Facing My Fears: Skiing at Lutsen Mountains

I can’t remember the last time my entire body was this sore. My quads, calves, triceps, biceps, back. Sore. Getting out of bed this morning was a chore.

But it was so worth it. This weekend Dana and I headed up north to Lutsen, MN with our friends Adam and Stacy.

To those of you who aren’t from Minnesota, Lutsen is a popular ski area in Northern Minnesota. It is absolutely gorgeous. Adam and Stacy got married at the top of one of their mountains!

We made the five-hour trek up on Friday afternoon and on Saturday we hit the slopes.

I haven’t skied in ten years. To say that I was terrified would be an understatement. I was afraid of falling, of getting stuck on the chair lift, of not being able to stop at the bottom of the hill, of going too fast and running into someone on the hill. I’m a big ol’ worrier if you haven’t noticed.

To those who told me it’ll come back to me and it’s like riding a bike…it’s not. First, I don’t know if I ever had proper lessons when I skied when I was younger. Second, I was much more fearless when I was younger. Intermediate hils? Sure. I didn’t care. I was closer to the ground and more resilient then, so it wouldn’t hurt as bad if and when I fell. Plus, I had to keep up with my skier friends. 😉

But now, I’m wiser and a much bigger baby.

Luckily, I was skiing with two very seasoned skiers (Dana and Stacy), who walked me through the basics to insure I didn’t crash into anybody at the bottom of the hill, break my legs, or get stuck on the chair lift.

We started on the bunny hills. I did a whole lot of pizza’ing (“wedging”) the skis. Slow and steady wins the race. Once I felt a bit more confident, we headed to the real hills.

Lutsen Lutsen melanie dana

Adam…

lutsen adam

Melanie…

lutsen melanie

Stacy…

lutsen stacy

 

I was taught to use the entire hill; doing large zig-zags all the way down and to wedge my skis when I felt I was going too fast. I got real nervous when other snowboarders and skiers were heading my way. This is when I would panic and surrender and usually fall on my rear or faceplant.

I felt pretty good though as I skied down the green hills; they were slow and involved some cross country skiing.

I even did okay on a couple of the blue hills but some of the blue ones gave me terrible anxiety. Standing at the top of the hill and looking down and seeing a steep slope gave me the heebee-jeebees. Going down the hill was the only option though if I ever wanted to get back to the lodge. I wasn’t really into the idea of camping out on the hill for the rest of the weekend being as it was absolutely freezing on Saturday and I didn’t have any food or drink. 😉

My support group guided me down the hill and I made it to the bottom after a few tears of doubt. Seriously when did I turn into such a big baby?

Come 3:30 pm, I was completely spent. The emotional and physical demands of the day had finally gotten the best of me. I cozied myself in the chalet as the rest of the group finished out their last runs before the hills closed.

We stayed in a lodge that was located right in the middle of all of the hills; a ski-in, ski-out lodge. This was SO nice because we could take breaks throughout the day as needed to warm up and thaw out. Chili and a fireplace at lunch time was a lifesaver!

After our day of skiing, we relaxed in our warm lodge, fire blazin’, showered, and grabbed some grub. Then we made our way over to Papa Charlie’s Grill for some live music. Has anyone heard of The Honeydogs? Their band started in St. Paul and they are a lot of fun! The only song I recognized was called “I Miss You.” Stace- thanks for forcing me out on the dance floor. I should have said yes a lot earlier because I had a blast dancing!

lutsen papa charlie's honey dogs

I was ready to crash by about 9:30 pm but managed to stay up and enjoy the band for a couple more hours before heading to bed.

Sunday morning we packed up our stuff, admired the fluffy fresh snow that was coming down, and headed home.

lutsen

I’m thinking that I probably need to start skiing more often than once every ten years. I think that with confidence, I could really enjoy skiing. Confidence and warmer weather. This negative fahrenheit business is getting kind of old.

Thanks to my support group for the ski lessons and helping me out this weekend (that includes you too, Adam). Without you I would have been down in the chalet all day! The only way to get better is to practice.

Fun fact: I learned about the spelling suffix of the word “ski.” I was skiing in the mountain. I skied this weekend. Confusing, but I guess it makes sense if you think about it.

Happy day my friends! xoxo

Have you ever skied? If so, did you like it?

Vaca Part III: Cruise to Ensenada

Hello, hello! It’s finally time for the third and final vacation recap. I started out on Vancouver Island, then worked my way down to the city of Vancouver, then to Seattle, and then hopped on a plane to California.

So now here we are in Glendale, California. Finally the temperatures are warm and there is no rain. We put away our raincoats and pulled out our swimsuits.

We stayed in Glendale for two nights as we got acquainted with a group of travel agents that Dana works with. We were both so happy to meet so many kind people and a really fun group of people too! This would be the group we would be hanging out with much of the weekend ahead.

On Friday, we headed out to board our cruise ship, The Golden Princess. This was a three-day cruise with one stop in Ensenada, Mexico. This was my second cruise but it had been about ten years since I had last been on a cruise and this was Dana’s first cruise so he was excited to see what it was all about. The travel agency was hosting a conference on the ship, so as Dana attended the conferences in the morning and for parts of the day, I got to relax and do whatever I wanted!

We found our room on the plaza level and I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the cabin was.

Outside our window we saw dolphins which were jumping so close to the ship (!), whales that were really far in the distance, and seals!

cruisecruise cruise cruise cruise

We got all situated and unpacked our belongings before heading out to explore the ship. Not too long after we boarded the ship we were all called into the main showroom where they walk you through what to do in case of emergency situations (aka if the boat sinks). You can’t help but think of Titanic in this situation–ironically I had watched that movie just a week before our trip, but shut it off before the ship started to sink. I was not about to have nightmares of a sinking ship!

Every evening we got to get all dressed up and head to dinner with our group. We had the late dinner at 8:00 pm which was stretching it a bit for both Dana and I, so every afternoon at around 5ish we would head to the buffet and grab some snacks to tide us over.

cruise

cruise

Dining room:

cruise

Four course meals: shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, tofu pad Thai, and chocolate sundae! The menu changed every night.

cruise

cruise

cruise

cruise

Other views around the ship:

cruise

cruise

cruise

Here’s what my day would look like: when Dana was at his conferences I would wake up and eat breakfast first and foremost. Usually oatmeal with peanut butter, fruit, and a couple bites of yogurt.

cruise

Then I would make my way to the gym and cross my fingers that an elliptical was available. I got one every day but I had to make a couple of laps around the ship while I waited. I had time, NBD. I would do my thing on the elliptical while watching some TV and admiring the beautiful ocean view, then head back down to our room, shower, relax, and then eventually I would make my way to the deck for some sun.

At lunch time, Dana’s group would break and we would enjoy lunch together. He wasn’t busy with conferences everyday all day, so I did get to see him quite a bit thankfully.

There were always tons of activities going on the ship at all times: basketball tournaments, relays at the pool, art auctions, health presentations, spa indulgences, etc. However, I chose to partake in the laying by the pool and reading my book activity for the most part. I did watch some of the other activities though.

On Saturday we reached Ensenada, Mexico where the cruise was docked and we were able to get out and explore and be on LAND! We took the opportunity to snap some photos of the ship.

cruise    cruise

 

The city of Ensenada was pretty rundown, with a lot of children and women trying to see you trinkets and chiclet.

cruise

 

We wandered around the city in the 90 some degree heat, but as much as I enjoy hot weather, it was just too hot for me. My head was starting to ache and I couldn’t chug the water fast enough.

We did have to make one stop at a hole in the wall bar called Cantina Hussong’s. Years ago, Dana’s dad used to go surfing with his buddies in Ensenada, and they would frequent this bar when they went so we had to go for nostalgia sake on behalf of my father in law!

ensenada cruise

 

Then after walking through the gauntlet of children back to our boat, we finally made it back safe and sound.

On the last night of our cruise, we had someone else take a photo of us all dressed up before dinner so we could have proof that we did indeed dress up in the evenings.

cruise

 

As much as I tried to eat healthy on this cruise, it was challenging to say the least. Food was available 24/7 along with endless amounts of desserts and ice cream. The first two days I only allowed myself dessert in the evening, but the last day was a wash. French fries, pizza, ice cream….these all made an appearance on that last day. I splurged.

I’m happy to report I didn’t get sea-sick on the boat. I wore my sea bands on the first night just as I got used to the rocking, but all-in-all I was just fine. I came fully prepared with dramamine, saltine crackers, and hard candies, but luckily I didn’t need them!

It was a whirlwind of a vacation going from point a to b to c to d, but I LOVED it! We got to see so much in 11 days. Dana did such an incredible job planning this trip for us once again.

There…I am finally done recapping the vacation I took nearly a month ago now. 🙂

Happy Wednesday my friends!

Sidenote: It’s National cruise week this week so there are GREAT deals on cruises. If you are interested in booking reach out to at beautifullynutty@gmail.com and I will get you in touch with my husband.

Vaca Part II: Seattle to California

I can’t believe how long it is taking me to write these recap posts from my recent vacation. It’s not like I don’t enjoy reliving the moments of the trip, I really do, so I can’t understand what my deal is.

Anyway! If you missed my first recap post you can read about it here: Vaca Part I: Vancouver. After Vancouver, Dana and I hauled ourselves and our luggage down to Seattle. We had to cross the border of course and waited a loooonng time to get through. Interestingly enough, they confiscated my orange from me. Apparently that can’t cross boundary lines just so you’re aware.

welcome to united states

On our way to Seattle we grabbed some lunch, stopped at the Lululemon outlet (I actually didn’t find anything I wanted!), and then continued on to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour. To those of you who don’t know, my husband really enjoys airplanes. He always has. Needless to say, this tour at Boeing was my anniversary gift to him because this wouldn’t be my first choice of activities for the day. I have to say though, it was kind of neat to learn about how they make the planes, they just could have cut the tour down by 45 minutes or so.

boeing seattle

When we arrived at our hotel in Seattle, we got all settled in, warmed up, and then headed out to explore.

Our hotel was in walking distance to the famous Public Farmer’s Market and fish markets.

seattle

We had to stop by Pike Place to see if they were throwing any fish around. They weren’t but it was still neat to see the place and to see all of the fish for sale! I would be so spoiled if I lived in Seattle!

seattle

We had to see the first ever Starbucks of course.

seattle

We really enjoyed walking around the market and gawking at all of the fresh fruits and vegetables.

seattle

 

For dinner, we waited for a table at the Crab Pot.

 

 

seattle

This is where you order mountains of seafood and they pile it right on your table. You use your hands and the tools that they give you to eat the seafood. Super casual; you even get a bib!

crab pot dana and melanie

We ordered the shrimp and crab which came with corn and potatoes.

seattle crab pot

 

I was not a fan of having to completely remove the shell, head, and veins of the shrimp; not very appetizing to me! The food was all very good though really! After dinner we continued our anniversary celebration by getting some ice cream for dessert at a nearby ice cream shop. People probably thought we were crazy eating ice cream outside while it was a mere 50 degrees with a light mist. It doesn’t matter to us!

Before heading out of Seattle we made a stop at the Theo Chocolate Factory.

theo seattle

Just like the wall says, they make organic fair trade chocolate and it is DELICIOUS! We got situated in our hairnets and got ready for our tour. Ironically, we toured with a couple who I went to high school with! Talk about a small world.

theo seattle

We learned all about how they make the chocolate and got to sample lots of nummy treats!

theo seattle

theo chocolate

We also were able to tour the inside of the factory and see where the chocolate was made. It smelled heavenly inside! I felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Our tour guide was hilarious too which made the tour that much more fun.

After Seattle we hopped on a plane to California. After a terrible nights sleep, we met up with our friends Brandon and Elizabeth for breakfast!

brandon elizabeth

Brandon and I go way back. We’ve been friends since 8th grade. He now lives in California but I still get to see him from time to time. I miss that little booger. 😉

melanie brandon dana

We enjoyed pastries at a Cuban bakery. Mmm…mmmm!!!

pastries

 

It was so great catching up with those two and I get to see them very soon again!!!

The rest of our time in California was spent getting to know the crew that we would be spending time with on the cruise. More on that next time!!!

Sorry that this was much of a “in-a-nutshell” recap, but I would have to write a novel if I went into every detail of the trip! I hope you enjoy!

Happy Thursday!

Vaca Part I: Vancouver

Happy FRIDAY!!

Let’s get this vacation recap rolling! As I mentioned previously I’m going to have to break down these recaps into about three posts since we covered so much ground. Today, I’m going to start off with the Canadian travels: Vancouver Island, Victoria, and Vancouver. Here we go!

