Monday, November 4, 2013

Easing into winter

Orange roses, Derby cocktails, and candlelight  |  Easing into winter  |

With the changing of the seasons, shortening of the days this past weekend, and advent of the cold (in our hemisphere), it seems like time to reinstate my wintry weather tweaks. Perhaps you'd like to try some?

Burning a candle at both ends:
I've reinterpreted this phrase—no longer shall it mean running yourself ragged by trying to do too many things at once and overextending yourself! No, now it shall mean, starting and ending your day with candles. There is nothing sweeter than rising from your bed juuust as the sky is starting to brighten, padding around your home opening blinds and lighting candles, then going to wash the sleep from your face and opening the bathroom door to a candlelit room. It's like the last 5 minutes didn't happen and your day is just beginning now, in softly lit coziness.

Most mornings R is gone before I rise or a few minutes after, so I unroll my yoga mat on the floor in the den (which has blessedly stopped creaking, another plus for humidity-less fall!) and work out by the glow of all my ivory pillars. I'm always a little disappointed on the days I need to go downstairs to the gym to make use of their free weights and machines, but I try to limit that to once or twice a week, using my own body weight for exercising at home on my other strength days. Gym morning days aren't all sad, though—I still light candles and they're just as cozy after the sunrise.

Then come evening all my candles are relit, this time in the bedroom as well, helping me smoothly transition from post-dinner futzing around to pre-sleep reading in bed. The end-of-day candlelight helps me turn my mind off sooner and sends me to bed much earlier in the winter, which is always a good thing, especially since that pre-dawn alarm ring then becomes much less intrusive.

Walking as much as possible:
True, I tend to incorporate this year round, but especially now when the weather is crisp enough to be invigorating, but not so crisp that you'll get frostbitten, walking above the city streets instead of being whooshed along in the (germy) subway is so nice and refreshing. You'll steer clear of cold weather yuckies, strengthen your immune system by keeping your body moving during a time when you'd most likely be bundled up somewhere still and stationary, absorb at least a little Vitamin D, and take a small stance against the natural padding on of "winter insulation", shall we say, as our bodies go into hibernation mode.

Plus, at least for me, more time outside on the sidewalk means a greater chance that I can catch one of the wandering neighborhood jazz saxophonists in action. There's something hauntingly lovely about hearing brassy, plaintive notes echoing through the chilled air and reverberating off of the brick, steel, and stone facades of my street.

Accepting that hibernation is not a bad thing at all:
Sometimes I just don't want to stick a toe, much less my entire body, out of the warm cocoon of my bed, especially when it's still dark out. Sometimes I can't stomach the idea of putting on skimpy (proportionately) workout gear and bopping around. Sometimes a vegetable that isn't snuggled by cheese isn't palatable in the least. Sometimes taking the subway to work instead of walking so that I can sleep an extra hour sounds dreamy.

And that's okay. It's more than okay. Our bodies are under a ton of strain when the weather gets cold. Don't block out what yours is telling you to do because you feel guilty—it's almost always better to listen to your inner cues (they're there for a reason). So indulge in some hibernating, in fact, revel in it (but in moderation, okay?)!

Color blocking
I'm almost always drawn to bright, sometimes neon, colors over any other kind, but when the darkness begins to descend for months on end I make extra sure to always wrap scarves in saturated hues around my neck and to set the dining table and bedside tables with vases of flowers in shockingly dazzling colors. Bursts of oranges, yellows, and fuchsia help allay symptoms of S.A.D (and who can resist their innate cheeriness?).

Lugging your lunch around:
I'm a soup gal. No matter what's around, I'll find a way to turn it into a hearty soup or puree. I find a way to make it palatable during the warmer months when soup doesn't seem as interesting, but now that the cooler ones are here, I'm finding an excuse to make something soupy every other day! Last week I roasted a massive kabocha squash then pureed it with coconut milk and sauteed onions, lacing the lush orange mass with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon to make a big ol' pot for lots of dinners and lunches.

But since I'll not always be home to eat leftovers for lunch, and I don't like microwaves, does that mean my soupy ways are in trouble when I'm in an office?

Not at all! As soon as I wake up in the morning I take my Pyrex lunch container out of the fridge and set it on the counter (if my lunch doesn't contain anything worrisome, I'll take it out of the fridge the night before). By the time I leave (2-3 hours later), and eat lunch (another 3-4 hours after that), my lunch is room temperature and ready to dig into without getting an ice cream headache. Yes, a piping hot bowl of soup is much nicer, but room temperature isn't too bad, especially if it means I can avoid the microwave.

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One year ago: Hurricane Sandy
(for anyone new, an excellent primer on my crazy ways)


  1. I love everything about this post, and especially your new mantra to burn a candle at both ends of the day. I've been using my pink himalayan salt lamp a lot recently and it creates such a warm, cozy glow. I think I will add to this with candles per your suggestion. :)
    Somewhat related, I just ordered a few things from a company called Osmia Organics, including a fancy tea bath and winter-appropriate perfume samples, to help ease into the cold weather. I feel like you'd like their stuff (if you haven't checked them out already). The packaging is also really beautiful. xo

    1. Thanks, dear!

      And, oooo, pretty packaging and even prettier contents?! Wasn't aware of this company—heading over to Osmia's site now. (Already like the looks of them...excellent color choices :) ). Thanks for the suggestion!

      PS. Your pink Himalayan salt lamp looks and seems so cocooning! Perfect for the cold months :).

  2. As we speak i have 3 beeswax candles lit and candles have been a MUST for meals and working.

    am totally with you on the soup. i've made every excuse to make soups and i am not afraid to admit that i will eat it breakfast lunch and dinner.

    one idea... i dont microwave either. We started cooking up stews and soups in a ricecooker/ slow cooker. what we do the morning we throw lentils and other ingredients into the pot so that it boils but then we transfer it into a thermos like this on our way out the door one
    and then what do you have? a piping hot soup that by lunch time has already cooked the ingredients in the thermos hours later... and E will pack one away since he has to eat dinner on the road often times.

    it's SOOO easy and healthy!

    1. Hi there! LOVE that idea! I've been on a hiatus from buying anything that would have to be moved soon, but I do like the looks of that thermos! Thanks for sending! :)


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