Nov 08

Winter Survival Guide

by Shannon Calhoun · 1 comment

There are certain things you don’t know about winter when you grow up in the lower mainland of B.C. For example, people in Calgary have to plug their cars in. I know this might sound insane, but it is true. I’ve seen it firsthand. They also adorn them with toques from time to time, as above.

If you’re new to town, you may be wondering how you’ll survive the winter on a blustery day like today. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the coldest time of year unscathed.

1.)  It’s a dry cold and you can kiss any sign of humidity whatsoever good-bye with your chapped lips.  L’Occitane en Provence’s ultra moisturizing shea butter hand cream and Carmex for the lips are my two essentials for feeling more human, less lizard.

2.)  Be prepared to have your nose run like a tap when you go from subzero temperatures to the warm indoors. This makes having Kleenex on you at all times mandatory. Do not leave home without it unless you’re fond of awkward moments. Land & Sea has some cute seasonal ones in store right now.

3.)  Ear muffs and legwarmers are not just for the fashion forward, and balaclavas are not just for burglars. Make sure you stock up on all the necessary accessories to keep each part of your body warm.  Twigs & Co has recently become a mecca for scarves - just head upstairs to their clothing section.

4.)  With all the snow, salt and sand underfoot it will start to wreak havoc on your boots in no time, so proper care is mandatory. This is one that I leave to the pros.  I stumbled across Emmanuel last year (who is stationed beside Starbuck’s on the Bankers Hall side of the +15 that connects it to the CORE/TD Square/Holt Renfrew) and got my first proper shoe shine. It was a makeover of epic proportions.

5.)  The static electricity might make you feel like you’re receiving electric shock therapy at times - particularly if you work in an office with carpet.  I have been conditioned like one of Pavlov’s dogs to wince with pain at the thought of opening a metal filing cabinet.  It can also do a real number on your hair and clothes.  Carrying an anti-static dryer sheet to rub yourself down with every now and then helps,  I’m contemplating making myself some Downy gloves this year!

6.) Slippers will keep your tootsies warm. I took it from the pros on winter for this one, the Winnipeggers! I have met several who actually travel with their own wherever they go. These fuzzy bunny slippers, also at Land & Sea, look super cozy.

7.)  The best way to describe the weather here is bi-polar. Prepare yourself by dressing in layers.  Last September I was in a summer dress one day, and the next it was snowing. I like to keep an extra sweater or jacket at work just in case Mother Nature has a mood swing.

8.)  It may be chilly at times, but typically it’s dry and sunny. Coming from rainy Vancouver, I don’t think there is anything I could possibly appreciate more. The glare off the snow can be hard on the eyes at times so just make sure to invest in some decent shades and you’re set.

9.) The Plus 15s (Skywalks) are a God-send this time of year. You may get lost in the beginning, but that can actually be kinda fun sometimes. They’re like their own little alternate universe. You can download a map to help you find your way here.

Not only are they convenient for getting around the centre city without having to go outside, they come in handy for exercise when it’s minus 20 out and your lungs feel like they’re burning. A long walk on your lunch break beats trying to run outdoors in the winter.

10.)  While they might not be the sexiest thing on the planet, sometimes there’s nothing like crawling into a nice pair of flannel jammies at the end of the day and there’s usually a great variety of them right before Christmas.

If all else fails, a stiff drink won’t.  Try the 1969 at Charcut, an unusual twist on a classic Caesar using gin and served strong like a martini, then garnished with a chunk of house-cured bacon instead of celery.  An appy and a drink all in one. Perfection.

Anyone else out there have tips to battle Old Man Winter?

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