Tagged: winter

Just Touched Down in Londontown: My Expat Olympic Experience

By Margaret Waterman, Staff Writer

BU Londoners with their eyes glued to the screen while watching the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics in the basement of their apartment building./ PHOTO VIA Margaret Waterman

BU Londoners with their eyes glued to the screen while watching the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics in the basement of their apartment building./ PHOTO VIA Margaret Waterman

If you know me at all, you know I am crazy about the Winter Olympics. From ski jumping to curling to skeleton, there isn’t one event I don’t enjoy watching.

As an avid skier and general athletic enthusiast, I grew up on snow (I was a competitive alpine ski racer for 13 years). My parents have always joked that I can ski better than I can walk, which, according to the many scars on my knees, might be true.

So, as you can imagine, realizing that I was going to be in a foreign country for the entirety of the 2014 Sochi Olympics sort of stressed me out. How was I going to be able to ensure I could watch Ted Ligety fight to win his second Olympic giant slalom gold medal?

It turned out to be easier than I had imagined.

Luckily, the British Broadcasting Corporation, also known as BBC, allows no advertisements and thus has no incentive to embargo events until prime time.

Unlike NBC back in the U.S., BBC is paid for directly by citizens of the countries in which it is broadcast. Everyone who buys a television in the U.K. has to pay a “license fee,” which funds BBC and its many channels. For a color television, this fee is £145.50 per year, according to BBC’s website, which is equivalent to approximately $238.60.

So, this morning, even before I got out of bed, I was able to live-stream the men’s downhill medal heat right to my phone via BBC. And I haven’t had to miss many events. I got to catch Hannah Kearney, my favorite Olympian  – who, before her US Ski Team days, skied for the Waterville Valley BBTS just like I did – capture the bronze medal in women’s freestyle skiing as it happened.

My friends and I also got to see the opening ceremony in real-time, unlike all our friends back in Boston and all over the U.S. (it was also interesting to see Americans tweet about the show later on, and to see them react to what we had seen hours before).

BBC also does a good job broadcasting all performances for each event. So, regardless of how well the U.S. does, we over in the U.K. can watch our hometown heroes compete, which has made watching the Olympics a much more patriotic, social event for us expatriates. We’ve spent the last few afternoons and nights crowded around the basement television, dinner plates in our laps.

Speaking of which, I’ve got to run and catch the re-airing of the downhill competition. There’s no way I’m going to miss an opportunity to watch Bode Miller’s (kind of disappointing) run again. Go team USA!

Texas Takes Boston: Snow

By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer

It's too cold for skirts and tights, time to bring out the 'big guns'/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Nydia Hartono

It’s too cold for skirts and tights, time to bring out the ‘big guns’/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Nydia Hartono

A new year means a new me. Long gone are the days of my subtle judgment on the current climate of the music industry. With the weather having gone from cold to unearthly, and Boston looking incredibly unfamiliar to a Texas native, so I’ve decided to dedicate this 2014 column to discovering Beantown from a (very cold) transplant’s perspective. Enjoy!

In case you didn’t know, Texas weather is unpredictable. Because the state is so big, weather varies from snow and sleet to hot, humid, muggy days. Hailing from Houston, I am an expert of dressing for days that top out at 102 degrees paired with 90 percent humidity.

Houston’s weather has trained me to dress well while allowing for my body to regulate temperatures and not die of a heat stroke. I say this in jest, but I can tell you that it has happened.

When I packed for Boston, I brought up six pairs of denim shorts, cute floral culottes, and skirts. Skirts for days in the park, skirts for class and skirts for long walks. August was warm, and I smugly told my parents that I was, in fact, right in bringing up all of these clothes that were highly inappropriate for normal Boston weather.

I made it all the way to Thanksgiving Break. My meager wardrobe worked by constantly washing the four pairs of pants I owned, and throwing in a couple days of sweatpants. Weekends were tough, but I made it work with a lot of the shorts and tights combo, and a lot of complaining about how cold I was. By the time I came back from Christmas Break, I knew that the snowpocalypse was coming. It was time for the shorts to retire.

Forget the infantry, I had to bring in the big guns.

