Hygge Your Home This Autumn

Will and I have been big fans of the “hygge” trend these past few years. If you aren’t sure what hygge is, it is a Danish philosophy about happiness and enjoying the cozy comforts in life. According to The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, the word hygge comes from a Norwegian word for “well-being” and has transformed into a cultural movement embracing comfort and coziness.

I’ve never been a big fan of the colder months here in Michigan, but after Will and I started planning hygge nights and creating a more cozy atmosphere at home,  I have learned to love this time of year a little more. Whenever I think about hygge, autumn and winter are what come to mind immediately.

If you think you could use a little more coziness at home but aren’t sure where to start, here are 10 of our favorite {affordable} ways to create more hygge at home:

  1. candles & soft lighting: candles are a quick way to create that warm cozy feeling. We like to use all natural soy candles made without artificial fragrances, and we’ve even made our own with essential oils before! tip: if you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow open flame, twinkle lights can do wonders.
  2. warm sweaters and socks: it is hard not to think about soft warm knits as fall approaches. Embrace the season and cuddle up in your softest sweater. Bonus points if you can knit them!
  3. hot drinks: it is hard to think of hygge and not think of those warm fall and winter beverages, think hot cocoa, tea, hot toddies, or our favorite, mulled wine.
  4. get outside: the more time we spend outdoors, the more we appreciate getting hygge inside afterward. Take a nice long nature walk to enjoy the colors and then come home and get cozy.
  5. play board games: boardgames are a nice way to spend and evening with family and friends without getting distracted by technology. I think Scrabble is the most hygge board game of all!
  6. cuddle with your pets: we always jokingly call our cat Amelia “hygge cat” because she is so warm and fluffy and loves to snuggle with her humans. She is the cat embodiment of hygge, we’re pretty certain.
  7. make homemade soup or stew: comfort food at its finest.
  8. pillows and blankets: get comfy on the couch, or our favorite thing to do is to build a fort out of pillows and blankets and watch some of our favorite old films.
  9. read your favorite book: we love to read Harry Potter books aloud to each other, but you could enjoy this activity solo too!
  10. baking: we just baked a homemade apple pie and it makes the whole house smell wonderful. Treat yourself to one of your favorites!

I think the thing I love most about getting hygge at home is that it encourages me to be very mindful of my surroundings and appreciate all of the wonderful comforts we have here. Take time to cultivate gratitude for the simple joy of being cozy and enjoy.

love and light,

Lena

zero waste cold brew coffee

It took me a really long time to jump on the cold brew coffee bandwagon. When I first heard about it all I could imagine was how bitter my coffee tastes when it has been sitting out a little too long and is a tepid room temperature. That is probably my least favorite taste. I love coffee when it is hot and I love coffee when it is ice cold, but anything in between is not acceptable.

My recent morning obsession has been a cup of cold brew coffee! I love that I can make a big batch and it’ll stay good all week long in the fridge – that makes my morning rush a lot easier.

This is an awesome zero-waste coffee option for anyone who needs convenience (& caffeine) in the morning too! I use the same glass jar every week, the grounds can be composted, and the cheesecloth can be reused! If you like the idea of cold brew but you like your coffee hot, this brew can be warmed up in the microwave and still tastes amazing!

Have you been wanting to make your own cold brew but haven’t known how to begin? No worries. Here are the simple steps I follow when making my own:

Directions:

  1. Grind your favorite whole bean coffee to a coarse ground. If you don’t enjoy grinding your beans fresh like we do, that’s okay, you can buy in bulk at the grocery store an
  2. d have them coarsely ground there!
  3. Place grounds at the bottom of your glass jar and fill with cold water. You should have a 1 part coffee to 8 parts water ratio, roughly!
  4. Cover jar and shake to combine well.
  5. Let steep in the fridge for 18 to 24 hours – I have let mine go as long at 48 hours before, it makes a strong coffee but I still love it! You can always add more water if it is too strong to enjoy.
  6. Place cheesecloth over the container you plan to store your coffee in and strain coffee into container.
  7. Store in the fridge and enjoy for the next week!

Tip: Carry your coffee in a reusable container and compost your coffee grounds!

Personally I usually drink my cold brew black but occasionally I like to add a little honey or coconut milk. This brewing method is my favorite because it takes all of the acidity out of the coffee but still leaves the bold flavor.

Have you experimented with cold brew at home? What are your favorite variations or ways to dress it up? I would love to hear your suggestions!

love & light

Lena

12 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment Today

Did you know that the first week in September is International Zero Waste Week? We love practicing zero waste routines at home, every little bit counts! We are not a zero-waste household (absolutely NO garbage) yet, but we’ve made lots of small changes over the past couple years to move in that direction!

