Design

12 Winter Pick-Me-Ups

Cocktail Trays

How are you doing this winter? If you’re looking to brighten up these last gray days, here are 12 things to make you smile, including these adorable cocktail trays

Thoughts? Which do you like?

P.S. 14 things to do with friends (other than dinner) and pretty gold earrings.

(Top photo by More & Co. Photo of Alison Roman’s shortbread cookies by Nikole Herriott.)

  1. Hi Joanna and Team :) I created an illustration inspired by this post, I hope you will enjoy it: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bh2H2rgnGJO/?taken-by=laurazdesign
    Like many commenters here, I wouldn’t be able to afford many of these suggestions so I decided to “shop my house” for items inspired by this list. I live in Ohio and it has been a long winter, as you know :) I decided to identify objects in my home that would add cheer. Then later I decided to draw them.
    -Stiped PJs became smiley face pajama pants, just because
    -The mask became nail polish, because I don’t usually do masks, but I thought some nice red nail polish would be a fun beauty treatment
    -Pastel candles – I found some pastel tea lights I already had, and a heart shaped one which I thought was cheerful
    -Smiley face tote became the polka dot purse
    -Bath set became the fruity body wash
    -Great book became the generic Beachy Read
    -Lime soap became the citrus shampoo
    -The jacket – I just drew a generic jacket because the switch from winter coat to any jacket feels great
    -Ankle smiley face socks became the striped socks
    -Peace towel became the floral towel
    -Cookie cutters became the cupcakes – I rarely bake so I figured baking anything would be a fun treat
    -The pebbles became the necklace and earrings – because I associate gemstones with jewelry

    Then I added a few more cheerful items such as the fruit, vase with a flower, pizza, and a cup of coffee in a fun mug, to make a fun illustration that should cheer anybody up to look at it! So thank you so much for this post, it really made a difference and has helped me out of the winter slump!

  2. The wood river pebbles remind me of my favorite item. I’m a surfer, but more than that, I just love the ocean (the Pacific in particular) and when conditions are bad or I just don’t want to get in, I like to read, or skip rocks into the water. A few weeks ago I went up to Malibu just to get in the water, but the waves and wind were awful so I started skipping rocks. I found the PERFECT skipping rock- round, had a little groove for getting a good grip on it. But then I realized that it was TOO perfect. And now I carry it around with me everywhere and when I get anxious (frequently. All the time.)…before I pop a klonopin, I rub that stone with my thumb and it’s a sort of zen-out activity. Sometimes it’s not enough, but it’s so nice to have there in my pocket. A comfort item, if you will.

  3. I can attest to Sisters Body’s products. SO SO good. I sell them in my shop and couldn’t resist taking all three home for myself. Instant pick me up during these gloomy Portland days : )

  4. Maggie Guggenheimer says...

    This stuff is all so great, and I’ve been an avid follower of this blog for over a decade. But lately I’ve been wanting to buy less, not more. Would love to see a similar post about things that make us smile without requiring a purchase! ;) Thanks for keeping me happily distracted at work!

  5. Those cookie cutters and candles would make for the fluffiest birthday! So fun!

  6. j.fizz says...

    I vacillate from feeling privileged to feeling left out by these sorts of posts. It’s been in the 80’s for the last three weeks in Florida. It’s bathing suit season.

  7. Angela says...

    What is getting me through the winter: the Plant Nanny app. I always struggle with hydration in the winter (it’s not hot and I’m not sweaty, so I must be fine?!) and my skin suffers. My friend told me about this app (its free), which sends you notifications about drinking water and as you drink, your little plant grows. It bases your water needs off your height, weight, and level of activity. I’m more hydrated this winter than any before-I’ve grown 5 pretend plants and am on my 6th now.

    Is it kind of hokey? Sure, but it does work.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so cool, Angela! Going to check this out now…

  8. I LOVE this list! One thing getting me through winter (mentally and physically) is being diligent with my skin care routine. I signed up with Rodan and Fields in the fall and have had such amazing results from it. Normally winter makes my skin red and patchy but I’ve managed to stay smooth all winter long. Now to see how we combat summer oilyness lol!!

  9. So many cute things!! Those pjs especially!!

  10. Amanda says...

    My favorite ritual this winter has been at-home mini spa nights… I light candles in the bathroom, listen to happy music (or a funny podcast, anything that’s light and refreshing!), take a warm shower with nice-smelling products (great time to use that Sephora sample I’ve been hoarding!), and follow it up with my favorite robe, a face mask, at-home mani/pedi, or whatever else I feel like. Even when you’re using some splurge products, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to pep up a dark Wednesday night!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds so wonderful, amanda!

  11. Libbie says...

    I have Everlane’s long City Anorak and LOVE it. When I saw they came out with the shorter one, I got way too excited and promptly added it to my birthday wishlist. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg i wear my long one ALL the time. in fact, i’m wearing it right now as i type! :)

  12. Heather says...

    love love love those pjs. I sent them to my mom with a note of…. hey, in case, JUUUST in case you’re looking for some kind of present to buy me? :) :)

  13. L says...

    Gosh I love these. Tbh I’m not much of a consumer (more of a scavenger/Good Will shopper) however I just love these bright happy ideas. Lime soap sounds so lovely. Maybe I’ll get some citrus or green apple shampoo. Smiley faces – so bright and happy. It goes a long way to surround yourself with lovely things. I’ve been making myself go outside at least once a day, no matter the temperature. Not necessarily a walk if I don’t have time/proper shoes but at least go outside and get a tiny bit of sun. I realized sometime about a month ago that winter was really wearing on me. I got home from work and just started crying. My boyfriend asked what was wrong and there was nothing wrong. I just hadn’t gotten any sun all winter and was feeling terrible.

    • sasha says...

      L, I’m agree agree agree.
      I’m also mostly not a shopper, but those beautiful wooden stacking stones, ahhhhhhh. And on Amazon you can get a set of three different colors (blues, greens and reds), for $60 with prime! So tempting.

      Trying to find more ways to get out and cheer up myself (ice skating today), best of luck to you. Feels like an extra long winter, but then, they all do.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “at least go outside and get a tiny bit of sun” = i agree, L! sometimes i’ll stand outside the office for a few minutes and just feel the sun on my face. makes you feel so much better just to get that little kick of warm light.

  14. Being a Minnesotan and looking out my window at several feet of snow on a daily basis these past 3 months, I have found the best winter pick me up is a walk in the woods during one of the rare 30 degree days!

    • sasha says...

      Same. Montana has record snow fall, also record cold this year. It’s a tough combo. 30° sounds amazing.
      A walk in the woods fixes just about everything for me.

  15. Laura C. says...

    All the lovely cozy softy stuff that you bring up from time to time ?❤️

  16. Olivia says...

    These are all just more things to buy. Maybe this would be more interesting if it went beyond just buying things and actually included ideas about cool stuff to do.

  17. P. says...

    It would be great if in the future, at least one of the pick-me-ups could be something you don’t necessarily have to buy – for those Cup of Jo readers that aren’t in a position to spend money. There are many ways to bring joy without buying something!

  18. Robin says...

    I have that cookie cutter! So lovely. It’s fairly big, so I don’t use it often (I have a one year old and a four year old – as far as they’re concerned, four tiny cookies are clearly more than one large one ;). I did use it for some gingerbread this winter and the cookies were so pretty to ice and hang.

    • ARC says...

      I might have to get a cloud cookie cutter, so cute. However, $22 for a cookie cutter? That seems a bit steep. Amazon has similar ones (not artisan hand-made …) for $5. I love handmade things, but this seems a bit excessive.

  19. Oh I LOVE the cloud cookie cutters! My youngest is turning two in June and his first ever onesie had clouds on so I feel like that would be the perfect birthday cookie for him.

    I also need some good pick me ups at this point in the year. These last weeks before Spring drag on far too long… I wrote about the perfect fruit crumble pick me up for February, in case anyone is interested:

    https://themumandthemom.com/2018/02/03/the-definitive-fruit-crumble-how-to-improve-a-grey-february/

    Thanks for all the great ideas x

  20. Golden Moon says...

    Sisters! What a great company to support. I look forward to also trying out their products. Thanks for this tip. More and more I’m seeking to truly only buy products from companies that reflect my values and those of the earth. Money talks and if the majority starts doing this we really can have a huge impact on the state of things.

  21. Lorelai says...

    More & Co is fantastic

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! mav who runs it is the NICEST person on the planet.

  22. Andrea says...

    Love those trays.

    I had to give up on the Rooney book. Maybe it became good in the last 100 pages? I will never know.

  23. Love all of these things! Plenty of good books have been getting me through this winter.

    xx Chelsea

  24. Lily says...

    Love the peace towel.

  25. Emily says...

    I cannot WAIT for spring! This has been my first east coast winter, and it’s such a contrast having three straight months of cold and gray, even coming from rainy Northern California. I am so ready to soak up the sun.

  26. Margaret says...

    I need a tray to protect my windowsill from my houseplants, and those marbled ones look perfect!

    On that note, I’ve been brightening my apartment with flowers from Trader Joe’s. They’re usually $2 or less so I make them my impulse buy. Surprisingly my favorite has been a bunch of baby’s breath, it’s lasting forever and catches sunlight so nicely (when we get any sun)

    • Sarah says...

      Came here to say the same! I’m trying to cut down on the amount of stuff I purchase, either for myself or for my apartment, but a fresh bouquet every now and then makes the place feel brighter and more special. I’ll also try to do an occasional “spa day” with masks and such I have on hand, or make a snack board dinner and serve it with dry cava. I’m kind of looking forward to doing a spring cleaning soon, the first weekend day it’s warm enough to open the windows!

    • sasha says...

      I love your flower idea.
      My birthday was in early February and my husband got my favorites, alstroemeria, or Peruvian lilies, and they last for weeks and weeks, and are inexpensive too. Lots of bright cheerful colors. That big bouquet really brightened my month.

    • Julie says...

      Yes! I had a coworker at my last job, a woman in her 50s, who would treat herself to a $5 bunch of discount flowers often and just arrange them on her desk. It made such a difference, so I’ve been doing it lately. It’s so cheery to see a little bit of green (that you can’t kill because it’s not a living plant) sitting on your desk.

  27. Betsy says...

    Can we bring back the weekly challenges? You wanna talk about pick-me-ups; I absolutely adored doing them and reading the follow-up comments.

    • Erin W says...

      I fully support this idea :)

    • Joslyn says...

      I am new to your blog since the challenges but just went back to look at them. I would love for you to bring them back! In fact I am belatedly tackling the memorize a poem challenge. Instead of reading goodnight moon to my daughter for the billionth time, I am reciting the poem “If”. If I can memorize a children’s book I am sure I can memorize a poem :) and hopefully the exposure to poetry will make her love it some day soon, too. Win win.

    • Karen says...

      I’ve been craving a good challenge!! I memorized a few poems thanks to the previous challenge and the reader comments!! #allforit

    • sasha says...

      Joslyn, your comment reminded me of a super simple poem about the moon, that’s fun for children and grown ups to memorize. *I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me.* I don’t know the author? It’s easy to change a bit if you’d prefer without God too.

  28. Kaitlin says...

    My father used to have a shirt that looked exactly like the striped pyjama top. It would bring me so many positive memories!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so sweet, kaitlin :)