A Very Cozy Baby Shower

I hosted my own baby shower.

Yes, a few wonderful people in my life offered to do it, but I’m a control freak who likes to make things extra difficult. So I planned it myself, hosted it at my home, and thankfully got help the morning of from 3 amazing women, and my angel of a husband… otherwise I truly might not have made it.

It should be no surprise that I didn’t want to go with any of the adorable baby shower themes that are already out there – with precious decorations and accessories readily available to order. No, I had to go with a theme that I could find absolutely ZERO decorations, accessories, or inspiration for.

Therefore “a very cozy baby shower” was birthed. And I think it turned out pretty dang cute.

Also, as a side note – I do think it’s kind of hilarious and on-brand that THIS was our baby announcement back in June:


But back to the shower – The whole morning was such a sweet, wonderful, blur. My mom drove all the way from Washington to attend. Her, my mother in law, and my best friend all came over to assist me with food prep and set up the morning of, and they worked SO hard. All my lovely friends and family (that I could afford to invite – my house is small) showed up! We ate brunch, had fall mimosas (sparkling apple cider for me), opened gifts, and I had everyone fill out “advice and wishes for the parents to be” cards. It was perfect, and I’m so grateful for everyone’s love and generosity.

Below you’ll see the invites, pictures from the shower, the menus for food and drink, and some fun details about how I pulled it off. If you’re ever looking to host a cozy themed shower, at least this might provide you with a little bit of the inspiration I was never able to track down:

Click the photos to make them larger, and to scroll through the gallery!


On the food menu:
* Spinach & Artichoke, and Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
* Harvest egg bites
* Bacon skewers and turkey sausages
* Apple spice glazed donut holes
* Cinnamon rolls
* Homemade pumpkin muffins
* Apples, blackberries, pears and grapes with caramel
* Cracker and cheese board

On the drink menu (not pictured):
* Apple cider mimosas
* Cranberry pear mimosas
* Cinnamon sugar rims & apple, pear or cranberry garnish
* Sparkling apple cider
* Hot chai

Shower Specific Purchases:
* The balloons, “advice and wishes” cards, and “sweet baby boy” banner were from Amazon
* The BABY balloon was from Target
* The card drop box and “Let’s Get Cozy” banner were both made by my sweet mother in law

All the Cozy Little Details:
* Played a cozy playlist that I made on Amazon Music featuring artists like Hozier and The Lumineers
* Put the Netflix fireplace show on TV
* Lit many, many candles
* Made sure all my throw blankets, pillows and faux-fur rugs were out and styled
* Chose a neutral and earthy color scheme
* Kept it simple

I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to get a picture of the “Mom”-osa bar, but oh well! I did my best, tried not to stress too much, and I think it ended up being a really beautiful shower.

Is there anything you would’ve added to amp up the cozy level? Let me know in the comments.

A Cozy Summer Bucket List

Happy Summer, cozy friends! I know it’s been awhile, but I’m back with another bucket list because hey, why not?

Something dawned on me while writing this post… this will be my last childless summer. This time next year, I’ll have a 6 month old. I’ve been curious for a long time what hygge will look like once we have kids, because I know life will look quite different. I’ve also always wondered if moms of young babes ever read my posts about hygge/coziness, and scoff – “this lady is telling me to veg out for the day as one my cozy bucket list items, honey, can you imagine!?”.

I understand that parenthood can prevent many situations from being cozy. But it doesn’t have to. Like with all things in life, you must simply adjust your cozy rituals so that they fit into your life. But what should never happen is that you quit seeking coziness altogether, because this stuff is important!

Here are 8 cozy things to check off your bucket list this summer:

  1. Take a Nap Outdoors
    I didn’t discover the joy of this until 1st trimester exhaustion accidentally got the best of me when I was sunbathing on the deck. You see, I’m quite the control freak, so normally I require a strict set of rituals before any type of sleep can commence. But the sun was trickling lightly through the clouds, the birds were singing their hearts out, and there was a gentle breeze… I slid my hat down over my eyes and next thing I know, I woke up. Try it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  2. Wake Early & Do Something That Brings you Joy
    I’m a firm believer in every season serving a specific purpose, and summer is no exception. While I don’t consider it the coziest season by any means (comes dead last, in fact), it does offer a few very hygge features that are worth taking advantage of. One being that delicious morning light. I encourage you to soak it up as much as you possibly can, while you can. Combine that, with an activity you love (writing, reading, watching the birds) and you’ll have a beautiful and very cozy morning, every time.

  3. Have a Fire
    It doesn’t matter what type! Campfire, bonfire, gas firepit fire, a little table top fire, shoot, even lighting the tiki torches… Flames offer a comforting glow that is impossible to replicate. The warmth and smell add even more to the experience. Just add a marshmallow to a stick, and every worry will temporarily subside. (Don’t roast marshmallows on the tiki torches though, please).

  4. Go for Evening Walks or Bike Rides
    I know, I know.. “Exercise after dinner? No thanks!”. But hear me out, evenings in the summer are some of the most beautiful and peaceful times there are. At no other point in the year is it as bright and warm at 8pm as it is in summer – and that’s something to be savored. Take it slow and easy, and stop regularly to observe your surroundings.

  5. Find Water and Get In It
    Science says that water has an almost instantaneous calming effect, which is why submerging in water is almost always on my cozy lists. I don’t care if it’s a lake, river, pool, sprinkler, splash pad, or a kiddie pool in the back yard. Summer is the only time you can take advantage of all of these and not freeze your butt off. If you’re feeling stressed or down, water will almost always turn your mood around. Try running through a sprinkler without cracking a smile, I dare you.

  6. Curl Up in a Pool of Sunlight
    Cats and dogs have the right idea when they follow the sun spots around the house, so why don’t we follow suit? Find a warm & glowy stream of light pouring in through your window and curl up in it! Even if you have to lay on the floor, and even if it’s just for a few minutes. There’s something magical about soaking in sunlight while you’re inside the safe walls of your home. Bonus points if you read a book or color.

  7. Bake a Summer Treat
    Cobblers, crisps, sweet loaves made from garden grown vegetables, and light cakes with fresh fruit and sweet cream. Is your mouth watering yet? I know baking is usually reserved for the cooler months, but with all the fresh produce available in the summer, why not take advantage and incorporate it into your baking? We deserve sweet treats in the summer, too! And let’s be real, sometimes popsicles just don’t cut it.

  8. Eat Outdoors
    Whether it’s a weeknight dinner out on the back deck, a BBQ with the family, an intimate picnic with your partner, or a potluck with all your friends! Eating outside is a unique way to amplify the coziness that already comes with sharing a meal with people you love.

I hope at this point you have some ideas swirling around in your head on how to make this summer much more cozy. But in case you needed a few more options, here are FIVE bonus ideas:

  • Visit a Farmer’s Marker
    Buy a sweet treat, or a fresh lemonade and enjoy them while you admire the hard work of your local community!
  • Go to the Fair
    Cotton candy, corn dogs, farm animals and carnival rides – nostalgic and very, very cozy.
  • Make a summer playlist
    I love R&B personally, but Hozier and The Lumineers offer a sweet and chill summer vibe too. Make a summer playlist and live by it.
  • Do a mid-summer deep clean of the house
    Whoa, is it just me or can everyone else tell the windows have been open constantly!? HELLO DUST. Summer is a great time to do a nice deep clean, and having a clean home is very cozy.
  • Go on a quick road trip
    There has to be a little town nearby that you’d like to visit, do it! Even if it’s just for the day. Play tourist and visit all the shops and local attractions while you’re there.

I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy all of these simple yet priceless pleasures this summer. Which one are you looking forward to most!?

Embracing the Calm Found in Hygge

This article was originally featured in the Heroes Journal, a quarterly magazine published by an amazing nonprofit called Heroes Homestead. To learn more about the incredible work Heroes Homestead is doing for our Veterans, click here.

What is hygge, and how on earth do you pronounce it? Hygge, pronounced hue-guh, is a concept created by the people of Denmark to combat the depression that can set in when you live in a place with long, dark winters. It was a new way of life – a life that encouraged you to embrace the winters, rather than dread them.

The Danes yearned for a way to look forward to the frigid dark season ahead of them, so they created one, and it worked! To date, Denmark is one of the happiest nations in the world, and their happiness is widely attributed to the fact that hygge is a core part of their culture. They traded in their grouchiness and dread, for gratitude and exciting rituals.

To put it simply and impactfully: Embracing hygge means implementing habits and traditions that lead to a calmer, cozier, more intentional way of living. You don’t need long winters or inclement weather to embrace hygge, just the desire to feel more joy and comfort in your day to day life.

When my husband got out of the military and we moved back home, I knew we would need new habits and rituals that would help with the transition. With his panic and anxiety disorder, finding ways to wind down and self-soothe became vital. We turned our home into an oasis where comfort was king. When the sun sets we turn on lamps and string lights, and light candles. When I get home from work we put on our favorite lounge clothes and cook dinner together. And when tensions are exceptionally high, we pull out all the stops: Lights down, a long hot shower, comfy clothes and blankets on, “cup of calm” tea, lavender oil, and word games. Hygge is the perfect lifestyle to help turn chaos into calm.

