The Omicron variant running rampant isn’t making it any easier to reintroduce old favorites like traveling more and hitting the gym, so we have to continue to get creative when making our list of resolutions this year. If you had any interest in trying a new hobby or learning new recipes, you probably pursued those interests during your time at home over the last couple of years, so those are also out of the running. But resolutions are all about enhancing our lives and improving the way we interact with the world, so there are still plenty of options left.
If you need a bit of inspiration, here are four you might want to consider.
1. Increase your water-saving efforts.
Don’t let our recent rain fool you: We are still in a state of increasing drought and are looking at more mandatory water use restrictions in the coming year.
If you need to level up your water-conservation skills, you can start with some water-saving resolutions I included in my New Year’s column a few years ago, including installing a rain barrel, participating in Meatless Mondays, insulating your pipes, covering your pool, and installing a graywater system. If you already have these practices in place, take it a step further by installing an automatic drip system, saving your cooking water to use for irrigation, or using a bucket to collect water while your shower warms up.
2. Make time for self-care.
We have all had a rough couple of years. Although we are settling into our new normal, managing mask mandates, figuring out who is and isn’t vaccinated, and having to weigh the risks and benefits of every dinner out with friends or trip to grandma’s house continues to take its toll.
Commit to making time for self-care this year. This might include COVID-friendly camping at Lake Casitas, scheduling hikes or outdoor dining with friends, treating yourself to an energy healing session, or having regular at-home spa days.
3. Support local businesses and contractors.
I know local contractors are booked solid and have been difficult to schedule throughout the pandemic and that Amazon is the most convenient way to buy pretty much everything you need. It can be tempting to take the easy way out, but we build a stronger community when we keep our money local and support local businesses.
Make it one of your resolutions to continue using local contractors and supporting local businesses so that we can all come out of the pandemic stronger and more connected. One easy way to do this even if you are following pretty strict protocols is to head to the farmers market to support local farmers and makers.
4. Live in line with your values.
One thing that many of us gained from the pandemic is a clearer list of priorities. We know what is important to us, know where we want to focus our energy, and have a better understanding of our life goals. This provides us with an opportunity to clarify our values and take steps to live by them.
Create resolutions that help you define and live by your values.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
Whether you are relocating to the Ojai Valley or simply looking for a country retreat to enjoy with friends and family, this historic home is a unique find to fit your needs.
Just a short drive from downtown Ojai and tucked behind an electric security gate, this U-shaped hacienda is surrounded by 40 acres of avocado groves, which helps to preserve the tranquility of this peaceful oasis.
The original adobe home built in 1830 is the central core of the hacienda, which has been expanded and updated in a manner that preserves its rustic charm while adding modern conveniences and much more space for you and your guests to enjoy.
Monthly rent: $6,800.00
Security Deposit: $10,200.00
One small pet considered with additional $500 pet fee.
Water, trash, pool maintenance, and landscaping maintenance included.
Visit the property information page for more photos and information.
This Ojai rental home is shown only by appointment. Please contact AimeeJo to schedule a viewing.
Winter is a great time to update and upgrade outdoor living areas. With shorter days and colder weather, you likely are not entertaining on your patio quite as much right now, which gives you the opportunity to spruce it up a bit between gatherings.
If you have tried to have any type of home improvement completed over the last couple of years, you know how busy contractors are right now and how difficult it is to get on their schedules. If you have something that requires a contractor, call them now to get your job in their queue. Then, while you are waiting your turn, consider some of these upgrades that you can do yourself in the meantime.
1. Spread no-water ground covers.
You can quickly increase the visual appeal of your outdoor living areas by covering bare earth with a no-water ground cover like bark, wood chips, or gravel. Spread it around plants, in walkways, and in any spot that needs a little sprucing up. This option is easy to do and easy to maintain, since all you really need to do moving forward is refresh it whenever it starts to look a little sparse.
2. Hang string lights.
String lights are inexpensive, easy to hang, and a great way to add soft lighting to outdoor living areas. Add a festive flair to your patio or yard with a few strands of string lights that you can likely hang yourself.
3. Add a fresh coat of paint to patio furniture.
If your metal, wicker, synthetic wicker, plastic, or other painted patio furniture is looking a little worse for the wear, head to one of our local hardware stores to pick up some spray paint in fun colors. Watch a couple of videos online to make sure you know what you are doing, and then update the look of your furniture with a fresh coat of paint.
4. Add a fire pit.
Fire pits are not necessarily easy to install or inexpensive, but there are certainly options that fit both of these categories. You can pick up a portable fire pit for less than $100, bring it home, and have it set up and ready to go all within a couple of hours.
5. Put together a bar cart.
Look around the house for a two-tier table or rolling cart that could be transformed into a portable bar. Stock it with your favorite beverages, outdoor drinkware, and some bar snacks to have a handy bar cart ready to go for impromptu social gatherings.
6. Add a rug.
Adding an outdoor rug to your patio décor is a quick and easy way to instantly add color and texture to your outdoor living area. If you are not sure you want to deal with caring for textiles, you can also paint a rug design on your patio.
7. Add a shade sail.
Shade sails provide protection from the sun and make your outdoor living areas more comfortable and more functional. As an added benefit, they also happen to be great for blocking the view of your patio if neighboring properties sit higher than yours or if second-story windows overlook your yard.
8. Hang a hammock.
Hammocks provide the perfect spot to curl up with a good book or take an afternoon nap. They are easy to hang between two strong trees or sturdy posts, or you can purchase a hammock stand that allows you to place your hammock anywhere you’d like.
Things to remember this month:
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