As of early last week, February 2’s favorite groundhog woke up and wasn’t scared away by his shadow – meaning an early spring is upon us!
While many may rejoice about this news (however arbitrary it may be), those who appreciate the wonder of winter aren’t nearly as thrilled. Yes, the cold and lack of sunshine can be daunting. But there are so many positives to winter that aren’t celebrated nearly enough.
With spring “coming early this year,” pledge to make the most of the remainder of the winter season despite the cold, by enjoying it the way you know best – whether that’s indoors or outdoors.
Enjoy the Outdoors
As long as you have good gear, you’ll love the immense sense of solitude and purpose that comes when no one else is outside, on typically-crowded trails, parks, and even beaches. Down coats keep in heat the best, providing a pocket of warm air between you and the outside of your jacket. Invest in proper mittens, a hat, scarves, and socks to make your outdoor adventure a dream.
Get in some outdoor exercise – while enjoying beautiful natural scenery – by snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, playing a quick game of ice hockey, sledding, or snowboarding. If this sounds enjoyable to you, ensure your coat also has vents that will air you out when you get warm. The sweat these activities can create will make your skin wet, eventually making you colder as the sweat cools down.
If you’d rather do something more casual, go for a slow hike or do some yoga near a freshly frozen pond. Get a few friends together and have a picnic in the snow, laying down a heavy quilt and munching on in-season produce like warm kale, sweet potatoes, and pomegranate. Bask in the sunlight on a daily walk – the sun is like magic for our bodies, increasing your mood dramatically.
Enjoy the Indoors
If the cold really isn’t your thing, take your fun winter activities indoors. During the summer months, spending a large majority of your time outside can allow you to miss some of those relaxing indoor activities you adore. For instance, make a pledge to read 1-3 books per month this winter; during the summer, when you’re running around outside, you may not be able to find as much time to read. Find a cabin in the woods and enjoy the scenery from indoors near a fire, sipping coffee, and relaxing using your favorite techniques.
Try a new indoor class or sport while the sun still sleeps late into the morning and early in the night. Indoor spinning, zumba, yoga, and more aren’t as appealing when you have the whole world to jog in, but are enjoyable (and great for you) nonetheless. Your new class doesn’t have to be exercise related, either. Try learning a new skill (painting, a language, graphic design) during this colder time… being relegated to a classroom in the summer sounds miserable, but the winter is ideal!
All in all, enjoy the remainder of this winter season – no matter how you feel about it. Spring will be here before you know it!
Kale is truly an amazing veggie. It seems to be all over the internet these days, and for good reason – it’s an amazing nutritional powerhouse. And we’re always on board with a food trending if it’s this good for you.
What makes kale so nourishing? If you’re looking to increase your Vitamin C intake this winter to help fend of colds, kale is the right green to eat – it’s super high in the immune-boosting vitamin. Want to improve your skin, hair, and vision? Chomp on some more Vitamin A in the form of kale, which has 133% of your daily value in just one cup. Building strong bones and flexibility is easy with the help of a high daily dose of calcium; a serving of kale has more calcium than a small carton of milk.
If your iron is low, and particularly if you don’t eat meat, kale is a great substitute. In fact, per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. The veggie is also low in calories but high in fiber, acting as a filling yet low-fat addition to any meal.
Because it is so hearty, kale is highly resistant to frost, making the veggie a prime winter wonder. Kale therefore is a great option if you’re trying to eat seasonally, to save on the miles your food needs to travel to get to you. Chances are, kale is growing closer to your home than many of the other fruits and veggies that line the grocery store shelves.
And it’s super versatile – from soups to salads to chips and smoothies, this leafy green can find a way into any of your favorite meals. Try some of our faves below, and let us know how it goes!
When it comes to working your muscles – whether that be through working your arms or working your brain – it can sometimes seem like there’s no such thing as “too much.” Your body and mind reap the amazing benefits of exercise each and every day, and those benefits can become addicting. But even when you’re in the peak of your fitness happiness, it’s always important to remember the power of the rest day.
Each night when we go to sleep, a variety of processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs in the brain. This is also the time when we solidify and consolidate memories. Think of sleep as your brain’s way of keeping itself healthy – there’s definitely a reason why sleep is so necessary to both happiness and health.
The same concept applies to resting our bodies. When we lift weights, or exercise our muscles in any way (running, walking, biking, push-ups, and all the other amazing ways you use to stay healthy), muscle fibers are damaged, creating soreness. When you take rest periods, your muscles have time to reconstruct themselves, coming out even stronger than before.
Studies vary on how long you should rest after a tough workout. Some studies say an average of 48 hours is optimal time for your muscles to rebuild themselves, while others say one night’s sleep can do the trick. As with anything, it’s important to understand how your body’s rhythms work.
Rest days aren’t only relegated to giving your body a break, either. Sometimes your mind needs one, too. If you find yourself unnervingly stressed by the day-to-day, take a rest day to unwind and do your favorite relaxing activities. This often happens if you haven’t been getting enough sleep, not allowing your brain to reset itself properly. Mindful rest days are as important as physical ones, so ensure you listen to your gut when the desire for this kind of rest comes around.
Keep in mind that your rest days don’t need to mean staying totally stagnant (but they can, if you’re having that kind of day). Yoga, pilates, light jogging, or stretching are great restful activities, depending on your fitness level. Reading a great book or doing a crossword puzzle can also allow you to rest, while still working your mind.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to take a day off. Your body will thank you!
So many things are better handmade. Greeting cards, gifts, cookies, dinner… the list goes on and on. The benefits of homemade food are endless, cards from scratch simply make you feel extra appreciated, and craftsman-created products are higher quality, last longer, and are made with only the most beautiful of materials. There’s something personal and intricate that comes along with handmade items that makes them ultra special. This quality allows items to be infused with personality, connecting you with another soul who created the product you so enjoy.
That’s how we feel about all the shoes, bags, and accessories in our Handcrafted Shop. Straight from the artisan’s workshop, these beautiful pieces make their quality pure and clear. Intricacies abound with hand-stitched details and interwoven leathers, and interesting stylistic additions like hand-sewn zippers, threading, and tassels.
Seen above: El Naturalista Iggdrasil NE22
Right now, our shop is filled with delicious boots. You can tell by simply looking at that these handmade beauties that they’re of the highest quality – that the artisan who created them made this pair of boots his or her pride and joy. The time to create such styles may be more extensive, but believe us, the wait is well worth it.
From unique boutique brands to those that you’ve definitely heard of (and probably shopped before), many of our favorite lines contain handmade pieces. Spring Step – a brand that creates shoes that truly look like pieces of art – adds a wide variety of booties, slip-ons, and heels to the collection. Our favorite comfort sandal brand, Birkenstock, sits on these shelves due to the brand’s impeccable attention to detail and design. Old Gringo’s classic cowboy boots stand the test of time, with undeniably intricate stitching and beautiful, handpicked leathers. And Bed Stu – one of our newest boutique brands – shines with their hand-finished, gorgeous boot styles.
Check out our Handcrafted Shop for some beautiful boots that shine.
We know you work hard. Many of you are small business owners, loving mothers and fathers, career-focused marketers, bankers, retailers, salespeople, doctors, lawyers, and more. Each week is a mishmash of appointments, commuting, work, kids’ soccer games, and all those surprises you simply can’t plan for. Keeping all these aspects of your life straight is no easy task, and we’re constantly impressed by all that our customers do each week.
The more we get to know you, the more we desire to make your lives as easy as possible. Our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible in your own two feet while you accomplish all that you do all week long, while still looking stylish and fashionable.
And that’s where our Everyday Essentials shop comes in. Filled with boots, loafers, heels, clogs, and casual sneakers in easy-to-match hues that fit any sense of style, the Everyday Essentials is your one-stop-shop to comfort and fashion all wrapped up into a neat little package.
The simplicity in these styles gives you one less thing to think about in the morning. When all you need to do is get your day straight and run out the door, the last thing you need to be thinking about is how to match your shoes to your outfit. By keeping your outfit simple, and your closet bare, you keep your mind clear simultaneously, making room for all the important things that dictate your weekly success.
Seen above: Dansko Pro-XP Oiled
Slip on a pair of black loafers (complete with cute accents like a simplistic tassle, or an intriguing embellishment) as you walk out the door to work. Grab a pair of neutral brown leather boots to match flawlessly with an olive sweater dress. Put on your grey clogs for those days when you’ll inevitably be on your feet for the majority of the time. The opportunities – and your chances for success – are endless when you’re in a great pair of comfortable, neutral shoes.
And that’s why these shoes are so essential – they keep you going when you need it most. Check out our Everyday Essentials shop for the best in stylish, active, comfort-driven footwear to get through your busy days with happy feet.
What if we told you that you truly only needed to keep three key ingredients in your pantry to have healthy, easy, filling meals at your fingertips every night of the week? Would you believe us?
If not, hopefully this post will convince you otherwise.
Sweet potatoes, quinoa, and beans: three ingredients that have lengthy shelf lives (taking upwards of a few months to go bad), a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to keep your body satiated, a mix of complete proteins and healthy carbs to ensure you’re never hungry, and the ability to hold impeccable flavor that will keep you coming back for more.
A hearty, in-season winter vegetable, sweet potatoes are best stored in a cool, dark place. These orange potatoes are chock-full of vitamin A to support impeccable eyesight (one potato contains over 200% of your recommended daily value), 50% of a day’s worth of vitamin C to keep your immune system functioning to the best of its ability, and natural sugars that regulate blood sugar levels for sustained energy.
Poke a few holes in a sweet potato with a fork and throw in the oven or microwave. From there, sweet potatoes can be stuffed with a variety of delicious proteins (chopped meat, quinoa, beans, avocado, and more). Chop up sweet potatoes into cubes and roast in the oven with rosemary for a scrumptious dinner side. Check out a few of our favorite sweet potato recipes below.
- Maple Sweet Potato Soup with All-Spice Greek Yogurt
- Lentil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Taquitos
These tiny grains pack a powerful punch. Quinoa is defined as a complete protein, meaning this grain offers all the essential amino acids in one small package. The high protein content makes quinoa an excellent post-gym food for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains a plethora of helpful vitamins, including vitamin B, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
Throw a cup of quinoa into a pot of 2 cups boiling water and let simmer until all water is absorbed – instant complement to any of your favorite meals. Season with sweet ingredients (maple syrup, cinnamon) to include in breakfast or dessert; sprinkle with cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder for a savory dinnertime feast… or incorporate into some of our favorite quinoa recipes, below.
The best thing about beans? There are so many varieties and they’re all so versatile. Pepper black beans in a Mexican dish, use cannellini beans as the base of a creamy soup, or throw kidney beans into an easy chili recipe – no matter what your taste buds crave, beans have you covered. Filled with a healthy mix of protein and carbs, beans are guaranteed to keep you full for hours on end. They’re also full of fiber to maintain a healthy heart and gut.
Whether you buy the dry variety (super affordable!) or the canned (super convenient and quick to prepare!), having beans in your pantry at all times guarantees you a healthy meal any day of the week. Get started by trying out a few of our favorite recipes below.
- Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
- Spinach White Bean Soup
- Easy Double Bean Burgers with Avocado Basil Cream
The best part? These three ingreidnets can be combined into one delicious meal. Cook one sweet potato, spoon on a hearty helping of quinoa and beans, sprinkle shredded cheese (and perhaps some avocado) on top… instant, 10 minute meal.