I know you may still be feeling a little vague about WHAT hygge is, so here’s a few bullet points to sum it up.

Hygge (hue-guh) is a lifestyle focused on:

  • Cozying up
  • Doing everyday tasks with magic and intention
  • Creating fun, comforting rituals
  • Building environments that are warm and inviting
  • Embracing connection and friendship
  • Hot drinks, comfy clothes, hearty meals, blankets, warm lighting, delicious treats, laughter, and joy

Before we go into all the different ways you can embrace hygge in your everyday life, I’d like to show you the guide that really helped put this concept into perspective for me – The Hygge Manifesto (originally created by Meik Wiking in The Little Book of Hygge):

Now that we’re more familiar with WHAT hygge is, let’s cover some real, actionable ways you can incorporate it into your day-to-day life:

  1. Make a habit of paying attention to light. Fluorescent lighting is the opposite of hygge, so think warm, comforting tones. When you plan to spend time in a room: Turn on your warmest lamps, light a few candles, and see how the lighting affects your mood.
  2. Indulge in delicious treats. Drink more tea, coffee, hot cider, and hot cocoa – If you have a hot beverage in hand, you will be forced to slow down. And If you want a sweet treat, have one. Life’s simplest pleasures can be found in a freshly baked loaf of banana bread.
  3. Get super comfortable. When you get done with your daily priorities, change into the most comfortable thing you own. Whatever you’re most comfortable wearing, put it on. And remember the four S’s: Socks, Slippers, Sweatpants, and Sweaters.
  4. Keep things light. Obviously the hard conversations will always need to be had, but make the rest of your conversations light, joyous and positive. Let go of biases, grudges and drama.
  5. Really grasp how wonderful the safety and shelter of your home is. Your home should be an oasis – a calm and cozy shelter that harbors you from the elements. You are very blessed to be able to look out into the wild, knowing that you’re safe.
  6. Be fully present whenever possible. It’s so easy to do everything distractedly, but you can’t focus on savoring sweet moments if you’re only half-there. Put the phone down, take a few breaths to clear your mind of the day’s worries, and be right there, in the moment. Your friends and family need your full attention, and being present is very hygge.
  7. Find ways to be more harmonious. This is exceptionally difficult for those of us with strong views and big personalities, but competition has a time and a place, and hygge-times are rarely them. There’s no shame in mellowing out based on your surroundings.
  8. Create equality in all aspects of life. One must feel equal, to feel hygge. So share the load – Help your husband take out the trash, or do the dishes if the wife usually does. Choose to listen if you normally speak, or give praise if you normally receive it.
  9. Soak in each moment like it’s your last. Maybe that’s a little cliché, but you know it’s true. Play catch just a little longer, scratch the dog’s ears a little extra, linger during the hug goodbye. Find gratitude in each day, in each moment, and let it wash over you. Life is good.
  10. Together is the best place to be. After all, the concept of hygge was birthed to be enjoyed together. Find your people and let them know how thankful you are to have them in your life. Time spent with the people we love is where life’s most special memories are formed.

I’d say at this point, we all have some new ideas and rituals to put into play. I think that hygge is first a foremost, a mindset shift. A shift that could benefit every veteran family, especially those who are newly transitioning into civilian life. The stillness can be overwhelming at first, but once you figure out how to embrace it, the magic truly begins. And if creating a calm, cozy, more intentional life is something you crave, you’ve definitely found the right inspiration. I’ve spent the past few years studying hygge and it has made my husband and I both more calm, grateful and happy.

If you take anything from this article, let it be this: Make small changes each day that bring more hygge into your life, don’t be afraid to say the word out loud (HUE-GUH), and remember this “Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday” – Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge.

For more hygge resources, I highly recommend reading “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking, you can also learn more about hygge from these posts on my blog.

A Cozy Lovers Gift Guide

Hello my friends. I am back with a 2021 gift guide – serving up the coziest present ideas for all those warm and fuzzy lovers in your life. I own and love many of the items on this list, and if I don’t already own it, you bet your cozy ass it’s on my personal wish list. 😉 We’ll get to the goods soon, but first, a little info about this guide.

I curated this list with thought and insight, and before I added each of these delightful items to the graphic, I asked myself the following questions:
1) Will it increase the cozy-factor in the receiver’s life?
2) Is it affordable? (I hate gift guides with $200+ gifts, give me a break)
3) Would I use or wear this item personally?

