September 22, 2017

Autumn Wish List

It is the first day of fall. It seems a little weird because it's supposed to be 90 degrees in Minneapolis today, but I'm sure I'll be complaining about the cold before we know it. The changing of the seasons always feels like a fresh start, but this one is huge for us. We are settling into our new normal and excited to explore our surroundings and spend as much time outside as possible. That means it is time to create a list. Whenever we are bored or unsure of what to do, I always reference the wishlist I posted.


1. Buy bicycles. We have moved to one of the most bike friendly cities in the country and our neighborhood was chosen specifically so we could bike to work on nice days. We are hoping to find something recycled and comfortable. If anyone knows of a good bike shop in the Twin Cities, let me know.

2. Walk/run around at least 4 new lakes in Minneapolis. There are so many within a few miles of us and I want to take advantage to get my exercise in.

3. Try some new breweries. Since we left, the brewery scene has kind of exploded around here. I've tried lots of local stuff when we've been home, but never actually been to many of the breweries.

4. Visit an Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch. One of those magical fall places that makes you feel like a kid again.

5. Travel to Boulder, CO. Two of our best friends left NYC for the Rockies about a month before we left and we are itching to get there for a weekend ASAP. Hopefully we can convince them to visit the great North at some point as well.

6. Have some grandparent time. Since moving away, the hardest people to track down are our grandparents. We are super excited to get to spend some more quality time with them now that we are within a few hours of them.

7. Enjoy some hometown football. We are back in Vikings territory and it feels wonderful. I don't know if we'll make it to US Bank Stadium this year since the Superbowl madness surrounding the stadium has already started, but we will definitely spend some time downtown with all of our closest purple wearing friends. I can't wait to show you all the new shirt I got for this football season.

8. Try and find a good concert or play to go to. Prices are way more affordable here for live entertainment and there is always something going on. I want to take advantage of this.

9. Plan a reunion with the rest of the Sweatpant Squad somewhere in the country to keep up with our annual Thanksgiving dinner. It wouldn't be the same holiday without them and a few bottles of champagne.

Before we moved away from St Paul, we were stuck in a routine. We went to the same places and did the same things day after day. We are determined to try everything this place has to offer and we already feel like we are in a brand new place.

What's on your wishlist for fall?

September 20, 2017

Tiny Country, Big Moment

It's been a few weeks, so here is another chapter of our European adventure. You can catch up with our time in Austria here. One of the most important things on Justin's wishlist was to visit Liechtenstein. That tiny little country has always fascinated him. Because we had a car, there was no reason to not detour about 20 miles of out of the way to have lunch here and explore a little.

We were pretty shocked. When you hear that it's a tiny country ruled by a prince, it sounds so fairytalelike. Once we crossed the border (it was the only place we got stopped the entire trip) we kind of felt like we were in the suburbs. Convenience stores and gas stations lined the road. We were determined to find the magic and it didn't take us long. There was a sign for a winery, so we pulled in. Of course, the lady working greeted us with a smile and set us up in their tasting room - we had the whole place to ourselves. The winery is actually owned by the prince. We tasted three different kinds and ended up taking a bottle with us to Switzerland.

After we finished sipping, we strolled through the property with great views of the castle. We found the road that goes up the mountain and we discovered that you can park right up near the castle and walk around the area. I thought that was so amazing that you could be so close to the royal family. They seem so accessible. They even open the castle doors every year on their national day.






I would recommend stopping here. There are some amazing hikes you can access and some beautiful sights in Vaduz. Make sure to read about the little country because it just has such a cool story.

We also learned after our amazing winery visit that it's actually really hard to get a tasting there, but we got there at the most perfect timing. Usually they are closed for private events or are packed with reservations. It was one of the highlights of our trip and we have the wine bottle filled with fairy lights on our barcart as a souvenir.


What's the smallest country you've visited? Do you have a bucket list item like this one?

September 19, 2017

Cheese, Wine and a Good Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #ShareWineandBites #CollectiveBias



Now that the weather is getting colder and we are back in our home state of Minnesota, weekends are spent crowded around patio tables soaking in the last few weeks of sunshine and warmer temperatures. We've been spending these moments catching up with friends and family members. Nothing brings people together more than wine and cheese.

We had plans with some friends this weekend, so we picked up two varieties of The Dreaming Tree wines (website here) and the items to make a cheese board. We spent the day snacking, sipping and watching football. It was a perfect little Sunday.


