While brainstorming what to write for this week’s post, I realized it might be fun to share every month or so, a list of my top 10, favorite items. My MVPs, if you will. After all, we are entering the season of gift giving – perhaps a few of my faves would give you all some stocking-stuffer ideas for loved ones, or maybe even an idea of something to gift to yourself!
Therefore, without further adieu, and in no particular order…
#1 – Maple Sea Salt RXbars
I have two rules to live by when it comes to processed foods:
1. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
2. If you can’t pronounce those ingredients, there’s a good chance it’s not actually food.
It’s why I’ve tossed so many of my previous protein bar/drink staples – have you read any of those nutritional labels? It’s some scary stuff.
But RXbars pride themselves on using whole ingredients – it’s why they’re listed on the front of the packaging. For this particular flavor the ingredients include: Egg Whites, Pecans, Cashews, Dates, Maple, and Sea Salt. It’s simple, it’s easy, and guys…it’s like a damn pecan pie in your mouth – but with more protein and less sugar. Get on it here.
#2 – Athleta Quilted R&R Sweatshirt
I will admit – I am a bit an Athleta addict. If I continue to do these lists, you will no doubt see more items recommended from them. What can I say – I love the quality, the body positive image the brand has adopted, and the versatility of their products. Hell, can I go ahead and mention that I previously worked for them and can still happily support their products? (Wish I could say that for the other retail stores I worked in…)
Anyway, this sweatshirt has been perfect this Fall season. The front carries a little more weight, while the back, primarily made of Rayon, breathes a little easier. I love the blend because as someone who tends to run hot, it ensures I don’t overheat. As you can see, I went for the sweatshirt in black, but I think a few of the sweater’s details are more easily seen in the lighter version, so I offered that as well. Find the Quilted R&R Sweatshirt, here.
#3 – Daring Greatly
I hate to admit how long it took me to finally read this book. It has been recommended to me countless times over the years by co-workers, friends, and loved ones. In fact, I didn’t even buy the book – it was sent to me by my mother with a post-it note attached stating, “read me, now,” and STILL, I didn’t read it.
When I did finally decide to read it, it was because the same dear friend who recommended I read the Harry Potter series in college told me to do so. I figured, if she was so right about Harry Potter, she must be right about this. Clearly, her track record stands.
I won’t go on much more about Daring Greatly as the book should really speak for itself, but let me just say, don’t wait as long as I did – get yourself a copy and enjoy this treat for your soul.
“Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. I often say that Wholeheartedness is like the North Star: We never really arrive, but we certainly know if we’re headed in the right direction.”
#4 – Autumn Soup
Not too long ago I shared with you one of my favorite recipes handed down to me from my mom. It’s her Autumn Soup recipe, and fall isn’t complete until I’ve had several bowls full. It’s such a simple recipe – it’s a one-pot stop, and so healthy too! I love finding recipes that house all your protein, carbs, and veggies in one bowl, and this one easily accomplishes that. Jump over here to find the recipe. If you try it, be sure to let me know what you think!
#5 – Good Girls Revolt
I admit, I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw the ad campaign for this Amazon original series. However, after watching the trailer, I knew I had to at least give it a shot. I watched the entire first season in just about a week, and can’t wait for season 2. It’s so exciting to see good television written with strong female leads. The costumes are fantastic, the soundtrack is amazing, and the subject matter is all too timely. Get your friend’s Amazon Prime password and check it out ASAP.
#6 – Motives Maven
You might not know it to look at me, but despite the heavy deadlifts and affinity to kettlebells, I have a few “girlie-girl” tendencies. One of those tendencies? I actually love playing around with makeup. However, it’s a tricky balance when working at a gym. When so much of my work day is spent sweating over various weights, when is it appropriate for me to rock a bold lip color? Well, I’ve decided the answer to that question is, “whenever I damn please.”
