Monday, February 2, 2015

How to spend a productive and gratifying winter

It is freezing outside and the only thing you feel like doing is...NOTHING! You are normally very active person who enjoys all different outdoor activities but now the best thing that comes through your mind is to grab a blanket and watch a nice movie. That is also an option, don't get me wrong. But for those who want to win over their lazy selves, I offer you some tips for turning chilly weekends into pleasant and self-rewarding moments.

1. Test yourself as a cook
Have you never tried cooking anything else from what you really had to? Winter is a perfect period to change it. What about some cookies? They are pretty easy and you can also be very creative with the shapes. You will be surprised how your partying Saturdays can turn into baking sessions. Mine actually did. And the funniest thing about it is that we baked cookies or did pizza together with my husband. So besides testing yourself as a cook, you may discover a hidden side of your hubby, too.

There are plenty of recipes out there. Here is my favorite Slovak traditional recipe, the best one in the last few weeks:

Vanilla rolls
In a large bowl, combine 8.8 ounce of flour (250g), 2.8 ounce of sugar (80g),  7.0 ounce of butter (200g) and 4.2 ounce (120g) of walnut flour. Mix all ingredients together to get one solid piece of pastry and put in the fridge for around half an hour. Then, create small rolls, like little croissants. I normally form small half moon shapes. Bake on 360F for around 12-15 minutes. When they are not hot anymore, dip them in a mix of white and vanilla sugar. Love them!

2. Stay in shape
Do you normally forget about your new year's resolutions after a month and then you find yourself with some extra pounds in May? It may be too late to get ready for your bikini when the sun rays are already warm. Winter is quite long (at least here in Philly) to get in a perfect shape without any particular effort. If you prefer the outdoor work out, you can make advantage of the unstable climate of Philadelphia and go jogging during the warmer days. Otherwise I highly recommend you to get a pass or a subscription for yoga, dance, pilates classes or similar. Once you have paid for a pass, it is more likely you work out regularly. Believe it or not, it may be easier to be regular during the winter than in the sunny months when weekend getaways tend to interrupt your routine.
Talking about the eating habits, the best you can do for your body in the freezing months is a soup diet. I personally love all kinds of soups (both eating and cooking them). Soups will give your body liquids that we often neglect to take in a sufficient quantity in the winter. Besides, they are rich in vitamins and fibers and keep your body warm.

3. Best time for learning
Long chilly weekends may also be the best time to take up a language course or a professional course. You can cover three winter months dedicating yourself to something what you have always wanted to study or what may come useful to your career. It is definitely better to spend some of your free time studying now than in April or May when you will only want to enjoy biking or go to visit a new city.

4. Explore the indoor Philly
Another thing you will hardly do when the sun rays start kissing your face is going to the museum. There are plenty of them in Philly and freezing weather may actually be perfect for spending a day admiring an art exhibition. By the way, there is an interesting "pay what you wish" offer in the Philadelphia Art Museum on Wednesday evenings and every first Sunday of the month.

5. Become a winter sports champion
Well, even if the ski resorts around Philly may not be exactly what professional ski enthusiasts look for, they are good enough for a winter getaway. If you have never skied or snowboarded before, the slopes of the Pocono Mountains are perfect for the beginners. The facilities are well equipped so you basically won't need to buy anything in advance. There are also deals for those who prefer skiing under the moon light. For example, a lift and rental night ticket (it's 6 hours of skiing) in the Blue Mountain resort will cost you 35$.

6. Discover your crafty side 
Staying at home now much more than during the summer may be beneficial to your home as well. If you have kept postponing your household duties, this is the best time to deal with them. Putting some new shelves or pictures on the walls, saving some extra space in your room but lifting up the bikes on a bike rack (your husband's help required!), reorganizing your closet or cataloguing all the papers and bills...these may be only some ideas. Or, you can be really crafty and make something on your own, for example, home-made bath bombs (Mari can tell you more about it) !!! I don't think women can get actually bored in their house. And again, better do these things now than when you will desire to be in a pool.

These are just a few tips to help you make the best out of the chilly months. I hope you all have very productive winter. Resist, girls! January is already over so let's make this February rock.