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    We know, we know: January. Ugh. The least wonderful time of the year, when gray swallows the city. But January doesn’t have to suck! Really! There’s sledding at Dog Hill, boardgames at a brewery, Please & Thank You’s cookie dough to go. And dog sweaters. Don’t forget about dog sweaters. In all, we’ve compiled 31 things to get you through January’s 31 days. You got this.

    First things first: Chippendales at the Mercury Ballroom Jan. 25.

    We always seem to get that one well-intentioned but useless gift during the holidays. If you’re in the charitable mood, consider donating your unwanted gifts to places that could actually use them. If you absolutely have to give to Goodwill, ask them about a non-profit voucher, which will give local charities a purchase voucher worth the amount of your donation.

    Home of the Innocents
    (1100 E. Market St.): Clothes, sheets, books, movies, toys, towels. New items only.

    Dress for Success
    (309 Guthrie St.): Gently used or new professional attire.

    Kentucky Refugee Ministries
    (969-B Cherokee Road): Furniture (no beds), household, baby or school items.

    Cedar Lake
    (5053 Preston Hwy.): Small appliances, household items, gently used clothing, electronics, kitchenware.

    Center for Women and Families
    (927 S. Second St.): Clothes, bedding, hygiene products, baby items. New items only.

    One reason January sucks that I almost always forget about until it’s too late: static. Lotion helps, but in January I need something heavy-duty. Moss Hill (1201 Story Ave.) has a Revitalize lotion that may be just the thing. The scent is subtle and comforting, and it’s moisturizing without being greasy — a little goes a long way. It comes in a tin or a small lip-balm tube for on-the-move, forgetful types like me. 

    — Jenny Kiefer

    Though my dog, Reese, is a medium-sized beagle, when it gets cold, he acts like a tiny Chihuahua. He literally shivers until we lift up the edge of the blanket for him to crawl under. For the last few years, I’ve gotten him a sweater from Barkstown Road (Highlands and Clifton locations), ranging from a hand-knit wool number with a monster face to a simple gray fleece that can be tossed in the washer. Reese knows his sweaters. I can ask, “Do you want to be a shark?” and he’ll perk up, whole body wagging as I try to slip on the sweater, complete with crocheted teeth on the hood and a stuffed fin on the back.

    — JK

    Unfortunately, you’ll have to go outside at some point. Stay warm with a hand-crocheted hat and a scarf made from recycled sweaters from Block Party Handmade Boutique (downtown and Crescent Hill locations). 

    The struggle is real: layering up for the journey to your car and peeling like an onion once inside. If you hibernate as much as possible in January, you may need a soft plaid blanket made by an artisan from Ecuador or a batik pillow made in Ghana, from Just Creations (2722 Frankfort Ave.).

    Lexington-based Shop Local Kentucky recently opened a Louisville location (1155 S. Shelby St.). Check out the vintage-looking U of L and UK sweatshirts. (Shop Local Kentucky's location on Shelby Street is closed indefinitely due to damage sustained by a car crashing into their facade. But never fear - their sweatshirts are also available through their online store. - Ed.)

    The BrickUniverse LEGO Fan Convention is Jan. 6-7 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. And through Jan. 7 you can still see LEGO replicas of baseball stadiums at the Slugger Museum (800 W. Main St.).

    Brews to cure the January blues.

    Gravely Brewing (514 Baxter Ave.)
    “Naturally, everyone goes a bit darker in the winter. Our new Feel the Darkness is a traditional European stout; it will perplex palates looking for a sweet stout. The traditional roasted barley gives it an amazingly smoky yet dryly bitter flavor profile that would make both stout and IPA fans content.” — Nathaniel Gravely, co-owner

    “Summer? Spring? Fall? Winter? German Pils 365! I just made a new pilsner in time for late December called Puttin’ On the Fritz. It’s got a nice soft, round malt character that comes from a German heirloom barley variety. It’s just sweet enough to make me dream of the spring and summer but has enough body to keep me plenty warm in the winter.” — Cory Buenning, co-owner and head brewer

    Mile Wide Beer Co. (636 Barret Ave.)
    “Uncle Disheveled is a Southern pecan coffee stout. They roast the coffee in pecan oils; it’s got that really nice kind of nuttiness to it, a little bit of caramel character as well from the coffee.” — Scott Shreffler, co-founder

