Tag: Mugshot Monday (Page 1 of 2)

Mugshot Monday: Special Guest Amy Rea

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Help me welcome special guest Amy Rea to this edition of Mugshot Monday. As I mentioned earlier, she’s one of my favorite writers. She’s a fellow wanderluster who writes about food and traveling off the beaten path at WCCO’s Wander Minnesota and The Heavy Table. She actually wrote one of my favorite pieces possibly ever about enlisting the help of residents of the Mala Strana Assisted Living home to taste-test kolacky from New Prague, Minnesota-area bakeries. Here’s her mug and story:

A few years ago, while traveling around MN doing research for my book Backroads & Byways of Minnesota, I stayed a couple of nights in Grand Marais, one of my favorite places in the state. The first morning there, I ate at the (now sadly defunct) Wild Onion Café, which at that time was just across the highway from the harbor. It was a beautiful August morning, and I sat outside, watching the sailboats bob in the water, the gulls flying about, and ate the best blueberry pancakes ever. The blueberries and syrup were both local, and so delicious. It was such a great breakfast that I broke one of my self-imposed travel rules: while conducting research, never eat at the same restaurant twice. Always visit as many as possible. Which makes sense, right?

Amy Crea Mugshot Monday
However, at the point at which I’d gotten to Grand Marais, I’d made several road trips for research, and they’re always insane. I’m usually on the road before sunrise, covering as many miles while making as many stops as possible (in a kind of “if it’s 2 p.m., this must be Two Harbors” kind of way). It’s not uncommon for me to drive 400-500 miles a day, with as many as 30-40 stops each day. By this time, I was getting very tired and cranky about not having time to actually relax and enjoy myself.

So my second and last morning in Grand Marais, I returned for more of those blueberry pancakes. I sat outside again and was rewarded with a dramatic change of scenery, as the brilliant blue skies from the day before gave way to a fast-moving fog that covered everything in the harbor, making tall sailboats not much more than shadows—and then the fog disappeared as fast as it had come. I had pancakes and a show. After breakfast, knowing I had to get going if I was going to see everything I needed to see on my way to Ely, I went back into the Wild Onion and bought this mug. It never fails to remind me of a few calm, beautiful moments on an otherwise hectic journey.

Amy C. Rea is writer and author who lives in Minnesota. Check out her book Land of 10,000 Lakes: an Explorer’s Guide and Backroads & Byways of Minnesota and read more of her adventures on www.wcco.com/wandermn and Heavy Table. Connect with her on Twitter at @Amycrea.

Mugshot Monday: 1996 Summer Olympics Commemorative Stein

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Mugshot Monday took a week off, and it’s back with another find from the 1990’s.

I found this gigantic mug at the thrift store House of Treasures two weeks ago when I joined a couple of blogger friends on a road trip to Belmond, Iowa.

mugshot monday olympic selfie

This mug is actually a beer stein produced by Ceramarte of Brazil for Anhueser-Busch, Inc. to commemorate the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. For as long as I can remember, I especially loved watching gymnastics and tried to mimic their floor routines in my backyard and parallel bar kips on the playground at school.

Back in 1996, I was 12. I don’t remember a lot about that summer. I searched for information about this mug and was reminded about a terrible bombing that occurred at the Centennial Olympic Park. The explosion killed two people and injured many, and the perpetrator wasn’t caught until 2003.

I also learned that the city of Atlanta was chosen to host the games over Athens, Greece. According to this NPR article, the Olympics “launched $1 billion dollars of construction projects” in Atlanta and contributed to its population growth from 3.5 million-5.5 million between 1996-2011 leaving a legacy of triumphs and challenges for its residents.




It’s fascinating to imagine how this commemorative mug ended up on the shelves of a thrift store in the tiny town of Belmond, Iowa. The mug cost $1 at the thrift shop, and is selling for anywhere between $7-$40 online.

Next week, I’m excited to welcome another Mugshot Monday guest. Amy Crea is another one of my favorite writers. You can find her wanderlusting at WCCO’s Wander Minnesota and writing about food at The Heavy Table. She wrote one of my favorite pieces possibly ever about enlisting the help of residents of the Mala Strana Assisted Living home to taste-test kolacky from New Prague, Minnesota-area bakeries.

Mugshot Monday: Special Guest Kate Selner

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Today’s Mugshot Monday is different which makes it special. Today, I have a special guest who is sharing one of her favorite mugs with a story.

Kate Selner, who blogged at Kate in the Kitchen for eight years, is one of the first Minnesota food bloggers I ever met soon after I started blogging in the Twin Cities. Occasionally, the women food bloggers gathered for happy hours at restaurants around the metro. I joined them a couple of times before moving to Fargo and always remembered how welcomed and included I felt by Kate.

In 2013, I attended my first Minnesota Bloggers Conference. Kate was a member of the opening panel and spoke about her desire to blog authentically and create content in a way that honored her passions and values, no matter how the terrain of blogging and social media continued to shift. I resonated with Kate’s intentions to share her world and food experiences just the way they were. Kate also connected me with her husband Mike who owns a web consulting business. He patiently helped me make the migration from Blogger to WordPress.org and continues to host my blog.

