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    The cold and darkness call for lighting some candles. Here are a few local offerings.
    By Amy Talbott​

    Black Dog Candles
    “A lot of times, people like to get away from the food scents because they have that around the holidays,” owner Kristen David says, “so we actually sell a lot of our citrus scents around (wintertime). We have one called citrus basil; it’s really fresh and clean, and it sort of clears your palate from the holidays.” David also recommends woodsy blends like cedarwood and amber, and one called Cozy Cabin — a blend of leather, vanilla and sandalwood scents. Available at, limited selection at Feeders Supply, Kroger and shops like Block Party Handmade Boutique, Edenside Gallery, and Vintage Style and Designs.

    Lighten up with this candle made by At Home. Photo by Mickie Winters

    At Home 
    Candlemaker Eric Stearns combines soy wax and wood wicks in vintage jars and containers to create an especially cozy effect. He gets the glass, metal and pottery containers mostly at estate or yard sales — his favorites are copper mule mugs and pewter or silver julep cups. 
       Expert candle-burning tip from Stearns: “When you burn a candle, you always want to make sure it liquefies across the top before you blow it out. Typically, it’s an hour per inch across,” he says. This will help prevent the tunnels that can form down the middle of larger candles and ensures that all the wax will get used up. Available at Crazy Daisy Antique Mall and through Facebook.

    Maddox & Rose Marketplace 
    Choose from more than 60 scented oils and a variety of containers to make a personalized candle. 900 E. Main St.



    By Amy Talbott

    Amanda O’Bryan, a psychologist and meditation teacher, recommends embracing winter as a chance to slow down. “I think our culture, we have Jan. 1 as the new year, and we are in the depths of winter and the depths of darkness, and we’re trying to push ourselves and motivate ourselves to do all of this accomplishment and evolution and exercise and all of this stuff. And I don’t think it’s really honoring our body or the season,” she says. “For me, it’s saying I’m going to honor the darkness, I’m going to go inward, I’m going to spend more time in stillness, more time in introspection. And not give into this idea of having to do a million things, and I have to be busy, and I have to change my life. Maybe I’ll keep that for the springtime or the summer and just be respectful of the fact that winter is a quiet time.”



    By Amy Talbott

    Randy Schrodt, a psychiatrist at Integrative Psychiatry in Lyndon, says it’s normal to feel at least a little down during the winter: “Maybe 1 to 10 percent of people will meet clinical criteria (for seasonal depression), but I think everyone, to some degree, is affected a little bit by it.” He says exposure to full-spectrum white light can help. Thirty to 90 minutes a day, preferably in the morning, can help reset the body’s circadian rhythm. Schrodt says any lamp that provides 10,000 lux will work, though he recommends a brand called Northern Light Technologies.
       So how do you know if what you’re feeling is just normal winter blahs or something that needs medical treatment? “Everybody’s got their own tipping point,” Schrodt says. Consider how depressive symptoms like sluggishness, fatigue and sadness impact your daily routine. “I don’t think there’s anything unusual on a gray day about wishing you were in Florida or wishing you could stay in bed,” Schrodt says. “But if it really does cause significant distress or impairment in function, that’s worth checking with your doctor about.”



    Four dishes to break up the comfort-food fatigue.
    By Katie Molck

    Butcher Block Eatery at High Horse 
    While poutine is often an app meant for sharing, it’s incredibly hard to. First, there are French fries, the best thing that ever happened to a potato. Then, traditionally, a smothering of brown gravy and cheese curds. Winter is the ideal time to enjoy this hearty Canadian pub classic, and Allan Rosenberg, chef-owner of Butcher Block Eatery in the High Horse bar on Story Avenue, agrees. “It’s very hearty, and any braised meat dish makes me think of winter,” he says. He makes it with French fries, chicken gravy, braised short ribs and white Cheddar cheese curds, with an option to add a poached egg.

    Mashed potatoes lend a versatility other side dishes don’t. You can add gravy, garlic, cheese or, if you’re Monnik, kale, carrots, onions and a bratwurst. Stamppot is a traditional Dutch mashed potato dish with vegetables and sausage. “Being that one of our owners is Dutch, we try to incorporate his love of the foods from his region into our menu,” says Francie Wilder, kitchen manager of the Schnitzelburg restaurant. Monnik serves its stamppot as a main dish with a bratwurst on top but also offers it as a side dish without the sausage. 

    Seafood Curry Bibimbap
    Dragon King’s Daughter (Highlands and New Albany locations)
    I frequently belly up to the bar at Dragon King’s Daughter in the Highlands, where it’s a little more secluded and cozier than the dining room. (DKD recently announced it would be moving down Bardstown Road into the former Cafe Mimosa space.) Through the years, I’ve developed a list of cold-weather favorites like the miso soup and veggie gyoza, but since the new menu dropped in November, the seafood curry bibimbap (pictured below) has topped my list. DKD’s version is made with shrimp and scallops sautéed in Japanese curry and topped with melted mozzarella. It’s rich, creamy and cheesy, making it ideal for colder months. “We heat a stone bowl until it’s piping hot, toss in white rice and toppings. It arrives to the table sizzling and steaming,” manager Doug Turner says. “We provide an extra-long spoon to mix the ingredients together and to stir the dish occasionally as it continues to cook at the table.”

    Tired of chili? Mmmmm, hot stone bibimbap. Photo by Danny Alexander

    Mark’s Special 
    Stevens & Stevens Delicatessen 
    Cold cuts just don’t do it for me in the winter. That’s when I turn to the Mark’s Special at Stevens & Stevens Delicatessen in the back of Ditto’s Grill on Bardstown Road. Named after one of the owners, the sandwich is simple: hot corned beef and pastrami, melted Swiss cheese and mustard sandwiched between slices of rye bread. This delightful and warm NYC classic takes up over half the paper plate, making it perfect for sharing. And it comes with two sides. I always go with the pasta salad and salt-and-vinegar kettle chips.



    By Jenny Kiefer 

    Your dog hates the cold and wet as much as you do. But you don’t need to stick your pet’s paws into those tiny boots just to get out of the house this winter — and you can enjoy a beer while you’re at it. 
       Home of the Yappy Hour, Apocalypse Brew Works was one of the first breweries to allow dogs when it opened on Mellwood Avenue in 2012. Dogs are always welcome inside the brewery, and during the cold months Apocalypse sets up a tent outside equipped with a cozy fireplace, where you can find at least one canine regular curled up in a repurposed down-coat-turned-dog-bed — if it isn’t chasing the brewery’s rescue cats. (As long as there’s no kitchen, a brewery likely allows leashed dogs.)
       The Jeffersontown location of 3rd Turn Brewing has a dedicated bowl of dog treats on the bar top for four-legged customers. Owner Brian Minrath says 3rd Turn always intended the space to be dog-friendly. It often hosts events for rescues, sometimes with adoptable dogs, so you might even come home with a new friend. “We always wanted dogs, but kids were questionable,” Minrath says.
       During Thirsty Tails Thursday each week, Old Louisville Brewery offers “dogs who bring their humans” VIP pricing on pints. Or enjoy a movie or board game with your pup at Great Flood Brewing in Douglass Loop.
       At Holsopple in Lyndon, co-owner Sam Gambill says he often sees the same pups wagging their tails next to their owners. Besides making the brewery feel like a home away from home, Gambill says dogs serve another purpose. “Dogs really like beer,” he says. “They keep the floor clean.”


    Study (or just bask) in the sun at the U of L Belknap Academic Building. 

    Photo by Joon Kim



    Find a cozy, well-lit space. 
    By Jenni Laidman

    Take the A Train
    OK, you can’t really take a train out of Union Station any longer, but the Richardsonian Romanesque building on Broadway between 10th and 11th streets offers loads of sunshine. Some of the light carries cheery tints from the building’s two giant round windows. But the main event is the daylight flooding in through the massive skylight in the barrel-vault ceiling of what is now TARC headquarters. The setting is almost the perfect place to enjoy the light on a cold day. The only downside? The benches aren’t built for lounging.

    Meet Me in the Conservatory
    The walkway between the Galt House’s two towers offers daylight galore, comfy seating, cocktails and small plates of (mostly) calorie-dense deliciousness. 

    A+ Sunning
    The $80-million Belknap Academic Building, completed in 2018 on the University of Louisville campus, is a delight of sunlight. Several stories of windows wrap much of the building’s façade, guaranteeing a bathed-in-sunlight setting. Around the back, more large windows light up a ribbon of study space. Many of the classrooms are similarly sunny. Plenty of lobby seating makes it easy to take in the light therapy. 

