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What I’m Loving Lately

It’s the spring 2018 edition! But first, just a quick recap of what I’ve been up to during my absence from the blog. From my lack of posting, you may think I haven’t been up to much writing, but I have been slogging through posts (about our house, toddler life, and motivational tips) in stolen minutes here and there. Mostly, I have just been enjoying the spring without the same sense of franticness I had in the winter. It¬†does mean that I haven’t been that motivated to get anything finished and posted. I’m going to work on that. ūüėČ

The following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a very small percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.

Spring Obsessions

The Outdoors

Just the general concept of it… Ha! We try to go to the park or spend some time in nature a¬†couple times a week. I appreciate the green spaces around¬†Modesto so much now that I have a small child. We explored the biggest park in town a few weekends ago and Rory had so much fun running down all the little hills. I don’t remember loving hikes or nature walks when I was a kid, but I find myself loving them more now.

East La Loma Park after a spring rain storm
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Treat Yo’ Self Ideas

I’ve been making great strides with my 2018 habit changes, but I have been struggling to find ways to treat myself. My favorite thing ever is a good ol’ Treat Yo Self day, but generally speaking, mimosas and fine leather goods are not sustainable or attainable healthy treats.¬†On the Happier podcast, Gretchen Rubin often talks about how¬†using food, drink, and shopping¬†as treats undermines the positive habits¬†changes we are trying to make. For example, one of my big goals this year is to stick to a budget and get back to saving monthly.¬†My partner and I even started using the You Need a Budget app¬†to better track our spending. It’s been going great so far, but the last thing I want to do is treat myself with shopping when what I want most is to save.

I think occasional planned indulgences that are food or shopping based are fine, I just want to get away from the notion that they are treats. We are all so busy with our daily lives¬† that we may feel depleted and drained. That’s why treats are effective at staving off burn-out. I’ve pulled together a list of experiences that are very simple, low cost or free, pleasurable treats.

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Fall Check-In

We are half way through November!¬†I wanted to check in with how I’m doing on the fall I designed. Have you tried this out yet? I’ve written about it multiple times (here and here), but it’s a subject that I still really love. It’s a tip I learned from the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin. I get such satisfaction from making a plan and sticking to it.

1. Enjoy the season by going to an apple farm or pumpkin patch with my family.

We took Rory to a small apple farm in one of the next towns over. It was quiet and had a little playground, and was a quick and easy outing. We could have stopped there, but we upped our game and went to Apple Hill in Placerville, CA this weekend!

I picked up some frozen apple turnovers to enjoy later from Apple Pantry Farm and Rory had fun checking out this vintage car. 

It is something I grew up doing and I LOVE IT. It allows me to go wild and buy tons of apples and apple products.

Apple dumplings, apple fritters, and apple donuts from Boa Vista. We always stop here and load up on our trips to Apple Hill.
We had the best time, and the weather was perfect–it was sunny and crisp.

If you want to look at actually stunning Apple Hill photos (and not my quick, unskilled and unedited ones), check out this post about Apple Pantry Farm from Farm Tots and peruse the apple hill tag for other great posts.

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Podcasts for Everyone

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I feel like I have mentioned that a time or two on this blog and¬†in conversation with friends. I may sound like a broken record, but I thought I’d take the chance to share with you my favorite podcasts that I listen to weekly. I think it’s a timely post since this month NPR is¬†promoting¬†#trypod, a social media campaign to introduce people to podcasts.

How To Get Started Listening to Podcasts & My Current Favorites

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Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

I am not Oprah, but here are a few of my favorite things. I have purchased many of these things for myself, received them as gifts, or plan to gift them this year. Everything on here is under $40, and I think I did a pretty good job of curating a guide to fit just about anyone on your list!

holiday gift guide for just about everyone on your list

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Five Tools to Inspire Healthy Habits

How many times have I read that routine is good for me? How many articles have¬†I read and then ignored about getting up extra early¬†for deep breath sets, calendaring and to-do lists, and unloading the dishwasher first thing in the morning¬†so my kitchen doesn‚Äôt look like a hot mess 24/7? Well,¬†I don’t know about you, but I’m not always so great at starting and keeping up with new routines.

Even small¬†changes to my life¬†seem¬†daunting, but big ones–like leaving the stability of one job for another (or like me, to be home with a small child), moving and¬†commuting further, expanding your family, or¬†adopting¬†a healthier lifestyle–can feel¬†overwhelming. So let‚Äôs acknowledge the new routines we’ve created in the face of a challenge, and celebrate the bad habits we‚Äôve stopped and the good ones we‚Äôve formed.

tools for healthy habits

Five favorite tools that keep me inspired and motivated to maintain healthy habits:

Some of the following include Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a percentage of that sale at no cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For a full disclosure statement see my About page.

Streaks 

Good for: Self-Care

streaks
This premium app is $3.99, and worth every penny.

This app helps me add structure to my day. I like the simplicity of my goals:¬†make the bed, prepare¬†lunches, walk 5k steps, log meals, take a picture. Every day that I complete my tasks feels like a pat on the back. On the days I don’t want to make lunches, I think about this little circle I won’t get to tap and the money I’m going to waste, and it’s just enough incentive to make the trek to the kitchen. It‚Äôs easily adaptable for whatever ‚Äústreak‚ÄĚ you want to keep going, whether it‚Äôs eating a healthy meal, reading a book, or getting to sleep at a decent time.¬†

This particular app is for the iPhone, but there’s a similarly named app for Android.

My Fitness Pal

Good for: Diet & Exercise

myfitnesspal
Coffee and wine, a must.

I‚Äôm not used to having my entire kitchen at my disposal all day long. By using this app I make deliberate decisions about what I eat, rather than snacking indiscriminately all day long.¬†You can choose your level of interaction with the app and its¬†community, and you can set up your profile for maintaining, losing, or gaining weight. It’s simply for calorie counting (in and out), and I appreciate that approach over other diets or plans. There’s a¬†web interface, which is how I initially signed up years ago, but I find the app much easier to use on a daily basis.¬†I use my FitBit One to track my steps in conjunction with logging my exercise on My Fitness Pal, but you can certainly use any activity tracker or an inexpensive pedometer.

The app and web interface are available for free and with premium monthly and yearly upgrades.

Reminders

Good for: Household & Finance

reminders
I like ticking the little circles when I finish a task.

This built-in iOS app syncs across devices and can be shared with other users. I only recently started meal planning, and I think my success directly relates to communicating easily with my partner about what items we need from the grocery store! We also keep track of coupons and deals on a shared list to maximize our savings. I almost always have my iPhone or iPad nearby so I can remind myself to buy a birthday card, run an errand, and update my shopping list.

Evernote

Good for: Household & Finance, Blogging, Work

evernote
There are a lot of features I have yet to explore.

I recently got Evernote with the intention of using it to keep track of weekly spending. Eating out¬†and coffee runs¬†add up, but sharing a note with my partner will hopefully keep us both in check so we don’t go over budget.

This app is one I see so many bloggers talking about because of its versatility. You can incorporate your Feedly with Evernote to read and save posts, organize and brainstorm ideas, and even start notes right there in the app so they’re ready for when you sit down to write.

There are three tiers of service starting from free to 50 bucks a year, and it’s available¬†for desktop and mobile devices.

A good old fashioned journal

Good for: Self-Care, Diet & Exercise, Household & Finance, Blogging, etc.

riflejournals
Set of 3 journals for ~$9 at Amazon.

I love writing. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane. When I can’t get something done, there’s usually a reason why, and it’s almost always mental. So I write it out. It’s also really inspiring to look back in your journal and see how far you’ve come. 

I have an entire journal dedicated to KonMari. It’s kept me going on my epic purge!¬†I have a journal where I write about finances. When I get stressed about spending, it‚Äôs not really about the money, it’s about whatever I was feeling when I was shopping. Why did I spend $17 on cookies and crackers at Trader Joe‚Äôs when I only went in for cream and eggs? Why did I buy a lipstick for $24 when I rarely wear the ones I have?

I like to¬†refer to notes in my journal when I‚Äôm working on a blog post. It‚Äôs inevitable when you‚Äôre journaling that something will pop up that you want¬†to share. I have the above¬†Rifle Paper journals and these Moleskine journals. I love that they are thin so I can have multiple in use for specific projects and topics, and they’re lightweight enough that I can toss a few in my bag when I leave the house.

What inspires and motives you¬†to¬†start and maintain a new routine? I’d love to hear about it!

 

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