freelance life / local Nashville / What to read

How to Survive This Terrible Nashville Winter


I’ve gone soft. I grew up in cloudy Ohio, where we suffered long, snowy winters, and fairly mild summers. After 10 years down south, I’m not as phased by humid summers as I used to be. Problem is, I just can’t deal with cold, drizzly winter months anymore.

Every January I’m tempted to crawl into bed and stay there until April. So in an effort to do something aside from watch movies and drink beer in January and February, I’ve been keeping myself busy and active in other ways. If you’ve got that whole seasonal depression thing going on, perhaps my list of things to do will help you. Here’s what I’ve got going on:

1. Yoga. Yoga can be expensive, it’s true. But plenty of places around town offer discounted or donation classes to help you unplug and breathe for an hour. Here’s a list:

  • Kali Yuga Yoga. Kali Yuga hosts regular six-week series for yogis of all levels. Classes are held at 7:30 a.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or 6:00 a.m., on Wednesdays. Just $8 a pop, which just happens to be less money than you spent eating out for lunch last week.
  • Hot Yoga of East Nashville. On the second Thursday of each month, guys can take a flow class for $5. When it’s over, you get a free beer from the Fat Bottom Brewery next door. Ladies who bring a guy get the same deal.
  • Shakti Yoga on Music Row. Take a hot flow class on Tuesday mornings for just $5.

2. Try the Climbing Gym. I have some good friends to thank for this one. This is another pricey activity, but I think it’s a good alternative to meeting up at a bar on Saturday night. First timers can rent gear and climb for $17 at either Climb Nashville location. Try out the bouldering gym on the east side, or head to Sylvan Park to do some wall climbing.

3. Don’t Miss Norman Rockwell at the Frist. You have just a few more days, so head on down there and check it out. The exhibit closes on February 9, and I promise you’ll regret it if you don’t go.

4. Hop on a BCycle. Rent a bike for $5 and ride it all over downtown. Bundle up and bring a bike lock so you can make frequent stops at honky tonk bars, the public library, city parks, coffee shops, and restaurants. When the weather is dry, make a weekend day of urban exploration.

5. Read some books! I have been burning through some sweet young adult literature this winter, and now I’m working through the New Yorker’s Big Book of Dogs. If you’re on the hunt for a good read, Buzzfeed and Time have great lists of books that you should read this year. Especially the ones that will become movies before too long. Also, Joanna Walsh writes about only reading books written by women in 2014 here.

6. Make some future plans. Every January, I love to hole up and make career plans, travel plans, and personal goals for the year. I have a huge list of story ideas, websites and magazines to pitch, webinars to take, conferences to go to, etc. I’m always looking for a tax write-off to get me to another city. On top of that, I’m trying to figure out which new skill to learn…I’m thinking gardening. Because every year, my garden is an epic fail.

7. Day trip it. You can be cold and wet in another city or a cabin in the forest, and it will feel completely romantic and new. Nashvillians can check out Chattanooga, the Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, or the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis for a fun day trip. Or make a weekend out of it in St. Louis, Atlanta, Cincinnati, or Asheville. As for me, I think heading to Louisville to check out the restaurant scene sounds like a fun way to do a little work research.

8. Do a project. Since this is the coldest winter Nashville has had in some time, my husband and I decided to insulate our house. It only took four hours, some major help from my family, and 16 bags of insulation to warm up our living room. Now it’s time to sand down the drywall and repaint the interior. After that? It’s high time I reupholstered the living room chairs. If you’re not in to repainting the entire house, read about some great small projects you can do around the house herehere and here.

9. Take a class. Learn something new with these opportunities:

10. Do your taxes. Wait, no. That sucks.

10. Attend a pop-up dinner. These guys are happening all over the city. I’ve signed up for this one at Arnold’s Country Kitchen, which features delicious foods and literature to accompany it. Here are a few others happening this winter:

  • Otaku South will host a pop-up dinner with chefs from Nashville, Atlanta, and New York on Feb. 15 at Marathon Music Works. Each ticket you buy is good for one bowl of ramen, so buy a few tickets if you plan to eat a lot.
  • Riffs and Smoke et al February pop-up restaurant is happening on Feb. 1. The event is so shrouded in mystery that the location won’t be announced to ticket holders until Jan. 28, and the menu is a secret. The fine folks at Riffs (who have a food truck and a brick-and-mortar location) have only announced that the three participating chefs will each create a dish based on their own personality.

11. Cook food. Like, actual food. Avoid the temptation to heat up something you bought in the freezer section and make yourself a legit meal. It will take a few hours of prep and cook time, but it’s better than zoning out and eating a frozen pizza while you watch Breaking Bad. Frozen food + Walter White is pretty much all I did in December. Here are recipes I am excited to try out this month:

12. Volunteer. There’s nothing to force you out of the house like a volunteer opportunity. Maybe it’s just me, but I absolutely can’t back out if I’m committed to doing something that is going to make someone else’s life easier. Check out Hands on Nashville or Open Table to spend a few hours lending a helping hand.

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