What a time to be alive. For the deep thinkers, those who want to make social change, the hurting, the hoping, the anxious, and the dreamers, this year is challenging many. Narrowing in on things to buy feels funny when I know acquiring more doesn’t do much to help in the long term. Here are a few of my favorites as we continue to stay safer at home. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay home if you can.
I used to say this was my favorite book of all time. It had been so long since I read it, I wasn’t sure I could back up my statement. It’s still true – this is my all time favorite book.
“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing,” thought Francie, “something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains – a cup of strong hot coffee when you’re blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you’re alone – just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
It’s snowing again. While February is the shortest month, it’s often a long haul. Here are a few favorites to delight you while the weather is cold and gray and the promise of Spring is still tucked around the corner.
They tell me the benefits of Himalayan Sea Salt are endless. So we put the lamps by our electronics and I light candles at my desk. Warm glows of healing rays. Perfect for gray days.
5. Winter bouquets
Surround yourself with bright berries, and blue thistles, and tiny, delicate blooms of chamomile. Add some color to your space while we wait for things to think about preparing to bloom. You can buy online, or Trader Joes does a great job with flowers for cheap, cheap, cheap. This florist does floral subscriptions! Get fresh flowers delivered to you once a month.
What do you do to get through the long month of February?
Happy New Year! I haven’t been on my computer for two weeks! My neck and my shoulders are thanking me and I’m hoping I can carry my better posture forward when I head back to work on Monday.
In the meantime, here are a few favorites as we start a new year.
1. Yoga Bolster for keeping my tight hips and shoulders more open this year
2. Wine Bottle Gnomes – Hilarious – Winter is still three months more people. Make sure your wine arrives in style.
3. Journaling supplies
It’s been almost four years since I put my stream of consciousness to paper with actual ink. My goal for this year is to return to the practice. Try these Micron pens or these ballpoint ones and pick up a Moleskine. These journals already come with page numbers!
Make a yearbook of sorts with your photos from last year and then save space on your phone by moving your pics from one storage place to the next. They always have amazing sales and great selection. A fun way to capture your memories for the year just closed.
I’m not a big Chip and Joanna fanatic, and I do like her new, lovely cookbook. So many yummy recipes and I was surprised to see many include the ever-favorite, mysterious product called Velveeta. For those in awe of their empire, or ones simply looking for new recipes to add to the mix.
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.