Category: life

Boy, Snow, Bird – an unfinished book review

This very rarely happens to me. I can maybe think of three other instances in my whole life. As an avid reader, I finish books. Long ones, deep ones and not-so-great ones but today I’m abandoning one midway through.
Unfinished book review www.nestinthewest.comIt just might be punishment for judging a book for its cover because that’s exactly what drew me to Helen Oyeyemi’s latest novel, Boy, Snow, Bird. It’s a beautiful green color with a cool tattoo-inspired graphic. In my defense, I did read the inner panel and found it interesting that the title is actually also the names of characters. Sadly, I can’t muster any excitement for the story itself.

Here’s my take on the first half. After a gutsy move to escape an abusive father, Boy flees on the first bus out of town without knowing or really caring where it’s headed. She settles into the first boarding house she can find in the new town. Dates then marries the first man she meets and holds a job at a bookstore which was the only place not to fire her. She has just given birth to a black baby. We think she and her husband are both white but apparently there’s a deep, dark secret in his family (pun intended).

Boy is so passive a character that I just can’t feel anything for her. She shows no initiative or spunk, no fight or flight instinct at all. She’s sailing along as an idle passenger in her own life. Snow is downright odd and who knows what will become of Bird? Not me because I’m out!
Unfinished book review www.nestinthewest.comI’ll admit that it’s hard for me to quit anything. I was raised to finish what I start. And this isn’t a long novel – about 300 pages of which I’m halfway through. On the flip side, life is too short to read lacklustre books. So unless any of you can tell me there’s an amazing plot twist and character development coming in the next chapter I’m heading back to the last installment of Game of Thrones. See you around August, they’re long!

21 Days…and beyond

I’m on a new path to wellness and a bit nervous-excited to tell you about it! Just over a month ago I started an at-home fitness program from Beachbody called 21 Day Fix. I heard about it through Meg, whose house I went to for craft weekend. I was too late getting my kit to do it at the same time as her but was definitely encouraged by her success.
21 day fix and beyond www.nestinthewest.comAs the name suggests, the program’s intent is to fix both eating and workout habits in 3 weeks. A pretty tall order, but it delivered. Now let me say that I’ve never been one for at-home workouts, even yoga. I get distracted and don’t follow through. Also it just seems weird since I work at a gym and am there 5 days a week! I’m so so so glad I gave this one a try because it’s amazing!
21 day fix and beyond www.nestinthewest.comThe 21 day fix is a challenging but do-able combination of daily 30 minute workouts and portion controlled clean eating. The start-up package includes a 2 DVD set with 7 workouts, a shaker cup for smoothies and 7 rainbow color-coded food containers (yes, the rainbow colors were a draw for me). When I saw the size of said food containers, I was seriously worried. They seemed tiny – but are actually perfect. I love the workouts so much that I’m getting up at 5:20AM (yes, I’m shouting that) to do them before work. My eating has never been better and I find I’m spending a chunk of my Sunday afternoons preparing meals and healthy snacks for the week ahead. As in, I’m cooking. And I’m liking it! This doesn’t feel like a chore or punishment the way other programs have. I’m having no problem sticking with it because I’m always full. No deprivation here!
21 day fix and beyond www.nestinthewest.comA huge bonus has been an on-line coach, Marta Viefhaus-Mazzola. You may have heard of her, she’s one of the four fit sisters who have a food and fitness blog. Marta set up a private Facebook group for about 20 of us providing top-notch advice and accountability. If you’re looking to get healthy and fit in a real and honest way, I highly recommend Marta. She’s walking the talk! My fellow participants have been an unexpected source of encouragement too. We’re sharing recipes, stories and positive vibes. It’s a sisterhood thing!
My 21 day stint officially ended last week with what I consider huge success. I’m still practicing the new habits and have taken them on as a lifestyle choice. My body is happy with the changes and I’m enjoying my skinny jeans again. Woohoo! Here’s to the next 21 days…and beyond!


Photo a day for May www.nestinthewest.comWell friends, my camera course is over and I’m happy to report it was all I hoped for. I still have a loooong way to go but I feel more comfortable with my camera and can even shoot on manual now. Baby steps folks!

To keep myself motivated and practicing, I’ve come up with a photo-a-day list for May. I really hope you’ll play along with whatever camera you have and use. Phones count too. You may have heard the line ‘the camera you have with you is the best camera you have’. I’m all about making do with what you’ve got!

Without further ado:
may photos www.nestinthewest.comUse the list as a suggestion for daily theme photos, or shoot whatever inspires you each day. I’m a planner, maybe you are too, so I’m giving us a week to get organized. I’m hoping that with daily practice you and I will have some fun noticing the world around us and capturing shots of it. Let’s get snap happy in May!


PS: My Mom knit those adorable lens cozies for me. Cute, huh!?