    Monnik Beer Co. (1036 E. Burnett Ave.)
    “Our year-round stout, His Dark Materials, is a great cold-weather choice. It’s a lactose-sweetened stout, with aromas of roast and tobacco and rich flavors of dark fruits and bittersweet chocolate, with a rich and silky body. We have a few seasonal beers on tap as well: Najaar, a dark saison with light caramel flavor and nice spice; Noël, a lavender ginger tripel that’s floral and delicate; and Old Ale, an English stock ale that’s malty and rich with stone fruit esters.” — Brian Holton, co-owner

    3rd Turn Brewing (10408 Watterson Trail)
    “We actually have our traditional Russian Imperial Stout coming out — big mouthfeel, roast-y, a collection of nutty flavors in the background.” — Greg Hayden, co-owner

    Mr. Lee’s (935 Goss Ave.) is a Germantown hideaway with dim lighting, comfy club chairs and thick carpet. Mad Men could have filmed scenes here. Try the bar’s smoky take on an old fashioned. And we asked LEO Weekly “Barkeep Confessions” columnist Kelsey Westbrook and Insider Louisville culture editor Sara “the Bar Belle” Havens for their wintertime bar picks

    Westbrook: “Jimmy Can’t Dance (119 S. Seventh St.). Being underground feels cozy, swanky. The cocktails are stellar and the jazz keeps you moving, which in turn keeps everybody warm.”

    Havens: “I’d have to say the coziest Louisville bar during wintertime is Big Bar (1202 Bardstown Road). Between the compact space and the sizable bourbon selection, strangers become friends in no time! How you doin’?”

    Getting sick means another excuse for bourbon — mixed with hot water, lemon and honey to make a hot toddy. Throughout the winter, Lydia House (1101 Lydia St.) will offer a variety of hot toddies in shareable (or not) teapots: a rum toddy with chai syrup, bitters and lemon; a version with gin, lemon and lavender syrup; one with French-press coffee, Gran Marnier, Kahlua and Baileys Irish Cream; and a riff on the classic: Old Forester with lemon and honey-chamomile syrup.

    Nicolette Spears of Louisville Tea Company (9305 New La Grange Road) has a tea for every ailment.

    For energy: “A rolled green oolong such as Ti Guan Yin is great for energy because you can re-steep it up to five times. And with a medium amount of caffeine, oolongs can keep you energized and focused all day.” 

    For sickness: “Nick’s Sick Mix is a custom blend that we make at the shop with echinacea, hibiscus and elderberries. It is a great blend for preventing illness and soothing common cold symptoms.”

    For a lost voice or sore throat: “Our custom citrus ginger blend is perfect for a sore throat. The warming qualities of the ginger plus the vitamin C boost from the hibiscus are wonderfully soothing.”

    For warmth: “While all tea can be warming, there is nothing quite like lapsang souchong. This smoked Chinese black tea is like drinking a campfire!”

    For productivity: “All true teas that are from the tea plant, camellia sinensis, have the perfect combination of caffeine and stress-relieving theanine to create focus and increase productivity. If you need a strong boost, we recommend matcha, as it is the most concentrated.”

    For sleep: “Our custom blend, Bashford Bedtime Brew, has a relaxing blend of aromatic chamomile and mint that can help aid sleep. If you need something stronger, our Sweet Dreams blend packs a sleepy punch with more potent herbs like passion flower and valerian root.” 

    For weight loss: “We make a blend called Metabolism Boost, a unique brew that can boost up your system without caffeine. It is a combination of warming herbs like cinnamon and ginger and detoxing herbs like dandelion root and chickweed.”

    We once saw someone at The Silver Dollar (1761 Frankfort Ave.) order a side of the mac ‘n’ cheese and a bowl of Texas chili — a dynamite combo to combat blistering conditions. But here’s what really got us: The guy then asked for an extra bowl, dumped the chili in there and poured the mac on top. Looked like a Super Bowl party fantasy dish. He told us that a restaurant employee had tipped him off on the order, and it’s now his favorite thing on the menu. Or scoot next door to Red Herring, which won Louisville’s Great Chili Cook-Off in October.

