Good Health: The Ultimate Luxury

Every month this year, I’m focusing on a specific theme of gratitude. In January, it was hygge. In February, it was women artists I admire, and in March it was books that impacted me. April will be on ways I am able to take care of myself.

Note: I am unhealthy. I eat poorly, I drink too much alcohol, I barely exercise, and I have mental health and thyroid issues. Hey guess what!? Did you hear diet and exercise help make you feel BETTER!?

If you’re like me, though, it’s hard to take care of yourself, when you’re busy taking care of kiddos, husbands, your jobs, your hobbies, your passions, etc. Taking care of yourself is a luxury and good health is something to be EXTREMELY grateful for.

What are ways you take care of yourself? Morning jogs, bullet coffee, vegan diet, regular massage? We’d love to hear! Over the month of April, I’ll be chiming in with ways I add a bit of self-care into my routine, and I’d love to try some of your suggestions! (Below I have listed a few things I regularly do.)

–Nicole C.

Book Roundup: The Cozy Cookbook

Having recently finished Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, I realized I have a thing for cozy, story-driven family-centric cookbooks. I devour them like novels, and keep them on shelves faaaar away from the mess of my kitchen. Here are a few in my collection:

applesforjam

Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook – This delightful book is divided into recipes based on color. My favorite: the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. GUH so good. I’m sad I’ve never had a chance to flip through her other books, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes and Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life. Author Tessa Kiros is also a delight to follow on Instagram!

***

familydinner

The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time – Hands down, one of the best books ever published. It is so inspiring, and makes me want to have beautiful, sit-down dinners with my family on a nightly basis. With contributors like Tom Hanks and beautiful recipes for the whole family, this is one of those books that’s actually very rarely in my house because I loan it to everyone.

***

inag

Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips – Stephanie is one of Ina’s biggest fans. When we found out she was doing a book signing and Q&A in Kansas City, we left our babes at home and eagerly drove up to see her. It was my first real introduction to her, and oh what a charmer. I went home with this book and have tried almost every recipe in it. Every single one of her books is ten thumbs up.

***

aphrodite

Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses – this book is more about if you want to *start* a family (wink wink, nudge nudge). It’s a cookbook that’ll make you blush. I first read it while working at a cafe where we hosted an annual “Aphrodite’s Feast” romantic dinner. The courses all had aphrodisiac properties, and this book was our ultimate resource.

***

What are some of your well-loved and well-worn cookbooks, whether you create the recipes or just love the imagery? We’d love to hear!

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

office
That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

***

oldbooks

Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

***

71ikmtuv-gl-_ac_sr300500_

Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

***

toaster

My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

***

61h0wqitlll-_ac_sr300500_

Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

***

Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Spring Reads for Book Club

reza-shayestehpour-22494-unsplash
Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

Thanks to my BookRiot weekly e-mail, I went down a rabbit hole of new books to add to the list. Some of these sounded like a good fit for the Mixed Print book club:

fortune

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller – Norbert Zelenka has always lived life on the sidelines. It’s why at seventy-three years old he’s broke and alone except for the company of a Chihuahua. But when “Carlotta’s Club”—three strong-willed seniors with plenty of time on their hands—decide to make Norbert their latest project, he reluctantly agrees to their scheme: establishing himself as the town’s fortune-teller. Soon his life begins changing in unexpected ways.

It turns out that years of observing other people make Norbert an excellent card reader. As Norbert’s lonesome world expands with new friendships and a newfound self-confidence, he finally finds himself in a place where he belongs. But disaster looms on the horizon. When a troubled young woman goes missing after a bad reading, Norbert must find a strength beyond the cards to bring her home safely.

A heartfelt story of coming-of-age late in life, The Reluctant Fortune-Teller is a poignant reminder that we’re never too old to learn new tricks.

***

auntie

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure)

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

***

eleanor

 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

***

husbands

 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

“Imagine if Mariyln Monroe lived to be 79 years old, decided to write a tell-all book, and plucked you (assuming you’re an unknown journalist) out of obscurity to write it. Such is the premise of The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo, and it’s fascinating.”

***

Mixed Print Book Club

In our recently formed “Mixed Print Book Club,” we try to pick books for the group that are charming, fun, and an escape from reality (for better or for worse). The group consists of mostly working women (and yes, that includes full-time mamas!), so when we have a few minutes to slip away into another world, it helps when the main characters are swoon-worthy and silly.

Our picks so far have included:

eleanor

Next Read: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

***

attachments

 

Attachments: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell – Oh holy night, this is a heart-swelling, laugh-and-cry-out loud, swoony moony charming book. It’s told mostly through emails, so it reads quickly, and we guarantee you’ll be cheering by the end.

***

51zs47eoayl-_sx320_bo1204203200_

The Rosie Project: A Novel,
by Graeme Simsion
 – This quirky romcom novel is fairly predictable but oh so enjoyable! The narrator is a man with Asperger’s, who is determined to find the perfect life partner, using a complicated set of rules and regulations. Also a quick read, and part of a series, for those who can’t get enough of Don.

***

5172rhycs2bl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Kiss Carlo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani – Our friend, book clubber, and surrogate sister Missy loves loves loves the author Adriana Trigiani, and has gotten us hooked. The Big Stone Gap series series is ten thumbs up! Kiss Carlo is a sumptuous throwback with beautiful descriptions and a world to definitely get lost in.

***

bernie

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – The book that kicked it all off! Hands down, across the board, a winner. Told in a series of emails and letters, this Seattle-set satire is funny, smart, and delightful. Plus, that cover!

***

What are you reading? Interested in joining in from afar? Message us and we can set up a post for commenting on each book!

{featured photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

imagineaforest

Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

creative

This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

IMG_5398.JPG
pattern play by Nicole Chilton