Monday, January 25, 2021

Keeping Cozy

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Now comes the end of January, the depth of winter, the coldest days of the year. For those of us who are New Englanders (or you, our readers, in the northern states and in Canada) it means nights that can freeze the water pipes, mornings where the car battery doesn’t start, and daily outfits of long johns, thermal tops, and heavy woolen sweaters. 

But even in places like Phoenix and San Francisco, the days only rise into the fifties this week and the nights chill close to freezing. Only Lucy, living in Key West (the same latitude as the Gulf of Bahrain and the Arabian Sea!) doesn’t need to slip on a pullover and some fuzzy socks.

 

None of us are escaping to tropical beaches this winter, and short of breaking the bank to crank the heat up to 78F, we all need trucks and workarounds to stay warm, and sometimes more importantly, to feel cozy. For me, it all starts with fires in the woodstoves. They throw off real heat, but there’s also an atavistic human response to flames that just makes you feel better.  I have a friend with no way at all to burn wood who swears by the You Tube 10 hour crackling fireplace!

Another must-have: snuggly throws. I have woolen throws (seriously warm,) velvety plush throws, chunky knitted throws and crocheted-by-grandma throws. While wrapped in a blanket in front of a fire, I add the third necessity for coziness - a hot drink. Herbal tea, hot cider, hot cocoa - it doesn’t matter so long as it warms your fingers as you hold it and warms your insides on the way down.

How about you, Reds? What are your stay-warm secrets? 


RHYS BOWEN: I confess to being at the warmer end of the spectrum here in California. John keeps our house around 70 degrees so sweaters aren’t necessary. We bundle up for our morning walk when it can drop to the thirties. I’m a great believer in cashmere and my cashmere cardigan insulates brilliantly. My Christmas present this year was an electric fireplace that I love. One flick of the switch and I have crackling flames plus as much heat as I need.  And our winter routine is soups. Lots of hearty homemade soups for lunch—carrot and parsnip and leek and cauliflower as well as chicken and dumplings seasoned with curry or ginger or cinnamon. All yummy and just right for gloomy cold days. And hot apple cider at night!

 

 

 


JENN McKINLAY: We’ve had the most consistently cold weather in Phoenix that I can remember in a long time. Day after day in the low sixties and nights in the high thirties. What the heck? This is not what I signed on for! That being said, my fluffy pink bathrobe is getting more than its usual two weeks out of the closet and has been in rotation for two months. My thermal shirts are my daily wear, soft, warm, and comfy, I have them in all colors which conveniently match my collection of flannel plaid shirts, which are favorites even though I’m sure I look like I’ve misplaced my axe. 

Throws are a must, although the pets out maneuver me for them, which is annoying because I don’t have the heart to boot them off. And, yes, hot tea! Yorkshire Gold, please, with honey and keep it coming.


LUCY BURDETTE: I admit to being the warmest Red of the bunch. But I am wearing socks and jeans and a sweatshirt to walk Lottie for coffee in the morning. That sort of counts. We had the most wonderful Italian wedding soup with turkey meatballs, spinach, orzo and lemon this week. I think what pushed the recipe to the next level was John’s turkey stock, which we’d frozen after thanksgiving. He roasted the carcass with vegetables and then we boiled. It was wonderful and the recipe made a lot! I tweaked Mary Jane Maffini’s recipe which is here: https://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2021/01/turkey-meatball-soup-with-spinach-and.html


 

 

 

 

 

HALLIE EPHRON: When I went out this morning for the paper, the thermometer was reading 20 degrees--a shock after what’s been a pretty mild winter so far. I swear by fingerless gloves, socks, and hot tea. And I have the coziest throw that my daughter got us for Christmas--fleece on one side, velvet on the other. But really the key to staying warm is layers. I’m partial to Cuddl Duds silky long underwear. 

Now I want some of that Italian wedding soup. Or actually, just a cup of John’s turkey stock would do. Roast the carcass with vegetables first?! I’m going to do that to the chicken I roasted last night. 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: 78 degrees, Julia! Not happening in our old house. There are days when the north wind is blowing that I have trouble getting it up to 65. So lots of throws--I gave myself two new incredibly fluffy ones for an early Christmas present. Throws in the living room, one at each of my two writing desks, extra quilts on the bed.

I have one latte in the morning, and after that I’ve been switching to ginger tea (thanks to that arm-length ginger root I scored a couple of weeks ago) which is lovely and warming, and I wrap my hands around my pottery mug when not typing. Maybe I need to try Hallie’s fingerless gloves.

Lots of soups here, too, and I’ve had a hankering for Italian Wedding Soup. I have some ground veal in the freezer that I need to use--maybe for the meatballs? 

