5 Friday Favorites

For me, winter means tax season (I’m stuck? blessed? in a family of CPAs and accountants), ACC basketball, and swooning over falling snow while everyone else complains about the cold. Ah, winter, you’re a mixed bag, that’s for sure—dark and frigid, yet cozy and sparkling.

Last week, I was happily smack dab in the midst of the polar vortex business, and my fam still braved slick roads and whipping winds for a Notre Dame basketball game, because that’s what hardy Hoosiers like us do. All that bitter cold and -50 wind chill and sliding through an intersection (I made it out unscathed) inspired me to share some of things I’m enjoying this winter.

1. Almond Hand Cream

Dry winter air = dry, cracked hands. Not fun for anyone! This thick hand cream from The Body Shop is one of my go-tos. It’s not one of those smell-good lotions; it’s the heavy-duty, heal-your-skin stuff. I’m a fan!

2. The Royal House of Windsor

Winter also means cold and flu season, and I have the man who sat next to me on an airplane and said, “I’m fighting a bad cough” to thank for the two-week viral-infection-turned-sinus-infection I battled throughout January. Thankfully, I’m healthy again, but goodness, that junk was disgusting! If you’re fighting a similar long-term crud, you have my sympathy. (Cough syrup and rest to the rescue!) While I was sick and on bedrest, Netflix was quite the companion, and The Royal House of Windsor documentary made me feel like I wasn’t completely wasting my life with mindless binging. If you’re interested in the British Crown’s history (it’s fascinating!) and enjoy an educational pick on Netflix, this one’s for you.

3. Easy Cocoa Cake

During the winter months, I fight the urge to bake . . . and bake . . . and bake. It’s cold outside; let’s make our ovens (and hearts!) warm, right? There’s something about floating snow flurries combined with melty, chocolatey batter that sends my feels into overdrive. Banana bread. Chocolate chip cookies. The fudgiest brownies. I have a problem. But I thought I’d share one of my most memory-laden recipes with you. My mom made a quick chocolate cake on many a winter’s night during my childhood—it’s from a 1980s Pillsbury booklet, so I couldn’t find the exact recipe online, but this one is similar!

4. All the Tea!

I’m on a tea kick more than ever before. Real talk: I brew about four to five cups each day—often in my very favorite monogrammed Anthropologie teacup. And here’s a wild n’ crazy confession . . . I haven’t had coffee in an entire month. This tea thing is filling that comforting-drink-in-a-giant-mug need, and I feel more energized without the caffeine crashes. I’m enjoying everything from Earl Grey to peppermint to Constant Comment to ginger to chamomile and kava.

5. Intentional Rhythms that Cultivate Rest

While most of us were picking one word for 2019 or setting goals for the year, I chose to consider how to refocus in this winter season. This is what I decided: create intentional rhythms that cultivate rest. I was feeling physically exhausted and mentally weary, and I realized what my heart and body both needed were a few simple disciplines that would help me de-stress. Here’s what some of these intentional rhythms look like:

  • Beginning my nighttime routine an hour earlier each evening.
  • Turning off technology, opening a book.
  • Journaling.
  • Limiting my sugar intake.
  • Stocking my kitchen with the good stuff—fresh veggies, slow-burning carbs, lots of protein.
  • When the sun is shining, I get myself outside for a walk and Vitamin D.

I don’t rock all these disciplines every day, but I’m seeing how simple areas of self-control and planning can give life and rest to our souls and bodies!

I love hearing from you. What are you loving this winter?

About Author

Samantha Nieves

Samantha loves lazy lake days, strong coffee, and writing about the ways Jesus transforms our everyday messes into beautiful stories. She digs the four seasons in northern Indiana, is probably wearing a Notre Dame crew neck, and serves as the social media manager on the Revive Our Hearts staff.

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