Category: Life is fun!

10 Things to Know about Hygge AKA How to Get Your Hygge On!

10 Things to Know about Hygge aka How to Get Your Hygge On

I’ve been hearing a lot about this Danish thing called Hygge.  So on my recent little get-away to Florida to escape the cold, I checked out a book from the library called The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking and read it on the plane. Yep, in one little two-hour flight.  Here are 10 things I learned.

My picture with bare feet and sunshine are not common to the Danish environment for the majority of the year but you’ll soon see it is very hyggelig!. Here are 10 things I learned about hygge.

1. Books are very hygge.

And this one ‘s size and feel are super awesome!  It made me happy just to hold this small, pretty book – and that is hyggelig (hygge-like).  It’s the same size as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo‎. Both have such a pleasant feel and spark joy when you hold them!  The cover is pretty and the inside art is cute.

2. It’s pronounced Hue gah.

It kindof rhymes with cougar without the r, if you’re from Boston. Kindof.

Here’s a  jazzy guy spending way too much time explaining it with a French lesson thrown in.


And here is an adorable Danish couple pronouncing it, many times, so you get it.

3. So what the heck is hygge?

It’s a feeling of coziness and friendship and happiness when things are warm and slow and natural – casual.  It’s wearing a thick, soft sweater in front of a fire while wearing cozy socks, drinking a warm beverage and spending time with friends or family or reading a book while a stew is simmering on the stove.  It’s about switching off – less cell phone and tv, more conversation and reading.

I would like to think book club is hygge but we may need to spend more time in socks.

Here is a some hygge from Gaff Interiors, who interviewed the author for design inspiration.  Don’t you want to spend a lot of time there?!

4. Soft light is an essential element of hygge

Whether it is candlelight, firelight, or soft diffused lamplight, the right lighting is a very important part of the ambiance of hygge.  Fireplaces are very important. The soft glow of the setting sun in my Florida picture with the book is just perfect!

Danes are apparently crazy about candles.  I found these survey results really interesting.

5. Texture is key

Soft cozy blankets and cushions, animal skins, rugs, natural wood, ceramics and a warm drink, tactile elements make a hyggelig setting.

A Hyggekrog, which roughly translates as ‘a nook’, is the place in the room where you love to snuggle up in a blanket, with a book and a cup of tea. Then bring in nature. Danes feel the need to bring the entire forest inside. Any piece of nature you might find is likely to get the Hygge greenlight. Leaves, nuts, twigs etc. Basically, you want to think: How would a Viking squirrel furnish a living room? Then think tactile. A Hyggelig interior is not just about how things look, it is just as much about how things feel. Letting your fingers run across a wooden table, a warm ceramic cup is a distinctly different feeling from being in contact with something made from steel, glass or plastic.”

6. Dressing hygge is all about casual, minimalism and warmth,like soft, bulky sweaters and warm wool socks,

Oversized sweaters, cardigans, pajamas, and slippers. Wiking says Danes wear lots of black, and scarves.  The Sarah Lund sweater from the Danish tv series The Killing (Forbrydelsen) is a great example of casual even at work; she’s a police detective. I have never seen The Killing but I like the sweater. It does look comfy cozy! The British call it a jumper. I don’t get it.

7. You need a warm beverage.

Live today like there is no coffee tomorrow.”

Tea, coffee, hot chocolate – the book has recipes for grogg and mulled wine – a hot drink is the number one thing Danes associate with Hygge.

8.  Food

Sweets make people happy and Danes love them. Pastries and baking are very hygge. I mean, come on, they have the Danish.  Things that take a long time to cook are very hygge.  The book has recipes for skibberlabskovs (skip-er-lap-scows) or skipper stew, boller karry (ball-r e cari) or Danish meatballs in curry and Snobrod (sno-broed) or twistbread.  I’m telling you, this would make a great book club menu!

