A Weekend of Eating In Downtown Minneapolis

While I’m definitely not the live downtown type of gal, during the month that we are living in downtown Minneapolis before we move into our new suburban home, we are doing what we can to take advantage of the food scene that’s available to us, especially since we can walk to get to these places. The fact that we can walk and get a ton of steps definitely helps make up for all of the delicious treats we’ve been eating.

This past weekend we had our first visitor since we left the Chicagoland area. Having someone visit is the perfect excuse to go out instead of cook, so that’s exactly what we did. In one weekend we went to 3 amazing places and ended up with an exciting bonus stop simply because we were in the right place at the right time. Here’s how we ate our way through Minneapolis this weekend.

Kombucha on tap!!

Day Block Brewing Company

We started our adventure at Day Block Brewing. Hubby and I had stopped there for a drink the week before, and while we were there we read the menu. Their “snacks” section had a ton of different things on the menu that I wanted to try, so I knew I wanted to go back and order a bunch of them to share. That’s exactly what we did. Between the 3 of us, we ordered 6 different snacks off of the menu:

  • Garlic Knots
  • Pickle Flight
  • Bruchetta
  • Devils on Horseback
  • Grilled Asparagus
  • Pub Pretzels
Pub pretzels, garlic knots, pickle flight, and asparagas

What’s not to love about that list? 🤤 The garlic knots and the pretzels were pretty standard fare, but really good. The grilled asparagus was cooked in olive oil with shallots, garlic, and lemon, and topped off with flavorful balsamic glaze, which made eating a healthy vegetable taste oh so delicious. The pickle flight was different, as it’s not just pickles like we think of pickles. The flight changes daily and it’s 3 separate pickled veggies. On this particular day, we had dill pickles (which were more sour than I would have liked), pickled carrots in soy sauce and ginger, and kimchi, which I had never eaten before. Since we were there for happy hour, the flight was only $3 instead of the normal $6, which I am thankful for because it was okay to try for the reduced price, but not the full price.

The real showstoppers for me were the last two items. Devils on horseback were (get ready for this) bacon-wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates with a maple syrup sriracha dipping sauce. If anything has goat cheese in the description, odds are I will order it. I’m obsessed with goat cheese. These little bites were absolutely delightful and if we go back I will order them again. I don’t love spicy food, but I put a few drops of the sauce on my bites and it took the flavor to a whole new level. The bruschetta was also a delicious and flavorful dish that left me wishing there was more than one piece for each of us.

The icing on the cake at Day Block is that they have kombucha on tap. Apparently, the owner or someone with status there loves brewing his own booch and recently started making it available to customers. In the two times I’ve been there I’ve had two different flavors (they change whenever his brew changes) and both have been absolutely delightful. Day Block’s atmosphere is casual, calm, and even on a Friday night, while it’s busy and bustling, you can still find a seat. This is apparently pretty normal in Minneapolis and something I am really coming to appreciate during our time living downtown. 10/10 would recommend a visit to Day Block Brewing.

Izzy’s Ice Cream

This ice cream shop is pure gold. With two locations (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Izzy’s Ice Cream shop changes homemade flavors so frequently that they have online flavor trackers that update every 3 minutes to tell you exactly what flavors are in each store. Some flavors are like magical unicorns that you don’t know if you’ll ever see again, like the flavor I got the first time we went. Izzy’s little signature is adding an Izzy sized scoop on top of most orders. The first time we went I got a salted caramel single scoop, and on a whim opted for the first chocolate flavor I saw (“chocoholic” was the name) as my Izzy scoop. Well, it turns out that I should have gotten that flavor exclusively because it was amazing. Every chocolate and cookie dough lover’s dream come true. I vowed to get it next time I was in.

Turns out, this past week there was no such flavor on the menu. Never fear though, because they actually have an app that will notify you when your desired flavor choices are back in store. How cool is that?! The joke is on me though, because it turns out that my beloved flavor isn’t an option on there either, which means it was a “mystery flavor” or a “test batch,” both of which are regularly on the menu, but you never know what they’ll be. Will I ever see my unicorn flavor again? I don’t know 😢

However, the ice cream scooper and I came up with a plan to sort of replicate my flavor with what was available. You can actually split your single scoop into two flavors. The result was a scoop of cookies and cream, a scoop of milk chocolate, and my Izzy of choice was a butter salted caramel which ended up being the best of the 3. Don’t get me wrong though, all of the flavors we all ordered ended up being delicious. Izzy’s is definitely worth a stop for any and all ice cream lovers.

