A Love Affair: Coconut Oil

I thought I might start a new thing where I tell you something I love every once in a while. How's that sound? Good? Good!

So, for my first "A Love Affair" entry, I'm going to share why I'm obsessed with coconut oil.

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I feel a little late to the party here as health blogs have been writing about the benefits of coconut oil for a long time. But I am a believer now!

Winter is no good for our skin--cold, no sunshine, dry heat inside, etc. However, I've found that coconut oil is helping my skin battle through winter! I put it on my patches of eczema and they were gone in a couple days. I've been regularly using it on my arms and the little bumps I (and many others) have on the backs of my upper arms are gone! You can add essential oils to make it smell good (I add lavender to mine) or use it plain. If my face is super dry, I'll put a little bit of unscented coconut oil on--it absorbs right in and my face is soft and full of moisture.

I also like using coconut oil for my scalp! It's a great treatment for dry scalp and is super easy to use. You take a handful of oil, rub it all over your scalp and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then, hop in the shower and wash your hair normally. I haven't done this enough this winter, but it really does help get rid of dry scalp when done regularly, plus it smells good!

Coconut oil is even good for our furry friends! It can be used to hydrate the pads of their paws in the winter when salt and cold makes them cracked and dry. It's safe for them to ingest, so when they inevitably lick it off their paws, it doesn't hurt them. The other plus side is that if you already have it in your cabinet, you don't have to spend money on some special paw cream! Calvin loves it.

And of course, coconut oil is delicious! I love using it for stir-fry, curry, and fried potatoes. It can be used in desserts too. I prefer olive oil for most cooking, but sometimes coconut oil is the way to go.

So that's it--that's my love affair with coconut oil. I hope you try using it in a different way than you have before, and let me know if you have uses I didn't list because I'm all about a multi-tasking product.

As I'm converting my beauty and home products to more natural alternatives, I'm sure I'll come across more products I want to share with you. Stay tuned for that!

11x11 Wardrobe Challege: Part 2

I did it! I didn't take photos of every outfit, but I stuck to my plan and put together ten outfits from my eleven pieces! Here are a few photos of the days I remembered to take one:

This doesn't make me want to go back to a capsule wardrobe, but it does help me remember why I don't need anymore clothes for winter. I am planning to do a 10x10 each season to help pinpoint new clothing items I may actually need to buy and remember what clothing items I love to wear the most! Here are a couple more outfits from the last two weeks:

If you don't want to commit to a full-on capsule wardrobe (and all the preparation that takes, which is a lot), a 10x10 is a great way to dip your toes into minimizing your closet. I also started using some necklaces that I haven't worn in a while, which was great! Remembering that I have some accessories to spice up basic outfits was an added bonus of this challenge.

I also realized that I desperately need to replace my black booties. Luckily, they are still sold on Amazon (available here), so I'm using some of my tax return to replace them!

I'm very happy I did this challenge and I'll keep you posted when I do my spring 10x10 later this year. Thanks for tuning in for this update!

Back to Basics


I'm trying to sort through all the busy, all the extraneous, all the non-required things going on in my life to get to the good stuff. Get to the deep, rooted, and wonderful friendships; get to the seriously quality time with my loved ones; get to the simple joy of time spent doing things I love, which includes staying in--it's the new going out, you know?

As I reflected on last year, there were so many fantastic things that happened. I ran a 5k; I watched many friends find joy and success, get married, have babies, buy homes; I got engaged; I started a new job. But I also realized all of these things I love that I didn't do nearly enough--embrace my creativity, bake new desserts, participate fully in friendships.

This year, one of my goals is to get back to that quality time, give kindness, and appreciate small, quiet moments that happen every day.

So, I picked a giant blanket pattern to knit (available from an amazing knitter, and new friend, here). I have a new cake recipe in my arsenal to try out for Book Club in February (from The Great British Baking Show--available on Netflix, you should watch it, it's amazing). I'm making it a priority to spend time with friends and provide small kindnesses to them when I can. Zach and I are spending less time on technology when we are together.

This all kind of plays into my word of the year: savor. I'm finding it's an even better word for 2018 than I anticipated.

See? Back to the basics.

11 x 11 Wardrobe Challenge

I am not planning to write often or extensively about clothes anymore--as I said before, it's no longer a priority or front of mind. However, I am doing a modified 10x10 challenge (original info here), so I thought I'd share the 11 items I'm wearing for 11 work days.

Very simply, the idea is that you pick 10 pieces of clothing, including shoes, and wear them for 10 days. I needed one extra shirt, so I'm doing 11 pieces in 11 days. Here's my breakdown.


Teal turtleneck sweater

Dark grey bell-sleeved sweater

Chambray shirt

Grey and white striped cashmere sweater

Black lightweight sweater




Grey dress pants




Black booties

Tan booties



Hunter green cardigan


Grey 3/4 sleeve dress

Of course, being the type-A person that I am, I already have all eleven outfits planned out. I will choose them based on the weather, which has been really crazy lately. Accessories don't count, so I'll likely utilize a lot of scarves on cold days and some necklaces on warmer days.

I'm planning to write a follow-up post with outfit photos from each day. That'll be coming in a couple weeks.

I started this on Friday, January 19th and will continue on work days until February 2nd (I have that day off but I'll still put together an outfit from my 11 pieces).

I'm currently on a spending fast and as Zach and I are working on our budget and saving lots of money, I am hoping that getting back to the basics of my wardrobe will help with that. I still have a desire to online shop occasionally, although I'm doing much better than I was around Christmas. Maybe this will curb that craving!

Stay tuned.

Balance: A Weekend Reflection


I honestly didn't think I had anything to say this week.

But then I thought about this weekend. Which was pretty near perfect, in my humble opinion. It's not because I lazed around the house and never got dressed or ticked off every box of my incredibly ambitious to-do list. It's not because I didn't talk to anyone or hung out with everyone. It's not because the apartment is cleaner now or I didn't make the bed.


What a sweet word. Even the sound of it rolling of the tongue embodies its meaning. Balance.

I thought back on this nearly perfect weekend and what struck me was how balanced it was.

On Friday, after working from home because of ice and snow, I made my list of things I wanted to get done this weekend. Some are things we always do--meal plan, grocery shop, down time. Some are things specific to this weekend--stamp save the date cards, put those last few Christmas decorations away, build a new IKEA dresser.

After writing everything down, I figured out (1) what I could/should do by myself in the time Zach was at work Saturday, (2) what we needed to do together, and (3) what didn't actually need to happen this weekend. It's been a WHILE since we haven't had social plans on a weekend and I hoped to take full advantage of that, especially with snow and ice making me want to cuddle on the couch and never leave the apartment.

Once I made my list, I started doing the things on it. GASP! Productivity on a Saturday morning? BLASPHEMY! But you know what? When I start a day productive, I feel zero guilt about being a purposefully lazy blob the rest of the day! I ticked off nearly every box of my list Saturday morning before Zach got home. After he did? We ticked off more boxes by updating our budget, planning our grocery list, and doing some other financial tasks. That night, we watched two episodes of "This Is Us" and made dinner together.

Sunday was the same. We went grocery shopping and meal prepped, built the new IKEA dresser (and now his bedroom looks amazing and I will be very happy to move in there in September), and then did the unthinkable.

We sat on the couch and read for five hours. FIVE WHOLE HOURS. It was bliss.

I learned something about myself this weekend--when I start the day being productive, I am a much happier person. I am more balanced because my relaxation later in the day doesn't make me feel guilty about what I'm not doing while I'm relaxing. I did things, now I'm relaxing. It's a conscious decision to take a break.

Self-care is very important and with all the crazy we will be dealing with this year (read: wedding), these moments of self care and quiet time spent together are so priceless to me. We both agreed that this weekend didn't feel rushed. We had things to do, we did them, then we relaxed. Balance.