Staff Directory 10645511

Connie Nelson

Senior editor | Lifestyle
phone: 612-673-7087
Connie Nelson is the editor in charge of the lifestyles coverage for the Variety section.
Recent content from Connie Nelson
Participants in ZeSa Fitness classes perform exercises on souped-up Bosu-style balls, called Activator Platforms, which make the exercises more challe

Intense Minneapolis workout helps you build strength – by keeping you off balance

A full-body workout, developed in Minnesota, uses unstable platforms to build strength.
Veteran runner Tom Cousins is doing his part to keep Lake of the Isles “a beautiful place.”

Lake of the Isles jogger is waging running battle against trash

Tom Cousins is at Lake of the Isles almost every morning and almost every day of the year.

Readers say when it comes to book length, 'less is more'

Many long books are fine, of course, but folks don't like books that just go on and on.
garden tools on a wooden table. view from above

Fall chores are part of living in Minnesota – do them now

A little bit of extra yard work this autumn will pay off in the spring.
Sometimes reading a long book can be a slog.

Are you tired of reading 500-page-plus 'epic' novels?

Even if the stories and the writing can't support the length, bigger has somehow become better.
A crate of Honeycrisp apples.

20 things you didn't know about Minnesota's famous Honeycrisp apples

Not only is the Honeycrisp apple celebrating 20 years of good taste, but the Minnesota-made favorite also is reminding us that it's thoroughly rooted in the North Star State.
Exercise Coach is a new ungym-like gym delivers an effective workout for everyone (except gym rats).

Hate to work out? Eden Prairie gym has the workout for you

A new ungym-like gym delivers an effective workout for everyone — except gym rats.
Not your average triathlon, Wanderlust 108 incorporates a 5K run/walk, yoga and guided meditation.

What's a 'mindfulness triathlon'? Find out July 1 in St. Paul

To gear up for the Wanderlust 108 triathlon, you might want to practice something that can be harder than running: sitting still.
Take care of yourself while you're taking care of others.

Twin Cities writer wants to help caregivers find 'balance'

Some tips on "Finding Your Joy in Compassionate Caregiving."
A local photographer catches rare sight of baby owl climbing to safety in Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, Minn.

Photographer captures rare sight of baby owl climbing to safety in Twin Cities park

Who knew that owls could climb? When an owlet fell from its nest, the fuzzy little critter was driven by instinct to get home.
Jessamyn Stanley, author of “Every Body Yoga.”

Body-positive yoga enthusiast wants to help you 'change your life'

Frank, funny, profane yogi tells everyone how to start practicing in her new body-positive book.
Dr. Sharad Paul, author of “The Genetics of Health: Understand Your Genes for Better Health.”

Better health? New Zealand doctor says it's in your genes

A New Zealand doctor explains how evolutionary biology can give you a plan for better health.
Larry Millett

Minnesota architectural writer starts new column, "Lost Twin Cities"

Say hello to "Lost Twin Cities," a monthly column by Larry Millett, a man of history and mystery. Millett is a born-and-bred Minnesotan who has…
Betsy Schow, author of "The Quitter's Guide to Finishing."

Tips on how to get what you really want, from a 'reformed quitter'

Author Betsy Schow gently instructs the quitter in all of us to set personal goals and power through to the finish line.
Tammy Jorgenson tends a boisterous boulevard garden (top) on the large corner lot of her Bayport home. Her front entry garden won a local award.

Bayport woman's passion for planting leads her to become a constant gardener

By following natures lead, a Bayport woman learns life lessons through her garden.
Renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange's 1970s annex at the Minneapolis Institute of Art includes a glass-and-brick, multilevel lobby.

Beyond building blocks: Museum as playground

For the kids who'll be attending the Minneapolis Institute of Art's Cityscapes Family Day on Sunday, architecture will be just another word for fun.
“His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet

REVIEW: 'His Bloody Project,' by Graeme Macrae Burnet

FICTION: This gripping novel set in the Scottish Highlands of the 19th century was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
Trainer Chandra Rachel, owner of Lagree MSP gym in Plymouth, demonstrated a leg lift on the Megaformer.

That's no torture device: Plymouth gym's Megaformer class offers 'Pilates on steroids'

Plymouth gym's Lagree Fitness Method uses Megaformer machine for a total body workout.
Fly Feet Running.

