Nicole’s Favourite Things: The November Joys Edition

Usually at this time of year, my calendar is very full with so many social events; every weekend from now until Christmas would have at least one party, dinner, or cocktail event. I would usually be busy figuring out menus and buying ingredients and packaging up dozens of homemade goodie bags for my various yoga classes, I would be deciding which dress to wear when and stocking up the liquor cabinet.

So it feels very strange and sad to have a blank calendar, to be starting the season with literally nothing going on. I know it’s a Small Thing, and we are just Doing Our Part, but right now it feels Hard. It feels Hard not to see the friends-who-are-more-like-family, it feels Hard not to see my actual family – I haven’t seen my nieces in forever – it feels Hard to know that there are no parties and no reasons to put on a dress and no reason to even stock up the liquor cabinet because I don’t tend to make mixed drinks unless we have company. It would probably feel Less Hard if I wasn’t constantly seeing posts about Other People having parties and gatherings, but I’m not going to talk about that, I’m just going to sit here and practice my ujjayi breath for a while.

Well. That’s just the Way Things Are right now, and I cannot control anyone else, only myself, and so it will be a quiet holiday season coming up. It will be Different, and that’s Okay.

Let’s turn this beat around, shall we? I actually really do like the month of November; as I’ve mentioned before it’s the kickoff to the festive season for me. So even though this November is different from previous Novembers, there are still many things that bring me happiness.

Nicole’s Favourite Things: The November Joy Edition


As I mentioned before, this winter I am embracing my Norwegian heritage and adopting the concept of Friluftsliv. As god is my witness, one day I will live in a warm climate, but that day is not today, bloom where you’re planted, live in the now. It’s winter here for fully 2/3 of the year, and I am NOT going to spend 2/3 of my life being unhappy because it’s cold. FRILUFTSLIV. Yesterday was quite cold and damp, and yet I felt so much better being outside. We are in a global pandemic. I have no Christmas parties to look forward to. I am going to ENJOY THE FRESH AIR, GODDAMMIT. Also, I have lots of cozy warm clothes and I think I might buy myself a few new pieces as well.

Super cute ear warmer, with super cozy blanket scarf, with my warmest calf-length coat for walking yesterday.

See that “skirt?” It’s a BUM WARMER. A local lady makes them out of repurposed sweaters, and mittens to match. I think I might need a second one.

FRILUFTSLIV! It’s just fun to say.

Roasted Tomato Soup

I made the most incredible soup the other day; it was a riff on my riff on my grandma’s tomato soup. I roasted a cookie sheet of halved cherry tomatoes (tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper) for 45 minutes at 400 convection. Meanwhile, I added 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a large can of crushed tomatoes, stirring until the bubbles dissipated. In a blender, I whirred together 1/2 cup soaked-overnight raw cashews, 3 cups of water, and a cube of Knorr veggie stock. I stirred that in with the non-bubbly tomatoes, and added the roasted tomatoes. OMG. It was LIFE. I topped it with roasted chickpeas and served it with a green salad and it was, to me, a perfect cold-weather dinner.


Kalettes are back at Costco! I meant to mention this last month, but, you know. Time flies, etc. The last time I raved about kalettes, they instantly stopped selling them. I realize now that they are very seasonal, and limited, and they are so good, you guys. I roast them for 10-15 minutes, after tossing in olive oil and drizzling with balsamic vinegar.

Rocky Mountain Soap Body Butter

With the wearing of socks – many layers of socks – FRILUFTSLIV!!! – my feet are not as, well, crunchy as they are in the summer, and so while I still use O’Keefe’s Healthy Feet once or twice a week, on a nightly basis I am using this stuff:

It smells exactly like candy canes, and while it’s not as intense as O’Keefe’s, it does work nicely, when paired with cotton socks afterwards. It’s cold and I’d be putting on socks anyway, friluftsliv.

Mary Oliver

Every morning before my yoga practice, I read a poem. I have been working my way through Mary Oliver’s Devotions, and I came across this one:

I think about it all the time. I watch the sun come up every day; sometimes it’s a glorious sunrise, sometimes it’s just the sky getting light, but either way I think something that more or less kills me with delight. I notice the way the sky looks when I’m out walking, I notice the Christmas decorations starting to appear, I notice how cute Barkley looks when his nose is all snowy from sniffing Every Single Place Another Dog Ever Peed. Finding extraordinary joy in every day things is my JAM, people.

Non-Dairy Ice Cream

I make all my own ice cream, but 99% of it is dairy and I cannot eat it. I enjoy making it for the guys, and there is never any fewer than three flavours in our freezer at any given time, but it’s dairy. I mean, I CAN make non-dairy ice cream, but sometimes you just want to not put a ton of effort into something that is, frankly, not amazing.

Every Sunday I make a big dessert to go with a big dinner, and last week I wanted brownies, ice cream, and fudge sauce. I couldn’t think of anything else and while it’s super easy to make vegan brownies and fudge sauce, I just did not want to put the effort into ice cream as well.

I picked up this (startlingly expensive) vegan ice cream at Superstore, and people, it is incredible. It’s almost as delicious as the cashew-based ice cream my friend Denise (HI DENISE, I MISS YOU SO MUCH) gave me for my birthday. Almost. We all loved it and while I did not take a photo of the brownie and fudge sauce, believe me, it was good.

Festive Face Masks

A local woman – a friend of a friend – (HI LIANA) made this beautiful festive mask. The material is so soft, and I think it is just so pretty. I have many of her masks, but now that it’s the festive season, I’m cycling into my Festive Masks.

I’m on an outing! To Superstore. I rarely wear my hair down, because of my (zoom) teaching schedule, but I am out on the town, people.


So I’m not much of a Mixed Drinks Girl without company, but I am very much a Wine Girl, as you know. And today is Friday, and that means that in a mere eleven hours I will be doing this:

I feel MUCH better now, recording all my November Joys. I hope you are all enjoying some joys and happiness, even as we kick off this very strange and kind of lonely holiday season. xo


  1. I love love love the entire everything about a BUM WARMER and MATCHING MITTS made from a repurposed sweater. That is today’s nearly killed me with delight.

  2. i had one of those moments observing the architecture of the newly bare trees this morning. Trees are so amazing if you really look at them.

    Beth made Halloween masks for everyone and she’s going to make Christmas ones soon. I picked a snowflake pattern so I could wear it past Christmas.

  3. denise meade says

    HI NICOLE! I MISS YOU!!!! Also, I still stocked up on booze. I will be having holiday themed martinis alone in my pj’s. Maybe it’s time to bring back the Denise and Nicole happy hour zoom call?

  4. I also hope you know that your joy is infectious and wonderfully so and I always get a little jolt of happiness when I read your posts. <3

  5. You totally inspired me to buy all the peppermint cleaning products! Thank you.

  6. bibliomama2 says

    I HATE putting cream on my feet, but I think if I had that FAKE DEODORANT contraption it might be better, so getting on that ASAP. I can’t take as much joy in walking outside in winter as I would like because I can take the cold but not the walking in snow boots – kills my feet and back. So that sucks. But frtuslifeve or whatever is almost as much fun to say and think about as Hygge (excuse me), so thanks for that.

    I love that you are embracing all the good things that you can. What else can we do?
    I’m so interested in that nice smelling cream for my feet. It’s cooler now, but I’m still in my flip fops for the most part so yes, my feet stay rough. 🙁
    I need KALETTES in my life!!!

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