NEED. WANT. CRAVE.

I don’t know what it is about this time of year. It must be my nesting instincts or some such thing, the Solstice-y need to put more light into these dark days? But I am all about cozifying (what? It’s a real thing. Only legit stuff here) and this list, well, just you try to not feel all warm and fuzzy.

1. Hot Chocolate. ALL OF IT. The switch has been flipped and it’s all I want in the world. Moonstruck is close and is the good shit.

courtesy; Moonstruck

courtesy; Moonstruck

2. The Curly Girl Book. This is a revelation for me. I asked my friend about her amazing curly hair, she demurred, and then she came clean and loaned me this book. Honestly, I never thought of myself as the kind of person who would sit down to read a book of this nature (I did not watch the DVD, though so I still have that), it seemed like a lot of steps, maintenance. It’s really not, though. It’s what my hair has always wanted…

curly girl

3. A Very She & Him Christmas. Yep, here I am, that person. I don’t care, this album is catchy and it’s our new, Contemporary favorite. Just try to get these song out of your head. Hubbs and I love M. Ward on his own and now he is with us all year long.

A_Very_She_and_Him_Christmas

4. The Wonder Years! This is firmly planted in the “WANT” category. So, you know all of that music that totally made this show? Acquiring all of those licenses is what has kept the series from being released for purchase for all of these years. Now that it is out there in the world, I can’t afford it. Story of my life. But it will be mine, OH YES. It will be mine.

WY_Complete_Series_Shot_290x390

5. Bed linens. I don’t do Black Friday. I value my face too much and also my sleep. But, coward that I am, I am all about Cyber Monday and if I am shopping for any of the myriad of things in my life that I should really be buying on sale, bed linens is it. Our bed is awesome however, it is very thick. I cannot just go to Ross or TJ Maxx and find some cheap sheets. This beast of a thing requires deep pocket sheets and those are neither easy to find, nor are they cheap. But on Cyber Monday, I can buy two sets. Also pillows at Macy’s because fo’ reals, ya’ll, we need to be cycling out our pillows way more often than we (the Royal “we”) originally thought. I got this little diddy for $30.

P.S. For the record, if you own the Tempur Pedic Cloud Luxe in the queen size, It’s 13″. This information is not easy to come by, so I thought I would put it out there if by chance it helps one of you.

P.P.S. If you don’t own one, maybe you should? Soft enough for Hubbs, firm enough for me, it’s perfect for both of us.

6. Fraiser Fur candles.But also, these soy Roland Pine candles. I have had mine for two years and they are impressively fragrant, even when not lit. They are a luxury expense, but when you want the pine smell inside and the tree is no longer putting out, these candles are the way to go. Though next time, I think I may try one with a wood wick, have you heard of these? The wood wick simulates a fire, how cool is that?frasier fur candle

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NEED. WANT. CRAVE. THE HAPPY/ S.A.D. EDITION

When the excitement of Fall begins to give way to the business of prepping for the Holidays and the dark, dank months of Winter ahead, anyone that has lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than one of the notorious cold seasons knows to begin preparing for combat.

The enemy is silent. Perhaps the most devious enemy of all; Our own brains!!

You may know that it rains a bit here, but what you may not know is that because of all the clouds and greyness, Vitamin D deficiency is a real thing here which means that Seasonal Affective Disorder (or S.A.D.) is real, too.

Most people I know feel it somewhere on the lower end of the sliding scale that goes from laziness all the way up to thoughts of suicide.

I know, right? You can blame your laziness on the rain! Everybody does it… I actually blame everything on the rain because it lasts until July 5th. You know, long enough to have us all wearing jackets on the 4th and then the next day, BAM! Sunny gorgeousness! We have a love/ hate relationship with weather. We’re kinda famous for it. We are willing to put up with so. Very. Much. In return for our legendary summers.

Sigh.

So anyhoo, I would like to first offer my combat strategy for the ninja attack that S.A.D. can be:

  • Exercise. Since I have lived in Oregon, I have had to get serious about exercise because it is numero uno in my line of defense.
  • Go Outside. Exercise is very helpful with this.
  • Take your vitamins. I do Vit. D and Iron (as prescribed by my Doc), but find Vit. B complex and fish oil helpful, too.
  • Happy light. You are hilariously naïve if you think that you are going to get all the light you need naturally in these months. In fact, I giggle at you…But really, try it for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • This is self-care season. If there is any better way to combat the forces of depression, it’s focusing on yourself. I love a mid-winter steam and massage. Literally feel your bones warm up. Take care of yourself.
  • Creature comforts. Eating well, tea, cozy winter slippers, warm and festive gatherings with friends and family, a fire, a steam (I can really not recommend that enough), a glorious, glorious pampering foot spa, whatever. Spoil yourself. Now is the time and like the Wu-Tang Clan, your mental health ain’t nothin’ to f*ck wit.

So now for those creature comforts. For happiness this week, I need:

1. THIS AMERICAN LIFE. I do data entry for a living and if I don’t have music or Ira Glass, I will loose it all over this cube.  This_american_life

2. SURFER SALVE. It’s amazing, it’s Hawaiian and you can put it on anything. I use it for everything from bug bites and burns to my dog’s dry skin. There are other salves out there, sure, but none are Surfer Salve.

Surfer-Salve-Tubes.4

*PROTIP; buy it in bulk and have it on hand like I do, or give it away as gifts like I do. Either way, buy enough to make the price of shipping from Hawaii worth it.

3. BRAISED SHORT RIB RAGU. Because DERR! That’s why. Holy Mole!

Braised Short Rib Ragu on Polenta with Gremolata 2 500

COURTESY; CLOSET COOKING

4. SUPERFEET INSOLES. Don’t you judge me. Old people are SO not lying to you when they tell you that you will ache as you get older. At 34, I have chronic back pain. 3 things help me to mitigate this; acupuncture, exercise and these insoles.

