How to Fight the Winter Blues

How to Fight the Winter Blues

February is the coldest month and I don’t know about you, but it’s a difficult one. You know spring is near, but yet THERE IS STILL SNOW. I think this year it is even harder because you never really know if Finland is going to be warm (if ever). So while the days are still cold I have found some ways to stay warm and have a sunny state of mind during these long dark days. If you feel the winter blues hitting you, here are some things to try:

Take Vitamin D

Before I moved to Finland I bought a lot of vitamin D. I heard it was darker for longer and it would help my body deal with this. When I started looking into vitamin D more, I realized that most people should be taking vitamin D. Unless you are spending endless amounts of time outside you might have a vitamin D deficiency and not even know it. Start taking some vitamin D and see what it does for you!

Hygge

You may have never heard of this before, but hygge is a Danish way of life. It is the feeling of togetherness and also coziness. If you want to read more about it and how you can add Danish hygge into your life, you can read my post HERE.

Get Outside

Trust me, I understand that this sounds horrible. Why would I want to go outside when the air hurts my face? While this may be true, going outside and getting fresh air is good for you. If you can go for a walk or maybe hike through a park. Put your phone away and enjoy nature.

Get Some Exercise

Another one where you may be saying “no way,” but working out has been proven to improve your state of mind and relieve stress. Maybe try a yoga class or if you are not a fan of working out try the indoor bike. I find it does better on my joints and easy on days when I’m just not feeling it.

Call a Friend

Or even a family member. Catch up with your family or friends and share some laughs to brighten your day.

Play Happy Music

I know when I’m feeling down, turning on some happy music makes me feel better.

 

Sunny days will be here before we know it and then we will be complaining about it being too hot 😉 So let’s enjoy this cozy weather for just a little bit longer

What is your favorite thing to do to beat the winter blues?

 

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4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

After reading the title of this post you may be thinking, “what is hygge?” Well “hygge” (pronounced “hooga”) is a Danish way of life. It is more of a feeling or sensation than an act. It is creating a warm atmosphere and just really enjoying life. Who doesn’t want to have that feeling?

Danes are known as some of the happiest people on the planet and their practice of “hygge” plays a part in that! We are finally in February and if you are anything like me, you start to get into a “winter rut.” The snow isn’t appealing anymore, you’re tired of coats, and feeling cold. Well what better way to kick those feelings aside by adding Danish hygge into our life! Here are four ways to add Danish hygge into your life:

Soft Lighting

Turn off the bright lights and opt for candles or maybe string lights instead. These helps create a warm and cozy feeling. And it also helps you feel relaxed.

Warm Drinks

Get your favorite warm drink and cozy up in your favorite lounge wear. This combined with your soft lighting will help you relax even more!

Be Present

Turn off the phones are any electronic. Be present with yourself or with your company. The Danish hygge values being present and building your relationships with others. This really helps if you are not glued to your phone the whole time. If you are spending time with friends, you will feel more connected to them than if you were on your phone.

Positive Mindset

If you are with friends, no drama or gossiping. Keep your conversations positive and uplifting. If you are alone, practice being grateful.

 

4 Ways to Add Danish Hygge into Your Life

 

Even though hygge is more popular in the winter, you can do these things all year round! Here is a list of activities that promote hygge that you can do anytime.

  • Spa night
  • Game night
  • Potluck dinner
  • Go hiking
  • Go to a sauna
  • Read a book
  • Enjoy a fire
  • Garden
  • Go to a cafe

What is your favorite way to get cozy?

 

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What to Pack for a Trip in the Winter

What to Pack for a Trip in the Winter

Taking a trip in the winter to a place that is cold seems like a nightmare in the packing department. How can you pack all your winter clothes into a suitcase? After traveling a few times this winter to places that were cold, I have figured something out that is amazing: your coat covers your clothes. This is amazing because you don’t have to stress out about putting together the perfect outfit. Of course when you go out to eat or get a coffee, you will take your coat off but still 😉

Here is a list of things I have found useful on a winter trip!

