I dislike winter, and that’s an understatement. Oh, sure, it’s all pretty to look at from inside the safety of an air conditioned condo in Phoenix, or aboard a sailboat in Sunny South Florida. By no means should you (I) ever attempt to hang out – let alone live – in a climate that goes below 65 degrees for longer than a couple
days minutes at a time. And yet, here I sit in Denver, Colorado and 30-degree weather (if I’m lucky for that much warmth). Since I have no snuggle partner, It can get miserable, and folks if my toes or my neck are cold, I’m donezo. Kaput. Fini. Not moving until I’ve thawed. FRO. ZEN. Lucky for me, I do have 13(ish) things that make winter slightly more bearable, items that keep me mostly-happy until that first blade of grass peeks through the sidewalk crack.
In no particular order, here is my list of things that remind me warm exists:
- Cake. Batter. Chapstick. Now, I think it goes without saying that people in Colorado need to invest in a good lip balm. I have always used Chapstick, because it works best. This flavor came out a few years back, and now I can’t bring myself to use another flavor. It’s a seasonal buy, and you CAN get it less-expensively at the big-box stores when/if you find it. BUT if you’re not interested in heading out in the slush, or you’ll forget to look for it when you get to the store, you can grab a few tubes right here at a reasonable price.
- Hot Tea. My two favorite flavors on this planet are Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride by Celestial Seasonings, and Earl Grey by Taylors of Harrogate. Sugar cookie sleigh ride is a hot, caffeine-free cup of tea laced with milk thistle, orange peel, and vanilla bean. It tastes almost identical to crunching on sugar cookie batter. It brings me back to my favorite time of year, when I’m making cookies for everyone I know – with my favorite chef-friends – to celebrate the holidays my way.
Then there’s Earl Gray tea, and truth to tell, I had never tried this until about 3 years ago, when I grabbed a box and could smell the bergamot. I love bergamot, and all things citrus. I can’t believe, being the Trekkie that I am, it took me until I was almost 40 to try this tea. I love it so much, I sat in Heathrow (after performing the Love Actually monologue in International Arrivals) waiting for my next flight, eating bangers and mash, and drinking all the Earl Gray and cream I could stand. Even now, it brings me back to Europe.
- Warm Winter Booties. In any place that you live where there’s winter-like precipitation (snow, sleet, ice), you really need a sturdy leather boot with a rubber sole and a good, deep non-slip tread. I have had the same pair of Dr. Martens for 26 years, but to be honest, they don’t go with everything. Luckily, they’re getting better at making utility shoes that are semi-fashionable as well. I love these suede, green, slip-on booties with the fuzzy insides. Don’t worry about water-proofing. Scotchgard makes a spray for that.
- Oh, Hot Chocolate, How I Adore Thee! When I’m not downing a cup of tea, you can bet that you’ll find me with a cup of hot chocolate. Lately, I’ve been digging on this Land-O-Lakes variety pack – the Arctic White and Salted Caramel in particular (yes, I mix them). I’m not much for mint and chocolate, but in a pinch, it’ll do. PLUS it doesn’t get weird and clotty if you use milk instead of water, or you drop a bit of booze in.
- Fuzzy Slipper Socks are a must-have, and I own 3 pair of these. They are warm-knit, fuzzy lined, and have those little anti-skid pattern on the bottom. I hate when I’m in fuzzy socks and unexpectedly slide across the kitchen floor – though if we’re being honest, I do it on purpose a lot, too. That’s not all though. These are WARM, and they’re even better with a pair of socks inside. So cushy.
- Driving Gloves. These are better than those 2/$1 you get at Walmart, that are “okay” and “warmish”. These gloves fit well, are super warm, and nowadays they’re made so that you can still use your touchscreen on our phone. Even without the touchscreen thing, you never realize how crappy those other gloves are, until you get a pair of good ones. I have two pairs of driving gloves, one a blue pair that was my grandmother’s.
- Fleece-Lined Leggings. I LIVE in fleece leggings for most of the winter – mostly because they expand as I gain my holiday weight and can no longer fit into my jeans. Beyond being super warm and comfortable, they help me be not-so-hard on myself while I fret about not being able to be outside and as active in the winter. Also, they make a great base layer if you have to put on a snowsuit or other pants and venture out. They’re even less-expensive than that ceramic heater you’ve got under your desk, since work can’t figure out how to turn the sir conditioning off until it’s warm and necessary in May.
- Fuzzy Cardigan. I’m a loud advocate for layering, and fuzzy cardis are the BEST. They fit well into almost any purse, pocketbook, or tote, and are great for any weather. I keep one in the car, and one at my desk, and a few in my different totes just in case.
- Fancy Sunglasses are a super-fun and fashionable way to cut that nasty sun glare that you get when you’re traveling in inclement weather in the daylight. I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve ended up blinded by the sun glaring off the snow or ice. Talk about a dangerous way to drive around! Don’t do it. Also, turn on your headlights, in case someone IS driving around with glare-eye, so they can see you.
- Foot Spa. DO I even have to write anything about this? Who hasn’t yet learned how amazing water and rollers on feet really is? I mean, it’s not quite going to the salon to get a pedicure, but it’s a great thing to have after a long a day of walking or hiking, and if you can’t get out to get a pedi, it’ll do then too!
- Microwaveable Neck Wraps are abundant in my house. I use them for all body parts, especially in bed, because it’s WAY less-dangerous to have in bed than a heating pad without auto-shutoff.
- Layering Hoodie with a Kangaroo Pouch. You would think that my favorite part here is the layering part, but no, it is the kangaroo pouch. I really love having that pocket there, and wish I could have one on every shirt I own where it wouldn’t look stupid. All that aside, layering is really important in every climate. It’s how you stay cool in the desert, and warm in the colder places, and this particular hoodie is really comfy. Make sure you pay attention to size. I’m 5’4″ and 135 lbs, and I’m in a large.
- Heated Throw Blankets are underrated. I use them literally all year; it’s more of a comfort thing than a cold thing. One of my closest friends keeps his out all year for me, and thinks it’s funny when I’m snoring within minutes of snuggling up.
So, that’s my list of the TOP 13 things that make winters suck less. If you want to check out the entire list that’s more than 13 items, check it out here.
What makes YOUR winter bearable? Let me know in the comments.