The Dreaming Tree wines were a big hit. We tried the Crush and the Sauvignon Blanc. Dreaming Tree Wines is the brainchild of Dave Matthews and Sean McKenzie. They focus on sustainability and give an incredible amount of money back to the environment. They have already donated over $1,000,000 to environmental organizations including the Wildness Society and Living Lands & Waters. They also used 100% recycled kraft paper as their labels and their bottles are a quarter pound lighter to make for easier transport. They use solar power at all their locations.

I am a fighter for the environment and do as much research as possible on the brands that I use often. I loved reading the back story on Dreaming Tree Wines and all about their commitment to sustainability.

Along with these two bottles of wine, we made a pretty amazing cheese plate. You really can't go wrong with cheese and the items that get paired along with it. Here are my tips to keep this simple and tasty.



Tips for Making an Amazing Cheese Plate:

1. Have a variety of cheese. You want to include a good variety of cheese. Everyone likes something different. I usually go with a stinky cheese, a hard cheese and a soft cheese. I always add in something weird that no one has heard of. In the board above, I picked out the yellow cheese called Mimolette and it was a huge success. Another good rule is to have cheese from different sources - cow, goat, sheep.

2. Include something sweet. I like to cut up some in season fruit to include with the cheese. I use pear slices with the stinky cheese instead of crackers. It's an amazing combination. I also like to put out a tropical fruit jam like passionfruit or guava and a small jar of honey. Most people have something already in their fridge that would work.

3. And something salty. Many people include meat on a cheese platter. Since we do not eat meat, I try and get a little creative. Crackers are easy and a great vessel for your cheese, but olives are usually my favorite. I also pick up cornichons if I can find them. Who can resist tiny pickles?

4. Put out the necessary utensils. Small cheese knives are important when serving a cheese platter, especially when you have a soft cheese. It doesn't need to be too fancy, I've used spoons in the past as well. You will want at least one strong knife to cut anything that is hard. The board is also important. We have a nice cheese board that we love using, but we also use the cutting board often. It all depends on how many people you are feeding.

5. Pair it with some delicious and affordable wines. The Dreaming Tree wines are high quality, but very affordable. You can find them at many different drug stores, grocery stores and supercenter stores. Just use their store locator here to find the location closest to you that carries it.

I've seen some of the fanciest cheese trays in my time, but I truly think that simple is best.


What are you waiting for? Try it out and let me know what you think. Cheers!



September 18, 2017

Las Vegas: A Photo Recap

We spent a lovely few days in Las Vegas last week for a work conference and extended by one day to get a cheaper flight and take advantage of our time there to have a little fun. We stayed at the M Resort for most of the week which is about 10 miles south of the strip but it has lots of restaurant options, a beautiful pool and a casino. It was awesome having Justin travel with me because we got a little relaxation time to not worry about housing and where in the USA our belongings are.

We checked out Friday and checked into the Flamingo for 24 hours to have some fun. We checked out the Neon Museum (which I will share more photos from later) and then walked 30,000 steps in and out of 90% of the casinos on Las Vegas Blvd plus an hour on Fremont Street. It was a blast and we were exhausted as we rolled our stuff onto our 8 AM flight Saturday.

Here were some of the highlights:

The warm, dry desert air and all the palm trees (even if they aren't native there.) It's nice to have a total change of scenery.

All the colors in the casinos and hotels. We visited a few new ones. This was the Aria lobby and it was one of my favorites.


The Neon Museum was one of the coolest things I've done in Vegas. I took so many pictures so I'll share more later, but you should definitely make the trip to this place if you are there.


The Flamingo wasn't the most glamorous hotel there, but with a giant fight that weekend, the prices were sky high and I enjoyed staying in the vicinity of my spirit animals.



I have no idea how these got so out of order, but this was the view from the M. We had a front row view of the sunrise every morning and I loved it. Any time I have a mountain view, I'm so happy.


The sunsets weren't so bad either.


I swear, we didn't have any fun.


I love the downtown area. It feels a little less expensive. The light show at night is pretty awesome, but we opted for a daytime adventure since it is near the Neon Museum. Plus, I found some French toast covered in ricotta cheese, blackberry jam and chives and it was amazing.


They were switching over the conservatory display at the Bellagio, but I never miss a chance to stop in there when I'm in town. This fall display looks amazing and it wasn't even close to being done. Also, the ceiling below... I just love it.



The Flamingo has tons of history and is one of the older hotels still around on the strip, but the pink tinted windows makes it stand out.


