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STAY INDOORS IN STYLE

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STAY INDOORS IN STYLE By John Kinmonth

The tropical waters have betrayed us. In a cruel bit of irony, this year’s epic winter started in the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. Near the Galápagos. Near Tahiti. Warm places where waves break over colorful reefs and travelers sip piña coladas pool side. Something to think about while you’re scraping ice off your car windshield in the dark.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, La Niña conditions occur whenever the sea surface temperature across the eastern tropical Pacific registers as colder than average. The historical trends indicate that we’re facing colder temperatures, wetter conditions and more Palm Springs vacations scheduled than average. It’s great for skiing and water reservoirs, but bad for everything else.

However, adversity begets innovation. Who knows? Maybe this is your year to channel all that aggressive weather into developing a new brilliant talent. Build a website. Learn salsa dancing. Perfect a beef bourguignonne.

Whatever your preference, this is your guide to how survive the wrath of “the little girl.”

ROCK OUT
There’s no better way to kill hours and hours of indoor time than learning an instrument. Just ask any college student trying to plink out “Stairway to Heaven” on his guitar in a cluttered dorm room. Seriously though, the instrument that you swoon over is completely within reach. Banjo, drum kit, trumpet—start practicing and you could be a master by the time winter is finished.

Whether you want to be a rocking mom or a fireside folk singer, the Bellevue Club offers fun guitar lessons with local teacher Jack Dowdell. Call 688.3102 for more information.

BOOK CLUB
They’re trendy because they’re fun. Getting together with a group of friends or soon-to-be friends and talking books—from classic literature to the latest trashy pop release—is a great way to spend a drizzly evening. Add a yummy bottle of wine, and you’ve got something you’ll definitely look forward to once a month. Hint: it’s not really about the books.

WINTER EXPRESSIONISM
If you were discouraged from art as a child due to undecipherable drawings and disfigured noodle mixed media, this is your chance to prove your grade-school art teacher wrong.

Get something—anything—to paint on and a cheap set of brushes and guess what? You’re an artist.

Start with acrylics or watercolors since both are considerably easier to clean up than oil paint. Pick up reclaimed wood or cardboard as an alternative to expensive canvas. Add magazine cutouts or book pages for a mixed-media affect. Most art stores have tutorials on different styles, or simply forego rules and let your mood spill onto the piece. There’s no right way to do it. This is also a great hobby to explore with your child.

HOT YOGA
It’s like a tropical mini-vacation. Watching cold rain or snowfall while your body is covered in yoga sweat is a surreal experience. Part sauna, part group therapy, hot yoga will leave your muscles and mind loose and relaxed—kind of like a real vacation.

Check out the Bellevue Club’s hot power hour every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to get your fix.

HAPPY FEET
You’ve always been a dancer—you just didn’t know it. Whether it’s ballroom, hip-hop, jazz or salsa, your body was born to move. It’s totally cathartic. Get enrolled in a dance class and watch your mood lighten with just one session a week. It just so happens that the next session of dance classes at the Bellevue Club is starting Jan. 10. Former Seattle Sonics dance captain Kelly VandenEkart teaches hip-hop every Tuesday evening, while Charles England teaches salsa and ballroom styles on Monday evenings.

And, no matter what happens, remember— “nobody puts baby in the corner.”

CULINARY CULT
Are you obsessed with French Camembert, Belgian beer or maybe Tibetan tea? Indulge your inner foodie and start exploring your palate passions this winter. Read up on its history, attend tastings or host your own. Become an expert. All it takes is a little research and taste bud awareness.

Start with the Polaris monthly tasting events for a fun way to explore new gastronomical grounds. Learn the cultural and culinary significance of salt at a five-course event hosted by Polaris and local gourmet salt company SaltWorks on Friday, Jan. 28. From Fusion Black Truffle to Salish Alderwood, each sea salt is specially chosen to bring out specific flavors in the dish and will be paired with Washington wines. Warning: your mouth will water.


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