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A Month of Faves: 5 Must Haves for Winter Survival


Today’s topic for A Month of Faves — winter survival recommendations — is something near and dear to my heart. I grew up in Minnesota, so I’ve had 29 years of experience managing whatever winter can throw at you… and believe me, winter in Minnesota is no joke. Here are my top recommendations:

winter essentials

A giant winter coat and serious boots – It took me awhile to get over myself and admit that the best way to make it through a long winter is to have the right outdoor gear (no matter how totally stupid it looks). I have a long coat similar to this one and these enormous winter boots. I can’t say they make -45 degree windchills enjoyable, but they do make it possible to endure (and yes, that’s a thing I have actually experienced). Also invest in a good pair of slippers. I have a pair that look like little boots and I love them.

Wake-up light – I bought this Philips Wake-Up Light last December and it really has made a huge difference in my ability to wake up in the morning, especially in the winter when it stays dark so long. It’s not any easier to get out of bed, but I do find my alarm less jarring because the gradual light makes it feel more like the sunrise.

Binge-worthy television – I watch a lot of television, but I seem to watch even more in the winter. I love having a long series to dive into, especially during this holiday period when there’s no new tv to watch. Some of my favorite bingeable shows are:

  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (feminist, Australian lady detective in the 1920s)
  • The West Wing (inside the White House with the world’s greatest president, Jeb Bartlet)
  • Fringe (bonkers sci-fi that’s compulsively watchable)
  • The Good Wife (lawyers wearing fancy clothes and having affairs)
  • Parks and Recreation (relentlessly optimistic small town government – the first six episodes are rough, but give it a chance)
  • Friday Night Lights (high school football, the best marriage on television)
  • White Collar (sexy criminals partnering with the FBI)
  • Nikita (a sexy assassin tries to take down secret organization who trained her)
  • The Bletchley Circle (former lady codebreakers solve crimes!)

Moisturizing everything – Good lotion is a must. I have Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion in almost every room of my house, and never leave home with it out a smaller container in my purse. But I am still on the lookout for a good, antibacterial moisturizing body wash – I haven’t been able to find one I like yet. Recommendations?  

Quiet time – I got thinking about the importance of quiet time this week, since I’m in the middle of a very hectic three week stretch. Between work, volunteer commitments, and planned social events, I don’t think I’ll have spent a full day home for a stretch of 22 days (aside from a vacation day last Monday).

That kind of frenetic schedule – which I know is common for a lot of people around the holidays – can be especially draining when you’re an introvert like I am. I combat the fatigue by building in rejuvenating alone time – coming home to eat lunch by myself, prioritizing small group hangouts over large social events, and articulating when I need time to myself to the people I care about.

So there you have it, five things/techniques I use to make it through the winter. What are some of your top winter survival recommendations?

A Month of Faves is a blogging event hosted by Tanya Patrice (Girlxoxo.com), Traveling with T, and Andi (Estella’s Revenge). You can find more on Twitter at #AMonthofFaves.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • BermudaOnion (Kathy) December 8, 2015, 8:11 am

    Vance doesn’t have to be at work until 11 so he didn’t find the wake-up light all that helpful. Good hand cream is essential.

  • Nupur December 8, 2015, 9:01 am

    Kim- I just bought a moisturizing lotion that I like a lot: Nivea’s “in shower” lotion, you put it on and rinse it off in the shower. Sounds weird but I like it and think it works well.

    (I wouldn’t use an antimicrobial lotion (or even soap) though, these kinds of widely used antimicrobial products are causing ever more antibiotic-resistant bugs to evolve.)

    I just started watching the second season of Broadchurch on Netflix. And have been binge watching Forensic Files.

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:24 am

      Thanks for the recommendation, that sounds like it would help! And for the mention on anti-microbial — it was a recommendation from my doctor for a skin issue awhile back, but maybe not necessary anymore.

