Ask us about Sam Sung..

Ahh, today we came home. A short trip but a wonderful assortment of memories that will last a lifetime. We visited the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame today. We were in a hurry before our flight so we didn’t take as much time as I’m sure is recommended but we came, we saw and we conquered. That’s what matters.

There are so many things I feel like I’ve left out. The airport and our nights on the town. The conversations we had and things we saw, the people we met. I’ll trust that my memory will hold onto those moments beyond the words that I haven’t typed. Right now, I’m exhausted but the good kind of exhausted, I suppose. I wanted to write because I haven’t written in so long. Going on trips makes me want to pick up my tablet and write everything I see. I miss writing.

I went on my first and second plane rides this week. I stayed in my first Airbnb. I saw so many beautiful things and have memories that will stay with me for years to come. I did all this with a wonderful, hilarious and kind human by my side. She puts up the toughest of fronts and she’d kill me if she ever reads this but I’m so grateful that she’s let me into her life and allows herself to let her guard down even if I have to pry it out of her. I don’t think she realizes how much this trip, this adventure, this friendship has meant to me. It’s so hard for me to let loose and relax but she makes me do it. Even though I tell myself that I have the spirit of a vagabond, I reluctantly have the mind of an organized spaz and it is so very difficult for me to stray from that.

So, if you’re reading this.. Tough as nails but secret softy, Alicia.. Thank you. Thank you for being my person this week and hopefully many more weeks to come. ❤ 

All of the things.

I definitely cannot hang. My idea of a vacation and Alicia’s idea of a vacation are so far apart, they aren’t even funny. She sleeps until she wakes up, takes her time getting ready and would be cool avoiding most of the touristy spots. I, on the other hand, want to be up as soon as the suns first ray hits our faces, check out the agenda and see everything we can possibly see.

Juggling our completely opposite narratives was an act for the circus today but we managed and succeeded. Schwing! We slept the entire morning away. Apparently staying out until 3:30/4:00 AM is not something I can do on the reg. No way, Jose. Anyway, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland.

We eventually got our butts in gear and packed our day with all the things. We hit up The Melt which will cure even the worst of hangovers. The Melt was featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins. You definitely get what you pay for and that in itself is even an understatement.

After a late lunch, we rushed to The Christmas Story House and toured that little block of cinematic history. I wished I’d rewatched the movie before our trip to have a more vivid recollection but it was still pretty sweet to see. We met an uncle/nephew combo, Matt and Tyler. Again, Alicia and her ability to meet people is just so foreign to me. We ended up exchanging numbers and met up with the duo later in the evening for cocktails and swapped traveling stories.

After the CSH, we decided to explore downtown Cleveland and news to us, it’s so easy to get around (aside from the damn bus lanes and lights). We didn’t realize how close everything was. We had walked around a bit the night before but if we’d just gone one street over, we would have been in a totally other, really cool, area. Lightbulb moment for sure.

We found the Worlds Largest Chandelier, walked around East 4th Street, were bombarded by a mob of graduates and made a pit stop to view Lake Erie. I’m surprised how much we were able to see in just a few hours but that’s what you get when you have two determined women making it a point to see all of the things.

Today, we are basketball fans.

Today, tonight.. all of it was something! Well yesterday was. I’m typing as if it were yesterday but I was ¾ of the way in the bag by the time the clock struck midnight..

Sunday, May 21 marks my first flight! The entire flying experience is brand new to me. No matter how much research I did and how many people I asked, I never felt at ease or like I’d gotten all my questions answered. I’ve never been afraid to fly. On the contrary, I’ve always dreamt of when I’ll get to fly. It’s just never been an option in my life until this point. We didn’t travel growing up and I’d never been afforded the opportunity until now.

But guess what? It’s a damn breeze. I could spend 45 minutes talking about every single step from the time we were dropped off in the airport to the second we got in the Cleveland Uber but I’ll spare you for now. If you’ve never flown and you’d like someone to actually tell you step-by-step what to expect, hit me up. I’d be delighted.

I do want to say though that I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a breeze it was. Maybe it’s because my personal item was basically empty and I did my research but i didn’t encounter any issues like i hear on the news. And guess the eff what? Beyond the security line, there’s a whole other world. At least in MSP there is. It’s like a damn mall. Restaurants, stores, you name it. Alicia tells me it’s not like this everywhere but it’s still pretty sweet.

The only issue I had with the flight was I felt a bit light-headed. I can’t decide if it’s because I looked down and out the window too soon or if it was the altitude. Either way, it was so surreal in the best sense. I’m sure typing this I have a weird giddy smile thinking about my first flight but so what! Better late then never!

