Monday Musings- Forest Bathing and Gratitude Alarms

Happy Monday, ladies. I hope you had a great weekend. I began to strip the ornaments off our new artificial Christmas Tree but didn’t have the heart to take it down. It’s literally standing there with the lights and no ornaments. I love to see the cheery glow as I walk past so I’ve begun joking with my husband about Valentine and Easter ornaments:)

Anywho…here are few things I’m musing about this week:

Forest Bathing

I work from home so all my days will run together unless I take some sort of break. With cabin fever at an all-time high, Mr. AWSL and I have decided that our Sunday drives are more important than ever before. We’re challenging ourselves to go and see something new each week. This week I asked him to find a place for us to go forest bathing.

fashion blogger jennifer connolly of a well styled life wearing black hat and nic + zoe faux fur vest
WEARING – HAT similar on sale / SUNGLASSES / EARRINGS / TURTLENECK similar / VEST similar on sale / JEANS on sale

We headed north through towns so small you’d miss them if you blinked. Some were so deserted, I wish I’d blinked! Now I know where all the old RV’s and trailers go to die. We ended up at New Bullards Bar Reservoir. The water level is so low you can’t launch a boat so the place was eerily deserted.

fashion blogger jennifer connolly overlooking new bullards Bar dam
WEARING – HAT similar on sale / VEST similar on sale / TURTLENECK / JEANS on sale / WATER RESISTANT BOOTS / CABLE EARRINGS

It was so quiet it almost makes your ears hurt. I LOVED it! We drove on toward New Bullards Bar Damn and stopped to walk among the trees, which is “forest bathing”. Forest therapy is rooted in the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which refers simply to being in nature, connecting with it through sight, hearing, smell, and touch.fashion blogger jennifer connolly of a well styled life sittinew burrards bar resevoirng on rail overlooking

I could almost feel my blood pressure drop. We drove past the New Bullards Bar Dam and along country roads for hours before turning towards home. It’s funny, but after an experience like that, I can sit at my desk and feel I’ve been a very long way from home…which is just what I need before the week starts.

Gratitude Alarm

We had a group zoom call with our dearest, dinner party friends last night. I can’t believe we haven’t done it before now. It was so good to see their faces and laugh with them. During the call, Tony’s phone alarm went off. gratitude alarm on iphoneHe explained he’s set his alarm to go off twice each day to remind himself to pause and feel grateful. How awesome is that? I now have two alarms on my phone because I’m never sorry when I take the time to feel grateful and a reminder is always welcome.

End Of An Erafashion blogger jennifer connolly of a well styled life in doorway of travel trailer

We sold our little travel trailer last week. We’d had reservations to visit Palm Springs for the month of January but with everything closed down, it didn’t make sense to go. I have such fond memories of trips we’ve taken and the places we’ve stayed. It began to feel like a crazy waste of money to pay to store it and our tow vehicle. I know we will miss it when things open up so we will revisit our options then.

Have you made any changes in your life for 2021?

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.





  1. Loved your post. I have been getting restless myself and like you, been thinking I need to just take a drive. Funny how you sold your RV and we are thinking of buying one! Different approaches to this new normal!

  2. Such a cute outfit Jennifer!! Agree about limiting news exposure, so disturbing. The scenery you shared was magnificent to say the least!! We live in Central Florida, we do have lots of forests around but no mountains to speak of. Have not been able to do much driving as of late…. having more back surgery on Wednesday. Second in almost three years, but oh well had considerable success with the first one and have no doubt this one will be a success also. Have a great week

  3. Jennifer,
    I am a new subscriber and have just begun reading your posts but find them so uplifting, sincere, and inspiring. I’ve enjoyed reading the thoughtful comments from your subscribers. Being petite, I am finding your style tips especially helpful. I am a breast cancer survivor, married to a prostate cancer survivor and my best friend for 39 years. It’s been challenging and has helped me put into perspective what’s truly important. I love the your husband’s gratitude alarm tip. Simple but powerful! Thank you for sharing. Like you I am a NoCal girl, a Yorkie owner, and retired. Unlike you, I have regrettably have succumbed to the COVID +15. I noticed you posted you are working to shed the Covid pounds. It looks like you have! You are looking very slim and trim! Any tips on how you are doing that would be most appreciated. Happy New Year!

    1. Welcome, Kate! I am so glad you’re here. You will love the ladies here, I do:) I am working on my post for how I have lost some weight during this COVID and will share soon. xox

  4. What a great post, Jennifer. You look wonderful in your outfit by the dam. We like to get out into the forest or by the ocean on the weekends, too. It’s soul restoring.
    Just before the onslaught of Covid-19 last March, we purchased a small travel trailer. Didn’t use it too much, but we’ve made reservations for the beginning of March up Island in hopes that both Covid and the weather will cooperate.