If you are looking for some easy ways to reduce your waste and help the environment here are some easy tips you could start following this week!

  1. Carry a reusable cup with you all the time.
  2. Use cloth napkins at home instead of paper.
  3. Use rags like old t-shirts or tea towels instead of paper towel!
  4. Say no to plastic straws! Or use a reusable stainless steel or glass straw!
  5. Compost! (We are just starting to explore this and it is a fun adventure!)
  6. Avoid single-use plastic such as plastic utensils, cups, plates, sandwich baggies, etc. I always carry a bamboo fork and spoon in my bag to help with that!
  7. Wrap your food in bee’s wrap instead of plastic.
  8. Buy toilet paper that is packaged in paper instead of plastic!
  9. When shopping online, ask retailers if they can send your package plastic-free. I have had good luck with this.
  10. Always carry a container for leftovers in your car or bag so that when the time comes you don’t need to ask for a to-go box!
  11. Always check an item to see if it is recyclable before tossing it in the trash.
  12. Buy produce that does not come wrapped in plastic, or better yet – grow your own!

These are all easy changes that make a big difference! We have had a lot of luck at home with these practices and it has been fun to challenge ourselves to make more informed choices about our waste. We have a lot of room for improvement so we are doing our best to create NO garbage this week! If you want to make a pledge for Zero Waste Week too, you can do it here! They will send you tips and motivation all week long!

The most important thing when working to reduce your waste is to simply be conscious of your habits. When you are mindful about the choices you are making it becomes very easy to recognize opportunities to make zero waste choices. It all starts with awareness!

Good luck on your Zero Waste journey!

love & light

Lena

Honeymooning

If you are wondering where I’ve been the last month, Will and I celebrated our wedding on August 11th and we are currently on a beautitul trip in Northern Michigan for our honeymoon! I hope you are all busy enjoying the last few weeks of sweet summertime and making the most of every moment!

I am looking forward to getting back to posting when we return next week, but for now I am off with my husband being in love!

Wishing you love & light,

Lena

Dip-dyed napkins for our late summer wedding…

When Will and I were planning our wedding we knew we wanted to DIY as many elements we could because we love making things ourself. Over the past year we’ve been slowly phasing out paper products from our home and acquiring more reusable clothe options! Because we only use clothe napkins in our home, this seemed like a great opportunity to bulk buy napkins that we could use for years and years without any extra production waste happening due to our consumption.

I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of basic white napkins because our theme for the wedding was lots of color, so I decided to dye the napkins myself. For this project I bulk ordered white 100% cotton napkins on Amazon – I purchased around 180 napkins for under $100 and used RIT dye from the grocery store. I would love to try this project again in the future and explore more sustainable dyes or learn how to make my own natural dyes!

I was able to dye all of the napkins within 2 days, the first day my little brother helped me and the second day my good friend Abby was there to assist! I separated the napkins into sets of 20 and tried folding them in lots ofdifferent ways. After that it was time to start dyeing! Be sure to pre-wash anything you plan to dye to remove any finish that may be on it!

Here are the steps I followed to customize our colorful wedding napkins!

Materials:

  • White 100% cotton napkins
  • RIT dye
  • salt
  • water
  • large tubs or bins
  • drying rack

Instructions:

  1. Fold napkins in various patterns – this is the creative part where you can really just play because no matter what they turn out beautiful.
  2. Fill the tub halfway with very hot water (for me it was about 8 cups), I just used tap water on the hottest setting but you could heat it up in a tea kettle if you wanted it really hot.
  3. Dissolve 1 cup of salt in the dye bath.
  4. Add 1 bottle of RIT dye to dye bath. If you want softer colors, use less dye!
  5. Soak napkins in dye bath for 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Wring out napkins and rinse well to remove any extra dye.
  7. Line dry or if you are afraid of the dye bleeding, you can run them through the gentle cycle of the wash and hang them to dry.
  8. Iron and enjoy!

I did all of my soaking in the backyard to make sure I didn’t make a mess in my house – luckily we were able to complete the whole set without an spills! Now we have a huge supply of beautiful napkins that we can use daily! I love that they are a reminder of our wedding day too, that makes them even more special! In the future I would love to explore ways to do this project again but in a more sustainable way!

Any other wedding DIYers out there? What about you? Have you ever tried to create your own dyes? Or what is your favorite kind of  organic natural dye? I would love to learn more!

love & light,

Lena