how to outcold those warmest to us


If I were in New York with you, it would be snowing. My nose would be running, and I’d wipe it on my sleeve, and you’d see me do it, and I’d shrug.  Snow makes moments seem softer and more memorable.  A lamp lit snowy night puts candlelight to shame, and we’d agree on something like this, but probably only because it’s wintry now.

There’s a quiet that settles upon even a loud city when it snows, blankets of intimacy and unspoken apologies fall on street corners as cars take more care to slow. It’s easier to forgive when there’s snow. We layer and bitch and order another glass. We long for tans and open-toe shoes because we know it will make us look thinner, but we wouldn’t trade our drunken fireside chats for destination tickets.

Instead I’d try to out-cold you, insisting you feel my hands, or nose, or ears. We’d remain in bistros eating melted cheese, rolling our eyes at just how damn good it all was, then we’d play “what if” games that really only the two of us would get. Before you’d arrive to meet me, I’d text you to remind you it’s snowing, complaining that I won’t look fashionable in my practical boots, and just as you’d arrive, I’d be bending down, unfurling my wet jeans, and you’d welcome my winter moon and ask for another.

First I’d make you buy me a drink. We’d start with whiskey because I’d say so. Then I’d kick your ass at scrabble and convince you to eat things you shouldn’t. It’s how birthdays in December should be celebrated. Candles blown, toasts raised, in from the cold streets, surrounded by our warmest friends.



  1. funny, it's so easy to complain about the New York snow when you're commuting through it, but now that it's winter and I'm no longer in NYC, I just want that feeling that comes with cozy bars and spending time with friends. I just wrote about it as well!

  2. I really miss snowy evenings in NY. Or a weekend morning when you don't have to go anywhere and the city is quiet.You can only have that when you live there – you can't go back and neither can I.

  3. I know I should be thinking warm vanilla and almond toasted oats…but all I got is a J-Lo and LL Cool J video.

    You're absolutely right about the intimacy.

  4. You made me look forward to this horrible winter. I'm so ordering the signed book and photo for my sister. She loves your photos from Italy.

  5. I miss snowy winter evenings in NYC too — and I live here! It's been so unseasonably warm and dry recently that I am actually pining for the barren winter wastleland that is Upstate NY (where I went to undergrad). Hopefully it will turn around soon, but the next 10 days are supposed to be sunny (but cold, finally).

    Still, I couldn't imagine being in TX — I feel like it must make the winters so surreal and the holiday season a little less holiday-y.

  6. After living in Texas for 16 years I do miss snowy NY. Although this morning as I headed out to feed my horses and cows it was cold, but not brutal. I wore my usual, sweat clothes, insulated vest, gloves and ugly hat. I could see my breath and my boots crunched the frost on the ground. I could smell someones fireplace burning. The air was crisp and the sky was very blue. It felt good. The animals were hungry and called to me. Like hurry up lady we're hungry. Unlike summer when I walked out of the house and broke a sweat before I got to the barn. I've decided the older I get the more I like winter. Or the longer I live in Texas the better I like winter. Great post. It brings back nice memories for me. Thanks.

  7. Great post! NYC is chilly & you can smell the possibility of snow in the air. This post was just like the ones I read when I first found your blog.

  8. Hi Stephanie! Are you a Sag? December 4th? It was my birthday yesterday and I celebrated it that way, but in Madrid:)

  9. I love this post…I just celebrated my birthday on the 1st and like you am expecting my first child very soon (a sagittarius also). This reminds me of times with my girlfriends celebrating my birthday with too much wine, fondue and sitting in front of a fireplace talking about all the what-ifs and when I grow ups. I love having a birthday in December and your post brings me such warm, fuzzy memories.

  10. Am I the only New Yorker, now from Pennsylvania, who would be happy to see a winter pass minus so much as a single snowflake? Aside from the environmental effects of global warming, I'm all for a winter minus the slush, ice, & general discomfort that accompanies snow. Cold, I don't mind. Snow is another thing.

