12 Ways to Warm Up to Winter

Since my husband works in construction, snow is probably his greatest enemy. I, on the other hand, am a secret (but not so secret) snow lover. I get so much joy out of days off and roads closed it’s ridiculous, but I think we can all agree this is definitely a long, harsh winter. I feel like it’s around this time of year that things start to go downhill. You hit Valentine’s Day and then suddenly it feels like nothing is worth looking forward to and there’s an awkward pause before spring. Here are some ways that I am choosing/learning to enjoy this winter, and love where I’m at for all it’s worth.

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1. Crisp & Fresh Decor. I have recently become a fresh flower fanatic. I just love having them anywhere in my home, cause they really do brighten a room. Fresh bouquets can be a little pricey during this season, so I’ve turned to greens as my creative outlet. I love to incorporate jars of them wherever I can, mix them with other flowers, or use them to in centerpieces when I’m entertaining. Another perfect solution I’ve recently discovered is Paperwhites. These bulbs are so low maintenance, I mean it’s almost too good to be true for a girl who wasn’t blessed with gardening skills… I picked up a couple at Central Market for $1.50 each, put them in jars, keep up with the water and they simply grow. I love the touch of spring they bring to my home, i’m so impressed they’ve lived this long.

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2. Find Reasons to Celebrate. I am always up for a holiday, a party, anything that means friends and celebrations. In the winter (and all year round) I thrive off of finding ways to make each day special. Whether it’s celebrating Valentine’s Week rather than day, holding an authentic Irish dinner for St. Patrick’s Day, or dropping little “Have a good day” gifts on people’s doorsteps. When I focus on others I find so much more life than succumbing to the winter blues.

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3. Enjoy the cozy & comfy. It’s easy for me to pull on some sweats and Brent’s hoodie and go into hibernation mode, but you don’t have to dress down to feel comfy and warm. I feel ten times better when I do something, anything to my hair, put on a little make up and even just wear a pair of jeans.

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[some of my cold weather faves. waffle sweater//gap. infinity scarf//h&m. lace band leggings// forever 21. cable knit socks// bath & body. embellished fingerless gloves// target.]

4. Get your fill of fresh. I’ve always had a goal to eat my fruits and vegetables each day. In the winter it feels 10x harder. Recently I’ve been pulling out the blender and making smoothies as a yummy way to get these nutrients. Vegetables seem harder for me to eat throughout the day so throwing kale or spinach in with my frozen fruit is the perfect solution. We love the frozen fruit medley at Costco and a huge bag is only $10.

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5. Workout. I’ve mentioned this before, and as hard as it feels to get up and get going, the best thing I can do to kick that blah feeling is move. If it’s too snowy to make it to the gym I do a combination of great workouts I’ve found online. Cassey is slightly ridiculous sometimes but she keeps me occupied and is great for strength training. Fitness Blender is another great one I’ve recently discovered, and use to get my cardio in.

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6. Winter is the perfect time for easy cooking. I always think of winter as the more complex of the seasons as far as meals go. That was before I discovered a Pinterest, a million delicious soup recipes, and came to the realization that soup is easy. When I have broth for a base, some kind of grain (rice, potatoes, pasta), a variety of vegetables and a source of protein I can usually come up with some savory soup. Another thing I love to make on cold and snowy days is quiche. Again, staples you have in your fridge, a way to use up lots of leftover ingredients, and easy!

Here is a delicious recipe for Bok Choy Chicken soup. It’s light and healthy but feels like warm comfort food on a snowy day.

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7. Love those hot drinks. I don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed a mug of something hot more than I have this winter. During the day I love a cup of hot tea, when a friend comes to chat I pull out the french press and some new creamers, and when we have a snow day or company coming I get creative. Snow days typically mean homemade hot cocoa (2 cups sugar to 1 cup cocoa powder). SO easy and SO irresistable. One evening we had friends over and tried making our own egg nog. Another super delicious and simple recipe that I’ve used multiple times since. 

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8. Cleanse your closet. What better way to spend a day stuck at home than going through all those clothes you never wear. I almost always find something that I forgot existed (so it’s practically like shopping all over again) and a million things I know I’ll never wear. I try and keep in mind the last time I wore an item, envision myself actually wearing it out and if I’m really struggling I’ll text my sisters for a second opinion. My current closet is a little too small for my clothes, so until we have a house where my clothes get their own room (one of my secret dreams :), ) I am cleaning like every month just to organize! My most recent cleanse led to color coordination, which has made picking outfits way more fun.

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9. Tackle a project. If you have a husband he might hate me for this, but I’m always up for a new project. I can’t wait for a bigger house with more rooms to re-do, but in the meantime I’ve found my fair share. The most recent was this dream-come-true chalkboard wall which Brent played a huge part in!

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10. Shop spring. While I’m living winter I’m dreaming of warmer weather, and I believe there’s nothing wrong with shopping for deals to prepare your wardrobe for those sunny days. I am always on the lookout for cute clearance items that I can add to my “spring collection” (A shelf in our bedroom just waiting for me). Even if I find a good deal that I can’t wear now, I try to think “How happy would I be to have this three months from now?” The answer is almost always very happy.

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[shorts//g.h. bass, $2.99 each. tank top//gap, $2.79. scarf//j. crew, $6.50.]

11. Read [Relax]. I used to love reading, I obviously love writing, but I feel like college kind of (in the kindest sense of the phrase) sucked the life out of it. I always had to read, so when I didn’t have to it was the last thing I wanted. Since graduation I’ve slowly picked up some books and gotten back into it. I feel like now is the time, summer will only get crazier, and as difficult as relaxing can be for me, I know it’s good. YOU deserve it!

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[currently reading// bread & wine by shauna niequist.]

12. How about a hobby? Hobbies sound kind of ridiculous to me. I imagine my 10 year-old-self with my postcard collection and want to laugh out loud. But this winter a friend taught me to crochet, and I think I’ve gained a whole new perspective on hobbies. I love the fact that I can “be productive” while watching Friday Night Lights or chatting with a friend, and I’m actually making something I would wear or gift… (Don’t call me for lessons though, I’m a terrible teacher. I hear YouTube has good tutorials… 🙂 )

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So some of you are still not sold on winter, I’m sure of it. But I guarantee you, SPRING IS COMING! And in the meantime, why not enjoy where we’re at?

Merry Christmas from the Hostetters.

This has been a big month for me. There were those snowstorms (and snow makes me giddy as all get out), I had a birthday (and if snow makes me giddy, birthdays make me astronomically spastic in a very happy way), and…I GRADUATED COLLEGE.

Scratch that, this month hasn’t just been big. This may be the most enormous month of my life. A month jam packed full of my fast heart beating a million miles an hour, of hypervenalating-first over great gifts, then over papers yet to be written, of cozying up (by the heater behind our couch that I like to close my eyes and pretend is a fire) and watching so many more episodes of so many more shows then I ever have. Ever. Cause that’s what snow days are for, right? Or so Brent tells me.

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(Relaxing is a new thing to me. New since my marriage, that kind of new. I think I’m getting pretty good at it though. I’m almost at the point where I can focus on a conversation while a basket of unfolded laundry sits on my bed, just calling out to me. See, aren’t I good?)

This week I learned that Brent does not appreciate when I save a very full trash can for HIM to empty (especially in a snowy storm). I also learned that he is an excellent gift giver. As evidenced by my new periwinkle blue statement necklace (Francesca’s, I know I was impressed too), my new cozy PJ’s (perfect for a snow day) AND my favoriteTom’s Desert Wedges!!! These shoes were my dream for this winter season, and they are living up to my expectations. Definitely THE most comfortable pair of shoes with a heel that I have ever owned. And I swear, they look cute with (almost) EVERYTHING!

In fact, I wore them on our birthday date to The Terrain at Styers.

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The Terrain may seriously be my favorite place ever. Not only is it owned by Urban Outfitters, Inc. (owner of Anthropologie, my other favorite store), it is just so cute, rustic, inspiring and green all over. This greenhouse/boutique-y shop carries clothing housewares and of course- LOTS of stuff that makes you want to garden for the rest of your life. Their Christmas decor was exquisite and our dining experience at the Garden Cafe was impeccable. Located off of Route 1 in Glen Mills, PA, the Terrain is only like an hour and a half drive from Lancaster! I highly reccomend this mini daytrip. It made my birthday!

