Five Things I'm Loving Now

Happy Friday! It's been too long since I joined the Friday Five linkup with the lovely ladies Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar On The Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What! so I'm happy to be back! Here's what I'm loving these days.

Note: None of these are affiliate links, and I was not asked to promote any of these items. 

1. The Runner's Brain: How to Think Smarter to Run Better by Runner's World
This was one of my Christmas presents, and I immediately devoured it. Well-written and easy to read, it presents different mental strategies runners can use to improve their running and also gives exercises to improve mental strategies. It also presents a lot of fascinating information. Did you know that studies have found that the elite runners as well as non-elite runners who post the fastest times tune in while running (thinking of their form, their breathing, etc.) as opposed to tuning out to not have to think about pain, boredom, etc.? The book also presents the best strategies for mentally handling tough running situations. I've already started using some of what I learned on my runs and plan to continue the exercises in the book.

2. Arcona Desert Mist
I've been using this product for a few years, and it's a must for me when it gets really cold like it's been this January. It's a liquid that you put on after your moisturizer to protect from the elements and seal in moisture. It helps keep my skin from drying out in the cold. I use it daily before work and also use it before my long runs to protect my face from being out in the elements for so long. Arcona's ingredients are natural, don't include harsh chemicals or synthetics, and really work (I use their products almost exclusively for my skincare)!

3. Jambu Women's Denver Vegan Riding Boot
I don't buy leather or suede and usually buy synthetic shoes from Target, which usually don't last for very long. I decided to splurge and go outside of Target for these boots, and I'm so glad I did! This boot is extremely comfortable with a memory foam insole. I've been wearing them all day for work and walk a lot in them since I park 10 minutes away from my office and also usually walk at lunch. They're also very warm and keep my feet and legs toasty. They're waterproof, so I've been wearing them this week in the snow we've had. The recycled rubber on the bottom helps with traction in snow and ice. I love that I finally have a stylish, comfortable snow boot that I can wear all day long at work!

4. DIY Gifts
Some of my friends made limoncello and orange cello as Christmas gifts. Another friend and her daughter made bath salts. I'm still enjoying both! I love DIY gifts. I usually make cookies and give them away as gifts, but this year I just couldn't stand all the sugar (putting it in cookies, eating the cookies, giving them away) and quit after making just three kinds. Next holiday I want to make a non-food DIY gift.

5. Pawz Dog Boots
The salt that people put on their sidewalks hurts my dog's paws so much that he will try to curl up his foot and walk on his toenails, or he'll just stop and hold up his paw so I can wipe the salt off. Last year we discovered these waterproof rubber dog boots, and we use them all the time now. He's a big kicker--he kicks like crazy after doing his business--so he will tear through regular fabric boots. These boots are disposable but last a while, so he can wear one pair for a few weeks before he tears through them. They stay put and don't fall off, even when he kicks. The only bad thing is that it takes both both my husband and I to put them on him. He got used to them pretty quickly, and now he doesn't mind wearing them at all (though he always seems to look embarrassed when we put them on him!)

I look forward to seeing what's on everyone's favorites list!