NEW YORK, USA – DECEMBER 16: A couple is seen at the Rockefeller Center during snowfall in New York City, United States on December 16, 2020. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) Dating during COVID-19 is weird and hard in the best of times — by which I mean, in the spring, summer, and fall, when the world might be hanging on a razor’s edge, but at least the weather is somewhat nice. Dating during COVID-19 in the winter? Ugh. Who really wants to eat cold fries and make witty conversation while looking like Bernie Sanders at the inauguration? Still, since December, the microscopic section of my brain that skews toward optimism kept screaming that despite the odds, 2021 could be my year when it came to dating. I just had to be smart, safe, and willing to think a little outside the box to come up with solid winter date ideas. “Creativity is the name of the game right now,” agrees Damona Hoffman, a dating coach and host of The Dates & Mates Podcast. “We can be frustrated about our lack of dating options or we can do something different.” Break out your layers (including your face mask), then check out these unique and winter-friendly date ideas for every stage of a pandemic-era relationship. Virtual Winter Date Ideas “Meeting up” via FaceTime or Zoom is a great option for winter. It’s the safest bet while we wait for the vaccine, and you don’t have to freeze your toes off while outdoor dining. Sip & stream Sign up for a streaming Sip & Paint event. To make it even more seasonal, pick a snowy painting (like “Winter Landscape” by Wassily Kandinsky) and opt for hot cocoa instead of wine. If painting isn’t your thing, sign up for another virtual course or event. “There are so many online experiences, from virtual escape rooms to drag queen shows,” Hoffman says. “Just because it’s happening online doesn’t mean it has to be dull. Most virtual performers and entertainment venues have now figured out ways to make their offerings interactive and sometimes even more fun that they were offline.” Eat in Hook up via FaceTime, and cook the same warming dish — maybe a stew or chicken and dumplings — in your respective kitchens. After you’re done with the prep, sit down together and “share” the meal over Zoom. This idea is great for a newish relationship; cooking gives you plenty to talk about. Play games Cue up an old-school video game together online. Bonus points for anything that includes winter sports, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games. Or play a conversation-starter card game, like the currently trendy We’re Not Really Strangers. “The New York Times did an article a couple years ago on The 36 Questions that Lead to Love and showed that strangers can feel more bonded by asking certain questions of one another,” Hoffman notes. (The questions in the article are another great place to start, if you don’t have a deck of WNRS cards.) Social Distancing Winter Date Ideas Remember: Outdoor dates aren’t 100% safe, Hoffman says, so be informed before you take this risk with someone. Wear your face mask, and stick with activities that really let you stay at least six feet apart. Snow sports Opt for sledding or tubing over ice skating. “While you might be outdoors and masked, depending on how busy the ice skating rink is, you could come in close contact with other people,” Hoffman notes. Instead, pick an empty hill and stick to separate sleds. Horseback riding This is is a cool, unique idea for a distancing date (that takes a page from The Bachelorette). There is a downside though. “You can’t really have deep, in depth conversations, which doesn’t make it ideal for a new couple or first date,” Hoffman says. If you’re still getting to know each other, follow up your ride with a socially distanced walk with some warm coffee or cocoa. Think outside-the-walks We know: Walking with a warm beverage is a great date, but it can get a little old. So mix up your location. “If it’s cold, some of my clients have tried visiting snowy nature preserves where they can walk and talk to keep warm,” Hoffman says. Another option: If you’re both into exercise, consider running with each other, which will keep you even warmer. At-Home Winter Date Ideas So you’ve gone on some great virtual and distanced dates, gotten tested, and have decided to officially bubble up. Being able to safely stay inside together opens up a whole new world of winter date activities. Trust exercises Grab a scarf and turn it into a blindfold. Then… do a trust walk. Not where you thought we were going, I’m sure. But you can do other blindfolded stuff later, if you so choose. “One of the best ways to build intimacy is to put your complete trust in your partner,” Hoffman explains. Yes, you’ve already established some trust, since you’re seeing each other in person. But a trust-building game can solidify this feeling — and it’s fun. Cook (again) Make a meal together, in person this time. There’s something about navigating a kitchen together that’s intimate without being too intense — perfect for a date night. “Preparing a meal together fosters important relationship skills including patience and communication,” adds Hoffman. My friend and her pandemic SO made gnocchi on one of their first in-person dates, but Hoffman like box meal kits. “Most require you to order by midweek for the following week, which could even build excitement and anticipation for the date,” she says. Go back outdoors We know, we know — you are quarantining together, why would you head back into the frigid temps? But winter stargazing without needing to socially distance is pretty darn romantic. “Gazing at the stars provides two people with the perfect opportunity to talk and keep each other warm under a clear night sky,” Hoffman says. It’s been years since air and light pollution was this low, which is giving us a darker-than-usual night sky,” she continues. “If you can’t name the constellations on your own, try an app like Star Walk to guide you.” Like what you see? 