Warm, Cozy, Fat And Furry

Snuggle up to January with a few comforts to ease the cold, dark days ahead.

Focus On Comfort

January 12, 2003|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Staff

The holidays are long gone, and winter seems like it will last forever. What we need, right this very minute, is something to get us through January: the darkest, gloomiest, coldest month of the year. We need some little comforts -- some warm, snuggly things to soothe our bodies and cheer our souls.

We're not talking about little luxuries here. We need puffy down quilts, not silk sheets. Potatoes whipped with butter and cream, not caviar. In other words, things that will help us hibernate happily until the first tiny crocuses poke their heads through the snow, and spring is at least a possibility again.

Here are our suggestions for some cozy ways to fight the winter blues:

1. Wrap stars

The house is a little chilly. Instead of setting the heat higher, snuggle up with a good book and a cozy afghan. These soft acrylic and chenille ones from Kennebunk Weavers are fringed and come in gentle colors like butter yellow, sage green and blue denim ($52-$90 at Hometown Girl, 1001 W. 36th St., Hampden, 410-662-4438).

2. The cat's pajamas

There comes a day -- and it's usually January -- when you're willing to spend more on pajamas than on a dress. And why not? You're spending more time in them. Verena's soft cotton knit pjs in pastel colors are warm and cuddly, with elastic waist and full-length pants (none of these fashion-forward cropped lengths). The handmade lace on the button front placket is durable, and the pajamas themselves are preshrunk and machine washable ($145 at Linens & Lingerie, 7625 Bellona Ave., Towson, 410-825-1736).

3. Udderly divine

OK, the name is strange. And the tongue-in-cheek directions warn you not to use it on parts infected with cow pox. But Udderly Smooth Udder Cream in cheerful cow print jars and tubes is actually a soothing hand cream with a light, pleasant fragrance. It's greaseless and stainless and softens winter-chapped hands wonderfully(About $5 for a 10-ounce jar at area discount stores. Call 800-345-7339 for locations.)

4. It's not the heat

True, a humidifier isn't exactly sexy. But imagine walking into your bedroom and feeling like you're in a tropical rain forest. Shut your eyes and breathe in the warm, moist air. Now, isn't that comforting? The 3-gallon Honeywell Warm Mist Humidifier is easy to fill, easy to clean and shuts off automatically when the tank is empty. It helps prevent dry throats and chapped lips, and keeps houseplants happy ($39.99 at Home Depot).

5. Not-a-latte

This is no time for sophisticated coffee drinks made with espresso and exotic flavored syrups. March right up to the counter of your favorite trendy coffee bar and order a grande hot chocolate. And get a big dollop of whipped cream on top. The reason you go to a coffee bar is that you can get your cocoa made with hot, foamy steamed milk. Sure, it will cost you ($2.57 at area Starbucks), but it will be worth it.

6. Baby, it's cold outside

But you won't be with this Penobscot parka from L.L. Bean, which offers lots of warmth for its light weight. It's not the most glamorous look, but the goose down insulation is so cozy you won't ever want to take it off. Find the parka online at llbean.com or place your order at 800-221-4221 ($159).

7. Food of the gods

Dreaming about summer pleasures helps. Starting to make them a reality helps even more. Go to www.naturalgardening.com and order A Slice of Tomato Heaven for $25 plus shipping. Come spring you will get 12 of the most beautiful organically grown heirloom tomato seedlings you've ever seen. Just looking at the color photos of these big, juicy beauties on the California-based Natural Gardening Company Web site will make you happy. You choose the varieties you want from Brandywine, Costoluto Genovese, Striped Marvel, and many more.

8. Man's best friend

Filled with a mixture of lavender and buckwheat, a Warm Whiskers pet takes care of you, not the other way round. Pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds, drape the soft, furry animal around a sore neck, and it delivers gentle heat and the healing fragrance of lavender that last up to two hours. Choose from a golden retriever, black and white kitty, black lab, plush pig and more. Warm Whiskers can be used to warm your bed, for a sore back or cramps and to ease an ear ache ($45 at the Store Ltd., Village of Cross Keys, Baltimore, 410-323-2350).

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