We enjoyed some beautiful evening weather at the Beer Park at Paris. We tried a few new awesome beers and watched drunk bachelorette parties play giant Jenga. It was absolutely hilarious.


The lights of Vegas definitely feel different at 32 than they did at 21, but I was surprised how much fun we had. I had kind of written it off prior to going for work, but now I'm plotting out what other kinds of desert adventures we could have.


Have you been to Las Vegas recently? What was your favorite casino? We had that discussion at length and couldn't decide between Aria, Paris and New York, New York.

September 11, 2017

Hamster Wheel


We have survived the first week. Well, almost a week. I should just get this out of the way:
We got in town Monday. The drive wasn't too bad, pretty uneventful. Yes, moving is stressful. We are sad to have left New York City, but we are happy to start this new adventure. We don't have a place to live yet. Yes, that's a little tough. We found a great AirBnB for the short term.
I have said that same paragraph at least 25 times in the last week. I told Justin that I should just make an announcement when we walk into the room. We had a wedding on Friday night and then a few smaller gatherings this weekend, so we saw a lot of people we haven't seen in a while. I'm grateful that so many people care what's happening, but it is starting to feel a little like a hamster wheel.

We are going to check out a few rental places this week before our work trip to Las Vegas, so I'm hoping we find a more permanent residence (you know, a 12 month lease.) Then we can begin the process of tracking down our stuff with the cross country moving company. Should be interesting.

In the meantime, I'm going to soak in time with my girlfriends and the last few days of summer. If anyone has any recommendations for Las Vegas, send them my way. It's a work conference, but we have a little down time and we extended one extra day to enjoy the desert air.



Happy Monday.

September 7, 2017

A Little Lost

I have all kinds of drafts half done with pictures of our apartment (my favorite place we've ever lived), our last few weeks in the city, Europe pictures, random stories, Beautycounter news and book posts - but honestly, my brain is spinning in circles and I'm skipping all of those today. Instead, I'll leave a quick update on where we are at and some thoughts on the world. Deep, I know. Don't expect anything too much.


We are in Minneapolis. We are back in the office. But we have no home.

It's a strange feeling really. 95% of our belongings are somewhere in New York being stored until we have a delivery address - hopefully they make it to us. The rest of our stuff is scattered between a couple of suitcases, my dad's guest room and our trunk.

Don't worry too much - we have a wonderful AirBnB that we are staying in while we figure out long term plans. Plus, we had a work trip already scheduled for next week, so we knew we'd already be on the road shortly after arrival. Let's just hope that we can find something for October so we can get really settled.

As a planner, I was anticipating that this approach to our cross country move would send me into a tail spin of stress. Instead, I've been relatively calm and zero tears have been shed. Instead, I've developed an eye twitch that shows up a few times a day. After 15 minutes of internet reading, I've diagnosed myself with unconscious stress. I guess it's a thing, but I'll just keep working on my deep breathing and hopefully this will go away soon.

I think the best way to describe my current mental state is a little lost. I'm still getting NYC emails and updates because I need to unsubscribe and unfollow certain things. I'm feeling so out of the loop on our friends in MN and have to figure out how to work us into their lives again. Usually we visit for a weekend and can gather everyone together, but they all have busy lives, so it's not that easy knowing that we are back now.

It's just a strange feeling and I'm not sure how to deal with it, so we are just trying to take it one day at a time. If you have any advice on making home feel like home again, send them my way.

In other news, the country is being consumed by fires and hurricanes. Taking even a second right now to complain about anything in my life is ridiculous. Please keep sending money and items needed to all the communities affected by the natural disasters happening around the country. If you don't have the means to help, I urge you to look around and start making changes in your life and how you impact the environment and the communities you live in.

Every single one of us is responsible to help this planet and our neighbors no matter what party or religion you belong to. Please.

September 1, 2017

Currently

I love the idea of moving. Going through everything you own and purging and sorting. Getting a new place to love and make a home. But the actual day of moving is a whole different story. The last two days have been a complete nightmare, but by the time this post goes live, I'm sitting somewhere in the Catskill mountains and I'm probably over it.


Let's catch up quick on non moving related items in life by the usual first of the month "currently" post.

Reading a few books at the same time. This book was given to me by my friend, Jen, and even though I didn't know who this comedian was, I'm loving it. I'm also working my way through this book which I originally borrowed from the library and was so interested that I bought it. I knew I'd want to pass it on to other people to read when I'm done. I'm hoping to have my act together for the book link up this month so I can recap some others that I've read recently.

