Brenna’s Favorite Things

It’s been a while since my last Favorite Things roundup! I feel like I focus on food most of the time on this site (and in my life, let’s be real) but there are so many other reasons why I started Open Book Kitchen. I think that at times we can all feel a little isolated in the age of social media – on one hand you can very easily find people who are passionate about what you’re passionate about. But on the other hand, it causes you to look around and wonder “where are my people?!” It’s the best feeling when you find someone who likes something random that you like – so here are seven new things that I’m really loving lately:

  1. MyFLO app: I’ve followed Alisa Vitti’s work for some time now, ever since I read her book WomanCode. Alisa is a holistic health coach in New York City whose focus is on women’s hormonal health, and her approach through nutrition and lifestyle changes is incredibly refreshing. Alisa is all about creating harmony in your body, making it so that your hormones don’t feel like the enemy. Ever since my last surgery for endometriosis, I’ve been using an app to track my period and make note of what hormonal symptoms I’ve been wrestling with. It was a fine app and it did its job, but I was looking for more information and found myself flipping through Alisa’s book. It was then that I remembered that she had her own app – MyFLO – and I decided to pay for the $1.99 download to see what the app was all about. The app is beautiful and it’s so much more than just a period and symptom tracker. Based on the information you input, it can tell you what phase of your cycle you are in and then breaks down what kinds of food you should eat, what kind of exercise you should do, and what sort of changes you will probably see in your emotional health and relationships. It’s fascinating stuff, and I love geeking out over it. For years my goal has been to feel more in control of my body, and this app is really starting to help with that.
  2. Regal Flame Tabletop Fire Pit: This fireplace is SO cool. My boyfriend and I were eyeing this cute little bio ethanol tabletop fireplace for a long time before we finally snatched one up last month. It is smoke-less, safe, and still provides a nice warmth and a really calming feeling. With how dark it’s been getting lately, it’s been a nice thing to look forward to lighting this guy and curling up on the couch after a hard day at work. We’ve also used it outside on our balcony! Someday we hope to have a real fireplace but in the meantime this is a great alternative.
  3. BoJack Horseman: In the realm of adult animated shows, I’ve only really been a fan of Bob’s Burgers. Shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy have never really appealed to me! Bob’s Burgers has a lot of heart, and I had heard that about BoJack Horseman as well over the years, so when I was looking for a new show to start watching, I decided to give it a try. Wow! It is SO not what you expect. It’s about a horse who used to star on a 90’s sitcom, who is now washed up, depressed, and who makes a lot of really terrible decisions. He’s a flawed character, and that’s what the show is all about. It’s a funny, satirical show that pokes fun at popular culture and politics but it can get dark and over time it dives deeper into Lojack’s backstory. It’s not always a comedy – and that’s what’s really refreshing about it. It also has an amazing cast!
  4. Pacifica Nail Polish: Last year I stopped using normal drugstore nail polishes. After learning more about endocrine disruptors over the years, and how the chemicals in traditional beauty products can worsen endometriosis symptoms, I ditched most of those products. However, nail polish was the last thing I was holding onto! I very rarely painted my fingernails (I cook too much and do too many dishes for a manicure to last!) but I liked to keep my toes painted year-round and I had accumulated quite the collection of Essie colors. I finally started looking into other nail polish alternatives and Pacifica stood out to me because I was already using their perfume and loved how all of their products were vegan and cruelty-free. Their nail polish doesn’t have any formaldehyde, parabens, animal products, or gross things like toluene, xylene, or dibutyl phthalate. All in all, a better alternative to traditional nail polish! You can find it at Ulta.
  5. Talking in Circles podcast: I love Laura Miller. Her vegan cooking show on YouTube (Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.) was a big inspiration to me as I got more and more comfortable cooking and thinking outside the box with my food. Her perspective on food is that raw vegan food is AWESOME but unrealistic to eat exclusively and her chill demeanor was relatable and fun to watch on her videos. As much as I love her recipes, her frank discussions on her own personal experiences with mental health really make her stand out in the food and wellness world. Her podcast, Talking in Circles, is a low-key, no frills space where Laura talks with a guest about mental health in a way that isn’t super depressing. Her humor and general demeanor mean that her conversations make you laugh, make you think, and inspire you. One of my favorite episodes is the fourth one, where Laura “interviews” her husband about what it’s like to be married to someone with depression. Check it out if you’re looking to listen to some interesting conversations!
  6. Dr. Martens canvas boots: I don’t have too much to say about these shoes, other than the fact that they liven up my usual wardrobe of all black and they make me feel like the angsty teenager I used to be! They’re comfy and perfect for the plunging fall temperatures. They’re like these guys but I got mine a couple of years ago at a DSW.
  7. Mari Andrew: I’ve been following this writer and illustrator on Instagram for a while now. Her work is incredibly thoughtful and covers things like the concept of adulthood, love and romance, the ups and downs of moving to new places and having new jobs. Her artwork may seem simple on the surface but each one of her Instagram posts manages to tug at my heart and get me thinking.

Love, Brenna

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