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A trip to Bikram Yoga will help you get in shape and prepare you for the Summer's sweltering temperatures.
A trip to Bikram Yoga will help you get in shape and prepare you for the Summer's sweltering temperatures.

Nirvana's cures for the "wintertime blues"

So I awoke Monday morning and to my surprise, there was snow everywhere! I know what your thinking; this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone living in Milwaukee, but today it was. I hoped that the last snowfall was the last snowfall.

I realize that this was an unrealistic expectation for weather at this time of year in this region; however the forever California flower child in me still yearns for the days where bright blue skies and sunshine equals a 75-degree day.

Alas, I was forced to bury my California sunshine and begin the process of putting on my winter uniform; sweats, hoodie, puffy coat and hat with faux fur. By the time I was done getting dressed, I looked into the mirror and the Nirvana I knew no longer existed. The reflection was that of a Norwegian lumberjack.

I headed out the door to my snow-covered car, mentally preparing myself for the manual labor involved in clearing it off. I opened the driver side door, grabbed my "snow-stick-remover-thingy" and turned the car on. It was a good thing I left 3-Six Mafia in the CD player so I had a soundtrack to accompany my misery. This wasn't the nice fluffy snow, oh no, it was the mean, heavy snow that you make snowballs with. While I was cleaning I decided I could skip the gym tonight.

As I put the car in drive, I had a thought. I immediately put the car back in park and said, "I need a break, from these Winter Blues." I started to brainstorm. What could provide a mental escape and offer some relief while suffering through what remains of winter? I came up with a plan.

I decided to update my weekly schedule and insert my new plan for mental sunshine. I call this plan "Spring Break."

I wanted to do activities that I can look forward to weekly, that would afford me joy and mental sunshine. I figure that having something to look forward to will help the time pass at an accelerated pace.

So, to ease my "Winter Time Blues" here are my new "Spring Break" activities:

Monday -- It's socialite season! Take this time to plan to attend future events, such as Oyster Fest. What better way to welcome summer than to lay out an oyster and beer fest? This Wednesday I will fill my calendar with events that transition me right into summer. Add Oyster Fest to your calendar on March 4 at the Milwaukee Public Market, 200 N. Water St.

Tuesday -- Wine and dine. It is no secret that I have a deep affection for crushed grapes. So, naturally, I want to include a day in my Spring Break activities that allows me to taste new and different wines.  If you're looking for a cost effective way to build your wine collection, and educate your palate, raid the selection from Trader Joe's. I recommend starting from one end and tasting your way through all the countries by the time you get to the Hungarian wines, the 75-degree temperatures should be settling in.

Wednesday -- Gelato Wednesday at Whole Foods. Just this past summer I discovered the most amazing, eatable, not to mention attractive treat: gelato. What is gelato? Gelato is Italy's version of ice cream, with three major differences. First, gelato has significantly less butterfat than ice cream's typical 18 and 26 percent. But don't think that this means it tastes like paste, nothing could be further from the truth. In my opinion, Whole Foods has the best gelato flavor selection and presentation, and on Wednesdays, it's on sale for $3.99. Not only can you indulge without doing in your workout, you can pretend you are on a beach.

Thursday -- Dinner and a movie. Pick a movie and find a recipe that compliments the film. For instance, this week my film of choice is "Casino," and to compliment the film, I will make a grilled teriyaki steak and lobster combo.

Friday -- Attend a fabulous party. The problem with the winter blues is we stay in the house and only emerge if we have to go to work or school. At least once a week, plan to attend a party or an event that is fun and allows you to be social. If you are looking for suggestions why don't you check out the second annual Salsa for Strong Kids at Warehouse, 818 S. Water St. This event allows you to shake it up and salsa the night away. All proceeds benefit the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.

Saturday -- Bikram Yoga. There is no better way to prepare for the warm temps than to emerge your entire body in a room set to 115 degrees. You get to wear itty-bitty clothes while you detox and improve the appearance of your body. Check out the Bikram Yoga Studio on 2084 N Commerce St.

Sunday -- Roll Bounce weekly roller-skating at Skate U. Open skate is from 12:20 to 3 p.m. Not only is this a great work out that helps to prepare your body for the summertime short shorts, but it gives you a natural high because you are skating to a great selection of music and you feel like a kid again.


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