A Cup of Morning Coffee

Maggie likes to sit right next to me when I am working. She matches my “Strega Nona” mug perfectly. Lol.

My office is one of my happy places these days. It is so full of life in here, my lizards, my butterflies, the plants. The scent of dill and fennel from the caterpillar tanks remind me of being in my garden, and combined with the green wallpaper, the desk, the carpet, it just feels so peaceful in here.

I’ve thought a lot about my “happy places” this week. It’s been a rough week honestly, with lots of ups and downs, emotional moments, and frankly just all topsy-turvy. I’ve had to actively seek out those places and things that can ease my soul this week, fitting them in where I could. Time spent in here definitely is one of those places.

Another is outside in the butterfly garden. I love just being near all that beauty, observing the insects that are buzzing around, going about their own little lives in this place that I have created for them. And if I have a glass of wine with me in the evening, even better. I can’t wait to expand the garden next year honestly. We start small with our projects, and add on every year, and the garden is no different, a work in progress.

But I guess I am not all nature all the time. And especially this week, when our house has been so hot and humid. Our air conditioner is being fixed tomorrow thank goodness, but we have been either huddled in our bedroom with the portable unit, or sweating in the rest of the house. I needed an escape this week, and for me that is either the library (more on the library Wednesday..) or… Target.

I needed to be away. Out. Alone. Anonymous even. Not mom, not Erin. Just some lady walking around Target throwing various items into her cart, wandering the aisles looking at stuff. Plus, it is air conditioned. I also needed to be not hot.

Later this morning, we are visiting another of my happy places, one we haven’t been to for over a year. In fact, it was the last place we had been before lockdown March 2020. The nature center at our favorite metropark. We had celebrated Wyatt’s birthday, then boom, lockdown. During that time they were closed, they did a whole renovation to the interior, so today when we go, it is going to different looking, but still the same place. With the same people who work there who have become friends over the last twenty years, which is how long we have been going there. I am excited to visit and see the changes, and catch up with our friends, to watch the birds out the big windows, to explore the new displays. We are heading there soon, as soon as I finish up this coffee and we all get dressed. I can’t wait!

How about you? Where do you escape to? What are your happy places?

Getting cozy

The weather is finally turning here after having almost summer like temperatures persisting well past their season. The mornings are colder, the evenings have a bite, and it all makes me want to get all snuggly and cozy in my home, like some little squirrel. I see our neighborhood squirrels hopping and digging and searching out their food stores, getting ready to snug down for the winter. And I am getting us all ready too, maybe not quite for winter yet, but definitely for autumn coziness.

Drinking: My husband remarked the other night as we were settling down for the evening that it was getting to be tea season, and he is totally right. Our iced teas become hot teas this time of year, and I usually start placing our tea orders to have a ready supply on hand for these chilly nights. I will pick stuff up when I am at the store of course, but we have some favorites that I like to keep around. I love the Breakfast in Paris tea with its lavender notes and the refreshing mint of Moroccan Mint from Stash, while Billy is all about the Earl Greyer from Republic of Tea. I think Wyatt is going to try tea this year too. My grandma used to give my cousin and I weak tea heaped with milk and sugar and I felt so special. Maybe I will try that too with him this year, just a little taste of tea. If we are out and about on the weekends, we like to treat ourselves to London Fog Lattes at Starbucks. So worth keeping as a treat! We splurged last weekend and picked two up before we went to the bat festival.

Wearing: Sweaters of course!! I usually hit up the thrift stores looking for their softest, most comfortable looking sweaters to lounge about in, but Target has a cardigan that looks super comfy that I plan on picking up on one of my next Target runs (embarrassingly I usually hit up Target once a week..) and Modcloth has a fox sweater that I absolutely need.. Although I do need help with leggings – I don’t really own any and maybe I need to get a pair? Any suggestions?

Using: Blankets! I have had to pull all of our extra blankets out of storage and get them ready to throw on when needed. We have our heirloom quilts that my great-grandmother and my friend’s great-grandmother made, in our bedroom for those afternoon naps, and a few random throw blankets we have picked up as the years have passed. We are such throw blanket people though that we are thinking of splurging on a blanket from Sackcloth and Ashes – although we are undecided between Camp Forest and Camp Lake. We still have our quilt that we use as a picnic blanket but I am thinking about getting one that is more all weather since the ground is a bit colder and I want to continue with some picnics into fall. We are also burning candles again. I don’t usually burn candles in spring and summer, but fall and winter call for candles. The glow of their light is as warming as the heat from the flame, and add to the ambiance of coziness. (and so very hygge, remember hygge? I still swear by its principles) I don’t have any particular brands that I stick with, I just pick them up as we are shopping (probably at Target! lol) but I go for woodsy or apple, cinnamon, or pumpkin scented ones. Yum! Wyatt loves to help me pick them and smells them all, wrinkling his little nose so cutely.

Reading: I am such a seasonal reader. It is so hard for me to read a book that doesn’t fit my mood or the season. So this time of year I read cozy mysteries like Barbara Michaels and the one I just read by Eva Gates, thrillers and scary books, non-fiction that feels like autumn to me. I also turn to comfort reads, like the Little House series and Harry Potter. I read to Wyatt Halloween and fall books, we talk about the leaves and pumpkins and animals and how they get cozy just like us, all snug in a bug and safe and sound.

Because isn’t that how cozy feels? Safe and sound and like being wrapped in a hug.