Friday, October 30, 2015

Simply Me Linkup October

I found today's link-up through Jacquelyn and it's hosted by Liz. It's a monthly linkup to just tell a little bit more about yourself! Here are my answers to this month's questions.

1. How many states have you lived in?


Born and raised in Minnesota and living there now.

Massachusetts. I went to Boston University for college.

2. My favorite state is __________.

Even though it seems boring to say the state where I currently live, I have to say Minnesota. If it wasn't my favorite, I'd leave.

3. Why do you live in the state you currently live?

Well, like I said, I love Minnesota. But I don't think I truly discovered how much Minnesota and the Twin Cities had to offer until I moved back at age 23.  Before that, I wasn't living in a different state, but actually in China. I'd spent 4 years in Boston, 4 months traveling all over, then a year in China. I was jobless and unattached and looking all over the country for jobs. I was interested in Chicago, Washington DC, or going back to Boston. But after some thought, when it came down to it, I moved back to Minnesota to be near my family. And I'm sure glad I did :)

4. Would you move to another state?

Actually, despite everything I said above, yes. I've always said to Cody that if he got a job somewhere else, I'd go anywhere (with a few exceptions). I'm not particularly keen on living in a rural area. But I love going new places so I'd give anything a shot. But once we have children, I'd sure like them to live near their grandparents. I also think my parents feel so strongly about that that they might follow us somewhere.

5. What is your state known for?

You want to know about Minnesota, you say? Well, I have plenty to tell you. When I went to college in Boston and told people I was from Minnesota, they were quick to tell me I talked funny. Then they said they didn't actually know where Minnesota was and ask "Is that, like, by Canada?"

There we are!

The first thing most people know about Minnesota is that it's cold. There's no getting around that. It's cold. And for a really long time. Sometimes I describe it to non-Minnesotans as "so cold your snot freezes when you breathe in". I wish I was kidding.

Your typical morning commute, November through April

But! If you're cold you don't even necessarily need to go outside! All of downtown Minneapolis is connected by skyways.

cool, right?

And while Minnesotans get outside all year long, even outsiders can appreciate the physical beauty of the state during the warm half of the year. I posted recently that my favorite aspect is the lakes. Did you know we have over 10,000? And the North Shore along Lake Superior is spectacular.


The people are the nicest! You'll always have someone to hold a door for you, pick up something you dropped, or bake you a hot dish (casserole). And they speak in the cutest accents. Minnesotan moms have the thickest ones. Think of the movies Fargo (that's actually North Dakota) or Drop Dead Gorgeous. 

We also have one of the biggest state fairs in the nation and are known for having deep fried everything on a stick. We had the first indoor shopping malls and now the biggest (Mall of America). Do you like Target? You're welcome.


I don't know outer Minnesota very well. But the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and Saint Paul) have so much more to offer than people from other places realize. They have an incredible craft beer scene, world class restaurants and a unique food truck abundance. Minneapolis is second only to New York City for number of theaters per capita. And seemingly in an effort to take advantage of nice weather while we have it, there is a festival for everything from bacon to cat videos.



I know it's hard to get past the cold part but if you ever want to come visit, let me know!

Linking up with Liz.
sundays with sophie

And here and here

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Goodbye to Our First Home

Cody and I are moving into a new apartment November 1st. We moved into our first place two weeks before our wedding and it was the first time we'd lived together! We had made a decision to wait until we got married to live together. However, we also didn't want to move my stuff on our wedding weekend. So we moved everything and I was planning to stay at my parents' until November 15th. That totally didn't happen.

We found this place with the thought that we wanted to save money on rent before buying a house. It definitely enabled us to save money. However, we still aren't ready to buy a house. We really want to pay off all of our student loan debt before buying. Since that will be a longer process, we need to rent in a place we can stand for longer. In other words, it needs to be bigger.

I'm sad to say goodbye to our first home and the neighborhood (we are moving almost 10 miles away and to a different city). Our first year of marriage happened here. We became husband and wife, became cat parents, I became a real cook, Cody started becoming a beer expert, we hosted family and friends, and our relationship with each other deepened. We grew a lot together and it was so special. But I'm SO excited for our new neighborhood and to settle into a longer term home. I can't wait to see which memories are built there and how much more special a place it will be to us than the first!

Living Room

Beautiful wedding gifts on the wall and DIY coffee table we made together.

Cody's project. I think we utilized this random/awkward space pretty well :)

DIY project on the wall


Our Bedroom

It's killing me that the pillows aren't centered

The chair that was only used for throwing my dirty clothes on.

We always had huge piles of laundry here since we had no washer or dryer.


Second Bedroom/Office

Futon for guests, Cody's PS4, beer fridge with stickers from every brewery we visit

My vanity area

My desk. With cat, of course.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Falling for Minneapolis

Late post today! But I'm excited to link up to tell why I love fall in Minneapolis so much. When people think of Minnesota, they typically think of this:

Funny thing is, yes, we do get a lot of snow. But a large portion of our winter is actually SO cold that it's too cold to snow.

Anyway, back to fall. Given that people who live here are crazy enough to endure the above, they aren't really built for the heat and humidity of summer. Also, Minneapolis' population is one of the most active in the country. Really! I read it on the internet. So people like to be active and don't like the heat. Thus, fall is the best time to take advantage of one of the best features of Minneapolis: The Chain of Lakes.

There are a group of lakes right in the middle of Minneapolis and they are gorgeous. I used to live right on the east side of Lake Calhoun and could look over the lake from my rooftop. It was amazing, except the parking was a nightmare.