  5. I’ve lost interest in clothes and fashion this past year, but still enjoy reading your blog. This one really impacted me to get beyond my walls and explore nature more. I absolutely love the term Forest Bath and all that it implies. I am now planning a trip to Glacier National park which has been on my bucket list. I also put the alarms on my phone and say a prayer of thanks for whatever blessing comes to mind at that moment. Thank you for this post. You are inspiring.

  6. I’m sad to see your trailer go. I enjoyed those posts so much. We have the advantage of being able to store ours on our property. Otherwise, I can see how the storage cost would make it much more difficult to justify especially when our camping season is so short.

  7. You look AMAZING! Many of us gained weight during the holidays, but you look slimmer and more willowy in the latest posts. I think you could wear any outfit and rival a professional model!

      1. Hi…..to the New Year and Forest bathing. Loved this missive. Yes, it is good to get out and drive someplace or even just take a walk.
        Sorry to hear you sold your other house on wheels. We went and bought a larger one……silly us. But we have fun with it and go as many places as we can. Nice to have your own bedroom and bath as you travel.
        Oh and by the way you looked wonderful in your photos……it’s all the fresh air. Keep going and keep doing.

  8. Forest bathing sounds like heaven to me. Given the choice, I will take mountains over beach any day! Love your outfit, especially your hat. I am making it a practice to wear a winter version of my sun hats every time I go out in the winter. Sun protection is important year round, not just during the warm and the hot weather months.
    The “gratitude alarm” sounds like the tech version of Oprah’s “Grateful Journal” and a mentally healthy daily practice! Thanks for suggesting it. Now I just have to learn how to set an alarm on my phone🙄

  9. Your trailer! How sad! I have wanted one for ages, but neither my husband or me would feel confident towing one.

  10. Just love this post, Jennifer, because…
    Forest bathing! And here I thought you were going to do a “polar bear” plunge that is done in Canada on Jan 1. We’re lucky to live at the edge of a large forest, so we’ll be doing our daily forest bathing in 10 minutes.
    You reminded me about our wonderful time in Palm Springs a few years ago. Our focus was on mid century architecture & we hope to return someday soon.
    You look fab! I appreciate how you have put together such an updated look with older clothing.
    Reminder to take Sunday drives, but we’ve had snow storms to deal with!

  11. I have always wanted to have an RV but the expense has always stopped me. Now it is hotels and motels when I travel, all the freedom of the road without the cost. In fact maybe more freedom because when you have been driving all day you get to relax all night. No cooking or tidying required.

    1. I read your comment and it reminded me of my mother. My parents owned a camper since the mid 70s. My mom enjoyed it but she told me once not long ago (they are in their 80s now) that she never had a “real” vacation, where she didn’t have to cook, wash dishes, make up beds., etc.

  12. Jennifer, yesterday I took all the ornaments off my old old faux Christmas tree and left on the lights and the star on top. I’m loving it! My tree is usually decked out in 4 bins of glass and crystal ornaments. This pared down look goes well with the winter decorations I’ve left out ( a metal deer, and a faux wreath with all its shiny bits removed.) A few white candles around. And I just dumped 2 huge gift bags worth of wrapping supplies I’ll never use. Time to lighten up.
    I love the idea of forest bathing but it will have to wait for warmer days.

  13. Oh Jennifer! I completely relate to your comment about the artificial tree. I finally gave in this year after many disappointing real tree experiences. (I live on Maui). I too have thought it would look nice in its spot all year. Someone else suggested holiday ornaments, ie Valentines, Easter, etc. I just love the light it gives off at night, and early morning! My husband and I wanted to buy an RV after we retired so did the shopping and research. Turned out we were happier buying a luxury auto, and spending the money to stay in high end hotels! We need a roomy shower, plus, cars are easier to park, or pull through McDonalds!

    Love your outfit, too. Definitely how I would dress for this kind of ramble. When we lived in CA we planted a “forest” of redwood trees on our property. They have always been my favorite tree. They give off a very peaceful, inspiring, vibe.

    1. We are on Kauai and understand about disappointing tree experiences. Cut trees seem half dead by the time they get here and are totally dry by Christmas Day. We just opted not to waste our $ this year.

  14. Thanks for the ideas of just getting out and driving around we used to to it all the time when your daughter was younger then gas prices went up and you were fond upon for pointless trips now that l’m alone a Sunday afternoon drive up to the country might be just what l need keep up the good work you inspire so many people

  15. I LOVE the idea of “gratitude alarms” and will set them up as soon as I finish commenting! In fact, I loved your whole post and most generally do. Things you write about are things I think about or sometimes don’t think about that I should! Thank you for your “musings”. They are always worth the time to read. We do take occasional Sunday drives, but live in the middle of the country and don’t have many options. The mountains are far away, but we do have hiking trail areas and a few lakes to explore. But the drive alone is refreshing, I agree, and we need to do more of them. Some days I have to remind myself what day and date it is, too! The pictures are beautiful today, and I could just smell the pine! Thank you for sharing the pictures, your thoughts and your outfit. You are looking VERY slim!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  16. This was an inspiring post and although you didn’t mention clothes once, I think you are looking particularly beautiful ( and tall!) This is one of my favorite outfits ever!