    Sweetness and Light
    Rabbit Hole Distillery on East Jefferson Street is a multi-sense immersion. First, there’s the glass-surrounded second-floor atrium overlooking big vats of live-action fermentation, then, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, there’s the gorgeous cityscape view from the hip and cheerful Overlook bar. Accompanying all this sun is the sweet smell of mash becoming bourbon. 

    A Place in the Woods
    The remarkable fact about the visitor’s center at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is that it’s not all windows. In some of its dazzling rooms, it will seem to be. The building with the living roof was designed to maximize exposure to the low angles of winter sun, so the entire interior is exposed to rays, while exposure to the high angle of summer sun is minimized both by the building design and the surrounding vegetation. The only way to truly lounge here, though, is while snacking in Isaac’s Cafe. The rest of the building is either a gift shop or sunlit (and often available for chilling) meeting space.

    Comfy and Smart
    Louisville’s newest libraries offer some of the best sunny lounging around. All have plenty of comfy seating and loads of inspiring sunlight. And while you’re basking in the glow, you can raise your IQ a point or two. The libraries: St. Matthews Eline Library expansion, which opened this year; South Central Regional Library, which opened in Okolona in 2017; Southwest Regional Library, which opened in Valley Station in 2014; and Northeast Regional Library, which opened in Lyndon this year.



    By Michelle Eigenheer 

    Rows of vintage fur, flannel shirts, party dresses, wool sport jackets and warm top hats fill the Nitty Gritty, the vintage clothing and costume-rental shop on Barret Avenue. It’s where you can find your new seasonal staple. Maybe it’s one of the elegant hats — from Kennedy-era pillbox pieces to softer wool and velvet caps. For me, it was the emerald-green 1950s wool coat hanging on a consignment rack. A steal at $20. The warm fur collar is hand-stitched, and the Jackie O. sleeves are a reminder to slip on a pair of gloves before heading out into the chill of winter.


    Pop in color with this throw from Graymarket in NuLu.

    Photo by Mickie Winters



    By Scott Carney, Wax Fang frontman

    “Combatting the winter blues is as easy as lining up your favorite comedies of all time and then ripping through them with reckless abandon, hoping that spring arrives before you run out of ideas. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life has the best opening musical number in the history of cinema. If you still feel depressed after watching the Coen brothers’ gem Raising Arizona, perhaps you deserve to be sad. Best in Show is my favorite from Christopher Guest and Co. And, f*ck yeah: Team America: World Police.”



    Book recommendations from McKinley Moore, guitarist and singer in Pleasure Boys.
    By Katie Molck

    If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino
    “This is one of my favorites, and I tend to read it once a year during the winter. It’s a somewhat absurd postmodernist book about you, the reader, reading a book called If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. It takes a minute to sink your teeth into it but is very rewarding. I constantly recommend it to anyone who has any interest whatsoever in literature and often give it as a gift.”

    Circe, by Madeline Miller
    Circe is a retelling of the Greek myth of Circe, ocean nymph and daughter of sun god Helios. You might remember her as the one who turned all of Odysseus’ men into feral pigs.”

    Dawn of X and Powers of X, by Jonathan Hickman
    “The thing I’ve enjoyed reading the most lately is the newest run of X-Men comics that serve as a complete reset of the entire universe. I loved comic books when I was young, and this series has made me love them again.”

    1984, by George Orwell
    “I hadn’t read this one since being forced to in high school, but the current state of the world caused me to revisit it. It’s horribly poignant now. That said, it definitely did not make me feel better about anything, so avoid if that’s what you want!”

    Watchmen, by Alan Moore
    “There’s all the buzz now because of the new HBO series, but the original graphic novel that the horrible Zack Snyder movie was based on is one of the best works of modern fiction. Everyone should read it at least once.”



