Having Fun in Lansing-Winter 2014


This last weekend it struck me that despite the cold the Lansing area seems to have quite a few activities going on. My family and I were able to attend the Harris Nature Center’s Winter Festival for the first time.  I had found the event posted on Facebook and when I saw the Samoyed dog sleds I knew I had to go. I had owned a Samoyed, Sparty, for 15 years and I still miss him three years after losing him. I had a blast hanging out with these sweet dogs.


The twins had a lot of fun at the ice carving areas where ice bowling and snowball tossing was taking place. Just as we were heading out the twins took to the idea of skiing for the first time. Despite mom & dad being super cold, we decided to let the kids try it out. They each had a great time and both were pretty good. 



At the same time as the winter festival at Harris Nature Center another fantastic tradition was taking place; the Cardboard Classic races at Gier Park Community Center. If you’ve ever followed my City Saunter Blog you would know that I personally love Gier Park for sledding. To me, it’s the perfect hill. The Cardboard Classic is a once a year racing competition. There is a small fee that goes towards the Gier Community Center Youth Fund so it’s definitely a wonderful way to have fun and help out the community.


So now that I’ve told all the events you’ve missed, here are some still coming up!

CCFF & MBC Free Brew & View Series


With Capital City Film Festival right around the corner they decided to add a little extra entertainment to the schedule. They are hosting three free movie viewings at MBC in Lansing that include some pretty great food and beverage deals. The first is Groundhogs Day on January 30. Before each feature a few movie shorts will also be presented. For all the details and more information click here.

Arts & Craft Beer Festival


This event is being held at the gallery that I manage, AA Creative Corridor (the old Art Alley). It is hosted by the geniuses behind I’m A Beer Hound and the owner of  “REO Town Pub”, Roxanne Landes. The event will not only showcase Right Brain Brewery but many local artistic works including the City Saunter Exhibit. Tickets can be purchased here.

Hawk Island Snow Park


In 2011 construction began on the new Hawk Island Snow Park. This urban snow park is one of its kind in the country and resides solidly in Lansing. This year round park is a staple for events, picnics, swimming, exercising and many winter sports. If you haven’t tried this place out, you should before we start to warm up.


Fenner Nature Center

On february 7, 2014 Fenner is offering a winter night hikes from 6-8. Travel the trails in the evening to explore the activities of nocturnal animals. Then you can finish your walk at the bon fire where you can roast marshmallows.

If you are looking for something in a warmer month Fenner will also be hosting their annual Maple Syrup Festival. My family has attend this event every year and it’s always a blast. Interestingly enough, when we went in 2012 my daughter wore a halter top!




If you’ve been craving some intellectual stimulation, then TEDxLansing 2014 will be perfect for you. This event has produced quality events every time. TEDxLansing conference will be held February 28, 2014 at the studios of WKAR. You can purchase your tickets here.


Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is Friday February 14.



Don’t be SAD this winter

It’s January. It’s January in Lansing, MI. It’s January in Lansing, MI in the year 2014, which by most accounts, has been one of the most “winter-like” winters we’ve seen around here in a long time. We’ve had snow on the ground almost constantly from the end of November last year until now. It’s also been extremely cold. This time of year is often difficult for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, like me. When there’s an extra long, dreary winter like there has been this year, it’s even more difficult to handle the doldrums, melancholy and sadness that can sometimes seep in during a Michigan winter. I’d like to offer up some of my remedies, not as a professional, because if you are a serious sufferer you need to seek professional treatment, but as someone who finds these winter greys a bit too much sometimes.


  • Exercise: I know this one seems obvious but there’s a lot that goes into winter exercising. I honestly love exercising in the winter. But I think the trick is finding the activity that you really like to do, that’s worth going out into that cold for. There’s a few extra steps needed for winter fun. The first is clothing. All Michiganders are taught at an early age to layer. This is especially important while exercising outside. You can layer socks, gloves, shirts and pants. Always bring more than you need as you can add more as needed but only if it’s on hand. Some of the activities I like to do are ski and sled. There’s also walking, running, skating, tobogganing, ice fishing, shoveling, snow sculpting (playing in the snow), snowball fighting, and snow football. A second thing to remember is bring water! Most outdoor water fountains are shut off this time of year. It’s really important to bring your own. A third thing is you do get warm while exercising outside. Even though it’s negative 12 wind chill you are exerting energy, probably more so than in the warmer months. I’ve come home from skiing with all my layers drenched. My final suggestion is to get dry and warm fast! The worst part of winter activities is getting wet and chilled and not being able to warm up. Be prepared with dry clothes, heat, warm drinks or even a dip in a hot tub or shower if you can.


  • Color:  It’s that time of year where everything is grey, white or grey/white. Wear brightly colored shirts. I love wearing super bright knee high socks or slippers. Put a bow in your hair. Do anything that adds some color to your day. If by chance there’s a blue sky, don’t let it go without a notice. You really have no idea when you’ll see that gorgeous blue again.


  • Sunshine: From November until March true warm on your skin sunshine is hard to find. But when it does come out you just hang onto it and don’t let go. Sit in the window, go for a drive, take a walk, and enjoy it. 


  • Flowers: This idea stems from both a color perspective and a desperate need for spring. At any time you need, go and buy some bright flowers. Put them in a vase and enjoy their beauty. There is nothing more refreshing than some glorious spring flowers. And men, pretend you are buying them for your significant other or daughter and enjoy them too.


  • Food: I am constantly craving starchy carbohydrates this time of year. Don’t do it. They may make you feel better momentarily but the heavy, bloating feeling they cause a few hours later just isn’t worth it. These types of food may also affect your mood. There is much discussion about wheat and its negative effects on behavior. If you feel you might have problems with wheat, eliminate it for a while and see if it makes you feel better. As with the flowers, I suggest bringing in color again. This is a great time of year to eat brightly colored vegetables. You can make them into warm, yummy soups or sauté with a bit of olive oil. Add your fruits too. Florida oranges are usually pretty cheap right now. All those A,B, & C Vitamins, will do a bunch of good for your mood. Don’t shy away from chocolate too. It has been known to elevate serotonin levels which are the feel good hormone. Try dark chocolate if you can, it’s better for you. Other foods I like are hot teas especially peppermint and chamomile. Always consult with a doctor about your diet. These are just some of my techniques to get me through the winter months.


  • Remove Negativity: For the first time ever, I had to take a Facebook fast. For whatever reason I was not able to filter out the negative posts, comments and activities like I normally can. I was letting it get to me and it was really depressing me. If you are being influenced by negative thoughts or ideas you really need to balance that with some positive. Most negative thinking is false thinking. Think about the things you tell yourself. Now examine it. Does it really ring true? If someone said the same thing to you would you believe them? Would you be willing to sit your child down and tell them, honestly, that those names or ideas you keep telling yourself are true? Don’t be your worst enemy, be your best friend. It is true that people will treat you like you treat yourself. Eliminate all negative self talk and see you it doesn’t enhance your mood.


  • Be realistic: As much as all this dreary weather can wear on us, always remember it too shall pass. The buds of spring are really much closer than we think. Even though the calendar says spring is two months away, we know in our hearts that there’s always a bit of hope at pretty much any time now. Ground Hog’s Day is only 12 days away and Valentine’s Day is 12 days after that. Add another two weeks and we’re at the beginning of March. That’s not so bad.


Again, S.A.D. can be a serious condition. This blog in no way represents medical advice. If you are having serious symptoms you must seek out a professional. This blog represents personal ideas and should not be mistaken as medical advice.

Ariniko O’Meara is a natural light photographer in the Lansing, Michigan area. She specializes in family photography including candid and portraiture shooting styles.  All photographs within in this blog are protected under copyright law. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014

First Blog

I’m not really certain how many blogs a person should have. I have one for my three year project that journeyed me through every street in Lansing, Michigan. I also have a blog for my professional photography page. This will be my third blog and will host my personal thoughts, ideas, interests and hobbies. I hope you all don’t get bored of me. I will work hard to keep that from happening. If you have any pointers, ideas, interests and hobbies you’d like to share, I would love to communicate with you about those.

Well it’s game day. The MSU Spartans are in the Rose Bowl. I remember 25 years ago when I was a senior in high school watching them play then. How exciting!


Hope everyone has a great New Year’s Day!