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How To Dress Warm For the Outdoors This Winter

You should always know your limits when it comes to spending time outdoors. For many of us, that means not being out in the cold any longer than necessary. However, there are times when you just can’t avoid being outside in the Winter cold.

Here are 5 tips to keep your as toasty as possible when braving the elements.

  1. Wear layers
  2. Protect your head, ears, hands, and skin
  3. Don’t forget your legs and feet
  4. Keep dry
  5. Know your limits

1 Wear layers

Dress in multiple thinner layers instead of just a couple thick layers.

You can layer tank tops, tees, thermal shirts, sweaters, vests, and coats.

Looser layers allow room between to act as insulation, much as the air between panes of double-pane glass add insulating value.

If you get hot, you can more easily remove a thin layer and still be protected from the cold.

If possible, avoid cotton layers since they can get wet and lose a lot of their insulating value.

2 Protect your head, ears, hands, and skin

When it gets really cold, the less skin exposed to the air, the better.

Head, ears and hands are obviously the parts you want to protect first. There’s some debate about how much heat escapes through your head, but any exposed skin will allow heat to escape and cold to affect you. A warm hat or capearmuffs, and a warm pair of gloves or mittens will make a world of difference and help keep your body heat in. A hooded jacket or coat can also help keep the wind off your neck.

A scarf is also important for keeping the wind off of your neck. A thick scarf can also be used to cover your nose and mouth in case of extreme cold.

3 Don’t forget your legs and feet

A lot of times, we think about shirts, coats, and other upper body clothing. But the lower ½ of your body needs protection too. Long underwear or leggings can be layered under jeans or a skirt for extra warmth.

Thick winter socks will help insulate your feet and, combined with boots, will keep your feet toastier.

4 Keep dry

Cold travels through wet layers faster than dry ones, so always make sure to keep as dry as possible.

If you feel like you’re about to sweat, remove layers to prevent it. This applies to your feet as well.

If you’re going to be in snow or rain, be sure to keep a protective waterproof or water resistant layer as your outermost layer.

5 Know your limits

Know how long you can stay outside. Dressing warmly will only take you so far. Use common sense and factor in things like wind, which can make a huge difference in how warm you'll stay.

Fall and Winter 2014 Scarf Sale

Happy Autumn!

We're celebrating the start of Fall and Winter by offering your choice of either 1 free scarf or 1 pair of EarPops when you order  4 pair of EarPops or more this Fall and Winter.

How To Get Your Free Scarf

  1. Add 4 or more EarPops Bandless Ear Muffs to your order
  2. Tell us what color you want your scarf or EarPops (our standard 19 colors are available so you can mix and match your scarves and EarPops)
  3. Finish your order

Fine Print (Ugh, I know)

  • You have to order the 4 pair of EarPops in a single order
  • Offer is valid from October 11, 2015, to January 31, 2015

Get Started Shopping

The Top 5 Reasons to Wear Ear Pops

The Top 5 Reasons to Wear Ear Pops

As the original bandless winter earmuffs, Ear Pops are sleek, comfortable, and keep your ears toasty warm all winter long. While the benefits of Ear Pops speak for themselves, here are the top five reasons to wear Ear Pops this winter:

1)Compact – Most hats and helmets will fit right over them, making them great for hiking, biking, snowboarding, boating, and virtually any outdoor activity. You won’t have to worry about freezing ears any longer while you enjoy your favorite hobbies!

2)No muffled hearing – You might think that wearing Ear Pops would inhibit your hearing, but the truth is that you won’t miss a thing! You can carry on normal conversations or even talk on the phone without problem.

3)Relaxed fit – Ear Pops are elastic, so that means they won’t put constant pressure on your ears while wearing them. Other products are so tight they create headaches.

4)Made from a microfiber fleece – Ear Pops are made from the same material as fleece parkas, jackets, and vests. This provides exceptional insulation from the harsh winter winds. It’s like wrapping your ears up in a warm blanket.

5)Machine washable – In the event that your Ear Pops get smudged or dirty, don’t worry! They can be tossed into the washing machine with like colors. When sweat starts to build up, just wash them and they will be just like new again.

The Top 5 Reasons to Wear Ear Pops

Ear Pops are trending now! Take advantage of the original bandless winter earmuffs so that your ears stay warm and you can continue enjoying all of your favorite outdoor activities. Everyone from skiers to snowboarders are wearing them, along with people who just enjoy viewing an winter wonderland, but have the frost biting at their ears.

For more information or if you are interested in any of the other products we sell, contact us today!

Can't Wear A Hat? Stay Warm With A Ear Cozy!

Can't Wear A Hat? Stay Warm With A Ear Cozy!

Watching the local news channel's meteorologist on television in the morning as he describes what the day's weather will be can help you decide what winter clothing you might want to wear. But sometimes the weather is unpredictable in the winter; the weather will bring cold snow showers to gusty winds, blizzard conditions to rain and sleet. It's never a pleasant experience and you always end up having to try to guess which type of weather you will have to dress for.

When it's a day for work, outside or in, dressing warm can be a choir. Women and men alike don't want to wear a hat to ruin their hair before a big meeting at work or for a new job interview. If you are working outside, perhaps you can't wear a hat and need winter protection for around the ears and back of the neck but don't have anything that can fit that criteria.

Ear Cozy Headbands Keep The Heat In

When your head is uncovered, your body loses tons of heat, something that you can’t afford during the winter. Covering up your ears, forehead, and neck, our ear cozy headbands will keep you warm even during the coldest days. An Ear Cozy is made of gentle microfiber fleece, and it’s soft enough to be worn all day long, even you’re taking part in strenuous activities.

The Ear Cozy fleece headbands are available in 19 colors and styles—including camouflage, leopard print and more. The same19 standard colors are available in all of our products, so finding a perfect match is simple.

Can't Wear A Hat? Stay Warm With A Ear Cozy!

Versatile and durable, this is one headband that’s going to become a regular part of your wardrobe. Pair it the Nose Cozy, and you have all parts of your body covered and protected from the cold.

Ear Pops has the latest in headgear for any situation or person who needs winter protection in their life. For more information, contact Ear Pops today!

10 Delicious Crockpot Winter Soup Recipes

10 delicious crockpot soup recipes header

When we think of long sleeps and Winter, what animal do you think of? Bears, right?

But from frogs and mice to skunks and squirrels and hedgehogs, there are a ton of other animals that hibernate off and on during Winter.

I wish I could hibernate. Eat like a horse and just got to sleep in October and then wake up refreshed in March.

But I can’t, so there’s soup.

I’ve gathered 10 winter soup recipes that you can toss into your crockpot and hibernate take a nap. 

Crockpot Beef StewCrockpot Beef Stew

Nothing warms you up like beef stew. Whether or not this is technically a soup or not, I'm adding it here because my mouth started watering as soon as I saw the pictures.

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

Anything-chicken-soup is the ultimate comfort soup. This one is especially hearty and healthy with its blend of chicken, quinoa, and butternut squash.

Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits

Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits

This is a more unique soup that combines shrimp, scallions, zucchini, corn, and grits. Add a little spice and it's the next best thing to livin' on the bayou.

Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Broccoli and cheese soup? Yes, please. Add in some cream cheese as well? Heck, yes!

Crockpot Stuffed Pepper Soup

Crockpot Stuffed Pepper Soup

This soup is exactly how it sounds. Delicious! The green pepper is chopped in with the 'stuffing', so it's extra good.

You can also make this vegetarian pretty easily or substitute the ground beef with ground turkey or chicken.

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is a classic for a reason. Don't grab a can of soup - do it up right in the crockpot with this flavorful recipe.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

This crockpot vegetable soup really throws the garden at it. You've got lima beans, carrots, tomatoes, ocra, corn, peas, green beans, and an onion.