Firstly, pants are a must. No matter how cut your calves are, no matter how skinny your ankles look in those mini shorts, pants are the only way to go. Pants and tights are the new shorts and tights; the added warmth is a solid bonus. Secondly, forget the crop top. I’ve made many attempts to work the crop top while there is a solid half-foot of snow on the ground, and it’s not worth it. Trust me. Your belly button will thank you.

Also, jackets. We all know you don’t want to carry your jacket to a party. You don’t want to look bulky and lame walking through Allston or down Comm. Ave., but as someone who is used to wearing crops and denims for about 11 months out of the year, the jacket is worth it. I don’t care how “used to 11 degree weather” you are, bring the jacket. Always. You will thank me as you stumble back to your dorm, unable to feel your face and hands, as the snow falls in your hair.

And finally, never wear heels. I wore cowboy boots to parties back home. And kids wore them to school. Yes, that is a real thing. And yes, cowboy boots have heels. Little ones, but even those are too much to wear on a slick, long walk like Comm Ave. Too many people to watch you eat it if somehow you manage to lose your balance.

As a Texan taking on Boston, I hope all those who are also transplants heed my advice: never underestimate the power of mother nature, especially on the east coast.

Fashion Padawan: The Christmas Sweater

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer

imageYeah, we’re going there: the Christmas Sweater.

It’s a strange phenomenon: something so ugly that it becomes chic. But for some reason, I am completely on board. Maybe it’s the mob mentality and maybe it’s my love for thick wool and reindeer. All I know is that I crave Christmas sweaters.

I think Christmas sweaters are so popular because they really symbolize the return of the merry Yuletide. You can’t rock a Christmas sweater in July—if you are, then you need to immediately stop. Please cease.

But when the days get cold, there’s nothing quite like pulling on a warm sweater. And if that sweater happens to have reindeer or Christmas trees or Santa Claus then that’s all the better!

But if you’re anything like me, then you’re a little befuddled as to how to get Christmas sweaters. They seem so ubiquitous, but they’re strangely sparse in the retail world. Everyone and their mother has one, but where do they get them?

There are expensive retailers online or in stores like Urban Outfitters, but unless I’m willing to saw off my own leg in payment, I don’t think those are options. You could scour EBay for hours, but that might end in fruitless heartbreak.

Well, I discovered an answer! H&M!

I don’t know what it is, but I feel like—suddenly—H&M is all about sweaters: warm, funky geometric patterns, bold colors. I was there a few days before Thanksgiving, returning a pair of ill-fitting black pants—an embarrassing story in its own right—when I wandered over to the sweater collection.

I found a dark blue sweater with neon green snowflakes and a white moose, but there were also ones with white snowflakes and red stripes. Best of all, H&M frequently has sweater sales, like “Buy one, get one half off” or “Buy one, get one free”.

So, if you’re looking to find a quick, cheap Christmas sweater to hold you over until your parents finally crack, I’d stroll on down to H&M.

Fashion Padawan: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer

These boots were made for walkin’…or for the extreme cold./PHOTO VIA Danny McCarthy

When it gets to late November and early December in Boston, you should know what to expect. I’m a lifelong New Yorker, but even I was unprepared — emotionally, physically, spiritually — for the North Pole crashing down Commonwealth Avenue a few weeks ago.

If you don’t remember a few Sundays ago, it was FREEZING. I went out for a total of 20 minutes with the intention of seeing a quidditch match, but apparently Harry Potter didn’t pack his thermal underwear because the tournament was over before I even got there.

And when I was waddling/cry-walking back to the warmth of Warren Towers, I realized that my winter garb was not up to snuff. And unless you’re super-prepared for the icy wrath of Tilda Swinton a la “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” you’re not up to snuff either.

So, here are a few things we need to get prepared for winter:

1. Insulated shoes: Oh, what’s that? These two things attached to my ankles are not blocks of ice? They’re feet? Thanks, Converse, for not letting me know. As much as I love Converse — roughly to the moon and back — I can’t keep wearing them. It’s time to break out the boots. I have a pair of black leather biker boots (tongue-twister) that I almost never wear, but I think I’ll have to reintegrate them into my wardrobe. If you don’t have boots, I would suggest a meander over to Zappos for free shipping, or American Eagle for some Sherpa-lined boots.

2. Turtlenecks: The name sounds vaguely horrifying, but I can’t argue with the results. Even if I wanted to, I can’t because the International Turtleneck Association refuses to answer my letters. Turtlenecks are designed to keep you warm, and if you wear them in the right way (neck folded down aesthetically) then this personal fashion do-not can become a fashion do.

3. Real gloves: I’m so guilty of buying — cough, stealing from my mom, cough — cheap gloves that seem like a decent purchase in the beginning but then make me want to cry. And in this day and age of iPhones, it is imperative to have touch-screen gloves for walking and texting in the cold. I recommend buying from L.L.Bean or Timberland; they’re less stylish than Urban Outfitters or H&M, but they’ll get the job done. The job: keeping your fingers from falling off because of horrible frostbite.

Once I get back in the green — aren’t I so hip? — I think I’ll devote some of it to getting the aforementioned items. Because once we are all wrapped up toasty and warm, we can appreciate the Christmas spirit. And those Christmas sales.

MUSE: College-Friendly Fall Fashion

By Clemence Pluche, Staff Writer

The maxi skirt and combat boots; two of many of the fall-friendly fashion choices./PHOTO VIA Clemence Pulche

Boston’s prominent collegiate youth play a great role in determining fashion trends. This fall’s trendsetters have shown us that fall/winter trends are a re-vamp of summer style. This is most commonly achieved by layering up and toning down; mini skirts become maxi skirts, the color palette darkens.

Some popular choices are:

Maxi skirts

Transitional weather is tricky when it comes to fashion, especially in a city like Boston with such erratic weather. A great way to avoid being too hot, too cold and anything in between is to wear a maxi skirt. Prints are always a fail-safe for changing weather. When paired with a bralette, a cardigan and some ankle boots, this look is a combination of both summer and fall.

Classic patterns and daring colors

Designers and fashionistas have been riding the vintage wave for ages, but this fan favorite has directly impacted this year’s fall fashion both on the runway and in street style. Old patterns such as houndstooth, plaid, tweed, ‘80s floral and pinstripes all made appearances in collections like Rag & Bone, Thakoon and Dolce & Gabbana. Patterned coats and skirts are more common, but if you’re brave, venture out with some tweed pants, a floral blouse or a plaid trench coat this fall for a statement look.

We have seen a progression in the color trends this fall. Winter white was a popular choice for designers at Fashion Week in Milan and New York. Naturally, as summer fades, darker shades of green begin to emerge; from forest-green to olive-green – this color is officially a trend of fall fashion.

High-waisted bottoms

High-waisted bottoms is and has been a steadfast trend amongst the youngsters of Boston. The varieties of which are endless. High-waisted jeans, pants, shorts, skirts, all add an edge and a dash of class to your outfit. It tricks the eye by elongating the legs and accentuating the waist.

Tan boots…or black

Boots of all shapes, sizes and colors have always been a fall staple. Unless you have industrial-quality Hunters, the snow-filled winters of Boston will not be kind to your boots. Fall is the best time to break out these boots before winter sets in and does them damage. Tan boots in particular have proved to be a staple of the Boston college student. The color goes with any pattern, color or texture, even overall looks for that matter (whether it be preppy, grungy or vintage.) As a word of advice when matching colors: Do not fear brown and black. Using both colors has a reputation as a big fashion no-no, but brown doesn’t necessarily look bad with black. Some black skinny jeans or leggings go perfectly well with brown boots. Though for the more classic at heart or for those of us who are more big-footed, black boots is always another good choice.

Knit beanies

The beanie is a fashion staple, whether the fashion be hipster, urban or high-fashion. The beanie is definitely a college-friendly (and wallet-friendly) accessory for chillier weather. Dress up an outfit with a bolder beanie color or dress it down with a subtle color. There is a definitely a beanie for everyone this semester.

My Adventures in Sydney

By Taylor Hartz, Staff Photographer and Writer

Sunset of Sydney’s beautiful habor./PHOTO VIA Taylor Hartz

At the start of the spring semester I had never traveled outside the country. Today, I find myself quite literally on the other side of the world, spending my summer in Australia.