The Bachelor Farmer Cafe

Saturday had us going out for breakfast. My husband has been coming home with plenty of recommendations from his new coworkers and this was one of them. The Bachelor Farmer is actually the restaurant, but attached to it is the Bachelor Farmer Cafe, which is where we went for coffee and brunch. To start, the coffee is delicious. I’ve become quite the coffee snob as of late, so my standards for a “good” cup of coffee have gotten higher. Their fresh coffee did not disappoint. There’s a very real possibility that I go back to the cafe and buy a bag of their beans once we move to the suburbs so I can enjoy a special coffee treat while unpacking in our new home. Delicious!

Now let’s talk about my breakfast sandwich. At 10 am on weekends only (which is a major bummer) they offer an amazing weekend brunch menu. I ordered the regular old breakfast sandwich, which seemed so simple, but it was the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. Not joking. The eggs were magnificently cooked, the prairie breeze cheddar and thick-cut bacon were amazing, and don’t even get me started on the brown buttered maple sea salt biscuit. I am a sucker for a good biscuit and this thing was incredible. Such a simple-sounding sandwich, but absolutely delicious.

Hubby ordered the savory buckwheat waffles topped with roasted ham, gruyere, maple butter, mustard crème, and an over-easy egg. His dish was epic. The mustard flavor took it from simply delicious to next-level awesome. Our friend had the strawberry chocolate waffles, which I didn’t try so I can’t have an opinion on them, but she enjoyed them greatly. 10/10 would recommend! Try to come for weekend brunch if you can.

Milk Bar Popup Shop

The last place I went to was totally not planned but allowed me to check a bucket list item off of my list. Christina Tosi is a chef I got to “know” thanks to my obsession with Master Chef and Master Chef Junior, as she was regularly one of the judges for a while. When Netflix released volume 4 (pastry) of Chefs Table, the first episode was all about Christina and her store creation: Milkbar. That’s the only reason I had any idea what Milkbar was. While we were having brunch, my dining companions commented on a “milk stand” being set up across the street. I couldn’t see it, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Once we were done eating and walked outside I looked at the pop-up and immediately recognized the “Milk” logo. This wasn’t a milk stand. This was Milkbar!

After our friend left, hubby was playing video games, so I decided to walk back and wait in the silly line to try Milkbar goodies. After 90 minutes in line (am I crazy? Maybe), I bought one of every food item they had to offer, including Milkbar’s signature cereal milk soft serve. The cereal they use is corn flakes, and while I’ve never really been a huge fan of corn flakes, the flavor of this soft serve was unique and out of this world tasty. Also in my haul was 5 different giant cookies, two flavors of cake balls, and their signature gooey butter cake pie. Slowly but surely, the Mister and I will be trying out all of these goodies this week.

They also offered merch, including all 3 of Christina’s cookbooks. I was going to buy one if she was there to autograph it, but since she wasn’t, I looked to see if they were on Amazon and sure enough, not only were they on there, but they’re cheaper (surprise, surprise). I fully intend on adding them all to my collection, as I want to start cooking and baking more (non-diet recipes) in our new home. She has 3 books: Momofuku Milk, Milk Bar Life, and All About Cakes. I fully intend on getting all 3 added to my collection in the near future. In the meantime, we’ve tried the “crack pie” (outstanding!), the birthday cake truffles (yum!), and the confetti cookie. All were so good and I can’t wait to try the rest of the collection. What a happy accident of being in the right place at the right time to see this pop-up shop!

It was definitely a full weekend of eating, and I regret 0% of it. There’s such a great food scene here, which we’re trying to balance with cooking at home and eating healthy while living downtown. Everything was so delicious that I had to share it all with you in case you needed some Minneapolis food suggestions. Do you have any suggestions for other places we need to try?

Moving Madness | Minneapolis Update Week 1

I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I am here today to tell you that relocating is exhausting! All of last week was spent looking at houses, thinking about houses, driving downtown (one of my least favorite things to do, although Minneapolis traffic is nothing compared to downtown Chicago) to pick my husband up from work to drive to the suburbs, or getting things ready to visit Chicago for the weekend. Then, the weekend at home (although I can’t really call it home because Minnesota is our home now), while absolutely wonderful, was so busy that we barely had time to sit down.

