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Sweet Escapes: 6 Tips to Create The Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of

by | Mar 26, 2009 | Authentic Living, blogging, Inspired Living, Summer Decorating

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Sweet Escapes: 6 Tips to Create The Life You've Always Dreamed Of

I am like a sponge (a sea sponge?) these days for anything coastal. It embodies everything I love: a simple life, the promise of warm breezes on a summer day, fresh air filling my lungs, a lazy summer day with nothing to do but collect shells and nap in the sand, the sound of waves lapping at the shore … I feel so peaceful just thinking about it.

I love to escape!!

Since my new house is within view of a lake, I am completely looking forward to the summer. And I have a front porch (squee!!!) so I am thinking about ways to make it a place to hang out, sip some iced tea, catch a glimpse of the water and hear the boats going by.  Note, this is NOT my front porch. I don’t have THAT amazing of a view.

I am all about creating sweet escapes. For those of you who are new to my blog, Sweet Escapes were a regular feature of my blog for a long time but I am bringing them back now and then because I love them so.

Escapes are a part of living a beautiful life…escaping from the burdens of life, focusing on even the small joys you can find, dreaming, and being thankful for what you have right in front of you. I love living FULLY in the beautiful moments as often as possible.

While we can’t always escape to tropical islands or other far away places, we can escape right in our own little world. Maybe I am a little romantic about it, but that is just how I am. But I am sure you’ve figured that out about me already.

Sweet Escapes: 6 Tips to Create The Life You've Always Dreamed Of

6 Tips to Create The Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of

1. Shut down the computer!

I know I’ve talked about this many times, but I cannot stress this enough. Being online too much will ROB YOU of a beautiful life. Yes, I know we find inspiration in blogs. Yes, I know our best friends are here. I know we have email to check, bills to pay and things to Google. But, I’m just telling you straight out, there is more beauty and joy in the real world if you set your mind on finding it.

I know it is sometimes easier to just hang out online, but to really embrace a beautiful life, you need to shut down the computer as often as possible. I find I have to be offline several times a week for many hours in a row in order to feel balanced. I make rules for myself about days I have to take away from the computer.

This week I took day trips to Seattle with my son, to Gig Harbor with my girls, and to TJ Maxx on my days off! Bliss! Find YOUR balance and stick with it!

If you need some inspiration to take some time away, here are some links for you.

Disconnect Challenge 2008
Disconnect Challenge Revisited 2009

Alexandra Stoddard Interview (2008)

When Blogs & Life Collide (Notes from my talk at Blissdom 09)

My friend Kimba recently shared honestly about how unbalanced she felt with her time online and is encouraging others to join her in taking a day off away from the computer. Click here for more info on this challenge!

2. Create your dreams.

What kind of escape do you long for?

A day of no interruption for reading? A day at the spa? A relaxing day on the coast or a night at a bed and breakfast? Well what are you waiting for?! If you can’t make those dreams a reality, recreate them as best you can. Life is too short to miss out on what you want out of it. You can make beautiful things happen on a shoestring budget with a little planning, creativity and imagination.

Start planning something lovely for yourself. Yes, it takes time. That is the point. Spend time creating a beautiful life instead of wasting it on things that actually drain your energy.

3. Don’t waste time feeling depressed over what you can’t do in life.

Yes, life hands us lemons quite often. Life is hard and stinks sometimes. Instead of the “can’t dos” focus on what we CAN do!  Let yourself be delighted by small pleasures that ARE accessible to you. Make a list of little things that could bring beauty to your day. Incorporate as many of them as you can.

4. Let go of the guilt.

Why oh why do we feel such guilt over time spent pursuing the life we love? Creating a beautiful life is not frivolous or wasted time. Nor does it mean “expensive.” On the contrary! If you spend too much money on it, you defeat the purpose. The purpose is to bring peace and appreciation for what we have, not create an additional burden.

Don’t feel guilty for enjoying life! Work hard, yes, but then know when to say when. Work hard, play hard. It works and both are good (and necessary) in proper balance.

5. Strive for imperfection!

Ah, yes, coming from a recovering perfectionist, I can tell you that this is one of the best tips ever if you struggle with perfectionism. Allowing yourself to fall short on purpose, knowing when to say “when” and knowing when you have achieved “good enough” are important parts of living a beautiful life, especially for the perfectionists. Your life will thank you for striving for imperfect.

A world of attainable beauty is opened up when we give ourselves permission to accept imperfection.

6. Slow things down and embrace a simple life.

The world seems to spin faster every day. Only YOU can decide your pace. There are many options in life, but it would be far better to choose just a few and embrace them fully than to try to be wonder woman in everything and not enjoy anything. Enough said.

Enjoy your weekend!

Photos: {Sigh}. Coastal Living.


  1. Arleen

    I love your 6 tips, and I love the idea of sweet escapes. In addition to being surrounded by beauty, indoors and out, music is one of my top sweet escapes. Ear candy. Thank you for these tips! ~Arleen

    Arleens inspiring blog post..Inspiration ~ Archways, Indoors and Out

  2. Myrnie

    Your six tips really hit the spot. As my baby nurses less and less I find myself on the computer less and less (it’s how I spend the HOURS she’s eating during the day and night) and I love it. I love being more connected to my house and less connected to the internet. Thanks!

    Myrnies inspiring blog post..Beautiful Bedding

  3. Robin Rane' ~ All Things Heart & Home

    Taking time away from the computer is key! Love all your tips but that one expecially. Fridays are my fun days! I hit the gym and then head out for some shopping or lunch with friends. Sometimes stay out all day then meet The Husband for dinner. Happy Friday!
    Robin Rane’
    All Things Heart and Home

    Robin Rane’ ~ All Things Heart & Homes inspiring blog post..The Man can cook!

  4. Becky K.

    Are you feeling the need for this too?
    You said it way better than I did but
    I was so surprised to see that we are
    talking about the same basic idea

    Yesterday, Chelsea and I spent time
    baking together in the kitchen…

    Have a lovely day, Melissa.

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..Just Imagine…

  5. Vee

    Two entire days spent crafting this week for me helped ease some of the stresses. These are rough economic times for many of us and I confess to losing sleep over that. But little things like reading or creating help. For me, cleaning becomes more than a chore…it becomes a lifeline. I may be certifiable. Oh, I’d watch those TJ Maxx trips if I were you! =>

    Thank you for revisiting this topic, Melissa. It’s a good one. I can hardly wait to see what you might do with your front porch!

    Vees inspiring blog post..Penny Postcards

  6. vivy

    Thank You Very Much!!!!

    vivys inspiring blog post..Hay que esperar 7 meses…

  7. Pam Kersting

    What a nice post and such wonderful advice, too. We all need to slow down and smell the roses, don’t we? Your first photograph of the porch looking over the intracoastal waterway reminds me of the area that I am lucky enough to live in!

    Pam Kerstings inspiring blog post..Outdoor Rooms for Living

  8. Julia

    I could use a sweet escape right about now myself! I work on the computer, so I’m on it practically around the clock some days. I do try to take Saturdays off, but even that’s hard. I probably need to find a way to set more boundaries with it and just say “work stops at 9:00 whether you’re finished or not.”

    Thanks for the inspiration! :-)

    Julia @ Hooked on Housess inspiring blog post..Hooked on Shannon Bowers’ Swedish Style

  9. French Cupboard

    Thank you for saying it like it is. Wonderful post. Blessings… Polly

    French Cupboards inspiring blog post..Beautiful Words

  10. songbirdtiff

    These are wonderful tips. I agree that taking care of ourselves is DEFINITELY worth our time and effort. It’s difficult not to feel guilty, though, for spending some time on ourselves. Thanks for the reminder!

    songbirdtiffs inspiring blog post..The Color Red (Pearl Jam)

  11. Elizabeth

    What a great word! Very encouraging and inspiring! Thanks!!

  12. Amanda

    I needed this…thank you!

    Amandas inspiring blog post..Home schooling can be PHUN!

  13. black eyed susans kitchen

    We really were just talking about this very same topic. The need to “unplug” ourselves and kick back a little without actually spending a fortune and jumping on a plane. I am really enjoying your Friday posts. Thank you.
    ♥, Susan

    black eyed susans kitchens inspiring blog post..THE GREAT ESCAPE

  14. kirwin

    You’re right, you’re right, you’re right…..I need to shut down the computer more often. It’s like an embilical cord for me, these days…I’ll work on it. I promise. (no, my fingers aren’t crossed–why would you think that?!) ; )

    I love your Friday Linkies!!

    kirwins inspiring blog post..Random Acts of Kindness (with children)

  15. Amy

    This post was so nice to wake up to this morning. Made me take a much needed deep breath and relax. Am so happy to have discovered your blog this week – I love it.

  16. Debbykay

    You are right on target! It is so important to create a beautiful life inside and out–that is, inside ourselves and in around our homes and places of work. We have so many opportunities to be present in the moment… creating beauty with what we have, AND then enjoying it!

    Happy, happy Friday to all!
    Debbykay at Rose Cottage Gardens and Farm

    Debbykays inspiring blog post..Awake! It’s spring…time to get organized!

  17. Lea

    All those tips are great and spot on! As for the internet, when have you ever heard anyone say, “I had such a great time on the internet this past Saturday. It was so relaxing/refreshing/fun!”? Yeah, I didn’ think so :)

    I obviously enjoy the internet too, but it can’t compare to, say, a trip to Bodega Bay. *swoon*

    Leas inspiring blog namesake movie

  18. Jenn Baker

    Thank you for these timely words. More than you know.

  19. teresa

    Oh so true! Grandkids help me remember to do those things =}
    Thanks for all you do- have a wonderful weekend-
    Happy Day

    teresas inspiring blog post..They are………

  20. LuLu

    My post today fits this perfectly! and you said it so lovely! :)
    happy Friday,

    LuLus inspiring blog post..Baby Steps…

  21. Carol

    Beautiful post. I’m spending the afternoon with my nieces. It just doesn’t get better than that :>)

    Carols inspiring blog post..Hopeful Friday…..

  22. Lorrie

    Wonderful – we all need to remember to take these little escapes. Another great post, Melissa.


  23. Gina

    I love those tips, and such a great reminder to turn things off-I’ve noticed how better things go when I do! And how wonder to strive for imperfection-most things just aren’t worth stressing over!

    Ginas inspiring blog post..I just need some spray paint and a glue gun

  24. Lynda

    You can never revisit this topic often enough, Melissa! My life has gotten out of control lately and I’ve decided to start shutting down my computer on the weekends again. A get-away is probably just the thing I need … if only I could get away! :)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Lyndas inspiring blog post..:: Vintage Linens ::

  25. Kelly

    Great post…I really have trouble tearing myself away from the computer, but I am trying! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Kelly | Purple Lemon Designss inspiring blog post..Friday Photo Inspiration: Old forest

  26. Janet

    Oh my, what a great post. All are wonderful tips. I have been trying to live a more simple life lately, posts like this really help enforce the thinking. Thanks Melissa!

    Janets inspiring blog post..Green. With Envy?

  27. lylah ledner

    Funny you should post this…am on the same wave length…at least with a Mental Vacation :-)

    lylah ledners inspiring blog post..Vows – Part One

  28. Pearl Maple

    A beautiful and thought provoking post.

    Having recently moved house the ideas resonate loudly, am off to create a little nest of tranquility between the cardboard boxes.

    Pearl Maples inspiring blog post..Sky Watch Friday

  29. Kris

    Love this post. It really is simple to find happiness.

    Have a happy day


    Kriss inspiring blog post..A NEW BLOG DRESS

  30. Debbie

    Melissa, I love your six tips. I decided I wanted to join in on this week’s Beautiful Life. Although Heart Choices is more about making healthy choices, I believe that choosing to take time for a sweet escape is so good for your soul, body and spirit. This was a fun post for me. Thank you for inviting other bloggers to link to you.

    Debbies inspiring blog post..What Part of Spring Are You?

  31. Tara


    I use blogging as a way to relax and only do it in spots…it only remains inspiring that way, otherwise it feels like a chore and I already have plenty of those!!

    Taras inspiring blog post..The Dogs of Spring

  32. Shell

    Loved this post. I feel many are too connect and it does get in the way of truly living. I am doing my best to simply in my life. Do things I need to do and find time to relax with family and friends. Despite this awful economy, I need to rest in Him knowing He is truly in control…that frees me, to well, be me.

  33. sue

    As you know when you work from home on the computer it is so hard to put it away…it’s always there! I’m so happy spring is here..I can escape to my garden & dig in the dirt, if even for a few minutes at a time.

    [email protected] inspiring blog post..hooked on..floating away

  34. Cre8Tiva

    i love this my friend…and you know i love the beach..if i can figure out your mr. linkey, i am going to link this….i am having a 3rd blogaverary giveAWAY on the blog…please tell people and come sign up too…hugs, rebecca

    Cre8Tivas inspiring blog post..building my wings…blogaversary week giveaway…

  35. Kathleen

    Disconnection is in the air! I didn’t know about the challenge, but I just blogged about being absent from cyberspace. I do struggle to find the balance between living fully and blogging sensibly.

    Kathleens inspiring blog post..Spring Renewal

  36. Flip Girl

    I really have fun blogging, but my kids keep me running around most of the day! I don’t think I could be addicted to it if I tried!
    -Flip Girl

    Flip Girls inspiring blog post..Make Your Feet Happy While Lookin’ Good! {Chaco Switch Premium Sandal}

  37. Trina McNeilly

    Love this post.. I needed to hear this… a good little, often needed, reminder.
    Thank you!
    xx Trina

    Trina McNeillys inspiring blog post..My Room {in process}

  38. laura

    Great post! I’ ve all but abandoned Twitter, cut back on Facebook, and definitely blog/visit blogs more infrequently (I look on the bright side…more great posts to visit in one sitting. :-) Basically, I need to take things down a notch. Or twelve. ;-)

    Wonderful post, with some things to think about for sure.

    Striving for imperfection,

    laura @ the shore houses inspiring blog post..That’s entertainment.

  39. Brenda Leyland

    Hi, I found your link over at Lorrie’s and I’m sooo happy I did! I’m leaving a comment even though it’s Wednesday, as I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your posting and ideas!

    Looking forward to joining you on Friday!

    Yours for beauty in all things, Brenda

    Brenda Leylands inspiring blog post..Keep Eating The Apple

  40. chaotic kitten

    These suggestions are so great, very straight forward and sensible. I linked to you from my blog :)

    chaotic kittens inspiring blog post..Replies To Comments

  41. inas

    i really loved those tips.. i should have sometime to my self .. not always the husband and the kids .. i want a special day for me ..



  1. A Drive by: Gig Harbor Edition - [...] 6 Tips to Live the Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of Photos: Melissa Michaels [...]
  2. what i found wednesday » the creative mama - [...] sweet escapes. i realize i’m linking to the inspired room, again. can’t help it, she is one of my…

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