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Things I ate, drank and loved in September
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Things I ate, drank and loved in September

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The concept of cozy drifts in with those first few golden leaves. Goodbye shorts and swimsuits, hello knits and plaids.

Autumn is a very familiar time yet always new – it lights up the senses and brings up memories. It has the power to enchant us, to transport us back in time and back into ourselves.

When fall arrives, my brain goes into full work mode. I believe the change of season brings up memories and emotions rooted in past experiences. For 16+ years, September marked the beginning of back-to-school; in my professional life, it's crunch time to accomplish year-end goals.

Soothing the Soul

When I'm not hard at work, I embrace a slower pace of life. I find time to just be - without distraction. I need to sort things out inside my mind and heart so I can re-engage with everybody from a good and healthy place. I'm capable of greater generosity when I take care of myself.

Unwinding after a long day is often easier said than done. When you've got errands to run, dinner to prepare, things to clean, and other loose ends to tie up, it can be tough to fit in even a few minutes of that all-important self-care — I feel you. But having the right products, like those in the Soothe Your Soul Hygge Box,  can help usher in the cozy, relaxing vibes we all crave (especially during this time of year). Practicing some well-deserved self-love is essential and hyggelig. 

Fika

When working from home, I like to fika. It's a Swedish tradition that involves drinking coffee, munching on sweet treats, and reconnecting with others. A hot drink and treat always make me happy.

This month's warm beverage included Masala Chai - an Indian beverage made by brewing black tea with spices, sugar, and milk. I mix equal parts of Masala Chai concentrate with milk and heat it on the stove. When I take a sip, it gives me warm feelings as notes of organic black tea, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black peppercorn dance around in my mouth.

I pair a cup of Masala Chai with cocoa biscuits. Handcrafted in Spain with extra virgin olive, without any additives, these delicate cookies create a nice crunch with an intense cocoa flavor. 

Before getting back to work, I reconnect with my pup. He gets 15 minutes of my undivided attention. We play fetch, I give him belly rubs and treats, and we’re both revitalized and happy. Any break is good for the soul. When we allow ourselves this small treat, it can make the world feel more welcoming and nourishing.

Lovely Lavender

I LOVE lavender. It has a wonderful fragrance and pretty purple blooms. According to USLGA (US Lavender Growers Association), currently, there are over 45 different species with over 450 varieties. Bringer of peace, calm, and relaxation with its soothing scent, most lavender is technically safe to eat. Culinary lavender is typically cultivated from Lavandula angustifolia plants (commonly known as English or "true" lavender). It has a lot less oil than the aromatic lavender used in perfumes or soaps.

When you grow lavender in your garden, you'll be rewarded with colorful flowers, wonderful fragrance, and a feast for pollinators. There are three primary species of lavender that are most widely planted: English Lavender, French Hybrid ('Grosso') Lavender, and Spanish Lavender. English lavender is well suited to milder climates, like those in the middle and upper South. It likes hot, dry weather and plenty of sun. 'Grosso' lavender is prized for its eye-catching flower spikes and vigorous spread. This hybrid lavender is cold, hardy, and heat tolerant. It has silvery foliage and a strong fragrance and bears its bright purple blooms profusely. Spanish lavender is a hardy lavender with fragrant gray-green leaves. It's drought and heat tolerant. It thrives in climates with hot summers and mild winters.

I can't recall the first time I smelled lavender, but I have always been attracted to its scent. A few years back, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to go on a small group day tour from Avignon to visit the Senanque Abbey. It's a beautiful monastery surrounded by lavender fields. It felt like a dream walking through the lavender, until I bent down to take a picture and was stung by bees. It was very uncomfortable, but I forgot all about it when we stopped off at a little shop for lavender ice cream - yes, it's a thing, and it’s delicious.

Soothing Self-Care Rituals

In the evenings, I burn a scented candle. It puts me in a calming mood and begins my night-time unwinding process. The candle's flame soothes the soul, reduces stress and increases self-awareness. I'm a big fan of the Lavender Fields candle because it uses high-quality ingredients and natural artisan fragrance oils, and the scent is so relaxing.

My unwinding process includes taking a shower before bedtime, but occasionally, I like to soak in the bathtub. I bring in candles, play relaxing music, and make the experience feel like 15 minutes of bliss. Since this month encouraged relaxation with lavender items, I used my linen bath mitt with the lavender sugar scrub to exfoliate. It left my skin feeling hydrated and soft. On days I didn’t use the sugar scrub, I hydrated with Neroli & Tangerine scented body butter. I don’t always need the extra hydration, but I enjoy the uplifting scent.

Making self-care part of your everyday routine is a daily boost for your mind, body, and soul. Self-care starts with being kinder to yourself. We are often our own worst critic- demanding more and expecting higher standards than we would ever dream of asking of someone else. When I embraced this, I made more efforts to create moments of bliss by nourishing my body and senses. I expanded on my nighttime skincare routine and added Nebula. I started putting two drops of this adaptogen clarity ampoule into my face moisturizer to help with congestion and sebum production.

Before I get into bed, I gently squeeze the lavender sachet I keep on my nightstand, releasing a fresh wave of lavender fragrance. I take a deep breath and inhale the scent. Now I'm ready for bed.