I will make an important note: As is, it's not a very flavorful soup. However, I fixed this by adding some ground thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley to it. I also made sure to garlic salt and black pepper the meat as it was cooking.

Crockpot Beer Cheese Soup

Crockpot Beer Cheese Soup

This sounds fantastic. Beer AND cheese?! Grab some bread for dunking and you've got yourself a meal. Perfect soup for when you're wanting something light but flavorful.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Another crowd pleaser, this one. Probably not the healthiest of the soups on the list, but way better than any store-bought version. This one's guaranteed to fill you up as well.

The Best Crockpot Minestrone Soup

The Best Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Another vegetarian soup you can fix up in the crockpot. With the flavor, vegetables, and zucchini, you won't miss the fact that it's meatless.

More Soup Ideas?

So there you have it. My list of 10 delicious crockpot soup recipes to try out this Winter.

If you're still looking for more soup recipes, check out our Winter Soup Recipes post for a few more.

Unique Winter Headwear “Chilly Billy”

Unique Winter Headwear “Chilly Billy”

If you work in an outdoor setting or like to hunt, you know what it feels like to be in the elements all the time. But the winter can be unforgiving to even the most prepared individual. The winds are cold and the weather is freezing. Hats, gloves, scarves, layered coats and clothing, as well as boots to protect you from the worst of what Mother Nature can give you in the winter.

One challenge you might face is wearing all your winter clothing and still being able to function while you are out on the job, playing in the cold or being able to stay covered when you have to wear safety gear. So if you are looking to accessorize your winter apparel with your safety gear, what can you do?

Chilly Billy To The Rescue

The Chilly Billy Cap Headband is the perfect solution to this wintery dilemma. If you have a construction job, hunt in the winter months or just like to frolic around in the snowy atmosphere and want to wear a cap or hardhat comfortably with some sort of winter protection, the Chilly Billy can help adapt your headwear to make it more winter proof.

Unique Winter Headwear “Chilly Billy”

Are you worried about the fashion aspect of The Chilly Billy? The unique headband also comes in various colors to suit whatever theme or activity you are participating in.

Where can you find this ingenious concept of the Chilly Billy? Why no other place than Ear Pops of course! Ear Pops has the latest in headwear for any situation or person who needs winter protection in their life. For more information, contact Ear Pops today!

Keep Your Plumbing Pipes From Freezing This Winter

Keep Your Plumbing Pipes From Freezing This Winter

With Winter coming soon, it’s important to be ready. We already talked about how you can organize and clean your home for Winter. But it’s important to make sure your plumbing is ready for the freezing temperatures of December through February.

The last thing you want to happen is have your pipes freeze and burst in the middle of Winter. There are some basic steps you can take to minimize the risk of frozen pipes this year.

Most of these tips are for areas of your home that are in a crawlspace or attic. Piping that runs through a basement is less susceptible to freezing temperatures since the basement provides protection from the elements and stays a fairly constant temperature year-round.

How Cold Is Too Cold?

It’s generally accepted that water pipes run the risk of freezing when the outside temperature drops to 20℉ or lower.

However, since these kinds of temperatures usually hit as a low during the night, it’s a good idea to be ready before temperatures are set to drop below 32℉.

Close Vents and Keep Out Drafts

Air and wind can that comes into the area where your plumbing is can cause the temperature in your crawlspace to drop, or heat can escape.

First, make sure to close any and all crawlspace vents you have. You can block them or cover them. Pieces of solid foam insulation can be cut and placed to cover the vents until Spring.

Then, make sure there aren’t any gaps or cracks in your foundation where air can come and go. You can use low expanding foam insulation or caulking to seal up any cracks you find. A good way to check for gaps is to look under the house on a bright, sunny day.


Insulate Your Pipes

Make sure you insulate both the hot and cold water lines.

There are 2 basic types of plumbing insulation: foam tube insulation sleeves and insulated pipe wrap.

Foam Insulation Sleeves

The foam insulation sleeves are the easiest and fastest to put on and they do a decent job of protecting your pipes. They look similar to pool floaties and usually come in 6 foot lengths.

The only tool you will need to install the foam sleeves is a utility knife. You can also wrap the seams with thermal tape, but usually that’s not needed.

For corners and T’s, either use appropriate foam elbows and T connectors (sold right next to the insulation sleeves, or cut the foam sleeves at a 45 degree angle. Using the foam elbows and connectors are much easier.

Foam insulated sleeves work best for longer, straight runs of pipe. Be sure to get the correct size since they will need to fit around the pipes appropriately. They come in sizes from ¼ inch to 1 inch around and 6 feet long.

Insulated Pipe Wrap

This may be called different things depending where you buy it: insulated pipe wrap, insulated pipe tape, foil pipe wrap insulate, etc. Basically, we're talking about adhesive insulated tape in a roll, often with a foil/aluminum backing.

If you use the insulation pipe wrap, it will take longer and you’ll need to make sure you wrap the lines carefully to prevent gaps, but you also have more options for the insulation material.

If your pipes have a lot of twists and turns, straps holding them up and out of the way, or odd diameter pipes or fittings, insulated plumbing tape may be the best way to go.

I recommend the self-adhesive piping wrap with the aluminum backing. The adhesive makes it easier to wrap around the pipe. The aluminum makes it a little more rigid and helps it keep its form; allowing you to fit around and form to odd sizes, bends, and tees easier. This is also an advantage over the foam sleeves.

The insulated pipe wrap is also good if you have various sized pipes since it doesn’t matter how big around the pipes are.

Like the foam sleeves, the only tool you need is a utility knife.

Insulate the crawlspace

You should also consider insulating the walls of the crawlspace foundation. Extruded polystyrene insulation board (comes in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets) can be used to insulate the inner foundation walls. The insulation board can be easily cut with a utility knife so it’s pretty easy to work with.

Turn Off and Disconnect Your Garden Hose

I tend to forget about this myself, so I have to set a reminder.

Part of the water spigot is exposed and usually sticks outside of your home. Disconnect any hoses and store them away for the Winter. If you have a water shutoff to your spigots/faucets, make sure to turn those off and open the faucet to let any remaining water drain from the line.

You can get an inexpensive insulated faucet cover that will keep the cold and wind away.

In Extreme Weather

If you have extreme weather in your area or you know it’s going to be getting much colder than normal, you might consider some extra precautions like heat tape, electric pipe heaters with a thermostat, heat lamps, etc.

If using anything with an electrical current or anything with the possibility of producing enough heat to melt piping, be sure to read the instructions carefully and use caution.

Sources and More Information

This isn’t meant to be a detailed guide to insulating your plumbing for Winter. If you’d like to know more, here are a couple of sites with more information.

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes (WikiHow):

8 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes (Popular Mechanics):

Share Your Tips?

Do you have any tips or experiences with Winterizing your pipes? Share them with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: r.nial.bradshaw via Compfight cc

5 Best Tried and True Cookie Recipes

5 Best Tried and True Cookie Recipes

To me, the cookie stands apart from all other desserts.

Perhaps it's variety. Or how portable it is. Maybe it's the built in portion control of the serving size. Perhaps the mix of ingredients and flavors integrated into a simple circle.

Regardless of why they are so appealing, only the truly black-hearted turn down a good cookie.

As Jerry Seinfeld said, "Look to the cookie".

Here are a collection of my favorite cookie recipes. Nothing too over the top (nothing containing bacon) or ‘gourmet’. Just tried and true to bring a smile to your face.

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

A twist on the standard sugar cookie, these chai spiced sugar cookies are solid, without being hard; soft without the danger of falling apart in your hand.

And tasty. Very, very tasty.

(My Baking Addiction: Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies)

Perfect Pumpkin Cookies

Perfect Pumpkin Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting

These pumpkin cookies are beyond good. It’s like a small pumpkin pie without the crust.

