Letter #4: How I Keep Cozy All Year-Round
Summer doesn't have to keep the coziness at bay!
Hey, so we’re coming into summer, the season when it seems the cozy vibes train goes south for the winter. (At least ‘til it’s time to come charging back for pumpkin season. Oh, get ready for the Halloween vibes, friends. I am always ready for Halloween).
So in honor of the distant memory of baggy sweaters and mittens, here’s how I stay cozy all year-long, every season-long:
Tea makes everything insta-cozy. Peppermint, rooibos, or breakfast tea with sugar cubes and a splash of milk… perfect! I get all my bulk loose tea from The Tea Spot, a B Corp certified tea company in Colorado. Boulder Breakfast and Red Rocks are my all-time favorites!
Here’s their link if you wanna have a look around: https://www.theteaspot.com/.
2. Mug Cakes
I learned that mug cakes were a thing last year and oh buddy, I can’t stop making them. My favorite version is just a mug brownie basically, which I make whenever I’m too lazy to throw a batch of brownies in the oven. Or if I’m trying to trick myself into saying I’m being “healthy-ish” by not making a whole pan of brownies to eat in like two days… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This recipe from Haley of https://www.ifyougiveablondeakitchen.com/ and Ashley of Spoonful of Flavor has been my go-to chocolate mug cake recipe since probably November: https://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/easy-microwave-mug-brownie/.
3. Hot Cocoa
Not to be lumped in with tea because no, that’s sacrilege. This is another wonderful late-night treat when you don’t feel like chewing a mug cake. So, so comforting on even a summer’s night, curled up in your chair with the chill Kind Words (see #12) soundtrack playing in the background as you scroll through Pinterest boards.
Yeah, even in winter, when it gets cold with that AC kicking on. I always have a sweater or two nearby just in case. Gotta be prepared, right?
5. Books in the Bag
I never go anywhere without a book, even if it makes my poor (hardworking) bag unreasonably heavy. And you can’t go away for a long trip without at least two books. What if you finish the first one?
I’ve learned that I’m way more likely to write in a journal if it’s cute and if it’s lined. My handwriting goes all slanty if I don’t have lines. (As evidenced by my lineless work on the first two bouquet drawings I did in my very first post here: https://aghostinthepost.substack.com/p/letter-1-the-language-of-flowers.)
I’ve also learned that I need to write everything down (in cute list format with little bullet point doodles). Lists. Dates. Random notes/observations/thoughts. I still might forget it if I write it down, but I will most certainly forget it if I don’t write it down.
8. Makin’ Cute Calendars and Such
Again, to keep me organized, plus they have comfy vibes. I’ve made a few printable organizers, but I’d like to pretty up a bit more before I share them with you all!
9. Fuzzy Socks
Year-round. I never want to wear other socks. The only reasons I ever do are 1) my fuzzy socks are in the wash and 2) I can’t fit fuzzy socks in all of my shoes.
10. Jane Austen Blanket
This blanket depicting a colorful map of Jane Austen’s literary world tends to reside on my writing chair. It just makes a space look instantly cozy and colorful. (Plus it’s Austen, so like, c’mon. ‘Course I love it.)
I’ve loved literary-themed Sweet Sequels’ work for years and got the blanket as a lovely present about two years ago. My gosh, I love it so much! :D She hand paints all of her work and it’s all themed around her favorite books and authors, so it is right up my alley :P You can find her work at: https://sweetsequels.com/ (her main shop) and https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetSequels?ref=shop_sugg (for printables/downloads of her work).
11. Er, Having a Designated Writing Chair/Corner, I Guess
It’s not a quaint little vintage corner like you might be thinking based on my work on here. It’s actually quite modern and a bit of a hodgepodge of styles, so it doesn’t really fit my cute ghost-y vibes, but my writing/drawing area does exist, so that’s a start!
The cozy vibes aren’t nonexistent though: I’ve got some fake flowers (daisies and baby’s breath), an old Delftware style vase, a bottlebrush Christmas tree that fell off one of my (rather disastrous) Christmas ornament attempts, a Scrabble tile DIY name sign, and some handmade notes. This is where the cute, soft vibes come in really. Oh, and my typewriter keyboard. It’s a modern keyboard designed to look and sound like a typewriter though, and it makes me ridiculously happy whenever I type (which is everyday unless I’m sick).
