Melanie has worked as a radio station news reporter, as a press secretary in the Wisconsin State Legislature and as editor of two local publications. Since 1994, she has worked as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in travel and fitness.

She has won numerous awards for her writing, most notably prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold and Grand Awards for her travel journalism. Her first book, "Thousand-Miler" (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017), is a memoir about her record-setting thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Recent Contributions

Ever been told you're as stubborn as a mule or blind as a bat? It might have been an unintended compliment. Many common sayings about animals are really off the mark.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

When you leave for college, there may be many things you want to take, but there some that you simply can't live without. You may be surprised what you find necessary.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The United States spends a huge chunk of its national paycheck on debt obligations. Where is all that money going?

By Dave Roos, Melanie Radzicki McManus & Yara Simón

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We can't all install an Olympic-sized swimming pool in our backyards, but that doesn't mean water features are totally out of the question. How can you use a waterfall, rock pond or birdbath to help enhance your outdoor space?

By Jessica Willis & Melanie Radzicki McManus

There are lots of inventive uses for old coffee grounds, including candle-making, bug prevention and de-icing roads.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Many say the pioneer of green design was the irascible Frank Lloyd Wright, but others note that sustainable architecture has been around forever. Regardless, who are some of the leading figures in the field today?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The millions of plastic containers and bottles out there don't all have to end up in landfills. There are lots of ways to give them a second life.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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With so many different colors, materials and designs available, it can be difficult to choose the best carpet for your home. These 10 tips can help you protect your investment and figure out which carpet is right for you.

By Bambi Turner & Melanie Radzicki McManus

We all know vinegar is often used in cooking and making salad dressings. But it has a ton of other uses in cleaning, beauty, insect control and more!

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

With the increase in "green building," cool roofs are becoming popular. These are roofs that have been built or modified to maintain a lower temperature in bright sun. We'll examine some of the many ways you can cool your roof.

By Beth Brindle & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Audiophiles are pretty divided in the debate of headphones vs earbuds. So, which type offers the best sound quality? Honestly, they may want to settle for a pair of each. Read on to find out why!

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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A new study shows that IQ levels have been falling since 1975, reversing a 20th-century trend.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

An extensive study looks at personal space in 42 countries, and how weather affects preferences.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

It may seem cool to stack rocks for fun or artistic purposes but moving rocks may inadvertently threaten small mammals and insects and contribute to soil erosion.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Very tall, hairy, glowing eyes – that seems to be the go-to description for a lot of mythical monsters out there, especially in America. Here are 10 to keep an eye out for.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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The name bestowed on a road depends on its size and function. And it's not just up to your neighborhood's developer either.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Crocuses are a cheery sign of spring, and the tiny, colorful flowers are easy to grow. Here's how to do it.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

From cornflakes to Silly Putty, many of the things we consume today were created unintentionally. Here are the stories behind eight well-known inventions.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Is it the country with the smallest land area? Or the fewest people? Either way, you get the same answer.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Sascha Bos

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Mold is a type of fungus, and it's everywhere — indoors, outdoors and even in the air. But is black mold worse than the rest? Is it as deadly as people say?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Austin Henderson

There are thousands of reported uses for WD-40, an aerosol lubricant that's as handy as duct tape. We look at 12 of the more creative ones we've found for this miracle product.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

A rainbow's ability to bring joy to just about anyone is probably why they're painted on kids' cheeks at fairs. But, what do rainbows mean? In this article, we'll look at rainbow symbolism from around the world.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Moonshining has evolved from backwood stills in the South. In fact, it's downright trendy in some bars. But, why is homebrewing and winemaking legal, but not distilling your own moonshine?

By Ed Grabianowski & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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There are seven different numbers you might see on a plastic container. And each number has its own meaning.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Desiree Bowie

Can a Halloween attraction be sued for being too scary? It's already happened. When else did attractions get out of control — at least for some visitors?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus