Jan 23, 2017

January Coffee Break with Hannah | On Enjoying January

Before our January Coffee Break we gotta go to that good ol' disclaimer: Housevegan.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Happy Monday, friends! Today I'm introducing a new monthly feature that I'm calling "Coffee Break with Hannah". The name is to the point, and says it all. I want to take some time once a month to pour myself a cup of coffee, and catch up with all of you lovely people. I'll use this opportunity to tell you what's been going in my life, what new products I've been enjoying, and share important info regarding House Vegan.

This is my effort to get a little more personal and show you a bit of life behind the scenes.

For this month's Coffee Break, I'm enjoying this gorgeous Trader Joe's Wintry Blend in my Disneyland mug. This mug and its associated memories always put me in a happier mood so I've been using it a lot this month. As you know, I usually hate January, but I've really put an effort into enjoying it this year. I even braced myself for the cold, but wouldn't you know it, it's steadily been between 50 and 80 degrees all month. The warmer temps have definitely helped my attitude! 

Since my husband and I recently bought a condo (more on that at a later date) we've been counting on movies for entertainment this month. They make for a great night in, or a fun and not-too-expensive night out. Since we're notorious for missing out on movies in the theater, this has been a good month for us and newish releases. We saw La La Land (twice!), Arrival, and Rogue One in the theater, and we caught up on movies like Captain America: Civil War at home. It's nice to be part of the conversation - even when that conversation is dumb. I'm looking at you, Captain America: Civil War. Spoiler - I thought it was dumb.

Our at-home movie nights have been really really fun. My husband pops the popcorn in coconut oil while I pull out the blankets, and light the candles. Then we crawl onto the couch for a good flick. For Christmas we decided to go easy on the presents so we both ended up bulking each other's gifts with blu-rays. We never ever buy blu-rays so the fact that we both found one that the other would love is kind of funny.

These are two movies that we're super happy to add to our movie collection.

Another Christmas gift that's been helping my January along is this Field Notes Planner. I love planning out my weeks, and while I gave bullet journalling a good try, nothing can beat a real planner for me. This is as simple as it gets, and I love it because it allows me to play around and make it my own. Like with these stickers:

I've been admiring these planner stickers from the Etsy shop, Pretty Sheepy, for a long time, and I'm excited to finally have a planner to decorate with her adorable Disney themes. Can you even with these Peter Pan stickers?

Since we've been spending more time working and relaxing at home, I've been focussing on creating a real atmosphere by using wax melts. I love delicious smelling things, and I've been a wax enthusiast for about a year now. While I always go for a certain mood with melts, I've decided to start curating what we melt by month. It sounds like a marvelous waste of time, but I really enjoy it.

I found this Etsy shop that sells Disneyland inspired wax melts, and I'm obsessed. For this month I chose Breakfast at Mickey's for our living area (it smells like waffles and syrup), Pirate Water for the bathroom (it smells so fresh yet so exactly like Pirate's of the Caribbean), and Beneath the Stars for the bedroom (also very fresh, but a little floral). I wanted the house to smell crisp and refreshing, yet cozy. The combination of these scents achieves that perfectly.

I've already ordered our waxes for next month, and I can't wait to see how they go together. If you love melting wax and Disneyland be sure to check out 3CheekyChicksWaxCo on Etsy. 

Another thing I've been doing this month is re-reading some inspiring books to reinvigorate my love for feeling good and taking care of my family. Do you have any books that you go back to again and again for help, guidance, recipes, etc.? Tell me! I'm always looking for good books. Though lets be honest, I already have too many favorites.

The Homemade Vegan Pantry was a birthday gift last year, and it's totally changed how we eat. While I've always strived to cook as much as possible from scratch, this book helped that goal become a real part of our lifestyle. For instance, I now make our daily bread on a weekly basis, our bacon seitan, cashew cheese, and butter on a bi-weekly basis, and things like aquafaba mayo, mustard, tomato sauce, bulgur wheat ground and sausage, etc. as needed. Our food tastes great, it's cheaper, and it just feels really cool to feed your family a meal made completely by your hands.

Let's see, what else have I been up to? On yeah, I found the best recipe for candied pecans ever. Here's the story: a couple of months ago I picked up a container of Truvia for a recipe. I normally dislike the taste of products like Truvia, but I got some anyway for the sake of this one recipe that I just had to try. I ended up unsurprisingly hating the recipe because it tasted like Truvia, and it left me stuck with a whole container of the stuff in our pantry. 

Fast forward to early January when our friends gifted us like 4 pounds of pecans from their pecan tree. Looking for pecan recipes I stumbled on to this recipe from Amy's Healthy Baking for Candied Pecans using Truvia. I was sure I would hate it, but I decided to double the pecans for less Truvia per nut, and give it a go. The result was cinnamony, roasty, crunchy, and sweet candied pecans without any off tastes. They are hands down the best candied pecans I've ever made. I still can't believe it! I'm a big oil and sugar lover, but these contain neither which makes me feel a little better about eating them as a regular snack.

Me on the coldest day of the month so far, not even caring because I had coffee in my hand and a condo to buy.

So that's what January has looked like behind the scenes of House Vegan. It hasn't been without effort, but I think we've done pretty well for ourselves in terms of enjoyment. Buying a condo helped I'm sure. I seriously can't wait to tell y'all more.

Before we go, I hinted at important info about House Vegan. I want to give you a heads up that House Vegan is going to be changing a little bit. Don't worry, they're all good changes.

For years I've been focussing mostly on delicious recipes that anyone and everyone could enjoy. I'll still be doing that, but there's a lot more to me and my skill set than food. It's time that I share more of what I have to offer. For instance:

  • Did you know that I've been vegan for almost 13 years? That's over a decade of learning what does and doesn't work when discussing this lifestyle with non-vegans. I cater to many non-vegans, mostly vegans, and the vegan-curious, and guess what, friends? I'm here and ready to help beyond recipes! I'll be writing more about veganism with a special eye towards those who want to know more.
  • Did you know that I make many of my own self-care products like face wash, shower scrubs, etc.? I do this because they're often more affective, less expensive, and better quality. I'm ready to share my tricks, recipes, and experiments with you guys!
  • Did you know that I've been a working homemaker for almost 10 years? I have almost 10 years of experience in making my own cleaners, working with what I've got to create a beautiful home, and trying, failing, and succeeding at keeping our home clean, organized, and fun on a budget.
  • Speaking of budgets, did you know that we've often had to live on only my husband's salary from his non-profit work? That means I'm extremely skilled in feeding two very hungry vegans delicious and satisfying meals while on a budget. It also means that I know every trick in the book to inexpensive vegan self-care, budget shopping at my favorite store, Lush, and still having enough $$$ for my husband and I to enjoy ourselves both inside and outside the home. I can't wait to share with you how I do this!

I'm more than just food, and I'm ready to go deeper into my passion for domesticity here on House Vegan. It's been my intention all along, and the time is finally now!

What does this mean for you? Well, if you're only interested in food, it means you may want to skip some posts. Which is fine, I love you all no matter what you're interested in. 

I mostly hope it means that I'll be offering you more help than I could previously. I know that keeping home isn't for everyone, but I truly think that this will benefit my current readers, my future readers, and myself.

That concludes January's Coffee Break! I hope that your January has been as enjoyable as ours. Either way, tell me about it! What's going on with you? What are you reading? Seen any movies? I wanna know!

As always, if you want to regularly see what goes on behind the scenes, follow me on Instagram. For updates, recipe shares, and general silliness follow me on Facebook. Talk soon!