Sweaters

Usually one to two is enough, especially if they are a solid color. You can layer them to keep warm while sightseeing the town! I have a sweater dress that is a solid color and so comfortable! It is the perfect winter travel dress.

Solid Shirts

Perfect for layering under your sweater and also good to rewear and no one will know you are 😉 Packing one to two is the perfect amount to save space.

Scarfs

Also another staple to keep warm, but also the mix up your outfits! I usually bring just one.

Pants

I will usually bring one pair that are black or a dark blue.

Shoes

Wear your heaviest pair! Make sure they are water proof and warm. In winter you don’t really need to bring a variety of shoes, but I like to bring tennis shoes in case my feet get tired. Not the best for the cold, but for comfort.

Socks

Bring wool socks if you have them! Walking around a lot outside can make your feet cold! I also like to bring pantyhose that is fleece lined for my sweater dress so I am really warm.

Hat and Gloves

Make sure to bring a hat and gloves to keep you warm. Bring an extra pair of gloves just in case!

 

 

I hope my list will help you pack for your next trip!

I think packing for a winter trip is easier than summer! Do you?

 

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How I Started Blogging

How I Started Blogging

I’m sure many people feel this way, but I had always wanted to start a blog. I just honestly didn’t know how. Also the fact that I didn’t think I was a good writer or anyone would read it (side note-you should at least try right?). After getting over my doubts and realizing that starting a blog could be much more than just wanting people to read it, but about me being able to share my experiences. Since starting my blog I’ve had multiple people ask me how I went about it and they want to start one too. It makes me happy that I inspired someone to one to start blogging and that they thought of me as someone to ask. Today I am sharing with you how I started my blog!

SiteGround

When I first started my blog I actually used a free web hosting site. After getting everything set up and writing posts, I realized I couldn’t do things that other bloggers could do. And I didn’t have WordPress. I had no idea that there were hosting sites out there with WordPress that you pay for that could do so much more. After doing some research, I stumbled upon SiteGround. There were really good reviews and the prices were a lot better than others! I personally decided to pay for a host because of the amenities (like security and customer support) I get from it and also if I ever want to monetize I can. If you are interested in learning more click HERE.

Theme

After getting everything switched over to SiteGround and learning about WordPress, I started on the theme and layout of my blog. I found a person on Etsy to design my “Boarding for Chynna” in cursive at the top of my blog. Personally, I am not tech savvy so I would have no idea how to do anything like that! WordPress also has free themes to download. I used one of those just because I loved the simple white theme. It wasn’t too busy and I felt like it really fit my blog style.

Posting Blogs

Now to the writing part! I’m still figuring out my writing style and really what I like to write about. I love sharing my adventures, but sometimes it feels hard to convey my ideas in a way people will understand and want to read. I do plan my blogs out a month in advance. I know when my trips are and when I want to share them on the blog. I also then fill in the other dates with posts I think my readers will enjoy. Posting two times a week is a good amount for me at the moment and I don’t feel overwhelmed. Planning out what I want to write about has really helped me stay organized and also come up with ideas. After writing my posts the first thing I do is spell check, check SEO, and schedule my post!

MailChimp

Another great thing to have for your blog! You can schedule emails to your subscribers to let them know when new posts are up. You can even set a pop-up and add a form to your sidebar for people to subscribe to your blog. They then automatically get added to your list on MailChimp to send your emails to. So convenient!

So what are you waiting for? Start blogging!

If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask!

 

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How I’m Able to Travel

How I'm Able to Travel

Everyday we see the blogs and Instagram accounts of people who give up everything and travel the world. They make money blogging and are able to see the world because of it. While I do have a blog, that’s not how I travel. There is really one big reason why I am able to travel and another factor that helps a lot in being able to afford it. So if you are wanting to travel more, I’m sharing how I travel and more ideas on how you can see the world!

Au Pairing

This is basically the number one reason why I am able to travel as much as I do currently. I live in Europe so it’s much easier to travel to another country over the weekend. While the daily life of an au pair is not glamorous or necessarily fun, you get to live in another country for free. If you want to know more about au pairing I have a whole tab dedicated to this topic. You can read more HERE!

Teaching English Online

This is a major factor that enables me to travel. While I do live for free, at 25 I do have bills and au pairing doesn’t pay that much per month. So I decided that if I wanted to travel I needed to do something more to make that happen. Teaching online has been awesome and I love the company. It’s pretty flexible and the hours work for my schedule. If you want to know more I also have a tab dedicated to this, you can read more HERE!

Other Ideas

The two things listed above are basically the two major reasons why I am able to travel. But I do realize that a majority of people can’t do them for numerous reasons. So below I’ve listed more ideas on how you can travel based on things I’ve seen or heard of people doing based on their life.

College Students

In college I know that it is hard to travel because of time and also money. I think one of the best ways to travel and probably the easiest is to study abroad. You take classes that can count toward your major and also live in another country! I didn’t study abroad but I did go to Europe twice while in college. Both times I saved up money to go. The first time I went with EF Ultimate Break and was able to pay for the trip with monthly payments. The second time I went to Ireland for a week and the ticket was pretty cheap! Search for deals and start saving!

Families

Having a family might make it hard to travel. Not only do you have more schedules to work around, but it also costs more because you have more people. I don’t think this should stop you though! If you and your partner value traveling and want your children to experience the world then you should! I think paying off all debts or most is important so that you can focus on saving money to travel. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, and maybe pick up a second income.

Living paycheck to paycheck

I think this is pretty common for a lot of people. With student loans and maybe even just things that have happened in life, you can’t seem to save to travel. Like I said above, try to get your debt down first. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, get a second job. Take small trips or weekend trips for a while during this time. Once you are able to save enough, then you can start traveling more!

If you are anything like me, travel is a big part of my life and I want to keep it that way.

What do you do to be able to travel?

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Three Cities You Should Visit During Winter

Three Cities You Should Visit During Winter

For some reason I always think that traveling should happen during the summer. It’s warm out and easier to pack, so it’s the only time to travel right? Not at all! Since living in Europe I’ve learned that traveling in the winter can be fun too! You just have to get better at packing and it doesn’t matter what you are wearing because no one will see it 😉

Some cities are also even better in the winter than summer! So if you are looking for a winter getaway here are three cities that you should visit during winter!

Zermatt, Switzerland

Three Cities You Should Visit During Winter

Picture found here.

Below Matterhorn peak at an elevation of about 1,600m is Zermatt. It’s in southern Switzerland and close to Italy. This city is known for resorts, skiing, hiking, and climbing. On Zermatt’s website they state that there is snow guaranteed 365 days a year! So really anytime you visit here is winter time 😉 Honestly just the view alone is putting Zermatt on my bucket list.

New York City

Three Cities to Visit During Winter

Picture found here.

I traveled to NYC during winter for New Years Eve last year and this city is seriously beautiful! All the Christmas lights were still up and I loved it. Last year it didn’t really snow, which I think would have made it even more pretty. New York City has so much to so. It is called the city that never sleeps for a reason! If you want to read more about NYC check out my post HERE.

Banff, Canada

Three Cities You Should Visit During Winter

Picture found here.

Located in the province of Alberta and within the Banff National Park is the resort town of Banff. With so much to explore in the national park and enjoying hot springs, this town is a perfect winter get-away! To me nothing is better than mountain vies with snow on them and Banff does not disappoint.

 

What city do you love to visit during winter?

 

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How to Spend a Weekend in Stockholm

How to Spend a Weekend in Stockholm

I’m honestly surprised I haven’t visited Stockholm sooner! It’s only an hour flight from Finland so it’s an easy weekend getaway. Going in January was also fun since it’s not a high tourist time so there were no lines, but it was pretty cold! I’m excited to share how I spent my weekend in Stockholm!

Museums

Stockholm has some pretty cool museums! The bad thing is that they are all pretty expensive and there is no student discount for any of them. Here are a list of some worth checking out.

  • Vasa Museum
  • Skensen
  • ABBA Museum
  • The Nobel Museum
  • Nordic Museum

The Largest Art Gallery

AKA the metro. Stockholm is home to the largest art gallery that is also their metro system. We paid for a ticket and spent an hour riding the metro and getting off at the stops to look at all of the cool designs. Sorry for bad quality pics, but the lighting was not the best down there!

How to Spend a Weekend in Stockholm

Walk Around Old Town

See the iconic colorful buildings of Stockholm located in Old Town.

How to Spend a Weekend in Stockholm

Eat at the Ostermalm Food Hall

A traditional Scandinavian food hall with all the delicious things to eat! When I went it was still under construction and located across the street, but still worth a visit! I had a dish with Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberries. So delicious! I would also recommend trying the fish soup.

Where to Stay

I stayed at the Generator Hostel Stockholm. They have a bar connected to the hostel and it was pretty cool! We got a pretty good price for the beds and overall a nice little hostel for a weekend. Linens are included, but towels and breakfast are not.

 

I also think it’s important to point out that Stockholm is a pretty expensive city. I currently live in Scandinavia, which has higher prices, but Stockholm honestly surprised me. Don’t let this make you not visit, just be prepared.

What city do you like to visit over a weekend?

 

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Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

By now you’ve probably found a couple families that you might be interested in. But the problem is you don’t really know what to ask or what you should be asking. If you have never been an au pair before it’s hard to know what you need to ask. You should ask a lot of questions before signing your au pair contract.

Haven’t found a family yet?

I would suggest starting your search with Au Pair World. There are many different sights you can go through, but I liked this one the best.

You found a family

If you think you have found your family, congratulations! Before signing your au pair contract I suggest you start video chatting and emailing with your family to go over all questions and details. Not sure what to ask? Today I am sharing with you a downloadable sheet with questions to ask your family! Print it out and keep notes to help you make your decision.

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Before signing your contract

Make sure that you ask all the questions you want! Research your countries laws on being an au pair. In some countries you can’t work over a certain amount of hours or you are required to make a certain amount. Make sure these match on your contract. If you don’t feel comfortable about something, then don’t do it. I would also ask for a rough draft of the contract before so you can go over everything that will be on it. That way there will be no surprises.

 

Interested in downloading the questions sheet?

Click HERE to download (subscribers only)

I wish you the best of luck with finding your perfect family!

 

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Traveling to Amsterdam During Winter

Traveling to Amsterdam During Winter

After my day in Brussels, the next morning I made my way to Amsterdam. I have never really felt an urge to go to Amsterdam, but it was an easy place to go to after Paris (and a cheap flight back to Helsinki) so I thought I would check it out. And I am so glad I did! This city was so surprisingly beautiful and has so much to do. Even in the winter it was a great city to visit. So if you are wanting to travel in the winter, Amsterdam is a great option. Here are some of the fun things to do during your stay!

Check out the Canal District

Traveling to Amsterdam in Winter

This is a UNESCO World Heritage sight, but also walking along the canals is beautiful. Even in the winter I could have walk around for hours. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be during the warmer months. Find a nice cafe and enjoy the views!

Go to the Anne Frank House

Traveling to Amsterdam in Winter

Going to the Anne Frank House was at the top of my list of things I wanted to do in Amsterdam. I read her diary that was made into a book as a little girl and it really opened my eyes for the first time of what Jewish men, women, and children experienced. Walking through the small hideaway that they lived in for so long was humbling and I really suggest going. I also recommend getting tickets ahead of time on the website. They are available to book two months before you want to go. You can get in line at the time that you booked.