  • Julie Merilatt December 8, 2015, 10:57 am

    I agree with #1. As a commuter in the WINDY city, I care much less about how I look than how warm I am, so bundling is not for the fashion conscious. Add knee-high socks and my fleece-lined wool hat from Nepal, and I’m all set!

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:24 am

      It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize warmth trumps style in the winter. I am so much happier being warm and looking goofy 🙂

  • Sarah's Book Shelves December 8, 2015, 11:26 am

    YES to Friday Night Lights – best marriage on TV and best show about high school I’ve ever seen! And – I agree about the holidays being a tough time for introverts. The hectic schedule gets to me too and I have to just not do some things.

  • Stephanie December 8, 2015, 7:10 pm

    I totally need boots like that but even after 10 years living in Iowa I am still in denial. I’ve wondered about the wake up lights and if they really work. I should check it out as it does just get so dreary and dark this time of year. Finally, alone time is a must – glad you are cool with taking the time when you need it instead of trying to push through!

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:25 am

      I find the wake up light really helpful. It doesn’t make getting out of my warm bed any easier, but it does make my alarm seem like less of a jolt when it goes off. Waking up just seems more smooth since I got it last year.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End December 8, 2015, 9:11 pm

    Oh the boots and puffy coat are everything. My first winter in New York (which I recognize is nowhere near as intense as a Minnesota winter) when it did nothing but snow constantly, I kept slipping on the snow and falling down until I bought proper snow boots. (I think I’d have done myself a serious injury if my coat hadn’t been puffily insulating me.)

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:27 am

      NYC winter is nothing to sneeze at, and I’d think the commuting aspect of it is a huge challenge (at least in terms of staying warm or being too warm as you travel to and from work).

  • Kerry M December 8, 2015, 9:31 pm

    Quiet time is a really, really good one. I’ve had some conversations lately that have me thinking of winter as a proper human hibernation–complete with down time, which I tend to be bad at. Thanks for the reminder to add that in as a conscious part of my days/weeks.

  • Jeanne December 9, 2015, 7:38 am

    The other thing that helps me make it through the long Ohio winter is indoor blankets! I’ve taken some of the ones we got for watching outdoor soccer in November and put them over the back of various chairs. The cats love them, and we can put them over our legs or wrap up in them when we sit down for any length of time.

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:27 am

      Yes, so many blankets. I got an electric blanket last winter, I think, and it was the best.

  • Andi December 9, 2015, 1:36 pm

    I’ll take all the winter moisture tips I can get! I’ve never experienced cold like that, but my kiddo is headed to upstate New York for the holidays, and it’s going to ROCK his world. lol Amen to quiet time. Essential.

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:27 am

      He is going to love it! I love seeing people experience snow for the first time — reminds me how beautiful it can be 🙂

  • Laura Roberts December 9, 2015, 8:47 pm

    When I lived in Montreal, I actually had a variety of winter coats to choose from! One was one of those lightweight down “puffer” coats, for more “active” days; one was a Navy pea coat, for “fancy” occasions; and one was a Columbia jacket with a lining you could pop in and out depending on the weather, so the outside had the water-resistant fabric (also good for rain), while the inside was fleece. Depending on how much I was walking, where you could work up a decent sweat, I’d be able to remove the coat and keep on going with just a hat, scarf and gloves or mittens and my hoodie or sweater underneath. I also found the addition of long underwear (at least beneath your pants, if not also on top) invaluable for keeping warm, along with a good pair of boots. No one wants to step into a puddle that looks shallow and find themselves knee-deep in slush, so if they go to the knee, so much the better. 🙂

    • Kim December 13, 2015, 9:29 am

      Ugh, puddles. And yes, definitely a variety of coats. We’re having such a weird, warmish December this year that none of my winter coats are quite right — all too warm or not water resistant enough. It’s so strange!

  • Allison @ The Book Wheel December 17, 2015, 12:43 pm

    I live in Colorado and moisturizer and chapstick is a must have lest you turn into a pile of dead skin. I’m a big fan of Aveeno, myself, so I’m happy to see it in the list!

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