13.11.12

winter goals



Of all the seasonal transitions, I handle the fall/winter transition with the least grace. After our first truly cold day in late September, I started mourning the end of the best parts of the year and dreading the approaching winter by complaining about it constantly, abandoning my gym routine completely, and eating a lot of snacks. No pumpkin spice latte could console me* as I whimpered about heating bills and dug out my (admittedly super cute) hot water bottles.



I’ve been trying to think of ways to embrace the cold and the early dark, especially since this winter might be a particularly long one. So I made a list of winter goals. Most of these goals are mini projects or activities, and none of them involve eating family-sized bags of ranch popcorn and plowing through all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls in record time (because I have already done that). I have boots, all the pretty & warm knitted things one person could ever want, a couple of tins of dark hot chocolate, and a few wool blankets, so I have warmth & coziness covered.

The word “goal” is a little lofty, but so far, my list includes:
  • sewing a party-ready lace dress (I got this pattern from Burda Style—they call it a wedding dress but it’s just a cute shift, I think—I’m going to use the pink lace pictured below)
  • making a few items out of faux fur, such as pillowcases (already done, actually) and maybe a clutch 
  • making a velvet (!) cape or jacket with a big bow at the neck, a design that came to me in a Lula-inspired daydream
  • trying to take more film photos because the light outdoors is actually pretty great sometimes in winter (this will be a huge challenge)
Then there are a few smaller goals, such as going out for coffee with Geoff in the morning before work at least once a week, the tried-and-true act of burrowing under the covers listening to Slowdive on headphones, visiting Coriander Girl for flowers, listening to Boney M’s Christmas album until I get sick of it, putting sequins on everything, lighting candles and twinkle lights every night, and trying to see friends regularly because (sad but true) sometimes in winter I need to put that kind of thing on a list to follow through with it.


One final goal that I’m really excited about is ice skating. I used to love ice skating, despite being kind of lousy at it (I taught myself to skate as a kid by clinging to the sides of the Wallace Emerson rink). A few years ago I slipped on ice and broke my ankle & I’ve been a little afraid to step onto ice deliberately since. But I want to try it again, because there is a small rink literally behind our house, and every winter I can look out of our back windows and see people skating. It always looks so serene and romantic. I found a pair of ice skates in a thrift shop on the weekend, and I am counting down the days until the rinks across the city open again.


If any of you in northern climes have any winter secrets, please share! Desperate times.



*because I hate pumpkin spice lattes.

74 comments:

  1. Dreaming of a velvet cape and bow

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  2. this looks like a very healthy list for winter!

    oh, and fun fact: i watched the last gilmore girls episode literally two hours ago after watching all seven seasons in just a month.

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    1. Thank you! And wow, you beat me! I think it's taken me a little longer than that. I'm not quite done, but I'm at that point where I am so annoyed with every character on the show.

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  3. I have really intense sunday night blues, especially during winter. We make a big batch of home made nachos (lots of veggies, less guilt) and watch 90's cheesy comedy movies on vhs (yup, still have that.) Wayne's World, Dumb and Dumber, etc. Makes me feel better.

    Also, going sliding with friends is the best thing ever, so much laughter. We also usually have a winter retreat weekend with Jf's McGill GEOG grad students gang and have so much funnnn.

    We are also big board game nerds and love to play Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and so on. Warm soup is on the menu pretty much everyday too.

    Good luck!

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    1. Oh yum, nachos! All your suggestions are so great. I haven't played a board game in a while but that is always fun! Good luck to you as well! I know your winters are much harsher than ours (ours are bad enough!).

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  4. I am totally there with you when it comes to the cold weather all I want to do is stay inside with a warm beverage. I love your goals, you are inspiring me to write some of my own!

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    1. I hope you do! I have a lot of sewing projects on my list because they make the time go by so fast while I'm trapped indoors. Ha.

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  5. this is such a good idea. projects! i need them. candles, wine, and woolly socks are not cutting it. and it's only november.

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    1. Do it! I bet yours would be awesome!

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  6. i'm really confused about your statement regarding hatred for pumpkin spice lattes. huh?

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    1. They're sickly sweet to me. I just don't like them.

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  7. i feel you. i would like PSLs if they weren't filled with nasty starbucks chemical trash. 0:)

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    1. I mean, I like other pumpkin things a lot, but personally, if I were going to consume 50g of sugar in one sitting, I'd rather eat a slice of cake!

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    2. I work at a cafe in Halifax where we make one with real pumpkin pie filling and a chai concentrate (NOT a sickly syrup, and all organic to boot, including the milk). They are the best things ever.

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  8. I love this list! I also would really like a sewing machine. I'm busy knitting (especially xmas gifts), but it's such slow gratification. I have wanted to go skating at City Hall since I moved to the city and I have yet to do so, this will be the year! (I hope).

    A velvet cape with a bow sounds lovely and the perfect antidote to winter blues. I think it will be lovely over your lace dress.

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    1. It's gotten to the point where a sewing machine is indispensable for me! I always seem to be using it to mend something or other, or for small projects. Definitely a useful tool to have around.

