Preparing for the winter!

It's getting Chilly outside :) The cover photo was shot taken last weekend of a lovely couple - Amanda and Chris on their wedding day. The temperatures were plummeting, but they braved out a few pretty shots outside their Logan Square church with their super cute dog, Ronnie!

It's that time of year when things are humming along. You've passed the heat and rush of summertime and are cruising on the back-to-routine (school or work) highway. You're feeling pretty darn good about it... until the holidays hit. As we've mentioned before, the upcoming month and a half is one of our favorite times of the year, but it can be hard to feel like you're not being pulled in a million different directions. There's so much to do! But it gets dark so early in Chicago! It takes a lot of energy to have the extra get-up-and-go that's so important to maintain throughout the hibernating months. What can you do to stay centered during this fun time and avoid the post-holiday blues? We asked our staff!

Jamie combats the winter blahs by recommitting to her yoga practice before the New Year begins. She also wears a seasonal scented oil mix- geranium, peppermint, with tangerine; she also makes sure to drink a mix of peppermint, lemon, and ginger water (we call it Jazzy Water) which helps with digestion, immunity, and energy. Last year, she and her husband explored Chicago on #explorationsundays. They went to different neighborhoods that they were unfamiliar with and had some amazing adventures! This year she's looking forward to vacation. For her, part of enjoying winter is making sure to do wintry activities like skiing, hosting family holiday celebrations, decorating the house, and making crafts. And while she enjoys the indulgences as much as the next person, each year she does a cleanse to start fresh after a season of too much cream cheese (see below.) Deep cleaning the office before the holidays is also a nice way to not feel stressed while the jingle bells are ringing.

Genevieve loves holiday traditions, winter dinner parties, cozy sweaters, and writing faraway friends real mailed letters. Each year she goes to see the Christmas lights at Brookfield Zoo with her family and sometimes they even go to Holland Michigan to see the Ice Sculpture Garden. She also likes to keep spirits up by passing along hilarious links. She's also been known to enjoy a glass or two of mulled wine.

Steve is recently off the coffee train, so he's trying to drink a lot of water. He loves to run holiday errands all over the city; his favorite place to shop is the MCA Gift Shop. He has a lot of fun with his wife and sons on New Years Eve; they go see the Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo and then go out to an early dinner. He also likes to make sure to get enough sun when it's out for the day.. our office and space are daylight photo studios, so it's the perfect place to be warm and cozy but still get those rays!

Personally, this year, I'm excited for my husband and I to host our annual holiday open house (the only time of the year I make crab dip). I love holiday decorations, and wish they could be up year round. Each year some friends host Friendsgiving, which is always a great way to catch up with people. Currently I'm making the transition from riding my bicycle to walking more (and adjusting to the slower pace of winter life.) Working at a place that encourages sustainable problem solving helps you look at situations a little differently. We're trying to eat more healthfully at lunch around the office, and that can definitely help everyone have more energy after the workday is over. You really need to use a holistic approach to combat those winter doldrums; you can't do it half of the time. Plus, it's pretty hard to be bummed in our sunlit office.

Here's my family recipe for crab dip (because you have to have SOME fun and it wouldn't be the holidays without a healthy serving or 4 of cream cheese):

Hot Crab Dip

2 cans crab meat
3 8-oz pkgs of cream cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Sauterne wine (no substitutes work)
1 tsp. dry mustard
Dash lemon juice
Couple squirts of Worchestershire sauce

Put all ingredients in the top of a double boiler except the wine, and refrigerate. Put in the chafing dish and add wine, then cook until it is puffy. Very very yummy on things like melba toasts and pita triangles.

PS.... We also LOVE our annual office holiday party! Hint, this year it involves, turkeys, striking, and spares (hopefully!)

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