Winter

You may think I’m crazy when I say…I’m missing our typical, deep freeze Minnesota winter this year. I spent much of my life escaping winter, even going as far as moving to Florida for several years! Finally, I have started to embrace the icy cold climate and low and behold, we have an unseasonably warm winter this year.

One of the annual events that keeps me looking forward to winter each year is called the luminary loppet.  It is a whimsical night replete with ice lanterns, live music, hot chocolate stations and a festive atmosphere.

We went this year with the entire family: myself, my husband and our 2 boys, ages 11 and 1. We took turns towing the little one along on a sled and he had a ball!
The luminary loppet takes place overlooking the Minneapolis skyline on a trail that winds along a frozen lake and into the woods. Even though I have participated in this event for the last few years, it always creeps into my mind how many people the frozen lake can accommodate! Thousands of people turn out and even in the chill of winter, you experience a warm and inviting crowd with lots of smiles and cheer. And no, the lake has never cracked! It’s completely safe. I even laid on the ice to investigate just how thick it was. 

The entire trail is lined with ice lanterns and luminaries of varying shapes and sizes, including some that are even taller than us. Luminaries continue into the enchanted forest and captivate participants of all ages.

The amount of hours that the production staff invests into this is so impressive. It truly bodies the magic of winter and just how beautiful it can be. I look forward to it all year round!

More photos from The Luminary Loppet:
Please follow and like us:

Winter Wonderland

As we dip into sub zero temperatures and much of the country gets covered in a powdery blanket of shimmery snow, I am rejoicing!

winter

However, I didn’t always harbor this level of joy and exuberance. Quite the contrary, I had downright disdain for anything and everything winter.

I am a Minnesota native, however, my parents were transplants from warmer climates and their only solution for frigid temperatures was to hibernate for the winter.

Not very sustainable, I must say.

Anyway, as soon as I graduated high school, I flew the coop, so to speak, to the sunny shores of Florida. After a few years, the charm of the Midwest called me back home and I returned without so much as owning even one pair of socks. I did my best to adjust, but my friends nearly disowned me each year, from November through March, because I did nothing but complain about the cold weather. 

skiingEnter my outdoor loving, skiing fanatic husband. At first, it was a lifestyle difference that I thought we would have to agree to disagree upon. Soon enough, he opened my world to the wonder, magic, and whimsy of winter. Snow is sparkly. Of course it’s awesome!

Once I learned the basics of “dressing for winter”, (it is somewhat of a science to do it right) and spent some time learning how to cross country ski, I was hooked.

Yes, I admit that the grimy, dirty snow we deal with while driving to and from work is little more than a nuisance. But freshly fallen flakes in the woods create a gleaming wonderland. winter-fatimaTypically, cross country ski trails are in parks or around lakes, and removed from the hustle and bustle. Gliding across the snow in an area that is quiet and the pure, white, snow is pristine all throughout the season, is a truly uplifting experience. 

Cross country ski racing is an Olympic sport for a reason…it’s really stinking hard! However, learning the basics of shuffling along and staying upright is just a smidge more difficult than walking. Anyone can do it!

I learned to ski by practicing on a frozen lake. The key to success? No hills! It was completely flat, and that minimized any falling so I left each day out on the lake with a smile on my face and no snow tucked in places that it shouldn’t be. As you get more and more comfortable, you begin to fall into the rolling rhythms of the trails and it’s effortless and smooth!

Besides the sheer beauty of the scenery, skiing gets you fresh air and exercise. Breathing in the crisp air, as you go gliding through the woods and raise your heart rate, feels so energizing. Because you are active, you stay toasty warm, and the chilly air on your cheeks is a perfect compliment to the warmth you feel down to your core.

If you ever had an inkling to try it, do yourself a favor, grab a buddy, head to your nearest park with ski rentals, and try something new. I promise, you’ll be a lot happier to see temperatures dip and the first snowflakes fly. If nothing else, winter will go by faster than ever before. 

group-skiing

Please follow and like us:

Another life . . .

I love my life as a host at Evine, a wife, and a mom.

At one time, however, there was my first love . . . dance!

These blogs have been a wonderful way to share more about our other passions that we don’t often get to talk about on air.  I couldn’t wait to share my discovery of salsa dance!

fatima-blog-3-1I found dance late in life, well, relatively.  I was in my early 20s and my girlfriend dragged me out to a salsa club.  As I started to learn the steps and become familiar with the music, the obsession . . . oops, I meant passion, grew intensely.

It wasn’t long before I was out dancing 4-5 nights a week, pouring over YouTube videos, and traveling all across the country in search of the ultimate dance fix.

