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Annabel Olah

Wife | Mom | Teacher

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2017 | Unplug & Hug 

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Unplug & Hug Blog

November 25, 2019

Evidently 2019 brings with it a ‘shorter’ holiday season because Thanksgiving is ‘late’ this year.

You might hear folks lament there’s one less weekend to enjoy the tree or other holiday decorations. You definitely know the retailers are feeling a pinch with Black Friday deals happening literally as I write this.

One might think these are all reasonable and legit reasons to feel cheated on twinkle lights. But I ask you: Is the holiday season really shorter? Or should we simply broaden our minds to the advantages that this year’s calendar brings us?

That is, there’s still a crazy abundance of holiday time to unplug this year.

Thanksgiving arrives right on time per the ‘last Thursday of November’ rule. Hanukkah and Christmas fall right in line, accordingly, too. We’re starting the story of Advent next Sunday, and I trust my church knows what it’s doing.

So, the challenge: Let’s flip this conundrum on its head and ask ourselves: Hasn’t ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ actually gotten...

December 23, 2017

Like most kids, my internal countdown to Christmas was palpable.

The butterflies in my stomach and the agonizing wait for Santa’s Big Day, I wore on my sleeve.

Christmas couldn’t come soon enough.

My Mom and Dad, working hand-in-hand with Santa, did an excellent job filling my Christmas list every year. So, of course, the idea of new Barbies and Barbie accessories (all I cared about, really) factored in heavily to my idea that December 25th was, hands-down, the best day of the year. To sum it up very eloquently:

‘Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.’ 

- Ralphie, A Christmas Story

Santa has long moved on to a new generation of chimneys.

Yet, my heightened excitement for the holidays remains. As an adult, it’s obviously not about Santa and piles of presents anymore. Heck, who can afford an epic, Santa-level haul these days?

But, looking back, I don’t think it was all about the ‘stuff’ when I was a kid either.

I think what I love and have always loved ab...

October 22, 2017

I've talked a lot about the social and personal benefits of unplugging.

When we unplug we are able to make one-on-one human connections and forge stronger personal bonds with our loved ones. Shutting down periodically also provides opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature, do hands-on activities with our kids, explore our hobbies, be more productive at work and get in touch with our inner selves through things like meditation and exercise. (For me, that also includes a healthy dose of retail therapy!)

But unplugging is also a way to stave off health issues associated with the over-use of our phones, tablets and computers. And there are many. An abundance of research shows a direct correlation between the use of digital devices and things like increased stress levels, decreased attention span (especially in our kids), radiation and cancer. 

Using our Smartphones, tablets, smart watches and computers is unavoidable in our (ever growing) digital world. We nee...

September 10, 2017

Cooking!

Whether you’re following your grandma’s recipe, trying one you found while surfing the web, or just winging it, cooking is a fantastic way to get culinary-creative.

It’s also a great way to unplug.

Cooking for one (you), is calming, and even therapeutic. It's perfect for unwinding after a busy day, or putting a stressful situation on hold for a couple hours. Cooking for (and with!) your spouse, your partner, your kids and your extended family is a subtle way to show them you care. And cooking for friends is a terrific excuse for catching up and having some laughs. Consider starting a cooking club or a progressive dinner tradition with them!

Here are a few places to find winning dishes.

The Chew, Annabel's all-time favorite cooking show, demonstrates how to make delicious chef-approved recipes that I love. Plus, the hosts make it fun, creative and easy.

Terra's Kitchen, a meal delivery service, drops unique, healthy ingredients on my doorstep every week. (Opening the box is super f...

August 20, 2017

No matter where you are, who you are or how many obligations you have on Monday, forget about them, at least for a few hours.

Because there’s no better time to take a moment to unplug. That is, when there’s a solar eclipse on the horizon! (Pardon the pun.)

On Monday, August 21, we’ll be treated to a total eclipse of the sun that can be seen all across North America. Now, you might know this (and probably do given the mass media coverage), but are still saying to yourself, “I can’t miss this meeting,” or, “I’m supposed to be on a conference call” or, “I’ll catch it the next time.”

