October Favorites

I know, I say it every month but it just seems like I was sharing my September faves. And now we are finishing up another a month and getting closer to Christmas and the end of 2018. So let’s get cozy with my favorite things from October!

Cables and Colorwork

I’ve been working on some Christmas knitting projects and am finding myself falling in love again with cable and colorwork patterns. There’s just something so comforting about these and they definitely make me feel like it’s fall. I’m already planning on asking for a sweater quantity of yarn for a colorwork sweater for Christmas!

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Smoothie Bowls

Even though it’s been chilly, I’m back on the smoothie bowl train! I still love my protein cakes and they are my favorite dessert but I’ve been defaulting to smoothie bowls after my cross training workouts. And our new NutriBullet blender makes them super fast to mix up! My favorite toppings for these have still been peanut butter, chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

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Fall Colors

By now, a lot of the trees have dropped their leaves but we had some gorgeous fall colors this fall. I was so glad that I was able to get out to Afton State Park for a run before most of the leaves dropped because it was magical. So many shades and yellow, red and orange and it occasionally looked like it was raining leaves as I ran..

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Don’t forget to share your favorite things from this month in the comments!


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What's my nighttime routine?

Over the summer, I found one thing that was so helpful to helping me wind down and sleep through the night (without having the take melatonin!). And it was simply to establish a nighttime routine, three simple things that I do most nights before bed.

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These three things help me take a break from electronics and wind down for the night so I can fall asleep and stay asleep. My anxiety levels have gone down at night so I fall asleep much faster (usually within 15 minutes of settling into bed) and stay asleep (no more waking up at 2 or 3 a.m.). This helps me drag so much less during the day and not be as worried about things that are going on in my life.

So what are the three things in my nighttime routine?

Sleepytime tea

I love my nightly cup of sleepytime tea. Mike usually gets it going at 8 p.m. (when he takes Vinnie out for his last walk before bed) and I spend the next 30 minutes sipping on it and watching TV. This helps me take a break from my phone and helps me relax.

Meditation

Right before we head to bed, usually by 9 p.m. because I cannot stay up that late anymore, I spend five or ten minutes meditating. I get so calm (and sleepy) afterwards and my mind is cleared. Check out my post from last week on what benefits I’ve seen from meditation.

Bedtime podcast

Mike and I have always fallen asleep listening to old podcast episodes. Neither of us falls asleep easily without having some sort of background noise so we just put on a podcast and set the sleep timer so it turns off after 30 minutes. And usually, I’m out pretty quickly!

Do you have a bedtime routine?  Share what yours is in the comments!


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Running, Eating and Life: What I'm Looking Forward to This Fall

After a week of summer weather coming back, it’s looking like fall is back in Minnesota and hopefully staying! Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons so I’m hoping it stays around for a little bit so I get to enjoy it. And the reason it’s one of my favorite seasons? Let’s dive into what I love about fall.

Fall Running

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Yes, I’ve already done a whole post about why I love fall running. In short, ideal running weather, fall colors and running anniversaries! I cannot wait to run on some trails and see how gorgeous they are in the fall.

Leaves

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Even last week, the trees were starting to change colors and I am loving it. Minnesota gets so vibrant and bright in the fall, which makes it so pretty. And it kind of makes up for the shorter days and rainy weather when the trees are so gorgeous. Although when they start to fall off, it’s sad again since I know winter is coming.

Everything Pumpkin/Apple

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Fall flavors are some of my favorite things, especially pumpkin and apple. I’ve been on a pumpkin kick with what I’m pumpkin (pumpkin oatmeal and soon to come pumpkin muffins and maybe pumpkin protein bowl) but I’m just waiting for the apple harvest to come in so we get delicious, cheap, local apples. I love Minnesota apples and buying Honeycrisp and SweeTango apples (and hopefully in the next couple of years, First Kiss) is a fall highlight.

Handknit Sweaters

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I’ve been waiting all summer to pull out my handknit sweaters again! I even finished a sweater over the summer and pulled it out on the first cool-ish day of September. My handknit sweaters (and socks and shawls and hats) are so comfy and it’s just a confidence boost to be wearing something I’ve made. Plus I’ve got another cardigan I’m excited to be working on!

What are your favorite parts of fall? Let me know in the comments!


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Three Ways Daily Meditation Has Improved My Life

I’ve been meditating daily since January 1st and the longer I keep on my streak, the more benefits I am finding from it. In the over 255 days I’ve been meditating, here are the three biggest benefits I have seen.

Increased Focus

I can tell that it’s a lot easier for me to stay focused on a single task now than at the beginning of the year and I’m not letting random thoughts distract me from what I am doing. I’m more likely to acknowledge them (and if it’s a task I need to do, add it to my to-do list) than to switch what I’m doing to whatever thought just came into my mind.

I know for sure that daily meditation has caused this change since you focus on clearing your mind for the time you meditate. At first, it was hard to keep my thoughts from taking over while I meditated but slowly, it’s been getting easier to let them just float past. And I’m finding this to be easier to do outside of meditation as well!


Better Sleep

In the last couple of months, I’ve changed up my nighttime routine (which I’ll detail in an upcoming post) and part of that was moving my meditation time from first thing in the morning to right before bed. Not only do I feel less rushed in the morning but it’s helped me get to sleep faster and have better sleep. I no longer have a million things running through my head as I try to go to sleep and I’m not waking up in the middle of the night. And if I do, I get back to sleep pretty quickly (within 10 minutes or less based on my Garmin’s sleep tracking).

Reduced Anxiety

Continuing the theme, doing a daily clearing of my thoughts has also helped reduce my anxiety during the day and has given me some coping skills to deal with things that make me anxious. We’re working on some major life changes and, of course, this doesn’t help with my anxiety. But I’m working on not burying myself in my thoughts and taking the time to breathe when I start feeling the anxiety coming on.


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Reading and Listening to: Summer 2018

Since I always listen to podcasts and have been on a reading spree this year, I wanted to introduce a new quarterly post about what I have enjoyed listening and reading to. This is by no means everything i’ve read and listened to but some of my favorites. Don’t forget to share your favorite summer reads and listens in the comments!

Podcasts

  • Ologies - Kalology (BEAUTY STANDARDS) with Renee Engeln: Ologies has been a summer favorite of mine in general but I loved listening to this frank discussion of beauty standards. I’ve put Renee’s book Beauty Sick on hold at the library and can’t wait ot dig in.

  • Friends at the Table - Twilight Mirage: I’ve been listening to this season of Friends at the Table since Summer 2017 as it came out in real time. It’s a gorgeous example of storytelling through an actual play podcast. Be prepared for long episodes but it’s so worth it!

  • Go Fact Yourself: We love (and support) the Maximum Fun Network and Go Fact Yourself has been a great podcast to listen to. Mainly because I listen to this like I watch Jeopardy and try to play along.

Books

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer: I read this in four days, mostly over our camping trip to Cascade River State Park. It’s along the same vein as Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years series but with the Queen of Hearts. So if you loved Wicked, I’d suggest picking up Heartless.

  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: I picked out this book without even realizing there was a movie coming out. I’m trying to expand my reading outside of white authors and decided to give it a try. I loved it and cannot wait to see the movie (plus read the rest of the series). I listened to the audiobook version and it had a great narrator (I’ve stopped listening to audiobooks solely due to the narrator before).

  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: Another example of me trying to get out of my normal reading habits, this time adventuring into a different genre with World War I/World War II spy mystery. I loved the intertwining timelines and again, I listened to this and the narrator is awesome.

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