Wednesday, December 31, 2014


*FTC Disclosure: I was provided a month free of classpass to try out in exchange for promotion of the program, all opinions are my own. 

Every once in a while this little blog affords me the opportunity to do something really neat. 
This is one of those times. 
I was contacted by Jess to participate in the launch of classpass in Minneapolis. 

What is classpass? 

Since they'll explain it better than I ever could: 

Basically it's a REALLY SWEET alternative to a traditional gym membership. 

I have a lot of friends who love Pure Barre and Corepower Yoga, and other boutique fitness clubs. BUT like most people, I love some variety. This is, in large part, why I haven't ever committed to joining a single studio. Classpass lets you do just that: for LESS than the cost of a traditional gym membership, you get to take unlimited classes at multiple types of studios (no more than 3 times at each studio). 

Another plus is it lets you discovery new studios that you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend! AND even better? No yearly membership requirements. It's month by month, no commitment. 

Check out to see a list of participating studios as well as the FAQ page for more details! No better time to start on those New Years resolutions...right? ;-) AND Classpass is already in NINETEEN other major cities- check out the FAQ for a list of the cities! 

Me? I'll be yoga-pilate-cycling it UP this month. Follow along on IG (kellybea14) with #classpass  #livingthesweatylife #ClassPassMinneapolis. I'll post some studio reviews and updates on here as I go as well!

Monday, December 29, 2014


Checking in after a long and relaxing Christmas weekend chock full of family and friends. 
We had Matt's dad and his girlfriend, two sisters, and a 60 pound German Shepard named Elsa under our 1,800 square foot roof.

It was cozy and chaotic, name because TJ spent the better part of those 48 hours terrorizing and beating on Elsa to the point that the dog was keeping a 2 foot wide berth away from TJ. Hilarious. 

Elsa opened her own gifts, which was equal parts adorable and messy. 

I didn't spend a lot of time taking photos, in fact beyond the usual snaps of TJ, these two were all I got. 

In other news, an update on my hit and run drama. 

I'm knocking on wood as I share this because it hasn't been wrapped up in totality, but I have a good feeling about where it's headed (barring a battle with the insurance company). 

Last I shared, I wasn't hopeful anything would come from it because MPD seemed to indicate that a no-injury hit and run wouldn't be pursued in the same manner as an injury one. Shortly after that call I got a letter from MPD saying they sent a certified letter to the vehicle owner asking them to identify insurance within 15 days or they would flag his car, impound it if the saw it, and revoke his license. 

Shortly after receiving the letter, I was contacted by an officer. He asked me again for a brief narrative of the situation and a physical description of the driver. I gave it to him and he asked if I thought I could identify him if I saw him again. I said yes, I most likely could: I've always prided myself on my memory, so I was feeling pretty confident. He then told me he'd put together a photo lineup for me to look at. O_O. 

Last Monday I was contacted by the officer saying he'd assembled the photos and asking if I could come in. It's not at all how it goes in the movies- I was only allowed to look at one photo at a time, which was printed on an 8x11 (not that 6-photos-per-page stuff you see on TV) but I could go through the order as many times as I wanted and spend as long as I needed with each photo. There were 6 photos that he shuffled into a random order. I remember getting through a few photos and then getting to one and instantly thinking, "YEP, that's him." ... I set that photo apart a little and continued through the rest. I went through them again rather quickly, and was even more confident he was the right guy. The whole thing took me about 2 minutes. 

The officer never indicated clearly whether I had gotten it right but say immediately after he had a feeling the city attorney would be bringing misdemeanor leaving-the-scene charges, and that he'd be supplementing the report with insurance information-- turns out the guy had called and provided his info between receiving the letter and the lineup. 

We got the updated information yesterday and are sending it through my insurance. The irony is we both have the same provider, so.. it remains to be seen whether that complicates or helps the process. Ha! 

The moral of the story is, don't hit someone and drive away. Especially after they tell you they're a lawyer. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Sometimes trolling pinterest leads to a false sense of confidence regarding your woodworking and furniture making abilities. 
Other times it finally inspires you to try something you otherwise wouldn't have.
After oogling farmhouse tables on pinterest for eons, last weekend M and I decided to take action. 
There was one small problem- we didn't want to invest TOO much money in one since in a future home, we know we'd want to have a much larger table for entertaining. That being said, our current table wasn't cutting it. 

Here it is again, as a reminder. Lots of crap on it for special effect: 

We actually bartered with the previous owners for this table, and got them to leave it behind. It fit the space well: since we don't have an actual dining room, it's just kind of butted up against the wall. It was fine for the two of us.. or even four people (we'd pull it away from the wall to seat 4 around the table), but any more than that and we were doing a "move all the furniture out of the living room, drag up a folding table, connect the two for one giant table" song and dance. No bueno. 

So, after hearing dozens of bloggers rave about the kreg jig - I decided I was brave enough to con Matt into a weekend project with me. A kreg jig is a small tool that allows you to drill pocket holes in wood. In other words, it's the preferred method to join a bunch of plans of wood together seamlessly from below without any nails showing. At first we discussed just covering our old table with wood to use it as a "form" for the table. I was a bit nervous to build something from scratch. As he was drifting off to sleep he said we should look at salvage yards for a metal base. That got my wheels turning, so as he snoozed.. I scoured pinterest for a game plan. 

Lo and behold I found this!

There were several tutorials on Pinterest on how to build an industrial pipe base table. They were modeled after a West Elm table that runs $2,000. O_O. 

The above pin used a butcher block counter top, but we wanted the look of planked wood. So, after spending some time over coffee sketching out plans and dimensions and calling Home Depot, we were off for supplies. 

The best part about this table was, most of the pipe segments we needed were already pre-cut lengths. This means the only one we had to have cut was the long support pipe that ran the length of the table- which Home Depot cut for us and threaded the end of the pipe for free. Our shopping list for pipe and wood went like this: 

  • 5 2x6 planks of wood cut to 30"
  • 1 1x3 plank of wood cut to 4 segments of 28" (to brace under the table top for added stability)
  • 4 3/4 inch pipe at 8 inches
  • 4 3/4 inch pipe at 18 inches
  • 8 floor flanges (4 for the feet for support, 4 to go into the bottom of the table to attach the top)
  • 4 threaded only pipe connectors (the entire piece was about an inch and a half of just threads to connect the feet to the base) 
  • 6 T-connectors
  • box of 3 inch screws for pocket holes
  • 1.5 inch screws for bottom supports
of course if you don't have stain for the wood, poly, or spray paint for the pipes, you'll need those in your desired color as well. All the pipe we bought was galvanized steel, and I wanted it darker, so we bought Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. Total for all the supplies was just under $200. 

We took the pipes and wood home and began assembling the base. (I should note - the original post called for 18 inch pipe, a connector, and 8 inch pipe to make up the height of the pipe base. We realized that would make it essentially a bar-height table and knocked out the 8 inch pipe- which made it the perfect height!) 

Taking out that 8-inch segment meant we needed something threaded to connect the T's at the base the flanges- this is where the small "thread only" connectors came in. 

Our original plan was going to be to attach the tabletop to the base as it was sitting above- in other words, that support brace wouldn't have been seen since it would've sat 2 inches below the tabletop. We realized the feet didn't feel sturdy without some braces, so we flipped the entire thing upside down (you'll see in the finished pic) and it worked wonderfully! 

{sanding the planks}
Before we screwed all the wood together using pocket holes, I beat the wood up a bit with a crowbar and hammer to give it an aged/weathered look.
{you can see the pocket holes above, each one has a screw in it connecting it to its neighbor board}

We also added some cross support underneath in the form of some 1x3 boards cut to 28 inches, so they came just short of the edges of the table. 

Next comes stain and poly. We only did one coat of red mahogony stain, wiped off pretty quick after application, to give us this look. Then comes the test of patience. Dry, light sand, poly.... dry... light sand.. poly. We ended up doing 4 coats of poly since this is going to get a lot of use, so we had to wait a few days to attach it to the base. 

