Winter is Coming….

November 10, 2012

What Game of Thrones has taught me about coping with the dreaded season.


Yup, Adri and I are big fans of Game of Thrones. We watch episodes on our projector at home, all a la cinema style with air-popped pop corn (with EVOO, sea salt and nutritional yeast…yum!). I just love being transported to fantasy worlds; worlds without Facebook and blog posts, where Shea butter doesn’t get all over my teeshirts and I’m never late getting to the post office. No, I can just jump on my powerful steed and deliver a wax-sealed message to save some empire from collapse. And, like, behead a couple bad guys along the way. And my hair always looks fabulous and I’ve got great abs.


Let me first clear the air about the name Stark. No, I did not name my skincare brand after the awesome family (SO GLAD I DIDN’T NAME MY COMPANY LANNISTER, GEEZ.). Rather, I discovered Game of Thrones while Googling “House of Stark”, my company’s original name. Boy, was I surprised when there already was a House of Stark! At first I was all “lol, this is dorky”. I don’t know who I was kidding, since Adri and I are pretty dorky. For the record, Adri’s a pretty big mega geek [Adri: being into scifi & fantasy & roleplaying games qualifies as Mega geek status], which is awesome. By the way, he doesn’t mean “role playing” in some kind of kinky sexual way, also, he has a PhD in bio-computational Physics and likes math FOR FUN YOU GUYS. Nerd! So, this was actually right around the time that the show actually launched, which is pretty strange timing, and some people actually thought that my brand was going to be Game of Thrones themed! Like what…with dragon’s and kingslayers and ummm…other non-skincare related things (kinda like this post so far….)

Anyhow, we love the show, and, when I flex my imagination, Game of Thrones can really teach us Northerners a thing or two about manning up to Winter. Lessons that I will be reminding Adri of, as his desert-blood is STILL adjusting to Montreal winters. Maybe if someone actually wore boots and gloves…. hmmmm?

Now, these lessons are really only for those of us with, ahem, “real” winter. If you’ve had your eyelids freeze to your eyeballs, if you’ve literally choked on how cold the air in your lungs is, if you’ve shovelled yourself out of your home before, if you’ve lost feeling in your extremities just crossing the street, then you know winter. Real winter. Alright, lesson time.

The Starks

The best way to deal with winter is to go about your life like your nose-hair isn’t freezing together. (You don’t know how much hair your seemingly hairless nostrils have until they freeze, let me tell you.). This is when you have to be thick-skinned and get a little crazy, and grow a pair of ovaries and LAUGH in the face of blizzards and ice storms, because you’re a STARK and you can take it! (A good moisturizer, like a combo of Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm and Cypress Purity + Defense also really, really helps. If I need to explain why, you’ve never stood on the corner of Rachel and St-Laurent mid February in the Plateau, Montreal.)

For you, life goes on. Weather can’t stop you from living your life and getting stuff done. The trick, however, is to be prepared. You’re not going to feel very brave and prepared for the worst wearing some flimsy jacket and high heels. No. You invest in a parka that would make a polar bear jealous. You wear boots fit for an Arctic expedition. You layer-up, you (wo)man-up, and trudge through the sleet, snow, ice and hail like you don’t give a damn. (Then you can go home and soothe yourself with some hot tea and a warm kitten or dire-wolf on your lap.)

The Lannisters

Batshit crazy they may be, those Lannisters. Incestuous and downright mean; yes. Breast-feeding 9 year olds, murderous and conniving; you bet. But if there’s one thing they know, it’s to stay at home together where it’s safe and cozy and ignore the real world, until it calmly passes by.  Unscathed, they can go about their evil ways without a care in the world.

Therefore, a great way to ignore horrid weather is simply to pretend it’s not happening.  For a few days, at least, when there’s a really bad cold snap (I can’t do more than that or I get cabin-fever myself). This is when you decide all errands can wait, you’ll get creative with whatever dried legumes are in your pantry, you’ll ask your boss to work from home (this always, always should be an option, in my opinion) you blast the space-heater and pull on your wooliest socks and smirk at the madness outside. If you’re lucky, a loved one or two (a favourite twin, perhaps, if you want to get all Lannister about it?) can pass the time with you. Lannisters, after all, always stick together.

And sometimes, this is just the way it must be. Because, sadly, sometimes the weather (or angry villagers and rival kingdoms) just wants to kill us.

 The Bartheons

The Bartheons are kings. They are greedy kings. They are kings with excess. They are spoiled brats, sure, but they do know how to pamper themselves, and certainly have a lust for life. Their own life, of course. Anybody else’s life is a mere inconvenience to them.

In any case, winter IS the time to spoil yourself a little. We need a few extra calories to keep warm in the winter (do you realize how much energy is takes to shiver?), and a tiny extra layer of fat does wonders for keeping you warm. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set limits for yourself (unless you happen to actually be a Bartheon), but it does mean that you should indulge yourself in the food department a little. C’mon, it’s winter! Also, definitely indulge when it comes to skincare and spa-related treats. You’ll want to splurge on some massages after you’ve wiped out on an icy side walk, and freezing gusts of wind are very, very drying (and you know, freezing…don’t get frost bite!)

So, make like a king, and do right by you. Look out for #1, know what I’m sayin’?

The Targaryens

Ok, so there’s really only one Targaryen on the show, but we all love the Khaleesi, right? It’s that hair and her toughness and the fact that she’s the dragon mother. Pretty awesome. Khaleesi doesn’t exactly “survive” winter, as her character isn’t anywhere near the North.

Which is good advice: Make like a Khaleesi, and get the heck out of Dodge, and go some place nice and warm.

Adri’s a huge fan of heat, having grown up in Kuwait. I enjoy heat, but I prefer a bit more variety than “heat, hot, heat, dry heat, desert, and sand”. I found the heat in Kuwait to be a bit much for me, personally. I like to throw in a few rainy periods in there, and an ocean breeze is always welcome in my books. In any case, when and if you can, a respite from the deep freeze is always a good idea. It’s always good to remember that somewhere the world still feels alive and vibrant, and not like the inside of your frosty freezer. [Just like we’re doing right now in Costa Rica! Although it’s not SO cold yet…..we’re actually getting away now before I’m super-pregnant.]

So, there’s some Game of Thrones inspired ways of dealing with winter-winter (real winter… if you live anywhere near an ocean coast, you get zero pity from me. Zero.) Do you live somewhere with cold winters? How to do you deal with it?


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