Asking these questions made these gift ideas a no-brainer, so, without further ado – A Cozy Lovers Gift Guide:

No.1 The Little Book of Hygge | No.2 The Little Book of Lykke | No.3 Starry Night Aroma Light
No.4 Sixty Piece Custom Puzzle | No.5 Boucle Throw Blanket | No.6 Stoneware Candle Holder
No.7 Modern Candle Lighter | No.8 Ribbed Taper Candles | No.9 Soft Knit Socks
No.10 Cozy Beanies | No.11 Lavender Bubble Bath | No.12 Shower Steamer Tablets
No.13 Gooseneck Kettle | No.14 Open Toe Furry Slippers | No.15 Chunky Cable Knit Throw

There you have it, hygge lovers! Fifteen useful, beautiful, no-nonsense gift ideas – suitable for anyone who loves to warm up & get cozy. I hope you all have a stress-free holiday season, filled with delicious food, people you love, and of course a few cozy gifts to exchange. You deserve it, hell, we all deserve it after these last few years!

Now run along and get cozy. ❤

A Very Hygge Fall Bucket List

I recently stumbled across an incredibly cynical article in which the author stated that American’s are “doing hygge wrong” because “hygge is not just wearing fuzzy socks and lighting candles”. While this article absolutely annoyed me (mostly because there’s nothing wrong with putting on fuzzy socks, lighting candles, and calling that hygge time), I was still able to wrap my head around the message she was trying to convey. Which is simply that hygge is a very real, very important concept that Denmark created as a nation, to alleviate the seasonal depression and “winter blues” that came with long winters, short days, and inclement weather.

In other words, hygge is a conscious lifestyle choice where one actively seeks out and chooses activities, habits, and lives that revolve around comfort, coziness, and joy. To this day, the craziest thing about hygge to me is that I’ve been living my life this way for as long as I can remember – always seeking out the coziest environments, finding joy in the little things, looking for ways to make everything more comfy. I didn’t discover the word for it until 2017: H Y G G E ! Thank god for the Danes! Also if you need a refresher on what hygge is, how to pronounce it, or how to implement it, check out my other posts Hygge: Part 1 and Hygge: Part 2!

As for me and my thoughts on “doing hygge wrong” – I firmly believe that as long as your mindset revolves around making every situation as cozy and inviting as possible, you’re doing hygge right. There is no wrong way to do hygge. Last year I got wonderful results from the fall bucket list I created, entitled How to Have the Most Hygge Fall Ever. It felt like my civic duty to make another one this year, with a fresh new set of ideas! Let’s dive into:

A Very Hygge Fall Bucket List

  1. Go Apple or Pear Picking
    Find a You-Pick apple/pear orchard, a family member or friend who has fruit trees, or one on the side of the road (they’re out there!) and pick some fresh fruits. Load them into a pretty wicker basket for extra fall vibes. Then take them home and make delicious baked goods or treats with your harvest. I recommend this Old Fashion Apple Crisp! Hot crock pot apple cider, and apple-pear sauce would be delicious, too.

  2. Do a Fall Specific Craft
    Get outside and forage for real fall foliage. Decorating with real items from nature is a very hygge way to bring the outdoors in, and soak in the beauty of fall that much more! Collect some fallen leaves, pine cones, or acorns, and create beautiful decor with your findings. This real leaf garland would be fun and simple, as would this diy potpourri. You don’t have to forage either, get some real pumpkins and scatter them around the house!

  3. Visit a Fall Festival or Market
    Nothing puts you in the mood for sweater weather quite like attending a Fall Festival or Farmer’s Market. Being surrounded by baked goods, pumpkins, corn stalks, and fall vegetables is the perfect way to soak in all the best things about autumn. Stroll around the market with a hot latte or cider, and check out all the booths.

  4. Make Homemade Hot Apple Cider (& drink it by a backyard fire)
    Have an abundance of apples from your apple picking adventure you already went on!? Hot Apple Cider is the perfect thing to use them all up! Plus, it’ll make your house smell like heaven. For a super easy cider, use this crockpot recipe. Once you’ve made your homemade cider, sip it by a campfire with a friend or loved one, only then will you know what hygge really is.

  5. Designate an Entire Day to Staying in and Being Cozy
    Some days this fall, you’re just not going to want to get out and do anything. We’ve all been there. The beautiful thing about the hygge lifestyle is that days like this are encouraged. So if you’re planning to veg out for the day, make the most of it: Comfort food, hot drinks, your coziest loungewear, fall shows or movies, your warmest blanket, your partner and/or a furry companion, candles and fuzzy socks! (Hah! See what I did there?).

  6. Make a Fall Snack Board and Enjoy with Friends
    Build a fall inspired charcuterie board, pair with wine, hard apple cider, or a fall cocktail (or mocktail), and invite your friends. Because no one wants to put that much energy into making a charcuterie board if no one is going to see it! Check out Pinterest for some amazing charcuterie inspiration.

  7. Watch a Fall or Halloween Movie and Eat Junk Food
    Caramel apples, chips and dip, kettle corn, jalapeno poppers, candy corn, sliders – you name it! Get all the snacks lined up and choose a fun and engaging fall movie. Some of my favorites that I recommend: Harry Potter, Hubie Halloween, Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus, The House with a Clock in it’s Walls, and The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

  8. Go on a Scenic Drive with Fall Drinks from a Local Coffee Shop
    Going on a scenic drive may have been on last year’s list, but this year I added a fun twist: bring along a delicious fall drink from a local coffee shop. Why a local shop, you ask? A) They make better coffee than coffee chains do, B) Supporting local is good for your community, C) Local shops are significantly less expensive and D) They have better syrup and flavor options. Try asking for a Frosted Maple Latte/Americano: maple flavoring & white chocolate, or a Pumpkin Pie Latte/Americano: pumpkin pie sauce, cinnamon (powder), and whipped cream.

  9. Bundle Up and Go for a Fall Bike Ride
    One of the best ways to see, feel, and smell the fall foliage is by going for a bike ride! The cool wind in your face, cozy clothes and unbelievable sights makes it even more real that fall is here. And when you get home, you’ll feel grateful to warm back up with some hot tea or cocoa and a slice of zucchini bread.

  10. Try Some New Fall Comfort Food Recipes
    In my opinion, one of the best things about fall is the comfort food. Soups, casseroles, rolls, and seasonal flavors. Fall is a great time to try out new recipes, like this Autumn Pear Salad or this Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup. A few of my classic favorites are chicken noodle casserole, garlic and herb chicken with scalloped potatoes, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and balsamic chicken and mashed potatoes.

  11. Visit a Pumpkin Patch and/or a Corn Maze
    Talk about the ultimate fall experience, nothing beats visiting a local pumpkin patch. The wonderful thing about pumpkin patches is that most of them are made for fall fun, so they usually have corn and hay mazes, fall treats for sale, petting zoos, and many more fall activities. Bring the kids out for a very cozy, fun fall day. No kids? Go anyway! There is no shame in embracing your childlike sense of wonder and enjoying the little things in life.

  12. Try Something New
    Last but not least, and it may seem the opposite of hygge, but try something you’ve never done before! Go for a fall horseback ride, take a haunted hayride, play tourist in your hometown. Any cozy fall activity you’ve ever wanted to try – I dare you to just go out and do it!

I hope you found the perfect activity (or two) to try out this fall. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably looking for all the different ways to soak up this magnificent season as best as you can. There is so much beauty in this transition; slowing down from the rush of summer, swapping our tshirts for cozy knits, and hunkering down for the seasons of comfort and slow living. It goes by fast, so make sure you’re taking it all in!

Want more fall inspiration? Check out my All Things Autumn board on Pinterest!

Enjoy fall you lovely, cozy seekers.

A Very Hygge Gift Guide

*Links have been updated (where possible) as of 10/18/2021. Some items were no longer available and did not have a suitable alternative.

The only gift guide you’ll ever need! Okay, that’s probably not true… But it is very near and dear to my heart. Possibly because I own (and absolutely adore) most the things on this guide. I love when people make gift guides based off products the actually have and love.

If you know someone who needs more cozy in their life, you’ve found the right place. This Very Hygge Gift Guide is the perfect selection of gifts to please any hygge-lover.

Here’s a quick reminder of all the things hygge living revolves around:


Now that we’re refreshed on everything hygge revolves around,
let’s get to this gift guide:

L I N K S
1. Linen Waffle Robe | 2. Peace of Mind Essential Oil Kit | 3. Modern Bird Feeder (similar)
4. The Hygge Game | 5. Speckled Travel Mug | 6. The Little Book of Lykke | 7. The Little Book of Hygge
8. Delicious Baked Goods | 9. Faux Fur Slippers | 10. Cropped Fleece Pullover (similar) | 11. Salt Lamp
12. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Camera | 13. Traditional Medicinal Tea | 14. Cement Candle Houses
15. Cozy Joggers | 16. Cement Candle & Candle Holders | 17. Bodum Gooseneck Kettle
18. Starry Night Aroma Light | 19. Edge Wine Glasses | 20. Knit Throw (similar)

  1. Cozy up in this lightweight linen waffle robe.
  2. Get absolutely zen with this “Peace of Mind” essential oil kit (with adorable carrying case)
  3. Observing nature is very hygge, especially with this modern bird feeder that looks like a cozy home.
  4. The Hygge Game is 300 entertaining, interesting and thoughtful questions designed to spark cozy conversation.
  5. Sip all the hot drinks out of this cute, sturdy ceramic mug.
  6. The Little Book of Lykke is all about happiness – very hygge.
  7. The Little Book of Hygge is where my journey began, and where I suggest everyone starts learning about hygge.
  8. You can find amazing baked goods at your local bakery. Shopping local + sweet treats = ultimate hygge.
  9. Keep your feet warm and stylish with these cozy faux fur slippers.
  10. This warm, fashionable cropped pullover will make you feel put-together while practically wearing PJ’s.
  11. Salt lamps cast a beautiful golden glow that adds instant hygge to any room.
  12. Capture all your lovely cozy moments with an old school instant camera.
  13. Traditional Medicinal Blends cater to boosting your mood, and they really work.
  14. Put a candle in these Cement Houses and admire the instant homy, cozy feeling they produce.
  15. A soft pair of joggers is a necessity for comfy lounging.
  16. Add earthy texture and interest with these local, cement candles.
  17. A beautiful modern electric kettle perfect for all the afternoon tea.
  18. Cast a beautiful starry glow with this essential oil warming light.
  19. The most stunning wine glass you’ll ever find, perfect for curling up by the fire.
  20. Add style and warmth to any occasion with this heavy neutral knit throw.

I hope this guide gives you inspiration for the perfect cozy gifts. I know many of us are seeking hygge in these troubling times, so gifts that remind us to embrace the warm, comforting little things in life are definitely the way to go this year.

November Gratitude Challenge

*To participate in the November Gratitude Challenge, check my Instagram stories each morning in November!*



Is doing a Gratitude Challenge in November cliché? Maybe.
Do we all desperately need 30 straight days of counting our blessings though? Abso-f*ckin-lutely.

This challenge may be a little, well, challenging. I get it. It’s been a really rough year.
Let’s validate your feelings by going through some of the BULL SHIT we’ve experienced so far in 2020:
1) We’ve been in a global pandemic for 8 months. E I G H T M O N T H S. With no end in sight. Regardless of how you feel about it, hundreds of thousands of people have died from it and that’s horrendous.
2) One of the most turbulent presidential elections of all time is about to go down. There’s a strong possibility that EITHER winner will lead to some form of civil unrest. (Did you vote??? GO. VOTE)
3) Many incredibly influential people have died: RBG, John Lewis, Chadwick Boseman, Bill Withers, Kobe and countless others.
4) Thousands of people are out of jobs, housing, and more.
5) This is getting grim, I’ll stop listing things now.

The point is, no matter how tough 2020 has been, there is SO MUCH we all have to be grateful for. (As long as Betty White holds out for another few months). So with that, I’m issuing you a challenge.
I’m challenging you to write, (or post) an item of gratitude every day for the month of November.
I have provided some prompts to help prevent redundancy and creative blocks, and I will be posting each one of them on my Instagram stories every day from November 1st til’ November 30th.
See the calendar and a few IG templates below to know what you’re getting yourself into.

*calendar has been updated for 2022*

Whether you choose to write each item in a journal, or follow along on Instagram to screen shot my story each day, is completely up to you. I would encourage you to do both, and to go into more detail about your gratitude in your journal.

The most important thing is that you make expressing gratitude a daily ritual.

I promise, it will change your life.

https://www.instagram.com/lo.ponder/

Now let’s get started with counting all the beautiful things life has to offer.

How to Have the Most Hygge Fall Ever

This year has been a doozy. Seriously, what a whirlwind. SEVEN months ago, I created what would become my most popular blog post ever – “Embracing Hygge During Quarantine“. I think it’s pretty obvious why it exploded; people are more intrigued by hygge this year than ever before.

With everything that has happened, and the election coming up, I feel like it’s my DUTY to make sure you have the most hygge fall, ever.

Fall is already incredibly hygge, but I want to make sure that you take time to slow down, and do activities that will help you feel calm, fulfilled, and cozy.

Here are 10 ways to have the most hygge fall, ever.


Let me expand a little bit:

  1. LEARN ABOUT HYGGE
    Read The Little Book of Hygge, or if a book is too much, check out my original Part 1 & Part 2 posts about what hygge is and why you need it in your life. Once you truly understand the purpose of hygge, you’ll be able to appreciate it more
  2. INDULGE IN TREATS
    We all have a childlike desire to go to town on a caramel apple or a bag of kettle corn, so do it. There is comfort and happiness to be found in having a treat here and there.
  3. PLAY IN NATURE
    When was the last time you jumped in a pile of leaves? Climbed a tree? Picked an apple? It’s probably been a long time, like, since-you-were-a-kid-long. I think it’s time to get outside and do it.
  4. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
    Sure, this can be done anytime of year. But when the busy-ness of summer starts to settle and the days start getting short, seasonal affective disorder can creep in. An amazing way to combat that is to count your blessings, in writing, at least a few times a week.
  5. ADJUST YOUR LIGHTS
    Speaking of shorter days, the sun setting early means it’s time for: candles, string lights, and salt lamps. Seriously. You need to light up your space in a way that brings comfort and contentment. Make it a habit to turn them all on right before the sun sets each evening.
  6. GO OUT FOR FIKA
    If you missed my post about fika, you’re gunna want to check it out. In short, fika means “to go out for coffee and a bite to eat with your friends or colleagues”. As I say in my blog about it “Covid has created this fear of being around our friends and I think that as long as we’re all responsible, aware of our bodies and how they’re feeling, and hygienic, we can (and should) make this work.”
  7. SET UP A HYGGEKROG
    Call it whatever you want; a nook, a nest, the comfiest corner of the couch… All you need to do is pick a spot in your home to spruce up with extra blankets & pillows, a coaster for your hot tea, a reading light, some candles, and whatever else makes you feel ultra-cozy.
  8. HAVE A BONFIRE
    Big comfy sweaters, rainboots, wool socks, orange glowy light from a crackling fire, a bright yellow moon on a crisp October night – nothing’s more hygge than that. Don’t forget to bring the hot apple cider and some friends.
  9. DECORATE PUMPKINS
    Are you catching on to the trend? There’s a reason for the term “child-like sense of wonder”. Doing things we did as children is cozy and nostalgic, but most importantly, fun. No one ever frowned while carving a pumpkin, plus, candles go inside them which is very very hygge.
  10. GO FOR A DRIVE
    Quite possibly my most favorite hygge-fall activity. Look up the most scenic fall drives in your area, or if you’re feeling brave, just hit the road.

Obviously there are so many fall activities you can do that are cozy and fun, this is just a list to get you started.
The most important takeaway is that learning about and embracing hygge is a wonderful way to enrich your life.

If you’re constantly seeking out and embracing things that bring you simple joy, you will always be joyful.

Happy Fall my sweet friends. ❤

What the F is Fika?

Excuse me? You kiss your mother with that mouth? What is this Fika? Why should you care?

Fika: An important part of Swedish culture – it means “making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat.”
Oh, so, a coffee date? Put simply, yes. But you know I’m not here to put things simply… So, surprise! There’s more to it than that. 😉

It’s funny (not), I drafted this post in November 2019. November and December of 2019 were horrible for reasons I wont go into… So I figured I’d come back to writing it when I was in a better place emotionally, then 2020 happened. 10 months later and I’m READY to talk about fika.

Fika is a social concept. It requires 1) going out 2) with friends 3) drinking coffee and eating together 4) hugging, connecting, and conversing.
2020 hates Fika. So I almost didn’t write this post.
But the reality is, we need some damn Fika right now, my friends.

As is said on the Swedish Culture blog Hej Sweden : “Swedish people – often described as distant, calm and unsocial – love their fika. It gives them the opportunity to meet and hang out with friends, get to know new people, check out potential partners or network with business folks”. Covid has created this fear of being around our friends and I think that as long as we’re all responsible, aware of our bodies and how they’re feeling, and hygienic, we can (and should) make this work.

Mid way into writing this post, I was looking for images that represent fika and I came across a photo of the cast of FRIENDS. I couldn’t help but think – man, they “went for fika” just about every single day, that’s how it should be.

It was their favorite thing to do together, and for good reason –
it’s good for your health to go grab coffee with your friends.

Ready to start going out for fika? Here’s what you need:

No.1) C O F F E E: Fika first and foremost means “to break for coffee” so of course, you need something to sip on. But tea works too! Get a hot or cold beverage and sit down to savor it. Sip slowly, and appreciate the satisfaction a delicious beverage brings.
Pro tip: Order an americano with white chocolate & toasted marshmallow, half sweet, with an inch of cream (or alt. milk). Thank me later. 😉

No.2) T R E A T S: The second element to fika is getting a treat! It may be a small meal, or just a quick sweet pick-me-up. Whether savory or sweet, take time to fully embrace it. How’s the taste? Texture? Smell? What does it remind you of? Take it all in.
Pro tip: Try a scone! They’re incredibly under-rated and deserve way more praise than they get. Savory scones are amazing too.

