Author Archives: lydias

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: New Hobby I’m Trying

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Photography is my newest hobby. I picked it up last spring and have been dabbling in it ever since. January isn’t the best month for spending a lot of time outdoors taking pictures in Ontario, so I’ll share a few pictures I snapped last year when the weather was warmer.

Branch leaned up against a tree. The branch is covered in red leaves and propped up by twigs. Each one of the three arms of the branch is surrounded by red leaves. The red leaves are surrounded by yellow leaves.

This was a piece of environmental art I discovered at a local park last autumn. It was absolutely gorgeous! I only wish I knew who made it so I could credit them and thank them for creating it.

A winding path through a patch of autumn grass.

I liked the way this path provided a natural focal point for my photograph. The next time I shoot it, I’ll play around with how I frame the shot some more.

Painting of a robot's head. The head is filled with a geometric design that has all pieces connected by intersecting lines.

Toronto is filled with street art. Some of it is commissioned by the city, and other pieces just seem to randomly spring up. I think this might have been a commissioned piece. Either way, I like it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Picturesque Reading Spaces

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s prompt was “The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf,” and it totally stumped me. I haven’t bought new books in ages, and I’ve already talked about the library books I’m hoping to read soon in a recent Top Ten Tuesday post.

Therefore, I’m going with an unrelated, but still bookish, topic for today: picturesque reading spots. I don’t know about you, but I find reading even more enjoyable if I can do it in a beautiful location. Here are just a few of the spots I’d love to read in.

Two chairs and a table carved out of large logs of wood. They're sitting in a small garden next to a stone house that is covered with wooden carvings of people and animals.

I would need a cushion for these chairs, but they look like a very restful place to sit and read.

A white chaise lounge. It has two pillows on it and is sitting next to a vase filled with dead branches.

This looks like a supremely comfortable reading spot. The minimalistic decor would also make it easier to focus on a difficult or long book.

Stone house overlooking a lake.

There’s something so soothing about large bodies of water. I’ve found that they’re often much prettier in person no matter how beautiful they are in a photo or video. There’s something about smelling that fresh water and possibly hearing it lap against the shore that makes it even more enticing.

A white bench sitting on a slab of concrete at the edge of a pine forest.

I love nature, but I also love having a clean and dry place to sit and read. This bench seems like it could offer the best of both worlds.

Two puppies sitting on a couch

Sometimes the weather dictates that one should read inside. These aren’t my pets, but I sure would love to snuggle with a couple of pets while reading. It sounds so cozy.

My Review of the 30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other workout routine. 

In addition, I’m not being compensated for this post and have no affiliation with the creators. There is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site.

About the 30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

This is a 30-minute dance workout. There are warmup and cooldown exercises included in it.

If you’ve never done a cardio dance workout routine before, I’d recommend either starting with Bipasha Basu’s 30-Minute Aerobic Dance Workout instead or embracing all of the modified moves that one of the dancers demonstrates for the audience if you’re up for a challenge. This routine is not intended for beginners in my opinion.

I’d recommend either wearing a supportive pair of shoes or putting down a yoga mat or other soft but non-slippery surface for all of the jumping you’re about to do. No other equipment is necessary.

30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout 

My Review

It’s been a few months since I added this workout to my regular rotation, and I absolutely love it.

I had no experience with salsa or merengue dancing before trying this workout. If any of my followers do have experience with those dance styles, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this routine!

One of the best things about these styles of dance is that they repeat the same moves over and over again in various combinations and patterns. While it definitely took me time to get all of the moves down fairly accurately, it was nice to start to understand it right away.

If I didn’t have the exact pattern memorized yet, it was really easy to pick something similar and keep moving. This is something that I haven’t been able to do in every dance workout I’ve tried, so I definitely appreciated the fact that I was able to wing it a little in the beginning while I was still getting used to how everything fit together. That extra challenge was a small but important part of the reason why I stuck around after the first time I tried it.

 Nicole Steen and other dancers in the Popsugar 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance VideoThe dancers in this video are energetic. This was especially true for Nicole Steen who was leading the routine. I couldn’t help but to smile at the jokes she cracked and the many techniques she used to keep the energy high in her backup dancers.

Dancing is one of those things that can easily perk up my mood, so the combination of getting to do one of my favourite forms of exercise with having such an upbeat instructor worked really well for me.

