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Top Five – Some Saturday Inspiration

16 Jun

It’s been a heck of a long time since I posted anything that wasn’t about food or crafting. You may not care about items not in those two categories and if so, I would encourage you to stop reading now.

Just trying to help.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the OTHER things I do with my life besides obssess over shopping for, cooking and consuming food…and the odd craft here and there.

I know, you thought all I did was cook and eat.

Sorry, not accurate friends.

Thus, thought I’d bring back some Top 5 action, sharing things I’m currently spending lots of time doing and perhaps one of them will spark some motivation or interest in one of you.

1) Triathlon Training. “Um, what?! Haha. You?” YES! Most of my good friends when I told them I was training for a triathlon gave me that little schpeel. Can’t hardly blame them, I’m not a neurotic workout fiend or really into fitness. Don’t get me wrong, I love working out. But until now, it wasn’t a huge part of my life. At all. Since high school two-a-day swim practices. Now, I spend 5-6 days a week training – 1 short and 1 long session devoted to each of the three activities of the tri – swimming, biking and running. I grew up around this crazy event, watching my mama compete in and then direct her own. Thus, I knew what I was getting into when a group of my coworkers and I all got persuaded to do the HyVee triathlon down in Des Moines, IA over Labor Day weekend. I’m 5 weeks into the training for it and I’m REALLY loving it. Who knew I’d end up being one of those weirdos that craves a workout everyday? If there’s some fitness event or goal out there for you, I highly encourage you to give it a go. The only thing holding you back is you. Do it.

2) Blog-Reading. This may be less of a surprise than the share above, but this is one of my favorite ways to stimulate creativity and get a little motivation. I’ve found some fantastic blogs out there – each dedicated to a slightly different cause. I’ve found ones devoted to fitness, ones devoted to cake decorating, ones devoted to fashion and ones devoted to nothing. You can find just about everything out there. My favorites are the ones where bloggers are exceptionally candid. Love that. I TRY to write that way for you all as that’s how I tend to talk in person. So when I read another blog where they too write like I’d imagine them speaking, I like it that much more. Here are a few current favorites of mine that I REALLy encourage you to take a peek at:

  • Spoon Fork Bacon (Delicious food and even better photography. Impossible to not drool reading this blog.)
  • How Sweet It Is (This blog is absolutely hilarious. She has fantastic recipes but is also hysterical with the way she documents her life for her readers.)
  • Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth (This is a new find for me, but I love her dedication to healthy eating and her DIY section is great. I’ve already made a few items from her blog…still need to blog about those for you all. Oops.)
  • From My Grey Desk (This blog is written by the sister of The Small Things Blog, one I’ve talked about on here before. Lauren has so many great posts, but my favorites are her posts/pictures of decorating. The girl’s got style.)

There’s no excuse to not be inspired by SOMETHING everyday. In my opinion. Whatever it is that inspires you, do that more. Do it often. 

3) Spotify.  Yes, I’m behind the curve with this one. I know, I know. But what an ingenious idea?!? For those unfamiliar, Spotify is a mix between your personal music library and Facebook. You download this application to your computer and you can then create playlists and listen to music, including ANY song you can think of. It’s like having access to a radio where you can pick every song. It’s a great way to discover new music. This application also shows you what your friends are listening to and different playlists they’ve created. It makes the process of listening to music a social one and one where you are constantly seeing and listening to new music. I am a country music lover (currently can’t get enough of Gloriana and Luke Bryan), so those friends of mine who have exceptional country music playlists are the ones that I usually look for. If you love to discover new music, I really recommend checking this out. Music sets my mood, more than anything else I do in a day. If there’s a simple and free way to find more music, why the heck not check it out?! 

4) Instagram. So long story short, I recently had an epic wedding weekend which resulted in a lost purse and no voice. Totally worth it, but unfortunately the purse contained my phone along with other necessary life items (my driver’s license, debit card, watch and new lipstick). After the initial freakout that I’d lost ALL of that, I set about replacing all items ASAP. First up was the phone. Thankfully an upgrade was due on our family’s account and my mama let me have it (she gets to use my upgrade in August) and an iPhone it was! I’m completely in love with it – pictures are better, it works faster, it’s actually intuitive to use and there are much better applications. One would be Instagram. I started to use this on my old phone – a Droid – but the app and the pictures look SO much better on the iPhone. It’s fun to follow people on Instagram too (it’s similar to Twitter in that regard). I follow a variety of friends and bloggers. Oh and Shawn Johnson. 🙂 This is a FREE app, so you have no excuse to not add it to your phone. It’s a different way to interact with people, solely over pictures. There are also lots of great ways to edit pictures for those of us lacking photography skill. All in all, it’s like getting a new, better, free camera.

