What's New: February

I like to do a post with random updates every month or two (although I think I forgot January and December...), so I was super stoked when Kristen announced her new link-up with Gretchen! I like the concept of sharing little tidbits, plus I have plenty of things to talk about that are too short and/or lame for their own post. I like to imagine this more like random things I've been doing or using lately that I would feel compelled to tell you about if we were having coffee.

So, if we were having coffee, these are the silly things I'd blab about.

Well speaking of coffee, there's a chance I might actually order tea instead. I've never been big on either one - I've just started needing a cup of coffee in the mornings in the last few years, and I like to have tea sometimes, but I could probably live without either one. Actually, that's not true, I don't think I could abandon my morning cup of coffee. But the point is that I've been drinking green tea more than coffee lately! I still have coffee when I first wake up, but I make a cup of tea in a travel mug to take with me in the morning. And I usually have a second cup in the afternoon as well (and sometimes at night before bed too). I haven't noticed any huge health benefits, except that (TMI warning) the bathroom issues I was having during runs last month have pretty much stopped since I started drinking more tea. If that's the only benefit I get out of it, I'll take it! Chamomile is my go-to bedtime tea, but during the day my favorite is this Yogi brand green tea kombucha. I've tried lots of their teas and that one is my favorite by far. I'm not sure how it's different from regular green tea or where the kombucha comes in (I actually really like kombucha too, but this isn't that, it's normal hot tea), but it's really good!

Speaking of things that are good for me, I recently had a meal-planning epiphany. The grown-up tasks that I hate more than anything are grocery shopping and cooking food. Basically, I just need a personal chef because ain't nobody got time to worry about buying and preparing their own food. I go through phases where my meal-planning is decent, then nonexistent, then decent again...so on a recent upswing I was about to start jotting down meals in my paper planner, as usual, with a stack of printed-out recipes sitting next to it when I thought, "...surely there is an app for this?" I did some Googling and found a few options before settling on Pepperplate.


There's an app and a website and both sync to and from each other automatically. There is a recipes section where you can input your own recipes (it's pretty easy to copy from wherever the recipe is located and paste into Pepperplate), and you can even tag them (so obviously most of mine are like "dinner", "easy", "quick", etc.). Then there's a planner section which is basically a calendar with morning, mid-day, and evening, and you can add recipes from the recipe section into the planner. THEN there's a shopping list section where you can tell it to import all the ingredients from a recipe into your shopping list. And since it all syncs between devices, I got Ben to download the app too (and log in with my account), since we share grocery and cooking responsibilities (he might do more than I do tbh). That way we both always know what we need from the store and what we're cooking! It's seriously the best and has changed my life, not even exaggerating.

Oooh and speaking of apps, I have to tell you that I finally joined Strava. I've used about a million different sites and apps to track my running, cycling, swimming, etc. (actually I do have a full post in the works about that), but this is the first one I've used that really does it all. I'd heard it mentioned mainly in the triathlon community (actually I think cyclists started using it first, but a lot of triathletes are cyclists first so that makes sense), but you know I don't consider myself a real triathlete so I never looked into it because it sounded scary and intimidating. It still is kind of scary and intimidating, because there are about a hundred different metrics it tracks that I don't even know how to make sense of, but it has a lot of features I'm digging.

In addition to having super in-depth analysis tools (if you're into that), the social aspect of Strava is another one of its key aspects. It has a fairly comprehensive list of races and will allow you to say, "Yep, I'm participating!" in a race that you've registered for, which will then allow you to connect to other people also doing the same race. You can set a goal for the race and it will even show you people who have a similar time goal as you. And from the race page, you're able to see what workouts other people training for your same race have been doing, which I think is pretty neat.

Another thing that I think is cool is that it keeps track of every time you run the same route, or even the same segment - segments are identified and named by the people of Strava, so you could make up any segment you wanted, but it will also show you your performance on segments other people have designated. So it records your time every time you run on a segment, then shows you how you match up to how other people who have run the same segment. And if you're the fastest person to have ever run that segment, it names you Queen of the Mountain, and who doesn't want that?

I have no good segue for this one, but I'd probably mention that I accidentally just found out that hand lettering is my new favorite way to de-stress. A few months back I started the adult coloring thing but that never really took off, and I suspect this won't either, but I like it for now. It all started because I just got a new planner and I had a specific quote I wanted to print out and stick on to the inside cover. It's a popular quote so naturally I took to Pinterest to find a version of it that I liked and wanted to print. I didn't really find anything I liked, so then I wondered if I could just write/draw it in myself? I am so not artistic or creative, hence the question mark. But I found an easy tutorial on Pinterest and spent about 15 minutes practicing - just with my regular ballpoint pen, no fancy markers or anything - and it was seriously calming! And I actually didn't totally suck at it. I'll share the finished product when/if I ever get there.

So yeah, those are the new but trivial things going on with me. There will hopefully be new, very non-trivial things to share soon, but as of now there's not, and that stresses me out, so I'm just going to pretend that's not the case. Or do some more hand lettering.

What's New With You


  1. I absolutely love this link-up. I think it will be my way to actually post life happenings ha! I think Im going to have to dload/use Pepperplate as well. I dont mind grocery shopping or cooking... I just get lazy to do them half the time and buying food all the time is not good for me or my pockets!

  2. So excited to check out Pepperplate and Strava! Thanks for the recommendations. Following along from the What's New With You linkup and looking forward to reading more about you!

    Emma and JW

  3. Both of those apps sound like something that I need to look into some more! I need to get with the game on this whole meal planning thing and I looooove seeing all of kinds of metrics about a run after the fact. Also, I really want to be Queen of the Mountain ;)

  4. That meal plan app sounds amazing.... I need to check it. One of my least favorite adult tasks is unloading and putting away groceries... I hate it even though it takes 5 minutes.