I also appreciated the fact that this routine can be done in a fairly small space. Yes, you move around a lot in it, but you’re not leaping from one corner of the room to the next if that makes sense. Instead, dancers tend to do a lot of bending, twisting, and shaking. My apartment is a tiny one, but I always had enough space to copy the dancers (once I figured out what to expect from them next!)

The modifications were also a nice touch. I had enough experience with other types of cardio-heavy styles of dancing that I didn’t end up using them, but it was reassuring to know that I could drop down to less intense moves if necessary. This also was a feature that convinced me to leave the door open for people who don’t have a lot of dance experience to give this a shot. With less twisting and jumping to worry about, picking up on the moves sure seems like it would be easier.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this workout highly enough. It’s a great deal of fun and something I’m planning to keep doing for the foreseeable future.

Previous Reviews of Free Youtube Workout Routines:

The Challenging Chair Workout 

Bipasha Basu’s 30-Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

Fitness Blender’s Ab Blasting Interval Workout

Fitness Blender’s Toned, Lean Arms Workout 

Vintage Science Fiction Month: Second Variety by Philip K. Dick

Vintage Science Fiction Blog Challenge badge. It shows a rocket ship against a red background. There is a bubble city in the background. Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are also interested in participating this month, let Little Red Reviewer know about your posts if you’d like them to be included in her official roundups. 

Today I’m going to be blogging about “Second Variety,” a science fiction novelette by Philip K. Dick about what happened to the Earth and the few remaining humans on it after a nuclear war erupted between the Soviet Union and the United Nations.  This tale was originally published in 1953, but many of the themes in it still feel fresh nearly 70 years later.

Click here to read “Second Variety” for free. Everything after this sentence and in the tags of this post contains spoilers for this story, so reader beware! 

Second Variety by Philip K. Dick book cover. Image on cover is of a stylized, human-shaped flame holding the Earth. The first thing that grabbed my imagination when I was reading this tale had to do with the destruction of the natural environment. There was so much devastation everywhere the characters looked.

It briefly reminded me of the massive forest fires currently burning in Australia. Just like in our world, the lion’s share of the suffering was shouldered by innocent living beings – human and otherwise – that were never given a choice in the matter. It was utterly unfair.

While this is a story about war, it’s not a war story. The biggest battles have long-since happened by the time we meet the main characters, and the addition of a new enemy has already thrown both sides off-kilter. The exhaustion of fighting an enemy that never needs to sleep or fulfill other human needs also added a new twist to this post-apocalyptic world.

There were actually times when I felt a little sorry for the robots. Yes, they were attacking humans…but they weren’t the ones responsible for causing such severe environmental damage that Europe and vast swaths of North America were no longer able to grow any food at all. They were just following the orders they’d been given by their creators.

With that being said, I still loved the plot twists involving the robots and what they were capable of doing. They technically weren’t alive, but they sure acted like it. Not only did they repair themselves when broken, they paid close attention to what was left of human culture and looked for any weaknesses they could find and take advantage of. That’s not something I’d normally expect from a robot!

As someone who has read a ton of post-apocalyptic and robotic science fiction, I figured out where this story would probably end up pretty early on. That isn’t a criticism of the piece, though. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of other authors were influenced by Mr. Dick’s writing style kind of like modern authors have written things that echo the Harry Potter series or various Margaret Atwood novels.

This repetition and evolution of ideas is common in all genres. It will be interesting to see if any of my fellow scifi fans had the same reaction to this story, especially where the ending is concerned.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2020

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

There are plenty of books I’m curious about, but I can think of only one upcoming release that genuinely excites me at this point. (The year is still young, so this will almost certainly change over time!)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins book cover. Image on cover is of a gold mocking jay sitting on a branch. There is a target sign behind it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Hunger Games Prequel) by Suzanne Collins.

I’m thinking about rereading the Hunger Games trilogy before the prequel comes out in May. Here’s hoping that the prequel is well done and answers everyone’s questions about how Panem was created in the first place.

Dangerous Voyage: A Review of Europa Report

Content warning: Found footage and mental illness. I will be discussing these things later on in this post. Europa Report is a 2013 science fiction film about an international group of astronauts who are sent on an expedition to Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa, to see if they can find any evidence of life there.… Read More

Haunting Secrets: A Review of The Lost Ones

Title: The Lost Ones Author: Anita Frank Publisher: HQ (Harper Collins) Publication Date: 2019 Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Gothic, Horror, Paranormal, Historical Length: 400 pages Source: I borrowed it from the library Rating: 3.5 Stars Blurb: Some houses are never at peace. England, 1917   Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the… Read More