A Few of My Favorite Things
There is a bit of a craze these days among podcasters, bloggers, and others to share things that they like (and sometimes things they don't like) with their audiences. I've decided to jump on the bandwagon for a little change of pace because who doesn't want a (hopefully) helpful recommendation? I, for one, love a good suggestion that points me to a new product or resource that makes my life better, easier, or more interesting. Plus, I'm hoping that in reading my recommendations you will feel inspired to share your own with me!
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I have been a Brain.fm user for a couple of years now, and I absolutely love this amazing tool! What is Brain.fm, you wonder? It is a website (and an app) that offers specially designed music to help listeners focus, relax, or meditate. There are different playlists depending on your purpose. I use the focus option the most, but I have recently become hooked on the relaxation tracks as well.
Their patented "functional music" is based in research, some of which has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Their audio products, which feature an underlying musical score accompanied by a specific range of modulations, is designed to induce something known as neural phase-locking. Essentially, it helps you achieve a desired cognitive state - such as focus or relaxation. I don't know how it works, I just know that it does!
Admittedly, the "music" is a little funky at first. There's a real techno vibe to the tracks. Depending on your listening preferences, it may take a little getting used to, but I embraced it pretty quickly (as soon as I felt the results). I love to listen when I am writing or working on any sort of project that requires concentration. Just a few minutes is all it takes to get into a sort of flow state in which my thinking becomes clearer and I'm able to work fluidly without distraction.
I believe there may be some sort of free trial for new users. I pay $15 every three months, and it is so totally worth every penny!
It is recommended to use headphones when listening to Brain.fm because they help to block out other sounds. This Wireless Bluetooth Headset is my personal favorite. It's affordable and effective with good sound quality and a long battery life.
If you follow the blog at all, then you know we recently moved. Our new home has a lovely, big yard framed by spacious flower beds filled with all sorts of plants I did not recognize. I am not an experienced gardener, but I do have modest aspirations. The Picture This app is helping me become acquainted with, and learn to care for, my new yard.
This awesome app is super easy to use. There is a paid version, but I honestly can't think why you would need it because the free version is excellent, at least for my purposes. You simply click the little camera icon and snap a photo of any shrub, tree, or plant, and the app tells you what it is! In addition to identifying your plant, the app tells you all about it: how to plant it, how to care for it, how much to water it, and more. It will even help you diagnose pest and disease issues. The database has something like 17,000 plants, and this includes everything from house plants to weeds to vegetables to towering trees.
He has a gift for examining the science behind human behaviors and translating it into simple, digestible language. His book Atomic Habits not only breaks down the cognitive science behind habits, it also helps the reader master tiny (atomic) behaviors that lead to exceptional results over time.
Have you ever noticed that ideas tend to come at you in waves. They do for me, anyway. I hear or read something, and the next thing I know a similar concept pops up in another place, and another. Perhaps that is only true of things that really resonate with me; I notice them because they have struck a chord. At any rate, I love this quote that I stumbled across on Instagram recently, and I thought the Charlie Brown comic (seen of Facebook) related nicely.
I tried to find the original source for the Charlie Brown quote below. It appears to have been altered from it's initial wording. As far as I can discover, the original version went like this:
Either way, I kind of like Snoopy's take on things.
Speaking of living life to the fullest...who doesn't love a little comfort food now and then? I'm completely enamored with this recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Soup. Nothing beats it on a damp, chilly evening. Seriously, it is so good! It's rich and creamy and decadent, like a bowl full of heaven.
We like ours served in a homemade bread bowl for an extra special treat, in theory, that is. I confess that my attempt at bread bowls fell a little flat - literally. The dough (which rose wonderfully) sank and spread, making them way to flat to serve as bowls. Instead, we cut them into thin-ish slices and dunked them in our soup. They were still amazing!
It's been fun putting together this post of some of my current favorite things. I hope you've discovered something new and wonderful here that you, too, can enjoy. I hope, as well, that you will feel inspired to share some of your favorite things with me in the comment section below. I look forward to expanding my horizons through your suggestions.
4/19/2021 08:22:53 am
I can’t wait to try the recipe and I 1000% agree about James Clear. I know other bloggers who reread Atomic Habits every year. I think I’m going to make that a goal for this year as well. Great read. I always love learning other peoples favorite things because it expands my thinking about my own.
4/19/2021 08:50:51 am
I have plans to reread Atomic Habits as well, and I agree that it’s fun to read about other people’s favorite things. You never know when you’re going to stumble upon a new favorite of your own. I hope you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for your comment.
4/19/2021 11:49:56 am
I love my wireless headset. I just got them and have been using it each day to muffle out the sound of my husband on his calls for work. It works great! Thanks for sharing your favorites. =)
4/19/2021 02:15:16 pm
I began using the headset (along with Brain.fm) for the same reason, and that is how I got hooked. It's a great solution for people sharing a home office space.
4/19/2021 02:02:27 pm
I love that "PIcture This" app. I have learned many plants, but there are still many I cannot identify. I'm going to download the app for sure. Thank you for sharing!
4/19/2021 02:16:01 pm
I'm so glad you're going to give it a try. I hope you love it as much as I do.
4/20/2021 07:26:25 am
When I read the title of your post, the tune from the "Sound of Music" ran through my head. It's a song I remember singing many times with my mom as I sat next to her as she played it on the piano. "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens....these are a few of my favorite things."
4/20/2021 03:11:09 pm
Wonderful comments, Linda. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope you enjoy the app as much as I do!
4/20/2021 01:56:03 pm
I love this little round-up, Sheri. You've covered the mental, the physical, the temporal, the gustatory, and the emotional/spiritual. That's pretty darned organized! ;-)
4/20/2021 03:12:01 pm
Thanks, Julie. You're on to me. I was going for a sort of all around favorites list that ticked all the boxes.
4/22/2021 06:00:35 am
Sheri, you found some of my favorites as well as introduced me to some new things. I am a huge James Clear fan. He has an interesting and noteworthy viewpoint which I often share. I introduced my son to the Picture This app. He and his wife wanted to identify plants they like as they walk around their neighborhood. It is a fabulous app and so easy to use. I love the sound (pun intended) of the Brain.fm app. I will try it as I love to have background sounds but find some music too distracting. Thank you for this great review of things you love.
4/22/2021 08:19:59 am
Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you also like the Picture This app. It’s nice to hear that others find it helpful and interesting. I like the idea of using it to identify plants you’d like to have in your own yard. I hope you enjoy brain.fm as well.
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