After 32 hours of traveling, I went from Connecticut to Boston to Houston to LA, and finally to Sydney. The signs in the airport actually say “G’day” in addition to the customary “Welcome.”
Aside from hearing “good onya mate” at least twice a day and being called a “sheila” by the local barista, Sydney feels a lot like America. This city has the price tags and crowds of Manhattan, but the architecture and history of Boston. You almost forget you’re on the opposite side of the globe, until you see the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge or any of the dozens of beautiful beaches.

Technically speaking, it’s winter here. Although the Australian idea of winter is no colder than 65 degrees, it doesn’t stop locals from talking about where the best hot chocolate spots are or which pubs have cozy fireplaces to warm up by. I spent my afternoon tanning on the rooftop deck while the streets below were crowded with Australians bundled in parkas and scarves.

Our first two weeks have consisted of soaking up the city: finding Nemo at the Sydney Aquarium, cruising through the Sydney Harbour to catch our first glimpse of the magnificent Opera House and the “Vivid Sydney Festival” – a two-week light show across the city at night. All the biggest buildings are covered with lights and moving projections, while the fountains in the Harbour glow with color as they dance to everything from Queen to the Carmina Burana.

Over the weekend I discovered Manly, and subsequently equivocated it to being the Cambridge (of Cambridge, MA) of Sydney. It’s a charming little beach town with trendy restaurants and lots of well-dressed hipsters. We spent the afternoon on an exhausting, but breathtaking three-hour kayaking tour through three beaches, hiking a rock trail to a stunning lookout point over Manly Wharf, visiting the eery museums at Quarantine Beach and relaxing on a rocky mountain to watch the sunset over Shelley Beach.

In addition to all the adventures, I’m spending four days a week interning with Time Out Sydney magazine. As if writing for a respected and popular publication every day weren’t enough, I’ve already scored some great tickets to the Sydney Film Festival, a few theater shows and some exciting cabaret, Cirque du Soleil-esque club venues.

The next month and a half includes too many trips to count. This week’s calendar includes the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Australia and Iraq and a trip to the Blue Mountains – where we’ll feed kangaroos, finally get to pet koalas and take the world’s steepest railway straight down into a rainforest.

After that, I’ve got a full schedule of wine tasting at Hunter Valley and a weekend spent shark feeding, sting ray petting, whale watching, mountain climbing, camel riding and dune surfing in Port Stephen’s! Our last stop is a flight down to Melbourne for a stroll down Great Ocean Road for a view of the 12 Apostles.

Needless to say, life down undah is exciting, adventurous and beautiful.

Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sued for wrongly predicting early spring

By Kristina Saliba, Staff Writer

Punxsutawney Phil 'predicts' the end of winter in this photo from the spring of 2012/ PHOTO VIA www.huffingtonpost.com

Punxsutawney Phil ‘predicts’ the end of winter in this photo from the spring of 2012/ PHOTO VIA http://www.huffingtonpost.com

This March I grew extremely tired of opening my yellow Warren Tower curtains only to see more snow falling down on Comm Ave. Every day before those snowfalls, I would be foolishly led on by the melting snow on the sidewalks, mistakenly led to believe that maybe…just maybe…this time it would be gone for good.

But no.

I blamed everyone from Mother Nature to my roommate and random passersby. But I never thought to take it as far as the Ohio prosecutor who “light-heartedly” filed a criminal indictment against the man truly responsible for it all: Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s groundhog.

Coming from someone who was overjoyed to hear that the groundhog’s forecast called for an early spring, this indictment of an animal seemed weirdly appropriate to me. However, The Huffington Post has recently reported that though Phil was the one indicted, Bill Deely, the groundhog’s handler and President of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, was going to take the blame.

The Huffington Post reports Deely heroically claiming, “I’m the guy that did it; I’ll be the fall guy. It’s not Phil’s fault.”

I personally don’t believe that I would do the same, especially because this is apparently the second year in a row that Phil’s forecast has been “misinterpreted.” Maybe Phil should be a little bit clearer. Maybe Phil should be a little bit more considerate towards those who have been opening up their curtains every morning with anxiety.

