Our weekend should be a good one. My father-in-law arrived in town yesterday in the early evening and we will be celebrating his birthday together on Saturday night in addition to soaking up some quality family time with our guest of honor! Before all of that fun gets going, I wanted to pop in this morning and share a roundup of some of my favorite things from the week in typical Things I’m Loving Friday fashion. As always, feel free to join in and let me know about something that is making you smile this week in the comments section below. And have a GREAT weekend!!
Things I’m Loving Friday
I first used the Calm app when I was in the waiting room at urgent care last month when I had the flu. I was so sick and ended up in a ball on the floor with my hood over my head in a secluded corner waiting for more than an hour before I was called back to be seen by a doctor. I previously downloaded the app after reading about it in a magazine but it came in handy when I desperately needed something to help me breathe, quiet my mind and do anything other than focus on how awful I was feeling.
I ended up using the app daily when I was sick to give my mind something to rest on when something as simple as reading or watching TV gave me horrible headaches. The app offers a decent number of free meditations and sleep stories and, to be honest, I’ve just listened to the free ones on repeat when I’ve wanted something calming and haven’t paid for anything else in the app. It’s a great option for those who might be new to meditation or simply want someone to guide them through focusing on their breath to put their mind at ease. Plus, I love the peaceful background noises of waves crashing or trees rustling in the mind.
- Final Girls by Riley Sager
I briefly mentioned this book in my blog post from yesterday but if you are looking for a book that will have you flying through the pages, this is a must-read! Final Girls is a suspenseful thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat (errr… bed) for the two nights it took me to devour this one. The book follows the life if Quincy Carpenter, a woman who managed to survive a brutal massacre that killed five of her friends when she was on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods in college. Dubbed one of three “Final Girls,” one of three women who survived horrific killings when others did not, Quincy is trying her best to lead a normal life. Then Lisa, one of the three Final Girls and the only one of 10 sorority sisters to survive a sorority house murder massacre in college, is found dead and Sam, the other Final Girl, shows up on Quincy’s doorstep. Quincy’s life is turned upside down again. This book includes twist after twist and there was not one dull moment in the whole thing. If you’re in the market for a new thriller, definitely check it out!
I am still waiting for the day a Pinch of Yum recipe lets me down and it just hasn’t happened yet and I’m beginning to think it never will. They know their food! And apparently we have very similar taste in food because I want to make practically every recipe they share on their blog. My most recent Pinch of Yum success came last night when I made their spicy peanut soup in the crock pot. I followed the recipe almost exactly (though I used a little extra coconut milk and added chopped cauliflower that was about to go bad in our fridge) and Ryan, my father-in-law and I all loved it! (Real talk: Chase was riding the mac and cheese train last night.) The recipe is packed with tender sweet potato, onion, peanuts and kale but the flavors from the curry, peanut butter and garlic take it to the next level. You can also make it on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot, but the crock pot worked really well for me.
- Latest Thrive Market Haul
We recently renewed our Thrive Market membership for another year, so the healthy food deliveries keep comin’! This time I filled my box with some of our usual staples (apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, sesame oil, coconut aminos), coconut wraps, Primal Kitchen turkey jerky sticks and a few new-to-me items as well, including smoked clams (worth a try for this seafood lover) and an alcohol-free witch hazel toner that has received a bunch of rave reviews. If the toner is as great as everyone claims, I’ll be sure to report back!
- Favorite Workout: BBC Full Body Stack
When I shared my Top 10 Workouts of 2017, I had someone request more updates from the workouts I do on a day-to-day basis. I figured including my favorite workout of the week in every Friday post might be a fun way to share a new workout with you guys that appealed to me for one reason or another. Just don’t be surprised if you see a whole lot of circuit-style workouts, boot camp workouts and strength training workouts because those tend to be my favs!
In the shocker of all shockers, my favorite workout of the week this week was actually a Burn Boot Camp stack workout which is traditionally my most dreaded workout of the various BBC formats. I liked the way this particular stack was broken up into two mini-stacks so getting through all four exercises didn’t feel quite as daunting as building up to stacks that include 8+ exercises.
