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.

SUMMER HYGGE CHALLENGE: PANDEMIC EDITION

Last year (also known as b.c. or “before corona”) I created the August Hygge Challenge to help cozy lovers everywhere learn how to make the summer months more hygge. (STILL don’t know what hygge (pron: hue-guh) is!? JEEZ. Click here then here.)

I began that post with what I now think is a hilarious statement: “So it’s the middle of summer; the cozy-lover’s nightmare.” If I had only known then what I know now. It seems 2020 has given the word “nightmare” a whole new terrifying definition, and summer all the sudden doesn’t seem like such a burden.

Things look a little different these days. Last year’s challenge had things like “Have a Potluck” and “Go to a Farmer’s Market” which are now deemed “risky” activities. So regardless of how you feel about the current state of things, I thought it’d be helpful to create a new challenge:

SUMMER HYGGE CHALLENGE:
PANDEMIC EDITION


Catchy, huh? 😉 Let’s get started.
1) Go for a bike ride. Don’t have one? Rent one! Or find one at a Garage Sale or Facebook Marketplace. Ride around the neighborhood, or on a trail. You’ll be amazed at how freeing it is.
2) Run through a sprinkler, any one you find will do. Have someone take a pic or video so you can watch it later. It’s fun to see the joy on your face when you do something carefree and child-like.
3) Read a book about something unfamiliar. Hygge, Lykke, Ikigai, Fika. Don’t know what those things are? Your life will change once you do! Do some digging about foreign concepts that make life great, it will open a whole new world. If a book is too time consuming, read a magazine or article, or A BLOG! *wink wink*
4) Make a s’more on the fire. Or the microwave, or the oven, or the BBQ. Simple, sweet, & slightly labor intensive. Just like when you were a kid! Get your face messy and your fingers sticky, and enjoy. (wow that was kind of naughty, get your head out of the gutter)
5) Jot down a few things each day that you’re grateful for. If there was ever a time to start counting your blessings, 2020 is IT. Don’t try the whole 10 things per day.. That turns it into a chore. Are you grateful that you got to listen to your favorite music on your way to work this morning? Write it down! Did you sip wine in peace on your patio when you got home? Jot that shit down.
6) Take a day (or two. or three.) and just veg out. Life is SO busy, and sad, and scary. You need to take some time to just, be. Lay out in the sun with a spray bottle of water to spritz yourself every 20 minutes. Find a big tree with shade and lay under it. Go to the park and just chill for a few hours. We don’t always have to rush to the next thing.
7) Ditch Facebook for ONE whole day. Yeah, I said it. At least 25% of what you see on Facebook is upsetting, negative or triggering. Especially if you’re one to enter the comment’s section. So ditch it. Spend an entire day (or more, if you want) without scrolling through Facebook. Be present, and make note of how you feel at the end of the day.
8) Go swimming! When was the last time you jumped into the lake? Cannon balled off a cliff? Floated the river? Dove into a pool? Soaked in a hot spring? And ladies: When was the last time you went to a body of water and fully submerged yourself – hair, face, and all? Swimming is such a fun, nostalgic activity. I dare you to do it.


The future is hazy right now. No one really knows if or when things will get back to normal. But as long as we find fun, comforting, exciting activities to keep us busy, things will work out. I challenge you to embrace this summer hygge challenge before the season changes.

xoxo, Lo

Embracing Hygge During Quarantine

I wanted to start this post off by saying that I am NOT taking the threat of COVID-19 lightly. I don’t want to talk about the negative aspects of this pandemic, there’s too much of that out there.

What I DO want to talk about the fact that the biggest thing people can do right now to stay safe and healthy is to just STAY HOME as much as they can. With staying home, comes the exciting opportunity to make it as cozy, comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Enter: HYGGE

Don’t know what hygge (pron: hue-guh) is?
Here’s the definition: A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.
And here’s the manifesto that breaks it down. >

Now that you have a fresh reminder of the basic elements that Hygge engenders, we can get down to business:
Embracing Hygge During a World-Wide Pandemic.
Woah, never thought I’d be writing this post.
The following is a checklist of basic things you can do/have to make your time away from the world a little more cozy.

  1. Comfy Blankets:
    Because, well, they make everything better!
  2. Books, Notebooks & Games:
    Entertain yourself in ways that are outside of your norm.
  3. Nourishing Food:
    Keeping your immune system healthy has never been more important.
  4. Sweet Treats:
    Find some basic comfort in your favorite dessert. You deserve it.
  5. Unscented Candles:
    Candles create a relaxing and comforting glow that will bring you the calm you need right now.
  6. Hot Tea, Cider & Coffee:
    Just like comfy blankets, a hot drink will help soothe your stressed soul.
  7. Clean, Open Windows:
    Letting in natural light and fresh air is extremely important in times like these. Take all the fresh air you can get!
  8. Cute, Cozy Loungewear:
    Because if you can’t leave the house, you might as well wear something cute & comfortable to lift your spirits.
  9. Indoor & Outdoor “Hang Spot”:
    If you set up a spot with pillows, blankets, and a place to put your feet.. You’re more likely to spend time there. Find your “hyggekrog”.
  10. Charged Phone & Laptop:
    So, usually your phone & computer wouldn’t be part of a hygge checklist.. But while in quarantine, or practicing social distancing, it’s important to stay in touch with the people you love.
  11. A Safe, Drama Free Environment:
    Turn off the news! Get off Facebook for awhile! You cannot be comfortable and at peace if you’re constantly stressing out.
  12. A Fun and Comforting Playlist:
    Your favorite music will momentarily melt your worries away.
  13. Toilet Paper:
    If you can find it, that is. Hah.

Hopefully this post helps you understand the importance of making your environment warm and inviting in such a turbulent, unknown time. Implementing the Hygge lifestyle will not only bring you peace, but will bring unexpected joy to the little things in your life.

Stay safe out there, we’re going to make it through this.

August Hygge Challenge

So it’s the middle of summer; the cozy-lover’s nightmare.

It’s hot, sweaty, sunny and busy everywhere… and if you’re anything like me, you’re missing the cozy environments and activities that seem to be present in every OTHER season..

But no one said you couldn’t embrace the hygge lifestyle in the summer. If anything, it’s important to find ways to embrace this lifestyle in the summer, especially if you’re not a “summer person”. Need a little brush-up on exactly what hygge (pron.: hoo-guh) is? Check out a few of my last blog posts Hygge Part 1 and Hygge Part 2!

Here are 8 hygge-centered things that I challenge you to do before the long days and summer heat fade into even longer nights and crisp leaves:

  1. Read a Self-Help Book:
    It’s good for you. It opens your mind to new ideas, new concepts, and new ways of thinking. Plus, we all need a little help. Reading is a super hygge activity in itself, and reading to better yourself makes it so much more rewarding.
  2. Play in the Lake:
    Cold water, hot sun, laughter and play. There’s something surprisingly cozy about a day at the lake. Get out, dry off with a big fluffy towel, have a snack, and breathe it all in.
  3. Deep Clean the House:
    I know what you’re thinking… Cleaning!? How in the F*#k is that hygge? Well everyone knows how good it feels when the house is clean. Ultimate relaxation and comfort often comes after making your environment clean and tidy. Kick those feet up and relax now, it’s alllllll clean.
  4. Do Something You Did as a Kid:
    Run through the sprinkler. Jump on a trampoline. Ride your bicycle aimlessly and curiously through the streets. Write in a diary. Eat a hot fudge sunday. Nostalgia is good for the soul, and very, very hygge.
  5. Have a Pot-Luck:
    Round up your favorite people and tell them to bring their FAVORITE dish ever. No big plan, no theme to the meal. Just eat yummy food and enjoy the company. Unplug and tell stories, and listen to other’s stories. Take it all in. This is where memories are made.
  6. Get a Summery Candle:
    I’m burning “blushing amber” right now. It’s sweet mix of floral and musk, reminiscent of watermelon hard candies, grandma’s perfume and a flower garden. Sweet cinnamon pumpkin can wait until October, I promise.
  7. Go to a Farmer’s Market:
    Just go wander around. People put a lot of work into the unique things they’re selling, appreciate it. Buy a few things, sip a coffee or some lemonade. Wear a big sun hat. Embrace that “day at the farmer’s market” like first-season Jess from New Girl would. Your heart will feel warm and fuzzy, I promise.
  8. Lay Out and Star Gaze:
    Nothing crazy. Throw a blanket down… just for a bit. 5 minutes even. Look at those things up there. Wow. When was the last time you did?

