September 12, 2016

A Cold And Flu Survival Kit

Gah! What a week! I was all ready to have a productive first week of fall until I woke up last Tuesday with a terrible head cold and sinus infection. I almost never get sick—two and a half years since my last cold—but my number was up this year. Just in case yours is too, I've assembled a simple survival kit so you’re not running to the store at 3am groggy-eyed and half-dressed. 

{Scented candles}

There’s something about being sick and bedbound that makes me feel restless and, uh, not so fresh. If, like me, you’re prone to cabin fever, try opening a window and lighting a scented candle or two. For whatever reason, fresh, fragrant air makes me feel healthier and more energized.

{Cashmere-wrapped hot water bottle}

I started using hot water bottles during my college gap year in the Cotswolds, where they’re as common in the winter as soup. Whenever I curl up with one, I’m instantly transported back to my little stone rental in Churchill Village. *Caveat: when it comes to buying a hot water bottle, you must go high quality, for safety reasons. I recommend this one by Johnstons of Elgin. The cable-knit cashmere coozie—absolutely genius, amiright?—keeps the bottle warm for hours and hides that peculiar rubber odor. Once you use it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy one sooner.

{Hot Toddy w/ Jack Daniels}

Let me just say, long live this steamy, spicy drink! All you need for a peaceful night’s rest is hot water, honey, lemon, some basic spices (I used a cinnamon stick and a dash of nutmeg), and a wee bit of Jack (no more than a shot). So much better than cough syrup!

{Lemon Perrier}

Another sickbed staple I borrow from the bar is lemon-flavored Perrier. It has the flavor and carbonation of soda without the added sugar, plus it ticks the “drink plenty of water” box.


When you’re sick, there’s nothing worse than standing in a cold kitchen, waiting for your tea kettle to boil. Time to invest in a Keurig, if you don’t already have one. It’s faster than the kettle and cheaper than the drive-through. 

{Burt’s Bees throat drops}

When I saw these at the drugstore last week, I had to do a double take. Burts Bees makes throat drops? Yes, and they’re amazing. If you think their chapstick is yummy, you'll love these. Just imagine spreading a creamy gob of honey on your tongue. Mmmm! Bonus: they actually work. They effectively quelled my coughing without emitting a menthol vortex. I am never without a bag in my tote.  

{Warm wool blanket}

When you grow up in a drafty old house, you learn to love wool blankets. Open any closet in my parents’ 120-year-old house and you’ll think Pendleton was robbed. To this day, I keep a stash of them in my closet for sick days and chilly winter nights. I’m currently smitten with this striped wool throw from Gant’s new home collection that, to me, looks like winter’s version of the Turkish towel. 

{Sudafed PE}

In my family of sinus sufferers, taking the last Sudafed is like consuming the last of the milk on Saturday morning. Lesson of the day? Replace your go-to medicine BEFORE the stash runs out or expires. If you suffer from any sinus related issues, you should *always* keep a few Sudafed in your purse emergency kit. The things we learn from watching Mary Poppins…


Chicken soup, schmicken soup. Behold the healing mojo of pho. The steamy, sinus-clearing broth, the savory slices of beef, the whorl of ramen-like noodles, the perky zing of cilantro and lime, the basil, the sprouts — so addicting! I’ll be ordering these steamy tubs of goodness long after my sinuses clear up.

{Warm but breathable PJs}

Lets be real: sick days mean all-day PJs, a lazy hairdo, and no makeup. No self-reproach here! I recently ordered two of these vintage-inspired pajama sets from J.Crew (just in time for my cold!) and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The fabric is soft and warm yet lightweight enough that I didn’t feel too hot sleeping under the covers. This, combined with the piping and the color, makes them too awesome to resist.

{Peppermint Tea + ginger}

Another drink I crave when I’m sick is peppermint tea. Whenever I consume something infused with mint, I feel decidedly perkier. And you mustn’t forget the fresh ginger root, which curbs nausea and aides in digestion. Can we just skip pumpkin spice season and start peppermint season already?

{Puffs Kleenex with Vicks}

Kleenex Puffs ticks all the boxes—soft, infused with Vicks, includes lotion. I went through five boxes—FIVE—last week and my nose came out unscathed.