Have you ever been asked, “Where is your happy place?” For the last fifteen years or so, Dennis and I try to make at least one trip a year to Vail, Colorado. You could definitely say it’s our happy place. It’s the place where we can “get away from it all” and relax – because it’s just the two of us.
No “to do” lists.
It’s a place where we reset and just breeeeeeathhhhhe.
Aren’t vacations awesome like that? And yes, there has been PLENTY of times where we went to Vail and had to work remotely, call in for meetings, or brought our stressed-out mindset with us. But then again, we would usually detox those things out pretty quickly so we could focus on the beauty and awesomeness of being in our happy place.
In case you were wondering, the #1 thing we tell each other whenever we start talking about the stresses of life, we’ll look at each other and say, “We didn’t invite [insert stressful topic] here with us today.”
Love that, huh? Me too.
Saying that is like a mental reset to jump off that critical-thinking bandwagon. It’s like a vacation in your mind.
I believe that a happy place doesn’t always have to be where we go on vacation. Truthfully, every time we go to Vail we treat it as if it were our very last time we get to go. It makes us never take it for granted.
Know what else we like to do? We bring Vail home with us via #VirtualVail.
#VirtualVail is our happy place.
D and I have this saying (we’re really into sayings, obviously!) and a lifestyle hack we adopted. We call it our #VirtualVail. We say it whenever we want to set aside time to feel like we feel when we’re at Vail.
What is your #VirtualVail?
Where is your #HappyPlace?
Maybe your #HappyPlace is that time you went to the beach and buried your toes in the hot, toasty sand. Perhaps it was when you were younger and toured Europe with nothing but a backpack on your back and a dream in your heart.
Then again, maybe your happy place hasn’t yet been discovered. But I bet you a million buckaroos that you have a dream place that you would love to explore… even if that means one night off, by yourself, in a hotel room with room service and your choice of what to watch on the television.
For us, #VirtualVail is a reminder to do the things we love on vacation… WHERE WE ALREADY LIVE. In other words, find ways to incorporate them into our every day lives.
Let’s get started!
In case you are wondering what that looks like, I’d be happy to take you along on some key elements that Dennis and I focus on when it comes to #VirtualVail.
Schedule and commit to an actual time.
Look at your calendar and pick a day/morning/afternoon/evening/weekend or whatever and block time for your #HappyPlace.
Make it small. Make it big. Just schedule it. And yes, make it spontaneous whenever you want.
Embrace the seasons.
Dennis and I really enjoy autumn in Vail. Besides the gorgeous changing colors of the aspen trees, it’s off-season, which mean bargain hotel rates and restaurant specials.
Here in Northwest Arkansas, the trees are in their peak colors and we are taking the time to stroll out in our yard and simply observe. In fact, by doing this the other day, we discovered a wild persimmon tree in our front yard (it’s woodsy) and we were able to gather a bowl of fruit before the squirrels got to it! If we hadn’t taken the time to #VirtualVail that evening we would have missed it.
Walk (or drive) the streets.
The first morning in Vail we always do the same routine: grab a cup of
Do you have a favorite neighborhood or back road where you live? Fill a mug of your favorite drink and stroll. Whether that stroll is on foot, in your car, or over a lunch break.
Eat the ice cream.
A quick look at this blog and you’ll see a sad lack of dessert recipes. I simply don’t have a sweet tooth. Truthfully, it’s also because I deny myself of desserts. But… in Vail we eat the ice cream. We share the cake. I even order mocha!
What’s your vacation dessert? Is it fancy? Or, is it just something about savoring something decadent. Schedule it and I guarantee you’ll enjoy that ice cream cone more than usual.
Order something different off the menu (or take it home from the market).
In real life, Dennis isn’t into salmon and there’s nooo way he would enjoy lox without my begging him to “try it”. Yet there’s something about vacation-mode, right?
When you have your #HappyPlace scheduled, keep your eye open for something special to either order or buy. Yes, you can cook it yourself… but do you cook on vacation? Treat yourself. And remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive or extensive. Think simple, small, and unique.
Isn’t it sad that I have to tell myself this? The fact is, life can sometimes wear us down and before we know it – we have permanent frowny-lines on our face.
Make yourself lighten up! Take silly pictures of yourself! Have.some.fun!
Pretend you’re a tourist and then act like one.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I lived there but I’ve never went to _____.” Perhaps you’ve even said those same words. Guess what? Me too! In Vail Village and its neighboring village there are two ski gondolas that you can ride up to the top of the mountain. So, of course that’s what we do!
When you schedule your #HappyPlace, think about what you would try if you were visiting your special place. We might not have a gondola here in NWA, but if I thought hard enough, I could think of a way to travel to the top of a mountain and take it all in. Make it virtual and watch a video of your favorite location or pull up old photos and relieve the memories.
Kick up your feet.
Are you someone with a go-go-go mindset? Me too! At the last place we stayed in Vail, we accidently booked a double queen bedroom, instead of a king. As we checked in, we realized this and oh well, that’s what was available. But, you know what? The queen beds faced the pool… a pool that was on the third floor and we would’ve never checked itout. Because of this “mistake” we were able to kick up our feet and soak up the sun!
What if your #HappyPlace we simply scheduling a block of time where you sat outside in the sun and kicked up your feet?
Incorporate a little bit of your #HappyPlace in your landscape.
I probably have a thousand photos of landscaping ideas all gathered from Vail and neighboring towns. I don’t just hoard these pictures; we use them as landscaping inspiration. In fact, we’ve even named berms in our backyard: Vail Village, Sonnalp, 10th Mountain, Edwards, and Kansas (the empty space we have yet to do anything with). It makes it fun and it’s always a part of our conversation whenever we go outside.
Is there something from your #HappyPlace that you can incorporate in your landscaping? A favorite tree? Flower? Lawn ornament?
Incorporate a little bit of your #HappyPlace in your home décor.
Last time in Vail I was opening my eyes up to all the possibilities of what I could “bring home.” Sometimes inspiration comes in the oddest spaces, such as the women’s restroom at our favorite hotel, the Sonnalp. Guess what I just replanted and updated in my dining room? You guessed it!
Why stop with the outside? Your home deserves a little bit of good memories, too!
Dim the lights.
When you think about the word “romantic” – what comes to mind? For me, it means candlelight and elevated touches, such as water served in an Italian glass bottle (click the link to see the ones I use – it’s through Amazon, which I am an Amazon Associate and receive a commission for any sales with no extra cost to you). (Also, here’s how I keep them clean.)
Maybe scheduling your #HappyPlace simply has to do with ordering your happy food and turning down the lights and adding a few simple touches to make it extra special.
Bring on the happy food.
Like desserts, we rarely eat pasta. Oh pasta! I love it soooo much! Talk about endorphins! I always make reservations ahead of time to ensure that we have at least one night eating bowls of delightfully comforting pastas!
For Dennis and me, #VirtualVail once a month means something as simple as a bowl of spaghetti, eaten in bed as we watch a movie. Door shut so it feels like we are in a hotel, with room service, and watching all the shows we never watch when we are at home.
Embrace the little touch points of joy!
If you’ve never been to Vail, it resembles an alpine village complete with cobblestones and is overflowing with charm in every nook and cranny. We share a lot of our meals so that we can sample more unique offerings.
Some of them surprise and delight us, such as “little beers” served in tiny little glass boots, filled with Liquor 43 and topped with heavy whipped cream. Dessert in a glass! After our trip, we stocked our liquor cabinet with that liqueur and ordered cute little beer glasses (another Amazon affiliate link!). So now, whenever we want to slow down and embrace a #VirtualVail moment, out will come those little glasses and the drink recreated.
Now, it’s your turn.
I hope by now you see that having a #VirtualVail or a #HappyPlace is not about entitlement… it’s about a mindset and a determination no matter where we are.
Life is short.
Let’s make the most of it.
Let’s strive together to enjoy more happy places… no matter where we are.
Where is your happy place?