No.3) F R I E N D S: Going to a coffee shop alone is a wonderful treat, but going with a close friend to catch up is a whole other type of magic. Visit your favorite coffee shop with your closest confidant, or maybe a pal from your past, and get lost in conversation and reminiscing.
Pro tip: Ask your friend (and vice-versa) what some of their favorite flavors are, whether they want hot or cold, and their milk preference; then order drinks for each other as a fun out-of-the-norm surprise.

No.4) R E L A X: Possibly the most important element of them all, this is a time to relax and unwind. Just as the cast of FRIENDS does, let your guard down and really enjoy each other’s company. Actively listen. Have meaningful conversations. Sit in a comfortable chair or couch. Going for fika should be restful and rejuvinating.
Pro tip: Find a secluded area in the cafe or coffee shop for you and your friend(s). The easier it is to hear one another, and let your guard down without fear of others overhearing, the more relaxed you’ll be.

I think you know enough now to take fika into your own hands. Now you just have to make it happen. Call up your friend for a Saturday coffee date. Let them know you learned about this thing called fika and you want to give it a shot. Most importantly, have some good coffee & great conversations.

A Cozy Summer Reading List

This summer is…. Weird. There, I said it.

Not that I ever have extravagant, exciting summer plans… But it feels odd that those things aren’t even an option.

No bars, concerts, festivals or house parties.

2020 is the summer of chill.
And CHILL is synonymous with cozy.
And COZY is synonymous with books.
And BOOKS that revolve around happiness, comfort and joy seem like something we all need right now.

So I present to you a Cozy Summer Reading List:

You may have noticed that this reading list correlates a little bit with my last post “Summer Hygge Challenge” where I challenged you to do things like “Run through a sprinkler” and “Read about something unfamiliar” (see what I did there, that’s kind of like, foreshadowing).

You didn’t think I’d tell you to read about something unfamiliar and then NOT give you my list of faves, did you?

Here’s some info on the books, so you can gauge if you want to spend time reading them or not:

1) The Little Book of Hygge:
“Danish secrets to happy living”. Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, and the author of this book literally runs a company called the Happiness Research Institute (dude knows a little bit about happiness).
Read this book if: You love getting cozy, you love fall & winter, you like to find little things that bring you joy, you like hot drinks and warm socks and things like that.

2) Business for Bohemians:
“Live well, make money”. The author of this book has done multiple things throughout his life such as writing articles for popular magazines, running a book store / cafe, and most recently, creating an online learning establishments for adults. The most important thing to know about him is that he does NOT want to work for the man.
Read this book if: You want to learn more about business, you want to start your own company, you want to do these things un-traditionally, you hate working for people, you want to learn the nitty gritty of running a business the way that YOU want to run it, and still have time for life and fun.

3) The Little Book of Lykke
:
“Secrets of the world’s happiest people”. Do I really need to say more? No? I will anyway. While the Danes are the happiest people on the planet, happiness isn’t exclusively Danish; cultures around the world have their own unique approaches to leading a contented, fulfilled life.
Read this book if: You like being happy, and finding new ways to be happier, you enjoy learning about other cultures and what brings them contentment, you want to feel inspired.

4) The Art of Making Memories:
“How to Create and Remember Happy Moments”. Do you ever try to think back to some of the best times in your life, only for the memory to be incredibly fuzzy? You know that summer 2013 was one of the best of your life but you can’t even remember why… This incredible book talks about ways to make your memories more… well, memorable. So you can look back fondly and clearly.
Read this book if: You want to remember important things in your life, you have issues with clear memory, you want to recall stories from your life to share with your children and grandchildren one day, you like being happy.

5) Ikigai:
“The Japanese secret to a long and happy life”. According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai—a reason for living. And according to the residents of the Japanese village with the world’s longest-living people, finding it is the key to a happier and longer life. You could call Ikigai your passion, your niche, or your dream… but whatever you call it, FINDING it and practicing it every day is what Ikigai is all about.
Read this book if: You want to reassure yourself that finding your passion is important, you want to learn how to live a longer happier life, you enjoy staying busy, you love learning about other cultures.

All 5 of these books have changed my life. Not in some grand, earth shattering way. They just made me slow down and think about the way I spend my time, the things I do, the people I spend time with, and the things I spend my energy on.

They have all taught me how to live a more intentional life.

I hope you read one (or 5) and get all the joy and benefits from them that I know you will.

Please post on your Instagram or Instagram story if you read any of these, and tag me: @lo.ponder I would love to see who ends up reading these amazing books.