'Hard-charging' new Minneapolis gym pushes you to 'true maximum'

Fly Feet Running includes running, strength and mobility training and stretching.
Vincent King, a member of a local architectural photography group, took photos outside U.S. Bank Stadium.

Why these Twin Citians take photos of buildings

A group of Twin Cities photographers learn about local architecture through their camera lenses.
Louis de Bernieres

Review: 'Notwithstanding,' by Louis de Bernieres

FICTION: Quirky but true-to-life stories out of a quaint English village.
The Alpha gym at New Hope Life Time Fitness is an open room outfitted with several types of equipment, from jump ropes to cardio machines.

Want to be an Alpha? Check out Life Time Fitness' full-body workout

What it is: Alpha is a full-body workout that emphasizes what Life Time Fitness calls "functional fitness." The exercises — from walking lunges to jumping…
Old beloved books.

Bookmark: The joy of rereading old favorites

Travis sells junk. That’s what he does for a living. But he wasn’t going to sell me a hardcover of “Gone With the Wind” with…
Christine and Abby Cahill stretched before a recent run near their home in ­Plymouth. Abby was born with a life-threatening brain condition and at on

Running is freedom for 6-year-old Plymouth girl with hydrocephalus

Plymouth first-grader born with hydrocephalus loves 5Ks.
A primate ringmaster would like to welcome you to his circus. Enjoy the Show.

Review: 'Mister Monkey,' by Francine Prose

FICTION: In this sharp satire, actors on the skids put on a production of a mawkish play about a monkey.
Marisa Silver.

Review: 'Little Nothing,' by Marisa Silver

FICTION: "Little Nothing" is the tale of a tiny girl born to elderly peasants who goes through many metamorphoses.
Robert Holden

British psychologist wants to put you on 'fast track to happiness'

British psychologist and professional coach Robert Holden will speak at St. Louis Park event on how to " follow your joy."
Nick Strauss-Klein, director of Twin Cities Feldenkrais, taught a group class on the simple practice, a “science-based study of how we move in the w

How to reduce pain and gain flexibility with simple movements

Feldendkrais increases flexibility with light, easy, soft, slow and smooth movement.
Life Time Fitness’ Dan Hubley conducted an active metabolic assessment on Kathy Larrea. The test can help people plan a more effective workout.

What is a metabolic assessment, and how can it help you lose weight?

Knowing how many and what kind of calories you burn can help jump-start your workout.
Jill Merkel, performance dietitian at EXOS-Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, works with clients Lindsay Kruh, left, and Shane Swanson, of Minneapoli

Looking to lose weight? Here's how a nutrition assessment can help

You needn't be an elite athlete to get your goals, diet and activity evaluated by the EXOS-Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center in Minneapolis.
The CycleBar “theater” is decidedly upscale, with stadium-style seating and large-screen monitors.

Woodbury's CycleBar spinning workout tones your arms and your legs

Boutique gym offers spinning combined with upper-body exercise.
Patrice Koelsch, a volunteer meditation facilitator at Stillwater prison, led a session at Common Ground Meditation Center in south Minneapolis.

Mpls. meditator helps Stillwater prisoners find moments of Zen

For the past 17 years, Patrice Koelsch has been bringing quiet to a chaotic world.
Tish Watson, owner of weRow Fitness Studio in northeast Minneapolis, leads high-energy exercise classes that are accessible to almost anyone.

New Minneapolis rowing gym delivers 'one-and-done workout'

There's a revival in rowing. We tried out a class, and here's what we found.
Heavy spring snows can damage tree branches.

Snow? Cold? Now? What should Minnesota gardeners do?

Coaxed by way-too-warm weather (we've been running 10 to 20 degrees above normal), buds are breaking and tulips are popping out of the ground. Now cold and snow are in the forecast.
Want a different workout? Try aerial fitness at the Aviary in Minneapolis.

New Twin Cities gym offers aerial fitness. Yes, you can do it.

What it is: A new kind of aerial fitness class that uses hammock-like slings to provide support and resistance and get your workout off…
A caravan of buses line up on Nicollet Avenue. (Note the bus ad for defunct Midwest Federal.)

Accidental historian: New Brighton teen captures Minneapolis in the '70s

It was 1968 and Mike Evangelist was 14 when the self-described nerd from New Brighton hopped a bus with a buddy and headed to downtown Minneapolis. The 11-mile trip changed his life.
The winning essays from the 6th annual contest sponsored by the Star Tribune and the United Way.

