Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume VII

It's FriYAY! I'm sorry, I just canNOT get into that word. I like the sound of Friday just as it is. But here are some things I *am* into:

The controversial and massive $50 million Nicollet Mall overhaul is finally complete, which held an opening celebration last night. And our Mary is back in place!

She sits near the area of her iconic hat toss from the open credits of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

Have you ever noticed the bespectacled, kerchiefed woman at the end of the shot, who is giving some serious side eye to Mary?
Well, her name was Hazel Frederick - read about her story HERE

Also, since we are on a MTM kick - come visit me in Minneapolis, and we will do a mini Mary tour:

Were you into high school theater? It was a pretty big deal at my school and some of my happiest teenage memories are from on and off that Eagan High School stage. 

That's why I will definitely be tuning into this upcoming TV show where former class/cast-mates reunite to give one last performance of their favorite musical. Hm...maybe EHS should sign up?

It's been gloomy and cold around these parts. Last year we had such an extended warm fall that I got spoiled. Plus, with the darkness settling in each night by 5pm, it really can get you down. A suggestion from a family member led me to try SAM-e, a supposed natural mood enhancer. Maybe it is a placebo effect, but my outlook has brightened since taking them.

The news has been hard to take this week (or every week, really.) There is so much to unpack and sort through on a lot of really uncomfortable subjects. This week in particular, I've been disappointed in men. But at the same time, I'm honored to know so many wonderful males in my life. I won't go into all of the ongoing mess any further on a silly blog, but I did think this article had many strong points to be said about raising kind and confident boys.

I'm not a habit-forming kind of person. I tend to switch things up and multitask to the point where I always have a million unfinished projects. I've spent so much time organizing other people's lives, that my own tasks are left to dangle. Lately, I've taken charge of that and one tool that has really helped me is the Habit List app.

There are no bells and whistles, but it is very user friendly and I find the streak-incentive addictive. 8 glasses of water a day, here I come!

Or if not water, maybe beer...?

I admit, I often buy beer much like I buy makeup - based on the name and packaging. Luckily with these design-forward brews, the beer inside is just as impressive as the cool cans.

I fell in love with this colorful and mind-bending can when it was first released late summer, but couldn't score a pack before they sold out. I still was able to taste the hazy and fruit-heavy IPA at Fair State's Oktoberfest shindig and found it super refreshing. I was thrilled that they decided to have one more limited release this week - this time I was on the case - literally!

Sours are an acquired taste and not necessarily my first choice, but how could I not love a Lucy? 

This one totally shocked me. I grabbed a 6-pack after being drawn in by the mystic aurora borealis themed-can. I clearly did not look past the pretty midnight colors swirling about because this broo is a combo of ale and cold brew coffee! It is quite interesting and definitely wakes you up.

What are some of your favorite artfully contained beers?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Velvet Walk

I've been crushing on velvet footwear as of late. Velvet usually makes an appearance around the holidays, but I love it year-round for a dash of lux, texture, and whimsy. Shoes are the perfect way to test the velvet trend without feeling like The Velveteen Rabbit.

A softer version of a structured shoe:

Festive meets casual with this sandal:

Talk about easy:

Giving blue suede some competition:

These remind me of an amazing vintage store find:

This is a perfect shade of grey paired with the sweetest satin ribbons:

I love the rainbow of colors velvet is now available in - like this emerald:

I am always onboard for a take on the classic mary jane:

Does anyone else have that Black Velvet song in your head now?

Who knew loafers could be so pretty?

Grey velvet just works:

If you are the type to choose gold velvet, well then please teach me your ways.

What do you think of the velvet trend? Would you dip your toe in velvet?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume VI

You know what feeling I've been craving amongst the bizarre, angsty, depressing, up and down world we've been living in lately?

Peace. It's as simple and as complicated as that.

Not easy to achieve in some senses, so we've been starting symbolically.
Seeking peace in Prior Lake

The above wreath was purchased at a local garden center, Mother Earth Gardens, but this is a similar one:
Here are some other variations, since we can never have too many options for peace.
Now, just because I am preaching peace, doesn't mean that I'm all kumbaya about what's happening in our country. Not one bit. That's why I cheered when I heard that on his or her last day of work, a Twitter employee deactivated 45's account. Amazing!

Twitter Employee Celebrates Their Last Day By Deleting Trump’s Account - Scary Mommy

I like to fantasize that this is how I would go down, too. I feel a kinship with said former employee.

I also have always felt The Pioneer Woman was a kindred spirit, and now I have evidence.

I may loathe bananas, but I looooooove ice cream cookie sandwiches. True story. In fact, they may be my dessert of choice (I like that technically you are getting two desserts in one). So, I'll have to venture to the new Seventh Street Truck Park in my sister city in order to test out this giant 15 pound ice cream cookie sandwich. It's filled with Sebastian Joe's ice cream, so there is quality along with quantity. Who is willing to help me with this monster task?
Damn you, Polar Springs marketing team! You sure know how to reel me in to spend too much money on creatively packaged, mystery...water. Plus, these are mini-sized, and who can resist tiny things? The limited edition sodas were released in August, but you can still order variety packs HERE.
What's the Mystery Flavor Behind Polar's 'Unicorn Kisses' Seltzer? - Bon Appétit

Can someone please buy this stunning number and wear it to some fabulous holiday shindig? There should be the promise of romance, perhaps a jazz band, and definitely a stiff drink in a vintage glass.

Some might be drooling in anticipation of the latest Star Wars film, but the release I'm jonesin' for is this:
I, Tonya Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers - YouTube

The drama! The characters! The scrunchies! I can't wait.

Fun fact: I was with my parents at the 1991 U.S. Championships when Tonya Harding became the first American woman to land a triple Axel in performance, but I was in my crabby pre-teen years and missed it because I was reading a book and refusing to watch. Luckily, there is YouTube and I can finally see the magic (starts around :55 - I keep trying to find myself in the crowd, but it whizzes by too fast).
Tonya Harding - 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Ladies' Free Skate

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook and UPS, but its only love for both of them when it comes to THIS.
UPS Dogs - Facebook

Dogs are a cure-all, no? You know what else clears the head and opens the heart? Getting to see our home in the greater scheme of things (thanks to NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft). Weird to think about what you might have been doing at the moment this picture was taken. Hello down there!
Earth - NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona

I finished a really lovely book called Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

It has been embraced as essential curriculum for middle school aged kids, but it is just as an appropriate read for us older folks. One quote that stood out to me:
“If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."
Let's all choose kind!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Year of the Best Words

Today as I made sure to fill in the oval bubble completely with my pen, I was brought back to a year ago, having been so proud to have solidly colored an oval in for her.

And then what happened, happened. UGH.

Some saw it coming, but I was naive and totally shocked. And it hurt. Like, significant other shattering your trust hurt. Which was weird because honestly, I'm not even that into politics. But this wasn't just about legislation or policies. It wasn't even about red or blue. This was something emotional and deeply rooted that had been hidden and stewing and ready to burst. I felt like America was my beloved child who had just gotten a face tattoo and ran off with some scumbag, if only to spite me. 

How did this happen? What did we do? What did I do? I feel so very distant from the citizens who believe in this con man, yet I know that continued divisiveness will only do damage to us all. 
I want to learn. I want to understand. I want to investigate. I want to listen.
I mean, mostly I want to scream and shake my head, but I want to want to do the above.

The best action has been to read. Everything and anything regarding this historical event.

Throughout the year as I read article after article, I found I had to look up or reacquaint myself with a lot of the vocabulary being used. Turns out that when you are describing the man we currently elected to the White House, you need a very particularly themed lexicon.

Here is a sampling:

See what I mean? Not the most positive collection of the English language.

Of course, there are also his own words. Those I wish I could unlearn.
Image from the Making America Misogynistic Again by the artist Saint Hoax

They say actions speak louder than words, but these days I'm doubting that language and intent can't have extreme power, as well. I'm not the only one:

One way to combat the combative words is The Daily Show's brilliant Chrome extension,
Make Trump Tweets Eight Again. I highly recommend it.

If you don't find yourself on Twitter often, here is some other apropos advice:

It really has been an anxiety-ridden and stressful ride with this administration. I suppose I should have taken the hint when I saw what was trending in the NYTimes immediately following November 8th, 2016:

My only hope is that the reality of this joke-of-a-human in such a respected and powerful position pushes each of us to learn, understand, investigate, and listen, so that we can better fight for what we know (from heart and also mind) is right for our country.

Bret Stephens, in his New York Times Op-Ed, The Dying Art of Disagreement, wisely notes that "to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say."

So I'm going to keep up my steady routine of absorbing all there is to learn from all sides (within reason-I refuse to believe that there are very good Nazis, thanks but no thanks).

And when I do speak of what I've learned, I'll try and do it thoughtfully.

Of course, I'll be sneaking some snarky tweets and absurd GIFs into the rotation.

After all, I need some laughter to balance out all of those other emotions for the next (hopefully) 3 years or less. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Everything You Could Want

I knew I was officially a grown up when instead of wanting a sad, plain bagel for breakfast, I craved an everything bagel. To be fair, I don't really remember these being an option in my childhood - perhaps the great North of the 80s and 90s wasn't ready for quite so much decadence and flavor - but I doubt my young, boring tastebuds would have gone for it, anyway.

A crispy crust/chewy inside, heavily seasoned everything bagel was my go-to most mornings while living in New York. Accompanied by the New York Times crossword puzzle and black coffee, I was completely nourished and satisfied for the day. 

Since moving to Minneapolis, it's not quite as easy to grab my favorite hole-y carb on a whim, but I will give shout-outs to decent comparisons at Rise Bagel Co. and St. Paul Bagelry. I can't say that I'm transported to the streets of NYC, but I do get my fix.

In the past year, Trader Joe's made the world a better place with this product:

Yup. Now almost everything can have a hint of everything bagel. Honestly, at first I limited my goods to sprinkling over plain cream cheese in order to magically turn my plain bagel into its fancier cousin. But then, bottle by bottle, I began to experiment: avocado toast...roasted or steamed veggies...hummus...deviled eggs...any eggs...potatoes...popcorn...salads...pastas...the name really says it all, folks.

Here are killer recipes that I've spotted that I definitely want to attempt to everything-ize.
That Bloody Mary alone! Ah!

In my Googling, I also went googly-eyed for this everything take on a grilled cheese:

There are other spice brands that have jumped on the everything bandwagon if you aren't near a Trader Joe's, or you could easily mix up your own blend:

Everything's popularity is showing up in other forms, too - I've noticed many new products on the shelf that are Everything Seasoned _______. Everyone wants to be everything, I guess. One that I've tested and can vouch for are these savory, salty rice crackers:

And that's not even...(you guessed it)...everything.

So go forth, my friends, and partake in everything your heart desires! Just be sure to have some floss and breath mints handy.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Feels - Volume V

Another week filled with extremes.

I had a fulfilling (especially in regards to my stomach!) day at the Minnesota State Fair. Lots of highlights, but I have to say that the Giant Egg Roll On-A-Stick lived up to fair food expectations, wasn't that expensive, and probably could have fed a family of four.

For those that are too hard on themselves (which is everyone, no?):

Speaking of E.T. - it may be one of my most favorite movies ever. Have you seen this clip of Henry Thomas's audition? Spoiler alert: He got the job.

At times, I feel like this is my life (on a good day):

The recent Whitney Houston documentary was heartbreaking. Such pure and powerful talent bursting then fading like the true star she was.

It reminded me of other films documenting the rise and fall of musical geniuses, like AMY (Amy Winehouse) and Little Girl Blue (Janis Joplin). Why does it seem to be fate that those who shine so brightly end up being destroyed?

And of course, Houston.
photo: REUTERS/Richard Carson

I've been seeing a lot of lists of ways to help Hurricane Harvey victims financially. If you are able, please consider aiding one of the organizations listed HERE.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
- Maya Angelou