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If you're like me, the sight of a highly curated, particularly arranged kitchen really gets ya going. (Based on this tweet I sent out, you all agree.) There's something about opening a refrigerator or pantry to see glossy containers filled with fresh produce, and glass tubs brimming with bubbly drinks or leftovers that entices my inner Marie Kondo. When I spot items out of place, no, it does not spark joy. The Pinterest-inspired home doesn't have to be a mission impossible, however daunting it may seem to get it right within a small space. With the plethora of organizational tools available at a variety of retailers, it can be done and it will be Instagrammed. From cereal dispensers and modular dome jars to stackable canisters and stainless steel salad bowls — we found it all. Ahead, shop the best food storage containers to live your best-curated life on and off of social media. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.One-Cup Freezer Pod Storage TrayProgressive One-Cup Freezer Pod Storage Tray, $, available at ZulilyFresh & Save 7 Piece Plastic Container Food Storage SetZwilling J.A. Henckels Fresh & Save 7 Piece Plastic Container Food Storage Set, $, available at WayfairEKOBO 3-Piece Large Storage Jar SetEKOBO 3-Piece Large Storage Jar Set, $, available at NordstromUrban Outfitters Small Bamboo Lidded ContainersUrban Outfitters Small Bamboo Lidded Container, $, available at Urban OutfittersTyphoon Homeware Bread Storage Bin Typhoon Homewares Bread Storage Bin, $, available at Food52Paperboard Food Storage Organizer Bin 4-PackmDesign Paperboard Food Storage Organizer Bin with Handles, $, available at mDesignDotted Line 3 Piece Kitchen Canister SetDotted Line 3 Piece Kitchen Canister Set, $, available at WayfairCrate & Barrel Glass ContainerCrate and Barrel Cooper Large Glass Canister, $, available at Crate and BarrelRubbermaid Premier Food Storage Containers 10pcRubbermaid Rubbermaid Premier Meal Prep and Food Storage Container, $, available at AmazonUrban Outfitters Bamboo And Glass Jar SetUrban Outfitters Bamboo And Glass Jar Set, $, available at Urban OutfittersOXO Good Grips 3 Piece All-Purpose DispenserOXO Good Grips OXO Good Grips 3 Piece All-Purpose Dispenser, $, available at The Container StoreLarge Natural Textured Ceramic Canisters with Lids Set of 2Cost Plus World Market Large Natural Textured Ceramic Canisters with Lids Set, $, available at Cost Plus World MarketOggi Canisters & Spice Jars, Glass 8 Piece SetOggi Canisters & Spice Jars, Glass 8 Piece Set, $, available at Macy'sPyrex 6-Pc. Rectangular Storage SetPyrex Pyrex 6-Pc. Rectangular Storage Set, $, available at Macy'sProKeeper Baker Storage Set of 10prokeeper ProKeeper Baker's Storage Set of 10, $, available at The Container StoreMePal Airtight Stackable Storage ContainersMepal Airtight Stackable Storage Containers, $, available at Food52West Elm Kaloh Stoneware Kitchen Canisters West Elm Kaloh Stoneware Kitchen Canisters w/ Wood Tops, $, available at West ElmMade by Design 4pc Refrigerator Storage Bin SetMade By Design 4pc Refrigerator Storage Bin Set, $, available at TargetPrep & Savour Clamp Lid 4 Piece Kitchen Canister SetPrep & Savour Prep & Savour Clamp Lid 4 Piece Kitchen Canister Set, $, available at WayfairKaloh Oil & Vinegar Stoneware Containers (Set of 2)West Elm Kaloh Oil & Vinegar Stoneware Containers (Set of 2), $, available at West ElmLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?This Wine Storage Trend Perfect For Small Spaces39 Clever Items That Will Open Up Your Small SpaceMarie Kondo's New Collab Makes Us Want To CLEAN
The one thing that'll continue to earn its spot as the most versatile item in our closet? Undoubtedly, a t-shirt. At times plain, other times graphic, the t-shirt is a layer that stands out on its own, but looks great when tucked under a blazer or denim jacket. We searched for the most stylish picks that can be worn year round and, of course, paired easily with jeans. And don't worry, you'll find something you'll love even if you only wear black, neutral shades, or you love a pop of color. No matter which one you buy, just know the tee will quickly become your most-worn item. - Additional reporting by Marina Liao Related: It's National White T-Shirt Day, Which Means Getting Dressed Just Got Way Easier
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We all know that our hair can make or break our look - sometimes even our mood. Feeling like you just got the chicest blowout at the salon makes the day just that much better. You can't deny that a good hair day does wonders. If you can't get to the salon right now, Ulta has got your hair tool needs covered. Investing in a high-quality hair tool will be the gift that keeps on giving. Not only will your hair look and feel great, but a good hair tool will last a long time and won't damage your hair. From the legendary Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer to the viral Revlon One-Step Volumizer and everything in between, we got you covered with the best hair tools at Ulta . Related: Good Hair Days Are Ahead With These Products Hitting Stores in 2021
FWIW, they’re all under $30.
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