Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Those around me know my quirky love of autumn and winter. I would give up a day at the beach to be on the mountain any day, regardless of the fact that I was a summer baby. That said, I've found that one of the biggest reasons I love the colder seasons so much is that I've always looked forward to all of those outdoor activities. I started skiing when I was 5 and have always enjoyed the whole package: getting forced out of bed at an entirely-too-early time, packing everything into the car, driving up to the mountain, unpacking, and hitting the slopes. Even for a day trip -- and even when my parents expected me to carry all my own gear -- it was always such a fantastic experience.
But last year was a dud of a winter. And this year our schedule, riddled with home renovation projects, has left little time for any extracurricular activities. When you grow up skiing the North East, you know that the mid-February-into-March season can very often mean warmer days and colder nights. Which means icier trails. The point? If we don't get out now, another year will have gone by without hitting the slopes. And as I approach my second winter indoors, I'm starting to see how those who don't make time to enjoy the season can fall victim to creating a internal distaste for winter.
SO, I've resolved to make the most out of what is left of this winter. Before I know it, trees will start to bud, the temperature will start to rise and we will all open up our hearts to a new season. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of the things on my list these days:
Sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes this little-but-important item can slip by unnoticed before you realize that you've spent the past three months indoors. Instead of trying to get to the bigger mountains (that require planning ahead, getting the time off, reserving rooms, and a two-plus-hour drive each way), stay local. Thankfully, I've always lived fairly close to very local small ski mountains. It's not always ideal, but it's certainly better than nothing. I'm also taking advantage of a new pair of snowshoes and all of the local hiking trails in the area. One of the keys is to make sure you dress appropriately. Being outdoors and being miserably cold defeats the purpose and is just plain unsafe. Jason and I were out during super storm Nemo in full snowboarding gear and had a blast.
There tends to be this ginormous shift in colors in the colder months, from bright and borderline obnoxious to neutral and borderline comatose. I'll be the first to admit that creams and greys are the staple color of my closet, but I still make it a point to throw on some bright colors every now and then, if for no other reason than it made me smile. But colors don't stop at clothing. I've started buying some bright yellow tulips for our kitchen and have increased my intake of bright, fresh fruit and greens (as fresh as I can get). Kale, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, and oranges give your body a much-needed boost of vitamin-C, iron and feel-good energy.
This morning I took a look in the mirror and, once again, wondered how I was EVER going to combat my pale and flaky skin. Or at least that's how it feels. While I do drink a lot of water, during the drier winter months I'm starting to realize it may not be enough. Our wood-burning stove keeps the house warm, but the air very dry. I make sure to add a nice big pot of water for some extra humidity and don't take showers that are too hot. I've also been very careful in moisturizing, making sure to pay attention to those areas that haven't seen (and will not see) the sun in a while. It takes a little more time, but it's very worth it. I also have two different face creams, one for night and one for day, when protection against the elements is important.
So, what do you love about winter? Or, if one more snowflake is one too many, what are your favorite ways of escaping?