Sunday, February 20, 2011

Survival Tips for Life in Vermont

I won't pretend that I know everything. (I am always right, but that's different than knowing everything... :-P) However, I do know a little bit about coming to Vermont from a warm(er) environment. I was born and raised in California. I grew up in Marin County, which is just north of San Francisco. It's a very warm environment compared to Vermont. It's not Palm Desert, but you get the point. Now, I live in Lake Tahoe, which is one of the snowy parts of California/Nevada. However, we see something like 300 days of sun there and it rarely gets below zero. As far as I am concerned, Vermont is about as close to the arctic tundra as I ever plan to get. In this post, I intend to give you some helpful tips about what to wear, how to handle cloudy days, and how to enjoy the nice days.

There are few clothing items that I have found essential in my past year and a half here in VT.
  • A snow jacket - A jacket that you can wear skiing. It should be waterproof and have a hood. A puffy jacket will do, but make sure it's durable.
  • A pea coat - Or a more stylish jacket. I like the options of having my ski jacket or a more stylish jacket. It gives you an option if you are going out to a nice dinner, date, or an interview. 
  • Scarves - I was never a scarf person (if there is such a thing). However, I have found them most useful here in Vermont. They come in all sorts of colors and designs. Long ones are great because you can wrap them around my face and shield it from the elements.
  • Gloves - When I was younger, my parents always used to wear leather gloves into the city for work. I, of course, wore my fun printed ones from the GAP. However, in college, I have found that the leather gloves which I thought were so 'adult' are extremely sensible. Not only do they keep your hands warm, but they aren't super bulky (like my ski gloves) so I can still do things with them on. You can get them at TJ Maxx for very reasonable prices. I actually recommend going there for all winter accessories.  It's reasonable and I don't worry if they get mud or hot chocolate or coffee on them. :-)
  • Boots - While I realize this will sound like several different pairs of boots, I promise you will find them all very useful. Here are my three recommendations: rain boots, Uggs, and snowboots. We do have pretty heavy rain and mud season here in VT, so rain boots are essential. They also work in the snow if you don't want to purchase snow boots. The quick fix is wearing thick warm socks. Your feet will stay dry and warm. However, if you do get snow boots, I recommend Sorels. That's what I wear. They are warm and can keep your feet dry. As for Uggs, they are nice and warm (and super cute). Just make sure to water proof them and know that the salt they put on the side walk can leave some annoying white marks.
As for dealing with cloudy days, my best advice is to wear bright colors. This may sound silly, but I have found that if I dress brighter I feel better. Avoiding too much black clothing is usually pretty key. I've also found that having a colorful room helps drown out the darker days. :-) If you really want to get the effects of sunlight, Health Services offers a full-spectrum light. While I haven't used it, I know you can schedule an appointment and apparently it has the benefits of sunlight. Don't worry, we do see sunshine here! In fact it's sunny today, but it is a little more gray here than in California.

When there are sunny days, I recommend making an extra effort to get outside. Even if it is cold, just put on your hat, gloves, and warm socks! Don't forget the sunglasses. You can just take a walk about the campus or take a break on the benches in the middle of campus and do some people watching. If you want to get off campus, you can head into Burlington and walk along Lake Champlain near the ECHO center. There are benches and beautiful views. It is also right near the Skinny Pancake if you want to grab some food.

There you have it :) These are my survival tips and tricks. If you have any questions, feel free to Ask Me!


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