image via miranda for lydia

things feel a bit crazy in the world right now so i’m taking comfort in the small grounding rituals of life. my morning matcha latte (recipe coming soon!), watching Jeopardy at night (recently obsessed!), reading lots of good books (just finished The Dutch House and The Giver of Stars, and loved them both),  buying flowers every time i go to trader joe’s, evening walks in the cool california winter weather and looking forward to a trip to Big Sur this weekend. we’re staying at Deetjans which is the coziest spot and dinner at Big Sur Bakery, i can’t wait. what are you up to? (p.s. how fun are all these bright outerwear photos?! all of the credits are linked in the photo if you click!) – joanie

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i’ve been cooking really simple meals these days. my aunt introduced me to rancho gordo beans and i’m hooked. she sent me this sampler pack and i’ve been having fun making my way through it and eating lots of beans and rice combos (always topped with cilantro and hot sauce!). i made this one pot chicken and rice dish which is super easy and yummy. i love peanut sauce on basically anything! try as i may, i can’t get away from incorporating thai flavors into everything i cook. adding a splash of fish sauce to soups, using ginger and lemongrass along with my onions and garlic and topping everything with fresh herbs. i made a variation of this tom kha gai soup last week. i used green curry paste instead of red and it really complimented the flavors of ginger and lemongrass that are in the base. it’s a simple and nourishing weeknight dinner.

and a couple finds from around the web. i love these Chanel look alike woven flats for summer. i got this louise roe jewel vase for christmas from my mom and it’s gorgeous. if you’re looking for a timeless vase to leave out all the time, this is it. i’m a big fan of levi’s as everyday jeans, and i tried on these rib cage denim yesterday and the fit is 100. i didn’t buy them yet but they are on my wish list! i think they run one size small, so size up! forever an H&M fan, i love this $20 green dress for summer. the silhouette is very romantic. and this $10 puff sleeve top which looks great with a pair of statement earrings. we’re going to be seeing a return to the 80’s sleeves, lots of puff happening! oh, and these pants which remind me of the ulla johnson ones from last season.

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i made one of these posts for 2018 and wanted to update it for 2019. i find it to be helpful when people share what they own and use often. some of these items are things i’ve had for years and weren’t well used and then become an MVP this past year or they’ve always been well used and deserve another mention or they are new to me. i live in an apartment so we’re careful about what comes in as we don’t have a ton of space/don’t want clutter. i had fun putting this together and hope you find it helpful. here are some 2019 favorites! – joanie

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maybe my top pick for the entire year is the dyson V7 cordless vacuum. we got it on black friday sale and use it almost every day. it’s super light and cordless so it’s basically the high powered version of sweeping. it also comes with attachments so you can use it in your car or on the ceilings, furniture, etc. we got the least expensive version and it works great. highly recommend!

bri got me a new work bag this year for my birthday. for the past 6 years i’ve been using the transport tote madewell which i love but isn’t great for keeping lots of things organized as it doesn’t have dividers or lots of pockets. we combed through tons of options and landed on the cuyana zippered satchel i have it in forest green which appears to be sold out but i also love it in the stone and cappuccino color. it fits everything from my wallet and phone in the zippered pouch to my laptop and workout clothes.

nothing takes your at home coffee or tea game to the next level like a milk frother. i like to either make a latte (with the bialetti for espresso which is $40)  or matcha latte with homemade almond milk and it always comes out super creamy. i’ve had a frother for 5+ years and it still works great. the one i own isn’t available any longer but this one is similar.

i’m active and have flat feet so my sneakers matter. i love the addidas ultra boost and had previously found them on sale but wasn’t able to last year and i’m not willing to pay the $180 price tag. so i switched to these new balances and have been super happy. they come in four widths which is really nice. watch for a sale, i got mine 30% off, they often do markdowns!

i’m not just saying this because i love geri, which i do, but her Saie Beauty mascara is one of the best i have ever tried and it just happens to be non-toxic. it doesn’t irritate my eyes, or flake off, it makes your lashes insanely long. i use it with their eye lash curler.

my brother gave me airpods for christmas last year and i thought they were a sweet gift but kind of unnecessary for my life. but they turned out to be a daily used item for me. it’s so nice to be able to workout without worrying about yanking your headphone cord, going for walks and tucking your phone in your back pocket, watching something on your laptop and being able to move around, they really are so useful.

true botanicals is still my favorite skin care products but i can’t afford them on the regular so i explored cocokind skincare and i was very pleasantly surprised. the price point is very reasonable (you can also buy it at whole foods when they have their 25% off skincare sale). so far i have used and love the facial repair oil (i use daily), the cleanser and their highlighter. i also started to use a gua sha daily, especially on my jaw area and it helps so much with tension.

i have three kitchen related items to mention: first, is the omega juicer. my aunt gave this to me and it is simply the best. i have always shied away from juicers because of the hassle of cleaning them up but this one is so easy to use and simple to clean. in the summer i was using it everyday and now that it’s a bit colder a few times a week. my favorite easy juice to make it celery, apple, lemon. second, the le crueset cast iron dutch oven, another item i have had for almost 10 years and use multiple times a week for everything from making rice, soups to braises in the oven. this is a life piece and it holds up so well. and third is two of my favorite cookbooks from last year, the night + market cookbook and repertoire.

at the start of last year, i signed up for melissa wood health online steaming workouts. i still kept my pilates studio membership until the end of the year when i decided to cancel it (and save a lot of money) and just stick with melissa’s workout. i pay $10/month vs the $160 i was paying for my other membership. i love everything about her workouts, the pace, her voice, how effective they are (i always start shaking right away), and the fact that i can do them at home. she makes you feel very empowered and proud of yourself even if you just do 15 minutes of movement. i also recommend getting the 1lbs ankle weights she uses.



i was recently struck by all the fun colors that outdoor voices is putting out right now. they do a great job of capturing a fun and playful spirit when it comes to exercising and not taking things too seriously. i’ve always loved their mission of getting the world moving by “doing things”. it doesn’t have to be a specific sport or class, just get out and do something, and that alone can bring a little more happiness into your life. working out can seem so daunting sometimes, but when you look at it as just a walk outside, or tennis with a friend, it becomes more manageable. anyway, i’d love to see someone out and about in this yellow set soon. if you’re looking for some winter time movement inspiration, a bright color might be just what you need! here are some favorites. – joanie



last december, justin and I were watching “walk with me” about the zen master thich nhat hanh. we spontaneously decided to book a trip to plum village, a monestary in france for a week long meditation retreat. this would be our christmas gift to each other. let me tell you, it was a rollercoaster…we learned a lot, but it wasn’t easy…




i picked out several faux shearling pieces from H&M last fall and i’ve been wearing them non-stop ever since. i put this $15 half zip on my birthday list, i didn’t have high hope for it but thought it was worth a try. and it turned out to be perfect. i wore it for almost the entire week once i got it and now reach for it all the time. it’s the perfect thing to wear with a pair of fitted high waisted pants as it’s slightly cropped and oversized so it gives a balanced silhouette. it’s super soft and cozy (and it washes well, which is a big deal to me!)  i love the brown color, it has a slight green under tone too it. highly recommend snagging one (or two!)! i also got this jacket in black (but i also love the cream!) which is super warm. i  just returned from telluride and it kept me comfortable in 20-30 degree temps and it’s very chic and looks like it cost more than it did. the other piece i got is no longer available but the two i highlighted above are great finds and will carry you through winter and into a chilly start to spring. – joanie

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