A Californian’s Survival Guide to Freezing Weather

After a year and half of living in New York, I have finally mastered the art of dressing for the freezing temperatures of New York with the assistance and persistent training from my suite mates Laurie Fogelstrom and Monika Khaltsev.  I remember that I was lucky with the very mild winter New York had last winter.  This year, I must say I have not been as fortunate.  So far this week, we have had weather down to 12 degrees and when it got “warmer” to around 33 degrees, we were greeted by a steady stream of flurries.  I made a checklist for myself to survive this freezing weather, and I hope it helps those who are going to be going to cold areas to keep these tips in mind!

1. Check the weather app on your phone.

When I was back at home, I had the convenience to look out the window for a split second and know what the weather is like and be very accurate about the temperature.  New York weather throws curveballs at me all the time, and I have learned to check the temperature on my phone every morning and what the predictions are for the rest of the day.  If I see any slight chance of rain, an umbrella always goes in my bag.  Any temperature below 50 degrees means at least two layers of jackets with thick sweats and warm fuzzy socks.

2. Think in layers.

I did not believe in layering clothing until I experienced 32-degree weather.  When I bought my first fleece jacket, I could not understand why most of them did not come with hoods.  Then my suite mates told me that it is because you wear the fleece jackets underneath other thicker, warmer jackets to insulate the heat, which explained the lack of a hood.  That was quite the discovery for me.

3. Wear gloves, scarves, and ear covers

Back at home, scarves are usually worn as an accessory, not as a necessity.  I discovered that scarves really make a significant difference in warmth.  One of the best investments that I have made this year was in a thin, cashmere scarf.  Not only is it a pretty pink plaid design, it also keeps my neck extremely warm as well as takes a minimal amount of space in my backpack!  Another handy article of clothing to own here is something to cover your ears with, whether it is an earmuff or fleece ear cover headband.

4. Own thick waterproof boots that are not Uggs.

I discovered that rain boots serve their purpose in keeping my feet from getting wet, but I have to wear thick, warm socks to keep my feet from freezing.  A solution proposed by my suite mates is to wear thick-soled, maybe even furry-lined boots that go above my ankles.  When I go to the city I venture around in these big, clunky boots.  It makes me think twice about going into the city when it has snowed, because I am still trying to figure out how to walk a bit more elegantly without tripping over my feet.

5. Moisturize: body butter will be your best friend; especially for your hands.

I did not realize that freezing weather means dry-skin-galore.  The cold weather makes my lips very chapped.  My hands and face are always super dry after taking a walk in the icy weather, and if there is a wind-chill factor, it makes everything much drier.  So I learned to keep a small bottle of lotion in my bag at all times in case I am in need of a quick moisturizing session.

These are a few tips that I recommend everyone to keep in mind when braving this frosty weather! Stay warm everyone.

My roommate and I all bundled up and ready to go brave the freezing weather.

My roommate and I all bundled up and ready to go brave the freezing weather.

Author: Lynn Tay

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