What's Saving My Life Right Now
It's winter's halfway point, so I'm joining my friend Anne Bogel, aka Modern Mrs. Darcy, to share what's saving my life right now. I'd love for you to share what's saving your life in the comments below or simply link to your own post if you'd like to write one.
1. Maternity jeans.
Nope, not pregnant. Won't be pregnant again. But that doesn't mean I'll stop wearing maternity pants. My problem with winter clothing is the Boot + Pant combo and my ever-present chicken legs. I basically walk on spindles, so even skinny jeans are baggy. This is not a backdoor compliment of myself. "Ohmygoshyouguys my legs are just too skinny." Eye roll. But they're tough to dress, especially in the winter with all the pants tucked into boots. My pants don't tuck, and that is why I love maternity skinny jeans. I can get a really small size that fits my tummy (decidedly not skinny thanks to three giant children) and my spindles. Plus I don't have to button anything. It's magical and makes dressing in the winter not so bad.
Until people know I'm wearing maternity jeans, but whatever.
2. Premixed coffee.
I love strong coffee mixed with a lot of homemade almond milk. For awhile, I'd make the coffee, add the milk, pour in maple syrup and vanilla, pouring and stirring like a decaffeinated scientist every morning to stay alive. And then I started mixing it all at once.
Y'all, what is happening why did I not do this before?!? It's all in a pretty glass bottle, and I drink it cold or heat it up in the microwave which is what we all end up doing a million times a day anyway. It's saved me so much time, and I only have to be a coffee chemist once every few days.
3. Having a project.
Winter moves slowly. Maybe it's because we're all frozen. Often my mind slows, too, but I don't necessarily want it to. That's why having creative projects in the winter saves my life and my brain. Right now, I'm working on relaunching The Lazy Genius Podcast, putting together a new recipe storage system, and poorly practicing watercolors as often as I can. If my body wants to be still and cozy, at least my brain doesn't have to follow suit unless I want it to.
4. The What Should I Read Next Podcast.
If you haven't listened to Anne's podcast of literary matchmaking, you're missing out. The format is delightful: Anne asks a guest three books they love, one book they hate, and what they've been reading lately, and she then uses her ninja literary powers to give them three suggestions on what they should read next. So often, her guest has similar tastes to mine, so I find lots of great titles to add to my list, but many times I learn about books I never would've heard about otherwise that stretch me just enough to stay interesting. It is such a gift every week, and since winter is such a season of reading, it totally saves my life.
5. A curling iron.
I wash my hair once, maybe twice a week. I'm a dry shampoo covert, and I LOVE IT. But with hair on the shorter side and stick straight, my Day Four hair sometimes looks like a shiny helmet. Not a fan. My sister who worked in salons for several years and learned all the tricks of the trade taught me how to curl my hair without looking like Shirley Temple. Praise. I curl it on day three, and often it'll give me enough style for two or three days after without having to wash it. Double praise. I'll never look like Felicity (teenage hair goals), but I'll happily accept adjacent Felicity hair.
I hate to exercise. Like, hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. I've tried every app, downloaded every 30-day yoga challenge, bought every DVD set, and promptly quit them all. I just don't like to exercise, and I don't spend time on things that bring me no joy if I can help it. (I still haven't figured out how to do that with laundry, but I won't give up.) I do like walking with a friend, but it's so dang cold, y'all.
Two years ago, I tried kickboxing, and OH MY GOSH IT'S THE BEST. I go to class twice a week and will arrange the rest of the day to make sure I can go. On purpose. What is happening. I stand in the corner of a sweaty Krav Maga gym and punch by bag like I'm possessed. I feel like Emily Blunt in that Tom Cruise time travel movie, and even though I probably look like a grandma swatting at a fly, I don't care. It's the most fun exercise ever, and I will do it until I'm a grandma swatting at a fly.
7. My phone alarm.
My brain and body are slower in the winter, so I forget to do things more than I'd like. That's why I love my phone alarm so much I should marry it. I have alarms for taking my vitamins (chewable because I'm a child), rolling the trashcans to the street, when the laundry's done because I never seem to hear the machine beep... if it can be alarmed, I alarm it. And now that Apple lets you choose your alarm tone from your music library, you get spontaneous music, too. Such a life-saver.
8. My baby.
I was terrified to have her and I still look forward to when she can wipe her own butt, but Annie brings me more joy than I thought a human could. I love my boys and loved them as babies, but I was a first-time mom trying to survive; enjoying that stage wasn't a thing. Now that I know I won't kill her if I clip her skin instead of her nail (done it), if she rolls off the couch (totally happened), if I shut her toe in the van door (that one was last week), I'm able to take the whole Mom thing less seriously and just enjoy her company. Plus she's super cute and thinks I'm the greatest thing ever. We're buddies, and she's helping me make it through the winter.
I can't get enough.
I'm steadily working through the stack I got for Christmas and my birthday, and few things make me happier than reading cookbooks. I do read actual books with love stories and kidnappings and stuff, but we watch a lot of sports in my house, especially in the winter when everything is happening. I can read a cookbook and watch college basketball at the same time. Give me a blanket, a cookbook, and a piece of chocolate, and I'm as happy as someone who found out she doesn't have to cook tonight.
Speaking of chocolate...
I'm still mostly dairy-free for Baby Annie, so dark chocolate has been a savior for months. I buy those giant blocks at Trader Joe's or the dark mint chocolate bars from Aldi. I get my sweet fix whenever I need it without eating dairy, and I still believe all the hype that dark chocolate keeps me from getting wrinkles and stuff. I'll pretend it's true for as long as possible. There's a lot of power in those little squares.