It's still 2012 where I am! One last post for the year!
Oh, the year-end wrap-up. I am such a fan! I love the countdowns and the looks back.
Many people take this time to think back with deep and powerful reflections on the year gone by. I think I'm all reflected out, so I'm sharing some of my favorite discoveries from 2012.
Bear in mind, this list contains what *I* have only just discovered. Some of them have been around for years - decades, even! But they are all things that have brought some element of helpfulness or happiness or just all-around goodness to my life in the past year.
In no particular order then, here are my
12 Favorite Discoveries of 2012
1. Cal-Mag-Zinc LIQUID.
I've had such a hard time with swallowing pills throughout this pregnancy. Because of this, I've been shamefully negligent of taking Cal-Mag on a regular basis. When I was about 24 weeks along or so is when I started looking for some solutions for the uncomfortableness of the Braxton Hicks contractions. I kept seeing the liquid version of Cal-Mag recommended, and friends, it really worked!
Of course, I'm kind of to the point now where not just a whole lot is helping with those, but it has still been a great discovery for me in terms of supplements. This is the brand I've been taking, but I'm sure there are plenty of other great ones on the market.
2. Sprouts Market
One of the closest grocery stores to us is Whole Foods Market. At one time, this would have been an absolute dream-y dream come true, yet I think I've been there less than five times since we moved to OKC in May. Love the store, love the customer service, but dadgum but what I don't want to pass out every time they ring me up at the register. I mean, I know that's the running joke of Whole Foods - Whole Paycheck, and all that - but my goodness.
So we were thrilled to find that not too much further from our house we have a Sprouts Market. Do you have these where you live? They carry tons of natural, organic, gluten-free, just overall healthy-for-ya stuff for SO MUCH LESS than WFM. We can get especially great prices on produce there - both conventional and organic. Grass-fed meats, pastured butter, bulk nut bins. It's awesome.
Close and convenient access to a wide variety of food shopping options is one of our favorite things about living in the city, and Sprouts totally tops our list of frequented stores.
3. Eat Like a Dinosaur
Well, the past six months have been one long, interesting experiment in attempting a paleo lifestyle. I'm not gonna lie - it's been hard. It's been hard for me with week after week of pregnancy sickness and survival mode eating habits, and it's been hard for the girls. Kyle has done great - he takes to that lifestyle quite naturally. The girls and I fall somewhere on the spectrum between paleo and gluten-free (the main difference being that paleo is grain-free while gluten-free avoids wheat gluten but allows for other grains).
Anyway, when I first mentioned going paleo, several people suggested Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids and it has been WELL worth the investment! The recipes are fantastic and just the general tone of the book is so light-hearted and inviting. Attempting a grain-free approach to feeding kiddos can be pretty alienating, but the authors of the book do a wonderful job of encouraging families along the way. Good, good stuff.
4. Protein Shakes
Last food/diet/eating related discovery, I promise.
So, every bit of research I've read on healthy pregnancy with multiples has strongly emphasized the importance of protein. That's all fine and good if you can eat like a normal person, but I've been plagued by a fierce meat aversion since before I knew I was pregnant.
And now as I enter the final weeks with the boy babes, I'm finding I have to eat teeny tiny meals because there is just SO not enough room for a stomach to function inside of my body at the moment.
Protein shakes to the rescue! But what I've found to be so much more satisfying than the kind you can find at the grocery store or pharmacy are the real deal, hard-core kind that body builders drink.
(Which, of course makes sense if you consider all the body building I've been doing for the past few months. Hee!)
Kyle was familiar with a website called bodybuilding.com and we've been ordering whey and whey/casein blend shakes from there. I can't remember all the brands we've tried, but I do know just their house brand is pretty darn good.
Of course, reliance on protein shakes over a long period of time is maybe not the best nutritional plan (whole foods are always the better choice over anything processed), but these have totally been a life-saver for the short term.
5. 2x A Week Shampoo Routine
photo by ktpupp
From time to time, people ask if I have stuck with the no-poo approach to hair care. I'm always completely honest and admit that I just cannot seem to make it work for me! I've tried every version and variation of going shampoo-free and all I've ever ended up with is a greasy scalp and tangly dry ends.
I do, however, believe there is something to the theory that less exposure to shampoo can be better for your hair. Through no grand plan or effort of my own, I've fallen into a twice-a-week routine for shampoo-ing my hair.
It. Is. Awesome.
Granted, this would probably only be the ideal for someone who wears her hair up on the daily like I do, but I can genuinely say I have no issues with scalp greasies and the rest of my hair has enough body to fill out a big ol' messy bun in a way that's quite pleasing. To me, anyway. By far the laziest discovery of the year!
Tuesday nights. ABC. I feel like this is the funniest show that no one ever talks about. Yes, a bit off-color, but HILARITY.
On the other end of the spectrum because NOT AT ALL HILARIOUS is Fringe. I told you earlier in the year how Kyle and I stumbled across it and marathon'ed all the back seasons on Amazon Prime just in time to catch this final season. This is, hands-down, my happiest TV discovery of the year. Incredibly well-written, wonderfully acted, and though this last season is breaking my heart a little bit, it's all worth it. Just fine, fine TV viewing for those who enjoy the sci-fi-ish genre of entertainment.
Obviously an app that has been around for quite some time, but I never had a need for it living in a small town on the west Oklahoma plains. Once we moved to OKC, though, I found Yelp to be invaluable. Maybe it's because I'm the kind of person who lives and dies by reviews on Amazon, Target, etc., etc., but I just love being able to hear Real People feedback on everything from donut shops (shhhhhhh!) to hair salons to taquerias. Old news for many, fantastic discovery for me.
Another one in the way of apps that are proving indispensable is Dropbox. Arianne introduced this to me last fall, and I use it daily. You can use it for all kinds of file sharing reasons and purposes, but the main way I use it is to have a centralized place for pictures. I can upload my iPhone pictures daily and always have access to them from a computer, and when I was building photo books for Christmas gifts, it was HUGELY helpful to have access to photos spread across three computers.
10. Private Facebook Groups
I confess: I'm currently a member of 20+ closed and/or private groups on Facebook. HEY-OH! But before you get all judgey-pants on me, just know that I'm only active in about 5 of them.
Our January 2005 Babies birth club (the one that birthed the friendship that birthed our book) that started out on Babycenter and then migrated to private message boards has now found its way to Facebook. I'm a part of a naturally parenting twins group on there as well as OKC Babywearing group. I have one that's just close friends and one that works great for professional communications.
Again, these aren't new to 2012 (are they?!) but it's so nice because it streamlines my online activity. I pop in to check Facebook a few times a day, so it's handy to click over to a group while I'm on there.
11. GIF Tumblrs
Oh, I am so late to the game on enjoying these (hey! I'm 35, okay?). Clearly I have a very elementary sense of humor, but I find endless amusement from GIFs. That people have the time and dedication to curate themed Tumblrs using only GIFs just never ceases to entertain me.
My personal favorites are What Should We Call Me, My Friends Are Married, and newcomer When In Comments Sections. Probably goes without saying that most of these are not safe for work (or little eyes), but golly do I get a kick out of them!
Kyle and I don't know much about wine, so we are highly dependent on the recommendations of others to make a good choice. One of Kyle's friends suggested we check out Bogle earlier this year, and yeah. We pretty much drink their wines exclusively now. I know, it's not very adventurous, but we've yet to have a bottle of anything of theirs that was a disappointment. The Old Vine Zin is our current favorite. Quite the tasty discovery!
So that's that! Twelve favorite discoveries for me in 2012.
I would so very much love to hear what you happened upon in the past year that has been helpful, exciting, rewarding, or just plain fun!
top image by diimdeep