Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Little Things

Here's what making January tolerable, besides our cats, friends, and the final days of the Christmas decorations:

1. Italian cookies, from Maria's Bakery in the North End: a satisfying variety of traditional Rainbow bars, Florentines, leaves, petits fours, and other butter cookies, usually saturated with food coloring and/or frosted, sugared, or sprinkled. Mike's had a disappointing selection the last time we were there; both Mike's and Bova's sell similar cookies for $15 a pound. Maria's are just $10 a pound and just as nice as Mike's, maybe better. Having a box around makes it feel like Christmas all over again.

2. Candles, on sale at Bath & BodyWorks. We often burn scented candles to mask cooking smells that waft in from elsewhere. We ignore $60 Diptyque candles, $65 Jo Malones, and the Bond line that starts at $95. We breeze past them as we walk through Sak's because it's the warmest way to get to the supermarket. Instead, we stock up at B&B when their $20 candles are half price or less, so we can burn them with abandon. There are good scents in their winter line, and you can always find some kind of sale or deal. Most of the year, their candles smell like household cleaners, cupcakes, suntan lotion, tropical drinks, and variations on pumpkin pie. I shop only between November and January, when they offer Winter Night: a blend of cypress, clove, cedar, and incense. It smells like church, specifically Midnight Mass. So I stock up now for Christmas in August.

I'm branching out this year with Fireside, which smells like it sounds, Evergreen, and Chestnut and Clove. One more tip: their red candles tend to smell like fruit drinks. Look for gray or ivory candles, and you'll be happier.) Single-wick candles are marked down to $4 to $5 now and several of their better  scents are available online.
3. Downton Abbey. Ah, it's back. Last year, in The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum compared it to Fiddler on the Roof, with a much fancier roof. Lord Grantham is Tevye, watching his world change, partly through the choices his three eligible daughters make. I love that metaphor. I know the show has turned into pure soap and gets awfully silly at times, but who cares? There's always entertainment in gorgeous actors, wonderful sets and costumes, and good acting even as you're rolling your eyes over the story. I got all teary as Mary came down the grand staircase in her wedding dress. Don't forget to read the clever recaps from Tom + Lorenzo each week.

4. Sparkly stuff. My new iPhone case in raspberry glitter from J. Crew. A steal on sale for $10. Full disclosure: I have the silver one, too. Anything that sparkles that much makes me unreasonably happy, and Christmas ornaments can't stay up forever.

5. So, naturally, I fell for J. Crew's glitter notebooks ($12.50), too, in pink gold and midnight blue. I'll keep one on my desk to jot down info as I'm talking to the vet or a family member's doctor, or doing other business that will slip my mind soon after I put down the phone.

6. A cozy throw. Mine is a knitted cashmere blend from Garnet Hill, a Christmas present from last year. I'm often ridiculously cold. Right now, I'm sporting fingerless gloves, cashmere socks (one with a giant hole at the big toe), a turtleneck, a cardigan, leggings, a wool muffler, my husband's sherpa fleece jacket, and a wool hat. My laptop is trying to keep me warm, too. These layers are a little extreme... but I'm still cold. Possum is purring nearby but not throwing off much heat. So I'm also bundled up in my throw. It's a winter necessity. I wrap up in in it bed, too, under the flannel sheets, the double-weight down comforter, and the quilts. You gotta have a throw in January.

1 comment:

  1. FYI, Wendy emailed us to see if we could help her get a page worth of photos too. She has her little nose out of joint since the little boys are hogging all the spotlight. Professor Crossypaws joins the boys often enough but Wendy feels left out. Just passing on her wishes ;) (since she didnt get to be only child for Christmas now she wants to be Cover Girl.


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