16 Super Remedies for the Winter Blahs
It’s that time of year again – the time when many of us are ready to put the cold season behind us and spring forward. Not that we’ve had a very rough winter – if you can even call it a winter, really. But still, who isn’t ready to smell a few daffodils and dine out on the back deck? Who doesn’t want to pack away their coats and long pants and put on shorts and t-shirts for the next five months?
Every mid-February, I always feel a little down. This year I’ve decided to get rid of my winter blahs by putting together a list of things to do to help make it through the next 3 or 4 weeks. To be sure I cover a wide variety of possibilities, I’ve enlisted suggestions from friends as well. Here goes:
1) Yoga – preferably standing on your head. Works for me. When I was a kid, I could stand on my head forever. That might explain a few things… A wide variety of classes are available at Studio 206 and the Polarity Barn.
2) Follow the Monticello Wine Trail and visit the area’s finest wineries. With twenty-five vineyards on the tasting route, you’ll have no trouble keeping busy through February and March.
3) Support the live-music scene! The Southern Café and Music Hall is presenting The 9 Songwriter Series on Wednesday, February 22 featuring Carl Anderson, Justin Trawick, Shanna Hoar, Evan Hansen, Scott Tiernan, Brent Peterson, Susan Munson, James Moore and Jared Jones.
4) Looking for a good laugh? Check out "Much Ado About Nothing" at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. The comedy is playing through April 8, and I’m told the production is fantastic.
5) How about adding a little color to a gray day by visiting a gallery? The McGuffy Art Center is always a sure bet for enjoying a wide variety of art – painting, drawing, sculpture, mixed-media, glass, jewelry and more – all in one place. You’ll also find work by several different artists at Chroma Projects including pieces by Michelle Gagliano, Laura Wooten, Holly Albertson, and Tim Gonchoroff. The Bridge is featuring a mixed-media exhibit by Carolyn Capps titled “Twig” and sculptor Kurt Steger has an exhibit at Les Yeux du Monde. That ought to keep you busy and culturally stimulated for a while.
6) Create a mixed CD or iPod playlist for your summer-time beach trip. Doesn’t have to be surf music, Jimmy Buffett or the Beach Boys – just something that helps you picture yourself on the sand -- soaking up the sun and sipping on a frosty beverage. Anything off of the Counting Crows "August and Everything After" album would make my list. Then there's "Falling Star" by the Jayhawks, "We Belong Together" by Rickie Lee Jones, Shannon Worrell's "C'mon Catherine," and "Ten Year Night" by Lucy Kaplansky.
7) Dust off your crockpot! My good friend, Julie, highly recommends “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.” She made a fabulous short-rib dish for her Super Bowl party that was power-packed with flavor. No cream of mushroom soup in this recipe…
8) If you need something sweet to get you through the winter, check out Faye’s Apple Cake recipe on CVIO’s Facebook page. This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law, and it is one of my favorite desserts ever. I describe it as an apple-brownie because of its texture – crunchy on top, chewy on the sides and moist in the middle. Topping it off with vanilla ice cream will send you to the moon!
9) Support one of our local schools by picking up a few great books. The Field School is the benefactor of the Bookfair at Barnes and Noble on February 25. Best seller suggestions include “This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession” by Daniel J. Levitin and Candice Millard’s “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.”
11) Plan your summer garden while bird-watching. My friend, Laurel, says the birds have already begun their nesting rituals, so spring is not too far away.
12) Volunteer in the community by walking a dog at the SPCA. You and your new four-legged friend will both benefit from the fresh air and exercise, and you don’t have to take the pup home…unless, of course, you really want to change up your life. In that case, check out Murphy. He looks like a happy guy who would make a great pet.
13) Rearrange the furniture or -- better yet – start fresh. My cousin, Shannon, is an interior designer, and she suggests taking everything down in a room and starting with a clean slate. Move photos and artwork around or change them out completely. Prepare for the change of season with a change in throw pillows or tablecloths. Make a habit of storing additional picture frames and linens so that you can switch things up every few months. A little change of color and perspective never hurt anyone. If change is tricky for you, host a Girl’s Night and have your friends help you.
14) Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! The folks at Glass House Winery make their own chocolates, and they’re incredible. Of course -- as everybody knows -- chocolate is good for you year-round.
15) Walk the red carpet and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Virginia Film Festival by attending Oscar Night at The Paramount Theater on Sunday, February 26.
16) Take down your Christmas and holiday decorations -- please!