Oh, and a fire most evenings. We have gas piped into our wood-burning fireplace, so if we’re lazy we can just turn on the gas. Not nearly as warming, however, but it is cheerful.

 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I am so glad you can't see me! Socks, camisole, thermal t-shirt , yoga pants, fleece hoodie, Uggs. And a blanket around my shoulders.  It is grotesque and so very very warm. I also have this ridiculous sky blue thing that's fleecy/fuzzy, it's a fleecy hoodie that goes down to my knees. It is shamefully cozy.

Our house is so old that every room is different to heat (or not) so we just add and discard clothing as need be, leaving wraps and shawls wherever. Oh! Do you know Uniqlo heat-tech tshirts? Very very thin, but SO warm! And Hanro camisoles. 

 

JULIA: Okay, dear readers, it's your turn. What are your tips and tricks for getting through the coldest days of winter?

107 comments:

  1. Socks and fleece and flannel and sweaters and layers and cozy throws . . .
    soup [we had chicken vegetable yesterday] and stew and coffee and tea . . .
    a fire in the fireplace and flannel sheets and an extra quilt on the bed . . . .

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    1. Flannel sheets! I ripped my queen size pair last year and haven't replaced them. I knew I was missing something.

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    2. I have a hole in mine but there is a second and third set in my closet.

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  2. I don’t seem to get too cold, even when it’s really cold out. The thermostat is usually on 71. I’d turn it to 70, but my husband gets cold. If I do get chilly, I have a robe or sweater or throw, but I don’t need them often. I do like some hot coffee, but then I like it year round. I don’t sleep with a lot of cover, a top sheet and a bed spread and a throw. My husband sleeps under a pile of blankets.

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    1. Ooh, you're living large, Kathy. I usually keep the daytime temperature in my house at 64 to 66. Of course, I have a large, drafty old house which I unfortunately heat with oil. $$$$

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  3. We had a very mild December and early January but the polar vortex dipped down this weekend. Sunday we had morning temperatures of -19C/-2F with a windchill of -30C/-22F.

    I wear fleece tops of different thicknesses on top of my normal t-shirt indoors, either by Columbia Sportswear or North Face. And both my thin blue winter jacket and regular winter pants are by Columbia Sportwear. They have the OMNI-HEAT lining (like the silver thermal blankets) which uses your own body heat to keep you warm. And when it's real cold like yetterday, I wear thermal underwear from Icebreaker or Kombi as my base layer, then the Columbia Fleece and my heavy North Face Parka which is good for -40C/F temperatures. And THERMAL SOCKS of different thicknesses, and I have two or three different types and thickness of gloves and toques that can be worn anywhere from -10 to -40C/F!

    But like Kathy, I don't sleep with much cover at night. The thinnest cotton sheets and the year-round silk comforter on top which heats/cools the body appropriately.

    HANK: I will check out the Uniqlo heat-tech shirts. It's great that technology like this (and Columbia Omni-Heat can produce thin clothing that keeps you incredibly warm.

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    1. Also, another BONUS of the Columbia Saturday Trail II lined pants are stretchy and have DEEP pockets and one zipped pocket on the side. I don't use a purse or backpack very often so it's nice to be able to carry the essentials this way.

      These have been my go-to winter pants for the past 4 years in Ottawa.

      https://www.columbiasportswear.ca/en/p/womens-saturday-trail-ii-stretch-lined-pants-1561061.html

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    2. I'm coming back later to copy down all of your winter weather clothing links!

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    3. JUDY: Just make sure you choose the LINED pants for winter warmth. Columbia has a SUMMER pant with a similar name (i.e. Saturday Trail II convertible pant).

      They come in petite, regular and plus sizes. I have 5 pairs in black or gray.

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    4. Great info, GRACE. Thank you. Like Judy, I am copying the links.

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  4. You all know how to get cozy! I need to go find my fingerless gloves - they really make a difference on a morning when it's 17 out. I also have knitted ankle warmers, like dancers wear. They make all the difference in my chilly morning office, where the space heater is going overtime. Hot coffee helps, as does a scarf around my neck.

    In a couple of hours the downstairs will be filled with the smells and heat of sourdough baking - the aroma alone would warm anyone - and then a warm slice with butter? Anyone within an hour's drive (Julia, Hank, Hallie) is welcome to stop by at ten for a bite! We'd have to stand apart on the driveway while we visit, and it'll be cold. Or I can just hand off slices through your car window. ;^)

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    1. EDITH: I am baking this morning, too! For once, it's not sourdough bread, but a new recipe for raspberry jam buns. Similar to a cinnamon roll but spreading a thin layer of raspberry jam on the dough. Yum!

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    2. Baking is a bonus in winter, although I bake bread and goodies all year round. Edith, my son and family live in Beverly. When the pandemic is really over...nice to think about that!

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    3. the sourdough and raspberry jam muffins sound amazing!

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    4. Edith, if I wasn't working with Youngest on her pre-driving exam prep, I would take you up on that offer!

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  5. We have pretty much the same weather as Hallie and Hank. We turn the heat down at night to 58, and up in the morning to 65. I like it cold on my face at night and we have a favorite down comforter from The Company Store which is finally, this month, dressed in a flannel duvet. Bliss.


    In the day time, we dress in jeans. I usually wear a silk camisole under a cashmere sweater, and it's enough. If you sit still for a long time, there are warm throws everywhere. I do have a super warm pair of fingerless gloves, very bulky though, if I need them, and I wear a lightweight down vest around the house. As for drinking hot stuff, yes, mostly coffee, tea at lunch. I make soups and stews all winter.

    My house is a seven room tract split level built in the 1950's. We blew insulation into the walls the summer we bought it. Most of the windows have been replaced with new construction top of the line windows. This house isn't particularly drafty. We have never used the fireplace here. If we converted it to gas, I would. But it would loose more heat than it would provide so, no.

    Let me say this, I love all seasons, even winter. I've lived in Connecticut most of my life and I have clothes for every season. I used to ski, ice skate and snowshoe and still do from time to time. Winter sports make you strong. The biggest beef about winter is having to commute in snowy or icy conditions. Irwin would drive in anything. We are retired now. Stay warm everyone.

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    1. I have to sleep in cold air too, Judy. And I'm so sad I can't go cross country skiing this winter because of my hand - not that we have snow, though, so I'd have to drive north. Next year I'll ski again, for sure!

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    2. JUDY/EDITH: Another cold air sleeper here! I crack open the windows even when it's -20/-30C at night.

      And I totally agree with Judy that winter sports keeps you strong. And you feel energized after a good outing in the cold. Like Edith, we have had very little snow. Two snowstorms finally have given us a base for x-cross skiing but not enough to snowshoe (boo). And it has not been cold enough for the Rideau Canal Skateway to open...the largest natural skating rink in the world. Bah!

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    3. In the before times, I commuted to work by foot and bus. On cold days, I would look like a fifth grader bundled up: down jacket, snow pants, scarf, toque, gloves and Sorrel boots w/ wool socks. Those early (dark) morning walks to the bus were fine in all that gear; it was the standing waiting for the next connection that could get horribly cold. Moving in the cold is the way to stay warm.

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    4. AMANDA: I agree, standing still and waiting 20-30 minutes at an unsheltered bus stop in the winter can be brutal. I do not drive so I still have to endure this misery occasionally. The real-time transit app on my phone and some HEATED bus shelters (thank you, Ottawa) helps minimize the time spent feeling cold.

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    5. I'd suffer from hypothermia if I kept my house that cold, Judy! And 58 at night? I'd never get to sleep at all.

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    6. Moving does make a huge difference. When I am working at home in the winter, I try to get up every 45 minutes to an hour and put wood in the wood stove, do some chores, things to keep me moving.

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  6. Outside here today, it's minus 26C/minus 14.8F but feels like minus 32C/25.6F when you calculate in the windchill. When I got up, the house indoor therm read 15C/59F so I turned the heat on to 21C/69.8F. Soon, we'll be toasty. Indoors. Outdoors, not so much!

    My answer to the cold is lined jeans and down sweaters, which are thinner, lighter versions of the make-you-look-like-the-Michelin-tire-man down jackets. Super comfortable to wear and they eliminate the need for multiple layers. Wool socks are good, too.

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    1. AMANDA: Winnipeg is usually colder than Ottawa in winter, for sure! This weekend's windchills of -28 to -30C (-18F to -22F) was rather jarring but I was toasty warm outside for over 2.5 hours each day. You just have to dress for the weather... now it's -18C/0F but going all the way up to -4C/28F, so I am back to wearing my thin blue Columbia Omni-heat winter jacket for this morning's group walk.

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    2. I’ve never heard of a down sweater.... where does one purchase them? I want one! I would never leave the house if I lived where you both do... I’m near Portland, OR, & that’s cold enough for me. But I’m one of the people that can be chilly when it’s 80 degrees....

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    3. Grace and amanda, I'm going to start looking at the weather forecast for Winnipeg and Ottawa whenever I start to feel sorry for myself about the cold Maine weather!

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    4. We Winnipeggers are famous for talking about the weather in an inverse-pride kind of way! But GRACE is quite right: It's all about dressing for the weather to survive it. On a crisp sunny blue-sky day, even -2oC is glorious.

      As for where to buy a down sweater, M. SMITH, my brand is Royal Robbins or Columbia, maybe (I cut out the label); but for sure my partner's is Patagonia. "Sweater" is really a misnomer as it's a jacket-style with a zipper up front; I think that descriptor is used to distinguish it from the heavier outdoor jackets.

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  7. So cold here! 8 degrees when I got up so I know it could be much worse. At least the wind isn't blowing. I'm wearing sweats, heavy socks, a turtleneck and a warm hoodie. Ever since I have gone to very short hair my neck is cold so the hoodie works better than a hat although I've been known to wear a knit hat in the house. Flannel sheets and an electric blanket. I've tried an electric mattress pad but I don't remember why I didn't like it.

    My baseboard heat takes a long time to warm up the house so on very cold mornings I turn on my propane gas log fire. Makes it very toasty where I sit and one cat really loves it; not sure why the other ones don't. And yes, I have all kinds of throws and comforters and even lengths of fleece fabric I wrap around my shoulders. Sometimes I wear gloves when I am reading in bed.

    Does thinking warm thoughts really help?

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    1. Judi, I have a changing tropical scene as my desktop picture this time of year. I like to look at it and imagine myself on a beach. I think it does help.

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    2. Long hair makes a HUGE difference!

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  8. I have a variety of sweatpants and wool sweaters, cute to blanket-weight functional. Wool cross-country knee socks. A hip-length puffy coat and boiled wool baabaazuzu mittens. Insulated hiking boots. Taking notes on what our Canadian sisters wear.

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    1. Margaret, I have a collection of wool cardigans I love to wear, and I would like to expand it, but I'm finding it difficult to source actual, 100% wool sweaters. Everything seems to be either Marino or a wool blend.

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    2. Julia, merino is 100% wool. It's from merino sheep, and is less coarse than most other wools.

      But I have also noticed the lack of real wool in garments. For the last 6-7 years I've been buying wool sweaters via mail from Lord & Taylor, who had wonderfully well made merino and cashmere crewnecks, cardigans, and turtles. When I heard they were going out of business I hopped online and bought as many colors as I could.

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    3. A fast, on-line search revealed: mail order Irish sweaters, tax free. LLBean ragg wool cardigans (I have an LLB ragg wool pullover and it's not too scratchy). Novica has Alpaca wool cardigans (I have a pullover and it's soft and warm). I suspect LLB will start unloading their inventory. I bought my ragg wool sweater in September, on sale, 15% off coupon. When the world opens, if you're in DC in the fall or for Thanksgiving, hit Current, a resale boutique on 14th street, source of my Alpaca sweater. Current has other locations in the area.

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    4. Karen, I have some light sweaters and tops made from merino, but what I'm looking for are those nice, heavy Scandinavian knit sweaters and cardis for the outermost layer. Most of mine are from LLBean, but alas, they seem to be offering only wool blends or acrylic.

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    5. JULIA: If you want authentic Scandinavian-type wool sweaters, try buying from Iceland.
      They are 100% pure Icelandic wool and the prices are reasonable for the quality:

      https://icelandicstore.is/collections/icelandic-sweaters

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    6. Ah, I see. There used to be an Irish company that sold heavy wool sweaters. And as Margaret says, Novica does. I've bought their alpaca cardigans, which are wonderfully warm. Pricey, but really well made.

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  9. Julia, our approach is very similar to yours. Fire in the woodstove, warm beverage to wrap your hands around, lots of warm, fleecy throws, and sweaters galore. The Hubby always says if there is a fire going, you aren't sitting and doing nothing - you're watching the fire.

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    1. Or getting up to poke the fire, or feed the fire, or clean up the ashes underneath the fire...

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  10. It's not that cold here--50-60 during the day and 30-40 at night--but lately it's been damp. Rain, fog, drizzle . . . the sort of stuff that just leaves the air raw, and turns the house into a barn. I'm usually good with flannel shirts and yoga pants, socks and slippers during the day, but I pile on the covers at night and, have hoodies on hand if needed.

    If I'm really cold, I have a secret weapon. Years ago I bought this huge hooded bathrobe from LL Bean. Fleece on the inside, sturdy knit on the outside, and long enough to reach far below my knees. It weighs a ton, but that weight is like a big warm hug across my shoulders, and I can even wear it as a coat if I need to step outdoors with the dogs.

    Tea and soup and all the good things also help. You'd think, with all the critters I have around here, at least one of them would like to cuddle up to share the warmth. But, alas, that usually doesn't work for me. The two cuddly cats like to spoon each other, and the dogs have those big hairy coats--tough enough to chase sheep across Scotland, they tell me--so extra warmth is not a thing they seek. No three-dog-nights around here.

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    1. Gigi, the Maine Millennial is a big bathrobe fan. That's her warm up garment of choice when she's hanging around the house.

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    2. Gigi, don't tell anyone, but 99% of the time I comment here I'm wearing a floor-length fleece robe.

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    3. Karen: #LivingYourBestLife

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    4. I have come to think of it as my "reading gown," or maybe just my "at home robe." Victorian gentlemen used to lounge about in their smoking jackets. Why can't we have a modern equivalent without all the stinky fumes?

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  11. My sister gave me a pair of fleece-lined slipper-socks for Christmas--my feet are in heaven this winter. Layers, throws, you all know the winter drill! I like my room cold at night, but it's tricky because I can't sleep if my body is cold. One night I had two blankets, two quilts, and a throw on top of all that before I could warm up. Gah!

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    1. Flora, we all have fleece lined shearling slippers from LLBean, and we swear by them. With some hearty socks, it's like having little heaters on your feet, and they're sturdy enough to go outside and get the mail, too.

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    2. I have some really thick, padded "reading socks" that I wear at the computer on cold days. They make a huge difference.

      And I'm with Flora, I can't sleep if my feet are cold. We have down comforters we don't use because Rick can't stand them, he gets too hot. So I sleep under two quilts, and in winter I usually have to put on socks until I get warm.

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  12. However odd it may seem, getting outside for a brisk walk. It's easy enough to bundle up in layers a good hat, and mittens (so much better than gloves - your fingers can keep each other warm.) When we come back in the house feels toasty warm, though we keep the thermostat at a moderate level.

    My other trick is house slippers. D. bought me some beautiful felt ones (purple!) for Christmas and I LOVE them.

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    1. Yes! Remember being told when you were a kid that if you kept your head and your feet warm, the rest of you would do fine? I think that's true.

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  13. Grace sent her very cold weather my way in Quebec as it often happens. LOL
    Most of my comfort comes from what was mentioned above : warm clothes and throws, mohair socks and mittens, a fire, hot beverage and hot soup ( I burned my lips with hot soup this weekend, ouch ).
    When I feel too cold inside, I bundle up and go outside. When I come back, it feels always warmer.

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    1. That's one of the best tricks, Danielle. When come in from walking the dog, I usually have to shed a few layers because the house seems so warm.

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  14. Jenn, just pretend you live in Michigan where one of the layers is always a flannel shirt!

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    1. Unisex warmth is very popular in cold climates!

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  15. Love this post! It's been rather mild here in the Crown of Maine - we usually have at least a week where the highs are -40. Not so this year, in fact it's been below zero only a few mornings. We use two woodstoves during the day - one upstairs, one down and the furnace for heat at night. My office seems to be the coldest in the house - I have one of those wonderful woodstove appearing space heaters which warms me physically and mentally. Lots of soup, too. Italian Wedding, Potato, Potato Leek, and Parsnip Leek are standbys. Yesterday morning I baked biscuits.

    My go to clothes for day in are adult onesies from a Norwegian company named Onepiece. https://www.onepiece.com/en-us. I have two weights - early winter and dang - crank up the heat. With a cami, or tee shirt, or sweatshirt for a bottom layer they are as cozy as cozy can be. If I have to go out, fleece lined jeans, Hanro cami (I love there camis, too, Hank), a cotton, silk, or cashmere turtleneck and a crew sweater - cotton, wool or cashmere. Thermal socks, yes, LL Bean parka and Lowa boots. The boots are made in Bavaria and are the warmest I've ever owned.

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    1. We've been lucky in Maine (and in much of the east coast) so far, haven't we? When think of the winter of '16 when we had the Polar Vortex for the better part of a month - brr!

      I don't know if I've mentioned t before, Kait, but Youngest went to the school in Limestone for a year. I always thought we were hardy northerners here in York county, but after spending some time in Aroostook, I found out we were barely better than Floridians.

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    2. LOL - no, I didn't know you had a Limestone connection. Yes, the rules can be different here. What has always inspired me is how prepared everyone is, and how generous with time and advice when you are learning the winter ropes. The winter of 2007/2008 was the worst for snow - over 200 inches and then the floods came. The winter of 2008/2009 was the coldest in my memory. Morning temps of -50 and long spans when the mercury never topped -20. That was the year I learned that power steering fluid AND brake fluid freeze. Yet when Jack Frost paints the trees with icy glory or Monet and Seurat arrive to feather the trees in spring, it's all worth it.

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    3. I am shivering just reading this!!!

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  16. I shouldn't and I don't complain for I live in the South. Today is an anomaly; it started in the 50s and will go up to 68 but then tomorrow it will start in the 30s and go up to the high 40s or 50s. Because I live in a high rise condo our unit doesn't get too cold usually. We are sandwiched in between 2 floors. However when it gets really cold here all of the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors can get frost on the bottom and leak air. I do miss a fireplace. I may have to turn on the Yule Log on the TV. Even here I dress in layers and in the library where I sit to read, needlepoint and study there are throws over each comfy sear. My favorite is a patchwork made of old wool sweaters that were then felted I think. In two places you can find pockets. It's a patchwork but of only shades of reds, pinks, and purples so warm to look at also.

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    1. Atlanta, I always figure it's the change from what you're used to. When everything is designed around a low of 60F and rain, 30F and an inch of snow is a genuine problem.

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    2. When we get ice storms and the electricity goes off, it's a mess. In our old house (old for Atlanta, 1924) we had to huddle in front of the fireplaces and turn the stove on in the kitchen.

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    3. Ours is 1905, Atlanta, so that is our winter regime, too.

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  17. I forgot to say the throw, blanket was made in Massachusetts of course although bought in NC.

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  18. They are predicting an atmospheric river here this week. Possibility snow on the Bay Area hills, mid week. I used to put a knit hat on when I went to bed when I lived in a house with single pane windows and that was the only place to put the bed. Socks with the slippers, feet off the floor when seated. Because there was skunk the other day near my home, I have a couple of windows just a crack to get the air flowing, so I need to get those closed. Hot tea, lemon or orange herbal at night. My personal thermostat is always a bit warmer than others so if I put a sweater/cardigan it's cold.

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    1. Snow in the bay area! How often does THAT happen?

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    2. It's rare. You know it's cold if it it's into some of the coastal valleys

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    3. Not really the Bay Area, but the mountains in the north Bay Area. Hills here have an elevation of around 5000 feet. Cold up in those hills for sure! I’m at the south end of the Bay Area at 300 feet, never had snow and our forecast is quite different. It was supposed to rain today and the current temperature is 70 and it is very sunny. Probably will reach 75 this afternoon, snow on the hills typically lasts less than two hours once it is daylight.

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    4. The Bay Area is comprised of nine counties, there are lot of miles and differing topography. Deana lives about 100 miles to the north, where winter temperatures are colder than the southern end where I am located. It is a lot colder to the north today, no rain so no snow. It will be cooler here tomorrow, only 65 or so, but the forecast says sunny and clear here anyway.

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    5. Deana here, I live 52 miles north of San Francisco, in Sonoma county. It has snowed a few times in my life in the valley, rarely stickes. It can freeze over up Mt St Helena and hills on the eastern side of the valley more than the west.

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    6. Well, one hundred miles is about right. I live sixty miles south of San Francisco. I hope it doesn't get too cold tonight for all of us. My hibiscus doesn't like temperatures below 40. I have lived in this area my whole life, never snow on the ground here, only the neighboring mountains.

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  19. Julia, I'm making a shopping list.

    Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, after an early bitter cold snap, it's been relatively mild. Having said that, it was 11 degrees when I woke up yesterday morning. Still I dress in layers as well, and since I'm still suffering moments of spontaneous combustion (AKA hot flashes), I need to be able to quickly strip down to that lightweight first layer. We have afghans strategically placed all over our house. Thankfully, the warmest room in place is my office which sits directly over the furnace, so no fingerless gloves are needed to type.

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    1. I know, Annette, these clothing suggestions are great!

      I still get hot flashes at night, and inevitably wind up tossing aside my duvet for a while. Then I get cold again and back it goes...

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  20. Brrr. My very low blood pressure contributes to being cold, and I really hate these chilly months for that reason. And as Steve has aged he is also more likely to get chilled. I totally see why older people gravitate to warmer climates!

    But we have coping skills. We have always kept the house in the mid- to high 60's in winter. When we were first married Steve gave me a floorlength down robe from LL Bean. I don't think they make them anymore, but over the years I replaced it a couple of times. Now I have those cozy fleece ones. And wool fleece-lined suede slippers: one I can wear with socks, and the other for bare feet.

    There are throws in every room, meant to cover our legs, or if we're extra shivery, over the shoulders. I often wear scarves in the winter, too. Steve is more likely to wear a quilted vest, ultralight down these days.

    Wool socks, and those "cabin socks" made of fleece. Last year a widowed friend asked me to come and look at his departed wife's amazing collection of shoes, since we wore the same size. She had two boxes of Uggs, unworn, that he urged me to take home. They are amazing.

    Hot tea, hot toddies, hot soup, a fire in our woodburner, all help. Down blankets on the bed.
    A heated bathroom floor (why didn't we do this years ago??), and now, in the car I just bought from my daughter, a heated steering wheel! It was the first thing she told me, as a sales tactic: "Mom! It has a heated steering wheel!" Not, it get X numbers of miles to the gallon, or goes from 0 to 60 in X seconds. I think my kid knows me well.

