June 27, 2012

Dear Katie...

Dear Katie,

We miss you on weeknights.  This evening was no different.  However, you will be proud of our accomplishments.   We gathered to create your Warrior Dash costumes.  We had a few Sam Adams and practiced speaking Korean... don't ask.  You know how things get a little off track.  We documented the events for you and we will send you the big unveiling of the final product tomorrow.

And here is the video...

Yep, that's Korean.  Figure it out.  We are missing you a lot, but having a lot of fun doing it.  Hope you are having a good time.  See you soon.

Your Friends in St. Paul

June 25, 2012

Fleeting Moments

My happiness advice today from my calendar is: "Remember small moments - Look for ways to record the fleeting moments that make life sweet but that so easily vanish from memory.  Expressing and recalling your feelings amplifies the effect of happy experiences."

Is it easy to remember these small moments?  Not for most people.  There are some ways to capture these without a big time commitment.  Have you ever heard of the 30 day photo challenges?  Especially with smart phones now that all have cameras, these challenges can be fairly easy as long as you have a reminder set each day or have the list posted somewhere.  Here is one example from a great website Positively Present

It is simply a challenge to capture a quick photo of the small moments.  Things that make you happy and smile each day that you would normally just quickly forget about.  My recommendation is to complete one of these challenges and then order a small book of your instagram photos to keep in your desk drawer.  Then, if you need a little pick me up, you can simply grab the book and allow yourself to remember the small moments.

Another suggestion I have would be to start your own blog.  It doesn't take too much time and you can simply document these small moments and look back on them and smile later.  I do this often.  I finally merged the blog I had for the last few years with this one, so it is fun to look back and see what was happening in my day to day life in 2009.  If a blog is overwhelming to you or you don't want your laundry aired out on the internet, stores sell one sentence journals (or you can purchase a notebook) and all that requires is one sentence a day.  It could be something you are grateful for that day, or something you overheard.  Here is a journal that is put out by the same author that created my happiness calendar:

I like the idea of one small act of kindness each day and writing about it.  I keep this website Random Acts of Kindness bookmarked and each day they have an idea of a kindness act that you can do that day.  There was a great list of 50 in Good Housekeeping this month as well - some things are so easy, simple and cheap - and you don't know how much you could really impact someone's day.

So, give it a try.  Take a photo of the smile on your dog's face or your sleeping and peaceful child.  Write down one thing you loved about your day before you go to sleep every night.  Today, I am grateful for my father & his beautiful garden.  I went running with my mom last night on day 3 of the couch to 5k.  When I arrived back at his house, he had a bucket full of fresh picked raspberries that he wanted me to take home.  He spent at least 20 minutes picking raspberries just for me and J.  They are soooo good when they are straight from his garden and it saved me about $4.00 because I would have purchased them at the grocery store this evening.  Planting raspberry bushes in my yard in on my 30 before 30 list and the main reason is the amount of joy it brings me to have fresh fruit available all summer long.  Thanks Dad!

June 21, 2012

Update on the Flood

I found the Three Dog Blog today as I was catching up on the situation in Duluth.  I'm happy to report that many businesses are reopening today even with the damages.  The sun is shining and the governor will be making some decisions about state funding to help clean up within the next few hours.  I am still in search of ways the Bulldogs in the Twin Cities will be able to help.  Lake Superior Zoo is taking donations through GiveMN.org.  Como Zoo is going to house many of their animals until they are back up & running including the polar bear and seals that made national news.

There are so many pictures floating around Facebook and the news channels, but I still just can't believe the amount of the beautiful hillside town that has been destroyed.  So many locations of my fondest college memories have been swept away and are somewhere in the bottom of Mama Superior.  The Minnesota National Guard has been activated and will be assisting in the clean up.  I will continue to stay on top of the happenings up there and if I hear of opportunities to help from the Twin Cities, I will make sure to share them.

The great thing about Duluth and its residents is that they will bounce back rather quickly.  It is a city full of very laid back, goodhearted people that are used to Mother Nature taking out her aggression on them and their city.  Usually, it comes in the form of snow, fog, ice or wind, but they will deal with rain just the same.

In the meantime, maybe you can get a laugh from this video that some students made yesterday.  They were trying to have a little fun in the midst of the scariest storm that Mother Nature has hurdled at Duluth in years.

Jet Ski Video

And some more footage of the flooding from Youtube:

June 20, 2012

Duluth Under Water


These pictures are straight from the Duluth News Tribune website.  The first day of summer has destroyed one of my favorite cities in the world and a place I called home for 4 years in college.  The Lake Superior Zoo has made the national news.  The animals were literally washed out.  I almost cried when I read that all but one of their barnyard animals has drowned.  A seal got out of the zoo and was found a few blocks away in the middle of the road.  My heart breaks for all these people that are struggling to get around and keep dry.  The mayor has declared a state of emergency and Governor Mark Dayton will be visiting the city tomorrow, but the damage has already been done and will continue until the rain slows and the water is able to drain.  The only positive news is that the citizens might get their pothole problem under control.

The message that the mayor just sent out via social media says:

From the information that I have right now, the drinking water is safe. We have not received any reports of problems that would affect water quality. Any cloudiness is likely from air entering the system from water-main breaks.

If you have damage to your property, please document in detail with pictures. It is my intent to seek a Presidential Declaration for disaster aid which may be able to help - documentation is key.

Pandora must have an evil sense of humor. I finally had a quiet moment to collect my thoughts for a 2pm press conference and turned on Pandora - the song that just came up? "A Hard Rain is A-Gonna Fall". I'm not kidding.

The sun is coming out - we better get a rainbow. In fact, we deserve a triple-rainbow.

Hopefully, the people that live in the Northland will get help as quickly as possible.  I emailed the publicity company for the Brewhouse which is opening a new restaurant in Minneapolis, but it's home base is in Duluth.  I let them know that we could easily round up alumni from UMD that live in the cities and put together a decent fundraising effort to help the people or Red Cross.

Lots of love and prayers coming your way Duluth.  This is not the way to start the summer.  

In St. Paul, we've had some serious wind & thunderstorms.  Yesterday, we were without power for about 12 hours.  Our house hasn't been that quiet in a long time.  If it's not raining, it's humid and 95 degrees.  My mom & I started the couch to 5k last night and did a 30 minute run/walk.  It was hot and uncomfortable.  The shower in the dark bathroom with lit candles was a little odd as well.

I'll be staying on top of the news from the north and hopefully I will find a way to help the people of the city I adore so much.

June 18, 2012

Showered Anna with Love

Now that wedding season is in full swing, we have weekends booked out through September.  Showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings, rehearsals.  It's crazy, but it's always fun.  We had Anna's wedding shower at our house this weekend.  Her sister, Maddie, worked all night Friday making awesome dips and snacks.  Kendra came on Saturday morning with Ava and we made fruit pizzas and tomato, mozzarella & basil snacks.  We also cooked up 3 boxes of suddenly salad pasta salad.  You just buy the classic kind and then use Olive Oil instead of Vegetable Oil and add fun things like olives, cheese & tomatoes.

It rained all morning, but mid afternoon once we had finished opening presents, the sun came out and people were able to sit on the patio.  It was so nice to have all the girls together in one place.  It only happens a few times a year if we're lucky.  The years where there is no wedding, we're lucky if it happens one time.   No group picture this year... big mistake, but here are a couple good ones.

I did make Anna allow one game at the shower and was pretty easy.  I created a "junk drawer" and everyone had to guess how much the contents cost.  I included tiny bottles of flavored vodka, lint roller, sparklers, duct tape, paper clips, push pins, wet wipes, batteries, thank you cards, pens, band-aids, febreeze, light bulbs, and fingernail clippers.  The guesses were all over the board.  We had guesses from $35.00 to $107.00.  The correct price was $52.70.  It worked out pretty well.

Also, yesterday was Father's Day.  Justin & I started our day by going to see Rock of Ages.  I don't care what the critics say.  I thought it was amazing.

Justin didn't think that Julianne Hough was very impressive with her acting skills, but I don't think that acting is important in a musical :) Also, we decided to stop saying that we hate Russell Brand.  We don't like the things that he does, but he is funny in movies as a side kick, so he has some talent.  The REO Speedwagon song that Alec Baldwin & Russell Brand perform was amazing.

After the movie, we met my parents at Boca Chica for tacos & margaritas.  That is my second new restaurant in St. Paul - so I am slowly working on my 30 before 30 list.  I cannot believe that I have never been to Boca Chica.  It is the best Mexican restaurant in the Twin Cities.  The margaritas were amazing.  We also had a bean & cheese dip that was awesome.  I will definitely be returning.  Boca Chica Website

My father is one of those guys that has everything he needs, he has most of what he wants and he doesn't tell you what he's missing, so he's hard to shop for.  Socks and t-shirts go a long way, so does a case of beer.  I found something for father's day that he couldn't turn down this year.  I went to Patina (one of my favorite stores) and bought a book called "Outwitting Squirrels."  It has 101 creative ways to outwit the neighborhood demons.  I also purchased him Squirrel Underwear.  They are to protect the neighborhood from incidents of indecent exposure of these small animals.  He laughed so hard.  It was the perfect gift.

After a nice afternoon with my mom & dad, we headed to Blaine to meet up with my in-laws.  We had a nice dinner at Applebees.  Dan brought up a commercial he had seen for Gilligan's Island, the Musical, which is in Minneapolis for another week.  I checked online and found front row tickets for $30.00 so we are going on Friday evening.  After dinner, we made a quick stop at both Justin's sisters' houses to visit the girls.  Poor Kennedy cried when we left because she thought she was coming with us.  Maddie made my night when Justin asked her if she was a dude (because she kept saying it), she turned to him with a snotty look and said, "NO, diva."  She is quite the diva.

This week will hopefully be a little slower so I can get some things done around the house and start my couch to 5k with my mom this evening.  Progress updates to come.  Hope you had a wonderful Father's day.

June 12, 2012

Andy Cohen's got the 411

Yesterday, I happened upon a tweet from the one and only Bravo Andy about coming to Minneapolis.  I decided to Google it a bit and realized that he was heading to the Mall of America to sign his book.

I had already downloaded the sample of the book on my Kindle and was super excited to start reading it.  We all know that I adore reality television and especially the shows on Bravo.  What I love even more is the person behind all of them.  Andy Cohen is smart enough to make money off the train wrecks that are the real housewives.  He loves each and every one of them and promotes the drama that we all tune into numerous times each week.  Anna & I rushed to the mall, got our wristbands and proceeded to the bar to have a few cocktails.  We spent about an hour and a half in line.  It was well worth it.

If you don't watch Bravo, Andy Cohen is not a celebrity that you would know, but the second you tune into Bravo and find yourself sucked in a little bit, you'll fall head over heels in love with the host with the most.  His live talk show includes some of my favorite New York celebrities, for example, Kelly Ripa.  He has some sort of sexy bartender each week and plays a drinking game each evening on his show.  He also has live performances...

He was a blast to see in person and seemed sincerely interested in meeting his Minnesota fans.  I did wish he stopped referring to the Twin Cities as "Minneapolis."  St. Paul is just as awesome... but, when you don't have anyone helping you understand why, I guess it's easier to just pick one and go with it.

After waiting in line, we did get an autograph in our books and a picture obviously.  Andy Cohen - you are a gentleman and one of my favorite people in all of show business.  I will update once I've finished the book, but I know that I'm definitely excited to read it.

June 11, 2012

Finally had a BOAT day!

So, I had a feeling that summer would be hard on my blogging abilities.  Unless I take my laptop outside and sit on the patio, it's hard to find much time.  I had a great weekend (one of 3 all summer without plans.)  It included boating, date with my husband and some much needed R&R.

Saturday, my in-laws decided to take the boat out on Lake Minnetonka.  We got to the lake with beer in hand at 10:30 and didn't make it home until almost 8 PM.  We had cocktails at Lord Fletchers and Maynards, went swimming for a while at Big Island and cruised the lake.  I have a slight sunburn on the bottom of my back, but other than that, I did pretty good with the sunshine.

Justin got his first wakeboard ride out of the way.  Maddy had a blast.  She watched everyone do some sort of water sport and she kept yelling "ME GO TOO."  So...

She went "wakeboarding."  I think she'll be on skis before she turns 4.  That kid loves the water.  After boating, we went home and cheered on the LA Kings in game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.  Justin has been waiting for them to bring home the big one since he watched them lose in 1993.  He is on the road this week - flying to St. Louis today and then cruising through what he refers to as "God's Country" (Southern Illinois & Kentucky) but hopefully he will have cable in his hotel to watch games 6 and 7.

Yesterday, we had our own version of Sunday Funday.  We had to hide from the sun.  We went and saw The Dictator.  It was hilarious and extremely inappropriate.  I had pretty low expectations because every other movie that Sasha Baron Cohen has done in the past has annoyed me numerous times during the 90 minute show, but this time was different.  I wasn't annoyed at all.  It was absolutely hilarious.  What I did notice was the amount of making out that was happening around me... what a weird movie to have a "romantic" moment.  To each their own...

So, I was totally planning to lay low this week and clean my house since I'm hosting a bridal shower on Saturday, but then I saw that Andy Cohen will be at the Mall of America this evening... so, dropped my plans and called Anna immediately.  I am meeting her in her work parking lot immediately after work so we can stand in line and meet the one and only Mazel master.  Laugh all you want.  I am NOT ashamed.  Also, I'm not ashamed that I totally downloaded this song because someone said it was the anthem of summer... I'll be sick of it in a few days :)  Cheers to sunshine, drinking on the boat and Andy Cohen's genius creativity on the Bravo network.

June 6, 2012

Feeling Under the Weather... with Beautiful Weather

I spent the last few days feeling very under the weather.  I never take time off of work and I had to be home on Monday & Tuesday.  I did have the best caretakers with me though.  It was kind of fun watching my dogs from the other couch to see how they spend their weekdays.  It involves a lot of napping, a little bit of watching out the window and a little readjusting... super exciting.

Day One

Day Two
My class started up today again and thank goodness I was feeling a little better.  Two more days and I'll be able to get back to work and a normal schedule.  At least, I was able to enjoy my new patio flowers this afternoon while completing my two hours of homework.