family · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 8: Hygge Around the Hearth | Everyday Nostalgia

firelight-nostalgia-diaries

A curious series of events happened as I began to research my final February post on warmth and nostalgia. I had decided it was going to be all about the quest for coziness that we seek within white-hot flames, particularly those of the candles we light and the fireplaces we tend to gather around during cold, winter months.

After writing about how to create a warm, happy home a few weeks back, a reader commented on the post and asked if I’d ever heard of hygge because she thought I might enjoy it. Not only did I not know what it was, I had no idea how to pronounce the word she’d just written. Did it rhyme with jiggy?  Gettin’ hygge wit it?

So resorted to the powers of Google to further fuel my curiosity, and I was stunned to see the hundreds of hygge pages that came up in my search results. And what I found is that apparently for the last year I’ve been living under a rock (hey, I had a lot of stuff going on). A Danish word for a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special, hygge (pronounced hoo-gah – duh) had apparently taken the world by storm in 2016. Continue reading “Week 8: Hygge Around the Hearth | Everyday Nostalgia”

family · Nostalgia · Recipes · Stories

Week 7: Cook Up Some Comfort Food | Everyday Nostalgia

cook-up-comfort-food-nostalgia

The other day as I was having a conversation with someone I  had just met, and as all first conversations go, we were sharing pleasantries and asking questions of one another. And then the inevitable Colorado question was asked: Are you a native? 

These days it seems not many people in Colorado are natives, and alas, I am not one of them. But I also wasn’t one of the people that spent their whole life in one place and then wanted to venture out and see the world. Due to the nature of my father’s job, I spent my childhood moving from place to place, from Indiana to South Carolina to Tennessee to Ohio. A few years here and a few years there made for some challenging transitions and constant change.

But in spite of all the moving we did, I could count on one constant, no matter what state we ended up in: our old antique kitchen table would always come with us and every night, my mom would cook up and place on that table the delicious, comforting recipes that defined my childhood. And even if it was our first night in a new house, the appearance of those familiar foods helped us feel like we were home.

Continue reading “Week 7: Cook Up Some Comfort Food | Everyday Nostalgia”

Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 6: Spread Warmth | Everyday Nostalgia

spread-warmth-nostalgia

The other night as my daughter Zoey showered (because, as she says, baths are so last year), I stood in the laundry room, surrounded by a pile of laundry. It had somehow missed the memo that learning to fold itself would be greatly appreciated; though in its defense, if I remember correctly, it had been washed and dried twice prior to me finally getting around to pulling it out of the dryer, so it was most likely tired from all that work…

And like that laundry, I, too, was tired. I was tired from a day of dropping off and picking up and sitting in traffic, of meetings and deadlines, of cooking and cleaning and dishes, and from the knowledge that after I put Zoey to bed, there would still be more work to do.

Down the hallway, I could hear the sound of Zoey’s soft, lilting voice. She was singing a song I wasn’t familiar with, and given the nonsensical lyrics the song contained, I was pretty sure she was making it up as she went along. Smiling, I began tackling the clothes, towels, and sheets. Continue reading “Week 6: Spread Warmth | Everyday Nostalgia”

Nostalgia · Stories

Week 5: Create a Warm, Happy Home | Everyday Nostalgia

warm-happy-home-nostalgia

Let’s face it: Unless you are fortunate to live along the California coast or somewhere south of, say, Las Vegas, February is cold.

And it’s not the exciting cold of a November or December day that invokes visions of sleigh rides and jingle bells. No, February cold is an angry cold.  A depressing cold. It’s the kind of cold that makes you want to daydream of white sand beaches and coconut palm trees, but instead you think of Bill Murray’s line in Groundhog Day: “I’ll give you a winter prediction. It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

The other day as I drove to work, a slick sheen of ice (“freezing drizzle” they called it) covered the roads while fog and low-hanging clouds darkened the sky. A thought crossed my mind as I white-knuckled the steering wheel:

“I wish I was back in the comfort of my home.” Continue reading “Week 5: Create a Warm, Happy Home | Everyday Nostalgia”

Media · Music Monday · Nostalgia

What Music Makes You Nostalgic? (Now accepting reader submissions!)

ipod-playlist-nostalgia

It’s no secret that music is one of the most powerful things that makes us nostalgic, but a radical new approach to analyzing how we receive and store music through the use of brain imaging reveals provides a deeper understanding to why this is the case. Through analysing the auditory cortex and grouping clusters of brain cells, scientists have identified that neural pathways that react almost exclusively to the sound of music. Regardless of the type of music, a distinct set of neurons tucked inside the listener’s auditory cortex fires in response, while other sounds — such as water running, a fire engine’s sirens, or the sounds of traffic — leave the musical circuits unmoved.

How cool is that?!

As awesome as all that science is, something we find equally as groovy is just how much fun it is to share these circuit-firing songs with one another. Over the past few months, we’ve been sharing our love of music with you through our Music Monday posts, and while they’ve not only helped us explore and understand just how powerful the connections between music and nostalgia really are, they’ve also encouraged us to think about the songs that we’ve loved and cherished over the years (and helped to bring them back to life!).

These posts have also encouraged our readers to share with us their own nostalgic favorites, and since we’ve loved hearing their stories, it got us thinking: why not let our readers share their nostalgic music memories on a larger scale?

So with that, dear friends, we’re excited to announce that we will now be accepting guest submissions for Music Monday!

Knowing that we were going to be opening up Music Monday to our readers this week, we decided to see what the experience would be like for a potential contributor. And since so much of my own musical nostalgia was created by the music my parents played for me as a child, I decided to reach out to them so they could contribute some of their own nostalgia-inducing songs. Continue reading “What Music Makes You Nostalgic? (Now accepting reader submissions!)”