Thursday, January 1, 2015


I thought it'd be fun to revisit my "to-do" list from last year. 

I've never been a fan of resolutions because they seem forced and shallow. 
I know "words" of the year are trendy, too. 
I just feel like picking something like that sets me up for failure. I always want to try to be better, more patient, etc. So, I decided last year that a life list was a good place to start to encompass everything I hope to be, do, and dream about in the year. I'm pretty proud of the damage we did in 2014 and excited to see how it grows and changes in 2015. Instead of starting a new list, I'm just going to keep coming back and editing this one, striking out lines where we've completed goals and indicating the year next to it, and adding things as they appeal to me or I hear about them. The "restaurant" and "travel" and "MN" stuff will always be growing because I'm always finding new things to do and MN is a mecca of hot new restaurants. 

SO, here's how 2014 went! 

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) [2014: I'm actually really proud of this. I went at LEAST once a week if not 2-3 times most weeks and love that aspect of my routine. I was even given the chance to try out a cool new fitness thing here in Minneapolis that I may not have otherwise been so excited about! 2015: I signed up for Classpass full time as my new gym and LOVE IT]
  • 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. [2014: we've been really good about this! They don't always make it into our google "Meals" calendar but we shop early in the week at some point every week. We've started going to the Lakewinds Coop and LOVE the drive down Minnetonka blvd so I can see this becoming a new Sunday morning tradition. More importantly at the tail end of 2014 we decided to make a more conscious decision to eat "real" food. I may delve into a whole post about this, but this means full fat, local, organic, hormone free whenever we can!]
  • 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. [2014: still room for improvement here.. but I don't recall being AS bitchy!]
  • 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. [2014: I've been OK about making things LOOK clean? but the laundry thing still sucks.]
  • 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. [2014: man.. after Italy I fell off the wagon HARD on this one. I'm hoping an early 2015 trip to AZ will spur me back into photo taking. Also, getting an iPhone hurt me a bit here, since it takes such great photos]

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)
  • Alpine Coaster (Added just to check off because SO MUCH FUN  [2015])
  • State Parks
    • Afton [2014]
    • Interstate State Park- Taylor's Falls [2014]
    • Banning
    • Jay Cooke  [2015]
  • 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 [2016]
    • Chankaska Wines, Kasota, MN [we gave this as a Christmas gift to M's dad so I'm positive this will happen in 2015!!]
  • 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). 
    • Nighthawk's [Brunch 2016]
    • Third Bird (Brunch) 
    • Travail
    • Tinto Cocina & Cantina
    • L'Etoile du Nord (Brunch) 
    • Victory 44
    • Monello
    • Cook (Brunch)
    • Ramen Kazama
    • Upton 43
    • Porcheteria
    • Sanctuary
    • Eat Street Social (Brunch and Dinner)
    • Rookery
    • The Salt Cellar
    • St. Genevieve
    • Heyday [brunch 2017]
    • Rival House
    • Pizzeria Lola
    • Pajarito
    • Red Rabbit
    • Grey Duck
    • Bar Brigade
    • Young Joni
    • Pajarito
    • Baja Haus
    • Bellecour
    • Bottle Rocket [Brunch 2017]
    • Tulibee 
    • Mercury Dining Room and Rail
    • 6smith [brunch 2016] 
    • Hola Arepa (Brunch and Dinner [2014])
    • The Butcher and the Boar (beer garden  [2015])
    • Wiseacre (brunch is out of this world [2014] AND Dinner)
    • Icehouse (Brunch [2015] and dinner) 
    • Sea Salt Eatery [2016] 
    • Lyn 65 [Dinner 2016]
    • Revival [2017]
    • Libertine [Dinner 2016] 
    • Brewer's Table (Surly Taproom)  (closed 2017 :()
    • Saint Dinette [Dinner 2016] 
    • Bradstreet Neighborhood Crafthouse [Dinner 2016] closed 2017
    • Brasserie Zentral Closed 2016
    • Coup d'Etat[2017]
    • Broders [Dinner 2016] 
    • Heirloom [Dinner 2016] 
    • 4Bells [Dinner 2016] 
    • Restaurant Alma[2017]
    • Eastside [Dinner 2016] 
    • The Kenwood (Brunch and Dinner [2015]
    • Union (brunch [2014] AND Dinner [2015])
    • Corner Table (Brunch [2014- and they STOPPED SERVING IT NOW, TRAGIC] AND Dinner [2015]
    • Masa (Brunch AND Dinner[2014]) CLOSED  [2015]
    • Heartland  [2015]
    • Tilia (Brunch  [2015] AND Dinner  [2015]
    • The Rabbit Hole [2014]
    • Tiny Diner [2014] - I will say, of ALL the 2014 restaurants, I was underwhelmed ONLY here
    • The Pig Ate My Pizza [2014]
    • The Copper Hen (Brunch [2015])
    • Parella [2015]
    • Marche [2015] -closed
    • Sonora Grill [2014]
    • Birchwood Cafe[2015- brunch and dinner]
    • La Grolla [2015]
    • World Street Kitchen [2014]
    • Rincon 38  (Every meal should involve 20 small meals. Tapas #FTW) [2014]
    • La Belle Vie [2015] - cllosed
    • Spoon and Stable  [2015]
    • Pig & Fiddle [2014]
    • Northeast Social [2014]
    • The Sample Room [2014]
    • Lago Taco [2014]
    • Burch Steak and  Burch Pizza [both 2014]
    • Hello Pizza [2014]
    • Mattie's on Main [2014]
    • Blackbird Cafe [2014]
  • 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). [2014- I kayaked the city lakes with him! We're looking at a Minnehaha Creek trip this summer as well as a bigger St. Croix River trip!] [2015- Kayamping]
  • 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, New Hampshire and/or Connecticut (in the fall)
  • Charlston, SC
  • Savannah, GA (with a stop to Tybee Island)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Arizona ([2015] recap HERE)
  • Austin and/or San Antonio, TX
  • San Francisco/Napa, CA
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Hawaii
  • Seattle, WA [2014, recap HERE and Tacoma, HERE] -- and as a result, has sprung:
  • Central, WA (think Mount Ranier, outdoorsy stuff, [close, but Spokane [July 2015])
  • Glacier National Park- West Glacier, MT
  • Coeur d'Alene, ID (after M's road trip to Seattle, this is now a 'must-see!..and I agree![July 2015])
  • Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Banff, AB, Canada
  • Italy
    • Cinque Terra [2014, recap HERE]
    • *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  [2014, recap HERE and HERE]
    • Florence  [2014, recap HERE and HERE]
    • Venice
    • Lake Como
    • Bari (where my family is from)
  • Greece (specifically the islands/coast- Thessaloniki and Santorini to be precise).
  • Rijeka, Croatia
  • Iceland
  • Geneva, Lucerne, Bergen, 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. [2014 was a success in this respect! Although it was a little early, I think it totally counts. :)]

So there's my list. Not a NYE 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 comment:

  1. LOLz that Coeur d'Alene is on your list as a "must see." I'm sure it's for a good reason, but I grew up driving from here to ID and haaaaated it. Funny how perspectives are different when you grow up around a place versus have someone who you know love it and thus want to see it.