Where does the answer lie?
Allow me to explain….
Winter has never been a favorite of mine. Growing up in NJ, and attending university in PA, meant plenty of years worth of snow, ice, biting winds, frozen fingers, runny noses and wetness creeping into the accidentally exposed cracks of my outwear, sending chills straight to my bones.
When B and I announced our move to Ohio, many first reactions included a chuckled comment on surviving the winters, vs. what we had been experiencing in San Francisco, California (i.e. no real winter) for a handful of years. Eight for me, to be exact.
But, I figured, it wouldn’t be too much of a shocker to ease back into what I had known so well for most of my life. How hard could it be?
As I began to write this, on December 10th, it was 8 degrees. Eight. Degrees.
Pass me the mittens. We are in trouble.
In some parts of the world, winter spans an unimaginable lifetime. Or, in actuality, months and months and months.
“How do you survive the coldest, darkest months here?”, we asked our wicked smart and funny Icelandic tour guide during our August visit two years ago.
“Oh! We drink. We are great drinkers! Vodka. Do you want some?”
Side note: this same tour guide was horrified that we all ate, and enjoyed, crab.
“We wouldn’t even feed crab to our CATS!”, she exclaimed. Apparently, bottom feeders + seaside towns + storms and shipwrecks =
“You could be eating your neighbor! Ack!”
So, I have officially set out on a journey of Hygge. Investing in Hygge has lit a fire in my soul, and I find myself not just braced for true winter, but excited for the opportunities it offers.
From now until March (ohgodwhy), you will find me indulging this list, on repeat, like my life depends on it:
1. Stevie Wonder Christmas Pandora station. This channel has been carefully curated over 3 years, with diligent thumbs upping and downing, and is now pure winter perfection. It feels like living inside an old record player, and you should want to live there, too. Christmas is over? Humbug! If snow is on the ground, Stevie is on the speakers.
2. Yoga. Bit the bullet and got a 30 day pass to a studio up the road. Warm, sunny room + warm, sunny teacher will hopefully help thaw my limbs and heart.
3. Flavored coffees + teas, inside of cute/funny/pretty mugs. I will never not adore a cleverly dressed cup of something warm and tasty!
4. Baking pastries, eating one (two, probably two) and then delivering the rest to the main office of our complex. This fills the house with heavenly scents but keeps the calories away. Our office ladies are all super young and thin, so I feel no guilt over carb-loading them (read: I feel pleasure).
5. Candles, candles, candles. Most of them flameless. I’m sensitive to smells, so other than the this baby that has been my absolute favorite, I prefer the look of flickering light over the too-strong smell so many exude.
6. Hallmark holiday movies. Our DVR was almost at capacity before the season barely began. #noshame. I wrote about my addiction of these last year over here. Suffice to say, nothing has changed (including the movie plots LOL).
7. Shea butter lotion all over my bodacious bod post-shower or bath, followed by extra TLC on the ol’ tootsies via snuggle socks designed to keep them warm + soft. I love to soak in a tub of bath salts so hot that it almost burns off a layer of my skin. It drives B nuts, but it ain’t my fault he can’t take the heat.
8. Bundled walks with Ivy. (we’ll see how long this one actually lasts). She helps me fill my lungs with fresh air after hours spent indoors, reminds me to stretch, and allow the sun to kiss my skin (on top of proper SPF, of course).
9. Time spent perusing the over stock book shop directly across the street from our apartment complex. I mean, look at this place…
(I do not know why he is sitting like that. For the record.) Books for 50-90% off?! YES YES.
10. Read and read and read and read. Read in bed with a diffuser full of essential oils humming beside me. Read on the couch covered in layers of blankets and Ivy’s head on my lap. Read in the HQ of our complex, in front of the fireplace, with my daily free coffee. Read outloud to Brandon, since he falls asleep trying to read on his own. Story time is such happy time for me.