  11. Hey Carole, I'm w/ you 100%. Hate snow, slush, ice, shoveling, etc. I also hate the cold weather. I am a New Yorker, and I stay here b/c of my family, but I would much rather be someplace warm and sunny. I do like how it looks when the snow first falls and everything is white and pretty, but that only lasts for a few hrs anyway. Put me on a beach, and I'm so much happier. If I never saw snow again, no big loss.

  12. I thought your birthday was Sept 29th? Somewhere some post you mentioned being a Libra, and it clicked cuz mine is Sept 30 ('75).

    Anyways, if it IS your birthday, or anyone elses for that matter, whereever you are, congrats

  13. I miss the early snow falls and snow days. In DC it's snow slush and everything closes at 2 inches. I actually miss the occasional blizzard, where everything is endlessly white. I really just miss NY.

  14. Ugh. It has been the warmest autumn ever here in Belgium, and today it's still 14°C (about 57° Fahrenheit for the non-metric-system people out there = nowhere near frosty). Last month we were all complaining on how warm it was for a November 1st, recollecting memories of visits to gravesites in the frost. A month later it's still unusually warm. My spring bulbs I planted in October are shooting up!
    Which sucks, cause I love winter, and everything cozy you described. Sigh, stupid global warming.

  15. A new snowfall is just magical, simple as that, much like this blog today. Lovely.

  16. I have no idea what the winter snow blankets look like since I have been in Austin Texas most of my life. Just our little cold front brings to light the intimacy and clean crisp air of the city. The cold just seems make this holiday season feel so wonderful. I loved the blog for today, it made me feel really good inside.

  17. I completely identify with this post. My birthday is in december as well, and I have always had a soft spot for winter and snow. There is something hypnotic about falling snow that calms me, and I love the kind of cold that gives you rosy cheeks.

  18. I could only wish for a birthday like that. Instead, I had the crazy idea of celebrating with my family this year.My husband and I drove in from north of Austin to San Antonio.We went out to eat and had supposedly split checks until I found out at the end that "someone/some people" somehow forgot to pay for their drinks(several) and appetizers. No one offered any assistance whatsoever in paying, so guess who did. Needless to say, I was shocked, my husband was pissed and that pretty much was the deciding factor on how not to spend my birthday anymore. Next year, just me n him, dinner for two. Can you say bitter? Can't wait for Christmas. I'm sure I'll be over it by then. Maybe. Family-gotta love 'em.

  19. Sitting here in my apartment at 4am in sub tropical Brisbane Australia with my air con running! I rarely feel cold here but your blog reminded me of snow on the beautiful mountains surrounding Canberra, the smell and warmth of open fires permeating the air, even my clothes…many wonderful memories flooding back to me. How I loved this warm, thought provoking entry…thank you. Frances.

  20. I'm switching the city to Chicago, but that's exactly how I'll be spending my b-day next week. You described it perfectly.


  21. Hi Stephanie,

    What a lovely entry. I remember all the photos that you posted last year on the first snow fall in NY. They were beautiful. We had a few inches of snow last night, so pretty. I even enjoy bringing in an armful of wood for the fireplace, love the fireplace!
    Take care,
    P.S.Your tree was gorgeous.

  22. Hey Stephanie! It was a fun surprise seeing you in my rear view mirror on the way to my tennis lesson this morning! I had your book in my bag so I could read it while I waited at an appt later in the day. I'm glad I had it so I could show my support! :) Celebrity sighting in traffic!

    FROM STEPHANIE: You must be one kick-ass driver, to know what's going on around you like that. Who the hell checks their rear view mirror and notices the person behind them? I'm way impressed. I was in a xmas daze, listening to one of those stations that only plays holiday music. Gotta love Feliz Navidad! over and over again.

  23. snow sounds romantic, but i haven't found one lovely thing about walking in it! i can't wait to be back in austin for christmas..

  24. Well-written entry- I agree with the others that this is your best sort of writing. Still, "you'd welcome my winter moon?" Winter moon? Am I crazy, or is that a silly euphemism for butt-crack? Why add that vulgar visual in an otherwise pretty post? (If I'm wrong and you're not referring to your, um, crack, could you clarify?)

  25. Just a little tidbit here and only tangentially related to the beautifully-written post…in general, it seems that people who haven't lived in New York think that it snows here more than it actually does and that it's colder here than it actually is (and I know that you, Stephanie, lived in New York).

    It was like 70 degrees here a week ago and it hasn't snowed yet.

    Just thought I'd say that…it's the kind of random info I like to know myself. I can see why people think it's so cold here with the movies and all. Yeah.

  26. I believe Philip is an Aries/ opposite sign of Libra Stephanie, hence their constant bickering…
    (Aries are a LOT to handle!) Libras are Air signs, not emotional water signs, so I think that Steph must have some Cancer or Pisces in her that makes her so emotional…
    Stephanie you HAVE to read Linda Goodman's SUN SIGNS, – topnotch, BEST book out there on zodiac signs and compatibility, however does not take into account rising signs (what sign you appear to the world), or moon signs (your emotional sign, linked to your mother-figure in your life)– these two are the most important next to your sun sign.
    Sagittarius's are very very fun people, and I like them a lot. However I feel badly for them because their birthdays are right around Christmas and Hanukkah so they are not properly placed for optimal presents for the year ! – my birthday is in the early/mid of summer – perfect for my every 6 months- presents!!!
    Happy birthdays to all the Sag's out there- you are known for great great senses of humor, loving animals, and just basic optimism in life. You love to travel too, and adore your freedom!

  27. Hi again,
    I had to read your post again today because it was so good. Speaking of Dec. Birthdays, my husband's birthday is Dec. 25. He is Jewish & born on Christmas day, just like Jesus! There is something you wrote, I think it was in one of your lists, something like – go easy on the lip gloss or it will look like you just ate a lamb chop. I think of that line alot when I see a girl/woman all shiny lipped, it breaks me up!
    Take care

  28. Where did my post go? Weird.

    I said that while I think all of your writing is great my favorite entries are the ones showing your true colors.
    Like the one of you lying on the bed and Phil comes in.
    Just enjoy the personal ones more, but I guess who doesnt :)

  29. My birthday was yesterday and I think this was perfectly written!
    I love my birthday being this time of year. When you go to bars and restaurants, everything is decorated so warm and cheery. There is usually snow falling or its freezing out, perfect to warm up inside with. The Christmas spirit is in the air, and my birthday is just far enough away where nobody is stressed yet from shopping or running around.
    Happy Birthday to Me!

  30. uh, it's sunny and NOT snowing today, as it has been NOT snowing all fall in New York. Reality isn't really your deal, is it?

  31. Jesus was not truly born Dec 25th , fyi. He was born in summer months, it has been reported widely for years now.
    And yes, New York is acting like San Diego in terms of fall/winter weather. Very very crappy.

    Al Gore is right!!!

  32. I also wondered about the "you'd welcome my winter moon" phrase. And "ask for another?'

    "Another?"….eeek… what? Am I missing something? Is a winter moon a drink? this a bit TMI?

    But otherwise, nicely written.

  33. Off the subject but I'm reading your blog from the beginning (specially to see how/when you met Phillip) and its been a fascinating journey so far. One thing — it is not necessary to ever blow your hair straight again. I know this is frivolous, but I had to mention it. Your curly hair is you and blowed straight turns you into some other alien girl.

  34. I´m living in Austria and haven´t seen a snow flake in this season! Can you believe it? Everyone´s getting worried about it now. Well, you are totally right. Snow is beautiful and a lot of my childhood memories are connected to it.

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