The Busy Girl’s Guide to the Ultimate Staycation

Ladies and gentlemen, you are talking to the queen of staycations; I never go anywhere and I never do anything interesting (except writing this blog, of course). Before you start pitying me though, I’ll let you in on a little secret: staycations save you time, money and aggravation and if done correctly can actually end up being incredibly healing.

So what is a staycation anyway? When I talk about taking one, I’m referring to any stretch of time during which you are free from any work-related responsibilities. This is not your average afternoon off, and it’s definitely not working from home. Instead, your staycation is your chance to restore and recharge in whatever way that means to you. It might be an opportunity to catch-up on household chores, personal projects, and tying up other loose ends. Or, it might involve ditching all obligations and doing whatever the $%?! you want.

Whatever your staycation style, I’ve brainstormed some options to help start things off right:

  • clean/organize a neglected drawer, closet or room in your home
  • organize family photos and/or home movies (here’s some tips for digital photos)
  • go for a long walk/hike/bike ride/rollerblade (and leave your cell phone at home!)
  • explore an unfamiliar part of your city, town or neighborhood
  • catch up on your sleep (it’s actually really important)
  • cook or bake your favorite dish, or a recipe you’ve been meaning to try
  • catch up on your reading (here are some simple ways how)
  • paint, doodle, draw or color
  • practice meditation, yoga or just deep breathing
  • call up an old friend you haven’t seen in a while (Facebook doesn’t count)
  • garden or clean your yard (one of my many hobbies)
  • make your own rock garden or terrarium
  • camp out in your own yard
  • practice yoga or pilates
  • spend an afternoon browsing your local library or bookstore (take a buddy!)
  • try a new hobby on for size
  • volunteer
  • make something for your home, or for a friend who deserves something special
  • send a friend or relative some actual snail mail
  • attend a free show or event in your area
  • practice self-care: get a massage, manicure, pedicure or facial
  • research your family tree
  • decorate your reading nook/sanctuary/man cave
  • actually play with your pets (or children)
  • rediscover childhood activities like skipping, sidewalk chalk, or Frisbee
  • have a bubble bath
  • coordinate a new exercise routine
  • teach yourself the latest dance craze, or come up with a routine with some friends
  • practice the art of doing nothing.

Happy staycation!

I want to hear all about your staycation rituals. Share them below or email them to me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. For more ways to kill time, check out my suggestions for when you’re stuck inside here and here.

Book Review: Meik Wiking on Getting Hygge with It

kbb-little-book-of-hygge

I love the fact that one of today’s buzzwords, hygge, is not only Danish, but also that it has no direct English translation (kind of like the Swedish term fika, which I attempt to explain here). At best, we define it as the “art of being cosy”.

In fact, the Swedes have a similar word, lagom, which is closely (but not directly) related to hygge and it means roughly “just right”. The literal translation doesn’t really do the concept justice- it’s a word that’s often used to illustrate the Swedish way of life as well. It’s the idea of getting just enough of what you need in order to achieve satisfaction in life. It’s not a new idea: the mantra of less-is-more is a common thread across Scandinavian cultures and can be found outside of Europe as well. (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, anyone?)

Considering we live in a culture of consumerism and abundance, it makes sense that North American society would latch onto a concept like hygge. We spend so much time making sure our professional lives run like well-oiled machines that we’ve lost the art of relaxation.

It’s no wonder then that how-to-hygge guides such as Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge are popping up everywhere. We don’t know how to be cosy, and we need someone to show us the way.

Unfortunately, this new interest in making your life more hyggeligt (Danish for hygge-ish) is also a powerful way to tap into consumer trends. Someone sent me this article recently about the dark side of hygge, and how this trend has generated tons of new products and marketing campaigns designed to instill a fear of not being hygge enough- unless you have the right socks, blankets, candles, etc.

It made me hesitate when wanting to write about The Little Book of Hygge, which is too bad, because it’s one of those fabulous books that not only makes an for an interesting read, it also looks great on a coffee table. In fact, it’s one of those that I would revisit again and again, because it reads more like a celebration of the Danish culture and sensibility than it does an instruction manual.

For those who want to take it as such, however, may I direct you to my favorite chapter on achieving hygge on the cheap, which proves the concept is much more about creating an environment than it is buying one.

Hygge isn’t sold in a store. It can’t be achieved by buying the right socks, investing in nicer linen, or by reading any book about the subject that you can get your hands on (although I highly recommend The Little Book of Hygge).

Instead, if I’ve got it right, hygge is about finding the place within yourself where you can be at your most relaxed and natural. Surrounding yourself with the people and things that give you the most pleasure and joy is merely a conduit for getting there.

So go ahead and buy those socks if they make you feel freaking amazing. I think that’s just lagom.

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Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

 

Porch 4.0

One of the biggest draws of renting this apartment is the outdoor patio space located directly outside my window facing the back parking lot of the building. It may not be the prettiest view, but having a small outdoor space all to my self makes my rental feel bigger in the warmer months, almost as if the patio acts like an extra room to eat or simply chill.

I’ve had the chance to dip my toes into gardening before and really enjoyed it (maybe even almost as much as baking, although I wouldn’t go that far!). So when I moved here four summers ago I decided not to let the jungle of concrete deter me from having an enjoyable outdoor space. Over the years, my patio has slowly evolved growing into a makeshift garden space that’s perfect for sipping my morning coffee and getting lost in a book.

I started out pretty low-key when I first moved in the spring of 2013. I’m guessing my priorities veered more towards buying furniture than starting a garden from scratch. My dad very kindly bought me the hanging baskets as a housewarming gift.

KBB_porch_2013The next year I was craving a little bit more privacy, so with a few extra dollars in my budget I decided to add a few more decorative items and plants to make my porch feel like it was just an extension of my apartment. So in 2014 it looked a little something like this:

KBB_porch_2014_1With my dog, Gemma, keeping watch outside my evenings when the light was still out often looked a little something like this:

KBB_porch_2014_2I still miss all of those chalk hearts that I drew all over the concrete ground. At the time I was think it was meant to be symbolic of a safe, loving space but looking back on them now, they were still tons of fun. Unfortunately I discovered that chalk art and dogs don’t really mix. I’d often come back inside to find Gemma covered in rainbow stripes.

Despite the addition of my herb garden, I still hadn’t quite satisfied my green thumb. Some new garden-crazy neighbors moved in upstairs in 2015 and the clippings from their plants transformed my porch into a green oasis. (The new green deck chairs helped.)

KBB_porch_2015Friends and neighbors started dropping off unwanted plants, or plants that needed rescuing and I was more than happy to welcome them into my brood. Unfortunately, a lot of these family members were only seasonal so I find myself back at square one for this upcoming spring.

The nights are still chilly and some mornings I wake to find frost still lingering on the ground, but I’ve already started scheming and dreaming. (Here’s how I do some of my garden research here.) Seeds are starting to sprout in their containers lounging on my windowsill. Already, I’m squirreling away extra cash to fund some of the projects I have planned. This year I’m hoping to find a balance between greenery and recreational space so I can make the most of my porch while I’m able.

When the beautiful weather hits, I know I’m going to be more than ready.

KBwB-BFlower-50I’d love to hear more about your upcoming plans for spring and your outdoor spaces, or maybe you have a suggestion for mine! Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

If you want to see a little bit more about how I’ve organized my own personal spaces you can check out how I styled my bookshelf here, the story of how I purged everything in my apartment here, how I organized my closet here and some of the things I just can’t figure out how to organize here.