We’ve made it! Today marks the halfway point of winter and since January felt like it was 74 days long, I’m turning my full face towards February and the sweet thought that in 6 weeks it will be spring break! Sure, it’s supposed to snow this weekend, but the sun is coming up a just a little bit earlier and there’s something fun and sweet about this short month that leads into spring. So I’m choosing to be hopeful that this second half of winter will feel quicker than the first.
To celebrate making it halfway through this season of dark and cold, I’m joining up with others over at Modern Mrs. Darcy to share a list of things that are saving my life right now. From the silly to the profound, these small things are making life a little bit easier and sweeter as I wait for the warmer days of spring.
Related Post: What’s Saving My Life Right Now (2017)
What’s Saving My Life
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Growing up, my family had a tradition of tackling a puzzle during the holidays, so I have fond memories of my grandparents pouring over the puzzle table with me as a kid. We don’t really have a place to keep a puzzle out to work on at our house, but this year, facing another winter storm, we set up the card table smack dab in the middle of the living room and I’ve been happily puzzling through several boxes over the last few weeks. For some reason, working on the puzzle is a total stress relief and I find myself unplugging and focusing on one thing. My kids love to stop by and help for a little bit and it’s such a peaceful way to spend a few minutes without scrolling through my phone or trying to catch up on email. My favorite brand is Ravensburger puzzles. They’re really high-quality and have lots of different themes plus they come in a wide variety of difficulties so I can pick up some that are more kid-friendly and some that are more challenging for adults. For cheap puzzles, Goodwill can be a nice option.
Warning, puzzles can be a little addicting…I knew my habit had gotten a little out of control when my husband texted me this!
Goodreads’ “Want to Read” List
A few years ago I started using Goodreads as a way to track my reading. I’ve never been a tracker and I really hate the idea of quantifying books, but I needed a way to keep a list of books I was hearing about. For me, having the app on my phone to keep a running list of books I want to read has been so life-changing. When I hear about something I want to read, I add it to my list and then load up my library queue with titles I actually want to read. I’ve read so much more the last few years because it keeps books in my hands at all times and I’m not blindly searching the shelves for my next title. You don’t have to use Goodreads, it could be a note on your phone or a physical list, but having a TBR (to be read) list has been the difference between keeping me reading and watching bad TV because I’m bored.
Related Post: What I’m Reading (January 2018)
There seem to be a lot more people mentioning meditation these days and the benefits, both mentally and physically, that come from making it a regular practice. Winter can be a time when my mind likes to work extra hard at over-thinking things and dwelling on future worries so I’ve been trying to be faithful to setting aside some quiet time to practice a short guided meditation. I’m still in search of the perfect app or tool that will help me. Many of the paid ones are quite expensive and the free ones are too limited, but YouTube seems to have a nice selection that’s working for now (hit me up the comments if you’ve got an app or channel you love!) and I’ve noticed that it does make a difference on the days I make time for it.
Argan Oil from Trader Joes
Somehow I’ve got skin that can’t make up its mind on whether it’s dry or oily and so I find myself walking this tightrope every winter with flaky dryness on one side and breakouts on the other. I like to use as many natural products on my face as I can so I’ve tried plenty of other oils like avocado, jojoba, almond, and coconut oil but they all seemed too oily. I’d just about given up when I happen to find Trader Joe’s Argan Oil. It’s only $6.99 for a bottle and is the lightest oil I’ve found. I love the eye dropper top that lets me control exactly how much I want to use. I mostly use this at night to moisturize after washing my face but I’ve also found it’s great mixed with foundation, as a cuticle oil, and once a week in my hair as a deep conditioner before I wash it. If you’ve given up on oils, it might be worth giving this one a try. It’s also available on Amazon but it’s not as cheap.
Planning a new trip
Obviously as a travel blogger, I love going on new adventures and for some reason this winter season is always hard because we just don’t get out as much. We’ve had a stretch of about 2 months with the holidays and bad weather where we haven’t really explored anywhere new and I’ve come to realize that I need an upcoming trip to life my spirits. It’s not even necessarily the anticipation but I love doing all the research and planning. It’s exciting to have something to look forward to and to learn about a new place. On the coldest days, it helps to know that I can ‘escape’ by researching for my next trip.
If travel planning has the opposite effect on you, check out my family travel posts and destinations guides for lots of tips and future trip ideas (I’ve done all the research for you so you can just show up and enjoy)!
Related Post: How to Plan Your Family Vacation in One Hour
My Electric Kettle
Who doesn’t need a warm cup of something to keep the chill of winter at bay. Several years ago, I bought this electric kettle and while it feels like sort of a silly appliance (it just boils water after all) but man, can this thing get water boiling quickly! I love that it heats a huge amount of water or just enough for a cup and it’s ready within a few minutes. I love to have a few cups of tea throughout the day and this is a lifesaver. And as charming as an old fashioned tea kettle is, I knew I’d made the right choice when a friend, who used to live the UK, came to visit and told me that most Brits us an electric kettle for tea, so it has to be legit!
So, what’s been saving your life this winter? What are your favorites that make this long cold season a little bit easier? Also, if you have meditation suggestions, drop them below!