Roses in Bloom at the Lyndale Park Rose Garden

 “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it”. – Mary Oliver

Two weeks ago I went to the beautiful Lyndale Park Rose Garden next to Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to marvel at the beautiful spring flowers. Our summer so far has been temperamental. Wet, cool, thunderous and bursts of sunshine. Coincidently, the weather seems to have matched my mood.  To tame the stirring inside my soul, I have began practicing mindfulness and the art of living in the now. To paying attention to the moment and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It has immensely helped slow down my type-A personality who prefers to be moving all the time, whether at home or on the road.

Like the Rose Garden, I am amazed at the subtle transformation that just a few weeks can bring. Two weeks ago there were no roses in bloom and today it is a brilliant burst of life and color. Similar to my soul, the change of daily meditation and mindfulness has been immense.  For that I am truly grateful.

Take a walk with me through the Rose Garden. Close your eyes for a moment and hear the song of the birds and breathe in the delicate fragrance of the roses.

“You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre – but who shall command the skylark not to sing?” – Kahil Gibran

“The real happiness of life is to enjoy the present, without any anxious dependence upon the future.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca  

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Rose Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A Visit to the Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Late Spring

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous”. – Aristotle

I adore the Lyndale Park Rose Garden not far from my home in Southwest Minneapolis, and try to stop there a few times throughout the spring, summer and fall to see what flowers are in bloom. I am never disappointed as it is always so beautiful and peaceful. I run, walk and bike regularly around Lake Harriet which is right next to the Rose Garden yet I rarely take the time to wander inside its lovely gardens. The Peace and Perennial Gardens are my favorites and if I am feeling like I truly need an escape from urban life, I wander behind the gardens into the Roberts Bird Sanctuary where I have seen owls, woodpeckers and even bald eagles.

Early Spring is always a wonderful time to visit as I am craving color and life after a long, cold winter in Minnesota. Unfortunately this spring was wet, cold and difficult meaning I did not venture to the Rose Garden until just this past week. I am so glad I did because the peonies were all in their final stages of color and brilliance. A select few of the roses had bloomed as well.

Rose Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rose Garden, Minneapolis, MinnesotaThe Rose Garden is the second oldest public garden in the United States and was designed in 1908 with row after row of rectangular plots that can fit over 3,000 plants in 100 different varieties. It is run and managed by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board which also maintains Minneapolis’ vast park system that traverses the city and its lakes.

“So come, and slowly we will walk through green gardens and marvel at this strange and sweet world”. – Sylvia Plath

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Ely, Minnesota

The Shine of Fall

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” –  George Eliot

This morning I took a run around my favorite urban lake and was amazed to see how fast the leaves were falling. We had just returned from a week away in the heat and sun of Florida and in that week it feels as if autumn has come and gone. Despite the warm weather, the leaves are past their prime and falling like rain throughout the air. Swirling colors or red, orange and yellow fly through the sky like birds and land piled up on the sidewalk.

The shine of fall is on its way out and there are only a few more weeks left until we reach the barren browns of November. Fall is always one of my favorite seasons in Minnesota as the light is so intense and the colors are truly a testament of the magic of Mother Nature. The air is pure and I feel so alive with energy. I try to take as much of it as I can possibly can, and store it inside me to help get me through the cold, colorless days of winter that lie ahead.

Sometimes it works. But usually I have to fly south at least once during the winter months for a break. I am lucky I can otherwise I would find it very difficult to survive a long Minnesota winter without walking barefoot in the sand or feeling the wind against my legs.

As for now, I reflect on the gorgeous colors of the shine of fall and what remains. Here are some of my favorite photos from fall in Minnesota.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. –  Albert Camus

 

Minnesota Fall Leaves

“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt”. –  William Allingham

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Looking up to the Sky

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow”. –  Helen Keller

Lately I’ve been a lot of looking up. Craning my neck to look up to the sky and watch the clouds move or capture the illustrious hues of a summer sunset in Minnesota. For me, looking up has always been something that inspires me in a metaphorical kind of way. I often think about my favorite Helen Keller quote and of all the obstacles she had to overcome in life to achieve her dreams. I am reminded to look up more often instead of looking down or even worse, away.

Sunset Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis MN

I have been spending a lot more time this summer chasing the sunset. Perhaps getting a new puppy has inspired me to get out even more than I normally do (which is a lot as I love being outside). Yet little did I know how important it was to find peace and beauty each and every day by watching the sunset. Even if I only am there for a few brief moments to look up and capture the spectacular dance of changing colors and light, it has an extraordinary impact on me. I feel lighter footed when I leave and more connected to our planet and the comings and goings of each day. Furthermore, I finally feel at peace. 

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sunset on Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

Pure Minnesota

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator”. –  Mahatma Gandhi

There is nothing more spectacular than a Minnesota summer. After a long, snowy and cold winter when the sun sets before five summer arrives and the world comes to life again. The birds sing, the air smells of flowering trees, and the sunsets that grace our 10,000 lakes are out of this world.