Each lake is slightly different. Calhoun is the busiest and has the most young people running around. They have a restaurant called The Tin Fish which serves amazing fish tacos. Lake Harriet is more family friendly and has a cute cafe called Bread and Pickle which has the most amazing truffle popcorn. Lake of the Isles has the nicest houses around it and has interesting islands and peninsulas. 

You can follow a path around all three lakes, totalling ten miles. It was really nice to use them during marathon training and last August/September I was there every weekend. 

Here are some pretty photos of the lakes:

Sadly, I no longer live immediately next to the lakes, but am right near the Mississippi River so here's a shot from my run today. 57 degrees and totally comfortable (in my opinion).

Linking up with MacyMeg, and Veronica. Thanks for hosting, ladies!

 photo Falling 3_zpsj6pyyvin.jpg

Friday, October 23, 2015

5 Things on Friday 10/23

-one- New Design! When I started this blog I had no idea what I was doing. Well, I still don't. I really wanted to learn how to make my own template and custom design. So I made something temporary until I could change it. I'm still confident that I can learn how to do that. However, with work lately I just haven't been able to dive into it. So I decided to buy a template for a little longer term fix. I got one from Designer Blogs and I think it's very clean looking and matches my seasonal theme well!

-two- Blog goals. While I want to learn how to do some custom design, my next goal is to pull out my camera and start using it again. When I moved to China I got a really nice DSLR for a gift but since coming home it's collected dust and everything seen on this blog is taken by my trusty iphone!

-three- Movies lately. I have had an unusually crazy week at work and all I've wanted to do is crash on the couch in the evening. So we've watched more movies this week than usual. I saw The Martian in the theater and we had HBO for a weekend so we recorded Gone Girl and Theory of Everything. I recommend all three!

-four- I love this recipe. It's Whole 30 compliant (dairy and grain free) as long as you don't top it with cheese or put it on a tortilla, and it couldn't be more simple! I love to add some guacamole to the mix, too!

-five- On a different note, I'm feeling a little sad but very grateful today. In the past two months, a friend, a partner of a friend, and a friend's father have all passed away unexpectedly. It's been a little hard for me to wrap my head around and deal with. But mostly, it makes me hug my parents, sister, and Cody a little tighter and feel so grateful for all of them and how lucky we are.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Linking up herehere, and here!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Invitations

We got our wedding invitations from Paper Rock Scissors in South Minneapolis. They make awesome products and were extremely easy to work with!

Our colors were navy, gold, and coral so we went with an irredescent gold invite and return card with a navy envelope.

It's hard to see how sparkly the gold paper is in these photos but they were beautiful. I even had a family friend use the same company and almost identical invitations in silver a few months later!

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

To Travel and Beyond

Monday, October 19, 2015

What I'd Tell Myself Then

People often talk about what they'd say to their younger selves. I thought it would be interesting to think about what I would say to myself (succinctly) at each different age. I have this book and pick it up every so often to read a letter of what some of the world's most amazing women would say to their younger selves.

What I Know Now - Letters to My Younger Self

Age 16 (2003): Not everything will come easily to you. Work hard, ask more questions, and develop a growth mindset.

Age 17 (2004): You are not fat. You don't need to diet.

Age 18 (2005): You are funny and interesting. Don't be shy.

Age 19 (2006): Put girlfriends before your boyfriend.

Age 20 (2007): Just break up with him. He's awful.

Age 21 (2008): Throw caution to the wind and have fun. You only get certain opportunities once. Put yourself out there to make friends and build relationships.

Age 22 (2009): What a great choice to live abroad. You will never regret this.

Age 23 (2010): While this seems fun, he's also not the one. It gets much better than this.

Age 24 (2011): Grad school will end and you will live through it.

Age 25 (2012): All's fair in love and war. Follow your heart and let go of the guilt.

Age 26 (2013): You can't afford that apartment. Stop spending like you won the lottery.

Age 27 (2015): You're right where you're supposed to be. Enjoy it immensly.

Maybe next year I will know what I should have known at 28!

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Things on Friday 10/16

-one- Four day weekend! Every year Education Minnesota holds a conference for teachers to gain credits for relicensure. Therefore we always get two days off of school. I'm way ahead on my relicensure credits so I'm enjoying some relaxtion! Well, I did some work yesterday and today but it was from the comfort of my couch in sweatpants and that makes a difference!

-two- The new Pumpkin Almond Milk smoothie at Jamba Juice. YUM! It packs all the flavor of many of the pumpkin spice fall products but is made with no dairy and no high fructose corn syrup! One of my new favorites.

-three- I love this deep conditioner from Target. It comes in little packets for a couple bucks each and I stretch them to be two uses. I've used plain coconut oil to deep condition my hair before but I thought this had a greater effect. When my hair feels a little dry and dull I slather it on during a long shower and can definitely feel a difference. And it smells amazing!

-four- I tried this recipe this week for Whole 30 compliant cashew chicken. The flavor was great and it satisfied a craving I've been having for Chinese food. There are a couple random ingredients (tapioca flour and arrowroot starch). I tried substituting them with coconut flour the first time and the flavor was still good but the texture got strange. So it's worth grabbing the two, especially since I know I'll make the recipe again.


-five- Major progress on the cat front! I was freaking out at the beginning of the week that this was never going to work out. Kristen was so sweet to give me a ton of advice about how to slowly introduce them and look what I just found!

Now, I'm sure if Bruce advanced even slightly Quinn would still hiss and bat as his face. But now I'm much more optimisic about their blossoming friendship.

Linking up here and here!