A little departure from our usual Wednesday — Let’s call it a mental health break. Leading a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t add to your stress. With the start of a new year and my last column covering ditching those crazy new year’s resolutions, let’s keep today light and fun. I’m sharing a roundup of all things I’m loving lately: stress reducers, a little country music, healthy recipes and more.
Morgan Wallen’s Album “If I Know Me”
Honestly I’ve been playing “Chasing You” and “Cover Me Up” on repeat for the last several months. If you know me, you know I love county music. I used to make my college roommate watch GAC in the morning while we got ready for the day. Sorry, not sorry Laura. If you don’t know what GAC is, you’re probably not from Southwest Virginia or quite as country as me.
Morgan Wallen was born in Sneadville, y’all, Sneadville. Just when I thought there wasn’t a hole in the wall smaller than Gate City, enter Sneadville, Tenn. He also went to the same high school as Kenny Chesney. I mean, who doesn’t love some old school Kenny? Friend to friend, I could do without his current work.
“Chasing You,” if you grew up in a small town, is like a drive down memory lane — small town, young love, a little rebellion thrown in, great story, great recipe for a song. “Cover me Up” is a little heavier. This is Jason Isbell’s song but Morgan’s cover is my favorite, a beautiful, haunting love song. Do this old country gal a favor and give this album a listen.
Sweaty and Pissed Podcast
Ladies if you need a good laugh look no further. Comedian Leanne Morgan and nurse practitioner Karen Nickell talk about all things menopause, perimenopause and this struggle bus called being a female. This podcast is both informative and hilarious. If you see me laughing in the car, guaranteed it’s because I’m listening to this.
A Good Book
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: put down that phone and pick up a book. Reading for me has always been an escape, a great way to unwind. It’s a stress reducer that transports me to another time and place. Some of my favorites from 2019 are “Meet Me in Monaco” by Hazel Gaynor, “The Wife” by Alafair Burke, “One Day in December” by Josie Silver, “All These Beautiful Strangers” by Elizabeth Klehfoth and the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved” series by Jenny Han. It’s a teen series, yes, but well written and worth the read again. Do yourself a favor and watch the adorable movie adaption from Netflix. “An American Marriage” is a social eye opener by Tayari Jones. I’m convinced they are making “My Oxford Year” by Julia Whelan into a movie.
3-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark
From Epicurious, I love the combo of dark chocolate and peppermint. Ghirardelli tries to tempt me every time I see this popular holiday treat in Target or the grocery store. How about a dollar saving recipe sans all those weird ingredients and preservatives? This gem takes less than ten minutes to throw together.
12 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (for your health please select at least 70% dark chocolate. Less room for sugar the higher the percentage of cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
5 candy canes, coarsely crushed
Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment. Bring a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of water to a low simmer. Place chocolate in bowl and gently stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Pour chocolate mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with a spatula or wooden spoon. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes and press lightly to adhere. Freeze until hardened, about 5 minutes. Break into pieces and serve. Wrap tightly and keep chilled. This makes 10-12 servings (it never makes it long at my house).
One-week hiatus from all things social media
I’m staying true to my word. I mentioned in my ditch those new year’s resolutions article about taking a breather from social media. While it might sound extreme I’m taking the last week of every month and saying so long to both Facebook and Instagram. While a week off might be bit more of a plunge than some of you want or can take, why not consider a day or two off. I swear it has been so good for my soul. The fear of missing out, gone. That nasty thief comparison, robbing my joy for that week, gone and overall getting better. Why not call or text a long-lost friend instead of stalking their Instagram page. Feeling jealous about that trip a friend just took? Why not sit down and actually catch up with a chat about it over coffee? Face to face, no phones, is so refreshing.
The new bikes at the Greene County Y
Every time I’m in Kingsport for work I love to pop in at the Greater Kingsport Y and take a class, especially Tyler’s thirty-minute power cycle. But what I really loved were their glorious, new bikes. I’ve been dreaming and hoping the Greene County Y would get new ones since the day we moved back. Well, the wait is over. Go take those new bikes for a spin! The Greene County Y offers some amazing cycle classes. My darling friend Kristy will kick your butt and Holly Morelock teaches a wonderful spin fusion class.
The Peleton App
If you’re like me and your schedule makes it hard to make it to class, give the Peleton app a try. I love their wide variety of not only cycle but indoor and outdoor guided runs, strength, yoga and meditation classes. Classes range from five to forty-five minutes making it nearly impossible to come up with an excuse not to take one. Who doesn’t have five minutes for their health? The app is less than twenty bucks a month and gives you access to thousands of classes.
There is almost always some sort of free trial available through the app store or you can visit https://www.onepeloton.com/digital to learn more/signup.
The Old Greeneville Library
I pass this building every day as I walk to work. It’s sandwiched between the Greeneville Sun and Greeneville Federal Bank.
When I worked for Clayton Homes in Maryville/Alcoa, Tenn., a darling lady had converted the old Maryville library into a lovely little gift shop. I dream of someone restoring this gem to its former glory and making it a useful space again.
If anyone wants to do this and let me work out of this space, well I’d forever be indebted.
I hope this didn’t seem all over the place or too much of a leap from our usual content. I’d love to hear what you’re loving lately. Feel free to share any recommendations or what you’d like to see in this space by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I sure hope you keep reading.