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Curing Cabin Fever

Make A Change- It doesn't have to major but it can be. We are dreaming of adding a sunroom/greenhouse room to the patio area but while we make long term plans, I can easily make a change by restating the mantle with candles.

Shake It Up- Around here we're always cooking foods we grew up with. The new year kicks off a commitment to eat and live healthier so our most recent gathering we went for appetizers classic charcuterie and a fresh sushi instead of a heavy meal and mocktails and cocktails with plenty of fresh juices to craft them with.


Go Take A Hike - Out of convenience we take endless walks around the neighborhood but changing my route recently really changed the experience.

Just as we may grow restless with our surroundings when the weather is less that ideal; we made need a change of scenery, the same may hold true for Dario. At our recent get together , I asked local pals where they go to find solitude or just get out on a hike with friends. I came away with some new destinations to explore with our pooch that take us less than a half hour to get to and refreshes the routine.

A second act doesn't have to mean your career. If you're retired or headed that way; it could simply mean making more time for activities you truly love. Sometimes picking up an old hobby can lead to a second career act. I love thrifting and now make it a scheduled event on Sundays along with flower arranging. It gives me fresh ideas for the upcoming week without spending a lot of money. Home sewing supports my love for decorating. Menu planning and going to the market inspires a new dish. One of the best things about creative outlets at this stage of life is having the time to dedicate to getting the process down and the time to experiment. Having a project to look forward to gets my days off to a great start.

Garden and Landscape Plans- It's never too

early to start dreaming of the garden or to find a new resource for making those plans a reality. Some friends use McCallisters in Benton for their Christmas trees and holiday wreaths and garlands. A trip to this local nursery helped us replace a rosemary tree we lost in last year's frost and discover a local source for winter pansies to add some color to the Winter garden.

Using the Winter months to make and create can lead to a market venture in the Spring, hosting your own "home market" and inviting friends to bring their creative wares to show and sell can be a lovely way to spend the day together.

Plan your next escape- whether near or far January is as good a month as any to make plans to visit friends far away, meet up with family in another state or choose the destination(s) your next overseas adventure. Set those travel alerts and keep your eyes peeled for good deals.

Make a dream board- Whether you use Pinterest or old school bulletin boards is up to you but after all these years it's still incredibly inspiring to do and watch how the magic unfolds. Pro tip- keep your board in a place where you will see it often and refresh it when you need fresh inspiration. Great to use when you have a specific project in the works. I find it to be most useful before I begin a project.

Sort your seeds - It may sound tedious and perhaps for this season of your life it is. But some seasons you find yourself with more time on your hands or more time than money so just think of the beauty you can create soon and the money you'll save. Since I have a massive amount of seeds to sort, I've been multi tasking when I sort and also using the time to watch on line gardening videos or hobby classes. It makes the time pass productively and makes the process less mundane. Sharing the activity (and seeds) with a friend(s) is another great idea.

Organize and Optimize- I am using this January as a time to go through the house room by room to declutter and organize. I start with the kitchen because it's the room that keeps our household running on a daily basis. Definitely the most used room in the house. I started with the pantry and moved on to the kitchen cabinets. Pro tip- I took a week to complete the process and keep me from burning out. Just tacking 1 shelf in the pantry and a couple kitchen drawers or cabinets allowed me to break a big project into bite sized chunks.

Next I tackled my own office because it's my command central both professionally and personally. It's easy to use it as a catch all when it isn't organized because I'm the only one who sees it and I can shut the door. I know I'm more creative and efficient when it's organized not to mention it's also more enjoyable to spend time in it when things are in their places.

From there I move on to my bedroom closet because it's a space I use daily, an annual review of clothing that is past its expiration date is necessary and usually become a my garden clothes for the upcoming season. It also helps me clearly understand what I need for a new season or because it's time to donate an item. Cleaning my closet helps me to see I definitely don't need a new pair of black pants but I do need a few extra pairs of gloves since I'm hard on them and seem to need them for a variety of uses. It helps me to see that I don't have a pair of basic black tights or that I never did replace that worn out robe or pair of slippers.

From there I can move into the laundry area, another hub of the house but not as urgent since there are less things stored in there, similar to the bathrooms and bedrooms. Pro tip- Keep a box nearby for donations or repairs. As you find items out of place; move items into their designated home as you find them. Tackling the most used rooms first allows you to experience the efficiency and positive effects of organizing and keeps you motivated. It also makes the process easier as you go since less cluttered rooms are last and much easier to complete once you've finished the major tasks.

Catch up on Reading, Take a Nap, Enjoy a warm beverage, Make time for self care. Yes, all that productivity matters and so does balancing it with some good ol' downtime and relaxation. Pro tip- For best results: Practice this daily rather than waiting until the weekend or end of the month.

Check us out on YouTube: Italy: Little By Little


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