My Cold Weather Cozy Essentials

11 Feb

Most of us are in the thick of the cold weather yuck. You know… snow, ice, freezing rain, sky-high heating bills. It’s months like this that make me want to pack and move someplace warm. I thought I would share some of the cozy stuff I use to get through the season.

My Barefoot Dreams Cardigan (find it here)

Source: Nordstrom. com

Jack refers to this as my robe, but it is actually just the softest cardigan in all the land. I got it in a Trunk Club box in January 2018 and during the cold weather months I’m wearing it at home 100% of the time. If I were buying it today, I would go for the darker gray version from the photo… but my light gray version is pretty too. I love that it is lightweight but incredibly warm and soft, and it has pockets. It was rather expensive, but if I figured out the cost per wear it would be well below $1 per wear at this point.

Tony Moly Mayo Hair Nutrition Pack (find it here)


When the weather gets cold and the air becomes full of static, I switch over to this deep conditioner. I first posted about this conditioner back in October 2017 and have been using it during the winter months ever since. It has adorable packaging, is super moisturizing, and smells like a mix of vanilla and macadamia nuts. What’s not to love?!

Carmex Lip Balm (find it here)


I’m a year-round lip balm kinda girl and usually reach for Chapstick. However, in the winter I need to bump it up a notch and the Carmex Lip Balm gives me a little extra moisturizer for my poor dry lips. I bought the little Carmex pots for years and just recently switched to the sticks… which I like since I don’t have to get my finger all greasy.

Philosophy Glazed Body Souffle Cream (find it here)


I have probably tried hundreds of different lotions and creams at this point and have a bunch of favorites, including cocoa butter, the Body Shop’s body butters, and pure coconut oil. Every so often I’ll find Philosophy body souffle’s at Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls and I’ll totally hoard them. The cream goes on silky smooth and it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy. I’m currently using the Marzipan Dreams version and I love it so much.

Bonus Love: Homemade Fire Starters

I first blogged about making homemade fire starters FOUR years ago. You can find the post here. Well, I’ve been making them ever since… including a batch over this past weekend. I just collect the egg containers and lint throughout the year and mix up a new batch of wax whenever I need to refill my fire starter box. I actually ordered a big bag of wax back in 2015 (I got this one) and didn’t realize HOW BIG a 10 pound bag actually was. I actually have only used half the bag so far! If you love having fires in your fireplace, I highly recommend making your own fire starters from crap that would have just been thrown out or recycled anyways!

Do you have a cozy winter essential that you can’t live without this time of year? Please share in the comments!

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Learning About My Strengths

11 Feb

Recently at work I was tasked with taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Gallup test. Have any of you done this? Basically it is a short book that comes with a special testing code. You read the first bit about the reasoning behind the test, take the test, and then use the rest of the book to read more about the areas that have been determined to be your strengths.


If you like this kinda thing, you can find the book on Amazon here. Basically, the goal is that you find your top five talents and then use their strategies for how to apply your strengths in the best possible way.

I thought this quote from the book was rather interesting:

“People who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”

I like this one too:

“People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

So, I set aside about 30 minutes so I could take the test uninterrupted and answered each question the best that I could. At the end of the test, I was sent a Strength Insights Report and according to them, these are my top 5 strengths and the general gist of each one:

#1. Strategic – the Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught, but a distinct way of thinking. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity.

My thoughts: Yup, spot on with this one. I tend to describe myself as a ‘problem biter’ meaning that I can see a problem and figure out what bite-sized pieces need to be done to solve it.

#2. Achiever – your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero, by the end of the day you must achieve something tangible to feel good about yourself.

My thoughts: This one rings quite true as well. Part of it could be that I’m an oldest child and I’ve always been an independent, over-achiever type. This recently came into play when I was completing my Master’s Program and was disappointed in any grade lower than an A. This also explains my need to make ‘to do’ lists and why it feels SO GOOD to check each item off.

#3. Relator – Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. The Relator theme pulls you towards people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people, but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around close friends.

My thoughts: Yes, this one describes me too. I tend to keep my small group of friends very close and it’s hard to get to that level of friendship with new people.

#4. Communication – You like to explain, the describe, to host, to speak in public and to write. You feel a need to bring ideas to life, to energize them, to make them exciting and vivid.

My thoughts: Ding, ding, ding. This describes me, my job, my everyday life. My undergraduate degree was actually IN communications…

#5. Activator – You are impatient for action. You may concede that analysis has its uses or that debate and discussion can occasionally yield some valuable insights, but deep down you know that only action is real and can make things happen.

My thoughts: Yet another truth bomb. I hate meeting about a meeting to then discuss a meeting. I want to make a plan and check things off my list.

