I’ve finally accepted that Summer is over and Fall is here. Yup, I literally had to wait until I had bare trees in my yard to accept this whole “autumn” thing. It’s my least favorite time of year (except for the one week that the fall foliage is gorgeous here in New Hampshire). For me, summer living is easy. Come Fall though, I have a hard time functioning and keeping up. I don’t feel like exercising anymore, I don’t feel like eating healthy things like salads and I start packing on the carbs with apple cider donuts and homemade breads and I don’t feel like waking up in the morning because it’s still dark out when I want to get up!
So I put together a list of my 5 favorite things that help me get through the Fall and Winter season in hopes that it might help some of you to make it through the next few months too!
Sleep Cycle iPhone App
All summer, we revel in the extra hours of daylight and soak up every drop of sun. Come October though, the sun is setting more than 2 hours earlier than it was before and isn’t coming up as early in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I find it way easier to wake up in the morning during the summer than in the winter. The sun doesn’t come in my bedroom windows as much because it’s hidden behind our pine trees so I don’t wake up to my room being filled with warm, pleasant sunshine.
Sleep Cycle is the answer to your fall and winter wake up problems (or any time of year, really!). It’s an alarm clock app for the iPhone that is able to use the accelerometer in your phone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in. It’s really quite amazing. I questioned whether it would really work and was surprised to find that it made it MUCH easier for me to wake up at the time I selected. Rather than being groggy and hitting the snooze button without even really waking up, I am awoken by a pleasant tune and literally feel like jumping out of bed, much like I do in the summer when the sunshine wakes me up.
How it works is, Sleep Cycle uses a 30 minute alarm window that ends at your set alarm time and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase within the 30 minutes before your preset time. It is a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed. If you’ve ever woken up feeling completely exhausted when the alarm clock goes off, despite the fact that you’ve had “enough” hours of sleep, then you should definitely give Sleep Cycle a try.
Get It: View the app on iTunes.
The Dukan Diet
In Spring 2012 I got tired of being fat and feeling like crap so I started . I lost 20 pounds 3 months on the Dukan Diet and I maintained my new weight for over a year! The hardest time of year for me to stick to my diet though is the colder months. Once Fall arrives, I’m all about the baking and gorging on apple cider donuts and pumpkin spice coffee. Not exactly diet friendly to be baking a new delicious recipe from Pinterest every day! I mean, my family is happy but my waist line is not.
Thank God for the Dukan Diet! Once it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you quickly learn what foods you can binge on when those cravings strike and still lose weight (or maintain it easily).
You can read about my success with the Dukan Diet here.
Price: $18.39 hardcover ($10.99 kindle version)
Get It: Amazon.com
Healthy & Fun Cookbooks
Since you will inevitably want to bake and try new recipes in the Fall, like me, the least you can do is try some HEALTHY recipes! Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks this year…
Vegan Desserts in Jars: Adorably Delicious Pies, Cakes, Puddings, and Much More ($12.05)
With easy-to-follow recipes and gorgeous color photos, Vegan Desserts in Jars shows how to make tasty treats that are already in the perfect dish for serving, storing and sharing at parties. Portable, gift-able and delicious, this book’s little delights are sure to make a big impression.
Eric Lanlard, celebrity patisserie chef, has tapped into Nielsen-Massey Vanillas in his new book featuring chocolate-centric recipes, Chocolat. Released in September by Mitchell Beazley, Lanlard’s Chocolat includes chef secrets, cooking tips and recipes for more than 100 of his most famous desserts.
Copykat.com’s Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2: More Recipes for the Most Delicious Dishes from America’s Most Popular Restaurants ($11.48)
Packed with recipes for all your favorite entrées, appetizers, soups, salads and desserts from America’s most popular restaurants*, this book shows how to re-create mouthwatering dishes in your own kitchen.
Savory Bites From Your Cake Pop Maker: 75 Fun Snacks, Adorable Appetizers and Delicious Entrees ($11.94)
You love your cake pop maker for baking dessert on a stick, but it’s also ideal for creating bite-size versions of your favorite dishes. In under five minutes, you can cook palate-pleasing pop-in-your-mouth morsels that are hot and spicy, crispy and salty, or fresh and filling.
Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes ($16.96)
Michael Natkin, creator of the wildly popular Herbivoracious.com, indisputably fits both of those descriptions. In Herbivoracious: A Vegetarian Cookbook for People Who Love to Eat, Natkin offers up 150 exciting recipes (most of which have not appeared on his blog) notable both for their big, bold, bright flavors and for their beautiful looks on the plate, the latter apparent in more than 80 four-color photos that grace the book.
As soon as it’s not slipper weather anymore and it’s time to start the wood stove, I pull out my favorite slippers. I happen to be a huge fan of Acorn slippers (see above) because they last me more than one season of daily wear, inside and outside (in the yard!). I’ve purchased cheap slippers at Old Navy or Target and had them only last a month or two before the sole fell off or they started looking ratty. My Acorn slippers from 2011 are still looking good, although I have severely flattened out the fleece and wool lining.
Whatever slippers you decide to get, make sure they have a durable sole and are made from real materials, not man-made stuff. If you are going to wear them around the house every single day, don’t skimp! Treat yourself to a nice, high quality pair of slippers you can use for years. I’m glad I did! They are the best “investment” I’ve made besides my Ugg Boots!
Price: $50 for the Acorn Talara Mule (shown above)
Get It: Find a wide selection of Acorn Slippers at Zappos.com
Down Lined Robe
Definitely the top of my list for a must-have for surviving the winter in New England! I am SOOOO glad I bought this down lined robe from Lands’ End last year. I got a lot of wear out of it and I can’t imagine going through another winter without it. It has 350 fill-power down, plus a flannel lining. We turn the thermostat on the our pellet stove down at night to save money, so whenever we wake up in the morning, it’s pretty cold in the house! I’m so thankful for this robe on those mornings. I put it on right over my pajamas and I’m snuggly, toasty and warm.
$149.00 NOW $59.99!
Get It: LandsEnd.com
What are YOUR must-haves for surviving winter? Do share!