I am closing in on my birthday (the 22nd!) and wanted to take a second to celebrate 26 things that have made being twenty-six great. I use "things" literally. This is the stuff that I discovered and loved over the past year.
Bar Method / best workout ever. I will be an unpaid spokesman for the Bar Method for the rest of my life. When I moved out of San Diego, I was the most sad to say goodbye to a workout location. I realize that is seriously ridiculous (note : I am seriously ridiculous). But man, Bar Method changed my body. The DVDs are a good workout, but the motivation is much better in real life. I drive 60 miles one way to LA to take a class with my girlfriends once a month.
Brussels sprouts / I have eaten these before this year. But I didn't love them and live on them until Paul deployed and I started cooking them my special way : chopped and browned in a pan with olive oil, pepper, garlic salt, pecans and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Looking to add more meat to your meals? Throw a lean chicken sausage in there. Best ever.
New Balance Minimus running shoes / forefoot running saved my relationship with running. And it also saved my feet. Funny story : my feet used to ache after spending a day walking in low-support flats. Since I started forefoot running in minimal shoes, they don't. My feet are stronger. Sidenote : $2 neon orange laces from Target can really make a difference.
Born to Run / I've talked about this book before, but it was a good one. It's difficult to read because you keep wanting to throw it on the ground and run out the door. It's a good reminder that running is normal. We evolved as runners. It's difficult to make excuses not to run after reading this book.
David's Tea / Kal Barteski got me completely hooked. I am officially a tea drinker. I adore David's Tea from the branding to the cute names to the endless flavors. Tea has been my official night-time drink since Paul deployed.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 / I am obsessed with Harry Potter and have read all the books at least half a dozen times. The movies usually serve as sort of bonus footage and are enjoyed because I am a book fan. But the last movie was amazing. For the first time ever, I thought the movie was on par and at some points better than the book (well at least the second half was better than the second half). I could write a 10 page single spaced essay on this movie, but the bottom line is I loved it.
thin gold ring / I have been looking for a thin gold ring to wear on my right hand pointer finger for over five years. I wish I was joking. Then on a visit to Santa Barbara in January, I stumbled on one in a little boutique for 12 bucks. It was super awesome until it fell off my finger doing laundry last week. I'm bummed, but now it just justifies a trip to SB for a back up.
Lululemon run crops / I could probably just say Lululemon everything. I knew about this store for a few years, but always wrote it off as too expensive. And it is expensive. But the quality is insanely good. Soft as can be, with fantastic attention to detail. I have collected quite a bit of their clothing now and wear most of it inside out half the time (the stitching is so perfect on the underside you can't even tell). I am addicted.
Instagram / the app I thought I didn't understand turned out to be the best ever. I love how much it makes me use my iPhone camera. I love the user-friendly format. I love following my online and real-life friends. I love how quickly it updates. I love that they updated it so you don't have to have the frames on each photo. I love that a bunch of photos together makes perfect grid and serves as an everyday time capsule. (You can follow me there under username "elisejoy.")
Flipboard / I saw Flipboard in action on a friend's iPad and never looked back. It's my favorite way to read blogs and stay up to date on news, celebrity gossip, twitter and everything else. iPad app of the year times 100. (p.s. Rachel, recognize anything?)
Friday Night Lights / this show... I have gone on and on and on about it. So I won't go further other than to say - clear eyes, full heart, can't lose.
succulents / I can't remember exactly when I bought my first succulent, but I think it was last spring. They were all over the place in San Diego and they are all over the place up in Oxnard. I have about four in my house that I feed lots of sunlight and am careful not to water and then they do just fine.
Pangea Organics / I made some changes to my skincare routine this past year and started the transition to all natural products. Mostly in an effort to fix my terrible nose pores and chronic dry skin, but also to healthy things up so I am better equipped to grow a tiny human in the next year or so. Pangea Organics was recommended by a lot of people and I love their face lotion, face mask, toner and body lotion.
short hair / Elise, of the future, if you are reading this and have grown your hair out and are currently rocking a side pony because that's all you can do, go to the nearest salon and get it chopped off again.
Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism / this book changed my life. That is not an exaggerated statement. You can read more about it here, but I know my outlook on food is forever changed. And this is coming from a girl who struggled with food on and off for the past decade. I feel like my struggles are behind me and it's mostly because I am in a really great place mentally but also thanks to this rad book.
greek yogurt / my favorite is with a bit of honey, some walnuts and a cut up banana. But any fruit is perfect.
Project Life / I know I am still very early in the project and there is a lot of year (and then years) ahead. But I love this method of memory keeping. For me, it represents a return to the basics with a creative twist. I want to keep it up forever and what I have captured so far already makes me want to cry.
soy candles / In January, I started burning candles almost every night. I buy them everywhere - Target, Anthropologie, little boutiques...where ever. And they burn evenly and longer than "normal" candles so I can usually justify the extra cost.
hand-knits / I bought a fantastic knitted scarf from Hey Jen Renee that I adore. And I loved making the checkered blanket. I've got an idea for another blanket, but next is this cowl, if I can figure out how to do those stitches.
black and white paint / I love color. But I've realized from what I pin on pinterest that neutrals really have my heart. Black and white paint came through for me in a big way this year.
The Sing-Off / I am not normally one for reality TV. Okay, that's a total lie. I should say, I am not one for American Idol or any show about children raising children. Singing shows usually make me run the opposite direction. But I love the non-cheesy, non-product placement focus that is this singing show. A cappella is incredible. I tuned in for season three and downloaded many, many of the songs. This performance, especially, was fantastic.
No Envy, No Fear / this song by Joshua Radin pulls at my heart and then flips my stomach and then brings tears to my eyes. I heard it for the first time shortly after Paul deployed and it sums up the attitude I have worked so hard to embrace since then.
that old trunk / the white trunk I found at a crowded antique shop near my house got the ball rolling on my non-Ikea decorating plan. It inspired me to build furniture, repaint furniture and add stripes to my walls. And then, it helped me think outside the box while decorating my new place, which really just means I am currently living in a craft museum of my own design.
Trader Joes / a grocery store is on my list of favorite things. This means I am old. But for real, I started shopping here consistently because there was one by my Bar Method studio. The stuff is cheap, the people are nice and they have my favorite things... like Brussels sprouts on a stalk, fresh basil and full-fat greek yogurt.
"I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health." - Voltaire / I heard some wonderful quotes this past year, but this one is it.
I feel like this is my version of Oprah's favorite things. I wish at the end I could say "Aaaaaaaaaand, you get an antique trunk! You get an antique trunk!" Maybe next year? But seriously. Killer list. Killer year. I think the stuff I read in these books or embraced as a tool or wore on my body or welcomed into my home will stick around for a long while. I cannot wait to see what 27 awesome things I'll discover next year.