Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: A Minnesota blogger January 9, 2015

Portrait #2:  Audrey, unfashionably dressed Minnesota blogger


Bundled up to ring Salvation Army bells 2013


Baby, it’s cold out there.

I’d intended to run a different portrait today. But when weather intervened, I pulled out this selfie, which isn’t really a selfie. My husband, Randy, took this photo of me on December 7, 2013, after ringing bells, outdoors, for the Salvation Army. The temperature hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit.

I bundled into Randy’s insulated Dickies coveralls, topped those with a heavy fleece-lined sweatshirt, wrapped two scarves around my neck, pulled on a Mrs. Claus hat and snugged into warm mittens and felt-lined snow boots for our two-hour shift. My goals were minimal skin exposure and warmth. Not fashion.

This past week in Minnesota, you would have spotted many folks bundled up, aiming to stay warm. When I shoveled snow on Tuesday and Thursday, I was dressed nearly exactly as you see in this year-old photo.

With temps plunging well below zero, wind creating “feels like” temps in the minus 30s and 40s and blizzard/white-out conditions in portions of our state, practicality and survival trump fashion.


This portrait is part of a new series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling, photo by Randy Helbling


34 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: A Minnesota blogger”

  1. Ted Aaberg Says:

    You are so right about warmth above fashion. I put on everything when going outdoors in Rochester.

    Back in Boston, the banks make you take off all the scarves and caps plus sunglasses when you enter. They have big signs telling you what to do.

    BTW…your readers comments about treating dry skin so helpful to me. I put on lotion with socks overnight, and it really helped immensely! My cracks on my knuckles are starting to heal. Starting to feel so much better. I hope old man winter will start to take it easy on us at least for a couple of days here and there.

    I trust you had a nice time with Caleb while he was home…sounds like you had a lots of fun.

    • “They have big signs telling you what to do.” Hmmmm. I never realized Boston banks took preventative measures like that. Interesting.

      I’m glad you found some of the reader suggestions helpful. Lots of great ideas have been forthcoming.

      Yes, my time with Caleb home has been fantastic. I do not want him to leave. But I know he’s ready to return to Boston.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    Fashion is overrated in my book; way too much attention is paid in that regard. Function is way more important. While other are looking “cute” they will freeze. I, on the other hand, will look like the Michelin Man, and be toasty-warm and comfortable.

  3. seeflishman Says:

    I certainly do enjoy reading your Blog. My mother was from Finlayson, MN. I still have an Aunt and 2 cousins who live up by Brooten, MN. I have some catching up to do but keep on writing as I enjoy it!! Have a great and blessed day!

  4. Marneymae Says:

    Winter draws out its own unique fashion from creative, practical folks
    …perhaps a series…?

  5. And don’t you just feel like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis in spring?

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    You described the situation perfectly…..but life goes on and tasks must be accomplished ‘cuz we’re “tough Midwesterners”! Although, heading out the door yesterday morning at 7:15 to get my hair cut (in Houston/5 miles away) brought into question my current mental state!!!!!!! LOL!

  7. Beth Ann Says:

    I think I am going to like your new series on Fridays! Love this first one because i is of one of my favorite people! Stay warm.

  8. I remember looking like that when I lived there – trying to not have hat hair all day long while working in the corporate world was a little challenging at times – people would make fun of me swishing down the hallways with my snow pants on too – ha! Happy Weekend – Stay Warm 🙂

  9. Well, I think you’re dressed just right for a Minnesota blogger!

  10. chlost Says:

    Huh. We must hang out in quite different places. Around here, folks rarely wear hats, and gloves/mittens are only for those times when they ma become especially frozen, such as scraping snow off the windshield. I have always been amazed at how “tough” we Minnesotans are. The snow pants, the bread bags, the scarves wound 3 times around….from childhood we start the routine.

  11. Jackie Says:

    You look so glad to out in the “elements”, is there a smile behind those dual scarves?, your eyes dont seem to be smiling… ha! I actually wore a coat to work two days in a row, I walk about 2 blocks from the parking lot to my building so I thought it best on these sub-below days to give in to a heavy bulky coat instead of frost bite.

  12. Littlesundog Says:

    Ahh, the memories of my life in Nebraska! Hat hair, static snaps, crunch of snow, squeak of boots and layers of clothes. I’m glad to be in the south now, but this year has been very cold for us. You make me feel better and less complaintive about the cold here… it can always be worse – which you have!! Keep toasty and warm, my friend!

  13. hotlyspiced Says:

    I remember when you were ringing those bells out in the cold. I think I commented saying I don’t know how you did it. It sure does look cold out there! Glad that this year’s experience was so much better xx

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