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FIGHTING THE WINTER BLUES: 7 WAYS TO STAY INSPIRED

I know I’m not the only one out there feeling a bit, well, BLAH right now. When the world is so stark and cold and grey, I get some serious seasonal blues and it makes feeling inspired so damn hard. And to top it off, my little peanut seems to be going through his own seasonal blues (aka: his molars are coming in) and has been fighting sleep like a champ – which means little sleep for Mama. Seriously folks, it feels as though my mind has been stuffed with cotton and I’m pretty certain a family of mice has now moved in.

SO, to force myself to feel a little more inspired, or at least a little less cotton-brained, I’ve been trying to think up ways to lift the spirit. Here’s what I have come up with so far:

1. GREENERY. I think having plants in the home is so important to one’s mental health. Even if you have a black thumb like me, there are still plants out there for you! Go for a cactus or anything labeled “plant of steel.” Or have a few herbs sitting in your kitchen window (you’ll remember to water them when they are staring you in the face while doing the dishes). Even one lonely plant will remind you that there are warmer days ahead and instantly lift the spirit.

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2. MILK + TEA. I have recently been substituting tea in place of my coffee. I LOVE me a cup o’ joe, but after having multiple cups on a cold morning, I want to jump out of my skin. Hello caffeine kick! Insert tea. Multiple cups of tea still gives me my caffeine kick but without that that swift kick to the gut. And I feel less guilty (and wired) drinking it ALL. DAY. LONG. Swirl in a little milk and you will almost believe it’s coffee…

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3. MUSIC. Instead of curling up on the couch in front of the TV, as one is want to do in 12 degree weather, turn on the ipod and dance your heart out. Not the swaying or tapping of the feet kind of dancing. I mean full on swirling and twirling and stomping and really rockin’ out kind of dancing. When the Peanut and I hit a wall, I pick him up and we get down. You can’t help but laugh when you willingly look like an idiot. And there is  nothing like a little laughter to brighten the day (and since we rock out in front of multiple street-facing windows, I’m sure the neighbor’s get a good laugh too. It’s a win-win!)

Lovely Lady – Whitney Lundeen

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4. GIVE YOURSELF HOPE. I try to schedule at least one warm weather vacation somewhere between February and the first week in March. Just the act of searching for that perfect destination and then finally hitting the “book it” button…it warms my soul and ignites a little fire in my heart. From that moment on, no matter how cold and miserable the weather, I can remind myself that a respite from it all is right around the corner. If you’re unable to swing a vacation, create one at home. Crank up the thermostat. Surround yourself with warmth. Pick up everything you will need for a weekend at home and then don’t leave the house again until Monday morning. Drink lots of margaritas. Wear that amazing maxi dress you found on sale at the end of last summer. Put a flower in your hair. A little creativity can give you a lot of HOPE.

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5. DON’T HUNKER DOWN. I hunker down in the Winter; it is my go-to defense mechanism. I am loathe to leave the house because it requires way too much work and way too many layers. But I’ve really been trying to amend this and force myself out into that cold air because 1. fresh air is good for you, and 2. loneliness and isolation is not. So pile on the layers and go…somewhere. Take a walk. Run to the gym. Swing by a coffee shop and warm up with a cup o’ joe (or tea). Have lunch with a friend. Go to that happy hour. Whatever. Just get out there and DO. NOT. HUNKER. Remember: a body in motion stays in motion and motion keeps you warm!

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6. LOOK AMAZING. Because I tend to hunker down in the winter, I also tend to soften up around the middle. To top it off, my skin hates the cold as much as I do so my glow goes into hibernation mode and I am left with a pasty, scaly, squishy mess (which makes going out into the world even less enticing). I hate to admit it, but when I feel bad about myself, I get lazy. Instead of putting on a fresh pair of clothes in the morning, I’ll throw on a pair of yoga pants and the sweatshirt I wore the day before and call it a day because really, what’s the point otherwise? It’s a vicious cycle and a hard one to break. But break it you (and I) must! With a little extra effort – like slathering on extra moisturizer and putting on a clean set of clothes – confidence can be had. In fact, why not just go all out? Instead of throwing on those yoga pants, slip on that tulle skirt and your sharpest pair of heels. Of course you can’t wear that old sweatshirt with such an amazing skirt so go ahead and wear that awesome tee with your leather jacket. And really, once you’re dressed to the nines you’ve got to have a face to match, so put on that cream foundation and your blushiest blush and give yourself a little mascara and gloss while you’re at it. And voila! You look amazing. And who would want to sit around the house looking like that? So get out there and show yourself off.

Sweet and sexy – for the perfect middle ground between looking sweet and sexy, try wearing your tulle skirt with something that has an edgy vibe like a leather jacket and maybe a pair of leather boots as well. This look is perfect for fall and winter because it will not just make you look stylish but will also keep you warm. You can also add studs and spikes somewhere in your outfit, perhaps in your accessories, if you want to take the edge up a notch and slightly have your outfit touch into ...

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7. SMILE. I know, it’s cliché and oh-so-simple, but it works. Plaster on that smile and fake it ‘til you make it. Your emotions get all kinds of confused: I feel sad…but why am I smiling? Should I be happy? Maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Maybe I’m not sad. Maybe I am happy. Yes, that’s it. I am happy.

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And there you have it folks.

Tell me, what tips and tricks do you have for fighting the winter blues? I would love to add more to my repertoire!

SCENERY + GREENERY

I hate to admit it, but there is something refreshing about Winter – the bundling up and the hunkering down, the movie nights on the couch, the mornings spent enveloped in the warmth of the bed or the plushness of a robe, and the cold, dark, starkness of the outdoors, gazed at through frosted windows. I suppose we wouldn’t appreciate the budding warmth of Spring if not for Winter; as we create our comforting isolation in these bitter cold months, we long for the freedom and collectiveness of Summer.

I can’t tell you that Spring is right around the corner – we still have the toughest months ahead of us – but I can tell you that a touch of Spring can be infused into your home no matter the month. A little color and a lot of greenery can lift the spirits like nothing else (well, except sunshine, of course!). And if you’re able to put aside your aversion to the cold, you just may find beauty in the season.

So here’s to some scenery and greenery…

Winter-Interior 1

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Winter-Interior 2

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Winter-Interior 5

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May you make it through these winter months with as much joy as possible!

THE STATE OF THINGS…

Messy House

It’s moments like these that force me to stop and take a deep breathe. I can feel the panic rising within me and before it explodes to the surface…I just have to breathe. In and out. In and out. It reminds me that things really aren’t that bad (right?!). My child is having the time of his life – a full belly, a roll of toilet paper, and a few miscellaneous objects to push around the house and the kid is in heaven. And when he finally goes down for his afternoon nap, I just may sit back with a cup of coffee and browse through a few blogs instead of cleaning up. Yes, I’ll save the cleaning for when he wakes up so he can help me – as much as a 14 month old can – and learn the value of picking up after himself. Which really just means spreading more toilet paper around the house. But a girl can dream. At least I can use the toilet paper to wipe down spills and dog slobber.

And need I mention: Christmas tree is still up and miscellaneous storage boxes out – hopefully to be filled with holiday decor very soon!

Just keepin’ it real folks. Happy Tuesday!