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My Favorite Comfort EVERYTHING – From Recipes To Shows To Slippers Because All of Us Could Use A Hug On Our Insides Right Now

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The election isn’t over yet, and i’m riddled with anxiety and yet we can’t do anything about it. We need a lazy boy for the soul. A collective “blankie” or stuffed animal to squeeze. I know that I personally feel like retreating, and embracing the old-fashioned comforts and mostly hugging my children. So this is my list of tried and true things that make me feel hugged on the inside. My comfort… everything.

Food & Drink

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: #janstewary: how soup changed my life (& body)…really

Soup: Maybe it’s a ‘feeling in control’ thing but chopping vegetables and putting them in my body brings me a lot of comfort, not to mention how it tastes. Remember, these soups aren’t weak thin diet food, they are delicious thick stews full of so much nutrition and warmth. I make this soup all the time, often adding rice instead of quinoa. I also still make this soup (we add sriracha for some heat) and this soup (I usually do ground turkey instead) or this recipe. People always ask me if I’m still on ‘that soup diet’ where I respond ‘it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle’. More than that, it’s my comfort food today, tomorrow, and year-round. What is yours?

Roasted Chicken (and my subsequent homemade broth): It’s not just the taste, it’s the smell – truly nothing will fill your house with a more comforting smell than Ina Garten’s roast chicken. This recipe is super easy, too.

Brian’s cookies (via The New York Times): These are too unbelievably good (the sea salt on top, omg).

Alamos Malbec: My cousin told me about this wine 5 – 6 years ago and it’s been my go-to (for something affordable and more every day) since then. At this point, it’s not just that it’s a full red wine for so cheap, but it’s become nostalgic and just so comforting.

Chamomile Tea: Sounds so basic, but it’s just so comforting and simple.

Clothes & Shoes

photo by veronica crawford | from: 8 pajama sets that i will be wearing all winter: a review

Classic Uggs: I spent so many years secretly making fun of the uggs with skirt look that dominated the early aughts, thinking I was too cool. HOW WRONG WAS I. The second I borrowed a pair from my friend I knew that I converted and while they are expensive, THEY LAST. They don’t get disgusting no matter how often I wear them (almost every day, all day). This same friend told me that the only ones to get are the classic (not the short ones and the tall ones are too hot for most seasons).

Matching Sweatsuits: Another thing I used to snicker at was the matching Juicy velour sweatsuits. Well, look at me now, opting for matching sweatsuits and even wearing them proudly in public. I feel pulled together, on-trend but VERY comfortable. My go to’s are the following:

  • Lou and Grey (signature soft blend is SO SOFT).
  • Sundry. These are stretchier than just a terry sweat, and I find that they drape really GREAT. They are also splurgy (but made in LA if you are into buying local and have more of a budget). I love THIS set and this set.
  • The Great, true they are splurgy (but however they make them look extra cool and flattering and made in LA), and Target has great affordable versions that I love like this and this.

These Yoga Pants: Soft, flattering strangely thin (but not see-through) yoga pants.

My pajamas from the Gap: These are SO SOFT and thin, loose, drape well, etc. I can sleep in them year-round (and have two pairs). They are indeed my preferred long sleeve/pant pajama set. (see my pajama review from last year for some others I really like). I’m wearing them right now.

Robe: I have many robes (remember when I did this review?) but for fall/winter I bought this robe last year that I float around in on the weekends (over those pj’s and in my uggs).

Fictional Friends – TV/Movie/Books

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: how we designed our super kid-friendly family room

Time to hang out with our comfort friends in the form of TV, movies, and books. And that’s ok. My go-to’s are: Felicity, Veronica Mars, and Parenthood. And for movies: The Notebook, Devil Wears Prada, and Dirty Dancing. For books, I love a series (Twilight, 50 Shades, Hunger Games, etc). l just finished the first two of The Wedding Date series (flew through them and it’s NOT PG if you know what I mean). Yay for the kindle so no one really knows what you are reading. Also, I just started the latest Nicholas Sparks book and it’s making me happy.

I haven’t read any Phillipa Gregory in 15 years so I MIGHT get back into those (only read a few and don’t worry – it’s HISTORY, so you are learning, right? :)) and if I weren’t so freshly into Outlander the TV series I would start the book series (so sad I didn’t read it before I watched it) so if you have ANY addictive book series that aren’t creepy/messed up (aka give some comfort) please leave in the comments.

Blankets/Pillows and Other “Comfort Decor”

photo by brian:) | from: all the bedding combos ehd is coveting (and some products we have and love)

We need our collective “blankie”. We’ve done lots of reviews on comfortable sofas and bedding so if you are lacking check those out, but please make sure you have a snuggly blanky right now. We have three of these blankets in our house because the kids would fight over the first one I bought (so they each have their own plus one for us). Dig into some faux fur right now, guys.

Need something more intense? Me, too. I’d love to try this weighted blanket, and Caitlin swears by her weighted comfortable and is thinking about trecking all 20 lbs of it cross country to stay with her mom for the holidays because she can’t imagine sleeping without it.

What is the grown-up version of a stuffie? I just realized there is a hole in the market. My mom got Birdie a Warmy for her birthday which you put in a microwave and it stays warm for a few hours which is WONDERFUL. Maybe there is a life-size version of that?

So what are your comfort go-to’s? More books, series, and clothes suggestions are welcome. xx

Opening Photo Credit: Photo by Veronica Crawford

Fin Mark

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Rusty

You. You are a remarkable human being.
Thank you for just being you.
This blog is absolutely one of my comforts. xx

Roberta Davis

Hi! this post has not made it to the insider site.

it’s up now! thank you!

Roberta Davis

thank you, Ryann!

Almost anything by Rainbow Rowell makes you feel good when you’re done reading it, even if there’s some bittersweetness at times to it too. I would start with “Fangirl”.

For people more into goblin/elf fantasy, I LOVE “The Goblin Emperor”, which is a standalone so you aren’t signing up for like 20 book fantasy series or anything.

Sarah T

Seconding these recommendations. I loved “The Goblin Emperor’s” main character and theme of empathy so much!

Emily

I love Rainbow Rowell! Eleanor and Park might be my favorite by her. Thanks for the Goblin Emperor rec!

Andrea

Yes, I dove into the Philippa Gregory Plantagenet and Tudor novels a few weeks ago because I knew I needed something that would engage me and WAS NOT about the here and now. I’m on book 4 of like 15! I have read some of her books before, but I pulled the list of them in chronological order (NOT the order she wrote them in) and started with the earliest. They’ve been great; Female perspective on historical events = always good!

Spero

I hate to be this person but…Phillipa Gregory is SO BAD at history. She changes events and just completely messes up so many things. It’s entertaining yes. But it’s not actual history. My favorite snarky takedown of her…. http://www.frockflicks.com/snark-week-philippa-fucking-gregory/

Stephanie

My wife and I were at Target this weekend and walked by that faux fur blanket and immediately were obsessed. Didn’t check the price, didn’t do anything but immediately put into our cart. Last night when trying not to obsessively check election results, I found myself petting it and then laughing – it was full on “blankie” status!

alexa

Thank you for posting today. (Don’t know how you did. I can’t seem to focus on anything for more than 5 minutes).

Hannah

I recently got this weighted blanket from Casper and it has CHANGED MY SLEEP. Trust me, if you have trouble falling asleep, waking up and then trouble getting back to sleep – you must try this!!! I really don’t normally fall into trends like this but it has been a life-changer for me.

https://casper.com/weighted-blanket/

Cheryl

If only it wasn’t spot clean! 😭 Any alternatives?

Judy

I have this Baloo weighted blanket and it is wonderful! Easy to wash, too!

https://balooliving.com/products/weighted-blanket

Karen

I found one on Amazon that has a duvet cover. It’s been great. Pain to tie the duvet cover on, but I’d rather do that then have a blanket that cannot be laundered. Check out Luna Blanket

Hannah

The spot clean is a bummer. I have a small dog (that sleeps at the end of our bed) but honestly, it is worth it! Definitely won’t be eating chocolate with it but I will survive 🙂

Emily

I thought the Crazy Rich Asians books were a fun read! I’d recommend them before Outlander. I enjoyed the first three books, but they start going downhill after that (in my opinion anyways).

