Your Winter Happiness Guide: 21 Ways to Blast Away the Blahs

Here are a handful of the O family's best-loved routes to delight. We hope some of them will become yours, too.

Favorite Life Coach from Literature

"Winnie the Pooh. There's a scene in which he, Piglet, and Rabbit get lost. Rabbit, the frantic intellectual, keeps steering them in circles. Then he leaves, and Pooh tells Piglet: 'Let's go home.' 'But, Pooh,' cries Piglet, 'do you know the way?' 'No,' says Pooh. 'But there are 12 pots of honey in my cupboard, and they've been calling to me for hours. I couldn't hear them properly before, because Rabbit would talk, but if nobody says anything...I shall know where they're calling from.' All I ever do is help people quiet their Rabbit minds until they hear the pots of honey speaking to their tummies. That's the way to our destinies: Follow what's sweet, delicious, and calling."
—Martha Beck

Favorite Short Story

"In Amy Hempel's 'The Man in Bogotá,' the narrator describes a wealthy industrialist in Colombia who was kidnapped for ransom. The man had a heart condition, and to keep him alive, his captors made him exercise and quit smoking. After his release, his doctor told him the kidnapping was the best thing to happen to him. I love the last line: 'He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn't good.'"
—Kristy Davis, O's Associate Editor

Favorite Current Decorating Obsession

"Antique English mahogany furniture. When you include an old piece with lots of character, a piece that's marked up or a little warped from age, you let yourself off the hook—you no longer have to strive for some perfect, unattainable space. Oh, and I'm also crazy about wallpaper that resembles things from nature, like semiprecious stone. The walls of my powder room now look like malachite, all saturated green and black."
—Nate Berkus, Interior designer and author of The Things That Matter

Favorite Way to Shake Things Up

"I've been dyeing my hair since college, usually favoring relatively tame red or blonde highlights—but recently, after noticing a well-dressed middle-aged woman rocking a single pink stripe in her platinum bob, it hit me: If she could be that bold, why couldn't I? So I decided to add fuchsia streaks to my hair. Now whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see that blast of pink, my mood immediately improves."
—Ashley Williams, O's Senior Editor

Favorite Ocean Photographer

"National Geographic's Brian Skerry has been exploring the oceans for three decades, bringing back hauntingly beautiful images from a parallel universe that happens to be here on Earth. I'm giving copies of his latest photography book, Ocean Soul, to everyone on my gift list."
—Susan Casey, O's Editor in Chief

Favorite Reaction to the Words "You Won"

"Last year I got to call the winners of our Favorite Things giveaway to tell them they'd won everything in the O List. One woman really couldn't believe it. She kept saying, 'Is this for real? Is this for real?' The next day, her bank called. They'd found my name in the magazine, called the Hearst corporation to verify that I was an employee, and still wanted to speak to me! After I explained every way I knew how that this was legit, the woman accepted the prize. I don't blame her—I'd double-check, too!"
—Kristi Stewart, O's Assistant to the Managing Editor

Favorite Unexpected Vacation Destination

"Greenville, South Carolina. I went there for a food and music festival called Euphoria, and I left feeling like I'd experienced the best of the South. I sat under the stars beside the Reedy River, drinking blueberry-infused beer, eating three kinds of shrimp and grits, and listening to twangy singer-songwriters play Patsy Cline covers. Before I went I'd never heard of the place, but I can't wait to go back."
—Katie Arnold-Ratliff, O's Associate Editor