Current Obsessions ~ Winter 2014

colorful

 This blog focuses exclusively on scrumptious (and do-able) home cooking, but sometimes there are things I’m just dying to share with my readers. Rather than put random things into recipe posts, I decided to start a reoccurring post about my “Current Obsessions” – things that I think readers may be interested in whether they are new cooking tools, foods, beauty products, tech apps, etc. I plan on doing this every few months to keep you updated on things worth your attention. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think in the comments.

I’ll start by telling you I am a classic “Type-A” personality. This hilarious article sums it up pretty well. The only thing I really don’t relate to is game night and all-nighters; I’m notorious for being absolutely awful at Monopoly simply because I get bored and sell everything on clearance, and I would die without proper sleep. Like fall over and die. I’m like a toddler that gets crazy without a nap, but in my case at least 6 hours of sleep (ask my husband). But I don’t nap. Napping is for those other people (like my husband). Group projects (yuck!), clean work spaces, clear inboxes … so me. And I love the last one brought to you by my favorite women in comedy – “because bitches get shit done.” So true.

I don’t remember a point in my life when I didn’t have multiple task lists. But, I’ve really tried, and I think I’ve been successful at, learning to relax and bring balance to my life as I get older. I’m a much happier, obsessive Type-A. 🙂 Some of that has to do with being more efficient with my “doing.” And in light of that, I wanted to share two utilities that have helped me lead a more balanced, appreciate this moment, life.

The first is my absolutely favorite, don’t know what I would do if it disappeared, task manager – Wunderlist. As a compulsive list maker, I’ve tried A LOT of electronic task managers/list thingies, and honestly, I kept going back to paper or word docs because I could format those easier. I am so happy to finally have an app that I love to keep track of all my lists.

wunderlist

Reasons Wunderlist is the absolute best task manager:

  • It’s so freakin’ easy – all your lists are organized on one side and you can open each one and move things around in that list, delete, add, move to another list, and even print. It’s the only app I’ve found that integrates all those functions in a user-friendly format. I don’t know about you, but I get really irritated with the apps that require 2300 types of swiping to utilize.
  • It syncs on phones, desktop, and iPads! I’m not sure if/how it works on PCs or Android, but I love that it syncs effortlessly on my iPhone and Macbook. It’s so convenient given that I may be editing a list on either place at any given time.
  • It’s free! There are business accounts which require additional fees, but as a personal task manager you shouldn’t need those options. I’m guessing it will become popular with businesses, however, despite the fee.
  • And lastly, you can customize with different, aesthetically-pleasing backgrounds and that just makes me happy.

My other new love is the online journal ohlife. I’ve read many times about the benefits of journaling as a teacher. It helps with reflection, remembering those great and not-so-great classroom moments, and helping you think about how you need to develop as a teacher. That’s why I personally started writing with ohlife, but I’m sure there are so many reasons why you may want to journal – reflect upon your own career moments, remember special family/relationship moments, start a gratitude journal – but don’t get around to it in the midst of your already busy life.

ohlife

That’s exactly why I love ohlife – it makes journaling ridiculously easy.

Once you sign up at their website (completely free) you will begin to receive emails asking “how was your day?” You reply to the email and BOOM you’ve written your entry for the day. I love this because 1) I have a daily reminder and 2) I can do it from anywhere. Many times I simply dictate the entry into my phone – how much easier can it get? I try to do it every night, but you can set it to come weekly or just skip those days you don’t get to by deleting the email. Once you write an entry it will come in the email reminder for the next day and you can go to ohlife and see it like the picture above.

I started with the new year and have really enjoyed it, not to mention extremely impressed that I’ve managed to stick with it. I tend to write about my classes/students on the weekdays, my personal life on the weekend, and always include a line at the end expressing what I’m thankful for on that given day. I recently read about the “3 good things” practice and have incorporated that occasionally as well. You simply list 3 good things from that day. I’ve been amazed at not only how much more gratitude I feel in my daily life, but also how much “life” normally passes by with no reflection. Sometimes I’m amazed at all I have to say at the end of a “normal” day. Building gratitude and reflection into each day … it’s a beautiful thing, people. A beautiful thing.

give thanks

Ok, now on to some food obsessions. You’re hungry now, right? After all that serious business we discussed above you should be.

These. things. are. incredible.

INCREDIBLE, I say

goji berries

I’ve always liked Goji berrries – they have a really unique flavor that I’ve never been able to describe but I think remind me of an old school candy I can’t quite remember. Do you ever taste something that reminds you of something from childhood but you can’t put your finger on it? That’s the case for me here. Goji berries are sweet, but not blatantly so. They are soft and chewy and when you put DARK CHOCOLATE on them. Hello! My new favorite desk snack and dessert. They are good on their own and really good on plain Greek yogurt. Maybe add some granola for extra crunch because you’re so adventurous.

You can find them at Wholefoods and other health food stores, or on Amazon. Some local grocers may carry them as well.

Lastly, I try not to drink bottled juices because I look at them as wasted calories. And I really abhor the “nutritious” juices (some are even green and contain vegetables) that actually contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and calories. But, I love a good lemonade. Especially in the chill of winter when I want to think about the heat of summer.

honest lemonade

If I don’t make my own, I buy this Honest Kids lemonade. It’s refreshing and not overly sweet. I actually dilute it a bit with water, as I do most juices, and it’s still perky and tasty. No high fructose syrup or other yucky ingredients. And although it’s marketed for kids I think it mixes well with *adult* drinks too, if you get my drift. 🙂

Happy Thursday! You’ve almost made it to Friday – woo hoo!

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