    You know the cookie. Soft and sinful and hyped as “the best” chocolate-chip cookie in town. (No proof has surfaced that a better one exists. The cookie is damn good.) For $16 you can take a box of Please & Thank You cookie dough home and re-create the magic. The staff even slices the dough into stately discs that stand just over one inch tall. Bake for 11 minutes. Damn good. 

    Web editor Dylon Jones’ friend Hannah Rego made him a believer in this roasted carrot ginger soup.

    Butter and oil
    17 ugly carrots
    1 medium onion, diced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 small ginger rhizome, grated
    Cinnamon, paprika, coriander, salt and pepper
    32-ounce box of chicken or vegetable stock
    1 to 2 cups water
    ¼ lemon’s juice
    Orange zest
    Optional: 1 cup cream
    Chives or mint for garnish

    Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Smother carrots in olive oil on a baking sheet. Roast carrots whole for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn over halfway through.

    Cook onion, garlic, some of the ginger and as much butter as you want in a soup pot until everything smells wonderful and the onions are translucent. You can throw some of the other spices in now, too. Hannah likes to add spices now and again when dumping in the broth.

    Add broth, carrots (cut up into chunks), water, more spices and more ginger. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 

    Take soup off heat. Blend the soup until it’s totally smooth like a bisque.

    Add lemon juice and orange zest. Stir.

    Add cream. Stir.

    Garnish. Serve. Close your eyes. Taste.

    Servings: Approximately five. Double the recipe if you want significant leftovers.

    We love a good Netflix binge, but it’s safe to say that TV has killed the wintertime jigsaw puzzle. There’s something meditative about the slow, measurable progress, all 1,000 pieces sprawled out on a coffee table that you needed to clear off anyway. Carmichael’s (Highlands and Crescent Hill locations) and Playthings Toy Shoppe (4209 Shelbyville Road) both carry an array — from the Louisville skyline to Harry Potter collector’s editions. The Louisville Game Shop (925 Baxter Ave.) recently had a beach scene puzzle, a little cruel when you’ve been living in thermals.

    Speaking of the Louisville Game Shop, co-owner Colin Moore recommends these board games. (And, speaking of board games: We love the assortment of them at Akasha Brewing Co. in NuLu. We’ve spent hours playing the marble maze.)

    “The flagship cooperative game. You’re working as a team against the game. All the players are researchers or medics trying to save the world from the outbreak of diseases. The board is a map of the world with all major cities connected, so it has the inadvertent side effect of teaching you geography.”

    “Domino-like tiles feature landscapes or terrains. You create a kingdom.”

    Exit: The Game
    “It’s modeled after escape rooms. You open the box and it has puzzle elements and a story. There’s encryption and code-breaking. It’s very challenging. You have to destroy parts of the game to escape, so you can only play it once. The company has put out six scenarios so far.” 

    “This new release for kids is a lighthearted card game. You’re trying to collect cute, fuzzy critters in the woods.”

    When I Dream
    “It’s kind of like charades. One player is blindfolded and some people are working against you.”

    January’s a brutal parenting month — snow days, germs, antsy children ill-equipped to withstand sub-freezing temperatures that make park outings either very brief or nonexistent. Some options: My Gym (11770 Shelbyville Road) in Middletown offers public play times at $5 per child. SkyZone (2671 Technology Drive) is a “trampoline park” in Jeffersontown that has $10 Tuesdays for after-school fun. All About Kids (2532 Blankenbaker Pkwy.) has open gym time at $12 per guest ($9 if you’re a member). The Frazier History Museum (829 W. Main St.) has family programming on the second Saturday of each month, including treats, performances and sometimes crafts. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for kids. Then hop on down to the Kentucky Science Center (727 W. Main St.) for more educational play. For zero dollars (admission is free!) you can explore the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (715 W. Main St.). Or check out your local branch of the public library for toddler, baby and family story times. LFPL also offers teen anime clubs and a movie night. Also: Paw Patrol Live!: Race to the Rescue is Jan. 5-7 at the Kentucky Center. And if you need a little stress relief after Paw Patrol, check out the yoga classes at the Middletown and Jeffersontown library branches. 

