I must admit, Christmas is not my favorite of holidays. There I said it.

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I am more of a Thanksgiving and Fourth of July kind of lady.  The biggest reason why is because there is so much comfort, joy, and excitement buzzing around and then come January 2nd – or whatever work/school day follows – the magic in the air fizzles and vanishes, never to return until next year. So many of us forget that comfort and joy should be with us all year! Why reserve it for 25 days out of the year? It got me thinking what brings me comfort and what brings me joy throughout the year.

 

Below are just 3 of my seasonal comforts throughout the year. What are yours?

 

WINTER COMFORTS

  • Homemade soups
  • Leggings and sweaters as lounge wear
  • Dinners and Gatherings with family & friends

SPRING COMFORTS

  • Opening the windows in the house for fresh, spring air
  • The end of daylight savings time – Spring forward!
  • The start of baseball season

SUMMER COMFORTS

  • Cookouts
  • Ceiling fans
  • The option for my hair to air dry

FALL COMFORTS

  • Backyard firepits
  • Root vegetables
  • The scents of cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin….

At the beginning of 2016, I set my Goodreads goal to 30 books. As of today, December 4th, I am at 20. Goodreads likes to remind me that I am 7 books behind schedule. Well, Sorry, sir, but I’m not sure I can slam out 10 books with the few days left in the year. Although I did not reach that goal, there were some excellent books this year that are worth a mention.

Thriller — The Whisperer by Donato Carrisi

11038479This book is not for everyone or the faint of heart. It can be rather graphic at times. I also remember I read this during the Blizzard in February. My husband was in California on business, so while the snow piled up outside the window, I sat in bed with my dog and read this.  I found this at the library while looking to stock up on the aforementioned blizzard. I enjoyed reading a book by an Italian author – which I had never done before. It is translated from Italian and it was a nice variation on reading American or English-based authors on a topic of murder and investigation. Awesome read!

 

Humor/Lighthearted — Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

13526165 The first book read in 2016 and I still remember it. I loved it! It was so original, fun, and well-written. I heard about this on a Podcast. I saw at Barnes and Noble yesterday that Semple has another book out which I will be a 2017 read for sure. Perhaps I will have that one be the first read of 2017?

 

Classic Fiction — Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day I adored this book. So cute, so fun, and unlike anything I had ever read. Although it takes place in the 1930’s, the themes and characters easily translate to modern times. The characters were so memorable and as I read this I felt like I was part of the group. The drawings were also wonderful. A nice touch!

 

Non-Fiction — How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Aubrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas

How To Be Parisian: Wherever You Are I must admit I picked this up with the hope of learning a few tips and tricks on how to be a woman of a city in which I do not live, been to when I was 14 and have not connections – bloodline or otherwise. I was wrong. This book was a tongue-in-cheek book by Parisian women essentially mocking themselves and the stereotypes. I laughed out loud many times. It did have some “serious” ideas but most of it was so funny you couldn’t help but smile at them and yourself. This is a book I do not own, but plan on owning by the time this year is out. The reviews of this one are all over the place and most of the negative ones are people who simply didn’t get it. They went into the book with the same intention I did but left without being able to laugh at it.

 

 

Eating a meal, alone, without a book, cell phone, or crochet needles is unnatural for so many of us in the 21st century.

 

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[image: etsy.com]

I am currently enrolled in an 8-week Mindfulness Meditation course and one of the first lessons was mindful eating. Now, I’m not one for eating in complete silence, counting the number of chews and feeling every textured nuance, but I do agree eating without doing something else is important. I’m no expert at this by any means. In fact, I started to really try this out this week during my lunch break. My lunch hour is my sanctuary hour. It is the hour I can close out the entire world and all the people in it and just be with me. So why rush through it? Why clutter our eyes and ears with junk when most of us put thought into what we put in our mouths?

I believe it is a fish-out-of-water feeling to eat and only eat at meal times because we are always plugged into the news cycle. And to do something alone is like being naked! This week I made a solid effort to sit at lunch and really eat. I did respond to a text message that popped up, but I did not scan blogs, scan the news, watch anything on Netflix.  Eating is a time to nourish our bodies and what we take in our eyes and ears at that time, I believe, is also being digested.

My experience this week has been great. Today, for example, I had soup and a salad. It took me 35 minutes to eat it. If I were watching something, I’m sure I would have finished the final bite at the 15 or 20 minute mark.

 

Elegant Place Setting with "Reserved" Sign --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Elegant Place Setting with “Reserved” Sign — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When we eat distracted we miss our meals and the gratitude of how lucky we are to know where our meals are coming from, the fresh food we have at our finger tips. We completely miss out on the mental rejuvenation we need in the middle of our workdays to help us tackle the second half of our days. We pittbulldoze past an entire free hour where we have no obligations to anyone but our stomachs.

Why let someone cyberspace rob you of those precious 60 minutes?

Do I always eat without watching TV or reading? No way. Sometimes that hour is when I can do those things uninterrupted. But lunch is the time where I can. And therefore, I should. We owe it to our minds and bodies to give them at least one mindful meal.

Since I don’t make videos I’ve swapped Vlog for Blog in the Vlogmas tradition. Essentially, people post daily video diaries from December 1st until Christmas Eve. I doubt my days will be as interesting as some of the others, but it could be for some fun and creative ways to build content!

 

I work full time so a “day in the life” would be just me sitting at a desk, typing and taking and placing phone calls. Today I wore navy ankle pants from Van Heusen, a pair of black heels, and a top from the Loft. It is a little big on me so I tied it into a knot at the bottom to keep me from looking like I am walking around in a polka dot tent. My watch is from Caravelle. I had my eye out for a nice, classic watch for MONTHS before finding this gem.

My hair is simple: I slept with it in a bun and then pined back the front sections in many bobby pins.

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Currently Reading:

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

I read a section of this the night before last and ended up dreaming I was hiding from viral humans. Lesson learned: do not read before bed. haha!

 

I’m not sure if posting daily will happen, but I will certainly do my best!