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:
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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

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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!!

 

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