I wrote my Christmas card this weekend and thought to myself, “Wasn’t it just August?”
Welp, here we are at the end of the year and the end of a decade. Hard to believe.
Here are a few of my favorites as I decorate my house, buy gifts for others, and blow my nose continuously because the winter cold has hit me.
Merry Merry to you and yours.
Advent Devotional by Ann Voskamp
It’s the season of light and I get excited to remember how we can choose to welcome the Holy Spirit back into our lives. I read this one every year
Dried oranges – I followed this simple recipe and used the oranges as ornaments on my tree and tucked them in on a home made wreath. I left the sugar off because I know my dog would eat them …. Another recipe suggested tucking whole cloves in the slices. I didn’t have any and dried allspice instead and wasn’t that impressed.
I’m burnt out on pumpkin spice. The joy has been sucked away by commercialism and over-done everything. Why is it we have a tendency to squeeze potential out of things, drip by sugary drip?
This October I’m focused on turning inward a bit – asking new questions and preparing to lay down old stories with the falling of leaves.
Here are a few things I’m loving this month:
Roasted chicken – fill the house with amazing aromas on a Saturday evening. Don’t burn your hand on the roasting pan like I did. 425 degrees means 425 degrees.
One Hope Wine – I’m intrigued by their business model and am excited to raise money for a good cause. If you’re thinking about stocking up on tasty wine for the holidays, check this out.
Candy corn. Still. Yes. It’s a classic. Once a year because we will never burn out on their perfect chew if we only consume the kernels for one month a year.
Classic T’s – Maybe I’ve got some latent grief begging to be honored by the donning of black clothes. Maybe I’m channeling my inner New Yorker. Maybe I’m just craving a simpler closet. I’ve been stocking up on comfy black t-shirts and getting back to the basics with my wardrobe. As we head in to the season of layering, add these gems to your staples pile.
Rising Strong by Brene Brown – for when you need permission to accept life as it is and a gentle reminder that magic meets us when we’re face down in the ring.
What can you lay down this month? What is bringing you joy?
My mentor and friend has a new book out this fall and I’m thrilled to be on her team as she inspires ordinary people like me to embrace and honor our creative selves. The e-book is now available and the paperback will be launched later this month. Learn more about Teresa and her other titles here.
These are my husbands favorite birthday treat and we had a friend make hundreds for our wedding. Our 5th (!) anniversary is this month and I’ll eat one or two to celebrate. If you’re feeling ambitious – these shells are fun to fill with creamy ricotta and chocolate chips.
I know I’m behind and just finished Season One on HBO. The editing! The music! The suspense! Perhaps I should read the book.
I’m still rooting for the zucchini blossoming in our backyard. As the slow crop grows, I’ve been stocking up at the farmers market and spiralizing, turning into muffins, and sautéing with goat cheese. Summer veggies won’t last much longer.
Her voice is enchanting, haunting, engaging. I want more. I found out she’s coming to my town to perform in October and I’ll be gone. So if one of you could go in my place and live stream to my phone I’d appreciate it. Lily, I’ll pay for the remote experience.
Ursa Major Skin Care
I like using natural skin care products and many of them are amazingly expensive. Not this stuff. The face wash leaves my skin feeling fresh and the balm leaves me moisturized and happy. The scents are refreshing, natural and light. And all the products are within my budget.
This book is charming, smart, and gives me hope for the workplace. As someone who cries at work, I’m encouraged people are leading the charge to encourage more empathy and healthy coping mechanisms in the spaces we spend most of our time.
Even though it’s 94 degrees out, I’ve got the oven and the air conditioning on. And if you need me, I’ll be eating this delicious bread. Scared of yeast? You can’t go wrong with this stuff perfect for the amateur baker.
I gave up alcohol for the month of June and have been drinking this instead. Mix with some sparkling water and lime for a refreshing after-work drink. If you’re feeling fancy I suppose you could add some tequila or vodka. I won’t tell.
This month’s theme is self-love. I’m really good at loving others, giving to causes, caring too much, listening just a bit too long.
And I’m really bad at doing the same thing for myself.
So here are some fun and interesting ways to take care of yourself.
Get a temporary tattoo
Check out these mantra inspired, mental-health improving temporary tattoos. I’m sending my friends packs and putting unicorns on myself. We’re majestic creatures and we are enough. Sometimes you need to put these truths on your body to believe it.
Eat a wholesome breakfast
My friend JC is moving forward to turn his dream into a reality and is offering adventure-ready meals using flavorful, clean, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients. While meant for camping and outdoor adventures, these pre-made meals have been known to be consumed by the quick and busy millennial on-the-go during the morning commute. Congrats to JC, Anya, and the team at Backcountry Staples.
Invest in Lavender Shampoo
I’m not quite sure if I’m allergic to lavender. Sometimes yes, other times, like when using this delightful shampoo at my mom’s house, no. It leaves your hair smelling delicious and fresh and clean for days. So I’ll be stocking up here shortly and praying for no delayed allergic reaction. The lemon sage one is great too, just in case.
Read, or Watch, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
We read the book for Book Club and I got really lost and confused. And then I watched the mini-series on Amazon and it all came together. This is a hilarious Armageddon story and has me hoping for humanity as we approach the end of the world. Read the book. Or watch the show. Either way.
Paul Mitchell Extra-Body Boost Root Lifter
I’m not a big beauty (like cosmetic, hair, nails, beauty products) gal. Typically my routine includes a shower, a bit of mascara and a good hair tie. BUT this past weekend I cut my hair to my shoulders and need a bit of help with styling my new ‘do. This product smells lovely, adds volume, and doesn’t leave me feeling crunchy or grimy at the end of the day.
Brene’ Brown’s Netflix special
Keep watching all the way to the end. Her story about her daughters swim meet brought me to tears. So much of life is like that swim meet.
Peas and Beans and Lettuce
We planted some of our cool weather plants and I’m very excited. Look for frost resistant varieties of seeds and get your gardens started. Especially if there isn’t snow at your house.
Strawberry Bubly Water
Remember Michael Buble’s Superbowl ad? It was clever. When my boss brought in this sparkling water, I said, ‘sure – let’s give it a try.’ And the strawberry variety is delicious. Watch out La Croix. Bubly is going to give you a run for your money. Especially in my office.