I thought it might be fun to share some of my discoveries this summer with you all. There are things I've stumbled on, whether it be a podcast or food, that I love so much I want to share so that you can embrace them too. Later this week I'll be sharing my favorite memories from the summer, and I may do a separate "summer jams" post.
But for now, here are 10 things I fell in love with this summer:
Smash Hit Kickboxing
I have been taking Kickboxing at my local YMCA for well over a year. But it was only once a week, and, frankly, I wanted more. So I started looking around for other places that offered kickboxing and stumbled on a small kickboxing gym near my house. They have beginners classes, cardio kickboxing, bootcamp, etc. I absolutely love it. It focuses so much on the technique and the athleticism of kickboxing. I've learned so much in my 3 months of taking classes there and I honestly feel like it's been a huge asset to my weight loss journey. I noticed a major change in the sculpt of my calf muscles from all the kicking, my reflexes are quicker, and I've gotten stronger. I look forward to every class at Smash Hit, but my favorite is the Saturday morning bootcamp style class. I walk out of there and have to wring out my headband of sweat. For those in the area, looking for a new way to workout, please check out this gym! It's been my favorite summer activity.
Yeah, I know. Trader Joe's is nothing new for most people. But I had never stepped foot in one until this summer, and now it's the only place I go for my groceries. It really is as awesome as everyone says it is. They have unique variety of foods that are usually pretty healthy, the prices are great, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. I'm a big fan of their chicken sausage, trail mix, Inner Peas snack, sushi, and pre made salads. But really, I've liked almost everything I've purchased from Trader Joe's. And I love the conversations I have with the staff.
I don't eat a lot of meat, so I try to sneak in protein in other ways...eggs, peanut butter, trail mix, etc. I Someone suggested I try a protein bar, specifically, quest bars. You guys....they are delicious. The best part? They are healthy! Unlike a lot of other bars, they aren't packed with sugar and they are low in calories. I am obsessed with the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. It's a sweet treat in the middle of the day when you are craving chocolate. I also sneak them into movie theaters for my snack :) You can find Quest Bars at GNC, Trader Joe's, and.... 7 Eleven. Yes, 7 Eleven. I was shocked. And they actually carry a wide variety of flavors there.
Summer TV isn't exactly thrilling. I don't watch much TV anyways. But I stumbled on an article about a show on Lifetime called Unreal and I just had to check it out. The verdict? Obsessed. It is a fictional show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the production of The Bachelor. I don't even watch The Bachelor- never seen an episode in my life. But Unreal is fascinating. It really makes you think....and it's quite scary to think that the manipulation that happens behind the scenes actually happens on "reality" tv. If you need a show to binge watch this weekend, try Unreal.
Reply All Podcast
I started listening to podcasts lasts fall when Serial was all the rage. I was addicted to Serial and Invisibilia- both of which are on a break right now. When they went on a break, so did I . I went back to listening to the radio and the music on my phone. But then my favorite morning show host was let go from the station I listened to every morning....so I was on a search to find a new podcast. Which leads me to Reply All. I know there are a zillion podcasts out there, but I landed on Reply All and I love it. It's basically a show about the Internet. It takes different "things" out there and explores them...like Craigslist or Twitter. It's really interesting, and funny. The episodes are short so it's perfect for my commute. I was really glad to discover Reply All.
Subscription boxes are super popular right now- and for good reason! It's so convenient to get a gift delivered to you each month. I know a lot of gals who get makeup subscription boxes. NatureBox is a healthy snack subscription. My roommate got me a gift card to NatureBox for my birthday so I used it toward my first two boxes, and I will continue it. I love it! It's so fun to try different, healthy snacks. My favorite snacks have been Coffee Kettle Corn Popcorn, Honey Dijon Pretzels, Pumpkin Praline Seeds. I've enjoyed almost everything, though.
My trips to Salvation Army stores used to be for Halloween costumes or just to see what kind of odd things I could find. Now, it's where I do the majority of my clothes shopping. For starters, it's cheap. But because I am still losing weight, I can't stand the thought of spending $80 on a pair of jeans that may not fit in a few months. Enter Salvation Army (or any Goodwill store, really...I've just had the most luck at Salvation Army). There is a particular store in Rochester, MI that has far exceeded my expectations. I've snagged some awesome finds there- including a beautiful purple wrap dress that was perfect for my birthday dinner- and I always find myself wishing I was nearby so I can stop in. If you've never tried to shop at a Salvation Army, go for it. You may be surprised!
Starbucks Cold Brew
I am an Iced Coffee kind of girl. And, I like my coffee strong. So when Starbucks announced that they were going to be selling Cold Brew, I was ecstatic. It is so delicious, and oh so strong. Folks who aren't a fan of coffee probably won't like it. I had Tom take a sip once and he shook his head like a wet dog. But I love it. Even though I try to cut back on coffee, I just can't resist Cold Brew. It is perfect for a summer day.
I've only become a somewhat serious runner this summer. And by somewhat serious, I mean I run once a week.... for 3 miles, tops. But, RunKeeper has been my best pal during this journey to becoming a runner. It counts your miles, tracks your pace, plays music while you run, etc. There are a couple apps just like this, but I prefer RunKeeper over any of them. I like that, when I finish, it compares it to my other workouts so I can keep track of my progress and personal records. I use it for walks, too, and you can use it for hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, and even swimming (still haven't figured out how you can do that without killing your phone but hey). It's a great app for those who want to keep track of their workouts.
I had never heard of StitchFix until I complimented a coworker on her blouse. She responded by telling me it was from StitchFix- a subscription box that sends you new clothes based on your style. After taking a survey on your sizes, style, etc, you are assigned a personal stylist who picks out items for you. You pay $20 for the box, which you can then use toward any item (s) you want to keep. I signed up because now that I am a smaller size than I can ever remember being, I need some help dressing myself. I'm so used to just wearing frumpy clothes because that's all that fit. I need some assistance in wearing clothes that fit and that look good! I have not gotten my first box yet, but I plan on posting a review on the blog when I do.
So there you have it, some of my favorite things I have found this summer. Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts?