You guys. I cannot WAIT to get home for the holidays. Writing this, I’m just T-3 days from my flight to Utah and I am so eager for time with family, nature, and sleep. However, before I jet off and bid farewell to 2016, I want to share with you my MVPs of December. To make things just a touch easier for you – I’ve provided any available links in the titles. That way you can get to what’s important quicker and not waste any time digging.
Without further adieu and in no particular order…
#1 Iceland Parka from Athleta
The warm fall weather in NYC held on for as long as it could, but we waved buh-bye to it about 2 weeks ago and winter was ushered in. I’ll admit, I’m an odd duck – I actually LOVE winter. I adore getting all bundled up with layers. My collection of cozy sweaters is unmatchable, but even it doesn’t compare to my gathering of fuzzy scarves. Still, scarves and sweaters don’t do the job alone – one needs a trustworthy parka to see him/her through a winter on the east coast.
I was desperate for a new coat even last year, so this year I knew I had to make it happen. I was struggling to find just the right thing. I knew I wanted a down-type coat, but wanted to refrain from anything too puffy. And then one fateful day shopping at Athleta, I found the Iceland Parka. It uses Primaloft Silver Insulation to make it incredibly warm, but not bulky. It has several functional features – both the hood and the fur trim are removable, the pockets are plentiful, and the length is long enough to cover my “assets.” 😉 However, my favorite feature has to be the touch of red detailing on the interior – it makes it so special and unique.
The good news is the Iceland Parka was included in Athleta’s Semi Annual Sale (marking it down to $260.99 from $348); the bad news is that has made sizing very limited. Jump on it if you can – I absolutely adore it!
#2 My Applesauce Recipe
Hey – not sure if you’re aware, but not too long ago, I shared my recipe for homemade applesauce with you all. The recipe could not be easier – hell, your slow cooker does most of the work – but in the end, you’ll have a crockpot full of fresh, flavorful apple sauce. Think applesauce is inappropriate for winter months? Well the joke is on you because this recipe calls for all the winter spices everyone loves – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc. With such deep, rich flavors involved, you can serve this applesauce hot or cold. My personal favorite is to serve it warm in a toasty mug after dinner – then it feels like I’m treating myself to a warm, apple pie!
To all you Kardashian nay-sayers…just hear me out. As most of you already know, I’ve been playing around with bold lip colors in my makeup routine. Not to get political on a lifestyle and wellness blog, but after this election, a bold lip has provided me some much needed comfort and empowerment. I love that it focuses on something inherently feminine, but exaggerates it, making it strong and daring. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been loving this feeling of empowerment; therefore, I’ve pretty much bought out every lip color I could possibly get my hands on…I suppose it was only a matter of time before I found my way to the Kylie Lip Kit. Guys…don’t be mad…but it’s fantastic. The color is rich and vibrant and it wears well throughout the day – most of the time I only need 1 or 2 re-applications (and that’s on heavy food or drink days). Also, considering you receive both a lipstick and lip pencil for $29…the price is quite a steal. Shipping took a little longer than desired, but it’s well worth the wait. So swallow a little of your pride and check out the website – there are some AMAZING holiday themed colors available. I really think you’ll be into it.
#4 The Bryant Park Holiday Market
To all my New York readers – I’m sure you’re already aware the magic that is the Bryant Park Holiday Market. For those of you not living on the east coast – every year right around Thanksgiving, multiple holiday markets set up throughout New York City. I swear I’ve visited them all, and while all are lovely, the one at Bryant Park always comes out on the top of my list. Between the giant tree, the ice rink, and the tiny, glass houses hosting each individual artisan, the park transforms into a stunning holiday village. It’s become my one stop shop for holiday gift giving. If you’re looking for something a little more unique than you’d find in regular retail stores, give the holiday markets a try. I look forward to it every year. Should all your holiday shopping be completed for this year, don’t be afraid to stop by even for just a good photo opportunity. Like I said…it’s stunning.
#5 S’well Water Bottle
Look. I know that this could cause a lot of controversy…but S’well is, without a doubt, my favorite brand when it comes to reusable water bottles. I love the shape, I love that the opening is wide enough to easily fill, but not so wide that I’m worried about spilling all the contents onto my face (#uncoordinated). I love that it comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and textures – you can pick one out that matches your style and personality, or (if you’re anything like me), you can pick out several that match your style and personality. My latest fave is the Opal Marble from the Elements Collection, but I’m also partial to my original Sparkling Champagne from the Glitter Collection.
So not to give too many spoilers, but I’ve recently gotten into oil cleansing. Don’t worry, I’m working on a longer blog post regarding the complete ins and outs of the practice, but for today, let me just recommend full heartedly the skincare line from Primally Pure. I simply can’t get enough of it. They pride themselves on being paleo friendly… in fact, the first ingredient listed for the body butter pictured is…drumroll please…beef tallow.
Go ahead and sit with that one for a second. I understand if initially that news turns you off a little, but keep in mind that Primally Pure only uses tallow from grass-fed cows. Their ingredients are natural, organic, and fair trade – all the things I appreciate as a consumer. I personally have extremely sensitive skin; therefore, I’m very picky about what types of lotions I use. These products have been a life savor especially now that the weather has gotten so cold and bitter.
I admit that I toyed with the idea of getting a Himalayan Salt Lamp for far too long. Moral of the story is, don’t be like me – get yourself a salt lamp asap. They are peaceful, calming, and give off the most delightful, warm, orange hue.
They work to reduce the effects of positive ions emitted from one’s electronic devices by emitting negative ions. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time looking at a computer, phone or tv screen, maybe consider a salt lamp to help neutralize electromagnetic radiation.
Also, they help to cleanse and purify the air. Salt attracts water, so your salt lamp is actually working to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment, and absorb those molecules and any foreign particles they may be carrying – such as dust, pollen, or smoke. In turn you breathe better, sleep better, and have more energy to get shit done 😉
I’ve loved mine so far. I leave it on all day, and only turn it off at night as I’m sensitive to light when I sleep. I’m sure there are debates as to how much salt lamps actually deliver on these promised benefits, but I am a true believer. Try one…you won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know I’m on a constant quest to drink less coffee. Easiest way to insure I do so? Pack some tea with me on my journey so I’m less tempted to stop in along the way for a cup of cold brew. I’ve owned my share of tumblers, but this one is a game changer. Not only is it spill proof, making my commutes to work just a touch easier, but it also features an “easy clean” lid. You can see how the lid works through the link on Amazon – it is really the best feature. I get home, I pop the lid in the dishwasher after releasing the easy clean tab, and it’s all taken care of. So much better than the days of unscrewing a million little pieces and still wondering why your tumbler smells just a little sour.
#9 The War of Art
You guys, why didn’t I know about this book sooner? What an absolute life changer. I read this book during my subway commutes – some days I would simply smile and wonder how a book could seemingly know a person so well, other days I would honestly start crying because a chapter would connect so deeply with my core beliefs. Truthfully, I’d recommend this book to anyone, but artists, writers, and creators should consider it required reading. Just do it. Read it. Read it now.
#10 Lush Bath Bombs and Bubble Bars
I’ve been dealing with some major neck pain the past couple weeks. I have a history of waking up with a stiff neck. I have yet to discover if it’s due to the position I sleep in, stress, or muscle overuse. Regardless, this latest flare up was particularly painful – the first day it struck it took me an hour to maneuver my body out of bed.
Now, I’m not typically a bather. Truthfully, I much prefer the efficiency of a shower. I mean, I know a bath has its benefits – it’s relaxing, it’s great for relieving stress, it helps alleviate soreness and fluid retention, but still…in order to convince me to sit in a tub for 20-30 minutes, that bath needs to be down right luscious.
Enter Lush products.
Using vegetarian ingredients, and fighting animal testing all the while, Lush is a great brand to get behind. I personally recommend throwing in one bath bomb with half of a bubble bar – it creates heaven. While I love to mix and match to see what new combinations I can make, my consistent go to’s are Twilight, Sex Bomb, and Big Bang.
Happy Holidays everyone!