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.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Our last day in Florence was spent touring the Galeria de Academia first thing in the morning (where we, ashamedly (or not? can't say I minded) spent about 30 minutes. 20 observing the David statute, the other 10 feigning interest in some other art. Like I've said before, unless I have some prior knowledge of the art, or deeper appreciation for it, I didn't care to spend too much time seeing it. You just start to get overwhelmed when EVERYTHING is so special/historical/significant. 

After that, we ventured over to the Duomo, the cathedral in Florence, to climb the cupola. We were told to do this early before the line got too long, and it got too hot. and hoooooooooboy if there's one big piece of advice logistically I'd give, it's do this early. The line was starting to get bad on our descent down, and the passageways were SO narrow and hot it got real unpleasant in there real quick. It was about 400 stairs to the interior cupola, and that's about halfway to the top, so it's not for the faint of heart or unfit. It offered some spectacular views of the city, as well!

Last, we went to the Boboli Gardens behind the Palazzo Pitti. We didn't go inside the palace itself, as we didn't have a ton of time, but spent a good 3-4 hours in the gardens. Wandering around, and even laying in a clearing with a bunch of other people and relaxing for an hour. It was a nice afternoon, and we needed something low key after the schlep to the top of the Duomo. 

And now, some photos, in reverse order. :) 
{Boboli Gardens}
{View from Boboli Gardens}
{downstairs in the Duomo- they discovered an earlier version of the cathedral during renovations/excavations of the basement and they have a neat historical display of the changes to the church over the years.}
{view from the cupola at the top of the Duomo}
{the paintings on the interior of the cupola}
{does this need a caption? the David}

One last post and I'm donezo, promise. Last up is Vernazza!