How to survive frigid temperature while making colorful ice balls!

By Elle

colored ice ballsDespite having lived my entire life in Northeast Ohio, I’ve never been a snow bunny, preferring to cozy up inside with a mug of steaming tea than go sledding or build a snowman on wintry days.  Now that I’ve reached mid-life though, I’m more tolerant of cold temps. During winters of late, I can’t ride in the car with a coat on, I keep the thermostat in the bedroom set at a brisk 62, and I often dream of sleeping on a slab of ice.

That said, the temps this coming week will put even my tolerance to the test. Luckily I just bought a new down coat from Lands’ End (still on sale!) that is rated for -40° to -9° Fahrenheit. I can comfortably wear it outdoors, but the moment I step inside I’m ripping it off like it’s going to consume me alive — because it will.

Lands' End Women's Stretch Long Down Coat

Here’s what I love most about this coat:

  • snug knit cuffs that keep the wind at bay
  • adjustable hood that really works
  • faux fur lining that helps give it the warmest rating
  • removable faux fur on the hood (important for washing the coat)

Because I’m on the petite side, the coat falls to a little below my mid-thigh.

I’ve long been a fan of down outerwear, owning several down coats. I swear by them. Most down coats are rated warm, warmer and warmest, so you can buy the right coat for the right conditions and the right activities, such as making colorful ice balls for the yard!

During the first polar vortex a few years ago, Arkady and my granddaughter Brenna, then about 8, made ice balls using balloons and food coloring. They made about 10 balls and scattered them around the front yard. The temps were frigid for about a week, so the balls naturally lasted that long. Here’s a quick tutorial, the only difference being that Arkady peeled the balloons off the ice balls after they were frozen solid.

colored ice balls

More recently, my 5-year-old granddaughter, Rosie, hunted for magic fairy ice gems (aka colored ice balls) hidden in the woods at the Holden Arboretum. During the hunt, which was part of her Winter Nature Experience class, the kids filled tin buckets with the fairy ice gems, created with the help of magic dust from the trolls who live in the forest.

colored ice balls

There is something magical about spying brightly colored globes scattered across a monochromatic landscape, whether the globes are created in your kitchen or by a team of fairies and trolls.

colored ice balls

Fashion 9-1-1 — Searching for the Perfect Turtle

Dear Abby and Elle: I’m looking for long sleeve tees and turtlenecks. I like them to be snug fitting for optimal layering. Where should I look? Also, I’m looking for cowl neck long-sleeved tees. Is there such a thing? — Chilly in Cleveland

Dear Chilly: We know turtlenecks, so you’ve come to the right place! Generally speaking, we love Lands’ End for turtlenecks. The quality is top-notch, the choices in terms of color, pattern and size are many, and they guarantee your purchase. Sign up for their email updates and you’ll get a daily deal — 40 percent one item, 20 percent off a whole order, free shipping and more.

Their descriptions are right on, so look for the word “fitted,” and don’t buy a shirt with a “relaxed fit.”

Lands' End fitted turtleneck

Lands’ End fitted turtleneck

Lands’ End does carry a couple of cowl tees, mock turtlenecks (which offer warmth without strangulation) and long-sleeved fitted tees.

Lands' End cowl tee

Lands’ End cowl tee

Lands' End fitted mock turtleneck

Lands’ End fitted mock turtleneck

Lands' End long-sleeved fitted tee

Lands’ End long-sleeved fitted tee

Good luck and stay warm!