I was in choir, chorus and musical theater from elementary school through college, so I’ve sung my share of renditions of the Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”. I’m no Julie Andrews and “doorbells and sleigh bells” don’t give me the same joy that they give her. But, maybe she’s on to something. (That, and I’ve gotten a LOT of requests to do an update one of these for wintertime!)
There are a lot of things about Midwestern Winter that drive me crazy. (Don’t get me started on trying to be the Hot, Independent Lady with Palsy when it’s icy outside.) But, there are so many things about this season that fill my heart and bring me a lot of joy!
Having all of my family and most close friends in the same city, getting to give them gifts (seriously, Christmas or not, gift giving is my FAVOURITE! I’m really bad at receiving them, but I love to give them), the influx of coffee, cocoa and cider around conversations, snuggly sweaters…there’s so much to love about winter! So, while a solid Neko Case record fills my kitchen (“Magpie to the Morning”, in case you were wondering), and coffee floods my senses, I will write for you!
Here are a few of my favourite things this season! Gushy, girly listing begins in 3…2….
1. Teapigs Teas. I know, right!? I’m a coffee drinker! But, between working a crazy customer service job, trying to do the freelance photography thing, ministry stuff and helping all of the amazing musicians I work with do their thing from an administrative standpoint, this girl needs some down, decaffeinated time! (If you’re feeling like giving yourself a treat check out their Chocolate Flake or Rooibos Caramel Crème teas…mmm! But, I am a sucker for the Licorice Peppermint lately! They have something for everyone! Check out teapigs.com!)
2. Gift Wrapping/ Photo Editing Tunes. So much great music has come out this winter and I’ve decovered some new musicians! Here are a few of my favourites!
Hello by Adele: Because let’s be real. Who hasn’t belted it to this song!? (and really, I’m not in a relationship, but every time I hear it, I feel like I’ve just broken someone’s heart into a billion pieces. She like sings into my soul and messes with my emotions! She’s great.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQHsXMglC9A
Kiernan McMullan: Everything of his. He’s freaking brilliant. I saw him play twice in November. Once in St. Louis, MO the other in Chicago. (Don’t look at me like that! The driving distance from here is the same!) Both times, he had crowded bars completely silenced. I’m not kidding. Totally silenced and listening. You know a musician is brilliant when that happens. Also, he’s just a super kind, down to earth dude. Check him out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHBltN8o0zk
Ghost Town by Whosah. These guys are so great. They released a new single. It’s so fun. Also, they are genuinely good, warm, joyful human beings. Support them. Go! http://youtu.be/v1aJfW6v6y0
3. “Surprised By Hope” by N.T. Wright. I don’t even remember which class I had to read this book for in college. (I think it was Compassion) but, I picked up off of my shelf the other day and have devoured it again. So so so good. If you are looking for God in darkness, or looking for a realistic view of optimism, grab this one.
4. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. Before anyone freaks out! Y’all know that I love marriage. I appreciate it so much. Someday, I may even hope to be married. But, this show is SO good! Seriously, there’s only one season on Netflix, and I’m trying to delight in it and not binge. But, I’m struggling because, I’m hooked.
5. “God With Us” by All Sons & Daughters. I’ve always wanted to lead this song at a Christmas Eve service. This year…I GET TO! I’m so excited. It’s so beautiful. Check it out, and there will be sleigh bells! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRgSk_-U3Oc
6. Passion Planner. I am an administrator by nature. It’s part of my side hustle, it’s in my soul to plan and organize. I started using Passion Planner while working at West Side Christian Church in Springfield, IL earlier this year. It’s amazing. It allows my creative and administrative brains meet and be besties. I just got my 2016 planner and I’m stoked! Among the many many many things in it thus far are my Maid of Honor duties because my sweet sister is getting married. It is my brain in the crazy scheduled tornado that I live in!
7. Colourpop Lippie Stix. We’ve had this conversation before. Your girl’s got a mega lipstick issue. But, Colourpop’s Lippie Stix are AMAZING! For five dollars. I’m obsessed. So good for this broke girl’s heart. (Check out colourpop.com)
8. The Body Shop’s Body Butter. Earlier this winter I was diagnosed with Plaque Psoriasis. It’s the most frustrating thing ever dealing with an immune system disorder that makes stress and sickness painful dry skin. But, this stuff helps with that and it smells awesome (all of their scents are INCREDIBLE! I’ve been using Frosted Plum for winter time, but the Coconut is to die for, too), it’s all natural…buy all of it! ( Go to thebodyshop.com….they’re having mega sales right now!)
9. The Beanhive in Galesburg, IL. When I moved back home, I was sad to leave my quiet sacred corners of tiny small town cafes…and then I walked into this place. It is so perfect. The atmosphere that Mary has created in this place is impossibly chill without being pretentious. Go in, say hey to her, order an Ellen Larsen (commonly a London Fog) and take a breath. This place is created for the creative, the music lover and the one looking for safe spaces. Let Mary know I sent you. She’s wonderful.
10. Head First Salon in Knoxville, IL. Hair cuts are scary. Sometimes, stylists get really fussy and uppity and I HATE that. Jen Boisen at Head First in Knoxville, IL is kind and joyfilled and loves what she does. Even more than that she loves the people she works for. So, go in, see her, get beautified (or handsomed up, whateva) She’s stellar.
Okay, well if you’ve read this entire thing, you’re a champ! I hope that the winter finds you smiling and warm. I hope that God shows His face to you. I hope for conversations and good music and real moments for you. Happy Winter, Happy Christmas, Happy Hearts.