Three years ago…

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It was a cold, clear day in Washington D.C.

I was deliriously happy. Like ridiculously, my-cheeks-hurt-I’m-smiling-too-much happy. My mother, sister and sisters-in-law helped me get ready, but there wasn’t as much to do as I imagined. I spent a lot of time in my robe looking out the window to spy on guests. Those before ceremony moments felt like what I imagine it feels like to be backstage before the curtain goes up–except this time I was Sugar Plum Fairy.

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We opted to take portraits before the ceremony at our reception venue, the centuries-old Cosmos Club. With famed writers, explorers and diplomats among its members, we felt it would be hallowed ground for two journalists to celebrate their marriage.

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We got married at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown with our beloved minister officiating, our siblings standing with us at the altar and my best friend reading a favorite poem. My most treasured part of the ceremony was when family members and friends stood up in their pews to give us 11 different marriage blessings–for wisdom when we need it, for devotion to each other, even for peace when we disagree. It was in that moment I felt that our marriage was not just the two of us; we have the support of our whole community.

There were stressful moments during the planning process when I considered eloping and getting married barefoot on an island somewhere…but in that moment, I realized why we stand up in front of our loved ones to say our vows. We’re in this together.

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Right after the ceremony there was a rush of adrenaline amongst the wedding party. We started dancing around and chanting “We did it! We did it!” Well, only of two of us actually did it, but the feeling was infectious!

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The dinner was lovely, especially my dad’s toast in which he revealed a secret test he conducted the first time I brought Bryce home to California. We were having a dinner picnic on the beach in Monterey when my dad asked Bryce to start a bonfire–except he gave Bryce only two matches. The wind was howling and the waves were crashing. By the time my dad revealed Bryce got the fire started with one match and returned the other to him, the room erupted in cheers. Go Bryce!

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I had really been looking forward to the dancing part of the night. I love any excuse to have a good, old-fashioned dance party and had spent a good deal of time pouring over our band‘s set list. When we finally got the nod that it was time for our first dance (our song), we were ready to let loose. I think everyone else was, too…

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The lifetime guarantee

I recently came across an online store with an amazing concept: Every product for sale is meant to last a lifetime! BuyMeOnce.com‘s mission is to “throw away our throwaway culture…products that don’t break the bank, don’t break the planet… that don’t break at all!”

I love it. Less stuff, better stuff. Shouldn’t we strive to always shop this way?

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I was happy to discover that I already own a few of BuyMeOnce’s approved products, such as Le Creuset cookware. I 100% agree that this stuff lasts a lifetime and looks good while doing it.

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I’ve almost purchased a Mason Pearson hair brush a few times, but been deterred by the price tag. Now I realize I’ve probably spent as much on the various brushes I’ve bought over the years. I already own a Mason Pearson comb and love it.

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I used to lose an umbrella every time it rained, but somehow I’ve had the same polka-dotted one with a broken arm for the past three years. It’s time to upgrade: The Davek Umbrella.

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Most of the shoes on BuyMeOnce are heavy work boots–not really my style–but wow, I would love to own these L.K. Bennett Tabby Shearling Boots… and wear them the rest of my life!

 

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BuyMeOnce also has the sweetest wooden toys if you’re looking for a special gift. These toys promise to become heirlooms that will be handed down in future generations.

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Unsurprisingly the shop isn’t extensive since not many manufacturers make lifetime guarantees. The BuyMeOnce founders hope that their website will “challenge manufacturers to break their habits and build stuff that really lasts.”

Currently, BuyMeOnce is holding an open design challenge to create a little black dress to last a lifetime. The dress should be flattering, timeless and last someone 60+ years of once-a-week wear. I don’t know what this hypothetical dress looks like and I’m ready to order it already!

What do you think of the concept? Do you have products that you swear by? I hope your week is full of memories that will last a lifetime…but for now, a few links:

A one-minute confidence boost

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Need a surge of confidence today? Stand with your feet apart, fists on your hips, shoulders thrown back and your chin tilted up. It may feel silly, but holding the “Superman pose” for 60 seconds is scientifically proven to boost confidence.

Harvard researchers found that this pose helps reduce the body’s level of stress hormones–cortisol–by 20% and increase the body’s level of confidence hormones–testosterone–by 25%. And the effects are more than just pleasant-feeling: Subjects reported performing better on tests after standing in the pose, as well.

Simple, quick, effective. As easily done in pajamas at home as in a supply closet at work. The only problem may be the name…could we call it the Wonder Woman pose?

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OK? Let’s attack this weekend! A few confidence boosters:

 

Travel Trend: Adult Coloring Books

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Maybe you’ve heard adult coloring books are big this year. Or maybe this is the first you’ve heard and your reaction is somewhere between “that’s ridiculous” and “that’s awesome!”

Personally, I’m intrigued.

I don’t consider myself an artist, so pulling out a blank sheet of paper and pencil–you know, just to sketch–sounds intimidating. Even stressful. (What if the passenger seated next to me expects artistic greatness?!) A coloring book? That sounds downright relaxing.

According to art therapy studies, coloring books can help us organize our thoughts, breathe more deeply and relieve PTSD symptoms. It has many of the same health benefits of meditation–and there is nothing childish about that!

Moreover, travel can be stressful. Tight connections, turbulent flights, missed ferries. A coloring book may be the perfect travel companion. Some coloring books may actually help you research your destination…

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I’m ordering this one immediately!

This coloring book has been incredibly popular in Europe. This coloring book promises to relieve stress. This coloring book looks hilarious! I’d especially love to try this ocean-inspired book. I hope you’re finding a way to relax today…but for now, a few links:

Hygge: How Danes beat the winter blues

Winter isn’t my favorite season. I may ski, drink vin chaud and wear the heck out of a shearling jacket, but I’m a California girl at heart. Since moving to Switzerland I’ve tried to change my perspective, because winter is truly something to behold here. Writing this article last year helped me look forward to the coldest time of year, so I’m re-running it today. 

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The sun sets before four in the afternoon and the temperatures rarely surge above freezing, and yet winter is Denmark’s favorite season thanks to the Danes’ belief in “hygge.”

Pronounced “hyOO-guh,” the word loosely translates to the mental state of coziness. Hygge is the idea that winter is to be savored, not simply survived. Danes even say “hyggeligt” which means “it’s cozy to meet you.”

Some Danish scholars write that hygge promotes feelings of thankfulness and gratitude—not totally unlike America’s Thanksgiving. But considering that Denmark ranks as the happiest nation on Columbia University’s World Happiness Report, the United States could learn a thing or two from Hamlet’s people.

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Although hygge is a mental state, Danes use props to cultivate hygge at home.

Lighting. Low, warm lighting is especially key to making the dark days feel magical. Danes use candles in their homes, cafes, even offices to promote the “hyggelige glow.”

Dining. A Danish family will linger for hours around a warm meal and often warm, alcoholic drinks in celebrating hygge. (See my hot toddy recipe).

Comfort. Younger Danes have added snuggling under blankets on the sofa and watching movies to hygge traditions—something I already do quite well. Preserve hygge by eschewing cell phones to connect over intimate conversation.

A little hygge for your home:

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A high-end candle

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Wool throw blanket

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Winter white slippers

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Retro electric tea kettle

I hope you’re feeling hygge somewhere today…but for now, a few links: