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Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast, it’s officially that awkward season between Christmas and spring.
Emma: Some people call it winter. (laughs)
Elsie: (laughs) This week we’re doing a full deep dive hygge episode and we’re each sharing three things that make us feel cozy this time of year at home.
Emma: Yeah. Alternative title is “How to Survive Winter.” (laughs).
Elsie: Yes, actually, last year I think we did…
Elsie: An episode that was about surviving winter…
Emma: I think it was like hibernation tips…
Elsie: Hibernation wisdom. Yeah. So let’s link that one in the show notes. But yeah, we’re back with more hibernation wisdom. So this time of year, I normally survive by fantasizing about traveling…
Emma: Right, yep.
Elsie: And that ship has sailed and I’m no longer surviving in that way. Although this year is my first winter of my life to be the owner, the proud owner of a hot tub. So I’m surviving in a different way. (laughs)
Emma: Woo hoo!
Emma: I’m excited for you.
Elsie: Woo! I know. I’m so excited, too. And I’m stealing your dream left and right. (laughs)
Emma: You really are.
Elsie: Because Emma loves a hot tub. She always has talked about it so much.
Emma: I’m a hot tub evangelist.
Emma: That’s me.
Elsie: Yes. Well, I’m so excited. I always knew when we would like house shop in the past and I would see a house with a pool. I always knew that the ones with a hot tub would be the really good Tennessee pools because, you know, so much of the year you can’t swim in your swimming pool unless you’re like…
Elsie: …an ice bath enthusiast, which I’m not. (laughs)
Emma: Right. Yeah, that seems cool, but I haven’t gotten into that phase of life, so. (laughs) Aright. So we’re each going to do three tips, three things we’re doing to be cozy. So what’s your first one?
Elsie: Ok, so it’s cooking/baking season. And more than ever in my whole life, I’m loving cooking and baking right now. It’s very hygge, I should say: before we get too deep in that, I will link all the hygge books that I’ve read in the show notes. They are amazing and they each have something a little bit different, although I think if you just want one quick read and you’ll get the full idea of hygge I recommend The Little Book of Hygge. It’s so good. So anyway, I am in my cooking and baking zone and I’ve been baking a lot. It’s so fun. It’s just more of a hobby. Like people are always like, I don’t know why so many people ask this, but they’re like, “who eats all your cookies and who eats all your cupcakes?” And I’m like, does that even matter? Like, the joy of making them is really like what I’m there for, you know?
Emma: Uh huh.
Elsie: Yeah. Normally I would give a bunch away, but I feel like in COVID times it’s a little bit awkward.
Emma: Yeah. When I made treats for friends, I seriously like wash my hands a bunch of times and also wore my mask.
Elsie: Yeah,that’s good.
Emma: …while I did it because I was like I don’t know. So just in case here. So yeah.
Elsie: Anyway so I decided over the last few years learning the royal icing has brought me so much joy. So I decided that I want to add a new skill this year. And so I bought this set of frosting tips and it’s like fifty tips for seventeen dollars and I will link it in the show notes. When it came in the mail, it comes with a little chart of what each tip does, and my mind was like exploding with ideas, just a very joyful, exciting little thing. And Emma and I had a very strong cupcake phase. But it was a really long time ago, you know…
Elsie: …it was like more than ten years ago now.
Emma: Yeah. More than a decade.
Elsie: When we had our, like, a little cupcake shop and our little bubble tea shop. That’s another story for another day. But anyway, so, yeah, learning this skill — in my whole life, I’ve made cupcakes so many times, but I’ve never done anything beyond, like, piping it through, like maybe a plastic bag from the drawer in my kitchen. So this is like a whole new level of crafting excitement for me. It’s very joyful and I, I think I’m just going to become a cake decorator for the rest of quarantine. However long it lasts is cake decorating time.
Emma: I love it. I love it.
Elsie: What’s your first one?
Emma: My first one is so with putting away all your Christmas decorations or for me putting away all the Christmas decorations, there’s so much sadness there. And so I was trying to identify a few things that I could potentially keep, you know. So basically what I’m doing is taking all my Christmas lights. Sometimes people call them fairy lights and kind of repurposing them in the house because I really liked them. Yeah, well, I love the glow and I also just like turning them on at like 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. when it’s getting dark and just feeling like, OK, now it’s, you know, after work, I mean, after five is after work, after work, you know, glow time. And that just because I feel like when it’s really dark, like your finish working five, five thirty, six, whatever, and it’s completely dark.
