Curing the Winter Blues

I want to be somewhere tropical right now. Somewhere that the white sand is almost too hot to stand on barefoot. Almost too hot, but not quite. Somewhere that a colorful beach towel is perfect for taking a nap in the bright warmth of the sunlight. Somewhere that I can take a couple of steps and end up in the cool, bright blue, salty water, looking for turtles and fishies through a snorkel mask. Somewhere that a line of tall palm trees casts the perfect amount of shade and breeze.

I want to be somewhere that my only care is that my piña colada is going to melt too fast. Or that the sun is going to set too soon. Or that a coconut just might fall on my head. Or that my skin might maybe get a little too red.

Instead, I’m sitting in my tiny apartment. In the middle of suburban America. In the middle of a snowstorm. Where the space heater humming at my side isn’t quite warm enough and the sun has already set and there’s no hope of wearing a swimsuit any time soon. And my cares instead include worrying about what to cook for dinner this week, and when I’m going to finish all the piles and piles and piles of laundry or go grocery shopping, and wondering what bills will make their way to my mailbox tomorrow.

Instead of a piña colada and a suntan, I’ve got the Winter Blues*. In years past, I have cured my Winter Blues with some really fattening foods, as many chick flicks as I can handle, and a healthy dose of a patience, just waiting for longer, warmer days to find me again.

But this year, mostly for the sake of the blog and having something to talk about, I’ve decided to put together a list of 10 things, besides chick flicks and binge eating candy and cupcakes, that can help me through my Winter Blues. And luckily, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna let you use these ideas too. Gosh, we’re nice, huh.

WinterBlues

1) Keep Up on Your Resolutions — Odds are you had some resolutions you made a couple weeks ago when the New Year rolled around. And what better way to keep up on those resolutions than by trying to defeat your Winter Blues? Exercise more. Eat healthier. Work out a budget/get out of debt. Write letters (actual snail mail letters, people) to loved ones. Whatever your resolution may be, winter is a great time to try to achieve them, especially if you’re trying to defeat the Winter Blues. Instead of using winter and the cold and the shorter days as an excuse to get you out of your resolutions, use winter as a reason to actually accomplish those things. Find ways to motivate yourself. It will be worth it, I promise you.

2) Start a Recipe Group or Book Club — Get some friends from the neighbor or from church or from your kids’ schools and plan a time once a month or once every two weeks (whatever fits everyone’s schedules) and get together. Share recipes or read books together. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house, socialize, meet new people.

3) Be IN Winter — Go out in winter. Don’t let winter keep you inside. Find an activity you enjoy despite the cold outside. Go snowboarding or skiing and snowshoeing. Go sledding or snowmobiling. Go ice-skating or find some ice castles. Go to the zoo. Just make sure to bundle up reaalllyyyyy well.

4) Learn a New Hobby — If you’re too afraid of #3 (understandable if you’re anything like me… I despise being cold more than anything), then stay in your house and learn a new hobby. Learn to sew or cook or bake or scrapbook. Take a class online to help you learn photography or web design or graphic design. Learn how to draw or write calligraphy. Pretty much anything. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t found the time, why not start now, while you’re sitting in your house feeling sorry that it’s just so darned cold outside.

5) “Spring” Cleaning — Why not get a head start on cleaning your entire house? That way, once spring does actually decide to roll around, your house will be spic and span and you’ll be ready to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh, warm weather!

6) Binge Watch a Show — This is one of my favorite things to do, I admit. It’s bad. I really should do something more productive with my life, but when it’s cold outside and I just wanna curl up under a blanket, Netflix becomes my best friend. Sign up for Netflix or Hulu or even buy a season of that show you’ve heard is soooo good, but you just never had time to watch it.

7) Write in a Journal — I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Write about whatever you’d like. Things you’ve done. Goals you have. Ideas you’d like to share one day. About how much winter sucks.

8) Create a Photo Book — Websites like Shutterfly, Mixbook, or Snapfish are great tools to help you organize your photos into cute, personalized books. Make a book of your last family vacation, or what you did last summer, or what you did over Christmas break. I guarantee looking through all those pictures will chase those winter blues right away.

