Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekend Review 15

Good bye June, hello July!

I was just talking to a co-worker about my weekend and I got exhausted just thinking about it! Our Summers are so short, we try to cram everything we possibly can in to just 48 hours.

To start the weekend, I was staying at a friends to dog sit while they had to go out of town on short notice. They have two lab mix dogs who have a ton of energy. I'm sure I looked like a fool trying to take those two out to go potty. They just pulled me around and constantly got tangled up in each other. They had some family come to town to stay at their apartment Friday, so I stuck around and let them in, then was able to spend the night in my own bed. It was glorious.


Saturday started bright and early. I went on an Al and Alma's boat cruise with my cousin Pam and her work. We only got rained on for about 10 minutes then the sun came back out. They had an open bar and a ton of food. Inside they had poker tables set up and everyone was given a ticket for $10,000 in chips. You could either use the ticket to play and win tickets for a drawing, or you could turn in your $10k ticket for three drawing tickets. I chose to just give away my ticket.


As soon as the boat docked, thunder started to rumble and we got quite the downpour. Pam and I had about 2 hours between the boat ending the our cousins bachelorette party beginning! I went back to let the dogs out and freshen up before being picked up in a Mercedes. No big deal. Love Uber cars and feeling like a baller.

The bachelorette party started with lots of food, drinks and a couple fun games before the party bus came to take us out for the night. Our first stop brought us back out to Lake Minnetonka for a drink at Lord Fletchers.


After our quick stop at Fletchers we headed back towards Minneapolis and went to Nye's for some polka dancing!


Our final destination was The Front. Everyone must experience this gem of a place at least once in their life and get down with DJ Dirty Duke while he spins MJ, Beyonce and Gaga.


Lucky for me, I was staying in UpTown again where a few people in the group live so I was able to snatch a ride from one of my cousins fiancees! The nice part about taking two dogs out after midnight is that they are so darn tired, they just wanted to do their business and go back to bed. As did I.

I spent some time Sunday contemplating if I was going to tackle the Gay Pride and Food Truck Festival and actually move some items into my new place. I decided on just packing my car and not fighting the crowds. I really dislike moving. As excited as I am to get all moved in, I just can't find the motivation to actually do it.

Well, I have an exciting package being delivered to my house today. Stay tuned.

In other breaking news, it's the week of the 4th of July. I'm taking an extra day off to spend up North. The 4th is one of my absolute most favorite holidays. Grilling, boating, lakes, beer, friends and family, warm weather, fireworks. If you don't like any of that, then you probably aren't American.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Review 14

Thursday evening I met a friend for a couple drinks after work at this wine bar in St. Paul called Bin Wine Bar and it was really cute inside. High ceilings, wood beams, brick walls. Plus the guys working were extremely personable and friendly. When I move I'll have a wine bar just a block or two away so I can't wait to check it out!

Friday after work I headed up to the cabin. It was such a treacherous ride with how heavy the traffic was. I'm guessing it's because everyone was heading up to Duluth for Grandma's. I was so happy to get off the interstate and on to some North Woods highways. When I finally arrived we took a boat ride around the lake to watch the sunset. It was a gorgeous night on the water.

Saturday was a lazy morning day. When we got up their was a very think fog and it was quite chilly outside. We took our time making breakfast and Kayla and Joe ran in to town. By the time breakfast was done and the dishes were finished, the sun was out in full force and the temperatures were quickly rising.

I spent some time wading in the lake, raking out leaves, paddle boarding and relaxing on our new raft. The water was so calm, and surprisingly warm, it was the perfect day to really test my paddle boarding skills. I went up and down the shore a couple times and would come back in and bring Miley out with me for a little bit. I don't think she totally hated it.

We got a new giant raft this year. It floats, so it works!


Before dinner we took another boat ride. Mom and I used my Vino2Go cups. Guess, what? They work really well for holding margaritas too!


For dinner I cooked up a pork tenderloin that I had marinating in a teriyaki sauce I made and we had grilled pineapple. It was really delicious if I do say so myself. My thought was 'Hawaiian' and I think I accomplished that. If you ever find yourself with some pineapple and a warm grill, toss on the pineapple rings and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. It's quite delicious.

Lots going on this coming week. I get the keys to my new place and can start to move some items in! I can't believe after how long I've been looking, that I'm finally moving out again (hopefully the last time)!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flowers for Everyone!

Ok, not really, but wouldn't that be nice?

If there's one thing that can brighten my day on the cloudiest of days, it's flowers, so when I was offered flowers in exchange for a post from TheBouqs.com, you better believe I jumped on that!

Flowers arrived perfectly packaged.
The ordering process was incredibly simple. The most difficult part was trying to decide if I should have the flowers sent to my home or office. Obviously I spend more time in the office and with all the fluorescent lighting, my cube could use some brightening up, but then I'd have to explain 'who' sent me the beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. I opted to have the flowers sent to my house so I could enjoy them with some wine and keep it a secret that I sent myself some amazing flowers.

Fresh roses and calla lilies
In several of my professional roles, one of my job duties has been ordering flowers for multiple occasions. Flowers for funerals, get well flowers, congratulatory flowers and flowers just because. If there's one thing I've noticed, it's that not all flower shops or online delivery flower shops are created equal.



I was thoroughly impressed with the condition and quality of the flowers when they arrived.


Here's a little background on TheBouqs.com and what makes them so unique and a trusting company.

*They cut the flowers on the day you order and deliver straight from the farm! A California, eco-friendly farm that is.
*TheBouqs only cuts what they sell. No waste here!
*Their Volcano stems come from the side of a real, live, active volcano! This means more sun which means more color!
*There's a flat $40 charge that includes shipping! (I don't know about you, but shipping always turns me off)
*Checking out has never been more simple with their three step check out.

Do you feel like you want to brighten up your office/home? Click here and order the most beautiful flowers!


Honestly, my mom hasn't stopped raving about these flowers to anyone and everyone. She keeps talking about the bright color and how many flowers were in the bouquet. Plus, it's a pretty cool story to share when you say that these flowers came all the way from South America from the side of a volcano!




*Thebouqs.com offered me a bouquet of flowers in exchange for this blog post. All opinions/comments are 100% my own.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Review: 13

I think it's slightly ironic that this is the 13th official Weekend Review and Friday was Friday the 13th!

The weekend started on Friday with a little solo happy hour. I had plans to meet my sister for dinner, but she wasn't going to be ready until around 7:00 pm, so I stopped at Seven and Cowboy Jacks for a drink while I worked my way to my car.

We decided that we would go to Yardhouse, a newer restaurant at West End. I was surprised at how big the restaurant was and how the menu was even bigger! Since we couldn't decide on one thing, we shared the Moo Shu egg rolls, bearnaise sliders and their brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Our server suggested that if you see something you like, just shut the menu and go with it because there are so many options.

Saturday morning I went to go check out a condo to rent. I loved it, and now I'm moving July 1st to UpTown! I'm so excited! Kari and I were supposed to go check out an event at the farmers market, but she decided hanging with her beau was a better option, so I walked down to The Lowry for breakfast and a mimosa while I put together a game plan.


POPSUGAR and Simple Skin Care hosted an event #kindtocityskin at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. It was fun to try some samples and check out the products. There were different stations from skin care, healthy eats, massages, yoga, and my favorite - an app that showed how you would age in your current environment in 15-20 years! They simply took a picture of your face, entered in your location and age range and let the app do its work. I was pleasantly surprised when the woman running the station said I won't have too much damage to my skin due to the environment that I live in.

Those are strawberries with banana's+greek yogurt. So good! I also can't get the delicious taste of the mint tea out of my mind!
I didn't realize this until I started checking out Simple Skin Care's products, but I use their face wipes whenever I travel. I don't trust liquids in my suitcase, plus a handy little wipe is so much easier for me and I'm more likely to clean my face at the end of the night.


If you went to all of the stations and collected your stamps, you would be put in a drawing to win $600 and each person walked away with a goodie bag of samples. I couldn't wait to get home and pop open my box of must haves!


I can't wait to get working out with the Tone It Up gals and to try the Citrus Zinger water bottle.

Saturday afternoon we had a wedding shower to get to for my cousin Erin. No one will deny that my mom and aunts can throw a great party, especially when it comes to the food. It was a tasting menu with lobster rolls, chicken satay, wontons, shrimp and mango salsa, stuffed mushrooms, beef and potatoes, deviled eggs and so much more.


The theme was fairy garden, so my aunt, the Godmother to Erin, made her a little fairy garden as her shower gift and each guest got to walk away with some fairy dust and succulents from my moms garden.

By the time the shower was winding down, huge storms came rolling in. I love a big storm as long as the tornadoes stay away. The thrash of lightening and roaring thunder are so exciting to me. I don't know why.

Sunday was Father's Day and my dad spent most of the day up at the cabin where he likes to be. He came home later that afternoon so we could all take him to dinner at Chino Latino. I was his DD, and he took full advantage of that, as he should on his special day.

Capitan Estaban
Chino Latino has the best Sunday happy hour and I'm so excited I'll be living just around the corner! I think I know what I'll be doing for dinner for the next year!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why The Bachelor/Bachelorette Might Not Be Too Far Off

As a minority here in blog land, i.e. single, I come here and share a bit about my dating life or lack there of. And, as a woman, I believe it is a requirement that I watch every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Bachelor Pad, and whatever this new show is about - Bachelor in Paradise? It got me thinking, The Bachelor franchise might not be too far off with their shows. Let me explain.

Once upon a time I went to a country music fest in Northern Minnesota. There is nothing about the 5 day experience that is 'real life'. Living in a tent, bathing in a lake with a bunch of dudes, McD's for breakfast every morning, Nooners every day at, well, noon, top country artist concerts every night followed by fireworks. Line dancing to Carrie Underwood and realize a strange man is peeing on your leg. Total fantasy.
WeFest Circa 2007
Clearly you are in a fairy tale land and sparks will fly. One day, sparks flew and I was head over cowboy boots for a man I met at WeFest. On paper, this guy was everything I didn't want. Had a child, was in the military, lived in South Dakota, was older than my comfortable dating age-range, etc. Somehow we were hooked on each other in just days. WeFest ended and every week one of us would make the 5 hour drive to see each other. We didn't have 'real life' getting in the way with work or school. We didn't have to plan out which nights of the week we could get together. After a few months, I moved to South Dakota and we lived together for a couple years, still not really having 'real life' come between when we would see each other because we shacked up. We were each other's schedules.

In the long run it's a blessing that this relationship didn't work out, because now I'm home where I belong, but when you have what feels like a 'fantasy' beginning and you don't have to worry about 'real life' getting in the way, it really allows you to get to know someone.

That's exactly why I think The Bachelor franchise might be on to something. A fair lady starts with 25 gents and quickly narrows it down to 19. Week after week they all live in a mansion, go on amazing dates, don't have work, bills or yard maintenance to worry about, and life is grand!

I do believe you can quickly go through and weed out the ones you know you aren't interested in. I went on a lunch date last week, and before we even ordered lunch, I knew that we wouldn't see each other again.

After a few weeks the lucky lady and her gents are whisked away to some far off land where flights probably cost $3,000 per gent and the fair lady is riding first class.

Those costs are not realistic. And...what's first class??

Feelings are starting to form and lots of tears shed. Who's really here for the right reason? Oh well, come meet my entire family and my dogs grandpa.

Hometown dates mean bringing your beau to meet the rents. I've had 3.5 bf's meet my parents in my 29 years of life. It takes lots and lots of dates before parents and beaus meet in my world. Guess that's because I can't get past a 3rd date.

Hey, now that you've met my parents, lets go on an island vacation, get a real swanky fantasy suite and fill the room with rose petals and candles and champs. There must be champs so the gent can lay his fair lady.

This is where I think the fantasy suite should be just between the final two. Adding a third is just trashy. Plus, who really has equal feelings between three guys? I think, nay, know it's possible with two gents. But three? No.

Now that the fair lady knows how her gents peckers work, she feels it is ok to introduce them to her family.

Mystery solved! I know why I haven't been able to get past a third date. I don't know how their peckers work!

The gent is grilled with questions about love and if he wants a family.He usually brings flowers for mom and she is so impressed.

Truth be told, my mom would probably ask if you want kids etc. seeing as I'm pushing 30 and she (and daddio) are itching for some grandkids. In the mean time, feel free to bring some Busch Light and a Bota Box - Pinot Grig.

The time has come when the fair lady must choose her gent and accept his proposal if he so chooses that route.

He could go the Juan Pablo route and ask the fair lady if she would like to be his girlfriend?

Now that there is one gent left filling the ocean with salty tears (or jumping up and down because he'll be the next bachelor), there is a happy couple that gets to continue their fantasy life by hiding out in secret hotels until the finale airs.

I imagine they lay around in plush hotel robes popping champs, eating strawberries and cheeseburgers in bed and then take duo bubble baths in the 6 person jacuzzi to wash the mustard off their faces.

When you have that much time to talk and spend with your gent, you aren't thinking about 'real life', you're focused on that one person.

Granted like 84% of these relationships don't work out (true 16% made it!), but look at the ones that have. Have there been any bachelor divorces? No. In fact, a ton of the relationships lasted quite a while.

Since we all don't get to live in these fantasy worlds while finding the lucky man who will put a ring on it, I think there should be 'real life' dating rules that everyone has to follow. Here, I'll get the rules list started.

1. If you meet online and go on more than two dates, then don't plan other dates in the mean time and take the time to see where this goes by giving the one person your full attention.

2. By the end of the first date, you know if you want to see the person again. So, if you go on a second, third or (cross your fingers) a fourth date, and you find yourself no longer interested, please, be kind and rewind be a man/woman and just say you aren't feeling it.

3. Don't be a dbag and say you'll get in touch to plan the next date when you know there won't be one. Send them on their rose less way so they get the point.

4. If your schedule really doesn't allow you the time or flexibility to date, please, help woman around the world save their tears for when you really eff up, and just don't date.

5. WARNING: Never tell a girl you talked about her to your family when they asked if you were dating anyone. This just gets her hopes up and as we've learned, guys love to stop on hope as much as they love watching Kate Upton jump up and down in a bikini in slow motion.

Those are my rules for now. Do you have any? Or better yet, do you have a single brother, cousin, co-worker who is interested in dating just one person and seeing where that goes?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday Confessions

Vodka and Soda

I confess that I'm feeling anything but motivated today, therefore, I'm posting and I'm sure it's going to be the best post in all the land.

I confess that I have a curse set upon me. I kid you not. I've met some great guys lately, but then we go on a third date, he suggests going on a fourth and *boom* like magic, they disappear. I confess that this gives me anxiety and I hate that feeling. So, I confess that to keep me looking sane on the outside and in textingverse, I delete his contact info so I don't get drunk and send stupid 'why haven't you called me?' 'am I not goo enough for you?'  texts. It's a real downer on the 'ol self-esteem.

I confess that I really don't miss writing more than once a week. My life has been nothing but work, eat, sleep Monday through Thursday, so why come here and bore you with the fact that every time I tried to open Outlook this morning it would close on me and I had to rewrite the same email three times before I just restarted my computer. Because restarting your computer fixes 99.7% of all computer issues. Fact.

I confess that although I've cut down on the amount of posts I leave here, fun things are actually happening and it's exciting to be recognized. For example, I was contacted by TheBouqs.com to review their services and flowers. They should be arriving tomorrow all the way from South America. I could really use some sun shiny flowers in my life today. Just feeling like blah. And yes, Blah is a feeling.

I confess that I would love for you to go check out Find Unique Lodging's facebook page and 'like' my picture so I can win a free weekend getaway!



I confess that even though Summer hasn't technically started, I feel like it's already slipping away and that makes me incredibly sad. My weeknights are always open but my weekends are really starting to fill up. I need to schedule cabin weekends in pen so that I have to go up there. Get in some sun, relax on our new relaxation station, get in some paddle boarding, etc. I confess that sometimes I really wish I could live up there in the summer and work at one of the local bars. I don't think I'd hate it. This coming from the once self proclaimed 'City Girl'.



Monday, June 9, 2014

Weekend Review: 12

Ever have one of those weekends where it seems to fly by yet also feel quite long? That's exactly the weekend I had, and it was a wonderful one at that. Nothing too exciting happened, it was just the perfect balance of friends, family, socializing and relaxing.