Emma: It feels like your day is over. And that’s kind of a bummer, you know. And I just feel like not very motivated, don’t feel very excited to do hobby stuff or anything other than watch TV, which is cool. But if you do that every night, if I get a little depressed, if that’s what I do every night. So anyway, so I feel like having the lights and the glow just makes the house feel a little more exciting and cozy and makes me feel a little more motivated to like, oh, now it’s glow time so I can still do things. This is just what it’s like now in the evenings. So anyway, so what I did was I have these two giant they’re like six foot tall, faux fiddle leaf plants at my house. And so I basically turn them into Christmas trees where I wrap them with the lights and I turn them on. They don’t have ornaments or anything, but they have the lights and I turn them on at night and they’re in my living room, which is also where my office is at the moment. So those, and I’m going to hang some here pretty soon in my bedroom, too. And I don’t leave any of them on when I sleep, but it’s just something. So when I’m walking around the house at night, which by night, I mean after five p.m., it just feels like kind of a glow, which feels nice, feels like a cute little restaurant or bistro or something. Kind of Christmassy, but no Christmas.
Elsie: I absolutely love where you’re going with this. And I’m going to do it too. I’m going to copy that. One hundred percent. Love it.
Emma: It almost reminds me of like a dorm room because I feel I can do this kind of thing like in your first apartment or if you had a dorm. I didn’t have a dorm, but your first apartment. But I’m like, actually this is a great idea and you should do this your whole life. Turns out!
Elsie: It’s true putting Christmas lights around your bed. It’s such like early 20s thing, but I actually kind of want them now. Yeah, me too.
Emma: Ok, we’re going to take a short break and then we’ll be right back.
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Elsie: Ok, my second one is collecting PJ’s. So in the past I would sleep in just like any old t shirt old or you know, like just old, old clothes and like I never cared. And I do still have this one like cut up tank top from like fifteen years ago. It’s still my favorite one. But overall for some reason in the last couple of years, I think it’s because I just bought one set of matching PJs a few years ago from Madewell, and I was like, oh my God, I love this. And I felt like more put together and just more, I don’t know, I like it. It feels very special having matching PJs. And so I just started collecting them and now I have a whole drawer full of them. And I recently reorganized my closet and I kind of have a drawer full of like the tiny ones that are little shorts and little tank tops that you would like sleep in and then the like bigger ones that you would wear if you were like, like if people were over, (laughs) you know what I’m saying?
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Elsie: Like if you’re having guests or whatever the long pants and long, you know, whatever. So anyway, collecting PJs has brought me a ton of joy. I think it’s very hygge. I will link to a few of my favorites, but yeah, like Madewell has great ones. She has great ones. Hanna Anderson, which is a kid’s brand, but they make the matching mommy and mes and they’re great. And then I also got, my friend Kaitlyn posted they’re fake Birkenstocks like they’re clearly like fake Birkenstocks. They’re furry, like not just furry on the inside, like the other ones I have. They’re furry on the outside, too. They have gold hardware.
Elsie: They’re from Wal-Mart and I use them immediately as soon as I found them, because, you know, Birkenstocks are like one hundred and fifty dollars I think. And these are like twenty dollars. So I’m going to link them in the show notes. But I got them and I was like, these are going to be my new house shoes. They’re very, very cool and comfy and cozy. And yeah, I’ll link to them in the show notes, they’re definitely a highlight, I’ll show a picture, too.
Emma: Yes, please do. I’m very intrigued.
Elsie: Yeah, you have to get some.
Emma: I’m like, twenty dollars! I’m not interested, (laughs) so.
Emma: OK, my second one. So normally I am a big hot tub person. I also have dreams of I already know like where in the holiday house, my house, where I want to put my sauna should I ever get enough money, which I’m kind of like maybe next year, you know. But that’s a bigger project so we’ll see. But anyway, I just love — what I love about hot tubs and saunas is you can just get nice and warm and then go to bed and you’re like, stay warm under your covers. Like your…my fingertips, my toes. I just feel like I’m often very cold by the time it’s time to go to bed at like 10 p.m. or whatever. And so I just like something that kind of warms me up. So I don’t have my hot tub, I don’t have a sauna. So what I do have is my rice heating pad. (laughs) I use like every single night. It’s like, I’ll link it but it’s so dorky. It’s one of these ones…I wore at one time on Instagram just to show people how cool I truly am. But you warm it up in the microwave, you could probably do it in the oven if you wanted. But I put it in the microwave and then it goes around your neck and your shoulders. And I will also kind of like lay it on my bed and like, lay on top of it for, like, my lower back and things like that. And I love it. You can buy one. You can make your own. We have a tutorial that Laura did years ago that it looks like a cat. It’s really cute and it goes around your neck so you can make your own you don’t have to buy one, but I have one. I’m kind of also, put it out there, I’m kind of scared of electric blankets. Some people love electric blankets, and I feel like that would be a similar thing. Yeah. And I, I don’t know why. I’m just kind of scared of them because every now and again I have my rice heating pad in the bed with me because I’ll be reading a book and it’s time to go to bed. And I fall asleep with it sometimes and I’m just kind of scared of falling asleep with my electric blanket. I know they have them where they’ll shut off automatically. But what if it doesn’t? I don’t know. I just something about it makes me kind of anxious. And so I’m like, no this is for relaxation. (laughs) I just don’t want to…so if you’re an electric blanket person, awesome. But I just can’t I don’t know. It freaks me out too much. So it’s like leaving a fireplace on to me just stresses me out. So I’m into my rice heating pad. It’s very grandma and I’m very into it. I use it like every night I’m serious. Like towards the end of the day I’m like looking for it. I’m like, oh, it’s almost rice heating pad time. I like looking forward to it. (laughs) So, yep!
