Sept. 29 2014 05:17 PM

The Southern California preppers edition

BW 10-1-14

Wow, was that a summer or what? I don't know about you, but in my 22 years of living in this casual little city that's trying on fancy britches, I cannot recall a hotter five months. That carbon footprint ain't no joke, and the constant hum of my air conditioner has made its own sorry contribution to the cycle: Super hot? Run the air. Run the air? Super hot.  

Yes, I'm wholly ashamed. But try living out here in the College Area, where there's no such thing as a cross breeze—at the same time, !hot! !flashes!—and you, too, would be kneeling at the altar of SDG&FuckingE.

But the past is over, and with temperatures more temperate, the reality of winter must be faced head on. Like so many other citizens of the country, it is time for us to winterize; having been raised in a cold climate, I have some expertise in this area. Generally speaking, it's good to start by swapping out the summer wardrobe for the winter one tucked away in storage bins throughout the house.

So, here's the deal, diehards: It's time to put away our camisoles and get out our tank tops; stash the linen, and reach for the cotton. And as much as I hate to say it, it's time to put away the Havianas. 

I know, I know. This is tough. You love your thin rubber flippie-floppies as much as I do—I get it. But they leave your feet vulnerable to the extreme conditions of winter. Remember: We're expecting an El Niño. Instead, go for something like Sanuks, a more rugged flip-flop with a canvas upper and a leather lining. Some of you may even deign to wear Birkenstocks, seeing as they've made a sartorial comeback. Others of you may deign to wear Birkenstocks with socks. Which I personally find to be extreme. As in, extremely offensive. (Then again, you won't have to get pedicures or shave your legs if you're going this route.)

Sunscreen is timeless, of course, a staple that looks great on every body type and effortlessly crosses seasonal boundaries. Keep it handy. That said, it's definitely time to put away white or pastel-colored bathing suits; ditto ruffles and fringe. Opt instead for swim attire with rhinestones or faux turquoise embellishments, as well as those suits in more subdued hues like eggplant or chocolate. Additionally, those who opt for thong bikinis might find it necessary to go with something that offers slightly more coverage, like the Super Strappy Itsy Bottom or the Cheeky Bottom from Victoria's Secret. If there's sudden high pressure, you'll be grateful you planned ahead even as you're still rockin' that adorable underbutt. 

Speaking of which, this is also the time to say au revoir to the acid-washed cut-off denim short shorts that so closely resemble the Cheeky Bottom (see above). The onset of winter conditions dictate cut-offs with at least one additional inch of fabric; if the pockets hang below the "hem," you're still in spring-2014-collection territory. Don't fret, though: It's not like we're in Anchorage and in need of Patagonia snow suits. Like the summer-to-winter bikini swap mentioned right up there, it's still possible to find a longer Daisy Duke that still manages to reveal the right amount of ass hangdown. 

(As for the manly set, you guys just keep doing what you're doing. Slovenly is the Coppertone of men's attire.)

Also important as it pertains to beach and pool outings is the necessary switch from your summer to winter towels. As much as I love my compact Turkish Peshtemal towels, they simply do not hold up against the bitter temperatures of winter. I'd suggest pulling out the terrycloth beach towels you have tucked away in your storage bins on that top shelf of your garage. 

Of course, we're lucky here in San Diego. Whereas in summer we slept with a sheet, we now add a blanket. Instead of AC, we open some windows. Sprinkle some cinnamon potpourri around the house, stack a few logs next to the outdoor chiminea—et voilà: L'hiver!

No, we don't have to scrape ice from our windshields every morning; nor do we have to dig our vehicles out after the snowplow made its middle-of-the-night rounds. Big shout out to you Chicago, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City and pretty much every other place on the continent. Nevertheless, we feel your pain. We have to check our windshield-wiper fluid just like you check antifreeze. We, too, must wait for our cars to warm up in the morning so that the re-circulated air is cool enough to make our ride to work more comfortable. 

And I think we can all share in the sentiment that winter really is the biggest pain-in-the-ass season for parents. Gone are the halcyon months of the little dahlin's running out the door with a GoGo Squeez in one hand and a skateboard in the other. Now, it's all, Did you grab your sweatshirt? and the ensuing arguments about why they don't need a jacket. For the love of Jaysus, child, I don't care if it seems warm. It's winter out there!

Then there's the do-I-buy-her-rain-boots dilemma that has parents going back and forth to Zappos, fretting over whether to buy a kid the $80 boots, seeing as how she's still growing. And, too, do we buy ourselves rain boots? 

That is the ultimate prepper question, and the answer is yes to both. Because it's better to be prepared since it's winter and it could rain and there's El Niño and then where will we be in our Sanuks? 

Super hot, I'm guessing. If this summer was any indication, we'll be super, super hot.

Email Aaryn Belfer. Aaryn blogs at and you can follow her on Twitter @aarynb.