Groundhog Day! For those of you that are unfamiliar with the significance of February 2nd and the friendly, famous groundhog whose name is associated with the date, I'll share a bit of background on who he is and why it matters:

The second picture has nothing to do with the actual "holiday," it's just hilarious. "Imma let y'all finish but, winter is the greatest season of all time!" Every year on February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog leaves his hole (he actually doesn't "leave," a group of his caretakers kindly coax him out). Legend has it that if Phil sees his own shadow when he exits the hole, we should expect to endure six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, then spring is on its way.

The good news is that Phil's accuracy stats are low (he's only right about 50% of the time). However, if Phil's 2018 prediction holds true, we'll be looking at 6 more weeks of winter this year. I'm a winter baby, so I like to look for the bright side of every cold weather situation. Here's how you can, too:

1. Remember that some things just taste better in colder weather.

Two words: comfort food. I don't know about you, but soup is usually not my go-to during the heat of the summer. I am a lover of lists, and I've saved a number of pins on Pinterest that list some of the delicious dishes and drinks that hit the spot on a cold, winter day.

You would not believe how many hot chocolate varieties exist in the world (and in NYC especially). I'm personally looking forward to trying any, if not all, of the ones on this list. Starting with a Mild Aztec from Cacao Market. Hot chocolate aside, there are also a number of soup and dumpling spots that are relatively easy on the wallet and more than kind to the stomach. The $6 bowl of Lam Zhou Handmade Noodles on this list seem like they'd be right up my alley for this reason.

2. Visit a rooftop bar.

Yes, this is a winter activity. A few of your favorite major cities have adopted the igloo-on-the-roof approach that allow you to enjoy cocktails and company with a view in an enclosed space. 230 Fifth is one such bar in New York and Lookout Rooftop & Bar is another in Boston. These igloos are typically heated, so no need to fret that you'll truly be expected to brave the elements like you would have to if you found yourself ensconced in a real igloo. I will caution that just like with any other rooftop experience, cloud cover will determine the quality of your view. Since you are inside a plastic bubble that to some extent creates a distorted view to begin with, going on a cloudy day will only intensify the lack of skyline clarity that you can expect to see. Nonetheless, I encourage you to pick a non-cloudy day to check one out in your city.

3. Plan a cabin trip.

While this endeavor is higher up on the cost and effort scale, there's nothing like hunkering down with friends in a house in the mountains during the wintertime. And as far as birthdays go, summer babies have pool parties while winter babies have cabin trips. I've had the pleasure of staying in winter cabins near various East Coast ski resorts both for family ski trips and weekend-long birthday celebrations. So, whether or not your plan is to unwind with a day on the slopes and an evening with a spa mask or an intense game of Mafia and a dance party with your friends, there's nothing like the cozy comforts of a cabin with those you love.

Let me also note that the sky is the limit as it pertains to planning. Themes are the name of the game - no matter how many cabin trips that you may have seen cross your social media feeds, the options to create your own spin on the experience are endless. Some of the more standardized themed activities that I've enjoyed participating in have been game nights, athletic jersey parties, and mimosa / robe brunches. To push the envelope a bit further, I'd suggest considering an all-encompassing theme for your weekend.

Buba's Babin Experience, Feb. 2016

Love 90s Hip-Hop and R&B? Plan a Bad to the Bone dinner and have everyone sign up to attend as their favorite artist of the Bad Boy era (and act in character). Plan a talent show that would allow people to perform (in groups or alone). Top it off with a "studio session" and video recording day where the group either re-creates their favorite music video or goofs off and does their own thing to one of their favorite songs.

Love Pinterest and all things DIY? Pick a recipe to make for dinner as a group or split into teams and see which group's recipe comes out looking the most like the model Pinterest example. Pick a craft that's relatively easy to plan for and equally capable of being packed and taken home. Anything from picture frames to book ends to small decorative vases would do. Top this theme off with an "inspirational quote" session. Pinterest is never lacking in "you got this" postcards, so it might be fun to make your own and share them with your group.

And the list goes on.

Buba's Babin Experience, Feb. 2016

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."

-John Steinbeck

Real World Poconos, Jan. 2018

Tell me what I missed - I'd love to hear more about your recipes for winter wonderland success in the comments below!

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