5 Tips for Winter Wellness

Between back-to-back holiday parties, late night gift wrapping sessions, and super short days, it’s easy to get a bit run down at this time of year. Take care of yourself through the holidays and beyond with these five winter wellness tips, and stay healthy, happy, and well this winter.


Tip #1 – Get Hygge

In Denmark, it’s common for doctors to recommend “tea and hygge” as a cure for the common cold! If you’re not yet familiar, hygge is a Danish concept that roughly translates as creating a warm, cozy feeling of togetherness. Embrace the spirit of hygge this winter by carving out time to just hang out and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Plan a casual, totally low-key games night, or a movie night with hot chocolate and freshly popped popcorn. Light candles or plug in a few strands of twinkle lights, light a fire in the fireplace or woodstove if you have one, and snuggle up beneath a thick blanket.

Cup of Jo
Julia Robbs for Cup fo Jo

Tip #2 – Enjoy Breakfast

Taking the time to sit down to a real breakfast is a lovely way to begin your morning, and it sets a healthy tone for the rest of the day. Try starting with something fresh on your plate, whether that’s cucumbers and smoked salmon, avocado toast, or a berry smoothie. Put your phone down and pay attention instead to the delicious food on your plate and the company of your breakfast companion. Breakfasting solo? Try listening to soft music instead of distracting yourself with social media for a refreshing change of pace.

Benjamin Voros

Tip #3 – Get Some Sleep!

Getting enough hours of sleep each night is one of the best things you can do for your health. Make your bedroom as conducive to a good rest as possible by cleaning and decluttering, making the bed with fresh, crisp sheets and cozy blankets, and placing just a few carefully selected items on your bedside table. I like to keep a carafe of water, a small green plant or bud vase of flowers, my current read, and a warm cup of tea to sip before I turn out the lights.

Good Vibes Yoga via The Design Files

Tip #4 – Find Your Zen

Finding a practice that soothes, inspires, and restores your spirit is a key component of any wellness routine. Create a corner of your home (it doesn’t need to be big!) where you can simply be still. You can add a yoga mat, meditation cushions, or simply a great chair where you can sit and write in your journal, a steaming mug of herbal tea by your side. Protect this space by not allowing clutter to encroach, and use it daily. Even if only for five or ten minutes, that little bit of peace can have a big impact over time.


Tip #5 – Soak Away Stress

Instead of always rushing through your morning shower, set aside time each week to slow down and really enjoy the experience. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the base of the shower before you get in, and enjoy the scent as it rises with the steamy water. Have more time? Take a soak in the tub instead! The bath shown here uses lavender, sandalwood, and geranium essential oils (plus fresh peonies!) for a fragrant DIY spa experience.

Zen Rugs

Rug shopping guide: (clockwise from top left) Feizy Rugs Arazad in pink; Surya Naya in lavender and light gray; Oriental Weavers Revival in purple and gray; Momeni Petra in lavender.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Ideas for a Simple, Graceful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite occasions to host. With traditional dishes and family favorites on the menu, there’s no stressing over what to serve, and (most importantly) with everyone home and hanging out together on a Thursday, there is always a lot to be grateful for! Whether it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving, or your twentieth, let these ideas inspire your own simple, graceful celebration.

Thanksgiving 1
Photo: Ella Claire

Set the table in advance. If the table is set, you will instantly feel like you’re ready for company. Short on glassware? Use jam jars for water. No tablecloth? Pick up an inexpensive canvas painter’s drop cloth, and have your guests write messages of gratitude on it with fabric markers. Decorate the center of the table with seasonal finds, like colorful pumpkins and gourds and unscented candles. One thing to think about in advance is where all of that glorious food will go! I prefer to set up a buffet on a separate table and let people serve themselves. It’s a lot easier than passing hefty casserole dishes and leaves more room for your beautiful centerpiece.

Thanksgiving 2
Photo: Bless’er House

Incorporate gratitude. I love the gratitude lists shown above: paired with a mini pencil at each place setting, this makes a natural way to encourage each guest to begin thinking about things they are grateful for this year. Other fun ways to show gratitude are with a thankful tree or gratitude pumpkin. A thankful tree is simply a cluster of branches in a vase, with paper cutouts of leaves available for guests to write their gratitudes on, plus mini clothespins to attach them to the branches. And a gratitude pumpkin is just a white pumpkin that folks can write messages on using a black permanent marker!

Thanksgiving place cards
Photo: Lark & Linen

Get creative with place cards. Another sweet way to elevate the Thanksgiving table and make it extra-special is with place cards. I don’t know about you, but in my family, we almost never use place cards at gatherings … except at Thanksgiving! In the past, we’ve used a photo of each guest (printed out in black and white) and set atop the napkins; homemade place cards created by my little one and his cousins; and pears with the names tied to the stems. This year, I’m dying to try the autumn leaf place cards shown above. The gilded edges and calligraphy style writing make these worth the effort.

Thanksgiving bar cart
Photo: Julie Blanner

Set up a drinks station … but not in the kitchen! Trust me, you do not want thirsty guests getting in your way when you’ve got a turkey in the oven and every stovetop burner full. Make things easier all around by setting up a bar cart or sideboard with wine, cider, carafes of water, and anything else you’re serving to drink. A vase of colorful autumn leaves is a festive touch for the drinks area. If you need to keep beverages cold, use a cooler filled with ice: it will be easier for guests to access, and saves precious fridge space, so it’s a win-win.

