First a little background for this illustration, which is also my first blog post since before Sandy: I lost power for a week and when I finally got it back, was too swamped with catching up on work and checking on family members to do updates.

With a little time behind me though, I'm grateful for the light I'm using and the warm apartment I'm in right now, and the opportunity to do what I love, which is creating illustrations.

This one here is inspired by the early winter brought on by the hurricane and the nor'easter that followed it in the NYC area and a kind of coat I only recently started to like: the parka. I used to walk by those typically olive-drab things with my nose in the air since I thought they were too sporty to be chic. But like so many things that aren't obviously cute on the hanger, you have to visualize how you'll wear them. And I've been loving the idea of a fur-trimmed parka over a flowy dress, the longer the better.

So on my girl here, I put a Gap parka, Free People's Fit for a Princess dress and Stearn platform sandals by Rag and Bone. (Because there's nothing like keeping your torso warm while freezing your tootsies off in the name of fashion.) I also included a floppy hat, which it seems you can find just about anywhere these days. I just got a cute one in burgundy from Forever 21 and have been wearing it to death.

For those who live in a Sandy-affected area, I hope you all weathered the storm okay!

To help those who lost their homes or are still without heat, consider donating to winter clothing drives. The other day I dropped off a couple of coats and sweaters to Percy's, an Irish pub/restaurant on East 13th Street and Avenue A, which is holding a drive this week. For info on drives in your area, check your local paper or just give to your local Salvation Army.