Archives for December 2017

12/22/2017

Ultimate Winter Guide – 33 Activities

Even the chirpiest optimist can become an Eeyore once winter doldrums hit, making any event an opportunity to bemoan the cold. To remedy the season’s challenged climate, we look to Scandinavia’s ritual of hygee that honors simple comforts and a healthful approach. Winter activities and an attention to nurturing rituals will transform the cold season into an anticipated time of year.

Winter Activities to Beat Cold Weather Doldrums

1. Layer pieces: Find enjoyment from the art of bundling up. Winter layering can be found in everything from decor, cooking and clothing. Your cold weather wardrobe checklist should include long johns, wooly garments, boots, trapper hats, scarves, mittens and insulated coats. The result shows personal style to keep you warm and more enthused to engage in outdoor winter activity.

Make dressing for the outdoors an event.

 

2. Winter activities: Carve a day around ice skating, skiing, snow shoeing, sledding–cold weather sports invigorate.

Sledding is a simple form of fun that never tires, aside from all the extra runs.

 

3. Cook, eat: Treat yourself to comfort food staples, notably soups, chili and slow cooking recipes.

Making and eating chili, along with homemade bread, is a winter mainstay.

 

4. Light candles: The moody glow of candles create an atmosphere. For those who have a fireplace, keep it active.

From a single candle to enough lights to illuminate a church, candle light is a simple environment-builder.

 

5. Keep a journal: Journal writing is the best way to chronicle your life and record everyday accounts.

Pen to paper–journal writing builds your mind and is a tangible account of one’s experiences.

 

6. Antiquing/flea markets: Forego scanned items and shop for the most authentic wares. The event will also connect you with interesting people and things.

Finding one-of-a-kind-pieces at antique store makes for an interesting day.

 

7. Read: Build your library, make a point to read each day, and consider joining a book club.

An attention to book display creates an environment and encourages reading.

 

8. Themed nights: Create an evening around a fun activity such as chess, games, homemade pizza, ice cream for dinner.

The timeless pleasure of board games.

 

9. Volunteer: Assist a charity, which is a great way to support a cause and make new connections.

Volunteering has many benefits, including assisting a charity and making new connections.

 

10. Museums: Look into current exhibitions or use free time as an opportunity to escape to a museum, which will inspire at any age.

View from Manhattan’s Guggenheim to take in works of art within a work of art.

 

11. Watch the world outside your window: One of those simple rituals that is remarkably restorative. Staring at something other than a computer screen also works.

Watching the entertainment from your own window.

 

12. Movies: Attending a film in the true intention of cinema–popcorn, plush seats, large screen, surround-sound, IMAX–is a great way to carve in some excitement to an otherwise dreary evening.

Films are the best way to escape your reality for awhile.

 

13. Home projects: Refresh with paint, wallpaper, and treat those home upgrades you have been putting off as a fun project.

Wallpaper a wall for a new look.

 

14. Participate in local activities: From the YMCA to historical societies, add your name to event lists.

 

15. Day trips: Explore nearby destinations for a memorable trip without major travel upheaval.

Being introduced to a new place expands your horizon.

 

 16. Sporting events: Whether it’s your son’s fencing match or an arena outing, watching a game is a fun group activity.

Sports outings rev up the mood, even if you are a bystander.

 

17. Indoor sports/join a gym: Continue the athletic trend by joining a gym. Try out new activities that may become a lifelong favorite.

Taking on new heights.

 

18. Learn something new: Engaging your mind culturally and artistically is the renaissance way. Learn a language, instrument, how to cook–the options are boundless.

Learn guitar, add music to your environment.

19. Music appreciation: Sample a different channel on YouTube, discover new bands, attend a concert.

20. Impromptu walks: From sunset to dusk, your regular route takes on changing expressions on a winter day.

 

Finding new effects in the moods of a sunset.

 

21. Photography: Commemorate even the most banal moments and test your techniques.

Play with different settings, backgrounds and styles to create original imagery.

 

22. Enroll in a class: From Watercolor Basics to Food Culture among Romance Languages (offered at Harvard), education is not just about going to a good school and embarking in the real world, education is a luxury.

Enrichment programs are both enlightening and restorative.

 

23. Create a spa day: Try household items to treat yourself to a high end spa treatment.

Make a fruit mask with mashed berries, banana and honey.

 

24. Roast marshmallows outdoors: S’mores are more fun in the winter.

Roasting on an open fire, just be sure to stay away from the smoky side.

 

25. Explore a nature center: Indoors or outdoors, nature center’s are a gentle reminder of a life lived in unison with the outdoors.

Nature centers encourage a life connected to the outdoors.

 

26. Recreate a historical snow day: Back when heat was fueled by coal and you wore kerchiefs to bed, a reminder of how tough our ancestors were in handling the cold.

An old-fashioned horse drawn buggy in the snow eludes to more romantic times.

 

27. Create a scavenger hunt in your library: Be creative and use the corridors, shelves and special nooks in your library as a scavenger Mecca.

See our library in a new way by creating a scavenger hunt.

 

28. Visit thrift store and yard sales: There is something comforting and nostalgic when connecting with other people’s castoffs. Perhaps you may even score that priceless find.

Sifting through other people’s former goods for your own find. Bargains abound and proceeds support a cause.

 

29. Chop wood: It doesn’t get any simpler than the ax to wood moment on a chopping block, call it “utility therapy.”

A winter’s worth of wood made from a therapeutic activity.

