Allow me to explain….
Winter has never been a favorite of mine. Growing up in NJ, and attending university in PA, meant plenty of years worth of snow, ice, biting winds, frozen fingers, runny noses and wetness creeping into the accidentally exposed cracks of my outwear, sending chills straight to my bones.
When B and I announced our move to Ohio, many first reactions included a chuckled comment on surviving the winters, vs. what we had been experiencing in San Francisco, California (i.e. no real winter) for a handful of years. Eight for me, to be exact.
But, I figured, it wouldn’t be too much of a shocker to ease back into what I had known so well for most of my life. How hard could it be?
As I began to write this, on December 10th, it was 8 degrees. Eight. Degrees.
Pass me the mittens. We are in trouble.
In some parts of the world, winter spans an unimaginable lifetime. Or, in actuality, months and months and months.
“How do you survive the coldest, darkest months here?”, we asked our wicked smart and funny Icelandic tour guide during our August visit two years ago.
“Oh! We drink. We are great drinkers! Vodka. Do you want some?”
Side note: this same tour guide was horrified that we all ate, and enjoyed, crab.
“We wouldn’t even feed crab to our CATS!”, she exclaimed. Apparently, bottom feeders + seaside towns + storms and shipwrecks =
“You could be eating your neighbor! Ack!”
So, I have officially set out on a journey of Hygge. Investing in Hygge has lit a fire in my soul, and I find myself not just braced for true winter, but excited for the opportunities it offers.
From now until March (ohgodwhy), you will find me indulging this list, on repeat, like my life depends on it:
1. Stevie Wonder Christmas Pandora station. This channel has been carefully curated over 3 years, with diligent thumbs upping and downing, and is now pure winter perfection. It feels like living inside an old record player, and you should want to live there, too. Christmas is over? Humbug! If snow is on the ground, Stevie is on the speakers.
2. Yoga. Bit the bullet and got a 30 day pass to a studio up the road. Warm, sunny room + warm, sunny teacher will hopefully help thaw my limbs and heart.
3. Flavored coffees + teas, inside of cute/funny/pretty mugs. I will never not adore a cleverly dressed cup of something warm and tasty!
4. Baking pastries, eating one (two, probably two) and then delivering the rest to the main office of our complex. This fills the house with heavenly scents but keeps the calories away. Our office ladies are all super young and thin, so I feel no guilt over carb-loading them (read: I feel pleasure).
5. Candles, candles, candles. Most of them flameless. I’m sensitive to smells, so other than the this baby that has been my absolute favorite, I prefer the look of flickering light over the too-strong smell so many exude.
6. Hallmark holiday movies. Our DVR was almost at capacity before the season barely began. #noshame. I wrote about my addiction of these last year over here. Suffice to say, nothing has changed (including the movie plots LOL).
7. Shea butter lotion all over my bodacious bod post-shower or bath, followed by extra TLC on the ol’ tootsies via snuggle socks designed to keep them warm + soft. I love to soak in a tub of bath salts so hot that it almost burns off a layer of my skin. It drives B nuts, but it ain’t my fault he can’t take the heat.
8. Bundled walks with Ivy. (we’ll see how long this one actually lasts). She helps me fill my lungs with fresh air after hours spent indoors, reminds me to stretch, and allow the sun to kiss my skin (on top of proper SPF, of course).
9. Time spent perusing the over stock book shop directly across the street from our apartment complex. I mean, look at this place…
(I do not know why he is sitting like that. For the record.) Books for 50-90% off?! YES YES.
10. Read and read and read and read. Read in bed with a diffuser full of essential oils humming beside me. Read on the couch covered in layers of blankets and Ivy’s head on my lap. Read in the HQ of our complex, in front of the fireplace, with my daily free coffee. Read outloud to Brandon, since he falls asleep trying to read on his own. Story time is such happy time for me.
11. Crockpot meals once a week. Makes everything feel homey, and the leftovers keep so well.
12. Coloring! I say this without a trace of humor: I have been wayyyyy ahead of the zen coloring movement for YEARS. Kicking myself for not capitalizing on my stress soothing go-to back in the early 2000’s. This season I’ll be filling out a coloring book of postcards, then sending them off to people I love, miss, just wanna say HI to. Let me know if ya want one -- Britney sold her work for $10k, apparently, but I’m giving mine away for free.
13. Wine from this cup, as gifted to me by my dear friend, Janice.
Hey, the Icelandic say vodka, but wine works just fine for me. (Plus, I feel they’d appreciate this magical chalice , no?)
14. Card games with B. Skip Bo helped heal us once upon a time, and since then we've become big fans of Phase 10, too.
15. Write gratitude letters, practice presence, curl up with Netflix + B, invite new friends over (hooray! we made some in Ohio!), and know that after Winter, must come Spring.
Happy Hygge, everyone!