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So after a beautiful birthday, I woke up Tuesday morning to MORE unexpected snow! (Only unexpected because I haven’t been keeping up with The Weather Channel since we opted out of cable). I took a little 7 AM walk down to Central Market for our neccessities (eggs, milk, kale and sweet potatoes of course) and the world was just dreamy. Seriously, Lime Street sparkled and I have never felt the city so peaceful. I really love days like this, me with a cup of Earl Grey tea- perched on our little Ikea couch taking in every glistening second of the snow storm as I rapidly type the day away about communication theories and cognitive dissonance. This is how I ended my college carreer. Writing my final papers in a snow storm. Sipping out of my new birthday H mug (i’m obsessed with my married monogram). And every so often, a longing glance out our living room window.

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Graduation was rather anti-climactic, if I do say so myself. They pronounced my name wrong (it’s HOE-stetter not HOSS-stetter) and I was a little hot. But it’s ok, because my diplomas coming in the mail and I am DONE. (To be honest with you, there were times in my college career when none of us were sure I’d EVER get to say that word-in reference to undergrad at least).

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And now it’s Christmas. Our very FIRST Christmas. And I am thrilled. I feel like i’m in my element, decorating our home, wrapping gift upon gift (I think the final consensus is- can I get paid for gift wrapping or is that a dying trade?) I thought I was so cool, getting all my shopping done in October. Let me tell you something, that backfires. Bad. Once I was done with all of the “neccesary shopping,” the most wonderful time of the year truly hit and I LOVE THE MALL AT CHRISTMAS. (Seriously, usually the mall makes me hot and dehydrated and induces hives. But not at Christmas. NO WAY). So Brent had to give me a budget and say “No more random cute things for random people,” and I had to vow to save shopping for after Thanksgiving…check back with me next year.

mantleThe stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Brent would decide to go shopping sometime before Christmas.

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My Christmas cards ended up overflowing from my “that was a nice thought Katie” garland to a collage covering our freezer door. chalk

I practiced a little “Pinspired” chalk art. (More like “Pincopied”)

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We are ready for the holiday to commence. We are ready for a new year to commence! A new year of memories, of togetherness, of all the newness of marriage unfolding into even more experiences. When I look at life as I knew it last year at this time, and life as I know it now- I REALLY CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Just goes to show how much can change, how much I can really handle and how much I am blessed. We love you all, and are wishing you a very Merry, Light & Bright and EVERY OTHER ADJECTIVE Christmas. 

Love from,

B + K

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so this is Fall…

It truly is THE most wonderful time of the year… {you may hear this quote come out of my mouth around Christmastime too…or any holiday of the year really.} I love ANY excuse to celebratebakedress accordinglydecorate. So of course, the fact that I know have my own little home to decorate is just feeding this love {addiction} of mine. Between perusing my favorite Facebook blog Cotton & Cashmere and my It’s Fall!! Pinterest Board, I am prepared for the crisp weather and ALL things pumpkin.

Here’s a sneak peek at my fall thus far, specifically the decor part (all on a cash budget I might add 🙂 ).

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Thank you A.C. Moore for these sweet little guys. All I added was a Sharpie touch and they are perfect for our bedroom mantle!

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And there it is-

Pumpkins & berry branches courtesy of A.C. Moore (with the coupon of course).

Brown paper garland courtesy of Cotton & Cashmere (and a J.Crew paper bag).

Framed leaf courtesy of the beautiful tree down the street. No joke.

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Found this gem of an idea on Pinterest of course, so on one of our Mondays off my friend Nicole and I decided to try it. If only we had videoed the two of us with a hand saw, shaping this piece of wood (found in my basement) to the perfect size. I will say, this looks great on my coffee table 🙂

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More berry branches (99 cents each at A.C. Moore) added the perfect touch to my simple Ikea mirror. I have found that simple is perfect because I love accenting way too much to leave anything the same, ever!

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In my kitchen I keep a selection of any dried flowers I have salvaged from Brent’s many bouquets. All it took was a couple perfect leaves to turn this into seasonal decor.

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The best part of my kitchen is THE BEST Yankee candle I think I’ve ever smelled. A friend introduced me to FreebieShark and I got lucky on a BOGO Yankee coupon, turning my $28 candle into a $14 essential for my home!

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My favorite part of decorating was {of course} picking out my pumpkins. A friend and I discovered this amazing stand in Manheim and loaded up on what I would call specialty pumpkins 🙂 The prices were impossible to beat.

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In sum, I spent $40 and ended up with everything I wanted to create that cozy, Autumn atmosphere in {and out} of my home. Perfect fall days are here at last!

I am thankful.

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{besides fall decorating, Katie Hostetter loves Central Market days, long walks, and her hot husband}