Oscar-Worthy Movie Watching

TheaterWith the Oscars coming up on Sunday, this week is all about movies. While the Twin Cities has a variety of theater options, my top choice for movie watching is the Minneapolis Showplace Icon Theater at the West End. Set amongst great shops and restaurants, this theater offers stadium seating in every auditorium. But the best part is the VIP Theater for guests 21 and older. Featuring a chic bar and restaurant, movie watchers can order bacon popcorn, movie-themed cocktails, pizzas and sandwiches to enjoy in the bar or in the VIP section of the theater.

It takes date nights at the movies to the next level!

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Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Memories

In honor of Presidents Day, I’m remembering the Metrodome, named after Minnesota’s own 38th Vice President of the United States, Hubert H. Humphrey. Built in 1982 and recently torn down to make way for the new U.S. Bank Stadium, the “Dome” was home to the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings for years. It hosted two World Series Championships, a Super Bowl and countless games. While it didn’t have the most striking architecture, the Metrodome was one of my favorite places to go. Target Field is lovely, but honestly, there was nothing like the roar of the crowd, the Homer Hankies waving in the air and the playoff atmosphere in the Dome.

While I attended many great games there, probably my most memorable was Game 163 in 2009. After the regularly scheduled 162 games, there was a tie for first place between the Twins and the Detroit Tigers, so there was a one game playoff required. Hosted at the Dome, the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers with a game-ending hit…the crowd erupted and it was just amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the excitement of that historical game.

Cheers to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for hosting some of Minnesota’s best moments in sports!

What’s your favorite Metrodome memory?

Top 5 Presidential Places To Visit

Our Presidents play an important role in society, as they represent us abroad and lead our nation through the good times and bad. Throughout our country, there’s a variety of great museums, monuments and other places of interest that pay tribute to their contributions to our nation.

In honor of Presidents Day, I’ve pulled together a list of a few of my favorite Presidential experiences.

1. The White House

TheWhiteHouse

There’s something so breathtaking about the White House. It’s palatial appearance, importance in our country and the fact that our President and all those before him have lived there makes this one of the most fascinating and recognizable buildings on the planet. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to partake in a public tour in 2011, which was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend working with your local congress person to get a public tour when you visit D.C.

2. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Growing up, I remember seeing Reagan on TV representing our country, meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev and a host of other key events. Visiting his Presidential Library was like reliving my early childhood with a new perspective on the world affairs of the 1980’s. While there were a lot of interesting exhibits, there are two exhibits that really stand out—Air Force One and the replica of the Oval Office—complete with the Waterford canister of Jelly Belly jelly beans! It’s an exquisite museum and the views of the surrounding area are spectacular.

3. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

This is a fascinating museum. The exhibits follow the story of JFK’s life from a young boy to his untimely death in 1963. There are artifacts from the campaign trail, gowns and suits worn by Jackie, a replica of the Attorney General’s Office as it was during Robert F. Kennedy’s time, Space Race features, a Bay of Pigs movie and a host of other items of historical significance. Reachable via public transportation from downtown Boston, you’ll want to allow at least four hours to fully explore this well-done museum.

4. The Sixth Floor Museum

JFK’s assassination changed the world and this museum marks the very spot where it happened. Featuring video footage, photos and a variety of exhibits about Kennedy’s visit to Texas, visitors learn about the times and issues happening in the region and the country. You’ll see where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots, then you can go down to Dealey Plaza and see the”Grassy Knoll” and the “x” marks on Elm Street noting where each shot hit the President. It’s well done and thought provoking, and a true must-see in Dallas.

5. Mount Vernon

MountVernonStanding in the very room where George Washington learned he’d won the Presidency? Now that was pretty surreal. Walking through the rooms in his home, wandering amongst the grounds and exploring what life was like for our country’s first president was quite an experience. Just a short drive from Washington D.C., whether you’re into history or not, this is a must-see destination.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival a.k.a. “The Coolest Celebration On Earth”

For years I’ve been saying, “this year I need to check out the St. Paul Winter Carnival”…and then it arrives and for one reason or another I don’t make it to the events. But finally, this year I made it! On Saturday, I headed to Rice Park to check out the ice sculptures and the mini ice palace, hear some live music and have a glass of Minnesota-made “Vulcan’s Revenge” red wine from the Cannon River Winery at the Summit Ice Bar. It was lovely! While the mild temperatures had caused some melting, the ice sculptures were amazing and the ice bar was so cool (sorry, so cliche but I couldn’t resist)! We got our photo taken on the ice throne in the mini ice palace and stopped to see the Charles Schulz sculptures around Rice Park.

