How to Have a Cozy Oki Christmas by @heather_renee07!
We might be adventuring all over mainland, but I’m still super excited to bring to you guys our bi-weekly guest blogger, Heather Lindbloom!
Heather and I connected before she even got to island on Instagram (seriously if you’re in Oki and want to make friends - IG is where it’s at! 🙌🏼). She is the sweetest person and shares all of her Oki adventures! Something that inspires me most about her, though, is that she works as a realtor in California while she’s here in Oki. She also just *might* be the cutest dressed on island with all her amazon finds!
I KNEW she needed to a guest blogger, between her time management skills, explorer heart, & kind soul! When we were discussing topics, Heather suggested how to make your Oki homes a little cozier and I was SO in! I think we all could use a little more Christmas cheer this spirit in our homes. Enjoy Heather’s blog and if you happen to use any of her ideas in your home, please tag us both! We would love to see it!
My name is Heather and I have been an Oki Island Resident for two glorious years. I met Kellie prior to moving to Okinawa and we quickly became friends via Instagram. I’m a big believer in finding friendships that better you as a person and Kellie is that friend! Whether she is kicking my butt with one of her workouts, digging deeper into the Word of God through Bible Study, or enjoying the Japanese culture at a local restaurant we never run out of things to discuss. When she asked me to be featured on her blog I was excited and honored!
While there are a million and one topics we threw around the one that spoke to me most came down to home life! I work as a San Diego Realtor abroad. I live, eat and sleep houses, contracts, and real estate. I believe a house is so much more than a roof and walls. A house is where you make memories. A house is a place you feel most at home, where you are vulnerable, a place to relax, and a place to entertain. 2020 has been a year when people have spent more time at home than ever before so why not make that time incredible with comfortable surroundings and delicious food! Check out my tips below on how to have the Coziest Oki Christmas in your own home!
1. Lights, Lights, Lights
We all know that lighting is used to set the mood but it doesn’t have to be only on special occasions. In today’s world we are constantly on screens and having the lights on all night doesn’t help. Ditch the switch and instead light candles around your home as the sun begins to set. This will help make everyone in your family feel more relaxed and is a great surprise for your spouse when they walk in the door after a long day at work. Use twinkle lights to illuminate different areas of decor that you want showcased at night. The flickering twinkle can instantly change a space and saves on energy bills too!
2. Put Effort In When No One Is Looking
Stop waiting for a special evening to wear the dress! 2020 has been the year of canceled plans and forgotten planners. If you have a purse, cute jeans, or a new pair of shoes you have been waiting to debut, pull them out now and strut your stuff down the grocery store aisle! There is no better time than now to be the best version of you! This idea carries into those DIY projects too! By adding a bit more effort you can make something ordinary into something extraordinary. Take this apple cider bar for instance. This was a hit at our Thanksgiving dinner and the only extra effort needed was buying apples, apple juice, and making the cider the day before. I used a crate from our storage, a dish towel, and spices from our spice rack to pull the look together. You can do this with your kids by having a Hot Cocoa bar that is open all December long or enjoy homemade mulled wine which will also make your home smell heavenly! Creating a charcuterie board is another fun + quick way to impress your family with very little effort. Simply grab a cutting board and fill a few small bowls with nuts, olives, honey, and jams. Place the bowls on the board and fill the space in between with a variety of meats, hard + soft cheeses, crackers, and fruits. Whether you serve it as an appetizer or main dish this is a great addition to a movie night or game night! Simply pour a bottle of wine and you have a gourmet date night in!
3. Use Nature...It’s Free!
One of our favorite Oki Christmas traditions is doing a Seashell themed tree. We figured we can do the standard bows, ornaments, and ribbons the rest of our lives and love scouting for the best shells all year long. This year we are even cutting down a Christmas Tree from our local beach which happens to be our front yard. They are the perfect size and grow like weeds so no one will miss it! Use a hot glue gun + fishing line to hang the shells from the branches and be sure to add lights. They illuminate the shells beautifully at night! Garland is hard to come by on the island so we picked fresh branches from the local trees as well. I often start using the native grasses in my interior design at the start of Fall bringing in soft textures and natural color pallets into our beachside farmhouse. Lastly, this year I did my first orange garland and now I am hooked. Simply cut a handful of oranges into circles, pat them dry with a paper towel, and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 250°. Cook for 4 hours turning the oranges at the halfway point. Pull out of the oven, let cool, and then string them with twine. These garlands can last for two years and are a kid-friendly activity! Click here for a step by step tutorial.
4. Importance of Textures
Ambiance makes a space and can change a dull room into a cozy space, inviting to all. Be sure to mix woods, metals, stone, soft, and hard textures when decorating for the Holidays. Don’t be afraid to do something daring and bring in a new color for the Holiday season. I typically have a muted color pallet in our home but I love adding in pops of deep red for Christmas transforming our Seaside House into the Lindbloom Lodge! We also purchase fresh poinsettia from the local nursery to bring more natural elements into the home. Burlap is an affordable way to create a Christmas tree skirt, use it as a table runner, or cover the base of a potted plant.
6. It’s All In The Details
This statement is so true! I worked in the event industry in Southern California for years and have planned everything from intimate dinners to the US Open Oakley Fashion Show. The little details make all the difference but you don’t have to break the bank to make a space cozy! Head to your local Daiso. I found the cutest red checkered Christmas pillow cover for $2 and that is also where we pick up our lights strands to add that extra twinkle as the sun sets. Another key detail is making sure your home smells good! We have recently started to fall in love with burning essential oils. Peppermint, Cinnamon Bark, Orange, Frankincense, and 4 Thrive are some of our favorites this time of year, and all are found at Daiso and the BX between $1-$5. Lastly, if you have Netflix, be sure to throw on the “Fireplace Birchwood'' edition and enjoy the crackling of a virtual fire! It’s the next best thing we can get living in Oki and you will be surprised how it instantly transforms the space.
7. Spread Christmas Cheer
While we don’t have “Stay At Home” orders here on the island, we are all being encouraged to do our part and limit social distancing which for many means canceled holiday parties and dinners. With all this extra time and nowhere to go consider spreading Christmas cheer to your neighbors. Whether that be by dropping off homemade ornaments, or home-baked cookies remember that you can brighten someone’s day! I have a few Christmas treats I only bake once a year. I make sure to make enough to deliver to my neighbors. Ditch the paper plate and instead deliver them in a craft box ($1 at Daiso), lined with a colorful Christmas napkin and tied with twine. Remember, it’s all in the details! Invite the kids to join you in helping to spread Christmas cheer!
Lastly, if you are PCSing to Okinawa, be sure to pack a box or two of your favorite Christmas decorations. Shopping is limited on the island and having these pieces of home will make all the difference this time next year. I hope you guys find these tips helpful and start incorporating them into your own homes. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the Lindbloom Lodge to your Oki Home! Tis’ the season friends!