The frigid weather and never-ending snow (and snow days) in the Northeast has me dreaming of sun and sand. For the first time ever, 30 degrees felt kind of warm to me! And when we recently had no heat in our New England home and sub-zero temperatures, I had to dig deep (literally, to create a path to fill our oil tank, and figuratively to not hibernate until May).
Instead of curling up in a fetal position and eating donuts (well, after a few days of doing exactly that), I decided it was time to self-motivate. Stop the complaining and stop watching The Weather Channel 24/7. After some lively self-talk, here is what I decided: to apply my favorite summertime habits to wintertime.
Fortunately, my friend Allison Carmen always reminds me that changing one word can change your entire life. So, I swapped the word "winter" for "summer" and the result is my inaugural six ways to make winter wonderful list.
Who decided that page-turners have to be beach reads? Winter is the perfect time to indulge in books you can't put down. I love fast fiction (meaning books I can't put down or stop thinking about) and I'm also a passionate armchair traveler.
My three favorites so far this winter:
The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins
Saving Grace by Jane Green
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
And happily, my reading pile includes many other titles I can't wait to dive into:
It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario
Plus One by Christopher Noxon
Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
Spring and summer mean accessories, color and makeovers. When I thought about what I love most in fashion it's accessorizing (think bright jewelry and colorful handbags). My recent online browsing kept leading me to sea-soaked colors... blues, teals, aquamarines. I could almost smell the sunscreen and feel the ocean breeze!
When I imagine wiggling my toes during a beach walk, that picture inevitably includes shoreline treasures; small shells, glimpses of color, kelp. I have to think (though I don't know for sure) that my all-time favorite designer Gemma Redux created this piece with the same visual. I can't help but think about seeing these colors and gorgeously intricate design elements as pulled from the sea.
Another love letter to the shoreline and natural beauty that's helping me get through this long and freezing winter is the Sea Glass necklace from Touchstone Crystal. From sea stars to sand dollars, their newest collection includes earrings that sway, bracelets that sparkle and necklaces that deserve a Champagne toast (at sunset of course!). Start the countdown to summer!
Hands-down, this is my favorite winter refresh, learning how to meditate. Former fashion editor and founder of unplug meditation Suze Yalof Schwartz decided to offer a video series to teach us all how to meditate.
This month she started Operation Meditation, which is best explained in her own words from Facebook where this impromptu event is happening for the next 14 days: "I am determined to teach all of my friends and their friends how to meditate and how easy and wonderful it can be. In the next 14 days you will not only meet some of my favorite unplug meditation teachers but you will walk away with an easy and totally doable practice in 5 minutes a day. The goal of Unplug Meditation... is to get as many people doing this as possible and truly change the world."
After just one session, I felt a shift and started my path to personal peace and change through meditation. We all know that the dark days of winter are not change-conducive (think abandoned New Year's resolutions), so this is reason enough to pounce now. Thanks Suze!
For me, warm weather also means my favorite foods.The produce is bright and sweet and delicious. Spring always signals the time to reboot my clean eating intentions. But this winter, I'm changing that, too. Winter produce and food means rich colors, new tastes and food challenges. A past blog post I wrote about clean eating was so well-received that it gave me the courage to try The 30Clean for the first time.
I cannot say enough good things about this challenge. Not only did I really learn how to eat clean year-round, I finally learned the secret of prep. When I plan and prep, I eat clean.This means I'm not grabbing donuts or drinking too much coffee but rather I'm mindfully shopping for colorful foods, rich flavors, healthy protein and so much more and then planning my meals! In the past, my summer farm share made clean eating easy, a no-brainer because I had a box of goodies to pair with fish or organic meats. Winter has always been a challenge even with my winter farm share, but The30Clean team and private Facebook group taught me, supported my journey, provided recipes and friendship and best of all a healthy habit. I'm delighted by the "buzz" I feel and the resulting weight loss.I now know this can be a way to live 365 days, not just when I feel like having a spring fling with food.
I am fully obsessed with clutter control, organizing, cleaning and my clean crush is Peter Walsh! My newest discovery The Subtraction Project is motivating, easy to follow, success-driven and I love the name! As the founder says on her blog, so many of us add to our lives when what we really need is subtraction. Start subtracting by following Cass' blog; it's easy and free.
When you have 78 inches of snow, consecutive snow days and a strained back from shoveling (ouch!), it's not easy to find gratitude. Following apps that make you happy and practicing gratitude by celebrating daily gifts can warm us as much as the summer sun. Throw in a fun subscription box to literally celebrate the small stuff, and you can really make winter days some of your favorite days. I love BirchBox, the Happier Favorites Box, and some of these others recently featured on the TODAY Show.
Winter can be a wonderland; it just takes shifting your thinking, humming Summertime (I love the Annie Lennox version) and a few extra donuts.
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