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


lutsen adam


lutsen melanie


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. But I was lucky to have remembered the practice I had with wakeboards.

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.


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?

Continue Reading Facing My Fears: Skiing at Lutsen Mountains

Inspired by Runners

I’m a little belated on this weekend recap but I needed yesterday to unwind and stepped away from the computer and the phone for a good majority of the day, so I’m bringing it to you today.

My weekend was spent up in Duluth, MN for the Grandma’s Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon. I went to be a cheerleader for a bunch of my friends running in the half, and my brother Kevin, who was running his first ever marathon.

My mom and dad were also up there to help cheer everyone on, so Dana and I met up with them once we arrived in Duluth. We grabbed lunch, walked around Duluth, and took in the beauty of the city.

Aren’t my mom and dad the cutest?

mom and dad Grandma's Marathon Weekend

It was extremely foggy the whole time we were there and the air was cool and humid. It’s always unbelievable to me that there can be that drastic of a weather difference just 2 1/2 hours north of where I live. It was a 30°F difference!

We walked by the finish line of the race and that really set-off my excitement for race day. Even though I wasn’t running in the race the next day, I felt like I was.

Grandma's Marathon Weekend

I slept terribly the night before the race. It was a combination of being in a new place (it always takes me a day to adjust), the excitement of the weekend and the race, and me feeling like I was going to be running in the race.

On race day, the runners all headed out very early to get to their start points, and the rest of us spectators geared up with our warm layers, rain coats, and umbrellas. The weather was in the 50’s, super foggy, misty, and some very light rain spattered in here and there. If I were a runner, I would have been extremely happy with this weather.

melanie dana Grandma's Marathon Weekend

Dana and I were little mad mice throughout the day. We watched our friends running in the half-marathon run by at mile seven, and then drove closer to the finish line, parked, and ran our little legs off to the finish line to watch them finish.

Way to go Nate!

Nate Grandma's Marathon Weekend


adam Grandma's Marathon Weekend

And Matt!

matt Grandma's Marathon Weekend

And Brendan, Jasen, Jessie, Annie and Casey and of course all of you other amazing runners out there too! I was so proud of each and every runner and am really itching to get out there next year and run the half.

After we watched our friends finish the half, we made our way over to mile 17 of the full marathon that Kevin was running. Grandma’s had this neat system set up so that you could get text updates of certain runners so that you knew when the reached different mile markers. This helped us gage when we needed to get over to mile 19 to see Kev go by. Since the weather wasn’t super peachy, it was nice to have this luxury so we didn’t have to be out in the rain all day.

We anxiously awaited his arrival, and screamed and cheered as he came by!

kevin Grandma's Marathon Weekend

He was looking great and feeling pretty good. He said his stamina was fine, but his legs were starting to get tired. Go figure, he just ran 19 miles right? He gave the legs a little stretch while we gave our motivational words of wisdom. At this point he only had 7.2 miles to go. I say “only” as if it were just a short little run around the neighborhood. I can’t remember the last time I ran 7.2 miles. I guess it was probably last summer.

This photo looks like a advertisement for Nike does it not? Love it!

Grandma's Marathon Weekend

Anyway…after some stretching and hugs, he went back on his way towards the finish line. My mom, dad, Dana, and I did our drive and park and get to the finish bit again.

We weaseled our way into a fence spot and again anxiously awaited Kevin’s arrival. My brother Scott and his girlfriend Nicole came in to town to watch him finish too, and got there just in the nick of time. It was so great to see them!

We spotted Kev in his black pants and black top coming down the finish lane. We screamed and cheered to let him know we were there and got his attention. This time not all smiles like at mile 19, but he still managed to give us a smirk as he conjured up every last bit of energy he had to cross that finish line.

kevin Grandma's Marathon Weekend

kevin Grandma's Marathon Weekend

My emotions took over me. My heart was probably pounding so hard and beating so fast at the excitement of seeing him run towards the finish line. I can only imagine what 26.2 miles feels like. He finished his first marathon in excellent time and is already talking about doing another one. I am the proudest baby sister.

All of this spectating really inspired me to want to take on another half-marathon myself. My first one (and only one) was last summer and it was really rough, so I’d like to prove to myself that I can do it again and I’d like to be able to enjoy it a little more next time. I know my body needs its rest at this point in my life so it won’t be any time soon, but someday, I will be running another half and it’s going to be great.

Congratulations to all of the runners that ran in the Grandma’s Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon this past weekend. I am proud of all of you and can’t wait to join you soon!

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Five Fun Things Friday

I’m keeping it simple today with a little Five Things Friday! Here are five random things that have either been on my mind lately, made me laugh or made me smile.

1. Today is the official first day of summer!

Happy Summer everyone! I have been loving the warm weather lately. We waited way too long for it this year so we have to soak it up while we have it.


2. Pet Sweep

Animal-powered debris removal system. So funny, yet practical? Let’s give it a test run.

doggy sweep

Intended use:


What really happens:


I don’t really have the Pet Sweep Dust Boots, but I do have dust slippers for humans. Moose really didn’t appreciate the slippers and kicked them of as soon as I snapped this photo, but hey, It was worth a shot. Afterall, he’s the reason we have to vacuum so often around here!

3. Peonies

The peonies are in bloom and it makes me so happy to look out in our backyard and see these pink beauties.


4. Healthy Living Summit 2013

This last week, I officially registered for the Healthy Living Summit where I will be surrounded by friends, great food, fun activities, and lots of healthy living talk. Last year the summit was held in Boston/Cambridge and this year it is in Minneapolis! It’s not until September but I am already extremely excited!

hls 2012

Here are my recaps from HLS 2012 in case you’re interested:

5. Grandma’s Marathon and Half Marathon

This weekend is Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund half-marathon in Duluth, MN. Good luck to ALL of the runners out there and have fun!

funny pinterest shoes

Happy Friday my friends!!

Continue Reading Five Fun Things Friday