Author: kristen hope

Oh, Happy Day!

What an absolute whirlwind this month has been. I appreciate you bearing with my absence from blogging and social media — a lot of things in my life needed my attention so I chose to step back from everything for a bit. I’ll slowly be jumping back in and I figured today, of all days, would be a great time to do it. I woke up just in time to watch Joe Biden and Kamala Harris be sworn in live and it filled my heart with an amount of hope I haven’t had in years, especially given the events at the Capitol this month. I cried so much this morning, tears of happiness, relief and of course hope. Cheers to new beginnings and an opportunity to repair, rebuild and create lasting change. We have so much work still to do — and I’d say author Ibram X. Kendi has said it best: Be well, friends! -Kristen

My Year in Books: 2020

We’re so close to kissing 2020 goodbye, friends! AHHH! What a year it’s been. And really what a year to chip away at my to-read list. Each year like clockwork I set a reading goal on Goodreads knowing full well I’m not going to hit it. I like to think I’ll try harder each year, but ultimately my long commute to work would stand in the way and I’d get little to no reading done. The pandemic has made this year chaotic in so many ways but working from home has afforded me a lot more time to do things I enjoy – like reading. Having an extra three hours of my life back each night has made a world of difference and I’m incredibly grateful. In the beginning of the year I planned to read 12 books. I figured one each month should be doable, maybe? Instead I read 34 books this year! WHAT?! So many of the books I read were written by women, which is something I didn’t set out to do …

Sunday Not-So-Scaries: December 27

Hello from chilly New Jersey! It’s so strange how quickly the holidays came and went and it felt pretty different overall. This year was mine and Tom’s 18th (!!!) Christmas together. I still remember the first year we were dating I got him a Bowling For Soup CD. Remember CDs haha? We’ve had so many special holidays together. Things have been buzzing in our house this week with our new addition, Krampus. We have been working on acquainting the cats in little ways as slowly and gently as we possibly can. Fingers crossed both of our scaredy cats can adjust soon. Needless to say our Christmas was spent mainly focused on our new adopted cat, and soothing Winnie at the same time. It helped to distract me from the weirdness of the holidays this year, for sure. So I’m grateful for that. I have been obsessed with the new Taylor Swift album Evermore. I have been listening to it back to back with Folklore. I was never a listener before these albums came out and …

Gruss Vom Krampus

Last month after our weekend camping trip, Tom brought up the idea of bringing home a kitten. The thought was to give some company to our 12-year-old cat, Winnie, especially for times when we aren’t around. Albeit, that isn’t much any more but we do leave the house sometimes. And when we do, it’s always been jarring for her. We adopted Winnie from a shelter back in 2010 when we moved into our first apartment together. She’s a nervous babe, but is such a love. Especially with us — or I should say Tom. She LOVES Tom. With this on my mind, I felt like I was seeing more cats up for adoption on my feeds than ever before. And on the eve before Christmas Eve, I spotted this little guy on my timeline. I was drawn to him immediately. I HAD to meet his cat. The next day I couldn’t let it go, so I waited very impatiently for the shelter to open and made an appointment for the afternoon to see about Krampus …

Sunday Not-So-Scaries: December 20

December is flying by! Somehow Christmas is in just a few days and honestly, I’m not ready, haha. I haven’t watched a single holiday movie yet this year — but Tom and I are planning on watching a few tonight together. On our list of much watch movies: Jingle All The Way, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone. Personally, The Santa Clause is one of my favorites, so I’ll probably watch that tomorrow. Ooh! And A Charlie Brown Christmas. Usually we spend one weekend in December marathoning holiday movies with friends, but because of well everything we had to cancel this year. We try to appease everyone’s tastes and beliefs, so while we watch the classics in the past we’ve also watched Christmas episodes of The Crypt Keeper, Black Christmas (the original), and Eight Crazy Nights. It’s one of the many things this holiday season that my heart is missing the absolute most, but I know next year will be extra special. I did recently watch Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic on Disney Plus and …