      I think skating at City Hall sounds super fun, but I also like the idea of skating in a rink that has a ring around it so I can crash into something, ha! But yeah, you should totally try it! Definitely one of the most photogenic spots to skate!

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  9. We don't get winter where I live (boo!) but the photos you chose show such a lovely side of winter - they would definitely get me excited about the colder weather that's coming. I think having a to-do list is a great idea too!

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    1. Thanks! Here's hoping I can get through it...

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  10. i know exactly what you mean about winter light being the best! isn't the sun technically closer to us or something? (i can't remember science class for the life of me...) anyway, that's when i always end up getting my best polaroids...so maybe i'll run into you out there! :)

    as for my favourite activities during winter, i'm the weirdo who likes bundling up and going for long walks when there's a blizzard outside. i like how quiet it is, and how no one else is generally around, when the world is probably at its most beautiful.

    i've also been telling myself i'll go snowshoeing somewhere where the snow actually stays on the ground (ugh toronto winters)...but then i always end up just bumming around with veronica mars on repeat and umpteen cups of tea, haha.

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    1. I do love how quiet it is when it snows, I really do. So I don't think that sounds too weird! That is definitely one of the nicest parts of winter, although sometimes it's hard to remember that when you're trudging through slush.

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  11. I hate pumpkin spice lattes too - I made my own list of "goals" (more likes "crafts") today. Yours is wonderful - I'm looking forward to the film photos (and the velvet cape!!!!)

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    1. Thanks! We'll see if I actually have the chance to make it!

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  12. this collection of photos make winter feel not so bad. i agree we should be putting sequins on everything!

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    1. Yeah, these photos are beautiful! I don't even know if all of them were taken in winter but they do have a nice wintery quality.

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  13. I'm the same way about winter. I've been in a glum state and have been watching big bang theory constantly! I too started to do lists with things like "coffee dates with friends" to force myself into a bit of human interaction. Hope your transition begins to go smoother!

    xoxo missdottidee.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! Best of luck to you as well. We will get through winter!

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  14. Such a beautiful goal list! I wish I were able to make all those lovely things too! xx

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    1. Thanks! I don't know if I'll be able to, but I have months and months because winter is so darn long...

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  15. Stunning photographs, what a fabulous post!

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  16. We don't have the winter here that you have there...but it does get cold and snowy enough to keep everyone indoors! My favorite thing to do when it's icy outside is hot yoga...it's exhilarating to come in from the cold and practice in a heated room. And then going back outside afterwards feels like a relief!

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    1. Oh yeah, last winter I went to hot yoga and I did love that. I had to stop because it's so expensive, ha. Really nice memories of going to a Sunday afternoon class and doing hot yoga in that lovely winter sunshine we get sometimes.

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  17. love your goals. :) inspired me to make some of my own!

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  18. As a fellow northerner (Toronto as well actually) I can totally relate to this - especially the part about including "hang out with friends" as a to-do list item!!!
    Ice skating drastically improved my mood last winter when I decided to take it up again as something to do after work! So great plan!
    Can't wait to see the dress in progress!

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    1. Thank you! And I can't wait. The rink opens on Saturday. I'm a little worried that it will go horribly and I will be disappointed, but I have to try!

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  19. since you already tackled gilmore girls i´d suggest pushing daisies, there are unfortunatly just two seasons out there but i´m so in love since many years... and hosting dinner nights and pilates class...

    but still i can´t get used to the fact that it´s going to be winter now for a long time...

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. And I know, winter always feels like the longest season.

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  20. I'm from England, and our winters are nothing compared to your Canadian ones, but I've never been good at even our mild winters.
    There's a pan of minestrone soup bubbling away on the hob right now, which never fails to make me feel happier about the cold weather. Other than that, I also have tentative plans for ice skating and Christmas shopping with friends, as well as going to see a lot of shows that my friends are acting in this December.
    I think I need a list of crafts though, to keep me happy at home throughout the coming weeks.

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    1. That all sounds so lovely! Winter in Toronto isn't nearly as bad as in other parts of Canada, but it can just drag on and on.

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  21. I love this post! Makes me want to write up my own list of goals for winter. Ps-what kind of dark hot chocolate mix do you use? It sounds tasty and perfect for a chilly evening.

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    1. Thank you! I like the ones from Camino: http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/hot-chocolate

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  22. 1. Find all the delicious winter/xmas season smelling candles you can, and light them!
    2. Getting through my christmas shopping list early. It's a great goal, I promise!
    3. Painting my nails darker shades.
    4. Host a tacky sweater party ^-^
    5. If you get a tree, maybe make it a goal to decorate it differently this year following a new colour scheme.

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    1. These are great! Thanks. I have a little collection of wintery candles that I got on sale a few weeks ago. They're the best.

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  23. The very thought of a velvet cape is making me wish I could sew. I love winter - it's my favourite season - and I'm starting to miss it as we come into Spring/summer here in New Zealand. But each season has its benefits and drawbacks - much as I miss many things about winter, the strawberries and asparagus coming into season is wonderful! And much as I love winter, I'm hopeless at ice skating (even worse at rollerskating, incidentally.)

