I know that summer is now officially over, but I'd like to bask in the glow-if only for a few more days-of the wonderful, healing beach vacation my family experienced this past week. It's been a difficult summer for all sorts of reasons, and we hadn't had a proper vacation in a year, and we were in need of some true downtime and relaxation.
After searching online, I rented an affordable cottage in Southern California and my husband and I planned a road trip, determined to keep costs low and stress to a minimum. From the time we left chilly San Francisco , the trip was an adventure. My 3-and-a-half year old daughter was so excited to be going somewhere that she actually behaved pretty well in the car. I enjoyed staring out the window as my husband drove, and once we were settled in to our home-a tiny but adorable cottage on the cutest street I've ever seen--for the week, we enjoyed what felt to me like a truly old-fashioned family vacation. We went to a different beach every day and visited local tourist attractions. We grilled corn and steak on the patio at night, or walked down the hill to the local Mexican food joint. We got ice cream cones and rode a ferris wheel at a beach carnival. My daughter didn't ask to watch Nick Jr. once (though she did watch some videos-but TV was not front and center, which was great). Even the drive back, which felt longer than the first one, wasn't so bad. But, by the time we walked in the house, which was musty and full of clutter (unlike our spare, cozy cottage), I felt my mood deflating. Suddenly, chores and my to-do list loomed, and only a day later I was losing that feeling of being away. Now that we're back at preschool and work, and all the sand has been washed out of our clothes, how do I keep the happy, peaceful, upbeat feeling I felt while I was on vacation?
Here are a few things I'm going to try-let me know if you have any tips for prolonging your vacation mindset.
We went to the beach every day and made sand castles so I bought a cute little glass bottle with sand and seashells in it-it's kitschy, but I plan to put this on my home office desk. A strand of beach shells is now hanging on our back deck.
Postcards-I bought a couple from my favorite tourist stops on the trip-Mission de San Juan Capistrano was a standout. Pinned on my bulletin board, these will bring back good memories.
Printing out actual photos. We took some nice shots on this trip and I love scrolling through them on Facebook, but I'm going to print my favorites out and frame them, maybe in a beach-themed frame.
Home fragrance: I bought a fresh, beachy smelling diffusing oil to freshen up the musty rooms of my apartment. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, and now seems like the perfect time.