Thanksgiving Rugs

Thanksgiving shopping guide: Drape the Kate Spade New York Seaport Tassel Throw over the back of a dining chair for a boost of warmth. Underfoot, I love the rich gold hue of the Surya Centennial Rug (above, on right), or the classic stripes of the Kate Spade New York Nolita Seaside Stripe Rug (above, left). And of course, all of these items would look perfectly cozy long after the Thanksgiving meal is over!

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Not-too-Spooky Halloween Ideas

Halloween in my neighborhood is a really big deal, complete with elaborate haunted houses, spooky soundtracks, and some really frightening scenes. It can be a lot of fun for older kids and parents, but overwhelming for the youngest ones. Whether you have small children, or simply want a softer, gentler approach to Halloween decor, you’ve come to the right place. The following ideas are just spooky enough to feel Halloween-worthy, and come together quickly and easily.

Halloween decor ideas
Country Living

Harvest Theme Front Door. A decked-out front door lets trick-or-treaters know you’re open for business, so if you only have the time to decorate one spot around the house, make this the place! When you’re going for a low-spook factor, I find it helps to think more “fall” than Halloween, and bring in some farm and harvest accessories to play up this theme. In the space shown here, a bale of hay turned on end acts as a display stand for a beautifully carved jack-o-lantern, while a lush harvest wreath adorns the door. The only slightly spooky elements are the sweet “boo” doormat, and the little flock of bats hanging overhead.

Halloween decor ideas 2
Revel Blog

Gourd Tea Lights. If you have a bit more time, one simple craft project I highly recommend is making a few of these beautiful gourd candleholders. All you need is a sharp knife or Exacto blade, a spoon for scooping, and tea lights to pop into each gourd. This also works well with apples, which can be floated in a basin of water to create an atmospheric display for your porch.

Halloween decor ideas 3
Ella Claire

Classic Kids’ Party Games. If you will also be hosting a pre-trick-or-treating Halloween party for little ones, it’s nice to have one or two simple activities ready to go. This pin the spider on the web game from Ella Claire looks sweet and fun. Throw in bobbing for apples, or donuts on a string, and you’re good to go!

Halloween decor ideas 4
Oh Happy Day

DIY Mini Witch Hats. Last, but certainly not least, we have these adorable DIY mini witch’s hats from Oh Happy Day, which would make the perfect finishing touch to a treat table. Just add a selection of animal toys, and a scattering of candy corn or confetti to complete the scene. Happy Halloween!

Rugs to get your porch + house in a fall mood, for Halloween and beyond: (clockwise from top left) Surya Sheffield Market in Burnt Orange; Kaleen Regency in Pumpkin; and Dalyn Studio in Chocolate and Spice; Orian Rugs Spoleto Candy Chevron.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Fall Closet Makeover

The air is crisp, the leaves are changing to brilliant hues of red and gold, and the farm stands are bursting with pumpkins and apples: fall has arrived. As you shift your wardrobe from lighter early-autumn pieces to cozier items, why not take this opportunity to do a fall closet makeover, too? Read on for ideas and inspiration to make it happen.

closet organization

Your first task, if you choose to accept it, is to pull everything (yes, everything!) out of your closet and assess it. Try items on if you’re not sure about them. Keep pieces that are currently in season, fit you well, are in good condition, and that feel good. Other pieces that you love — but are no longer in season — should go in a storage bin or secondary closet until they are needed. Items you don’t love, or no longer fit, should go in a bag destined for the nearest charity or textile recycling bin.

Even if your closet is small, make the most of it by using a mix of hanging rods, shelves, and bins, as shown above. To get organized, store shoes on open shelves to prevent the dreaded shoe pileup, keep sweaters and other soft items in bins, and use a set of matching hangers for a uniform look. And to keep your closet looking this good, keep a basket on the floor to collect giveaway items.

closet organization 2

Once your closet is looking better, it’s time to think about how you organize the outfits you’re planning to wear. One idea I love is using a freestanding garment rack (like the one shown here) to hang up the coming week’s outfits, along with shoes and bags. Taking a little time with a cup of tea (and some good music on) to shop your closet and put together outfits is a wonderful way to start the new week ahead of the game.

Erin Spain
Erin Spain

The last step is to make sure you’re handling your accessories with care. Messy piles of scarves and tangled heaps of necklaces will only make getting ready in the morning more difficult! One simple solution is to repurpose a tall bookcase as your accessories display. Fill the shelves with pretty baskets and bowls, hang a mirror on the wall, and attach some hooks for hanging up necklaces. For extra-credit, back the bookcase with gorgeous wallpaper!

Closet organization 3
Manifesto Photography for Quentin & Co.

Here is another beautiful example of a tall bookcase being used as a closet organizer, with shelves devoted to jewelry, bags, shoes, and sweaters. If you don’t have a proper closet, try combining a bookcase with a garment rack (or two) and a chest of drawers, to make a dressing area right in your bedroom.

Once your wardrobe has been decluttered and your closet organized, what’s next? A super-plush rug to sink your bare toes into, of course! My favorite type of rug for the dressing area is a cozy Moroccan-style rug — see below for four great options. And happy fall!

Rug Shopping Guide: All are included in the beautiful Jaipur Rugs Zuri Collection.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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