    Tie on roller skates and glide, shimmy and shake to whatever pop music pumps overhead. Sunday nights at Robben’s Roost (5906 Six Mile Lane) promise a particularly spectacular “old school” skate party unfit for the bashful. With admission from $5 to $10 at places like Champs Rollerdome (9851 La Grange Road) and Skate World (6310 Preston Hwy.), roller skating is an economical exercise that’s retro-chic. If broken ankles and hairline fractures don’t stress you out (just kidding…sort of), have a go at ice skating at Alpine Ice Arena (1825 Gardiner Lane) or Iceland Sports Complex (1701 UPS Drive). (Admission and skate rental is usually under $10.) 

    In honor of MLK Day on Jan. 15, the Muhammad Ali Center (144 N. Sixth St.) will host a free viewing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at 11 a.m. with a conversation to follow. And from Jan. 15-21, the center will have a discounted rate of $6 for mentors and their mentees. No strict rules here. If you’re someone who is providing guidance and positive influence on a young mind, come on down. The week of discounted admission honors what would have been Ali’s 76th birthday on Jan. 17. (Note: the Ali Center will be closed to visitors from Jan. 8-14 due to renovations.)

    We’re hoping for a satisfying, city-shutdown kind of snow this year — ’cause it’s been way too long since we’ve had the rush of sledding down Cherokee Park’s powdery Baringer Hill (aka Dog Hill, our cover star). Looking for a change of scenery? Metro Parks opens six other slopes on snow days: George Rogers Clark Park; Joe Creason Park; McNeely Lake Park; Tyler Park; Charlie Vettiner Park; and Iroquois Golf Course. In Crescent Hill, we like the hill next to Barret Middle School and the one at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Don’t have a sled? Keith’s Hardware (1201 Bardstown Road) always seems to pull through in times of high demand. The store carries all kinds of sleds — discs, rail sleds, toboggans. “I like the steerable one, a Flexible Flyer with rails,” employee Bill Tilton says. “Gets going pretty quick down a hill. I tore so many up over the years. They’re not supposed to be for big people going over hills — but convince someone of that.” 

    A few months into dating my now-husband, he took me to a rock-climbing gym. This first foray included chafed thighs and fingers I could barely flex after a couple of hours. For about five years now we’ve been climbing together, both indoors and outdoors, across the country. Before climbing, I tried running and walking and regular gym memberships, but I always fell back into the couch after only a few short months. Traditional gyms bored me. I was working my body, but not my mind. I don’t have this issue with climbing — it’s like solving a puzzle while working your muscles. And it’s kind of cool to be able to do five pull-ups.

    — JK

    Rocksport (10901 Plantside Drive): Top-roping with a small bouldering section. Requires harness, shoes and a partner to climb the top-rope areas. 

    Climb NuLu (1000 E. Market St.): Bouldering-only gym. Requires shoes. Offers women’s training, kid clubs, yoga classes and massage.

    Rock Gem (4300 Blue Lick Road): Combination top-rope and bouldering. Requires harness and partner (for top-rope) and shoes. Offers kid clubs. 

    In our search to make our own wedding rings, my husband and I discovered the Lost Wax class at the Metro Arts Center (8360 Dixie Hwy.). Over the course of six weeks, starting in January, we learned to shape and carve wax (or print it with a 3-D printer) to create a mold for molten sterling silver. This journey gave us something to look forward to once a week in dreary, dark January (and beyond). The Metro Arts Center offers other classes starting in January, too, including painting, makeup effects, ceramics, guitar and screen-printing. 

    — JK

    Just us, or does winter call for some serious de-cluttering? Through her business Ashley Organizes, Ashley Cook saves clients from Hoarders status. Here, she tells us how to clean a space — and keep it that way.

    Start small with a junk drawer. “I wouldn’t suggest anybody start with a garage or a basement because it might be overwhelming.”

    Just put your hands on a pile and do something with it. “Clutter is delayed decision-making. You look at the stuff that you haven’t attended to and you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s that form I need to fill out.’”

    Be choosey when you bring stuff back in. “You know when you hold onto clothes and every time you try them on you’re like, ‘This doesn’t look good,’ but you put it back in your closet? I would just keep culling your stuff. It’s like exercising.”

    Containers are for seasonal and sentimental items. “I think some people who have the most containers are actually the most disorganized. I’ll go through a house and by the time we’re done it’s just a sea of empty containers.”

