Upstate NY is COLD this time of year. Living in the Northeast has so many upsides, but the many cold, dark days of winter is not one of them. Yet there are great ways to embrace the cold and to celebrate the “Season for Recharging.”
We (Christina from Whats Good in the Roc and Amy from Rochester A-List) put this list together to help our fellow Rochesterians out. Winter is the time to check in, slow down, and take care of YOU. If you are always going and doing, you don’t have time to see if you are on the right path. Taking the time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to be, will help you put focus in the right direction. We want to share some ways to help you gain more control over your life, because after all, it’s up to us to create a life we love! Where do you want to go and be in 2019? Another reason we made this list is for us. Winter is one of the hardest months to keep your spirits up, but this list has 5 great ideas that will help. We know it helped us! Connect with us on our Instagram where we’ll be sharing more (plus our highlights share more of each of this Top 5 List).
1) Embrace Your Inner Julia Child – Feed Your Soul Foods That Nourish Body and Spirit
This time of year, it’s sometimes nice to stay in! Cozy up by a fireplace and eat a delicious home cooked meal (maybe in your jammies). In the middle of the three coldest months of the year, there is a good chance you’ll be snowed in on several occasions or want to be snowed in. With more time at home, it’s a good time to try a new recipe or make some new dishes. We love going to Stuart’s Spices, a local business in the South Wedge for new recipe and menu ideas and the spices to elevate your cooking. Do some menu planning and stock up so you’re ready for the next nor’easter. Their spices have no msg (many mass produced spices do) and they’re high end and consistent. You’ll find you use less spice and get more flavor. Many local restaurants trust Stuarts for their spice and spice blend needs and as a home cook, you can improve your culinary success by just using higher quality spices and knowing what to put them in. Check out some of their recipes online or stop in to ask questions and see what recipes they have for your favorite spices and ones you never tried making yourself. You can also take a class at Stuart’s, which is a fun way to cook with friends and learn something new. See the list of upcoming classes and events Stuart’s Spices here.
2) Get Hygge
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh). Warm lights, cozy everything, the smell of food cooking or dessert baking, fireplace burning and a good book. With so many cold, dark, days, the simple act of a candle glowing with a cup of coffee in the morning or a home cooked evening meal with friends can make a huge difference to one’s spirit. Hygge, has recently become a very popular word. It comes from Denmark and means finding ways to create joy, happiness, and comfort in your life. To create hygge, we must ask ourselves – what brings me the most joy? Is it food, family, friends, or activities? Whatever it is, learn to be intentional about creating hygge in your life. Know you’re doing it right if you’re feeling truly relaxed and happy – then go create those moments of peace and self care, knowing how truly important it is. Our favorite ways to hygge up are warm, soft cozy clothes, candles, and of course food with friends! Plan a hygge night in.
3) Get Outside!
Try an outdoor activity! To keep your spirits up, it’s important to resist the urge to hibernate all winter. A day spent on the slopes, hiking at the park, or out on the ice can do more for your mental health than you know! All this time we spend inside during the winter can be numbing. It’s amazing how good it can feel to breathe in some fresh air and get your heart rate up. One of our favorite winter activities is ice skating. At Manhattan Square Park in the city of Rochester, you can grab skate rentals and admission for less than the cost of a movie ticket. The unique part about this rink is that it’s outdoors! There’s always music playing, providing you with the perfect atmosphere for a whimsical winter afternoon. Make sure to dress warm and lace your skates tightly. Another fun option is cross country skiing. If you don’t own, you can rent them at Eagle Vale Golf Course. Eagle Vale is open for xc skiing Tuesday thru Sunday from 9am-5pm, weather permitting. Adult rentals are $15 and $8 for kids. No charge if you have your own skis. Hit the slopes at Bristol Mountain or Swain Ski Resort for downhill or snowboarding. If you’ve never skied before and are ready to hit the slopes and try it, check out the extremely affordable learn to ski option at Bristol Mountain and Swain! You can also rent snowshoes at Eastern Mountain Sports.
4) Two Words- Spa Day!
Winter takes a toll on your skin, as well as your spirit. A Spa day makes the winter blues go away. Bonus good feels if you go with a friend. We recently went to Ape and Canary on Strathallan for a Girls Spa Day and loved every part of our visit. There is so much to love and recommend at this urban spa. The space is gorgeous! From the treatment rooms to the Sanctuary with a double sided fireplace, exposed brick and sectional couch with cozy pillows where you can relax and sip a cup of tea, (or a local beer or Perrier) and enjoy some relaxation before or after your service. Don’t overlook this feature – leave yourself some extra time to enjoy the Sanctuary. We made a mental note to next time, plan to do some writing here. They also have rain showers and lockers. We each had a mani, pedi, and facial. Check out our Instagram highlights for more about Amy’s (Rochester A-List) Face Lift Facial, and Christina’s (What’s Good in the Roc) A+C Facial. You are definitely going to love this spa. The pedicure area has two pedicure stations and more cozy pillows as you can see in the photo. The manicure bar is in the same room with three mani stations. All of the staff were friendly and fantastic. We also had fantastic massages! We loved our massage therapists, Andrew and Jordan. Work those knots out and book a massage. A visit to this spa will recharge and relax you in the best of ways! (hint: Valentine’s Day is coming up and they offer couples massage in a gorgeous room with two beds).
Some extra good news friends- Ape and Canary is offering 20% off any service through 3/31/19. Just mention What’s Good in the ROC or Rochester A-List to get the discount. Link to services is below.
5) Warm Drinks
A warm drink in your hand is absolutely essential for winter. Make it a fun project to find ones you like around town, or try recipes at home. We vote both! There are so many to choose from- cider, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and all of the fun drinks made with them, you are sure to find several you enjoy. Another warm drink to fall in love with is mulled wine. If you’ve never tried mulled wine before, you absolutely need to! It’s served hot, and steeped with a blend of rich aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. You can make your own at home with a mulling kit from Stuart’s Spices and some recipes call for adding apple cider for a sweeter taste. Experiment with different recipes in your own kitchen, you won’t be disappointed! It’s a simple process of steeping wine with spices while heating it over the stove. Some recipes may allow the wine to steep for hours, it’s up to you to decide how long you can wait! Steve from Apogee Wine Bar recommended to use a dry fruity red, like Malbec, and steep it with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, orange peel, nutmeg, and sugar. Some local wine bars serve mulled wine occasionally. We recommend keeping up with the latest by following us on Instagram, @whatsgoodintheroc is especially fond of mulled wine and posts about it whenever she finds it. We’ve also included a link below to 10 healthy drink recipes which some of you may enjoy! And did you know that drinking plain old hot water has surprising health benefits? It does. Read about them here. Cheers! Warm your heart and your hand with a delicious warm drink.
Local Businesses Mentioned
Stuart’s Spices 754 S. Clinton Ave. in the South Wedge (585) 436-9329
Ape and Canary on Strathallan 566 East Ave. Rochester (585) 490-9401
Manhattan Square Park Ice Rink 353 Court Street, Rochester NY
Eagle Vale Golf Course 4344 Nine Mile Point Road, Fairport NY (585) 377-5200
No info. about cross country skiing seems to be on their website, but we checked and it is still being offered. Details above in #3.
Some of the businesses mentioned participated in a sponsorship program.