Things I Love: January 2017

things I love

I’m trying to be more conscious about the things I consume. Notice, savor, and enjoy the things that bring me pleasure. Minimize or replace the things that don’t.

This post is a byproduct of that – an occasional series passing along the articles, podcasts, tv, books, apps, gear, ideas or thoughts that I used, enjoyed, or smiled over (basically, the things I love) in the past few weeks in the hopes that they may do the same for you.

To give credit where credit is due, the seed of this idea is from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour’s Things Making Us Happy segment, which has been the source of many new discoveries for me.

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

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

The Things I Love

The Imaginary Worlds Podcast

I’d heard raves about The Imaginary Worlds podcast for months and always dismissed listening to it. It’s about culture as reflected in sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming. I’m not a gamer and I don’t particularly like sci-fi, why would I listen to a podcast about it?

I finally gave it a shot when they did a series of episodes on the Harry Potter books. I’m a Potter fan and a member of the Hogwarts Running Club. I knew if I was going to like any of their episodes, these would be them.

The first episode I ever listened to was about the Sorting Hat. As a proud Ravenclaw, it gave me an entirely new take on what it means to belong to one house over another. I’m hooked.

Good storytelling is good storytelling, regardless of genre. I listen to Planet Money (when I have no interest in economics) and 99% Invisible (when I have no real interest in architecture and design) because they are well-told stories.

Imaginary Worlds is simply high-quality storytelling.

Plant Nanny App

I rarely drink enough water, especially in winter. I’ve tried different apps to track intake, but found them boring.

They didn’t remotely inspire me to change habits.

Plant Nanny (for ios or android) gives you a virtual garden that you water by tracking how much water you drink IRL. If you are fully hydrated, your plant thrives. If you don’t drink enough, your plant dies.

Remember those virtual Tamagotchi pets? (OMG- they still make Tamagotchi Friends!) Plant Nanny is basically Tamagotchi for water.

I had been doing really well keeping my plants alive (and staying hydrated), but then I killed my snowbush earlier this week after too many days of too little water.

RIP little man. You deserved better.

Nuun Tablets

While on the water topic, I love Nuun tablets.


I first was drawn to Nuun because I liked the idea of the handy tablets they come in. Many sports drinks come pre-made in bottles (which seems so wasteful), or as loose powders (which is inconvenient and kind of messy). Nuuns are easy – drop one in your bottle, let it fizz and enjoy.

What kept me drinking Nuun is that they provide electrolytes and flavor, without sugar and without the fake sugar/aspartame flavor and after-taste that so many drinks have and that I cannot stand. To my disappointment, the Nuun All-Day flavors include ingredients that add in the fake sugar after-taste ingredients, so stick to the Nuun Active flavors – all flavor, not after-taste.

Personally, I’m a sucker for the Pink Lemonade, but I’m still hoping they’ll bring back the Kona Cola or Banana flavors.

Bonus: the tube package is the perfect size to reuse as a holder for laundry quarters.

Mount Rushmore

This is a totally random entry, but 1) I am a lover of random trivia, and 2) this is something I am now honestly obsessed with, so I think it’s a valid entry onto the list.

I recently read that Mount Rushmore will take approximately 2.4 million years to erode into oblivion. The idea of some millennia-in-the-future civilization trying to interpret what these strange faces on the cliff in the middle of the continent could mean, is my latest obsession.

This is the stuff I ponder while on a run…

 SPI Belt

Ok, enough trivia, let me get back to real, tangible, stuff.

This week I have been loving my SPIbelt (even more than usual).


Combine the SPIbelt with the poor man’s waterproofing (a/k/a snack size plastic bags), and my phone is stashed away and dry on the rainiest of runs, of which there have been many this week. The bags fit my phone perfectly, seal securely, and still allow phone touch screen access.

SPIs also double as a safe stash for traveling – even the smallest size expands to fit a passport.

I’ve done more than recommend this to my mom: I bought her one to hold her keys while at the gym.

Things im lovin


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

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