Hip hip hooray! I finished my last final of the semester on Monday meaning I am officially on winter break. As someone who spent time in the adult world without a built in two weeks of blissful vacation, I relish the thought of winter break. I spent my first day of break sleeping in, running errands and finally meeting a friend for a barre class. It was GLORIOUS. I have three weeks of carefree winter adventures including Christmas festivities around Seattle, a trip to visit my family in Napa Valley, a day trip to Disneyland and even a couple of days somewhere tropical (be sure to friend me on instagram to follow along on all of the adventures). I am so excited for everything to come over the next couple of weeks, I can barely contain myself!
Holiday season is so jolly. I love the warmth of Christmas lights on all the houses, I love glittering trees in every window and town square, I love festive songs playing at department stores and little children stumbling around town in velvet dresses and teeny-tiny bow ties for their Santa photos, Christmas parties or family trips to the Nutcracker. December is lovely and bright, but come January 2nd every year I’m ready for summer again.
Wish as I may, Seattle still hasn’t jumped on board with the whole 80 degrees in January idea I keep suggesting. Dear Weather Gods, mind lining up a little sunshine for me please? Though I don’t live in a super cold region (I don’t know how you guys do it) I will admit I can get a little bit gloomy in the winter. The past week in Seattle was lovely. Crisp, sunny winter days aren’t so bad when you’re bundled up in a cozy cashmere and heavenly Ugg boots but the gray and the rain can really deflate a gal’s morale. To keep my spirits high from January to April I’ve adopted several “winter rituals”.
Cuddle up with an Furry Blanket
Isn’t it crazy how the simplest pleasures can spark so much joy? A few weeks ago I picked up the coziest, white furry blanket on a whim. I wrapped myself in the furry, cozy perfect fluff to study, while watching Netflix and I draped myself in it every morning as I dragged myself out of bed. Every night Pierre (my pup) and I fought over who could roll up in the blanket burrito style until I finally made my way back to Target and grabbed a second blanket(P.S. it comes in brown, light gray & dark gray too). If you don’t have a throw you wish you could wear like a robe daily, what are you doing?
Light a Candle every Evening
Beginning in early October each year I stock up on wintery candles to make it through the cold, damp days of winter. I like to light a candle the moment I get home for the evening. The yummy scent and warm ambiance feels especially homey when it is stormy outside and I can hear the rain crashing sideways against the windows (eek)! I pick up candles pretty much everywhere. I think Anthropologie has beautiful candles (love this one) but I probably buy the most candles from Whole Foods, it’s just convenient and I am always pleased with the quality.
Treat yourself to a Massage
After my last final I was sure to schedule an hour long massage. Staring down at books/notes all day can really strain your neck. It felt so good to close my eyes and allow all of my finals induced anxiety to melt away. Massages are a great way to unwind all year long, but especially during the cold winter months when your skin feels dry and muscles achy. Spa treatments can definitely get pricy because you’re paying for the spa environment and all the perks that come along with it (hot mineral pools, steam rooms, apples, tea, etc). If you’re looking to unwind on a budget look for massage only chains or check sites like Livingsocial and Groupon. Don’t get me wrong I love the spa, but as a law student that money is better used on textbooks & coffee so I splurge by attending a massage clinic with fewer frills (but the same great, relaxation benefits).
Slip into Warm, Toasty Slippers
Ugg shearling is a godsend on cold winter evenings. When I know I am spending the entire evening at home I wash off my makeup, layer on hydrating serum (my favorite) and slip on cozy pajamas the moment I get home. Cuddled up in slippers with a face mask & glass of bubbly at 5:30 PM? Don’t mind if I do. Cozy clothes & foot wear transform a drab night at home into the cuddly hygge paradise we dream about as we scroll through instagram.
Hang Twinkle Lights in your Room
While I don’t currently follow this tip, at my last apartment I had strung twinkle lights around the top of a canopy over my bed. It definitely felt like a princess bed, but the most snuggly, romantic, princess bed you could imagine, even Jordan couldn’t complain! You don’t have to go full on girly-girl to embrace the warmth of twinkle lights, string a set around a window, over a vanity mirror or wrapped around an indoor plant for a cozy vibe all through winter. This set looks
Start (or End) the Day with something Comforting & Warm
I swear the only thing that gets me out of the comfort of my cozy bed and out into the world in the winter is coffee! I know am a true caffeine addict because I wake up thinking about coffee and immediatly run down to make a latte in my Nespresso (makes an awesome gift btw) or pop over to Starbucks to get my day going. Call me crazy but a cute girly mug filled with my favorite warm beverages (coffee, tea & hot chocolate) can really transform my mood. I like to start the day with coffee (always, always, always) and end the day with a mug of warm herbal tea or on a particularly cold day a mug of hot cocoa.
Lose yourself in a Fantastic Book
Because winter generally means fewer social obligations, wedding invitations and weekday happy hours, it can get a little boring if you don’t naturally fill in calendar gaps with activities. I don’t like to make plans with friends more than a couple of days a week but I also don’t like to sit at home watching Netflix nightly either. I find myself less stir crazy and MUCH happier if I spend time reading. A great novel can transport you to an entirely different world (sometimes a warmer world, which in the winter can be a godsend). Pop into your local bookstore and pick up a few books to get you through winter!
Bundle up and Have an Adventure
In the summer I find so much happiness outdoors, you can barely contain me on the evenings and weekends, but in the winter I morph into a bit of a hermit. It’s so easy to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book, but I find I am so much happier when I balance cozy time with active/outdoor time…even in the winter! Throw on your warmest winter jacket, cozy cashmere gloves and a beanie if necessary AND get outside. Go on a winter hike, rent snow shoes, grab some friends for a ski day (even if you’re awful like I am it can be a fun outdoor activity). Fresh air and exercise does wonders for your mental health!
Try Something new!
When all else fails and you find yourself sinking into the winter blues, shake up your routine! Book a weekend trip in a new town, grab a girlfriend and take a cooking class, head to a craft store and stock up on pretty paper and glitter to make Valentine’s day cards. As counterintuitive as it sounds the best winter routine can be tossing out your routine to try something new. I find myself exploring, adventuring and trying new experiences NON-STOP in the summer time only to become a little bit boring in the winter. But, Life doesn’t end when it gets cold outside! If you really can’t stand the thought of leaving your warm house on a cold winter weekend, grab a bottle of wine, order your favorite takeout and throw a dress up party for your besties. All dressed up and no place to go is my life mantra but I find the right outfit can transform even the most dismal day!
Do you have any “winter rituals” to help you make it through winter? Do you embrace cold weather or dread it?
All Photos are by Sophie Dituri. I’ve worked with her many times before and I highly recommend her <3