We flew into Seattle, rented a car and immediately started our drive up to Canada. After insane traffic due to a five lane highway being brought down to one lane, a missed ferry, having to wait two more hours for the next ferry, arriving in Nanaimo, and driving another 2.5 hours to Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet, BC, and arriving to our hotel by 12:30 am, I was more than ready for bed.

ferry vancouver

vancouver island

vancouver

Black Rock Resort is an absolutely stunning hotel and I highly recommend it. Check out the views from our room.

vancouver island vancouver island

Not only were the outdoor views fabulous, but the inside was just as great. It was warm and cozy with fireplaces, stone walls, heated floors….I really wanted to just hang out in the hotel a lot of the time! But of course I wanted to get out and explore the area too so that is just what we did.

We sported our raincoats all weekend because as the weather forecast had anticipated, it rained the whole time we were there. Well, about 90% of the time at least. The one time the weather forecast is actually correct, right?!

Anyway, since we knew it was going to rain, we weren’t disappointed about it. We went on a bunch of beautiful hikes and saw some neat looking trees.

vancouver island

vancouver island

The town of Ucluelet is surrounded by water so everywhere we looked there was amazing sights of the Pacific Ocean.

vancouver island  We went to the local aquarium where they showcase local fish and then after a month they release the fish back into the wild. That was a fun thing to do on a rainy afternoon!

We ate some killer food while we were there. The area is all about local and organic food so of course I was in heaven.

Pictured below: the Kokesch Poké bowl and lentil veggie soup from Ukee Juice.   vancouver food

Miso soup, polenta fries, and fish tacos fro Sobo in Tofino. I asked for maple syrup to dip my polenta fries in, and OMG so good. Sweet and salty is my fav!

vancouver island vancouver island

Prosciutto wrapped halibut from Northwoods.

vancouver food

vancouver food

We also had the most fabulous salmon and veggie sushi another night right at the restaurant in our hotel but the room was too dark to take a photo.

We had made reservations to go whale watching on our last full day in Ucluelet, but our plans changed when we received a call from the whale watching group telling us the waters were too rough to go out. The waves were at 21 feet! They said the boat would be able to handle it, but the people wouldn’t. I know in fact that I wouldn’t have been okay on that one. Anyway, instead of whale watching, they offered for us to go bear watching, because we stay in a bay and it is more calm. We were bummed we wouldn’t get to see the whales but we accepted the modified tour! I was still excited to see some bears!

vancouver island

About 20 of us headed out in a decent-sized boat with a few guides. They offered us hot chocolate, coffee, and tea and we all peeled our eyelids back so to be sure not to miss any bears!

Sure enough, within a half hour of boating, we spotted the first bear.

vancouver island

And then another (I think this is a photo of the second one?)…

vancouver island

It was so neat seeing the bears in their natural habitat. They didn’t seem to mind us much gawking at them. The tour guides did say that we had to keep enough distance from them though just in case they get pissed. Apparently they can swim really well and no one wanted a wild bear getting into our boat. No thanks.

On the bear watching tour we also saw a bald eagle, porpoises, an otter, and a salmon farm. It was such a fun experience.

On our last day we decided to take a 4.5 hour car ride over to Victoria, BC to check out the very well-known Butchart Gardens. A friend of mine told me about these gardens and since we didn’t know when we would be back in the area, we decided it would be worth the haul to go see them. Of course, being that it was fall when we went, the gardens weren’t in full bloom, but even still they were absolutely stunning!

vancouver island vancouver island vancouver island

butchart gardens victoria

After our visit to Victoria we hopped back on the ferry with our car (this time we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time in case traffic was bad and we actually made it on the earlier ferry!) and made our way back to the city of Vancouver.

We spent our last night in Canada in the city of Vancouver. We got dinner and I ate the best brussels sprouts of my life and then we walked around the city, found the Vancouver Convention Centre where the Olympic torches were glowing in the night. They weren’t lit on the top but they still changing colors. Gorgeous.

brussels sprouts vancouver vancouver

And then we went to bed. That was the short and sweet version of our time spent in Canada. I fell in love with the country while I was there. Everyone we encountered was so kind, and it felt like everyone just wanted to be at peace with each other (at least where we were at, at least). Put Canada on your bucket list everyone!!