These are very rich and not particularly healthy due to the Paula-Deen-amount of butter. But worth it.

I also recommend making smaller cookies than is recommended in the recipe. Otherwise, you won’t be able to eat an entire cookie without slipping into a coma.

(My Baking Addiction: Perfect Pumpkin Cookies)

Peppermint Kiss Cookies

Peppermint Kiss Cookies closeup

These peppermint cookies are as good excuse as any to pick up some Hershey’s Peppermint Kisses. The sugar cookies get a boost from the ground candy canes as well.

(Cindy Shopper: Peppermint Kiss Cookies)

Six Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Crinkles

Six Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Crinkles (GLuten-free)

A cookie with only 6 ingredients?! What magic is this? Time-saving magic, that's what.

Don’t let the fact that these are gluten-free scare you. The Yammie knows what she’s doing and these are fantastic.

(Yammie’s Glutenfreedom: Six Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Crinkles (Gluten-Free))

Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies In the World

Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies In the World

You can’t mention cookies without including chocolate chip cookies.

These are definitely the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. Better than the mixes, better than the break apart ones. They come out consistently perfect every time I make them.

They are great tasting, the chocolate chips string even when cold (just like in the commercials), and even if they don't disappear overnight, they stay moist and chewy even after several days.

Tip: Use the bittersweet chocolate chips that the recipe calls for. You can use semi-sweet if you must, but it's not the same.

(Warning: The recipe does contain some... salty language, so proceed with caution.)

(Parents Need to Eat Too: Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies In the World)

Bonus: "Look to the Cookie"

Jerry Seinfeld extolling the values of the (black and white) cookie.

8 Great Baking Infographics

Raise your hand if you like baking. Good. Now raise your hand if you like infographics. Excellent.

From making wise recipe substitutions, to recovering from a disaster, we've collected together 8 of the most useful baking infographics.

1. The Ultimate Guide to Healthier Baking Substitutions

Don't just blindly follow the directions. You can bake healthier by substituting a few key ingredients in your recipes.

Healthy Baking Recipe Substitutions Infographic

2. Baked Goods 911

Avoid and salvage baking emergencies with this 911 baked goods infographic.

Baked Goods 911 Infographic

3. This For That: A Guide to Cooking and Baking Substitutions

So you’ve already starting the recipe and combined the first several ingredients, and then… dun, dun, duuunnn!... You discover you don’t have buttermilk. This infographic will help you rescue an otherwise ruined recipe. These are handy substitutions you may need sooner than later.

This For That: Guide for Cooking and Baking Substitutions Infographic

4. 10 Ways to Be a Better Baker

#7 would’ve helped us with the problem above.

10 Ways to Be a Better Baker Infographic

5. Baking Starter Breads Infographic

Follow this guide and you’ll be making starter breads in no time.

Baking Starter Breads Infographic

6. The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet

Many of your favorite baked goodies can be vegan-friendly by substituting eggs, dairy, and butter with other ingredients. This vegan baking infographic gives you a good handle on fixing your favorite recipe.

The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet Infographic

7. Baking Ratios

General ratios for ingredients when making cookies, cakes, muffins, and pancakes. Knowing the ratios for basic ingredients lets you experiment and create new concoctions.

Ratio Baking Infographic

8. Baking Cinnamon Rolls

The basics of cinnamon roll baking from scratch to perfection. Yum!

Baking Cinnamon Rolls Infographic

9. Bonus: Handy Baking Conversions and Equivalents

 I'm printing this and putting this handy baking infographic on my fridge. I could've used this the other day with some pumpkin cookies I made.

10. aka Bonus Infographic: Cakes Throughout US History

Okay, so not really about baking per se, but… c’mon, CAKE.

Cakes Throughout U.S. History Infographic

Now, get in the kitchen and make something amazing!

For just regular cooking, you can also check out our 5 Useful Kitchen Infographics.

