Out In the Cold

Borrowing the famous McDonald catch-line, “I’m lovin’ it!” is just about how I’m feeling right now.  That is, I’m loving the so called winter weather we’ve endured thus far.  Minimal snow that lasts for a few days at a time and temperatures which reach bitter points but then fluctuate right back up into the 40’s is my kind of winter!  If this pattern continued until spring hits, I will be one happy girl.

Not only do I not have to entirely give up wearing my flats just yet, I also get to continue wearing my many different styles of coats depending on the temperature of the day instead of residing to my beloved down-filled parka for mere warmth, and I am a HUGE coat collector – I need a large closet, just for me coats alone!

While I can hope and pray all I want for this mild winter to continue, it is unlikely that my wishes will be granted.  Therefore, I’ve started to pull out my snowy essentials to ensure I’m prepared when the blizzards start coming and cold temperatures decide to stick around for a while.

Even though Christmas gifts are no longer necessary at my age, my parents are kind enough to give my sister and me a few things each year.  This year, one of my wonderful presents was a lovely pair of Hunter rain boots. While I am partial to the Hunter brand for their quality and reliability, there are other brands out there as well that do just as swell of a job.  Some of you might be thinking that my gift of rain boots came a few months early but what I love about my Hunters and other selected brands is that while they are in fact water resistant, they also do a fabulous job in the snow! Who says we have to look like Napoleon Dynamite and wear moon boots on our feet while brushing off the snow from our cars or plowing the driveway? Not I!  These tall boots are latex dipped which helps it to be water resistant but doesn’t restrict the boots movement and therefore, you’re movement. My favorite features have to be the classic styling, good arch support, and no frills decoration or pattern on the boot.  Feel free to choose from numerous colors and styles and be able to wear with anything.  Hunter has even gotten smarter and created a boot for women (most women) who have larger calf sizes than “normal,” so no matter what your calf size you won’t be left with the cheap options from one of the many “marts” of the world.

The Queen of England sporting her Hunter wellies in 1967 while attending the Gun Dog trials at Balmoral.

 The next necessary item to own for Midwest winter days is the parka.  Even though I haven’t been confined to wear mine every day yet, I love having it readily available for when the time comes. Forget short peacoats, capes, and any fleece jacket when the temperature falls below 20 degrees.  When the chill gets excessively chilly, it’s time to hibernate in a goose-down parka, one that comes to at least your knees, if not extending further.  There are all types of brands out there from Land’s End, The North Face, L.L. Bean, and Eddie Bauer offering great down parkas but like anything else, it’s important to do your research and get the best quality for your buck. Read online reviews, take notice of prices and sales offered, and always try on to ensure the perfect fit.  I’ve had my same parka for two years now and I chose the one with one of the highest amounts of goose-down to stay warm.  It even has fleece-lined pockets and wrist panels to keep the air out!  I also caught it on sale and saved more than 50% off the original price.  Shockingly enough, other high-end name brands who offered the same kind of coats, I found to have less goose-down yet double cost! So I must state again…do your research!

Moncler

Last but not least – we must revert to the thought of our mother’s dressing us as children, making sure we were completely covered including…hats, gloves, and a scarf.  While gloves and scarves are important, I like to focus more on selecting a great hat.  A hat not only adds a bit of your personality and style seeing as there are millions upon millions to choose from, but it also it one of the strongest ways to warm you up instantly.  A baseball cap is most likely not going to cover it when the coldest time of the season hits.  I suggest getting a heavily knit cap, large beanie, or beret that covers your ears and ends at almost the bottom part of your neck to ensure proper coverage. Go ahead, choose one with glitter, ribbon, or even bows on it if you feel like it and if your heart so desires, wear the ever-so-popular again furry aviator styles!

My nephew and I both sporting fabulous hats!

Both hats keep us extra warm

Whatever you do, just make sure to keep your ears are covered, body warm, and feet dry. Trust me, your body will thank you later when you skip getting sick this season with the common cold.

While these next few items aren’t possibly as important as the previous ones I’ve already listed, they rank up there in my opinion!

Static Guard

There is a feeling that I absolutely hate – and that is getting shocked! Working with different fabrics in clothing everyday mixed with low to no humidity in the air, this happens all too often. I also can’t stand it when my shirts stick to my body from static cling. Keep a bottle of this on hand either at home, in your car, or at the office to fight this annoying winter happenstance.

Boot socks!

Boot socks are a necessity to own when you live in the Midwest. Not only do they help to fill out the extra boot space you might have but they keep you little piggies nice and toasty. These are the BEST accessory for those of your who already own or are now considering owning a pair of Hunters! Worth every penny!!!

Pendleton camp blanket

Flashlight

Car shovel

 A car emergency pack is something that EVERYONE should have with them while driving under Midwest winter conditions. A classic wool blanket such as Pendleton’s camp blankets are amazing. Not only do they keep you warm for hours and last the rest of your lifetime, but these USA made blankets are extremely affordable and are offered in serveral colors and sizes. I suggest the simple 64″ x 80″ for your car. It’s also smart to keep a flashlight with you and a small car shovel in case you would get stuck somewhere. And as always…a first aid kit!

I hope this helps to prepare you a little bit more for the winter storms that are starting to hit the Midwest. Dress warm, drive with caution, pack accordingly, and be safe!

Scarf to Skirt

As many of you are aware, I am (and have been since the announcement of the collection) a huge fan of Pendleton’s, The Portland Collection. To catch up on some of my past posts about the line check out: The Portland Collection and Searching for the Positives. Well, say hello to my new purchases – The Canyon De Chelly scarves. Made entirely in the good ole’ US of A of some of the finest wool around.

After trying on this scarf, I loved the way it fit around my neck, how wide it was, and the fact that it is beautifully reversible…and I say beautifully reversible because unlike most other scarves, having the backside show if it’s only printed on one side or even if it’s printed on both, normally doesn’t look as beautiful as these do. Pendleton has always done a wonderful job in this area. If you are familiar with their gorgeous blankets or jackets, then you will know what I am referring to. If not, check out the Pendleton website.

Doing a little experimenting, I tried the scarf on as a wrap skirt and fell in love even harder. Not only is it as easy as pie to wear as a skirt, the colors and pattern are so unique and really stand out against any other skirt on the market. And once again, reversible! TWO skirts for the price of one!

Since I was only playing around with the scarf, and haven’t literally transformed the scarf into a skirt by sewing in a waistband and adding buttons, etc., I simply threw on my belt over top. Surprisingly, it held up great! No falling down, no riding up, and the scarf is so long that I didn’t have to worry about it flapping open and showing more than I would want.

One of my favorite aspects of my new scarf/skirt is the extra drape/flap the end of the scarf does. I think it adds a bit of something extra and I love the contrast from the other side that shows along with the little taste of fringe – not too much.