Wednesday, January 8, 2014


**Edited to add: I'm going to come back here and cross things off as I complete them, hence the strike throughs. :) **

I've seen other bloggers post life-lists, year, lists, 30 before 30 lists.. (well, you get it)--on their blogs all the time. They usually flustered and overwhelmed me because I couldn't imagine sitting down and writing those things out- mostly because when I'm asked to recall them I blank out. In the spirit of a new year, I want to write some things down that I'd like to do. These are travel things, "Minnesota" things, ME things.. just, things. I won't accomplish all of these in one year, or maybe even 5 years, but at least I'll have a place to go to remind myself of all the things I want to do. Maybe someday when M and I are sitting around bored, trying to think of something, I can pull up this list and we can cross something off.

So, here is my List:

Me things:
  • Work out more (ugh, I know... but when your dad has a heart attack and you're told it's genetic.. these things become more important)
  • Be more consistent meal planning (okay, so both of these are "2014" things.. actually they're EVERY year things, but I need to get into a routine I enjoy.
  • Speak ill of others less.. I should devote an entire post to this, but it's a bad habit of mine. If I think something negative, or something I don't agree with, about someone.. I'm quick to find someone to validate my feelings. If you want to armchair-psychologize that statement, yes, it stems from a virtual lifetime of feelings of inadequacy, of not fitting in, so I get a high when I'm validated as being "right" in my sentiments. I just need to, NOT. anymore.
  • Be more organized (on a consistent basis)- mostly this means my laundry and my bedroom. M and I are transitioning into the main floor guest room soon (as in.. Saturday). This room has been my "getting ready" room, and home to my closet. M takes up the entire closet in the master. It's easier to ignore the mess when I don't have to sleep in it, and it's easier to ignore our current master bedroom mess because it's not MY stuff. The whole point of this room swap/room transformation is because I want to create a space I ENJOY being in. A calm, inviting, adult space.
  • Take more pictures: there is irony in this one. I have a DSLR, but I have this weird hang up about using it. I am always so annoyed by "that person" at get togethers, who is always shouting "GINA, come here. ANDREW get in the photo. LOOK AT me. Okay everyone, ready!?!" I just want to club them. I never want to BE that person, but I love taking and looking at nice photos. I also have a hang-up that because I have a DSLR - I feel stupid bringing it to "smaller" events. It feels like such a formal camera. I know that sounds insane. I'm hoping once I get the camera bag insert and it's easier to tote around, I will.

Minnesota things:
  • Go to the landscape arboretum
  • Go to the sculpture garden (if for no other reason than I can have a picture with that damn spoon and cherry)
  • State Parks
    • Afton
    • Banning
  • Visit more wineries/explore the area, specifically:
    • Woodland Hills Winery, Delano, MN
    • Buffalo Rock Winery, Buffalo, MN
    • Alexis Bailley Vineyards, Hastings, MN
    • Cannon River Winery, Cannon Falls, MN
    • Winehaven Winery & Vineyard, Chisago, MN
    • Chankaska Wines, Kasota, MN 
  • EATS- whenever M and I are hungry or planning a date night, we tend to revert to old favorites. The MSP area is SUCH a wealth of FABULOUS foodie places, it makes me sad that we do this. Of course when you're hungry you go with fast. SO hopefully having a list of "must try" places will prompt us to recall them, and then eat at them! (the trouble with this list is I add too it as much as I cross things off- THIS IS NOT A REAL PROBLEM but zomg, so many noms). 
    • Wiseacre (EDITED** CONFIRMED- brunch is out of this world)
    • The Rabbit Hole
    • Travail
    • The Pig Ate My Pizza
    • Victory 44
    • La Grolla
    • Broders
    • Porcheteria
    • Sanctuary
    • Heartland
    • The Butcher and the Boar
    • Bradstreet Neighborhood Crafthouse
    • World Street Kitchen
    • Rincon 38  (Every meal should involve 20 small meals. Tapas #FTW)
    • Rookery
    • Brasserie Zentral
    • Coup d'Etat
    • La Belle Vie
    • The Salt Cellar
    • Porter and Frye
    • Spoon and Stable
    • Pig & Fiddle
    • Northeast Social
    • The Sample Room
    • Heyday
    • Marche
    • Lago Taco
    • Rival House
    • Hello Pizza
    • Hola Arepa
    • Lola's
    • Mattie's on Main
    • Sea Salt Eatery
    • Corner Table (Brunch AND Dinner)
    • Masa (brunch, have had their dinner.. NOM)
      • [That's a good start. :)]
  • Spend a weekend on the North Shore (Two Harbors, Gooseberry, etc), JUST us- The thing about going to college in northern MN is, every time we've been up there previously, it'd been to visit with other people. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'd like to take M to northern MN and just have it be us.
  • Spend a weekend in Duluth, JUST us (see above).
  • Kayak on a river- M LOVES doing this, and I think I'd enjoy it, too. Preferably a quiet-ish river, or even a creek- one that doesn't hold the high potential for killing me (a la the Mississippi).
  • Camp- I've only been camping once, but it was a lot of fun. I'd love to do it again with M. If you have the right gear and plan ahead it can be a really cool experience.
  • I'm drawing a blank on other Minnesota-y things but want to get this post published, so as I recall things I'll definitely come back and add here.
Travel (United States)
I have to say something about my travel desires: If you offer me Rome or Naples, I'll take Naples every time. Call me uncouth, but I'm way more drawn to natural pneomenon over man made. What I mean by that is, I'd rather explore a lesser known, lesser "historically significant" coastal town of a country (if they're on the coast) than a mainland megalith. I'd rather wander down smaller streets, with less tourists, and get more of a local flavor than wander around the city center with a headset tour guide telling me how old this church is. I'm not saying this to be pretentious, and I do find some of that stuff interesting (I did it in Malta and enjoyed it) but I am just drawn to the lesser discovered places. For example: summer after my 1L year of law school (for you newbies around here) I participated in study abroad. We could've chosen London, Prague, Istanbul, Galway, Chile, or Malta (that were "sponsored" through our school). I chose Malta. The common response I got when telling people I was going to Malta, was, ".. wait.. where?" I knew I could, and probably would, travel to some of those other countries in my lifetime. If I had never been offered Malta as a study abroad though? I never would have gone. It is, in my opinion, one of the coolest and most beautiful little countries that nobody has ever heard of.
That being said, there are obviously a few cities on these lists that are well known. But, I'd argue they're also naturally beautiful. Hence, the draw. :)
  • Maine (anywhere on the coast)
  • Boston, MA
  • Vermont (in the fall)
  • Charlston, SC
  • Savannah, GA (with a stop to Tybee Island)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Napa, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Banff, AB, Canada
  • Italy
    • Cinque Terra
    • Naples I have it on good authority from people who are from Italy, and 95% of the internet, that Naples, Italy is actually a trash dump. Womp. 
    • Rome
    • Florence
    • Venice
    • Lake Como
    • Bari (where my family is from)
  • Greece (specifically the islands/coast- Thessaloniki to be precise).
  • Rijeka, Croatia
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Portugal
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
I think it's easy to get stuck in a functional rut. We've been going to Florida for a few years because it's convenient and we stay cheaply, but I know when I get to be 40 and have kids and can't travel as easily I'm not going to be saying "gee I'm glad we went to Florida 15 times and I never got to see Hawaii!) I want to start picking random places and going just BECAUSE. Not because we have family there, not for work, just because it sounds cool. Hopefully M and I can knock off one of the international spots for a 1-year anniversary trip.

So there's my list. Not a NY Resolution, not a 30 before 30, just a really aspirational "to do" list with no deadline. :)

What are some things you're dying to do? Any "Minnesota" things I clearly left off here?


  1. SO many amazing places to eat and visit. When you go to Broders, Ask for Rachel- she's my sister :) Also, Boston and Belize are two of my favorites on your list. You are definitely getting me feeling the travel bug!

  2. love it! can't wait to follow your MN adventures as I need inspiration on that front too. I also have a "life list" I'm slowly adding too -

    Right now my main goal is to get outta USA and go abroad! :)

  3. Um, I am thinking you need to add New Orleans, LA to your list. I mean, BR (where i am) is nothing special, but NOLA is one of those places you have to go to - and then i could meet you in person!

    Charleston & Savannah are both on my list, too. :)

  4. I am happy to see camping made your list. Our family LOVES to camp. And by camping you mean…in a tent, right?? haha

  5. I wish I felt better about bring my DSLR to events! I always feel silly taking pictures with it because it just seems so FORMAL!

  6. I lived in Buffalo for 2+ and didn't know they had a winery. I wonder if it's new. Now I have to do some research. What a great list.