The short update on housing is this: we are under contract with a place that checks all of our major boxes, but in terms of looks, leaves us feeling “uninspired” (as my husband has been saying, which surprises me because I was under the impression he didn’t really care what a place actually looked like in terms of decor). I spent the whole weekend telling people about and showing people photos of this home, so I’ve been imagining our lives there, and the more I did that, the more I was like “yes, this can be our home.” Then, the master-of-indecision that I married wanted to continue to look at a few places just to be sure that our current choice is actually the one we want. While part of me respects the fact that he’s thorough and most of his reasoning is to make sure that I’m happy with the choice since I’m the housewife (which I love about him. His goal is always to make me happy), it also infuriates me. I spent yesterday (Monday) staring at 2 other options and trying to find reasons why our place is clearly better and reasons our place is absolutely the wrong choice. Eventually, it got to a point where I just want the whole decision-making process to be over because I literally felt like I was going to explode. I just didn’t care anymore. The pressure of home buying had broken me.

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Moving to Minneapolis: A New Chapter

As I’m writing this, I am sitting at a table in the common area of our temporary housing arrangement in downtown Minneapolis. It’s currently Thursday afternoon and my husband is on day 4 of his new job here in the city. I’m not entirely sure that it has hit me yet that this place is not just a hotel stay. This city is not just someplace I’m visiting for a little while. This is our new home. We are leaving Chicago; leaving my family, my niece, my very regimented workout schedule at the YMCA, and our amazing church. I can’t decide which emotion I’m feeling more: major excitement at the idea of a fresh start or complete heartbreak about what I’m leaving behind.

When my husband started looking for a new job, he tried to find something that would satisfy him from a career standpoint, support us well financially, and keep us in the Chicagoland area. As you’ve probably guessed by now, that didn’t exactly go as planned. Long story short, here I am, sitting in temporary housing in downtown Minneapolis (which I am incredibly thankful for, don’t get me wrong) while the Mister is at work during the day and we’re house hunting with our realtor at night. It’s basically madness and I’m pretty much in denial that this is actually happening.

Here’s How It Will Go…

We are working with company relocation, which is apparently the best way to move because they take good care of you when you’re relocating for a new job. Never having truly gone through a permanent move before, this is a new world for us. Here’s the rundown: We are in temporary housing while we look for our new home purchase. In a perfect world, we are able to buy and close on a home before the 60 days of temp housing is over (which is completely paid for by relocation). That means that since being here on Monday, we have spent Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (we’re talking 4+ hours a day) with our realtor (who was also matched up with us via relocation, and he’s a perfect match too) exploring not only homes but the different areas to live in, and we’re headed out again tonight.

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Dear Dieters, Please Stop Labeling Food as “Bad”

Every day I see people talking about the “bad” food they ate and they are either punishing themselves for it, making excuses for it, or using it as an argument for the anti-diet. I’m not saying that I’m innocent here, but my mindset has definitely changed about “good” food and “bad” food, and I want to get one thing straight.

There is no such thing as a “bad” food.

The second we start to call something bad, we give it all sorts of power that ends up working against us. If you’re trying to lose weight, odds are you already have a pretty rocky relationship with food. The last thing you need is to classify foods (most likely some of your favorite foods) with a label that will make you feel guilty every time you eat it.

Think about it: if you label something as bad, what happens mentally when you think about doing or eating that bad thing?

  • You feel guilty
  • That thing is off limits
  • Classifying something as “off limits” starts the deprivation mindset
  • Deprivation mindset starts a downhill spiral
  • You feel shame for eating that “bad” food
  • Shame and guilt has the potential to start a downhill spiral
  • You feel negative about yourself because you gave in or you weren’t strong enough to resist the bad thing
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Time For A Mid-Year Goals Refresh |June Goals

I can’t believe it’s already June! When this month is over, half of 2019 is gone! How are you doing on reaching the goals that you set for the year? I won’t lie, some of my goals are coming along just fine, while others are not. June is a great time for a goals refresh to set up for the second half of the year. Who wants to join me?

As you probably know by now, I use the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets to plan out my goals for the year and my action items every single month, and I absolutely love them! I love the way they help guide you to set meaningful goals for the year and well as the format of the monthly tending list to make sure you get all the things done. I will 100% be using this tool every year until further notice.

If you’re feeling a little bit of Powersheets FOMO right now, I’ve got great news for you. The 6-month undated Powersheets set is on sale for only $29, which means you can get your hands on this tool to help you set goals and intentions for the second half of 2019! How awesome is that? It’s something I highly recommend you try, especially if you’re struggling to find meaningful goals.