A Whole Lotta Thank Yous

Hey ya’ll!! I’m baaaaaccckkk! Dana and I got in last night at 10:45 pm from our anniversary vaca adventure. We were in three countries within a week and a half! Before I share any more details, I want to give a huge thanks to my guest posters for taking the time to write for Beautifully Nutty. In case you missed them:

Katie: How to Survive a Hard Run
Rebecca: Simple Meal Planning Tips
Jackie: Spicy Chicken Dip
Hailey: Decide to Be Happy, and Be

Dana and I had a seriously incredible and climate diverse vacation. It felt great to be together and to celebrate our two-year anniversary. Thank you for all of the anniversary wishes as well!

I am wiping my sleepy eyes this morning as I am slightly jet-lag going from west coast time back to central time zone. I know it’s only a difference of two hours but I’m sensitive to my sleep. You all know that by now. But waah wahh, I’m tired because I was on vacation. No one is going to throw a pity party for me that’s for sure!

I’m still working on gathering photos from my phone, Dana’s phone, and the camera, so the recaps are going to have to wait a bit but I thought I could at least share with you where I went.

We started the trip by spending a few days in Ucluelet and Tofino, BC on Vancouver Island, then we drove to Victoria, BC, crossed back on the ferry over to Vancouver, then Seattle, then down to California where we hopped on a three-day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.

Canada, United States, and Mexico. Not bad, huh?

We spent a lot of time in the car needless to say but we got to enjoy some incredible views along the way.

vancouver island

 

Not to mention some seriously windy roads through the mountains.

I just about lost it on our 2.5 hour car ride out to Ucluelet. It didn’t help I had come off of a day of travel with very little sleep, eaten a less than stellar veggie burger, and the icing on the cake of course is that I get motion sickness fairly easily. Again, waah waaah.

(I tried to capture the zig-zag roads)

vancouver

 

That’s about the extent at which I’m going to get into vaca today. I’m thinking I will spread it out a bit. I think it will take a few posts. Look forward to them!! 😉

It’s always hard to come back after vacation, but at the same time I get very excited to get home and see Moose, and my family and friends again.

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who took care of our Mooser baby while we were away. I can’t wait to see his huge puppy face!

moose

Dana (my travel agent and husband) did such an amazing job planning this trip for us. If you’re ever needing to book any type of trip, let me know and I can get you his contact information! Thank you, Dana for all of your time spent planning this awesome getaway for us!

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So guess what came to my door step the day before I left for vacation?

My Cosmedix prize! Remember back in September when I went out to New York for the Bethenny Frankel show and premiere party? I mentioned I had won a basket of $500 worth of Cosmedix swag. I anxiously awaited this basket of goodies and it’s finally here!

cosmedix cosmedix

 

I can’t wait to try it all out! Thank you Cosmedix!

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I didn’t do a whole lot of food prep for our trip, but one thing I did make was a batch of Katie’s nummy bars! These served as our breakfast for the first few days and were SO good! I looked forward to eating them every morning and will absolutely be making another batch in the near future. I may even try almond butter instead. We will see! Thanks for the tasty recipe, Katie! xoxo

katie's bars

 

I am feeling very out of the loop with what is going on in our world, in the blog world, and with my family and friends. Did I miss anything big? How is everyone doing? I’ve missed you all!

 

Sugar Update From the Sky

Hello all! I’m writing from the air today as vacation begins TODAY! I’m about to watch The Great Gatsby and eat some oatmeal for breakfast (second breakfast really being I was up six hours ago and scarfed down a banana and some cereal already) so I’m going to keep this short and sweet for you all.

Speaking of sweet, I thought this would be the perfect time to update you on my sugar intake status. In case you missed it, I wrote a post nearly two weeks ago about how my refined sugar intake was starting to get ridiculously out of control. I decided to commit myself to limiting my refined sugar intake and focusing on only natural sugars in my diet for a while. You can read the full post here: Break the Sugar Addiction.

So how am I doing with it? Amazingly well! I have completely cut it out except for yesterday when I was absolutely starving at work and my only option was a chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar that I had in my purse.

My body is thanking me—my GI system really appreciates when I don’t eat the refined sugars. I also feel like I have higher amounts of energy as my body isn’t going through major blood sugar rollercoasters all day.

My go-to sweet treats right now (in moderation):

Even though it has only been just shy of two weeks, already my body is no longer craving sugar. In fact, I am noticing I am craving more salty foods, believe it or not!

