1. Go for a hike
Now, I know what you might be thinking. "It's freezing outside–I'd rather stay indoors!" We feel you, but a little fresh air combined with getting your body moving can do wonders for your winter time blues. So grab your boots, a warm winter hat and go hit the trails.
Live out in the boonies? Not a problem! Check out the best places to get some steps in the outdoors using the AllTrails app.
And don't let the word hiking fool you, a simple stroll around the neighborhood will do the trick!
2. Cozy up indoors with sweet treats
Don't let the weather get you down, sugar! This is the one time of year that you can feel guilt-free about cozying up indoors, so take advantage.
Now that we've recovered from our holiday sweets hangover, we are ready for more. Whether it's a gooey cookie or a cup of hot cocoa, there's no wrong way to treat yourself. Whenever we're in the mood to try a new recipe, we run to Half Baked Harvest. Seriously, every recipe is a winner. These two have us drooling just thinking about them:
Vanilla Bean Hot Cocoa
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk or your favorite unsweetened milk
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 ounce dark chocolate
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- Tons of whipped cream
- Grated chocolate shavings (optional)
- Add the milk, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt to a small pot. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the milk is scalding, but not boiling.
- Once the hot cocoa is steaming, pour it into a mug, dollop with whipped cream, and top with chocolate shavings or sprinkles. Drink and enjoy!
Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the butter to a skillet set over medium heat. Cook until the butter begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Let cool 5 minutes or so.
- To the brown butter, mix in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the chocolate.
- Roll the dough into rounded tablespoon size balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough down. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, rotate and tap the baking sheet on the counter 1-2 times to flatten. Bake another 2-3 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to set on the edges.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. They will continue to cook slightly as they sit on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with flaky salt (if desired). Eat warm (highly recommended) or let cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
3. Build a snowman
Sure it sounds childish, but when’s the last time you did it? It’s pretty fun to let your inner child out and the perfect reason to get outdoors. Sorry, this one's not for our warm weathered friends!
Everyone knows the perfect snowman is not complete without the accessories. There's no use in buying them when you can search your home for unique accessories to make your snowman your own. Peak in the junk drawer for old buttons, grab the winter hat you haven't worn in years, and open the fridge for a carrot for the nose.
This is guaranteed to have your whole neighborhood slowing down to get a better look!
4. Read a book
So, maybe it's just us but reading more somehow makes our New Year's resolution list every single year. And, for once we are going to make it happen. Here are a few books our team read this past month and loved. Clearly, we have summer on our minds!
The Summer I Turned Pretty
By Jenny Han
Belly has spent her summers at the beach house with Conrad and Jeremiah, who had never noticed her noticing them. Every summer Belly hoped it would be different. This time, it is. The summer that Belly turns pretty is the summer that changes everything–for better and for worse.
One Italian Summer
by Rebecca Serle
Katy's mother, Carol, dies, leaving Katy devastated. The mother-daughter trip they had planned to Positano is still scheduled, and Katy embarks on the journey alone. As she explores the beautiful Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother's spirit. Suddenly, Carol appears in the flesh, thirty years old, and healthy. Over the summer, Katy gets to know Carol as a young woman, and she discovers that she is not exactly who Katy thought she was. Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who is still figuring things out.
5. Give Back to Your Community
Winter can be a difficult time for many people and we can all do our part to make it a little bit brighter by donating our time, money, or resources to organizations who are giving back within our communities.
Check out these organizations we love that are doing amazing things in our showroom markets (and beyond!) during the chillier months. Or, find a similar group in your area to help out!
The Bridge for Youth Minneapolis – This nonprofit organization provides shelter, support, and counseling for homeless and runaway youth.
YouthCare Seattle – YouthCare provides a range of services to support homeless youth, including emergency shelter, job training, and mental health counseling.
UMOM New Day Centers Phoenix – This organization provides shelter and support services to homeless families, including job training, education, and child care.
DC Central Kitchen Washington DC – This nonprofit organization provides food assistance, job training, and other support services to those in need.
Operation Warm Philadelphia – This organization provides new winter coats to children in need throughout Texas and other parts of the country.
The Warm Up Chicago Project Chicago – This initiative provides winter clothing and supplies to those in need.
The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) Detroit – THAW provides financial assistance to low-income families to help pay for energy bills during the winter months.
Coats for Colorado Denver - This nonprofit organization collects and distributes winter coats to those in need.
Harvesters Community Food Network Kansas City – Harvesters provides food assistance to low-income families, seniors, and children through a network of partner agencies.
LifeWorks Austin – LifeWorks advocates for youth and young adults pursuing a life they love and a stable future for themselves and their families.