When was the last time you looked up from your smartphone and realized a half-hour had passed—and yet you’d accomplished nothing? If you’re anything like Bas Bleu’s editors, that time was yesterday! We love these handy pocket-sized computers, which allow us to send emails, look up driving directions, buy a new dress, book dinner reservations, check football scores, share photographs with friends, watch an episode of our favorite TV show…and, yes, make telephone calls. But we’re the first to admit we waste far too much time scrolling mindlessly on our phones, time we could be spending doing so many other things. With a little help from our Autumn 2019 edition, we came up with this list of 15 things to do instead of wasting time on your phone. (For the record, reading this blog post counts as a Very Important Use of your smartphone.)

stack of five novels on a striped blanket

  1. Read: Of course we’re leading with our favorite pastime! Whether you’re anticipating a quiet evening at home, a prolonged wait at the doctor’s office, or an airport layover, a good book will keep you entertained almost anywhere.two Paris travel guides on a cafe table
  2. Plan a trip: Brainstorming your next vacation? Choosing your location is only the beginning! Handy travel books like these quirky guides to Paris can help you map out your next grand adventure.
    Signing Their Lives Away and Signing Their Rights Away
  3. Brush up on American history: Sure, you’re familiar with John Hancock (“the signer who signed first”) and Samuel Adams (“the signer whose brewery went bust”), but what about William Whipple (“the signer who fought for freedom—with his slave”), Jonathan Dayton (“the signer who stole $18,000 from Congress”), and Charles Pinckney (“the ghost writer of the Constitution”)? Learn the true, often incredible stories of the men who risked their freedom and their lives to sign the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.Brain Elixir After Dinner Riddles
  4. Stimulate your brain: Too much screen time isn’t good for our little gray cells. Kick them into gear—and create a little friendly competition with your dinner companions—when you test your mettle with our Brain Elixir After Dinner Riddles.Row of boxed Vintage Bookshelf Games: Scrabble, Life, and Clue
  5. Host a game night: Put out some chips and salsa, pour a tray of cold drinks, and treat your friends or neighbors to an old-fashioned game night! Our Vintage Bookshelf Games are “special editions” of three classic board games: Clue, Life, and Scrabble. When not in use, the games pack neatly into book-shaped storage boxes that are just the right size for your bookshelf.
    Royal Horticultural Society 2020 Diary
  6. Plan out your year: How many times have you learned about an interesting or fun event after it occurs? Resolve to be more proactive in 2020…with a little help from our collection of engagement calendars. With daily entry space for each week of the year, you can sketch out any upcoming trips, can’t-miss festivals or concerts, theater premiers, significant anniversaries…any date you don’t want to miss!push-button audio book of bird songs
  7. Immerse yourself in nature…without leaving the house: You know you enjoy hearing the birds chirp and sing in your backyard and in your local park or forest. But can you identify the variety of feathered friends in your neck of the woods by their songs? Tune your ear—and enjoy nature’s chorus—with the help of these illustrated push-button audio books.wallet filled with note cards decorated with book-related cover images from The New Yorker
  8. Catch up on correspondence: Some call letter-writing and snail mail old-fashioned…but not us! Penning a letter or brief note of congratulations, sympathy, thanks, or everyday greeting won’t take a lot of time out of your day. But that paper missive will be cherished by whomever receives it, a paper-and-ink gift to be treasured in an increasingly digital world.Zoo in My Hand paper animals kit
  9. Make something: If complex crafting isn’t your thing, enjoy the satisfaction of creating something fun when you build a mini menagerie with our Zoo in My Hand kit. Just snip, fold, and voilà! You’ll have your own “zoo” of more than forty animals to proudly display.small tins of cards printed with conversation starters
  10. Start a conversation: Whether you’re hosting a dinner table full of guests or trying to break the ice between coworkers or classmates, our After Dinner Amusements are sure to get the conversation rolling. Share family memories, challenge each other’s musical knowledge, encourage a rousing game of charades…there’s a game for every group!woman wearing red tartan flannel nightshirt and nightcap
  11. Catch some Zzzzs: They say dress for the job you want; we say dress for the sleep you need! Encourage yourself to hit the hay earlier at night—without your phone—or carve out a spot in your day for a catnap by dressing the part in our old-school Tartan Flannel Nightshirt and Cap. The soft fabric and loose fit of the nightshirt lends itself to lounging, and the cap…well, the cap is just cute!24-drawer CD cabinet designed to look like card catalog
  12. Get organized: Spare batteries, first-aid supplies, leftover Ikea screws, mystery house keys (your neighbor’s? your ex-husband’s?), doggie waste bags, loose hair ties and bobby pins, postage stamps and packing tape, your kid’s Lego collection… Finally organize all of those little bits and pieces that accumulate around your house into one neat storage unit: Our Library CD Storage Cabinet! (Yes, you can also store CDs in it.) Bye, bye junk drawer!The Lost Art of Handwriting by Brenna Jordan
  13. Polish your handwriting: Maybe you’ve forgotten your penmanship lessons from school. Or maybe you’re so used to typing on your phone or a keyboard that your hand tires quickly when you write longhand. Whatever your excuse, you’ll soon be penning beautiful letters, cards, and more after The Lost Art of Handwriting puts you through your paces!
  14. Learn to cook something new: Even the best home cooks can get into a culinary rut. If you’re sick of cooking the same recipes over and over, or if you need a little nudge to start entertaining again, this cool cookbook offers a different perspective on culinary prep. You’re guaranteed to learn something new, reenergizing your taste bugs and your love of cooking along the way.woman relaxing with floral neck wrap over her shoulders and floral eye pillow over her eyes
  15. RELAX: Sometimes it’s okay to do…nothing. It’s actually good for you! Have a seat, turn off the TV, silence your phone, allow your brain to slow down and your body to relax, and just enjoy the stillness. Worried you can’t be unoccupied for even a few minutes? Increase your odds of enjoying those meditative moments when you treat yourself to our sweet-smelling Floral Eye Pillow and Floral Neck Wrap.


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