Five new things I’ve added to my life in the last year that I love
Hello, my friends! How are you? We had a cold weekend here in Charlotte, and we were mostly inside working on potty training for Brady. Good times!
Now this is a super-random post, but it felt right for this strange moment of time I’m currently in. We’ve been in Charlotte for one month, we move into our new house at the end of this week, and there’s been a whole lot of change happening.
That being said, I was recently thinking about little additions I’ve made to my life (to complement the big changes, of course), and it seemed like a good idea to write about it all …
Five new things I’ve added to my life in the last year that I love
Here we go …
1. Oat milk as my alternative milk of choice
I’ve been using “alternative” milk for years, and I’ve tried them all. At one point, I used almond, then coconut, then cashew, then pea protein, but it wasn’t until the summer that I finally tried oat milk.
Well, my friends, I am in love with oat milk. There are some good versions and some watery versions. I prefer the Califia Farms Original Oat Milk, and it’s the creamiest alternative milk option around. I use it in my morning collagen tea latte, in oatmeal, and in my afternoon tea latte. When I go to order a latte at a coffee shop, if they have oat milk, I always get it. If they don’t have it, I’m disappointed.
Now, I won’t say that oat milk has any major nutritional benefits over other options — it’s not full of protein, and it has more calories and carbs than some other alternative milks — but it is creamy and oh-so-pleasing. I love it. If you haven’t done oat milk yet, go for it. All the other milk options taste terrible to me now that I’ve switched to oat. Oat milk for life.
2. Wearing an Apple watch and monitoring some metrics
I may have been late to the Apple watch party, but now I see what all the fuss is about. I’ve had my Apple watch since the spring of last year, and I love it. I hadn’t worn an activity tracker in a long time when I got the watch. And yes, I can monitor my activity, but I also love the fact that I can get my texts, emails and notifications on my wrist. It helps me to not have to look at my phone all day. I see what came in, and then usually decide to table it for later. This is especially nice on walks or during playtime with Brady when I don’t want to be on my phone. And sometimes, Dave and I use the walkie-talkie feature too, because he also has a watch.
I actually love the metrics that you get from the watch too, which go far beyond the old step-trackers of years before. In fact, I never even look at my steps on the Apple watch at all. The things that I track each day include making sure that I stand up enough throughout the day, exercise for 30 minutes (which doesn’t have to be official exercise, just getting the heart-rate up enough) and burn a certain amount of calories. I also like to see what my heart-rate is during workouts. For instance, I can see where it lands during maximum efforts, then watch it recover quickly. I like to share my activities with friends who also have watches, so I can see what type of workouts they are doing each day too.
By the way, when you hit a metric with an Apple watch, it’s called closing a ring. I like to close all three of my rings most days of the week, but it definitely doesn’t happen every day, and certainly not on my rest day. And since we moved, I haven’t been closing my rings nearly as often as I used to. Currently, I always hit my stand and exercise goals, but sometimes I don’t hit my “move” or calorie burn goal. Totally okay.
I think the Apple watch is a really cool tool for monitoring your activity levels and staying connected without being glued to your phone. I know there’s so much more I could probably do with it. But I choose to take it off each evening and put it in the kitchen to charge each night, so it’s not connected to me 24/7. Nonetheless, I like the metrics, and I’m happy to have a watch like this on my wrist. I also love my new animal print watch strap.
3. Teaching and taking virtual fitness classes from home
You guys know my story. I was at the gym six days a week for many years of my life. For real. Not always for a tough workout, but I just liked to get out of the house, have a routine, use the gym kid-care and do my workout away from where I live. Oh how 2020 changed all of that. Up until this weekend, I hadn’t done a workout in a regular gym in 11 months, other than a few sessions at a private studio in Pleasant Hill. I haven’t been in a live indoor group fitness class in 11 months either. I miss it dearly.
But there’s some beauty in change. And over the last year, I’ve not only become acquainted with working out at home, but I’ve also become totally in love with teaching virtual classes, both live and on-demand ones too.
I plan to teach my virtual classes moving forward, even if I one day get back into a gym for some of my workouts. I love the convenience of the home workout. I love the connection of virtual teaching so that I can be with people from different locations, rather than just those who go to my local gym. I love the way that working out at home has forced us all to be creative, especially because everything I teach now is freestyle, whereas I used to mostly teach pre-choreographed programs.
I’ve added skills and experience that I didn’t know I wanted or needed. And it’s a big add. Three cheers for virtual fitness from home! Have you taken a class with me yet? I hope you do! You can catch me live on Motus or on demand on Fit Revolution (use the code ASHLEYPITT3PC1 for a 14-day free trial and 33 percent off your first month).
4. Embracing and choosing outdoor playtime
I know this sounds like a big “duh” when you’re a mom. But for some reason, Brady and I didn’t do a lot of outdoor stuff before. We took the occasional walks with friends. But once quarantine hit, we moved so much of our life outdoors, and I’ve definitely come to appreciate it. We go to parks. We go on a lot of walks. We hike. We explore. We picnic. We basically do all the things outdoors when the weather permits, and it’s something that I wish we had being doing before the last year forced us to.
Before we left California, for the last five months or so, we went to so many beautiful areas that we’d never gone to before, and we absolutely loved them (and we had lived so close to them for so long having never explored them). I don’t know why we never considered getting outside as the activity for the day, instead of something we’d fit in if there were no other options. But that’s changed now.
Being outdoors in nature is now the activity, and I’m here for it. Majorly. I even started taking walks on my own a lot more, and you know I sing the praises of solo walks outdoors. Big love going out to nature from me these days! We live in a beautiful world, and I’m more connected to that than ever now.
5. Making my schedule work for me and creating friendly deadlines
This point may seem broad, but here’s the gist: Last year, during the spring and summer, I worked with a life coach and learned so much. Check out this post about the things I learned if you haven’t read it yet. But one of the big things my life coach helped me improve was taking advantage of being my own boss. It’s a real privilege, yet I wasn’t fully appreciating it.
For years while working on this blog, I put up Monday blog posts. That meant I was always scrambling on Sunday nights to finish up my posts. In addition to that, I would give myself self-imposed deadlines on other projects just to challenge myself. Well, not any longer.
A few months ago, I officially decided to give myself a little more space. I now put up my first post of the week on Tuesday, so I have an extra day to finalize things. I also now only take meetings during the times that work for me (during Brady’s mid-day nap), and I said goodbye to a few additional projects and monthly commitments that weren’t serving me. All of this combined is how I’m making my schedule work for me with friendlier deadlines. It’s been so nice, and I wish I had done it sooner.
I know it’s a very privileged position to technically be my own boss. However, I think the principle of taking a look at all your responsibilities and seeing which can potentially be dropped or loosened is a good practice for us all. Eye-opening and freeing stuff right here.
Honorable mentions for things I’ve added …
- Doing shorter workouts, instead of full hours. My usual workout is now 30 minutes, whereas it was always an hour or more when I was at the gym every day. Time saver.
- Ordering workout clothes from Carbon38. Okay, this one is a material item, but I love the variety of clothes on Carbon38. I wrote a whole post about my favorites too. And my code ASHLEYPITT gets you 15 percent off your first two orders of more than $100. Love that site.
- Taking more vitamins. I went through a long period of taking hardly anything, but I’ve added vitamin D, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron and a multivitamin into my routine for a boost. I take my vitamins right after breakfast, and I keep them in the kitchen.
- Tracking my water intake. If you don’t make sure you’re drinking enough water, you may not have enough. These days, I loosely count how many times I fill up my water bottle, and I know how many ounces it has. I aim for 100 ounces of water a day. Having this little goal has totally helped me, and I even write a “check” next to water in my planner to keep track now. This is a worthy metric.
- Doing more intentional recovery. I’m so much better about doing intentional recovery methods every week. In fact, it even inspired one of my latest blog posts on the matter. I foam roll, do slow yoga, use a percussive massage gun and the occasional Epsom salt bath. No aches and pains over here.
And those are the additions I’ve made in the last year.
Other posts you may like …
- My top 10 Amazon Prime purchases I order over and over again
- How to start 2021 off right and my goals for this year
- Splurge vs. save: How I spend money
- Three helpful mindset shifts I’ve made recently
Thank you for reading the blog today, my friends! This is a big week for us, as we close on our new house and move into it. I’ll see you back here for current faves later this week!
Questions of the day
What’s something you’ve added to your life in the last year that you love?
What’s something you’ve removed from your life in the last year that you’re happy to have gone?
How was your weekend?
