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.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local diner for breakfast. We sat up at the counter, and next to us were a young man (early 20s) and his father. A charming picture, except for one thing: The entire time, the son was glued to his phone. Didn’t say a word that I could tell to his father, who ended up chatting off and on with the cook and wait staff. Then the check came, and the father took out his wallet and paid the bill.
What’s he paying for? Clearly not the pleasure of his son’s company!
First of all, yes, this brings to mind the conventional wisdom of “appreciate your loved ones because you never know how much time you’ll have with them”. But what really struck me about the whole thing was just how rude it was! This guy’s father could’ve taken him to McDonald’s drive-thru or gotten a bag of donuts at the Wawa next door.
But, no. He took him to this diner, presumably to spend time with him. But instead of appreciating the gesture, the son couldn’t be bothered to speak to him, much le...
I think that I shall never see. A poem lovely as a tree.
- Joyce Kilmer
A writer writes. And so do I. Poetry to be specific. I find putting pen to paper an extremely therapeutic exercise, and a way for me to capture the beauty I see in the world around me. And it's also one way, and a great way, for me to unplug.
So without further ado, I'm so happy to be able to share my poem, "Tree Bird Sun," with you. I hope you enjoy it, and perhaps you'll be inspired to capture in words, all of the the beauty you see in your life.
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.
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...
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.
NOVA (Northern Virginia, that is.) was hit with a major thunderstorm last night.
So, of course, our power went out.
Typically an annoyance (especially when it’s out for four hours!), we looked at it another way: Using it as an opportunity to have "power" family time. (Pun intended.)
So what did we do while waiting for the lights, TV and fridge to come back on? More importantly, what can you do? Here’s a quick list of ideas.
We played tag candlelight.
We found our inner crafter.
We had a game of Uno.
We dove for pennies in our backyard pool.
We took the tag game outside.
We caught fireflies!
Even though power outages are a pain in many ways, it was truly a beautiful and memorable night, and reminded me once again how important unplugging with my husband and daughter is in my life. Especially when we’re unplugged… literally.
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.
We talk a lot about unplugging so that we can connect with family, friends and the world around us. But disconnecting also helps us to reconnect with ourselves - physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s why I’ve incorporated Pilates, meditation and essential oils in my life.
So, how do I “hug” myself?
I practice Pilates.
I started practicing Pilates because I was looking for an exercise program to support my cardiovascular health, strength, endurance and flexibility. (And let's face it, I needed a way to get back in shape after having my daughter.) Additionally, because I have lower back pain and sciatica, I also needed an activity with therapeutic properties.
Practicing Pilates, I realized an additional benefit. It gave me a sense of calm, inner peace and focus, particularly upon losing my brother unexpectedly the day before my daughter was born. The practice gave me peace, time to think and space where I could listen to my body and soul.