Jumpin’ Into January – 2022

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Hi Farmgirl Friends! Welcome to 2022! I hope you all had a great holiday season, and that your January is off to a good start! I have decided not to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, I am going to try to be mindful, and really make an effort to take each day as it comes. There’s been just so much worry the last two years! I see it in myself, in posts on social media, and in the general public- out and about. I think we sometimes forget to take in the present, and appreciate the good moments even when things aren’t our ideal. We need to remember to not let that stress eat us up, and also to take care of ourselves. So many of us are hardwired to take care of everyone else first, which is great, but sometimes we forget about taking care of ourselves! 

After the last two years (what a wild ride it was), I’m hoping 2022 brings on better things. I’m going to try to focus on the positive! For one, I will be turning fifty this year. When I was a really small child, I remember an entire room at a fiftieth birthday party bursting into laughter when I asked the birthday guest, “You mean you’re half of a hundred?!” I was shocked. Back then, it seemed like such a big number and so far away, but here I am; in just a few months, I will officially be “vintage”! Awesome!

In a few short months, I will celebrate a milestone birthday. I am thankful for aging; it’s a priviledge not everyone is granted.

In a few months, I will celebrate a milestone birthday!

I think we are fortunate that nowadays, age is more of a number. It’s often how we feel that makes us the age we are. But just like a classic car, we need to take care of ourselves so we don’t “rust” prematurely! In the past couple of months, I have found some new-to-me things that I really like, that I think you all might enjoy, as well. Some of them also make great little gifts (Valentine’s is less than a month away already)!

Stress, winter air, age, hormones, and just plain styling can really wreak havoc on hair. I’ve kept my hair long for years because it’s just easier for me, and I am a long-hair-kind-of-farmgirl. However, the past few years, my hair was thinning. It seemed I was shedding as much as a long haired cat on a hot summer day – way more than I should. Switching shampoos again to a more natural product (without ingredients like SLS) helped a lot, and making an effort to color less with gentler products also has helped the baby hairs return. (I would love to stop coloring, but I don’t have silky silver hair, I have greys that resemble that of a wire-haired terrier)! In addition, one small change has made a major difference! Little did I know that when my old hair brush handle broke, it would be a good thing, because I found a little gem that works for all types (and ages) of hair!

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The EcoHair Detangler Brush by Olivia Garden has bristles made of renewable bamboo, with a cushioned grip and easy-to-hold bamboo handle. My hair is smoother, easier to brush out, and is now thicker than it’s been in years! Flyaways and frizz are at bay; I can use it to style or just brush through my hair. My hair is pin straight, but I’m not the only one who is a fan! My mom bought one and loves it. She finds she has far less breakage and that the bristles are gentler. A friend with thick, short wavy hair loves hers, and my daughter, who has enough hair on her head for at least three people loves the EcoHair Detangler brush as her go-to, as well. The proof for me is how much less hair is in my brush since purchasing this wonderful, lightweight workhorse! I picked mine up at Ulta, or order online at OliviaGarden.com.

Channeling 1950s glam for the holidays…

Fun, retro clothes can be found on Amazon! Channeling 1950s glam for the holidays…

…most days it’s jeans and a t-shirt.

but most days it’s jeans and a t-shirt.

While I do like to get dressed up once in a while (90% of the time, I’m a tried-and-true jeans and t-shirt farmgirl), no matter what I am wearing or where I’m going (or not going), I put on my “face” every day. I do it for me. I don’t spend a whole lot of time on makeup, but a good concealer, mascara and lip gloss do wonders, for both my outside and my inside! Makeup can help protect our skin, but I’ve never been a fan of heavy makeup or of base. Still, I like a bit of powder to even my skin tone and keep things set so I don’t have to touch up.

When national supply issues affected my favorite product, I was forced to find something new. My skin’s always been dry, and I don’t want to use something with talc. I am extremely sensitive and can be allergic to so many things.

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Cover FX perfect setting powder is vegan and cruelty free, talc-free and made with soothing green tea and vitamins. It doesn’t cake or settle into lines, and my skin looks dewy, not dry. It is natural looking, without a “made up” look, and I don’t touch it up all day. Skin looks refreshed with just a dusting! I just use it over my favorite moisturizer. Check it out at Coverfx.com.

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When my daughter bought me a product that she loved, at first I really had my doubts I would like it. Have you seen the face roller brushes popping up in stores? These little devices resemble mini rolling pins, with a small end and a large end. Natural crystal stone rollers are meant to nourish skin and feel luxurious. My daughter thought I would like one for its cooling effect (ahem, hot flashes). At nineteen, she loves hers to help smooth her favorite facial masks and lotions. I found it to be a great way to apply my moisturizer, while also noticing that the added benefits the rollers tout ring true. The crystal stone mineral rollers aid in reducing puffiness, improving skin’s elasticity (always roll upwards), and helping to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, especially with skin-irritating masks we’ve been wearing. Facial rollers also aid in lymphatic drainage. The stones range from rose quartz to amethyst to obsidian. Mine was purchased at TJMaxx for around $10.00, but they can also be found in most stores where beauty products are sold, as well as online at retailers such as Amazon.

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Pacifica products are some of my and my daughter’s favorites. 100% vegan and cruelty free, they come in pretty, recycled packaging, without phthalates, parabens, and other harmful ingredients. Their body washes are non-drying, and their body butters are wonderfully moisturizing (and one of the few body butters available in a tube). However, my favorite new find is their Lavender Moon body and pillow mist. With all the worry, it can be hard to “turn off” and relax for a restful night. I love the mellow, relaxing lavender essential oil scent for aromatherapy, which I’ve added to my bedtime routine. (Www.pacificabeauty.com)

Lastly, I never go to bed without cleansing my face, and never put lotions or makeup on uncleansed skin. When my usual face washes were no longer making my skin feel comfortable, my mom recommended I try the one she uses. I had my reservations since we have two different types of skin, but Fresh Soy Cleanser is worth a splurge!

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For all skin types and ages – my mother, my daughter AND myself have all found our skin is clearer, comfortable and calmer with this wash. Made with rosewater, cucumber and close to skin’s natural pH level, a little goes a long way, the tube lasts several months, and the cleanser even removes eye makeup and mascara, while never leaving skin feeling dry or anything but soft. While I pick mine up at my local Ulta store, it is also available online and at department stores.

Simpson and Vail Christmas tea is soooo good, we are still enjoying it in January!

Simpson and Vail’s Holiday “St. Nick’s tea” is soooo good, we are still enjoying it in January! All their teas are delicious!

Nothing beats antioxidants for staying healthy. Another great way to destress and take care of ourselves is with tea. Tea is packed with antioxidents. I drink iced tea all year (I was raised on unsweetened iced tea – cold or hot weather, I love it), but in winter, a good cup of hot tea warms us up while also warming the spirit. I found the family-owned tea company, Simpson and Vail, by accident last month when it was served at a local tea room. A company from my neck of the woods, their loose tea is packed in charming tins, with a myriad of choices, including black, green, and organic varieties, as well as enchanting “literary” blends named after authors such as Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott or Maya Angelou, to name a few. Check out all of their selections at https://www.svtea.com. Here in New England, January is a great time to drink hot tea – right now, we are getting wind, rain, ice AND snow. No fun, but inside is toasty and a cup of hot tea is perfection!

We all know that one of the best things to do for our health, as well as for our skin and hair, is to eat right. I credit daily leafy greens and juicing veggies such as carrots and kale for keeping my family healthy, but in winter months, we don’t feel like eating many cold salads or drinking cold juices as often. My favorite green right now? Arugula! It has a great little kick- almost spicy in flavor. It’s great on sandwiches, eggs, and thrown in soups and stews, as it cooks down beautifully and tastes delicious. Find it in the salad and greens aisle in the grocery store. It’s also a favorite green to grow in my garden come spring.

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I love adding arugula to my soups and stews like my white bean turkey chili!

I love adding arugula to my soups and stews like my comforting Jumpin’ January White Bean soup! Quick and hearty, it’s good for a busy cold day. 

Nicole’s Jumpin’ January White Bean Soup

  • 1 tsp. Olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup corn kernels (I prefer fire roasted frozen corn from Trader Joes, but you can use plain frozen, fresh or canned corn)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 carton (32 oz) organic chicken OR vegetable broth
  • ¾ tsp. Organic reduced sodium “Better Than Bouillon” vegetable base
  • ½ tsp. Or to taste – Cajun spice blend or chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large handful of fresh arugula
  • 1 cup dried organic elbow macaroni

(Recipe can be made on the stovetop in a dutch oven, or in an Instapot. Follow directions on your model for soup/stew). 

Brown turkey, onion and garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients, cooking on high then letting soup simmer on low for ½ hour, or until pasta is soft. Serve piping hot  with fresh bread on the side for a hearty winter meal!

So, dear readers, I’m not making major New Year’s resolutions this year, but instead, making small, personal, and sometimes, daily goals. I will (try to) worry less. Worrying never helps anything, anyway. Easier said than done – I know. Our family’s schedules are back in full-force after a holiday break, but if I’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that we need to take care of ourselves, and that it’s okay to be pampered once in awhile. It’s really important to enjoy what leisurely time we do get.

