Five Things I'm Loving Now -- January 2019

Here it is, a new year, and I hope yours is off to a great start. My five things to love this month are a little different, because the first one isn’t really a “thing” at all—it’s the memories of a great trip over the holidays, to one of my favorite cities in the world, in the company of my favorite person in the world. Norm and I hadn’t had a real vacation in all of 2018, so we were definitely due for some time away. In a two-week span, we walked nearly 100 miles, ate delicious food, drank great wine, and explored amazing historical sites, museums and galleries. If I had to pick just a few favorite points in the trip, one would be our day in Ostia, roaming the ruins of that ancient city. Another would be the guided tour we took in the Testaccio neighborhood, of some great spots for authentic Roman food. And always a favorite, whether you are doing anything particular, or nothing at all, is the incomparable blue that is the Italian sky. I’m so grateful we were able to have this wonderful adventure together!

St. Peter’s Basilica at twilight.

St. Peter’s Basilica at twilight.

2. “Saturday Savings Plan”. This worked for me in 2018, so I’m carrying it into 2019. I decided last year that I would pay myself every Saturday, and put that money aside for the entire year. The amount I would pay myself corresponded with whatever the date was on Saturday. So, if the first Saturday is the 5th of the month, you pay yourself $5. What made this easy for me is that I was never having to pay myself more than $31 at a time, but once I started doing it, it started adding up! From January 2018 until the weekend before our trip, December 15, I accumulated $764 (plus some interest because I had transferred it monthly into savings.) That might not strike you as a big deal, but it was over $750 in “mad money” for the trip that was relatively easy to manage, on top of my regular pattern of putting some of my monthly income into savings. I kind of wish I had started this a long time ago. Try it and see if it works for you!

3. My focus this year is on being active, and finding ways to achieve this in ways that my body will tolerate and that will keep me motivated. Orange Theory Fitness has become part of that, but I’m only doing that twice a week. A tool I’m loving the other five days a week is the Aaptiv app. With guided workouts at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels for strength training, walking, yoga, stretching, outdoor running, treadmill running, cycling, and elliptical, there’s always something there for me. I have some free guest passes from Aaptiv; if you want to check it out, hit me with an email at happyvalleyhealthy@gmail.com, and I’ll send you one.

4. Wonder Wool Skirt from Skirt Sports - I love this skirt! Perfect combination of performance/active wear, and just plain cute. It features full-length leggings with a pocket on each thigh and a wool-blend skirt for a little extra warmth and butt coverage. I bought it in this true blue color and am so happy with it. Great for the gym, perfect for walking the dogs, running errands, or tooling around comfortably chic at home. Check out Skirt Sports here, and to save fifteen percent on any non-sale item, use my discount code, 1232Joyc. Oh yeah, and this image is the catalog image, not my actual belly, LOL.

Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Skirt in True Blue. http://bit.ly/2ONB646

Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Skirt in True Blue. http://bit.ly/2ONB646

5. Chocolate Protein Bites - Need a pick-me-up that won’t wreck your plans of eating healthy? Here’s a recipe for you. You will need:

  • 12 Pitted Medjool dates

  • 1/3 cup chocolate protein powder*

  • 2 Tablespoons Cacao powder

  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter**

  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut or other non-dairy “milk”

  • Unsweetened coconut flakes, for rolling

*Life’s Abundance chocolate plant protein is what I use and recommend, for clean ingredients and superior taste.

**Use unsalted peanut butter that contains ONLY peanuts.

Method: Put the 12 dates in a food processor with a mixing blade, and process until you achieve a large “ball”. Turn off the food processor and add the remaining ingredients and process until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl, and pinch it off in amounts that will make a 1” diameter ball. Roll in unsweetened coconut flakes. Don’t like coconut flakes? Roll in a little cacao powder or ground flax seed instead, or just leave them plain! These will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For me, they are a great answer to that little something sweet I often crave after lunch. Enjoy!

I get 20 protein balls from this recipe. Original recipe courtesy of Blair Johnson Wellness.

I get 20 protein balls from this recipe. Original recipe courtesy of Blair Johnson Wellness.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read what I’m loving this month! I’d love to hear what’s inspiring you or how you’re keeping active!