P.S. Have you submitted a question for my upcoming advice blog post? If not, submit your anonymous question here. Thank you!
I still haven’t tried oat milk, but I should. Coconut milk is currently my milk of choice for my daily morning tea and smoothies/shakes. Thanks for the tip!
I have wanted an Apple watch for a while, but haven’t pulled the trigger. Fun fact, it takes me FOREVER to make big-ish purchases. My new apartment still is not fully furnished. I also need a new iPhone and your recent post about your new one is inching me way closer.
As far as things I’ve added or gotten rid of, I got rid of macro tracking this year. I think I probably eat about the same, but I’m sure not logging into that app 6 times a day makes me obsess less. I was doing it to try to change my body a little bit by adding muscle, but all of the different variations of ratios I tried didn’t do jack, so why bother. The only thing I’ve added this year that’s been a change is a new apartment in a new city. My new apartment is a lot more expensive because Tampa living is pricier than Clearwater living, but I think this is a good change for me. Hopefully my 37th year in this new neighborhood will bring me luck in the love department? #fingerscrossed
Hi Courtney! I think it’s smart to be thoughtful about big decisions and purchases, so that’s probably a good habit. I hope you end up loving living in your new apartment in Tampa. I definitely understand the tough parts about moving, even when it’s not that far away, but in time it will feel like your home. Sounds like you’ve made some positive changes, my friend. Thank you for sharing with us! When can we expect a new blog post from you hehehe? 🙂 Seems like you have plenty to write about!!
Hooray for oat milk! I also recently discovered it and am in love. I use the Califia Farms barista blend for coffee and either Califia Farms or Thrive brand regular oat milk to make my own yogurt. It’s so easy and delicious.
I appreciate hearing about your Apple Watch experience. I tried a fitness tracker before, but didn’t feel like it served me enough to keep wearing it. I have filed away your description for future consideration 🙂
And I have recently given up ‘striving for perfection’ in my daily habits. I used to track habits on a calendar or planner, but over time it started to feel un-motivating (new word?). So I recently started tracking daily habits using a Note in my phone. Each day I mark off items I complete, then the next morning I un-check everything and start again with a clean slate. This is helping my “one day at a time” mindset and makes me feel more connected to my habits. And if I don’t complete something one day, it’s no biggie. This may not work forever, but for the past few months I have stuck with habits more often than not using this new strategy. It’s amazing how small tweaks can bring such huge benefits.
Good luck with your move, Ashley. Sending positive vibes your way!
Hi Jen! I’m all for giving up striving for perfection — it’s exhausting, boring and never going to get you anywhere! Loosening the reigns a little is freeing and usually means you feel better overall. I’ve heard great things about the Califia Barista Blend and really need to give it a go — thanks for the reminder. So good to hear from you with this lovely thorough comment, lady! Have a wonderful day! Here’s to small tweaks! 🙂
I’ve finally admitted my former time blocks don’t work with COVID WFH lasting for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, I deleted them and plan to spend this week feeling out when my new productive time blocks are.
Hi Brittany! Admitting where things aren’t working is a big step, lady! I hope you can find a schedule that works better for you moving forward, only to be ready in case it needs to change again! Thanks for saying hi. Sending you some positive vibes!
I love this post!
Did you do a round up of the outdoor bay Area places you have discovered and loved in the last few months before leaving?
I am a huge fan of solo walks. often with a really good podcast. but it clears my mind, it’s my alone time and I see things I would never normally see.
Things I have added and loved is Celery juice in the morning and CCF tea in the afternoons
Hi Sabrina! Would you believe I’ve never had celery juice? I haven’t! I should give it a try. So glad you are a solo walking fan! As far as the best places to get outside in the Bay Area — I never did a full post, but here you go: Acalanes Open Space for hiking, Briones Regional Park Open Space for hiking, Lafayette Reservoir for walking, Castle Rock for hiking and, of course, Muir Woods!
Can you show the supplements/vitamins in it’s own post sometime? I recently needed to start taking iron but wish I knew earlier that about more vitamins and what we women might need.
Loved this post!
Hi Leianna! Yes, I recently learned about the importance of supplementing iron for women (and taking it with a vitamin C tablet for absorption) and have just added it several months ago. I’d be happy to share more about my supplements soon — I want to use them for longer and research more before writing a post. Thanks for asking! 🙂