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  1. I heaved a sigh and glared at the thick, foul mixture eating through the bottom of my cauldron, aware that the other students were noisily packing up but mostly ignoring them. I was so sure I had followed the directions for Snot Sealing Potion exactly, but whatever mess had burbled up in my cauldron looked more like snot than the clear, refreshing lilac in the book. "Perhaps if you had paid attention to your homework, Elvenword," Professor Snape said languidly behind my head, making me jump and start cramming my books into my bag. "Yes sir, Professor," I stammered, and hissed "Scourgify!" as I hastily waved my wand over the vile mess. I'd have to review the instructions later and take better notes - exams were coming up and I felt hopeless in this class. Come to think of it, I felt a little hopeless in most of my classes, even though my marks were solidly average. Unlike most of the students who had arrived at Hogwarts as 11-year-old First Years, I had transferred in later. My parents were Muggles, and I hadn't even realized I could do magic until I was 15, much older than the average new student. So in addition to the history and literature classes that were appropriate for my Muggle grade level, I also took some classes with much younger students, like first-year Potions. As I scuttled out of Professor Snape's dungeon and headed back upstairs, I was startled by a faint, ghostly feminine whisper coming from somewhere behind the paneled wall: "Sky Elvenword ... Sky, do you hear me?" I froze in my tracks and the students behind me nearly slammed into me. "Watch where you're going," they snapped, and I melted against the wall to get out of the way, my skin prickling. "Peeves?" I whispered back, "is that you?" "No, Sky, listen to me. I need your help!" Other classes were letting out and it was getting too loud to hear. I pressed closer to the wall, uncertain whether I was being tricked or about to fall for a dreadful practical joke. "Who are you?" I said louder. "I can't tell you that now. After dinner, go to the northernmost corner of the Great Hall and use your wand to tap three times on the panel at your eye level. When you do that, a key will appear in your left hand. Use that key to unlock -" At that moment, someone crashed into my bookbag, knocking me off balance and sending two of my books flying off the staircase. I yelped and dashed down the stairs to retrieve them before the crowd of incoming Second Years trampled them; and by the time I had scrambled back to the panel where the voice had spoken from, it was silent. I gingerly tapped the wall. "Hello?" I squeaked. "Are you still there? What am I supposed to unlock?" But there was no answer, and the other students passing me were giving me strange looks. Reluctantly I tore myself away and hurried to get to my next class, but my heart was pounding. Who was the mysterious voice? Were they a good or bad witch? Why did they need my help, and what was I supposed to unlock with the mysterious key?
  2. I'm Ann of Vries, aged 39; a diarist, a fiction writer, a fiber artist, a LARPer (also TTRPG, board games), a traveler, a hiker, and mother of a young toddler. I’m madly in love with my partner, Mr of Vries and my son, Rowan of Vries. I live in London, after having emigrated from Seattle three years ago. I love it here, although I’m still trying to find my tribe (outside of the House of Vries, of course). I long to live in the English countryside, in a stone house with a large garden that grows most of our herbs, vegetables, and fruit. But that time is out in the future—for now, we are city folk and I aim to make the best of that. Not every person gets a chance to move abroad and live in one of the most famous cities in the world! To that end.... *** Depending on who you speak to, some claim Keepers of the Flame are a subset of the wizards. Like metamorphmagi or parseltongue, being a Keeper is just an extra talent that wizards can possess. Since I never got my Hogwarts letter, I’m not convinced we Keepers are wizards except when it’s convenient to the Ministry of Magic. Example, a few days ago many of us Keepers were contacted by the MoM asking for our help with a Calamity that has threatened to expose the wizarding world, and I suspect may play a part in the darkness that has been seeping into the local Hearth Flame network. So maybe I’m still a little bitter about that Hogwarts letter, but I need to do what’s right, and it’s time to increase my patrols in and outside of my domain. *** This challenge is loosely tied to the new Harry Potter: Wizards Unite mobile game.* I’m keeping things relatively simple for this challenge—a focus on fitness. My weight loss has plateaued. We have a 12 mile hike planned conveniently on the last weekend of this challenge, and I don’t want to be the one who backs down from this Boss Battle. (It’s a group hike with varying fitness levels, so there is a likelihood of an early turn-around. That’s fine—I just don’t want to be the one who initiates.) Patrol the Area for the SoS Task Force Go out for daily walks, focusing on the “active minutes” stat of my Fitbit. Actions for this goal: Start with 40 active minutes 4 days a week and ramping up as I go on based on progress. Research (and potentially purchase) hiking boots that I will enjoy wearing. The current pair I have feel like I’m wearing lead weights and I really dislike them. Rock that 12 mile (or whatever it ends up being) hike. Examine and Fix My Eating Habits I hate food tracking, and I make no promises to do it. But my weight loss has stalled, and while I’m considered a “healthy” weight on the UK BMI scale, it’s only just barely. I want to increase that margin. My household already eats pretty clean. The challenge for me is to get back to eating on a sensible schedule instead of “whenever I can cram something into my mouth.” This is most problematic on weekday mornings, as Rowan has breakfast with Mr while I shower and then I have a toddler on the loose while I’m trying to fix and eat something for myself. This usually ends in me eating whatever I can find, and snacking later as it often wasn’t enough. Even healthy foods can be misused. Actions for this goal: Note when I eat (and possibly what I eat). Find and fix unhealthy patterns— particularly regarding breakfast. Stick to these solutions for the remainder of the challenge and check results. ***
