Before arriving in Iowa, I was warned about the winters. Now that I'm here, I've learned to adapt. There are certain necessary items one needs to survive in the midwest:
1. A BIG winter coat. Forget fashion - you want something thick, puffy and preferably ankle-length. People may look at you funny, but when the negative wind chill strikes and blows from January through March they'll be wishing they were you. I recommend the Northface Triple C Long Hooded Down Jacket. It's like wearing a walking sleeping bag. While this is not quite as puffy as some other coats, the ankle-length feature is key for the really frigid days. Wear a thick sweater underneath if the windchill is really kicking in.
2. A pair of water-proof, fur-lined boots.
While Ugg boots are still incredibly popular around here, I prefer a boot that is more waterproof. So far, my Ralph Lauren Quincie boots have done a fantastic job of keeping out the snow and slush. One of our friends here in Iowa tried to convince me that I could not find a pair of boots that were cute AND functional, but I think these might fit the bill. They also have a zipper for easy slip on/off (no messying with those laces when you're in a hurry!)
3. A pair of Moon Boots for shoveling the driveway.
So I take back my last statement. Sometimes, you do have to forgo fashion in order to fulfill a function. After spending my first blizzard shoveling the driveway in rainboots I realized I needed something a little more substantial to get me through this Iowa winter. Moon Boots are amazing. As far as I can tell they are just gigantic spongey puffs in which to put your feet. There isn't even a "left" or "right" foot. Wearing them is like walking on puffy clouds...ah. These might even be one of those boots that are so ugly they're cute.
4. A LARGE flat screen TV. One of the first things we noticed while house-hunting in Iowa City was that every single household had an enormous flat screen TV. Some houses had more than one. How odd it seemed after coming from a world where most people had hand-me-down TVs that they huddled around during football or baseball games. Back in Cambridge, large flat screen TVs were more of a novelty than the general rule. Not so in Iowa City. Everyone and their grandmother owns a 50-inch or bigger. After surviving our first blizzard I now understand why. When it's -5 degrees outside and no one in their right mind would set foot in the ice covered world outside, what else is there to do but watch TV or play video games. In fact, TV and video games seem to be a way of life out here - people actually get together for the sole purpose of playing Halo or Rock Band.
Like I said, we're learning to adjust.
Images lifted from www1.bloomingdales.com, and zappos.com.