Friday, March 20, 2015

15 Gifts for the Jane Austen Enthusiast

Dear Friends,

Happy First Day of Spring!  I know it doesn't quite feel like it yet (and some of you are reporting snow in your area), but I wish you many upcoming days of blossoms + sunshine.

I've been seeing some fabulous Austen-inspired gifts, and thought I'd put together a list of 15 favorites!

Hope you enjoy,
Sara XX

(You can find: L, R)
 1.  It is a truth universally acknowledged that any Jane Austen fan can never have enough versions of their favorite novel...
2 + 3.  Tote-ing around groceries and running errands is made pleasanter with an Austen-inspired bag...
(You can find: L, R)

4 + 5.  Beautiful prints via Etsy
(You can find: L, R)

6 + 7.  For the decorator and Austen-enthusiast
(You can find: L, R)

8 + 9.  Tea time with Jane
(You can find: L, R)

10 + 11.  Hard-core fandom...Jane action figure + band-aids (we have the bandages at the shop)!

(You can find: L, R available at the shop!)

12 + 13.  Would recommend these two modern tales to any Janeite...
(You can find: L, R)
14 + 15.  For the littlest Austen fans (start your readers early!)!!
(You can find: L, R)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Beyond the Mileage

Dear Friends,

I have a confession...I still really dislike running.  A lot.  I'm feeling overwhelmed this week.  When I tried running the same trails my first 5K will follow, I didn't even make it a mile on the hills without stopping to walk.  After 6 weeks of training.  Ugh.

Running seems so simple.  Put one foot in front of the other.  I think of all the people who run 26 + miles!  What could I have done differently?  I'd followed a program for increasing distance, broken in personally fitted running shoes, added in weights, and cross-trained weekly.

But instead of going home and mentally berating myself, I grabbed my water and yoga mat and sat in the sunshine and let myself just breathe in and out.  I even tried listening to some relaxing river music but then, you have to pee.

Allowing myself to be where I am...perhaps that might be the healthiest goal of all.  

(Image L: source)
One thing I've done to try and re-focus my mind on goals other than running or hours at the gym was to make a varied chart/checklist.  There are fitness checks, but there are also goals like get my daily amount of calcium, call a family member or friend to catch up, and take the dogs to the park.

Each goal accomplished gets a simple check.  As two-dimensional as it is, it feels good to look over a month of accomplishments.  You could even count the checks and have rewards from the previous post, or create your own.

Leave a few blank spots to pencil in goals as you think of them, or too add even one-time goals.  A few other ideas might be:

- Be in bed by ___ PM every night
- Vacuum or de-clutter one area of the house
- Pay bills on time
- Make a gift for someone
- Cook a new recipe
- Clean out the closet
- Wash and fold laundry
- Read a new story to your kids
- Organize the kitchen pantry/cupboards

What might be some of your goals?  If you would like a copy, I've uploaded a blank chart as a PDF --- just follow the link .

In pursuit of a healthier life,
Sara XX

Friday, January 30, 2015

Back Soon...

Just a little note to let you know that we will be closed / away Sat, 1/31 and Tues 2/3 - Thurs 2/5
The shop will be back open on Fri 2/6 for First Fridays Downtown 11AM - 8PM, in time for you to nab Valentines like the ones below!

Until Soon,

Sara XX

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Just Send Waffles Pt 2: Healthy Goodies + Activities

Dear Friends,

My neighbor and I were talking the other day about how food has become a go-to method for rewarding ourselves for something good (or bad)...and how often socializing involves eating out. In fact it's quite difficult it is to find activities that don't revolve around food.  While I love lingering conversations over a good meal and a glass of wine more than anything, (and will continue to plan room for these special meals), I also want to challenge myself to find activities I enjoy apart from drinks or dinner out --- for my health and my wallet!  Winter makes it even trickier, without flavorful farmers markets and sunshine beckoning us outside.

Drinking 8 glasses of water a day must surely be easier when full of colorful + bright fruit!!
(Source: L, R)
After reading an article on non-food rewards, I've been trying to come up with a list of activities and goodies on my own.  Not wanting to swap out one fallback habit for another (cough, shopping...), here's what I've come up with so far.  I'd love to hear some of yours!!

Low Cost OR Free Goodies/Activities:
1.  Save new songs to a workout playlist (If you already have Pandora or Spotify, make a new mix to put on shuffle)
2.  Grab a new water bottle, insulated ones are great to keep water chilled at work or the gym
3.  Try a new nail polish and a DIY paint job
4.  Download a new app to track fitness minutes or other goals
5.  Make room in your grocery list for fresh fruit or berries for infused water or fresh juicing
6.  Buy a new shower gel for after the gym OR a scented candle for a muscle-soak
7.  Try a new all-fruit Popsicle or 100% juice/coconut water/sparkling water
8. Invite friends over for a) watching a live sporting event and challenge yourself to make only fresh snacks, b) a game night with a tea bar, or c) a home-spa evening, have everyone bring 2 or 3 nail polish colors and try a new color on each finger if you want!
9.  Read the free guilty-pleasure magazines while working out at the gym
10.  Go to the library and check out a new movie or book, give your body a rest

I love my floral Gaiam mat + my Contigo water bottles.
Mid-Cost Goodies/Activities:
11.  Purchase a yoga mat or band to try out some Youtube moves
12.  Buy some fun recipe cards to jot down a few favorite home-cooked, healthy staples
13.  Find a new article of workout clothing in a bright or fun color
14.  Listen to music at the gym with a fun new pair of headphones or earbuds
15.  Experiment by taking a new class somewhere (yoga, barre, kickboxing, etc.)
16.  Sign up for a health or fresh cooking magazine subscription OR grab a new journal to track food, write new recipes down in, or just decompress thoughts
17.  Splurge on a manicure OR a pair of lifting gloves!

I'm fairly certain I would run faster with these hedgehog earbuds from Modcloth...
(Source: L, C, R)
Save-Up Goodies/Activities:
18.  Celebrate a new goal achieved by signing up for a fun art class (like the ones at Larkin!), or go to a live show at a local brewery --- something you really enjoy
19.  Sign up for a gym membership or add on to a current one with pool or class perks
20.  Try a new hairstyle (cut or color)
21.  Research a new workout technique you're interested in, invest in the supplies (like boxing gloves, yoga bands, hiking/camping gear)
22.  Get fitted for a really good pair of running shoes
23.  Save up for a massage to soothe sore muscles
24.  Invest in a fitness tracker (this is one I've not done yet, keeping it as a big reward)...would like to try a fitbit to track heart rate, sleep, steps, etc.
25.  Plan a beach trip and run by the sea <3

Top: Running by the water with the sun setting, yes please!
Lower: Try a new class as a treat to mix-up your routine!!

Just as an FYI, here are some of the local gyms and studios in Harrisonburg.  I'm only familiar with Gold's, 24/7, Planet Fitness, RMH, and Breathe, but I've heard great things about the rest!  

Gyms (alphabetically):
24/7 Harrisonburg Family Fitness
Gold's Gym
Planet Fitness
RMH Wellness Center

Studios (alphabetically):
Breathe: Pilates/Barre
The Center: Yoga
Hot Yoga Harrisonburg
The Nest: Yoga
Shenandoah Yoga

Any thoughts or ideas?  Leave some below!

Until Soon,
Sara XX

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Just Send Waffles...

Dear Friends,

It's funny how winter both comforts us in layers and layers of clothing yet taunts us with the anxiety of half-naked bathing suit weather to come.

For those of you who have made goals for the new year, or just struggle to maintain a fitness routine, let's just take a minute to applaud you.  To clap for the freezing runs, the heavy weights, the tired feet...

How winter makes you want to feel...
L, source ; R, source
Last December I made the choice to give up soda, eat cleaner, and start back regularly at the gym.  I don't know what prompted this desire for change, but I thank that mystery motivation every day.  Today is day 57 without sugary-yummy cola --- and I've clocked in 1,724 minutes of sweating/dying/ridiculousness at the gym.  I'm learning to crave strength + endurance, and somewhere in the midst of all of this, I started having fun.

A part of my attempts at a healthier state of living was to find fitness inspiration.  One thing I noticed right away was that 99%  of fitness posters and images online show men and women with "ideal" bodies...and quotes like "Rome wasn't built in a day" tattooed over a lovely Beyonce-ful butt.  Women with perfectly perky bits working out in spandex. But this isn't what anyone looks like exercising, is it?  We sweat, we get red in the face, we huff and puff...and as lovely as Beyonce's bum is, I'd just be happy to run 3.2 miles in March without dying.

I finally filtered together a board of inspiration quotes and recipes for fruit-infused waters and fitness tips, and my favorite photograph was at the above left: "Today I GET TO workout".  I'm realizing how very fortunate I am to have the ability to get out there and use the body I have at any level.

I also read a memoir by food-blogger Andie Mitchell, a woman who lost over 135 pounds in her twenties and realized how large a role food addiction and eating disorders played in her body battle.  I gobbled it up in one day, touched by her honest revelations about food and how it had become an addiction, her main source for dulling the aches and pains that life inevitably brings.

L: "It Was Me All Along"
R: Andie Mitchell's blog, "Can You Stay for Dinner?"
I've sat with friends, sharing stories of how we find motivation within...of tools we've found useful, fun new classes, evening runs.  Even more powerful, stories of struggling with body image and battling shame.

All of this has inspired me to continue making changes.  To pursuing new recipes, to push my body in new ways, to allow myself moments of weakness and temptation.  It's also created a desire to be open with struggles I've kept to myself.  Maybe to even write a little more about the journey, and I hope, to hear about yours.

So friends, though this has nothing at all to do with vintage or home decor, let's talk about things we've learned at the gym (or treadmill at home, hiking paths, cycling trails, or yoga studio).

P.S. If you'd ever like to try a new class with someone who's willing to look quite silly, give me a call!

Until Soon,
Sara XX