Pip says, “It’s important to get proper rest, too!” I am like a lot of women - I tend to burn my candle at both ends. I’m trying not to do that as much!

Pip says, “It’s important to get proper rest, too!” I am like a lot of people – I tend to burn my candle at both ends. I’m trying not to do that as much this year! 

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This winter, I am going to de-stress during my down time – I will read, knit, sew, craft, and bake more, watch less news when I do turn on the tv, and remember what it is that brings me joy. (Blogging here with you is something that brings me joy)!

A winter sunbeam is what brings Norman joy!

A winter sunbeam is what brings Norman joy!

What are your winter goals this year? What brings you joy, especially during the winter months? Drop me a line in comments below, and let me know how you are and what you are doing!

Happy New Year! 

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

 

Leave a comment 36 Comments

  1. Juie says:

    Love your personal recommendations for
    products. Always good to know from someone that has actually used them.
    They would be great gifts for Valentines Day or upcoming birthdays. Everyone could use a “lift”
    Thanks for your “kindness “

  2. Sharon says:

    Appreciate the info (& support) of natural products! I just came across a line of skincare products called Farmhouse Fresh. Not only natural, but supporter of farm animal rescue/sanctuary!!! Have put together a sampling of items to try once I get home from our vacation. As an ‘animal lover’ at heart I like knowing that at least a little bit of my $ spent will be going towards a good cause.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sharon, thank you for sharing…I will look for them and see if there is anything I’d like to try. Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I read the hole article, very good. I am trying to take good care of myself, so i love all your suggestions. thank you Beth

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Beth, for reading and commenting. Wishing you a happy 2022! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Doris Hall says:

    I always enjoy your post!! I was going to try your White Bean Soup recipe today but I didn’t see any beans in your recipe What kind and how much? I am also going to try the hair brush. I lost all my shoulder length, straight, coarse white hair last summer due to a long go of COVID. It is now coming back “baby” soft curly white hair. What a new ride :). May your New Year be filled with many moments of joy and awe!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Doris, the recipe has been updated – I forgot the most important part – a can of beans! Drain them. I usually use cannellini but you can use whatever you have on hand. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your hair with Covid. Glad to hear you have baby hairs coming back in. Covid has caused so much loss of all sorts to so many! Big hugs. I hope you are feeling better and have a great 2022! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Debbie Fischer says:

    Nicole~ I truly enjoy reading your blog, it always puts a smile on my face.
    Taking care of oneself really hit home for me as we tend to put everyone first. Which is great but i need to take care and of myself, take time for myself so I stay healthy for myself and my family.
    Thank you for the reminder.
    Happy New Year and I look forward to next months blog.
    Hugs,
    Debbie

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, Happy New Year! It’s hard to remember to take care of ourselves, especially when we love taking care of everyone around us. However, it is important! Have a great January and “see” you next month! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Denise says:

    Aren’t there beans in your White Bean Soup? Lovely post. I will definitely be looking for some of the products you shared. Thank you!

  7. Sharon R. Ganne says:

    Your message left me with such a sense of warmth and comfort, Nicole. Thank you for starting my day off right.
    Warm Wishes,
    Sharon (way over in California)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sharon, thank you! I am so glad you liked the post. Today is snowy and cold here, so warm thoughts are in order! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Debbie Grable says:

    Happy New Year to you, Nicole! Sounds like it is off to a fine start. Yes to more joy in noticing the present! Question. Are there beans in the soup recipe and in what quantity? All the best to you and your family!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie, thank you and Happy New Year! Yes, just changed the recipe as I do throw in a can of white cannellini beans, drained. Enjoy! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Shelly Buxton says:

    My winter goals: eating better/healthier, less caffeine, losing more weight. Going on small hikes to keep up for the longer ones when it gets warmer. Reading and crafting while listening to relaxation music and drinking tea. I’ve been drinking some with Turmeric in it lately. And to learn more on Mindfulness. Have a wonderful New Year.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Shelly, Sounds like great winter goals! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can start taking longer outdoor walks, too. We were lucky as we had nice weather for walking up until mid-January. Enjoy, and Happy New Year! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Marilyn says:

    Thank you Nicole for this inspiring and interesting post. These products sound like winners. What is the shampoo you use? I have long hair and tend to lose quite a bit in my brush. Wishing you and your family a happy,Healthy and Blessed 2022. God Bless.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, thank you for reading and commenting. It always great to hear from you. Switching to that brush really changed the amount of hair coming out. I won’t use anything else to brush my hair with again. As for my shampoo, switching to one that has no Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a big help. I have a few that I use, depending on my mood. My most favorite, though, is the 365 brand (sold at Whole Foods), Lavender Moisture and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner. I love the way it smells, and it doesn’t dry my hair out. My hair stopped falling out as much, as well. I think the conventional one I was using from the drug store was making my hair thin! Happy 2022 to you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Hello Nicole, another Farmgirl reader commented that your post gave her a sense of warmth and comfort, and I am going to steal that and say the same, because there isn’t a better way to put it. So thank you for sharing and bringing joy and warmth to the rest of us. I appreciate the product ideas as well. I especially am interested in checking out the hair brush, and the facial cleanser sounds great also. One of my winter remedies is to make it a priority to get out and get a good amount of fresh air every day, as much as the weather will permit. It is best to get out and into the woods to be surrounded by wonderful trees. Best wishes for 2022. May we all find how to live in the moment (better) and achieve that goal. Tammy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tammy, thank you so much! I learned when I moved up here that you can’t control the weather, so you have to make the best of it. I personally love having four seasons, and try to appreciate each one. Let me know if you try the products. I am so picky, so when I find something I like and that works well, it makes me happy! I can’t wait until we thaw out just a bit so I can head back out into the wooded walking trails here. They were not icy until January, so that is good. Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Sue says:

    I luv the photo of your cat! One of my favorite winter activities to feel cozy is to read (and then nap) on the couch with my pet cats, hot tea, yummy snack, big blanket, etc.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sue, isn’t he a cutie? When I saw his photo on our local shelter’s page, it was love at first sight. He is such a cuddlebug. Loves his sunbeams! My daughter bought me a new cozy throw blanket for Christmas. I love winter down time, no weeds to pull out in the garden! Thanks for reading and commenting. Pet your kitty cats for me. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Rene says:

    Loving your thoughts and finds. Will definitely be making your soup! Living in Tennessee and currently experiencing 25 degrees with a wind chill of 10…and walking with Bailey, my cold weather loving, 4 legged companion. Tea drinking is new to me. I am a sweet lover and would love a tea that satisfy this crave without a lot of honey. Can you suggest a couple? (Oh, and 50 is a good place to start many things!)

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rene, I have a dear friend who relocated to Tennessee last summer after living her entire life in CT. Sounds like she may have brought some CT winter with her! We are almost through January, so the days will be getting longer soon. I miss my walks with my four legged companion, but as soon as it thaws, we will enjoy them again. As for the tea, I hear ya. I am such a sweet lover, but the older I get, the less sugar I should have. The tea I mentioned by Simpson and Vail satisfies my sweet tooth without sugar. It has “notes of chocolate” without being sweet. They have several on their list like that. The St. Nick one also has almonds in it. It smells so delicious just opening the tin. Let me know if you try any, and what you think! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. This is an absolutely beautiful, helpful, comforting January welcome from you, Nicole. I was born on a Texas farm during a rare snowfall 82 years ago today. Until my adulthood, I lived there and then in a small town when Daddy got a job (he retired after 32 years with them) that allowed him to quite the three part-time jobs he had. I grew up on those wonderful vegetables he grew and you often speak of. Thank you so much for so often taking me back to my roots and reminding me how blessed we farmgals are.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Barbara, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! And thank you so much for “visiting” me on your special day! I love the memory you shared… I imagined being right there, harvesting veggies on a warm Texas day. I would love to know more…where in Texas did you grow up? (Wonder if our families ever crossed paths)? I hope you have a wonderful, special birthday and that you will say hello here again. From one Texas-born Fargirl to another – great big Farmgirl Birthday Hugs to you! ~ Nicole

  15. Linda Pavey says:

    I always enjoy reading about your happenings – and now with your comments on facial products I’m considering changes in mine… also your soup sounds delicious so I’m making it soon.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, thank you! I hope you like my soup! I enjoy creating dishes that use what I keep on hand. Let me know how you like it! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, You have gained a lot of wisdom in your almost 50 years. I learned so much and I am your mother. I loved reading this blog! I have to make your bean soup soon, sounds delicious! Pip looks so cute on your beautiful vintage bed, made me smile. You are right, we need to appreciate and enjoy each day, the “precious present”!
    Love,
    Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mama, I learned a lot from YOU! Thank you for this wonderful comment. Isn’t Pip a stinker? He got up on the clean, just changed sheets and was ready for bed! Love you, Nicole

  17. LeAnn says:

    Hi, love your blog. My friend, Julie Pruett, introduced me to you and your writing. Going to check out the tea you suggested. Thank you. These are your pets? So happy to meet you.
    Be well.
    LeAnn Malecha

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi LeAnn, and welcome! So nice to “meet” you, too! I am happy to have you join us. Yes, Julie is one of the most dearest people! She is a blessing to call a dear friend. I am so glad you are here…I hope you will “visit” me again! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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