And Now for Something Completely Different…My Workout Routine

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional trainer or athlete or anything of the sort. I’m just a regular person trying to be healthy. If you read anything in the post that is inaccurate/misleading/etc, PLEASE let me know and I will correct it ASAP!

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be discussing my current workout routine.

I’m an engineer by day and a writer by night. That translates to a lot of time sitting. I used to attend at least 2 dance classes each week, which would get some movement in my schedule, but more recently it’s become only 1 class per week. So, a few months ago, I decided to join a gym.

The gym I joined is nothing fancy. It’s one of those no-contract, $10 per month gyms. But, it has all the exercise equipment I need, and even during the booming month of January I’ve been able to get on *most* of the machines I want whenever I go.

I keep my routine pretty concise, since most days I don’t have a lot of free time. But I figure a short workout is better than no workout at all!

I start out on the treadmill for fifteen minutes. I walk for 5 minutes, jog for 5 minutes, and walk again for 5 minutes. I’m hoping to gradually work myself up to running instead of jogging. The fact that I can even jog for 5 minutes straight is already an improvement over where I started, though.

After the treadmill, I move on to strength training on machines. I generally like to do one ab machine, one arm/upper body machine, and one leg/lower body machine. Because of my busy schedule, it’s rare that I get to the gym 2 days in a row, so I don’t usually have to worry about building in a “rest” day. However, if I do get to the gym 2 days in a row, I’ll usually just use the treadmill one of those days.

After using the machines, I hop back on the treadmill. Typically I’ll just walk for 10 minutes. However, I do wear a FitBit, and if I can get myself to 10,000 steps without spending *too* much extra time on the treadmill, I’ll make that my goal instead.

Then I stretch. It’s actually way more beneficial to stretch *after* you work out, rather than before. That’s because after you work out, your muscles and nice and warmed-up. If you stretch cold, you risk injuring yourself. I do pretty simple stretches, usually focusing a lot on my legs (my hamstrings are super tight because of dance!).

And that’s it! If I follow this typical routine, I’ll be at the gym for about 45 minutes. Even with my busy schedule, I can usually work in that 45 minutes several times a week.

Do you see something in my gym routine that could be improved? I’m open to suggestions! I would love to hear your gym (or other workout) routines, and any tips and tricks you have to offer!

General Update 11/11/2016

A lot has happened in the past week.

Now, I’m not going to go into specific politics here. I’m sure if you spend any time at all on the internet, you’ve seen more than you can stomach, regardless of your political beliefs. I know I have.

I couldn’t muster the focus this week to pick a cohesive topic to blog about. So, this will just be a general update.

As many of you know, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the annual challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Right now, I’m on track, and by the end of today should have at least 18,333 words written. Those words are split between two projects. The primary project is Serafima’s Stone – Book 2 of the Gaslight Frontier Series, the sequel to Grigory’s Gadget. The secondary project is my Chapter 1 submission for the Collaborative Writing Challenge Steampunk Project.

NaNoWriMo has been going very well so far this year. I’ve connected with some great local writers by attending “write-ins” at a local Escape Room (seriously, one of the coolest places I could imagine writing in!).

I want to leave you all with something positive and optimistic this week, so I’ve compiled a list of books (and some movies or shows) that emphasize the goodness of humanity and that look to a bright future (or that are simply fluffy and funny).


  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology by Claudie Arseneault and Brenda J. Pierson
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler


  • Basically any Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli movie
  • The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  • Life in a Day (2011)
  • The Mindy Project
  • How I Met Your Mother (series finale not encouraged 😉 )
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Parks and Recreation

And Now For Something Completely Different…ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips Review

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing the new ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips (to be fair, this post will relate back to steampunk a bit; read below to see!)

I was excited when I saw ColourPop was coming out with lip glosses. ColourPop, a company based in California in the US which is cruelty-free and mostly vegan, is one of my favorite cosmetics companies. I was specifically excited about the lip gloss because it’s a welcome break from the super-matte trend that’s been happening lately (nothing against matte lips, they just aren’t for me and my dry-and-angry lips).

The Ultra Glossy Lips, according to ColourPop’s website:

Our Ultra Glossy Lip provides extreme shine with a cushion-like comfortable feel. Absolutely NO stickiness or tackiness! This lip gloss smoothes and conditions the lips with emollient ingredients leaving your lips looking fuller, healthier, and super kissable.

I would agree that the formula is very comfortable, though I wouldn’t say there’s NO stickiness or tackiness. There isn’t much, though.

I ordered 3 colors in 3 different finishes: Finder’s Keepers (créme), Dropout (sheer), and Cheat Code (metallic). Here’s what they look like on the website:

Upon opening my package, I was immediately saddened to discover I wasn’t sent what I ordered! I got Finder’s Keepers and Cheat Code, but not Dropout. In its place I had Master Plan (another créme).


As you can see, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. I reached out to ColourPop to correct my order, but in the meantime, I’ll review what I have. I’ll probably come back and edit this post once I receive Dropout so that I can review that one too.

First up: Finder’s Keepers. This color is one I gravitate toward for everyday-wear. It’s subtle but still adds color to my lips so I don’t look washed-out or dead (a common problem when my lips are dry and sad during the winter or during allergy season (which you may note covers the majority of the year…)). This lip gloss has a good amount of pigment, and overall looks pretty nice!

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Next is Master Plan. Just as I suspected by looking at the tube, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. It’s just a tad darker and a tad more purple. It’s definitely still a color I would gravitate toward, so I’ll probably wear it in the fall (it’s not quite dark enough to qualify as “vampy” but it’s as close as I’ll get on a workday!).

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And finally, the element of Steampunk I promised:

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See? I told you there’d be Steampunk! This is Cheat Code, and it is awesome. It’s very pigmented and very metallic. I’ll be wearing this to the Enchanted City III: A Brave New World next month (where I’ll also be having a book signing for Grigory’s Gadget at Market Block Books!)

2016-07-25 17.18.56

Overall I really like these lip glosses. I’ll forgive the order mistake, since this was a brand new line that just launched and I know ColourPop gets inundated with orders when they come out with new stuff!

We’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming next week, when I’ll probably explain how I failed at Camp NaNoWriMo again…


Huzzah! My inaccurate order has been corrected. I’ve received not one, but TWO lip glosses in the color Dropout!

This is a deep dark shade in a sheer finish. I built up the color a bit below, but it can easily be applied to be sheerer.

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