Be sure to follow our Food and Drink board on Pinterest for tons of great recipes and food-related pins.

Clean and Organize Your Home For Fall and Winter

It’s officially Fall. I love this time of year. The excuse to start making soup, leaves changing color — all of it.

But nipping at Autumn’s heel is frosty Winter. That means there’s a few extra things that need to be done around the house to make sure you’re really for cold weather.

To help you get your to-do lists ready, here are some things that you can do to clean and organize your home for Fall and Winter.

Cleaning Your Home

October temperatures are starting to drop already. But giving your house a good clean is important before temperatures really drop and you’re glued to the couch and a thick blanket.


  • Wash the outside of all your windows
  • Clean and check gutters and downspouts
    • The leaves may not have started to fall yet, but you’ll be amazed at how much dust, dirt, acorns, and twigs have accumulated since you cleaned them in the Spring
  • Wash your siding, doors and garage door
  • Clean your patio, walkways, and decks


Get your kitchen ready for Fall and Winter cooking and baking

  • Move furniture from walls and wipe down walls, baseboards, and molding
  • Clean the globes from your lights (some of those bugs that managed to get into the house over the last few months are probably in there)
  • Vacuum drapes and wall hangings
  • Wash the insides of windows
    • Clean out the window wells with a vacuum
    • Wipe down inside sills
    • Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the screens as well
  • Pull the refrigerator from the wall and vacuum the coils
  • Deep clean your kitchen (here’s a printable kitchen cleaning checklist)
  • Change household filters
    • Exhaust vent over stove
    • Furnace/AC filters

Other Cleaning Resources

Organize Your Home

October is a great time to clean and organize your home. A good Fall cleaning is the counterpart to spring cleaning.

Organize Your Closets

Organizing your closets idea

Since the weather is cooling down, you'll be switching to warmer clothes. So it's a great time to clear out your closets and give them the cleaning and organizing they need.

  • Pull out the spring and summer clothes and remove items you haven't worn or that need repair
  • Go through your fall and winter items and discard anything that won't fit, you won't wear, and those that need repair
  • Air out any cold weather clothing you had in storage to get rid of stale odors
  • Go through any boxes and non-clothing items in your closet and throw away anything you don’t need
  • Vacuum the carpet and wash/dust the shelves to remove any dirt or dust that’s accumulated over the last few months
  • Consider adding more storage or building shelving to better organize things

Organize the Kitchen

Odds are you’ll be doing a lot more cooking and baking this Fall and Winter, so make sure your kitchen is ready for it.

  • Clear out all the cabinets and drawers
  • Reorganize pots and pans
  • Gather together (or corral) your Tupperware and storage containers and lids
  • Make sure you can find baking items that you’ll probably need this Winter
  • Dust off your favorite recipe books (optional)

If you're out of ideas for organizing your kitchen, here's a few extra ideas.

Organize the Garage

With rainy, cold Autumn days followed by freezing, snowy Winters, it’s nice to be able to use the garage to get your car out of the weather. Here’s how to get started organizing it.

  • Store paints and stains
    • Since evening temperatures will soon be dipping low, paints and stains need to be brought indoors. Otherwise, the cold temps will alter the makeup of the paint.
    • Find a place inside to store any that you have in your garage
    • Dividing paints by interior and exterior will make finding indoor and outdoor paint easier next time you need it
  • Toss unneeded and unwanted items that you’ve accumulated
  • Move tools that are in the way to other storage spaces like a shed if available
  • Consider returning items that others have given you to store
  • Store bolts, screws, nuts, and nails in easy to access containers.
    • Empty coffee cans can be handy for this. Just be sure not to lump multiple types in the same container.
  • Invest in hooks and hangers that can be used to store items up and out of the way
  • Group tools and supplies into things for certain types of tasks
    • For example, I group things into electrical, plumbing, auto, woodworking.

Other Organizing Tips

Photo Credits

Photo Credit: emily @ go haus go via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Jess Pac via Compfight cc

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