Hi, I'm Karen.

I'm excited to share with you my adventures as I galavant around both near and far, exploring everyday adventures through my camera lens. 

Winter Survival Guide: 10 Tips from a Minne-SNOW-tan

Winter Survival Guide: 10 Tips from a Minne-SNOW-tan


In light of the recent Polar Vortex, and concerned messages from my Californian friends, I thought it would be relevant to share my knowledge on not only how to survive this winter, but some ways you can actually enjoy yourself too!

I’ve lived in the Midwest nearly my entire life, so I am very familiar with all the ups and downs the Winter season can bring. However, it wasn’t until recently that I actually started to acquire all of the appropriate gear (and change my mindset) and actually start to thrive in sub-zero temps. It’s amazing how much just having a proper winter coat can make all of the difference! 

So I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 things you can do to not only survive this winter, but how to actually enjoy it! 

I hope you love the products that I recommend! Just so you know, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

1. Wear Layers! 


I heard recently, “There is no such thing as bad weather when you’ve got the right gear…” and it’s totally true! It’s easy to complain when you’re cold, but in all honesty it can be down right dangerous if you are under dressed. With sub-zero temperatures, you can get frostbite in a matter of minutes.  

It’s important to dress in layers, because not only do you not want to be too cold, it’s equally as dangerous to over-heat and start sweating. As soon as that sweat meets the frigid air, it will turn to ice, and start sucking out your core warmth.  

If you’ve never heard the term ‘base layer’ before, basically this is the layer of clothing touching your skin. I recommend investing in some wool long-johns or cuddle duds, but if you’re in a pinch, leggings and a long-sleeved T-shirt will do! 

The top layer of clothing is entirely up to you! Depending on the activity you have planned, you can either go for heavy duty down jackets, or just keep piling on those sweet hand-knitted sweaters from Grandma.

2. Invest in Proper Outer Wear 


This is probably the best piece of advice I can really give when it comes to dressing properly for winter. I also say “invest” because proper winter gear is going to cost more money, but will last you for years. 


Winter Coat
If you’re only going to make one major purchase, I would start with a winter coat.

This is the current best selling coat from Amazon and comes in 5 different colors. Get it for $129.99


Winter Boots: 
I personally have these boots from Sorel and can’t recommend them enough!


Snow Pants:
With these babies, you can roll around in the snow like a kid again!


Wool Socks: 
Keep those toes toasty! I have several pairs of Smartwool socks, and I highly recommend! They come in a variety of thicknesses, which is great if you need to layer up or need a little thinner to fit inside every day shoes.


Insulated Winter Gloves
There’s nothing worse than having cold, un-functioning hands.

Get these highly-rated gloves from Amazon for $40.50


Fleece-Lined Hat
When I was a kid, I refused to wear hats. I was convinced that I looked stupid in hats. But in reality, the stupid thing is going around freezing when you don’t have to! Not to mention, hats have gotten a lot cuter.

This hat from C.C. comes in nearly every color possible. Get it from Amazon for $15.29

3. Make an Emergency Car Kit


Even if you’ve lived your whole live in place with winter, shit happens. If you find yourself on the side of the road, you’ll be happy that you planned ahead! Start by making sure your tank is more than ½ full. Your trip can easily double in time when the roads get bad, and you don’t want to be the idiot who ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere, or worse, in the middle of grid-locked traffic. 

Some important things to keep in your car:

  • Hand warmers

  • Ice scrapper

  • Emergency blanket

  • Extra phone charger

  • Mini shovel 

  • Jumper cables

  • Snacks / Water


Don’t want to think about it that hard? Get this starter Winter car kit on Amazon for $63.81

4. Get a Happy Lamp 

Seasonal depression is real, and that is partly due to lack of Vitamin D. When it gets dark by 4pm, your daily commute to work is done entirely in darkness. It’s pretty much the worst thing about the winter months. So just bask in the glory of your faux day-light, sit by a space heater and listen to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. ~Viola~ Instant Happiness.

Get this one from Amazon for $44.95

5. Go Outside


You read that right. Go outside! It’s so important to get out during the winter or you’ll get straight-up cabin fever. 

One of the best things about doing things in the winter, or any off-season for that matter, is there will be less crowds. You’re more likely to have the place to yourself, which can be so peaceful and can do wonders for your mental health.

So gear up friends, and get out and about!

Need some ideas? 
Go for a walk, build a snowman, go sledding / snowshoeing / cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, ice skating, have a camp-fire, get in a snow-ball fight, find local community events, make snow angels, the possibilities are endless! You can even hop on a butterfly bike and ride across a frozen lake!


6. Pamper Yourself


Things in winter generally slow down, so why not take full advantage of those long nights and catch up on some self care? Take a hot bath with exfoliating salts and natural suds, deep condition your hair, do your nails, catch up with an old friend, read your favorite book… whatever it is, treat yo’self!

I received a bunch of sheet masks this year for Christmas, and I have loved finding any excuse I can use them. I have tried several brands with differing effects, and so far, these charcoal bubble masks have been my favorite!

7. Embrace Seasonal Foods

Plays Well With Butter

Plays Well With Butter

Nothing brings people closer together than gathering around a good meal. On especially cold days, we love to cook because it’s an activity we can do together and standing next to the warm oven is super nice!

Get the recipe for this amazing home-made Minestrone soup from another Minnesotan, Plays Well With Butter. She gives step-by-step directions that even the most challenged cook (raises both hands) can follow!

8. Declutter


I would like to personally thank Marie Kondo and Netflix for getting our butts in gear this season to declutter our space. 

Most people are familiar with ‘Spring Cleaning’ but I think winter is a fantastic time to tackle some of the mess in your space. I don’t want to wait until it’s nice out to spend all of my time going through my closets! 

Get started on your cleaning journey with these drawer organizers from a trusted Minnesotan company.

9. Embrace the Down Time


Summer is exciting and packed full of events, but it can be it’s own kind of exhausting. I find myself feeling like I have to say Yes to everything because the good weather is fleeting, and before you know it, the calendar is fully booked. Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the down time of winter. The few months between NYE and the first signs of spring can be an excellent time to catch up on some beauty sleep, some (guilt free) binging of your Netflix watch list, or just snuggling up with your furry friends. 

10. Remind Yourself that Winter is Important


Winter can be tough, with annoying side effects like longer commute times and dry-skin, but it’s actually super important part of a healthy eco system. 

Snow  can help insulate the ground, giving the soil plenty of water in the warmer months, and can help protect crops like berries and fruit. There are even certain types of plants and flowers that require a deep freeze in order to germinate properly. 

The deep cold can help kill ticks, keep invasive insects under control and reduce the spread of deadly viruses like West Nile. 

And lastly, you can utilize the cold to your advantage! Who needs to take up valuable refrigerator space when you can just set things outside?!


So there you have it. 10 easy things you can do this winter that will not only help you get through it a little better, but maybe even embrace this season and bring a smile to your cold face. If you have any other tips and tricks, let me know in the comments!


Pin It!

Like this post? Pin it and save it for later!

Sunken Cities Exhibit at MIA

Sunken Cities Exhibit at MIA

The Oak Center General Store is Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen

The Oak Center General Store is Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen