Hiatus Report

Sometimes in life we get ridiculously buried in work and stressed out over changes that are happening to us or around us. I am in one of these states at the moment. Needless to say I have a lot of priorities, which include but are not limited to: training for a 5k race, working a full-time job and writing this blog. However, it is time for a restructure of this blog, to keep it running and not into the ground.

So I’m taking a week or two, perhaps up to a month but certainly no longer than that, to get my life sorted out, my time managed and my blog restructured. When I return it will be with a bang, I promise you that! I will miss you, Audience, but I will see you again.

From Candyland to Pictionary

Board games are an absolutely wonderful way to relax, whether there’s only two of you or there’s eight. I know that my own collection of board games has done nothing but grow, especially with the more friends I have found. From Candyland to Pictionary to Dominion—even Tabletop RPG board_gamesbased games like Pathfinder have their rightful place among the thousands of board games I suggest sampling from.

Kids games can be fun for anyone, but the basic ideas behind them might be a little too boring for adults, if it’s solely adults playing the games you might find that making up your own system of rules or adapting the existing rules would make the game more fun for the players.

There are games for those aged 12 and up, Monopoly and Parcheesi are good examples of these types. They are a great way, sober or inebriated, to relax. The only thing about Monopoly? It can sometimes ruin friendships. Be careful with that one, but otherwise you’re bound to have a great time.

There are tabletop RPG games: yes, Dungeons and Dragons is what I’m talking about. They are a great social game that is a little more in depth to set up and play, but just as enjoyable (maybe more so for people who prefer to be immersed in a game). Pathfinder and D&D are a game that is going to be spread out over multiple sessions in order to get through a campaign, so be prepared to play this often and with generally the same people.

Card games are another form of “board games” that you might find to your taste. Games like 46153-collectionDominion and Munchkin are based in cards, but Uno is just as fun and relaxing. These are usually great for all ages, although Munchkin has complex rules that are generally more made up as they go so it might not be as suited for youngsters if they don’t have a dedicated helper.

Overall games can bring people together, relieve stress and give you something to do in times when you might not have much else to do. They’re a great way to relax and enjoy your day. So break out a board game and rope in the family or invite some friends over!

Catch a Siesta!

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Are you at the woeful age where naps are a no-no, and yet you never have the energy to do anything? Well, I have good news for you. The good news is that those wonderful afternoon siestas are back on the a-okay list. That’s right, you can feel free to take a quick break from mowing the lawn, painting that fence or whatever home improvement project you’ve been working on and shield your eyes from the sun, lay back in the hammock and catch some z’s.

So how long should you nap for? That all depends upon what reason you have for taking a lazy siesta.

15-20 minutes: a “reset nap”, meaning you will be more alert and able to continue your task effectively. Increases motor function.

20-30 minutes: Memory and brain function is increased.

60-90 minutes: learning and problem-solving is increased.

Naps are best taken in the early to mid afternoon, and last, on average, 40 minutes. Remember that if you’re thinking about taking a nap, you want to be aware of your environment (if it’s sunny, put on sun screen; if there are bugs then use bug repellent), block out any light around you so you will fall asleep more quickly and make sure you stay warm: body temperature drops while you’re asleep.

So why nap instead of sucking down a quad-shot latte, no-foam (can you tell I work at Starbucks)? This answer is easy: caffeine actually decreases brain function and does not eliminate fatigue.

There are some negative side effects of napping: sleep inertia (when you wake up groggy) and affecting your sleeping patterns on a whole can be noticed. There have been some indications that napping can increase risk of heart failure if the risk is already present.

So go ahead and take a nap on the couch, in a hammock or on the floor if that’s what you like! Napping can actually help you achieve a completed project without a loss of quality. So good luck, nappers!

Painting a Room

IMG_20140720_105203Maybe this isn’t relaxing for all people, but I experienced a relaxing activity today: painting a room. Okay, so for those who don’t know, I’ll be moving from a condo to a house this upcoming week, so in lieu of this new house and permission to repaint the bedroom my boyfriend and I will be sharing, we decided that the mustard yellow paint that was in there had to go.  Simultaneously, the little sister was upstairs painting her room from a beige color to a light turquoise, making today a family painting day.

We all dressed in “throw away” clothes (for me this was my Hogwarts lounge pants and an old tank top), and put plastic down. We gathered all of our tools, taped off the walls and got to work.

 

With our walls taped off so the two of us painting downstairs could get the green wall in first (our IMG_20140720_114403theme is an earthy one in our bedroom), I got to tackle the green wall on my lonesome while Torin went after the other three with a first coat of white paint. After a while, my green wall was painted and all the finishing touches were given to it. The first coat of white paint was on the other walls and we were set for a break.

For lunch we had sandwiches on gluten free bread ( a necessity in this household), and ran over to Walgreens to grab drinks and more handsoap. We were already plenty splattered with paint! Overall lunch didn’t take too long. We ate, drank up and then got right back to work again.

 

 

IMG_20140720_114416With a second coat of white and some coverage of trim (it was originally the same white as we were painting the walls, and there were scuffs and paint drips from the original color of mustard yellow on the trim), we were just finishing up edging and getting little bits here and there. Our room, which has no windows in it but does have french doors to let in what little natural light it can get, was completed with three white walls and one green one. The green one is the one directly across from the doorway, giving the room dimension and a pop of color–one would think this was my idea, but Torin gets all the credit for that one. Overall it was a relaxing day that ended with taking a hot shower to try to get all the paint out of our hair.

 

 

A Football Game at a Bar

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As you might well know, I’m a self-professed non-fan who is coupled with a casual fan of football. With the World Cup Final scheduled for today, we decided to suit up and head out. We were joined by some friends and friendly neighbors at the bar, where almost the whole crowd was there to watch the World Cup. Seeing as this was a first for me, I was a little nervous about fitting in at first, but soon found that those thoughts weren’t necessary.

The atmosphere at the bar was friendly and open–there were several people wearing jerseys from both teams and no bad interactions happened that I was aware of. All we encountered was polite, happy people. Even those not wearing jerseys were into it, and it seemed that the regulars who weren’t really football fans (like me, the non-fan) were interested in the happenings as well.

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The food and drink was steady and tasted good enough to bring up back and forth from the counter many times while watching the game. I even had some awesome Bourbon Vanilla Latte Gelato during the second half (by the way, that stuff is amazing)!

All throughout the game the crowd was boisterous and interactive. We all cheered, groaned, and celebrated when Schweinsteiger trotted back on the field after a collision that left him bloody. Everyone was a great sport and there was never a hateful or spiteful word between the fans.

Overall my first experience watching a sporting event at a bar was wonderful. Good food, good game and great people. A very relaxing afternoon!

Experiencing New Things Together

Last night my boyfriend and I had a date night. Granted, it started in the early afternoon with errands that bled into trying a restaurant neither of us had been to before, but we’re still going to call it “date night”. As I said, we started off going to a different restaurant—which was a theme for the day, trying new things—we went to Red Robin. Now, since I grew up in Vermont I’d only heard of these and what I’d heard was terribly wrong. I’d heard that they were like 7-Elevens, only they served burgers. So I had pictured them like a convenience store, but with a sort of deli off to the side where they made delicious American goodness. Red Robin was not that. It was a surprisingly nice restaurant with a bar inside, outdoor seating and a nice atmosphere. We ordered our drinks, waited for our burgers and talked. When the burgers arrived they were devoured—tasty and just enough to be satisfying. Of course, it was a little bit more expensive than our usual outings, but it wasn’t horrendously overpriced either.

Both of us

Both of us

After that we ended up hanging out at home until it was time for the other event of the night: an indoor trampoline park. So neither of us had ever been to one (as you can see, we were poor, deprived children) and it was an interesting experience. We had purchased the tickets online, printed out our waivers and signed them. Once we arrived there they double checked the system, sold us some socks to use (one could either jump in their socks or barefoot) and a locker to use for the two hours we were scheduled for.

Torin

Torin

Once we’d changed into the socks and stuffed our belongings into the locker, we headed in. For those of you who haven’t been to an indoor trampoline park: I highly recommend it. In this particular venue there were dodgeball courts, basketball jumps, ninja warrior pits, foam pits and then the open trampolines. There were rules to follow for safety reasons, and whistle blowers if you weren’t following the rules, but it was clean and safe. There was a surprising amount of people there, both people who were new to the place and people who obviously spent a lot of time there. The games of dodgeball were interesting and fun to watch. I can sure say one thing, though, it was tiring. We ended up not even staying the full two hours. Instead we left half an hour early. I’ll tell you what, if I want to go back, I want to get into better shape first!

 

The ball of time stamps in the Flight Lobby.

The ball of time stamps in the Flight Lobby.

So what’s so relaxing about this? It was a date night—we got to spend some quality time with the person we loved and got to experience new things together. Overall, I would say the night was a success; I slept really well last night after all that exercise too!

Learn, Have Fun & Take the Whole Family!

Okay, so today I went on a bit of an excursion. I went 20 minutes from my new home, to a place that I had never been to (although many other people have) and went all touristy. And you know what? It was a relaxing day! I wore comfy clothes, looked nice, and was accompanied by friends. I went to Washington DC and visited museums.

In the car, headed toward DC!

In the car, headed toward DC!

Now, there are many museums to choose from and we only visited two, but even still we had loads of fun and learned little tidbits of information here and there. The Natural History Museum was the first one we visited, and we enjoyed walking around and seeing all of the stuffed animals (the ones that used to be live animals, not the fluffy things you or your kids sleep with). We stood between the massive jaws of a prehistoric shark and got to see the shimmering Hope Diamond along with a number of other beautiful gems.

 

We're being goobers here, don't mind us!

We’re being goobers here, don’t mind us!

The Natural History Museum was free admittance, although the next museum we visited was not. The second museum we attended was the International Spy Museum. We did have to pay admittance, but we also purchased tickets to join “Operation Spy”. In Operation Spy we were grouped with five other people and went through a mission where what we did and how we did it affected the outcome. We got to solve puzzles, run around and have fun. I mean, how else am I going to live out my dreams of being an expert safe cracker other than in an awesomely interactive adventure like Operation Spy? Regardless, it was well worth the price.

 

My Spy Alias. Pretty cool, huh?

My Spy Alias. Pretty cool, huh?

Although we were tired by the end of our trip (hey, we did a lot of walking to see some other monuments as well), we still had a great time. The upside was that I got out, enjoyed the sunshine and then got to also enjoy some air conditioning on a hot day and see new things. Even if you live in the area, it can be a super fun weekend trip, especially if you bring kids along. They’ll have a blast and I’m sure you will too, if you give it a chance!