Loving This Winter

At the midpoint of winter each year, Anne Bogel shares what is saving her life and asks others to share what’s saving their lives. I appreciate that winter can be a hard season for people for lots of reasons, but January in particular is a favorite of mine, so I thought I’d rephrase things a bit and share things I’m loving this winter because I just don’t feel like I’ve needed saving from the season.

The first thing I’m loving is my new fountain pen, a pretty violet Diplomat Aero that was a Christmas present from my husband, and all the glorious colors in my journals. I’m definitely not a black or blue ink only kind of person, and I love changing the colors multiple times on one page or flipping through pages where there’s a rainbow of writing. It just makes me happy.

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Another winter love is our new console humidifier that has drastically improved the indoor humidity throughout our entire house and left us both feeling better. It’s a bonus that it’s also easy to fill and to clean. This is something we’ve discussed over several winters, and I’m so happy we finally bought one.

A month into the year, I’m loving my reading priority lists and the sense of accomplishment as I read and mark off books that have been on our shelves for quite a while. I’m finding some books just don’t interest me now, and it’s nice to clear up space for potential future loves. I have a quote from Anaïs Nin written in the front of my journal that’s speaking a lot to me at the moment: “In order to change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.”

The final love I’d like to mention is something that’s a  year-round love but something particularly enjoyable in colder months, and that’s simply a short 1-2 mile walk around our neighborhood that I try to do at least 3-4 days a week. We’ve found an easy low-traffic loop that starts from our front door and is just barely over a mile. Walking that loop once or twice either solo or with my husband is great for thinking and feeling part of something a little bigger than myself. Ideally, I’d wake up and do that walk around sunrise, but it’s a gift at any time of day.

Tuesday Tidbits: Roller Coaster Weather Edition

We did get the snow that I mentioned was predicted in my last post, and it’s mostly melted now. Yesterday’s high temperature was in the 60s, and today we’re not even reaching the 40s. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a high in the 70s, and the day after tomorrow has the possibility of snow. My weather app’s temperature chart for our area looks like a roller coaster.

I just barely squeezed in a nonfiction book for February to keep up with my 2015 reading goals. I borrowed David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell as an audiobook from the library. I usually give up on audiobooks within the first 30 minutes, so finishing this one is quite the accomplishment for me. The book was read by the author, and I think that helped because I’ve enjoyed watching his presentations and interviews in the past.

"We have become obsessed with what is good about small classrooms and oblivious about what also can be good about large classes. It’s a strange thing isn't it, to have an educational philosophy that thinks of the other students in the classroom with your child as competitors for the attention of the teacher and not allies in the adventure of learning." - Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

February’s featured cookbook was The Kitchy Kitchen by Claire Thomas. It’s maybe a little heavier on entertaining than what I like, but overall, it’s a lovely book both in appearance and in content. The recipes are rated according to difficulty from Yum (easy) to Showstopper (more complicated), and there are several basic recipes where suggestions for variations are made. Her advice on stocking a kitchen and pantry is great and is part of the reason why I can definitely see this in a gift basket for newlyweds or someone moving out on their own for the first time. Our favorites from the book were Caramelized Oatmeal with Sautéed Bananas, White Corn Chipotle Soup, Full-Blown Tortilla Soup, and Lavender Shortbread Cookies. (Can you tell February called for hot, comforting food?)

I found The Kitchy Kitchen through makeupTIA (Ashley) on YouTube. Ashley is one of my favorite people to watch because she seems so sweet and produces beautiful, relaxing videos. As you might tell from her channel name, her focus is beauty and makeup, but she also talks about planners, books, food, and general wellness, and those are all topics near and dear to my heart.

Tuesday Tidbits: Birthday Sprinkles Edition

I’m having an unfocused day with my brain running all over the place in an “Oooh shiny!” way. To go with that, I decided to write my first post in a series I’ve been calling Tuesday Tidbits in my head. These posts will happen on Tuesday (but probably not every Tuesday) as the name implies, and they will just cover a number of small things that are on my mind.

  • Today is my 39th birthday, and it feels odd. It’s not bad at all, and I’m definitely not bothered about the number or getting older in general, but “last year of my 30s” sounds strange to my ears. The past is always closer and farther away than you think it is is another person’s take on their 39th birthday this month, and it resonates.
  • I’ve decided not to track all the cookbooks I’ll be trying to go through this year on Goodreads because it feels like I’d be artificially inflating the numbers of book that I read even though I do read them cover to cover. Instead, I’ll mention here on the blog each month the cookbook I brought off my shelves for some new meals.
  • This month, I read Come Home to Supper by Christy Jordan from Southern Plate. I love her website because she feels like family and makes food that reminds me of home. We liked the chicken tortilla soup and the slow-cooker fiesta chicken and rice from this cookbook, but I’d suggest her first book Southern Plate to someone over this one because I think you see a little more of her personality and get more stories along with the recipes.
  • I don’t reread many books, but I find myself randomly remembering lines from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, so maybe that’s a sign. “There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.” I read those books over 25 years ago, and here’s another place where being 39 feels so strange!
  • I’m using Pinterest more lately. Scrolling through some pretty pictures seems like a nice way to start unwinding at the end of the day. There’s no worry that I’ll see a bunch of sad headlines or people arguing.
  • Did you know that Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World) co-hosts a podcast about books? Literary Disco is one in a very small group of podcasts that holds my interest. I should do a post about the few and the proud that keep me company on Podcast Republic.