I love a new year! The possibility and wide-openness are so inspiring. (Truly, I try to approach the world with that every day, but it's more fun when everyone else is on board.) But the new year arrives in winter in this part of the world. Januaries and Februaries can be tricky. They're the months that it's easy to not enjoy, so in an effort to fight that fiercely, I've found some things over the past few years that make them awesome. And in the interest of making the world a more pleasant place, I'll share!
One funny little super-simple thing that I usually do at the beginning of January is to change up the wallpaper on my phone. I tend to find a picture I've taken that I love and leave it there for a long time, and changing it up is just a little reminder of the fresh start that a new year brings. (I chose this picture.) It's surprisingly refreshing. I usually repot some houseplants, and grow half-price amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs found at the grocery store.
Last year, I did my first ever challenge-y sort of thing and did Yoga with Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga. (All of the videos are still available for free on her YouTube channel to watch any old time.) This year, I'm following along with her Yoga Camp. Just the satisfaction from completing something like this is worth the time and energy. It's one of those little things that then makes you feel like you can tackle all sorts of other things, you know?
And the light! It's very much worth appreciating. The days are getting longer, bit by bit (about one minute per day). On a sunny day, the light reflected from the snow is so lovely. And there seem to be plenty of January days where the sun peeks through the layered clouds, particularly at sunset, and it's so, so beautiful.
But since it is winter, there are things like dry skin and winter colds that find us. I posted a recipe for winter skin lotion last February, which is still awesome, and if you're keen on making it, enjoy. I've switched this fall from making lotion to just adding essential oil to grapeseed oil in a small pump bottle. I love it. I use a blend of frankincense and orange oils for scent, and it is perfect. You need to be a bit more careful with the application so it doesn't splatter, but the moisturizing results are similar, and it's simpler to make. It seems to soak in more quickly, too. You can also use straight coconut oil, which will melt in your hand, or any liquid oil right out of the bottle.
For my hands, I melt equal parts beeswax, coconut oil, and olive or grapeseed oil together over a double boiler. The beeswax takes longest to melt, so if you make it, put that in on its own, add the coconut oil when the beeswax is almost melted, then the liquid oil at the end. Swirl together and add some essential oil if you like, then pour into jars or containers, or molds for a lotion bar. This is what I put on my hands every night; mine is in a repurposed mint tin. I just scrape it out with the back of my thumbnail and massage it into my cuticles and all over my hands before hopping in bed, and my hands are in fine shape. We also use it on the boys, especially around their lips. As you can see, the cat likes to put her claws into the edge of that windowsill. It's the perfect height for her to stretch.
In other news (I'm planning to only mention this once because there is nothing less interesting than hearing the details of someone's eating habits) I'm giving the Whole30 a try this month. It's more or less an elimination diet to see which foods might be problematic, and I know I need a break from sugar especially. I'm hoping to maybe find a food-related cause for the headaches I get. (I think they're more stress and tension related, but it can't hurt to try.) Day 3 is almost done, and I am amazed that I haven't missed sugar yet like I thought I would, or been really hungry at all. On tonight's menu is a fennel pork roast; I just rubbed the pork with a mix of fennel seed, black pepper, salt, fresh garlic, and orange zest. I layered orange slices on the bottom of the pan, and buried the meat in chopped fennel. Yum!
Also on a food note, I LOVE GRAPEFRUIT. We have piles of it on hand (my one mandatory purchase when we were in the big city and visited Costco over Christmas was two giant bags of grapefruit.) I have a bit of a gross cold / sinus thing, so I'm hoping that overloading on citrus can only help.
Happy, happy new year. I hope that the year has started well for you, that you're looking forward to the months to come, and that 2016 brings you love and joy.