Summer kick-off has officially begun (woo!) and I thought I’d pop in with some behind-the-scenes updates. I haven’t been posting as much, but I’ve been recipe testing (and re-testing and re-testing) like crazy and excited to share some new ideas soon!
But first, a few deeper thoughts on my mind lately: I’ve dedicated the past couple years to a conscious self-growth & improvement journey. That means less screen time. More reading & expanding the mind. Finding awareness behind my thoughts & emotions. Questioning things and approaching them with curiosity. Slowing down to live in the present. Practicing mindful consumption in all aspects – with purchases, what I eat, and what I allow my brain to consume (reading, watching, social media, etc.) I’ve been consciously striving to fill my days with truly meaningful, authentic, and gratitude-filled moments. Of course I’m human, so I make mistakes and there’s always more progress to be made, but it feels like a worthwhile journey that can always be continued & improved upon every single day. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this and what it means to you to live consciously 💙 Now onward to 15 things I’m loving lately!
1. All the lilacs!
There’s so much beauty in this world and I’ve been nose-deep in lilacs smelling all the smells 💜 One of my favorite scents! (And not too shabby on the eyes either.)
2. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone
The Old Faithful geyser puts on quite a show just steps from this inn, but I love this building just as much. It was built in 1904 with local logs & stone and is the largest log hotel in the world. I can literally feel the 100+ years of history when I walk in this place and it takes my breath away every time. I haven’t spent the night here (yet!) but it’s on my bucket list. Anyone else ever visited the inn?
Read more about it on the Old Faithful Inn Wikipedia page, so cool!
3. “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
One of the most powerful books I’ve read in a while and very well written. Bryan has done (and is still doing) absolutely incredible work, challenging and urging the reform of our criminal justice system in the United States by fighting for fair & equal treatment for all. A true eye-opener and profound read – highly recommend. (Check out “Just Mercy” on Amazon if you’re interested.)
4. Kindergarten Hike
My daughter finished up her kindergarten year with a class trip to a local hiking trail here in Bozeman, Montana. A fun day of sunshine, wildflowers, and happy kids!
5. Lost Cities Card Game
I bought this game for my husband for Christmas and we’re fairly obsessed. It’s a two person game with a simple concept but intriguing strategy – it plays a little different every time. I love that it’s quick and easy to set up, plus one round only takes about 10-15 minutes, so you can string together however many you want.
See “Lost Cities” on Amazon if you’re interested! (There’s also a Lost Cities board game but I’m not familiar with that version – would love to hear if anyone’s played it.)
I just started learning ukulele and am really enjoying it so far. I played cornet in jr. high & high school and piano a bit as a kid (trying to brush up those skills as well) but was looking for a fun new challenge and ukulele called out to me. Music is something I continually strive to inject more of in our home (with the hope it’ll keep inspiring my daughter to be musically inclined).
Here’s the ukulele I bought if you’re interested. (I’m by no means an expert – just did some research, decided on this one, and am very happy with it so far.)
7. Herb Garden
Trying my hand at a wee little herb garden out on our front porch this year with basil, cilantro, and parsley. So far so good! I love being able to just walk outside and take what I need (or sometimes just to smell the basil) as opposed to buying big bundles that I have trouble using up. Less waste, more fun! We’re in a rental place right now (read: no garden) so I’m also trying some container tomatoes and bell peppers. Fingers crossed they do well!
The past few months I’ve upped my Sudoku in an effort to sharpen my brain. I’ve been trying to swap out a lot of the time I used to spend consuming things with doing things instead. (Puzzles, learning new skills, music, etc.) Any other sudoku fiends out there? I’m almost finished with the “Essential Book of Sudoku” and I’ve got my eye on this advanced puzzle book next.
9. City of Asheville’s Vegan Challenge
I recently came across this article and I’m pretty sure it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. Apparently the city of Asheville, NC declared the first-ever city wide vegan challenge week (complete with a proclamation signed by the mayor!) They’re raising awareness about animal justice, environmental/climate justice, and plant-based nutrition to improve health. Even restaurants and businesses are getting involved – how awesome is that?! Great & inspiring things happening in the city of Asheville, I love it.
PS – check out the “City Vegan Challenge” website and see how you can encourage your own city to try it too!
10. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
I don’t watch The Daily Show but I’ve been intrigued by Trevor’s story & background for a while and this book was a fantastic read about his experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa. It was an awesome recommendation from someone on Instagram – I always love getting your recommendations, so keep ’em coming!
Check out “Born a Crime” on Amazon if you’re interested!
11. Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies
The lovely Ashley from Blissful Basil is the mastermind behind our favorite (vegan & gluten-free!) peanut butter cookies. My daughter loves helping with the criss-cross before baking and I love the simple ingredients – plus they taste so darn good. We’re at a higher altitude so I usually cook ours a bit longer (about 15-18 minutes typically.) Huge thanks to Ashley for posting them! See the recipe from Blissful Basil here
12. House Plants
I’m a semi-minimalist at heart, but in the case of plants… more = better. This is our newest friend (a variegated snake plant) which, as a bonus, is also on NASA’s Clean Air Study list. One plant closer to jungle-izing our home!
13. Mumford & Sons
I’ve been diving into the wonderful world of Ayurvedic medicine & lifestyle for a few months and love the incredible knowledge packed into these books. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest healing system that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The word Ayurveda literally means “the knowledge or study of life”. It addresses the root causes of our health challenges at all levels (body, mind, and spirit) and empowers us to take control of our whole-body health through natural methods. I’ve really enjoyed trying out several of the practices (like adding in more beneficial spices, seasonal eating, striving to wake up at 6am every day, etc.) Many of the recipes/tips in Ayurveda include dairy and some meat, but I alter the methods to stay aligned with my plant-based lifestyle.
Check out Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom and The Ayurveda Way on Amazon if you’re interested! Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom is a bit more in-depth and full of wonderful knowledge (more textbook-like), and The Ayurveda Way is a simplified version of 108 practices you can put into use – both are lovely books.
15. Zero Waste Journey… Continued
I’ll dedicate a future post to things I’ve implemented towards a more sustainable lifestyle (less waste, less plastic) but it’s been SO fun making these small, continual changes. The past several months I’ve been going through our home, lifestyle, and diet to basically question everything and refine our habits to strive for the lowest ecological footprint. It’s sort of a fun game seeing what changes you can make to refuse, reduce, reuse as much as possible. I’ve been fascinated with this topic for a while, but the book “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson inspired me even more to expand my efforts.
That’s a wrap! What have you been loving lately?
Share below in the comments or come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram! I love connecting with you all. Wishing everyone a lovely start to summer! -Kaitlin
Disclosure: The Garden Grazer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to amazon.com and affiliated sites. I only share things I absolutely LOVE and also personally use! (There is no additional cost to you in clicking the affiliate link.)