feel great. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard work, really hard work and my muscles were SO SORE after that first week, but it’s so worth it.
I have a LOT of energy, I am happier than I’ve been in a long time, and I’ve never been more comfortable in my own body than I am now. I’m improving in all fields: I’m running faster than ever and I’m getting stronger and stronger each day. I can see my body changing; my muscles are developing and I love how strong I’m looking.
What does a week in workout-land look like?
I’ve got quite a happy workout schedule going on right now. Warning: you might think I’m crazy.
Monday: 4 x 7 minutes Legs & Cardio (HIIT)
Tuesday: 5 to 10k run (LISS)
Wednesday: 4 x 7 minutes Arms & Abs (HIIT)
Thursday: 5k run (LISS) in the morning and Abs workout (HIIT) at the gym later that day
Friday: 4 x 7 minutes Full Body workout (HIIT)
Saturday: 5 to 10k run (LISS)
Sunday: Rest day (or, when I’m feeling like it, a 5k run)
That probably looks crazy to you, but if you do the math, besides Thursday (and the days I run more than a 5k), you’ll see that I only spend 30 minutes on my workouts every day , and 30 minutes really is such a small proportion of the day, almost everyone can miss 30 minutes. I just to spend 30 minutes of my day, that someone else might spend in front of the tv, working out. I have all the equipment I need at home: dumbbells, medicine ball, and workout mats. So there’s no need to do my workouts at the gym (I just love to do so every now and then, especially when I go with a friend). If it’s raining outside, I can always switch around, and if I feel like having a rest day, I’ll just have a rest day.
I don’t force myself to train, I want to. I get restless and have too much spare energy when I don’t. At a certain point I started to crave those workouts, I crave exercise, they clear my head and make me feel strong. I push myself every day to become a stronger version of myself and I am SO proud of how far I’ve come!
What am I working towards?
March 6th I am running a 10k in during the CPC (City Pier City run) in The Hague with my father. I’ve been working hard on improving my average pace over the last two months. I run a 5k under 30 minutes quite easily, and I’m a bit afraid to set a time goal for myself for the 10k, but I’m hoping it’ll at least be under 1 hour and 10 minutes (taking in account how many runners there’ll be and how swarmed the road will be with them).
Recently, I was chosen for the most awesome project EVER! Glamour magazine (sponsored by Maybelline) set up a program to work towards half a marathon. Together with 29 others, we’re going to train, under guidance of professional trainers, towards 1/2 marathon. Our starting ticket will be paid for by Maybelline New York and we’ll get a ticket for the Glamour Health Challenge (last year THE Kayla Itsines gave a bootcamp, so I can’t wait what this year will hold!), we’re all getting a personalised training schedule, and a package from Maybelline New York. I literally CANNOT contain my excitement about this and I cannot wait to share all about it with you on my journey to 1/2 marathon! #Makeithappen
So, how crazy do you guys think I am? Haha