In May 2014, Kate wrote a Bittersweet Goodbye to Kate in the Kitchen, but continues to share her life through social media. I look at Kate’s beautiful Instagram photos and read her encouraging words, catching a glimpse of the beauty she finds in her daily life. I’m honored she is sharing one of her favorite mugs and a story in today’s Mugshot Monday:

Kate Selner Mug

“This mug has followed me and my life for 31 years and I cannot even count the number of times I’ve considered getting rid of it, donating it, passing it on, making it in to a planter  etc. etc….. but something stops me every single time because I simply cannot get rid of it. 

I sipped from this mug in every place I’ve lived since I was 20 years old. I sipped from this mug while negotiating adulthood, scared and excited and anxious for a future unknown. I sipped from this mug the morning after my sister died, as my insides were shredded and the coffee tasted like ashes. It was there the morning after I found out I was pregnant, and as I sipped my cup that day I was so terrified for the future that I could hardly think straight. I held my newborn son in one arm, and this coffee cup in the other, and as those first years of motherhood swept past me, my daily coffee often growing cold, this mug was like an extension of my own hand. It accompanied too many sunrises to count, season after season, from snowfall to Spring thaw and through Autumn leaves dancing past my windows.

For years it sits on the shelf, waiting, and when I want a cup of coffee to taste just right, to bring me down to a manageable spot in life, I reach for this mug. It has been a constant in a lifetime of change and new directions. One tiny chip marks the only flaw after 31 years and the design is as beautiful as it ever was, and of course, the fact that it’s covered with cats makes it even better.”

Kate Selner head shotConnect with Kate on Instagram and Twitter and visit her blog Kate in the Kitchen. For questions about website hosting assistance and Blogger-Wordpress migrations, contact Mike at Tela

Mugshot Monday: I Don’t Own This One Because Hair Follicles

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I cheated on today’s Mugshot Monday. I don’t actually own the mug and once you see it, you may understand because it’s kind of gross. Check out the hair follicles and blood spurt on this one:

Minnesota Mug Mosquito

I found this mug in the wonderland that is the Minnesota History Center gift shop last Thursday evening when I attended Heavy Table’s North Coast Nosh curated by The Sioux Chef Sean Sherman. The event was an incredible celebration of native food traditions that awakened all of my senses. We left fortified by nourishing food and words and I can still hear the powerful drumming that reverberated throughout the building. Four days have passed since the event and I’m still buzzing with excitement about everything I tasted and experienced. I’ll share more soon.

Like most museum gift shops, the Minnesota History Center‘s is fascinating. My cousin Alexandra and I spent a lot of time oohing and aahing over decorative pillows adorned with vintage Minnesota artwork, cookbooks written by local authors and Nordic Ware mini bundt pans. We found these mugs in a little corner with other mosquito-themed items that hit a little too close to home for those of us that grew up with this unofficial state bird.

I never imagined that I’d get so excited about Minnesota-themed gifts. It’s a surprising reaction that we’ve noticed since moving from our hometowns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to have been a North Dakotan for two years and an Iowan for a year and a half, but a big part of my heart will always remain tied to my home state of Minnesota, mosquitos and all.


Coming Up Next: I spent last week at a hotel training for a new job role. There’s nothing in the world that sounds more divine than home cooking. I can’t wait to be queen of my own kitchen again and try some new recipes. Feel free to send me suggestions. I’m also adding the final touches to my blog post/video review of Crumb’s Bake Shop giant cupcake monstrosity. It’s difficult choosing the perfect soundtrack to accompany this boxed mix fail.

Finally, I’m very honored the Des Moines Register included me in a profile of four Iowa food bloggers. I’m in good company.

Mugshot Monday: Little Mugs With Birds

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This week’s Mugshot Monday takes a different crunchier turn than last week’s RocDonald’s Flinstones mug. I bought this pair at an annual Holistic Health and Herbal Education Festival held at a farm in Cannon Falls. I actually taught a class on making medicinal salves. It might be hard to believe, but I studied herbal medicine during the last few years I lived in the Twin Cities. I love that I can identify common trees and weeds and make cool (and helpful) things from dandelions, St. John’s wort and plantain. I use these plants to treat common first aid injuries like bruises, cuts and skin irritations.

In past years, this particular festival took place at one of the coordinators’ in-laws’ farm. During breaks and after the workshops, vendors sold lots of interesting treasures. I came home with jugs of local honey, blocks of beeswax, and these handmade mugs made by the instructor’s mom Dawn Makarios.


Before Portlandia’s “Put a bird on it!” was a thing, I chose these mugs specifically because I loved that there were birds painted on them. Soon after I bought these mugs, I remember the artist’s granddaughter running out of the house to her mother exclaiming, “Mom! Grandma’s been inside the house painting birds on things all day!” This made me smile and love the mugs even more.


I typically use them to enjoy small afternoon cups of coffee on days I’m feeling especially tired. They look like new, even after withstanding a lot of use and runs through the dishwasher.


It looks like you can find Makarios’ pottery at craft fairs and studios around Southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

For your reference:

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