Across the street people were ice skating in the city and within Landmark Center there was an Ice Palace exhibit with miniature models of all the ice palaces since the first St. Paul Winter Carnival in 1886. It was fun to see the replica of the first ice palace I visited back when I was a youngster in 1986…I still remember how impressed I was by the huge castle made of ice!

Being downtown St. Paul also gave us the chance to dine at Pazzaluna—a fantastic Italian eatery. We were extremely lucky and managed to get a table by the window with a view of the Torchlight Parade (they had a “no show” party).

After, we walked through Rice Park with all of the ice sculptures, ice palace, ice bar and tons of twinkling lights in the trees a glow, it was quite magical!

Unfortunately, I missed the Snow Park at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds…but I’m already looking forward to next year! I’m not going to miss out on this fun Minnesota tradition. It’s such a fun and unique way to celebrate one of the coldest times of the year with ice artistry and outdoor entertainment.

What’s your favorite St. Paul Winter Carnival memory?

TwinsFest 2016

What’s one of my favorite first signs of spring? TwinsFest!

OutsideTargetFieldAfter months of being away from the ballpark, Minnesota Twins fans are invited to join their favorite players and alumni at Target Field for a weekend of fun and games. Attendees get autographs, participate in Q&A sessions, explore the Twins’ Club House and Press Box while having a few of their fave ballpark foods.

This past week, I was one of the many who participated in this fun event which raises money for the Twins Community Fund. For me, going in the Press Box is probably the best part, there’s something so exciting about seeing the field from that perspective and envisioning all of the exciting coverage coming from that very place throughout the season. I love to look out at the snow covered field and think about warm sunny days, the crack of the bat and the crowd roaring for the home team.

The event gives fans the opportunity to get closer to their favorite players with memorabilia auctions and games such as Bingo and the Twins Fan Feud. Plus, fans can test their swing in the batting cages and see what its like to be in the Twins’ Clubhouse.

It’s also a great way to check out the event suites, Legends Club Level and Metropolitan Club, while enjoying ballpark treats such as Killebrew Root Beer and a Beef Brisket Sandwich. Plus, its an ideal time to ask about Season Tickets and explore the potential options for the upcoming season.

SeatViewBut the best part? Well, it’s being inside Target Field and knowing that baseball season isn’t so far away…SkylineSeats

An Ode To Iowa and Tom Brokaw

It’s officially Caucus Day in Iowa. The day when the state becomes the focus of the nation, watching and waiting to see who will emerge victorious. It’s the day when the media takes over downtown Des Moines and the entire state becomes involved in the political process.

I had the pleasure and the opportunity to participate in the Iowa Caucus experience as a young college student from Minnesota at Drake University during the 2000 election (yes, I am totally dating myself). It was an inspiring environment. Rather than people just going and casting a vote in the General Election in November, Iowans are involved in the process months, actually years before the election. They meet the candidates, shake hands with them, attend pancake breakfasts, tea parties and town hall meetings. They talk about the candidates non-stop, and it was truly unlike anything I’d ever seen before. As a student, I worked phone banks, attended big events and small gatherings, including a tea party at the Younker’s Tea Room. It changed the way I view the political process. It made me realize that everyone has a say in the process, that becoming actively engaged with the issues, sharing your perspectives and getting out the message can truly change the world.

It was also during the Iowa Caucuses that I truly discovered the amazing Tom Brokaw. Many evenings I would be in my room studying and have Tom on the NBC Nightly News covering the political landscape that was forming in Iowa. I can’t hear his voice without thinking about my Iowa Caucus experience.

Today, I tuned in to watch the happenings in Iowa, reflecting on my time there participating in the process. Tom Brokaw was on the TV discussing the scene, in his own eloquent way, the way only he can cover the news and elections. The journalist and civic-interested part of me was so filled with joy to hear his take on the day’s events! He brings such knowledge and perspective to the news, it is refreshing. I feel like in general there’s so much rhetoric and finger-pointing on political coverage, but Tom Brokaw brings his own brand to the coverage in a professional and engaging way.

I hope today a new generation of college students becomes forever inspired by the civic process and Tom Brokaw’s classy coverage of the events. But most of all, I hope we as a nation realize the importance of the political process and that we all have a say in who runs our country. Understanding the issues, getting the facts and making your own decision is important to ensuring our democracy runs as it should. Every vote truly matters!

Cheers to Tom Brokaw and the State of Iowa!