Watching Sopranos. We had never really given this show a try, but now that we have HBONow, we figured we would check it out. 

Thinking about the people of Houston and all the areas that the storm has passed over. Hearing about the heroes and the amount of help and money that people have offered up so far. It's heartbreaking the position so many families are in and I couldn't imagine being in their shoes right now. Find out ways you can help by reading this post.

Excited to hang out with our nieces and nephew. It's been a while since we've had some quality time with those kiddos and they have grown up so much. I'm excited to see what kinds of adventures we can go on this fall. Also, there are a few new babies that have joined our tribe since we were in MN last, so we have all kinds of new friends to meet.

Counting down to FOOTBALL. I know that the preseason stuff has already started. I have two players that are already injured on my fantasy team, but I like the regular season madness. 

Wearing these sweatpants all the time. Lou & Grey has the most comfortable clothes in the entire world. 

Plotting out our fall adventures. We don't want to make concrete plans until we have a place to call home, but we are hoping to get to Colorado to visit our friends that moved a month before us and we are also planning a Thanksgiving trip with the wonderful people we've spent the holiday with the last two years. 

That's all for now. If you need me this weekend, I'll be up north breathing in all the fresh mountain air before our long road trip back to Minnesota. Reminder to get your Beautycounter orders in today if you want the 20% of the sale to go to the Red Cross. Use this link to buy.

August 30, 2017

Austria: The Hills are Alive

Another week, another round of photos from our Alpine adventure. I'm over my head in moving crap and I'm far too emotional about it today to write about it, so I'm going back in time instead. We only spent one night in Austria and it just left us wanting more. 

We drove through the western part of the country and spent the night in Innsbruck and then headed back towards Switzerland. The city was wonderful. We stayed at the Penz Hotel which has the best breakfast I've ever had with views of the surrounding mountains. 

On our way out of town, we lucked out when the main highway was closed down and we ended up having to take the back way up and over the mountains. It was one of my favorite parts of the drive. 

We will absolutely be returning to this country to see so much more of the cities and mountains, but until then - here's some of my favorite photos from that evening.















If you've missed the beginning of our trip, I recapped Munich, the land of Fairytales and the Romantic Road so far. I'll be back soon with more photos from the most breathtaking parts of the trip.

August 29, 2017

Rainy Day Gratitude

It's a rainy day in Brooklyn. My dad and godfather left town this morning after an awesome weekend of perfect weather. Now there's only 48 hours until we leave NYC. Reality is sinking in. Everything is off the walls, I'm rushing through work emails and calls and in between, I'm cleaning and packing. The movers are coming tomorrow. 

The rain isn't helping my mood. It feels like the kind of day to be a little sad. At the same time, it's just a life transition. We aren't dealing with any major issues like others in the country and around the 
world. 


So, I figured I needed to take a page from 2014 me and list out my gratitude for the week:

1. We got to go to the US Open on opening day. 13 matches going on at one time, front row seats to two different matches that were super intense, one cold glass of champagne. It was a perfect day with my dad, my godfather and my husband.

2. Our favorite neighborhood bartender knows we don't do "shots" so he poured us a beer shot last night to do a little cheers. It was an amazing double IPA. He gets me.

3. Crif dogs, dive bars and Artichoke Pizza with my favorite NYC internet friends. Thanks to this little hobby of mine, I was able to meet this blogger and we've become fast friends. We had a great night with them Friday and can't wait to plan our next adventure.

4. Salvation Army is right around the corner from our apartment making donation drop off insanely easy. I'll take anything that's easy now.

5. The GoT finale. I loved it and I'm hoping for lots of snow in their filming locations this winter so we can get the final season next year.

6. Our dogs. They are such troopers. They travel with us, move around with us and put up with us while we pack all of our stuff. We got them all freshly groomed, got them new beds and we are crossing our fingers that they put up with us through this move as well. 

7. Coffee. It's helping give me an extra boost this week while I get through the long list of things to do. It is especially tasty on a cold, rainy morning.

The people in Texas need our help right now. Make sure to take a minute today and send a few dollars to one of the many organizations working hard to get the basic necessities to these people. Seeing the news about the flooding is so devastating and we can all spare a little bit to help. We sent money to Red Cross and Austin Pets Alive and will be following along closely to see if there's anything else we can do from afar. There are so many different organizations and stores helping out, so make sure to show your support in any way possible. 

