I can't decide how I feel about summer coming to an end. I love fall and am kind of in need of slowing down a bit. We were super busy this summer but I am still adjusting to that part of adulting where you don't get a designated long break to just chill out. With that being said we definitely had some good beach days, went to Vermont and New Hampshire a few times, had friends visit us in Newport and all that fun summer stuff :)
I lumped my July and August Favorites together because a) summer really went by that fast and b) they are basically the same month in my mind now.
1. 6-am Gym Classes!
Back in June, I switched to a new gym in Newport. When we moved here, I just chose to join the biggest gym thinking it was the best, but I was never fully satisfied with it. It was big but there was very little sense of community, at least with people my age. I just never felt excited to go there. I had also been focused mostly on the Kayla Itsines guide for workouts and was starting to get bored of it. (No hate on Kayla - I love the guide and think the circuits are fun but sometimes you just gotta switch it up)
Our friends Jess and Chris finally convinced me to join their smaller gym because that's where they do these 6 am classes - Tabata on Tuesdays and Olympic Challenge on Thursdays.
Some things you should know about me before I continue: Waking up early for a workout is not something I would have routinely done a few years ago. That is, until I realized how much more productive I can be in the morning. Waking up at 5 and getting the workout DONE with and enjoying it in the process has been the best! I go to work in a much better mood because of it. The other thing is that words like "olympic challenge" really scared me at first. I am used to working out on my own and going at my own pace. I actually realized that to really feel the full effects of my workouts, I benefit from being with a group, loud music, and someone yelling at me. I seriously love these classes and am not looking back!
At first when I switched, I was hesitant to try the classes and continued to do my Kayla guides. Then I realized this gym was basically begging you to take their classes and be friends with everyone, so I did and I love it! If you're someone that is in a workout rut, seriously consider adding some structure via group classes to your routine. I am so happy I did!
2. This Olive Oil/Balsamic Combo from Saratoga Oil Company
Earlier this month we went camping in Vermont. It was super fun because we were tent camping which basically forced us to be doing something at all times of the day. We did SO MUCH. Hiking (4 hikes total, some long, some short), tons of breweries because that's kind of our thing, driving around appreciating how beautiful it is up there, eating and of course visiting Burlington. One day while we were walking on Church St, I was basically starving and we happened to walk by this olive oil shop. Basically there are like 30-50 different kinds of oil blends and vinegars and you can try all of them. Trying a few (ok...more than a few) pieces of bread with oil definitely satisfied my hunger right then :) The chipotle olive oil sold me! I had to buy it. Then Kevin picked up a random recipe card and happened to find a chicken marinated with the chipotle and raspberry balsamic, which was also amazing, so we got both! I've used the raspberry as part of a dressing a few times already and the chipotle olive oil is a game changer drizzled on pizza.
I love finds like this! It gives me something new to have fun with in the kitchen and thats the kind of thing that makes me happy.
3. Trader Joe's Seasonings
I am aware that these have been around for a while. However, I miss my UMass days when TJs was 5 minutes away. Now my only option is to go on my way home from work (long commute and its 20 min out of the way) so I feel like I miss out on the hype of their products! I finally got my hands on these two seasonings and they are the bomb.com. The chile lime seasoning goes on everything from chicken, shrimp, chickpeas in my last recipe and I even just sprinkled it on peppers and onions for a quick quesadilla last week! Noms. The everything bagel seasoning makes me want to roast potatoes and sprinkle that on EVERY. DAY. But I shall refrain. That would make it less enjoyable right? My friend Jenna from Jenna Gorham Nutrition also put it on some avocado toast. Haven't tried it yet but I have high expectations.
If you are someone who is limiting salt intake - be mindful these are not low in salt by any means. I am not promoting them as a health food and I don't think everything we eat needs to be a "health food". My recommendation for patients in this situation is to be mindful of other salty foods you may eat during the day and not overdo it at any other meal.
4. Girls-Night-In Newsletter
Because I work full-time and am also working towards the goal of eventually working for myself, I basically just need to be with a blanket, This Is Us or a book, and wine every weekend night (boyfriend is OK with it because he is a gamer so it works). The truth is, I have kind of always been that way and now I have a resource that encourages this lifestyle. I found out about the GNI (Girls Night In Club) community on Instagram (obviously) and immediately subscribed. Every Friday, they send you a newsletter with new products to try or things to do on a Friday night in, incredibly relevant articles for a millennial like myself, interviews with bo$$ women and more. I only wish they sent our a mid-week one as well just because I love it so much! You can also follow them @girlsnightinclub on Insta - but seriously. Do it.
5. Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
I truly believe every human in this world should read this book. I realize this is not nutrition or food-related, but it can be. One thing I have realized in my short 1.5 years of working as a dietitian is that health involves much more than nutrients. How we treat ourselves affects our overall wellbeing and treating ourselves KINDLY can make all the difference for the better. This includes allowing ourselves to enjoy food without feeling guilty, and missing a workout without stressing about it.
I have noticed a huge change in how I react to stressful situations since going through this book. I am self-critical and a people-pleaser by nature. Stepping out of my own head and seeing that there is no way I can make everyone happy is mind-blowing to say the least. What is even better is accepting myself for the mistakes I make, the overreactions I have and everything in between. Then moving on. Instead of dwelling. (Clearly this is something I am not good at.) But this book is changing that! I HIGHLY recommend if you're in need of a little positivity in your life ♡
And there ya have it! My summer favorites. What are you up to this LDW? We have a wedding Saturday, hanging out with family on the Cape Sunday, but I want to spend my Monday grilling on our patio in Newport. May bake something with pumpkin next week though ;)