- Around the Web
Fitness: Eight Burpee Variations Workout / Postpartum Marathon Training Plan / 20-Minute Full Body Workout
Food: Butternut Squash Pancakes / Healthy Peanut Butter Cups / Easy Chicken and Rice Soup / Ultimate Winter Bliss Bowls
Weekend Sales: 15% off everything or 20% off purchases $100+ at Kohl’s with code SUPERSAVER / Up to 50% off last-season styles from Nike (includes my fav high-waisted training capris that hold everything in!) / All clearance under $20 at American Eagle Outfitters (love this cozy hoodie!) / Extra 50% off final sale from J.Crew Factory with code GOTIME
- Friday Flashbacks
5 Easy and Healthy Weeknight Dinners (A glimpse into what a week of dinners looked like in our house with an emphasis on clean, healthy recipes.)
Upper Body Strength Pulse Hold Workout (You’ll seriously feel the burn in your biceps, triceps, shoulders and chest thanks to the tiny pulses in this workout.)
Question of the Day
What is one thing that made you smile this week?
One thing I’m loving this week is warm weather! It was in the low 50s yesterday here in New Jersey and I ran in shorts. Shorts in January is basically heaven ha!
How do you use apple cider vinegar? I know it’s good for you but I’m curious how people use it since I find the scent and flavor to be extremely strong.
Ryan uses it in a drink he makes every morning and I use it a little more sparingly. I’d love to use it more but right now I mostly use it in salad dressings/recipes. I actually just saw this post from my friend Brittany that makes me want to try ALL of these drinks with ACV: https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/apple-cider-vinegar-detox-drinks/
Carrie this fit chick says
It’s great to hear about your success with the app! I really need to focus on meditiation/calming mindful activities this year. Big goal! One thing that made me smile was seeing a brand new puppy yesterday!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
It’s been a good week! I just got the Calm app and have also been really into using it daily, for both meditation and sleep stories. I also loved our (brief) burst of warm weather this week – I ran in shorts and a tank yesterday, even though by tonight it’s supposed to be back to 20°, the fact that one of my spin classes included a short motivational speech in place of a song (really creative and a great way to push through a tough part), and Physical Kitchness 20-minute Whole30 Orange Chicken. I’m not doing Whole30, but it was insanely delicious! Have a great weekend!
Alexis deZayas says
It sounds like I would LOVE Final Girls! Going to check it out!
Thayers witch hazel is amazing! I alternate between the rose and cucumber varieties. I love it year-round, but it’s especially helpful in the winter when my skin is extra dry – I use it INSTEAD of washing my face in the morning, and then AFTER washing my face at night. Love it!!
Are there any other skincare/beauty products you purchase from Thrive? Would love to hear about that, and/or where you find most of the more natural products you’ve started using. I’m trying to transition to more natural beauty products too but would love a one-stop shop (Amazon has lots, but not all, and WholeFoods can be hit-or-miss too). Thanks!! 🙂
Hi Julie! Would you mind sharing the recipe that Ryan uses the Apple Cider Vinegar for?
Thank your for introducing me to the Calm app! I think I’d heard of it before, but had tried some other meditation apps and didn’t love them. After reading your post I downloaded Calm and tried a couple of meditations and feel AMAZING!! Thank you!!!
So I just downloaded the Calm app and have been loving it so far!! I’m halfway through the 7 days of calm and I love how the app makes me feel…in just 10 minutes! Enjoy your weekend Julie!
Emily @ Always Emily H. says
Pinch of Yum recipes seriously never disappoint. I made two last week and have two planned for next week!
Patricia @Sweet and Strong says
Oh that book sounds right up my ally, I wrote it down to read in the future. I’m loving that it’s a three day weekend, YAY!
I am definitely going to get this book this weekend! And that App sounds like something I need in my life…going to check it out!! One thing that is making me smile this week is that we are going to Disney on Monday! 🙂 Have a great weekend! Xoxo
Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona says
I’m adding Final Girls to my list of books to read. It sounds really good.
I’ve been using Headspace to meditate, which sounds really similar to Calm. I found a promo code for 40% off an annual membership earlier this week so I decided to sign up. I’ve really been enjoying it!
Happy Friday! I currently use Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Toner and LOVE it, but it contains alcohol. Definitely let us know if you end up liking Thayer’s!
One thing I’m loving this week is the fact that it’s staying a liiiiitle bit lighter a liiiiitle bit later. Not much, but I’ll take it. Have a great weekend with you FIL!!
Sarah @ Sweet Miles says
I need to try that app! Girl, I have BEEN THERE at a walk in clinic before where you just literally can’t even while you wait for what seems like an eternity! I even passed out one time…which is a sure fire way to be seen faster! Ha!
