June has been a struggle my friends. Work is getting more and more exhausting. Not for the same reasons things ran off track earlier in the year, and not in the same way. But it’s still been a struggle to get from Monday to Friday with some energy left over for the weekend. I have criticized people in general for staying at jobs they hate, and tying themselves to the cliches of despising Mondays and celebrating Fridays like a national holiday; you are not married to that job. If you hate it, go find another one. You are a victim of your own damn self. That said, I feel really guilty when I catch myself being relieved it’s Friday if only because I am ready to sleep in and not think about work.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my job. It’s just really hard right now. There are so many changes, so many issues, and so many varying voices and directions being given. It’s draining. And I am quickly reaching my limit. Add to that our disheartening search for a place to live that is closer to work, my body trying to figure itself out post-birth control, and minimal stress related to wedding planning, and I’m a hot mess. So naturally I am trying to focus my spare time on the things that help restore me and heal any damage that is being done day to day.
So my June Favorite’s list is going to be themed heavily around self-care, specifically the things that help me feel like a more whole, healthy, and balanced person. I’ve got 2 books for you, some products, some media, and of course food.
- First up: food. It’s so easy in stressful seasons like this to attach emotion and stress to our food choices and let those things influence us. It’s easy to reach for the junk food or unhealthy comfort foods, and justify those choices. The problem is it usually only provides momentary satisfaction, and the consequences later can make us feel even worse than before. With the exception of an occasional veggie pizza and some black bean burritos from Taco Bell, I’ve been sticking to my vegan and plant-based eating habits. One thing that has been helping me to stay motivated and inspired are YouTube channels and blogs that focus a lot on vegan food and recipes. This month’s favorite is Madeleine Olivia. She is vegan and minimalist, not to mention British, all of which make me very happy. She has a variety of videos with cheap, easy, one-pot vegan meals, all of which look amazing in my opinion.
- Which brings me to the second food favorite: Risotto! In Madeleine’s most recent One Pot Vegan Meals video she made mushroom risotto. I’ve seen this dish on a few other channels so finally decided to try it. I decided on squash instead of mushrooms, and made it with a liquid combination of red wine, vegetable stock, and water. Topped with hemp hearts and some nutritional yeast, it was AMAZING! I’m going to be making this a lot more in the future and will try to share some of my own recipe variations with you.
- At the beginning of the month I brought a stack of new books for myself. I’m now through 2 of them and both are wonderful. First up is David Sedaris’s new book Calypso. I’ve been a huge fan of David’s writing for years, so was excited to see a new release and this one did not disappoint. His stories are real and relatable, with darkness and humor interwoven. It’s thought-provoking and entertaining all at once. I have so much love for his work.
- Second is Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. I know this one has been out for a while and I’m behind the times. But I’ve seen her work out and about on the web and am always struck by her words. So I finally got myself a copy and was thoroughly mesmerized the whole way through. This is the beginning of a life-long love affair with her poetry, I’m sure. I do not have the words to describe to beauty and truth of her poetry, so I won’t try. Go find this and experience it for yourself.
- Do you remember my May Favorites post and the Flowers YouTube channels? Well in one of Kate’s videos she talked about her makeup routine, in which she sang the praises of the brand 100% Pure. They have skincare, makeup, and body care products, all of which are all natural and plant based. The ingredient list on each of their products is ridiculously short, easy to comprehend, and 100% recognizable. They are a bit pricey for the amount of product you get, but the quality is amazing and I know what I’m putting on my skin isn’t going to cause any issues – now or in the long run. One product I’m currently enjoying is their Restorative Sea Culture Hydrating Toner, but I’ve just ordered a moisturizer, cleanser, mascara, and a sample pack of one of their foundations. If everything goes well, I may eventually do a separate blog post about the products I’ve tried and what I recommend.
- This next one may seem a bit random, but it’s something I ordered back in May and am loving. Bamboo paper towels. I’ve tried replacing regular paper towels with various cloth options, but have never really been impressed with any of them. I saw this as I was browsing sustainable, low waste products on Amazon and was intrigued. For $7 a roll, I figured why not? I am still trying to figure out the best way to store them once I’ve removed them from the roll and cleaned them for further use. The work like paper towels, have a softer but equally effective texture, rinse and ring out like a light rag, and when you are done you can run them through the laundry. I was thinking of buying another roll but realized I don’t need any more right now. I will definitely not be repurchasing regular paper towels anymore.
- I bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap in Almond back in January or something, and tried it once or twice as body wash before deciding it was not for me. It felt too drying on my skin – you know that overly-squeaky clean feeling? So I put it away in case I found another use for it. Well, as the weather has warmed and we’ve been tackling house projects, I’ve found myself in need of something a bit stronger than my usual body wash. Needless to say, this bottle has come in handy. I do have to make sure to moisturize thoroughly afterward, but it’s helped clean paint and fence stain, dirt and dust, and layers of sweat off with minimal scrubbing effort. I’m also in love with Sal Suds for cleaning my kitchen sink and garbage disposal.
- And lastly I have a new music discovery. I’ve heard some of my favorite artists mention Betty Who on social media but just recently went to Spotify to check her out. Her music has been just the vibe I need to keep motivated during the day and relieve stress in the evening. Beer and dance party in the shower anyone?
July has started out with a bang (pun unintended) so who knows what the rest of the month will look like. We spend last weekend getting out house ready to put on the market, we are camping this weekend with the family, and next weekend my sister will be in town. Things are going to get exponentially more busy between now and early October, so forgive me if I go MIA. I’ll be back eventually, I promise. And by then it will be fall and time for ALL of the best things!
Currently drinking: Iced sun tea with Monin lavender syrup
Currently watching: M*A*S*H on Hulu! Woot! So happy they added ALL seasons of this!
Hello! I’m Whitney and this is my home for all things food and life.