Twin Cities area kids show how they're making our world better

Essays by Twin Cities area elementary school students reveal all the many things they're doing to make a difference.
Crates of honeycrisp apples sit at Dennis Courtier's Pepin Heights orchard in Lake City, Minn.

New York Times now dissing Minnesota's beloved Honeycrisp apples

In 2014, the New York Times christened the grape salad a quintessential Minnesota Thanksgiving recipe. Now the paper has dissed the darling of the apple world — the Minnesota-developed Honeycrisp.
Nate, of the "Big Nate" comic strip. Provided

Star Tribune weekday comic pages will replace 'Stone Soup' with 'Big Nate'

Hang onto your hat: There’s going to be a change in the Star Tribune’s daily comics. Jan Eliot, creator of the comic strip “Stone Soup,”…

One Day University in Minneapolis offers college-level classes without the cramming

Brian Little has had a distinguished career, teaching at Harvard, Oxford and McGill. Still, he loves what he calls “professing” so much that his postretirement…
Louis de Bernières

Review: 'The Dust That Falls From Dreams,' by Louis de Bernières

FICTION: The dramatic life of an English family unfolds during World War I.
Steep cliffs meet the river in the White Cliffs area of the Breaks.

Canoeing through historic lands, Montana's Missouri River Breaks

A guided trip through the Missouri River Breaks of Montana offers adventure and history in an unspoiled landscape.
Jason Hammerberg, the founder of Hammer Made men’s store, posed inside his Galleria Edina location.

Minneapolis shirt designer wants guys to lift their style game

Jason Hammerberg grew up in a typical Duluth family, the youngest son of an engineer dad and nurse mom — who loved to shop. That,…

A wet spring sets Minnesota gardens up for growth – and potential problems

As a Minnesotan, I feel a tad guilty for complaining about the weather — unless it’s 20 below. But I have to admit that our…
SAIL 8 Taking a cruise on the lake via Sail Pepin is the best way to experience the dramatic landscape around Lake Pepin.

Day trip to Pepin, a star on Wisconsin's 'West Coast'

Pepin offers a day's worth of adventure — from four-star food and wine to quaint museums and art-inspired stores. Though it's less than 70 miles from the cities, the Wisconsin village can seem a world away.
Twin Citians, grab your rakes and go to it

Twin Citians, grab your rakes and go to it

Knowing when to rake is part art, part patience. “If you rake too early, you can harm the tiny grass plants,” said Sam Bauer, a…
A 1992 home in Orono was redesigned by Yunker Associates Architecture to open up the floor plan and increase connection to the outdoors. Yunker rework

Architects: Invest wisely in your nest

Who doesn't want to feel at home in their home? Regional architects weigh in on how to make choices you'll be happy with for the long haul.
Tom and Anna Erbes, both of whom are artists, have created a garden oasis in their Minneapolis yard.

Couple display the art of gardening

A creative couple rely on a unique form of organic design to turn their front yard into an award-winning destination.
Mark Campbell

Back-yard bounty

A passionate, learn-as-you-go gardener reaps the fruits of many years of labor in his Edina yard.
Lee Hallgren has been a fearless front-yard gardener for more than 40 years, adding trees, flowers and salvaged structures to the once empty space. Hi

St. Paul city garden is front and center

A learn-as-you-go gardener transformed a small city lot into an imaginative, innovative garden.

How to shop the Home + Garden Show

  You’ve always been able to pick up a chili dog and, say, a bottle of hot sauce, some jewelry cleaner or a ShamWow at…
The winners of the United Way essay contest, from left, Maryeva Gonzalez, Marcos Odegard, Willen Nelsen, Suhuur Dualeh, William Rosin, Sophia Anderson

Meet the community builders

In their winning United Way-Star Tribune essays, Minnesota students show us the simple, often sweet ways they've changed their worlds for the better.
On Portland Ave South, Wanda King helped plow the neighbor's sidewalk with her snowblower.

Winter's early arrival puts a chill on home chores

Winter's surprise arrival caught many of us with a "to do" list that wasn't quite "done." But there are very good reasons to tackle some chores, no matter how unsavory the thought of battling the cold, snow and ice might be.
With an elevation gain of 1,100 feet in less than 3 miles, the Holbert Trail near Phoenix’s southern border is a challenging yet wildly popular hike

In Phoenix, a hike a day

The Valley of the Sun's many parks, preserves and peaks make for happy trails.
Freshen up your holiday table without heading to the store. Use your linens, dishes and accessories you already have.