My plan for refined sugar

Being that I am on vacation, and celebrating an anniversary nonetheless, I do plan on having a couple of sweet treats while I’m away. However, I am not going to let it get out of hand. Once I return home, I plan to continue leaving out the white sugars as much as possible, and limiting them only to special occasions.

To me, it’s worth it to cut out these sugars in order to stay healthy and to feel my best.

So, there you have it. Your brief update from up in the sky. The movie is about to start! Leo DiCaprio, here I come!

I can’t to fill you in on my vacation adventures when I get back. In the meantime, I have a handful of wonderful guest posts and one special one from myself as well! Have a fabulous weekend and a great week!

To those of you who decided to cut out or limit refined sugars with me, how is it going?! 

 

More Surprises from Bethenny Frankel: Part II

And we’re back! I am continuing to recap my fabulous weekend away in New York. Where I left off was right after the show taping. If you missed my post yesterday, quick go and catch up here: A Surprise from Bethenny Frankel!

I definitely didn’t plan very well because I hadn’t packed any food to last me from 7:30 am until 12:30 pm. That is a long gap of time for me to not eat. Remember I’m a small meals throughout the day kind of gal whenever I can be. By the time I got back to the hotel to meet Dana who had just gotten in to NY, I a was extremely hungry. I was super excited to see Dana too!

We headed out on the town in search of food. I can’t even remember the restaurant we went to but I can tell you that I felt like I couldn’t get the food in fast enough. We shared a bison burger and a taco salad.

ny food

I was now energized and ready to explore the city for a couple of hours with my hubby.

We walked over to the Plaza Hotel where Home Alone: Lost in New York took place. What an absolutely gorgeous hotel. I googled hotel rates for the Plaza out of curiosity and it was something like $1500 a night. Pocket change, right? 😉

We walked the sidewalks, passing all of the fancy stores; Michael Kors, Coach, Tiffany, Saks, etc. Eventually we made it back to our hotel. It was time to get ready for the next event: the premiere party!

We got all glammed up and headed down to catch the shuttle. The shuttle took us from our hotel right over to the party which was in Chelsea.

melanie dana bethenny party

Right after we took that photo outside, Bethenny drove by and yelled hello to all of us and said we were all looking mighty sexy! She is so real and I love it.

Once we got inside the Minnesota crew bombarded the photographers. We had to get a MN Group shot! Represent! Bethenny MN Group

And then a couple’s shot.

Bethenny NY Dana and Melanie

We then followed the pink carpet into the main party area. The number of staff that were at the event blew my mind! There were so many of them; all with food or cocktails in hand. They were an amazing team.

bethenny party pink carpet

A lot of these photos are professional ones (not mine) taken at the event. They were taken before the crowd came in which is why it’s so empty in the next couple of photos.

bethenny party set up

As always there were plenty of Skinnygirl cocktails to go around…

bethenny party bar

And lots of delicious appetizers…

bethenny party food collage

We all hung out, enjoyed some music, and relaxed while we waited for Bethenny’s arrival.

The woman who sings Bethenny’s theme song “Calling All My Girls” came out and played for us for a while! She was pretty hard-core and there was some fist pumping happening for sure.

opening band bethenny party

melanie bethenny show

Shortly after, Bethenny made her grand entrance looking more beautiful than ever. Seriously she is so darn gorgeous!  bethenny  bethenny party close up    bethenny

She thanked us all for being there and supporting her and then she revealed yet another surprise to us all.

Salt-N-Pepa were in the house!!!!

Yes, Salt-N-Pepa who we all know and love from growing up. They make you wanna Shoop, Push It, talk about Whatta Man (what a mighty good man)….

And they are looking better than ever!

Bethenny Salt N Peppa

They still have the moves, they can still rap like it’s nobody’s business, and they know how to get the crowd hyped up!

Bethenny Salt N Peppa 2

I was giddy!

melanie bethenny show

I couldn’t wipe that grin off my face if you paid me. We jammed out to Salt-N-Pepa, totally on cloud nine until it was time to go. We ended up taking a taxi back to our hotel and on the ride back I got a phone call.

I won $500 in free Cosmedix products! Could this evening get any better?!

Cosmedix was one of the sponsors of the event. Cosmedix is an eco-friendly company. They “use the finest natural ingredients, uniquely refined for maximum effectiveness, our products work with your skin to target the most troublesome skin conditions—from acne and rosacea to sun damage and hyperpigmentation—without the irritation or downtime of conventional treatments.” source

bethenny party sponsors

I had signed up to win free products but never in a million years thought I would win. I’m just not usually a lucky person. I should have went out and bought a lottery ticket that night! They are going to mail me my prize and I will have to remember to show you everything I won once I get it. So exciting!

So we made it back to the hotel yet again. I changed out of my dress into comfy clothes and comfy walking shoes. The night wasn’t over yet. We headed out to meet my cousin Stephanie who lives in Queens. She kindly agreed to meet us in Times Square.times square 2013

Dana and I were in need of a bite to eat so Steph suggested we go to the Stardust Diner which is a diner where the waitstaff sings and performs for you. They have incredible voices and will someday hopefully be on Broadway. I loved every second of being there: being with Steph and Dana, hearing great singing, and continuing on my “high” from the events of the day. I was one happy girl.

melanie and steph ny

stardust ny times square

I didn’t want it to end. It was such a magical weekend. I went to bed thinking wow, did that really happen? I am thrilled to relive these memories with you all right now, although the memories still seem like a fairy tale dream.

Thank you to Bethenny Frankel and her incredible staff for making this happen for me and so many other lucky individuals. I am so happy to be able to support Bethenny and support the show!

A Surprise from Bethenny Frankel!

Oh my gosh, I’m overwhelmed thinking about writing this post because I have SO much to say and I want to make sure and give you a complete run down of my incredibly amazing weekend. Seriously, this weekend felt like a dream.

To those of you following me on Twitter and Instagram, you probably have some idea of what I was up to these past few days. If you’re not, come and follow me!

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a woman named Meghan who works in Public Relations for the Bethenny TV show. Remember a month ago when I went to Bethenny Frankel’s Calling All My Girls cocktail party? It was the same gal who had contacted me about that party. The email’s subject line was ‘One More Surprise.’

Mind you, I am opening this email on a Wednesday morning before work. I quickly opened the email and read that the surprise was that Bethenny was sending me out to to New York, flying me out, putting me up at the W Hotel in Times Square, sending me to watch a taping of her show, and inviting me to her premiere party!

WHAT?! I emailed Meghan back and asked her if it was for real. She said YES! What do you think? After a crazy day of finding someone to work for me, getting all of the necessary papers over to the Bethenny team, and shuffling a few other things around in my schedule, I was finally able to tell them that I could go! I had a week to get ready for this amazing opportunity! Was this really happening?!

Fast-forward to a week later: Thursday, September 5th.

After a couple of flights, a taxi ride, and some motion sickness, I arrive in style at the W New York Times Square hotel.

W New York Times Square

I have to say I felt a little bit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when I first arrived at the hotel. I was in comfy jeans and a baggy cardigan from the flight and I felt like everyone else there was dressed to the nine!

The staff at the W made me feel right at home and got me all checked in. I headed up to my room with an envelope in hand; I knew what was inside the envelope and was so excited to open it! As soon as I got into my hotel room (actually room #2 because there was a little bit of a mishap with the first room they gave me—someone was still in the room), I opened it up. Inside was a note from Bethenny welcoming me to NY and thanking me for supporting her through this exciting time in her life. There was a $200 gift card inside too! This is why I say the weekend was a dream…

gift from Bethenny

 

There had to have been at least 50 of us staying at the W on behalf of Bethenny. She is so generous! As I was overwhelmed with this greeting, I was also overwhelmed by the views from my room!

 

W Times Square W Times Square W Times Square W Times Square

It’s Times Square! Right there!

W Times Square

I probably said “Is this for real?” about a million times while on this trip. After a while of ooing and awwwing over the views, I got myself together and headed out on the town to do some exploring. I had been to Times Square a couple of times prior to this, so it was nice to be able to go out very leisurely and explore versus feeling like I needed to go see everything! 

I made a stop at the M & M store of course and got myself a bag of Peanut Butter M & M’s. This will be in my heaven someday. Of course, calories won’t count in heaven.

M & M

I also bought a huge salad from down the street of my hotel. Before heading back to my room I made one last stop at Forever 21 and just about lost my cool because of how crazy busy it was. So. many. people. everywhere.

salad

 

It was time for me to relax. After I ate dinner and some chocolates, I made my way to the hotel gym. I didn’t have the right shoes with me, just my Privo’s, but I still managed to crank out some weights and some walking on the treadmill.