    Keep a few favorite kid toys out, store the rest and rotate. “The minute toys get mixed up, you’ll notice kids don’t want to play with them. I would rotate and then it’s like Christmas because they haven’t seen the play mobile or the Paw Patrol in a while.”

    Mark Smith, of Smith Imported Car Service (1250 E. Broadway), says that chemical de-icers can affect a car’s paint. And trying to clear with wipers while they’re cemented in ice is bad for the wiper motor. To Smith, the best way to de-ice a car is to give it a good scraping. “The best scrapers have a brass blade,” he says. “Plastic scrapers get chipped and you see those lines across the windshield instead of a full clean path.”

    Want to see a sneak preview of the next big art film? Head to the Speed Cinema on Jan. 10 for “A Curated Series of Surprises,” a national series of screenings and discussions (monthly through April). Oscar-winning Moonlight and of-the-moment Lady Bird have shown in the past. The Speed will announce the film a few weeks before the event.

    As for the rest of this year’s Oscar noms, we’ll be catching up on all of those on the cheap: For less than the cost of Netflix, you can see a movie in a theater every day. Subscription service MoviePass costs $9.95 a month, has no restrictions on dates or new releases and is available at eight theaters throughout town.

    Matt Anthony from WFPK and his eponymous record shop recommends these albums to stave off snowy gloom:

    Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On
    “Known as a lady’s man, Marvin really was a studio nerd who married the boss’ daughter. He invented and pulled in all the studio tricks on this densely musical and political record. Released under protest from father-in-law and Motown head Berry Gordy, it became Marvin’s most popular.” 

    Björk, Homogenic 
    “The Icelandic songstress’s ’97 album, light years ahead of its time, is a rumbling, warm, electronic sound space perfect for the dark winter months.” 

    Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
    “One of the greatest jazz recordings. In an enclosed space on a good system, you feel surrounded by of some of the 20th century’s finest musicians. Crack a bottle of wine and you won’t feel warmer till July.”

    Kate Weiss from Carmichael’s recommends these books:

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward
    “This novel grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family.”

    Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
    “This novel is a jaw-dropper.”

    The Art of Loading Brush: New Agrarian Writings, by Wendell Berry
    “These essays and stories present Berry’s vision in one of its most complete and troubling manifestations since The Unsettling of America.” 

    Tyler Harris from Baxter Avenue Theatres (1250 Bardstown Road) recommends these movies

    The Post
    “Steven Spielberg’s The Post focuses on the uncovering of the Pentagon Papers and the Washington Post’s discovery of a cover-up that taps into the tensions between journalism and the government. Not only is it incredibly politically relevant, but it’s also boosted by performances from Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, with a score from the great John Williams.” 

    Phantom Thread
    “Paul Thomas Anderson’s newest movie featuring Daniel Day-Lewis’ last career performance, about a dressmaker in 1950s London who falls in love with a woman of a lower status. It looks gorgeously shot on 35mm film, and the score from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, his fourth collaboration with Anderson, sounds unique as always.”

    Force Majeure
    “As far as Netflix goes, I recommend Force Majeure, a Swedish film about a father who abandons his family during an avalanche false alarm and the repercussions of that action.”

    Know what? Nobody is going to judge you if you stay under the covers all day.

    But if you want to leave the house…

    1. Kentucky Shakespeare performs Hamlet at the Kentucky Center, Jan. 26-Feb 3.

    2. Louisville Orchestra with Afro-Cuban jazz-fusion group Mambo Kings at the Kentucky Center, Jan. 20.

    3. Jerry Seinfeld at the Palace, Jan. 25.

    4. Grammy-winning jazz and R&B artist Lalah Hathaway at the Mercury Ballroom, Jan. 20.

    5. State Ballet of Russia at Louisville Memorial Auditorium, Jan. 17.

    6. The Avett Brothers for three days at the Palace, Jan. 18-20.

    7. Margo Price at Headliners, Jan. 20.

    8. Jack Harlow at the Mercury Ballroom, Jan. 27.

    9. Little Bunny Foo Foo at Actors Theatre, Jan. 9-Feb. 4.

    10. Louisville Rock Lottery — 25 local musicians from bands like My Morning Jacket and Wax Fang create five bands — at Headliners, Jan. 13.

    This originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

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