Why not unplug instead?

This major astronomical event gives you a free pass from the pressures of deadlines and emails, and we invite you to be a part of something the cosmos rarely shows us.

Because the 2017 solar eclipse eclipses everything.

A total solar eclipse that can be seen by everyone in North America won’t come around again until 2024. Don’t wait another seven years to see this phenomenon. For some, it’s...

August 5, 2017

The age of the endless Monopoly game isn’t over. In fact, it’s just getting started.

I believe board games are an amazing way to unplug, so I was so happy to see this in USA Today last week:

In a world where seemingly all things are digital — look around in any public place and you'll undoubtedly see all eyes glued to mobile devices —  a unique trend is popping up: a renewed interest in board games.

Yahtzee!

Board games have always played (pardon the pun) a big part of family time in the Olah household.

Some of our favorites? Hungry Hungry Hippos, Jenga, Uno and Trouble. And in no particular order, because, no matter what we’re playing, we have lots of laughs, and incredible quality time when we ‘get lost in a board game together,’ as Dave (my hubs), astutely puts it.

And it looks like we’re not alone. Retail giant, Target just rushed to put 70 new games on its shelves because they say, ‘the board games trend is booming as families and friends look for fun, memorable ways to spend time toget...

July 7, 2017

Summer is in full swing!

That means BBQ's, swimming pools and best of all, vacations! Whether you’re headed to the beach, camping under the stars or touring faraway lands, we challenge you to put down your phones (for everything except snapping pics!) to disconnect from social media, email and those annoying telemarketers.

In other words, take a vacation from everything that could distract you from your vacation! And use that time to appreciate nature, your surroundings, a new culture, the arts and your family and friends.

In doing so you’ll not only get a break from the day-to-day grind; you’ll also see amazing health benefits! Things like, less stress, better sleep, a sense of calm and the feeling of being refreshed both mentally and physically.

We know that disconnecting completely can be easier said than done in our fast-paced, ultra-connected world. After all, the stresses of daily life don’t take vacations! However, some getaways make it easier to unplug than others.

Here are 7 i...

June 1, 2017

Summer’s here!

And that means the pools are open, the beaches are hopping and the sprinklers are sprinkling. Most importantly? School’s out ... and that means kids have a lot of free time on their hands!

Everyone wants to have fun in the sun all summer long, but how can we occupy energetic kiddos on that inevitable rainy summer day? How can you turn your cooped-up kids into happy little campers?

Crafts, of course!

From coloring to stamping to cooking up some slime (together!), we’ve compiled some of the best crafting ideas around - all in a single (boredom-free) location!

Here they are!

Crafting isn't...

May 28, 2017

We all look forward to Memorial Day Weekend. It's the official start of summer after all!

But, It's also a time for us to honor and commemorate our service members, vets and fallen heroes. 

This morning I watched the Rolling Thunder make their annual voyage (it's the ride's 30th anniversary!) to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. A sight to see! And an amazing display of patriotism. 

What's Rolling Thunder? 

From their website: 'The Rolling Thunder Run mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.'

How are you honoring our nation's heroes this weekend? Tweet us your pics @Unplug_Hug with the hashtag #UnplugHug. Or, share your photos on our Facebook page

Happy Memorial Day! 

May 26, 2017

It’s official! Summer’s here! But, before we dive into the pool and fire up the grill, let's take a moment to honor the amazingly brave folks, past and present, who have served our country to make this day possible. 

At Unplug & Hug, we are so honored to have generations of service members in our families who served (and continue to serve) proudly and bravely. From brothers to fathers to uncles to grandparents to cousins, here are some of the people we know and love - who dedicated themselves to the great US of A.

A brother who served in Iraq and lost his life before serving in his second tour. 

A dad who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

A step dad who served his country proudly and honorably as a Marine. 

An uncle who flew refueling jets in Vietnam.

A grandfather who served in the Philippines during WW2. 

A grandfather who served as an instructor in the Army Air Corp during WW2. 

A great uncle who lost his life as a rifleman and skier in the Italian Alps during WW2.

Twin cousins that...

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