The best part about the weather we've been having is that it gives us all something to talk about.
Granted, most of this involves complaining or expressing shock at just how long this crazy cold snap is continuing. And beyond that, it's giving many folks a great excuse to either relive the great trip they just had to a warmer climate, or to talk excitedly about their upcoming excursion (again, to somewhere warm!) scheduled in the next few weeks.
The sad reality is that there are still quite a few VERY cold days showing up on the extended forecast. But the excellent news is, there are only 30 (count 'em...30!) days until the first day of spring.
Yes, we know...that doesn't provide a whole lot of solace when we head outside to take the dog for a walk when it's 5 below. Even the dogs are smart enough to know that they don't want to be out in this weather (isn't that little "paw to paw" dancing jig a sad sight)?
So with that in mind, here are 10 suggestions for some fun ways to pretend that we're somewhere warm, even when we're not!
1. Throw an "It's Summer Somewhere!" party. There are so many fun party themes pertaining to warm weather...tropical luaus, Mexican fiestas, spring garden parties and so on. Put together some bright, cheery, themed decor...serve up some fruity cocktails or chilled Coronas or sangria...fire up the Bob Marley or Beach Boys music...and gather your friends to help restore your hope that warmer days are on the way. In fact, this is EXACTLY what we will be doing at Arabesque this Saturday...click here for details!
2. Relax with a summer-themed book or movie. You probably have your favorites, running the gamut from "The Notebook" to "Jaws!" Simply turn to Google for lists of "Island Movies," "Summer Romance Flicks," "Best Beach Reads" or any other theme that strikes your fancy.
3. Invest in a light therapy lamp. Seasonal affective disorder is a very real depression issue for many people. These special lamps, sometimes known as "happy lights," mimic outdoor light and are said to help release chemicals in the brain that lift your mood. For a hundred dollars or less, you can bring sunshine into your home with one of these lamps, like this one by Verilux.
4. Have your car detailed. Nothing about winter is drearier than a car that's coated with salt, covered in dirt and loaded with muddy footprints (and don't you love the way your clothes are decorated with pale, gritty smudges every time you brush against it?). Give your car a "spa day," and your day will seem brighter before you know it.
5. Cook on the grill. Yes, we know...someone will have to don their parka and brave the elements for a few painful moments to make this one work. Bite the bullet and whip up a summertime feast including grilled steaks, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw and brownies, and dream about those backyard barbecues to come (they're only a few months away...really!). Click here for great grilling and barbecue menus!
6. Start your spring cleaning. Granted, it's probably not the time to wash your windows or clean the garage. But there are a few tasks you can start now that will make your home feel fresher and ready for warmer days ahead. Weeding the tired items out of your wardrobe or cleaning out that long-neglected pantry closet will make you feel surprisingly better (plus, there will also be one less chore to tackle when the weather warms up and it's time to REALLY do the spring cleaning!). Tip: include the coat closet, too...it's still a great time to benefit a charity with winter coats.
7. Create a frozen treat. Nothing says "summer" like a good, old-fashioned popsicle. But why limit yourself to a purple, red or orange pop from a box? Pinterest is a terrific source of inspiration for popsicle recipes that are easy to make, healthy and summery all around...check out our Pinterest "Popsicles!" board here.
8. Get a pedicure. For about 25 dollars, there's no better way to treat yourself to a little luxury and prep your toes for the sandal season to come. Break out your flip flops to wear home!
9. Have an indoor picnic or campout. A terrific treat for the kids, too, a living room picnic breaks up the monotony of winter in favor of something unique and fun. Spread out a blanket in the living room, break out the paper plates and plastic forks (unless, of course, yours is a romantic picnic...in that case, use the fine stemware and china), and serve up your most interesting tried-and-true picnic appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Click here for some excellent menu ideas. Don't be afraid to kick it up a notch by breaking out the sleeping bags and spreading them out in front of the fireplace, or draping some blankets over the chairs for the kids. Add a recipe for indoor s'mores and you've got an instant "campout" in your living room.
10. Go for a swim. There's something about jumping into a pool that brings thoughts of the summer days ahead. Get creative and contact your local health club, the Greater Burlington YMCA, a high school with pool or one of the hotels in the area that features an indoor pool...you may be able to get wet for a daily use fee. For a grander excursion, head up to the Pump House at Jay Peak for a full day of splashing around. We hope you'll find some inspiration here to help you make it through these last few months of, well, Vermont. And if all else fails...there's always a quick JetBlue travel deal to be found...