Tag Archives: winter

Pseudo-Spring Not Here Soon Enough For You? Try 22 Things to Do While it’s Still -22

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. Really ready. Like I’m willing to try anything to MAKE it spring.

Expelliarmus!

Expelliarmus!

So conquer the unending winter blues with me!

Things To Do While It’s Still -22

1. Sleep in. Hibernate if possible.

2. Get cracking on your To Be Read Pile. Seriously, start reading!

15529618834_b5d3b2db37_o

3. Catch up on your Oscar Noms.

Several of the Oscar nominated films are out on DVD, including Best Picture winner, Birdman, so queue up Netflix or head to the movie rental and see what all the fuss is about!

4. Make the most amazing Grilled Cheese ever (shared by Myndi Shafer).

5. Got some time to spare? Find out your Klout score (Jenny Hansen has the details).

6. Attend a local VDay event.

February – April is when countries around the world host VDay events to end violence against women and girls. Want to learn more or get involved? I guest blogged at The Indie Chicks with 5 Ways You Can End Violence Against Women and Girls. Please stop by and join the movement!

VDay 2015

7. Check out the Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest hosted by August McLaughlin that happened last week! Tons of great reading in there. I participated!

8. Start an Instagram account – see what people around the world are up to.

15371829500_25831b9a47_zDrink coffee. Be epic.

9. Make a mix cd. Use only songs with the word ‘sun’ in the lyrics. 

10. Check out my pal Victoria’s new book, Dancing in the Fire, and her play by play reaction in gifs to being a published author – it’s priceless. 🙂

11. Build a blanket fort.

12. Write a letter to a loved one via snail mail.

13. Wear fleece pajamas; they will change your life.

14. Follow Women Writers Ink on Facebook for writing prompts and inspiration.

15. Try out Stitch Fix personal stylist for some new spring looks! Get started here!

Stitch Fix collage

16. Go out to eat. But mind your manners.

17. Rent a TV series and watch every season. (It’s cold out, what else is there to do? I just picked up The Mindy Project.)

18. Take a day trip and explore a new town.

photo

Joe and I spent this past Saturday exploring Winona, MN’s bookstores, music shops, and eateries.

19. Catch some winter sports on TV or hit the slopes yourself. Wear a muff. 😉

20. Freeze colored water in different shaped containers and build an ice sculpture.

21. Redecorate a room in your house. You have to be indoors anyway.

22. Wanna be naughty? Crank the heat up and watch a surf movie while wearing short sleeves. *gasp*

*****

What other ideas do you have for surviving the Winter-pocalypse?

 

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What To Wear When Visiting the Tundra

Hey Peeps! I’ve about had it with this -40° weather we’re having.

I must say it’s really put a cramp in my style. I’ve yet to find a pair of gloves that keeps my fingers warm enough, and my car is having an identity crisis. It thinks it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has taken to bouncing its path to my work each morning.

This morning I considered using a beach towel to dry off after showering…you know, just to pretend it was summer.

*sigh*

This past Sunday was an adventure as Joe and I traveled to Green Bay for the Packers/49ers game. Though it was a disappointing loss for sure, it was still a good game and we enjoyed being part of the teeth chattering cheering crowd!

Lambeau Field

Hello, Lambeau!

Packers

Scoreboard

Neither of us had been to Lambeau before, so this was our first NFL game! Holla!

I'm Freeeeeezzzziiiiiing!

I’m Freeeeeezzzziiiiiing!

If you’re planning on attending an outdoor function in single digit weather, here’s what I recommend wearing:

2 pairs of long underwear pants +
1 pair of knee high socks +
1 pair of fuzzy warm socks +
1 pair of tall thick wool socks +
1 pair of jeans +
1 pair of thick fleece pants +
1 pair of snowpants
+
1 pair of boots +
3 foot warmers =
Bottom Layer

*Note: Try to go shopping for snowpants at the beginning of the cold weather season, otherwise, like me, you’ll end up purchasing a boys pair of snowpants. And let me just say, I’m a bit hippier than an 8 year old boy. Nothing like 5 layers and the outermost one being the smallest to make you feel like a stuffed sausage!

Almost all my layers are on!

Almost all my layers are on!

1 long underwear top +
1 turtleneck +
1 long sleeve Packers shirt +
1 Packers sweatshirt +
1 Columbia puffer jacket +
1 face mask +
1 scarf +
1 nylon lined runners cap +
1 fleece lined yarn hat +
1 pair of fingerless gloves +
1 pair of fuzzy gloves +
1 pair of industrial strength rubber mittens +
2 hand warmers =
Top Layer

Are you cold? I'm not cold!

Are you cold? I’m not cold!

Somewhere during the 2nd half…

This is fun, but I can't feel my limbs.

This is fun, but I can’t feel my limbs.

Yep, Packers fans know how to deal with winter.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Hope you’re staying warm out there!

What are your favorite tips and traditions for staying cozy this season?

 

 

 

 

My Newfound Guilty Pleasure: Hibernation

Guilty Pleasures, I’ve got lots.  I’ve been wishing for this one for awhile now.  Every winter, the same request.  I ask Santa, I ask God, I ask my Employer.  They won’t let me.

I just want to frickin hibernate.

My Potential Future (source: timeinc.net)

Many of you know, I’ve been working on this writing thing.  I have 6 restarted drafts of the same story to prove it!  I had been so good.  I was waking up early, writing in the mornings, typing like a madwoman on writeordie.com, renting less movies, reading more, blogging more, doing all I could.

And then winter rolls it’s big ugly head into Wisconsin.  The eternal days of darkness, the driving at 10 mph, the constant wet socks from stepping in other people’s snow tracks!  I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Here’s my proposal for why hibernation would really be the best option for me:

  • When you hibernate, you don’t miss the sun.  Is it still there?  I haven’t seen it.  I go to work when it’s dark, and it’s dark when I leave.  Sometimes, when I walk past the entrance doors, I see a glimmer of a sunray, but then I realize it’s just a headlight pulling into the parking lot and I have to excuse myself and cry in the cosmetics stockroom surrounded by thousands of citrus scented tester bottles, tricking myself like a third world child that I do smell sunshine, I’m not missing it at all.
  • Hibernation is really my favorite kind of dieting.  In order to sleep for so long, one has to induce a food coma.  That means that in the end days of September leading up to November, I can hoard and devour as much comfort food as I want.  I mean mash potatoes for breakfast, pancakes for dinner, a late night snack of an entire can of pringles.  I NEED it to last me in my blissful cocoon of sleep.
  • Don’t Feed After Midnight…Or Else! (source: google images)

    Hibernation is the ultimate heat source.  I hate winter.  I’m grouchy in it.  And I’m always cold.  I’m the girl who wears long underwear and double socks for months at a time.  I’ll go to bed with sweatshirts on underneath all the covers.  By hibernating, I’m delightfully cozy until the temperature gets back into high double digits!

  • In Theory…  The sad truth is, people have never been allowed to hibernate, so we don’t really know just how beneficial this process could be.  Like what if the myth of getting all your sleep at once means you’ll never have to sleep again is true?  Imagine what a productive and warm summer I’ll have?  My novel will get written, I’ll visit the beach, I’ll steal other camper’s food cause I’ll be starving again!

I mean really, can you think of a reason NOT to hibernate?  And if any of you mention a winter sport, I will bite you.  All those in favor of hibernating from this day forth, say ‘aye’!  Good!

Yours in Slumber,

Jess Witkins Van Winkle

Monday Mash Up

Good Morning Everyone!  I’ve been trying to catch up on my blog reading and here have been my favorites so far!  Enjoy!

Writing and Reading:

Kristen Lamb has packed the new year with more awesome posts including Kung Fu Writing – Taking on the Year of the Dragon and Here There Be Blog Trolls – How to Spot Them and What to Do.

August McLaughlin talks thrillers and writers in her Author Interview: With Kyle Mills.

Jillian at A Room of One’s Own made her wish list:  Top 10 Authors I Wish Had Written Another Book.

Things To Do Until Winter’s Over:

Tiffany A. White blogged about Being Human and I just may give the show another chance after making it halfway through the BBC’s first season.  See her review Striving Toward Normalcy.

Amber West also made me reconsider giving Terra Nova and it’s teenage drama another try in Is Terra Nova Still Simmering?

Little Miss Vix gives romantic comedies the once over in her review of the new chick flick adaptation of Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed.

Ellie Ann Soderstrom has just what the love doctor ordered this winter in her Thilly Thursday post Dime Novel Romance.  Get cozy and get cuddly, cuz it’s gettin hot in heah!

All Things I Found Absolutely Fascinating:

Gene Lempp wrote what may be my favorite Designing from Bones post yet on the hoax of the Cargiff Giant in The Stone Giant and Escalating Tension.

Catie Rhodes has got the latest in haunted histories with stories from around the world in Haunted Nacogdoches.

Sara Grambusch is getting lots of SPAM and it’s really boosting her ego.  From Spam With Love.

Jenny Hansen enlightens the battle of the sexes once again in the second edition of Another Peek into Man-Speak.

Shameless self-promoting via the Incredible Marcia Richards who hosted the first Woman’s Day blog series featuring me and author Patricia Sands.  Please check out Celebrate Our 1st Birthday With Sexy Women!

What were your favorite reads this past week?  Feel free to share a link or two below; I’m happy to check out new writers anytime! 

How to Survive Cabin Fever

source: google images

It’s winter, winter everywhere, and not an ice scraper to spare!  The six day work weeks have begun for me, and no matter what my shift is, it seems I’m going to work when it’s dark, and it’s really dark when I leave.

So, I’m getting cabin fever.

Here are the rules and realities that I’ve come to believe in for surviving the perpetual darkness of the winter season:

  1. Crazy colored, fuzzy socks are a must!  It’s true, especially if you’re boyfriend won’t turn the heat up anymore.  Big, fuzzy, warm socks are a godsend after 9 hours on the sales floor.
  2. So is an eclectic mug collection.  I’m too lazy and a wimp to brave the cold and see my favorite coffee shops, so I save time and money with our Keurig single cup coffee maker.  I’m well stocked on apple cider, cafe’ mochas, espresso, and a variety of bold blends.  Pick your mug for fun: the flamingo? the New Orleans cafe’ du monde mug? one of the maple leaves set?
  3. If it’s dark all the time, it means it’s the “night life” all the time!  Wanna know what I’m doing for fun this holiday season?  I have SOOOOO many cosmetics (Hello, I work at the mall and manage that department!) that I’m going to wear each and every one of my eye shadows until I’ve gone through them all!  Today I wore Turquoise Sands!  Doesn’t that sound like I do in fact have a life?  I said sounds like!  Stop that snickering!
  4. Stay indoors.  Watch The Vampire Diaries.  I will leave the house, a drastic and bold move (if I plan, I just go right after work) to venture to the library and stock up on whole seasons of TV.  I’m currently rewatching Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries since it’s newest season is on that ridiculous thing the networks call “midseason finale”.  How garish!
  5. Household chores gettin’ ya down, throw in an audio book!  I’m trying to madly finish up a few titles on my To Be Read list for 2011, so I’ve been double-tasking by getting ready in the morning to an audio book.  I can also listen while cooking, cleaning my room, or wrapping presents.
  6. Become a Sports Fan.  Nothing like a fan club that requires sitting in front of the TV, snack food, and obscene amounts of cheering.  Looking for a team to root for?  *brushes shoulders*  Might I suggest the ol’ Green and Gold, 14-0, Titletown Champs Green Bay Packers?!  Alright, alright!
  7. Write in a journal.  Start a journal.  Now more than ever, keeping a gratitude journal has been important to me.  The long hours and days at work and little free time makes it important to spend that time in a meaningful way and be grateful for the little things like taco dip, vampire TV, and Aveeno creamy moisturizing hand lotion (OMG – this cold weather on my skin! Grrr!)
  8. If you can’t hibernate, have a party!  The holidays should be a time for friends and family.  Spend your days with those you love indulging in laughter and creating new memories.  What will I remember about this holiday season so far?  My toddler niece telling me on the phone “I found Coco the Elf, he’s down the hall!”

 How are you handling Cabin Fever this winter?

The Hunger Games: Team Peeta vs. Team Gale

Yesterday it was 21° F in Wisconsin.  There’s snow on the ground and my car’s keyhole is constantly freezing.  I’ve managed to perfect my juggling of purse, tote bag, coffee, keys, and de-icer spray bottle by holding the cap in my teeth on my way out each morning.  Needless to say, it’s chilly here.

So when life throws frost your way, what’s a girl to do but enjoy a little old school romance?

source: daemonsbooks.com

It’s like Edward vs. Jacob all over again, but better!  Honestly ladies, these are some great guys.  So let’s talk about them!

If you haven’t yet read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you’re missing out.  The trilogy is a very fast read, you won’t want to put it down.  The books in order are The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.  The story is placed in the future where a post-Apocalyptic North America is made up of 12 districts surrounding one Capital.  Every year, the Capital hosts the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death consisting of one boy and one girl from each district.  Collins writes dystopian society as well as George Orwell in my opinion, or Aldous Huxley, who were two of my favorite authors growing up.  But now, if we asked a group of young adults to all read 1984, or Brave New World, I’m guessing there would be some groaning.  Ah, but The Hunger Games has two things on its side:

The first is one bad ass protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, a rebel in her own right, and destined to be a symbol for the nation.  Bonus:  Sara Grambusch is writing all about Katniss’ journey as heroine on her blog today!  Check it out!

The second win, which I’ll be focusing on, is the boys!

Source: google images

Collins has taken two extremes right out of the High School walls and placed them into Katniss’ life.  The first is Gale, tall, dark and handsome.  He is Katniss’ only good friend and they are hunting partners.  So Gale is the equivalent of the athlete friend who pushes you to be your best in the game.  And of course, he’s got amazing abs.

Then there’s Peeta.  Blonde, blue eyed, and kind.  Peeta once saved Katniss’ life long ago, but they’ve never spoken since.  He and his family make a living as bakers and Peeta knows how to do all the decorative work.  So if Peeta was in High School today, he’d be the quite but adorable boy in art class who pines for the alternative girl.

See?  You’re already choosing sides aren’t you?  Well, just stop it right now!

You have to read the books!!!  The situations that Collins places her characters into will make you think twice about what kind of person they are.  This goes for Katniss too.  Through their actions and responses, the author lays out a very interesting look into war and survival.  This may even be a great book to read with your young adult children to get them talking about the topics discussed in the book.

Plus, you know how when writers talk about plotting, and they ask you what’s the one thing your character would fear most, now make them do it!  That’s every book in The Hunger Games trilogy.  Collins will repeatedly push everyone into situations they DO NOT want to go into, but they must every time.  The reason I think that works in her books is because the implications that will happen if the character doesn’t have to do with people’s lives and their relationships.  I hated the book, Hatchet by Gary Paulson when I read it in middle school because the main character was constantly in battle with nature or the next catastrophe.  It didn’t seem believable that so much could happen to one person.  In using other people to weigh on the character’s decisions, Collins nailed this!

See for yourself in the new trailer:

Your turn!  Who are you rooting for?  What other literary characters are keeping you warm this winter?  Can’t Get Enough Hunger Games?  Good!  Read Sara’s blog too!

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