Winters can be downright nasty. From the perspective of a born and raised New Englander, here is what you need to get through a New England winter.
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Let me tell you something.
New England winters are brutal. I’m not saying that they are the hardest or the worst. Those probably belong to places like Russia. And Antarctica. But I’m not sure if Antarctica counts, considering it’s technically ALWAYS winter there…
And me, living in the southern part of New England, I probably have it better than those up in northern Maine. They are the real troopers!
That doesn’t make it any less cold. And funny story, I do not like the winter time. There are only two redeeming factors of winter:
- Getting to wear peacoats (because I love my peacoats!) and
- Hot meals. But I’ve talked about this before, I think.
Other than that, I’d rather live in a warmer climate. I mean, I do okay in the cold. I live. I’ve definitely worn a skirt and tights in 20 degree weather (that’s about -7 degrees Celsius for those not in ‘Murica). I also laid in the snow for Instagram pics a couple days ago. I do it for the blog, so go follow me!
But as I sit here, all bundled up and typing my post, I think about everything that gets me through the New England winter. I think about what keeps me warm, and what helps me get to the spring.
But Gem, I can hear you saying, spring is almost here!
Y’see, winter in New England lasts from late October, early November till April. Last year, we were #blessed by lack of actual winter weather.
This year, not so much! We haven’t gotten a whole lot of snow, but it has been cold. Back to wearing the warmer clothes!
And today, I want to talk about that winter chill and what gets me through to early May when spring truly starts in New England.
1. Wool peacoats
Ahh, peacoats. Did you know I was called Peacoat in high school? I had such a collection that it seemed like I was always wearing a new one.
I love peacoats (especially wool peacoats) because they are fashionable and functional. The double-breasted look is slimming, while the wool keeps the body warm. If you are allergic to wool, there are other kinds of blends that are almost identical in quality. If you have a scarf, peacoats are quite wind resistant too!
Peacoats are also unisex. I love to wear mine, but I find a man in a peacoat to be rather dashing. 😉
But I think my favorite part about peacoats is, however, that they are much less bulky than a down coat. I will say, down coats do have their purpose. I have one of my own! But really, if you are running errands or going out on a winter date, peacoats are the way to go. Check out this one here.
2. Toasty boots
Find some warm boots and wear them! I really love these pseudo-combat boots. They are fun and stylish, but keep my feet toasty. They were a little bit to break in at first, but over time, they became my favorites. I got them in grey, but they come in a few different neutral tones. They’re very versatile and very fun! Find them here.
Another pair that I “own” are a pair of duck boots. I put own in quotation marks because I don’t really remember how they came into my possession! I thought they were given to me, but I was questioned by my father the last time I wore them. Soo… not really sure.
But I can see why these are a hot commodity in my house; these boots are super warm. They also have a sort of rubber “duck bill” that wraps around the toes and goes around the perimeter, keeping your toes and sides of your feet dry. I thought they were knock-offs, because I couldn’t find any sort of brand identifier. But upon further searching, I found out that they are LaCrosse! Here is a similar model to mine.
3. A good pair of gloves
This is the one I always struggle with, for two reasons. One, I always seem to be losing them. One glove will be in my room and the other one will be in my purse. This is an actual scenario at the moment.
Two, I always think I don’t need gloves. For some reason, I treat my extremities the same way I treat my warm core (see slippers). I think, I’m just popping out for a few minutes. I’m just cleaning off a little snow off my car. I’m just scraping a little ice.
Wrong, wrong, and so very wrong.
I have really bad circulation in my fingers. Sometimes, my fingers will be absolutely white! It’s super freaky and it feels weird too.
I need a pair of gloves that are waterproof, insulated, yet not crazy expensive (in case I lose them!). So after some extensive research, I picked out this pair to try. They look fun and they have some good reviews. Update to follow!
4. A fun hat
For those who know me (especially in high school) I love Doctor Who. Not so much of the newer stuff because of Moffat taking the show in weird directions… anyway. I still love it and David Tennant is my doctor. Absolute favorite.
So one year, as a high school graduation present, I received my TARDIS Laplander. I was ecstatic about the conversation starter that would be on my head come wintertime. It was given to me in the summer, you know.
It’s warm and fun. How can you go wrong? Winter causes people to be so irritable in the Northeast. Let’m know you still want to be fun.
5. Plush lounge pants
Now we get to the portion where talk about the clothes you wear inside your house instead of outside. And let me just say.
Plush. Lounge. Pants.
These were introduced to me this Christmas. My mother gave a pair to me and my sister, and I wasn’t totally on board with it at first. They seemed like they were going to be too much, y’know? Actually, if you know, then you know better than me. I was all sorts of not there this Christmas.
I got over myself and put these pants on and it felt like blankets wrapped around my legs. Oh my goodness, guys. I loved them so much I bought a second pair!
I was finally comfortable and warm. Granted, they are a bit warm to sleep in (for me) but I love being around the house with them. Grab yourself a pair so you can see what I mean!
6. A lounge sweater
What do I mean by lounge sweater? This is a sweater that is not acceptable to leave the house with, but is super comfy. Maybe it’s got holes from you wearing it too much, or maybe it’s too big.
