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Every year, many people put aside their work, daily stresses and responsibilities and escape on a vacation, somewhere far away from reality. It may be a secluded retreat in the mountains, or days relaxing at an exotic beach or resort. However, with the pandemic including social distancing, travel restrictions, and financial constraints, those plans may have to be shelved. But the desire to escape reality is very much alive. So, with many people remaining in their homes, how can that off-work journey happen? We have some tips for making the best of the situation and creating vacation memories without leaving home. It’s called a staycation.
What’s a staycation?
A staycation is, quite simply, a vacation at home. How realistic, how exciting, or how relaxing you make it is up to you. Theme it up for a more authentic “away-from-home” experience.
What makes a great staycation? Well, that depends on what you consider a vacation. Some people want adventure, while others like relaxing with a drink in their hand. Still others use vacation time to unwind by tackling DIY projects such as renovations. So, what would you enjoy doing if you could craft your own staycation? (Which, by the way, you can.)
Commit to it
Once you’ve decided to schedule a staycation – whatever it ends up being – commit to it. Mark it on your calendar. Plan for it. Make concrete plans. Research for the top tips for your staycation. If you’re working, ask for those days off of work. Don’t just say you’re going to have a vacation and spend the weekend lounging on the sofa, noshing on Cheetos and surfing the internet, unless a week of rest is the staycation you’ve planned.
Whenever you’re going for vacation in your home – especially in these times when so many of us are working from home – try to unplug so your mind’s not on work and responsibilities. It’s especially important to take time off from work when you are working from home. Set your work email to the “out of office” setting and write an auto-reply message. Then, don’t check your work emails unless absolutely necessary. Consider NOT telling your boss that you’re vacationing at home. Turn your cell phone off or on silent, and set a small window of time each day to check for email messages.
Skip the news. The idea is to get away from stress, away from reality. Just concentrate on your vacation experience. The news cycle can wait for a week. Really, it can. This is the time to be good to yourself.
Prepare for your staycation much like you’d prep for any other vacation. Create your itinerary. Decide what kind of activities you would like to do each day of your vacation. What kind of staycation would you like? Cultural learning, straight-up fun, pampering, relaxing? Write your vacation goals down, and then make a game plan. Don’t want to cook while on vacation? Gather menus from local restaurants that deliver, and have them on hand. You could even incorporate different restaurants into the theme of your vacation.
Before your official vacation start time, do all the necessary prep work. Complete all chores in advance. Wash the dishes, dust, pay the bills, scrub the toilets, empty the trash. Do the laundry BEFORE your staycation begins. You don’t really want to be sorting and folding while on vacation, do you?
Set the Mood for your Staycation
Many people have saved money in anticipation of an annual vacation to pay for things like hotel rooms, meals, plane tickets and a rental car. Why not channel some of those funds into your at-home vacation paradise?
Create your staycation space – really, truly, set up a space that exudes the theme of your vacation. Move the furniture, change the lighting, order pillows, fairy lights or scented candles – whatever your theme is, run with it. Look at magazines or online trip websites for inspiration. Think about the destination you want. Paradise under the palms? Set up a piña colada or margarita station at home. Roll up the rugs and go barefoot like you’re on the beach. Set up a hammock between backyard trees or on your back porch.
Dreaming of a mountain retreat? Set out pine-scented candles and decorate the room with cottage home decor. Plan for any purchases you’ll need for your staycation. Does your week require some relaxing pillows, aromatherapy candles, a tent or hammock? Dreaming of an overseas vacation? Hit the international foods section of your grocery and stock up on items from that region to set the mood. Planning a spa retreat week? Buy a set of high-thread-count sheets, a couple of luxurious pillows, scented bath salts, essential oils, and a super-soft robe.
To make your staycation ambiance even more realistic, you can make a vacation soundtrack with music that reminds you of that particular place, or perhaps a past favorite vacation that you’d like to recreate. Going to the beach in your mind? Ramp up some Jimmy Buffet music. Missing that trip to Brazil this summer? Make your own compilation of Brazilian favorites including the likes of Roberto Carlos or Anitta. Or, queue up some internet music mixes.
Think about your favorite luxury hotel amenities and try to replicate some of those special touches at your own staycation. Love peppermints or chocolates on your pillows? Do it. How about a fruit basket, or a water pitcher of cold spring water infused with the subtle flavor and inviting look of cut fruit? Make it happen. This is all about helping you feel like you’re somewhere else.
How about a pampering week, helping you release all the stress that’s built up this year? Consider a self-care “getaway” with a spa day, a YouTube yoga session, or a self-manicure. Start a journal of self-discovery. Draw a warm bubble bath, adding some calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Slip into the welcoming suds as you relax your mind and body. Soft music and candles invite you to soak away the stress. Then, wrap yourself up in the soft hug of a luxurious robe. This vacation is all about being good to yourself.
Retail Therapy Weekend
If you have money saved up that you won’t spend on a vacation this summer and miss shopping, you may want to arrange a retail therapy staycation. Curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and start online shopping. You could budget what you had already set aside for your anticipated actual vacation, and spend some of that money, or just “window-shop” and dream from the comfort of your favorite recliner.
Plan Future Vacations
You can’t travel much right now, but the future is wide open. You’ve been staring at your walls for quite a while now, longing to escape. Why not start that escape, at least in your mind? Begin planning your post-pandemic dream holiday or road trip (or plane trip). There’s no time like the present to ponder where you’d like to visit – start with the continent or country, and narrow it down from there. Search online for destinations, hotels and fun activities. Jot them down and start planning for next year.
Look online for interesting destinations and then start searching for places you can stay, like at hotels or bed and breakfast inns. What kind of activities can you participate in while there? Plan who will take care of your home, pets, how you will get to the airport, and even whether you will need airport parking when you get there. The things that usually stress you will be all figured out. There are plenty of online resources online, like travelbinger, that will make this task easier. Take notes, plan your budget, and work out the details so when it’s time to fly the pandemic coop, you’ll have all your ducks in a row for your next adventure.
Cook a fancy dinner
The internet is filled with how-to-cook videos. Zero in on one and cook that meal and impress your spouse or family. See if you can find fanciful foods that fit into the theme of your staycation. Or, ask your family to pamper you and cook (including doing the dishes.). You can also sign up for delivered meal preparation kits. These kits arrive at your doorstep with all of the ingredients, already prepped, along with step-by-step directions. You’ll feel like a professional chef in no time.
You may be someone who just needs to chill for a vacation. Vacations don’t always have to be about excitement and activity. Sometimes, you just need peace and quiet to de-stress from life. Create your zen vacation in a quiet place of your home – make it off limits to children (if you have them). Then, unplug your clocks or put them in the closet so you can’t see them. Turn off your phone, put on earphones (if there’s house noise you can’t block out) and just…chill.
Go camping for your staycation – for a night, a week, or somewhere in between – you choose. Set up a tent in the backyard, complete with sleeping bags and camp lights. Don’t forget the mosquito repellent or citronella candles. Pack up snacks in bags for a more authentic experience, and string lights in the trees or at the top of the tent for some extra ambiance.
Snag a couple of bags of ice from the store and fill a cooler with food and drinks to keep with the campout theme. Cook your meals on a grill, or have a fire pit if regulations allow. Roast marshmallows or craft s’mores. Tell stories around the fire. Stay up too late and laugh too much.
If your idea of camping is closer to glamping, or you don’t have a backyard, then move things indoors. Set up a tent or have your kids create a tent by hanging sheets and other fabrics in clever ways. Unleash your children’s creativity with tent-making – they know how to make the best tents and forts. Set up your indoor camping ambiance with flashlights and flameless candles for light sources. Eat from paper plates and make s’mores in the microwave. Search for a campfire video to play on your TV.
Have a family costume night or a themed party during your staycation. Challenge your kids to dress up as their favorite movie character, singer, or superhero, using clothes, props and supplies already in your home.
Love watching movies? Build a staycation around that. Have a themed movie marathon. Each family member picks a movie that you all watch, or you could categorize movies, like comedies, animation, action or another genre. Don’t forget the popcorn. Plan ahead and surprise your “movie audience” with their favorite movie theater candy and sodas.
Romantic Night in
Try to set up a cozy, romantic room or patio area to enjoy a night in with your loved one. Group candles around your backyard. Flameless candles are great and there’s no fire hazard. Set up a hammock or pillows or some other way to relax. Chill a bottle of wine, soda or whatever happens to be your favorite beverage. Make up a cheese tray. It can be fancy, or it can be laid-back. Pour a bag of chips into a bowl if that’s your style. Set the perfect mood for a romantic staycation. Play some music, relax, and kickback.
Many people love to travel to new locations and learn about culture, architecture, art, languages, food, and more. The opportunity to learn something new during your staycation is limited only by your imagination.
Because of the pandemic, many museums now offer free virtual tours. Spend days in the Louvre, or take an interactive tour of Mark Twain’s house. Visit zoos virtually, or set up Zoom meetings with friends or relatives in different countries so you can practice conversing in a foreign language.
Travel the world for free using your local library card. Libraries have a wealth of e-books available to download from the library’s website onto your own device. Just pick them out and download, prop your feet up and escape into a mystery, thriller, romance, fantasy, or whatever genre you enjoy. Have your favorite beverage and snacks near your reading haven.
Take an online class on cooking, digital art, sewing, or something that intrigues you. This is your staycation. If your goal is to spend more time outdoors, consider starting a new flower or vegetable garden or a compost pile. Set up a rain barrel water collection system, making use of the rainwater rolling off your roof.
You can even make it a learning vacation for your pet. Learn how to teach your pet tricks or a new skill, like sniffing out smells. Or, just chill with your cuddly cat on your lap. For some, that’s a heavenly vacation.
For those who would rather “do” than chill, spend your staycation time learning a new craft. Clear out your schedule and spend that time really digging into whatever it is you want to learn. Use budgeted summer vacation money to order acrylic or oil paints, modeling clay, mosaics or stained glass supplies, whatever strikes your fancy, and learn a new skill you’ll maintain long after your staycation is over.