I want to shorten this up because I’ll ramble for days.. The descent/landing is the best part in my opinion as a first time flyer. I love the feeling of heading straight for the ground at 300 miles an hour. I can’t wait to ride a rollercoaster. For real though, I could do that part all day.

After we (finally) got our Uber and headed to our FIRST ever (for the both of us) Airbnb, we took a nap. Because we are old folks.. But eventually, we got ready to take on the Cleveland night. We hit up Fan Fest for the Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA finals until we were rained out. We had hoped to scope out some celebrities but to no avail.

We ended up grabbing dinner at Winking Lizard in downtown Cleveland and walked over the City Tap for the bulk of our evening. I kind of felt like our night had started off slow. I couldn’t get into the grove of relaxing for some reason. But it ended up being a really great night.

Alicia and I have a unique relationship. We bicker a lot. Fight, whatever you want to call it.. But it’s all in good fun. She means so much to me and I consider her one of my very best friends. Even though we drive each other mad, she gets me and I get her. I wouldn’t change our dysfunctional love hate relationship for anything and tonight I felt a lot closer to her. We were able to just hang out and talk freely without the stress of life or our relationships or work in the background.

Another thing about Alicia that I should have known about by now is that she can talk to ANYONE. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably have sat in the corner sipping my colorful drink all night. I don’t know where she gets the confidence or language to talk to just about anyone. I suppose that’s what you’d classify as liquid courage. We met some cool people tonight and we stayed out way too late and had way too much fun tonight. Is that such a thing?

I’ve been saying Monticello wrong this whole time..

Do you know how many times the two of us have told people where we are going and how many times we’ve received the same “wtf” look? And how many times we’ve had to explain “wtf” we’re doing? Tickets were cheap, the Airbnb was cheap, adventure! Honestly, the second we booked the flight, we both looked at each other with the same “wtf” look we’d been getting for the past month.

I was up bright and early this morning. Up to this point in my life, I’d only been on vacations with family and Channing. I’ve never gone on a girls trip or gone anywhere for that matter with a friend. Historically, I’ve never been good with friends. I’ve just never been able to connect. I blame my social awkwardness. But that’s another story for another time. Anyway, up bright and early. Guess who wasn’t? A to the licia.

There are a lot of things different about this trip so far and it hasn’t even began. I’m a spaz planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, how I’m doing it. To the point where it’s obsessive. I’m talking Google Drive folders, spreadsheets, printed out reservations in a tidy trip labeled binder.. that kind of spaz. With the exception of a condensed spreadsheet THAT I FORGOT IN MY CAR, I was plan-less.

The. Struggle.

We eventually hit the road and went to IKEA like every basic bitch would. I pulled a classic Ori.. filled my cart up to the brim and slowly but surely narrowed it down to six items. The cheapest of all the items of course. Whereas my shopaholic travel-mate, Alicia kept her load high and dry from the aisles stuffed with left behinds. Oh, I envy her ability to shop. It’s a problem that I need to deal with. Shop, damnit. Shop!

We were grateful enough to have landed a sweet place to stay thanks to Alicia’s college connections in life. We had dinner reservations at an italian place with her former roommate and they graciously let us crash the night in their beautiful suburbia home with a bombass deck. We didn’t sleep on the deck but we probs could have. It was cool. Tomorrow I fly!

Cleveland Rocks!

Long time, no type. I’m fairly certain I’ve written that exact phrase before. What I’m about to write and the few posts following are a chronicled summary of the last few days. I didn’t have time (or energy) to write about my recent trip in real time so I’m pulling from the few notes I left myself. YES, I have a list of talking points in my list of lists..

About a month ago (maybe more), I was going through a weird mid-20’s thing. It wasn’t a crisis, probably more of a “damnit, I want to live more” type of a thing. After a lunch hour of complaining about everything, the men in our lives and thinking about life, my friend and co-worker sent me a chat asking if I wanted to go to Cleveland or Cincinnati. The flight was only $40 a seat each way..

Hold the door. YES! And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Love Wins!

Congratulations America! What a great way to ring in Pride Week nationwide! In case you haven’t heard in the last 12 minutes since it was posted, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage NATIONWIDE! Yes, America! You Win! This makes my heart so full and happy with love.

I could go on and on about how this took way too much time to get passed but lets just appreciate that it has passed. The sole thing that so many people across the country and globe have fought for is finally a reality. Our country has been continually making progress for years but this is extraordinary!

Congratulations to anyone and everyone who this effects. To those that have fought so hard for so long. For those that have loved and lost without ever being able to say “I do.” For those that picketed and protested in favor of and for those that had no doubt at all that one day this would happen.

Happy Friday, Happy Pride Day, and Happy Wedding Day to all!

all-rights-for-all

Thanks AmericInn

11210443_10153233961343363_2436395386843007592_nI won a $200 hotel voucher for submitting the photo to the left into AmericInn’s Great Adventure photo contest. I submitted about a dozen photos and kind of forgot about it. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my email this morning!

You can submit too! Have you gone anywhere fun this year or last year or in 2005? Submit your “travel” photos or just ‘really cool places’ photos. AmericInn is reviewing and selecting winners each day for the entire summer. Click here to submit as many pictures as your little heart desires!  You’ll have competition though because I’m going to keep submitting!

Now…to pick a city for my next big adventure! Send me ideas!

Millennials.

According to the facts of the world, a millennial is often described as an individual born between the early 80’s and mid-2000’s. Generation Y. The generation full of questions..Why? What? How?

Being on the older end of that spectrum (est 1989); there clearly is not one “type” of millennial. There are the millennials that know what playing outside and getting bruises from falling down a gigantic snow hill at school is like, the ones that grew up watching Ashanti and Ja Rule on TRL after school. And then there are the millennials that are still in high school when the “raising your children differently” transition began. Happy Holidays not Merry Christmas. Everyone wins in gym class. There is no such thing as dodgeball. Et cetera, et cetera. I guess we could subdivide ourselves as 1st generation and 2nd generation millennials if we’re going to get specific.

We grew up with the internet they say. We are the brain-children behind MySpace, Facebook, Twitter. We came out of the womb typing on a keyboard. Most of us know basic coding without having received any kind of formal training. We have an eye for imagination and wonder. We’re not afraid to dream bigger than ever before and are as selfish as they come. Our opinions matter and we’re not afraid to speak our minds. A good chunk of us might not know the ins and outs of politics but you’re damn right we’ll find the answer to any pickle we get into.

Oftentimes our parents and grandparents – basically anyone before our time – is always offering us failed advice. I’m not saying we’re always right but we’re not wrong. We get and appreciate advice given to us. I personally have gotten the best advice of my life from my mom many time over. But often so much tips on life come from people other than our parents. People who think they know us and most of it…most of it is ignorantly hypocritical.

We live in a generation where independence is a prized possession. More and more women raise the “I don’t need a man” flag. Being born out-of-wedlock, being a bastard child – it isn’t unheard of nor it is frowned upon within our generation. However, to our elders it’s just horrible. Life ruining even. But the funny thing is..that it isn’t.

I don’t consider myself a feminist although I do believe in equal rights among men and women but that’s a topic for another post. I don’t consider myself a woman who needs a man either. Sure, I’m in a happy, loving, long-term relationship but I don’t rely on Channing the way I feel my grandmothers or great-grandmothers relied on their husbands. If we have a child now, before we’re married – it’ll be fine. We already live together and we’re in the market for buying our first home. Yes, I do want to get married. I want to unite us as a family. I want my future offspring and I to have the same last name, the universal “family” life that we’re brought up to belive in. But if it doesn’t happen that way, life will go on.

If I was single in my late 20’s or early 30’s with no romantic headway, I’d probably look into advanced ways to have a child. Become a single mother. It’s no longer a death sentence to be a strong and independent women. This goes for all aspects of the millennial generation. Not just me and not just women. More and more companies are hiring for my generation over applicants who have years of experience. Sure, we may be a generation of selfies but we’re a generation of inventors. Of innovators.

We, more than anything, want to prove that we’re the best generation in more ways than one. Because we are and we’re going to own it. #millennials

Family Tree Recipes

I had a total genius lightbulb moment this week and just have to share:

At every family gathering and even social event – food has mastered its way to be the staple that holds the paper of a family together in some crazy, weird way. Although FOOD is at times (actually all the time) my own worst enemy, I can’t deny its importance in my family and extended gems. I’ve decided that it’s the perfect time to compile a master “Family Tree Recipes” book.

I already have a handful of the staples including Gramma Aggie Bars, Grandma Rita’s Fudge Frosting and famous Foster Family Potato Salad but I’m missing a lot of our other family favorites. Dumplings, lefse, or the 300 variations of chili for example. I’m sure there are even some that I don’t know the names of or haven’t had for years. Maybe they haven’t even been made during my lifetime but were a favorite of my grandpas that I don’t know about.

I enlisted the help of my family and extended family through the use of a Facebook group. Unfortunately, it seems that no one either wants to participate or thinks it’s a spam group. Probably because it’s such a great idea. I have a feeling this is going to be something that I will be pursing on my own. Probably with the help of my mom (Who is always there for me and my great ideas, thanks mom!)

Capture

I want to include everything too! From how to make a proper BBQ sandwich to buttering your saltine crackers! I’m hoping that I’ll have a rather even amount from both sides of the family but I kind of think that my moms side cooks more than my dads side. We’ll soon find out I guess!

I have a few ideas bubbling up in my brain that I’m going to list below so I don’t forget them because no one seems to have a pen and paper handy these days. I’m very excited about this and really think that it’s something that can be successful. I’d primarily be doing this for myself and my family because I firmly believe in family traditions and history. I’m very fortunate to have grandparents on both sides still alive but the days go quicker and quicker and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to pass on a family legacy of good food.

The best part about this is that I’ll be able to travel to and contact relatives that I don’t get to see very often. Along the way, I’ll not only get to catch up with people I miss but I’ll be able to document a piece of my family that is often lost through the generations. My ultimate plan would be to publish the collection for the world to use because I don’t really think “family secrets” are necessary. We’re taught to share from a young age so we might as well stick to that right?

If you have any ideas for the success of this publication, let me know. I have a handful of contacts that could help me put this together once I have all the copy. Graphic designers, publishers, and editors are among a few.

Running List of Ideas:
Name of the book: “Family Tree Recipes” (provided that it’s not already trademarked)
Each page has a recipe (not multiple recipes)
Every recipe has a photo (which means I’ll be making EVERY SINGLE RECIPE!)
Signature names (EX: Gramma Aggie Bars)
Short stories to go with some of the legendary recipes
Pictures and names of the relatives who we grew up assuming “created” some recipies
I want this to be both a “family tree” and a cookbook – best of both worlds
Full color & glossy
Rating system (leaves not stars)
Small spot for notes on each recipe page

CWA #2

Topic: The best advice for a teen just graduating from high school.
Purpose: I was flipping through my book today and came across this topic. I’m the oldest in my family on both sides. I received some sound advice when I graduated but a lot of it seemed to be cliché and was too little, too late. I have a cousin graduating this year and another cousin (or two) next year. This is for them.

The hat and gown suits you well. It seems to be the single outfit in human history to look great on everyone. Not only does it hide any physical abnormalities or dislikes about yourself but it, in all its plainness and flowiness, forces people to believe that you’ve accomplished something great – which you have. You graduated high school; an achievement that was 12 years or more in the making. The hat and gown you’re wearing – it makes people look at you with pride and accomplishment. It makes you, the one wearing it, feel good and special.

That same hat and gown is awfully deceiving though. It doesn’t give you a sure-ride ticket to anywhere unless you continue working beyond the blip of an achievement that you made. And I don’t say blip because high school graduation isn’t important – it’s probably one of the most important moments in your life. But it’s a blip simply because there are so many more great things you’re capable of doing going forward now that you have that checked off your outline of life. There are so many more moments and times in your future that people will look at you with pride and accomplishment – if you allow it.

If you’re lucky, your dreams for your future are clear. You have a plan and you’re going to go and get it as soon as this graduation party is over. On the contrary; you might not have a plan. You might not know what you want to do with your life. The dreaded “What are you going to do now?” has been asked a hundred times over the past six hours if not six months. “I don’t know” doesn’t seem to be acceptable even though it’s the truth.

Don’t be afraid to not know. That’s the absolute best advice I can give you. Don’t be afraid of figuring it out. It’s scary as hell but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Simple the process of a future down. Go to and graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids is still what people seem to want to hear. Even now in 2015, that’s what their ears are ready for. You’re 18, although thinking about your future is important and I wouldn’t abandon it all together, there is no use in thinking of the big picture right now. Consider each moment in your life a single picture creating a lifetime collage. All the milestone photos of your life will continuously accumulate, make them the absolute best. Be proud of what you’re going to do in your life. Follow your dreams, live your dreams.

Don’t be stupid and make detrimental mistakes. Don’t abandon those that love you; primarily your family. Appreciate the world and what it has to offer. Travel, make new friends, take photographs. Pay your bills on time and don’t be reckless. If you decide not to go to college – don’t waste those young years away. Understand the reality of real life and accept it instead of try to fight it. In doing that, you don’t need to give up your free roaming spirit or life. If you don’t see yourself in a typical 8-5 setting 10 years down the road, do something about it. You’re still going to need to make money to survive, accept it. Don’t rely on and abuse your parents financially. Save up some money and make wise decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join the Peace Corps, backpack around Europe, fall in love, skydive. Do everything you possibly can because you want to not because society wants you to.

From personal experience, I do think college is important. However, I would only recommend college to those that know what they want to do. To those that do have a plan. I’m still paying off my 2 years of college debt 5 years later. I didn’t get a fancy job, I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, I didn’t make lifelong friends, and it didn’t help me decide what to do in my life. But that’s me, don’t let anyone else’s experience deter you from living your dream. If I could do it all over again, I would have done more research in high school, visited colleges, and actually spent time to decide what I wanted to do. I would have moved away and attended a four-year college. I would have traveled abroad my junior year. But I never did because I felt that the resources weren’t available to me and I didn’t know where to look. That’s why you have me. What are your favorite things to do? Sports? Painting? Photography? Working on cars? Photoshop?

There’s something to do in the “real world” for everyone. You can become a sports reporter, journalist, newscaster. You can own your own art gallery or become an art professor. You can be a photographer on your own or with a media group. You can become an automotive or diesel mechanic, a shop teacher. You can become a graphic or website designer. The possibilities are endless, your future is wider than your arms are even capable of spreading. Don’t waste the days after high school graduation away. Find yourself but don’t lose yourself. Dream big and follow through.

So, even though this was important for you to read, take my advice; put this down and spend time with those that love you. Throw that square hat up into the air, smile until your cheeks hurt today and everyday. Be honest, take those milestone pictures, and show everyone what life is all about. Make your collage worth looking at.

The Yearly Cliché.

A couple years ago, I wrote about not making New Years Resolutions but instead making smaller goals each month to try and stay on track. It worked for awhile just like every other variation of a resolution does. But somewhere along the way, it quietly vanished.

This year, I’m going to revert to the more cliché version of a set of resolutions. Some I’ll succeed at and some I won’t. Most of these are very realistic. Some are a stretch but with the proper guidance, I know I can succeed. To make up for a really crappy couple of years (2011-2012) I want to do a little traveling. Of course, I want to travel the world but in order to succeed at fulfilling my New Years Resolutions, I’m going to be a bit more realistic.

  • Create a realistic 5-Year plan. I’m 25. I’m not married, have no children, nor do I own a house. I want to do all of those things in the next 5 years. I’d like Channing and I to sit down sometime soon and prioritize our needs and wants both as a couple and on the professional front – to create a plan and stick to it. I also plan on making a personal 5-year plan that will lay out my personal interests and hobbies which may or may not include writing a book, Pinteresting my way into home shows, and traveling to England, Paris, and Ireland.
  • Lose 50 pounds. Since June, I’ve lost about 33 pounds. It’s been a little rocky and I’ve gotten off track since moving to Bemidji but I’m determined to continue my progress. 50 pounds is very realistic if I use the tools I’ve been given. Ideally, I want to push myself to double that number in the year 20-15. I know 100 pounds does seem unrealistic but given how much I actually need to lose in order to become healthy, it’s a blip on the radar screen.
  • Travel around the area. This is a long one..Because I first need to lose a substantial amount of weight before I feel comfortable purchasing ONE seat in airfare (rather than 2); I decided that I’m going to travel via car this year. Traveling further than I can drive will be one of my many rewards after losing more weight. I want to travel to all the border states/countries of Minnesota. I’ve listed a few specific places. Some I’ve been to, some I haven’t: Duluth, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Superior, Brainerd, Red Wing, Wisconsin Dells, and Sioux Falls just to name a few. I’d also like to go somewhere in ND other than Fargo or Grand Forks, stop at a few other places in SD, and venture to Iowa. Where in Iowa? I have no idea. Included in the Minnesotan borders is Canada. I don’t know where specifically but I’ll head that way too! I’d also like to visit as many waterfalls, caves, and state parks as possible. I want to be on the water, sail, and visit lighthouses. I love to explore.
  • Don’t Pass Up Good Events. This is something I’ve done a lot. Sadly, I’ve had a handful of oppertunities over the last few years to go and do something but I either used a bad day, Channing’s mood, or money as an excuse not to do something or go somewhere. A few things on my bucket list this year given that they are within driving distance and things aren’t sold out would include: Seeing Taylor Swift in either Fargo or St. Paul, Bo Burhnham if he ever gets his ass to tour around here, and a Vikings football and Twins baseball game. I don’t really like either of those sports to any kind of extreme but I think a professional sports team would be interesting to see live and because my boyfriend likes sports, we both win. I should also probably make a point of going to the MN State Fair this year too since I’ve never been.
  • Buy A Passport. I believe I need one these days in order to even go to Canada so it’s a must-get for this year. If I’m not mistaken, they are good for 10 years too so that should get me set for my European venture in a couple years.