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    1. Oh, Karen, that's my next car goal. When I bought my current Honda, I got it particularly for the winter package, with heated leather seats. Bliss! But it didn't have a heated steering wheel, so that's for the next one.

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    2. Even here in Texas I've been spoiled by the heated leather seats. It's like driving with a heating pad on my back, when I've been tromping around on hard marble concert hall floors for hours. Bliss, indeed!

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    3. When I got my last Honda I opted for the leather seats because they were heated. My husband uses it the instant he gets in my car! And it is lovely for sore backs, Gigi!

      I wasn't totally sold on the idea of the heated steering wheel, but my hands are always cold, and that feature is a total gamechanger!

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    4. I love the heated leather seats in my old Honda, too. But a heated steering wheel! That must be bliss on cold days.

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  21. ALL of the above.

    Plus my favourite thing in bed....my Hot Water Bottle. Makes it ultra, über cosy in there, like a flannellette tent with a warm puppy.

    Posting from Toronto, where we've hovered around freezing for weeks (that's a Good Thing) without any snow. But they're calling for a bunch tonight.

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    1. Susan, I've never had a hot water bottle, but have a friend who swears by hers. love that something so old-fashioned is still so useful.

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    2. Hot water bottle is very efficient. I used it many years before buying the mohair socks that I wear to bed.

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    3. SUSAN: I lived in Toronto for 35 years until I moved to Ottawa in 2014, so I was quite used to having no snow and walking around in running shoes in January and February. And my local fruit/veggie shop left their produce outside the stores in baskets/crates. Adjusting to an Ottawa winter took some doing, but now I embrace the long, cold season.

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    4. I love hot water bottles--the British definitely had the right idea there. And I have one, somewhere, with a fleece cover. I should dig it out.

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  22. I crank the heat ... to 72. People seem to act like I'm keeping it roasting hot when I do, but I get cold easily and need that. Since I'm in a condo, I don't have the option of a fire. If I get cold beyond that, I put on a sweatshirt.

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    1. Honestly, Mark, if I had gas or electric I'd heat my place to 72° as well. The only reason I don't is because I'm too darn cheap. :-)

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    2. I have electric. And I have a small condo. That makes is easier to do. My cooling bill in the summer is higher than my winter heating bill. I keep it warmer than most in the summer, but it is warmer overall in the summer than cooler in the winter here.

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  23. We were in the low eighties here in the Bay Area last week. It lasted for almost two weeks. Now we are back to reaching 70 degrees for a few hours. Night time temperatures are in the high forties and low fifties. We open the windows in the morning and the house stays in the sixties or near seventy. We may turn on the heat once in the early evening and then turn it off. Casually dressed I wear Jean shorts and a sweatshirt, slacks and a blazer for work. I don’t own a coat, I do have a short raincoat somewhere, haven’t needed it yet. They had predicted rain but it is currently bright and sunny! Temperature is in the sixties a bit after 9:00 am. Winter used to mean a lot of rain in January, which has not occurred in several years.

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    1. Susan, that description is a testament as to why people flock to California, even today.

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    2. SUSAN, that Bay Area weather sounds perfect. Now if only you did not have wildfires or earthquakes, I would be tempted to move there!

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  24. That's not much of an issue in Houston. We moved here a little over 14 years ago from Minnesota so most of my winter duds stay in storage. It is in the 70s today, but winter is returning on Wednesday. When it turns cold here on the Gulf coast it goes through you to the bone because of the humidity. Just a damp chill. I flip the switch on the gas fireplace for a little heat and throw something over my legs since they tend to get cold if I sit too long. I've lived in several climates and I found a 20 degree day in a dry climate is more comfortable than a 30 degree day in our climate. But red wine or hot tea or cocoa can certainly ease the pain!

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    1. Ah, the joy of warm, fuzzy socks and a glass of red wine can certainly take the sting out of winter's chill.

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  25. I suffer through the incredible pain of it being below 60 degrees....for the 4 days of winter.

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  26. Oh, how could I forget? The heated rice bag!

    I make these for us, out of plain old white rice (cheap, you can also use navy beans or feed corn), stitched into bags made of canvas or upholstery fabric--all cotton is a must, or the fabric will melt. My husband likes them HUGE, the last one I made him took six pounds of rice. But mine is about two pounds.

    We heat them in the microwave and then tuck them in between the sheet and covers like a hot water bottle, or laid over our shoulders. I used to make them for my daughters so they could use them to relieve cramps. They are the best this time of year.

