We’re just over a month into winter, and yet we all seem to be #OverIt. As the sparkling, ceremonial ball dropped over a near arctic Times Square, temperatures fell to 10 degrees (-12c), making 2018 the coldest New Year’s Eve in over 100 years. In the days since then, New Yorkers have seen continuous below freezing temperatures, a bomb cyclone, and an unquestionable promise that one hell of a winter lies ahead. So for the days when leaving your home is simply not an option, I’ve compiled a list of things to do that’ll keep you entertained from dawn ’til dusk.
READ A BOOK
There’s nothing like curling up beside the fireplace with a good book in hand and a warm beverage by your side. Unfortunately, while my pre-war apartment has its special quirks and lovely amenities, a fireplace is not one of them. Luckily, Netflix, Amazon and other television providers offer a video that replicates a crackling, wood-burning fireplace. For now… it’ll do!
Book Recommendations: The Nightingale, The Girls, A Man Named Ove, Pride & Prejudice, and any or all of the seven Harry Potter books, obviously.
BINGE WATCH NEW SHOWS
Time to pop that popcorn (and mix it with peanut M&Ms). The amount of mind-blowing shows and documentaries, as well as programming that is lighthearted and fun, is extensive and beyond binge-worthy. They will no doubt keep you entertained on a snow day… or any day, really.
Binge Watching Recommendations: Making a Murderer, The Jinx, The Keepers, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Catastrophe, Ozark, Casual, The Crown, Narcos, Man in the High Castle, 13 Reasons Why (next on my list), and Riverdale- while I resisted this teenage soap for a long time, I needed to get some friends off my back. So I decided I would watch one episode. By the next day, I had watched the full first season. So, go ahead and embrace your inner teenager with that one!
INVITE YOUR BESTIES OVER
As we know it’s cold outside. But, that doesn’t mean we have to abandon our social lives. Solution? Throw a party or an intimate gathering. Either way, your friends come to you, not the other way around. Plan a girls night, a game night or a potluck with lots of hot toddy’s on tap to get that party started. There’s no better way to spend a snow day than with your best friends at your side.
PLAN A TROPICAL VACATION
During the cold, dark and dank days of winter, there is nothing more uplifting than planning a vacation to a warm, sunny destination. I have spent many winters lounging on the beaches of St. Maarten, escaping not just the cold weather, but all of my worries back home. This year, however, many tropical destinations on the east coast have been severely damaged by hurricanes. Furthermore, with concerns regarding the Zika virus worrying many, a lot of sunny destinations are simply off the table. Don’t know where you want to go? My biggest tip for planning an unforgettable vacay is to visit Skyscanner.com and enter “Everywhere” in the destinations box. It’s a great way to discover new destinations! PS – Grand Cayman is Zika free!
GIVE YOURSELF AN AT-HOME SPA DAY
You don’t have to go to the spa to have a full spa-day experience. Start your day of relaxation with your very own fruit infused spa water. Put some fruit in an infuser pitcher or add some lemon and/or cucumber straight into your own pitcher of water. Indulge in a face mask while giving yourself a mani/pedi. To complete your day, prep a hot bath complete with essential oils, scented candles and calming music to create a day of pure serenity.
PULL OUT THE VACUUM CLEANER
The last thing I ever want to do is clean. But, if I’m stuck inside with nothing to do, why not make my apartment smell lemony fresh? It’s New York City, a land where dust collects within a matter of minutes. Get out your duster, your Swiffer, vacuum cleaner, Scrub N’ Bubbles and Windex, and get to work! Throw on your favorite tunes, and your home will be spick and span in no time at all!
BAKE SOMETHING YUMMY
When I see snow falling outside my window, I want to watch movies while breathing in the aroma of home-baked cookies. Years ago, I worked across the street from SoHo’s Jacques Torres bakery. A stressful day at work would be eased by the heavenly smell of freshly baked, exquisite and beyond delectable desserts. No need to head to one of Jacques Torres’ outposts. Bake Jacques Torres treats from your own kitchen.
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 1⅔ cups bread flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1⅓ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
- sea salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling
- Sift together the cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, cream together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in the vanilla and mix. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, until just moistened. Fold in your chocolate until evenly added throughout the dough. Press plastic wrap against the dough, making sure it is completely covered, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, or as long as 72 hours (I left mine for 36 hours). This is an important step, as it allows the gluten in the dough to loosen up (you know how if you beat your dough too much, your cookies will be rock hard? Allowing it to rest for a period of time helps to undo some of this damage). It also helps the cookies to not spread out too much; warm dough spreads, cold dough stays in nice, uniform circles.
- When you are ready to bake, bring the dough to room temperature so that you can scoop it out (I usually let it just sit on my counter for an hour or two), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease your baking sheets. Scoop your dough out onto the sheets. I used a #40 ice cream scoop, which is about the size of 2 tablespoons, but you can make them even larger, if you like. Do not press the dough down – let it stay the way it is. Sprinkle the cookies lightly with a bit of fleur de sel or sea salt. Bake 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies (mine took about 11 minutes), or 18-20 minutes for larger cookies.
- Allow the cookies to cool slightly on your baking sheet, then move them to another surface to cool completely. You can enjoy these warm, room temperature, or cold. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
What do you love to do on a snow day? As always, I love hearing from you!