Katie

I 100% agree with all of this. I’m halfway into the 4th outlander book (which I bought to have a distraction read) and good god I’m done. It’s really racist. Conversely the Crazy Rich Asians are fun and well written and just really enjoyable.

Holly

Em, is there any chance we could also get a Oscar and Butter update as a lunch break? I could use some puppy content for comfort ❤️

Katie

The Outlander audiobooks are excellent – the narrator is amazing – and, because you’ve seen the series so recently, you could use them as background while painting/cleaning/internetting, etc. without having to worry about missing anything. I put them on as a soothing backdrop (but if I’m out n about will frequently check to make sure my headphones are plugged in properly because none of the show’s raciness is lost in the audiobook format).

Sarah T

My family watched The Biggest Little Farm last night to avoid obsessively checking results. We liked it and it did help us (me;) keep emotional equilibrium to talk about their stewardship of the land and animals. Thank you for the recommendation, and for creating this safe space to share, Emily!

Molly

I did the same! And I really really loved it. It was the right thing to watch instead of election coverage and I find myself thinking abt it a lot today. It is a very hopeful story. Hope is for sure needed right now.

Rachel Quednau

Veronica Mars! Such a great show. Loving all the posts this week (and always, but especially this week)

Carrie

Emily Henderson, you are a gift to humanity. This is exactly what we all needed today!

KD

All (I think) my family and friends voted for Trump, so following you gives me someone to “share” my anxiety, worry and hope with!!

I recommend watching The Good Place, Schitts Creek and Ted Lasso. All are heartwarming, funny and show people becoming the best versions of themselves.

Hoping Biden wins but if not, hope we all keep caring for those around us.

carriej

Ted Lasso! DELIGHTFUL, 5 stars all day. My husband, who never wants to rewatch anything, agreed to rewatch the first three episodes 24 hours later so my daughter could catch up.

Ashley

This is the perfect post for today. I am currently making my way through the Outlander books but earlier in the quarantine I loved American Royals (the sequel Majesty recently came out as well) and The Royal We with it’s sequel The Heir Affair. Both series are a light-hearted escape from reality.

C

I will also heartily recommend all of these suggestions! I know you said you are fresh into the show version of Outlander, but the books are way better, in my opinion. But all of these are great reads, good escapism, while still dealing with some real issues in a way that is intelligent…basically, you can enjoy a good dose of escape without feeling like you are killing brain cells.

SusanInColumbus

Outlander…love it! I have watched it multiple times. Now we are suffering thru Droughtlander as we wait for Season 6.

Kayleen

I am all about the soups, too! Pinned the ones you linked. There appears to be a couple that aren’t showing the links. It’s supposed to cool down here again in a couple days, so these will be high on the meal list. Thank you!

Darcy

I highly recommend the Kate Shugak series written by Dana Stabenow. There is mystery but I have learned so much about life in
Alaska through this series. So much so that I had a trip planned for this past August which became just another fantasy due to
the year we wish wasn’t. The author’s writing is so well done that you can feel the cold air when someone somehow loses their way on their snowmobile back to their cabin. I have read them all and am always sad when they come to an end.

Lisa

THIS is my favorite comfort these days.

https://www.thecompanystore.com/lacrosse-rds-certified-down-throw-blanket/KO72.html

Many years ago for Christmas I selected colors and monograms for each of my family members. They were the biggest hit of ANY Christmas! Everyone still has theirs. My dad’s was monogrammed “Gabaw” because that was what we all called him after his first grandchild’s attempt at “Grampa.” My dad passed away 5 years ago and I asked my mom if I could have Gabaw’s “wooby.” I wrap up in it every night while watching tv. It is like getting a hug from my beloved father.

Rachel S Martin

Emily –
Thanks for this post and keeping us all in a metaphorical warm hug. We need it! I recommend all books by Tana French. They are beautifully written police mysteries that take place in Ireland, so they offer escapism and intrigue. And for even lighter fare, I just read American Royals. Total. Escape. YAY.

Jennifer

I was so disappointed by the ending of the first Tana French book that I won’t read anymore of them for fear of more unsatisfactory endings. 😂

Patricia

Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. Try it.

