December — our last Coffee Conversations for the year! This year has been A LOT for everyone, I imagine. And while I'm not going to sum up the entire year, there's definitely enough going on in my life right now talk about.
From searching for a house, to taking a simpler approach to the holidays, and all the things on my reading list right now. Grab a cup of tea (I'm currently sipping on licorice tea) and let's get to talking.
The big news: we've started house-hunting!
It's a little crazy to finally be at this point! We've been saving for almost 5 years to grow a down payment we felt comfortable with — through me losing my full-time job unexpectedly and then deciding to pursue my own businesses, a totaled vehicle, our kind-of spontaneous wedding, and more.
Now, we're going to house showings and obsessively checking real estate listings to try and find the perfect home.
To be honest, I find it all kind of stressful.
We want to wait until OUR home comes on the market, but I also feel pressured to make a decision on anything that hits at least most of our "must-haves".
To top it off, we got a bunch of snow dumped on us last weekend, which causes the market to slow to molasses. Apparently it picks up in the spring with more and more houses hitting the market...but they're also listed higher and there's a lot more buyer competition.
Suffice to say, it's a freaking process. We do have a house we're thinking seriously about, so we'll see where that takes us!
A simpler approach to the holidays
This time of year is pretty loaded, isn't it?
Thanksgiving just passed, and now the holiday fret starts. Buying gifts, decorating, going to parties, ALL THE THINGS...even while days are shorter and much, much colder.
It's easy to get caught up in the stress of it all.
BUT, you can opt out of that. You can choose a simpler holiday that's slower and unique and wonderful. There are a few different holiday "traditions" that you can tweak or opt out of...
- Gift-giving is optional. That's right — gift-giving, by definition, is NOT mandatory. You can ask family and friends to forgo buying you gifts this year, or opt out of giving gifts yourself if it's not something you want to do.
- Give experiences or consumables. If you are giving gifts, opt for clutter-free gifts. For example, buy a friend tickets to a concert or gift a box of homemade holiday goodies.
- Decorate practically or not at all. You don't have to deck out your living space to the nines or buy new decorations every year! Try to fit all your holiday decorations in one tote.
- Stay home if you want to. You don't have to show up to each and every party. If you're holiday-ed out, take a break.
- Create new traditions that aren't based around stuff. Last year, my sister-in-law started a "gratitude jar" tradition where, throughout the time we're all together for the holidays, everyone can write down something they're thankful for and add it to the jar. At the end of our time together, we sit around and read each note.
Last year for Friendsgiving, I asked everyone attending to send me two photos that showed something special from their year. I printed those photos and made them part of our decorations. Everyone had fun trying to guess who submitted which pictures, and each person got to take their photos home with them as keepsakes.
What I'm currently reading
My goal this year was to read 30 books. Currently, I'm sitting at 25. So I have to read slightly more than 1 book a week if I want to meet my goal!
Shouldn't be too big of a problem, though. I've got so much more time on my hands now that wedding season and (for the most part) the holiday rush are over, so I'm back to reading an hour or two every night!
- Legendary by Stephanie Garber — the second book in the Caraval series. I was so-so on the first book, but I'm enjoying this one a lot more. The mystery of these books intrigues me - it's a refreshing break from most YA fantasy.
- This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar — this short little read was both quick and sweet. I enjoyed the letter format and the theme of the lengths people will go for love.
- Middlegame by Seanan McGuire — a perfectly quirky adult fantasy. Parts of it were a little slow, but overall this was the kind of crazy world I've been wanting to fall into.
- Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality by Rebecca Katz — the soup obsession is real this winter, so what better way to lean in than to read a whole cookbook devoted to soups? Definitely calling this one "continuing education" for the blog.
Shareworthy internet reads
- Apparently we're all washing our jeans too often.
- Unsurprisingly, "treat others the way you want to be treated" is excellent advice. How you view others reflects how you view yourself.
- The world must slash emissions immediately to prevent climate catastrophe. Another reason to skip the consumerism of the holidays.
New posts this month
Message from the Kitty Committee
Now that it's colder out, it's the perfect opportunity to take a little more time for kitty cuddles. Enjoy the little moments.