Thursday, December 4, 2014

How to survive cold weather?

Freezing temperature may be part of everyday life for natives of northern states but for me, a temporary transplant used to mild winter weather, it was a learning curve. I moved from Arizona to Michigan in the beginning of September for work. My appointment is for 4 months.  I like to state that I brought a wide range of clothing with me but 2/3 of my clothes were useless by the end of October. Although the mid-weight wool coats and my trench coat with quilted lining helped a lot, when the snow started falling and temperature dipped below 35⁰F, the only thing that saved me from freezing was my new down coat. It took me a few tries to find the right hat or the right gloves, so here is a list of my necessary supplies:

-A down coat obviously. Do your research and buy one of the thicker ones (well worth the money). Mine is a bit flimsy and lightweight and I need to layer a wool coat or jacket underneath when it is windy (although I can pack it into a 5”×10” pouch). Many of the new down coats are nipped at the waist and are fitted which makes them more flattering.The knee length and hooded is ideal.
-Fleece lined leggings. Buy them in your size and a size larger so you can layer them. Right now it’s 28⁰F outside and I have layered two pair of fleece-lined leggings under my jeggings!
-Hat with ear flaps. I tend to get headaches from the cold wind. After experimenting with beanies and berets (without success) I found knit hats with fleece lining and ear flaps which saved me from a total brain freeze. I finally bought the fur lined water resistance version and am truly warm and happy!
-Fleece lined gloves and mittens. My cashmere lined leather ones gave up the fight at 40⁰F. For the best result get the heavy-duty ski gloves. I forgot to bring mine so I am layering a pair of fleece gloves under a pair of furry fleece lined mittens.

-Fur lined boots with thick rubber soles and water resistant surface. Knee high is usually the best. Make sure they have good traction at the soles for when there is snow and slush or freezing rain and the sidewalks are as slippery as an ice rink. Also pay attention to the calf width and get boots you can tuck your pants into.
-Mix wool or acrylic socks. You may need to layer a couple of pairs so have plenty of these!  
-And don't forget warm densely knit  scarves!
-Wool or cashmere turtlenecks. I like to keep my neck covered in cold and have been wearing turtleneck for three months straight now.
-Fitted long sleeved tees for layering under the turtlenecks or sweaters.
-Wool or cashmere sweaters. I layer them over the turtlenecks of usually the same color. Most of them are fitted which keeps my silhouette slim.
-Wool or felt coats to layer under the down coat on ultra cold days.

My recommendations for anyone else who’s moving to a northern sate in winter:
-Dress in layers! Outside sure is freezing but inside the buildings is usually too warm (75-80⁰). Layers are your best friends!
-Check the weather’s monthly trend and give it a 10 degree margin! When it is windy, usually it feels much colder.
-People usually recommend silk or poly-mix thermal wear (long johns) but my research showed these provide the same amount of warmth as fleece lined leggings. Your choice!
-Take vitamin C supplements (check with your Dr. to make sure it’s OK) to boost your immune system.
-Drink lots of hot tea and soup!
-An electric throw or blanket offers a lot of comfort on chilly evenings.

Stay warm and best of luck!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mad hatting!

I finally gave up and bought one of these hats. Let's hope it stops the headaches I get from the freezing weather. I confess to irresistible charms of the rabbit fur lining!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Orange and oxblood

Not only the color combo was wonderful, the textures played nicely together as well. I would wear this combination again in Arizona where I don't have to wear them with 2 pairs of fleece lined tights layered over each other, a pair of fur lined boots and under the top, two extra layers, a tee and a thin merino wool sweater! Now, just focus on these two, OK?!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are small things you can be thankful for and there are major things. Right now I am in the mood to be thankful for the little things:

-Having a pool in the house when it’s 115⁰F hot.
-A peaceful and beautiful neighborhood where all you need is conveniently close by.
-Seeing two months of colorful foliage after 15 years of living in places with no autumn.
-Finally learning to order the perfect pumpkin spice latte: soy milk, extra syrup, extra pumpkin spice!
-Finding an old friend in a new city where you know no one else.
-An apartment with a convenient store on the ground floor when it’s 22⁰F outside.
-A cup of hot chocolate with a shot of coffee liquor when it’s snowing.
-A knit hat which is fleece lined. Also a down coat and furry fleece lined mittens!
-Great stores which offer a wide range of little things and distract you on lonely weekends.
- Barnes & Noble bookstore! It’s like seeing a good friend everywhere you go. May the company be always prosperous!
-The ability to go back home and recharge (and to have that safe haven in my life).

On a serious note, I am thankful for all the resources and fall-backs in my life, not that I used them much but for the security and the assurance, the knowledge that they are there for me if I ever need them. To be able to take risks more daringly and to face challenges in comfort. That is one blessing I am thoroughly grateful for this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter hiatus

Sorry for the lack of posts! These past couple of weeks with the cold weather and constant snow, there haven’t been any exciting (or even slightly interesting) outfit. What I am wearing normally is a type of uniform consistent of a pair of winter pants with  a pair of fleece lined legging layered underneath, two pair of winter socks, a cotton top, a merino wool turtle neck layered over it, a cashmere or merino wool sweater layer over that one, a wool jacket over them, and finally a down coat over everything. I found knit hats with ear flaps which are lined with fleece and I wear them daily. Over the hat, I usually put an ear warmer/headband and then pull the hood of my down coat over them all. I am also constantly wearing a double layer scarf with a dense knit. I wear a pair of fleece gloves and over those I wear a pair of fluffy fury mittens which are also lined with fleece.
Do I look ridiculous? I guess so! Do I care when the alternative is freezing in 17⁰F weather (wind makes it feel like 3-0⁰F)? No, absolutely not!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Plaid and chevrons