While doing some reorganizing of my apartment, I came across my makeup bag – honestly, it hadn’t been utilized in months. I sat and dug through the contents – eye shadows, blush, lipsticks…all these quality items that I had researched, invested in, and ultimately lost touch with. I realized – screw practicality, putting on make up brings me joy! Now, I’ve started playing around with my make up routine. I’ve even checked out a few youtube tutorials to help dust off the cobwebs. It was there that I saw a recommendation for Motive’s Mavens Mattes lipstick. With the majority of reviews being positive and claiming that the wear lasts nearly all day (okay maybe with 1 or 2 touch ups), I decided to treat myself to a couple new shades. I went with “Daddy’s Girl” for an everyday, neutral shade, and “Mocktail” to take a chance and try something new. I’ve never attempted to rock purple lipstick before – what do ya’ll think? Check out the other fabulous shades here! Let me know which ones you picked!
#7 – Coconut Bliss Ice Cream Bar
Listen, every now and then a girl has a sweet tooth craving that just won’t quit. When those moments hit – I like to be prepared with something that will cure my craving without breaking the bank. Ta-da! Coconut Bliss ice cream bars! Available in a variety of flavors, all are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free. The company also has pints available, but the single serving bars work better for me. An entire pint is just too tempting when indulging a sweet tooth. While in my heart I wish they weren’t sweetened with Agave Syrup, I know it’s not the worst thing for this once in a while treat. You can find this brand in most health food stores, but you can always double check via their website here before venturing out.
#8 – Trader Joe’s Peppermint Tea
You guys…I’m sorry, but I have to again give credit to my mother. I admit I would have never tried this tea on my own – something about green tea plus peppermint makes my brain say, “WHAT?!” yet makes my tastebuds and soul say, “more please.”
This tea is so refreshing, yet comforting. Warming, yet cooling…it’s just the best. I admit, I even stocked up on a few extra boxes to see me through until next fall.
I suppose it’s true what they say, mother really does know best.
#9 – Lavender Oil
Lately I’ve been working on shaking up my bedtime ritual. Recent emotional stresses, bad bedtime habits, and a wonky schedule have left me struggling to fall asleep at night. I’m left lying there in a pool of swirling, senseless thoughts. It’s like the power button in my brain forgets to turn off at night. So I’m taking an active role in turning things around. I’ve been working on developing my signature “bedtime cocktail” as I like to call it (although, really there is no alcohol involved). My new rule is to power down all screens a minimum of 20 minutes before bed. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and add a little lavender oil to my wrists. Lavender is one of those scents that just immediately puts me at ease. I like to joke that it is to me, what catnip is for cats. I personally use Now Foods lavender oil found here – but really any quality brand of essential oils will do. I would recommend diluting the pure scented oil with another oil of your choosing. I personally use coconut oil, but there is always Argan, Jojoba, or Grapeseed Oil if you’d prefer.
So far, I think my bedtime cocktail has been helping…but it’s all about staying consistent. I’ll try to keep you all posted.
#10 – Pacifica Perfume
Back to those hidden girlie tendencies I was telling you about. Along with makeup, I love picking out perfumes. I was heartbroken when during the wake of my Hashimoto’s diagnosis, I found that my favorite perfumes were causing me to break out in hives and a rash. It turns out, a lot of those commercial perfumes have additives that can be highly inflammatory or even toxic. For some it might be easy to go without wearing perfume, but personally I love having a “signature scent.” That’s why I was thrilled to stumble upon the Pacifica brand one day while browsing around Whole Foods. Using my Think Dirty app – I was able to scan the brand and find how they ranked on the “Dirty Meter.” The Dirty Meter is what the app uses to rank products on a scale of 1-10 based on how many allergens or toxins are present. The more allergens, the higher the ranking, which means seeing that this scent of Pacifica perfumes pulled a 3, I felt very confident in my purchase. 3 years later, it’s still my signature scent, and not a hive in sight! Couldn’t recommend the brand more! Like I said, the products are available at Whole Foods, but their main website is here!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first edition of My Favorite Things! If you’d like to see more recommendations from a particular area – be it snacks, treats, clothing, etc. just let me know! Also, if you have any questions on the products listed here – reach out! I’m happy to discuss them further 🙂
Until next week,
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!