Category Archives: Your Life on a Couch

The Emotional Bond Between You and Your Couch Is Real.

By Casey Mullins

Four and half years ago I documented the history of the unsightly green couch I inherited when I married my husband. I thought it was ugly the first time I saw it and I still think it’s ugly every time I walk into my bedroom. “If it’s so ugly why don’t you get rid of it?” Because I’m emotionally attached to the ugly hunter green couch that leaks oil on my carpet and threatens to swallow you whole if you sit on it wrong. It’s where my husband and I had our first kiss, it’s where we sat for the first 10 years of our marriage and it’s been in every place we’ve called home since 2000.

Moosh in Indy

 

In my 14 years of marriage and 9 years of parenthood I’ve learned you must be very careful about what you bring into your life because there’s a very good chance you will end up with an emotional bond to it and find yourself struggling to separate yourself from the memories associated with it. The chair I’m sitting on this very moment is bright orange and hideous, but it belonged to my husband’s favorite grandma and it’s where I slept through both of my pregnancies when I couldn’t stand being in bed anymore. There’s no denying it’s ugly, but there’s also no denying how comfortable and well designed it is.

Over the last four years the history of our green couch has grown, it supported me through another pregnancy, became my favorite place to nurse my new baby and continues to be a staple piece of furniture we rotate around as we go throughout our daily lives. The brown couch we chose for downstairs has its own budding history as well. We have over three thousand square feet and a dozen rooms in our home but on any given night you will find all four of us piled up downstairs on the couch (six if you count the cats.) We were sitting on the couch when we told our oldest I was pregnant and we’ve all taken turns being various levels of sick, injured, sad, happy, or bored on it.

Moosh in Indy

 

We spend a lot of time visiting historic places throughout our travels, pausing for a moment to remember the momentous occasions that happened there and wondering what these historic monuments would say if they could talk. More than ever, our couches are a central part to our story as a family and as silly as it sounds, we’ve started to regard them as the overstuffed sentinels they are. Not a day goes by that one of our couches goes unused, even when we’re out of town we always return to evidence of the cats making full use of them in our absence.

Moosh in Indy

 

Have you ever stopped to think about an important couch in your own life? Who has sat there, what stories has it heard, or what grand life events has it been witness to? What did it feel like, smell like, or sound like when you sat on it?

Think about it for a minute, I can promise you’ll think of something. It’s a great question to ask loved ones as you’re traveling around this holiday season, you may learn bit of new family history and begin to regard grandma’s plastic wrapped floral couch in a whole new way.

Moosh in Indy Moosh in Indy

 

DIY Games for Parties

Hello! Darleen here from Darling Darleen! I’m a friend of Shawn and call his wife one of my dear friends, and I’m excited to contribute this month to Life on a Couch.

This past weekend, we had a house full of family from out of town. Every evening after we’d get kiddos to bed, we’d all congregate around the couch and laugh the night away with a good old-fashioned game night. We’ve got a cupboard full of board games, but many times we keep the laughs abundant by just playing card games or classic games like Pictionary or charades.

Let's play!

All the essentials to get the games going!

It’s good to have a little healthy competition between family members or even friends! DIY games are a great way to liven people up, lighten the mood and get people talking. So when I host game night, I like to serve up easy-to-eat finger foods or party nibbles to keep attention on the game. I tend to go for the parlor food route and serve a cheese and meat plate along with a variety of nuts. Don’t forget the drinks!

Charcuterie!

Don’t forget the meat and cheese!

Some of our favorite games are DIY games, or ones that we make up because we usually have a large group, or maybe we’ve played it somewhere before but they usually aren’t in the books.

That's half the fun!

Make up the rules as you go along!

Here are a few game suggestions that will get you and your party rolling on the couch in laughter.

Don't hog the cheese!

Friends, food, and fun!

Nertz Playing cards—this is a great card game with multiplayer and a combination of Speed and Solitaire. It’s fast pace and quite addicting!

Scrabble with teams—each team begins with 7 letter blocks and makes words in a crossword fashion. Once one team using up all their 7 letter blocks, they shout out take two tiles and everyone takes two tiles from the center pile of upside-down word tiles and then continues to add the letters to their crossword. When the first team has used up all their game pieces and there are no more to draw, the game is over.

Dictionary—similar to Balderdash but you use a real Dictionary instead!

Bunco—it’s not just for girl’s night! A fun dice game to play with a group of people.