We brought it upstairs for assembly, attached the top to the base, and added some carpet samples underneath the floor flanges to prevent scratching. If it's wrong to admit that I find myself just staring at it, then I don't' want to be right. 

We added about 15 inches in length compared to our old table, which still leaves plenty of room on that wall for it to sit..and only about 3-4 inches of width, which doesn't make much of a difference either in terms of space. 

While we were at it, I picked up some new chair fabric and recovered all the chairs. They were covered in a black felt-like material that held TJ's hair way too well and were gross. Slapped this pretty new fabric over it, and it really all ties together wonderfully.

This project actually got done 2 weekends ago. This past weekend, just in time for hosting Christmas (my real motivation for getting this done when we did!) we made a matching bench for the other side of the table. No more borrowing chairs or dragging inside our patio chairs- the table now comfortably seats 6 (7 in a pinch, since 3 could fit on the bench easily). 

Just wanted to stop in and share. :) 

I also may have an update soon regarding Zipper Merge Asshole and an update to my anticlimactic update: hint, it involves a police lineup. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Mostly, lately, my life has been about food. 
We've done a lot of hosting of different varieties, including Thanksgiving. 
Christmas made a brief appearance in our house as well, which I've preserved for posterity below. Brief, because the Grinch* insisted on chewing on the tree and then vomiting several times in succession over the course of a week below said tree, so the tree is on vacation in the guest room until Christmas proper, when it IS COMING BACK OUT- come hell or high water. 

Hope the holidays have been good to you all so far. 

*Grinch being TJ, naturally. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


This is going to be anticlimactic, but such is life sometimes.
Based on an early estimate, the damage to my car is going to be under my deductible amount, thus we likely won't be making a claim on it.
This is great! Except it is looking like my only shot at finding out who this a-hole is, is filing a claim - which is apparently the only way to run his plates and get a name and address. Per MPD, a report won't be generated with that info because it was not an injury hit and run.

A part of me is ready to let it go and be done with it-
the other part of me reaaaaaaaaaaaaalllyyyy would love to send a certified letter telling him I am about to take him to small claims court (for shits and giggles) because it seems asinine that someone should be able to get away with something like that.

Moral of the story, folks- if you're in a fender bender, even if you don't think it's worth it, CALL THE COPS. When the cops show up, you can tell them a short story of a sad little girl from MN who got SCREWED and therefore, you are simply protecting yourself.

I'm going to make one or two more attempts to force the issue with MPD because I've been told a few different things depending on who I speak with at the records unit (typical governmental red tape).. so maybe I'll have a cheerier update coming soon.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I'm sitting in my bed currently, at a total loss for what happened to me earlier this evening.

The short version: I was involved in a hit and run. 
The long version is bizarre and the more I think about it- the more I sit here and seethe because this is not at all how things are supposed to work. 

As a precursor- MN has a no-fault insurance system. Simply put, by law, everyone in the state who owns or operates a vehicle is required to have insurance. It's a misdemeanor if you don't. Each person also is supposed to carry uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured, in the event the person who hits you does NOT have insurance (or doesn't have ENOUGH insurance to cover your claim). Also, it makes it so there are certain minimum thresholds you have to hit in terms of damage/physical injury before you can go run and sue someone (tort reform, FTW!). Pretty simple, right? You get in a fender bender, as I did tonight, and you exchange insurance information- the insurance foots the bill..and often your premiums go up a bit, depending on number of offenses.. which is why people still aren't fond of accidents, but it's designed so everybody's covered and nobody has to sue each other (unless it's real bad). 

Let me set the scene: I'm on the entrance ramp to 94W right before the Lowry tunnel (this will only make sense to locals)- where 35W merges in, and the 11th street exit is, and what is generally known as a disaster area of 94W. I notice IMMEDIATELY the man next to me is trying to avoid doing the zipper merge on the entrance ramp -and is instead attempting to cut me off. (*NOTE: as all Minnesotan's know, the zipper merge is a point of Minnesotans are THE most passive aggressive drivers EVER and refuse to abide by the zipper merge) We end up merging appropriately, and I notice as he's behind me, he's allowing a large gap between our cars, and then will rapidly accelerate very close to my car. I keep watching him in my rearview, as safely as I can, as we're stop and go entering the freeway and I see it: he's looking down at his cell phone- which accounts for the erratic movement. He's making me really uncomfortable and I had a bad feeling from the get go, so I try to get a view of his license plate just in case I need it (oh the irony is palpable). 

I finally get on and after a short time, he's no longer behind me since there are many cars merging ahead of, and behind me. I usually try to get in the middle lane prior to the tunnel since it moves the best, and still allows me to exit on 394W after the tunnel.  I'm in the process of trying to spot a decent gap to get over, moving pretty slowly along, when I feel the impact: I'm hit from behind. 

I look up in my rearview in shock and honestly can't believe what I'm seeing: of all the people on the freeway, despite all the merging that went on in the 200 or so yards between the entrance ramp and this point, it's the zipper merge asshole who is behind me. 

I pull over, and what follows it the strangest 10 or so minutes of my life. I get out, and check out my bumper, feeling along the bottom, and notice there's a crack. This is what followed: 

Me: Ah.. there's a crack here. 

Zipper Asshole (ZA): What? Seriously? 

Me: yes, right here. 

ZA: <<feels crack>> 

Me: Can I have your insurance information? 

ZA: What? you can't be serious. 

Me: <<blank stare>> um... yes. 

ZA: You're seriously going to report that? 

Me: Um, yes. I at least need to see what the damage is. 

ZA: repeats multiple times, "you're serious. you're actually reporting this. really, we're doing this?" and takes a dozen or so photos of my car and his car. At one point he even says "I bet you were just WAITING for this." (this being the major pay day I'm cashing in to..maybe fix my bumper...?) 

Me: Uh yes. This is how No Fault works in MN. 

ZA: even though you slammed on the brakes unexpectedly. 

This is about the time he loses me. It'd been an obnoxious Monday, with obnoxious clients, and I was at my wits end. I'm guilty of "braking suddenly" on occasion- and when I do, I KNOW I do, because I'm looking in the rearview PRAYING the person behind me stops quick. I was no where near close to doing that tonight because I was just puttering along waiting for an entrance in the next lane over. 
So, in other words- NOW I'm pissed. 

Me: What? I didn't slam on my brakes. (I don't mention that in MN, there is practically a presumption of fault on behalf of the rear-ender, and not the rear-endee.. as that means you clearly weren't leaving enough space for a reaction time, but I'm pissed now, so I throw this out there:) I did see you texting and driving though. 

ZA: WHAT?! How? 

Me: uh, my rear view. 

ZA: so you were looking in your rear view while you were supposed to be driving during rush hour? 

Me: No. I saw you as we were getting on the freeway. 

ZA: I wasn't texting.Want to see my phone!? <<at this point I've struck a nerve and he's getting agitated. I'm getting nervous- it's dark, I'm alone, he's larger than me>>

Me: I'm not getting into this with you! This is what no fault is for. Can we just exchange information. 

ZA: <<huffs back to his car to get insurance stuff. At this point I'm convinced he's about to drive off so I take down his plates, make and model of the car. He actually returns and has it in hand, comes back. I've gotten mine out as well at this point. He asks for my ID and starts to take down my information.>> What's your name? 

Me: Kelly. 

ZA: <<he's SNEERING/yelling/being scary at this point as he scream-spells it out>>: K-E-L....L...WITH AN I-E? 

Me: K-E-L-L-Y. <<I gesture with my insurance card so he can take down the rest of the information. He grabs it.>> 

ZA: you're seriously reporting this. 

Me: Look. I just want to get the information and get it looked at in case there's damage that's not readily apparent under the undercarriage. <<I can only imagine my use of the phrase 'undercarriage' prompts his next retort, which pissed me off enough to warrant my response, which was effectively the end of our exchange- and actually, this happened to M not too long ago. What LOOKED like a superficial crack was $1,200 in damage underneath his car.>>

ZA: What, are you a MECHANIC or something!?!? 

Me: <<at this point I think I laughed a little because, a) what kind of a response is that? b) if he thought he was being a smart ass by calling me a mechanic I just knew he'd love [and by that I mean HATE] what I was going to say next.. and c) I paid a lot of money for this degree and SOMETIMES it's nice to scare people with it..even if it was totally unwarranted because we have NO FAULT so I don't HAVE to threaten to sue you with my law degree, d) I felt like he was being insanely condescending and bullying me due to my apparent age and size, so I responded with a laugh and the truth: Nope, actually, I'm a lawyer.

ZA: What? Oh yea- where. 

Me: <<I think I snort-laughed again or something here because WHAT!?>> Uh, I'm not telling you that. <<Yah, definitely need the small angry man knowing where I WORK>>

<<at this point the exact sequence of events escapes me, but it devolves pretty quickly from here. As best I recall, this is how it happened:>>

ZA: Well, it's not my fault, I'm not going to give you my information. So, call go ahead and sue me. << second time I was told this today.. oy vey>>

Me: I have no idea if I even said anything, if I did it may have been something like, "are you going to give me your information?" but I do recall him throwing my insurance card back into my open car door, and then at some point he responded with: 

ZA: go ahead, take my plates, they're right there. Call the cops. 

Me: Uh, if you leave, I will. And I already have your plates. 

ZA hops back in his car and fucking leaves.  I'm sitting there shaking and pissed off. Pissed that I was alone, and that as a small young woman, he thought he could bully me into not getting his information or reporting the claim. Pissed that I was even scared in the first place, but realizing that making him mad to the point of putting myself in danger was not worth it. Pissed that even though we have this fucking system set up to make it easy to just exchange information and BE DONE WITH IT- he chose to be an absolute asshole. Pissed I have to drag myself to the Minneapolis Police Department tomorrow morning and file a report (but you bet you're ass I'm going to, and follow it through to completion, including tracking down his insurance information).

I just.. ugh. I struggle with people who aren't afraid of, or don't abide by, social constructs like laws. 

Hope he wasn't banking on me not having any follow through because he's about to experience a whole hell-storm of follow through. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


When I kept getting comments on the McDonald's Case post, I started to wonder if it had really struck a nerve. Then I realized it was the most recent post on my blog, ya know.. back on OCTOBER 16th.

Sooooo hey, I'm alive.
Here's a recap of our fall (since winter is here with a VENGEANCE) in reverse order, through photos. 
{camped out in front of the heat register after shoveling- which was a total bitch.} 
{tootie contemplates winter, tucked under his blanket. He loves being snuggled into a blanket}
{Hanging out with Squish- he fancied himself when I turned on the reverse camera, which made for this spectacular photo} 
{spooning my bitty- this fall involved a lot of cat cuddles. JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE. wahh}
{sideways dessert from our day-of-the-dead themed dinner party. Being an adult is fun :) } 
{day-of-the-dead themed birthday dinner party. Seriously so much fun.} 
{M's Halloween pumpkin...}

{and my uncle's ridiculously over the top Pumpkin Carving Party- because everything he does is over the top. M won third place!}

Sooo that's an abbreviated version of our fall in 10 seconds. Because now it's winter in MN.
I will say, there's a lot of pressure on Minnesotans to soak up spring, summer and fall and BE OUTSIDE and DO ALL THE THINGS, so I for one tend to embrace the first few months of winter as a chance to hibernate and recharge. That of course expires in, say, February right about after my birthday when I realize we have THREE MORE MONTHS of this frozen hell. 

But for now, I'm loving the flannel jammies, warming up under some blankets after work, candles burning, and a snuggly kitten who is also bracing for a long winter. 

I'm hoping to get my poop in a group in the next week or two to make a little announcement. I'm not trying to overhype it, but I've been toying around with the idea of opening up a "shop" for some time and am finally taking steps to do so. Some of the stuff will only be available locally, unfortunately, due to the nature of the items but if there's enough interest, maybe I'll delve into shipping. I just think it'll be a hassle, since it's wood- and would be heavy and cumbersome.. but never say never! 

stay tuned. :) 

Thursday, October 16, 2014


We need to talk. 
I have a lot of feelings about this subject that have boiled over (pun intended?) the last week because for whatever reason, I've had several people reference it. 
It's the bane of every personal injury attorney lawyer's existence. 

It's the motherfucking "McDonald's Coffee Case." 

So, before you go spewing your ignorance on the world and cite this case as indicative of everything that's wrong with America, let me edumacate you. (This information is all also widely available from The Google, but.. here's my PSA). 

1. THE FACTS: It's 1992. A 79 year old woman spills coffee in her lap trying to remove the lid to add cream and sugar while PARKED as a passenger in a car. The coffee is SO hot, that within 3-7 seconds, she receives 3rd degree burns over 6% of her body (lesser burns on 16%) that required many extensive and painful surgeries, including 2 skin grafts. 

2. SETTLEMENT TALKS: (In looking up this portion of the case to get the numbers right, I typed in "McDonald's Coffee Case" to The Google, which was still set on 'images' after retrieving the above image, and now I CAN NEVER UN-SEE WHAT I SAW. BE WARNED). The Plaintiff tried to get McDonald's to settle this case for TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for her past and future medical and loss of income. that's it. $20,000. They said "what about $800 instead?" No dice. 

3. TRIAL: Evidence at trial shows several damning things: First, McDonald's knew damn well, and had been told many times, their coffee was too. effing. hot. and that it did not need to be kept at that temperature. By 1992 they had received 700 complaints and settled several cases for $500,000. There is evidence that lowering it from 190 degrees [which is what it was the day of the accident] to 160 degrees meant burns wouldn't set in until about 12-15 seconds of contact with skin instead of 3-7. The extra time would've allowed more time to remove clothing/coffee from contact with skin. 

4. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART FOR YOUR NEW COCKTAIL PARTY INFORMATION: The Plaintiff only received $200,000 in compensatory damages for her injuries, which was reduced to $160,000 by comparative fault. They found her 20% at fault. Compensatory means the money compensated her for her actual loss- time off work, medical, pain and suffering. 

The jury then awarded $2.7 MILLION in PUNITIVE DAMAGES. Stop here. Let's discuss. The bulk of this money was awarded to PUNISH McDonald's for failing to heed complaints and warnings about the dangerous nature of their product. (Keep in mind, this lil' ol' lady would've settled for $20,000.) This number was based on a suggestion from Plaintiff's attorney to award damages in the amount of McDonald's coffee sales for a DAY OR TWO. That's right- they make $1.3 MILLION a DAY in coffee sales alone. Still want to throw the woman with a BURNED CROTCH under the bus?

5. THE THING THAT NOBODY KNOWS: the judge reduced the jury's punitive damages verdict to $480,000. This decision was appealed by both parties and then settled out for court for an undisclosed amount LESS THAN $600,000. 

This case was still touted as the poster child for the need for tort reform and certainly resulted in a lot of commentary.. but nothing drives me battier than when people flippantly cite to this case as evidence of one thing or another without a solid understanding of what happened. 

The more you know, folks. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


One of my favorite bloggers, Sar, tagged me in a Blog Tour that's been going around as a quick introduction to your blog to say what's up! Of course I had to do it, so here are my answers!

Firstly, me llamo Kelly. 

What am I working on?
Oh gosh. Well, the bulk of my posts lately have been about my mom, who passed away in February after a nearly 30 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis; our recent trip to Italy; and prior to that it was a CRAP TON about our wedding- I DIY'ed a lot. All of the aforementioned has left me wondering what else I should be writing about.. but it's pretty random. 

How does my work differ from others?
Well, very much like Sar I don't blog if I don't have something to say. I know I have a blog, and made friends with some awesome bloggers through it, but I still don't FEEL like a blogger. You won't find birthday or Christmas wish lists curated in cute photo lists, you won't find space filling blog posts full of GIF's (seriously, why are these everywhere. use sparingly, people). I know a lot of people say it but I honestly don't care about numbers, comments, or followers- so maybe that contributes to the content, the frequency. I write when I want what I want. I have no delusions of trying to make money off my blog (topic far too long to get into but one I find intriguing and, gross.. lately..) and I know the place I'm going to make a difference is my real, actual, 9-5 job helping my clients- so THAT'S where I devote my time and energy. 

Why do I write what I do?
I write what pops into my head. Lately it's been some thoughts about mom.. about grief..  I also write to recap fun memories and events. I write to share DIY posts because I love crafting, talking about crafting, and there's really nothing better than a good before-and-after. I also love home decor and seeing other people's homes, so that factors into what I write. 

How does my writing process work?
There's absolutely no rhyme or reason. Some mornings I'll come here and write and hit publish right away. Sometimes Sunday nights I have my shit together and will draft a few posts for the week and schedule. Sometimes I won't be here for a week and don't feel bad about it. 

If you want to know more, let me know! I'm going to pass the buck and hope that the following bloggers give you a little tour:

Since Sar took most of my good blogging buddies and tagged them (hmpf ;-) ) I'm going to send you over to Marla's blog. She is one of the most inspiring, funny, and strong people I've ever met. Battling lupus, a childhood heart condition (I BLANKED ON WHAT IT WAS CALLED SOWWY!), and making the decision to undergo a proactive double lumpectomy. She writes both eloquently about her struggles AND humorously. 

Jenna Sue- who doesn't know I exist, but based on the aforementioned love of interior decorating I couldn't not send you to her blog to drool over her house- (also if you know the Jenna Sue font- THAT'S HER TOO!)- odds of her actually doing a tour are zero but that's not the point here, the point is the FIREPLACE. 

and lastly, Lisa- who blogs about life in Chicago, her travels, and her insanely adorable baby Clara! 

Little bit of errything for you guys today. you're welcome. :) 

Monday, October 13, 2014


What's a Minnesotan recipe for a perfect fall weekend?
A hearty fall themed dinner with lots of friends + early morning hike around the lake and breakfast with your mother-in-law + a brewery-hop in Northeast topped off by a Hibachi dinner for a birthday + an outdoor Vikings game on the most PERFECT sunny Sunday afternoon.

This weekend was everything I was craving and missing up until this point in our busy fall so far.
Friday (as you may have seen on my Instagram) one of my squirrel friends tried to crash dinner:

Of course about 30 seconds after this photo he launched himself at the screen and just hung there for a second. Scared the pants off me. 

There was a near-casualty during dinner prep involving carrots and a knife. Which was strangely reminiscent of the FRIENDS episode in which Chandler loses his toe and Monica brings a carrot to the hospital instead. 

Thankfully nothing needed to be reattached and I didn't bleed on anyone's carrots.. so.. WIN!

Saturday M and I both had "in-law" days. He went fishing all day with my dad and my dad's cousin, while I went on a fall-colors-hike with M's mom. It was a crisp but perfect fall morning. I may have lost my mom too young, but I'm so grateful to still have a fantastic motherly influence in my life. 

After the hike we went out to small town MN and stopped at Peg's Countryside Cafe in Hamel. It was voted one of the best breakfasts in MN by the Star Tribune and it did NOT disappoint. Super cute spot, definitely worth the drive!

I went home and took a nap with tootie, because- CATURDAY- after which I met up with some friends for a brewery-hop in Northeast. Every since the "Surley taproom bill" passed a few years ago MN has seen an INSANE surge in breweries and tap rooms. Most of which are concentrated in one part of Minneapolis, which makes making a "day" of it all so much easier.

After the tour I had my first ever Hibachi experience at Wasabi, which was a lot of fun! I love interactive dining.

