On the to-do list this week: If you feel a bit ... uninspired ... you’re in good company. This year hasn’t exactly been the banner year for being our best, most creative selves. We’ve got solutions. We asked artists for their best rituals to get out of a rut. We also have some good gifts for people on your list, and a project to take on that everyone can feel warm about.
And remember: We’ve collected our best articles with our best Philly tips. They’re in one place here.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.
🤒 Can you quarantine with your friends if you’re exposed at the same time? by Grace Dickinson
😷 Can I get a massage now? Please? by Grace Dickinson
🤓 When should I replace my fabric face masks? by Grace Dickinson
✉️ When do I have to ship a package so it arrives in time for the holidays? by Nick Vadala
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: inquirer.com/askus
Stay safe, do stuff
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
⛸️ Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / multi-day) There’s ice skating, designated areas for seasonal food and drinks, festive decor and more at the winter favorite on the Delaware River. COVID-19 times means adjustments like an open-air lodge, capacity restrictions on the rink, mask requirements and frequent cleaning. ($5 for admission, $10 for skate rental, through March 7, delawareriverwaterfront.com, map, add to calendar)
Do you feel sapped of creative energy? You’re not alone. Nine months into the pandemic — on top of all the other ways in which 2020 has been a stressful year — a lot of us are feeling pretty drained. But what can give you a spark and help you get your groove back? Elizabeth Wellington talked to artists about rituals to get them out of a rut. Here are some places to start:
“Every morning I take the time to remind myself to follow my gut and let my creative energy take me where it’s going to take me. I didn’t do that before the pandemic. I based everything on trend reports and proven facts. But all that has been thrown out the window.” — Stanford Ponson, proprietor of Old City Canning Company
“Every day I send a positive affirmation to someone I know. Sometimes I call them and tell them I love them. Sometimes I just say a silent prayer. It acts like a garbage disposal. It gets rid of the garbage that’s in me in that frees up space I need to write, produce and make new music.” — Lady Alma, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger.
“I make sure I learn something new every day. Since the pandemic started, I’ve learned how to play the banjo, a midi-controller [synthesizer] and I’m trying to get better on the piano. Life hasn’t been lilies and sunflowers. But the very act of learning and challenging myself has brought fruit to my garden. It has kept it green.” — Brian Walker, musician/podcaster, Dreams Not Memes
More inspiring new rituals in Elizabeth’s story.
Need a project? We’ve got a good one. It’s a simple scarf that you can knit (even if you’ve never knitted before). You can pick up the yarn you need for $10-$15, or even get it free from a yarn library. And, if your neck doesn’t need immediate warming, we have places you can send it: a list of local groups that help people experiencing homelessness, and who would welcome your scarf for someone who needs a little bit of warmth. Here’s everything you need, including the pattern, materials, and even a video if you need a bit of help getting started. If you take it on, send us a picture of your project.
Here are some great gift ideas for people who’ve ended up on your nice list this year:
This might be the winter to curl up with a good book, or a stack of them. We’ve rounded up 15 of the best reads, including memoirs, fiction, non-fiction and more. Want to pick em up? We have a list of the best local independent bookstores across the Philly, the suburbs and New Jersey.
Life during the pandemic has reminded music lovers of soul-sustaining simple pleasures, says music writer Dan DeLuca. Here are his music and music-related gift ideas — from Mariah Carey’s new memoir to Tierra Whack shoelaces and Low Cut Connie yarmulkes.
Want to help keep a friend warm this winter? We’ve found the best locally made hot sauces for every level of pain tolerance for the chilihead in your life.
There are new restrictions in place in New Jersey and Philly. Having a hard time keeping track of what the latest rules are? We’ve got it all for you in some handy, easy-to-use guides: