We made it. We did it.
With the holiday season and the new year coming up quick, I want to celebrate with a list of some of my 2016 favorites. Some of these might make for super last minute gifts, or they might be just what you're looking for during your holiday.
For those local to the Hartford CT area, some of these will be just for you. :)
Keeping this list simple. Keeping in line with less social media for the next few days. Short and sweet and good to go. (And no, none of these links are affiliates or sponsors. Just people and places and things that I want to share.) Grab a hot beverage and enjoy.
Wishing you all a warm and happy holiday weekend.
The Girl She Used to Be. Organized crime, witness protection, and the people who get stuck in both. This one was a page turner for me.
The Checklist Manifesto. Josh has read lots of books by Atul Gawande and I was intrigued. While this focuses on the medical field, Gawande is an excellent writer and makes many points as to why the basic checklist is a good as it gets.
Me Before You. I finally got around to reading this love story. Hooked me right in.
The Lively Show. This has been a favorite of mine for many seasons. If you're new to this podcast, I highly recommend starting with any of the interviews.
This American Life. Stories about the American life. A classic. Relatable. Often beautiful.
C25K. A free couch to 5k app. Granted, I've only used this one for a few weeks since I just recently got back into running, but it makes the transition pretty easy.
Joy the Baker. Her writing and her cooking is on point. A must-read.
My Name is Yeh. Quirky, whimsical, and lots of beautiful food.
Fox Meets Bear. Stories and recipes from a dreamy looking life in Minnesota.
Homemade pizza. Josh makes the dough from scratch, and then we each craft our own pizzas.
Homemade pancakes. I make the batter, Josh makes the pancakes. They're best topped with plain Greek yogurt, banana slices, and maple syrup.
Whole wheat pumpkin muffins. I could easily eat three for breakfast with my morning coffee. Oh wait. I usually do.
Golden milk. I drink this a few evenings a week. So warming and peppery and yum.
Homemade cashew milk lattes. Also on the regular around here. I imagine we'll add homemade cashew milk to our smoothies come summertime.
Places to Eat
Little City Pizza, Simsbury CT. Such good thin crust pizza, and really affordable.
Grassroots Ice Cream, Granby CT. A seasonal ice cream shop that focuses on local ingredients and unusual flavors. Honey lavender is one of my favorites.
The Collins Creamery, Enfield CT. What can I say? I have a thing for ice cream. Another seasonal shop that uses local milk, and you can watch some cows while you eat. Super rich ice cream, and excellent soft serve.
Brookside Bagels, Simsbury CT. Two words: cheddar everything.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria, Manchester CT. They have many more locations around the state, but wherever you go you can guarantee getting some of the finest pie around. We're all about New Haven style around here.
Hikes + Walks
Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury CT. One of the most popular hikes in the area. Incredible views from the top.
Metacomet Trail, Hartford + New Haven Counties CT. We've tried a bunch of hikes on the Metacomet, and many are great. And now they're part of an even bigger project, the New England National Scenic Trail. So cool.
Clothing + Gear
UniqloHEATTECH Extra Warm Crew Neck. I have a few regular HEATTECH tops, but as soon as I saw that they have warmer ones, I knew I had to try one out. Silky and thick and warm. Perfect baselayer for cold winters.
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Courier. My go-to bag. We're casual.
American Apparel Winter Leggings. Thick and warm and great for winter.
Coconut oil. I use this as my daily moisturizer.
Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. Smells so good. Planning to try the vanilla bean scent when my current one runs out.
Dr. Bronner's Unscented Castile Liquid Soap. As simple as soap can be.
Do you get this warm and fuzzy kind of feeling when the seasons change?
I get this feeling deep inside, mostly in my heart. It's kind of hard to describe, but it's a feeling of warmth and déjà vu and memory and love. And it's the strongest during the autumn months.
Preparing for our community garden! I'll definitely share more about this, but basically, knowing I wanted to grow some of our own food this summer, and also knowing that our little patio gets very limited direct sunlight, I did a bit of research and found out that we could join the local community garden. We're planning to pick out transplants and seeds early next week.
Knowing that I'd be happy just planting a garden full of tomatoes. But we'll plant some other things too. :)
Loving my Mother's Day gifts. I picked out a few new pieces of clothing that I knew I'd wear all the time, which is perfect for my kind of wardrobe. (In case you're wondering, I got a Patagonia vest and a pair of Chaco sandals.)
Thinking a lot about the documentary The True Cost. Have you seen it? It's about the clothing industry, fast fashion, and the sacrifices people and the planet make so we can have access to cheap clothing. I definitely recommend watching it.
Baking a bit before the warm weather really sets in. Once it's hot out, I have little interest in heating up our home. Well, maybe I'll make an exception for cornbread. And brownies.
Sprouting. I make at least one batch of sprouts each week, and we love having a whole bunch to top on salads or rice and beans.
Making use of my evenings more. To write, to read, to enjoy my little bit of me time.
Cutting out dairy for a few weeks. I have horrible spring allergies, and usually eating dairy makes me feel worse, so I'm taking a break from it until early June. I figure it doesn't hurt, right?
Shopping at the food coop. We have a great coop that's a bit of a drive away (it's in Northampton, MA), so about once a month we make a day trip of it. I love to load up on bulk items, pick out a nice loaf of bread or two, and we pick out locally made kimchi and cheese (I could go for a piece of the blue cheese in the fridge right about now.) Once I get my act together, I really want to bring lots of mason jars with us to fill so we don't even have to use plastic bags.
Going to the farmers' market. The farmers' market in Springfield, MA is a year-round market that just moved to its outdoor location for the season. We went to check it out for the first time on Tuesday, and we picked out greens, bread, and a bit of cheese for Josh. Berkshire Mountain Bakery attends the market, and they make pretty much the best loaf of bread ever -- it's called Bread & Chocolate, and it's oh-my-word delicious. I think a weekly trip for that bread is in order. I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting, for real.
Walking or hiking every day. It's the little things.
Awaiting our June trip! We're heading to Block Island for a few nights, and I can't wait. Some vacation time and family time is in order.
Reading Unlatched. I received a galley copy of this fascinating book about breastfeeding by Jennifer Grayson. I started it a few nights ago and I love how the author weaves her own experience of nursing her two daughters with the historical and cultural background of breastfeeding. I'm planning to do a giveaway and an author Q&A as we get closer to the release date on July 5, 2016.
Wondering whether it'd be crazy to start a podcast. I know -- isn't everyone starting one nowadays? I think it'd be a fun way to share people's stories with the world through interviews. I'm thinking something about motherhood, since that's pretty much the main thing on my mind these days. One idea I have is to learn about motherhood from different cultural standpoints, both in and out of the U.S. I'm also interested in how different women manage work and parenthood, whether they are work at home moms or work outside of the home. I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions!
I received a galley copy of Unlatched free of charge in exchange for a review, which will be shared on the blog in July 2016.