class pass

Lately (the Summer Edition)

Every once in awhile I love writing a "lately" style post that features a whole bunch of random favorites at the current moment. It's fun to read these on other blogs because I always learn a few new things. Make sure to leave me a comment with some of your favorite summer finds!

The Perfect Beach Read

the rules do not apply

In terms of personal goals for this year, reading more was one of the big ones for me! So far I've read nine books this year and The Rules Do Not Apply is one of my favorites! It's a memoir written by a reporter from The New Yorker and it's raw and heartbreaking, and I could not put it down. Here's the first paragraph of the inside cover that lured me in:

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. 

I would highly recommend this for a beach read because it's quick (I finished it in two days) and compelling. 

Road Trip Podcast

There are a few new podcasts I have recently added to my rotation but my current favorite is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. First of all, I was totally obsessed with Parenthood and he interviews several people from the cast. Secondly, I just love that he's married to Kristen Bell.

Armchair Expert is essentially a recorded conversation between Dax and one of his friends and it's really funny, lighthearted and genuine - kind of like you are getting a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. Some of my favorite episodes that I would recommend starting with are Kristen Bell, Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Kimmel and Zach Braff (hilarious). If you have a longer road trip coming up, definitely save some of these because the episodes are usually around two hours long. 

armchair expert podcast with Dax Shephard

Seasonal Eats

I've been feeling really inspired lately with all of the new summer produce, which has been great! Most notable are these chickpea salad radicchio cups that we'll be serving at my Summer Entertaining Made Simple event this Wednesday. P.S. All attendees will get access to the recipes that we showcase. This one is so good!

Two other recipes on my radar that I'm making ASAP: Walnut Chorizo Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Grilled Carrots with Avocado and Mint

chickpea salad in radicchio cups

Summer Beverages

Besides water I am loving all of these mocktails... and usually an actual cocktail if it's the weekend. My go-to adult beverages of the summer are been Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rosé (the cans are so fun!), Stem Ciders Salted Cucumber (so unique and amazing), and Epic Los Locos Mexican Lager. All of these are local to Colorado so you may or may not be able to find them if you live elsewhere. 

Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rose

Warm Weather Movement

On the exercise front I'm still loving ClassPass (affiliate link) for the flexibility it offers. Especially in the summer, since I don't like being tied to a membership at one place (I would much rather get outside to walk or run). I am currently on the lowest membership level which equates to about one class per week and it's been perfect! I use it most often to go to my favorite Barre3 studio but love that I can pop in to a new place with friends once in awhile too.

Also worth noting, ClassPass just added wellness services like facials, massage and acupuncture to their schedule in select markets. I tried out my very first facial over the weekend for the same amount of credits as a class (a total steal) and had a fantastic experience at Glow Facial Bar in Cherry Creek. It was super relaxing and my skin was all dewy and glowing afterwards. Definitely a fun treat!

What are you reading, listening to, eating, moving to? 

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My 2017 Healthyish Gift Guide

Is it just me, or is November totally flying by? Holiday shopping season starts in T-minus 11 days people. If you're anything like me, you always have great intentions of starting your shopping early. You might buy one or two things in October and think it's finally going to be that year, but then Thanksgiving comes and goes and you have yet to cross anyone else off your list. While I really do love buying gifts for my people, I have this annoying "need" to find the absolutely perfect thing which can sometimes drive me a little mad. I always check out online gift guides for ideas because there are so many cool things out there that I would never even know about otherwise. This year, I wanted to put together one myself! Here are some of my favorite healthyish things at the moment.

Oh and just a heads-up: This post contains some affiliate links. While these do not affect the purchase price of the item, they could result in me getting a small commission on anything you buy. Thank you for supporting this blog. Now on with the gifts!

The Instant Pot

It's probably no surprise that this made the list. I just talked about how much I love it in my post last week and I keep finding new and interesting ways to use it! Besides the ever-so-popular pressure cooker feature that the IP is known for, here are some other cool things you can make with it:

  • Yogurt

  • The perfect rice (minus all of the foam boiling over the pot and making a mess of your stovetop)

  • Anything that you would typically make in a slow cooker

  • Seared and shredded meat (with no extra pots/pans required)

  • Steamed vegetables

  • Oatmeal or other porridge

It's just an amazing all-around appliance and would open up a whole new world of cooking possibilities for the home chef in your life!

Green Chef Subscription

I have waxed poetic about Green Chef so many times over the last few months, but I'm still holding strong that it's nothing short of amazing! You can read my full review here, but in short Green Chef sends you a box of brightly colored, beautiful and creative meals along with recipe cards that explain exactly how to assemble them so 1) you don't have to plan dinners for the week and 2) you don't have to do a huge grocery shop. Perfect for post-holiday travel when you're craving plants and just can't think about what to cook. 

