Tag Archives: stay at home

Gardening: The Hottest Hobby Around

As many continue to follow stay at home orders, nurseries and greenhouses are reporting a huge uptick in sales. It seems that gardening has become a very popular hobby.

Aside from enjoying beautiful blooms, or the satisfaction that comes from growing your own veggies and fruits, gardening also has both physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.

The process of planning, creating, and planting gardens gives your brain stimulation and helps you forget about the stress you may have in your life. Gardening connects us to nature and allows us to focus on the entire process. Your finished product then continues to give back two-fold: It provides an ongoing outlet for stress relief as you maintain it, and the end result is a soothing environment that you can enjoy and decompress in for the entire season.

The physical aspects you gain from gardening have tremendous health benefits. To begin with, gardening releases serotonin and dopamine in our brains, otherwise known as the “feel good” chemicals.  A 2007 study showed that working with soil just makes us happier. A bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae triggers serotonin release, which in turn lifts mood and reduces anxiety. The human body also benefits from the vitamin D we get from the sun and the fresh air we inhale. These elements give you energy, build immunity, cleanse your senses, and help you sleep better.  Plus… you’ll find that you eat more fruits and vegetables because you have them right on hand. It’s surprising how much more delicious they really are when picked fresh!

The best thing about gardening is that you can have one regardless of where you live. Here are some popular methods for creating your very own garden getaway.

Apartment or Condo Living: You don’t have to have a huge back yard or acres of farmland to surround yourself with nature. Urban patio gardens, for instance, come to life with hanging planters, raised beds, and oversized pots. You can grow just about anything from flowers to vegetables in these receptacles so don’t be afraid to experiment

Small City Lots: If space is an issue, consider a leveled garden and using window boxes to maximize your growing area. You’d be surprised at how many varieties of botanicals, vegetables, and herbs don’t need a lot of room to flourish. Did you know you can turn an old dresser into a beautiful vertical garden? It’s the perfect way to repurpose an unwanted piece of furniture.

Subdivision Spaces: If you live in a subdivision, there is a good chance you have a Home Owners Association that has some guidelines you’ll have to follow. Find out what those are before you start planting because it’s common for HOA’s to limit gardening spaces to side or back yards only. With a little creativity however, that’s plenty of room to grow your garden paradise.

Wide Open Spaces: If you’re fortunate enough to have a larger property where the sky’s the limit you’ve got yourself a gardener’s paradise. Containers, levels, flower beds, hanging baskets, and more can all be worked into your creation. The possibilities are endless so use your imagination. Let both ideas you find online and your local garden center provide inspiration and don’t be afraid to try different things.

The weather is getting warmer so get out your gloves, shovels, and fertilizer and join the growing population of home gardeners. Your new space will be the perfect place to have your morning coffee or evening cocktail, spend family time, and eventually start entertaining again! It’s also the ideal place to just lounge in your pajamas!

 

Happy gardening!

 

We want to see your garden creations! Post your pictures here or visit our Facebook page and let’s see how you enjoy paradise!

 

 

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How to Host a Virtual Happy Hour

Working at home all day definitely has its perks. We don’t have to deal with traffic, you don’t have to rush around in the morning, and best of all we can work in our pajamas (that’s our favorite part)!

You might, however, be feeling a bit isolated, and missing your co-workers and friends as we practice our social distancing. A virtual happy hour may be just what you need to give your day some structure and create a lifeline between you and your loved ones.

So how do you host a virtual happy hour? It’s really pretty simple and an upside is that it’s a lot less expensive than going to a restaurant or bar!

Pick your platform. You’re going to need a chat platform to host your event and which one you use will depend on your guests. Zoom is the most popular option because you can send invites to anyone and its super easy to use. The one drawback is that if you don’t have a paid version, the free version only allows for a 40-minute group session which probably isn’t enough time to get truly happy . Facebook, Skype, and Google Hangouts are fine alternatives as long as everyone is comfortable with the interface you pick.

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Have a theme. Although it’s not a must for your virtual happy hour, a theme can make the event that much more fun. Try a margarita night, a whiskey tasting, wine with the gals, or a pajama party. Make sure to dress for the event too. Wine night… get dolled up (make-up and all) and put on some of ‘going out’ clothes just like you would if you were meeting somewhere. Pajama theme… get comfy and have fun!

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Make it a real party. Send out invites, share the theme and request RSVPs. We also love the idea of having a “happy hour for a cause” where at the end, instead of tipping a bartender, attendees can donate to your chosen charitable cause or nonprofit through Paypal or Facebook.

Manage your guest list. There are 2 things you want to consider when deciding who will attend your shindig. First, make sure the attendees are compatible especially if you have different circles of friends. Happy hour is all about the conversation so you don’t want someone feeling left out because they don’t mesh with other guests. You’ll also want to limit the number of people joining in. A nice size group is around 10 people. This way you won’t have people talking over one another and the conversation can flow naturally.

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Choose the ambiance. If you’re going to virtually hang out with your friends, you want to be able to see and hear them and you want them to see and hear you. Make sure to pick a well-lit area to place your laptop or mobile device and chose a location where background noise (think barking dogs or children playing) won’t get in the way of your conversations.

Keep the conversation light. It will be very easy to get on the topic of Coronavirus but try not to let that happen. This is all about the fun and escaping from the daily grind. It’s likely been a while since everyone has seen each other so use this time to catch up on what’s happening with everyone. You can talk about new recipes you’ve tried, movies you’ve watched, or books you’ve read. It may help to tell everyone in advance that there are topics you’d like to avoid so you can fully embrace the time together with your besties.

Choose the next host. Before you all sign off, ask if anyone would like to organize the next get together. Having something to look forward to makes everything we are all going through just a little more bearable.

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You’re not alone if you can’t wait for life to get back to normal and hopefully it will sooner than later. In the meantime, a virtual gathering is the best way to stay connected. You don’t have to limit them to happy hour either. Try a morning coffee clutch, an afternoon brunch, a dinner party or even a movie night. We need each other and together we’ll get through this.

 

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