Friday Favorites: A sweet, a wine and a read

Another Friday has arrived.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared a list of my Friday Favorites, which gives me a chance to offer up a fairly random selection of content. In case you missed them, here are the first two:

  1. Friday Favorites: A snack, a purse and a ritual
  2. Friday Favorites: A delivery, a bra and a guy

Let’s do it again.

Favorite Nightly Sweet

I have a major sweet tooth. For someone who works out a ton and eats very healthy most days of the week, I can sit down to a massive slice from The Cheesecake Factory, down it, and never look back. I’ve mentioned before I try to live in the 80/20 world, in which my weekdays are clean and free and my weekends include a bit more indulgence. That makes my eating more of a lifestyle and absolutely not a diet.

However, I’ve found there are ways to add sweetness into a healthy-eating day as well.

Months ago, Dave and I discovered coconut-covered date rolls with an almond in the middle. Wow, you’re thinking, not super exciting. But these little beauties are a taste sensation. We buy them every week. We each have one a night with a glass of milk. I have vanilla almond milk, Dave has chocolate milk.

Hadley Date Coconut Rolls

We had two very sad weeks most recently in which our dates were not available at Safeway. Please note my distaste with grocery shopping in the City, which explains the fact that sometimes products become unavailable for no reason.

But they’re back, and we bought two last time in case there’s a product drought again.

If you’ve never tried dates as a nice little sweet, I suggest it. It’s just a couple of bites of goodness, and it’s definitely not going to break a day of clean eating.

Moving on to another indulgence …

Favorite Wine

I love wine. I almost always enjoy a couple glasses on Saturday evening. And Dave and I usually share a bottle of red wine on Sunday nights as well during our regularly held taco night.

Last week, we finally opened a bottle of red that we purchased at Anaba winery during our super-fun Sonoma trip in an SUV with friends back in December. We had the 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, and it was incredibly smooth and delicious. At $34 a bottle, this was one of the most expensive bottles we’ve ever had at home, as we tend to be cheap with our selections.

Anaba Pinot Noir

In case you are a wine aficionado, here are the tasting notes, according to Anaba:

Medium–ruby in color, this lively wine opens with aromas of ripe, red cherry, cola and toasty oak. On the palate, the bright, brambly red fruits are layered with all-spice, rose petals and a hint of white pepper. Beautifully balanced, this wine can be enjoyed alone or paired with food.

Yeah … sure, that’s what I tasted.

The reason I bring this wine up as a Friday Favorite is because it was absolutely worth mentioning. Better than average, better than good, better than great. I mean totally enjoyable. And I’ve had a lot of wine over the years.

Favorite Read

I read a lot online. News sites, magazine sites, blogs, journals, you name it. I rarely share articles, but there was something I came across this week worth passing along.

It’s one of those listsicles (yes, that’s a new thing combining list and article) from The Huffington Post, entitled “7 Unexpected Things That Can Make You Happy.”

I like to scan through these type of lists because they’re usually just fluff, but this one had me reading word-for-word. Why? Because I think I’m doing a good job at quite of few of these things, but saw a few I could do more of.

Here’s the gist of the tips, written by Herve Larren:

  1. Give to others rather than yourself (I need to work on this)
  2. Spend your money on experiences, not things (Done and done, especially since moving to San Francisco)
  3. Buy now, enjoy later, save things to savor the anticipation (That is totally me, I live for the anticipation of stuff and events)
  4. Play the game, even if you won’t win (I need to work on this, as I hate being bad at things)
  5. Earn your pleasures by playing games to accomplish things (Yes, I play mind games with myself all the time to earn little treats, and I’m good at those)
  6. Make yourself do uncomfortable things sometimes (Yes, becoming a group fitness instructor, going to trainings and making a big career shift fall into this boat … more on that to come)
  7. Live with less, get rid of too many options (Not much of a choice on this one, but moving across the country into a shoe-box city apartment did wonders for my ability to live minimally)

Just some food for thought, which might help bring a smile to your face as big as these ones:

Happy Ashley and Dave
Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and enjoy the Easter weekend.

Dave and I will be staying here in San Francisco, of course. I have a couple of group fitness classes to teach, we’ll be watching the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs on TV and then cooking our own Easter Feaster on Sunday.

* As always, thanks to Heather for hosting the Friday Favorites link-up.

Questions of the day

Have you ever tried dates? What’s your favorite healthy sweet? And what little changes could you make to find unexpected happiness like those suggested in the list above?

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