5) H20 – Hmm…H20 is not an activity. Yes, yes I know. BUT everyday I struggle with trying to drink as much water as possible. I’m finally mastering how to do this and thought I’d share a few things that make drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses a day more possible for you too. 

  • Get a great waterbottle and don’t lose it. The latter is the hard part, but I believe in you. Cart this baby with you everywhere.
  • Find new ways to flavor your water. I LOVE Crystal Light, so I usually use that. The Raspberry Ice flavor is theeee best. Other great options that work well – throwing in lemon or lime wedges, using cucumber or using Mio (Blueberry Lemonade is a pretty fantastic flavor).
  • Cut out the pop. Make that anything that’s going to fill you up with liquid but not help to hydrate you. For me, I can’t function without coffee. So, I drink coffee in the morning and then switch to water for the rest of the day. Compromise.

You may have found this whole post useless (sad, I sure hope not) but perhaps you got an idea or were motivated to try something new. Even if it’s just drinking more water.

I’ll be back with more posts this weekend, ones not dedicated to my rambling ideas and more focused on food.

Happy Saturday!

New Favorites

22 Mar

With being a work traveler, unfortunately my time in the kitchen is reserved for Thursday night – Sunday. And if I’m being realistic, Friday night – Sunday. Tonight as a prime example, I was just too tired to cook anything. I try to have leftovers ready to be thawed or reheated if possible on Thursdays – tonight was lasagna. 🙂 Not terrible, but there’s no time in the kitchen usually.

Thus – tonight’s post is dedicated to something else, some of my new favorite things that I encourage any readers out there to check out or explore. (Other than number two being a relative of mine, none of the folks below have any clue who I am. I just love their stuff and as a content consumer, want to share with the world how much I love them!)

1) Birchbox. I discovered this only a few months ago after reading about it on a few blogs. Birchbox is a great site for anyone who loves health and beauty products and trying new brands. I’m not too much of a high-end brand person, but I love the idea of trying sample sizes of different brands – plus, they’re travel size (which I need)! The way Birchbox works – you pay per month or per year, and you receive a box each month with usually 4-5 sample products. They vary from makeup to hair accessories to (and in the case of my first box) teas! You’re able to try out each of the items and you can rate them on Birchbox’s website to help earn reward points (which when you gather enough reward products, you can buy the full size versions). You can also decide you really enjoy XYZ nail polish and dang it, you want to buy more! You can go out to Birchbox and you can order the product in the full size version. Either way, in my opinion, it’s a win-win. You learn about new products and you may even find a great treasure. My first Birchbox came last week – check out the great items:

Items  in my box include:

  • Color Club Nail Lacquer (in He Loves Me)
  • Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
  • Harvey Prince Ageless perfume
  • Orofluido Beauty Elixir hair treatment
  • stila Smoky Eye Card
  • Tea Forte Skin-Smart Teas

I can’t wait to try each of these products over the weekend! Maybe there’s one that I’ll end up buying more of…I’ll let you know how the experiment goes.

2) etsy. Etsy.com is FANTASTIC if you love finding unique items and getting ideas for things you could create yourself. Whether it’s art, clothes, food, gifts or my personal favorite, jewelry – etsy has many great shops with more products than you have time to look through. I love to get ideas from the great artists and crafters on there or even make some purchases! Two shops that are my current favorites:

My aunt has a great shop for anyone that needs some beautiful art on their walls: Gillyflower Cottage. Whimsical flowers, delectable pears and even some creatures with personality are currently featured.

Another one of my favorites is the Elisabeth Ashlie shop. They sell handcrafted jewelry that is right up my alley (and perfect for the earring chain). I recently made a purchase from their shop receiving these cute, springy pair of earrings:

3) The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier. This I have yet to purchase but have been looking forward to it for months!! I am planning a trip to Barnes and Noble (or B&N as I fondly refer to it as) in the next few days to have a tasty chocolatey beverage and look through this new volume. I’ll then buy it. Go to the grocery store. Come home and make more food than I can consume by Sunday night. (This is a terrible pattern I fall into). But it means it’ll be a perfect weekend. 🙂

The post the above link brings you to on her website gives a little sneak peek and will show you, simply from her verbiage and pictures alone, why I love her blog so very much.

