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2021 Holiday Gift Guide: Joe’s Gift Picks for the Guys

Jacob Scott

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Editor’s Note: Longtime Wit & Delight readers (and adept newer readers too) will recognize the name in the byline as that of Kate’s husband, aka Mr. Wit & Delight. For the third year in a row, we asked Joe to share his insight on gifting to the men in your life and he, as per usual, did not disappoint.

Continue reading 2021 Holiday Gift Guide: Joe’s Gift Picks for the Guys at Wit & Delight | Designing a Life Well-Lived.

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The Mystifying Feeling of Pre-Nostalgia

Jacob Scott

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It is the golden hour. The sun is low in the sky and casts oblong shadows that dance as the wind rustles the fiery leaves still clutching to the trees. You are on a front porch, wrapped in a blanket, watching the sun make its dramatic descent. You revel in this moment, delighting in its calm and its beauty, wanting it to last forever. And you feel a stitch of sadness knowing that it will soon be gone and that you will someday look back at that time with longing.

You are experiencing pre-nostalgia, that ethereal feeling of missing something before it’s gone; missing a moment or a time in your life as you are living it. It is a nebulous state of consciousness that can leave you bewildered, but one by which I am spellbound.

My fascination with pre-nostalgia may stem from the fact that I have a healthy fear of, perhaps an obsession with, the passing of time. Memories pop up on my phone from a year ago, two years ago, and never once have I seen them and thought, wow, that feels like so long ago. Not once! Instead, I mourn how quickly this beautiful time in my life has sped past me. I wonder, am I still youthful? How many more opportunities will I have to be gobsmacked by the realization that 365 days have come and gone since a moment in time was memorialized with a photo?

If I think about it too much, which I often do (hello, anxiety), I will sometimes feel paralyzed, not wanting to move a muscle, lest the moment leaves me without my noticing, lest I open my eyes and I am ninety-five years old and my novel isn’t written, my children are grown, my body doesn’t work.

The way I try to combat this fear is by paying acute attention to the moments I know I will miss. Those golden hour front porch moments, those middle of the night moments rocking my son, his head resting on my chest. Of course, as a mother of young children, those moments I know I will one day feel nostalgic about are infinite.

The way I try to combat this fear is by paying acute attention to the moments I know I will miss. Those golden hour front porch moments, those middle of the night moments rocking my son, his head resting on my chest.

Our family took an after-dinner walk the other night. I felt homesick because I knew that soon it will be dark before dinner. Soon the warm autumnal glow of the landscape will be cool blue, gray, white. The paths we walk along now will swiftly be covered in snow, and after-dinner walks will be in the elusive times of the past. It may just have been my subconscious yearning for sameness, exhibiting its aversion to change. But as autumn is the first to reveal, change is a wonderful thing. It just happens to be rather difficult for some of us.

I came across a passage from an email I subscribe to called Daily Dad, which spoke of a similar sentiment.

“At some point, you will look back at this moment in your kids’ lives with the misty wistfulness of nostalgia. It doesn’t matter what the future holds for them, or which paths they take, you will look back at this time with a sense of longing.”

That feeling is why I miss my daughter being four. She is four, but I already miss it because I am aware that it won’t last forever. It won’t even last long, and that terrifies me.

Melancholic it may be. But in a way, feeling pre-nostalgia can help you appreciate the present moment, the only moment you actually have.

You don’t have to be fearful of passing time like me to know that nostalgia is imminent, specifically regarding time with our loved ones. It’s only natural to long for the way things once were. We’d be inhuman if we didn’t.

I had a conversation with a family member about pre-nostalgia recently. She had never heard of it, and when I explained it, she said that it was familiar to her but it came to her in the shape of regret. When she watches her children and grandchildren grow, she experiences pangs of regret that these moments will soon just be memories. While the semantics are different, the dynamics of her rueful feelings and my feelings of pre-nostalgia are similar: a vast joy in the moment, the realization that it won’t last forever, and sadness for its impending conclusion.

