In no particular order …
1. GratitudeDiary application (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/gratitude-diary/id498196466?mt=8). For the iPhone and iPad. A really nice and positive way to track the “little things” that make our days. Especially handy to look back on during a rough moment or difficult day, because it lists all of the things you have input (be it words, phrases, paragraphs) and keeps track of that for you. We all have a tendency sometimes to focus on the negative and minimize the positive (called magnification, in psychological terms). This app provides the user with a simple and nearly effortless way to try and reframe thoughts, take a step back and look at the big picture (rather than focus on first-world problems), etc.
2. AnyList application (http://www.anylistapp.com). A super grocery list app that is synced between iPhone/iPad, so that two or more people can work off the same list (e.g. if I buy butter en route home, it is crossed off on Ryan’s list so he knows not to buy it should he happen to pass some on his 4 minute walking commute).
3. Apothic Red (wine). Just delicious in every way and doesn’t break the bank at around $15 (still, a little pricier than our usual $10/11 but worth every cent). I have actually not met one red-wine drinker who doesn’t like it AND have met several people (my sister included) who aren’t big wine drinkers but really like this one. It’s not like I know that many people, but I still think the statistics are pretty impressive.
4. Klingande – Jubel (song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYmLhn3qJ6Y)
5. Mapei – Don’t wait (song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33mjGmfy7PA)
6. ThermaCell lithium battery charged insoles (http://www.thermacell.com). These were a Christmas gift for myself, bought at Canadian Tire. I have Raynaud’s so my feet are numb in 5 minutes, wearing ski socks and Sorels, in anything below -10. Even at -5, it just takes a longer while for the dreaded experience to begin. Now that I am thinking about it, Raynaud’s should be featured in a post all it’s own. It would be timely, given this dreadfully cold weather …)
7. Breaking Bad (TV show). We started with gusto and then let it go after several seasons because we “got busy” or something of that nature. Over this past month we have picked it up again, and are voraciously watching almost nightly to finish the final season. I have carefully tried to avoid social media (i.e. Facebook) posts that allude to the ground-breaking finale. I’ve heard the show being compared to The Sopranos in terms of it being a “creative revolution” and all sorts of other big accomplishments. So excited to finish! Highly recommend this AMC series.
8. The Happiness Project (book). This is written by Gretchen Rubin and was recommended to me by a friend (thank you Lianne). I was so pleased to bring it along with me to the Dominican Republic and actually get through it, as I have a tendency to bring books that are way too heavy, dark, often work-related (depression, brain injury, chronic pain) to read on “free time.” Don’t get me wrong, I still think those books have their time and place (e.g. on a 3-6 week trip) but when time to relax and unwind is limited, you really do need something engaging, light, and with some level of positivity woven throughout! This book came to me at the right time and was really “life changing” in as non-dramatic a way as I could possibly say that phrase. It just shifted my perspective and made me think, without forcing me to think (like when someone so elegantly leads you to see that you already have the answer to a persistent and difficult question … you know? They have inadvertently brought you there but you feel like you are moving freely, at your own will).
9. EOS lip balm. (http://evolutionofsmooth.com). This stuff is amazing and really soothes/prevents my chapped lips better than other brands (Burt’s Bees, sorry to call you out but it’s true). Bought at my favorite store in the world – SHOPPERS DRUG MART! Haha, I could spend far, far too much money there. When a place has got beauty products, house-hold items, magazines, vitamins, junk food, frozen produce, dog toys … It’s just dangerous!
10. Eliptical machines with built-in TVs and fans. I say this because I took a WAY-TOO-LONG hiatus from the gym, and almost contemplated cancelling my membership, until I realized that I better get my a** in gear and just get back into some sort of healthful routine, as opposed to binge-eating cadburry chocolate and frequenting pubs every 3 days. Haha! You know how it is; when weather is grim, dark, and gross AND it happens to be both you and your husband’s birthday months (which includes a week-long visit to an all-inclusive) followed by Christmas … You just don’t prioritize fitness, or maybe that was just me and my phase. I’m not saying there is any severe muffin-topping going on … In fact, donning a few extra “layers” probably doesn’t hurt in this climate! Really, I’m coming from more of a mental health as opposed to a vanity or fitness perspective with this whole thing. “Doing something” and getting out of the house (for an activity other than driving by myself to visits) has been important to re-integrate into my routine as of late. It’s “self care” and I talk to clients about this all the time, yet often overlook the basic necessities myself. Go figure. Anyways, the Goodlife in Ottawa has many locations so over this past two weeks I have been trying to stop in between or after visits, just for 30-40 minute workouts when I can. Yes, I am band-wagoning my way into 2014 like all the other people in the developed world! Ugh. I have to say that the TVs make the cardio portion so much more enjoyable and also allow you to kill two birds with one stone (sometimes three if I have my iPhone and am answering emails, while half-heartedly watching the Big Bang Theory all while getting some exercise … ). On that note, I am actually trying to be more “mindful” and cut down on the multi-tasking as it isn’t exactly relaxing nor does it replenish my mental/emotional reserves when all is said and done. Oh my … I have done it again, haven’t I? This really could have been a whole separate post, called newyearsresolutionsandreflections or something. Verbose much? Sorry.
11. Afternoon naps with Maggie. Occasionally, we build a little fort and snuggle up in bed on -30 degree days, in the later afternoon. A little “break” from work has never been better!
12. Jalapeño Cheetos. (http://www.fritolay.com/our-snacks/cheetos-crunchy-cheddar-jalapeno.html). Dangerously good – and lately, a staple food item to round out our Saturday afternoons (after a pub meal and alongside wine, so classy and healthy- I know).