  3. The Prologue So, I had originally envisioned a LotR-themed challenge in which I engaged in beauty and running around the woods (or at least local parks) and singing to the trees. But it rang hollow, and I realised something important: I'm no elf princess. * I’ve also been pondering a Harry Potter-themed challenge, but nothing ever came together. Until it did. Forget beauty and serenity. WEIRD and WONDERFUL is who I am. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that. I need to re-embrace my inner Luna. Okay, Let's Back Up I'm Ann of Vries, aged 39; a storyteller, a diarist, a fiber artist, a gamer, a traveler, a hiker, and a new mother. I’m madly in love with my partner, Mr of Vries, and my 6 month old son, Rowan of Vries--usually known as the Enting. Warning: There will be baby pics on this thread. I’ve been in the Adventurers Guild for the last several challenges. I love the Adventurers, but recently the class hasn’t been quite fitting right… and it, oddly enough, took a recent adventure for me to figure out why. About two and half years ago, I emigrated to the UK from Seattle. I love it here, it sings to my bones. It speaks to my soul. This is the place I want to settle. But I’ve realised recently that while I intend to make my home here, I have been treating my stay like a long term tourist. It’s time to live here. To belong. To dig deep and grow some roots. I can't do that in the mindset of a visitor. The Challenge Note: This challenge is in conjunction with the 12 Week Year System. I'm still figuring out the details of this particular "year" so you may see some tweaks in my challenge as I sort that out. Get Weird and Wonderful: Engage in my creative projects: writing, knitting, other crafts (I was recently given some acrylic inks to use with my dip pen and have I even opened them? No!) . Do my hobbies at least 10 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Be my weird and wonderful self. I used to be this eccentric weird girl with an odd charm. These days I just feel awkward and unsettled. I suspect that culture change has something to do with this (Seattle is full of awkward charm; London is full of sophistication), but I don’t feel like myself anymore and I want to change that. I’d rather be myself and stick out than try to fit in and feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Internal journeys are hard to track with SMART goals. So I’ll start with the physical: I want to look like myself again. Unshockingly, I gained weight during pregnancy. Not a lot—I’m only carrying about 10lbs of it now. But it’s enough that my wardrobe no longer fits (or fits poorly when it does). I told myself I’d wait at least six months before I fussed about it. That time has come. Lose at least 2lbs during this challenge. I'm for gradual changes, and anyway it's hard to do a strict fitness routine with the Enting. Return to drinking at least 2 litres of water a day. I can't seem to stick to this one without tracking it, which annoys me, but it is what it is. Clean out my closet: pack away maternity/nursing clothing, sort for the season, figure out what is missing and make a plan to replace them. For example, I know that I’m short of autumn/winter footwear. They all wore out last year, but I didn’t want to try shoe shopping whilst pregnant. Study to Become a Wizard Naturalist: Get walking. Walk at least 10k steps, 5 day a week, as per my fitbit. Note that this will usually involve carrying my 20+lbs-and-growing baby for an extra workout. There is a known inaccuracy because it counts patting the Enting (while winding/burping him) as steps, but I'm opting to accept that for ease of tracking. Observe my surroundings: Note 3 interesting things I’ve encountered, at least 5 days a week in my journal. This is meant to get my out of my head and engaged in the world around me. Eat more healthy homecooked meals. I’m so bored of living on ready meals and prepared foods. Keep records. Create a layout to track these items in my shiny new Bullet Journal. I've been keeping daily to-do lists these last few mad months, but I think I'm now ready for more long term coherency instead of disconnected daily episodes. Let's see how this goes, shall we? AoV x
  4. The Harry Potter Themed House Cup PvP is open to all guilds and will be running from 19 March to 15 April 2018. <PvP Entry closed for this challenge, check back to see who wins the cup and join us next challenge> The goal is to get some inter-guild banter underway, have some fun and improve your health at the same time! Each of the 4 houses from Harry Potter will be made up of a max 5 players of mixed ability and hopefully balanced if the sorting hat does it's job! The sorting hat: To join the PvP enter your name in the sheet below on the Sorting Hat tab https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A2Rvhbn_9AXMME0uzTRPF2L-xGlLkee4dzOqbv8mGa0/edit?usp=sharing The night before the cup starts you will be assigned houses by the Sorting hat! Feats to win house points: Week 1: Km's walked or run over the week (capped at 70) Week 2: 1RM Plank in secs (capped at 120) Week 3: Burpees completed over the week (capped at 100) Week 4: Pushups (see scaling below) completed over the week (capped at 84) Bonus: Catch the golden snitch! - At any time during the challenge measure your 3RM Deadlift (heaviest weight you can deadlift for 3 reps in a row). - The snitch score will only count if a score is entered for all the other 4 weeks. Snitch alternative: Ride Buckbeak! - Edit: **Snitch alternate movement** if you can't Deadlift you can do a max time Wall-sit, this will be capped at 160 secs and result divided by 4. Can be done at any time during the challenge and multiple attempts to get your best score allowed so see how much you can improve! Rules: 1. Results must be entered into this sheet weekly by 9am Monday in your timezone to count https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A2Rvhbn_9AXMME0uzTRPF2L-xGlLkee4dzOqbv8mGa0/edit?usp=sharing 2. Honour system for recording results. 3. Fitbit, pedometer etc. is allowed for week 1. 4. Pushups can be done at whatever your current level is, i.e. Wall, Benchtop, Knees etc. all count if they are your current capability. 5. Snitch score will be divided by 3 (deadlifts) or 4 (wall-sit) to give final bonus score. 6. Anyone at any level of experience can join in, this is a team effort for fun. Prizes: 1. Add House Cup winner to your signature! 2. Glory! 3. Bragging rights!