9. Danes are not the only ones who practice it.

Meik Wiking, the author, is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute based in Copenhagen, Denmark.  He has spent years studying Danish life and what makes people happy.  According to many studies, Denmark is the happiest country in the world.

Other countries have similar traditions and expressions. The word hygge originally came from a Norweigian word.  Canadians call it hominess, The Dutch call it gezelligheid, and Germans talk of Gemutlichkeit.  According to Wiking, it is different in Denmark because of its importance in culture and national identity.  They talk about it often and the lanugage is rich when it comes to talking about it.

10. There are many books about it.

I created a list on Goodread’s Listopia with 55 books that have Hygge in the title.  Here are a few I’m thinking of reading. They have pretty covers.

  


The Little Book of
Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
by Meik Wiking

Sweet T’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
It was an interesting concept to learn about and a super cute book!

 

Friday 5 – Cura Personalis, SPAM, Spool of Blue Thread, Angela’s Ashes, and Pulitzers

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Christmas Break and Cura Personalis

Happy New Year!  I feel so nice and refreshed! I had a nice long wonderful Christmas break from work and yes, from blogging, too. One of the great things about working for the Jesuits in higher education is they think balance is important, that it’s important to replenish your whole being, mind, body, and spirit.  It’s called cura personalis – care for the entire person – and it applies to caring for oneself and for others.

Henry and I both got a chance to read and relax!

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Reading Goals and What I’ve Been Reading Lately

This wonderful time off allowed me to reach, and even go beyond my book challenge for the year.  The goal was 60 and I read 62.  According to Goodreads, that’s 20,902 pages!  For me, it’s more like 8 bajigilion hours of audiobooks as I drove back and forth to and from work and walking Henry and brushing my teeth (yes, I listen while I’m getting dressed in the morning.  Where do you listen?)

I finished A Blue Spool of Thread by Ann Tyler. I really liked it. It was like many of her books, more about character and family and all the moments that make up ordinary amazing lives. It’s set in Baltimore so I recognized the neighborhoods and the much-hated sculpture at Penn Station. What do you think of the male/female statue???  I couldn’t bring myself to give the book a rating. So I didn’t.

bcp-the-muchhated-malefemale-statue-at-penn-st-002Photo credit: Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts

Here’s my year in books.  My book club will laugh that Frankenstein was the least popular!  You can see all my books on Goodreads.

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Yoga at 6 a.m. and my upcoming super foods and yoga January Jumpstart

Since early December, I’ve been getting up earlier on Wednesdays and Fridays to practice asanas at 6 in the morning.  About a dozen other crazy yogis and Peat, one of the amazing instructors at Peace Yoga in Bel Air.  There is something especially nourishing about doing sun salutations as the sun is coming up.

This is my favorite picture of Peat from his profile at Peace Yoga!

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Peat is such a bright shining soul and he’s great at teaching the fine details of all the physical aspects of yoga. We spent a whole class focusing on the muscle contractions in our abdomen…abdomens???  (Uddiyana bandha)  It was like an internal organ massage.  But don’t let the long Sanskrit words fool you, he’s fun and doesn’t take himself too seriously.  It’s a wonderful mix when you’re trying challenging movement early in the morning!  And he’s always got a poem or an inspirational quote or a great song to share.

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And speaking of yoga and cleansing habits, I’m super excited to be doing a yoga and super food challenge starting next week with the beautiful and inspirational Flexible Warrior, Karen Dubs. She is a yoga and wellness coach who has worked with the Baltimore Ravens, the Maryland mens’ basketball team and many others.  She has personally overcome lymes, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmune diseases by clean eating and lifestyle.  I did a month-long yoga for runners workshop with her a few years ago at Charm City Run in Timonium.  She gave me massage balls for my feet, taught me legs up the wall and walked all over my back.  I was hooked!  You can learn more and join me at www.flexiblewarrior.com.

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SPAM

Well, I guess I should be flattered.  My blog has become popular enough that I’m receiving SPAM comments on blog posts.  They’re not advertising penis enlargement or asking to send money.  Here’s an example.