Those are the favorite items I needed…had to…couldn’t not share with you. Whether they’re interesting to you or not, perhaps one person out there is intrigued enough to learn more.

I found out about ALL of these items via a blog. (Serious.) I hope I can help pass along the great finds other blogs have provided to me, to anyone who happens upon this one.

Favorite Minneapolis Spots

8 Mar

Everyone needs some places to go that just make your day better. For some it’s a coffee place, others, their favorite shoe store. I’m still discovering what my favorite places are to go in Minneapolis but here are a few that I encourage anyone in the area to visit. These are purely my own opinion about local spots that make me smile:

Punch Pizza: I cannot express enough how fantastic this pizza is. It’s authentic Italian pizza and just the smell of this place reminds me of Italy. Nothing beats the Margherita Extra pizza (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pepperoni pizza…but this pizza is by far the best ever), but I’ve never tasted anything bad from their menu. Punch has a quite a few locations around the Twin Cities, and thankfully one of those is within a mile of my apartment. Next time you’re craving pizza, this is the spot to go!

Patina: This is the best store if you’re in the mood to just wander and window shop (or purchase!). If I  need a pick-me-up, this is one of the first spots I go. For anyone who enjoys unique home decor, bath accessories, cards and stationery, fun kitchen gadgets, (when in season) Christmas ornaments, coffee table books, gift ideas etc. – Patina has it all! I discovered one near campus while I was a student at the University of Minnesota and luckily, have one close to my apartment in Uptown now too. There are a few locations scattered around the Twin Cities and one even in Golden Valley. I promise you’ll love it!

yum!: Yes, this is the name of an actual place and it lives up to its name! This bakery and restaurant is on the outside cusp of Uptown and is one of a my favorite spots to eat out. I even went here on my birthday last year, when I was out celebrating with my lovely parental units. This place has delicious food – just check out the online menu for a peek. There’s wine and beer that are suggested as pairings for each main dish from the restaurant side as well. I have yet to try anything from the bakery but that is NOT because it doesn’t all look fabulous. I just don’t trust myself to stop after one of the delicious-looking sweets! If you’re looking for a unique, local spot to eat next time you’re in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, check this place out. They have just about anything you could be craving, so you’re bound to leave with a full, happy stomach. Great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner…or even just dessert!

Mara Mi: This is not technically in the Twin Cities, but in Stillwater, MN. I found this place while on a mother/daughter weekend with my mama in early February. We were out stopping in all the fun antiques and boutiques on the main street in Stillwater, and then stumbled into this place. It’s hard to really describe the fun shop they have, but it’s part cafe (paninis, pizza, cupcakes, coffee etc.) and part store. Their store sells uniquely designed stationary as well as other fun accessories – desk/office supplies, home decor, home organization/travel accessories and more! There’s so much color in this store and great patterns everywhere, it’s hard to not be inspired. The really neat part is, the design studio for the company is just upstairs – where they design all their stationary/patterns! What a fantastic job – design, sell and bake. Love it!

I have many more spots I could list, but these are some favorites. I love to support local spots that are a unique piece of what makes Minneapolis and the Twin Cities overall such a great place to live. If you’re ever in town to visit or if you’re a local like me, I encourage you to stop by one of these spots!

I’m always looking for new spots around the area, so if there are any favorites among any of the readers out there – please share!

Spatulas and Buttons.

29 Jan

The inaugural post! Now you may be wondering what spatulas and buttons have in common…well, nothing. But they represent two hobbies of mine – cooking and crafting. I do more cooking than crafting, but I’d like to capture both on here. I want some place to track my real successes and epic failures. Maybe somebody will stumble upon this and pick up an idea or two. If not, this is my virtual recipe box and craft project timeline.

This is my second time blogging (I blogged while studying abroad in the Netherlands, read here if you’re curious: http://bvosegoingdutch.blogspot.com/). I tend to have an unusual blogging style so if there is anyone out there reading this, be forewarned.

1) I write in incomplete thoughts. It’s more fun.

2) I use hyphens too much. I know. I do it anyway.

3) See #1. I also enjoy using “…” wherever possible.

4) I am not a chef. I’m not a professional crafter. I’m learning as I go.

5) I thoroughly enjoy following and reading other blogs, searching pinterest.com and looking in magazines for ideas. I’ll always source any recipe or craft idea I’ve found in the off chance  1) I attact any readers and 2) said readers want to make what I did.

I think that’s all the forewarnings. As of now, anyway. Let the blogging begin!

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