Stardew Valley was my first foray into cozy video games, which then led me into Celeste, Kind Words, Animal Crossing, and my all-time favorite game: Cozy Grove. You’ve probably already heard of Stardew Valley (an indie darling pixel graphic RPG), Celeste (another indie darling with adorable graphics, a heart-tuggin’ story, and phenomenal music), and Animal Crossing (the most recent iteration of the franchise that gave many, many people something to do during lockdown), so I figured I wouldn’t gush about those here.
However, Kind Words and Cozy Grove? I will not stop. “Can’t stop, shan’t stop,” as Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer would say. Check him out on Spotify here:
I am so, so happy that something like Kind Words exists. Essentially, you get to write kind messages/letters to other people (that then get sent out as little paper airplanes :D) while listening to the chill-est lo-fi music. The interesting thing is that it’s all anonymous, which just makes me happier to know that people are being legitimately good to each other without knowing anyone else on Kind Words. Wanna warm my heart? Be kind to people.
I’ve gotten some absolutely lovely messages from random strangers and I love that you get to respond to requests to help someone with a specific concern if you’ve been through a similar situation. (You can also make requests if you have a particular issue weighing on you and people can send short notes of encouragement about it to help you out too!) I feel like this game is doing a whole lot of good for people all over the world and it just feels like a very kind, supportive community.
(Also, interestingly enough, the soundtrack comes from Clark Aboud, the same composer as the soundtrack for Slay the Spire, the roguelike deckbuilder that’s definitely more of the spooky variety.)
And now for Cozy Grove. Oh my gosh, Cozy Grove is my absolute jam right now. I love everything about it: the aesthetic, the music, the characters (ALL THE BEAR GHOSTS!), the imps, the tasks, the badges, the storytelling, the absolutely bonkers descriptions for everything that are just so ridiculously charming and spooky-cute my heart’s ready to burst every time I read a new item description. With 44 hours in the game so far, I say 10/10 game, honestly. (My only qualm is that because the scenery shifts around ghostily, sometimes you run into stuff and get stuck for a sec, but you can just move around it, so it’s really not that much of an issue.)
You can check the games out on Steam here:
For Kind Words: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1070710/Kind_Words_lo_fi_chill_beats_to_write_to/
For Cozy Grove: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1458100/Cozy_Grove/
13. Nice Smelling Stuff (i.e. Candles and Soap)
I was going to just say candles, but then I realized all my soap smells really comforting. I have probably too many candles (actually, no, that’s nonsense) in a wide range of dessert and floral scents, along with the biggest pack of soap I can find in bulk (usually in the cucumber or coconut scent).
Nice smells just make things feel instantly comforting to me. Coziness isn’t just having blankets or socks that are soft to the touch; there are four other senses to talk about too! Nice smells for the nose, baked goods for the tastebuds, cute stuff to look at, soft music for the ears!
14. Chill Music
Okay, “chill” is way too broad. I listen to a lot of lo-fi music, which tends to be throwing on a chillhop (lo-fi jazzy hip hop beats, basically) playlist a lot of times. Eventually, I’ll get to posting some of what I listen to when I want something soft playing while writing, drawing, or mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest or cute Etsy stuff if anybody needs some good music for vibin’.
Is this one cheating? Having baking on a list of cozy activities kinda feels like cheating, but eh. I dunno.
Baking is just definitely cozy, even when it’s not for the winter holidays. It’s just such a great stress reliever. Cracking the eggs, mixing up the chocolate chip cookie dough, braiding the challah bread, smelling the freshly baking (and baked!) fruits of your labor. Just perfect.
Also, I started making challah bread this year and it’s one of my new favorite things to make in the kitchen. I stumbled across this cookbook and just had to get it: https://www.amazon.com/Jew-ish-Cookbook-Reinvented-Recipes-Modern/dp/035835398X.
(Aww, when I went to find the link, I realized he has a website that’s also really sweet! Here it is: https://www.wakeandjake.com/jewish-a-cookbook!)
His challah bread recipe is phenomenal, with or without the seeds on top. I’ve yet to try his other recipes in here so far, but I love the book for the challah and his fun writing style alone!
**Please note that I’m not sponsored by anyone here! I just really like all this stuff and figured I’d share exactly what I buy/make/use from these brands for anyone interested.
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Hope this list gave you some ideas for keeping cozy despite the heat! I’d love to know how you, dear readers, stay cozy and chill year-round too.
Feel free to drop a comment down below or stop by my socials!
Have a lovely day and happy reading!