Another week, another Friday Favorites post! Fortunately, this week was considerably calmer and I had more time to focus on writing and being human. Though it’s been insanely cold up here, we’ve managed to stay cozy and warm inside the hobbit hole. Here are some of my favorite things that keep me going and help me stay focused and motivated. I hope you enjoy, and maybe find something new to love!
Yoga is one of my favorite activities. No matter how stressed out or uninspired I am, being on my mat always helps me feel calm and centered. Spending time on something that is just for me is essential during the craziness of these days. Doing something that is healthy is even better! I feel like us writers/readers who are most content in an armchair with a cup of tea need to incorporate some sort of activity into our daily routine, and yoga is a wonderful way to do it.
My favorite part of yoga: arm balances. I’m addicted to them. I love the challenge that each one presents. Working on a new arm balance, figuring out the right position and strengthening my muscles until I get it just right is rewarding and fun. The physical nature of a yoga workout helps my brain relax, and I often find that I can work/write much better afterward.
My favorite yoga teacher is Ali Kamenova. She posts free yoga videos on Youtube at all levels and for all types of flexibility. Her classes are a mix of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Vinyasa yoga. Here’s my favorite class. It will definitely make you sweat!
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Phew! Now that you are done working out, why not treat yourself? And what better treat is there than chocolate and strawberries??? Shane and I have a tradition of making chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day every year. Usually, I make them with melted chocolate chips. This year, I’m going to try to make them from scratch. This recipe I found on Oh She Glows (my favorite cookbook, as it just so happens), has a decadent whole foods recipe for chocolate covered romance! Whether you have a special someone or you just want to show yourself a little care, these chocolate covered strawberries are sure to spread the love.
I know. A lot of people hate on Valentine’s Day, and I respect that. I, however, have always loved it. It’s a nice break in the monotony of winter, and helps bridge the holiday desert between Christmas and Easter. Ever since I was a little kid, I just adored a holiday that was all about showing love and eating chocolate. I would make valentines for my family and friends, and eat way too many chocolate Dove hearts. It was glorious.
Since Shane and my first Valentine’s Day back in 2007, we’ve had a tradition that has me looking forward to the day even more.
Warning: if you have a strong gag reflex to overexposure to cuteness, avert your eyes now. It’s cute. You have been warned.
We don’t go out for Valentine’s or make any grand gestures with jewelry or expensive gifts. Instead, we make handmade valentines and get small presents for each other (which usually includes flowers, but the subzero temperature killed the bouquet I bought for Shane. No lie, it’s that cold here). That night, we make spaghetti and watch Lady and the Tramp. The first year we were dating, I had never seen it. Shane spent most of the time in the kitchen of my dorm while I watched the movie. I wasn’t sure what was going on until, right as the dogs were being served their spaghetti, Shane walked in with plates for us. Yup. He’s adorable. After dinner, we make chocolate covered strawberries and toast the night with sparkling grape juice. It is the perfect evening at home.
I hope whatever you have planned for this weekend is just as perfect. Sending ALL of you love! I wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every one of you.