Beating the Winter Blahs

Every year around mid-winter I feel my temperament start to drop and my spirits sink. It’s not that I’m sad, it’s just that winter, as a season, is pretty draining! While winter can be fun for the first few months, by the time February rolls around, the cold and dreary weather has gotten to be mundane and tiring.

The dreary feeling many people experience during the winter season can be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a serious thing that afflicts people every year, and if you have it, take it seriously! However, winter can still make you feel down even if you’re not afflicted by the depression. So, anyone can follow these tips just to cheer up the winter days a bit more. Plus, before we know it, Spring will be here again!

My only disclaimer is that these are (by no means) fool proof ways to have happy days. I just know what I do to cheer myself up a little bit on the worst of the cold and snowy days, so I’m spreading the knowledge on to you!

Grow something- Seeing something grow during the winter is a super rewarding. All that white outside? Make it green inside!

(My little bud! I can't wait for her to bloom. I named her Petulia.)
(My little bud! I can’t wait for her to bloom. I named her Petulia.)

Drink a warm beverage- It makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Duh. Nah, what’s better than holding a nice cup of hot chocolate?

(One of my favorites from the bistro is the venti mocha, it's the pick-me-up that is always needed!)
(One of my favorites from the Bistro is the venti mocha, it’s the pick-me-up that is always needed!)

Go to the movies- Step out of your comfort zone, get off the couch, grab some popcorn, some friends and go! Bonus points if you see something you never thought you would!

(I went to the art museum Munson Williams to go see Carol, a film I didn't think I would go and see.)
(I went to the art museum Munson Williams to go see Carol, a film I didn’t think I would go and see.)

Try something new- “When’s the last time you did something for the first time”? There’s loads of winter activities! Go skiing, ice skating, or sledding.

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My radio show is my something new! I’ve had shows in the past, but never by myself! So this semester I decided to just jump right in.

Resist the urge to stay in bed all day- Ever feel more tired after a long day in bed than when you’re mobile? Keep going! Netflix and chill isn’t for everyday!

Exercise- 30 minutes of exercise can keep your mind de-stressed. Head to the Dome and get a good workout in! Don’t feel like running? Get on the bike and enjoy a good book or catch up on your favorite shows! There’s your Netflix and chill.

Winter can be tough! But I have faith we will all make it through. See you on the other side my friends.

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Make the Most of the Snow!

Welcome back to Utica College! I hope everyone had enjoyable and relaxing  breaks. By now most people are almost fully back into the swing of things, and ready to take on the spring semester, myself included! This semester is by far my favorite, more than fall, because by the time finals roll around the warm and sunny weather feels like such a reward for making it through.

However, the spring semester is also notorious for dragging on. The winter weather sometimes has too firm a hold on the Central New York Region. While I enjoy snow during the holiday season, two months later it begins to feel like some sort of punishment. So, don’t dread a single moment of it. I’m planning on trying to enjoy the snow, and the cold while it’s here. You know, not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a region where we get to experience four very distinct seasons…or just keep telling yourself that!

Anyway, here’s some tips to help you not only push through the winter in Utica, New York, but also enjoy it too!

Do Typical Winter Activities! Go outside on campus and build a snowman! Take advantage of the close proximity Utica College has to numerous skiiing/snowboarding/sledding locations. Actually, there is a great sledding hill at the Recreation Center on the Parkway which is literally down the road from the campus.  If you don’t want to leave campus, grab a few friends and start a snowball war! Just grab some boots, and a hat and get out there!

Take A Brisk Walk. I find the crisp winter air to be refreshing…to a certain extent. I like going for a walk if I am completely bundled up, and fully prepared. It can be as small as the walk from your residence hall to your class. Instead of rolling out of bed reluctant to go outside, try to look at it as an opportunity to breathe in the fresh winter air. Trust me, it just smells different than the other seasons.

Bundle Up. Winter is great because the cold gives a great excuse to wear your coziest and warmest clothes. I love wearing oversized sweaters during the Winter. I also love beanies and hats, which I can’t really get away with in the Summer. So wear the fashions of Winter while you can! Even if fashion isn’t your thing, cherish the ability to wear your sweatshirt. (It’s the small things that can make the season better.)

 Indulge in Your Favorite Winter Foods. One of my favorite winter foods to eat is soup, I don’t eat it any other time! It magically seems to warm you up from the inside out. So, after a long day of studying (or sledding!) have a warm bowl of soup. Also, I don’t think there is anything as cozy as curling up with a mug of coffee/tea/hot chocolate during the frigid winter months. One of my favorite ways to de-stress is with a warm blanket, a good book, and a mug of tea.

Anticipate! The Winter season has so many things that people look forward to. I, personally, am counting down the days until the Academy Awards (Oscars) in February. But, others may be anticipating the Super Bowl which is also coming up! And don’t forget about Spring Break in March! There are plenty of things to look forward to.

Marvel in How Pretty Winter Can Be. The snow can make everything look so pure, and clean which can be beautiful to look at. So, take advantage. Instagram that fresh snowfall, and find the perfect filter for that snowflake close up…maybe you’ll spread your new found appreciation of Winter to some new people too!

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What Not to Forget When You Return From Winter Break

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Photo from Utica College

I know nobody wants to talk about it (I certainly don’t), but we’ve got to address this pressing matter regardless: winter break is over.

But I’ve done my crying, and I’ve dried my tears, and now it’s time to man-up and prepare. We’ve got a long couple of months ahead of us until summer warmly welcomes us with open arms, and I want to make sure you make it to see the sun.

There are obvious things you need to have ready to go with you like clothes and money, but I’ve got a list for you of a few things you might not have thought of.

  1. Textbooks – Yeah, an obvious one it would seem, but I guarantee there are a few people reading this right now and exclaiming, “Crap!” because they forgot to order them yet. Get on it.
  2. Family photos – Even if your dorm’s already decked out in photos, I’m sure you’ve acquired a few new ones over break. Hang ’em up in your dorm to make it feel a little more like home and freshen up the room you became so used to last semester.
  3. Recipes – Remember all those great dorm-ready recipes you saw on Pinterest that you said you were going to make? Unless you print them out and have a tangible version, you’re going to forget about them. So, go ahead and print out recipes you like, then compile them into a folder or binder like your own little cookbook.
  4. Holiday decor – this one might be more for the females, but you’d be surprised how festive you’ll feel with just a few cheap decorations for your dorm. You’ll have Valentine’s Day and Easter to decorate for this semester, and although it may be early to shop for Easter stuff, the V-Day decor is already out. Little things like this will keep your mood lifted.
  5. Emergency comfort food supply – I don’t care how healthy you eat on a daily basis; everyone needs a little bit of chocolate or instant mac & cheese or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. Have a little bit on hand, and keep it hidden, so you don’t have to rush out to the store when you desperately need it.
  6. Reusable water bottle with filter – Ever since I bought my water bottle with a built-in Brita filter, my life has been so much better. You’ll save a ton of money not buying bottles all the time, it’s environmentally friendly, and you can feel safe drinking from most faucets.
  7. Back-up hard drive – This sounds like something only high-tech people need, but if you’re a student, or just someone who relies on their computer for things like picture and music storage, then you NEED a back-up hard drive. What would you do if your computer crashed in the middle of the semester? That would stink, wouldn’t it? These guys aren’t that expensive, about $60 for a decent amount of space, and definitely worth it. They will save your life.
  8. Notepad – Just a tiny one is all you need. You’d be amazed the difference writing down little reminders can make. “Run the dishwasher,” “Do laundry,” “Remember your book for class tomorrow,” etc. It is so helpful for a scatter-brained person like myself. You can also use it to write down long-term stuff like papers, final projects, and goals. And of course, write out those grocery lists.
  9. Way more pens than you think you need – Because they get up and walk away when you’re not looking, am I right?
  10. Extra underwear and socks – Because doing laundry is the worst.

