Wintertime Winners

Spring is coming, but winter isn't over, my friends. Allow me to introduce you to a few fab finds that deliver joy on days when it's cold and grey.

Wintertime Winners
Photo by Mara Ket / Unsplash

Here in Northern Virginia, we're enjoying a mild weather week; midweek, temps are to hover in the mid-60s! However, with the frigid temps and wind chills we experienced last Friday and Saturday still high on our minds (my rough hands are still recovering), we realize it's isn't time yet to pack away the parkas.

As most of you who read this blog already know, I am someone who loves the Christmas season, but otherwise I LIVE FOR SPRING AND SUMMER. Being surrounded by beautiful blooms, the warmth of the sun and oodles of daylight delights me. Our HOA had landscaping crews weed-eating and re-mulching the other day, and it truly added a little spring to my step. I could just picture growth and color returning.

In other words, my making nice with winter takes some work. I have to attack it on all fronts. Everyone is different, and sometimes a call to the professionals is a must, but here are some things that I can do on my own that help me stay happy until spring arrives—that could possibly help you.

On the particularly grey days, I enjoy my coffee and catch up on my emails/to-do list alongside my Verilux Happy Light, on my left, and a window to my right. I can really tell a difference when I forget to use the device; I don't have nearly as much energy on those days.

I'm also a card carrying member of the Raynaud's club, so keeping the digits warm is paramount. I can get really painful fingers in even 50 degrees and rain. I'm so excited to have finally bit the bullet on battery-powered gloves when they got reduced to $45 at my local Costco. I haven't had a chance to wear the gloves outdoors yet, but I tested them inside yesterday, and they get nice and toasty. Frigid soccer games, I'm ready for you.

As it turns out, it's about function over fashion sometimes. 

A good read always helps. For me, that means anything beachy, Brene Brown, Colleen Hoover (my latest fast read of hers) or nerdy (especially on the brain). The brain book I'm loving right now is by Dr. Daniel G. Amen, "You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain Type." While reading the book, it has been so fascinating to think about not only my brain type (Cautious and Persistent, as determined by the quiz Amen points to in the book) but the brain types of others, and how we can better communicate, realizing what our individual brain types need to be happy.


Amen Clinics has the world’s largest database of functional brain scans relating to behavior, having performed over 225,000 SPECT scans and 10,000 QEEGs on patients from 150 countries. It's so cool to see the SPECT scan images of people's brains and how they have changed while following the practices and protocols Dr. Amen recommends. And I love how much he shares about his own brain health.

As far as the best medicine out there, besides spending time with those we love, I'd say it's a tie between exercise, eating right, listening to favorite tunes, spending time in the sun and laughing.

Those sunbathing days (in lots of SPF) are not happening right now, but a Peloton hip-hop ride or Barre class can totally make my day, especially ones from the 90s or early 2000s. Include your favorite songs in a workout, and it's like magic. A great podcast or catch-up phone call while taking a long walk outdoors is so good for the soul too. Am I right?

The organic blueberries lately at Costco, Trader Joe's and Wegman's have been out of this world! I also highly recommend Wegman's chocolate-covered strawberries for a festive indulgence. Yum! And my whole family has been loving the Mediterranean meal kits from GreenChef! I love that the meals are mostly organic, quick to prepare and delicious!

Gwen approves! My plating was not the best, but the salmon didn't disappoint! We love Greenchef!

Bad Bunny's opening to the Grammys was incredible and reminds me to always keep Dance Cardio in the mix. If dancing makes you happy, the awesome thing is that you never even need a workout; just dance.

In the TV world, I've blown through the latest seasons of my faves like "The White Lotus," "Emily in Paris" and "Ginny & Georgia," so suggestions, please! But when it comes to watching TV with my girls, the show we've been blowing through is "Kim's Convenience." It's nice and light, funny and warm. We laugh so hard. One of the episodes had me in tears; I couldn't stop laughing. It puts us all in such a good place before bedtime reading and sleep. And as Izzy and Gwen remind me of daily, "Outer Banks" is back Feb. 23.

It's such a great feeling to learn new things as well. Guitar is coming along, despite finger pain. I now know the G, C and D chords. Progress!

We've got this!

Natalie Kaar