Pajama Crush

For some period of 5-10 years growing up, every Valentine’s Day my family would have a nice meal together, a special dessert, and then we would receive a special gift. Pajamas from Mom, and plants from Dad! This was a tradition that just… emerged. I think that plants are the frugal version of flowers, they keep on living, and they are easily found at the grocery store, but MAN receiving a live plant always feels like a special gift. And February is so cold and dark there is nothing more comforting than new pajamas! Some of these PJs are inspired by my family’s Valentine’s tradition and combine my affinity for plants and pajamas. Since I am still holding off on personal spending, this is a wish list or hard hint to my family or boyfriend.

8134008-1-multiCactus set

!

15046629308447098429_thumbnail_405x552Plants on Pink

 

8952919-1-white (1)The Truth is Out There

15082054584422217636_thumbnail_405x552Apartment Dwellers

 

Lunya_WashableSilkSet_Flushed-2_largeWashable Silk

 

Speckled pink and a classic robe

Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Blue and White Minimalist Photo Background Winter Instagram Inspirational Quote.pngNormally, when we listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we here a short and familiar sample of “I have a dream.” But this piece is more important than having a dream. This is about being the best version of yourself even if you aren’t living that dream. Even if your work is simple, it is important, and it is what you do.

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”

— From the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Leggings List

One thing I like about blogging is that it allows me to organize my elaborate wishlist. I very much “curate” my possessions, even those as basic as a pair of leggings. Here is a roundup of leggings I have my eye on. (And, admittedly, I just ordered another pair from lamixx).

 

Back to Black
My first debate: Which pair of basic black leggings will prove superior? I hate to drop $100 on these three pairs, but I really can’t decided.

Tried and True by lamixx    $26
il_570xN.325666026
I have probably bought a pair of these each year and I keep going back because I keep LOVING them. The thick fabric is soft and has shine instead of sheer. Downside: the thighs wear out (along the stitching, not through the fabric) and the waistband is minimal so I am always hiking them up. I realize that these may be problems only for curvy girls.

The Infamous Live In by Zella    $54
_13459777
Their name precedes them: the live in is supposed to be a flawless pair of leggings that you can just… live in. The secret to the Nordstrom brand Zella is that they have a former Lulu designer on their team. I am skeptical about the texture of the fabric, although the 3,100 reviews assure us that it is a thick and supportive fabric, and I wonder how true the shade of black is (the photo looks a little grey). I am really looking to live in my leggings, not just work out in them.

Essential by Lou and Grey     $24.50
imageService
Another name implying that this pair is all we need. From a brand built on lounge and comfort, it’s worth a try.

New Year’s Sparkle
I’m thinking of ringing in the new year by matching the American symbol: the New Year’s ball. Then again, where would I really wear them and how much am I really willing to spend on leggings….

st309-bronze_black_020_1
Bronze

sf3243-black_white_rosegold_speckle_043_1
Rose Dipped

lgfj028105001-model-front-close
Disco 1

lgfj049106001-model-front-2
Disco 2

lgfj028105253-model-front
Disco 3

 

Powerhouse
Here are leggings I would (and do) actually workout in, and feel like a badass while doing it.

sb3034_oxblood_2 (1)
Sweaty Betty

1_0ee67d23-91d3-4eb4-a2fb-4622df9c7aac_1536x1536
Outdoor Voices

My Fall Recipe Playlist

Do you find your eating habits shift seasonally? If we’re not careful, that means sweets and chex mix all winter, doesn’t it? I had been drinking delicious green goddess smoothies since spring and then one day I woke up and it was so cold I couldn’t bear the thought of a frozen drink. That is probably the same day I started making soups and using only orange vegetables. Here are the fall recipes that I keep going back to.

jojotastic-Avgolemono-Soup-the-ultimate-comfort-food-recipe-1

Avgolemono 
A greek lemon-dill soup that takes 15 minutes to whip together, and uses mostly handy ingredients. This soup is for when you are sick (or just cold), and is bright and reminiscent of summer. This can be made with chicken, but I have been using this recipe by Dinner a Love Story and skipping the meat. Next time I will try the heartier family recipe from Jojotastic, also using a vegetable base. The onion, celery, and carrot will give it a flavorful base. To make this a meal worth sharing, butter up some fresh sourdough and serve a crisp salad on the side.

 

corn-chowder-with-chile-lime-cotija

 

Corn Chile Chowder
This recipe calls for jalepeño, but I decided to add a little New Mexico heat with a load of green chile. Creamy and spicy, this chowder hit the spot. Tamp the heat with sweet cornbread and apple cider.

 

panfriedgreen-1-680x818

Kale and Butterbeans
This has become a weekly default, for when I want to eat healthy and have warm comfort food. I add as much kale as I can stand, am generous with the lemon juice, and always skip the parmesan and optional eggs. We recently used up some breakfast sausage by adding it to the mix, and it was very good.

 

 

 

 

browned-butter-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins-683x1024

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
I made these because in college, I bought one of these from my favorite coffee shop like, every other day. This batch came out even better than my coffee shop inspiration- they were soft and fluffy on the inside, and the chocolate chips held their shape. Brown butter glaze is always good, but honestly, I could have skipped it and felt better about my breakfast habit!

 

 

 

For other ideas, consider these amazing sweet potato options: stew, noodles, and egg boats.

Coming soon: Stuffed and Curried Sweet Potato

In the mean time: The Meal that was SO Good I Forgot to Take Pictures

Sweater Wishlist

I have been so cold, lately! I guess the changing of seasons sort of snuck on me. As a result, I’ve been keeping tabs on the sweaters that I want the most… and I can’t afford any of them! I am looking for sweaters that are soft and not itchy, breathable but not flimsy. So, here are the sweaters I wish I had to keep me warm.

545a6156_5ad1
The cashmere crew in donegal is a workhorse I would wear for years.

H2777_SU0486_m

I love how this cat print is a neutral and is a wild pattern at the same time.

0504763002_1_100011

This is the emerald knit of my dreams. I have been looking for the perfect chunky/oversized/mossy sweater for years. This looks pretty close.

TS23E59MGRN_Zoom_F_1
This waffle knit looks like it has a little more structure than the sweater above, but… the one above is so fuzzy!!

4114275522099_072_b
I love how slouchy and textured this yellow number is. It would be perfect for wearing on dreary days walking around at the museum.

madewell-province-cross-back-pullover-sweater-_1
Loving the cross-back. My sister has this piece as a part of her going out capsule. How mad would she be if I bought one in the same color…?

Capture_277
I am completely obsessed with Misha and Puffs popcorn sweater in confetti cake (and other amazing colors), and I can get behind their cause and would love to support the makers but I just cannot swing that price. I could buy a trip to the Caribbean for the cost of that sweater. I could buy all of the sweaters pictured above for that price! In my desperate longing for this unique puffy piece, I found these similar styles:

17wwin_k0050_cha
A perfect pick for a teacher during the holidays… except that kindergarteners would have a field day with the pom-poms, not to mention my cat!

8619784-1-rosecloud (1)

This dusty pink one is a little more sophisticated than the festive one above. Both are simplified versions of the Misha & Puff, though, with pom-poms just stuck on the front, not knitted all around. Admittedly, this sweater is the closest to my price point.

 

I’m going to be honest. This post is an excuse for me to save all of my dream sweaters to one page, so that when I have some extra money to spend, I can go for it. Do you have a favorite sweater that never fails? There seem to be strong opinions about fabric and how great merino and cashmere are in the case against acrylic. What do you think?

Related: Fall Outfits in Three Moods

Engage

What is your favorite holiday? I think mine is Halloween. I hope you had a great one, full of spooks and treats. I have been feeling a little slow and dreary lately, and have definitely been dragging my feet here on the blog, with a pitiful 8 posts for the month of October! Thanks for sticking with me. I love this page, and want to keep building the momentum we’ve gained since its origin in March.

October was themed “discovery.” My words on the month were,

“October brings the first brisk bites of fall weather, with the accompanying sense of opportunity. It is a time of year that people consume all sorts of flavors we neglect the rest of the year: apple, pumpkin, nutmeg, mace, squash! The same goes for color and texture. The other day I bought goldenrod high heels and a royal blue velvet clutch. Granted, the purchases were for a specific wedding outfit, but the color and texture were so unlike me! I think I caught a little bit of this autumn influence.”

Ways I was an explorer in my own world:

-I did in fact wear those goldenrod heels and royal blue velvet clutch to the wedding. It was quite a statement. People were referring to me as “the girl in yellow shoes.”

-I tried something very intimidating and started teaching my middle school students how to play guitar. I also taught my intermediate students a Halloween dance that they performed today. And all of it was… okay. It’s been going well. So trying new things pays off.

-I have made a new habit shift and am not snacking incessantly every night. Tip for others trying to limit their snacks: turn the tv off. Find something else to do. I am playing music while I work tonight, and it provides comfort and company without encouraging me to check out for an hour. Rather, I feel more engaged.

-As frustrating as it has been, I have put a hold on personal spending so that I can provide health care for myself and my cat (who is having a hard time lately), so that I can kill my leftover summer debt, and so that I can by that stock I want and start an money market account. Most difficult, I am committing to a summer job, which will turn my normally blissful hot summer days into… a job.

As I look ahead to November, I am thinking of overused words like “self-care” and “presence.” Not that these aren’t important, but it feels like everyone is talking about it and no one is doing it? What do those things even mean? There is a spa down the street from my climbing gym, but the money I would spend there could buy me two personal training sessions. Is the gym my self care? I am so tired after climbing late at night. Should I be relaxing at home instead? But does that really make me feel better??

Those words are too vague to use as my theme, because I need clear direction in these long and dark months. So, my mantra for the month, both here and guiding my everyday practices, will be engage. I strive to be engaged in each task I commit to, and engaged in my life. At work, in my exercises, while I make music, with my partner, with my family. There are a lot of fun and loving ways to connect that I strive to practice this November.

Happy Halloween!
-K

 

The October Roundup:
Wake Me Up When September Ends?
Discovery
Reflections and Intentions
Fall Outfits in Three Moods
Four Things
Weekend Update
The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend
The Day After Friday the 13th

pexels-photo-219513.jpeg

 

Hygge Goals

IMG_20161205_203148

My kitten staying very warm and cozy on a cold and snowy night! He is maximizing his sense of hygge, a Danish word essentially meaning “winter cozy.”

Roswell’s advice? Light a candle, and chill on the couch near some warm weather plants and the radiator. I think I’ll join him!

How do you achieve your “winter cozy?”