There is an untranslatable Portuguese word that encompasses something close to this feeling: Saudade. I first learned about this word in a novel, The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George. The main character “had tasted the saudade of life, a soft, warm feeling of sorrow – for everything, for nothing,” the book reads. It goes on to define the lovely word: “A yearning for one’s childhood, when the days would merge into one another and the passing of time was of no consequence. It is the sense of being loved in a way that will never come again. It is a unique experience of abandon. It is everything that words cannot capture.”

It’s beautiful, bewitching. But there is also something a bit nefarious about pre-nostalgia. It presumes that you want things to be the same in the future, and that can’t be the case. In the winter, I will miss autumn, yes. But what if autumn didn’t change? What if it stayed autumn forever? The implications of that desire are such that, for it to be true, a whole lot of other things would have to be wrong. That is to say, if winter never came this year, we’d have much bigger problems on our hands than, to use the flawless phrase from Daily Dad, the misty wistfulness of nostalgia.

Perhaps what’s so rapturous about pre-nostalgia is the great fortune to feel so alive. How lucky we are to have moments we wish we could hold onto forever!

The grip of pre-nostalgia can indeed be strong. It can pull you out of the moment you are experiencing, the very moment you are longing for, and taint it with your dread of its escape. Ruining the moment you love so much is tragic, as it leaves you with nothing—not the memory of it, not even the moment.

Pre-nostalgia isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it just is. So what do we do with it? We notice it. We accept it for what it is—a future yearning for something in the present—and then we move on and continue enjoying the moment or phase we are in.

Perhaps what’s so rapturous about pre-nostalgia is the great fortune to feel so alive. How lucky we are to have moments we wish we could hold onto forever! How incredible to experience a consciousness that feels so content, so delightful, we wish it would last!

And in a way, it does last. When the nostalgia we’re already feeling connected to does eventually visit us, we get to relive that wistful moment preserved in time, the current moment visiting our future selves. Disorienting? Sure. But how fortunate we are to have this kind of awareness; how rich our lives can be once we acknowledge it.

Kolina Cicero is enamored with stories – reading them, writing them, getting lost within them. Other things she loves include yoga, traveling, and taking cooking, Italian, and writing classes. Her first children’s book, Rosie and the Hobby Farm, was published in July 2020.

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2021 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts to Please Anyone on Your List

Jacob Scott

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I like giving gifts. I do my best to listen closely and notice where there is a need or want. Paying attention to these tiny details is what makes gift selection impactful. But sometimes, this method doesn’t work. Sometimes, I’m stuck in a rut, and I have no idea what to give to that person on my list. I do not despair, however, because I’ve got an ace up my sleeve—a go-to list of items that I know will be suitable for anyone on my list. 

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite go-to pieces from Terrain for the holidays. These are a few of the products on my gifting list this year (and ones I wouldn’t mind receiving myself, TBH). 

Comfort and joy. The simplest gifts sometimes are the best. This is the softest wool blanket that will look good anywhere it’s draped. I love the bright pop of color in a product that is oftentimes neutral.

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I never seem to have matches available. I buy a box and then they get stored somewhere, rarely to be found again. These glass cloches with matchsticks are a practical, elegant solution to tucking away industrial-sized boxes of matches.

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This time of year I enjoy bringing the outside in, incorporating natural elements into the decor when possible. These evergreen bark tree candles not only look lovely but also emit a subtle fir scent when burned.

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I’m obsessed with mushrooms. These ornaments are constructed much like vintage glass ornaments, but with a fun psychedelic, glittery twist. We are decorating the trees in the house with individual themes this year, and these ornaments have inspired me to do a very whimsical food theme.

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This is one of those items any gardener would love but would rarely think to buy for themselves. I would LOVE to receive this as a gift (hint, hint). It’s such a fun little sign that feels very English cottage to me.

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For those of us not lucky enough to live in a year-round temperate climate, outdoor fireplaces are a must! The shape and construction of this outdoor fireplace are dreamy. It would be an ideal addition to any outdoor winter gathering.

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These socks are the ultimate end-of-the-night treat. They’re incredibly soft, cozy, and warm.