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  27. We had so much rain last night (or in the wee hours of the morning) that I woke up to find that our windows were clean! Or at least cleaner. After a very dark and damp few days, we have crystal blue skies and temps expected to hit mid-sixties today. The weather won't last, though--it's Texas, and we'll be down in the 20s by Wednesday night.

    I've loved reading about everyone's clothes today. I am, however, really allergic to wool. Even Merino makes me itch like a fiend. So on my last trip to London, when I saw these gorgeous knitted hats in a hat shop window, I didn't think I'd be able to wear one. But I went in and tried on anyway (it was a bitterly cold day) and the hats turned out to be alpaca. I walked out of the shop with a red one and it is now my very favorite winter thing!

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  28. This is a great topic (she says, shivering in her office in an old Vermont farmhouse!) Julia's woodstove cure is an important part of my strategy. We have a little stool you can sit on right in front of the woodstove and I will fight my children for it. You can get your back right up against the front of the stove. You know you're too close when you can smell your clothes cooking! But my surefire warm-up is a hot bath. I feel less guilty about it now that we have solar hot water. I make it as hot as I can stand it and a good soak warms me up for the rest of the day. . .

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  29. Wrap myself in a sherpa throw. Sweatpants. Hat on head. thick socks on feet. scarf around neck. I need a pair of fingerless gloves. Mug of hot chocolate. I've had the maintenance crew come to my place and they tell me it is warm, but I'm freezing. Bought portable heater but it kept blowing out my fuse. I do put the oven on which I know is a big no, no, but it warms up the kitchen if I'm not baking anything.

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  30. Long underwear, always long underwear. Yogi tea and snuggling under a throw with my cuddly dog while getting lost in a good book. Brisk, cheek-warming walks with same dog while cat waits at home basking in a favorite sunlit spot wondering where we've run off to this time.

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  31. Heated rice bags! How perfect! I used to have barley-filled microwaveable slippers. Same idea. They had some lavendar in them so they smelled nice, too. If I get seriously cold, I'm with Sarah Stewart Taylor in a hot hot bath. It raises my core temperature so I can go back into a chilly house take care of business.

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  32. Oh, I just thought of the other thing I love! We have a big rectangular chunk of stone that we keep on our woodstove. It has a metal handle and you let it get really hot and then sweep it over your sheets to warm up your bed. It's an 18th century solution but it totally works.

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  33. Jungle Reds, all of your tips sound good!

    What am I doing to stay warm? Lots of layers! Warm blankets too. Cozy socks. Hot chocolate. Hot soups.

    Diana

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  34. Layers, and warm jackets and robes by each door, in case I need to pop out for the mail. I have many types of slippers, but right now my feet don't like any of them, so I'm wearing a very thick pair of socks instead, for warmth in the absence of carpets (cork floor is much better for allergies). I am a firm believer in hats and scarves outdoors (Minnesota training), but that's more complicated now, with masks for tangling. ;-)

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  35. We are still waiting for winter here in Southwestern Ontario. Even that dip in the polar vortex didn't cause too much fuss. We've had little measurable snow and the coldest temp has been -10C. I am a child of the Rockies though and love a brilliant, blue-sky, frigid day. We don't get many here and they are glorious when they happen. I keep the house at 68F (outside temp in C; inside temp in F) so socks and sweaters are a requirement. LL Bean has some nice cotton/cashmere blend sweaters in lots of styles and colours. Bean tends to be my go-to because they have the biggest selection of cotton. I am coveting a Aran Irish Sweater though. I am still looking for a warm, relatively light weight boot. After reading this thread, I'm going shopping!

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  36. It SNOWED here in Phoenix today. I'm just sayin' Baileys in my cocoa tonight!

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  37. Sherpa lined hoodies, fuzzy socks, cuddle duds underwear and quilts can't forget Sherpa lined blankets. Wisconsin is cold.😳 mittens like Bernie's too.

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  38. Yikes in Phoenix wow snowed in wis that's normal.

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  39. I've got to try that Italian wedding soup recipe! My sartorial choices for warmth: fuzzy slippers, leggings, and lots of throws around the house. We have a wood burning fireplace, and I have a little electric heater in my office that is supposed to look like a wood burning pot belly stove--goofy as all get out, and I love it.

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  40. Thanks for all the great ways to keep warm! As classical musicians, my spouse and I have been out of work since last March. Luckily we had recently downsized from our stone farmhouse (1775 with an addition from 1835), but we still need to keep the thermostat at 64, and colder at night. There are days when I just can't get warm, in spite of layers, thermal and flannel shirts, wicked warm slippers and hot tea. Do you think it could be from losing a lot of weight? Brrrrrrrrr!

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