Technically, winter arrives in a few more days, but at -1ºF, it feels like we should be at least half done already. Sidewalks are iced over, smoke is rising from housetops, and heaters are running non-stop to keep up. It’s mostly grey skies outside and trees have all lost their leaves, leaving only the evergreens with any color. So how to stay Joyful in such a situation?
Well the first thing to do is to think positive about it. Against our will we are kinda lucky in Chicago that it’s not warm & beautiful everyday. The contrast is what makes us appreciate those warm and beautiful days when they come back around. If you need proof, just look at how people start to disregard the weather in a beautiful climate. It no longer stays a thing to look forward to. If the grass is always greener, we get all sides when it comes to seasons. So maybe we should appreciate these snowy days a little more. To do that though we have to first check off our basic needs ~ to be warm & cozy.
We don’t need to be cold, if we are, we are just unprepared. You need gloves, scarves, hats for going outside and layers so that you can comfortably move between freezing and different heater situations during your voyages out. You’ll also be feeling pretty good about yourself if you’ve planned your layers a found some really nice pieces. The search for fuzzy things can be a therapeutic experience. If you are missing any of these basic things, come find them. Winter will be long and there’s no reason to put it off and suffer another day.
It’s also important when walking places when it’s super cold to periodically drop into establishments for warm beverages, a hot bite and to thaw out. Here are some of some new spots that recently opened in the neighborhood to check out:
The Hollander Cafe – On North Ave, on the ground floor right next to The Robey. The cafe is named after German-American Albert H. Hollander’s furniture storage facility that use to be at this location and was what the building was originally built for in 1905. Now you can recline on one of the laid back chairs and enjoy an Americano (be it the traditional coffee based one or the boozey cocktail ~ don’t specify if you like surprises). They serve Chicago based Metric coffee which has been my fav local coffee roaster for the past year. It’s a bit of an interesting space. To the side you’ll see a washer and dryer room, the reason being it doubles as a lobby for a new modern hotel/hostel of the same name upstairs.
The next thing is finding friends and loved ones. Now, assuming you’ve found your layers, you can venture out to meet with people. You don’t have to do it everyday, but a few times a month can keep your spirits up.
The Robey Cafe 2nd Floor - Next door to the Hollander, on the corner of North and Milwaukee Ave, you’ll find the newly opened Robey Cafe. Upstairs from the cafe is a little oasis to grab a fancy drink and meet a friend. You can watch all the snowy hustle and bustle of the Wicker Park six way intersection from a cozy sofa. The place is usually pretty quiet because nobody knows about it… yet.
The Remedy Bar - If your friend lives a step closer to Logan Square, near the corner of Milwaukee and Western Avenue, you can meet them here for a drink. Relax by watching the fish mosey around in their habitat behind the bar. Unfortunately you probably wont be able to catch some vitamin D from their skylight as the sun tends to go down shortly after they open at 4pm. Though you can order a Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro or a White Russian and probably make up for those vitamins.
Or maybe the love your life (be that a person or a furry animal) is beside you on your coach at home. Wearing the same ill-fitting sweatpants everyday can be a bit of a drag. Invest in a nice looking pear of sweats & a hoodie that maybe you wouldn’t mind wearing out if you had to. You’ll be toasty plus feeling good/looking good at the same time. They’ll also most likely turn into the most worn items in your closet for winters to come.
Work tends to settle down this time of year and it can be a great time to sneak out on a get-away. Start planning your trip to a warm climate if you can. It’ll give you something to look forward to that’s closer than Spring. It’s also a good time of year to pick up some deals on warmer weather clothing & jewelry, so when you get to where you are going, you’ll get the added benefit of wearing new digs that you’ll know you got for a bargain.
Warm n’ cozy + feeling good about yourself and the season = Joy