These past few weeks have been LONG. At work, my team and I are wrapping up a project, so these final few weeks are crunch time. So if there’s any wonder why I haven’t posted a blog post in about a month, that’s probably why.
But, I have definitely been trying to use my weekends as time for myself– catch up on errands/cleaning, and do something fun and relaxing. I’ve mentioned this in a recent Instagram post, but not every day is perfect — I have had days and nights where I’m exhausted, unable to relax, and stressed… and it’s not entirely work-related. I think it’s finally starting to catch up that we’ve been living in this “covid world” for a year now and it’s starting to manifest itself it not so pretty ways. Which is why, even the smallest of uplifting things really helps.
Although my weekdays have been busy, my weekends have generally been chill. I usually dedicate one day to be more “social” and active (i.e. see a friend, run errands, creating content, etc) and the other day to being more of a homebody and physically and mentally relaxing (i.e. sleeping in, laying on the couch watching tv, baking, etc). Sometimes I’ll catch up on things from the week like checking up on any remaining emails or completing a short training. However, I really try to disconnect from work as much as I possibly can and I definitely encourage that for others too!
Just thought I’d share an update on the past few weeks — what I’ve been up to, some fun eats I’ve tried, and all of the wonderful small things that have helped me power through the weeks! Hope you enjoy my unstructured brain dump of a recap! I hope this inspires someone to take time for themselves this weekend. 🙂
I have to admit… I’ve been eating a lot more takeout than usual. I’ve seriously have been so busy that I’ve barely cooked. I actually kind of miss cooking! I’ve been trying to eat out at places that are local to my area and not big-name franchises (except for my true loves: Chipotle and Evergreens). Besides my constant craving for fried tofu pad thai, I have been on a grain bowl kick these days and been loving trying new places that offer them! Highly recommend Homegrown and Bounty Kitchen if you want healthy, delicious, and creative options — you can’t go wrong!
Last weekend I also had THE BEST donut that I’ve had in a long time. I’m not a huge donut fan (I’d rather just eat cookies), but I woke up last week with major cravings. I live about a 20-minute walk from Top Pot Donuts, so I figured that would be a perfect balance: get some exercise in and treat myself to a donut for breakfast! It’s all about balance and listening to your needs– if I’m eating healthy breakfasts such as eggs and oatmeal most other days in the week (check out my current favorite oatmeal recipe), then I can totally eat a donut for a weekend breakfast if that’s something I feel like I need (mainly for my mental health ;)).
Also, it’s been a while since I baked and that’s one of my favorite decompressing pastimes. Recently, I baked one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had: chocolate peanut butter cup cookies! Let’s just say a lot of chocolate was involved and I pretty much went through all of them in less than a week… oops? I was so excited about this creation (though it’s adapted from another recipe) that I had to give it its own blog post! Baking those cookies was exactly what I needed last weekend. For some reason following a recipe and knowing that the end result is going to be this delicious treat is a calming activity for me. It’s no wonder when the pandemic first started I was baking multiple times a week. And who doesn’t love a good sugar fix? You know I can’t resist a good sweet treat!
And lastly, I hopped on the Franke and Jo’s train a little late, but I am OBSESSED with their ice cream. It’s all vegan and they have such fun flavors! I for the flavor Date Shake — which is more simple than the other flavors, but extremely delicious! Its main ingredients are coconut milk, vanilla, dates, and maple syrup and I love that it’s not sweetened with refined sugar and it tastes just as sweet (if not more) than regular ice cream! The texture is amazing and I’m so excited to try the other flavors! If you’re vegan or not, I highly recommend it (I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any dairy!).
Life + Outings
The weather is starting to become nicer, and it’s been a great coincidence that most weekends have been pleasantly sunny. A few weekends ago, I went to a dog park with my friend for her puppy’s birthday and it was the best serotonin boost that I needed. It was so nice to be surrounded by happy dogs running around and getting a walk-in — perfect weekend activity. Goldendoodles and corgis are my favorite dogs and you can imagine my excitement every time I saw them. If you need an instant mood booster, just watch dogs running around having the time of their lives – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Since I’ve been getting more tired in the evenings, I’ve been trying to wake up earlier to get a workout in the mornings. I am so glad I made that switch from evening to morning workouts because I’ve really been enjoying them. I feel more awake and energized in the morning and I don’t have to worry about squeezing in a workout or walk later in my day or evening, especially if I don’t have the time to or if I get too tired. If the morning is really nice and sunny, and I don’t want to do an intense workout, I’ll use that early morning time to walk to my local coffee shop and treating myself to a coffee and pastry. I recently discovered that a Nutella-filled brioche muffin exists and it truly blew me away. If only I had a photo to prove it.
After several months, I also went to Mr.West Cafe, which is one of my favorite coffee shops! I went with one of my friends to catch up and it was such a great time to have long chats and enjoy a small lunch. I got myself an oat milk chai (are you even surprised?) and a fig jam, cheddar, and arugula toast that was so good, I’m craving it just even thinking about it. I love Mr. West Cafe because it has such a variety of foods to eat at any time of day and it has a beautiful ambiance/aesthetic. It’s one of my go-to spots for when I want to sit and grab coffee with friends. Outings like these also make me excited to dress up for my day. When I’m working at home in my sweatshirts and workout clothes with no makeup on most days, wearing a cute outfit and some makeup becomes a highlight of the week!
Also, does anyone find grocery shopping therapeutic? I do, especially if I’m at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I really can’t explain it, but something about the ambiance of the two stores really makes me enjoy shopping there. When I go on a grocery run, I try to make a point to buy myself a bouquet of flowers for my room — I find that having them in my room just makes me feel better. Trader Joe’s has some beautiful flowers at an affordable price, so that’s my go-to! Definitely normalize treating yourself to these things!
I guess this blog post should’ve been titled “Mani’s Foodie Adventures” since it’s 90% food-related, but I hope you enjoyed my little recap of the last few weeks! Drop a comment below if you did anything fun recently!