  5. I'm continuing my studies at Hogwarts, with many of the same themes. Hopefully, this time I don't pull a 3rd year Hermione and bite off more than I can chew. New Classes: Herbology: Goal is one new cooking recipe each week. Also, evening snack must include a veggie. I'm hoping to reduce and make my snacking healthier, and add a little bit more excitement to my diet. Arithmancy: Goal: Complete the entire 3rd problem set 8 problems selected from the 3rd problem set on cryptopals.com or from projecteuler.net (difficulty rating must be 40% or higher). Complete at least 3 more chapters in my crypto book, along with the corresponding problem sets. History of Magic: This is where I'm putting my sleep goal. Sleep has been terrible lately, so I'm going to revisit some tried and true methods of improving my sleep. Drink tea and stop eating at 9:00. Reading only after 10:00. And, here's the meat of my challenge: I'm joining the Quidditch team, and I'm determined to win the Quidditch cup. Quidditch is largely going to represent my (flying) goals of parkour and now silks classes. I'm also going to gain points for any supplemental activities that support parkour or silks. Gryffindor (courage): + 10 points for every new flow or new thing attempted at parkour. +10 points for doing anything at the parkour gym that scares me. + 10 points for doing anything at a greater height than I normally would. Ravenclaw (intelligence): + 10 points for drilling down into techniques at parkour or silks class. + 20 points for any home reviews of technique. Hufflepuff (kindness (to my body)): + 20 points for any yoga or mobility work. I'm not flexible, and it's hurting my performance at the parkour gym. Slytherin (nastiness): + 20 points for strength workouts. The goal is to net 200 points in each, and see which house wins the cup!
  6. My hype meter has been at an all time low, and it's time to fix that. I also have been trapped in that cycle where I'm sitting at a computer too much, mindlessly eating and drinking like an asshole while there, and moving a whole lot less (in part from minor but recurring injuries). As a result, I've put on 10 lbs (and not the good kind ) over the last year. I've also been in a huge Harry Potter groove, since the family just returned from a trip to Harry Potter land in Orlando (which was awesome!!!), and we're currently introducing the kids to D&D with a Hogwarts setting. So, it's time to add more discipline and structure to my life by returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 1. Transfiguration: I will learn spells to transform my unhealthy meals and snacks into healthy ones. I generally need to eat more veggies, more salad, more eggs, and more homemade stews. For tracking/goal purposes, I will limit myself to one small sugary snack per day, and I will eat at least one substantial serving of veggies with each meal. 2. Potions: I will drink only 3 calorie bearing drinks per week..... which means I will need to drink a lot more water. The goal for this is to find ways to make water more appealing. I will experiment at least once every week with making infused water. I will also try at least 4 new tea flavors, to see what might be appealing. 3. Defense Against the Dark Arts: I've been getting too wrapped up with regular life to set aside time to workout each day. That needs to change. So, I'm going to defend against the dark art of laziness with some constant vigilance. Every day, I need to do at least 30 minutes of exercise. It could just be yoga or even putting on the weight vest and walking laps inside my house. 4. Charms: Cast "Wingardium Leviosa" by lifting myself up in the air. I need something new and shiny in my workout routine. Right after my parkour class, I had been doing open gym, which largely has turned into teaching and directing traffic for all of the kids doing open gym. Instead, there's an adult aerial silks class happening at the same time. So, I'm going to re-take the silks intro (since I've already forgotten everything), and then start taking silks classes. The most convenient time to do the intro will be January 20, since there's already an instructor event at the parkour gym. The goal is to do that intro, and then after that, take silks rather than doing parkour open gym. 5. Stick to the Schedule: A large part of the problem is that I've been getting too wrapped up with life things to set aside time for working out, cooking, and all of the other things I need to be healthy. This will likely be even worse over the next few months, since my husband and I are studying for the OSCP exam. My goal is to set a fairly rigid schedule, just to make sure everything gets done. And that's it. Hopefully, I can get back on track and regain my hype.
  7. Lilmissbri joins Dumbledore's Army Make a Polyjuice Potion As we all know, this potion of transformation takes about a month to make, lots of ingredients, and patience. Goal: 6 hour work day (Tu-Fri) towards my career as a VO artist. (6 points) Prepare for the Triwizard Tournament All the events aren't just foolish wand waving, you have to have smarts, flexibility, and physicality. Goal: Workout MWF and stretch M-F (5 points each) Eat Mandrake Stew Eating the stew makes you non-petrified and ready for the coming events! Goal: Eat a veggie (2/3 meal), a fruit, and drink 3 water bottles every day. (1 point each) Visit the Library You're never going to get any better unless you study up and read! At least, according to Hermione. Goal: Finish Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie. (5% = 1 point) Fashion a Lion Hat In Luna Lovegood style, create a badass costume for a popular event. Like a Quidditch match! Goal: Create, complete, and wear my Pyrrha Nikos costume for Comic-Con. (50 points upon completion) Create a Magic Note Though Draco Malfoy was pretty mean with his note passing, you can use it for good! Goal: Create my first animated video ever for my YouTube channel. (1 hour = 1 point) Talk to Your Mentor Father figure, friend, headmaster... always remember to converse with a higher power. Goal: Write in my prayer journal everyday, go to church, listen to the Debrief. (1 point each) Channel Mrs. Weasley She is a full time mother of 7 children, cleans, knits, and is an overall bad-ass. You can do some housework. Goal: Do small mini-projects around the house. (+1 bonus point each) _.-*-._.-*-._ Welcome, welcome to another 4 week challenge. Before we begin our quest, I would like to say a few words. And they are: Harry Potter gifs are welcome, encouraged, and mandatory. Thank you! ;o) _.-*-._.-*-._ House Cup: Throughout the challenge I will award points to houses for funny HP jokes, references, or interesting thoughts! I will also be stalking your challenges and awarding your awesome-ness each week! Don't know what your house is? Find out! https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/accurate-af-sorting-quiz?utm_term=.pr4dwQLzk#.hnLdOk7vR