To add a little more money to the pot, I'll donate 20% of any Beautycounter sales between now & the end of the day on 9/1 to the Red Cross as well. Click here to shop.

Tell me something you're grateful for and if you have any tips to stay calm while moving. 

August 24, 2017

#trendingontwitter: White People, Science & T Swift


Is it just me or does it seem like it's almost impossible to keep up with the news this summer? I have a few favorite podcasts and by the time they are available to listen to, they are already almost outdated. It's insane. Here are some things that have been trending on the twit machine this week.

#backtoschool - Hug a teacher this week. Donate some school supplies. It's that time of year when everyone is heading back to school. Teachers will probably deal with some things this year that they never have before with the things floating around the news lately. Education is important and we all need to support kids in any way possible.

#solareclipse2017 - We spent Monday morning laughing at all the people that were freaking out about the eclipse. Then at noon, I started to feel really left out. No cereal boxes in our apartment, so I took a Wheat Thins box and followed the Skimm tutorial and made myself an eclipse viewer. We went to the rooftop and realized that our suspicions were correct. It was overhyped... UNTIL our neighbors gave us a pair of special glasses and then we were pretty amazed. You needed the glasses. We spent the next 20 minutes walking up and down our street sharing the glasses with everyone we saw. It was incredible. See you in 2024. #scienceisrealandcool


#taylorswift - She broke the internet with her snake videos and album announcement. Her song is out today. Yes I will listen to it, but I'm not going to automatically assume it's the greatest thing ever which seems to be the general consensus on the internet.

#PhoenixRally - Why are we having rallies for our president? How is this a good use of time or resources? I'm so annoyed and pissed off about this. But, I did get a good laugh when the news broke about them using an overhead shot of the Cavaliers victory parade and claiming it was the Trump rally in AZ. Fake news my friends.

#powerball - We bought our tickets, made our game plan for when we won and then lost. Same thing every time. But, a smart man once told me that you'll never win if you don't play. Meanwhile, one person in Massachusetts just became UBER rich and will probably squander it all away in the next decade because they aren't as smart as me with their plan in place. Also, the Hamilton lottery changed and now I'm sure it's rigged. BS.

#NationalWaffleDay - No thoughts on this really, except that I love waffles. Also, if you are a vegetarian, but have always wanted to try Chicken & Waffles (like me), run to Sweet Chick. They have a veg-friendly version and it will blow your mind.

#GoT - How is there only one more episode of the season? I'll be having withdrawls for months. I'll just leave this photo here for you, because we all know the real love story of the series.


#NotAllWhitePeople - I'm just going to link to the tweet right below. Read the whole string.
Also, I'm going to put together a list of all the books that were featured in the Resistance Reading posts from the bookstore I talked about yesterday. I'm going to convince my sister in law to have a tiny book club with me to work through these. Holler if you're interested because we could make it an online thing as well.

Follow me on Twitter here if interested. Tell me - do you have a powerball winning plan? Loving GoT? Doing some resistance reading? I want to know everything - comment below or tweet at me.

August 23, 2017

Books, Hair and Other Non-Important Things

Happy Hump Day. I feel like I can blog about anything I want again because I finally shared our moving news. I didn't share it sooner because we wanted to share with all of our friends here and have the conversations before posting it on the internet. Plus, I'm still fairly emotional about it. I'm sure that is going to get worse in the next few days since we are in the single digits now.


I love getting rid of stuff. The less stuff I have, the happier I am. Moving is the best excuse to purge things. We've refilled the little free library down the street and dropped off two loads of donations to Salvation Army already with one more round to go. 

Speaking of cleaning up, I'm also in the mode of cleaning out my email inbox for work and personal. I'd love to have everything caught up and cleaned up. I'm only about 1,000 emails away from that happening, so...

One of my favorite bookstores in Brooklyn shared a series of #resistancereading on their Instagram account, so I've decided to give all these books a chance. Below is just day one, they posted an additional seven days. Have you read any of these?


A new hair routine is starting for me this week. I've battled the frizz most of my life and I've struggled finding stuff that works good, doesn't cost a fortune and doesn't have all the bad crap in it. It's actually kind of disgusting what they put in hair products (read more in this article.) Beautycounter recently released a whole new hair care line and they have one called Smooth and Control line. I'm diving straight in now that I've used up the bumble&bumble stuff in the shower. Stay tuned.

Lastly, I love this song. Happy Wednesday!