A Magic Carpet Ride

 

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   “It was hard to comprehend how blue the ocean was on these Rodos beaches. We parked our rental car on the side of a village road to take photos. Outside of a restaurant called Panorama Cafe, we stood there in disbelief to absorb the panoramic view. It was at that moment that I first realized that the ocean water in Greece has layers to its hues. Closest to the shore, the water is clear, then green, then Mediterranean blue, then navy blue and then, miraculously, purple. Together they make that Grecian blue but if you look closely, it’s layers of blue except on the island of Lefkada, where it is solidly the most turquoise blue the eye can absorb. It was opaque, thick, sensuous and shockingly turquoise blue.

On the boat cruises through the Ionian islets off Lefkada, all I can remember feeling is ecstasy of physical feelings of happiness and peace. The body was totally consumed with the feeling of happiness, separate and together with the mind and soul. Every fiber of my being was out there in that sea of turquoise, lapping up every breeze, every wave crashing, every beam and ray of sun shining on us.”

Click on link to order.  You can read the first chapter as well the back cover. Profits go to various charities. www.amzn.com/069271393X

In writing this book, I learned even more historic facts about the various countries we visited. There are recommended hotels, restaurants, excursions and recipes  included as well as cultural nuances and historic factoids….for those who are interested! There’s also a lesson plan for children illustrating how to implement itinerary building collaborations.

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© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley

 

Gypsy Family Travel- updated!

Gypsy Family Travel is getting a facelift… new theme, same logo and additional purposes. It started out to be a travel blog and soon became a travel AND adventure blog. The adventures involve my interviewees’ hobbies and activism. Recently, I’ve decided it shouldn’t be about only travels , necessarily….but rather, JOURNEYS!

Journeys aren’t just about geography.  Journeys are also personal goals, whether or not anyone leaves their home! If the person’s journey involves a foreign destination OR a local passion, voila’! Either way is inspirational and interesting to me and hopefully, to you, the reader.

The travel blogs are all still here but it’s been rewarding to include the newer articles about culture and people’s projects, hobbies and vocations. What we learn when we learn from each other! It’s refreshing  to learn new info and inspiration from so many multifarious and motley interviewees! It’s also been intriguing to be on a quest for magnetic places, businesses, vocations, cultural activities and excursions. For example, vintage stores, art crawls, Cosplay conventions, unique philanthropies, links to local events, etc.

If you have an interesting topic you want to share with me or if you want to raise awareness about something worthwhile, contact me! Let’s peel back the layers of this fascinating, alluring, multidimensional life.

flamenco dancers in Barcelona

Gypsy Family Travel ….or let’s say, ” Gypsy Family Journeys” is a positive place to share your information. Through recorded conversations, we will see where the interview leads. Then, I’ll send you a transcription of our conversation so you can approve it and we can proofread it.

Your information, trips, hobbies, etc. can be an inspiration to others and give people something POSITIVE to read.

  Gypsy Family Travel

© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley

photos by GIna

Venice

Water taxis, gondolas, gorgeous and pristine pastel buildings all along the grand canal of Venice is surreal and fantastic.  It’s a bucket-list item for many people. While the sun is shining on the tourists and locals, the wind blows soft breezes through your hair as you peek out of your water taxi to absorb the sensations of all things Italiano.  Venice is chic, colorful, historic and something of a mystery as you know the city is sinking below the water. That makes it all the more compelling. Time is of the essence in seeing this historical, storybook city.

photo by GIna

While the water taxis are a very quintessential way of traversing the Grand Canal, make it a point to budget for a gondola ride (approximately $100) during your stay in Venice.

The Venice Kette Hotel is located off the main square and accessible to not only shopping and dining but also St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Doges Palace. You can meet  guides at the Porta Della Carta in St. Mark’s Square.  Tour guides will teach you about the history lurking behind the walls of the most famous landmarks of Venice: the Basilica with its Byzantine heritage and  the Doge’s Palace and its prisons.

St.Mark’s Cathedral has staggering historic information and some legendary info, too. Reportedly, in 828, merchants from Venice stole the remains of St. Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, Egypt. Legend has it that they smuggled the body past guards by concealing the remains of St. Mark under layers of pork in barrels. A storm in the sea nearly drowned the grave robbers. Allegedly, St. Mark came to the captain in a vision instructing them to lower the sails of their vessel, thus saving the ship. The merchants, consequently, owed their safety and rescue to the miracle of St. Mark.  (following photos from internet)

The Doge’s Palace: Children and parents, both, will be fascinated with a tour of this palace of Gothic architecture. Architectural details like “lacy patterns of pink Verona marble and graceful arching windows” will please the tourist studying the “cornice of merlons and spires.” The history and decor of this grand palace will delight young children as well as their parents. The adjoining prisons give insight into what the prisoners and criminals viewed as they left their chambers to meet their judges and justice. The Doge’s Palace overlooks the Grand Canal and Piazetta. The Porta della Carta, which is the main entrance linking the palace to St. Mark’s Basilica is considered one of the two most perfect examples of Venetian Gothic architecture. Be sure to study the art of Doge Francesco Foscari kneeling before the Lion of St. Mark.You will learn how a city built on swamps became one of the most illuminated and cultivated cities of the western world. The labyrinthine passages and alleyways through the meandering canals under intricate bridges beckon you into the magic of Venice. Famous Venetians, like Marco Polo and Casanova, contributed to the mystique of Venice.

Shopping and dinner: Glamorous shopping, Murano glass blown art, delicious gelato and masquerade masks are authentic Venetian items to buy. The Tom Ford black sunglasses I bought there six years old are still my daily go-to shades. Everything about Venezia screams high-quality and luxurious. The restaurants showcasing the finest Italian cuisine are ambient, cozy and chic. Try a unique meal of pasta in squid ink finished off with the more familiar tiramisu and cappuccino. Here’s a photo I took of my husband with his squid-ink pasta. 

Factoids: 

  • there’s enough mosaic in St. Mark’s Basilica to cover 1.5 football fields!
  • many of the Basilica’s treasures came from Constantinople and the Crusades.
  • The Palace d’ Oro is a Byzantine altar screen of gold that is encrusted with gems: 1,300 pearls, 300 emeralds, 400 garnets, 300 sapphires, 100 amethysts, rubies and topazes. It is so impressive, some may find that it rivals the Tower of London!

(photo by Patrick)

gelato!
gorgeous pastels

Wine Review

Time to review a new wine! Borsao 2015 Garnacha. I was looking through the usual shelves of Red Zinfandels and Merlots and found this appealing and stunning bottle. I must admit, the colors look similar to my blog theme. Then, I saw the crazy good price of $9 and the rating it received from wine experts —so I couldn’t resist. I’m a big believer in signs, after all!

I noticed the deep flavors, first and foremost. Borsao is a Spanish Garnacha hailing from the birthplace of Garnacha, Aragon, more specifically from the highest mountain of Moncayo. It doesn’t have the sweetness of a Red Zinfandel or the weight of a Merlot and that’s good tonight because I need to cleanse my palette of the more saturated wines. It reminds me more of a Cabernet Sauvignon and it will pair well with a variety of foods, according to the label.

The employee at the wine shop told me people are loving this wine and buying it up! I can see why. It’s just a good, solid wine. Not too glycerin-y, not too much legs, and a very nice price! And…..a beautiful, colorful label always looks good in the wine fridge or regular fridge…or as a hostess gift!

I’m not a wine expert but I love wine and know what I like about wines. Check out these wine terms in the link below. Other reviews on this wine noted “leather” and “fruits”. For my blog readers who don’t have time to be saturated by alot of information and details, I hope this brief summary suffices for you. For those of you who have dined with us and trust our recommendations—I will state it simply, this wine is very good!

http://winefolly.com/tutorial/40-wine-descriptions/

First Friday Art Crawl

It’s free. Do it. What better way to spend your Friday night  (or start your Friday night if you’re a young one.) Art crawl is attended by young and old. You can “art crawl” with your girlfriends, your spouse or better, yet, your family! I’ve done the art crawl in a couple of cities in the aforementioned ways. I have to say, taking my sons along was very rewarding and definitely in the spirit of gypsy family travel! When we took all three of our sons to an art crawl out of town, it enhanced and multiplied our appreciation for a variety of art forms since we were exposed to all of their various interpretations. When we took our youngest son only, (to the one in Tulsa) it was a nice one-on-one time with him….especially when he decided to put up his phone and get into it. Patience is a virtue and it paid off because once he stopped texting his friends to see if any of them  were nearby us in a gallery, he enjoyed the art crawl as much as his parents.

In the Woody Guthrie Center, our son used the headphones to engage in a particular exhibit. We viewed the interesting guitars and other string instruments in the display cases at our own pace. As I walked around the gallery, I thought, “what a nice tourist attraction this will be for our future guests coming to Tulsa.” We’ve exhausted the usual tourist attractions when we go sightseeing with our own guests here so I am excited to see all the new downtown developments that will impress our visitors. I asked the receptionist what the connection Kris Kristofferson has to the Woody Guthrie Center. His portrait/mural is on the outside of the building and his CD is for sale in the gift shop. She explained that the museum honors a new recipient  every year for the Woody Guthrie award. The award goes to an artist who is doing positive things for social causes. It helps to ask questions!

The AHHA, Philbrook Loft, Woody Guthrie Center, Zarrow Center and the Living Arts galleries were some of the ones we enjoyed on the crawl. In one particular gallery, we were given big, red paper hearts to place in front of our favorite piece of art. Each of us chose a different one so again, that was interesting to see how we each had a different way of appreciating art. This would be a great way to engage your preschoolers or elementary aged children, too. Kinesthetic and visual! Our son did an interactive art form using a projector and pieces of letters and forms. This was such a popular activity, he had to wait in line for his turn. He used teenage humor in his design which amused some spectators. Watching various children interact and design reminded me that art is subjective.

The Living Arts of Tulsa museum was the climactic exhibit for us with its dazzling, chromatic glass blown art. Absolutely gorgeous! Textural patterns, bright and abstract pieces attracted couples musing about buying the pieces for their homes. In addition to the glass art and another exhibit, there was a provocative exhibit called Chunkism. The fleshscapes, as they are called, were designed to create a visceral reaction in the viewer. The large nudes painted in earth tones, (mostly faceless) evoked confrontational and subconscious emotion (according to the exhibit info). A staff member interviewed me and my son about our reactions on the exhibit and recorded us. While I was focused on the emotion of the paintings, dynamics and inspiration behind it, my teenage son shared his more light-hearted approach to the humor and entertainment of it.

The art crawl was free, fun, didn’t take long and it was nice stimulation for our family. With all the great restaurants to choose from in Downtown Tulsa, we walked over to Elgin Park restaurant for appetizers. Although it was winter and not as busy as the summer art crawls with more street artists, vendors, musicians and activity at the Guthrie Green, we still enjoyed a pedestrian downtown experience going from gallery to gallery and then ending up at a restaurant. Downtown Tulsa has come so far! Exciting and stimulating! Mark your calendars for the first Friday of every month  for this free event.photos by Gina

The Pin-Up Artist

I was admiring art one day in a boutique. It was unique, vibrant and made on a glass canvas. After chatting with the luminous and lovely artist, we discovered we have mutual friends. I set up a blog interview with her and learned so many interesting things about the life and inspirations of a visual artist. We initially thought we only had friends in common but it turned out we have many other energetic connections. We met at the Gypsy Coffee House and the artist first told me she might have to doodle while we talked. She always has to have a pen in her hand to concentrate. Made sense to me! Her title is artist and art educator.

We first discussed her art education classes which are held at the Rusty Crane restaurant on Tuesday nites. She describes the class  as “wild, crazy, and funky”.  ($35 a class for 2-3 hours and you do a new painting each week.) She is also working on other projects as  a visiting art teacher for 7th graders in a program called Art Full Circle.

When did you know you were an artist?

“I was born with a marker in my hand”. I have memories–the earliest memory of seeing a pattern on a floor from my high chair—the old Borden’s Cafeteria pattern, according to my mom. I remember patterns, colors and being in awe of it. As soon as I could hold a marker around 3, or 4, my favorite thing was to sit for hours with a giant ream of copy paper with scented markers and sit and sketch…. usually, cute girls in dresses. I’m also an art supply hoarder– I have piles of notebooks and colored pencils.

We get inspiration from creative messes….  Is it better for creative people rather than having everything sterile?

Yes, I have to stay in a flow.

I’m intrigued with your art that is in Posh Style. What do you call that form of art?

Retro pin-up art. I studied Fashion Illustration and Design at Stephen’s College in Columbia, Mo. which is a small liberal arts college and the second oldest woman’s school in the country. I’m a retro pin-up artist and a feminist. My whimsical, girly sketches are inspired by pin- ups but I wanted to turn it around. Pin- ups have mostly been a male perspective on the female body. I wanted to paint them from a woman’s point of view as a woman. Some of them are more fashiony but they’re all about women. I try on personas from these women I know. The Bulldog Girl painting in the boutique is really of me–I had a bulldog.

You’ve done a portrait of a friend of mine. I ran into her today! (We talked about mutual friends and connections. Ironically,  I ran into the mutual friend at a restaurant which holds special meaning to Rosemary. In fact, she sketched a print of the restaurant and gave it to me at the start of our meeting as a gift. Today of all days, I ended up running into our mutual friend at this very restaurant!) I realized later that this Route 66 restaurant will also have irony with this interview as more details and connections were discovered.

How long does it take to make one of the glass portraits?

Around 2 weeks; not because of the painting itself but because it’s a process–working in the studio and letting layers dry. It’s laborious. I start with all the details and have to plan it out.

When you’re in the zone as an artist, can you tell you’re in the zone?

Yes! It’s the best place to be in the world….my happy place. When I’m in the zone planning a show, I’m in it 24/7.

I feel like that when I’m in the zone —I don’t want to take breaks. It’s a problem!

That’s what happens when your’e inspired.

Who are your favorite artists and inspirations? Who were your muses and inspirations?

Pin-up artists and their understanding of the form…that’s where I learned. Vargas and Gil Elvgren- are favorites of mine. (see link below)

 I love Frida Kahlo—her art came from her pain.

Frida Kahlo–she was the original selfie artist. Pop art portraits of their soul is a project I’m doing with third graders.

MUSED is a group I did a poetry reading for….I wish I was a poet! It’s the art form I respect the most. MUSED is an organization and they were doing a fundraiser.  The reverse selfie project in Mused is about the theory that we are raising a society of narcissists who don’t know how to slow down and read poetry. (see link below)

This is another connection we have! Ironically, muse is a symbolic word to me. Poetry is a first love of mine. It breaks my heart that nowdays, kids don’t know poetry. In my psychometry career, when I evaluate children, many children don’t know what a poem or poet is. 

More than visual artists, even, poems and music lyrics  are a lot of my inspiration for my art.

 

What poem did you choose for the poetry reading event?

I was looking for a Christina Rossetti poem and ended up finding a poem written by a young college teacher. This line comes up in a Google search “In the dark, we crushed crabapples for the sound of it.” It sounded lush ..then the ending was “don’t be afraid of Gertrude Stein; be brave.” There is  a lot of lush imagery of a record player, constellations and book shelves holding up the moon. The ending was surprising and feminist. The ending of the poem was like “Bam!’ It was about finding a man strong enough to be with her. The element of the female psyche….

(poem: In the dark we crush by Julia Cohen)

What are your art goals?

My studio, doing classes and planning my next show at the Circle Cinema. I feel like I’m coming back from a long sleep (due to some intense life experiences). My next show is going  to be another spin of women. Icons, like Jackie O–but taking Jackie and turning her into a hotel maid. I also love Liz Taylor. I absolutely idolize her. I like putting them in  ordinary situations. I want to do a picture of Liz behind a perfume counter selling her own perfume.

I have framed prints of both of those women! What a survivor Liz was. Talk about someone who worked through her pain.

She wasn’t destroyed by that business.

What happens at an art show?

There’s a deadline, you throw together a show….it’s an organic process with a starting point. You usually have a couple of months or up to a year.

How many pieces do you have in your show?

Usually a dozen. Social media helps me get a crowd…and good press helps. The art shows have a party atmosphere…I make sure there are always cupcakes. (It’s not a question and answer format.) There’s a mix of customer styles. There are print sales available ($20-$40) and the glass portraits which range from $1,000-$5,000. One of my huge skyline portraits is in a bank. It’s serendipitous how the customers find me….to be out and about, or they’ll come to a show …..it can be a friend.

How did the public school (job) find you?

That came from an artist girlfriend. I was in a video about supporting art programs in schools.  They look for visiting artists so I was recommended..

What are your other art goals?

I want to expand beyond my art and art classes….there’s a little gallery in Paris that is interested in my art. I met them in person when I was in Paris. They have performers; it’s a co-op and they require the artist to be there.  I have to be in the gallery there for two weeks. (This all happened before her accident so the process was interrupted.)

This Paris connection was another detail we share in common. I told her about my Greek great-uncles who were Parisian shoemakers. They lived on the street, “Rue de Frederique”. I used to address airmail envelopes to them, intrigued by this street name. I have a goal to go to Paris and find this street.  Ironically, years after I addressed these envelopes, when I started dating my husband, my grandpa always called him by a nickname, “Frederiko.” My grandpa did not even know that my husband’s paternal grandfather was named “Frederick.” (Frederique).

Things like that happen to me all the time. Signs, names, etc…

In summarizing her goal to have her art show in Paris, Rosemary made an interesting analysis. The connectivity of global awareness was particularly appealing to me:

Parisians have an interest in Oklahoma, specifically with Route 66,  which has always been a big inspiration to me. The nostalgia for the mother road is part of that inspiration.

                            “It’s a goal of mine to bring Tulsa to Paris and Paris to Tulsa.”

http://www.musedorganization.org/join-us

http://www.gilelvgren.com/GE/paintings.php?categoryID=7

http://www.rosemarydaugherty.com

gypsyfamilytravel.com

 

 

 

 

A Passion for Fashion –Vintage Style

Glamorous and recent treasures at Re-Runs in Westport of Kansas City. Oooohlalaaaaaa…..No words are necessary; just look and enjoy! The displays are always so eye-catching. Then, you learn about the origin of many of the items when you speak with Ken; the informative proprietor. Ken has a real passion for vintage fashion.tzozppb1tfypvfl9gsnwg_thumb_14cc3

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unadjustednonraw_thumb_14ccbI find items for myself and also great gift ideas! Think of the uniqueness a vintage clutch as a graduation gift, Mother’s Day gift or pick-me-up for a friend. Recently, my friend and I spent quite some time in Re-Runs studying all of the items. She found cuff links for her son;  quite handy for the orchestra musician! She also found a fabulous wool cape—reversible, in fact! How excited were we when she found this and wore it that winter night out on the town!

cuff links to go with a tux!

Theme parties need vintage items. My college sons have found great things here.

Personally, I love studying the details of the era of an item, colors that were in style then, cuts of the clothing, etc…

I get a certain energy from the accessories and jewelry. Sometimes, that’s all an outfit needs.If you have a passion for fashion, your treasures from Re-Runs will augment your collection and “zhush” up your wardrobe….or at least impress your gift recipients!

gypsyfamilytravel.com

 

 

 

Historic homes of Lawrence

Lawrence, Kansas is known for its well-loved, well-known University of Kansas …but did you know it has several blocks of impressive and distinct historic homes? This pocket of historic architecture even has a few cobblestoned streets still beautifully intact. I love driving up and down the neighborhood of these unique homes ranging from the following styles:

  • Folk-Victorian
  • Queen Anne
  • English cottage
  • Craftsman
  • Colonial Revival
  • Italian Renaissance
  • Victorian Baroque
  • simple Utilitarian Frontier
  • Vernacular style of early 1860’s.