Keeping Memories Alive with Tradition

Growing up my grandmother was very guarded about her life. In fact, it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I even realized that my grandmother had grown up in the Jewish faith. That’s kind of on me, too, because she had a big curio cabinet with all kinds of trinkets and had a mixture of Christmas and Hanukkah pieces in there. She also had this hand-stitched piece hanging in her kitchen, which is now waiting to go up in my own in her memory. But yeah, my grandmother never spoke to us about growing up in her faith. Ever. My parents were both brought up in different Christian sects and chose not to bring us up in any — which I’m sure I’m not an anomaly here. When I got older, my sister and I would ask my grandmother if we could celebrate traditional Jewish holidays with her. She would usually just say maybe and leave it there. I realize that was probably a big ask and a lot to carry for one person, …

Monday Catch Up: Ooh Look at the Tree

Hello! I missed so much of the week last week because I got just so busy. It happens, right? Last week we picked up a Christmas tree for our house (a second tree, haha). I never had a real Christmas tree growing up, and it’s probably one of my new favorite traditions. Last year we went to a tree farm to cut down our own tree, which I was hoping we could continue doing but with the pandemic, we wanted to minimize our interactions with others (sadly) as much as possible. So we just went to a local lot that has been selling trees for many years. It was a really wonderful experience and I hope we can do it again next year, actually. I know so many people who have cats that cause chaos when the tree goes up, but Winnie just likes to sleep under it. Thank goodness our trees have always been safe haha. We decorated our tree on Saturday — kind of a first for us. We typically do everything at …

My Favorite Winter Coats And How to Find a Coat Drive In Your Area

I have a confession to make: I’m a tad bit winter coat obsessed. I have a few in the closet and I’m constantly saving others to my wish list. I spent years of my childhood without a winter coat because we couldn’t afford them. Now I find myself buying up coats, but also giving away coats. Keeping people warm feels really important to me. I have a few that I really love and I want to share them with you. At the end of this post, I also want to help you find a coat drive in your town — or near it. Transitional Fall-Winter Coat Oversized Corduroy Jacket If you’re in a milder climate (quite frankly I’m jealous of you), or the weather hasn’t quite turned to an icy tundra yet, a lighter jacket that you can layer underneath works wonders. An oversized corduroy jacket is one of my favorites, because it adds some texture to an outfit. The one I have is from Madewell, but I’ve linked a similar one. For the Zoom …

How You Can Help on Giving Tuesday

This year more than ever it feels absolutely imperative to give back to others. The pandemic is just one of the many things that has wreaked havoc on people’s lives in 2020, and there are a lot of communities in need of help. Not that you need a special day to give back, but Giving Tuesday is a really beautiful reminder to lend a hand if you can. And if you need support, there are a lot of great resources to get what you may need. Every year around this time I feel the pull to help others in my community. I have faced hunger and homelessness as a child, my family had been a sponsored family in the community a couple of times around Thanksgiving and Christmas and I want to pay it forward. Here are a few causes that could really use some support this year, and I hope you can pitch in, too: Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation has a list of current drives including 2020 Christmas gifts for Lakota elders and …

November Reads

It’s almost December, y’all! Which means it’s almost the end of the year already.  Is anyone else happy to see this year make its way out the door? I know I am. Good. Riddance! This month I got a little more reading in. Usually when the holidays roll around is when I read the least. I get so busy that I can’t sit down and have a minute to myself. But not this year – which is a weird double-edged sword. While I love the extra time I have, I’m sad that life is a little different this holiday season. We will get through it, though one book at a time. Here’s a few of the books I curled up with this month: Open Book by Jessica Simpson I have heard soooo many people recommend this memoir and WHEW was it salacious! I was for sure a little teeny-bopper when I was a kid in the 90s and while I do remember Jessica Simpson hitting the scene, I don’t recall listening to her a lot. …