Welcome to June! This month’s theme, Feeling Good, is all about working on finding a balanced mind, body, and spirit, while having fun. So it’s perfect that Janae is stopping by today to share her favorite things. Her blog, Bring Joy, is all about finding a healthy lifestyle through gluten-free and vegan food, becoming debt-free, and loving yourself. I’m especially excited about all of Janae’s book recommendations, which I’ve already added to my summer reading list!
What do you do for a living? I have a bachelor’s in English, but I spent six years as a fitness professional teaching yoga, all kinds of aerobics, and Pilates for several educational institutions, including two universities. For the time being, I’m a full-time mom of four and Air Force wife, and write at my blog, Bring Joy, in my “spare” time.
Places you’ve lived: I grew up in Washington state, which I will always consider my home. I went to college and lived in Utah for 10 years, and now I’m living in San Antonio, TX.
Place you’d most like to visit: Though there are many places on my travel wish list, I’m an unabashed Anglophile and would love to re-visit England. I went there on a hiking tour 10 years ago and I’ve thought about returning ever since!
Your favorite indulgence: Massages. My husband hates them. (Can you believe it?) They are my ultimate indulgence. There are very few things I find as relaxing as a deep tissue massage. Though I admit, it’s a rare treat these days.
The best advice you’ve ever received: My dad didn’t so much say this, but he taught me and my siblings this through his words and by example: Treat people with respect and kindness, and don’t judge others. To this day, I’ve never heard my dad speak an ill word about anyone.
What’s your favorite healthy recipe? I love roasted any type of vegetable or tuber, like sweet potatoes or potatoes. The trick is to make sure the pieces aren’t too big (bite size or a bit bigger is about right) and to roast at 425 F. Placing the veggies on parchment paper, drizzling with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkling with kosher salt is also key.
Since moving to San Antonio, where it’s much more hot and humid than in Utah or Washington, I’ve begun to appreciate the value of the maxi dress, which allows for some breathing room and does not cling (two virtues in a hot climate). I only own a few, but this one by Mod Cloth is on my wish list.
I couldn’t live without my Blendtec blender and my rice cooker. The Blendtec is pricey, but worth every penny because it’s an appliance that will last. I’ve had mine for five years. Also, I’m a failure (and lazy) when it comes to making nice fluffy rice, so my rice cooker helps me in this area. No hassle and it makes perfect rice every time.
Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. It’s amazing! I have really sensitive skin, but I can use this soap on my face and anywhere else on my body. The scent is invigorating.
One of the first “real” books I read was Roots by Alex Haley, when I was 12. That book opened my eyes to the history of slavery and how, despite extreme distress, humans find a way to rise above the inhumanity.
I’m partial to memoirs and personal essays, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean being one of the best. In this book, he combines fiction with memoir, and it’s his only piece of fiction (which makes me sad; I wish he had written more). He has a deadpan, forthright, & poetic narrative that I find beautiful & soothing to read. The story is about fly fishing, but the underlying allegory is about three men & their relationship with one another. It’s the kind of writing that makes me want to write. Emilie Carles’s, A Life of Her Own, and Jung Chang’s Wild Swans are two other must-read memoirs, in my opinion.
Nora Ephron is another of my favorite essayists. I just finished I Remember Nothing, and am entranced by her warm and candid style.
I like any of Willa Cather’s stuff, & sweeping period pieces like Tolstoy’s Anna Kareninaand Drieser’s An American Tragedy. I also love Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth , John Knowles A Separate Peace, and Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. Those are all books I’d read again and again.
I think a set of light and heavy hand weights, a good yoga mat, and a stability ball are all you need for a home gym. There are other gadgets but those three things will get you where you need to go, fitness-wise.
Thank you, Janae!
For delicious gluten-free and vegan recipes, and more of Janae’s writing, visit Bring Joy.