Winter Solace: Or how to prepare a winter in Cleveland

Yeah I get it, winter is not the best season of the year. It’s cold, the sun maybe makes an appearance for a few hours a day, the streets are slippery, and it lasts for what seems like FOREVER. But for some reason, this year, I am looking forward to winter. Weird I know. Maybe it’s the fact that for a whole month I don’t have to worry about school maybe it’s the fact that the mood enhancing light that my step mom bought me is actually working. I don’t know for sure, all I know is that I am ready for winter…well I will be once I complete my laundry list of things I need to do. As I was reviewing my list of “things to do to prepare for winter”, it dawned on me that maybe the reason why people hate winter so much is because they haven’t prepared themselves.  So I created this go to list for anyone who wants to survive the next five four months unscathed. It never ceases to amuse amaze me how Clevelanders, who endure winter EVERY year, are somehow the biggest pussys when it comes to the cold winter months. The Hub is from Florida and he takes like a man, hell he prefers it… I’m pretty sure this is because his internal heating system is broken, but that is another subject altogether. So here are my suggestions for how to prepare for winter in Cleveland… or well winter anywhere.

1. Spend sometime constructing your winter outer shell.- This advice is both fashion and practical. Let me tell you a little story. One November a few years ago I went to Chicago with a couple friends and the Hub. I brought all kinds of cute outfits. And when I looked at the pictures from the trip it dawned on me, that it really made no difference how cute my outfits were because we wore our coats 70% of the time.

The truth is that most people this winter will be seeing you in your winter coat. They wont care what cute awesome outfit you have on underneath when you look like a bum in the hand me down you got from your cousin Fran in 1996. So go out and purchase a new WARM winter coat. Be daring and choose a bright color like Kelly green or Sun Shiney yellow. Or one with a patterns like Plaid or Damask. If you do this, don’t bother to spend too much. The reality is while these colors and patterns are cute now… who knows what you will like a few years from now and if your spending a lot of money you want you coat to last you more than one winter. I suggest you go more practical and choose a neutral color. I know I know… I am telling you to go practical, but only with you coat. The idea is that if you go neutral with your coat, you can choose different accessories every year to make your look pop.

If your coat from last year is still in good shape I suggest you do a few things.

  • Check for any repair needs. Any tears in the lining? Does the zipper or buttons need to be repaired?
  • Get it dry cleaned. Start the season fresh.

*Short story about winter coats. I had a friend who got her winter coat from her storage bin and realized that it had puke on it from the previous winter. So clearly you can see the importance of giving your winter coat a once over.

Once you have your winter coat all taken care of start getting your accessories together. These can also be fashionable, but they are also practical. The key to not being miserable in the winter is to stay warm. Here are my suggestions for accessories to choose from.

  • A brooch. A unique brooch can help make your neutral coat become more personalized.
  • Scarf
  • Gloves/ Mittens
  • Hat
  • Ear muffs
  • Hand warmers/Hand Muffs
  • Boots. If you have boots from last year that you plan to use, check these as well. Make sure that there are no holes and that they will keep your tooties nice a toastie.

Now that you have your winter look, PLEASE by all means WEAR YOUR DAMN COAT! If I see one more dumb girl walking around Coventry or Downtown (or anywhere really) whining about how cold she is while she  is half-naked and not wearing a coat, I will be forced to resort to physical violence.

2. Prepare your car– Take it from someone who once found herself stranded on the side of the winter. MAKE SURE YOU ARE PREPARED FOR WINTER. The most important thing is to make sure your car itself will make it through the winter. I suggest making sure the following things be checked and or fixed on your car

  • Have your brake pads checked.
  • Have your tires checked and/or rotated
  • Have your tires aligned
  • Get an oil change
  • Replace wornout wiper blades
  • Check power steering fluid.
  • Windshield wiper fluid filled

Here are some important things to make sure you have in your car all the time, but especially in winter

  • A mini shovel
  • a bucket of Snow salt
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack
  • Tire gauge
  • Cell phone card charger
  • Blanket
  • Flares
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid
  • Stuff to open frozen car locks (You should keep some in your house or purse as well.)

You’ll want to make sure that your trunk is clean so that you will have an easy tim getting to your spare tire incase you get a flat.

Make sure you always have the following with you

  • Insurance card – in case of an accident
  • AAA card- incase you get stranded on the side of the road

3. Dress in layers– It’s always important to dress in layers in Cleveland. Here’s why: When it’s cold outside some businesses like to blast the heat to compensate and some of them refuse to turn on the heat or their building is so old that the cold air sneaks in through the cracks. Regardless, if you dress in layers it wont matter because you will be comfy no matter which way the pendulum swings.

4. Get a mood light- Because of the lake, Cleveland tends to be very gray throughout the winter. It’s very easy to slip into the winter blues. These light bulbs help combat those blues AND they are low-wattage so your electric bill wont be outrageous.

5. Take your vitamins Some people don’t think that vitamins help. I’m not one of those people. The B vitamins help give you energy and help improve mood. Vitamin D will help to make up for the fact that you are missing out on the sun. Vitamin C and Zinc will help boost your immune system.

6. Resist the urge to hibernate ALL winter long– I know I know. I get the urge to crawl under my covers and forget the world exists too. And that is total fine…every once in a while. Don’t let it become habit. Get plenty of exercise, even a quick walk around the block, to get the blood pumping and to help elevate your mood. Enjoy all the possibilities that winter has to offer. (Stay tuned to my blog for 50 things to do in the winter coming soon.)

So now you have all the tools you need to have a pleasant winter. The objective is to STAY WARM. Once you are cold you are uncomfortable and once you are uncomfortable you are miserable. If you try all of my suggestions and you still can’t take another Cleveland winter… then move to Florida and combat the hurricanes.

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