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. ❤

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.

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.

A Coffee Shop Shoot

When Meggan of Meggan Jessat Photography suggested we do a photo shoot, my first thought was “Ohhhhh! Coffee Shop!”. I’ve always wanted to do a photo shoot in a dimly lit coffee shop with great natural light and exposed brick. Que the little gem downtown Kalispell we call Colter Coffee.

We met up, “bright” and early on a Saturday morning. The weather was doing that dreary, depressing thing that I love so much. Meggan needed a little snack because she’s a busy AF, badass momma who has a lot of shit to do, okay? We sat by the window while she munched her delicious looking wrap, and we got to know each other a little better.

Then, all of the sudden, like it was just a natural thing that you do when you’re out with a friend…. She started taking my picture.

It was so easy. So natural. I just hung out, and she took my photo.
And that’s how you know you’ve found a good photographer.

Plus, I mean, come on….. look at these photos.

I seriously recommend Meggan for photos. Click here to check out her website, here to check her out on Facebook and here to see her Instagram!

She edits her photos so naturally, she’s bubbly and sweet, and she will NOT disappoint.

She’s going places, people!

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
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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
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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.

10 Important Life Lessons Learned in 2018

Oh, hello there. It’s been awhile. 5 months to be exact.

A lot has changed since I spoke to you last.

I wanted to discuss some important shit that I’ve learned over the past year. Some, more serious than others. All of these things stemmed from real life scenarios, and if you’d like more detail on *certain* ones, email me. Maybe you can relate.. Maybe you can learn from me.. Or maybe you can laugh. We’ll just have to wait and see…

1. Don’t let people walk all over you, seriously.

If you’re giving your ALL to something, and it’s not being recognized or acknowledged, it’s time to move on. Exhausting all of your loyalty, energy and commitment and still being asked to do more and being told you’re not doing good enough is NOT a normal or healthy environment. Move on..

2. It’s really good for your heart & soul to just forgive people.

People don’t always necessarily deserve your forgiveness, but you do. Holding onto that hatred is HEAVY. And more importantly, sometimes the people that hurt you change, and deserve your forgiveness… You won’t know until you give them the chance to show you.

3. Go after shit, even if you don’t think you’re “fully qualified”.

Seriously, just give it a shot. Whatever it is. But go into it confident, and sure-of-yourself, or no one will buy it. You won’t know if someone’s willing to give you a shot unless you try. DUH.

4. Buying a latte or an americano 5 days a week costs a lot of money, stop it.

For real though. Have you ever calculated it? It’s like $850 – $1000 a year… That’s toooo muchhhhh $$$$$$.

5. There are really awful people out there that put on a REALLY good show.

There’s nothing you can do about this, really. Just tell your story, be honest, be transparent, and don’t stoop to their level. And most importantly, recognize who these people are and stay far, far away from them.

6. Step outside of your comfort zone more, like, waaay more.

A phrase I’ve tried to live my life by since I was 17; “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. It’s the most important quote I’ve ever come across, because it resonated with me, and I put it into effect. It was terrifying to fly across the world alone at 17 to be with Paul, but look at all the love and joy it brought me. It was terrifying leaving my “stable” job of two years to pursue something totally different, but it’s made a massive difference in my life. And the most relevant example; it was absolutely terrifying to find out that I’d won a scholarship to attend a 4 day Marine Dealer conference in Florida, that I’d have to fly to, and attend, completely by myself…. But I did it. And if I’m being completely honest, it fucking changed my life.

7. If you have goals set, laying in bed all the time will not help you accomplish them.

I know this seems disturbingly obvious, but it really hit me hard this year. There were a TON of things I wanted to accomplish & get done, but I spent most of my time laying in bed watching Netflix instead.. I don’t even like watching TV that much… WTF.

8. Smile more, be kind & friendly, and make conversation with people.

I did a lot of this over the past 6 months. But I did it a TON on my recent Florida trip. And I found out that there are a lot of good, cool, interesting people out there that will talk to you about some pretty interesting shit. Listen to them, learn from them, give people a chance to tell you their story. Sometimes having meaningful conversations with unexpected people changes your outlook on life.

9. Take better care of yourself; Skin, body, teeth, health, mental state, etc.

I’m almost 24 and I’m already seeing and feeling the effects of not taking proper care of my body. Without turning this into a New Year’s Resolution, I’ll just leave it at; taking care of yourself is extremely important. Start young. Acquire healthy habits early on. #SELFCARE Understand that there’s only one alternative to being healthy…. 

10. Recognize toxic behavior and cut that shit out.

In yourself AND in others. Knock it off.. Being a bitch to your significant other for no reason other than you’re in a bad mood? Stop. Nitpicking, nagging, being negative? Quit it. Being walked all over and just letting it happen? “Giiiirl, you betta stahhp”. Seriously. Whatever your toxic behavior is that you’re letting consume your everyday life, change it.

That’s it, that’s all I learned in 2018.
Haha, jokes. 18′ was quite a turbulent year for me, these were just some of my top lessons that made the biggest difference.

I have an overwhelming amount of goals I’m setting and going over for 2019. I don’t even care that it’s a cliche. I’ll be spending the day going over these important life lessons (and others); studying them, digesting them, and inserting what I’ve learned from them into all of my goals for the new year.

Booyah.

Did you learn any important lessons in 2018?
What stuck out to you?
What changed you?
What caused you to grow?
Share some important shit you learned this year >