What non-traditional stuff do you tote along to school each semester?

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‘Tis the Season for Holiday Feasting

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As a devoted food lover, this is my favorite time of year. There are so many seasonal treats to indulge in, and calories don’t count until after the New Year, am I right? Now, perhaps you need some inspiration for what to chow down on this holiday season, or maybe your usual menu is starting to look a little lackluster. Allow me to help you out. I’ve got a smorgasbord of delectable dishes to make this the tastier holiday ever. But I must caution you: Please feast responsibly. Over-indulging in these mouth-watering treats may cause food comas.

Main Dishes to Steal the Show

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  1. Eggplant Parmigiana This overloaded cheesy behemoth is a meal in and of itself. You’ve never seen so much ooey-gooey cheese in one place, plus a sweet yet spicy homemade sauce with fresh basil makes this dish special. And who could resist crispy, golden brown fried eggplant tucked underneath all that goodness?
  2. Vegetable Lasagna with Blush Sauce You’ve probably seen vegetable lasagna with white sauce, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tried it with my rich blush sauce. This substantial main can be customized with your favorite veggies.
  3. Classic Polish Pancakes Whether you’re Polish or not, this recipe is a must-try.

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  1. Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese The flavors of this ultra-creamy mac are comforting and warm, and everyone who’s tried it has raved about it.
  2. Cheesy Twice-Bake Sage & Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes Words cannot describe how heavenly and flavorful these potatoes are. You’re a fool if you don’t try them.
  3. From-Scratch Cheddar Green Bean Casserole Way better than the canned, chunky version, and just as easy to make.
  4. Ma’s Baked Corn Pudding If you’ve never tried corn pudding, this is the recipe to make you a corn pudding lover. It’s sweet, savory, golden brown, and indulgent.
  5. Ma’s Sweet Potato Casserole Because everyone needs the perfect sweet potato casserole recipe.
  6. Extra Creamy Stovetop 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese Chances are, you’re short on oven space as is. Save yourself stress and make this super creamy & cheesy mac on the stove in about 20 minutes.
  7. Roasted Garlic & Basil 3-Cheese Shells A sea of rich cheese sauce kissed with the robust flavor of roasted garlic and the sweetness of fresh basil blankets mountains of tender pasta shells.

Awesome AppetizersIMG_3389

  1. Best Spinach-Artichoke Dip Seriously, I’m not kidding. This is the creamiest, cheesiest, best spinach-artichoke dip on the planet, and it’s a one-pot dish.
  2. Party Bread Sourdough bread cut into tearable, sharable pieces and stuffed with monterey jack cheese, drenched in butter, & sprinkled with poppy seeds and fresh scallions. It’s all baked until golden brown and melty. Yum.
  3. Tortellini Dippers w/ Pesto Sauce So easy, and yet everyone will rave over how cute and delicious these are.
  4. Easy, Big, Fat Garlic Knots Starts with a can of store-bought biscuit dough, but tastes like homemade.

Delightful Desserts

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  1. Chocolate-Gingerbread Pumpkin Mousse Trifle This pretty dish is a show-stopper, and the perfect dessert to please pumpkin pie lovers and gingerbread lovers alike.
  2. Peppermint-Gingerbread Cookies & Cream Ice Box Cake All the flavors of Christmas in one insanely indulgent and delicious make-ahead dish.
  3. Nutter Butter Penguins Cute, quick, and delicious.
  4. Eggnog Christmas Cookie Milkshakes What else are you going to do with all those Christmas cookies?

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  1. Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Everyone needs the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
  2. Fudge Brownie Thumbprints with Caramel Drizzle These cookies are as gorgeous as they are sinful.
  3. Hello Dollies A 7-layer cookie tradition handed down to me by my grandmother. Just pile all the ingredients in a pan and bake!

What’s on your menu this year?

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