  8. My job is awesome. We have a free books and breakfast event this morning and I got a free talking Sorting Hat.
  9. I thought this might be of interest to some running Rebels and some Rebels who are thinking about starting running: Hogwarts Running Club I'm not a big runner (getting honked at is not fun) but I do enjoy a good event, a cool medal and raising money for good causes! The sign up fees go to charity and they run it through an honour system. You pay to sign up for an event and can complete the distance whenever you like before the expiry date, even splitting it across multiple stints or covering it in someone else's event. You even get a personalised Hogwarts bib which is kinda neat. Plus if you complete all of the year's events you get a Perfect Prefect badge and go into the Hall of Fame. Like I say, I'm not much of a runner but I might start doing this and get some miles under my belt
  10. For the next few challenges, I am going to attend Hogwarts!!! Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Life Challenge Here's the basic plan: I've 'mapped' the Hogwarts school subjects to categories of life goals. For each challenge, I will choose at least three of these to work on; one has to be related to fitness, one to food/diet, and one to other life goals. As I progress in these challenges, I will then have a chance to earn OWLs and NEWTs in each subject, by completing a major milestone. (To see how I've mapped the subjects to life goals, open the spoiler) Challenge #1 For my first Hogwarts challenge, I shall be learning to fly! That, plus some Potions and some Charms. Flying This is usually me with flying. But no more! Complete an 'assignment' from Zombies Run! 5k at least twice a week (thrice, for extra credit!) = 10 XP each Potions Cook twice a week. = 5 XP each Charms Get up before 7:30 every day. = 3 XP each ----------------- TOTAL possible points Flying: 80 Potions: 40 Charms: 84
  11. welcome Scouts ! I'm all out of fancy gifs for we're going simple. The Houses of Hogarts are Gryffindor - values the virtues of courage, bravery and determination Hufflepuff - values hard work, patience, justice, and loyalty Ravenclaw - values intelligence, creativity, learning, and wit Slytherin - values ambition, cunning, leadership, and resourcefulness I'll post what each house's mini on Monday/Tuesday of that week, and you pick which house you want to participate in ... its 4 weeks of challenge so you can go through all 4 houses. You can not pick the same house you picked the previous week (ie you can repeat a house after a week at another house but not two weeks at 1 house) Hopefully that makes sense Alight Scouts let's get to it!
  12. Hi everyone! I've been here before, but now I'm here as kind of a last ditch effort. I'm here because I've had a hard time with some disordered eating habits that have hit me again more recently. I'm weak, unfit, and my mind is suffering. My goal in coming here is to feed my body and inner nerd. I'm really really hoping to meet some people here. I have a really strong support system when it comes to my disordered eating and I am hoping to break all ties and fill the void with something healthier. I'm excited to be in a place that loves the nerdy. I'm less of an RPG nerd and more of like a reading/harry potter/cat loving/doll collecting nerd. I actually hope to learn a bit more about RPGs though. That's the best I've got as far as an introduction goes. Look forward to seeing some of you around and getting strong, fit, and well!
  13. A month ago, I was planning on hitting the parkour training really hard. Instead, while working on rail walking pivots, I took a hard fall and dislocated my elbow. Thankfully, rehab is going really well, and I should be cleared for everything quite soon. Since this challenge will be a whirlwind of working on schooling related stuff with the kids, rehabbing my elbow, taking a 1.5 week vacation, and otherwise trying to stay in shape, I'm incorporating all of that into this challenge. Goal 1: Charms, Transfiguration, Potions, and other schoolwork - I've now had 2.5 weeks of working with the kids on some piano, typing, writing, reading, and math (yeah, summer vacation starts really late here). It's going well, but it's more work than I expected it to be. So, the goal is to stay on top of this, and don't be half-assed with my prep. I'm just going to stick with nebulous grading for this one, but I'm happy to have the reminder to try to do my best. Goal 2: Care of Magical Creatures - I've had very little luck getting the kids to join me on long walks.... until we downloaded Pokemon Go. The goal is to capture and train wild pokemons by doing at least 4 family pokemon hunting walks each week. Goal 3: The Hospital Ward - I'm still rehabbing the dislocated elbow. At the moment, I'm at full strength and nearly full ROM, but the last few degrees toward extension and maybe last 10 toward full flexion are still painful. The goal is to do my PT every day, even while on vacation. Also, while my elbows won't be able to take the strain of pull ups for awhile, I'll instead go for a lower-strain, higher-volume approach by doing at least 2 sessions/week of high-volume band-assisted pull ups and incline push ups, and at least 2 yoga sessions/week. Goal 4: Use the Marauder's Map for some exploration - This one is simple. I'm taking a 1.5 week vacation right at the beginning of the challenge. I'm going to try my hardest to just relax, enjoy the vacation, go off the beaten path a bit, be patient when the kids inevitably get whiny or demanding, and avoid spending too much time on my phone. Yay! More nebulous grading standards. I'm still expecting to do my usual parkour classes over the next month, return to my normal yoga class, go swimming a lot, go climbing, and other fun things! But, until I know where I am with the elbow rehab, I'll have to wait on the parkour-specific goals.