    By Amy Talbott

    Winter can actually be a beautiful time for a hike. “You have longer lines of sight through the woods, and the views are better,” says Bryan Lewis, a land manager for natural areas within Louisville Metro Parks. “Especially when you’re hiking in Jefferson Memorial Forest — you can see long distances when you’re on the ridgetops.” For the best views there, Lewis recommends the Yost Ridge, Siltstone, Coral Ridge Loop or Scott’s Gap Loop trails. “We have the highest elevations in Jefferson County, so you can look down and see the river valley, you can see downtown, you can see the land in every direction.”
       Rebecca Minnick, executive director of the Louisville Nature Center near Joe Creason Park, says winter can be a good time for spotting birds and wildlife. “If there’s snow on the ground, it’s really cool to look for animal tracks,” she says, adding that you can see animals like owls, woodpeckers, deer, foxes and the occasional beaver at the center. 
       Having the right clothes for the weather helps a lot too. “The tried-and-true strategy that we use here, not only as outdoor enthusiasts but that we recommend to our customers, has been layering,” says Scott Newsome, general manager at Quest Outdoors. He recommends a base layer (including Merino wool socks) to wick perspiration off your skin, a mid-layer (like a down sweater jacket you can wear “from the first of October to April”) to help you retain body heat, and a breathable but water-repellent outer layer to shield you from wind, rain or snow.
       Looking for opportunities to test that gear? Check out these events:

    Jan. 5: First Sunday nature hike at Bernheim 
    Jan. 10: Full moon night hike at Louisville Nature Center 
    Jan. 11: Winter nature walk in Iroquois Park
    Jan. 18: Winter tree identification at Louisville Nature Center 
    Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day lantern hike at Louisville Nature Center 
    February 13 and 14: Valentine’s Day hikes at Jefferson Memorial Forest 
    Feb. 29: Birding for beginners at Louisville Nature Center 



    By Amy Talbott

    Sarah Teeple, a holistic health coach, teaches practices from Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine. “In Ayurveda, we think about the qualities of the season,” says Teeple (whom you may recognize as the lead singer in the former Louisville band the Ladybirds). “Winter has qualities of being dry, cold. It can sometimes be dense or stagnant. We want to apply opposite qualities to balance.” 
       Here are some of Teeple’s winter recommendations.

    “It’s very traditional to oil the body daily in Ayurveda,” Teeple says. She recommends using oils like sesame, fractionated coconut or sweet almond. “Rub that oil all over your body, using long strokes on the arms and legs, and going in circles over joints. 
       “You can also oil from the inside out by adding nourishing oils to your food,” she says. She recommends ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil and olive oil.

    Teeple recommends eating foods with high water content, like stews and vegetable or lentil soups. Think dishes that are mushy and served warm. “Winter is not Crock-Pot season for no reason,” she says.

    “A wonderful way to warm ourselves from the inside out is by cooking with medicinal digestive spices,” Teeple says. “We don’t necessarily mean that all your meals have to be hot, spicy Indian food. Use some gentle, more savory spices.” She mentions cumin, ginger powder, paprika, black pepper or turmeric for food, and drinking spiced teas like chai. 

    Another bit of advice: 
    If you’re feeling sluggish, get some essential oils with stimulating scents like citrus or herbs. “Find one that you like and keep it on your bedside table, so when you first wake up in the morning, if you don’t want to get moving, you have this beautiful essential oil,” Teeple says. “Put a drop or two in the palm of your hand, rub your palms together, and cup your hands over your nose and take three slow, long breaths through the nose. And then bring your hands to your scalp and give yourself a nice scalp-and-neck rub.” She likes an oil blend called Good Morning Sunshine, available at Rainbow Blossom.



    By Amy Talbott

    I get a little sad when I take the lights and sparkly holiday decorations down after New Year’s. Fortunately, Mardi Gras season starts in January and runs until Feb. 25, giving me another reason to put up shiny, colorful things. 

    I got the inspiration to decorate for Mardi Gras when my husband and I went to New Orleans in January a few years ago. Houses were adorned with green, purple and gold garlands, wreaths with gold fleurs-de-lis and beads. Everywhere. I particularly loved the beads in the trees on St. Charles Avenue and wanted to bring a little of that magic home, so we went to a store in nearby Lafayette, Louisiana, that sold recycled Mardi Gras beads. I bought like 12 dozen cases of them. When I threw all the beads up in the sprawling branches of the redbud tree in our front yard, people noticed. (I mean, it is kind of weird to be a grown adult out in your front yard, throwing beads in a tree.) It has become kind of a thing since then. We’re “the house with the bead tree.” I also repurpose Christmas wreaths with Mardi Gras-colored ornaments and put them on our front door and window. We live on a street near Iroquois Park where a lot of people walk by, and several have told us they look forward to seeing what I put out on the porch. 

    Last February, I was at Hobby Lobby when I ran across a pair of five-foot-tall metal flamingos. They needed to come home with me. I put one on each side of the front door and draped some beads on them. They stayed on after Mardi Gras, and we became “the house with flamingos and beads.”

    This is all kind of ridiculous, I know. Giant porch flamingos aren’t for everyone. But if winter gets you down and there’s some kind of way you can incorporate color into your life, why not go for it?
    If getting out of the house for Mardi Gras is more your style, here are two local celebrations. 

    Feb. 22: Mardi Gras Bar Crawl at Fourth Street Live. For those who like a rowdier celebration, Fourth Street is basically transforming into New Orleans’ Bourbon Street for a night. “Beads, beads, and more beads!”

    Feb. 25: Rouler 2020 at the Olmsted. This fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Louisville features New Orleans-themed food and drinks, plus bingo, casino games, prizes and live music.

    Or, if you’re a homebody like me, pick up a King Cake from Heitzman Bakery.



    Five drinks to warm you up, at the bar or at home.
    By Michelle Eigenheer

    For those desperately seeking the heat of summer, go with Decca’s spicy Chupacabra. Smoky mezcal, lime and ginger syrup pair with cilantro and chile. Winter nights are well spent in the NuLu restaurant’s cozy cellar bar, curled up in a chair surrounded by jazz and soft glowing lights. 

    - 2 ounces mezcal
    - 1 ounce lime
    - ¾ ounce ginger syrup
    - 2 slices of Fresno chile
    - 1 pinch of cilantro
    - Muddle chile and cilantro. Shake all ingredients. Double strain and serve on the rocks.


    From one of the highest points in Butchertown, warm your insides as you look over the gray winter cityscape. On the menu at the Copper & Kings brandy distillery’s rooftop bar, the Yule Mule gets a replay, elevated from its previous appearances on the menu with the addition of Copper & Kings’ new Destillaré Mistelle. The drink has a more complex, woody flavor than a traditional mule. Vanilla-Angostura absinthe adds a depth of flavor to syrup infused with traditional winter spices, layered over the fruity taste of pomegranate. 

    The Yule Mule
    - 1 ounce Copper & Kings Destillaré Intense Pomegranate liqueur
    - 1 ounce Copper & Kings Destillaré Mistelle
    - ¾ ounce lime
    - ½ ounce winter spice syrup (Make this at home by infusing a simple syrup with your choice of spices. Alex&nder uses cloves, green cardamom, star anise, peppercorn and cardamom seeds.)
    - 3 dashes vanilla-Angostura-absinthe bitters (Make this at home by adding absinthe to half a bottle of Angostura bitters and dropping in vanilla bean.)
    - Top with ginger beer
    - Shake all ingredients in a shaker tin. Double strain into a highball glass over ice. Garnish with rosemary, mint and cranberries.


    610 Magnolia
    The Sugarplum Bubbly is on the cocktail menu at this Old Louisville institution this winter, with a mix of champagne, bourbon and plum. Embracing the oft-forgotten flavors of sugarplum, the woodsy, warming sensation of bourbon and the delightful effervescence of champagne, the drink has a sweet start, with muted bourbon flavors that warm. A touch of winter greenery from the sprig of rosemary floats just under your nose as you sip.

    Sugarplum Bubbly
    - ½ ounce bourbon
    - Plum bitters
    - Raw sugar cube
    - Champagne
    - Sprig of rosemary
    - Rim a coupe glass with sugar (610 uses gold and purple sugar for added color). Saturate the sugar cube with plum bitters in the glass. Pour in bourbon and top with champagne. Float a sprig of rosemary on top.


    This winter, 8UP (on the eighth floor of the Hilton Garden Inn downtown) has added “igloos” to its rooftop patio — six clear domes that each offer a different theme (disco lounge, diamonds and fur, tropical dream). Share pitchers of drinks like spiked hot chocolate and warm Belvedere Citrus cider. (You’ll want to go with a group because food/drink minimums run from $200 to $750, depending on day and time.) If you’re hosting at home, make the cider on your own stovetop. 

    Belvedere Citrus Cider 
    - 14 ounces Belvedere Citrus vodka
    - 6 cups apple juice
    - 4 ounces St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
    - 4 ounces lemon juice
    - Combine the juices and Allspice Dram in a pot on medium. Bring to a simmer. Add vodka and serve.


    When all else fails go eat some more bibimbap.

    Photo by Danny Alexander

    This originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Stop Hating Winter Already.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo by Mickie Winters,

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