The Best Bits of Winter

Winter_Collage.jpg

Hello everyone!  Since it’s been so long since I’ve made a substantial post – seriously, since before Thanksgiving… whoops – I figured it’d be best to start off the new season by writing a post on the things that make winter the greatest season of all. Obviously not my opinion, but a true fact that winter is the best. Really though, who doesn’t love winter? It’s cozy, sparkly, and there are fairy lights everywhere. I’m not sure why I love it so much and to be perfectly honest it’s like I have a full on personality change when winter hits. Any other time of year if I were to find a single bit of glitter in my apartment I would have an aneurysm, but during winter I’m just like, “Oh that’s so cute, how pretty!” I don’t know, I really don’t. Freakish tendencies aside, let’s go ahead and talk about the parts of winter that make it the king of seasons.

Fairy Lights

I will confess I’m not one of those people who actually has a set time when I think fairy lights are appropriate. I love them all year round, but I especially love when they’re out in force – which is typically around Christmas. After the hellacious five hours that were my CSet exam (really hoping I won’t have to retake that) I finally exited the building into Levi’s Plaza after the sun had gone down when all the trees were lit up and twinkling. I was so sad all I had on me was my phone because it was so beautiful and magical looking, I really need to go back and take some pictures with my real camera.

Silver & Gold

I have a feeling that this one is going to be the most disagreed with out of all my favorites, but I love the combination of metallics during the winter season. To be honest most other times of year I am a bit less inclined toward using silver and gold together, but I think the offset of white on these colors in particular is absolutely gorgeous. Plus even if you don’t have any white decorations around your home there are always the grays and whites of the weather coming in from outside your windows to compliment the warm glow inside your home.

Rustic Decor

Yet another home design element that I really love throughout the year, but find it a lot easier to find pieces for during winter versus any other season. I’ve gotten a bit overly obsessed with deer, plaid, and natural touches this year. Those things aside though, the most exciting decoration we got this year is easily our (first) Christmas tree. Which is fake so it technically only looks like a natural decoration piece. Speaking of which, if you don’t have a fireplace Netflix’s “Fireplace For Your Home” is a really lovely program to help recreate that cozy cabin ambiance in your living room.

Dismal Weather

Okay, so on face value this is probably not peoples first choice for a seasonal favorite (or really a favorite at all for that matter.) However, how lovely is it to be sitting inside cozied up under a blanket with a fire going watching the snow (or rain) fall outside. There’s just something about the terrible weather that winter often brings that amplifies the wonderfulness of creature comforts tenfold. Besides sometimes the worst storms leave the most beautiful icy scenes behind.

Lounge Wear

As much as I love dressing myself up and going out, you can bet your ass that I’m the first one to volunteer to stay home in my PJ’s, burrow under the excessive number of blankets I’ve accumulated, and chill like a puffed up squirrel. This of course means I’ve gathered quite an impressive collection of lounge wear ranging from things I could reasonably run to the grocery in (think exercise type clothes) to onesies that are dedicated to lazy days inside. Perhaps it’s the chill in the air or I just give up on being pristinely presentable as the year ends, but I find myself opting for loungier clothes much more often come wintertime.

Sweets 

Does it seem to anyone else as if every place you turn is filled with deliciousness this time of year? Maybe it’s just me, but I swear the hallmark sweets of Christmas are caramel, chocolate, and peppermint – sometimes alone, sometimes in combination. If Halloween’s candies are characterized by pure sugar flavor than Christmas’ are by smooth creaminess. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just something that I seem to have overlooked until this year after I bought a candy tray and have since had to keep it stocked.

Super Sumptuous Food

Whether it’s just Eric and me at home or the whole family at holiday parties the food we eat during the cold winter months is always warm, delicious, and super rich. The biggest staples I find myself making during the winter are stews, savory pies, and baked Italian dishes. So yes perhaps my winter diet isn’t exactly the healthiest, but hey – everything in moderation and I’ll be making it just fine to Spring.

So there you have it, the absolute best bits of winter in my opinion! Let me know what your favorite parts of winter are in the comments and have a wonderful day!

Signature

Coping with Depression

I don’t normally do this, but I’d like to ask everyone reading to please be kind in the comments section. Since the thought of writing this entered my head I’ve had so so many reservations surrounding whether I should even make this post. Would I be able to express myself properly? Should I really be writing about something so personal online? I think even after I post this I’ll wonder if it really was a good idea. Doubts aside, I hope by writing this I can give other people going through similar mental health issues a feeling of camaraderie as well as, hopefully, give some advice on what helped me through my most recent bout of depression.

Depression for me isn’t just a feeling of unhappiness or apathy. When I say I’m depressed I mean that I feel as if every bit of myself has been stripped from my body –  like I’m a walking shell of a human. Sometimes it feels as if someone has such a tight grip on my heart that searing pain is being strangled out of my core and I can do nothing but curl into a ball and wait for it to pass. Other times it’s as if I’m being suffocated by a pervasive cloud of self doubt and hate. During those times I’ll lay on the floor thinking that everything I have done, am doing, and will do is for nothing and that I am a useless piece of trash single-handedly dragging society down. However even with all of these terrible feelings tearing through me the absolute worst part of my depression is constant and absolute hollowness. Like I’m not a part of myself anymore. Nothing makes me happy and all I can hope for is that my depression will pass quickly.

Two weeks ago on Monday I woke up and immediately knew some sort of chemical imbalance had gone off in my brain because I was drowning in my usual symptoms.

Rationally I knew what was happening and the ways to combat it – after all I got my bachelor’s in psychology. However, there is a difference between knowing the information you were taught sitting behind a desk in a classroom and the ability to execute those coping mechanisms when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed because all you can focus on is the empty feeling that has settled into every pore of your body.

I was finally able to muster enough energy to drag myself out of bed around one in the afternoon. I brewed myself a cup of tea and began my (current) routine of grad school applications. Which went terribly because I could not get myself to focus on anything. So I decided, okay clearly this isn’t helping me – time to try something else. Which was when I thought I could try starting up on an art commission my friend had asked me to work on for his new office space. Now I’m not going to say I was immediately put back in a regular state of mind, but oh my God was planning and working on that painting essential in getting me out of the pit I’d fallen into. There was something about being able to work on a project that gave tangible results each day that helped to bring back bits of my self-esteem each day. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy to get myself out of bed each day and paint. There were definitely days I had to force myself, but I was able to because I knew each time I added a bit more to that painting a bit of my melancholy would be released and some feeling of self would return.

I finished the painting last week and, although not completely myself again, I am in such a better place.

So my advice to anyone else who may be going through similar troubles is to take something that will challenge you and POUR yourself into conquering it. Perhaps you have your own painting idea or craft project or exercise routine or recipe you want to try out. Find an activity that has a clear ending and execute it. No matter how badly you want to curl up and do nothing, no matter how pointless you think it is at the time – finish your project. Seeing that you can accomplish something, even if it’s just in small fragments, will help to clear the fog of depression and bring you back to yourself.

For anyone else who suffers from depression or any other mental health condition I want to remind you that you are not defined by your illness. The person you are and the person your ailment momentarily forces you to be are two different people. You can overcome the negative feelings pushed upon you by your brain and become the best you, you can be. And please remember if you’re feeling too overwhelmed and alone there are mental health experts out there who are more than willing to stand by you and help ♥

Signature

September Favorites

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hello everyone! I feel terrible for missing last Friday’s post and want to give you a quick update on what’s been going on with me lately. Basically, I’ve been dealing with a stomach thing for the past month and the end of last week was terrible. Without going too much into detail there have been days where just thinking of food has been enough to make me ill. The worst past about this is because everything has been making me nauseous I haven’t been eating and my energy levels have been way down. Which has not been good for blogging (or anything really), but after resting all weekend I’m feeling better and hopefully won’t be getting sick again any time soon.

Now onto the bulk of this post – my favorites from the month of September! This was one of those months that flew by in a blink for me. So many great things happened , like Burning Man and the Oakland Bicycle Music Festival, where I was surrounded by friends having the most incredible time of my life. I also really got into writing this month – which has been a fantastic creative outlet for me and has had the surprising (and amazing) side effect of me finding a really lovely community of like minded people here on WordPress. So if you’ve chatted with me on here lately – I appreciate it so much and thank you for being so friendly. Anyway, I wanted to take this post to look back at everything wonderful that’s happened this month and all the reasons why I should ignore my stomach issues and look back on September fondly.

1

Blogging

Hands down one of my favorite things that’s happened this month is the amount of effort I’ve put into Sometimes I Cook. This past month has been pretty stressful because, after a brief hiatus from work, I decided to throw all my effort into finding a job that would help me on my path toward a career in education. Not only that, but I’ve begun working on applications for masters and teaching certification programs as well. All this has meant a lot of time spent on the computer and in an effort to keep my productivity up (and stress levels down) I took to writing more. Which has been amazing and I’ve been so happy to incorporate more of my interests into the blog – instead of just recipe posts. As much as I adore cooking, I don’t always have time to take on the effort of coming up with a new recipe then glam it up for the blog. Writing about things that have been happening in my life or browsing Pinterest to find fun looking fall inspired crafts has been such great form of stress relief. So yes, because of that there’s been a ton more lifestyle-esk posts.

2

Positivity Journal 

So this one’s a bit personal, but I thought it might be nice to share in case anyone else might find it helpful. In the past I have had some problems with depression and just kind of easily getting down on myself in general. I’m not sure why. I certainly don’t have the hardest life in the world, but because of my perfectionism and issues with anxiety I just end up feeling as if I’m never quite good enough. Which is where this journal comes in. I’m always looking for things to help remind myself that I’m just as worthy a human being as everyone else, so when I walked past this at Barnes and Noble I had to stop for a look. The journal is called “The Grass Is Green Enough!” and is basically made up of prompts (some easy, some more in depth) that you complete to help yourself with living a more positive life. There are a ton of these types of journals – I chose this one because the prompts are fairly lighthearted plus there are beautiful motivational quotes dotted throughout the book to help inspire you between prompts.

DSC_0284

DSC_0277

3

Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream

I went to Marshall’s the other day and may have accidentally left with a teeny-tiny very small beauty haul. Okay so really I left with the entire Dirty Work’s bath line (which is absolutely lovely), but the real show stoppers from my haul were Crabtree & Evelyn’s English Honey & Peach Blossom hand cream and My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Mask 10 Pack. So first the hand cream and oh my lord is it incredible. I have no idea how I’d never heard of this brand before. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock and everyone else knows of them, but this is seriously the nicest hand cream I think I’ve ever owned. The predominant smell is definitely the honey, but I think what makes the scent so lovely is the peach – it brings a wonderful freshness that keeps the lotion from being sickly sweet. I think the only thing I can compare it too is honeysuckles whilst still on the tree. Fresh and light. My only downside to this hand cream is that it does take a while to set. Which I suppose is necessary because it definitely does delivery on it’s ultra-moisturizing promise and leaves your hands feeling incredibly soft (which is going to be a god send for the coming winter months.)

DSC_0298

4

My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks

Continuing on with my second favorite purchase from my Marshall’s haul – the My Beauty Diary Black Pearl sheet masks. I just about died when I saw these. I don’t know when Marshall’s started carrying Asian beauty products, but I am all about it. My Beauty Diary is a fantastic brand which (before this) I’d yet to buy from because it is on the more expensive side compared to products from The Face Shop and Daiso. However, when I saw these I knew I had to try them! The first thing I noticed after taking them out of the package was that the mask was backed with plastic. I’ve noticed this as a trend in the higher end face masks I’ve bought. I’m not sure about the reason behind it, maybe so the mask can absorb more of the essence? Probably. Anyway, you definitely get your money’s worth in moisturizing power with these masks because they are super duper saturated with product. They’re actually pretty horrifying when you first put them on because the sheets are translucent and they’re so slimy that it basically looks like you’re molting. Hahaha all seriousness though, I really love these masks – my skin feels so soft and moisturized after using them that I’ll gladly look like a mess for thirty minutes.

DSC_0326

DSC_0331

I’m really too attractive on pamper nights

5

Photography

Okay, now to be honest I wasn’t completely sure whether or not I should post this here – mostly because I’m not exactly the world’s best photographer. When I first started this blog I was convinced that I would never be able to take a decent photo, but since then I’ve found that I’ve ever so slowly improved in my picture taking ability. I mean I’m still pretty terrible with angles, usually have problematic lighting, and shake like a tree in gale force winds, but I am determined not to let my shortcomings stop me from learning how to better capture beautiful moments on film. And bless Eric for being so incredibly supportive because he bought me a Nikon D3300 to help me get started in the world of photography. I’ve been slowly figuring it out – I was super excited to attempt shots of the Blood Moon Eclipse last weekend, but had my dreams smashed when I found out that different photos will sometimes require different lenses. Lesson learned. So hopefully you’ll start to see even better pictures on here as I continue to learn the ins and outs of photography as an art form.

DSC_0260

DSC_0012 DSC_0178

Signature

September Changes

o_1a06unthd9i010i1di2nbq1e4f7_new

Hello everyone! As you may have noticed, a few changes have been happening around the blog for the past two weeks. I’d like to apologize for messing with the theme so many times! I’m sure it was a little disorienting, so yes, sorry about that! Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick blurb on what’s been happening and what you can expect in the future, so grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage and let’s get to it!

First thing – the top navigation bar has expanded! This past month I made a point to use my free time more constructively –  which resulted in me spending more and more time working on my blog. And because of the extra time I was spending here I was inspired to write about more of my hobbies and activities outside of the realm of food. As much as I love posting recipes I also found posting about crafting projects, photography, and especially interesting days to be really fulfilling as well! Unfortunately, whilst I was making these posts I noticed anything not food related was being slightly thrown in a corner and broadly labeled as a ‘life’ post. So – being the compulsively organized person I am – I went through every post and re-categorized each one previously labeled ‘life’ to a more specific category. And even though that was a bit of a pain I can now honestly say – I am so happy with how everything has turned out. I feel like the new labels have not only made the blog easier to navigate, but have also allowed me to feel better about deviating from my usual recipe posts to a broader range of things that interest me.

The next change you may have noticed is quite small and nestled into the very front corner of the navigation bar. I added an about me page! To be completely honest I had the worst time deciding whether I even wanted to write one of these. Mainly because I find writing about myself terribly, terribly awkward. Then (once I finally wrote up a first draft) I obsessed over whether it gave everyone the best possible impression of me. I feel as if I never know if I’m properly conveying myself online – I’m always worried that my personality isn’t quite making it fully through or that I’m inadvertently being awkward or that I seem mean or really just any and all sorts of worst case scenarios. In the end though, I really wanted to add a personal touch to my blog and discomfort aside the best way to do that was an about me. Hopefully I didn’t completely fudge it up, but I suppose even if it’s not perfect I at least got over my weird aversion and wrote something (and can always change it later).

Now, the last thing I wanted to talk about is the new posting schedule I’ve made for myself. Sometimes I Cook has morphed into many different things for me. Originally it was just a place to catalog recipes. Then, after moving away from Cincinnati, it became a place to show my family and friends what life was like in California. Now that I’ve been talking and interacting so much more with everyone on WordPress I want it to be a place that’s interesting for a huge variety of people to visit. With that hope in mind what better way to add interest than by posting more? So I’ll now be posting three days a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The posts will mostly be the same content wise, a bit more lifestyle heavy than before I suppose, there will just be quite a bit more of them!

Well I think that’s about it,  hopefully you’re as excited as I am about the new directions the blog is heading in and I’ll see you Wednesday!

Signature

5 Ways to Welcome Fall Into Your Home

Hello everyone! Since moving to the Bay Area I’ve really started embracing decorating my home according to the time of year. Which is pretty funny because I really couldn’t be bothered to do so whilst living in Cincinnati. Which I think may have been for a couple of reasons. Reason A) In Ohio I really had to more survive the seasons versus celebrate and enjoy them. Reason B) Both mine and Eric’s families live in Ohio so we’d celebrate at their cozily decorated homes instead of having to put an ounce of effort into getting our own place looking festive. Also, I suppose since moving away I’ve become totally obsessed with making my apartment feel as homey as possible. Really, I’m the weirdo who bakes cookies solely for the smell to waft around my living space. So, since Fall officially starts September 23th I decided to welcome in the season by making a list of fun fall projects to get my home ready for autumn!

Autumn_Collage

Collage by me – Photo Credits Top to Bottom, Left to Right: boston.com | Lulu’s Sweet Secrets | fuckyouverymuch.dk | Luca Schwabe on Flickr | weheartit.com | Des Moines Parent |completelykidsrichmond.com |Liiinux on DeviantArt

Continue reading