Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks

In the dead of winter, I'll admit... I'm OVER this weather. I'm starting to groan at the very hint of impending snow, hate the dark mornings an early sunsets and lose all intentions of mastering my list of goals for the new year. You with me? However, it's also around this time when I realize the beauty that the winter season brings me each and every year. I mean, seriously, how often would I kill for a warm, toasty fire place roaring instead of sweating my face off in the summer? And isn't it kind of wonderful how everyone sort of hibernates during this time of year? Winter may be a drag sometimes, but it's also full of little joys.

Now that being said, I know what you're thinking... what in the world is this word "HYGGE"?! (You've probably seen it splattered all over the Internet.) Hygge stems from the Scandinavian country of Denmark, and let me tell you... adopting it into your day to day life is a guaranteed way to instill a serious sense of coziness and connectedness to your life. What better time to gain a better understanding about this Scandinavian lifestyle traditions than right in the dead of winter? So, let's live worldly and find out a few ways to adopt these traditions in our day to day lives! 

Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

WHAT EXACTLY IS HYGGE?

First things first, hygge (pronounced "hoo-gah") is a tricky thing to define. Because hygge is a feeling, it can be hard to nail down the right words to accurately define it. But for all intents and purposes, it's the Danish tradition/lifestyle approach that celebrates “coziness of the soul,” togetherness, comfort and all things cozy. Simply put, hygge is “the art of celebrating coziness and togetherness.” 

So why infuse some hygge into your life? Considering that Denmark has been consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations in the world, even with horrific weather and some of the highest tax rates in the world… there’s obviously something that can be learned! As we know, self-care is incredibly important. Hygge is one avenue for personal happiness and fulfillment. Who doesn’t crave a little ritualized act of self-care? Plus, if you’re someone like me, it’s fun to learn more about a different culture’s traditions and infuse some of their ideas into our own daily lives.

WHAT HYGGE FEELS LIKE

Hygge is definitely something that pairs well with autumn and winter… because lord knows there’s nothing better than feeling cozy and relaxed in colder weather! Hygge is definitely a personal thing. After all, we all source happiness and contentment in different ways. For some, there is nothing more hygge than a brisk hike, enjoying the changing leaves and the beauty of nature. For others, that is the exact opposite of comfort! So, remember friends... hygge is up to you to define!

For me, hygge is that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re reading a book on a rainy day. It’s holding a warm coffee cup in your hands and savoring a cinnamon bun in the morning. It’s that cozy, nostalgic feeling you get when you set up the Christmas tree. 

Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

HYGGE BASICS 

My mild (read - major) obsession with hygge stems from the reading I've about the Danish tradition through various books, blog articles and more. My go-to favorites, FYI, are "The Little Book of Hygge," "How To Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life," and "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection." If you're not looking to buy a book, although I seriously suggest you do - there's nothing cozier than learning about coziness (super meta!) - just do a quick search on Pinterest and you'll be bombarded with other blog posts regarding hygge's history.

ATMOSPHERE 
To really create a warm and cozy environment, be sure turn down the lights and light a candle. In fact, most Danish people agree... a key ingredient of hygge is a candlelit room. The Danish use more candle wax than any other country in the world. If you can, light a fire in the fireplace and curl up with a cozy blanket. 

PRESENCE
Whatever you're doing, whether it's watching a movie, reading a special magazine or baking a treat for yourself... do it completely. Be here, right now, in the moment. That may mean putting your phone out of sight, in the upstairs rooms where you won't be bothered to scroll on social media in between whatever you're doing today. Turning OFF your phone might be the most hygge decision of your day! 

PLEASURE
Read - SWEETS. Have something sinfully delicious. Coffee with chocolates, cookies, warm cake, caramels or candies you love. 

GRATITUDE
Take it in, savor everything. Breathe in all the good things that surround you. Hygge is very much about appreciation and taking the time to savor and be thankful. 

COMFORT
My fave. There's NOTHING better than getting cozy... so relax. Take a break. Pop on your most comfortable sweatpants and worn in sweater, lie down on the couch with your warmest blanket and warming socks. (There's actually a term in Danish that translates to hygge pants... aka, the pants you never want to be caught in public wearing, but you can't imagine throwing them away because their so dang comfy!) Cuddle cup, get your cozy on.

TOGETHERNESS
Start traditions, or continue to practice them. Have nostalgic conversations with old friends, build relationships with new ones. Host an event where everyone can contribute in something together. 

SHELTER
Remember that your home is your place for peace, quiet, security and sanity. 
 

7 OF MY GO-TO HYGGE TIPS & TRICKS

I titled this blog post Hygge, Pennsylvania because I want you all to know that although hygge is Danish in origin... it's something that can be practiced in any place around the world! I've found the most hygge moments come with a little bit of intention and mindfulness. So if you're reading this post and wondering how to start incorporating some serious coziness in your life... this is for you! 
 

EAT SOMETHING A LITTLE SINFUL WHILE READING
The BEST! Get cozy and open up a book, whether it's an old favorite that brings you all the joy and nostalgia, or a new one that fills you up with excitement and curiosity, and place some of your favorite sweets beside you. Enjoy the simplicity of getting lost in a great story while also indulging in some simple, delicious treats. Bonus points if you turn your phone off for the whole experience! 

PURPOSEFULLY GO TO A COFFEE SHOP TO SAVOR ALONE TIME
Take the time out of your day to go to a coffee shop with all the cozy vibes (Danish people religiously look for places that feel hygge to hang out in, why shouldn't you?). Order a hot drink, feel its warmth in your hands, sip in between watching the weather, journaling or writing a letter to a friend you haven't seen in a while. The purpose of your trip shouldn't be something on your to-do list. It should be something special you are doing just for you to enjoy!

FYI - Lancaster-ites, my favorite hygge coffee shop is sort of a hidden gem, it's Commonwealth Kitchen and Cafe on Mulberry Street! The light and view to the park behind, combined with their pastries and endless coffee is my favorite for some serious hygge-vibes. 

WATCH A THUNDERSTORM (OR SNOWSTORM) FROM INSIDE
Ahhh... is there anything better than watching a storm roll in from the comfort of your cozy home? My parents and I would watch summer thunderstorms while curled up on your front porch swing, enjoying the warm, humid air blown through, counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder, and now I do just the same. Right now, in the dead of winter, I love opening my blinds while snow falls. Watching the outer turmoil of the weather while safe and warm indoors is one of the coziest feelings in the world!

POP ON THE COZIEST SWEATER
You know that sweater that has all the nubby fabric and is worn in just right? Yeah... wear that one and have no apologies!

HOST A QUIANT POTLUCK STYLE GET-TOGETHER
Having close friends over in your home to do something fun and possibly start a tradition together is a great way to incorporate some hygge in a more extroverted way! By asking everyone to contribute to the overall get-together is a great way to bring everyone together and open up dialogue in new ways. That's why I love a good potluck. There's no pressure on the host to do it all, everyone brings something a little special for everyone to nosh on, everybody gets some variety and helps with the clean up. It's a win-win. Hygge potluck party must haves? Candles (duh), lots of candles. And that's pretty much it! 

Lancaster peeps, anybody want to do a low key hygge-party soon? 

SNUGGLE YOUR DANG HEART OUT WHILE WATCHING A FEEL-GOOD MOVIE
It's simple. It's a classic. Put on a movie that makes your inner child happy, or your standard favorite to watch with your significant other... and snuggle the day away. For me, it's Harry Potter marathon or Breakfast At Tiffany's. For Luke, it's I Love You Man. For you, it might be something completely different. Pick a movie that has a tinge of nostalgia to it, get snuggled up in a warm blanket and just enjoy the simple beauty of a wonderful story unfolding in front of your eyes while comfortable and safe at home. 

