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

These days, more people buy with credit than with cash. Learn all about credit cards, from the numbering system to how you can get rid of that high-interest balance.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Jigsaw puzzles are fun to solve, but can be frustrating, too. Here are some tips to help you finish those difficult puzzles with ease.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Whether it's the Nativity display in the public square, the store clerk who says "Happy Holidays" or the tacky holiday sweater, there's something to offend everyone in the season of goodwill.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Don't toss those used dryer sheets! This versatile product can be reused for a wide variety of additional purposes. New sheets can be used for other things beside preventing static cling.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Can't say "Xmas"? Sure, you can! Despite (or perhaps, because of) Christmas' popularity among Christians and non-Christians alike, there are lots of myths connected with this holiday.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Just like workers in any field, Mafia members are changing with the times and running some old schemes in new ways. What businesses does the Mob have its hooks in, and how does it maintain control?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus & Melissa Phipps

White and brown sugar differ a lot more than just on color. And within each type are several different varieties.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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He's said to have predicted the rises of Napoleon and Hitler, the destruction of the World Trade Center and even the Covid-19 pandemic. But was this 15th-century physician and astrologer really that smart?

By Tom Harris & Melanie Radzicki McManus

A friendly gesture in one country might be a highly insulting one in another. Here are 10 rude gestures that you'd better be sure you're using correctly before trying them out.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Did you know no two people see the same rainbow? Or that they contain 1 million colors — not just the handful we learn in school? Find out how to make your own rainbow — or, if you’d rather, how to make one disappear.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The U.S. Supreme Court may be the highest court in the land, but the justices that sit on the bench do get things wrong. It doesn't happen often, but here are 12 Supreme Court cases in history that have been overturned.

By Ed Grabianowski & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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As they say, if we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it. And as these 10 historical events prove, humans seem to be more prone to repeating than learning.

By Clint Pumphrey & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Depending on the test and other factors, false positives can be extremely high for certain tests. Why is that, and what can be done about it?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Dishwashers are not very mechanically complex. We'll show you how they work from the inside out, plus tell you how to get the most out of yours.

By Ed Grabianowski & Melanie Radzicki McManus

Parents in the U.S. are spanking their kids much less often than they did in the past. A study looked at the decline between 1993 and 2017.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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The story of Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack, is one of the most enduring tall tales in North America. Most of us assume that the character is a fictional creation, but was he actually based on a real person?

By Debra Ronca & 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

Private browsers and search engines offer much more protection than using a regular browser or search engine, or a browser with privacy mode-enabled. They can shield your sensitive data, ward off third-party ads and trackers, and provide a safer browsing experience.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

You'd think that everyone who works in Hollywood is filthy rich, but many of the best-paying jobs aren't the ones you immediately think about. Here are 10 to watch.

By Dave Roos & Melanie Radzicki McManus

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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

Whether it's finding out the identity of the painter Banksy or wondering who is the real "Girl with a Pearl Earring," there's no shortage of mysteries and intrigue within the world of art.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Cities across the globe are banning or limiting cruise ship traffic, while critics are challenging the resulting loss of revenue. Why do cities want them gone and is there a way to make everyone happy?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Hydrogen peroxide is most likely in your first-aid kit. But it can be deployed for a whole variety of cleaning, gardening and beauty purposes you may have never ever thought of.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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Insurance fraud scams -- including staging accidents and creating fake titles for nonexistent cars -- cost Americans tens of billions of dollars a year. And unfortunately, they've become more prevalent. How do savvy insurance agents suss them out?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Throughout history, charismatic leaders have emerged and changed the world -- for better or for worse.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus