Introducing: Aja Hannah, author of Zarconian Island

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of getting together with one of my dear friends, Aja Hannah. A recently published author, Hannah will release her first novel, Zarconian Island, to retailers everywhere March 25–just in time for me to buy myself a copy for my birthday 🙂 While at lunch, we played catch up and chatted a little about her new novel.

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Changes on the Horizon

I joined a gym about two and a half weeks ago. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about “dedicating” so much of my free time to working out, but I’ve grown to look forward to my daily work outs. Yep, that’s right. I’m not messing around. Since I joined a local Planet Fitness, I’ve made a trip to the gym every day except for two. I even went yesterday all the while knowing of a threat of a mega-snow storm.

In these past two weeks, I’ve also diligently been watching what I eat, and I do my best to eat around 1500 calories per day. I’m not claiming that this is the best way to diet, but it’s certainly easier to maintain. I get to eat whatever I want so long as I pay close attention to serving sizes.

I also drink water constantly…I drink well over the recommended 8 cups of water. And you know what? Suddenly, I don’t crave soda or alcohol or anything besides water. Sure I’ll have a drink occasionally when I go out to dinner, but to be honest, I would prefer water!

I’ve lost two pounds since I started going to the gym regularly. I imagine I’ve probably lost more in terms of fat, however, because I can feel muscle definition creeping up in my arms and legs.

I’m a little disappointed that I’m going to miss going to the gym twice this week–I’m donating blood on Tuesday and Wednesday is the big 3-year anniv. with M. so I don’t have time after class and work to make it to the gym. But, I’ve worked pretty hard these past two weeks, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too guilty…

Awareness: The best defense

Until you acknowledge, “it could happen to you,” pre-incident cues may not register as important or relevant enough to notice. –The nuts and bolts of awareness

Although it is essential to know fundamental skills for defending yourself against unknown assailants, there is one rule far more important than knowing how to beat someone up.
Be aware of your surroundings. Realize that you could be a victim of violence. Don’t wait until you’re alone in a seemingly deserted parking garage to put your defenses up. By rights, you have already put yourself into a dangerous position.

During my first semester on college, I remember feeling like I was being followed one afternoon when I left the library. I’d noticed someone staring at me in the library and watched him slip out of the library when I began to gather my things. By the time I was halfway down A-lot’s sidewalk, I knew it was no illusion. Lucky for him, he was smart enough to call out to me before catching up. At that point, I was already planning my counter-attack. If he had reached me before saying “excuse me,” he probably would’ve walked away with a bloody nose or at least with the wind knocked out of him. It later turned out that he just wanted to introduce himself, but the whole think creeped me out enough to keep my guard up for several months later.

The point I’m trying to make with this anecdote is that you can never be too trusting of your surroundings.

Women’s Self-Defense Awareness has a great list of self-defense awareness tips. A few I think are more important than others include:
Always park in well lit areas.

Always lock your car even if you’ll be gone for a short time.

Have your keys ready before you leave a secure building. Fumbling in your purse only makes you look more vulnerable.

The most important thing to remember is to be smart. You can avoid dangerous situations as long as you use common sense.