The holidays may be behind us, but for those of us in colder climates, the winter season is just beginning. Living in coastal Maine isn't nearly as frigid as most people imagine, but it's certainly a winter wonderland, and I truly love embracing the magic of it... a time to cozy up at home, enjoy quiet, dark evenings resting and reflecting, soaking in snowy walks and gorgeous white landscapes, and doing lots of cooking and baking. It's such a romantic time of year, and here are some of my favorite ways to embrace the cozy while waiting for spring.
1. Blankets, blankets and more blankets!
Investing in several fluffy, cozy, natural blankets is a MUST! If you're like us, pups, family and friends alike all love to cuddle up on the couch for movies and game nights, and you'll want different weights and textures, plus enough to layer and rotate out occasionally for cleaning. Extra hint.... a good blanket storage basket in your main living areas is a nice touch to keep them neat and accessible.
2. Cozy cups!
Ceramic cups and mugs are perfect for all the warm drinks you'll want to imbibe in when the weather outside is chilly. Having a set that works for tea, mulled wine, hot chocolate, or anything else, and also looks gorgeous on open shelving near a coffee or tea station makes your home feel so inviting, and makes it just a teeny bit easier to get out of bed in the morning!
3. Floor coverings everywhere to tickle your toes.
If you know me at all, you know that I am a HUGE lover of rugs. I just adore what they add to any space, and my favorites are natural ones that have deliciously chunky textures. Yes, they are an investment, but they are heirloom pieces that last years, decades even, and make all the difference in how elegant and homey a home can be.
Though... don't restrict yourself to large area rugs, they aren't the only solution. A selection of several, smaller, custom sized rugs can be layered by bedsides, in seating areas, bathrooms and vanity areas, and just about anywhere else you can imagine. These smaller (and more affordable) "highlight" rugs can also easily be moved and swapped around for a fresh look every now and then, and there's nothing wrong with changing these up with the seasons.
Last year, we started carrying a line of handwoven eco-cotton mats in a variety of colors, sizes and textures. These lightweight pieces can be easily machine washed and are also fabulous for layering. They have helped me step up my floor covering game in a big way, and they're so easy to store and move around.
4. The power of scent
Fragrance is so impactful to our moods and emotions... never underestimate the effect that smell has on making us and our guests feel relaxed and at ease in our homes. Invest in some good scents online, and try our reusable porcelain-topped diffuser sticks for a sustainable way to add artisanal style to an item that is usually thought of as function. A bouquet that is truly year-round.
5. Warm spices to warm bellies
Winter is all about comfort food! Our Spices of Africa box has a couple of selections that have become recent favorites for making unforgettable meals of the season. The Egyptian Dukkah is my newest go-to for stews, which I love serving in an acorn squash bowl (see recipe link here!).
Other favorites from this set are the Moroccan Ras El Hanout... love this for seasoning a rice, cous-cous, quinoa or other hearty accompaniment. And the two curries (East Africa and Cape Malay) are just exquisite... and make me feel like a much more accomplished cook than I am! I love both of these with roast veggies.
6. Winter weather skin care
As the climate changes, so does what your skin needs. More time inside, more stark changes of temperature from indoor to out, and, where we are anyhow, a much drier climate, all mean that skin needs a little more TLC this time of year. A good mud mask is a must -- I love using all natural products from companies like Lush, but my new all time favorite is a Dead Sea mud mask from a local boutique here, The Salt Cellar. It's easy to find similar masks from several brands, and my cheeks feel like velvet afterwards!
7. Holding on to holiday memories
This is a brand new idea that just came to me this year! Who wants to have to throw out all of those beautiful cards and holiday party polaroids the moment the season ends? Use a large wall basket as a backboard to attach your favorite cards, photos and bobbles from the festive season, and display those memories for just a bit longer in a unique and classy, uncluttered way!
8. Fireside Favorites
If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace... a wood basket is a favorite final touch, both for convenience, a nice seasonal design flare, and if you get some nice smelling wood, a warm, wintery, woodsy scent that perfectly infiltrates the space.
As we navigate the season, embracing these simple pleasures, my hope is that everyone stays cozy and finds joy in the magic of winter.