Grab my rss! Oh my!!  It might seem like someone who is not a native English speaker is asking to subscribe to my blog feed (which by the way, I’m working on.  My January goal is to create an email subscriber list and get it going) but it’s not. I received this comment from three different email addresses and they were all convoluted quasi business addresses like htmlfreepasswordaccess or some other oddity.  I’m learning the reason people do this is to create links to make their website more viable to search engines. That’s a huge oversimplification.  There are filtering programs and WordPress and Blogger have automatic filters but they continue to get through because spammers try to make it sound legitimate.  It’s a fascinating problem to have.

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Fiction and Biographies

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

I also finished Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and I don’t get it.  Another book about the stereotypical poor and starving Irish children who suffered because their father was an alcoholic. Thank goodness it was an audiobook and was abridged.  I can’t imagine how much more of the same could fit into more pages and hours. Why didn’t I like it?  Was it because I couldn’t relate?  Ok, but I can certainly empathize and did.  Empathy and understanding are not the same as enjoyment.

Sometimes I feel like something is wrong with me.  I rarely like Pulitzer Prize Winners.  I don’t get it, I’m smart, I’m literary, I enjoy thinking and discussing books and literature.  Sure, I tend to enjoy lighter reads most of the time but I like to mix it up.  I often feel like Pulitzers are pretentious. The qualifications – “distinguished fiction published in book form during the year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.”

Here are some thoughts on some I’ve read: I loved All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, Swamplandia was nominated but didn’t win. BLECH!!! I didn’t like The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proulx and hated A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole.  On the other hand, The Color Purple is one of my favorite books, and so is To Kill A Mockingbird and John Adams, the biography by David McCullough is outstanding and fascinating (though I listened to all 30 hours and 1 minute on audio over a couple of month’s commute). OK, so maybe I haven’t read enough of them to say I don’t like them categorically. And listing them out like that, there are really only 3 winners and 1 nominee I don’t like versus 4 I do like, soooooo… maybe it’s that I tend to feel strongly one way or the other about the? I guess this means a new reading goal:  To read more Pulitzers.  Here’s the list.  Which ones have you read?

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Pulitzer Prizes in Fiction

2016: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
2015: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
2014: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
2013: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
2012: No award given
2011: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
2010: Tinkers by Paul Harding
2009: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2007: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
2006: March by Geraldine Brooks
2005: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
2004: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
2002: Empire Falls by Richard Russo
2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
2000: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
1999: The Hours by Michael Cunningham
1998: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
1997: Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser
1996: Independence Day by Richard Ford
1995: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
1994: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
1993: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
1992: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
1991: Rabbit At Rest by John Updike
1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
1989: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler  (She is the author of The Spool of Blue Thread)
1988: Beloved by Toni Morrison
1987: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
1986: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (haven’t even seen the movie.  Both are now the book and movie are both high on my list)
1985: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
1984: Ironweed by William Kennedy
1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
1982: Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
1981: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
1980: The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
1979: The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
1978: Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
1977: No award given
1976: Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow
1975: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
1974: No award given
1973: The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
1972: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
1971: No award given
1970: The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford by Jean Stafford
1969: House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
1968: The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
1967: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
1966: The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter
1965: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
1964: No award given
1963: The Reivers by William Faulkner
1962: The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor
1961: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
1960: Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
1959: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor
1958: A Death in the Family by James Agee
1957: No award given
1956: Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
1955: A Fable by William Faulkner
1954: No award given
1953: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
1952: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
1951: The Town by Conrad Richter
1950: The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
1949: Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens
1948: Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener

From 1917-1948, the award was given as the Pulitzer Prizer for Novel (rather than for fiction). Here are the winners from that time period

1947: All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
1946: No award given
1945: A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
1944: Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin
1943: Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair
1942: In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow
1941: No award given
1940: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
1939: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1938: The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand
1937: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
1936: Honey in the Horn by Harold L. Davis
1935: Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson
1934: Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller
1933: The Store by T. S. Stribling
1932: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
1931: Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
1930: Laughing Boy by Oliver Lafarge
1929: Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin
1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
1927: Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield
1926: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
1925: So Big by Edna Ferber
1924: The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson
1923: One of Ours by Willa Cather
1922: Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
1921: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
1920: No award given
1919: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
1918: His Family by Ernest Poole

The books I’ve read are in bold.  Seems I found more that I read and liked.

Friday 5: Stealing, Double Fannie, Bicycle Glasses and…

Friday 5: Stealing, Double Fannie, Bicycle Glasses and…

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Blog Borrowing. I’m swiping this Friday 5 format from 7 Quick Takes from my dear colleague and friend Rita Buettner who, in addition to working with me at Loyola University Maryland, writes about “family fun and faith” in her funny and sweet blog Open Window about her life with her husband and her two amazing adopted sons. Named because, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” I asked her how she juggles everything and she said she really doesn’t sleep much. That’s not going to work for me. I’ll have to  I have to have my sleep.  This is my jam!

off-to-bed

t-shirt baseball swag party like black and white grey baseball jersey printed t-shirt cozy lazy day funny sweater swimwear shirt cute shirt by party i mean take naps baseball shirt found on facebook sweater

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I’m double Fannied right now I’m currently reading A Redbird Christmas and The Whole Town’s Talking both by Fannie Flagg!
She’s also the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, if you haven’t read the book, read it now or at the very least see the movie.  It’s one of my absolute all-time favorites…southern, girlpower, amazing writing,a funny and a gripping story about friendship and our ability to overcome.

I finished The Whole Town’s Talking and gave it 3 stars.  It was a sweet wholesome, funny, old-fashioned book.

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Aren’t these bicycle glasses beautiful?  My sweet friend Sherry, hostess of our December bookclub gave them to me.  They were made by her daughter’s friend.

You can check out her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Etched-Elegance-736884519785589/

glasses

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Stephen and Henry and I enjoyed an awseome day today in the woods. Stephen rode his mountain bike. Henry and I walked in the woods, then we all met up and Henry ran beside for Stephen for a couple of miles up hills and down.  A boy and a dog!  So sweet!!!

henryhrhh

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We went to Barnes and Noble today and I added several new books to my TBR list!  I’m looking forward to being able to listen to audiobooks on my commute AND read books now that I’m finished with classes for my master’s degree.  I’ve missed actually reading books through the year. I  feel like my attention span muscles have really weakened and I need to exercise them!  Do you feel that way?  Has your attention span gotten shorter because of our sound bite oriented culture?

Here are some of the beautiful shelves from the book store today!

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Turned in my Final!

Whoohooo!!!  I just turned in my final presentation for the last class in my Emerging Media master’s degree program!

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It’s on THIS web site and social media!  The only thing between me and that M.A. is my capstone project and that’s just doing this for longer time period, creating more content and engaging with folks! Well, shoot, that’s something I’m going to do long after I get that degree!  I’ll finish it up in April and graduate in May!!! Should I have the diploma say Sweet T? Here’s something most folks getting their MBA won’t say…I’ve had so much fun in this class and in all my classes!

It has been a lot of work and I’ve learned so much!  I’ve created and managed social media professionally in the past and it’s definitely harder to do it personally.  Branding and marketing myself is different.  There aren’t the resources. It’s harder for me to give away an ipad to my 1,000th fan! I have to find time between my real job and my real life, There aren’t the collaborators (graphic designers and editors) getting paid to do it. It’s easier in some ways, of course, because my voice is my voice. Artwork can a challenge for me but there are so many free resources for photos, manipulating images and creating memes. There are so many free resources, period.  But I’ve had to wade through the clutter and noise to find the ones most useful to me.