They don't offer a gift card option, but you can sign someone up for a box (I did this for my mom). It would be a fun gift for a couple who wants to start cooking more, or for anyone who wants to start trying some new cuisines or branch out from their usual meal rotation. 

Mediterranean Bowls via Green Chef

Mediterranean Bowls via Green Chef

Cookbooks

A cookbook is a great gift for home cooks, because while they provide new meal inspiration and are just plain fun to read, most people don't buy them "just because". I know I browse cookbooks online often but it's hard to justify spending $25-50 on one when free recipes are available all over the place. This is why they make the perfect gift. 

Here are two of my favorites, plus two that I've been eyeing but don't yet own:

Cravings, by Chrissy Teigen

Seriously Delish, by Jessica Merchant

Dinner: Changing the Game, by Melissa Clark

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, by Mark Bittman

fish tacos, a la Cravings

fish tacos, a la Cravings

Apple Watch Series 3 or Accessories 

This is obviously a more pricey option, but for the active person in your life it sure is fun to wear. I have a Series 1 that I got as a Christmas gift two years ago. The main reason I love it is because I can't wear most metal accessories without my wrist getting irritated, and I really like wearing a watch. I also love the look of the Apple Watch (it matches my casual style) and you can easily switch out the band based on the season or your mood. 

Now I'm not religious about tracking my steps or anything, but I do find it helpful for reminding me to get moving at times when I'm focused on a task and it's fun to see how many miles walked while on vacation or on a particularly active day. It's also a great run tracker when training for an event if you are someone who likes to keep track of pace, distance, etc. I rarely use mine for texting and answering calls, but know that those are features as well, and with the new Series 3 you don't even need your phone nearby to do so! 

If someone on your list already has a watch, a bright and funky watch band is a less expensive option that would be really fun to receive. I love the dusty blue or bright pink options for days when you need a little bit of color in your life. 

Cocktail Making Supplies

You might be asking yourself how anything related to alcohol made the cut on a "healthyish" gift guide, but let me explain. I'm a big believer in the power of learning how to make a bomb cocktail. It's just one of those adult skills that I think everyone should have. Plus, one great tasting high-quality cocktail means it will probably be a lot more satisfying, which can be helpful for someone trying to cut down on alcohol intake. Less is more you guys!

I'm partial to Moscow Mules, but really the options are endless here. I love the idea of giving a local, craft mixer for a special add-on and you can cater it to whatever cocktail your gift-ee really loves. 

Citrus Juicer - I couldn't find the exact one I have, but this one looks similar.

Moscow Mule Mugs - we got these as a wedding gift and use them a ton when hosting company!

Craft mixer - Fever Tree makes some really interesting mixers although I've never actually tried them - I have been on the hunt for their ginger beer for weeks!

best.host.ever

best.host.ever

Bon Appetit Magazine Subscription

BA magazine is so much fun to read every month. Yes, the recipes are creative and delicious but their photography and graphic design is what really keeps me reading. They also write really funny and true-to-life articles that I find so useful. One of the columns is called "Basically" where a simple skill is broken down. As an example, one month it was on how to make perfectly roasted potatoes. Oh, and then there's the hot 10 list that I look forward to all year where they choose their favorite 10 new restaurants in the country and showcase them in the September issue. 

There are other food magazines out there, but if you're looking for one that's a little bit out of the box and will really challenge someone in the kitchen, I would highly recommend Bon Appetit. 

ClassPass membership

Anyone who knows me well, knows that when it comes to fitness I can't stay put doing the same thing for very long. Enter, ClassPass - the ultimate solution that seems like it was designed just for me! If you aren't familiar, ClassPass essentially allows you access to all sorts of fitness studios all on one membership with an app that allows you to schedule based on location, class type and/or time. This would be perfect for someone who has a hard time committing to a gym membership because of an ever-changing work schedule, or anyone who loves trying out new formats often. Classes are available in 39 cities and if you travel, you can use your membership anywhere, not just in the city you sign up. 

I recently re-joined and remembered just how much I like the flexibility. I tried out Barre3 (which I loved) and a new-to-me Cycling/Core class that was also really fun. Other Denver favorites include Core Power Yoga, Pearl Street Fitness, Fierce45 which is a pilates megaformer class and Fit36 - a super quick option near my work that I also really like. Taking classes like this as a drop-in can easily cost upwards of $25/class so CP membership is a great deal. 

Starbucks Mug

This is a classic and probably a bit predictable, but there are just so many beautiful mugs at Starbucks these days! This is another one of those things that most people probably gawk over but never actually buy for themselves. You can't buy the mugs on Starbucks.com anymore, but you can of course still find them in store, and on sites like Amazon. Check out a few of these patterns:

Pretty Pattern

Fall Leaves

Iced Coffee Lovers

And then of course their city-specific collectible mugs and tumblers are great if you want to give a souvenir type gift to a special someone. I may be biased, but I think this Colorado one is pretty cool:

Colorado Mug