There you go! I have quite a few more resolutions which primarily fall in the first resolution so I won’t bore you with them quite yet. I’d love to hear about your New Years Resolutions! The realistic ones and the far-fetched ideas. What are you going to do to make this year one to remember? Also, if you have any fun or must-see places that you’ve been to in the region, let me know. Word of mouth experiences are the best places to visit.

Cheers to 20-15!!

2014 Annual Report.

WordPress sent me an annual site report for my blog. I watch my stats about as often as I post but this was pretty cool to get. Check out below and click the link to see more. Thank you again for everyone that followed me on my journey of life this year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

10th Day Of Christmas: Traditions

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about family traditions centered around the holidays. Now that all three of us kids are grown, we’re kind of at that in between stage where a lot of our childhood, as a family, traditions have fallen by the wayside. None of us are yet married or have had children. We’re not quite….you know, established.

This, of course, got me to think about Channing and our future. Our future children, our lives, our pets, our home. I decided to start a running list of family traditions I’d like my future (and current) family to adopt. The below traditions come from various sources. Some may have been from my own childhood memories, TV shows and movies, or just things I never have done and always wanted to do. They are in no particular order of importance but I thought it’d be a fun thing to start and have as a reference down the line.

  • Dinner Wear: At the dinner table whether it be our immediate family or extended, everyone will have a special something to wear during dinner placed on their plates. It might be a nice pair of earrings, reindeer antlers, or light up glasses. Who knows. Whatever it is, it’ll be a fun and not so “stuffy” Christmas dinner.
  • ‘Tis The Night Before Christmas Box: My dad always tried to have us open our Christmas gifts on Christmas Day but every year, it seemed like we opened a lot of them on Christmas Eve (if not earlier) and then Santa’s gifts on Christmas Day. I’d like to go back to the traditional Christmas Day gift opening. However, I think it would be a memorable tradition to let everyone open a “‘Tis The Night Before Christmas Box.” Inside it would include a similar arrangement of Christmas Eve goodies each year. A new pair of jammies, slippers, a Christmas mug, hot chocolate (and marshmallows of course!), and maybe a Christmas surprise like a movie or family game.
  • Trim The Tree: I know it sounds cliche and actually most of these probably do but I want my family to trim the tree together. Anyone who’s anyone knows that decorating for Christmas can be both fun and exhausting so why not create as much joy as possible? I don’t care who helps or how it’s done but as long as our family can decorate our tree together, I’ll be happy.
  • Christmas Classics: There are too many Christmas shows and movies to name when it comes to squeezing them all in during the holiday season. A few of my favorites and some that I actually have not seen yet must make the list each year at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I’ve listed a few: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, Frosty The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, Scrooge… There are so many I can’t even remember but you get the idea.
  • Skating: This is more of a winter thing and actually Channing has yet to learn how to skate but I would like to, as a family, go on a skating outing each holiday season. Maybe it’s the Lifetime movies talking but something about skating makes Christmas seem so much more magical.
  • Christmas Lights: Drive around and look at Christmas lights around the area. I don’t think I’ll ever have the patience to decorate the outside of my house as wonderful as some do so why not make it a tradition to admire someone else’s handy work?
  • Music: I love Christmas music. When I was in high school and worked at K-Mart, I would have told you a different story but now that I’m in the real grown up life of a world, Christmas music is so refreshing and comforting. It reminds me of so many things from Christmas mass to Grandmas Rita’s house.
  • And that brings me to…Midnight Mass: This one is still up in the air. I was raised Catholic and still value much of what I was taught. Being raised with religion as background noise gave me a solid moral compass and I am forever grateful. However, since being confirmed in 11th grade and going out into the world, organized religion has been put on the back-burner. Although the memories that I had were ones of great importance and the traditions my faith stood by mean a lot to me – there is far more that is hard to understand and accept. I believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit but I don’t believe that God discriminates. I won’t go further on that topic at the moment but I often wonder if I can raise my children to have a spiritual connection with God (or whoever) by not bringing them up in church. Midnight Mass was the highlight of my Christmas season when I was younger. The smells, the music, the ambiance. It was magic. Or maybe it was just the beauty of the Warroad church and it was way past my bedtime. Who knows.

This post is getting awfully lengthy. There are many more traditions I’m sure I’ve left out. I plan to send out Christmas cards every year, teach my children the importance of giving rather than receiving, and to binge watch Lifetime movies. I plan to show up and embarrass them at their Christmas school concerts and build snowmen and women outside. I plan to take a yearly trip to the Bunny Hill in Warroad and to visit family no matter how far.

