To those of you reading this currently surrounded by palm trees and warm weather, please don’t tell us where you live or we may all just show up at your doorstep by this weekend. To those of you currently dealing with Snowmaggedon, Blizzardageddon or you just live in Canada (Vancouverites, shhh…) I just got back inside from shoveling a driveway during our favourite type of shoveling weather, high wind gusts mixed with falling snow.
You know the type of weather where it’s so cold you can hear your feet crunching on the snow with every step you take, your sunglasses fog up due to I don’t know, you breathing and you’re so cold because of the windchill that you’re being reminded of that meme going around that reads “The air hurts my face, why am I living where the air hurts my face”.
Now we’re troopers up here in the Great White North. There is very little that phases us when it comes to winter. If you can drop off and pick up your kids from school this time of year, you can pretty much survive anything. Don’t think that’s hard? Try pushing a stroller through snow. I’ll wait.
But by this point of the year – January/is it almost February /why is it not Spring yet lull, the less sunny days we get, the crankier and angrier we become. We get stir crazy and we want to go outside but are most days trapped inside (Thank you again -30!). The novelty of pretty snow photos ends. You find yourself wandering through nurseries just to feel like you’re somewhere tropical. I think this past month at least 10 of us all wound up buying plants and posting their pics on Instagram on the same day. And all the Canadians and other people living where it snows were just silently nodding in understanding.
Now, a good blogger would have shared this post with back in September where you’re still half excited about the coming sweater weather season and not needing to go to the gym as often. But a realistic blogger knows far too well that despite all the pretty Spring ideas and magazines you will shortly be feasting your eyes on, they will not be put into play until at least May. Possibly June.
Let us remember the most important thing of this time of year and that is, it’s officially sale and clearance on winter gear season! This is the time of year we start scouring merchandise and estimating what size our kids feet will be come September so we can buy them winter boots at half off.
In which case I wanted to share some of my favourite things that get me through these long and freezing winter days.
1) The North Face Tremaya Parka
My husband James and one of my best friends made this surprise Christmas present happen last year. It took me to adulthood to accept the fact that cheap winter coats were indeed cheap for a reason. You buy one and think “This is awesome I spent $50!” and then you wind up spending another $150 on layers underneath to take the pain of the cold away. At some point I was like that’s it Alex, you need a grown up winter coat. So I researched a ton and fell in love with this parka after I tried it on at a store when we went to Blue Mountain for a weekend.
It doesn’t make you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, it is long (I am 5’11” and this goes to my knees) so your bottom half is toasty without looking like you’re wearing a cloak. You can tighten the waist to make it more form fitting, the hood is the wind’s worst nightmare, it is down filled and has a magnetic button closure. The sleeves are also long for us tall girls. It is a dream.
I honestly did not expect it to be as warm because it looked too thin in pictures but I’ve been proven wrong. I put this on as soon as winter starts and it stays on until winter goes away. No hundreds of layers necessary underneath. My only regret is not investing in this sooner. Adults of the world, splurge on the good winter coat. It will pay you back ten fold over the next decade. This is the one area of your winter wardrobe that you should not sacrifice.
The North Face Tremaya Parka
2) Hudson’s Bay Olympic Mittens
These mittens have their own hashtag. They’re almost a pre-requisite in a Canuck’s closet. We collect them like crazy people as each year they come out with a different style. We also make them the focus of countless Instagram photos. Let’s clear something up, these are fashion mittens or “it’s not super cold out today” mittens. But they are cheerful, happy and are almost made for that holding a cup of cocoa with a pair of mittens outdoors photo that’s all over Pinterest. Which let’s face it, would never happen. Because you’d be drinking your cocoa in a tumbler or it would wind up all over the snow in 5 seconds because of your kids.
Hudsons Bay Olympic Mittens
3) Hot Paws Fleece Neck Warmer
I own a ton of scarves. I love scarves to death. Plaid, solid, knit, not knit, it drives James insane how many scarves I have. But the only one I would wear for skiing or extended outdoor periods is this fleece one from the Hot Paws Men’s collection. My kids have their Hot Paws kids versions of it and let me tell you, it makes our mornings a thousand times easier. Have you ever tried getting a scarf on a toddler at 7 am? Problem now solved. An easy single loop infinity scarf and you’re done. Seriously. These should be called Parent’s Sanity Saving scarves.
Fleece keeps you so much warmer than any knit scarf because of how well it protects you against the wind. You don’t know living in cold until you get one of these in a balaclava. We do not mess around up here. Wind burn is real and very painful. You can get these at Canadian Tire, Walmart and Mark’s Work Warehouse for $10 and under.
Hot Paws Fleece Neck Warmer
4) Tom Ford Sunglasses
Ok. I own three pairs of identical $10 generic sunglasses. They are in both cars and one in my gym bag. They are my day to day if they get scratched I won’t cry pairs (and are they ever messed up by now). My wonderful husband upon seeing me use the other sunglasses, got me a pair of these Tom Ford Clemence sunglasses from https://www.specsfair.ca as a gift because he knows I cannot spend money on myself if my life depended on it. I was the person who was like “Why are you spending money on a fancy pair of sunglasses for me, what’s the difference?” Well…there’s a big difference.
Designer names while nice are not what impresses me when it comes to a product. Quality does. And in this case, the difference when I wear these from my $10 ones is night and day. These are my driving sunglasses. The ones I wear when I really need sun protection. In fact I’ve been turning to them more and more. It’s just taken me awhile to get comfortable getting over the same fear as I have with my iPhone. The whole please don’t fall on the ground and crack. I put these on and I don’t flinch or squint. The quality of them is just something that has made me a believer in the way the North Face parka did. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses in a timeless shape for your face. It will change everything. Especially when the glare of the snow on the ground bounces off and lands in your retina blinding you.
Tom Ford Clemence Sunglasses
5) Fleece Lined Leggings
I don’t have a photo of the ones I have online, because I get mine all from Dollarama each year and their supply is sold out already. But I do not function in the winter without a pair of fleece lined leggings. I wear them under my jeans every single day. I force them under skinny jeans. They are game changing. No longer will your skin freeze under your cold denim or pants when you’re outdoors. Regular leggings will not do the same thing. It’s the whole fleece factor I mentioned with the scarves. Amazon has some great options for them still currently available (as I type this) including these from My House of Chic and Steven Madden.
Have I enticed you to move to Canada yet? Or are you gripping your flip flops with joy saying “We shall never part.” I get it. At this point in winter I can’t lie, I do miss the hot weather in New Orleans too.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go shovel our driveway again. In my toasty parka.