Author: kristen hope

Shopping Small: Pt. 2

Happy Small Business Saturday! This weekend is perhaps one of the busiest times to shop all year. I’ve always found it really wonderful that there was a special day to let small businesses shine in the midst of it all! Shopping small has become even more important to me and I plan to dive more into smaller shops in the future. Of course, it isn’t always affordable to shop small for everyone so there’s no shame in not participating or buying every gift from a small business. But it’s still great to boost your local artisans and the ones across the internet. Here’s a second roundup of some of the things I’ve bought from small businesses lately and a few things I have my eye on: 2021 Astrological Planner from Magic fo I: I had my eye on their planners last year but decided to wait. I just got mine and it’s so detailed and so incredible. I cannot wait to use it next year! Let’s Get Spooky Sweatshirt from MomShirt Upon opening, this became …

Cinnamon Apple Spiced Tea Hot Toddy

Wanna make a bartender angry? Ask for a hot toddy. Well, we’re home and I haven’t been to a bar in a whole minute. Several minutes. February to be exact. So I’ve been playing around with what drinks I like best at home. I tend to be picky about my drinks in general. I’m not a beer fan. Not a wine fan (gasp!) I like hard liquors but prefer to mix them with things. One thing I never thought to do was mix my drinks with something warm until recently when I tried making a traditional hot toddy at home. With the cold brings the drafts into our house — life on a slab! In the winter I want a cozy drink when I’m sitting down to watch a movie on a chilly weekend night. After figuring out that a hot toddy was pretty much my jam for the cold nights, I started making them a little more often. Recently I came across a cinnamon apple spiced tea and thought I should marry the two. …

Gratitude

WHEW! I know the running joke all year long has been how awful 2020 is but this year has truly been such a bear. I’m glad it’s almost over if I’m being honest, but I’m also really glad that I’ve made it this far. When we think about Thanksgiving, we think about gratitude. What are we grateful for? Sometimes, though, it can be hard to recognize what we are thankful for daily. Especially for folks (like your’s truly) struggling with mental health issues — it can be hard to focus on anything else sometimes. But, I’ve reminded myself weekly since March of the handful of things that I am grateful for during this pandemic. So I wanted to share a few of them with you all. My husband Goes without saying, really. But I’m so glad we’re navigating this wild year together as always. I am elated that for the first time in five years we’ve been able to have dinner together every night and spend more than just the weekends seeing each other now …

One Sweater, Three Ways

I’ve been working from home since March, and not really leaving my house for much of anything so it’s not really surprising that I fell into the routine of not getting dressed the way I used to in the “before times.” My go-to has been leggings and t-shirts with cardigans. But I’ve been trying more and more to wear more put together outfits lately, even if no one besides my husband and cat will see them. One thing I value about fashion is getting more bang for my buck. I love wearing the same pieces over and over and over again, but I also really try to mix them up when I can. I definitely have some unique pieces in my closet, but I tend to buy versatile things that I can throw together in different ways. I’m going to show you how to pull together three different outfits with one black sweater. Easy peasy! This sweater is my new favorite. It’s $69.95 from Madewell, and it’s also currently on sale! Not only is it …

Sunday Not-So-Scaries: November 22

Hello! I know I haven’t been around much lately, things have been pretty busy. I spent the week with my sister and brother-in-law helping out with my baby nephews which was so special. The oldest is really into the 12 Days of Christmas book lately, and I think we all sang it to him no less than 10 times a day. Fine by me, whatever make him happy. Last night Tom and I carried out our annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition of watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy are two of my favorites and I just love that movies so much. The ending always makes me cry! I’m so behind, but I just started the first season of Schitt’s Creek and it is definitely the pick-me-up I’ve been looking for. I spent some time meal prepping last Sunday, and will again today. Meal prep Sundays were something Tom and I did every single week pre-Covid times, but we kind of stopped doing it once I started being home every single day. One thing …