  14. Asa clambered up the stairs in response to the severe looking witch's call of "Pond, Asa!". Sitting heavily on the rickety stool facing the Great Hall, she had an idea of what was to come next thanks to the stories her siblings had told her when she was young. It didn't help her nerves much though. Being in the P's, Asa had the opportunity to watch several other students get sorted into their houses before her and she was desperately hoping she wasn't one of the ones that took too long. "Hmmm..." She jumped as the old, ratty hat murmured in her ear. "Ratty old hat am I?" It chortled. "I suppose I am getting a bit up there in years." Asa didn't quite know how to respond. "...I'm sorry?" "No, you're not and that is perfectly fine with me. Now let's see. You might as well get comfortable, this isn't going to be easy, I can already tell you that." Asa groaned internally. Of course it wouldn't be. "Definitely not a Hufflepuff, that much I can say." "Why not?!" Asa had no specific desire to be sorted into Hufflepuff but something in the way the hat made it sound like it was so obvious was unnerving to her. "Well, where I put you depends on where you'll grow the most as a witch and as a person. I can already tell that your loyalty and friendship must be earned and are not freely given, and while you do not hate hard work, it is not your first inclination." Asa responded with a mental shrug. She really couldn't argue with that. "I see intelligence in you and a desire to learn. Perhaps a Ravenclaw? No, not quite. I see your value lies more strongly in areas beyond your pure education. Ahhhh, yes. Ambitious. Very ambitious and willing to bend a few rules, maybe, to get where you want to be?" "Only in the most necessary of circumstances!" Asa thought. "Only when it's really needed." "Mmmm." She wasn't quite sure the hat believed her, but she was pretty sure she believed herself. "What is it you want in life, Ms. Pond? Where do your dreams lead you?" Immediately, towering mountains and clear cold lakes filled her mind. Next came a flash of flying though the air, then dancing in the square of a city among its native citizens. Climbing, jumping, racing, exploring. But there was also the office with the view from the top and the important title outside her door. Her future employees came to her asking for advice and handing in assignments that she had ordered. The two dreams warred in her mind. "I see." Whispered the hat. "Even you are not sure where you belong. A life full of adventure or a life with power. So where to put you? Where indeed." She thought hard, trying to picture what she wanted the most, what scared her the most. "Ah!" Gasped the hat. "So that is what is holding you back. You are afraid, yes? Afraid of where you might be lead if you follow your heart? Then that is what you must discover, Ms. Pond. You must face what scares you. And in order to do that, you must go in GRYFFINDOR!" Of course the last word was yelled out to the room and the expectant sea of faces on her left roared with applause. She hopped off the stool and handed the hat back to Headmistress McGonagall with a quick smile. She didn't feel as confident in the choice as the hat seemed to be, but she would do her best to live up to the sorting.
  15. I've been on a little bit of a Harry Potter kick lately. And by a little, I mean a LOT. Seriously. I have more pride for my house than I do for my actual real-life school. As some of you may know, I am a (very very very) proud Hufflepuff! I've done a Hufflepuff-themed challenge in the past, but I wanted to revisit it. I feel like maybe I didn't do it enough justice last time. Hufflepuffs generally have a special knack for Herbology. I, unfortunately, do not. So this challenge, I'm going to spend some extra time in the Herbology greenhouses. AKA: I'm gonna try and re-learn how to eat well and stay in my macros. - Continue tracking food using MyFitnessPal - DON'T SPEND ANY EXTRA MONEY ON FOOD - It's okay to be hungry sometimes. You can wait until dinner, you silly badger. You don't have to go buy all the things the moment you get a rumbly in your tumbly. Aside from that, I'm gonna hopefully be keeping up on my other activities that have become (mostly) habit by now, namely going to the gym and/or exercising two or three times a week. Week 1 of the challenge falls right on Final Exam week. Week 2 should be fairly normal. Week 3, I'll be on vacation visiting some family. Week 4 is the first week of my PHYSICS RESEARCH INTERNSHIP. This challenge is gonna be hella crazy. Bring it on. (Photo from user Aztec on this website)
  16. This is my first 4 week Challenge and I'm excited to see how it goes. I have recently started referring to nearly everything I do in terms of Harry Potter. One because I'm listening to the books on my drive to work (1+ hour each way) and two I find that saying Scourgify! to clean the sink doesn't work, but it makes it more fun to get it empty and clean (I have no dishwasher)! That being said I have been tracking a lot of little tasks in my life that I would like to improve. I would like to focus on 4 for the purpose of this challenge. 1. Triwizard Training - running 10 miles a week. Any distance at one time counts toward weekly mileage. Running within another gym class that is not measured, unfortunately doesn't count! 4/4-4/10 -- 7 miles 4/11-4/17 -- 8 miles 4/18-4/24 -- 9 miles 4/25-5/1 -- 10 miles 2. Household Charms - perform the Scourgify charm at least five times a week, promote S.P.E.W. by doing a load of laundry six days a week and perform house hold charms list once a week. Goal: 12+ points a week. (extra points can only be earned if all 3 minimums are met) 3. Walk to Mordor - continue walking to Rivendell. Average 2.5 miles/day in April. 4/4-4/10 -- 2.4 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/11-4/17 -- 2.5 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/18-4/24 -- 2.6 miles, min. 5 days a week 4/25-5/1 -- 2.7 miles, min. 5 days a week 4. Caffeine Intake (Butter Beer) - reduce caffeine intake from ~558mg/day to ~511mg/day or less 4/4-4/10 -- 546mg or less average per day 4/11-4/17 -- 534mg or less average per day 4/18-4/24 -- 522mg or less average per day 4/25-5/1 -- 510mg or less average per day I have a LOOT reward system worked into the spreadsheet I track everything on, but I will earn the following loot related to these goals: - real running sunglasses once I increase to 10 miles a day - barefoot walking shoes that I can wear at work once I reach Rivendell (3/29 I'm at 83.2 miles) - ~300mg/day of caffeine I get more sustainable (read better for the world but way more expensive) coffee - I have no good reward yet for my Charms goals, I'm thinking cute kitchen gear, but my kitchen is tiny and I don't really need more stuff in there - ideas? Since this is my first challenge we will see how often I can give updates - goal: once a week minimum (hopefully more often!) Thanks for reading!!
  17. Character Name: Half-Blood Princess Race (if not human): Muggle-born Werewolf Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw Wand description: Mahogany with Mermaid-Scale core Patronus: Grey She-Wolf Mini-Challenge Lessons: Herbology: Make at least one slow-cooker meal. Bonus points if I make three. (#3) History of Magic: Study Spanish and make a list of words/phrases that may be useful in Mexico. Transfiguration: Focus on increasing flexibility and work towards touching my toes (#2) Defense Against The Dark Arts: Complete at least 2 Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels (to further research wereanimals of various types) (#1) The problem with owl post is that it's quite noticeable. When my Hogwarts letter arrived, so did a Werewolf. It wasn't her fault that she bit me. It was a full moon the night the owl arrived with my letter, and the werewolf had been chasing it through the forest that borders my family's land. I went out into the back yard to investigate the racket they were both making, and the werewolf was startled and nipped me. She returned the next day to apologize and teach me a potion that would keep me docile during the full moons. Apparently she'd learned the potion from someone named Remus. I was excited about starting school at Hogwarts and learning everything I could about this whole world I had never known about before. When I arrived the first night, all the new students were sorted into Houses. The Sorting Hat told me that I was both clever and brave, and would fit in with either the Ravenclaws or the Gryffindors. I think the hat decided on Ravenclaw because the thought of being surrounded by a bunch of brave people made me nervous. The Boarding School was a new experience for me, and so I made some goals for myself for the first month to stay healthy and organized: Goal 1 Stop reading by 10:00pm and go to bed. Wake up at 6:15am (instead of 6:23am) Walk to work every day - wear running shoes, carry work shoes Goal 2 Use the Gym every Tuesday and Thursday Hike every weekend Do yoga/stretches/foundation movement at home on "off" days Goal 3 Pre-cut veggies for morning/lunch Try steaming kale - anyone have kale recipes??? Make and freeze stew and chili at the beginning of each month
  18. Hi ya'll, So, I'm new to NF! I am not sure which Guild I'll want to join yet (Assassins, maybe?), but I'm super excited. I've been stalking the forum for a couple of weeks, but I finally signed up today. About Me I am currently a BMI of 45, weight of 360. This is completely unacceptable. I'm very tall for a woman, and I've been told I "carry my weight well", but that's just not okay anymore. Goals: By 12/1, I want to be a BMI of 40, weight of 320. Of course, the world doesn't always work that way. So instead of focusing on that, I will have 3 behavior goals to help me achieve that! 1: Exercise for 3 hours a week. 2: Eat vegetarian 5 days a week. 3: No fast food (Coffee is okay). Here we go!
  19. So I was happily going about my business. Getting evil plans laid out and planning the founding of my little business empire when my Mum appears from nowhere with a pop and exclaims... "James! You've got a letter! You're going to a boarding school for magic! You'd better get ready!" "What?! But I'm a 28 year old man!" "No you're not!" ***POOF*** "WHAT THE $%^&?!" "Language young man! Now get ready, the train leaves in an hour!" So yeah.... by the next day my 11 year old butt had been sorted into Slytherin. The next few months went by quickly and I'd started to pick up all this magic business. But it was still pretty weak. Most of us firsties couldn't lift much more than a feather! But then Halloween came. Some clown had let a troll into the castle and I was sneaking out of the prefect's care to enact one of my plots, when I see these three Griffendorks corned by the troll in a bathroom, and I swear to merlin, one pulls out his wand and lifts the troll's club. HIS WHOLE CLUB! I was like… What the?! A few hours ago this guy couldn’t lift a feather and now he’s lifting a club that must weigh more than him! Time to get some serious training on. Three weeks of winggardium leviosa training followed by three weeks of quidditch practice. ——————————————————————————————————————— So, I’ve finished my exams and am getting ready to leave Shanghai, my residence of five years. This does mean leaving behind all my weightlifting gear which is a bummer and I’m not sure what I’m going to have available in Cyprus or the UK or how quickly I’ll be able to get it. This means adaptation, experimentation, and bodyweight exercises. So, this challenge will be a two part challenge, the first half will be: Goal one - Train every other day for three weeks = 11 training sessions Goal two - Eat three solid meals and one healthy snack every day = 21 days Goal three - Stretch on rest days = 11 stretch sessions Main goal will be, as always, put on 1.5kg of muscle from the start weigh in of the challenge. The second half of the challenge will be figured out once I arrive in Cyprus and am better able to judge what’s available.
  20. I wish I'd gotten a letter like this the year I turned eleven. I did get something special that year - my glasses - but I can only fantasize about studying at Hogwarts. I can, however, also use the wizarding world as a great source of inspiration! Whether you've followed my previous challenges or not, jump aboard the Hogwarts express and know you're very welcome! This time I won't follow the "standard" challenge format. I believe it can work very well for many out there, but during the last challenges I've noticed that the feeling of failing comes across much stronger than any wins I might achieve during a challenge. I've never completed a challenge 100%, and since I have som level of inherent perfectionism it bothers me much more than it should. I still enjoy creating a challenge, but working for stat points doesn't seem to be enough for me. Too often my life gets in the way of my goals, and instead of just letting it go I feel bad for not achieving them. That's why I'll try to have looser goals this time around and won't decide on any stat point rewards or weekly quotas. I will probably still assign myself some stat points at the end of the challenge, but I will decide how they will be distributed when I know what I've done during the challenge. My goals and quests might fluctuate during the challenge, all depending on what life brings in my way during the following six weeks! For this challenge I split my quests into the Hogwarts subjects I deemed I'd most likely study at N.E.W.T. level. Herbology The study of magical and mundane plants and fungi. My eating habits are proving to be one of the hardest things to change. I didn't even know I had a subconscious picture of what a meal should look like before I a couple of weeks ago started wondering why I at the student restaurant put rice on my plate just to throw most of it away after I'd eaten. For my herbology lessons I want to find out if I have more of these subconscious eating habits that could be changed into healthier ones. I also want to incorporate more greens in my cooking at home and encourage myself to always get some salad with the lunch I eat on campus. Eating less carbs is also a plus. TL;DR: Eat more greens. Transfiguration The art of changing the form and appearance of an object. At N.E.W.T. level transfiguration, students are finally ready to start learning how to change one's own appearance. I'm very excited to see changes happening to my body, but I need more tools for it. I've already figured out that I like TRX and free weight exercises, but it's a sad fact that I haven't found a working setup for me yet. I've done a little of this, a little of that, but never really had a plan to stick to. Going to the gym without a plan isn't desirable as it ends up taking much longer than a prepared workout would. Ideally I'd hire a personal trainer, but in reality I don't have the money for that and don't have the time and energy right now to research a program that would work best for me. Until my time is freed up again, I can utilize the group gymnastics that my gym offers. There's a really wide variety of classes, and my goal is to test several different to further find out what kind of workouts I like. I've already tried out a kettlebell class and enjoyed it far more than I'd expected. TL;DR: Try out different group gymnastics at the gym Charms Enchanting an object to behave in a way that isn't normal for that object. It only takes a quick search on Google or Youtube to find mind-boggling videos of people performing moves you'd never imagine to be possible. I believe I'm nowhere near discovering what my body really is able of, and I think it's good practise to stretch one's limits both physically and mentally. I've seen several split stretching routines, and for this challenge I want to incorporate parts of them into my post-workout stretching. I've left stretching out way too many times, and really should make it a core part of my training again. If I feel like I won't have time to stretch, I will cut the workout short instead so that the stretching will get done. TL;DR: Stretch and work on the splits. Potions The art of correctly brewing potions. Among the modern potions we can find moisturizers and cleansing waters. I want to keep up my habit of washing my face every night before going to sleep and moisturizing it every morning before applying makeup. Elaborating on my goals in the Very Girly PVP last challenge I'll also try to keep up my nail care, i.e. making sure I'm not biting my nails or ripping up the skin around them, and taking care to reapply nail polish if it starts flaking. Taking care of other parts of the skin than the face is also appreciated, especially now that the dry winter air is coming. TL;DR: Skin & nail care Arithmancy Studying the magical properties of numbers. Ah, numbers and math! What and where would my studies be without you? Arithmancy is not an easy subject, and neither are the classes I'm taking right now. The weekly exercises swallow a lot of my free time, and I'm sure I could do better. Therefore, for my arithmancy class, I want to try to get all my weekly exercises done before the weekend so I can enjoy some free time at least a couple of days a week. I have several friends taking the same classes I take, so I'll make an effort to get a kind of study circle started. I also need to prioritize my studies right now, as I'm nearing the end of my career as a student of acoustics. TL;DR: More studying, less other stuff. Ancient Runes Studying and learning to write in ancient runes. Anyone who knows me knows I love the Lord of the Rings. It's my defining fantasy world and has continued to have a special place in my heart ever since I first read the books. As anyone who has read the books or seen the movies know, there exist elvish languages and scripts, of which the most commonly known are the languages quenya and sindarin, and the scripts tengwar and cirth. I've wanted to learn the tengwar script for a very long time, and I'm finally going to do something about it. Learning an alphabet is, after all, easier than learning a language, and I believe that even with my limited free time I could manage to learn some of the letters by heart by the time it's Christmas. TL;DR: Learn to write using tengwar. Defence against the Dark Arts Learning how to defend yourself against dark creatures, dark arts and other dark charms. The darkest enemy in my quest of leveling up myself is definitely sugar. Baked goods, candy, chocolate, everything good conspires against me! But no more will I take it and do nothing! I'm reinstating the ban on buying unhealthy stuff, and adding a ban on making unhealthy stuff myself. If I want to make a dessert, I shall have to figure out how to make one that is sugar free and preferrably doesn't use much white flour. My only exception to this ban are gingerbread cookies, because 1) I will refuse to eat any I haven't made myself anyway (or ones that my mum has made!) and 2) what is the meaning of Advent without gingerbread?! (I'm really channeling my dad here, well there you go!). And I mean proper, scandinavian gingerbread, none of that other stuff I've heard being called gingerbread too. TL;DR: No sweets, no baked goods, unless homemade and sugar free or gingerbread. A short and compact version: Herbology: Eat more greens and use them more in my own cooking. Transfiguration: Try out more group gymnastics at my gym, at least three new classes before the end of the challenge. Charms: Stretch and practise splits after every workout. Cut workout short if stretching wouldn't be done otherwise. Potions: Skin care morning & night, nail care at least once a week. Arithmancy: Do all schoolwork before the weekend. Prioritize! Ancient Runes: Learn at least ten tengwar letters by heart before Christmas. Defence against the Dark Arts: Sweets & baked goods ban. Gingerbread are ok. This might look like a lot, but I think it's totally doable. Everything is things I want to do, and that makes it much easier to get going! I'm looking forward to Advent and Christmas already!
  21. What better analogy for going to grad school after being out of college for several years than a school that is simultaneously wonderful, confounding, and possibly deadly? I’ve recently accepted a new main quest: Make it through my master’s degree without taking on debt. I started off thinking about all of the things I don’t want to do to get to that end point: I don’t want to lose all my progress in health and fitness. I don’t want to become a shut in. I don’t want to feel deprived and angry. But I decided that a better way to look at it is what I do want out of this time. Once I had my “do†list, I realized that there are three loose categories present, and I’ve picked a goal from each. Fitness Goal: Track calories eaten, everyday. (+4 CON) Last challenge I completed most of a Whole30 before finances got in the way, and I loved how it made me feel. Right now I’m eating what I’ve already purchased in my pantry/fridge/freezer, so I’m more a “freegan†than anything else. But it’s still important that I fall into the right range for calories consumed, so I need to track this every. single. day. Better to go over calories and be able to see it in the data than not track it and have no idea how much over I went. It should be noted that I will also be exercising during this challenge and posting about the workouts, but since I’m already averaging 4-5 workouts a week I don’t see a need to make a goal for it. Best case scenario, I’d keep doing what I’m doing; worst case scenario, I’d exercise just enough to make my numbers and then slack off. Grading: Days completed A = 40, B = 35, C = 28, D = 14, F = 7 Learning Goal: Spend 15 minutes a day learning. (+4 DEX - I’m calling this dexterity of the mind ) This one is intentionally vague. It might be listening to a TED talk, working on my French skills, doing some math at Khan Academy, whatever. I want to get my brain back into “learning†mode. Grading: Days completed 15 minutes (can not makeup days, to avoid fudging the numbers and making up all my hours in one fell swoop) A = 40, B = 35, C = 28, D = 14, F = 7 Confidence Goal: Complete full oral and facial hygiene routine everyday. (+2 CHA) http://i116.piczo.com/view/4/c/c/t/t/h/m/m/c/f/8/9/img/i252360260_70073_7.jpg I’m in my mid twenties and still have acne, and years of chugging energy drinks have left a bit of yellow in my teeth. I can earn ten points a day (one point for each part of the routine), with a bonus point available for not picking at my skin. I tested this one out during our week off, and it was really hard for me to keep up with. So instead of grading this, I'm going to take baseline data this challenge to see where I'm at. So if I'm only able to average, say, four points a day, I can grade myself on a curve based on that to slowly work up to doing all of the routine. Ungraded I loved my “mini-challenge†format last challenge, so I’m leaving a few points open for me to earn from those. A few ideas off the top of my head: master a new hairstyle (master = do not need to view instructions before being able to complete hairstyle within 15 minutes) (CHA) write down something positive about myself every day (WIS) try not to say “sorry†unless I actually mean it (e.g. instead of my boss saying, “Could you hand me that?†and me saying “Ooh, sorry!†just saying “Sureâ€) (CHA) finish lesson 10 of Coffee Break French while answering the questions before the “student†(format is teacher asks question, pause for me to respond, then student responds) (WIS) fill up a Pinterest board with at least 20 outfits I like (CHA) use ^ to put together a thrifted outfit suitable for work for under $15 (DEX - flexible thinking!) work up to a 60 second plank (first step to doing a handstand) Complete Zombies, Run! 5k training app (STA/DEX) Run three miles at 10 minutes per mile (STA/DEX)
  22. Looks like we have some second years and hopefully a few freshly sorted people here as well. As the portrait of the Fat Lady swings forward (this challenges password is "pudding") we welcome you all to House Gryffindor. In honor of tradition I'll do a little summary of our members once people have introduced themselves.
  23. So I've been around NF for a while but never joined the forums and never got on board with the challenges. I lift very regularly but I need to railroad tie this stuff into submission and get my snacking under control. I'm not sure what I'm really supposed to put on here.... I'm 28, 205lbs, 5'8". Bodyfat around 28 (ish ??? I don't really know). 1RM lifts: Squat 415 Deads: 455 Bench: 255 Snatch: 165 Clean: 235 OHP: 225 Goals: 1. Hit the garage 4x per week. I love to lift but at the end of a long day I'm more than often very willing to not go into my garage. I work out at home so it can be very tempting to quit early or make excuses. 2. Squat or Deadlift at least 2x per week. Fairly self explanatory. Deadlift is my absolute favorite lift but such big movements seem daunting at the end of a 10hr work day. I need to be resolute (CONSTANT VIGILANCE!) 3. Snatch and over head squat at least 1x per week. Snatch is my least favorite lift (hence the smallest numbers). I'm begging to love the hang snatch but nevertheless I don't do this as often as I should. 4. Eliminate processed sugars entirely for 1 month. I work in a church ministry office that is constantly stocked with cookies, snacks and junk food. Sometimes I do an okay job at resisting that stuff but more often than not I just go with it. I need to work back into the habit of saying no to easy snacks and junk non-foods. Uh.... I guess that is it. I've been lifting for about 2-3 years now. I'm not an expert but I have learned quite a bit so if anyone has a question that I might be able to help with let me know.... and if anyone has some more information to learn certainly let me know!
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