Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Jobs and Staycations

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. A lot sure has happened since the last time I posted, huh? First, I spent a week in New York City running around like a headless chicken buying and wrapping Christmas gifts, decorating and cleaning our apartment, cooking, buying booze, and getting organized for our holiday party, cleaning up from said party (it was a blast), packing for our two-week bi-coastal holiday tour, baking six raisin coffee cakes, and readying the apartment for our absence. Then, we loaded up the car, drove up to Boston, and spent Christmas Eve and Christmas cooking, shopping, putting up Christmas trees, eating, drinking, opening gifts and playing with them, and visiting with JM's family (we also saw The King's Speech-amazing- run, don't walk, to the theater. But I digress). Then, on Sunday, we packed up all our stuff and gifts, and got ready to fly to California, only to learn that there was a huge snowstorm coming, and there was no way we were getting out. What followed was a circus of scrambling to re-think and re-book our plans ("Do you have any flights from Providence to Las Vegas?"), set to the mellifluous tones of 12 continuous hours of airline customer-service hold music. Somewhere in the madness, my in-laws' golden retriever ate one of the aforementioned raisin coffee cakes whole, and had to be driven through the blizzard to the animal hospital (raisins are potentially toxic to dogs, as you know if you read this, but he's fine now). Then, yesterday, as we carefully drove our way back to New York City (in a rare and precious rental car) to make our flights, we got word that they had been canceled again.  So, we decided that sometimes you can't fight fate, that we weren't going anywhere, and we settled back in to our own cozy apartment, from which I am writing this.

But all is not lost! If we can't have a vacation, at least we can have a STAYcation, and enjoy ourselves while we are holed up. We plan to take long walks in the Park, read our books by the fireplace, go to the movies, play board games, get drinks at fancy hotels, and generally try to ignore/put off non-pressing responsibilities until later. So for those of you who can't get out of town, be it for meteorological reasons, or logistical or financial ones, here are some tips for the perfect staycation. As a bonus, you might actually end up relaxed at the end of it.

1. Plan Ahead
he real trick to a successful staycation is getting yourself to treat it like a real vacation. Obviously, we didn't really have the luxury of doing this ourselves, but, if you can, set beginning and end dates for your staycation. Let your office know you won't be in or available during that time. Resist the urge to say, "I'll just be at home, so if you really need me..." Then, start scheduling things you want to do for each day. If you really want to unplug, schedule a cleaner to come in on the last day of your staycation, to do all the laundry and dishes, and change the sheets. That way you can completely ignore your chores, guilt-free. 

2. Do Research
You may think you know everything these is to do in your own town, but do some research on the internet, or in guidebooks for fun activities. You may be surprised by how many local tourism attractions you have never seen or done.  I've lived in New York City for seven years, and the list of museums, art galleries, tall buildings, boat and walking tours I've never seen or been on is far, far, longer than the one of those I have. Not to mention all of the cool shops, restaurants and neighborhoods I haven't yet explored. Like pretty much all of Brooklyn.

3. Do Activities
Sitting around the house watching TV does not a memorable vacation make (no matter how much you want to catch up on the last season of Dexter). To make a staycation work, you have to get out of the house. Think of what you would do on your ideal day (other than watching TV)- be it ice skating, skydiving, or reading in a coffee shop, and find out where to do it (if you have kids, make sure to ask them what they would like to do, too, and incorporate it into the plan). Buy tickets to a local theater production, amusement park, sporting event, festival or concert. Make reservations at restaurants and write out a plan and schedule for each day, and then follow it!

4. Be Nice To Yourself
Schedule a massage, spa day, or manicure and pedicure one day of your break. Go to that yoga class you've been wanting to try but never had the time for. If you eat out and order take-out during your break (as you should, unless grocery shopping and cooking are your idea of a fun vacation activity), just be mindful of not overindulging- a dessert or two is fine, but at the end of your vacation, you should aim to feel well rested, healthy, and good about yourself.

Stay classy, everyone!


April of Smidge Of This said...

Oh, the pup and the raisin coffee cake ... I am so glad it was a crisis averted!

In December last year my fiance and I were out for an anniversary dinner and came home to find that our dog found my stash of stocking stuffers. He'd taken down about 7 chocolate candy bars. (Amongst other goodies like Necco wafers, an entire pack of Twizzlers, and a pack or two of minty gum.) Luckily he was okay too!

Anonymous said...

I did a great staycation once. I was single at the time. Every morning I went to this fancy coffeehouse, perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I'd get a pot of tea and a scone, and I was reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time. Then every afternoon I diligently worked on an oil painting I wanted to finish. Two weeks I did that. It was SO nice.

Anonymous said...

We've just enjoyed a family staycation in London, having been prevented by snow to travel up to Scotland. The kids have loved our daily adventures so much that they never want to go away again.

Everyday Mama said...

Yes, we are staycationing in sunny California because it's not worth it to go to the cold! BRRR! So we're checking everything off your to-do list as I type :) Happy New Year!

Kate said...

I had 10 days off over the Christmas and NYE break but it doesn't seem like a 'real' holiday because I haven't left the country or done much other than eat, shop and watch TV! I should have saved my leave for a sun holiday! If you like Urban Decay enter my Book of Shadows 3 giveaway!
Kat x

Mister Sharaf said...

nice post

happy new year