If you have any fun or memorable family traditions, I’d love to hear about them!! And Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

4th Day Of Christmas: The Night We Light

Winter parades are something that Minnesota does. While other people were out and about finishing up their Black Friday shopping a few weeks ago, my Channing and I decided to head downtown and see what “The Night We Light” parade was all about.

DSCN4510Keep in mind, up to this point Bemidji seemed kind of dark and gloomy. I was wondering if the city had lost it’s touristy vibe that it’s so famous for in the Summer months. But the city has a secret you see, and it’s this parade.

I don’t know why they wait to light up the city until the day after we’re stuffed full of turkey. Maybe the city officials want to savor the holiday goodness of Thanksgiving and out of respect for the holiday, it waits to light the town up in Christmas until the day after?

Whatever the reason be, it was worth it. Of course, it was freezing cold outside but we were lucky enough to find a spot by the curb. We popped open the back of my Rav-4, blasted the heat and enjoyed the lights.

Winter parades are interesting if you’re not from around here or if you’ve only been to the typical summer parades. Winter parades in the dark are even better. They still throw out candy on the street and kids all bundled up to the eyes wobble to grab it before the next shipment is delivered. The lights are obviously the best part. Up to this point, I don’t know if I’ve seen so many vehicles and floats fully decked out in lights.

DSCN4535It’s like a pre-Christmas, post-Independence Day treat put on the by city. There’s music and hot chocolate. Fire flames 20 feet into the air and the color guard still marches. Instead of shorts and rollerblades, the procession of people are decked out in snow pants and boots.

We didn’t have enough warmth to fully participate in all that was offered this year. I hear the one and only Santa Claus showed up, sleigh rides were available and families enjoyed some quality time sledding down Library Park hill. This will definitively be something that we continue doing each year. Now’s a better time then ever to start a new tradition!

Does your city have a festival of lights, parade, or city-wide get together to light up the town? I’d love to hear about it!

Why Bemidji?

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve regularly blogged.  A lot has happened. A lot of “unexpecteds” I suppose you’d say. We’re moving to Bemidji, MN.

SAY WHAT!?

I know, I know. Quite the change huh? Grand Forks has it all. A growing young city, a great college reputation, stores galore. It has a pretty decent mall, great eating establishments, excellent coverage of local happenings, you name it. I’m a perfect fit for this town right? An eager, 24 year old? Sure, on paper.

I’ve had more people than I can count say “Why Bemidji?” since they’ve heard the news of our moving. And it’s not the typical “Good for you! What made you choose Bemidji” chatter. It’s more like: “Really, Bemidji? What’s there?” Ugh. I’m sick of it.

I’ve had more people look at me like I’m a moron than take it as it is and accept that maybe I don’t care for the legendary night life in GFunk. I like shopping, sure. But I don’t go regularly enough to where I need it to be the staple of the city I live in. And have you seen the water attraction of the city? The river that splits East from Grand? It’s a milky, polluted brown. I wouldn’t let my imaginary dog go in there.

So, with that being said. I’m moving to Bemidji because I want to. I want to live in a smaller (not so busy) city. I want to live where “lake life” is a day to day lifestyle not just a weekend getaway in the summer. I want to live where the tourists flock (because I am a tourist). I want to live in Minnesota again. I want the home-town feel instead of the Canadian invasion whenever I go uptown. I want to find my “home” and I can’t do that in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I hope that’s good enough reason for those of you who don’t get it.

And who knows, maybe Bemidji won’t be my final resting place. Maybe I’ll want something more. Maybe I’ll regret it. Maybe I’ll miss GF. Maybe I’ll want to run away to New York or duck down in the woods where no one can reach me. Maybe I’ll want to live where Judy Garland grew up or where I can see Lake Superior out of my window.

I have time to figure it out. Some people don’t get it and some people do. I’ve just learned from this dramatic change to be more accepting of peoples choices regardless of what I think. We all have a reason for the things we do and even if we haven’t verbalized why to you; it’s in your best interest to respect each my decision even if you don’t get it.

My Memorial Day Weekend Was Memorable.

10410096_10152414310318363_1536059176270689246_nAs you can see, I haven’t blogged in a good two or so weeks. I don’t know where to start. We went on what I’d call our ‘first real vacation’ over the holiday weekend. I’ve been to a few places before. My parents, boyfriend, and I went to Eau Claire over Labor Day last year so I suppose I should also classify that as a vacation too but..anyways.

