December was a month spent getting ready for hosting the holidays and doing what I could to make certain areas of life more seamless in the process. Throughout most of the month, my back was hurting and I felt like my skin was looking really dull. All of the recommendations below were carefully considered and specific to the needs I was looking to meet. I hope you find these suggestions helpful in your own life, whether you have a sore back yourself or are looking for smarter home solutions!
Looking for more things I tried and loved? You can find all of my previous posts on this topic here.
This is a gem of a cookbook. It’s organized by season, which I love. While every recipe is vegetarian, the resulting dishes include so much depth of flavor and are far from boring. Joe and I are trying to eat vegetarian most of the time right now, so this cookbook is really helpful to have on hand. Recipes I’ve made from it recently include miso roasted squash and potatoes, French onion soup, and kale and Brussels sprouts Caesar slaw. The book is also really educational, and Anna breaks down the elements of go-to dishes (like the “perfect” green salad), which is super helpful.
I love this steamer. It heats up instantly and is really easy to use. My favorite way to use it is alongside a hydrating face mask, for an extra blast of moisture. I’ll put on the face mask, then put my face over the steamer for five minutes before rinsing the mask off. My skin looks noticeably moisturized after this process. The small, portable size of the steamer is also really nice, since it doesn’t take up too much storage space in our bathroom.
This is a magazine created specifically for parents, from the people who create Kinfolk. I find the interviews and ideas inside really insightful. Parenting isn’t a stagnant thing and I find it really helpful to take in new perspectives and concepts that keep things fresh. The art inside is also amazing (there’s a poster in the first issue I love so much I’m going to frame it). If you love great design and are looking for a different kind of community around parenting, you may want to check it out!
This is such a great tool to have on hand! I bought it as a Christmas gift to myself and I’ve used it to make a number of things so far, including smoothies and pasta dough. I’m eager to use it for bread, pie crusts, guacamole, slaw… you name it! I was looking for a food processor and, after doing some research, found that one of the highest-rated brands was Ninja. I love that this particular model is an all-in-one tool and can be used as a food processor and blender. I also love that it’s really lightweight but still powerful, and easy to clean too.
I get tons of knots in my back and sometimes find my hands, wrists, and feet hurting too. After doing some research into a daily at-home tool that could help, I found these spiky massage balls. I use them pretty much every day while relaxing or watching TV. I’ll put one behind my middle or upper back and/or rub them on my hands and feet. I always notice I feel better in the morning after using them. This set of three is nice for a beginner, so you can try out different levels of firmness.
As with any wellness treatment or product, if you’re unsure if these are right for you, consider consulting a trusted healthcare professional before trying them out for yourself!
This is the system we decided on to make more of the lighting in our house automatic. Because there are areas in the house where we don’t have great overhead lighting, we have a number of lamps, and this system makes the process of turning them on and off so much easier. (Joe and I are also focused on reducing our electric bill, so this is helpful in being more intentional about which lights are on when!) The light switches, bulbs, and plugs were all really easy to set up and I love that I can control the lights with voice commands (via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) or using my phone.
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BY Kate Arends - January 6, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.