Puffin Picks 1.12

Puffin Picks 01122018

Welcome to my re-branded for 2018 Things I Love post, now called: Puffin Picks!

I started this ‘things I like’ post series nearly a year ago on a whim, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed putting it together – spending a few moments to consider the little joys in my life at any given moment can only be a good thing, right?

A few changes for the new year:

  • The name. I know titles are not the strongest part of my writing. In the past year, I continually varied the title and couldn’t find a variation that was better than ‘meh.’ When in doubt, go with alliteration.
  • Repeats. Going forward, I’m not going to be too concerned about repeating myself. I had been keeping a list of things I’d referenced and cross-checked every post to make sure I didn’t duplicate something. But I found some things were making repeat performances in my life and were continually bringing me joy. While I won’t put the same things on the list over and over (and over), if something earns a repeat appearance, I’ll allow it.

Read prior Puffin Picks posts (say that 3 times fast).

Note: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links where I may be compensated if you purchase items or click on the links. Read my full affiliate policy. I only link to items I have, use, or want and would recommend regardless of potential reward.

My personal affiliate link guideline: Would I recommend this to my mom?

This Week’s Puffin Picks

The photo this week is Lake Chabot Regional Park, taken before I ran the New Year’s Day Trail Half Marathon.

Puffin Picks 01122018

5-Year Journal

I am a huge journaler. I have a full-on journal, a running journal, and a more to-do list bullet journal-type thing. Of all of my journals, the one I am sure to write in every single day is my 5-year journal.

The 5-year journal has a space for 1-2 sentences every day, with spaces for each of 5 years. So on any given day, I can look back at what I did and wrote on that day in the past few years.

It’s surprising how many things in my life I’d totally forgotten about. Or that I can see (with the benefit of hindsight) how much I was blowing something out of proportion when I see how worked up over something I was on a given day that a year or two later is all but irrelevant.

Some 5-year journals are guided, with prompts or questions every day, but mine is freeform.

This is one thing I know I’ve written about before, but with the new year starting it seemed like a good time to mention it in case you are inclined to start a 5-year journal of your own.


More productivity tools!? What is this, a productivity blog!? Nope (not yet anyway), but the things I like at any given time tend to reflect what is going on in my life, which at this moment for me is getting to-do lists and projects in order.

I’m always struggling to balance paper to-do lists and digital tech. At heart, I’m a paper person. I do a much better job of capturing ideas and brainstorming with paper and pen, but my attempts at tracking projects on paper have always fallen short. But when it’s all digital, it’s out of sight, out of mind and things don’t get done.

I’ve tried a dozen (at least) online to-do and productivity apps, and when I found Asana, I knew it was the tool for me. It’s free (without the limits on the number of projects that many free apps often have), and it tracks both project and non-project to-dos, allows sub-projects, and near and dear to my heart, has color coding.

I’ve found the process that works for me: I capture ideas on paper, track in Asana, and put daily to-dos back into my paper calendar (still loving my 365 planner).

It may not be the most efficient process around, but it works for me, which is ultimately all that matters.

Toasted Marshmallow GU

I love GU, it is my go-to energy on the run.

I’m not terribly picky about GU flavors. I have my favorites, but I’ll eat whatever I’m given at races (after all, my absolute favorite flavor is free).

GU is doing more seasonal and short-term flavors, which is fun to keep it interesting, but sad when a favorite is only temporary and goes away (RIP root beer GU).

I recently had Toasted Marshmallow Gu for the first time and LOVED it. I’m sure it’s a seasonal/winter flavor, so if you are inclined to try it, get it soon since I’m sure it will be going away.

It is super sweet, and tastes exactly like marshmallow fluff.

When on long runs I’ll often consider flavor combinations and in what order I should eat my GUs (not because I particularly care, but what else am I going to think about on a long run? It’s a good a topic as any to ponder on the run). Toasted marshmallow GU should be followed by a tarter, fruitier flavor. I think the Toasted Marshmallow followed by a Jet Blackberry would be perfect.

I haven’t tried that particular combo yet, I’ll have to pack my GU accordingly for future runs.


I do have a thing for heavily accented TV, don’t I?

Another British crime drama. This one set in Wales. It’s the typical set up (a brooding and damaged big city-cop is sent to a small town to take charge of the small-town station), but Hinterland still manages new storylines and angles on what could have otherwise been a pretty generic show.

Much like Shetlands before it, I had to watch the first season twice for two reasons:

  1. The scenery is amazing and I wanted to savor it, which is easier when I don’t have to pay as much attention to the plot. (Wales has been added to the travel-to list)
  2. The accents threw me a bit the first time around. This show has many strong Welsh accents and town and proper names that are totally new to my ears, Netflix closed-captioning wasn’t terribly helpful.

Hinterland is streaming on Netflix


Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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