Sunday M scored some tickets to the Vikings game with his boss and his boss's wife and I got to tag along. The Vikings are getting a new stadium so for the next few seasons they're playing at the U of M's TCF Bank Stadium, which is an open air stadium. I'm not sure how I'd feel about games in the winter (I went to the outdoor hockey game last year in January. OMG.) but Sunday turned out to be PERFECT. It was about 65 and sunny and quite frankly, HOT where we were sitting. The Vikings sucked it up, but it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I'm so glad I got to experience the narrow window of outdoor football that we'll have here and on the most beautiful day to boot!

Sunday night we enjoyed a fresh batch of chili that M whipped up and then ventured to Columbia Heights to procure this baby:

I'd throw the original owners under the bus and say this was the listing photo but this is my doing. Once she's redone I plan to take proper photos and stage her up for resale. SO if you're local and interested, keep an eye out. I may or may not have sort of started a little side-thing FB page and blog for crafts. I'm tentative about sharing the links (right now because they're empty- I'd like to craft some things for them first) but in an effort to stay within our budget and allow ourselves some more 'fun money' this was one of our ideas- finding furniture to flip and selling crafts. I'd be open to shipping some of the stuff out of state (I'm thinking watercolors) but the wood crafts would just be too bulky to ship. Is this something anyone would be interested in? locally or otherwise? 

Anyway, Hope y'all had a good weekend! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Words don't do this place justice.
It's honestly got to be, without a doubt, the most beautiful place on the planet.
I'd heard of Cinque Terre through some high school friends who traveled there and after googling it, immediately put it on my "must visit" list. I realized though, in telling people the cities we were visiting in Italy, many hadn't heard of Cinque Terre.

It means "the five lands" and it's 5 small and ridiculously quaint towns nestled in the cliffs. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. The big "thing" this area offers, is the ability to hike from town to town along challenging but beautiful trails. Trails are hit or miss (there IS an "easy" path but various paths may be closed at any given time for repair) but as long as you're willing to put in a work out, there's always an option.

We stayed in Vernazza- which has the largest harbor, and was my favorite. 
We arrive Friday afternoon and were grabbing a snack in the piazza when we heard our names, looked up, and see Dan and Jamie- two friends of Matt's from college. 

We had plans to meet up with them Saturday night for dinner when we realized we were going to be there the same time. Dan and Jamie are living in London right now for Dan's job. We were also meeting two of M's other friends from college who were planning to be in Turkey the week before we were headed to Vernazza, and happily extended their trip to meet up with us. 

SO, after bumping into those two, we made dinner plans for Friday night as well. 
Dan and Jamie were staying in Riomaggiore, so they trained over to us and the six of us met up for dinner in the piazza in Vernazza. 

We were up early the next morning- er- Matt was.. he went swimming with Tony and Gina and I slept a bit before wandering down myself to take some beautiful sunrise photos of Vernazza. 

We grabbed a light breakfast and got our hiking gear on in preparation for our morning hike to the next town with Tony and Gina- Monterosso. 

Of course I made friends along the trail: 

We made it there in about an hour and enjoyed a lunch of focaccia, pesto, prosciutto, and a hard provolone. It was the most simple and amazing meal EVER. The pesto there is just..magic. Genoa, just north of Cinque Terre, is where pesto was invented. 

After Monterosso, we took the water taxi to Riomaggiore where we kayaked for a few hours further south along the coast. Sea kayaking wasn't as bad as I imagined (the kayaks are longer and built for it)- and we parked on some rocks and swam for a while too as a break. 

We kayaked back, picked up our gear, and hopped on the train back to Vernazza for some naps before dinner. 

For dinner we took the train back to Riomaggiore to meet Dan and Jamie for dinner at a restaurant Dan spotted on the very top of the hill. After our hike and kayaking I thought the stairs may kill me but OMG the views, and the INSANE melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi was totally worth it. 

We had champagne and toasted to Dan who was celebrating his 30th birthday that day. 
It was one of the most memorable and amazing days of my life. Honestly. 

The next morning we relaxed in our village and walked around before catching a train back to Rome to stay at our airport hotel before our flight the next day. 

Cinque Terre should absolutely be on your short list of top destinations.
Ack, take me back. I need some pesto.