10308161_10152414310113363_7604619791352627641_n“C” and I went to Duluth, MN for a nice 4-day getaway. Set aside the backseat driving, our time there, during, and back was absolutely wonderful. On Friday, we didn’t have anything planned since we took our time to get there so we mosied our way down and through Canal Park. This is officially one of my most favorite places in the little bit of the world that I’ve seen. It was almost movie like. Kids were rushing with melting ice cream cones to watch the ships enter the harbor. A little old man was feeding seagulls bread. Tourists were gawking over the lighthouse at the end of the strip. The temperature was 72 degrees with a breeze.

10169411_10152418652473363_927707804006529661_nOn Saturday, we toured the well-known Glensheen mansion and took a cruise aboard the Vista Fleet. With my camera acting as a necklace, I couldn’t stop snapping memories one by one. Don’t worry, I made sure to cherish the moments as well. I know that some people will tell you to live in the moment which is great advice and I like to live by that. 10363843_10152418651168363_3801365417157104304_n But moments aren’t forever. They fade. They are lost. Days, weeks, and years drift by so quickly that we could never expect our minds to remember the little things. Those moments are the ones I photograph. I don’t need to remember my face or his on those days. I don’t need to remember the breeze on my back. But I do and I will need to remember the view. The images that I see will always bring me back to the moments even when I’m old and wrinkly.

To end a beautiful day on the water, we ventured to Enger Park. It’s at the tip-top part of the Duluthian hills. You can see it from Lake Superior as a little thimble at the top of a hill but when you’re up there, after your ears have popped, and you’ve climbed the six flights of stairs, you feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s absolutely breathtaking. To be able to take in North Shore to the Areial Lift Bridge on Canal Park, out into the emptiness of Lake Superior, over the railroad tracks and to Wisconsin is just beautiful. There isn’t any other way to describe it other than that. Simple and peaceful. Life isn’t so hard when you’re on top of a hill looking at all there is to offer.

10265637_10152418646438363_7302329799456455428_o

1554408_10152418647558363_7867321417357191154_nSunday, oh Sunday. It was an adventure to say the least. We traveled about 45 minutes to the north of Duluth along the scenic North Shore route 61. Our first stop was Gooseberry Falls. And to sum it up in one word: breathtaking. I know it sounds like I’m repeating myself adjectivally throughout this post but everything really was “that amazing!” Gooseberry Falls is one of those places that everyone should have on their Bucket Lists. Once you make your way through the little bit of a hike to get there, you’re presented with children and families embracing all the Falls have to offer. It’s gorgeous. We sat on a few rocks right near the underside of the falls and just listened to the water crashing below. 10406759_10152418655333363_957176214802948853_nI sat quietly observing the children playing and the adventure seekers climbing the cliffs. I watched as a man and his dog fitted with booties hopped from rock to rock. We climbed our way down to the “rapids” and slowly but surely took a walk through the water, over the slippery rocks. Feeling the pressure on our ankles and calfs, moving against the current. Moments like those are the ones you smile at while looking into the nothingness off your deck after a long day at work. It was something that I hope to never forget. We would love to make another trip to eastern Minnesota just to see these again.

10312838_10152418653823363_4341966486862979581_nReady for another awe-inspiring view? Split Rock Lighthouse is only about 10 minutes from Gooseberry Falls. How can two of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen be so close in proximity? Jackpot! Lighthouses are my weakness. Really anything sea or ship related to be quite frank. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the history or the mystery. Whatever it may be, bring me to a lighthouse, show me something with an anchor on it and we’ll be best friends until the end.

10298877_10152414309893363_3234319371217711934_nThis past weekend was filled with so much love and laughter, that I can’t even express it in a blog post but I have learned one thing: ENJOY IT. I feel so often that I worry too much about the future and over-analyze my past. I compare myself to others constantly and am afraid that I’m not living my life to it’s full potential. I’m making a proactive effort to change my way of thinking. I’ve been reading so many “find yourself” articles lately, that I really do need to find myself before life continues to drift on by as quickly as it has been. Screw what everyone else is doing. I don’t want my biggest regret to be worrying about everyone and everything else, not going on those trips or spending that money. Not buying that lake property. Not moving to that city and getting that promotion.

So, after a long awaited much deserved (if I do say so myself) vacation to Duluth, MN – live it up people. Make memories with those you love. Take pictures. Take tons of pictures. Laugh, slip, fall down, and get back up. Climb that extra flight to get to the top. Fight for your happiness and make damn sure that smile is real.10309209_10152414281593363_8809544577189953159_n

Much love. -Oar

We have a little thing going around work for the community to get to know us better because, after all, we are a newspaper. So, if we wanted we could fill out a short survey and submit a photo. Yesterday, my summary was featured. Give it a thumbs up and share if you’d like! Check it out here! #WeAreTheHerald