Recently, however, The Associated Press has released an updated article reporting that the Ohio prosecutor, who had filed this “tongue-in-cheek” indictment, dropped the charges this Tuesday, March 26. If Phil was worried before, which I’m sure he was, he has no criminal record to worry about now.

Normally, I would be bothered that Phil was let off so easy, but these past few mornings I’ve been opening up those white Warren curtains to find blue skies and an actual sun. I think I will let myself start hoping this time, but if it snows, I’m happy I know who I can definitely blame now.

Winter hibernation playlists

By Sydney Moyer, Music Editor

You know those nights where it’s starting to snow and you’re walking home, but you forgot your gloves, and you probably should have worn a heavier jacket? But you’re too tired to care—you go home, don about four blankets, make some tea, turn on the fireplace app on your phone (just kidding on that one… maybe) and settle in to watch the snow fall instead of doing homework? Anyone? Is it just me? Well, regardless, Daily Free Press MUSE Editor Marisa Benjamin and I have each compiled our winter playlists to soundtrack those nights. Listen below and try to tell us we’re not as good as John Williams. (Kidding! Maybe!)

Tales of a Transplant: Adapting to New England weather

By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer

Let’s talk about the weather, shall we?

In Guam, many residents have commented that the weather is invariably sporadic. You’ll have sun one day, rain the other and, more often than not, sun AND rain. I’m not kidding. I’m not quite sure if it happens in other parts of the world, but when it rains on a clear, nearly cloudless day, I start to question the laws of nature.

But with temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit everyday and with humidity always above 80 percent, I can always step out of my front door wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops.

Then I came to Boston. Oh, Boston. I’m still learning to adapt to your hormonal climate.

I’ve made the common newcomer mistake of failing to check the weather report before I leave Claflin Hall. When I went out last Friday night with a couple of friends, I wore jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie. And of course they wore multiple layers, scarves and either a jacket or coat. I looked misplaced. I checked the temperature for the evening and saw that it was 40 degrees. Stupid me.

Guam Bear

Guam Bear?

So, as we were walking down the streets of Boston, I was getting a beat-down by the frosty wind and nasty temperature. I was shivering and my face was going to freeze. I was getting laughed at by my friends who tried their best to keep me warm by huddling around me. Love them.I earned a nickname that night: “Guam Bear,” because my hoodie made me look like a koala. There are no koalas nor bears in Guam, just to let you know.

After that night, I went straight to work on my fall/winter wardrobe. I’ve done some research and found advice from people who know how it’s like to live with this weather. Here are a couple of tips to keep you warm this season:

Layers, layers, layers

This is crucial to your warmth. Employing layers creates pockets of air between your clothes that will insulate your body. Wear as many layers as you feel comfortable, but there are three important things to remember when layering: wicking, insulation and protection.

Yes, it’s cold. But that doesn’t mean you won’t sweat. Find clothes that wick moisture off your body so that you will continue to feel dry and warm. With that in mind, this layer should be closest to your skin.

Boston-weather-forecastInsulators are pretty much self-explanatory: they keep you even warmer. Wear a shirt over the wicking layer, add a sweater over it and maybe a jacket on top of that. Wear sweatpants under your jeans. The point is to get toasty.

Last but not the least is the protective layer. This layer will guard you from rain, wind and snow. Coats and waterproof jackets are ideal for this layer.

One good thing about layers is that you can adjust them throughout the day. Oh, it stopped raining? Time to take off the raincoat. It’s hotter now? Time to remove a layer or two.

Don’t forget your limbs

A majority of your body heat escapes through your head, or so I’m told, so it’s important to keep it covered and warm. Beanies, knit caps and a trooper hat will work just fine.

Scarves are a great way to keep your neck warm and protected from the wind and they can be stylish, too.

Wearing gloves or mittens if your hands get cold easily is a great idea, too. Don’t forget your feet. Layer up on those socks, and remember, find socks that have wicking power.

Check the weather

I’m still learning to remember to do this. Before you decide your outfit of the day, take a look at the weather. It can be the difference between shivering like a wet cat and feeling warm and comfortable on a nice evening out in the city.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Maybe I’ll come up with more tips as the season progresses and it gets even colder. Until then, stay warm and dry.