Cold Weather Favorites

It's officially spring, at least commercially, what with the proliferation of everything sakura-themed from train station decor to seasonal Starbucks lattes. The weather is... well, it has yet to decide; a sunny twenty degrees one day, and then back to bleak below-zero chill the next. Kinda makes you miss the comforting predictability of Singapore weather (hahahaha NO).

This winter was/is relatively mild, as is usually the case in these parts. There was one crazy day of snow, but apart from that it's really just fall, minus the colors and a couple of degrees, and so I never really felt like I had to prepare for it too much. Having said that there are a couple of things I like to have around whenever I venture out of the tropics.

Anti-static Keyring

The one thing I hate about winter - more than wading through several inches of slush while feeling as if my ears and nose are about to fall off - is static. For some reason I'm just very prone to getting shocked (my boss posits that it must be because my clothes are made of "plastic or something"). And not tiny ones, mind you - one time I grabbed the train handrail and the resulting spark was so loud that people actually turned to look. As soon as the temperature dips to single-digit territory, I start getting terrified of touching anything with the tips of my fingers - I can honestly say I would much rather get injections than static shocks.

Thankfully Japan has a product for everything - a kitchen tool for slicing avocados (and avocados only), a container for a single banana (or banana-shaped object), a thingamagig made specifically to keep the lid of your cup ramen closed while it cooks, the list goes on - and that includes something to deal with static shock.

Essentially it's just a keyring that you "touch" things with before using your fingers. It has saved me more times than I could remember, and as stupid as I probably look, tapping a pink keychain on to every single thing I come across before touching it, I am not going to be without it. Supposedly using an actual key will achieve the same thing, but I don't have one (my apartment uses keycards), and this was like less than ten dollars and it also doubles as a flashlight so all in all I'd say it's money well spent.

Muji Humidifier

Muji makes the prettiest things, and their humidifier is no exception. I can always tell if I forgot to turn it on the night before because I wake up with itchy, uncomfortable skin and a very scratchy throat. It also doubles as a night lamp (everything doubles as a light source, it seems), and as a fragrance diffuser - mine came with a bottle of Sweet Orange essential oil which is a wonderful yummy citrus scent.

The Body Shop Mango Sugar Scrub

This is one of my very few sample success stories - I got it in one of those five-tiny-things-for-ten-dollars sort of deals. For months it languished in the bottom of my drawer until that one fateful day when I ran out of body wash. Long story short: I am now on my third giant tub.

It's an oil-based scrub, so if you dislike feeling all "slippery" in the shower (think Dove soap x10), then I wouldn't suggest getting this. But if you can get past that (and the extra bathroom cleaning time), you are rewarded with really intense moisture - it has kept my eczema at bay despite the daily hot showers (horrible for the skin, but what choice do I have at zero degrees so early in the morning?). It also helps that mango is one of my favorite scents from The Body Shop - they just do it so well. I have yet to see any other brand that does it better.

Rain Boots

Wellies are like health insurance, or seatbelts. Most of the time, they're utterly useless, but that one single point in time when they're absolutely necessary is enough to justify their entire existence.

It has snowed only once this winter, but it piled on a couple of inches overnight, and then it all started to melt the next morning. Just as everyone was on their way to workk. Oh joy. Picture tiny puddles of ice water bordered by slush. I've never really thought of rain boots as winter apparel, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't have made it to the office without them (or if I did I would've spent the entire morning in the bathroom thawing my feet and quite possibly crying as well).

I initially planned on getting Hunter boots, because they seem to be the popular choice, but then I found these going for half off on Amazon. They are from this brand called Kamik, and they're made in Canada (these days, finding anything not made in that other country is a cause for celebration). This particular style is called Olivia, and it's a bit narrow on the leg so I don't look like a clown when wearing them (I wear a size 7 in these and the calf circumference is around 14 inches). The material is not as flexible as I would like, but for my daily commute it's enough. For prolonged wear I would probably look for something a bit more comfortable and padded (or get fleece liners, maybe). At any rate, even if I don't get a single additional day of wear out of these in the foreseeable future (which is unlikely, because spring showers), they'd still be worth it, having saved me that one crazy winter morning.

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