9) Serve! — Volunteer at shelters or food kitchens or nursing homes or even your kid’s school. Go by yourself or with friends or with kids. Seek out people who may need your help. I know from experience that the best way to keep you from thinking about yourself is to help someone else in need.

10) Plan a Trip — If all else fails, and you happen to have some money you’ve set aside for a rainy day (or in this case, a snowy day?), go on a trip. Take a staycation for a weekend somewhere close. Take an extended weekend somewhere slightly further away. Take a weeklong trip somewhere you’ve been dying to go. Go somewhere warmer than where you are if that’s what your heart desires. Or go to the mountains somewhere and lock yourself up in a cabin and do any of the ideas above.

Let us know what your favorite things to do to cure your Winter Blues are. And if none of the 10 ideas work for you, just appreciate how beautiful winter can be. My husband took this picture with his iPhone after a snowstorm earlier this month. Whoooaaa. Good job, Kent!

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*Winter Blues in its most severe form is sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing. This post is not meant to belittle or demean that condition or anyone who suffers from it. We are not doctors, and our advice/opinions are not meant to imply that we are. We merely want to share our very unqualified opinion about some things that help us brighten up our own dark winter months.

Last Call: Winter Coats

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! January is almost over, which means we only have a couple months of winter left, which means Spring! Which then means Summer! Not that I’m counting down the days or anything… except, OK, yes I am. Summer and me, you guys, we are friends. We get along. Summer and me, we have a great relationship. So, it’s no surprise that I’m excited for it to get back into my life.

But until then, I will finish using my snowboarding season pass – gotsta get my money’s worth – and I will keep drinking as much hot chocolate as my tummy will let me and I will keep washing my car after every snowstorm and I will keep my winter coats in the forefront of my closet. As should you… as should you.

So (and my summer-loving self is saying, ‘thankfully!’), this is the last call for winter coats. A winter coats roundup of sorts. And if you’re in the market for a new winter coat, now’s just about the best time that you could be looking! Winter coats and jackets are starting to go on sale to make way for all the spring items that stores are getting in stock, but it’s still cold enough in most places that there is still a good variety to choose from. And the best part (or worst part, depending on how you look at winter) is that you still have a couple months to wear them, depending on where you are. But then, they won’t be so worn that you can’t get use out of them next year too.

LastCall

A couple of things you may want to remember when shopping for winter coats at this time of year:

1) Search for a sale. If you find a coat you like, but it’s not quite on sale yet, either search somewhere else for a similar one or just wait for the one you like to go on sale. Odds are it is on sale somewhere or it will go on sale soon. After all, like I said above, spring is quickly approaching (yay!) and stores are going to want to get rid of their winter coats sooner or later.

2) Keep in mind the season… after all, it is still winter for just a bit longer. Try to find jackets that are versatile enough that you can wear them to finish off this winter season, but that maybe you can keep wearing into spring – you know, maybe something that’s not too dark or too heavy – and that you can, again, wear when winter inevitably makes it way back into your life.

Below, quite a few options of winter coats – several of them are on sale or clearance – to get you started. We aim to please, mostly is what this post is.

(Also, let it be written, let it be known that my love for the Target clearance section surpasses my love for most other things. Just to throw that out there.)

Denim

Dark (Clearance) // Light // Dark (Splurge)

Wool

Gray (Sale) // Maroon (Clearance) // Hooded // Melange // Blue (Sale)

Trench

 

Tan (Clearance) // Tan // Red (Sale)

Stripes

Black & Grey (Clearance) // Red

Rain

Blue // White (Splurge)

Quilted

Navy // Teal (Splurge)

Plaid

Red (Clearance) // Black (Splurge/Sale)

Peacoat

Red (Clearance) // Grey // Striped (Sale)

Parka

Maroon (Clearance) // Red (Splurge/Sale) // Blue // Green

Military

Green // Blue (Super sale!)

LeatherSleeves

Fur-trimmed Black // Funnel-neck Black (Splurge)

Leather

 

Black // Pink // White

Random

Leopard // Biker // Blazer // Camo // Floral

 

Winter Coats

This post comes to you by reader request. We had a request to see, specifically, “cute jackets”. So, I did some shopping my research of winter coats and have compiled some of my findings here, so as to assist you in all your winter coat-searching endeavors. These coats below are all my favorites of the coats that I found. Some of them, I love the “splurge” option more. Others, I actually like the “save” option more. In fact, I actually own one of the “save” option. I got mine on Super Sale at H&M.

Speaking of H&M. You guys, H&M is ab. so. lutely. killing it in winter coats right now. KILLING it. Seriously. If you find a coat you like from H&M below, definitely check in the store location closest to you to see if it’s on what they’re calling “holiday deal” in the store. I got my new favorite winter coat from them just a few days ago — originally $69.95, super sale in store $19.95. Yep. I saved a whole $50. I mean!

So, anyway. For the purposes of this post, the “save” options are all under $100, while the “splurge” options are all over $100. The categories of winter coats we have for you are as follows:

Coats

Wool – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Leopard – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Faux leather – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Drawstring waist – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Faux fur – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Peacoat – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Tribal – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Trench – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Fur-lined parka – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Quilted sleeves – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Asymmetrical zipper – 1) Splurge 2) Save // Plaid – 1) Splurge 2) Save

Wool coats. A good wool coat has recently moved to the top of my wishlist. I’m dying over the leather-trimmed “splurge” option above. Seriously, if the thought of spending that much on a coat didn’t give me heartburn, it’d already be in my closet. Maybe one day, self.

Leopard. I love leopard print, as long as you don’t look like a common street… Snooki when you wear it. I promise, there are ways to wear leopard and still look classy.

Leather. In the case of this post, both options are faux leather. But they both are amazing. I own a faux leather jacket, and just know, they are definitely worth the money spent.

Drawstring waist. The elbow patches on the “splurge” option are killing me. I love them so much. Like, put this coat on, and pretend you’re in the Hamptons, playing croquet and eating Maine lobster. Or, actually go to the Hamptons and do those things while wearing this coat. I almost think this coat requires it. Also, the “save” option is the one I bought. I love love loooove it.

Faux Fur. I don’t particularly like faux fur coats. At least not on me. But, some people can pull them off just grandly. If you’re one of those people, options above.

Peacoat. There is nothing quite like a good peacoat. I have the H&M option below from last season and I love it. I can wear it with anything. Also, that Michael Kors version has me drooling. Gold-zippered pockets, for the win!

Tribal. Tribal print is very trendy right now. Both of these coats play off that trend in a definite chic way, which I think is difficult to pull off with such a bold print. These winter coats are both definitely tribal done right.

Trench. Definitely a classic. When I think of trench coats, I think of Burberry. But, after finding these two non-Burberry options, I’ve realized that only thinking Burberry is a bit close-minded.

Fur-lined parka. So even though I’m not huge into the actual faux fur coats, I love the fur-lined hoods. And parkas are just so practical! That maroon one is turning into the heart-for-eyes iPhone emoji.

Quilted sleeves. I didn’t realize this was a trend, and I guess I’m not sure that it actually is or not. But I’m going to claim it as one and keep going. I found several options of quilted sleeves in my research. And I kind of am really, really loving them. What a unique way to mix textures and prints!

Asymmetrical zippers. Uhm. Did you see those coats? I’m pretty sure they speak for themselves.

Plaid. Plaid is a huge trend right now. HUGE. It’s everywhere. I’ve seen plaid pants (love), plaid shirts (double love), plaid scarves (sooo much love), plaid dresses (not sure I could pull that off, but still love), plaid skirts (loooove), and now! Plaid jackets. Both of the options I’ve got here, seriously. I just wish my wallet was fuller. I’d get them both. Insert hashtag FirstWorldProblems here.

So enjoy these options. Let us know what you think of these and leave some links in the comments of any coats you’re loving this winter! Also, check out our “Wear” board on Pinterest, because we are in the process of pinning some amazing coats, including but not limited to the coats in this post. Erika, over and out.