  5. yay thanks for linking up with gretch and i! i totally agree, i never do weekend recaps (we've talked about this lol) and i have a bunch of random stuff that are too short or lame for a post on their own, so i love the smooshing all into one.

    i definitely see the coffee tying into your bathroom issues, so i'm glad that stopped with tea. we have green tea at work, but it's cold and it's no added sugar or anything, so i was thinking about drinking that but i don't know. do you find chamomile helps you sleep or anything? i've never tried it, though i do love a normal hot cup of tea.

    i heard (er, read) you mention strava in one of your sunday sweats posts i think and wondered what it was, it sounds awesome.

    pepperplate sounds amazing! i can't download apps right now.. long, boring story, but when i get it fixed i will definitely be checking that out because i need all the meal planning help i can get.

  6. So glad that you joined in our linkup :) Loved learning what's going on in your life! I've been hearing so much about Strava so I think I might have to check it out. I'm always working on meal planning and making it easier for me, so that app is definitely getting downloaded. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  7. I love meal planning. I think I'm maybe crazy for saying that, but I do. I like thinking about our schedule and planning out meals and making my shopping list. One of my favorite things is to go to the grocery store early, with my coffee, to do my shopping. I can take my time, check things off my list, and avoid busy aisles and checkouts. But that app sounds pretty interesting - especially if my life gets substantially busier in the next few months!

  8. Meal planning is definitely something I need to be better about! Usually we end up going to the store to buy things for one meal at a time, which is costly and ineffective. I'll look into Pepperplate!

  9. Hello from the linkup! I had to laugh at your bio. I was a writer/editor until just recently and am a huge advocate of the Oxford comma too! I've heard lots of good things about strava and need to check it out. I'm on daily mile now.

  10. I think you've seen my massive tea collection, so you know I fully support a coffee + tea habit. BUT! I have to tell you why privately but NOOOOO to Yogi tea! They are evil! I am curious about Kombucha though so I hope I can find another brand that sells it conveniently.

    I am more annoyed by grocery shopping the older I get. Whole Foods is closest to me, but I'm not doing standard weekly food shopping there. I like Shop Rite, but the one closest to me is AWFULLY laid out and is always crazy busy and the parking lot is a death trap. And I enjoy cooking but with so little counter space in this apartment, it's so hard to get creative and have fun with it. That one recipe I asked you about from Pepperplate though looks AMAZING and I hope to try it soon!

    Strava sounds like an awesome app for you, I'm glad you found it! I've pretty much stopped updating Daily Mile because I feel like between the Garmin records and my Sunday Sweats posts and the fact that I'm not that interesting, it was overkill *shrugs*. And hand lettering sounds like a good hobby! I would love to, but I'm just not coordinated enough. I love watching people do it though, those sped-up videos of hand lettering on Insta and Reddit are like crack.

  11. I just wrote a post about my struggle with food-- and meal planning, and then actually prepping after I plan so that app/website sounds amazing. I wish I liked coffee less- I seem to go through phases with tea where I have it a lot and then not at all. My husband used the Strava app when he was doing really long bike rides and it was always fun to see what people named different stretches. Have you heard of bullet journaling?? I've been obsessed with it (other people's journals), but when you mentioned hand lettering that made me think of it because it can be such a big part of it.

  12. Green tea is the best! I've only really started drinking tea in the last couple years, but it's come to be something I really enjoy (unlike coffee that I drink specifically when I'm tired or need to pull an all-nighter).

    I'm intrigued by your recipe app. For a while I was using AllRecipes, but my grocery store has its own app for a shopping list that was better than AllRecipes', so I kind of fell out of the habit. I'm actually signing up for an online fitness coach that will hopefully help me to automate things like exercise schedules and meal planning, and then (fingers crossed) I'll be more likely to follow through because it takes the "what should I do?" part out of the process.

  13. I have a friend who LOVES pepper plate! I definitely need to give it another chance. I just used the app.. which could be part of the problem. I love to letter! I started my own stationery/calligraphy company last year... and it's definitely a fun time when I get to letter! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  14. Nice that you found something to help you destress, even if if doesn't stick for a lifetime. Sounds like it's suiting you well right now.

  15. Yay for tea!!! I personally like mint green tea but the one you were talking about sounds lovely too! I try to have a cup or two every work day. I figure 5 times a week should be golden for my antioxidant consumption! Pepperplate sounds like a wonderful tool! I have been meal planning and grocery shopping every Sunday for the last two years and I am always down for checking out new ways to help me out! Hope you enjoy it!

  16. my husband is on strava. actually his entire cycling team (both teams) are on strava and all they do it check each other's stats, upload their stats etc. it's all about the stats! he tried to get me on it but i'm like NOPE! not going to happen. i dont need someone looking at my numbers and judging me!

  17. I've never heard of Pepperplate, but it sounds like something I should definitely look into! I've been doing really well with my meal planning so far this year (last year I just kind of crapped out and didn't bother most of the time), but this sounds like it would be really useful to keep me on track! (Oh, and my husband does a lot more of the grocery shopping too, though I do the majority of the cooking.)

    I've tried to love tea, but I just don't. It's okay, and I'll go through phases when I'll crave it ... But I don't think I'll ever be a true tea fan.

    Coffee, on the other hand? I can't get enough. I've been cutting back a lot more during the last few years, but I used to drink entire pots of coffee by myself. Every day. That's ... Well ... Kind of nuts. Haha.

  18. I hadn't heard of hand lettering... is it like calligraphy?


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