After my cool and easy workout, I went back to my room and got cozy. Like real cozy. I showered and snuggled up in the fancy white robe.

Melanie relaxing W Times Square

I gawked at the nighttime views, read a magazine, painted my nails, and relished the moment.

 

W Times Square

 

A girl could get used to this!

After a terrible night of sleep and looking at my clock every hour on the hour, I was up and at em’ at 5:30 am. I scarfed down a make shift breakfast: an apple with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.

melanie w times square

 

After a short panic attack about a stain on my shirt, it was time to go to the taping of Bethenny’s show!

melanie w hotel times square

 

The shuttle picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 am to bring us over to the show. Btw I was on my own at this point (Dana was meeting me in NY later in the morning), but I met some amazing people! The group I hung out with all weekend was the Minnesota group (you’re right—we are kind of a cliquey state). It was comforting to be with them! Minnesota nice isn’t a lie. I love these girls (and guys!).

Bethenny Show with Kristy Bethenny show with MN gals

 

Once we finally got into the set of the show the staff got us all hyped up by playing dance music, talking with us, and giving us countdowns to Bethenny’s appearance. Her set is ADORABLE. I can’t wait for you all to see it!

After what seemed like an eternity, it was time for her to make her way to the stage. We all went crazy when she finally arrived! The show was taped from 10 am-12 pm. I can’t divulge any info about the show I saw but I can tell you that it will be on September 16th on Fox 9 at 3 pm and that it is a lot of fun! I don’t think you will be able to see me at all because I was on the very left side (if you’re looking from the stage) but look for me just in case! It was a blast being there. There was such an incredibly supportive and fun energy in the room!

Bethenny is hysterical. She is witty, genuine, and is so so much fun. She has no limits to what she will say or do. I highly recommend you check out her show!

Guess what?! The premiere of her show is TODAY!

premiere bethenny

 

Set your DVR to Fox 9 at 3 pm everyone. Nick Cannon will be on and apparently he teaches Bethenny how to dance (okay, how to twerk). I’m sure it will be highly entertaining. You know I’ll be watching it!!

It’s weird that I’m getting all jittery and excited again as I relive the moments of the weekend in this post. I have SO Much more to share but in order to keep this post from becoming novel length, I am going to have to split it into two separate posts. Can you handle it?! There is more coming your way tomorrow. A lot more. Dana will arrive in NY, we explore the city together, and attend a jaw-dropping cocktail party!!

Atlanta for the Weekend!

I am coming off of one fantastic weekend. Dana and I flew out to Atlanta to celebrate the beautiful Katie’s birthday with her! Remember last year when we went out there for my birthday? I thought I would switch it up this time and go out there for hers.

I have an incredible amount of laundry to get to so I’m going to limit the words for ya’ll today (the southerners must have rubbed off on me). Here’s a photo recap from our wonderful weekend with our friends.

Dinner at Muss and Turners: I ordered the Grilled Bison Flank and the collard greens

kate and melanie

atl muss and turner

Hike up Stone Mountain on a rainy and windy day=kinda scary/ super slippery

kate and melanie

stone mountain atl

Going up was simple compared to coming down! Hanging on tight.

stone mountain atl

Burgers at Flip Burger: I ordered the turkey burger with tomato, avocado, sprouts, provolone cheese, and some awesome ketchup. We all split an order of fries too. Confession: I love crispy fries.

Flip burger

Atlanta Braves baseball game! We had amazing seats and had a blast!

atl braves

Headed to the Farmer’s Market and Art Festival at Piedmont Park!

melanie and dana    farmers market atl

Hanging out on their massive covered porch while the rain fell and enjoying their friend’s adorable puppy, Ruby who is an Italian Greyhound. She liked snuggling with me! My heart melts.

atl ruby

Homemade dinner on the last night made by Dana and myself: scallops, spinach salad with fresh organic peaches and almonds, roasted veggies from the farmer’s market (zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper), and quinoa of course. 🙂

scallops

I really can’t believe the weekend came and went already. Why does time fly by so fast?! Luke and Kate, thanks for being such great hosts to us once again! Can’t wait to see you again.

What was the highlight of YOUR weekend? A beautiful walk, much-needed couch time, cooking, baking, a ice-cream cone, etc?