10 Thoughts on Winter

Up until this month, I was pretty content with 2014-2015 winter season. Obviously, it was colder than I’d like (I’m a 70s and sunny girl…but who isn’t?), but I was managing.

And then, February hit.

I partake in the semi-frequent social media “it’s so cold” conversation (posting Snapchat stories with the weather filter, uploading photos of the frozen lake onto Instagram, and tweeting multiple hateful tweets a day while still maintaining a semi-professional voice on Twitter), but it just doesn’t seem to cut it. I need to complain. I need to vent.

So, I have decided to share with all of you, some of my most recent and frequent thoughts on winter and, more specifically, winter in Chicago.

1. The layers

You cannot even imagine how sick I am of piling on layer after layer, adding probably a good 15 pounds to my body weight. It’s the same story every day. Two pairs of socks under my Uggs (with work appropriate shoes in my bag or stored in my office filing cabinet), leggings under my jeans (as if women’s jeans weren’t tight enough, let me just throw another layer beneath them), a tank top, a sweater, a puffy or fur vest, a 600 level NorthFace jacket. And then…no, I’m not done, a hat, a scarf, and gloves.

So as you can imagine, throughout the day I’m peeling layer by layer off, only to pile them all back on around 5PM and waddle back to my apartment,

2. Uber

There is always surge pricing on Uber these days because everyone is too cold to take public transport.

3. CTA

But, everyone isn’t too cold for public transport. Which means that we must go from the freezing cold, onto an overly packed train or bus, with our ten layers and ten bags (including our change of clothes, change of shoes, and gym clothes) and try to stay balanced while the bus goes over those infamous Chicago potholes.

4. My social life

Any commute that isn’t to work or back home falls off the priority list (sometimes those do too – can I just sleep at the office?) I’d love to see ya, but I’d also love to keep my limbs. See ya in April – maybe May or June because, well, you know Chicago.

5. Adulthood lacks snow days

Just because I’m over the age of fifteen, does not mean I can handle below 0 temperatures any better than a high schooler. Science is not my forte, but I’m pretty sure our DNA doesn’t alter after twenty, increasing our chances of surviving freezing temperatures. Adults deserve snow days/cold days too.

6. Iced Coffee

I miss iced coffee. I dream about it. I really do. But I cannot handle drinking it when I’m already frozen to the core.

7. I might as well be naked

The other day I was talking to my mom and listing my layers off to her and she said, “Oh, you must be warm then!” My response? “No, no I’m not. I might as well be naked.” Obviously, I know that that’s probably not the case. But when it’s this cold you’re just like, I can’t imagine any amount of clothing really helping me. I’m helpless.

8. I shouldn’t even go to the gym

Fat keeps you warm. Why get rid of it? This is my survival technique.

9. It just hurts

It really hurts. It hurts physically. It hurts mentally. It hurts emotionally.

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10. I’m moving

It’s been real Chicago. It really has. But I have every intention of this being my last winter here.

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How to Survive the Polar Vortex of 2014

So I’m sure a number of you have noticed that it’s, erm…bloody freezing outside. Here in Chiberia (yes, apparently that is the latest Chicago nickname) we’ve been through what now seems like almost a month of temperatures way too low to really sustain a happy life. Forget frequenting Hubbard Street at night, I can’t even muster up enough courage to drive to Trader Joe’s and stock up on goodies! I’ve had to shovel way too much snow, slush, and ice recently. And while I appreciate the forced arm workout (that’s a lie, I don’t), I’m sick and tired of this, guys! I’ve honestly caught myself (very profanely) cursing the harsh winter weather for killing my social life all too often this year. But we can’t change the weather, so how can we roll with the punches (to the gut) from good ol’ Mother Nature?

If you know me at all, you know that I love love love lists. I make at least one list per day. Really. I’ll find excuses to make lists. So, below I’ve compiled a list of ways you can all enjoy life in the great indoors as the polar vortex continues to kill your happiness, friendships, and pantry.

How to Survive the Polar Vortex

1. I highly highly recommend the buddy system. Yes. Roads are scary, parking is a nightmare, and you should probably go equipped with jump cables. But having a paly waly by your side makes everything better. In fact, the first time we were held hostages to the weather, I made sure I was with two of my best friends for the entire time. And we had the time of our lives. Sometimes being trapped is really fun if you’re trapped with someone you love.

2. Light your fireplace. I could probably conduct an actual scientific experiment on this and prove to you that by lighting a fireplace, your mood will improve at least five fold. But science really isn’t my thing so I’m going to just go ahead and tell you to light your damn fireplace and hope you listen to me. It looks pretty and gives off a lot of heat. Now that’s what I call a win-win situation.

3. Drink (a lot of) hot chocolate. Much like a nice toasty fire, a warm, filled-to-the-brim, mug of hot coca will surely boost your winter spirits! And you can get really creative with this. I’m talking adding candy canes for a little peppermint flavor, extra marshmallows, or even making it a little more adult and straight up spiking that already amazing goodness.

4. Build a fort. I am always trying to get people to do this with me and I don’t know why no one will. Dozens of pillows and blankets. Movies and magazines. THIS IS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER! If you’re trapped in the house, you might as well let your inner child out for a little play time.

5. Movies. Lots and lots of movies. This is a god-given “catch up on pop culture” opportunity for you.

6. Use the weather as an excuse not to go to the gym (hooray!)

7. Call up old friends and reminisce about how happy snow days used to make you as a child. Um, hello. The polar vortex is an excuse for you to relive your childhood (please reread #4 because I just cannot emphasize this enough).

8. Turn to your hobbies. Do you even know what your hobbies are?! Last week we were playing the typical classroom icebreaker games (another fun fact about me: I hate these. I really hate when people try to force me to have fun. Like…this is not fun. This will never be fun. Yes…even if you make it a Jeopardy! game) and the question, what’s your favorite hobby came up. And my group and I made a joke about how no one has time to learn what their hobbies are, let alone engage in them. Use this time to figure out what you like to do when you have some time off! Cook. Knit. Write. Learn how to give yourself a blow out. Read. Take photographs. Become cooler.

9. Order really cute winter gear online and have it shipped right to your doorstep! This is a great excuse to shop. You actually need new sweaters, gloves, scarves, and hats in order to survive this!

I suggest trying these places because of free-shipping and/or free returns: Shopbop – Zara – ASOS – Piperlime – Topshop

10. Nap. Nap like hell because I know you need it and you deserve it. Nap on the couch because it is so fun. Nap with three pillows and three blankets and maybe even your pet for optimal comfort. Nap nap nap.

I promise that if you take at least some of my advice, Mother Nature won’t seem like such a huge bitch. Ha! Jokes on you, gal pal (referring to Mother Nature, not you of course!)

Unless you have class on Mondays because, uh, schools are open. In that case, double up socks, grab those Uggs, put your leggings under your jeans, and grab that parka. Then go ahead and cry and complain to your mom, I know I will.

Here are a couple of my favorite memories from the snow/cold storm earlier this month:

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Slow sippin while staying toasty with one of my greatest friends, S!

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Catching up on (Bollywood) pop culture and giggling like a maniac when this question was asked!

Anyways…

Stay warm and bundled!

Love,

K