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. ❤

8 Ways to Celebrate National Coffee Day

Happy National Coffee Day my friends. If you hadn’t gathered by the name of my blog, I am a big fan of coffee. I was a barista for 3 years, and to date, it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. I loved it. I blame my Harry Potter obsession for my adoration of making coffee – being a barista is basically just brewing potions all day. And when it comes to drinking coffee, well, there’s nothing better.

I know I’m not the only one who loves coffee, and National Coffee Day is definitely something to be celebrated! If you needed a few ideas on how to embrace this wonderful day, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive in.

8 Ways to Celebrate National Coffee Day (September 29th)

  1. Go to a local sit-down coffee shop, order a butterbeer latte to stay, and spend some time enjoying the vibrant environment a coffee shop has to offer.

  2. Surprise your friend or partner with a coffee, or Venmo them $5 to go get one themselves. Caption it “Happy National Coffee Day. Your coffee’s on me this morning!” and watch how excited they get.

  3. Pick up a pumpkin pie americano from a local drive-up coffee shop, head to the closest park, and stroll around while you sip your hot bevvy.

  4. Head to a main street café or shop, get a brown sugar + oat milk americano, find a window seat, and watch the people and cars go by.

  5. Snag a frosted maple latte from your favorite drive-up, and hit the road for a long scenic drive. Don’t forget to blast your favorite music, turn the heat on, and roll down the windows.

  6. Make a delicious pot of coffee at home by adding cinnamon to your grounds, find a cozy place to snuggle up, and sip your coffee while you read a book, color, do a puzzle, or read a magazine.

  7. Buy FIVE $5 gift cards to your favorite local coffee shop and hand them out to friends, co-workers, or strangers! $5 is just enough to buy a latte or frappe and you’d be surprised how stoked people will be for a free coffee.

  8. Make a to-go mug of coffee with some 100% pure maple syrup, oat milk, and a dash of pumpkin spice, bundle up, and go outside to watch the sunrise.

There you have it, 8 ways to celebrate this holy day. And it was short and sweet, just how I like my coffee! I hope you all have an amazing, delicious, caffeinated National Coffee Day.

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.

Coffee Conversations Pt. 1

Today’s the start of a new series: “Coffee Conversations”. I wanted to create this series to give myself the ability to write with a little more freedom. My inconsistencies with writing stem from my innate need for everything to be perfect before I hit “publish”. The writing has to be clear and meaningful, the graphics have to be beautiful and polished, and the timing has to be just right. While I value all of those things, they prevent me from showing up here because if it’s not “good enough”, it’s not making the blog.

Coffee Conversations opens up a casual space for me to post things that are outside of my niche, or at least outside of my normal content. It gives me the opportunity to discuss things that I would, say, with a friend over coffee. So today’s Coffee Conversation is just a little life update, because a lot has happened since we spoke last…

It all started with a Vision Board

In January I made a vision board for my upcoming year. I focused on things like Home Ownership, Gratitude, Family, Friends, Writing, Career Clarity, Hygge, and Money. I understand that I’m putting myself in a vulnerable space by showing you what’s on my vision board, but I’m showing you because many of the things I put on it have come to fruition.

Here are some life events that have happened since I was here last:

  1. I wrote an article for a small Veteran Magazine, and they weren’t able to publish it.
    I poured my heart into an article about how the Hygge Lifestyle could benefit Veterans. Due to covid and funding, they weren’t able to publish it. Maybe I’ll post it here sometime. This was a huge lesson for me in disappointment and bouncing back.
  2. We lost our dog Nana, after 7.5 wonderful years with her.
    The most unexpected and devastating thing to happen. We were blindsided by losing our sweet girl. It’s been a little over 4 months and it still seems unreal that she’s gone. People aren’t lying when they talk about the deep, painful grief that comes with losing a dog. As time goes on, the reality that she’s truly gone sets in and we try to create a new sense of normal, but I’d be lying if I said life wasn’t a little bit empty without her around.
  3. We found our potential dream home, 4 days after we lost her.
    Another incredibly unexpected turn of events. You know how they say “when one door closes, another opens”? This was one of those moments. In the midst of our pain and grief, we got a phone call that a home in one of our favorite neighborhoods was going to go up for sale in the next few months. If you know anything about the housing market in Kalispell, MT, you know that finding that type of sale situation is pretty much the ONLY way for lower-income people to buy a home right now. We were in absolute shock, and completely conflicted on this new sense of hopefulness in the middle of the hardest time of our life. We reached out to the seller and he scheduled us to come look at the house the following day, which just so happened to be my 26th birthday.
  4. We BOUGHT our dream home.
    If you were waiting for a happy ending, you’ll find it right here. We fell instantly in love with the house. We went through the process without a realtor, which proved to be slightly difficult. But after two months of documents, paperwork, inspections, and a TON of patience, we moved into our first home on…. drumroll please…. April 6th, a.k.a 4/06, a.k.a “Montana Day”. If you don’t believe in receiving signs through dates, symbols, and numbers, you should now.
  5. I photographed my best friend’s labor
    I had the absolute honor and privilege to attend and photograph my best friend’s third and final labor. It was intimate, beautiful, and then very, very scary. And although it was slightly traumatizing, it somehow made me feel more prepared for when my time comes (maybe soon?).

There were so many incredible things that happened between all of these major life events. We’re 6 months into this year and it has been one of the most intense, surreal, memorable years of my life. If you refer back to my vision board, you’ll notice that I was able to accomplish multiple things on it already. Which has just proven to me that manifestation, gratitude, and hard work pays off. But it also proved that some of the most incredible things in life come in the most unexpected moments, and that our most valuable and cherished things can be ripped from us at any moment, too.

Wow, that chat got deep. I hope you’re still with me, and I hope you enjoyed catching up like ol’ pals. Please keep checking back for some valuable content coming soon, like hygge summer to-do’s, date night ideas, how to make a hyggekrog in your home, and so much more. Thanks for being here, friends.

Let’s catch up again soon.

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

*This post has been updated with the 2021 Calendar*


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.

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. ❤

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