There is tons more information in the book about each strength, including ideas for action and the best ways to work with the different types of people’s strengths. My whole work team completed the StrengthsFinder test and we will have a meeting with a coach in a few weeks to discuss how our different strengths can be used as part of the team.

All in all, I found the exercise interesting. I can see myself in all five of the strengths that were assigned to me. It makes sense to focus on further developing my strengths rather than spending tons of time on fighting against my deficiencies.

Have you done the StrengthsFinder test? Did you find that your strengths rang true for you?

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A Redecorating Urge

7 Feb

I was originally going to do this blog post as more of a before-after kinda of thing, but I decided to take you all through the thought process with me. While I’ve done little bits of redecorating here and there, there haven’t really been any big changes in our house for a while. Part of the reason is that we have only been here 7 years and the other part is… money.

I like nice things and no matter how many times I go to pull the trigger on buying items like a new kitchen table and chairs, I just CAN’T spend thousands of dollars on a dining set when Jack is probably going to dent it with Legos.

So, I decided to start with my favorite room in the house… our den.

If you follow me in Instagram, I post lots of lazy weekend morning photos from the recliner in my den. It is my favorite place to sit in the morning with my travel mug of coffee in my hand and Ollie on my lap. When the weather is cold, my husband likes to build a fire in the fireplace… which makes it even more relaxing. My parents recently handed us down a fantastic massage chair, so that recently got added to the mix.

It’s hard to get photos of the space, but here are a few I took earlier this week:

And yes, I still have a Christmas tree up in February. It’s coming down soon (probably this weekend), but I left it up because when I’m relaxing in my comfy chair, I enjoy the twinkling lights.

The one view I won’t change is the fireplace. I love every single thing about it.

Here are the problems:

Problem #1: The rug is too small and no longer my style.

The current rug is a 5×7 and it is too small for the area. Also, I no longer enjoy the graphic design of it and it feels rather dated to me. I want something more classic/traditional but every time I look at options I get sticker shock.

Problem #2: Too much random junk.

Ollie’s crate (which he never uses), the accordion box (yes, there is an accordion in there), a photo perched on top, a half-dozen games piled up on the table shelf. All this has to go. The table and lamps are staying, but all the junk is getting redistributed.

Problem #3: The tree nook.

That little indent in the wall is super weird. Over the years I’ve thought about turning it into a bookcase, adding a desk for a little work area for my husband, building in a bench, etc. The problem is, that I love that area for our Christmas tree… so whatever I do can’t be permanent. Right now there is a beach photo I took years ago, a large chalkboard and a hand-me-down mirror just sitting there. This was not a conscious design choice; it’s just crap that accumulated.

My Problem Solvers (fingers-crossed):

My friend was raving about Wayfair over the weekend, so I decided to check out the website. {Note, this is NOT a sponsored post} I ended up ordering three things to help me redecorate my den:


Susan Blue Area Rug (find it here) I ordered the 6 x 9 version of this rug, which will hopefully be a much better size for the space. The original price for the rug was $229 and it is currently on sale for $83.99. I am aware that it is VERY blue and I already have a lot of blue going on… but I think that this might be perfect once I layer it in with the existing furniture.


Hillis Curtain 6 ft. 150-Light Fairy String Lights (find it here) I love the twinkling lights of my Christmas tree, so I was brainstorming a potential year-round option. These fairy string lights are super cool and I’m going to try hanging them in the nook. I feel like they could either look awesome or way too teenybopper… so we will see what happens! These were originally $39.99 and currently on sale for $26.99


Tall Water Hyacinth Wicker Basket with Handles (find it here) Original price was $59.99, currently on sale for $38.99. Along with adding the string lights to the nook, I’m thinking I’ll put this woven basket in there and throw in some snuggly blankets. It seems like a very Joanna Gaines thing to do.

I spent a total of $150 on my three purchases from Wayfair. I also have a few random things that I’ll be bringing in from other areas of my house. Lastly, I’ll be removing some of the stuff junking up the area. I’m hoping with this little refresh; it makes my favorite room even more special for us!

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Earworm: Nothing Breaks Like a Heart

5 Feb

Okay, I’m a little late to the game but I am OBSESSED with Miley Cyrus’ new song. Her voice is absolutely amazing and it kind of reminds me of old-school Dolly Parton.

Here’s the official music video:

And yeah, I have some butt envy too. I mean, COME ON Miley. Perfect voice AND a perfect butt?! Dang girl, you’re killing me!

There is also this video from when Miley preformed the song on Ellen

Just the fact that she sounds so amazing live give me the chills.

Anyways, in case you hadn’t already heard it… enjoy.

And if you already love it… enjoy again.

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