Spruce up your holiday table

Set a fresh and family-friendly Thanksgiving table by using what you have around the house.
Large plant of blue-leaved hosta cultivar Guardian Angel in a red plastic pot isolated against white.

Star Tribune Greengirls host a plant swap May 18

It's time for your plants to get growing: The annual Greengirls garden swap happens next weekend.
The Greengirls, from left, are Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka.

Greengirls are back online to talk about gardens

It's official: You can rake. Just ask the Greengirls, the Star Tribune's garden bloggers, who are making their season debut.
A panel from the "Rhymes With Orange" comic strip by Hilary Price.

'Rhymes With Orange' comes to the Star Tribune's comics pages

Starting today, "Rhymes With Orange" by Hilary Price will be featured in the daily paper. Her punchline-driven panels (which she refers to as a "gag strip") also will appear on Sundays.
Robert Drayton uses his smartphone to help him find the right gifts and compare prices at Toys R Us in New York, Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. Shoppers seem

Who needs these 20 things when you have a smartphone?

The smartphone era has lightened our loads. Here's a quick look at 20 things we no longer need to lug around thanks to smartphones
Al Jaeger sits in the comfort of his car as he listens to the outdoor service of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church The church has offered outdoor su

Summer in the Cities: Heavens above

A series exploring Minnesota's favorite season.
At the annual Buffalo Roundup in South Dakota's Custer State Park, about 60 modern-day cowboys drive as many as 1,300 wild buffalo across the park's p

Dances with buffalo in South Dakota

Once simply a tool to manage the herd, the annual Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park has become a Wild West show.
Itching to be in the garden? Wait!

Itching to be in the garden? Wait!

Put down that rake. Walk away from the wheelbarrow.
The Melvilles played at the Lake Harriet Bandshell as people dined, danced, relaxed and reveled in a perfect late-summer evening in Minneapolis.

Harriet: Jewel in the crown

It's the gem in Minneapolis' sparkling chain of lakes, mixing big-city splendor with small-town charm. An added bonus: It has its own little elf.
Do It Now: Rake those leaves

Do It Now: Rake those leaves

If you have a thick layer of leaves, don't let them stay on the lawn. They can mat down over the winter and cause your…

Living Green

What exactly is being "green?" And if it's so good, why aren't we doing more of it? Here's how we all can live greener -- and why we should.
Silphium, from "Prairie-Style Gardens"

The accidental prairie advocate

With the publication of her fourth book, a local garden writer solidifies her support for growing native plants.
Drawing by Jordan, fourth grade, Plymouth Christian Youth Center

They dared to dream of a better world - and won

The students who wrote the winning essays in the "Dare to Dream" contest have big plans for improving their communities.

Record heat is putting on the growth

Some plants are loving the heat, even if you're not.
bunny rabbit

Bunnies aren't pestering gardens, yet

Early spring has spared the tulips, but given them plenty to eat.
If your ground is firm, it's OK to rake.

Grab a rake, stow the sprinkler

It's probably not too early to rake, but hold off on watering.

What's in, what's out in kitchens and baths

A national trendspotter sees a resurgence in remodeling and a renewed focus on nesting.
Jamie Durie has a new HGTV show, "The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie."

Sex-up gardening? This Aussie is trying

Garden design has never been a sexy subject. But a horticultural hottie is poised to change all that. This year, he launched yet another venture: a new HGTV show, "The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie."
A sparrow rests on a sunflower stem among prairie grasses. Native plantings help attract insects and birds to your yard.

Gardening for the general good

A nationally known entomologist has become a vocal advocate for using our gardens as places to preserve biodiversity.
The redone kitchen by designer Laurie Butler. Home looks over the St. Croix River Valley.

Before & After: Kitchen

An outdated kitchen gets a contemporary update without adding square footage or moving walls.
George Ball of Burpee Co.

Seeding the future

George Ball is bullish on gardening. But then, he ought to be. Ball is the chairman of Burpee Seed, one of the nation's largest seed, plant and supply companies. We talked to Ball - in English with a smattering of French - about "catalog creep," our hunger for new plants and the explosive growth in gardening.
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