You know the expression, “fake it until you make it?” That’s been on my mind a lot lately. I feel like, even despite my best efforts, that’s the phrase that best captures this month.
I don’t like faking, because I’m not a huge fan of being and feeling inauthentic. But here I am, trying to “lean in” to my least favorite month of the year, hoping to trick myself into feeling better about nearly everything: the weather, the season, stir-craziness building at home, stress at work, Wally getting emergency-level sick, Chad returning to the office every day, and insane uneasiness over an attempted coup at our nation’s capitol.
Things haven’t been great, and faking through the hard stuff hasn’t exactly worked either.
However, even when things feel shitty and hard and endless, I have found some peace in identifying the good. Taking a few moments to be grateful, to really think about the highlights of the month, has been a nice way to focus on what’s good rather than what’s bad. You are what you think about.
It’s like the Native American parable, that goes like this:
And while I won’t minimize the very valid thoughts and emotions that come with hard times, I’m walking away from January with a desire to focus on the parts of life that bring me joy. I shouldn’t have to fake anything if I quietly choose to remember what’s good.
And with that, here are my top picks for the month of January.
I swapped out our Christmas tree for a new little piece of faux greenery. I have loved the addition of this three-pot planter and the fake ivy that pours out. It really adds a pop of color to our living room, and I’m here for it.
Chad and I are in the process of refinancing our home! It’s taking a while, and we’re with a second lending company after we realized the first wouldn’t save us all that much money. We’re just waiting on an appraisal, and are hoping for the best to knock off a little over a percent!
Bougie upgrades around the house
Thanks to Christmas gift cards (the best kind of gifts, in my opinion), Chad and I were able to make a few upgrades around the house. I’m pumped that we treated ourselves a little, and made some bougie swaps here and there.
- New plates!! The most exciting upgrade has been these matte black pasta bowl/plates that are GORGEOUS. They’re from Wayfair and dry so quickly! We love them.
- Glassware. Plastic cups no more! We’re so happy to swap out our college sets for real glass cups. We got ours from Wayfair.
- Frames! I FINALLY was able to upgrade my gallery wall with larger, true matted frames from Target. The difference is incredible and I am so happy I followed through with this upgrade. I’ll make a post to show the update soon.
- Bedding. We went with a soft quilted option from Target.
- Miter Saw. This is actually hilarious, because Chad has been trying to convince me for like two years that we need a miter saw. (My argument: we’ve survived this long without one. Lol.) I finally caved and we ordered this guy from Lowes, expecting to have many wood-related projects in the future.
- Weights. I finally got myself some 10 lb. weights after many years of at-home workouts. Because of the pandemic, there’s a dumbbell shortage! I found some on Ebay and they took about a month to arrive. Lol.
- A Rug. A sizable rug, on sale for $30??? Sign me up! I placed our World Market find right smack in the middle of our kitchen. No regrets, only love.
- Office refresh. A new painting, two modern sconces, a random set of shelves, a gorgeous picture light, a tiny stool, and two matted frames have been added to our office and have made an incredible impact. I’m in love!
Wally, my big cuddly bear, had a bit of a rough month. He started things off with bad jumping behavior on our walks (but a chain leash solved that issue), then broke a glass full of red wine, sending glass everywhere and spilling the wine all over our sofa (OOOOF), waking us up in the middle of the night to dry heave, and then finally puking about 10 times in a row, causing us to drive to the nearest emergency vet clinic (an hour away) at midnight mid-week. Since then, there have been meds, shots, new foods, and an ultrasound with a specialist. Oh man. First he was incorrectly diagnosed with kennel cough, then they figured out that he probably has a food sensitivity. This was a tough month in the Wally department. We love him so much, and hated to see him in any distress.
He’s doing much better now. 🙂
Book: The Paris Wife
My book of the month has been The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. It’s a historical fiction novel based on the true story and real-life person, Hadley Hemingway, who was Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. It talks about their relationship as he ascends into fame and she comes into being her own independent woman. It’s a brilliant story, though I admit I stalled on it a few times because Ernest pissed me off with his womanizing ways, more than once. However, the book itself is excellent and I’m so interested in the main character and her journey.
On a random Sunday, I decided to surprise Chad with a cute little brunch. I’m not a chef and I’m really not a morning or breakfast person, so this was a true surprise to everyone involved. It went well and was a sweet way to spend time together.
Purple Carrot meals
When it comes to cooking, I prefer whatever’s easiest. Mostly, that’s Chad doing all the work in the kitchen. (Lol.) This month, though, we both got our hands dirty with Purple Carrot, a plant-based subscription meal service that is so dang delicious. I looooved our meals, which included Japanese yam sushi bowls, carrot dumplings, and pan-roasted brussels sprouts. They were surprisingly easy, too!
Moment of true satisfaction
This has been a bit of a tough month. It’s been stressful and lonely and scary and seemingly endless. The light at the end has felt very, very distant.
So, it felt really good to get a win.
As you might recall, I started my content writing business this summer (which I do full time) after having something of a come-to-Jesus moment after being rejected from my dream job. I went through this really promising application process from December 2019 to July 2020, when I was finally told no after many months of promises and set-backs and getting let go of my actual job. It was devastating, but it was also the catalyst to jumping into my own thing, which I very much love.
Anyway, flash forward to the other day: that “dream job” reached out to ask me if I wanted to interview again for that same position.
Let’s just say, I politely declined. And my ego is a little fatter than before.
This year for Christmas, my parents gave us a wonderful gift: security cameras! They went with the Arlo brand, and I have been so pumped about them. In addition to a new layer of security, these have just been great all around—they have a motion-sensor light feature that has made nighttime bathroom breaks for Wally infinitely better, we can talk through the cameras (also fun to tell Wally to “hurry up!” lol), and it’s fun to see who drives entirely too fast by our house (or maybe more interestingly, way too slow!).
This month has been historic, to say the least. Though I could spend some significant time talking about the shameful terrorist attack at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, I’d rather focus on the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Madam Vice President Kamala Harris. In addition to deep feelings of relief and ease (for the first time in many years), I am so blown away by finally having a woman (of color!) in the White House. “The first, but certainly not the last.”
Also, did you catch Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb?” Perfect.
I would also like to note that although Biden was my very last choice for the democratic nominee, I am hopeful for representatives in office who can promote change and progress the state of our nation. At the very least, I’m impressed by the executive orders signed on his first day in office, especially relating to DACA, COVID relief, reversing the Muslim ban, and LGBTQ legislation. It felt good. The work isn’t over, and we’re right smack in the middle of a pandemic, but it feels so goddamn nice to have this as a starting point.
I have terribly chapped lips! It’s one of my least favorite things about myself. It’s caused by several factors, including dehydration (always working on this), the crazy dry climate and high altitude I live at, and my anxiety-induced lip picking.
This month I invested in the Laneige lip mask, and have been using it all day and then a bunch at night. It’s amazing! Very soothing and it seems to work really well. I definitely recommend it.
On the Screen
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
- Killing Eve
- The Bachelor
- Fresh Off the Boat
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- The Crown
- Cobra Kai
- The Movies That Made Us
- Catch Me If You Can
- My Week with Marilyn
- Fisherman’s Friends
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- The Magicians
January in Posts
And that rounds out my January favorites! Thanks for tagging along on my pursuit of sunshine.