January 13, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Much of the country is facing bitterly cold temperatures this week so we need to talk about getting and staying warm! Currently we are sitting at -8 degrees with a windchill approaching -30 degrees. That’s real life and it’s bitterly cold. It’s walk outside and your nose hairs freeze kind of cold. (If you know what I’m talking about then you know what I’m talking about!) For those of you who are used to winters like ours, you know there’s a only one way to get warm and stay warm and that’s to stay inside if you can, pile on the layers and make the best of it until things start to warm up a bit. Oh, and for those of you who are in more temperate climates and might be wondering, yes, we have heat in our houses. No, it doesn’t matter on days like today. Even if you crank your thermostat the cold takes up residence in your bones and refuses to be budge and that’s why special measures are necessary. So let’s make the most of this winter chill with my tips for how to stay warm and happy when it’s crazy cold!
Step 1. Bust out your favorite chunky sweater. The one that in reality is too heavy and too bulky most days because it won’t fit under your winter coat, but on days like today is just right. Wear your hair in a braid, layer on two or three pairs of yoga pants or leggins and just rejoice that at least the extreme cold weather gives you a perfect excuse to wear your comfiest clothes! Waistbands are not required on crazy cold winter days and everybody understands. (This sweater is from Free People.)
Step 2. Make and eat homemade soup. The kitchen will get nice and warm while you’re cooking and it’s a proven scientific fact that hot soup warms you up from the inside out. I’m sure someone has done some kind of study on that? Either way, this brie cheddar apple beer soup from Half Baked Harvest will do the trick nicely!
Step 3. Bring on the fire! If you don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, light every single candle you own. Seriously. They’ll throw off a little bit of extra heat, but more importantly they’ll give your home a warm and cozy vibe that will just help you feel better about how bitterly cold it is on the other side of your windows. When in doubt, making things feel festive is always a way to go. (I’m loving this fireplace from Fastighetsbyrån via Planete Deco.)
Step 4. Hot chocolate is a must on days like today. Make it as rich and decadent as possible. Add a splash of bourbon if you really need to get the job done. I’m not judging! In fact, I’ll pass you the chocolate and the bottle so you can get started. This recipe from A Cozy Kitchen will help you make all your hot chocolate dreams come true.
Step 5. When in doubt, a blanket fort is the only way to go! Toss all your throw blankets and pillows in a pile and drape yourself in coziness. I don’t care that you’re an adult. In my opinion blanket forts were invented for adults who need a little escape, whether it be from the winter cold or otherwise. This one from Design Love Fest is particularly pretty, but pretty has nothing to do with it at the end of the day, just get cozy!
January 12, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
I wanted to do something a little different today and share 50 random things about me that you might not already know. I was motivated to do so primarily by the fact that I love reading these kinds of posts when other bloggers share them. There’s no rhyme or reason behind what things I’m sharing, I’m literally just writing off the cuff and sharing whatever comes to mind as I type. Maybe you’ll learn some weird little thing about me that we have in common or maybe you’ll find this completely boring. Whatever the case may be, feel free to comment and let me know! I want to mix things up this year with a post here and there like this one that is intended to be a fun, informal way of sharing more about me and connecting with you, so your feedback is always welcome!
1. I have three degrees. An AAS and BS (both in architecture) and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and management.
2. I haven’t eaten a single bite of red meat since I was 22. I stopped eating meat and poultry altogether when I was 25. I do very rarely eat fish or shellfish but otherwise eat a vegetarian diet about 99% percent of the time.
3. My favorite color is teal, with cobalt blue being a very close second. In general I am drawn more to cool colors and really don’t care for yellow or red much at all.
January 9, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
As we already know, I’m making it my personal mission to be very goal-oriented and organized in 2015. I already told you all about that and how I’m using my much-loved Day Designer to help me get the job done. While I recommend it to the moon and back, they’re currently sold out and any remaining inventory that is released will go super quickly, so I set to rounding up what I consider some of the best printables to help you kickstart 2015. Most of these are free, but those that aren’t are super budget-friendly at prices ranging from just $5 to $15. You’ll find everything from at-a-glance desk calendars to goal sheets, to-do lists and resolution cards, all designed to help you bring a little order to your new year in a way that’s pretty, too.
So if you’re ready to kickstart January with a bang and you still need a little help getting all of your ducks in a row, click through for my picks for the best printables to get organized in 2015!
January 9, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Yesterday on Instagram I mentioned that I was working on shooting a few smoothie recipes to share with you. At the risk of sounding like a complete cliché, because smoothies are generally my go-to weekday breakfast regardless of the time of year, smoothies are just one of those things that feel right following the holidays. I make mine with lots of whole ingredients, no added sugar, no funky processed stuff and they’re just the thing to get me back on track following a season of too many cookies and pancakes. Because I’m sure I’m not alone when I admit that I eat way more pancakes and waffles and generally not good for me breakfast foods during the holiday season.
This right here is one of my favorite go-to smoothie recipes. It’s a chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie and it’s so delicious. Also, chocolate, peanut butter and banana. You know it’s good. It’s also really quick and easy to make in the morning as you’re running out the door or sitting down at your desk to start your work day, because there’s no chopping or prep work required. Who doesn’t love that? Personally, I really really love that.
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- ½ banana
- 8 – 10 ice cubes
- Honey or stevia to taste (optional)
Place all of the ingredients in a blender. I usually start with the milk, because it helps to keep all the other goodies from getting stuck to the bottom. Blend on high speed for about 2 minutes, which makes for a smoothie that’s nice and smooth and thick. If you like a thicker smoothie, add more ice. If you like a thinner consistency, add additional milk. If you want to use a different kind of milk or a nut butter like almond butter, go to town. I personally limit my dairy so I like to stick to almond milk because there’s already Greek yogurt in there, but I use almond butter a lot instead of peanut butter and it’s still super yummy. Switch it up and make it your own! It may not be pancakes drizzled with maple syrup, but it’s still really damn delicious! So that’s that. Enjoy, friends!
[Photos + recipe by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
January 8, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
My favorite DIY projects are absolutely the ones that are quick, simple and budget-friendly while still packing a big visual punch. This project fits that bill, making it one of my favorite recent DIY endeavors. We’re talking about taking basic, inexpensive thrift store flatware and making it something really special with the addition of a metallic finish. I chose copper, but you can customize it with whatever finish speaks to you. So easy, so pretty. I think this entire project cost me about $6, including the paint, the majority of which I have left for another project. Love that!
You can find the complete tutorial in all of it’s easy as pie glory over at Momtastic today! If you’re planning an upcoming brunch or dinner party, I definitely recommend this one. You can give your place settings a whole new look without breaking the bank and this project is perfect for even the most novice of crafters. DIY copper gilded flatware. Love it. As always, if you give this one a try, share a photo with me on Instagram – I’d love to take a look!
p.s. If you have an eagle eye, you’ll have already spied my pretty copper flatware in action here and here.
[Photos by Cyd Converse for Momtastic.]