I am fortunate to live in a large city that is filled with culture, fantastic restaurants and tons to do but is also blessed with nature. Minneapolis is nicknamed the “city of lakes” and right outside my door is one of four urban lakes that flows through the heart of the city. I spend time here almost every single day, year round, running, biking and walking. They even plow the snow off the running and biking trail in the winter.

I’ve seen bald eagles, loons, muskrats, red foxes, turtles, blue herons, white egrets and even wild turkeys, all along my most favorite urban Lake Harriet. It never ceases to amaze me that in the heart of a city you can see so much nature.

My most favorite time to enjoy the lake is in the summer when the sun doesn’t set until almost ten o’clock and it is warm, humid and inviting. Last night, I took a walk before bed to catch a glimpse of the dramatic sunset. It had been hot, humid and stormy yesterday so I know I’d get a purely sensational sunset and I was right. Here is pure Minnesota in all its glory. It is not fly-over land like some east and west coasters like to call it. It is beautiful and I sometimes have to pinch myself how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful place.

sunset on Lake Harriet, Minneapolis MN

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Mural of Prince in Uptown by Artist Rock Martinez.

Minnesota rains purple mourning the death of Prince

“There’s a few legends left and he was one of them…The mural helps with the grieving process.” – Rock Martinez, artist of mural below located at 26th St and Hennepin Ave in Minneapolis. (Star Tribune)

Mural of Prince in Uptown by Artist Rock Martinez.

Mural of Prince in Uptown by Artist Rock Martinez.

There has never been any public figure so dearly beloved by Minnesotans as Prince. The shocking news of his death last week has brought my hometown to its knees, raining purple tears and bursting into all night dance celebrations in remembrance of the enigmatic super star that put our amazing state on the world map.

Since his death, thousands of Minnesotans have been flocking to Prince’s fortress Paisley Park in the western suburb of Chanhassen to what has been called “Ground Zero” for remembering and honoring Prince. All night dance parties have continued outside the famous First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis where he first found his fame in the early 80s playing at the club and filmed much of his 1984 hit movie “Purple Rain”.

A sea of purple yesterday at Paisley Park. 

As a born and bred Minnesotan, his loss and the ongoing celebration of his remembrance has been stunning. I have never in all my years living here witnessed anything like it. Even our bridges and buildings downtown glow at night in purple light, and it feels like our entire town has been raining purple.

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Flowers at Macy's Secret Garden

A Burst of Color at Macy’s Secret Garden Show

This has been a very long winter. It has been known as the coldest winter in 30 years with 50 days below zero degrees (our average is 20). Even our local weatherman Paul Douglas made fun of our unbearable winter with a badge we could wear that said “I survived the worst winter ever”. Although it is technically spring, sadly our winter is long from over.

Yesterday feeling the effects of a long, harsh winter on a whim I drove to downtown Minneapolis and headed to some much needed color and inspiration at the Macy’s Secret Garden Show. As I rode up the escalator to the eighth floor auditorium, I could smell the delicious fragrance of flowers that became happily overpowering as I headed to the entrance. I was entranced by that long forgotten smell.

As soon as I stepped inside The Secret Garden I was in heaven. My pure white world exploded into vibrant hues of pinks, reds, yellows and orange. Those long forgotten pleasures to the eyes that brought a smile to my tired soul.

Come, take a walk with me through Macy’s Secret Garden. Close your eyes after and inhale the sweet fragrance of a million flowers.

Flowers at Macy's Secret Garden

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Lake Harriet Minneapolis Minnesota

A Glorious Fall Day in Minneapolis

Today is a glorious picture perfect day in Minneapolis. A day that makes me feel incredibly happy to be alive, breathing in the fresh crisp fall air and marveling at the gorgeous display of Mother Nature’s brilliant fall beauty.

I took a run around my lovely urban Lake Harriet, reflecting on what is on my agenda for the week. I couldn’t stop taking pictures along the way. It was so heartwarmingly beautiful that all my worries and concerns drifted away. That is what nature is supposed to do. To refresh, revitalize and invigorate you. My dad has passed on his love for nature and being outside to me. In honor of his birthday, here is a collection of photos taken today on my run. October 7th always marks the peak of our fall colors in Minneapolis. I can’t think of a better birthday gift than the beauty of nature.

“Happiness is largely an attitude of mind, of viewing life from the right angle” – Dale Carnegie

Lake Harriet Minneapolis Minnesota

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Lake Harriet Rose Garden Minneapolis

A Look Inside Minneapolis: The Lake Harriet Rose Garden

One of my favorite places to savor the change of the seasons in my hometown is the Lake Harriet Rose Garden. Located just a short block off my favorite urban lake, The Lake Harriet Rose Garden always inspires no matter what time of year.