Patricia

And Jenny Colgan; some short series and some stand alone. As comforting as a cup of tea and a scone with clotted cream.

Erin

I was going to recommend the same one- total escapism!

E

Yes to Sarah J Maas! And here are some similar recommendations 🙂
Laini Taylor – any of them but I’d start with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series
Kristin Cashore – Graceling series (and I really liked Jane Unlimited although it’s a bit different feel)
Rae Carson – The Girl of Fire and Thorns series
Brigid Kemmerer – A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Cat

Book series – Philip Pullmans ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy and ‘The Book of Dust‘ series. Wonderful books that you can’t put down and stay with you for a long time.

Ruth Ann

I second the Dark Materials

Susan

I third His Dark Materials

Natalie

Just here to say that this blog is on my list of comforting things…every single day. Thank you.

Erica

I retreat into old favorite books – we are reading the Harry Potter books with our daughter, a chapter a night, and that snuggle & reading time is often the best part of my day. But I also fall back on all-time favorite fairy tales- Howl’s Moving Castle & just about anything by Robin McKinley- when I really need a comfort read.

And right now I am very impatiently waiting for Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix series based off the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn. The books are sweet, funny, & steamy, and I think the Netflix take is going to be fantastic & a needed antidote to the literal & figurative dark & cold of the coming days.

Natasha Luthra

Wait what? They are making a series on the Bridgertons? That just made my day!!! It is my favorite of Julia Quinn’s books and one of the few series I bought in its entirety!!!

E

I also loooooove Diana Wynne Jones and Robin McKinley! Have you read DWJ’s other books? I particularly like the Chrestomanci ones.

I also fall back on old favorites, which for me tend to be young adult fantasy-ish books. A couple that I really like are The Thief (and its sequels) by Megan Whalen Turner and Crown Duel and Court Duel by Sherwood Smith.

Mariangela

Don’t know if you are a Costco member, however as someone who for many years has paid up for my favorite UGG Coquette slippers at $120, check out the Kirkland Signature Ladies Shearling slipper (only in grey I believe) that’s about $20. They sold out after I retired my first pair, and so I bought 2 pairs when they came back this year. I wear them EVERY day (like my UGGs) and if you buy 2 you won’t feel guilty.

Emily

Love this list! I also LOVE the sweater you’re wearing in the top photo! Can you share where you got it from if you remember?

-the lady curled up under the coziest blanket as I type 🙂

Carrie C

The Discovery Of Witches books by Deb Harkness are my guilty pleasure. Read them and then watch the TV series based on them. I promise-they are WONDERFUL. Also historical so its basically learning for fun.

Erin

I love those ones!!

Susan

I loved the Discovery of Witches show, did not even realize there were books! thank you!

Megan Lec

Barefoot dreams robes and blankets bring me so much joy. Spent several hours this morning in bed snuggled up (with my three week old!) in my barefoot dreams robe doing my best not to doomscroll.

Love it! For pure comfort and delight we’ve been enjoying The Great British Bake Off (all seasons), The Great Pottery Throwdown (similar), Call the Midwife and a surprisingly wonderful american show…. Jane the Virgin!

Lynn W

Watch Longmire on Netflix. All 6 seasons of gorgeous Wyoming vistas and small town goings on…. plus cowboys 💜. It really is a wonderful series that you can escape to!!

Susan

Longmire is wonderful. I learned so much about life on a “rez,” from it.

Patti

Man, I love these favourite things lists! Please keep them coming! Writing from Canada, we feel your angst today!

Books I’ve binged while holed up in Covid land – the hidden life of trees, priestdaddy, conversations with friends, the overstory, the Dutch house

Bri

I haven’t checked in on your blog for a while now. Not sure why, but probably because it was something I did on the train on the way to work each morning, and I haven’t been able to do that since March due to covid.

But today, I remembered your site when I wanted something nice to read to distract me from politics. So thank you for being that beacon of light.

And I hope you and all your readers (regardless of who you voted for) can get through this tough, uncertain time okay. I’m not even American (just a fan of stable democracy), and I feel anxious, so can’t imagine what it’s like for you all. Good luck x

Emily

shoutout to the bearaby weighted blanket!! it’s not huge, but it’s perfect for soothing election-induced catatonia on the couch and it looks super cute, unlike a lot of weighted blankets. not cheap, but probably my favorite purchase of quarantine. hard recommend.

CAthy

Greeting from Australia.
we are all sharing your anguish over here.
I can vouch for just how perfect Ina Garten’s roast chicken is. Very easy to make – get the kids to help and the aroma is so mouth watering while it is cooking. A great comforting meal for family and friends to share.

Nancy

I’m sorry, but I don’t see a link to the pajamas from the Gap & I’ve gone over the article a couple odd times. Can you please reply with one? Thanks so much!

Kamina

Comfort TV: Friends (obviously), Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Crown when it comes back (I have the release date marked in my diary – November 15th!) I’ve also been watching My So-Called Life, so great to go back to the 90s.

Comfort books: I like anything by Rosamunde Pilcher. Just the loveliest and most nostalgic books ever.

Comfort podcasts: Overdue for discussions of books you’ve read, The Popcast for silly takes on pop culture (their election episode this week is like, creating an alternate universe where they elect fictional characters) and I’ve just been listening to the Princess Diana episodes of You’re Wrong About. HARD RECOMMEND! Okay, so the subject matter is a bit heavy, but the frivolous soap opera drama that was the Royal Family in the 1980s was just the distraction I needed this week.

Jennifer

Not a series, but I’ve been working my way through Tayari Jones’ novels. Really amazing story telling, and strong characters!

Monica

The Selection Series is fun! Bachelor meets Hunger Games.

Rubie

I’ve been snuggled with Harry Potter on Audible all day and British gardening Tv. I’ve been looking for a new cozy robe and slippers though! This is great!

Melia Bouhabib

where are your favorite slippers?

I love the Court of Thorn and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. Her Throne of Glass series is good, too!

Amanda McCullough

a furry hot water bottle

Kj

Two great nonfiction books to learn from: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb and Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

Lynn

I can’t imagine loving Veronica Mars and also KNOWING the star. Gah! Based on your likes, have you tried Gilmore Girls? I was too cool for it when it aired (narrator: she was not) but now it’s my balm.

Shannon

We started watching “What We Do in the Shadows” on Hulu and it is pretty funny! Light-hearted and reminds me of a cross between the Office with a vampire show. I’ve also been re-watching all the seasons of Downton Abbey. It is my favorite show, and such good escapism.

Sometimes I just flip through my cookbooks or plan things I’ll make for holiday dinners. I love watching makeup and skincare youtube videos (highly recommend Angie of HotandFlashy, Jessica Braun, and Taylor Wynn).

Currently wearing this Leith cardigan from Nordstrom. It is so so freaking soft and warm, but lightweight. I’m a 34C/145lb and wear a small (but couldn’t wear long sleeves under it). I never want to take it off!!
Check out this Leith Cozy Long Cardigan from Nordstrom: http://www.nordstrom.com/s/5767408

And lastly, and I know this is personal, but I’ve been turning to prayer for comfort. (This Christian did not vote for Trump)

Dolores Talarico

I just finished watching “Evil” on Netflix, and it was amaaazing! It’s not an historical romance, but it is a smart, spooky, creative drama that is just unique to keep your interest! There are 13 episodes in the first season, and rumors of a second season soon. If you like mysteries and an occasional monster, watch the trailer!

Susan

We watched it, too. It was created by Robert and Michelle King who also created The Good Wife and The Good Fight. So the individual stories and long-term story arc are brilliant and challenging. And the acting is superb. I, too, recommend it.

Susan

For a book recommendation – I just finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend book series (4 books that cover two girls’ friendship from 6 years old into their old age). Set in Italy and gives a visceral sense of place that I was captivated by. Sad to close the last page on this great story, but there is a beautiful HBO adaptation I can watch now. Highly recommend.

Debbie

🙁 Can’t get to the gf cookie recipe without a NY times subscription. Can someone post it?

KiminMN

Yes, please!?

Susan

Emily, check out The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. And The Chronicles of Narnia as well.

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