The community of dancers is one of the reasons that I dove in so deep.  Not just locally, but anywhere I traveled, the environment was electric with people from all cultures and all walks of life sharing a common thread and a universal love of music and dance.

fatima-blog-3-2

Within our local community, many of us attended classes and events at a dance studio.  I began teaching there, and soon after, started performing with the dance teams.  I have to admit, my favorite part of performing was the costumes!  And yes, there were many hours spent “bedazzling” .

fatima-blog-3-3fatima-blog-3-4

 

 

 

 

 

Another huge draw to being on a performance team was the challenge of each new routine and creating something unique and special with our groups.  We did most of our own choreography and having it come to life was such a thrill!

fatima-blog-3-6

Being so immersed in the world of Latin dance, I quickly became intrigued and enamored with the Afro-Caribbean rhythms melded with jazzy big band sounds that create this genre of music. Salsa, Cha cha, Bachata, Merengue . . . I love it all! I became a fiend and began amassing a collection of music that may be enough to start a small radio station.  At some point, I think my weekly iTunes budget was more than my grocery budget!  I was truly eating, sleeping, and breathing salsa.  The next step: I started DJ’ing salsa music.  That was a whole new level of indulgent fun.  I would put together a playlist of my favorite songs and dance on the job.  Work and play came together as one . . . it was a beautiful thing 🙂

fatima-blog-3-7

Fast-to post knee injury and a one-year old at home.  Salsa dancing may now be a seldom enjoyed delicacy but, to me, it’s just as juicy and sweet as it’s always been. The great news: it’s like one of your oldest and dearest friends.  You may not see one another for ages, but the moment you reconnect, it’s like no time has passed.

fatima-blog-3-8

Please follow and like us:

Five years of wedded bliss!

Woo hoo!  We made it!  Five years of wedded bliss.  I’m happy to announce that Tim and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary since my last blog post. Last post, I promised to follow up with our dinner in white experience this year around and, as luck would have it, we were able to celebrate our anniversary on the night of the dinner in white.  It was dreamy.Fatima blog 2 1C

In case you missed it, ‘dinner in white’ is a tradition that started in Paris years ago where it resembles a flash mob but as a fancy picnic.  You’re given a date and time in advance, and the location is announced half an hour before the dinner starts.  You pack up everything you need, from tables and chairs, to food, and any decorations, and head to the location where everyone gathers for a beautiful summer picnic.

Fatima blog 2 loading upThis is the not so glamorous part, hauling all of your supplies to the location. We decided to at least have fun with it by taking a goofy selfie!

This year, it was even more impromptu because there were reports of thunder storms the night of the dinner, so the organizers announced on Facebook at noon the same day that it would be moved to the following day.

Fatima blog 2 sparklersAs luck would have it, we had absolutely no plans the next night, which happened to be our five year anniversary.  How perfect!  On the downside, however, two of the members of our group could not make it because they had a previous engagement.  The remaining four of us were game, and we decided to go through with the dinner.  This year, the location was announced to be at a pedestrian bridge spanning the Mississippi River, overlooking the Minneapolis skyline.

Fatima blog 2 grilled salmonOne of the key factors is preparing a delicious dinner menu.  Tim and I decided to go out on a limb and do something fancy.  We grilled salmon on cedar planks at home, packed it up, and carefully brought it to the picnic location. We also had a delicious potato salad, cherries, and beautiful desserts that our friends picked up at a local gourmet bakery.  A refreshing, sparkling ice tea beverage was also served in . . . what else, an antique silver teapot.  Go big, or go home!

The weather was lovely, the company was fantastic, and the food was delicious . . . what else do you need?  Oh, wait!  Wardrobe!!

So, last post, I mentioned our group wanted to try to go for a theme.  We were thinking a little punk, circus theme. I’m not even really sure what that means . . . ha ha . . . but I did my best to be a little edgy with some exaggerated ruffles, a deeper shade of lipstick, and a feather and lace headpiece.  I found the top on eBay, the feather at Michael’s craft store, and I cut up an old lace blouse for the headpiece.Fatima blog 2 wardrobe

Overall, the event was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary and spend time with close friends.  Several hundred people showed up and we all lit sparklers and dined into the night.  A live band even showed up to serenade the diners . . . it was truly a memorable night.Fatima blog 2 sparklers 2

Please follow and like us:

Dinner in White

fatima overviewHands-down, one of my favorite events of the summer here in the twin cities is called dinner in white. The tradition started in Paris years ago, and it is where hundreds of people get together and set up a fancy picnic in a public space, dress up, and dine into the evening. My friends and I participated a couple of years ago and we are going again in a couple of weeks. We bring in everything including the tables, chairs, food, and decorations. It’s such a magical night!!

fatima pairIn the meantime, we are busy planning the menu, figuring out who is going to bring what, and the most important thing… What we are going to wear!! The rule is we have to wear all white. Last time, I tried to go with a bit of a twenties, Gatsby theme. This year, we are thinking more Gypsy punk circus flavor. I’m still open to suggestions though…

fatima day seatedHave you been to, or heard of dinner in white? If so, how did you prepare? Do you have events like this in your city? Or any annual summer traditions?

fatima eve light

 

Stay tuned to my Facebook page….pictures coming soon!!

 

Please follow and like us: