Trying Two Indoor Experiences In NE Minneapolis: Aveda Institute Spa Treatment + Riddle Room

I may live in Minnesota but I don’t like the cold.

I used to but I’m too old and tired now. Spending one winter in St. Louis, Missouri broke us.

This past weekend I was watching the last Top Chef episode. Not only did they go camping, they went snow camping. I wasn’t sure which was worse; this challenge or that one season where they contestants had to do a relay race in the snow and chip cooking tools out of giant ice blocks.

Either I would do the George Constanza thing where I’d end on a clever high note and say “Alright! That’s it for me!” and then run away. Or I’d serve them crudo.

In this sub-zero weather, I’d rather stay indoors mall walking or sitting on my couch reading books.

I just finished Emma Cline’s The Girls and have so many feelings and am now reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. 

Here are two, new indoor activities I tried this month that happen to be located in Northeast Minneapolis:

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6 Petty Chain Restaurant Hills On Which I’m Willing To Stand (But Not Die)

If you invited me to meet you for lunch at a chain restaurant seven years ago when I first started my blog, I would have recoiled in absolute horror. I was a food snob.

Now, it’s not that I think chain restaurants are the pinnacle of dining, but I like eating at them from time to time. I just do and understand if you don’t. Also, I’ve grown up and learned it’s crappy to make some one feel bad about where they like to eat.

Variety is the spice of life. That’s my motto, anyway. Let’s begin with the hill I’d be more willing to die on.

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Visiting Louis Sullivan’s First Jewel Box Bank: Owatonna, MN

This Minne-RoadTrip series of posts is sponsored by Visit Owatonna, Visit Faribaultand Visiting Northfield

I used to think architecture was boring. This all changed during a North Iowa bloggers tour in Chicago. One of our scheduled actives was going on an architecture boat tour. I thought it was going to be really boring but it wasn’t.

Just like how food’s never really just about the food, architecture isn’t just about the buildings. Architecture is art. The stories of buildings are the stories of people and their eras.

Located minutes from I-35 traveling north and south between Minnesota and Iowa is architect Louis Sullivan’s first and well-preserved Jewel Box Banks built in 1908.

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Testing Kitchen Gadgets: Microwave Egg Cookers & The Instant Pot

I used to think cooking pasta dishes in an Instant Pot was ridiculous until my family gave me one for Christmas.

I’m always a late adapter to trendy things; from creating a Twitter account to using bath bombs to getting an Instant Pot.

This all changed last month when I was trying to prep beef stew in the crock pot before work. Nine hours later, that dreaded thing happened. I walked back into my house and didn’t smell a thing. Upon opening my front door, the hopeful waft of cozy, fragrant slow cooked beef didn’t hit my face. Just the normal everyday smells of our dog and traces of my hollyberry wax melt. Noooooooooo.

“That’s it” I exclaimed. “This would never have happened if I had an Instant Pot.”

People may make mock me for microwaving scrambled eggs in the mornings, but if I can’t remember to turn on a crock pot, I’m not sure I want to juggle a hot pan. Chef Mike is all I want to deal with at 5:30 in the mornings before running to the bus stop.

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This Is Sort Of One Of Those End-Of-Year Posts: Highlights, Lowlights, Current State

Confession: I hate gift guides but I enjoy reading everyone’s “Best and Worst” end-of-year recaps.

Usually I publish something along the lines of “The 10 best foods I ate this year” type of thing. This year I’m writing something a little different.

One year ago, I was wrapping up a temp job I began soon after we moved back to the Twin Cities from St. Louis, MO. The data entry assignment at an ill-fitting desk wreaked havoc on my body.  The problem was that I was too efficient and so they kept extending my end date. I was in constant pain day and night. In December, I got pushy about requested an assignment that aligned more with my career interests.

The next gig led to a permanent job and this fall I finally got hired as an employee. I’m grateful for this job opportunity and for every day that my body feels normal enough that I don’t even think about it.

Each morning, I hop on the bus at 6:45 a.m. that heads to downtown Minneapolis. I love looking out the windows at all of the glittering buildings and bridges as we cross the Mississippi river.

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