Tag Archives: chicago winter

You know you love the snow

Oh, Chicagoans! We have a love/hate relationship with snow.

We curse the constant layer of frozen white and salt’s attack on our shoes. We’re famous for using snow as an excuse for turning our apartments into winter hideouts.

But we secretly love it.

The snow is part of our identity as a city. A badge of our toughness, if you will. We’re badass enough to endure six months of winter and its six months of snow.

So, have I been surprised to hear complaints about this season’s lack of snow? Absolutely not. We feel debilitated.

For those who feel lost without wearing snow boots, here’s fix to tide you over. You’ve probably noticed, but we got a dusting this morning.

Happy 2012, everyone. The end of 2011 had me in a bit of a funk. But hopefully I’ll be seeing more of you this year.

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Surviving winter

Winter is particularly hard on people after the new year. After the holidays pass, all we’re left with is snow, frigid temperatures and perpetual gray for four months. And let’s not forget the cranky moods.

I’ve seen it—and experienced it—firsthand. The long stretch of winter makes grumpers out of the pleasantest of people and recluses out of the most outgoing. These days, I don’t want to leave my apartment. I don’t want to write in this blog. I don’t want to do anything, except curl up in front of the TV and rot my brain.

That’s why I’ve resolved to not to let winter win. We’ve got three more months of winter to go, and we must carry on.

Though they may not be the same as Bear Grylls’, here are my winter survival strategies:

Mix up the wardrobe

Living in a semi-tundra, your first instinct getting dressed is probably to throw on jeans, a hoodie and warm boots. Mine is. And (un)luckily, I have a job where I can get away with this. BUT I’m not going to do that. I resolve to wear dresses, jewelry, goldy gaudy chain belts, lipstick and even heels. It seems silly, but stepping up the wardrobe a notch does wonders for the mood.

The best part of this resolution is that you might need to do a little shopping to make it happen. Prints and colors, voila!

Stop complaining

Here’s the thing, we chose to live in Chicago or other respective cold locations. Not Florida, not California, not Mexico or the Caribbean. And complaining about how cold it is isn’t going to change the thermometer. Only make our cranky moods worse. So, let’s resolve to not complain.

Start a project

As mentioned, winter transforms me into a lazy bum. I feel uninspired 98% of the time. For instance, it’s taken me a week to finish this post. So, when the hankering to start a project strikes, I run with it. Like these New Year’s cards. My procrastinating self failed to get Christmas cards out or even addressed. So, I made these instead. I had grand ambitions to send them to all fam and pals, but they ended up going to the peeps who sent us cards. (Sorry)

Make yourself get out of the house

There are some days on the weekend where I don’t have a need to leave the apartment. Like today. My friends came to me since we were hosting brunch. I didn’t get around to leaving the apartment the rest of the day. Too busy sipping bloody marys, watching movies and napping. Joe just suggested getting Thai delivered. The restaurant is a block and half away. I vow to leave the apartment and pick it up, thereby saving $5 on tip and delivery.

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I’m tempted to add “Remind yourself of Chicago in the summer,” but I get annoyed when people say how great summer is during the winter. Because, let’s be honest, that’s just mean. We’ve got a lot of winter left.

What are your winter survival strategies?

If you are miserable and pissed off at Chicago, this week, Time Out Chicago had some nice reasons to love/hate Chicago.

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Reason we live in Chicago #6—Hidden gems

Honest truth: I used to think that Seasonal Affective Disorder—or SAD—was sort of a BS disorder.

This year, I’m a believer.

I’ve been inexplicably glum (or melancholy, as Lisa would want me to say), grumpy and withdrawn for weeks. Everything is fine, but the constant gray has pervaded my mood.

However, I did find a brief diversion last week. I knew a used bookstore called Open Books was close to my office, but I didn’t realize how close it was until I stumbled upon it during my lunch break. It’s a nonprofit organization that supports literacy efforts and sells some really great used books. It’s a super cute shop to boot. My spirits were immediately lifted upon discovery.

I've passed this banner a million times without notice.

If this title doesn't lure you inside, I don't know what will: How to Sell Yourself: Tested Roads to Business Achievements and Social Popularity

Colorful shelves, comfy seating and the smell of the trees of yore abound

You said it, orange wall.

My purchases

It’s funny how popping in this little gem of a bookstore transformed my whole day. Something about bookstores make me happy, as if I’m experiencing an endangered species before it’s too late.  I also find being around so many expressions of creativity invigorating.

Open Books is inspiring for the work it does, and I was happy to make a meager contribution. The fact that I purchased three great books for the price of one book I just bought at Borders was icing on the cake.

Until spring comes, I’ll be using hidden gems like Open Books as a coping mechanism. The new Filter coffee shop on Milwaukee may just be the next one. Send any other recommendations you may have.

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Reasons We Live in Chicago #3: Cabs

Last week, I was hard pressed to find a good reason why we live here.

Biting wind, slippery sidewalks and snow blowing in the face…signs do not point to “yes.” They point to “I need a warmer coat.”

However, protesting the notion of standing in 7 degree weather to take two buses home, I stepped into a cab one evening and remembered how Chicago can be livable in the winter—there are vehicles out there, waiting to drive us around. We don’t have to wait on the bus. We don’t have to clean snow off our cars. We can take a cab. It’s easy.

Hail cab.

Endure the scent, for better or worse.

Oh, and pay the man (or lady).

I don’t take cabs often. It’s a rare treat. I have a foxy Focus, even though I drive her infrequently. For some reason, taking a cab feels like cheating. I’ll usually only do so if:

1. I’m feeling fancy (not too often).

2. I’m running really late (it happens).

3. I’m working really late (I can expense).

4. I’ve had a little too much to drink (i like wine).

Long story short, cabs can be smelly and/or nauseating. However, they can be a lifesaver in a pinch and a treat from time to time. And certainly, a great place to have a dance party to “Groove Is In the Heart.” That may or may not have happened.

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Reasons We Live in Chicago #1: The views

The first snow of the season fell this morning. It’s a whopping 26 degrees outside right now. Sleeping bags coats are out, hats and gloves abound, and puddles have morphed into ice.

It’s official: it feels like winter. Pretty soon, we’ll be asking ourselves “why do we live here?” as we trudge though a foot of snow.

So, I’m starting a new project “Reasons We Live in Chicago,” to remind myself (and others) in the snowy, subzero months ahead why Chicago is a great place to live. I know it will be hard to remember.

Reasons We Live in Chicago #1: The views

When I worked in the Loop, I took the skyline’s eye candy for granted. Most daily commutes, my nose would stay in a book until I arrived at my bus stop. Then, I was surrounded by never-ending skyscrapers I could barely see.

Now, I travel daily to River North, stopping just short of the skyscrapers. It’s because of the short amount of distance I can truly appreciate the view. I was caught quite off guard the other night when I had to walk a few blocks east to Michigan Ave. I’m a daring woman to shop there this time of year.

One more for the road. This was from last summer when Leese and Jo visited, and I made them go on the Architectural Boat Tour with me.

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