Things—Everyone writes out a response like “things you wouldn’t do in front of Grandma…” or “things you wouldn’t do in high school….” Then put it in a hat and everyone guesses who said what. Fun to make up your own prompts!

Headbands—the adult version of Hedbanz. It’s a silly game and we like to make up our own cards and usually tape to the back of a person. Good to play this game…while playing another game!

Enjoy playing your next DIY game night with friends or family! I’ve included in this post a generic score sheet that you can download and use for your game night party! You can download it here.

It's all about teamwork!

Team Scrabble

What are your favorite games to play for game night?

Celebrity Couch Life: The Canavan Sisters

Like everyone else in the world, the people you see on TV have a life on a couch too. Liz and Marie Canavan, the infamous twins from the Amazing Race Season 19, invited me to their place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to chat about their couch life. We quickly found that when the girls aren’t on television entertaining millions of viewers, they spend time on the couch just like the rest of us. I never grow tired of seeing how reflecting on our couch life brings back some of our fondest and even most touching memories.

The Canavan twins could probably complete every sentence for the other. I think that in the 15 minutes that we hung out on their couch, they actually spoke in unison for some portion of it (something twins are known for). This interview spanned the entire emotional spectrum- carrying the girls from the happiness of sisterly memories on their childhood couch, through the heartbreaking moments they shared upon losing their father, and up to the current uncertainty they’re feeling as they pack up their apartment to live apart from each other for the first time in their lives.

A twin's couch life!

Liz, Marie, and I in their Manhattan walk-up

Do you have a family couch in your life? One you inherited, got stuck with, or possibly stole from your family like the one that Liz and Marie are about to leave behind in their New York walk-up?

–Shawny

“Reading Set Me Free”

With all of the distractions of our modern life, we bring in guest contributor Eric Bennion aka “The DiaryDad”, who reminds us the importance of reading on the couch as a family…

The couch acts a reading classroom...

The couch acts a reading classroom…

Spending time on the couch with my family can mean any one of many activities is going on. We have movie time there, sometimes we play a few video games from it, we have even been known to throw impromptu dance parties around it.   Our couch is definitely a place where we come together for good family fun.  One of my favorite “couch activities” is reading.   I like to read my books there, my wife and I enjoy curling up on weekends for a good Sunday afternoon read; the best however is when I read to my boys. In the last year we have completed the first Percy Jackson Series, a book on Greek mythology, and King Arthur’s tales. Just recently we began The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and almost every night they ask if I am reading a chapter (more often than not they convince me to read them two).

I think reading to and with your children is such an important activity.  There is great freedom in developing the skill and ability to read.  When I was a little tyke I remember wanting to read.  I wanted to read so bad I felt like it was killing me.  My workbooks were hard, my flashcards were hard, my phonics lessons were hard; but then again I was only 5 years old.  I saw people reading and wondered what it would be like when I didn’t have to ask someone to read a story to me.   I wanted to know if there was something I was missing.  I wanted to stop feeling like I was being held back by this inability to make funny black marks on a white page make sense.

They're getting pretty good!

They’re getting pretty good!

One day after weeks or months of struggling through phonics exercises and letter recognition with my mom and grandpa, I decided to have it out with a book.  I walked up to the bookshelf grabbed a copy of “Fun with Dick and Jane” and went to the couch in our basement in a winner-take-all showdown.  Either I would conquer that book or my brain would explode… and yes I read the hell out of that book.  Then I proceeded to read the hell out of it to anyone that would listen to me.  I read it to my mom, my grandparents, my dad , my brothers, and if I could have caught the mailman I would have read it to him too.

The great thing about that moment is that it set me free. Sure it was just a “Dick and Jane” book and sure it really lacked substance, but I couldn’t be held back anymore. All the knowledge that was out here in the world was available to me because I was a reader.  I began reading books with gusto, and to this day there is great comfort for me in the pages of a good book.

Reading to the boys on the couch...

Reading to the boys on the couch…

I remember watching this same phenomenon in my children, specifically my youngest.  I remember watching the frustration as he worked to make meaning from those funny marks on the pages.  When it finally happened I was more than happy to listen to him read the same story to me as many times as he wanted, because I knew.  I had been there and it was a huge defining moment.  Now both my boys are avid readers.  So much so that it is a punishment to make them go to bed without the opportunity to read.  One of the best “go-to” adventures for us is a “quick” walk to the library to load up on new books to read. Those trips never take us less than an hour even though the library is 5 minutes from our home and we never come home without a bag (or two) loaded with new books to read.

Whether at the library, the beach, at a park, in their bed- or on our couch, I hope that my kids never lose their love of reading.  It has been fun to see the things that inspire them.  What’s more, it is comforting to know that they have the same freedom that I gained those many years ago.  Learning to love reading is one of my favorite fathering moments and it is definitely a hallmark of my family’s “Life on a Couch”!

For more “Dadventures” from Eric Bennion, go to his page at www.diarydad.com!

What’s the last book YOU read on the couch?

— Shawny

The Lovesac Tour Bus for $1

Goodbyes are never easy. In the case of the 1998 Gulf Stream F5 Tour Bus used for our promotional tours in the first years of this millennium, saying goodbye will be extremely tough. In an effort to focus funds on brand expansion, we’re auctioning off the vehicle which saw coast-to-coast trips throughout the early 2000’s as the brand was built. The auction started at $1 (although it’s gone up a little since then) and there’s no reserve set- it has to go! The list of celebrity visits, near-death experiences, and straight-up lunacy that occurred on this bus is extensive, some of which can be seen on the Lovesac Bus Blog. For those of you who are like me and don’t like prancing around the Internet, here is a list of my most memorable moments from the Lovesac Tour Bus:

What a beauty!

The Lovesac Tour Bus

5. The Trip to Huntington Beach

Each year in the early years of Lovesac, it was a tradition for me to personally visit each and every store across the country. Once we acquired the bus, I decided to just start driving it on these cross-country tours. Most of the tours ended in Huntington Beach, California, where I actually lived for a short time in 2002. Surfing the Pacific Ocean is something I’ll never forget.

The Pacific Ocean is beautiful!

Surfing at Huntington Beach

4. Safe Driving Techniques

Much of the fun we had with the Lovesac bus came just from actually driving the bus. We tried our best to follow all posted speed limits and traffic laws, but it didn’t always work out as planned. One night we rolled upon an iced-over, vacant lot in Omaha, Nebraska, and a little bit of madness ensued- resulting in the Director of Retail who was filming nearby almost getting run over by the gargantuan rear-end of the spinning bus.

3.  MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice Reunion Concert

In 2009, it was someone’s twisted idea to get MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice to reunite for a 90’s concert in Salt Lake City. We’re not going to mention any names, but someone at Lovesac decided it would be a good idea to sponsor the event. So for a couple days in March of 2009, the touring Lovesac crew hung around with Mr. “Too Legit to Quit” himself on and off the bus and witnessed a whole bunch of Hammer Time.

Hammer Time!

MC Hammer and the Lovesac Bus

2. Winter X-Games Taxi Service

During the 2009 Winter X-Games in Aspen, Colorado, Lovesac was doing various promotional events in the areas surrounding the annual action sports extravaganza. These events required the Lovesac bus driving from the nearby village to the contest itself. At one point we thought it would be nice to help taxi some of the people walking and trying to get to the same destination as us. At one point we had over 50 people on the bus, disco light spinning, and the music blasting. Being at Winter X was definitely a memorable point for a lot of the Lovesac crew- and the bus made that possible.

1. Jessie James Tour Transport

During the rise of pop star Jessie James, we teamed up with Def Jam and used the Lovesac Bus to get her around the country for various shows and interviews. We zig-zagged our way across the southeast starting in Houston, going as far down south as Miami and finally finishing in our Country’s capital. The tour was packed full of radio station visits, performances, Impromptu Lovesac Lounges, pranks, great food, stories and lots of laughter. Easily one of my favorite moments on the Lovesac Bus.

Jessie James on a Sac!

Jessie James on the Tour Bus Sac

The people we met and the places we saw while touring the country on this bus are memories that will last a lifetime. The bus itself is fully-loaded in every way imaginable, from thousands of dollars worth of electronics to Sactionals, Sacs, and pillows- even the motorized disco ball is still hanging in there! Read more about the eBay auction for the Lovesac bus by clicking here. Good luck to everyone bidding, and to the winner- take care of our bus, it helped us become the beloved brand that we are today!

Look at that shag carpet!

The inside of the Lovesac bus

– Shawny

A Soldier’s Couch Life

With the 4th of July upon us, we pause to recognize the extreme bravery of men and women who stand ready to defend this great nation of ours, and our privilege to feel safe–on our couch at home. We think of the soldiers that have given their lives to protect our freedoms and the troops still fighting on foreign soil today, as well as those ready to ship out when called upon. This year I found myself pondering what exactly it is that drives someone to devote their life to something so dangerous as going to battle. What makes a man or woman, a son or daughter, a father or mother give up the safety of civilian life and place themselves in harm’s way?

To understand this I sat down with Lance Corporal Michael Lucas, an Aviation Support Operator for the Marine Corps Reserves. In his early 20’s, Michael took a temporary leave from a fantastic job at Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Connecticut and started training to serve our country. Although he is in the Reserves, Michael still devotes his time to training and preparing in the case that he is called upon to fight. During our conversation, I asked Michael what a soldier’s couch life consists of. I also asked him what drove him to join the Corps, and his answer echoed the response that has been given by so many before him- “I love this country”. That patriotism of our troops, that belief that this country is worth giving a life for, is what has allowed us to remain the “home of the free” for as long as we have.

Lance Corporal Lucas at 29 Palms.

Lance Corporal Lucas and fellow Marine near 29 Palms base in California.

It’s sometimes easy to get into the swing of a holiday, grill up some tasty food, and fall into a comfy couch. But it’s so important to remember the true spirit of the 4th of July, a victory of independence from Great Britain, and the lives that were given to gain that freedom as well as the all those devoted to protecting it. Thanks to Lance Corporal Lucas for sitting down with me and telling your story- God Bless you and every other soldier that makes our comfortable lives on a couch possible.

Lance Corporal Lucas after graduating boot camp.

Lance Corporal Lucas with his nephew after graduating boot camp at Parris Island.

I am patriotic–and I am grateful.

— Shawny

The Selfie Can Be a Beautiful Thing

The selfie is a prolific and heavily criticized element of our new social-media driven, 24-7 marketing-ridden, self-absorbed society. Through a contest we put out on social media this past weekend I can say firsthand that the selfie can truly be a positive force in this world as well.  We wanted to spread a little love to our friends and to mothers everywhere, so we ran a selfie-with-your-mom contest on Instagram. The winner would get a Lovesac.

#momsdeservelove

#momsdeservelove Contest Entries

The response to the contest was instantaneous and inspiring. Dozens of photos began popping up under the #momsdeservelove hashtag. So many beautiful photos of smiling people, with their mothers–many of them on a couch (naturally)…because that is so often where life happens.  In the end, a photo (below) submitted by @ej_santana of himself, his loving mother and his dog sharing a moment of their life on a couch was chosen as the winner. But there were also so many other great entries that I’ve decided to share some here on the blog.

@ej_santana Contest Entry

@ej_santana, mom & dog on Sactionals

Some of the photos, like the one shown below from @northshorepoor, featured you and you mothers celebrating this special day. I love seeing all of this happiness. So now I have a new challenge for you, below.

@northshorepoor #momsdeservelove Contest Entry

@northshorepoor, her mom and brother

Others, like the one below from @darleenmeier, were posted by moms themselves to celebrate one of the most important positions that exists on this planet- that of the caretaker, and the teacher, the mentor, and the nourishing provider which every good mother is.

@darleenmeier Contest Entry

@darleenmeier and her family

We LOVED the photos you posted because they embody what we’re doing here at LifeOnACouch.org. One hashtag like this created a tiny ripple that would produce scenes of bonding and happiness between children and their mothers–then when viewed as a whole, became a movement towards the love and togetherness we are all striving to restore in our society.

@rogerchandesign #momsdeservelove Contest Entry

@rogerchandesign and his mom and Lexi the husky

I couldn’t have asked for any more than the amazing response we all witnessed, and it has pushed me to go the extra mile to spark more of this kind of response. Hopefully in the end, we will be able to inspire the change that brings us all a little closer together–a society of people sharing their life on a couch. The selfie doesn’t have to be selfish.

Shawn, Dave & Shirley

Selfie with Shirley (mom)

So here is my challenge to you:

1. Put your arm around your mom

2. Take a selfie

3. See if she is smiling

A momentary spark of true joy and apparent love will be captured and pour out of that blurry, grainy, off-centered photo. THAT is a #LifeOnaCouch Selfie.

It doesn’t matter if your mom thinks Twitter is a children’s television program. Go out of your way to take a selfie with someone you love. I promise–if it is your mom–she’ll be smiling.

— Shawny

@Shawny_Nelson

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TAKING SELFIES? HONESTLY–I WANT TO KNOW. REPLY BELOW…