This fall I've become obsessed with plaids. Another obsession of mine is my zigzag print Missoni scarf. On these cold gray and depressing days, the only thing that helps me keep going is my favorite little things.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"You Are Here"

World, say hello to my "You Are Here" sweater. I'd resisted the lure of quote sweaters until now, but this one somehow spoke to me!!! It reminded me to be present and mindful. I listened... and bought it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bordeaux and orange

A turtleneck tunic can feel like a security blanket even when you are in an AC-heated mall. Thanks to my friend for driving us there and back, I could dress a bit lighter than the weather required. It was a fun day of window shopping and chit chat...I didn't know how much I'd missed shopping with a friend.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

To escape

It was a game day for UMich and a tense one at that. People started with cheers and shouting at 8:00 AM with a frat house mud wrestling right next door. Noise, crowds and drunk undergrads... to scape it all, I went to Anthropologie for some window shopping, had lunch at Panera and spent a couple of hours in Barnes and Nobles browsing books and magazines. But the racket was going strong till way past midnight!

Saturday, November 1, 2014


It was a cold day which led to a frozen night and we saw our first snow on Halloween. Consequently I stayed home and enjoyed a bag of Godiva truffles, a glass of wine and "The nightmare before Christmas" under a cozy fluffy blanket.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A touch of red

The best way to chase away Friday humdrums is with a nice warm red scarf. Head to toe black needs that little touch of red. To make it better, put on a bright red lipstick too!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Knit tunic

On a freezing day, nothing is better than a soft knit tunic with a turtleneck. You can feel like wearing a blanket, all warm and cozy. It also helps if you can work from a comfortable coach in the library instead of a cold desk in the lab.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Getting your wishes

Have you noticed when you get your wishes, they are not like you imagined them to be? For example, every fall and winter in California, I was wishing for a real cold and cloudy weather so I can wear my extensive collection of colorful coats without making a spectacle of myself. This year, I am in a real cold climate with cloudy skies and chilling wind and I feel.... miserable! Also out of my 12 coats, I only have 4 of the least exciting ones with me. Yeah, yeah, convenient packing and showing the least dirt and going with every outfit sounds good in theory, but in reality? You get bored with dull colors soon specially when the sky is gray constantly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Basic white

It has been years, maybe from my high school years that I last wore a white turtleneck. I saw this one in store on Sunday and I couldn't resist buying it. Of course I have to wear it the next day. It encourages me to wear my neglected skirt!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blue and gray

When I started out mid-day, it was gloomy and gray, hence my outfit. But in an hour, the sun started shining and my mood improved. I even took a long walk to take the most advantage of the beautiful sunshine.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The comfort of navy

Navy is my power color but also acts as a calming color when I need it. Like this Saturday afternoon which I spend in a coffee shop and went food shopping. Too tired too even read a book, I mostly people-watched, a fantastic past time specially if you live in the middle of a university campus.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pull on plaids

I didn't notice how many plaid pieces I was wearing until I got to work. They go together rather well though and I am happy with the mix. I guess that's all that's matter.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Red to the rescue

From the time I bought this t-dress a couple of years ago, I'd wondered if I could layer a red shirt underneath. Well, I wonder no more! It is possible but not very comfortable. A positive point for this outfit however was the uplifting color, poppy red. Despite the cold and gray of the day, I was feeling happy.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The problem with skirts

I love skirts, I adore them really. However, I don't wear them that often... or at all if I want to be honest! Why is that? Is it the effort of finding a suitable top every time? Is it the trouble of matching hemlines and shoes? Is it the confined waistband? Whatever the problem, I donated most of my skirts before leaving AZ and  brought only two skirts with me to Michigan. Being here for almost two months, this is the first time I am wearing this skirt. The conclusion? I need to stop buying skirts (no matter how pretty they are or how feminine I feel when wearing them) because in reality of my day to day life, I don't wear them often enough to justify the price or the room they take in my closet!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gray and Down

No, you are not mistaken. That's a down coat! The temp was around 35 most of the day and the wind had a freezing chilly bite to it. Although some people looked at me kind of weird, I was warm. That's all tha's matter!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black and white view

On my birthday I am usually nostalgic, depressed and critical of my past. Having a black and white and judgmental view of my life does not make the best past time but...sometimes you have to do a little evaluation.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin bar

I met my friend for a little pre-birthday chit chat and chilling. This cafe had a nice range of gluten free pastries and I was able to enjoy a pumpkin bar. It was the best! A pity that the cafe is more than a half hour bus ride from my house, otherwise I could have gone there for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The day at the museum

I had high hopes for my visit to Museum of Natural History, needless to say; it didn't measure up. It took less than two hours to visit all four floors and I tried to go as slowly as I could, reading every plaque and notification. My outfit was comfortably warm though, that's the highlight!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vintage lilac and wine

Vintage lilac is the name of color for this soft sweater and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It is a great piece for layering, thin, stretchy and deliciously warm. Also looks great layered under this boxy floral top.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Black polka

I was very happy when I found this black polka dot shirt, just what I needed. It is pure cotton and can be layered easily. Also it's thin enough that I can take it with me when I'm going back to warmer (more pleasant) climates. How forward thinking of me!