Thing #19 – Sistinerary

I spent a long weekend in Minneapolis, celebrating Sissy’s birthday and enjoying our favorite haunts. People often comment on how they wish they could be a fly on the wall during our sister times. Wish no more…here’s a glimpse into our sistinerary for the weekend…

Thursday, Feb. 14 – Sissy’s birthday/Valentine’s Day

7:58 p.m. – Plane lands at MSP after a four-hour delay in KC. I could have driven in less time than it took to fly here. Take light rail downtown where Sissy swoops me up on a corner. I take a deep breath of dry, crisp Minnesota winter air and secretly miss it.

8:45 p.m. – Dinner at Origami – Start with hot sake and shrimp dumplings, then proceed to order way too much fish and hit a wall when there are two pieces of sushi left. Force selves to finish because it’s so good it would be stupid to leave it. The music is annoying.

11:30 p.m. – Dancing at Gay 90s – One of most fascinating places to watch several groups … Read the rest

Thing #4 – Congratulations…it’s a tan dog!

“What a handsome dog! What is he?” We were sick of not having an answer, so we invested in the Wisdom Panel dog DNA test. About three weeks after Charlie reluctantly let us swab the inside of his cheeks with bristly little wands and sent them to get analyzed, we got the results delivered to our email inbox.

We always assumed he was a mastiff because of his coloring, wrinkly head and constantly underwhelmed expression, but we knew he must be mixed with something else. When I got the “The results are in,” email, we hunkered down and opened the report. We were shocked to learn that Charlie Chooch had SO many breeds mixed into his 115-pound body, including Chow and Husky. Most shockingly, we learned he’s only 12.5 percent Mastiff.

To celebrate the eclectic hodge-podge of canine that lives in our house, we decided to throw our dog a Breed Reveal Party. We figured he’d be excited to hear about his genealogy, and it would give me an excuse to cook stuff. To make … Read the rest

Picnic lifestyle

Picnic friends

It was 93 degrees in Paris, and I was on day five of my solo European adventure. The romance of independent travel was wearing off and my simple desire for someone to talk to was setting in. I had been awake since 3 a.m., running face-first into a cruel series of travel-induced roadblocks, least of which was my laughable attempt at speaking French. I wandered “les rues” weary and wilting under the heavy air, desperately needing water, a functional ATM and a bathroom. And then there it was.

American in ParisWhen I was eight, I fantasized about seeing the Eiffel Tower one day. Europe seemed galaxies away – completely inaccessible to a country mouse like me. But 22 years later, the imposing icon was right in front of my face. My weariness turned into a whirl of giddiness and awe. I wanted to share this with someone. My eight-year-old self wanted to turn and say, “Can you believe we are here?! Do you see this?!” But everyone around me were strangers and seemingly unaffected.

To make matters … Read the rest

Moving to the bread basket of America

Bread basket of AmericaI don’t know if you heard the news, but this gypsy is wandering. I was recently presented with an outstanding career opportunity in Kansas City, and being a girl who has a hard time passing up an adventure, I jumped on it. To be honest, Huzzbot is the one who gave me the kick in the pants to do it. Another reason why he is the best.

After people share their excitement with me, the number one question I get is, “What about Sissy?!” I get concerned looks from people asking about her emotions and if she’ll move along with us. You guys, don’t worry about Sissy. We’ll miss each other terribly, but will find ways to hang out. She is actually coming in December for our annual cookie-baking extravaganza, and I know we’ll still have adventures to share with you.Sistaaahs

The second comment I receive is, “What about the blog? Are you going to find bakeries down there? You’re not gonna start blogging about BBQ, right?” Yes, I will be exploring a new world … Read the rest

Stages of taste at Starbucks

Here's my Starbucks cupI know everyone’s been having a moment about pumpkin spice. I don’t blame them. Fall is a wonderful time of year, and certain flavors lend themselves to the magic of the season. I’m a Starbucks girl, but have never been able to get into #PSL. It kinda tastes like plastic smells. Plastic mixed with autumnal candles.

I’m typically a latte purist. Espresso, milk, foam, period.

When Sissy asked, “Have you had the Toasted Graham Latte from Starbucks yet?” I instantly dismissed it because it sounded like a synthetic sugar bomb. But the more she described it, I became intrigued. She says it has three distinct “stages of taste,” which can be described as 1) the initial sip, 2) when it’s in your mouth/going down your throat and 3) the aftertaste.

Fine, I’ll try it. Verdict: I loved it.

Honestly, I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s reminiscent of the incomparable chai from Uncommon Grounds. (Have you been there? Do it. And don’t be dumb – get your chai with whole milk.) The Toasted Graham Latte Read the rest

Chasing the high in Mankato

I love getting out of town. I always stumble onto something unexpected and unforgettable. Escaping my usual surroundings refocuses my perspective, amplifies my curiosity and makes me feel brave. My addiction to this feeling keeps me irresponsibly booking vacations across the country and globe. But I’m becoming increasingly aware, it doesn’t matter what distance I travel, the magic of any new surroundings gives me the high I need.

IMG_6662

I write this high on Mankato, a city in the Minnesota River valley an hour and a half southwest of the Twin Cities. After learning Mankato Ribfest was happening, Sissy and I embarked on a bakery/BBQ road trip fueled by Sirius XM’s 70s and 80s R&B station, The Groove. It always delivers.

We started at Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro, which opened just over a year ago and has exploded with popularity. We entered to find squishy bags of fresh rolls scattered on tables throughout the store waiting to be stocked. We walked slowly and admired each package as if in a museum, restraining from … Read the rest