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The humble dish towel is my go-to for hostess gifts every single time. You truly cannot have enough of them. Terrain has a wide selection of whimsical, beautiful towels to choose from.

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I have wholeheartedly embraced the adult coloring book phenomenon. The structured coloring is relaxing for me and helps me get unstuck when I’m in a creative rut.

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Editor’s Note: This post was sponsored by Terrain. The compensation we receive in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post, and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow us to continue to develop dynamic unsponsored content. Thank you for supporting our partners!

Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.

BY Kate Arends – November 18, 2021

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I’ve Owned the Instant Pot for 5 Years…Here’s My Honest Review

Jacob Scott

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We’re doing a series of product reviews here on Wit & Delight where I offer more in-depth information on tried and true products I’ve been using for months (or years) that have changed my daily routine for the better. These reviews are intended to provide detailed information on products that may be of interest to you, so if and when you’re in the market for such an item, you have all the info you need to decide whether or not to make a purchase.

Next up on the list? The Instant Pot I’ve owned since 2016. Let’s dive into the review, and please let me know in the comments if you have any further questions!

Chances are high you’ve heard of this versatile kitchen gadget before. The particular model of the Instant Pot I own is a seven-in-one gadget that can be used as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer. I received the six-quart version as a Christmas gift from my mom in 2016, after hearing her talk about it consistently for a good eighteen months prior.

I’ll admit, when I first received the Instant Pot as a gift I was somewhat intimidated by it and didn’t actually start using it right away. It wasn’t until I started seeing it come up a lot on cooking shows on YouTube that I really got into using it. I once saw a chef I admire talk about how they loved using it to cook simple staples like beans, rice, and soft-boiled eggs, and from there my curiosity was piqued.

When I started using the Instant Pot, my main pain point in cooking a meal was that there were certain elements that would take quite a while and make the overall cooking schedule more complex (e.g., beans that took forever to soak and cook). The Instant Pot speeds up the cooking process, which I greatly appreciate.

The first thing I tried in the Instant Pot was pulled pork for tacos and I loved the ease of the entire cooking process. I now use it to make rice, beans, meat, and more. When we host my family this holiday season, I plan to use the Instant Pot for big batches of beans (which I’ll use for bean dip, bean soup, bean broth, etc.), soft-boiled eggs (to put on toast), and to slow cook a pork rump.

I love that it makes my cooking process more seamless and faster and that everything I make is consistently really well done. I also love how user-friendly it is and I find the timer so helpful, especially as someone who has a short attention span and a tendency to forget things while cooking. 

I’ve been cooking with the Instant Pot for years. It does look a little weathered but it’s not an appliance that sits out on the countertop all the time and needs to look pristine, so I don’t really mind. The pot itself (inside the exterior) looks brand new; it’s really easy to clean and has held up just as well as my all-clad pans.

The most important thing I’ve learned when it comes to cleaning the Instant Pot is that you need to keep the seal really clean. I’ve found that when I use it a lot, the seal can get a little crusty, so washing and drying it properly is key to its longevity.

If you like to make things from scratch and want to make your cooking process more seamless, this is for you. In my experience, it eliminates the need for a slow cooker, which makes one less appliance you need to have in your kitchen. 

If you’re a serious meal prepper, the Instant Pot is a wonderful appliance to have on hand for weekly meal prepping. Plus, it doesn’t take up prime real estate on your stovetop, which you may already be using to cook other dishes. This would also make such a good gift for that person on your list who already has “everything” else.

Should you be interested in making a purchase now or in the future, I’ve included links below from a handful of different sources, depending on where you prefer to shop. Thank you for supporting our business by shopping through our affiliate links. It’s so appreciated!

Instant Pot 6qt Duo Pressure Cooker via Target
Instant Pot 6qt Duo Pressure Cooker via Amazon
Instant Pot 6qt Duo Pressure Cooker via Best Buy

Editor’s Note: This article contains affiliate links. Wit & Delight uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

Kate is currently learning to play the Ukulele, much to the despair of her husband, kids, and dogs. Follow her on Instagram at @witanddelight_.

BY Kate Arends – November 19, 2021

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