I learned about these homes when we first toured KU and discovered there’s a walking tour with pamphlet about the homes. Because of the winter weather, we did a driving tour instead. Each home is so uniquely different from the other.

In preserving the integrity of the neighborhood, the residents were inspired to petition that the city did not replace the original paved streets. The latter enhances this area even more and really impressed us as we drove around taking pictures.

 

There are 12 city blocks which make up this area called Old West Lawrence Historic District. The charm of these homes could not be ruined by the dreary day and weather conditions.

When Quantrill’s Raid in 1860 ransacked a large area of Lawrence and burned a large area to the ground, this quaint city lost many of its historic homes. A link is attached below explaining Quantrill’s Raid an Quantrill’s Raiders. This led me to the discovery of the term “Jayhawker”. I know KU’s mascot is the Jayhawk but I never knew why. Read the link below on jayhawkers.

Whether you know this Civil War and period history or not, you should enjoy a drive- by or walking tour of these historic homes and just appreciate the visual beauty of the integrity of the area. The restoration and preservation efforts of its residents is admirable. “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!”

http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/quantrill’s-raid-lawrence

http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/jayhawkers

Downtown Tulsa Delights

Some great destinations are right outside your door. We found ourselves at the Guthrie Green one day over Christmas Break in search of a food truck. My college sons’ appetites led us there. We didn’t find the food truck but we strolled around in the nice weather to see what new places have popped up since the last time we were there. We weren’t the only ones enjoying the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa! A couple of skateboarders wowed me with their tricks. I thought one of them was a friend of ours and I called out his name….but it wasn’t our friend! However, the boys were happy to entertain me with their skateboard skills.

While they were maneuvering through their skateboard-choreography, a family picnic was going on in the background.  How nice it is to see downtown Tulsa alive and active again! Museums, food trucks, a ballpark, bars, chocolatiers, a violin shop, a brewery, etc..SO different from even a few years ago. The First Friday Art Crawl with street artists and musicians was one of my favorite summer activities of downtown Tulsa but it’s not only limited to summertime. Put it on your list and enjoy a restaurant afterwards.

 

 

All of the art galleries come alive even more during the art crawl. What a great free event this is –full of culture and entertainment.

 

 

 

A downtown stroll during Christmas Break gave me an opportunity to watch “downtown boys” being active and in search of fun. Two of them were my own sons! …..

After we watched these fearless skateboarders a little while more, we were ready for a coffee break. We never found the food truck but we found a delightful downtown day in our very own Tulsa.We didn’t have to travel far to enjoy an interesting urban area with historic architecture and lively people. The “gypsy family travelers” even found an ironic spot to enjoy a coffee break when my sons and I went over to Gypsy Coffee House for an espresso.

Downtown tours listed in link below.

http://www.toursoftulsa.com

Cool aerial view from a drone in the video below.

 

Beautiful Orthodox Churches

 All the senses are engaged when you visit an Orthodox church or attend a liturgy. Orthodox churches include Greek,Serbian, Russian, American, Antiochian, Romanian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian, Armenian, etc.

Some are simple; others grand. The iconography can range from Eastern to Western, Byzantine to African touches. This article shows interiors of small Orthodox churches and a cathedral.

Sight. The iconography of the church draws you into the visual details.

Sound. The hymns, the cantors, the choir, the communal signing engages you in the liturgy.

Smell. The incense, occasional florals, etc. are the aromas…

Touch. The feel of the velvet cloth you hold under your chin as you receive communion and the sign of the cross as you touch your forehead and chest are examples of touch. Also, the heat of the candle light from a Pascha candle is a sense of touch in your worship time.

Taste. Communion and Antidoron bread are the tastes at Communion that symbolize Christ’s body and blood.The imagery is endless. I can see the same icons and images weekly for decades in my own church but interpret new details from them on different occasions. When I visit other churches, I am mesmerized with the details of different iconography there. Some styles are westernized, some are authentically Byzantine. No matter what the style, they all evoke the same feelings of worship when we’re in church.

© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley; photos by Gina.