Elsie: Aw! Yeah I am definitely not afraid of an electric blanket and I think they’re wonderful. But yeah, I am afraid of microwaves. So we are exactly opposite on that one. (laughs)
Emma: Oh yeah we are.
Elsie: Oh OK. So my third one is kind of similar to what Emma already said, but I hate taking down my Christmas decor. It is one of the worst days of the year in my opinion.
Elsie: Because it makes your house where you feel like you filled it with joy to the maximum. You have to like empty that joy back out. And if you’re someone who loves, like, the clean slate of it, I can see how that is joyful. But for me, it just mostly feels like I’m losing something, like this year I left my paper snowflakes because I was like I think I can leave this part up a little longer because it’s just wintery.
Elsie: So anyway, as soon as we took down our decor, I started looking for glowy stuff that I could put in place, and I will put links in the show notes, but one of the things I found recently that I’m really loving is, so I have had a pink salt lamp for a while and it’s really nice. Like it’s just like this nice glowy pink lamp. I personally don’t really subscribe to, like, the health benefits of it as much as maybe some people do. I just think it’s pretty and that’s good enough for me. But they make night light versions of these and I first got them for our kids’ rooms and they love them. They put off a good amount of light and it’s pink glowing light. So there’s one in their bathroom and then there’s one in their bedroom and they have to have a night light to sleep. So I love having that. It’s also travel friendly. If you have kids like mine who have to have a night light sleep, then you don’t want to forget it. Yeah, like our sound machine, and our night light are our most important things when we’re packing to go somewhere. It’s like essential. And let’s see. Ok, and then the other thing is faux candles. So the LED faux candles that last a long time, you can put them inside of little like what do you call it, like a candleholder with lots of holes, you know?
Emma: Votive or, like a votive holder or whatever.
Elsie: Yes, that’s nice. And then obviously, you guys know I love my essential oils, so I have my very, very favorite diffuser is the supernova diffuser. Can’t say if it’s from the name or how beautiful it looks when it’s lit up and glowy but I’ll link to that in the shownotes too, it’s pretty affordable for a diffuser because they can get kind of pricey for the nicer ones. And I will say for the price, it’s the best diffuser hands down. Yes. And I love essential oil. Like I’m not against candles. We have a few candles. Recently our power went out and we like lit a bunch of candles. And I was like, this is kind of like a nice feeling. But I feel like in an every day, like on an everyday basis, I’d rather do the essential oils than candles and candles are more of like a special occasion thing to me.
Emma: I like candles. I’m a candle person. I definitely prefer like soy based, but I am just generally a candle person.
Elsie: Yeah, she is a candle enthusiast and I think I am an essential oils enthusiast, although not crazy! (laughs) to draw the line somewhere. Diffusing only!
Emma: Mmhmm Mhhmm. Cool. Well my third one is a kitchen thing so you’re into the baking which I’m, I’m into baking too. But my, my third one is soups, it is soup season and so at least once a week I make a big pot of soup and I make it for dinner and then I’ll get to eat it for like two or three days after that, either at dinner or like a quick work lunch. You just warm it up and it’s the best. It’s a great like meal prep thing, but it’s also just fun to make a big pot of soup at night. It just feels cozy. And I think of soup, kind of like the winter version, like a winter smoothie, basically, where it can be full of good stuff for you, vegetables, all sorts of things you can even use like bone broth if you want to get more protein in there or whatever. So there’s lots of ways to make it super healthy, but it can also be super like decadent and comforting too, like I have this on the blog, there’s a potato and broccoli cheese soup. I make that all the time. I have this kind of creamy cauliflower and leek soup and those are both pretty comforting. And like you can add cheese, you can add crackers and it feels just like great. So, soup season. I love it. Yeah, I love making new soups. So I’m always trying other people’s soup recipes from cookbooks I see or other food blogs or whatever because I just love soups.
Elsie: Yes, Emma got me the best soup cookbook ever, so I’ll link to that in the show notes too. And then let’s link to like the immersion blender that you like because I use my vitamix but I know the immersion blenders are way, way, way less expensive, right?
Emma: Yeah, they are. And you can just you blend it right in the pot, which I kind of like, feels like less dishes and it’s just, I like it. It’s easier. There’s less like transferring of hot liquids from one thing to another. I feel like every now and again I’ve spilled a little bit when I’ve done the blender method and I tend to like burn myself, because I’m like “this soup’s hot!”. So the immersion blender’s a little easier in that way, but they’re both good. They’re both whatever you have will work on those.
Elsie: Yes. Alright. Let’s take a quick sponsor break.
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Elsie: Ok, so before we go, let’s do a quick guilty pleasure treasure. We haven’t had one of these for a while, and I love a guilty pleasure. Me too. Woo! OK, so mine is fake tanning. So in the past, in the before times as we call it now, I would go…
Emma: BC before covid. (laughs)
Elsie: Right before covid. I would go pretty frequently to this place in Nashville and get an organic spray tan, which is awesome because you go in there and you know, you’re like totally naked and then they spray you and they get you all perfect and it’s like they’re airbrushing you, you know what I mean? And then it was like my — it kind of is like my ultimate confidence booster, like more than like any kind of other little thing I could do. I just, like, love the feeling of having a spray tan. So anyway, obviously I’m not going to appointments right now and I don’t know how you would even do that anyway if you were like wearing a mask or like if, you know, like maybe it would be worth it to someone, but it’s not worth it to me. And so what I’ve been doing is straight up at home, self tanning only and my favorite one, I think I’ve probably blogged about this before, but it’s been a long time, is called Vita Liberata, phenomenal tinted tan mousse. And it has some — so you can buy it online, I think on Ulta and I’ll link to it. Yeah, it’s a mousse. So it comes out as like a foam and then you have to use a glove with it. So just the mousse and the glove is really all you need and then just put it on to clean skin and take a shower, you know, like that night or whatever. It works really well. It has some bad reviews. And I think the reason it has some bad reviews is because in the product title it says like two to three week, like tan. And I think that’s a little ambitious to say that. I think it’s like if you want to have the tan…
Emma: Maybe if you don’t take a shower.
Elsie: Right. I think if you want to have this tan, you kind of have to do it every shower, every other shower, depending on your frequency, I guess. But.
Emma: Right, right.
Elsie: It’s really not that big of a deal. A lot of times I just do my arms and my legs because, you know, like the middle of your body, like kinda doesn’t matter. So I use the medium and my skin is quite light. So it’s not a very, this is why I like it. It’s not — it’s not very aggressive. Like sometimes I’ve tried a lot of fake tanning products and they can be sticky orange, just like too much. And this is a little bit mild. So that’s why I like it. I feel like it’s hard to mess up. It’s hard to get like a really bad line because when you use the foam, you can see the color going onto your skin. So you it’s like if you can see that you you can see whether you blend it in or not at the moment you’re doing it. So anyway, I’m probably overtalking about this, but if you feel like a fake tan would help you through this, like, annoying winter season, try this out. I highly recommend it. I’ll put the exact one I get and the exact tanning mitten and hopefully love as much as I do.
Emma: Love it. Love a fake tan. Mine is, so as people know, one of my guilty pleasure treasures generally is that I like to have croissant Fridays every Friday I set out. It’s like frozen croissants that I usually get from Trader Joe’s. And you set it out the night before and then Friday morning, and I have had numerous podcast listeners email me and say, “we did that too, but we do it on Monday”. So I feel like people get this as a guilty pleasure treasure.
Emma: Anyway, I haven’t been to a Trader Joe’s in some time because I haven’t been traveling and we don’t have them in Springfield, Missouri, where I live. So for Christmas, I bought myself a box of Williams-Sonoma. They’re called like Galaxy Chocolate Croissants. So they’re croissants, frozen.
Elsie: You mailed yourself frozen croissants.
Emma: I did.
Elsie: I have never loved you more than I love you in this moment, Emma. (laughs)
Emma: I would have stocked up at Trader Joe’s probably when I was in Nashville visiting you, but I didn’t visit you. So I was like, well, where can I buy these online? So that’s what I’m doing now. So it’s kind of the same. Still doing the croissant Fridays, but I have a new brand because I had a mail order myself some croissants. (laughs)
Elsie: Well, that is also a great gift idea. We’ll put that link in the show notes and I think I’m going to send that as a gift sometime.
Emma: I love that it would be a really good like Mother’s Day or I don’t know, just a friend’s birthday to send them a big box of frozen croissants. They have different. They have chocolate, I think they have almond, they have a bunch of different ones on the Williams-Sonoma site. So these ones I got are really good.
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Elsie: Have a great week!
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