Go to the Van Gogh Museum

Another place on the top of my list to see was the Van Gogh Museum. My favorite style of painting is Impressionism and while Van Gogh is not my favorite painter I still enjoy the style. This is another museum I would suggest booking a time before going. You can order your tickets on the website.

More Museums

Amsterdam has a neighborhood called the Museum District because there are so many! Here are some that you can visit:

  • Rembrandt House Museum
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • Hermitage Amsterdam
  • Science Center NEMO
  • Sex Museum
  • Red Light Secrets

Take a Picture with the IAmsterdam Sign

Traveling to Amsterdam During Winter

I should say “try to” take a picture. There are so many people here climbing and taking pictures that it is really hard to get one. This sign is located in the Museum District along with all the museums.

Check Out Begijnhof

Traveling to Amsterdam During Winter

This is a little community tucked away in the center of the city. It’s the oldest hofjes in Amsterdam and also just really pretty. I loved the architecture of the houses here!

Walk Through the Red Light District

The Red Light District was nothing like I imagined. I thought it would be this dark alley with sketchy men standing around, but it was nothing like that. While yes there were partially dressed women in windows, they weren’t naked and it was more of like a regular street in Amsterdam. There were so many tourist and even children. I will say this street did have more bars and placed for live sex shows, but that is the whole point of the neighborhood.

Go to a Coffee House

A coffee house in Amsterdam is not a place to get coffee. It’s where you can buy weed. I personally did not go to one while here since I was solo, but I’m going again in April with a friend so if we have time I will have to check one out.

Eat Pancakes, Stroopwafel, and Cheese

Danish pancakes are like crepes except bigger and are not folded. You can get them sweet or savory. I tried both ways and I will say both are really good. There are many pancake houses all over the city to try! When you’re in Amsterdam you have to try stroopwafels. I even brought some back with me they were so good! They are two thin waffles that have caramel in the middle. So delicious. One of my favorite parts of my visit was walking into the cheese shops and getting to taste the cheese. You can walk to each cheese shop and sample their cheese for free, so if I needed a snack I would just stop into one 😉

Going to Amsterdam During Winter

Amsterdam was amazing and I am excited to go back again in the spring!

What city would you love to go back to?

 

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Three Things You Should Do in Brussels

Three Things You Should Do in Brussels

Have you ever traveled to a city and literally planned nothing? I mean nothing. Not even how you get to your accommodation. Well that’s how I showed up in Brussels. When I got off the bus from Metz I suddenly realized that I probably should have at least looked up how I get to where I’m staying.

I stayed one night in Brussels before heading off to Amsterdam. Honestly I never had any interest in going to Brussels, it was more of a pit stop on my way to Amsterdam so that the bus ride wouldn’t be too long. I’m glad I checked out Brussels and was able to do these three things you should do there!

 

Try Some Belgian Specialities

Belgian beer, waffles, and fries! These three things were the main attraction on my trip. Check out Delirium and try their cheery beer. For waffles, these are the things you will crave when you go back home. You can get them plain, with Nutella, whipped cream, or powdered sugar. Honestly any way you get them they are delicious. Belgian fries are special because they don’t just fry them once, but twice. This makes them crispy and extra tasty. You can even choose from multiple sauces to dip them in. There are many vendors around the city that sell them!

Check Out the Grand Place

Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the buildings in this square are decorated in gold and looked beautiful with all of the Christmas lights. Here you can find the City Hall, The Museum of the City of Brussels, a Beer Museum, and also many shops and restaurants.

Find the Cities Famous Statues

Brussels famous statues are a little intersting. They are all of people or animals peeing. Not joking. The most famous one is “Manneken Pis” or little boy peeing. The others are “Jeanneke-Pis” young girl peeing and “Zinneke Pis” dog peeing. These three statues are located at different parts of Brussels and are fun to see if you can find them all! Brussels does have other statues, but for some reason these are the most famous ones.

 

I would say even though I did not plan anything, I saw (and ate) a lot in Brussels.

Have you ever traveled to a city and not planned anything?

 

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