Lake Harriet Rose Garden Minneapolis

My two favorite seasons to capture the color inside the Rose Garden are Spring and Fall. Different perennials pop up each month and it is always exciting to see what I will find. After a hot couple of weeks, today finally felt a bit more like fall. The brilliant blue September sky cast its luminous glow across Minneapolis and I knew I’d have to go take some photos of the beautiful fall flowers at the Lake Harriet Rose Garden. Here is a peak at what I found. Enjoy!

Lake Harriet Rose Garden Minneapolis

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Eclectic dining at Piccolo in Minneapolis

Monday night I had the pleasure of showing off my amazing town and its progressive dining scene to a couple of travel, foodie and photographer bloggers, Anita’s Feast and her husband Tom from Switzerland. I had met Anita last year at BlogHer in New York and we have kept in touch via social media ever since.  Little did I know, her husband and travel photographer Tom Fakler is originally from Minnesota and had recently spent a few months in Nepal on a photography trip volunteering for an NGO.  When I heard they were coming to Minneapolis to visit family, we scheduled a date to meet for coffee to catch up. We had so much to talk about that meeting for dinner was inevitable.

Since Anita is a travel and food blogger I had to pick somewhere wonderful to show off our town and it’s amazingly diverse dining scene.  Piccolo, a small eclectic restaurant nearby my home was the first place that came to mind.

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Minnesota Madness: Sunsets, Storms and a Misplaced computer

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The weather has turned crazy. After a painstakingly, long, grueling “sprinter” as we like to call it here in Minnesota (a winter than never ever ended and moved right into spring), we are now faced with one of the wettest, stormiest starts to summer that I can ever remember.

On Friday night, while we were out to dinner on the other side of town, a vicious maddening storm swept through the metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul with a vengeance. I honestly had no idea it was coming save the loud beeping warning blinking on my cell phone saying “flash flood warning”. Within moments of that text, insane winds and torrential downpours of rain struck the streets of Northeast Minneapolis and I was about ready to look for the Arc. It was absolutely insane. The city streets were flowing like an angry river and the gutters had so much water that they were sputtering and shooting up water. The few brave (or stupid) cars tried to drive through the mess while I just stared out the huge glass windows of The Northeast Social wondering what on earth was going on with this crazy weather.

An hour after the storm, our drive back to Southwest Minneapolis would prove daunting. Street after street was flooded with water, cars were stuck, trees were down and traffic lights were out. The next morning we would realize how fortunate we were to not be one of the 590,000 homes and businesses around the Twin Cities without power.

My run around my beloved lake was filled with dismay. Enormous beautiful trees were uprooted and laying across the path. Severe straight-line winds up to 60-80 mph had torn through the Twin Cities tearing out thousands of trees. In fact, the estimate of downed trees is likely to surpass the 3,200 trees lost during the 2011 tornado that tore through North Minneapolis. My favorite Minneapolis weatherman Paul Douglas wrote in today’s Star Tribune that “Friday’s severe straight-line winds created a damage swath consistent with a 15 mile wide EF-0 to EF-1 tornado”. Just plain scary.

Meanwhile us hearty Minnesotans are enduring our crazy weather bracing for the next round of storms coming in soon. It is hard to be upset with Mother Nature. Now that it is finally summer, most of us Minnesotans are going to do what we love best: Enjoy our over 10,000 lakes. With all the storms, comes sensational sunsets late into the night, fresh lake air, birds singing, flowers blooming and the beauty of nature that keeps us here. There is no place like Minnesota in the summer.

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Stay tuned…My computer is in the Apple shop being repaired and may not be back soon as their other store has no power! There is a backlog. Once it is back, I hope to work on my photos from the South of France and share them here.

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A visual feast at Macy’s Painted Garden

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 9.41.47 AMThis year’s Macy’s Flower Show is a definite stunner to the senses. The theme is The Painted Garden and is inspired by the colorful, brilliant flowers, jewels and market hues of India and Southern Asia. For most Minnesotans like myself, who are literally starved of color right now, the rainbow hues of the Painted Garden offer a visual feast to our hungry eyes.

As you walk through the room, all at once you are at peace as you smell the fragrance of a thousand flowers. Gentle background music lightly hums in your ears, and the room is an elaborate display of colors ranging from a magnificent variety of tropical flowers to the brightly colored hanging umbrellas and gorgeous paintings along the walls.

I still can’t decide what my favorite flower or work of art is at the Painted Garden. But I’d have to vote either for the centerpiece of the show, the elaborate, exotic elephant sculpture which proudly wears a blanket made of 20 different species of dried and fresh plant material or the insanely surreal Phalaenopsis Blue Orchids which are out of this world.

Come, take a look for yourself at some of the gorgeous flowers that paint the 8th floor of Macy’s department store in downtown Minneapolis. You will not leave this post disappointed!

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