This winter doesn’t quite feel like winter. Temperatures are starting to drop (a little), but snow has yet to fall in New York City. It’s just uncomfortable enough outside to keep us indoors, but I still haven’t gotten to curl up in some of my favorite wool sweaters with a cup of cocoa. Call me crazy, but I’m ready to see Central Park covered in a blanket of white! All of this in-between has given me a case of the (not so) winter blues. If you’re feeling like me, a bit down in the dumps during this remarkably unseasonable winter, keep reading to find out how I plan to kick this funky feeling!
Brighten Your Home or Office with Fresh Flowers
Cooler months can feel a bit lifeless. Only evergreens are in bloom, and there can tend to be gloomy grey tint to the sky. Brightening your home or office with fresh flowers is a great way to stimulate your senses in the winter. The bold colors and beautiful smell will help to warm your surroundings and your mood.
It can be challenging to find motivation to keep moving when it’s brisk and uncomfortable outside. Running or playing sports outdoors becomes difficult or impossible without the right cold weather gear, and it’s oh so easy to indulge in heavy, richer foods in the winter and hide the extra pounds under an oversized sweater. Bleak weather is no excuse to let your body stay stagnant – there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you moving! Join a gym or try a yoga, Pilates, or dance class this winter.
Warn Up with Wine
Nothing will brighten the end of a chilly winter day like a warming glass of wine. Whether you’re sharing a bottle with your co-workers at happy hour, your girlfriend after work, or your partner at home at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with a great wine in the winter.
Reconnect with Your Girls Over Coffee
When the weather gets bleak, it’s easy to go into hibernation mode. After you get home at the end of the day, kick off your boots, and shed your winter layers, the last thing you want to do is bundle back up, trek into the cold, and get together with friends. It’s essential to stay connected to others, even when there’s a chill in the air. Head to the nearest local coffee shop to reconnect with your girls!
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Yes, you may have over-indulged during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you need to start the New Year with an intense diet that deprives you of dessert. Denying yourself of a little guilty pleasure here and there is a recipe for disaster – the combination of cold and starvation could send you spiraling into a case of the winter blues. This season, remember to indulge your sweet tooth (in moderation).
Each holiday, nearly every blogger and business crafts a curated guide of their top gifts for the season. In the past, I too have composed my fair share of gift guides. I’ve even written a post addressing whether these lists, infographics, and collages are actually helpful or hindering. Last year, I felt truly passionate about my shop small gift guide, which focused on supporting local businesses during the season of giving, but this year, I couldn’t bring myself to create another. Yes, most of us have to give a gift or two (or three or a dozen) during the holidays, but I think we could all use a reminder that the most valuable gift we can give is our time.
I’m sure your grandparents will make good use of the newfangled Keurig coffee maker you got them, but wouldn’t they love if you sat with them for an hour and worked on a puzzle? Every mom adores a new piece of jewelry for the holidays, but wouldn’t she love for you to join her in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies from scratch? Your brother may desperately need a new wallet after he accidently washed his in the laundry, but wouldn’t he love to go out back and build a snowman like you used to as kids?
So, this holiday season, I don’t have another gift guide filled with fabulous suggestions for all the friends and family on your list. This year, I’m challenging you to think about how you can give your time to the ones you love. Take a post-Christmas dinner walk with your boyfriend, gather your cousins for a card game, or get together with your girlfriends and have a gift wrapping party. This holiday season, make a memory that will live on for holiday seasons to come.
Last month I kicked off a new series called the Creative Habit, inspired by Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit (which I highly recommend reading). For September’s Creative Habit challenge, I encouraged you to embrace the last few weeks of summer weather and go outside every day. However, I really urged you to take it a step further, be present in the outdoors, appreciate your natural surroundings, and remove the extraneous technology, noise, and distractions to better connect with your environment.
Now that fall is in full swing, we’re slowly but surely beginning to spend more time inside. Sometimes these cooler months and increased confinement indoors can really stifle our creativity. We may start to feel more lethargic and less inspired to be creative. That’s why it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain a creative routine!
As we get older and as technology advances, we begin to work with our hands less and less. Instead of writing with pen and paper, we type on a keyboard or tap on a touchscreen. Instead of making cookies from scratch we buy dough at the store or order a batch on Seamless. When was the last time you gardened or painted or did any type of work with your hands?
I recently had an experience that reminded me of the value in working with your hands and experiencing the sensation of touch. I attended a Salsa/Burlesque class, and the instructor encouraged us to touch and feel the movement of our bodies as we danced and use our hands as an extension of movement through our arms. It was here I remembered how the hands can be used as a mode to express and communicate. I realized what a powerful tool we have available to us.
During the month of October, make a creative habit of working with your hands. Find a fun DIY project or pottery class and build something. Pick up an instrument or take a sign language class. Get festive and carve a pumpkin or craft a handmade Halloween costume. The opportunities are endless! How are you going to take on this month’s Creative Habit challenge? Please share your experience making a habit of working with your hands using the hashtag #AOCBlogCreativeHabit
Growing up in the south, fall never felt like a profound transition. Sure we went back to school and started following football instead of baseball, but the weather remained temperate, if not hot, well into October.
This year, at almost the exact moment we transitioned to the autumnal equinox, fall fell on New York City. The air has started to get cool and crisp in the early morning and at sunset, and there’s a distinct sensation that something is shifting.
The changing of seasons can be time to slip into a slump or, oppositely, get caught up and carried away with transformation. I urge you to ease yourself into autumn, and start fall in style with five of my favorite seasonal activities:
1. CURL UP WITH A NEW BOOK
One of my favorite fall pastimes is holing up in my apartment on a Saturday with a good book and a warm cup of tea. When weather permits, it’s also lovely to embrace the chill in the air, pile on a scarf and some layers, and soak up the last remaining months before winter by posting up on a park bench and reading outside.
2. STAY ACTIVE
Bikini season is over and the weather is getting cooler, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important to stay active in the fall and winter months. Prepare for rich foods and overindulging during the holiday season now by maintaining your exercise routine. Staying connected to your body will also help you weather the transition!
3. RECONNECT WITH FRIENDS AT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR
Fall is a time when everyone tends to return home and settle into their typical routines. Now that everybody is back from irregular summer schedules and trips, it’s a great time to come together and reconnect. Simply gather with your friends on a Friday night at your neighborhood bar and catch up!
4. REASSESS YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINE
When the weather changes, so should your beauty routine. With cooler temperatures, drier air, and increased winds, it’s important to keep your skin nourished. Reassess your bases, like moisturizer and foundation, and invest in products that will keep you hydrated into the winter.
5. SUPPORT THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE
Concerts are a great indoor activity for fall whether you’re planning a date night or enjoying a girl’s night out. Indulging in artistic entertainment will help boost your spirits and eliminate the cold weather blues. Scope out your city’s venues, check out the tour dates for your favorite artists, and support the local music scene this season!
As kids we eagerly anticipated the moment that signified summer. School was out. Vacations were planned. Summer meant freedom. For three warm months, we got to relish in being young and carefree. Then we grow up, reality sets in, and summer isn’t what it used to be.
As adults, summer can be torture. While we’re confined to our desks, we long for those youthful days spent by the pool. Trips must be carefully coordinated with corporate calendars. We seize and treasure any time spent outdoors enjoying the warm weather and working on our tans, even if it’s just on our lunch hour.
Summer will never be quite the same as it was in our youth, but it’s still possible to savor this amazing season in adulthood. I try to soak up the sun and all this season has to offer right from my own neighborhood. No elaborate trips or lofty expenses required at these 5 fashionable places you’ll find me this summer.
1. THE PATIO
On warm summer nights, you’ll find me on the patio, getting lost in conversation and watching the sunset from a table filled with food, drinks, and friends.
2. THE FARMER’S MARKET
On Saturday mornings, you’ll find me at the farmer’s market, relishing in produce at its peak and carrying out my family’s weekend ritual.
3. THE PARK
At the end of the work day, you’ll find me in the park, escaping the concrete jungle and observing life outside the city.
4. THE KITCHEN
In the evening, you’ll find me in the kitchen, indulging in seasonal fare and forsaking my bikini-season diet.
5. THE SALON
At the height of heat and humidity, you’ll find me at the salon, abandoning my dedication to long locks and embracing a fresh summer cut.
It may be nearing the end of July, but it’s never too late to recapture that youthful freedom summer has to offer. This season is one of the best times to rest and reboot before the crunch of fourth quarter and the holiday season, even if only for a staycation. The patio, the farmer’s market, the park, the kitchen, and the salon are all places right in the comfort of your own neighborhood that can allow you to escape the everyday hustle and bustle and bask in the warmth and wonder of summer.