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    1. I've never tried roller skating! I did try on roller blades once and promptly fell on my butt on the sidewalk. Not such a good experience. I used to love winter, because I think it can be pretty magical for kids, but as an adult trying to go on about my life and being hindered by snow and ice and having to pay enormous heating bills... well, it's not so charming anymore. I'm trying to find the charm again!

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  24. Good ideas! I tried ice skating again last winter for a grad school department event, and it was actually a lot of fun! I don't think I'd gone on the ice really since quitting hockey in high school. I'll have to make it a point to go again, especially somewhere outside. We saw people skating in Quebec City when we were there in October... but that was a bit too soon for me.
    I'm going to try to get out cross country skiing a bunch too. I always love it, and just need to take the extra effort to make it happen!

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  25. I was just about to write a goals themed post and then saw yours. Being an introverted and home bound lady means I have to try harder, esp in the winter!

    I've signed up for ceramic classes and that'll get me out early on Saturdays and hopefully I'll keep my running up.. even in cold and dark January :-/

    let's hope.

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    1. Sounds fun! Good luck with the running! A friend of mine told me recently that winter running is his favourite, so invigorating. I'm too chicken to try it myself.

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  26. I also turn into a hermit at this time of year so I'm with you on the see more of your friends goal!
    You're right - the light can be beautiful so I'm making an effort to carry a camera with me at all times.
    I've started crafting some christmas gifts so I want to finish that off and save enough money over the next two months to enrol on a part time evening course at the local art school.

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    1. That all sounds really great! Good luck!

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  27. Anonymous17.11.12

    Thank you SO much for writing this post. Know that many are also feeling the same way about Winter.

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  28. This is such a perfect list! We're in upstate New York, and I have a favorite ritual to sort of befriend the winter. I wake up before my partner does, and light a candle in our still-dark apartment, brew some coffee and turn the heat on. Then I go back to bed for a half hour (body heat!) and wake up to a glowing, warm, coffee-filled dream.

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  29. considering making a goal list aswell, but what with school, blogging, homework, studying and writing my little freetime is taken up by shopping and watching nowhere boy repeatedly.

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    1. Oh, my leisure time is largely non-existent between the multiple jobs that I have, but the thing about winter is that it's so dang long that I might very well be able to find a few moments here and there for enjoyment.

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  30. While I don't really live in a cold climate, I do have a hard time with Winter, too. Many weeks of rain and lack of sunshine send me curled up on the sofa with Netflix by my side. I'm trying to get myself out of the habit of feeling lazy from the rain and look at it as a good atmosphere for indoor activities that I tend to neglect that make me happy - sewing, making art, creative projects.

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    1. Oh, I think endless rain would be worse for me (I just cannot stand rain, no matter how lovely it can be). But it sounds as though you have a great plan!

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  31. ooooh.... to do lists are my FAVOURITE.
    snow shoes, more leather work, and lots and lots of tea. LOTS.
    and focusing more on relaxing. that's a tough one for me, but i figure toronto winter is a good time for it :)

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    1. Ha, my life is one long to-do list. I'd be lost without them! Mm, tea.

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  32. a couple years ago i came around to appreciating winter. i've found whiskey in small (or larger quantities) helps for warmth and attitude. the light is so pale & beautiful. snow falling can look like glitter in the sunlight and at night it looks like fat white dots against the darkness. sunsets are pretty amazing on a white landscape. when it's really cold i look for snow dogs around the sun. i personally enjoy cooking more and get more adventurous with experimentation. dang. i'm actually getting excited..?!..?

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    1. What! I'm shocked that you're excited about winter! But I can see why. You have just made it sound kind of amazing.

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  33. I got a whole bunch of friends to go ice skating on the weekend. It was my boyfriend's first time, and one friend described him as a little baby moose trying to skate. Haha. It was so fun. But I also hadn't skated in years and was really nervous and a little shaky at first, but I really loved it after a few minutes. I miss it.

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  34. I have just started sewing and am looking for great websites like burdastyle that you posted about. Do you have any other go to places to look for patterns?

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    1. Burda Style is pretty good. There's also Victory Patterns (http://www.victorypatterns.com/), Collette Patterns (http://www.colettepatterns.com/), and I happen to really like Japanese craft books as well. My friend Karyn has a great sewing blog where she talks about and links to lots of great resources: http://www.makesomething.ca (including Japanese patterns and patterns from, say, Simplicity). Good luck!

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  35. Last year some lady pals and I got a great deal on a night in a 2 bedroom suit with a kitchen in Muskoka. We cross-country skied all day long and then retired to the resort to drink bloody mary's and eat so much fondue and watch curling (so Canadian). We snowshoed a bit before heading back to the city the next day. It was amazing!

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  36. I know how you feel. I live on an island off the North of Scotland and it gets dark really early but there are some days when the sky is clear its even more beautiful than summer.

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