– By Michelle McCormack
It’s 5:30pm on a freezing winter evening and I’m struggling down some side street in the Back Bay, headed for the Orange, shoulders bowed against the driving snow. Whatever happened to the rumor that it had to be kind of warm to snow. Bull. Not in Boston.
I’m a native, so I know it’s possible to be happy here even in extreme weather conditions – you just have to prepare. So, to combat the winter’s attempt to have my happiness in a headlock all day, I hit the road with (most of) the following items:
- Basic have-to-haves (kindergarten stuff)
Smart-phone gloves, scarf and a hat
- When I’m not rushing (teenage stuff)
Hand cream, lip cream and tissues
- When I have nowhere to be (adult stuff)
Nasa-like handwarmers, backup phone battery and food
Shopping for this stuff is simple. Boston retailers cater to the winter crowd, so you have a lot of stores to choose from. You can get your lip balm at CVS, Store 24, Keil’s or Barneys, depending on your budget. The following guide features some of my favorite retailers, but please let me know in the comments where you shop for your winter must-haves…
SMART PHONE GLOVES
Smart Phone Gloves are the newest must have for ANYONE (fingerless gloves will do the trick too) You can find both of these at Crush, located on one of those Boston streets that, when it’s all cold and snowy make you feel like you’re in a Dickens classic! Located in a walk-down brownstone, Crush is crammed with one-of-a-kind items you don’t have to worry about seeing in H&M for pennies. Grab a few pairs of these gloves for the winter they run about $30.
Hours: Sun 12pm-6pm; Mon-Sat 10am-7pm
Emily, owner of the much-talked-about ‘fashion on wheels’ concept wears a groovy red great scarf from her collection of many. From SoWa to Chelsea to Beacon Street to Fort Point Channel, you never know where or when you’ll see The Fashion Truck parked. For a heads up, send Emily a Tweet or visit her Facebook page to find out where she will be next! Most items go for around $20.
It’s a vintage thing from long ago… I like to mix up the old with the new, and Stephanie, owner of SoWa Vintage is the best shopping companion ever. Gushing about all her vintage finds, you know she has a passion for this stuff and loves the idea of getting more life out of this ‘old stuff’. It’s quite idealist and endearing.
TIP: Not to be confused with regular SoWa outdoor market, SoWa Vintage is an indoor market so reminiscent of London it hurts. It’s open every Sunday ALL YEAR LONG.
Hours: Sunday 10am-4pm
Hand cream, specifically, Aveda Hand Relief because hand cream is not just any hand cream. I’ve been using this stuff since college and it’s magic. It feels like plunging your hands into a big bowl of Cool Whip – seriously. Retails for $20 and is well worth every penny.
Kiel’s Lip Balm #1 is the absolute best. Every other lip treatment (besides Vaseline, I guess) makes my lips feel worse. I find myself teething the all other products off, because it sits on the top of my lips and doesn’t absorb. Kiel’s sinks right in. Kind of pricy at $7.50 per tube, compared to say, Chap Stick, but it’s a feel good purchase I can’t pass up.
Don’t think this needs a qualifier… But here goes. There are some products in life you trust so much you just never think of paying less. Kleenex is one of them. Sure, it might be because it’s so inexpensive to begin with, but I think it has more to do with quality. Rough tissues are a drag and even if cheaper brands are just as good, I don’t even for one time want to risk it. Find these at any pharmacy, anywhere.
The next must have on my list, Zippo Outdoor Line Handwarmer. There are a few – not many but a few of these types of handwarmers out there – Zippo’s looks the coolest. I also happen to trust them as a brand, so even if it costs a bit more at $12.76, I felt it was worth it. Order these online via Amazon.
BACKUP PHONE BATTERY
Hate losing juice on your phone, if so the Kensington Travel Battery Pack and Charger is really a 365, year-round, must-have. I bought one from a competitor last year and it stopped working within a month, at which point I was asked to mail it in and get a refund. Total inconvenience for me. So I started asking around about this one, specifically if it was reliable. I got a resounding Yes. To have a way to be fully charged all the time, I’ll pay $59.95!
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 11am- 7pm
I am not sure how Trader Joe’s business model works that they area able to sell fresh, organic food cheaper than anyone else, but they do. They’re even less expensive than the chain, non-organic stores. Nuts especially are notoriously a fortune, but TJs sells them for a little over $5 bucks for a large bag! So don’t get caught hungry this winter (breakdowns, etc), grab a bag – they’re cheap enough.
LET US KNOW!
What’s on your winter MUST-HAVE list?