    1. Thank you so much! It’s all things I’ve owned for a while. I think the vest is at least 12 years old and is a favorite. I’m glad I could find some similar items to link.

  17. What a lovely way to start the New Year! Touched by your post in multiple ways.. Bullard’s Bar houseboats game with friends and kids. (Make your drive a little longer up 49 to Downieville!). Selling a beloved camper. Spending time in Palm Springs (we winter here now)

    Love your outfit! Especially the vest!

  18. Great post!! I just set up my phone with a gratitude alarm. I love the story about forest bathing. Happy New Year!

  19. Oh, Jennifer the memories of water skiing and hiking at Bullard’s Bar came rushing back!
    I grew up east of there in the Sacramento Valley and that was such a fun place to go on weekends. Your idea of forest bathing was a wonderful idea and something I plan on doing again as soon as possible. Love your outfit and your new gratitude reminder, I must try that! You look so calm and happy in those beautiful surroundings.

  20. I live in a city with 100 miles of golf cart paths (you don’t have to golf! ha), with so many beautiful trees. So a 20-30 minute walk in the middle of the day can rejuvenate and reset my perspective on hunkering down!
    I love your outfit! The silhouette is very youthful and fun, the vest is gorgeous!
    Love the reminder on gratitude as well! Thank you!

  21. I for one will miss the trailer…those were some of my favorite posts!! However, the new idea of the gratitude reminders is excellent! Love it, and of course your look and your forest visit. Happy New Year, friend!

  22. What a great blog to begin a new week, a new year! We have been taking weekly drives, escaping from our home and discovering so much beauty in the outdoors! Whether it’s an abandoned farm or a small town struggling to stay active, it’s an opportunity to see what was always there but maybe we were too busy to really appreciate.
    Love the outfit that you chose to feature today. That vest is gorgeous!
    I have been thinking about the word “intentional” lately. This may be my word for 2021.
    Making plans, doing things that I want to do and saying no to those things that I simply do not want to do.
    Here’s to a great week and a much better new year!

  23. Forest bathing… I hadn’t heard the term until now. Thank you!
    Such beautiful pictures Jennifer, thank you for sharing!

  24. Like you one day every week we voyage to woodsy areas or right to the deserted beaches nearby. Hearing surf and with a blue blue sky above is a delight during these isolating times.
    During a recent drive inland we found a tiny alpaca farm and we visited these curious animals right at lunch time (their lunch time); they were amazingly docile and sweet. The farm owners sold alpaca mittens, winter hats and scarves in a teeny tent right on the farm. I learned that there will be a winter farmers market on the property open until April. What an enchanting find on a lazy day drive to the woods!

  25. I thought you were looking for actual bathing spot, lol! My husband and I have been walking as much as we can. It really helps. I’ve had absolute cabin fever lately. We can have outdoor dining but it’s cold here so that’s not happening. Whenever I do get out I am always grateful to be home. We sold our little home on wheels too. We have fond memories and really do miss it.

  26. That first shot is absolutely stunning. You and the scenery of course. I so my own version of forest bathing, getting out into the hundreds of trees we have planted on our property, and it is the most calming thing to just wander around looking at the bark and leaves, and all that is out there. I have found it takes the stress away almost instantly, and even makes me forget about the medical problems for a short while. So regenerative. Right now I will need the snowshoes to go far, but that is fun too. So sorry you have to get rid of the RV but I can see that storing anything like that is too expensive to just sit. Better days will come. Thanks for the reminders. Not much planned for new changes, just trying to find the good in every day. Oh, and the tree, I had just told a friend on the weekend that I was leaving mine up with the lights because I love to read by the lights, and I do leave them on all day to just enjoy. I like the idea of Valentines decorations…haha.

      1. Our tree is still up and the lights are on! In fact, all the Christmas decor is still up. I couldn’t imagine what forest bathing was, especially in the winter! Happy new year, Jennifer!

  27. What a wonderful idea your husband came up with. I have a feeling you are mighty grateful for him in your life. I bet the idea spreads, as well it should. Adding mine to my phone now.

  28. We sold our RV also, same reasons, didn’t make sense to continue to pay all the associated costs when we weren’t going to get to use it. Plus the market is so bare that we actually make a great deal in our favor!

  29. I kept waiting to see you bathing in the water.

    Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful concept. It’s a new way to enjoy a walk in the woods with perhaps a little less focus on the picnic.

  30. I love the idea of forest bathing and the gratitude alarms. I am going to try to incorporate both into my life. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Loved your post as always and I too kept looking for a bath area ! Oh how blonde of me.
      My daughter in law and son dropped off a jar last night and little note papers and said”every time you have something positive happen to write it on a piece of paper and put in the jar. The caption on the top of the jar lid said “thoughts are things”! I will be looking for positive to write about.

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