IT’S FALL YA’LL, HYBERNATE WITH A BOOK.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everyone loves Fall. Blah, blah, blah…

…And THIS GIRL is no different! I’m from the East Coast, bitches, of course I love Fall!

I am all about switching gears each season. All the gears. From the food and drinks to music and movies and pants.

Sorry. I’m still a little bitter about pants…

Along with sweaters and soup and turning the oven back on, it’s time to switch up my reading.

Now, I know that you fancy me some born intellectual but it will surprise you to learn that I am not a natural born reader. Sometimes I am surprised at how much I actually read in high school considering I often said (outloud) “I don’t really do that.”

But then I moved to Portland and friends, I DEFY you to move to Portland and not read. The library system is still a staggering marvel to me compared to the one I grew up with (that was literally in a trailer) with all of the services it provides and programs and brand new books and movies. Actual authors come here. I have seen them.

Breathe, Fancypants. Breathe.

Everyone here reads. On the bus, at a restaurant. Did you go to that restaurant specifically because you wanted some time alone with this book? I know you did. It’s okay here. Hell, it’s common. The good news is, it’s Fall and hibernating is what we do best, so order yourself a scotch and read away.

My system for deciding on new books feels like a progression of my changing interests; I try to read a variety of recommended books, classics, new books and my favorite, re-reading the greats. I like to throw things in once in a while that are out of my usual. It’s good for us to be well-rounded. Plus, every time that I discover a new, amazing author that just says it, just nails it, it’s like high-fiving a new friend.

Can you believe that after all these years, I just high-fived Mark Twain?

1. Roughing It.

roughing itI mean, I read Huckleberry Finn when I was a kid, but I never really connected, you know? But I have a thing for travel literature and this is MARK. TWAIN, ya’ll. In a horse drawn buggy, heading West. You know, to the Wild West? In 1870 Mining for silver back when the border of the United States stopped at Nebraska? I never knew it could be so good. He speaks to me. 144 years later, he is hilarious, not P.C and if you’ve ever had a bad day, you can rest easy knowing that at least you never started a forest fire at Lake Tahoe.

No one has adventures like Mark Twain anymore.

2. Smoke Gets in your eyes

smoke gets in your eyesThis was my Halloween-y pick. Caitlin Doughty is fantastic on her You Tube channel where she demystifies that whole “what happens when you die?” In detail. Like…detail. Maybe don’t eat and read this one. But definitely read it if you have ever had questions. She will make you think about how American culture handles death and the rules and regulations around it. I know a couple of funeral directors and I will tell you that they are some of the quirkiest people with the best, most cynical sense of humor.

3. Henry and June.

henry and jouneIt’s sexy as hell, I’m not going to lie, and AnaÏs Nin was a fabulous writer which is what separates this from your grocery store, naked man on the cover cheap thrill. This is Boeuf Bourguignon (making it this week!) not canned chunky soup. Based on her diaries in 1931-1932 in Paris, she wrote about the intense relationship between herself and author Henry Miller-both married at the time- that resulted in some of the best love letters I have ever been jealous of not receiving. But aaaaah, the French are not known for running from love or lust…This is guaranteed to keep you warm.

Bisous, dear readers! Happy reading!

TREAT YO SELF: SUMMERTIME EDITION

Deep down, I have a natural proclivity to the routine. It helps me remember things and to do relatively well at participating in daily life, but doing the same things the same way all the time can grate a little, make you feel like you are missing out on the life that you are out there working for…Make you want to break free, even.

I often think about how unfair it is that all through school, we adhere to a schedule that allows breaks and vacation during the school year and then we are thrown into real life where those things are cruelly stripped from us. Don’t even get me started on the 40-hour work week…I will only say that having more time adds quality to your life and I work in a system that wants most of my time. Also,

VIVA LA SIESTA! Who’s with me??

Until that beautiful day, I have developed strategies to combat this feeling of unrest in the summertime so that it feels like a real, live summer break.

1. Take random days off. I had a friend in town for the last few months and trust me on this; knowing that I had a day off coming up, even a half day, gave me something to look forward to. Do things you wouldn’t normally have time for. This is not the time for Home Depot.

pin ball

Because it’s time for pin ball.

2. Play tourist in your own city/ state. One of my favorite things about having my friend in town was showing her around. Portland changes like, everysinglesecond, so I am always finding something new. Stop and explore. On your way home from work, you notice that new place is open and you want to check it out. Go in. Sit at the bar. Have a drink and an appetizer. Eating by yourself can be fantastic (remember, romancing yourself is good for you). Or call in late so that you can take yourself to a leisurely breakfast. Day trips. Plan them. Take them.

tourista

Totally cannot see her house from here.

3. Make a Summer Reading List. Just like when you were a kid. Make Fall reading lists, too.

readinnugget

It’s the Hardy Boys, dude.

4. In fact, do all kinds of kid stuff. Kids are excellent at summer. If you don’t have any, borrow some for observation. As a general rule, you will probably have more fun if you think like a kid, anyway.

geocache

Like a big kid treasure hunt. Don’t tell them that, though or they will be disappointed when it’s not real treasure…Learn from my mistakes.

5. Eat tons of ice cream. Like, at least everyday. In fact, Eat seasonally. Drink Summer drinks and eat summer food.

Gansetts

Shandy = Summah

Cherry dip

Cherry Dip = Summer

peaches

Peaches = awesome

6.  Re-decorate your cubicle so it’s not so…cubically.

lil hawaii

How do you celebrate Summer?