 

30. Make maple syrup: Surprisingly simple and delicious, look into local offerings or consider a beginner’s kit.

Find out places that hold maple syrup making classes or research via online.

 

31. Add lighting: Place light sources in any vacant space and upgrade to LED bulbs, which is a nod to the environment and better long time investment.

Arresting lighting fixtures with dimmers lifts the spirit.

 

32. Create a nesting environment: Comfort is defined in layers of blankets, robes, throw pillows, hot water bottles, slippers in every room… Use color to rev up a space. Blend textiles together for a natural den that exudes organic luxuries.

A compilation of linens in vibrant colors creates the ideal winer nest.

 

33. Flowers: Fresh blooms, fruit or natural elements are available year round, creating a warm seasonal mood despite what the forecast may say.

Bring in flowers or natural elements to your spaces to trick the senses of what time of year it may be.

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12/14/2017

Holiday Helper – Reusable Gift Wrap

Wrapping paper, scissors, gift wrap, tape and a sea of unwrapped presents, to some and the sight has the same reaction as surgical tools on a dental tray. Take the angst out of holiday wrapping by using reusable gift wrap options, such as fabric coverings or leftover boxes and decorative ribbon. You’ll save countless hours, no paper cuts, it’s good for the environment and this holiday changer is as simple as inserting a gift into a bag and tying a bow.

An eco-friendly, stress-free approach to presents with reusable coverings.

The Japanese, who are masters in transforming lifestyle rituals into a simple model of efficiency, have been on to wrapping gifts in fabric long before it was ecologically savvy. In the same decorative, creative manner as dressing in a kimono, the art of Furoshiki bundles up presents in folds of fabric.

Following the Japanese custom of Furoshiki, which uses fabric to conceal gifts.

Stock up on reusable gift wrap in an assortment of festive styles and sizes to use every year. It just may thrust paper holiday wrapping into the same novelty category as canned snow and colored blinking lights.

Resources:

 

Colorful reusable bags: VZ Wraps

Classic reusable bags: Enfold

 

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12/08/2017

Ultimate Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot chocolate deserves its proper pageantry, which means avoid adding boiling water to the contents of a foil-lined package. When made with real cocoa and embellished with an assortment of toppings, this warm winter mainstay will become your drink of choice no matter what the season. Delight your guests with the ultimate hot chocolate bar for an easy, warm winter event.

Hot chocolate is the main event of this seasonal gathering.

 

Guests will enjoy making their own beverage while sampling new ways to create a winter drink staple.

Cocoa powder and shaved coconut, naturally decadent.

What you’ll need for a hot chocolate bar:

Use elegant small plates for the embellishments: real cocoa, sugar, coconut, candy, whipped cream.

Organic candy cane stirrers adorned with seasonal candies.

Recipe for one cup:

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Scoop powder and sugar in cup and add hot water. Garnish with coconut, crushed chocolate, whipped cream or cinnamon and a candy cane stirrer.

 

Bring in colorful accents that give the setting a festive jolt.

Resources:

Hammersmith Gold Teacup: http://www.mikasa.com/tea-cups-and-saucers/hammersmith-gold/tea-cup/5117476.html#q=gold%20cup&start=0&hitcount=4

Hot Chocolate: http://www.woodhousechocolate.com/dark-hot-chocolate

Cocoa Powder: https://www.valrhona-chocolate.com

Organic Candy Canes: http://wholesomesweet.com/product/organic-candy-canes/

Organic Delish Fish:  http://wholesomesweet.com/product/organic-delishfish/

Chocolates: https://www.ashers.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=christmas&x=0&y=0

A Little Princess: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/316849/a-little-princess-by-frances-hodgson-burnett/9780147513991

Nest Holiday Candle: https://www.nestfragrances.com/shop-by-collection/seasonal-collections/holiday

Ziggy Dessert Spoons: https://www.frenchbull.com/products/ziggy-dessert-spoon-set-of-6

 

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12/03/2017

The Meghan Markle Effect

The last time we saw an American actor who snagged a prince was with Grace Kelly. Iconic Grace is a lofty comparison but Meghan Markle is primed for the role. In a country where our royalty is NFL quarterbacks, film stars and the Kardashians, having one of our own marry a royal generates excitement. Markle is a worthy ambassador of our nation.

Meghan Markle bids farewell to her acting career and lifestyle site, The Tig, to move onto more royal matters. Photo courtesy of The Tig.

This is what we adore about Meghan Markle:
  1. Smart: A degree from Northwestern confirms this.
  2. Creative and savvy: Markle was a calligrapher to earn extra dollars while she entered the acting game.
  3. Talented: She blows up the screen with her presence.
  4. Multi-racial: Another role model to integrate colors.
  5. An advocate: She speaks of gender equality, visits refugee camps, and is a feminist in a gentler form. Her beliefs are innate, she is bi-racial, and at age 11 she wrote Proctor & Gamble to edit their Ivory dish soap campaign, which stated that “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.” P&G changed “women” to “people”.
  6. Understated: She is not a walking bling advertisement pushing brands but has her own crisp style that isn’t as fussy as your typical royal.
  7. Character: She has rescue dogs.

To have a public figure who is likable, genuine with a distinct beauty, and poised to be a public figure with a more substantive direction than a group of reality stars moaning about calorie intake, Meghan Markle is a personality of note.

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