LIGHT A DANG CANDLE
The Danish burn the most candles out of any country in the WORLD. Think about that. Candles are pretty much the staple piece to any hygge-seeking individual. So whether you're cleaning your dishes or reading a magazine, turn off your fluorescent lighting (THE WORST!) put on a candle and enjoy the simple ambiance it brings. Whenever I light a candle at home, it turns any room into a mini-retreat. I love it!

Hygge, Pennsylvania - 7 Of My Go-To Cozy Tips And Tricks | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

Hygge, although Danish in tradition, is yours to embrace. So savor the little things, indulge in something special, light a candle, drink slowly, and enjoy the coziness that embraces every aspect of your daily life. Hygge requires no money, but it does require some intentional thought, mindfulness and a sense of appreciation. Tap into this tradition, practice it in your life in a way that suites you and makes you happy... and you'll find yourself exclaiming "wow, that is soooo hygge" the way I have been doing for months now. Enjoy!

How are you going to hygge?

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

To the dear female readers who are reading this headline and thinking, "yes, and it's about time" or "girl, it's *been* the year of women and wanderlust." I am right there with you. If there's one thing I hold dearest to my heart, it's this... I believe in the power of women. I was raised by insatiably strong female characters. Seekers, mothers, feminists, hell-raisers, organizers, leaders, artists all the same. Aunts, grandmothers, cousins, sisters in friendship. All these women have guided my path, have demonstrated the power of vulnerability, resiliency, compassion, communication and so much more. 

As a woman (and yes, for a long time, I struggled with the idea of calling myself this... as opposed to "girl" or "lady") who explores the world, I struggle with the masculine implication the word "adventure" has. Perhaps it's the ingrained context of the men who traipsed and conquered new lands I've been taught in history class. Who knows... all I really can say is that at one time, I only identified "world explorers" as men. And you know what's amazing? That notion that I've carried with me since childhood has done a complete 180 in the past few years. What's even more amazing is this, there has been:

  • a 350% increase in women pinning solo travel ideas since 2014
  • a 230% increase in trips designed for women and women-only travel companies
  • 73% more women travelers embarking on solo trips, compared to men
  • growth by 60% in women taking part in backpacking/wilderness trips 
  • a dramatic increase in Google searches for 'female solo travel'... with over 100,000,000 searches at the beginning of 2017

Now, I'm no statistic wizard, but it's a staggering argument that 2018 is without a doubt the year of women & wanderlust. A dynamic duo, wouldn't you say? 

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

So ladies, whether you're a veteran explorer or about to jet off on your first trip, take heart and know that this movement is propelled by you! Take pride in knowing that you are contributing to a great shift of the ideology of what travel and adventure is. And, more importantly, know that you are not alone! When I began my personal experiences with travel, I was completely unaware of the amazing resources that are available for like-minded women seeking adventure, encouragement and inspiration. Connecting with other women in travel, who share similar perspectives on investing in life experiences and approaches to travel has been one of the most meaningful aspects of what I do at Roam + Golightly.  It's amazing what's out there now, ladies!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE
FEMALE-EMPOWERED TRAVEL RESOURCES ARE:

  • Dame Traveler - My go-to Instagram source for encouragement, inspiration and dreamy photography that immediately makes me want to book that next trip. Connecting with women who are featured on this page (and those who comment on posts) is a great way to build personal relationships with other female travelers out there. 
  • Girls Love Travel - This Facebook group is consistently the place I go to for help on itinerary suggestions, meet ups and meaningful conversations about the ins and outs of travel. Seriously, if I ever have a question about any element of travel, this is the place I go to for answers!
  • #girlstravel - This Twitter chat is literally catered for empowering and connecting women who travel. Even if you're not into joining in on their weekly Twitter chats every Monday from 1 - 1:30 EST, just scrolling through the previous chats is a great way to get some uplifting words and insight. 
  • Women On The Road Podcast - Okay, this amazing podcast is alllll about the amazing stories women have experiences first hand throughout their travels, it makes me so happy inside when I tune in. 
  • Women High On Adventure - Although I haven't personally taken part in one of these fabulous trips, this travel company plans some insanely life-changing adventures and expeditions for women. I'm eyeing up doing something fun from this group in the future! 
  • Women In Travel Summit - This travel summit is great for any lady out there who wants to learn more about making their place in the travel industry. Their yearly organized meeting of the minds is always in a fantastic city and a great way to learn new skills and tips in the blogging, social media and marketing niche. 

I could literally go on and on with resources for female travelers. Is this something you guys would like to have on-hand? Let me know!

2018 Is The Year Of Women & Wanderlust | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

Happy adventuring you wonderful women, this is
your year to wander!

China: Delirium, Contrasts & Soft Memories

It was a hot-hot teenage romance you and I had together, dear China. You made me sweat (dear god, the amount of sweat I collected that summer), you kept me awake at night, you catapulted unending amounts of attention my way, you enticed me with late nights out past curfew trying new foods in tiny hole in the wall entrances. And yet all the while getting to know you, I realized how much of a stranger I was in your lands. There was no denying, China and I were not made for a persisting, longwinded romance. Oh no. But my summer in China burned so heavily, I still have longwinded stories to tell that I have yet to find the audience for.

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The frenzy. Smells pungent, sweet, savory, spice. Smells that could knock you down with one whiff. Flavors that could send your eyes into a fizzy, frothy tear-stricken hysteria. Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings, fish head soups, peking duck, stinky tofu. Flavors that send me reeling (and undeniably drooling) as I type their names onto page. People kind, yet bold and insistent. Lines upon lines upon unending lines of people. Working people, business men, grandmothers fanning themselves in the midday heat, young students flashing selfies and the younger holding hands of their fast-paced parents decking the streets. The noise of millions. The loudspeaker salesmen, the alarm ridden streets, the running of the subway, the horns of thousands. Sights older than time, more densely historical than I could wrap my head around. Tracing steps of those from dynasties and centuries of family lines and histories. Limitless lights and billboards and seven storied shopping complexes. 

A summer of contrasts. A summer of sweat, and learning, and writing (lots of writing), and dumplings, and creating, and trains, and planes, and lines, and moments of such dizzying bliss/frustration all at once. A summer of split images and five second scenes playing out in my head. One second we were specks beside towering skyscrapers so high that we could barely see their endings, and another we were squatting into toilet holes. One second we would be exploring world wonders so ancient we can barely understand the context of just how old the relics they are, and another we'd be in one of the most slick, streamlined building of the future. 

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The delirium of China sits right in the forefront of my mind.

But the soft moments lining my imagination remain stronger.

Lily pads dancing lightly with the dense, thick summer breeze. The sight of the humpbacked mountains of the south, jetting out of the Li River like the back of a dragon about to take off. The ceramic lined shops where tea was poured and reading was done. The warmth of handmade dinners made with locals in their living rooms. The hours we spent learning about the making and tasting of tea, reaching a "high" of caffeine only questionable if you haven't experienced it yourself. The interactions of inn owners, jokes made over breakfast in the morning and then over drinks in the evening. Late walks around sunset drenched lakes. The joy of a cool breeze that would sneak in from the north. Watermelon for dessert. Showing travelers the absolute JOY of breaking open and slurping up their first soup dumpling (a small bite, savor the broth, pour sauce, sprinkle with ginger, devour). Discovering sugary splendor in the form of a dipped peking duck. Climbing ancient towers, learning stories of dynasties of yore, hearing folk stories of love and revenge and strength. The sound of a lone wooden whistle, playing melodies of centuries old. The pure acknowledgement of gratitude to be able to savor such a place as this. 

These memories persist. They meld into a stirring mixture in my mind. And yet, the ones that rise to the top are those moments, those blips in time, I find myself lost in China. Lost in its age. Lost in its culture. Lost in its food. Lost, discovering, coping, creating, yearning. An amalgamation of fleeting memories. China. I will never know you. But I will have many, many moments to sift through and learn from, from afar. 

I fall in love with places. What about you?