Winter Coping Rituals–Hygge Part 2

More winter coping rituals (Hygge) have been collected to get us thinking positively about this season. If you’ve read the blog “Winter Coping Rituals …Hygge”, you’re already familiar with this Danish concept of spending the winter season by “creating a warm atmosphere and imagining good things in life with people”. I’ve collected more Hygge rituals to share:

read more books while you’re “hibernating“. While there’s less time in the summer with the extended evening time being spent on outings, sporting  events, summer concerts, etc…..there’s more time in the winter to “curl up with a good book.”keep a wine journal! Taste and rate different bottles of wine. Wine tasting parties go well with fireplaces and cheese pairings.pedicures might not be common during the winter because we are all covered up and bundled up but a pop of color on your toesies will elevate your mood when you’re taking bubblebaths or doing yoga. Plus, the free massage chair is a perk. Schedule double pedis so you can sit side by side with a friend and chit chat.

cook casseroles and freeze them! This heats up your kitchen and you can have them stored up for weeks and months ahead. Take one to a shut-in or surprise your neighbor with one.

go cocoon at Big Cedar Lodge. There are good deals and discounts during the winter months (I’ve received email updates on these). Plan a girls’ trip, go on hikes, cocoon by the fireplace and watch movies. You can check DVDs out from the reception area. Enjoy a big feast and sing songs with the cowboy in the Buzzard Bar. Enjoy the hot tub. Play poker.

walk through the Philbrook gift shop to enjoy truly unique books, coffee table books, art and travel books.

visit Gilcrease Museum. Have lunch with a friend in the Vista room.

eat more citrus! A huge platter of tangerines and oranges will remind you to snack on these Vitamin C treats. It cuts down on snacking and increases your vitamin C which is important in the winter. Cuties and tangelos are my favorites!

host a “leftovers party”. On the day after Christmas or New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day feasts, host a casual leftovers party. It keeps the celebrations going and cleans out your fridge. Turkey sandwiches! Make it easy with paper plates and cups.

get caught up on photo books. Admit it—you are currently 3 years behind on this. The digital ones are so easy to do. Get caught up while you are hibernating.

repurpose a room. Rearrange furniture. Some people do this to showcase their fireplace more in the winter. If you’re going to be inside so much more because of the winter, you might as well feel like you’re in a new space!

plan a crock pot party. Make a cute invitation inviting people to bring their favorite crock pot dish over for a party. Plug them all in on your kitchen counter or kitchen island. If they use crock pot liners, the “clean up” part is super easy and they’ll take a clean crock pot home! Crock pot parties are perfect for watching the Super Bowl together —which is only a few weeks away. Plan ahead for a Super Bowl of “soup-er bowl” crock pot food!

plan upcoming vacations now! Search for good deals/ vacation packages. Plan ahead.

if you’re not all shopped-out or you want to take advantage of after-Christmas sales, plan a get-away trip and enjoy the holiday decor. Or just go for a food extravaganza and enjoy many restaurants.

(this photo above from internet)

Winterfest!— having an ice skating rink downtown in Tulsa  is something to celebrate! We had a tradition with our cousins to go there on Christmas Eve, alternated with going to Señor Tequilas afterwards! Families look forward to traditions.

Woolaroc Christmas Lights. Tulsans go to the usual places to see the lights–Rhema Bible College, Philbrook, Utica Square, etc…but have you made the road trip out to Bartlesville to see Woolaroc lit up for the holidays? Chandler Park is another festive place to see Christmas lights. While limo parties are fun ways to see the lights around Tulsa, plan a casual family night to drive to Woolaroc.

Altruism. If you’re discouraged by all of the consumerism and commercialism of Christmas, focus instead on the philanthropic spirit that goes on around you, too. Have coins handy for every Salvation Army kettle you come across and notice the collections going on. Sign your kids up or your family to ring the Salvation Army bell. Forego the Christmas card expense one year (to order the cards and mail them) and give that money to charity, instead.

Winter coping rituals–Hygge Part 1 link below:

http://www.gypsyfamilytravel.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8248&action=edit

A good article on wellness….

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/g4066/31-day-happy-life-makeover/?slide=25&src=social-email

A Hygge event in OKC…..

A Night of Hygge