Either way, you need a sweater that you can wear around the house. In my case, I need sweaters to sleep in. My arms get really cold at night! Another name I call them are “bed sweaters”. It looks benign when you read it, but saying it out loud is a totally different story…
So of course, I have a few of these sweaters. A few of them were acquired from one of my brothers and some I got at my local thrift shop. I went to the men’s section, found a 2XL sweater, and it only cost me a few dollars!
Slippers are actually a new installment for me. I used to wear them as a kid but just like wearing gloves, I must have a thing against my extremities! That, and I genuinely like walking around barefoot.
I had received a pair for Christmas this year and it’s like finding an old love. Granted, it is an old love that I keep forgetting to wear but that is not the point! When I do remember to wear them, they keep my toesies warm. Like they should.
The best part is, you can get a nice pair on the cheap. Try this pair!
For in the house:
1. A few thin blankets or an electric blanket
I have been in both camps! I was skeptical about electric blankets at first; this was in part from reading Things Not Seen as a kid and also in part because YOU ARE PLUGGING A BLANKET INTO THE WALL. Seriously. This thing could catch fire while I’m sleeping and I would just think I set it too high.
So in the wintertime, I would sleep with as many as 6-7 layers on top of me! I also lived in a room above a garage in the farthest reaches of the house, so there wasn’t much heat to be had there anyway. But I liked that I could peel layers when I was getting too hot or add layers when I was too cold.
But just as the pattern predicted, I got one for Christmas. And I was skeptical. But then I put it on my bed and it was a game changer. All those other blankets were goners. Now its just me, the sheets, my electric blanket and a comforter to top it off. Change heat as necessary on the dial pad.
Did you know that electric blankets can save you on your heat bill too? Whilst doing some research, I found out that it only costs about 4 cents a night to use your heated blanket! (source) Imagine only heating your bed instead of your whole house at night when you’re sleeping. Who needs the whole house heated at three in the morning?
This model is very close to mine and since it is made of the same material, I can safely say that it is super comfy. 🙂
Edit: blanket was changed due to the unavailability of the product.
2. Space heater(s)
Space heaters are also a great innovation when you only need a small area heated. We used to keep one in the bathroom during showering. Getting out of a hot shower only to be thrown back into cold reality is bad enough. Getting out of a shower during a New England winter is even worse! Yeah, gotta love the bathroom heater.
Another time it comes in handy is when the heat just isn’t kicking on fast enough. I didn’t say this was about saving energy this time! Sometimes it’s just too cold and you need a little assist. Enter the space heater.
3. A project or something to do
So I know I’ve been talking about a lot of ways to keep warm. But really, during a New England Winter, keeping warm is probably the best thing to do!
There are other times, however, that you are snowed in and roads are closed. Great! You don’t have to go to work today! But going outside isn’t really an option; you can’t go and visit friends or go shopping. No, you need to be prepared to stifle your boredom.
On the good side, this will only last a day, maybe two. But two is pushing it.
It’s not very often, but a few years ago we had a stretch of continuous snow days for a week. That is a really long time to be in a house with three other people! After a while, the internet just doesn’t cut it. I went through 2-ish seasons of Doctor Who (I was still new to it).
Just pick something. And stay sane.
For in the car:
1. Mylar blanket
I could get into all of the things I think that everyone should have in their car, but today I am just going to talk about winter items.
These pieces of plastic aren’t made for daily use. This is a Mylar sheet of plastic that in an emergency situation, keeps you curiously warm. I keep one in my car because I don’t want to be caught out in the cold, should my car break down and I can’t get home. They are definitely worth a few dollars for the peace of mind. Get yours here.
2. A regular blanket
Sooo… I keep a regular blanket in my car for a few reasons. One, I like having one in case I am at a park or grassy area and I want somewhere to sit. It happens more often than you think.
Two, I use it when I’m cold. Sometimes I’m outside and I need an extra layer. Sometimes I’m in my car and it’s so cold, I have to lay the blanket on my lap. Probably not the safest alternative, but I’d rather be warm and functioning. It doesn’t have to be a super nice blanket. In fact, you’re going to want one that is not your favorite. Keep it cheap; either take one from home you don’t care about or buy one like this.
3. Car starter battery
For the longest time, I did not have jumper cables in my car. So at the very least, keep some cables in your car! Neither you nor I need to be at the mercy of someone else’s battery power or their cables. These are the ones that I have.
Something that I was given to me recently was this car battery starter. It can charge just about anything and keep a charge in the trunk of your car. Now I can jump my car by myself! I couldn’t find the one I was given, but this one is very similar. I can’t imagine would it would be like if my car wouldn’t start in the middle of winter, so I gotta think ahead!
4. Cat litter
Nothing fancy. I picked up a one-pound bag of no clump, unscented clay litter for a dollar when I got my first car and I still have the same bag! Cat litter is good to have in your car because it can
- help soak up water if you are stuck in a ditch
- soak up fluids that your car may have released
- add weight to your car or truck if it’s prone to sliding on snowy roads, or
- help your tires get some traction.
5. A good quality ice scraper
Last, but certainly not least, you’re going to need a decent ice scraper. Something that has a telescopic scraper, a squeegee, and a brush is the most optimal. You do not want to be chiseling at your car with a tiny little scraper! Trust me, I’ve been there. Try this one here!
Is there anything that I missed? How are winters where you live? Let me know in the comments down below!