A few (mostly) little, everyday things that I’m really enjoying right now:
My friend Leigh got me hooked on this fantastic tea, which tastes like my favorite wintry things—cinnamon, cloves, and orange, with a hint of sweetness. It’s so good I’m drinking less coffee, and that is saying something. I would be drinking more except I cannot find it anywhere in decaf. (If you can, holler!)
I do the loose leaf, and brew it up in this little single-serving teapot from Rishi.
I have been gazing longingly at this beauty from Madewell for a couple of years now, and finally decided it would be a great accent with the simple tops and sweaters in my fall and winter wardrobe, and worth splurging a bit for. (Although that splurge would have hurt a bit less if I’d waited for the sale that’s going on right now. Click here for details.) I love that it’s simple and pretty, and not too heavy.
I’m a big believer in wearing what makes you happy, but I will say that this might be the only item I own that draws compliments from both stylish friends and the 17-year-old checkout guys at Walgreens. (Hot tip: a fellow reader wore this necklace to a book event, and told me she got hers via Stitch Fix.)
Psst—I don’t have the experience yet to call the lip balms in the photo above dependable favorites, but they are Clinique’s chubby stick intense lip balm in broadest berry and chubby stick lip balm in mega melon. (That last one was a freebie in a gift with purchase pack from Nordstrom and I love the little-bit-more-than-nude color—but I’ve only had it a few days.)
3. Everyday red curry.
I have been eating this every weekday for lunch. And by every weekday, I mean every weekday. Which isn’t as hard as it may sound, because it’s so easy to make.
Mine may not be the best method but it’s one I’ve used for years. The basic formula is veggies + 1 can coconut milk + a little broth + curry paste/powder.
This is the quick version of what I do: I start sautéing my veggies in a big, wide skillet in a dab of coconut oil (although nothing would break if you used vegetable oil or olive oil). I add whatever veggies are in the fridge: bell peppers, broccoli or cauliflower, green beans, and carrots are regulars in our crisper drawer. If that’s empty I look to the freezer: skinny green beans, broccoli, peas. Leftover cooked veggies are fine if they’re not heavily seasoned.
I add my curry paste or powder with a little bit of coconut milk, distribute it thoroughly, then add the rest of the coconut milk and enough broth to get the consistency I want, usually one half to one cup, plus a splash of fish sauce and a couple of shakes of soy sauce or coconut aminos. I simmer until the veggies are done, and add leftover cooked chicken if we have it. (You can add it raw and simmer it for a few minutes until cooked, but I’m talking about a quick lunch, and that does not involve raw meat around here.)
This makes enough for two. You can serve over rice or cauliflower rice but I usually eat it as is, with a spoon.
A few details: I use full-fat coconut milk, currently Thai Kitchen brand because Costco has it, but I also like Trader Joe’s coconut cream and the Chaokoh brand from my local grocery or World Market). I skip the broth if you don’t have any on hand. I like adding a little kaffir lime powder if we have it in the spice drawer.
I am not brand loyal to a specific curry paste or powder, but lately I’ve been loving this red paste. I also like Penzey’s Now! curry powder and Trader Joe’s curry powder. I can’t find a local source for kaffir lime powder so I order online.
4. My organized pantry.
Readers, I’ve had a quick succession of book deadlines lately, which means: I finally organized the pantry, because it was driving me crazy to keep opening it up and not knowing which of five shelves I would find the coconut oil. I’m sharing a snapshot to assure you that when I say “done is better than perfect,” you know how far from perfect it really is. But it makes me really happy. Also, this is a great time of year to NOT stress about finding the cough drops or coconut oil, or to run out of flour because you’re sure you just had some … in there … somewhere.
2017 was the year I learned how to blow dry my hair. I’ve been wielding a blow dryer for thirty-ish years now, but this year I finally figured out how to get results that are kind of, sort of in the same ballpark as I’d get at the salon or DryBar. Not the same, but the same ballpark. This spray has helped a ton.
The purpose of a primer spray is to cut blow dry time, by as much as half. I’ve used primer sprays before, and they did make the blow dry process go faster, but they also made my hair tangle really easily. I assumed that was the tradeoff I’d have to make for a quick blow dry.
Well, when my last bottle of expensive stuff ran out I grabbed this at the drugstore and I love it. It does what it’s supposed to do, and it also smooths my hair and smells divine, for less than five bucks.
What little, not-hugely-significant things are bringing YOU a disproportionate amount of happy lately? I’d love to hear in comments.