Skip to Content

Site tweaks, Iowa pine, a coffee shop, and early darkness

fall leaves

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for your bi-weekly dose of miscellany. 😉

There’s a comments link! And sharing buttons!

I hired some web designers to fix some issues with my blog, one of which was the lack of a comments link on the home page.

Now there’s a handy-dandy comments link right at the bottom of the post, so you don’t have to scroll back up to the top to get to the comments.

comments link

Yay!   I hope this makes your life easier when you want to leave a comment.

(I do dearly love hearing from you in the comments!)

Also, at the bottom of each post, there’s a brand-spankin’ new set of sharing buttons which should make it easy for you to share my posts on social media, pin ’em to Pinterest, or even email them to a friend.

sharing buttons

I am really all over the Iowa Pine scent.

Those three free Mrs. Meyers products from ePantry?   Mine came in Iowa Pine and I lurve it dearly.   I hate cheap, fake pine scents, but this stuff is completely delightful.

My family laughs at me, but I sniff my hands after I wash them just to breathe it in.

After using the pine soap for a week, I thought, ooh, a candle in this scent would be marvy-fab, so I hopped on ePantry and came up dry.

But then I jumped over to Amazon, where I discovered that there IS such a thing as an Iowa Pine candle and I ordered one.

iowa pine candle

(using some Amazon credit I had from redeeming my TopCashBack rewards, so, you know…)

I might get tired of Iowa Pine by the time the holidays are over, but that seems doubtful.

(I may or may not have preemptively added some more Iowa Pine products to my ePantry lists, since the seasonal scents are available only for a limited time.)

The 3 free products promotion is over, but you CAN still get a $10 credit and a free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap when you sign up for ePantry (and you can totally still pick a seasonal scent for your hand soap, although I hear that stock is getting low already!).

OR if you’d prefer, you can get a $10 credit plus a free Grove soy candle with your first order.

The Sleepy Hamster

A new local coffee shop popped up in my living room, run by Sonia and Zoe.

the sleepy hamster

They sell kind of fancy coffee.   And the cookies look pretty good too.   😉

sleep hamster coffee shop

It’s getting dark really early.   Boo.

The cold is not the hard part of winter for me…I can handle cold, dry air fairly well.   It’s the darkness that I loathe.

winter darkness

But I read Laura Vanderkam’s post about how Norwegians make it through their long winters cheerfully, and apparently, they make a point of enjoying the upsides of winter.

It’s not cold and dark, it’s cozy!

Now, normally I get through the dark parts by reminding myself of the longer days coming.

In November, I say, “Well, next month we’ll already be at the shortest day of the year and things will just get lighter from there!”

Then in January, February, and March, I obsessively track sunrise/sunset times on my weather app.   “Ooh, we gained another minute today!”

And this does help me some, but it might be smart to also try to reframe my view of the darkness.


(candle craft idea from this post)

It’s cozy, Kristen! Cozy, cozy, cozy.

(I’ll let you know how this pans out for me.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Friday 13th of November 2015

I hear this, Kristen. The darker weather is so danged depressing. Something that REALLY helps is that my office space/cubicle is completely flooded with natural light, as I have an enormous wall of floor to ceiling windows behind me. Also, Brian and I walk outside at lunch from our building to the cafeteria - even when it's too cold for this S Cal girl - because I crave the light so much.

Already counting down to summer here (just a hair more than 7m to go!).


Friday 13th of November 2015

Ohh, what a nice room to work in! My house, sadly, is a little lacking in light and I would looove to have a wall of windows.


Friday 13th of November 2015

We visited Stockholm for New Year's. The key is the correct clothing, lots of lights and candles, and attitude. Everyone is outside. Even the farmer's market was open. Love all these comments. Need to make hot cocoa and soup.


Thursday 12th of November 2015

Might sound crazy but I love the cold winter nights. We have been having an exceptionally mild November in France and it is driving me mad! I'm so impatient for grey days and chilly mornings! I even get a little bit sad when the winter solstice comes around!


Thursday 12th of November 2015

OK... first of all, not to be a naysayer, but I worry about pine scented anything. This actually stems from my efforts to find a healthy kitty litter for my fe-lions. Lots of the "natural" ones are made from pine, and they have a lovely pine scent which does a good job of covering up any, ahem, "other" smells! BUT in reading about them, I discovered that the natural pine smell comes from the sap in the wood, which is full of VOC's (volatile organic chemicals) - and there is concern that breathing that stuff on a regular basis can cause lung damage. It's sort of the equivalent of breathing turpentine all day - at least that's what my vet told me. So, it's entirely possible that this is totally overblown and that there's no real cause for worry, but I am a worrier, so I don't use pine scented anything anymore!

And, I lived in Norway for a year as when I was a kid (I was an exchange student.) I have to say that the article is right on. For me, the biggest cultural difference I noticed in terms of dealing with the dark, is that people just go on about their regular business in the dark! Seriously, in this country we totally freak out about the idea of being outside in the dark, but in Norway, kids walk to school, people walk or take the "spark" (kicksled) to work or shopping, and they do it all happily in the dark! Everybody has little plastic reflectors that they keep in the pockets of their coats - they're attached by strings, so you can just let it dangle from your pocket in the dark for safety. So, it's not just about enjoying the cozy warmth inside, it's about embracing the darkness outside too!


Thursday 12th of November 2015

Oh, and a few more fun tidbits about Norwegian winters...

They don't plow the streets or sidewalks, they pack the snow so you can ski anywhere.

In the mountain towns there aren't playgrounds behind the schools, there are little ski jumps! Seriously!

All the businesses are closed between Christmas & New Year's - and people celebrate the holidays with a series of traditional meals and parties.

And, in the smaller towns at least, there's a tradition called "visiting." Basically, if you're open to having visitors stop by, you put a candle in the window. If friends or neighbors see a candle in your window they know it's OK to stop by for coffee. I went "visiting" one day with my host family and after the 5th visit, and it's corresponding 5th cup of very strong Norwegian coffee, I thought I was gonna die from caffeine overload! It's a very sweet tradition though.

I'll stop now, it is fun remembering how different the attitude toward winter was there though.


Thursday 12th of November 2015

Reframing things is always good! I tend to get down this time of year as well-- even though I love it too.

When I went to the doctor earlier this year I was told my Vitamin D levels were very low. I was put on a supplement (5000 IU a day) and I have to say, I feel so much better now. Even the shorter days aren't impacting me like they used to. I know 5000 IU sounds like a lot but it's about 1/5 of what your body makes being in the sun for 20 minutes.

Still, much is to be said about reframing our attitude. On my 40th birthday, I got a tattoo that says "How I choose to feel is how I am" because I wanted to always be reminded that there's NOTHING in this world I can change except my own attitude.

And, it's also worth noting that since I have cats, this is the time of year they want to cuddle on me with my blankets while I read!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.