Happy Friday! It’s December, everyone. We made it. What are you doing to take care of yourself this month? I’m focusing on everything comfy and cozy and peaceful. My list of favorite things this week will really reflect that! November turned out to be a pretty crazy month trying to prep for Black Friday sales and keeping my customers happy, but now that the calendar has changed I find myself really wanting to just hunker down and snuggle up. I also want to embrace every little joy that is attached to this season, using as many of my senses as possible. Celebrating the season – like by making a full Christmas mug and holiday tea station – has really become one of my greatest joys these days. It’s the little things, right? They add up.
Harney and Sons Gingerbread Festival Tea
I’m not sure if this is a new tea blend for them, but I don’t remember seeing it until a few weeks ago. I immediately ordered it because it was something different from my current winter teas which are almost all varieties of peppermint. Plus the white and gold tin looks so pretty and festive! I’m not actually a huge fan of gingerbread, I really don’t like ginger, but it’s a flavor the guys all love so I figured they’d like it even if I didn’t. Anyway, I brewed my first cup of it last week and I LOVE it. It seriously tastes like drinking a gingerbread cookie. I’ve never had a tea that tasted so absolutely spot on. It continues to amaze me! So if you like gingerbread at all – this is a great one to try! I like ordering directly from Harney because they almost always have deals, shipping is free, and it arrives pretty quickly. Plus – supporting small businesses is very important to me and even when something can be found on amazon these days, I’m trying to move past that middleman and order directly from the company.
Bixby Vanilla Creme Brulee Coffee
As I’ve gotten deeper into my coffee journey, I stopped buying cheap pre-ground and especially artificially flavored coffee. I really buy almost exclusively from Brandywine Coffee Roasters because their beans taste worlds above everything else I’ve tried. But I do LOVE variety (it’s a bit of a problem), so I get lots of emails from other small roasters. Anyway, when I saw this Vanilla Creme Brulee coffee – that are actual beans with actual vanilla mixed in – I just had to try it. Actually, to be honest, I ordered it for my mom for Thanksgiving, but it didn’t arrive on time. And when it did come it smelled so incredibly delicious that I kept it for myself. (Sorry, Mom.) And it IS delicious. True coffee beans that taste so intensely of vanilla. It’s really good. Try it. And if you want it to taste even better? Use it to make Half Baked Harvest’s Salted Caramel Brulee Latte. I did that for the boys and I the other day – incredible!
Oatly! Barista Edition Oatmilk
I continue to search for the perfect creamer alternatives now that I’m drinking coffee every day. I don’t drink cow’s milk on its own – I never have – so I always feel weird about putting a lot of it in a latte. I was trying a few different almond milk creamers, but a lot of times you could see them split in the coffee and that seriously grossed me out. I finally did some research on the best milk alternatives specifically for coffee and oatmilk came up again and again. And multiple articles listed Oatly! as the brand to get. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find Oatly! in the stores I checked around here. But I finally gave in and ordered a six pack online and it came really quickly. And I love it! It honestly don’t have any kind of weird off tastes, the barista edition foams up beautifully, and it won’t split in your coffee. I usually froth mine with a bit of a flavored syrup (from J.T. Cooper) to get some sweetness. Clearly it’s not stopping me from getting more sugar into my body, but at least I’m not putting the fake junk of marketed coffee creamers anymore. I’ve also found that I really like Chobani creamers. I’ve had all flavors except the Cookies and Cream and loved them all. Anyway, it’s just something different to try if you’re looking for a milk alternative!
Dreamothis 10 lb Sherpa Weighted Blanket
Okay, I hesitate to recommend this blanket to you just because it seems to be sold out everywhere right now. But…I’m OBSESSED with it. When weighted blankets became a big thing a few years ago I bought one for both myself and Caden. And we both hated them. They were too heavy, too slippery, and mine came in two separate parts that had to be snapped together so you could wash the outside and it was just way too much of a hassle. But last month I had some Kohl’s cash and I’m always checking for new cozy blankets to help beat the winter chills. I saw this weighted SHERPA blanket and I just had to give it a shot. My expectations were low, but…I’m completely in love with it. The 10 pound weight does not feel overly heavy and the sherpa on both sides make it oh so comfortable. It really traps in the heat too. I can literally feel my blood pressure going down when I put it on top of me. I keep it on my big reading chair for relaxing, but I’ve also used it for a few naps and feel like I’ve slept better than ever. I was able to order another one from Target a few days ago that I’m going to keep on my bed specially for my nap time! Though the boys have discovered the blanket too and now they both want one, but they seem to be sold out. Target does restock things like blankets fairly regularly, so hopefully they’ll come back. I did see it on the QVC website as well, just for more money. Dreamothis does have a few other weighted blankets on the Target website, they just don’t look quite as plush and cozy. I love this one, though. Jack does too! Yesterday he laid down around 8am and didn’t get up for eight hours!
Lauren Conrad Extra Soft Pajama Sets
Looking for some really soft and warm pajamas for winter? These are IT. I love them. I’ve slowly been replacing all my pajamas that aren’t as warm or comfortable. These are cute too!
Now that I’m into “working out” (okay, really just biking), I’m realizing how much more confident you feel when you’re actually wearing workout clothes. A few months ago a friend of mine was having a Zyia party, so I ordered a few pairs and I absolutely hated them. Mostly because they were so tiny – meant to be stretched very tightly – and I was at the biggest size which was probably a little bit too small. Anyway, I’m happy to have tried them out, though, because it led me to look for alternatives. And Fabletics are the winners! I never considered them before because I don’t like companies that make you have a recurring credit every month – even when you always have the option and ample opportunity to cancel that month’s charge. But when I realized they had SO many plus size options, I really needed to give them a go. And I’ve been so, so happy with the pairs I’ve gotten so far. They seem to be really high quality, they fit me really well, I love all the color and style options, and they seem to have a lot of good sales for VIPS (especially around Black Friday!). This morning I wore HOT PINK leggings on my bike ride. And I felt pretty cool lol.
Crocs Fuzz Lined Shoes
So you’re probably well aware by now that I seem to have neverending foot problems. And I think they’re not getting any better because I’m barefoot walking on hard floors about 98% of my life right now. I went on a big internet hunt a few weeks ago for slippers that would be supportive and warm and not feel like wearing anything too restrictive. I did actually order some, but they haven’t arrived yet. I also decided to get these Crocs – mostly because even though they’re not that stylish, I know that they fit me. And finding ANYTHING that fits my feet properly is basically an impossible feat. So this felt like a sure bet and I’m very, very happy with them. I’ve been wearing them most of the day every day this week and my feet don’t hurt at all! I love the fuzzy lining and strap because they feel warm and cozy, but they also don’t have those weird bumps that are on regular Crocs and can sometimes get irritating. I’m really glad I got them.
Soap & Glory Heel Genius Foot Cream
Here’s another thing I started using to try and help some of my other foot problems! For awhile there the bottoms of my feet were so callused, but also cracking and peeling and there were days I could barely even stand up, let alone walk around. So I FINALLY grabbed one of the many products I’ve purchased over the years, but never consistently used, and decided this would be the time I finally stick it out. And it actually only took a couple of days to significantly soften my feet. I also dug out a foot grater thing I purchased a long time ago and that really helped as well. But the foot cream is great! I also got a Soap & Glory body butter that feels and smells amazing. And then since I like those things so much I also just started using a Soap & Glory face wash that smells heavenly too!
Native Limited Edition Holiday Body Wash
Speaking of things that smell great – and going back to my idea of FULLY embracing the season through all of your senses – I discovered that Native makes some really delightful holiday scented body washes (and other products). For Christmas they have a Candy Cane scent and a Sugar Cookie scent. I have both of them in the shower right now. I also have a sugar cookie deodorant! I’m all in, guys.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This is something that I’ve been using for a really long time and never thought to share it with you! Now that we’re back into cold weather I’m really trying to make sure my lips never reach the point of being chapped and peeling. I’ve always been a lip balm addict, but I like putting something heavier on at night meant to truly hydrate your lips. These balms from Laneige are certainly more pricey than something you would find at Target, but I think they work really well. And they come in a lot of fun flavors! I’m currently using the Mint Choco one every night. I have a little pot of that and my heel cream sitting prominently on my nightstand so I’ll never forget to use them!
Okay, I’ve got one more recommendation for you that I think would be a great way to really get your MIND focused on Christmas. This book is meant to be started in late November, but you could still start now and be fine. It’s a really great book about getting the right attitude around the holidays and finding quiet and calming ways to truly enjoy the season, rather than get caught up in the busyness and commercialism of it all. It feels especially poignant for this year when most of us will not be celebrating in the ways that we usually do. I’m not done with the book yet, but I’ve loved reading bits of it here and there over the last few weeks. It’s available on amazon as well, but I really prefer the cover version that Target sells. It’s beautiful!