I challenge you to do some or all of these things before the end of September. Even if it’s just one. I’d love to hear how they make you feel.

I do not own most of the photos in this post, you can find the source of most of them here.

Spring Hygge Part Two

We made it.. It’s finally spring. If you’re a fairly normal being, you’re probably FINALLY shaking off the winter blues. Cabin fever is going away, bones are thawing, and there are once again signs of life outdoors..

If you failed at embracing hygge (hoo-guh) this winter, or maybe you started the winter off with high hopes and good intent, but got bitter about the frosty barren world and gave up trying.. I have good news for you, Spring hygge is just as good.
Last year we discussed some really great ways to carry the hygge way of life all the way into spring. This year, I’m coming back with even more great ideas to stay cozy and find joy in the not-quite-warm-yet season.

Not sure what it means to embrace the hygge way of life ? Find that out here and here.

Here’s some inspiration for keeping things cozy and hygge this spring!

INVITE YOUR FRIENDS OVER FOR BRUNCH
3

Togetherness is a vital aspect of hygge. Building relationships, making memories, and enjoying time with a select “group” of people that you love is one of the key components to happiness and comfort.

Brunch is the perfect opportunity for hygge because the food is warm and hearty, there’s fresh coffee & hot tea, and bread & butter are a given. Plus, everyone knows that mid morning is one of the best times for natural light.

brunch collage
T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Make it warm and comfy with open windows or doors, candle light, and some fresh blooms.
2. Keep the convos light, no turbulent topics. This is a time for warmth, joy and light fare.

SPEND TIME AT YOUR FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP
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This is probably my favorite hygge tip. The time I feel this lifestyle the most is when I have a window seat at Colter Coffee; the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the gentle whir of the espresso machine, indie music and light, happy chatter. You can watch the cars go by on main street, and it becomes all too easy to get lost in whatever it is you’re working on.

This type of hygge falls under a few different hygge manifesto (see below) categories; Atmosphere, Pleasure, Gratitude, Comfort.. However you view it, it’s a great place to begin understanding the hygge way of life. Get out of the spring rain and sit down at your favorite coffee shop.

coffee shop collage
T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Coffee shops are a great place to work on important projects, but don’t forget to pause every once in awhile to take in your surroundings.
2. If you’re not there to work, try truly unplugging and embracing the atmosphere around you. 

MAKE A BLANKET FORT
2

There’s a cool spring rain falling outside and you want to make your night-in just a little more cozy. How about embracing your inner child, and building a blanket fort? Think about it… When was the last time you did?

It doesn’t matter how you build it; tacks, chairs, sheets or blankets, sturdy, flimsy, simple or complex… Spending time in a fort soothes our deep-rooted human desire for shelter. It is the ultimate cozy atmosphere.

pillow fort collage
T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Spend the night in your blanket fort! How fun to wake up in the morning and experience the true child-like wonder of crawling out of your fort to grab breakfast.
2. I know, it’s tempting to grab the laptop or build the fort around your TV, but opt for story telling and card games instead and see how good it feels to have a screen free evening!

READ A SELF HELP BOOK
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Self-care lies at the root of hygge. And how better to care for yourself than to open your mind to life-bettering advice? Reading is good for the mind and the soul.

Snuggle up by the window, curl up in bed, and delve into the world of self-help. Here are some of my faves: The Secret, The Little Book of Hygge, The Little Book of Lykke, and You Are a Badass.

self help collage
T I P S  F O R  H Y G G E  S U C C E S S :
1. Highlight, underline, and mark important pages.. This ensures that you truly absorb the information.
2. DO NOT be ashamed to read self-help books in public, it is inspiring that you’re bettering yourself.

HYGGE MANIFESTO

These tips are little things you can do to create a more cozy life. I hope in doing them you experience more simplicity, togetherness, comfort, and joy.

There are many more ways to incorporate hygge into your daily life. Start with The Little Book of Hygge, apply the practices, mindset and concepts, and watch your life change for the better.

 DO NOT OWN SOME OF THE PHOTOS ABOVE, ALL CAN BE FOUND IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM ON MY HYGGE PINTEREST BOARD.