wonbats asked:

My sister is going to Carleton next year, and she's a little concerned about getting a winter coat. See, we're from Southern California, so we never experience actual weather. Can you recommend any jackets that will keep her cozy?

This is a very smart question.

So, I’m from the south.  Coming to Carleton was a huge weather shock for me.  I feel y’all, believe me.

Northface jackets are very popular here.  They are warm and fleece-y so the snow won’t dampen them.  They are also good in cold rain.

Nice peacoats are what many of us (myself included) use for a warmth/fashion combo in the winter.  A really nice peacoat may be all you need for winter, if you bundle properly.

Down jackets are AMAZING if the temps are super low outside.  It’s basically like walking around with a comforter on your body, only less blanket like, I guess.

Bring a rain jacket for sure.  Even if you don’t use it in winter, you WILL use it in late fall/all of spring.  Rain boots are a really handy thing too.

I hope this is useful.  In terms of other warm things you should have on hand, multiple pairs of warm gloves (at least one being waterproof, but the thin ones are good for layering), at least one pair of warm, waterproof winter boots, warm socks, leggings for layering, multiple scarves (great fashion accessories, too), HATS (I can not emphasize this any more), and earmuffs are all crucial, or at the very least nice for cold weather.

Notice how I talk about layering multiple times.  The jacket doesn’t matter as much as what is under it; wearing three shirts is a normal thing to do here during the winter.  Layers, layers, layers, future Carls!

(also, don’t let this scare you.  Winter may be cold but it is also super beautiful and there is always a lot of fun stuff to do to occupy your time spent indoors)

Some people want this in Minnesota. They want Minnesota to get past its ‘wow, it sure gets cold there’ status and to be known as an arts mecca. These are mostly men with striped pastel shirts and loafers with tassels, and they want us to be an arts mecca. But Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco,  they have that locked up. You’re never ever, when you say I’m from Minnesota, going to hear people say, 'Oh! They have a number of theatres there, don’t they?’ No, the answer is no. N.O. No, We’re never going to have that. I mean, having the arts is wonderful. It’s wonderful for the economy. It’s wonderful for kids coming up. It’s wonderful for all sorts of people. But it does not serve your reputation; it’s not a macho thing. We need that. We need a hard cold winter to demonstrate competence. Especially those of us who have a liberal arts education. I mean, when else do you get the chance, people?
—  Garrison Keillor, The New from Lake Wobegon, January 31, 2015
winter in minnesota

minnesota yawns.
blades of grass shiver.
the branches of trees
in my backyard reach for each other:
my maple for my pine,
my pine for my maple,
but they can never
stretch far enough to touch.
rooftops sparkle furiously
in humble competition;
they glow brightest with frost
in the moments called dawn,
as the sun teases first
the fingers of my maple and pine,
who sigh in relief
(they are in awe: we made it
through the night!).
the rooftops, next, are selfish,
devouring the sun’s warmth
as if it exists for only them,
and then finally,
the blades of grass—
the blades of grass wimper,
supposing their last breaths
will simply freeze before them
in the air, like storm clouds.
the sun kisses them,
each and every one, and their
desperation for her warmth,
to continue on living just for her,
turns their wimper
into cries of joy.

As an adult, I’ve generally lived in very poorly insulated places with astronomical heating bills come winter and have thus resisted turning the heat on for as long as possible.  My current apartment has very old windows that actually like, drift open even after being properly latched.  My roommate and I plastic them in the winter before turning on the heat, but we don’t want to do that until the landlord can do something about the windows. 

So basically we’ve been like

But yesterday it was only about 53 degrees in here so we had to relent.  It’s now a balmy 64!

Landlord is coming out tomorrow.

I bought a new coat.

As I desperately needed one (it’s Minnesota, you need a coat in the winter *nods*).

Let me say, it’s as if a pea coat and a bomber jacket had a baby. OuO ❤❤❤

Not only that. It’s olive and has a bit of a buckle thing at the top.

I feel like I should be going off to war, ready to board an aeroplane. :D

Simply put: I positively adore it. >u< ❤❤❤❤❤