If I could walk outside every day in the woods, I would. But when you throw in the seasons and eliminate days of driving snow and sweltering heat…sometimes we need somewhere else to walk.
I’ve rediscovered an indoor track in my area and have made it two times in the last two weeks. I know that doesn’t exactly constitute a habit (yet) but I’m working on it. And there’s lots of winter on the way.
As I lapped around the astroturf track without a podcast or music track in my head – just my own thoughts – I briefly wondered if this was perhaps a boring, repetitive way to keep fit. But I quickly pushed that thought aside when I realized how much great thinking is accomplished walking around and around.
I’ve been waking up lately with those nasty middle of the night to-do lists in my head. You know the ones that are mostly fictional? But as I lapped around in lane 1 everything was so much clearer. The to-do list was gone. I could think about anything or nothing. Head – cleared. Body – moved.
When the weather fits, I’ll walk it off outdoors, but I’m also reenergized about keeping it up whatever the weather.
HAR recently wrote about Tom’s one for one shoe program. And maybe that subconsciously brought up an ad on my Facebook recently for Bombas socks. (I’m in marketing so I know nothing is really subconscious or subtle about online marketing, but I’m getting off track…).
I read the story of their socks and the buy one, donate one approach. I had already heard the fact they quote on their site about the tremendously unfilled need for good socks at drop-in centres, shelters and other programs. And I really like the work they put into designing the socks they donate — “we engineered a sock to specifically meet the needs of people who don’t have the luxury of putting on a clean pair of socks every.”
And now that they ship to Canada I ordered a few pairs…which means they donated a few more pairs. As I was browsing through their online store, something about the colours and patterns started to look very familiar. Turns out, HAR had bought me a pair of Bombas athletic ankle socks last year for Christmas!
So…I discovered them again…and that’s why gifts that do more like Bombas are my Friday favourite.
It’s a funny word to say, spelt. In fact, it sounds like you are just lazy and can’t say spelled but it’s not the same, trust me!
Spelt is an ancient, easily digestible grain that is high in protein and has a nutty, complex flavour that’s sweeter and lighter than whole wheat. Spelt is also known as dinkle wheat but I can’t imagine saying here, try my dinkle bread so I will stick with spelt!
I have been experimenting with spelt flour, substituting it for whole wheat in my sourdough bread. I am loving the flavour. Just like the description above, it’s lighter than whole wheat but tastes like a hearty whole grain bread.
I’m happy to make you a loaf of my Friday favourite if you live nearby…
I love the Wednesday paper because it contains the Food section. Usually they publish seasonal recipes but I think the main reason they catch my eye is because it’s just one recipe, not a whole cookbook to browse through. At least 50% of the time I end up making the recipe from the newspaper and I like it! My most recent success (thank you Boston Globe) was Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 slices crusty white bread crusts, torn into pieces
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 oz feta cheese
In a food processor, pulse the bread into coarse crumbs, add lemon rind and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix well, set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add remaining 2 T of oil, add shallots and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine, honey, oregano and salt&pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Use a 12″ baking dish, line the bottom of the dish with the tomato mixture. Arrange the shrimp on top in a single, tight layer. Crumble the feta on top then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Garnish with lemon. Enjoy!
When the clocks fell back an hour this past weekend, and the rain was not letting up, I decided to give myself a mini spa day. What I mean is – I washed my face and hair from the growing pile of product samples I’ve gathered over the years.
I started with a Kiehl’s exfoliating scrub on my face. I have only ever ordered online once from this company, and love the perk that I got to pick three free samples to add to my order. The cold weather is just starting but it felt pretty amazing to slough off a layer of dry skin … and lines (hopefully).
Next up was a shampoo and three-minute miracle conditioner treatment sample I had pulled out of a magazine months ago from Pantene. I even set the timer for the full three minutes. And presto, my hair is silky and soft…for now.
I just need a super plush bathrobe to complete the experience.
Tom’s shoes have been around for awhile, most of us are familiar with the cloth, slipper-like shoes of their early days. Since then, they have expanded to dozens of styles and eyeglasses too. What hasn’t changed is their commitment to giving away one pair of shoes for every pair purchased, a program they call One for One.
Plenty of companies talk about community service but who knows if it actually happens…
A few years ago, we returned to Kabala, Sierra Leone, the town where I taught school 30 years ago with CUSO and met my husband who was in the Peace Corps. We were hiking up the hill in Kabala with Samba, a local student. He was in front of me on the trail and I noticed the Tom’s logo on the back of his shoe. I asked him where he got his shoes. His answer warmed my heart – “Someone came to our school and gave us all new shoes!”
And that’s exactly why Tom’s is our friday favourite!
If you’ve done anything outdoors in Canada, especially Western Canada in the 1980s and later…you know about MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop or just “meck”).
They have an amazing line of outdoor clothes and gear, and have always prided themselves on knowledgable staff who actually use their stuff, don’t work on commission and provide helpful advice to help make the best decision whether it’s a hiking boot, a jacket or pair of socks.
I don’t buy much online, sight unseen, but MEC is the exception. And their marketing works on me. I am proof positive that emails about clearance items are very likely to turn into sales.
But this past weekend, I went to a new store in the next city. It’s a dangerous trip for me. I actually told myself ahead of time “you don’t need anything.”
I just bought things I needed…
While I was there, I was impressed again by their rock solid guarantee. While trying on boots, the staffer told us that if the hiking boots didn’t work out, they could be returned…even if they were covered in mud from testing driving them on the trail. Wow. Kinda made me want to buy a few pairs.
But I showed great restraint and just bought their Nola rain coat (for the as-yet-unplanned trip to Shetland), a great lightweight travel towel and some layers for the cold weather on its way.
MEC is a great Canadian success story that will continue to get my support.