11. Crockpot meals once a week. Makes everything feel homey, and the leftovers keep so well.
12. Coloring! I say this without a trace of humor: I have been wayyyyy ahead of the zen coloring movement for YEARS. Kicking myself for not capitalizing on my stress soothing go-to back in the early 2000’s. This season I’ll be filling out a coloring book of postcards, then sending them off to people I love, miss, just wanna say HI to. Let me know if ya want one -- Britney sold her work for $10k, apparently, but I’m giving mine away for free.
13. Wine from this cup, as gifted to me by my dear friend, Janice.
Hey, the Icelandic say vodka, but wine works just fine for me. (Plus, I feel they’d appreciate this magical chalice , no?)
14. Card games with B. Skip Bo helped heal us once upon a time, and since then we've become big fans of Phase 10, too.
15. Write gratitude letters, practice presence, curl up with Netflix + B, invite new friends over (hooray! we made some in Ohio!), and know that after Winter, must come Spring.
Happy Hygge, everyone!
I've heard that participating in activities such as apple picking, sipping pumpkin spice lattes, taking hayrides, buying pies and cider donuts, etc earns you the millennial label of being a "basic bitch".
I'm not insulted.
Fall is awesome, and there is a reason why people go crazy for it! The smells, the tastes, the colors, the hot drinks, the cozy sweaters, the cute boots. AHHH. I'm basic bitching out on the inside AND outside!
Big thanks to Ali, our new friend in Ohio, for joining us on a little autumn adventure. Ivy loves Ali, and anything that involves being outside in the sunshine. Just like her mom :)
And thank you to Lynd Farm, for having all of the wonderful Fall musts in one place. It was pretty warm during our visit, but I have hope that Ohio will soon flip the switch to cooler temps, just when the soul requires it. We will most definitely be making a return visit, soon.
This. Set. Is. So. GOOD.
My holiday shopping is basically done, y'all. Hallelujah! Ahead of the game. Now I can just enjoy the fall season with my loves.
These goodies are super for friends, family, teachers, stocking stuffers, co-workers, party hosts. I'll be using some for Ivy's dog sitter, our apartment complex office ladies, my Godson, and Brandon's favorite internship teachers.
And, of course, maybe keeping 1-2 things for myself ;)
I'll be breaking down each item here over the next few weeks. Thinking a give away might also be needed....STAY TUNED!
Message me if you want more info on any of these goodies. I'm sharing my discount on the entire line, and likely will have specials for the individual products when they become available this month! This is a pretty crappy photo, but I couldn't wait to post about these as soon as they arrived.....
PS -- Get your own positive notes, delivered to your inbox daily, here!
WE GOT A PUPPY AND SHE IS AWESOME.
We rescued her about 2 hours outside of Columbus. She's mostly black lab, almost 11 weeks old now (we got her at 9), and her name is Iverson "Ivy" Fell.
I am very, very much in love with her. She has mastered "sit", "lay down", "wait" and "Deal!" aka shake/paw. Words do not do her joy-filled being justice, so I hung out behind the lense for a few days to snag a bit of happy Ivy to share with you :)
Come and meet her anytime!
For weeks I have promised to post my goodbye letter to San Francisco, and for weeks I have edited, added, deleted, fussed and mussed over it. It hit me yesterday that I was trying to squeeze all the feels of 8 years into a handful of paragraphs, and its scattered focus wasn’t getting the job done.
So I chose one aspect, based on a single, meaningful photo. Here’s where it took me...
Dear San Francisco,
I left my apartment the same way I first got her: seated on the floor, tears rolling down my cheeks, heart full of hope and gratitude.
In a quiet moment before climbing into our car to head east, I thanked her for being my refuge; from bad dates, jobs, friends. On some days, from myself.
She was my witness for 7 years. A keeper of secrets. A forgiving, sacred space to show up as Trish day after day. A place to happily pad around on a lazy Sunday, or collapse into after a long week.
I admired her magic ability to energetically expand 550 sq feet into so much more, making room for B, a 6ft 3" man who could barely fit under her crooked shower head.
I thanked her for turning 550 sq feet into enough for us. More than enough, really. I thanked her for showing us how much we could really live, even in a small space — for teaching us what is important, and what is just excess.
She held us tight through highs and lows, laughter and tears. In her I found that the brief loss of our connection is what showed me, like a shock of electricity, the absolute worth of us. Within her walls we clawed our way into more joy than we knew was possible.
"I have loved living here", I said. "More than I could possibly tell you now. You saved me 7 years ago, and I will always be grateful to you. Whomever comes to you next is so very lucky. May they find what they need in you, as I have. I will miss you."
B secretly captured this moment for me, and the photo will remain a favorite for a long time.
There are so many favorites when it comes to you, San Francisco. People, places, food (oh gosh, your food!), and adventures. But what strikes me as most valuable about our time together is that staring down everything that was important to me revealed a kind of truth -- humbling, expanding, grounding truth -- which will continue to guide all of my decisions from here on out.
I can’t ever repay you for that gift, sweet city by the Bay. But I can strive to share it with others. (And I think that’s what you'd want, anyway.)
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, there is a section in which she talks about having a “word”, both as people or places. For example, that Rome’s word would be “sex”, New York’s “achieve', and LA’s “succeed”. Eventually, she chooses her favorite Italian expression for her own word, which translates to “let’s cross over”.
Your word is Free, San Francisco. A tad ironic considering you are one pricey lady. But Free to Be, baby. And that is a value which resonates right to my core.
Thanks for being one hell of a healing partner.
Holy moly, what a whirlwind month it has been!
Here's what you missed in my absence from TGL:
* Trish and B said goodbye to San Francisco. I have an unfinished essay about this pending -- I promise to share it, soon! It's all the feels.
* Trish and B moved into their (sweet!) new apartment in Columbus, for B's fantastic dietetics internship at OSU. (Come visit?)
* Trish and B soaked up some real summer with family in New Jersey. Loved every moment of this; the heat, the walks, the friends, the summer nights that can't be beat.
* Trish and B traveled to Ecuador and THE GALAPAGOS on a small ship cruise (~ 40 guests) and had an absolute magical, incredible, heart- filling time surrounded by the sea, the sun, animals, and happy faces.
This trip has been on my "maybe someday..." bucket list for years, and I am still pinching myself that it happened FOR REALS.
I had almost 500 photos on my schmancy camera alone (not counting the other hundreds on our iPhones) upon returning home, so it took a bit of time to weed through. I wanted to share a handful of favorites here, per tradition of my travels. I genuinely hope the images inspire you to love on nature just a little extra today.
What left me most in awe (other than being in close proximity to a variety of beautiful animal species) were the intense conservation efforts the islands put forth. By limiting the amount of tourists each year, as well as the kinds of ships permitted (with guidelines on how they must function), hiring locals, and dedicating numerous hours to studying habitats, they are ensuring that these precious lands can be enjoyed for generations to come. There is so much evidence on these islands of how climate change is not only real, but dangerous to the future of the species who call it home. It absolutely boggles my mind how people deny this truth, as well as the value in these kinds of conservation efforts. Human beings can be so awesome, and also stink to high heaven. We ruin everything!
But I digress.
The naturalist guides on board our ship were so full of interesting knowledge. As I told Dennis, the lead guide, "I have never cared about birds in my life, until I met you! Your enthusiasm has convinced me that birds are cool, Dennis. That is impressive."
Apparently, the process of becoming a naturalist there is no freaking joke, either. After several months of study, you take an exam, on which you must score a 100% ....100%!!!....to pass. No exceptions. And, you can only take the exam once. ONCE! After that, your naturalist dreams are essentially brought to fruition or crushed forever. I do not think I could take that kinda pressure!
I hope you enjoy this (very out of order) collection of photos. Below you'll find sea lions + fur seals, blue footed AND red footed boobies (insert obvious yet necessary joke), penguins, tortoises, dolphins, pilot whales, iguanas, marine iguanas, and sea turtles. The sea turtle pics are just from a screenshot taken of a GoPro video, but please believe me when I tell you we were surrounded by them one afternoon during a snorkeling adventure. It was magic. I am especially pumped about the one with me floating above in my full wetsuit gear :)
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a note or comment below!
I love this earth so much.
Do Good, Be Well,
For 7 years you have held space for me to come as I am, with an open invitation to sit on your couch in the historic Flood Building, and unpack my thoughts and feelings in safety. You have been a refuge for my experiences; bad dates, and real love. Friendships made, friendships lost. Jobs earned, and jobs lost. You listened with patience to story after story of disappointment, victory, and everything in between. Today was our last in-person session for the foreseeable future, and it didn’t seem right to leave San Francisco without a proper note of gratitude.
Thank you for everything.
You taught me what it means to trust the process; to hold my precious life with care and compassion, and to allow my strengths and experiences to guide me when it was time to course correct. You helped me see where forgiveness held power, and how a healthy boundary can set in motion a new, more satisfying dynamic in any relationship.
You remember so much about my life! Details that most would have long ago forgotten (even me, on occasion!). Everything from which friends to recommend as a salve for any scenario, to the accountability of my own words. Oh, I guess I did say that. Thank you for understanding and enjoying my sense of humor -- laughter is how I connect with people, and your generous laugh was always appreciated.
I don’t know what walls or boundaries therapists and clients are technically supposed to have with one another...each on their respective couches, one with a notepad, the other mindlessly playing with the zen garden while she rambles, kinda thing...but I am glad you snuck through, and over them. I loved hearing your personal stories from the adventures of your life. Please know they were always shared in absolute, appropriate service of me, and helped me to feel less alone. More than once you became openly teary-eyed on my behalf, in both shared joy as well as sorrow. The vulnerability of this did not go unnoticed.
You have held me - not only in the energetic sense, but physically held me, Tara. Last year when I came to your office for an “emergency” session, after the cracks in my life fully expanded with a shattering boom, exposing a lot of hidden pain, you held me on your couch while I sobbed. While I buried my face in my hands, shaking, you wrapped your arms around me and just held me. Thank you for having the courage and the instinct to do that.
Thank you for encouraging me on my own path of life coaching; for being a mentor, a cheerleader, a sounding board for ideas, hopes, fears, successes and struggles. When you told me you loved me as a client, but would hire me on your coaching team in a second if we didn’t already have our existing relationship I felt a sense of absolute pride. You believed this work was the calling of my soul, and it helped me to feel it breathing there, too.
Thank you for everything, Tara.
I am a better human because of our work together. Braver, kinder, unashamed.
I hope to make you proud.
With Love + Gratitude,
It's time for my most favorite fruit to have it's official moment in the sun! I LOVE strawberries, y'all. These tasty beauties are high in antioxidants, and contain the superfood goodness of fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate and an extra dose of vitamin C.
One of my most favorite fun fruit facts (the lamest sentence ever?) is that strawberries have less sugar, less calories, less carbs and HIGHER vitamin C levels than the same serving size of bananas. As a person who despises bananas, this makes me feel oddly smug.
Take that, bogarting bananas.
Here's a delicious strawberry-balsamic dressing you should definitely try during the height of s-berry season:
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of EVOO
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh thyme or basil leaves
Salt + fresh pepper to taste
Blend all of the ingredients, minus S+P, in a high speed blender until smooth. Give it a taste, then add S+P to your taste.
It is quite possible that this brekkie idea is/was only appealing to me, but hopefully you'll still give the main ingredient (pea burgers!) a try.
B tells me that my general rule of breakfast is this: If it will taste good with a fried egg on top, it's breakfast.
He is not incorrect.
The other week I woke up more hungry than usual, and was quite pleased with what I managed to create from random kitchen bits + pieces; A leftover pea burger on top of a hummus smeared rice cake, with a fried egg to affirm its breakfast status.
Here's the scoop on the burgers:
Blanch fresh peas in a medium pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to an ice-water bath and let cool completely. Drain. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
In a food processor, pulse peas and chickpeas until coarsely chopped. Stir in onion, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, yogurt. Season with salt + pepper. Form into 4 patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook burgers until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes a side.
Top with anything you like! Avocado, cucumber slices, greens, etc.