Friday after work I headed home with my new favorite Sauvingon Blanc from Trader Joe's (someone had just bought out their Seccolo right before I walked in. sad.), poured a glass and spent the evening on the porch chatting with mom and dad. It's pretty rare that they are home over the weekend, but it was nice to have people to hang out with vs. the dogs.

As we were talking about firing up the grill the winds picked up and rain came down so we headed down to Rusty Taco. I've never been before, but if you go, may I suggest a blended margarita and their crunchy chicken tacos. Very delicious.


We watched a couple episodes of Orange Is The New Black. I was kind of disappointed in the first episode of the second season. It just wasn't holding my attention, so I took Miley for a quick walk around the lake where we encountered a deer and a whole ton of mosquito's.

Saturday morning I slept in and was greeted by Miss Miley who needed someone to be lazy with. We hung out in bed, watched a movie and refreshed my nails. I'm quickly learning that there's a reason some nail polish is $9 and others are $2. The $2 just isn't cutting it.

Later in the day I went over to a friends house for some girl time. We went to dinner at Wakame and I tried my first sushi. I let them pick the sushi and just tried a few pieces, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked. Most of my favorites had shrimp tempura, but surprisingly, one was a raw tuna. I'm not a big seafood/fish lover, but these were quite tasty.

After dinner we walked over to Whole Foods to pick up dessert. Never, and I do mean never, send three tipsy girls into the dessert section of the grocery store. Especially one that has such amazing options. I chose a chocolate cake and a peanut butter oatmeal bar. Once we were satisfied with our dessert selections, we wandered next door to the liquor store where they had a little framboise tasting. We bought a few bottles to imbibe in.

The rest of the night was spent sitting out by the pool, sharing stories, eating amazing desserts and drinking probably a tad more than necessary.


I slept in their living room with the dogs, so I was woken up with a lovely slobbery kiss to say Happy Sunday! When I got up I was proud that it was 9:00, only to get out to my car and realize it was only 8:00. I headed home to relax, and relax I did.

I downloaded The Fault In Our Stars so I can read that before seeing the movie. It was the perfect morning to sit on the deck with a book and get some sun at the same time. This is the first time I've bought a non paper book and I think I can get on board. There really is nothing better than holding a paper book and the satisfaction of feeling the pages in your right hand get smaller and smaller until you finish the book. With an electronic book, you don't quite get the same satisfaction. Oh well.

I told my self that I'm going to get in three miles every day, so in an attempt to not let myself down and to clear my head of the constant wonder of whatever dating situation I find myself in, I laced up my shoes and went for a two mile run around the hood then picked up Miss Miley for a final mile (speaking of dating situations, I received an email this morning from a married man who offered to let me be his SB (Sugar Baby), I would get a monthly allowance and be able to date other men, in fact, he encouraged it. That man was blocked.)
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing with a dip in the hot tub, a lovely grilled chicken dinner, a movie with mom and the crowning of Miss USA. I appreciate a nice Sunday that lets me soak it in before having to sit under fluorescent lights for the next five days.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Queso Hungry, Grab Some Chips!

Ok, that might be the best or worst title I've come up with, but every one loves queso, right?

Years and years ago I worked at a clothing store that shall remain nameless (sister store to my initials), and right around the corner was a Qdoba. I would stop by almost every day during my break and pick up their taco salad. I was a very picky eater back then so I never ventured far from the trusty taco salad in it's light, crunchy taco shell bowl.

Fast forward a couple of years, I was living in Sioux Falls South Dakota. Our restaurant selections were somewhat slim, but we had a Qdoba. This is when I was first introduced to the burrito and queso! I remember stopping by for a side of queso and chips for a snack and that queso made all my problems go away.

Now, there is a Qdoba just down the street from my house! My Dad and I were on our own for dinner one night, and since I really didn't feel like cooking, I suggested we check out their location in Brooklyn Center. If you're familiar with the area at all, it's where the old Brookdale Mall was located. The city has done a fantastic job rebuilding the area and adding in some great restaurants and shops.

My dad had the tacos and I went for the burrito with Mango Salsa and we shared some queso and chips.


My dad is more of a salsa eater, but every time he said he was done eating I'd see him sneak another chip and dig in to that queso.