Renovate a Space in your Home
For those who need to be active during vacations, think about a renovation vacation. Since you’ve been home so much the last two months, no doubt you’ve zeroed in on a corner or a room of your house that’s begging for an update or a redo. Your construction project can make the whole family feel involved and useful. Repaint the kitchen and add a backsplash or replace the flooring. Update your bedroom, adding new curtains or blinds. Turn that depressing basement into a new game room, guest room or home office. Browse among the DIY articles from professionals for inspiration and guidance.
Whatever your stay-at-home vacation fantasy is, try to make it happen. This pandemic won’t last forever, and the vacation you take this summer, at your own home, may just spark some of the best memories ever. Don’t forget to take photos!
For more ideas visit porch.com
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Phillipe Chadwick's first love is gardening, and what began as an early obsession has grown and evolved into a wide-ranging career—from gardening and horticulture to floral design. Chadwick has become well known for his show-stopping and vibrant, yet elegant and sentimental arrangements and designs. And this is why he has been chosen by our readers in the 2016 Faves & Raves as Favorite Florist.
But the label of florist is complicated by the course of his career and scope of his work. Asking whether he even considered himself a florist invited a complicated response.
Meet Phillipe Chadwick, LGBT Nashville’s favorite floral designer outvoices.us
“That's a really complicated question for me,” Chadwick responded. “I was always interested in plants and flowers as a child and that interest has only grown as I've gotten older. Since college I have been constantly increasing my knowledge of horticulture. Floral design was inevitable as I am obsessed with flowers. I try to keep it simple and just call myself a florist. My knowledge of horticulture definitely shows in my floral design. So I guess I am a landscape architect turned horticulturalist turned florist.”
His work in horticulture, and the reputation it earned him, rivals work as a floral designer. After the Nashville native earned his degree in Landscape Architecture from Mississippi State University in 2006, he worked as a landscape architect, managing civic designs for the city of Franklin, Tennessee.
In 2009, Chadwick went to work for Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art as a horticulturalist, and sought to elevate the already high standard he found there. He emphasized the need to keep all designs provocative and cutting-edge but at the same time aesthetically pleasing. This spirit breathed life into Cheekwood's gardens, while also working to provide Cheekwood's special events with fresh, bright flower arrangements.
Some work on the side, at first for family and friends, helped Chadwick decide to start his own business and to bring that same emphasis on design to events and venues across Middle Tennessee. “I was working at Cheekwood back around 2012,” he said, “when my brother got married, and I did the flowers for the wedding. It was the first time I had ever done floral design for an event. I remember it being kind of nerve-racking, not knowing what I was doing making bouquets and centerpieces. From there, I did several friends weddings, and it just continued to grow. After a year I had so much business I had to leave Cheekwood.”
Besides striking personal and sentimental cords, Chadwick prides himself on getting people talking, employing his extensive knowledge of plants and flowers to design outside of the box. “I did not start floral design expecting it to become my career: it's just turned out that way. I definitely utilize all of my education and knowledge I have acquired through school and my past jobs. In college I had a strong education in basic design theory, which I use every day. I really focus on color theory and the importance of texture. I was never formally trained as a florist so I have a style of my own. Everything I've learned about floral design has been through trial and error lots error!”
He’s also taught some, and his personal experience, and his push for creative approaches, shines through there. “When I've taught classes in the past,” he said, “I tell my students to try something they wouldn't expect themselves to do: they may not like it, and that's okay! They can always take it apart and make something new.
His designs do have their influences, however. “Lots of my inspiration comes from designers like Alexander McQueen and Iris van Herpen,” he said. “I follow several Japanese floral designers: they have the most interesting style and form.”
Chadwick has established a strong reputation in Nashville for crafting memorable weddings and impressive visual spectacles for events, including The Antiques and Garden Show, the TPAC gala, and Chukkers for Charity. He has also occasionally hosted Volunteer Gardener on NPT.
For Chadwick, his career highlights are fairly easy to highlight. “I got to design the color garden at Cheekwood,” Chadwick said, “which was always my pride and joy. The Antiques and Garden show has been a huge platform for me to showcase my style and intriguing designs. Several years back I made a tree out of a parachute that was lit internally with projections and all made of fabric. I have had six installations at the Antiques and Garden show and will have one this February. Winning the Best-in- Show award last year at the Antiques and Garden show is a real high point.”
He’s also very excited about his current project, he said, adding, “I have been designing the lobby flowers for the Pinnacle building this year, and I've had a lot of fun showcasing my wild designs.”
So where does he go from here? “I dream very big, and I create on a huge scale. Currently the business is Phillipe S. Chadwick, but my partner, Nick Maynard, and I will soon be launching Electric Flora, where I will still be the lead designer. I am currently looking into a workshop space for myself which I have wanted for years.”
For more information about Chadwick and his designs, and more examples of his work, visit www.hblanddesign.com.