Part two of the monthly favorites, and these cover home, food, health/fitness, and entertainment. I’m really late in posting the March ones (sorry), in the future these will be much earlier in the month. In fact, April favorites will be up later this week.
I want to hear about your favorites too. So if you have a favorites post on your blog, or any items you recommend, leave them in the comment section!
I find it kind of funny that technology has advanced so much that I can wear my wireless Bluetooth headset to listen to music…but I’d rather wear the ‘retro’ big-ass headphones. I picked up these Panasonic headphones a few months back because I liked the vintage vibe, and the price was right (about $30!). I wear them all the time to listen to podcasts or music while I’m working, and the quality is great. They don’t fold up, so they can be bulky to travel with, but I still love them.
I’m a little bit obsessed with notebooks, pens, pencils…always have been. So even though I use my phone/computer for my work calendar, I like using a paper calendar for my personal life/business. The problem is, I can never find a paper agenda that has what I need. I need multiple monthly calendars and I like an open weekly format where I can write in appointments, to do lists, shopping and project ideas, etc. So this year I decided to design my own agenda and bought an XLarge Moleskine Squared notebook. I’ve used tabs from Staples and sectioned off the months. I created weekly pages, a 2014 calendar, and left blank pages at the end for notes. There is a ton of inspiration online from those that have done this same thing. Try searching Google images for DIY Moleskine Planners. I linked to the red notebook because the black was no longer available on Amazon, but I bought mine at a local Barnes & Nobel store (couldn’t find it online).
I believe I shared a while back that I cancelled my cable in order to pocket the $130 a month. WHAT!! It was crazy expensive and I watch most TV shows on my computer through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, so having cable was a waste. However, I really wanted to be able to access those streaming sites on my TV so I picked up a Roku. They have a new version out now, but I have the 2 XS and love it. I’m able to move it between TVs throughout the house (or to my friends/family houses) and have easy (and cheap) access to all my favorites shows.
I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but I do enjoy a cup of either coffee or tea on most days. Usually coffee at home is boring to me, but I’m too cheap to actually buy a latte each day. To make it a bit more luxurious and special, I bought a aerolatte. I use my Keurig to quickly make a cup of coffee, and while it’s brewing I use the Aerolatte to froth a little bit of coconut milk. I top the coffee with the frothed milk and a dash of cinnamon or cocoa. Ta Da! It’s may favorite way to start the morning.
Honestly…I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter. I’ll eat it on a piece of bread or an English muffin in the morning, but I don’t eat it any other time. I don’t eat it by the spoonful, or in a PB & J sandwich, and I REALLY don’t like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (ewwww!). I know it’s weird. I used to keep Skippy Naturals PB in the house, but I’ve found something WAY better! Earth Balance now makes a creamy and crunchy Coconut Peanut Butter. While I may not love Peanut Butter…I do LOVE Coconut. I think the crunchy version is actually better than the creamy (I find the creamy to be more oily), but both are delicious. You still won’t ever see me eating it in a sandwich, but more often than not, I will eat the Coconut PB on a piece of wheat bread for breakfast these days. Locally I’ve only found it at Henry’s…but you can find it online as well, and probably in other ‘health’ food grocery stores.
I did a separate post on the recipe for this bread so I won’t go on too much about it here. I’ve been making it a lot lately since it’s easy and healthy. I also feel pretty bad-ass when I make my own bread from scratch!
Health & Fitness Favorites
Even when I’m eating super healthy, I feel like I need a nap around 3pm. Never fails, I’m dragging most afternoons. I’m not a fan of Red Bull or Monster style energy drinks but I’ve been addicted to eBoost. I’ve been drinking an eBoost packet almost everyday for the past 6 months and I LOVE them, definitely a favorite of mine. The package says to make it with 8oz of water, but I actually mix it into a 32 oz Mason Jar which I keep at my desk so the flavor is al little more diluted for me. I can’t speak to the flavor when mixed with 8 oz, but I know others find it a bit too strong. I drink the orange flavor and it’s not very sweet, it’s a bit more of a slightly bitter and slightly carbonated orange drink. Similar to the Emergen-C packets but with a non jittery, healthy, energy boost!
I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for years. In the past I’ve used an inexpensive mat that I picked up at Target or a sports store, but they never last long, and they’re usually really thin (and uncomfortable). Since I’m trying to build my practice, I thought it was time to invest in a quality mat. I bought the Classic Manduka Black Mat based on some incredible reviews from yoga friends. This mat is NO JOKE, I’ve been using it for 3 months now and love it. It is a little pricy and it’s heavy. I probably won’t take it to a class since it weighs about 7 lbs, but it works great for me to use at home. It does come coated with a film which can make it slippery for a while, but I was able to wash it off and haven’t had any other problems.
Of all the things I’ve starting using (health-wise), this has probably made the biggest impact. Since I’m trying to lose weight knowing how many calories I burn when I work out is pretty critical. This model is pretty basic, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I think I bought it on sale for around $80 but I’ve seen the other colors for even cheaper. I use it to motivate myself to work harder during my workouts in order to hit a specific calorie burn goal. It also helps me identify when I’m acclimating to a workout so I know when to change things up.
Ok, the last grouping for March! I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m hooked on Jillian Michael’s free iTunes podcasts. I always seem to learn something new and I especially like listening to the caller segments. Did I mention they’re free…yeah, I love free things.
The second entertainment favorite is actually a new ‘to me’ show. Sadly it’s also a cancelled show. I was looking for something new to watch on Netflix and stumbled on Breakout Kings. I was HOOKED and have watched every episode (a few times) since both seasons are on Netflix now. I’m a huge Jimmi Simpson fan so I started watching for him…and his role is very similar to the ‘Reid’ character in Criminal Minds, so that was bonus. The cast is great, and I love the mix of action/drama/humor. It’s an overall win for me (if only AE had felt the same way…so sad).
Lastly is a favorite phone app. This is only for those that use an Android (sorry iPhone folks). The only Apple product I have ever owned is an iPod. I’ve had one since they first came out so all my music is in iTunes. However, I don’t have AT&T as a carrier so I couldn’t have the iPhone until recently. In reality, the only reason I wanted an iPhone was so that I could have my music/podcasts on my phone and not have to carry the iPod all the time. Lucky for me there’s an app for that! Synctunes launched in the beginning of 2013 and let’s you transfer your iTunes media to you Android phone via WiFi. SCORE! The free version lets you move one category (i.e. playlist, podcast, etc), but the paid version let’s you move anything you want. I ended up paying for the software and I think it’s worth it. Now I have my favorite music playlists and my podcasts on my phone all the time.
*Some links contained within this post are affiliate; however, none of the products were provided to me, nor was I asked to review them.