My June Goals

Every month the Powersheets has a tending sheet that helps you put together action items in 3 different categories: monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily action items. I love this structure because it helps give me a visual to all of the tasks I need to get done this month and how often I need to do it. Here is my breakdown of goals for this month

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I Love Mondays (and Why You Should Too!)

I have a confession to make: I love Mondays! 😱

I know, it sounds crazy right? I’ve spend most of my life longing for the weekends and dreading the return of Monday. Monday means work, obligations, chores, routines, schedules, appointments, and all of the other things that we don’t necessarily look forward to as school children or as adults. There’s a reason that having a case of the “Mondays” is a thing.

This was my life for the last 30 or so years. Don’t get me wrong, typically once my Monday started and I was off to school and back with my friends, it ended up being just fine. Of the many Mondays I have been blessed with on this earth, I’m willing to bet there’s actually a decently small percentage of time that I dreaded them. Sure, I went through phases, and I most definitely had some very “Monday-feeling” Mondays, but overall I don’t think I’ve ever hated them.

Now, I don’t just tolerate them, but I actually love Mondays. I’ve managed to switch it up in my mind where quite often Monday is the best day of the week. If all goes according to plan, I went to bed at a decent hour on Sunday after a relaxing evening at home so I’m energized and ready to hit the ground running. Let me tell you, it’s truly a game changer.

Monday has the power to set up your entire week!

Do you ever notice that most of the time the type of day or attitude you have on Monday tends to carry over to the rest of your week? If you start the week grumpy, stressed, and bogged down with work and life, odds are you’re going to feel that way until Friday when the work week finally ends and you can let loose and try again next week. Take a second and and flip the script. What would your week be like if you had a spectacular Monday? You woke up energized and happy, ready to tackle the week’s tasks (both planned and unplanned) and take steps toward accomplishing all the things? What would your week be like if you started it like that? What does that ideal Monday look like for you?

Go ahead and visualize it for a minute. I’ll wait..

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Rachel Hollis x QVC Clothes Have Launched!

Love her or hate her (full disclosure, I’m one of the people that loves her), you have to admit that self-help guru (is that what I should call her?) Rachel Hollis is doing things right. She’s a 2x New York Times best-selling author, has a sold-out self-help conference, a documentary, 2 top charting Podcasts, an online morning show, online coaching, an awesome goal setting journal, and now she has her own line of clothing! As someone who is regularly encouraged and inspired by Rachel, I am thrilled for her and her success. It’s really cool to see a woman dominating in her industry.

Because I’m a fan and a blogger, I felt it was necessary to share Rachel’s latest endeavor with all of you. If you’re looking for a few new things to add to your wardrobe, perhaps this is it. Rachel designed a line of clothes meant to be cute while being exceptionally comfortable. As I sit here in yoga pants and a fitted T-shirt, this wardrobe philosophy speaks to me on a personal level. From a new take on the good old t-shirt to a dress that doubles as a kimono, Rachel has a practical line of clothing to offer the everyday woman in a wide range of sizes (XXS-3x).

Is there anything you might be interested in picking up? I’m personally debating between which size to get the adorable sweater & with one of her camis to go underneath it. I like things a little more fitted, and since this line is super flowy, I’m thinking I’ll need to size down. Let me know in the comments if you’re planning on getting anything from Rachel Hollis X QVC!

My Workout Playlist

Since music is such a huge part of my life, one of my goals for the month was to put together a few playlists to share with everyone. Today, I’m sharing my Spotify playlist of songs I love to listen to while working out. Some of the songs are uplifting, most of them have a great tempo, and some are just plain fun.

What other playlists would you like to see from me? What songs would you add to this one?

The Friday 5 | April 26, 2019

Why hello there blog, my dear friend. I’m sorry I am not a good blogger and have been neglecting you so much for so long. I promise I am actually trying to rebuild our relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s going to take some time, but I think we’ll get back to the place we once were and maybe even be stronger than before. I promise. 💗

1. A Brand New Computer

My husband is an amazing man. His personal computer has been failing him for a long time, and he kept talking about getting a new computer and this week he finally did…sort of. Since he really only uses his personal computer to do our finances and to maybe browse the internet, he actually decided that he would take my 5-year-old MacBook Pro and I would be the one to get the shiny new one. I mean, who actually does that?!

So here I am, listening to the keys click-clacking away as I type on my new MacBook Pro. Stronger memory, storage, and processor to make my job of creating video and blog content easier and faster. I’m not going to lie, the fact I really enjoy the feel of this different keyboard is one of the things that inspired me to sit down and start typing out a blog post this morning. Watch out world! I feel like this new computer will help inspire me to get things going even harder.

2. A Weird Struggle For a Child-Free Woman

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7 Spring Must Haves

Springtime has finally arrived and it is glorious. Granted, it’s still a tad chilly here in Chicagoland, but the sun is shining and there is no snow on the ground at the moment so I will take that as a win. To me, spring means freshness and renewal, as well as a time to prepare for summer. This got me thinking about some of the products I tend to use or fashion items I tend to look for in preparation for the warmer months. Since I found (or already use) some pretty awesome things, I figured I’d share some of them with you.

Fashion

You all know I’m not huge on fashion blogging, nor am I really a fashionista in any sense of the word. I love things that are comfy and easy to move in. I consider it a bonus if they look super cute. My fashion picks are two things I recently aquired and love, and one thing I’d just love to have.

First, let’s talk about my “would love to have” item. I feel like a good looking, clean cut and flattering denim jacket is a great piece for spring. I’m really getting into the basic T with a fashion jacket over it look, and having a nice denim jacket would be the perfect addition to anyone’s spring wardrobe. This jacket from Macy’s is super cute and gives great lines and is decently affordable (and as of 4/12 it’s on sale).

I saw this amazingly bright chrome t-shirt from White House Black Market online and ever since I saw it I could not stop thinking about it. As I said before, basic tees are something I wear on the regular, and a lot of my tees are dressed up ones with a little bit of sparkle. I love all things glittering and shiny, so I needed to see this shirt in person. The other day, I went to the store and tried it on. It’s everything I ever needed in a chrome colored t-shirt! Flattering, shiny, and not see through. Epic win! Even better, WHBM was having a 40% off the entire store sale, so the shirt landed in a more reasonable price range. Needless to say I now own it and can’t wait to wear it out.

Finally, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about my latest purchase from Grace & Lace. I bought their super stretch zip up midi shorts and they’re basically the best pair of shorts I’ve ever owned. I had them in time for my latest trip to Florida, so I was able to give them a solid test run. They’re stretchy all over, including an elastic band in the back which helps keep things super comfy. The length is perfect: long enough to not be showing your booty, but not so long that you feel like you’re in Bermuda shorts. They come in several denim shades as well as new colored pairs as well. I currently own the olive green and the mid wash denim, and I just ordered a pair in black. I will likely acquire most, if not all colors eventually. I wear a medium, but they are clingy enough (not constricting though. They’re perfect!) where I know that if my body dropped a size, they’d still fit fine. This will be my most comfortable and stylish shorts season ever!

Beauty

My first spring beauty choice is my all time favorite spring nail polish: OPI You’re Such A Budapest. For several years now it has been my go-to springtime purple shade. It’s light and fresh, and I truly feel like it’s a purple shade that can go with almost anything spring has to offer. I wear it all the time during the spring months and I will continue to do so until OPI stops making it.

Sticking with the pretty purple theme, I have been loving Stila’s Glitter and Glow eyeshadow in the shade “Plum On.” I own several of these shadows, and while they’re all amazing, this deeper (but not too deep) purple shade is the perfect pop of color to was across my lid. It offers me my favorite color and a little bit of sparkle, which basically makes it my perfect eye shadow.

In the warmer months, I love using a lip gloss with a hint of color. I recently discovered the brand Lano and am obsessed with the two lip products I already own by them (a strawberry lip treatment and their original ointment), so when I saw they had these pigmented glosses, I knew I had to get them. While I don’t have them yet, my Ulta 20% off coupon just came the other day, which means I will own them soon. If they’re anything like the Lano products I already own, then I’m certain I’ll love these too.

Finally, I think a spring refresh means something new and awesome to your skincare routine. One of the best serums I’ve ever used in my life is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This magic potion is packed with good for the skin ingredients that make my skin soft, smooth, and I swear it even helps clear things up a bit. It’s one of my all-time favorite facial serums, and I’m pretty sure it’s perfect for all skin types, making it an ideal universal suggestion as a new step in your skincare routine. Have you tried this serum?

What are some of your spring time must-haves?