Meal Subscription Review: Martha & Marley Spoon

There are SO many meal subscriptions out in the world right now. I can barely keep up! We’ve tried a few, mainly with coupons from friends who had been using the meal kits (Hello Fresh and Every Plate). The cost didn’t seem like something we wanted to spring for, so we never signed up for them after the promotions ended. But, it recently came to my attention that Martha Stewart had her own meal kit. I truly adore Martha Stewart, and have for years and years. I knew that no matter what, I was going to give this one a fair shake because c’mon, it’s Martha!!! I found a coupon for a deeply discounted months worth of boxes and went from there. Without the coupon, the cost is kind of steep for me. For two people, two meals a week it comes to $48.99 (that’s with shipping included). Meh. Kind of pricey, in my opinion. When we got our first box I realized WHY it was so expensive. We had ordered a salmon dinner, and …

The Great Outdoors

Hello, Monday! This weekend Tom and I joined four friends for a camping trip in Worthington State Forest here in NJ. I had little to absolutely no cell service for two nights and it was GLORIOUS. Cold, but glorious. With the news running in my house non-stop last week, a weekend away from it all was welcomed and so so necessary. I spent quite a bit of time planning for the cold on this trip, and I think I did OK! Not going to lie, when I found out when we were going, I almost backed out. I do not like being cold at all, and the thought of sleeping outside in November almost made me run. What I got to get through it was: A two-person sleeping bag for lower temperatures. Ours was rated for 35-45 degrees. It was plenty warm for the weather we had. I also bought an insulated blanket that we kept inside of the sleeping bag which helped a lot. I bought a battery operated air mattress to keep us …

My Chill Autumn Playlist

I love a good playlist. I liked to think I was a mixtape artiste back in the 90s, a CD car mix magician in the early aughts. I would meticulously map out my playlists and always had so much fun doing it, but I stopped for a long time. Back in January one of my ideas was to make myself a playlist each month. But once lockdowns started in March, I started just lumping the months together in one big playlist because, well… it felt like one long month. During this extremely intense time between the pandemic and the election, I’ve been turning to music that will relax me. A playlist can sometimes feel like a remedy for me. And the remedy I’ve needed is relaxation. I made this very chill, soothing playlist with the utmost autumnal vibes and I’m sharing it with you! I very recently started listening to Taylor Swift, haha! So, there’s a few of her songs on there. As well as Otis Redding, Radio Head, and Carole King. If you listen, …

Election Day 2020

Hello! Today is already filled with so much nervousness, and I don’t remember the last election that I felt this way. If you haven’t voted yet, and aren’t sure if you want to I’d like to recommend that you do. The 2008 election was the first one I was old enough to vote in and I hadn’t planned on voting at all. I had a really difficult home life and I was very poor, so survival was my top priority and I didn’t think that any politician was going to do anything to help me. But a dear friend of mine spent a lot of time talking with me about the issues, about the platforms and campaigns, about the importance of voting, and helped me register. I got really invested in what was happening in the months leading up to the election. I paid attention for the first time, and felt like my voice actually mattered. I helped other people register and I voted for the first time. This year I did what that friend …

Sunday Not-So-Scaries: November 1

Well, hello November! I kind of love November, honestly. Really, I love all the fall and winter months, because I’m a fan of the cooler weather. I’m always sad when Halloween is over, though. Yesterday I took two of my nephews out trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. I brought a mask with me and the majority of the houses had candy in bowls to be socially distant. We still said trick-or-treat to all of the decorations, though haha. After we filled up their buckets, I went home to watch some scary movies. It was a fun little full-moon, quarantine Halloween for sure. Today I’ll be taking all of my Halloween decor down (RIP). But in a few weeks Christmas will be up. Or maybe sooner. Probably sooner. I just ordered this tree for our living room. I love the rose gold! Tom was now feeling the bubble gum pink one I wanted, so we compromised haha. We started a tradition last year of going out to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree. So …