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Over the next few months, I plan to share more ideas about our past book club selections – the books, crafts, games and decorations and of course some of the amazing food to go with our great reads.  I’ll also be sharing more book reviews.  Because I won’t have to read for class, I’m increasing my book challenge to 75 books. That’s one more a month plus three extra!!  Whoo!

Thank you for going on the journey with me.  I hope you will continue to help me learn and support me on this adventure.  I hope your life is enriched by sharing this love of reading together.  I believe the internet and social media can forge and strengthen friendships and connect souls if you let it. I am always open to suggestions. Tell me what you think by commenting below or sending me an email at sweettnbooks@gmail.com

Have a super day!

Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers

Here are some gifts you can get (or make) for me (or someone who loves books and bookclub!) Quick someone tell Stephen, I want these things! And if you know me, you might find this in a gift bag with your name on it!

Wine charms
Crafters on Etsy have so many cute and wonderful wine charms. Our book club tapes quotes (or fuzzy buttons) from the book around our wine glasses to distinguish whose is whose but these are ALL wonderful!
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I just love this adorable necklace and quote!

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OOooh and this necklace is great, too!

seusse

I know someone who needs this shirt!garden

And a bunch of folks who need this one!

tshirt

Coffee mugs are always fun

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and after coffee is wine, of course.  Book club needs LOTS of wine glasses!

book-club

Curl up by the fire with your mug or glass, a good book and a warm blanket. I would love to learn to make the chunky knit ones!

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Or this amazing customized bookshelf quilt!!!  This really makes me wish I quilted.  Hmmmm…. Anyone want to learn with me?

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Then there’s magical book art!!  I would love to have the patience to make this!

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Have a wonderful Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, Kwanza or whatever holiday you celebrate!

A Magical Night at the Library

This weekend was the fabulous gala for the Harford County Public Library Foundation.  It was the first time I attended and I was blown away!

It was called An Evening in the Stacks; 70 Years in the Family Business. They even created a fun video to announce it! Tickets went on sale in August and sold out within a few hours.  It’s a hot commodity!

Two of my book club girlfriends and I got all dolled up for the occasion – red lipstick and sequins and high pointy heels!  We entered through a glittering tree-lined walkway into an Italian wedding scene from the Godfather complete with a towering wedding cake!  I certainly couldn’t refuse the charm and elegance that transformed every nook and corner of the Abingdon branch of the library.

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The circulation desk was a vast martini bar. The media desks were buffets of deliciousness where chefs created savory pleasures of pasta and seafood. Waiters passed lobster cannolis and In addition to the wedding cake and so many things to make my sweet tooth happy – French macarons, cheesecake, cannoli dip, cookies, cupcakes, limocello and coffee with amaretto…oh my, so much yum!

We found a nook to hang out in the Adult Fiction section right by the casino, how appropriate!  I even found another version of Frankenstein (last month's book club selection that I became a little obsessed with because of all the different versions it inspired).

gala-collage

The whole room was dazzling with the swirl of activity.  People were glamorous and dressed to the nines!  It was so sparkly and gorgeous! We tried our luck at the casino and bid on items in the live and silent auctions, told secrets in the bourbon room and chatted with old friends and new.  And of course, we danced the night away under not one but THREE glittering crystal chandeliers while listening to the lively music of the Mood Swings!  Unfortunately we didn't win the $5,000 jewelry shopping spree!  Oh well, there's always next year, right?

There were so many friends there.  What a magical night to support something so dear and integral to my happy literary life!

The gala supports programs throughout the entire library system. Our county’s system is a treasure.  An award winning institution, it is an integral part of our community, a resource for individuals from babies to seniors  and all ages in between as well as to businesses.  They offer such a variety of services from passports to wifi hotspots to providing cooling centers on too hot days for those without air conditioning. The programming is incredible – not just childhood reading programs and author talks but innovation labs and demonstrations, a comicon for teens and workshops for aspiring writers. I’m not an advertisement for the library but I LOVE THE LIBRARY!