I’ve been using the rose petal toner for several months now and LOVE IT! I don’t feel it leaves a film that some other alcohol-free ones do and the rose scent is such a refreshing start to my day! The peanut soup is on our Sunday night dinner schedule as the rain in Greater Seattle just won’t. let. up. We’re really looking forward to it 🙂
I’m so glad you like that toner — used it for the first time this morning and I LOVE the way it feels so gentle.
HI Julie – that recipe looks so good! Out of curiousity, did you sauté the ingredients before putting them in the crock pot?
I didn’t! I put them all directly in and it was still great (and easier — phew)!
I’ve been using that Rose Petal toner for years and love it; the smell, not drying, etc. 🙂 I just started using Apple Cider Vinegar as well, though…a tip I picked up from Young House Love. I haven’t gotten past the smell just yet but I do love using it every morning/evening and to cleanse after workouts. This week, I started reading “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young and really love it. It’s fast reading, but meaningful. I also use the Bible app and am going through the bible a day plan; started that last year some time. First time ever reading the bible and this will catapult me into an actual bible once I’m done with the plan. I bookmarked the bible suggestion you gave the other day. Grew up Catholic so never even held a bible until I was an adult. I’m loving opening my eyes and mind to new things God-related. Have a great weekend with your FIL, Julie!
I’ve been thinking about a Thrive Market membership! I’m trying to eat more nutrients and whole foods and fewer grains and dairy, so I think it would be a really great investment! Healthy good is expensive!
I use the “breathing bubble” on the calm app for 2 minutes every morning before I leave my parking garage to go into work (my job is high stress at times) and it’s amazing how such a quick intention makes me feel 100% more centered and calm! I like setting it to 4 breaths per minute…nice and slow breathing
How do the stacks on that workout work? I would love to try it but can’t figure out how many reps and what order to do?
Lindsey Bomgren says
Always love these posts! And thanks so much for including my 8 butt kicking burpee variations! xo-Lindsey
I made that soup tonight after seeing it on your meal plan. We all loved it too! Even my 6 year old said “this is good!” I got a new mug from Starbucks last weekend that I’ve been loving this week!
Katie @ Live Half Full says
I’m getting Final Girls from the library tomorrow!
I love the premise of this post! I always love seeing what fun new things people are into! I wish we had thrive market- I hear amazing things about them all the time!
The thing that’s making me smile this week is my new re-love for podcasts – I was really into them for a while but got out of the groove – now I’m right back at it ??
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
Have you ever listened to any ASMR videos on Youtube? I know it seems weird but a lot of them are similar to that Calm app and its all free. They have helped me get to sleep or calm down when I’m feeling really anxious. Give it a whirl if you havent before!
Also, omg I have to get my hands on that book it look so good! Have you read any Sandra Brown books? I think you would really like her. Chill Factor would be my recommendation of her’s if you havent read it yet!
janet pole says
the current wait time at my local er for non-emergent cases is 28 hours … I would have needed a whole lotta calm!
Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass says
My workouts have been making me smile this week and also hopping back into spin class! Another thing making me smile this week is having the guts to take a mental health day on Friday. Listening to my needs is the name of the game in 2018 and this weekend has been allllll about the self-love. <3 | http://www.poweredbysass.com
Nicci Marquart says
Cant wait to try the spicy peanut soup recipe, looks really good.
Have you ever heard of the app Insight Timer? If you like Calm you might like this as well. They have a great variety to choose from.
Jessica Miller says
Julie! First time commenting here. Love your posts! I have been a loyal reader for a couple of years now. Although I don’t comment, I truly enjoy everything you do. Question for you: In your posted Stacker Workout today, what does the HOID mean? I have been racking my brain trying to figure it out. (Watch it be something completely obvious!) Thank you, in advance.
It’s actually “hold” — totally confusing though since the “L” is the only letter that’s not capitalized!
Jessica Miller says
Excellent! Thank you! 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation of Final Girls. It was a great read!
I’m so glad you liked it! I take it you finished it FAST, too!?
I started it on Saturday and finished it this morning while doing my hair for work. Every chapter, I couldn’t put it down.
I have been engrossed and moved by A Tangled Mercy this week, reading it for book club.
Omg Final girls was AMAZING!!!!! Thank you so much for recommendation. Hope for more book suggestions in the future.
So glad you liked it! It was an intense one for sure!