Another month has come and gone and it is once again time for my monthly favorites!
In case you are new here (welcome!) at the beginning of each month, I compile and share a list of my favorite things from the previous month. I started this because a blogger and a podcaster I love both do this and I thought it was an awesome idea. I have learned about so many great new (to me) items, books, recommendations, etc from them sharing their favorites, and I wanted to do the same for you!
Let’s get started!
Your Top 3 Favorite Posts from May (you all must have been doing a lot of spring cleaning in May based on these results!)
This has been my top post for months, so I wanted to include it, but also wanted to add three additional posts since it has been hogging the top spot.
This was somewhat of a surprise – I wrote this post back in September of 2017 – but it made a comeback this past month!
This guest post from Shona was really popular this past month and for good reason. If you missed it, be sure to check it out below.
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Reducing mental clutter – that’s what this blog is about, right? I find lots of mental clutter from and over-exposure to the news. Local, national, and international – it doesn’t matter. Some people, like Mr. Blographer, thrive on knowing anything and everything there is to know about news. He is constantly reading news sites on his phone, listening to public radio in the car, and more. That is not me.
As someone who has anxiety, hearing the news over and over, or hearing details of the same story over and over don’t do my anxiety any good. To help combat this, I unfollowed all news sites on social media. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read the paper or news sites online unless I am specifically looking for a story/update. That being said, I do want to be aware of the bigger things going on in our nation/world. Enter theSkimm.
theSkimm is a daily (M-F) email that contains the biggest world stories from the previous day in easy to understand ways. If you ever want to go more in-depth on a particular story or topic, they will link to more information. They also often do special sections on hot topics. For example, in May they focused on mental health for mental health month, and each week they covered a trending topic of that topic.
Reading theSkimm daily has allowed me to feel like I am in touch with the big issues, without feeling bombarded, stressed, anxious or overwhelmed like I used to when I was constantly surrounded by the news.
Check out TheSkimm here.
I had a rare afternoon alone in my house which rarely ever happens. I truly had a lot I needed to get done, but I decided to take advantage of the peace and quiet and give myself some self-care time. What does self-care look like for me? Honestly, it depends on a lot of factors. But this particular time included some healthy edible cookie dough. My friend introduced me to the blog Chocolate Covered Katie and as soon as I saw all of her cookie-dough related desserts, I knew I had found a winner.
Here is the edible cookie dough recipe I used and thoroughly enjoyed.
It is officially flip flop season! I love wearing flip-flops, but would it surprise you to learn that I haven’t purchased flip flops for the last 7 years? It’s true! I got these Sanuk flip-flops as a thank-you gift for being a bridesmaid in a friends wedding, and I have worn them constantly every summer for the past 7 years. They are the most comfortable and sturdy flip-flops I have ever owned. Bonus: they contain a yoga mat footbed (from recycled yoga mats) which I think is super awesome. If you’re looking for a good, sturdy pair of flip-flops that will last you a long time, I would highly recommend checking these or another style from Sanuk (I also have some slip ons from them too which are equally as awesome). Note: I’m not directly affiliated with them – I really just love their shoes.
Quick and easy meals
With the days getting longer, and the weather nicer, my family and I have been trying to spend lots of time after work hiking, gardening, or just relaxing in our backyard. Often we’ve found ourselves in a position where it is 8pm, and we haven’t even started dinner. That leads to making some not so great dinner choices (takeout, frozen pizzas, etc). Enter quick and easy meals!
I’ve been scouring my recipes to pull out ones that are super easy and quick to make, flavorful, yet pack a nutritious punch.
Here are a few of my favorite lately:
Taco Salad Skillet – Budget Bytes (we love it with lentils instead of the beef/turkey and salsa instead of tomatoes for an even quicker meal!)
Balsamic Roasted Veggies and White Bean Pasta Salad – Skinnytaste (this would be good with chicken as well!)
Chicken Mandarin Salad with Simple Sesame Dressing – Budget Bytes
Additionally, I have been doubling certain recipes when I made them to freeze for later!
What is your favorite super quick dinner recipe? Do you have a favorite recipe that freezes well? Tell me allllllllllll about it in the comments!
What I’m reading
I’ve been on a big reading kick lately when 8 of my library book requests became available all at once (they all had waiting lists)! Check out three I’m currently working on.
One of the first books I started reading from my library bounty was ‘The Happiness Project‘ by Gretchen Rubin. I started it and got about halfway through it……before I decided it wasn’t me, it was the book. I really wanted to like it, but perhaps it just wasn’t what I was/am looking for in a book right now. It’s not that I disliked it either, I just found myself scrolling social media instead of reading it when I had the time. So, I decided that I would stop since I have so many others I’m looking to read!
This book has been fascinating and I can’t wait to continue to move through it. If you’re not familiar with the ‘blue zones’ (I just recently found out about them myself), they are parts of the world where people are the healthiest and that have the greatest concentration of centennials (people who are 100+). There are a variety of factors that play into the longevity, but this particular book does have an emphasis on the diet of each area.
I’ve talked before about my struggle with anxiety. Unintentionally, this year I have been going in deep in trying to study it, understand it, and hopefully, in some way, grow with it. My theory is that by giving in to it and learning all I can about it versus fighting it or trying to cover it up, I take away the control of the anxiety and put it back into my hands.
Coincidentally, this journey of learning about my anxiety has intersected with my spiritual journey so I have been reading a lot on the two topics.
I heard Gabrielle Bernstein (the author) talking on ‘The Lively Show with Jess Lively’ and she mentioned this book. It sounded right up my alley, and it really has been. I have been learning so much, and can’t wait to continue to read it. I have been reading one chapter a day so that I can kind of sit with the information and process before going on to the next chapter. I would highly recommend if you’re on a spiritual journey or deal with fear/anxiety.
What I’m listening to
It’s all about the podcasts. I’m obsessed!
- Oprah’s Soulful Conversations podcast (mindful and intentional living, reducing mental clutter)
- Goal Digger podcast (business, entrepreneur tips for girl bosses)
- The Lively Show by Jess Lively podcast (mindful and intentional living, learning all about listening to your intuition)
- Sustainable Minimalists (Sustainable topics for the busy family. Check out the episode I was on: 020!)
- Minnestory (Bridging the gap and understand between rural and city populations)
What I’m watching
Jane the Virgin all day every day. Ok, not reallly, but since they released season 4 on Netflix I have been binging through them as often as I can. I can’t get enough of this show! If you’ve never seen it, you MUST watch it.
What books, podcasts, shows on Netflix, quick recipes, etc should I try? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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