Do you ever go somewhere and order the steak taco/burrito, but all you find is pieces that are full of griz and it just turns you off from your meal. That is one thing I didn't have in my burrito! You can tell that they take a little more time in prepping their meat so you can enjoy the whole meal!

The staff was so friendly. They accidentally put a salsa on my burrito that I didn't ask for and insisted on making me a new one. I would have eaten the burrito regardless, but knowing that they wanted to make sure I was happy with my meal was really wonderful and top notch customer service. It's the small things that will bring back the customers!


*This post was sponsored by Qdoba Mexican Grill



Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend Review: 11

I stayed in town this weekend because of the lovely weather we had. Since we were going to be rained out most of the weekend, some friends and I took advantage of the amazing Summer weather on Friday and hit up some patios in UpTown. No one could decide where we should go for dinner so we walked along Hennepin Ave stopping in to restaurants to see what their wait was and eventually decided on Coup D'etat since we saw some open tables. While we waited for our table we got a drink at the bar. I tried the Lagoon 75 which was so delicious and I'm not usually a gin lover.
A rendition of the classic cocktail French 75, this cocktail is bright and refreshing with subtle hints of stone fruits and flowers topped with cava. 
After dinner we tried going to Moto-i, but apparently they have new rooftop rules where everyone needs to be sitting. Since there was an insane wait to be on the roof we just wandered next door to The Herkimer and enjoyed some drinks on the patio. I bailed earlier than the rest of the group and walked back to my car, it really makes me look forward to the days of moving back towards the city and being able to walk home when I know it's time to call it a night.

Saturday morning Miley woke me up at 5:00 am so she could go run around the yard and eat some grass. It's funny, because that's exactly what I like to do on a Saturday morning with no plans for the day too. When I finally got her back inside we accidentally went back to bed until noon. Oops. The rest of the day was spent waiting for the rain to lighten up enough that I could run out and get some wine and food for the rest of the day.


I made a Trader Joe's run because I wanted to make it a one stop shop and TJ's is the only place really where you can get wine and food in the same place. Stupid MN laws... Clearly I had no menu in mind, I just picked up whatever sounded good and comforting on a stormy Saturday.

I've really become a fan of prosecco's lately and the Seccola Sparkling Wine is definitely a top contender for me. It's sweet but not too sweet like an Asti and is nice and crisp. I guess it's not technically a Prosecco, but who wants to get technical on a Monday?

The remainder of the day was spent watching any Chick Flick that was on TV including Sweet Home Alabama, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Love and Other Drugs.

Sunday, I would like my morning back. Did you know that when there is a weather emergency your phone will set off an alarm from the National Weather Service that will have you literally jump out of bed trembling in fear that 1) your house is on fire 2) a tornado is coming and it's knocking on your door 3) a serial-murder-rapist is in your room and decided to paralyze you in fear by setting off the most horrible, ear bleeding alarm ever? Turns out it was just a flash flood warning. So there I lay, in my upstairs bedroom in a three story walk out house just waiting for the floods to seep in to my room.

Since going back to sleep was no longer an option, I turned on my Netflix and started my day at 4:00 am. Super neat-o. Thanks for the wake up call...the best part was, it rained for all of 10 minutes the whole day on Sunday so that warning was pretty crucial. I did have plans, but with it being Sunday and no stores open before 11:00, the morning felt like a day in itself but, I had some shoes to return so off I went. After my little shopping trip the rest of the day flew by.

I spent some time outside with the dogs since the sun was finally shining.
No, those are not dogs. It's a Swan family!
I went on a lovely date to Eat Shop in Plymouth. This was my second time there, but it's totally different from the first time when they just opened. They remodeled the inside and the menu is more burgers and sandwiches, however, a burger is just what I needed and their Cowboy Burger was really tasty. I was secretly hoping that by going to dinner it would be a longer date than our past ones, but it only lasted about an hour. Guess that's what you get when you go to a nearly empty restaurant.

I did get home just in time to watch most of The Bachelorette though. As if dating isn't complicated enough with Online dating or dating just one guy and trying to figure out where you stand, who's still going on dates with other people, and the oh so awkward first kiss, to do it with 25 different men in front of cameras would just be horrifying for me.