Tag Archives: Minnesota

#MNMondays: Pepsi NFL Helmet Display

#MNMondays is back! Perhaps you’ve heard the news…the 2018 Big Game is happening February 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis! With just a few weeks left to go, I’m going to feature some special happenings around town in regards to the Super Bowl.

Currently, there’s a special insta-worthy NFL Helmet Display at the Mall of America. Located on the north side of the mall in the Central Parkway, the display includes larger-than-life helmets for every team in the NFL. So whether you’re a Vikings fan (Skol!) or a Titans fan, you can snap a pick with your favorite helmet, and share it on social media for a chance to win tickets to the Big Game or a Mall of America gift card…I think that’s a win-win!

#MNMondays: Farewell, my friend

As I sat in the Macy’s Oak Grill (formerly the Dayton’s Oak Grill) sipping my coffee and enjoying a slice of Frango Cheesecake, I tried to fight back the tears. For it would be the last time I’d ever sip coffee in that space as it was. It’s historic wood walls, the beautiful fireplace, the room that had been a place to celebrate, go to power lunches, it would soon be closing it’s doors.

I know that places aren’t people, but some places are just so special. Dayton’s was one of my favorite places to go as a child. We’d have lunch in the Skyroom, shop for school clothes, see the 8th Floor Holiday Display at Christmas where I’d get my annual Santa Bear, and in the spring it was time for the Bachman’s Spring Flower Show. As a child I loved the sound the “fancy lady’s” shoes made as the sauntered around on the wood floors on the first floor, I couldn’t wait to be old enough to get some heels and make that sound while I shopped at Dayton’s.

Fast forward to 2002, I was a “grownup” with my first corporate job at what was then Marshall Field’s Minneapolis. Every morning I’d walk in through the skyway from the IDS, admire the buildings facade, and remind myself I was really working at Dayton’s.

Sadly, the company was sold in 2004, and it was time for me to move on. I thought my beloved Dayton’s would always be there, it was part of my holidays, the place I loved to for something special.

But then the announcement came…Macy’s would close Dayton’s Minneapolis in early 2017. Such sad news. The beautiful department store where I’d gone my entire life for my most important dresses, the places I’d started my career…gone.

So today, January 24, 2017, will be my last salad bar lunch in the Skyroom, and my last cup of coffee at the Oak Grill.

Goodbye my dear friend, I will never forget you and all the special times I’ve had within these walls…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

#MnMondays: The Great Minnesota Get Together!

It’s officially that time of year…the Minnesota State Fair opens on Thursday!

Treasured by those around the state, this is a truly Minnesotan experience with bake-offs, farm animals, Grandstand concerts, tractors, and last but certainly not least, fried foods and everything on a stick!

Commonly referred to as “The Great Minnesota Get Together” this event draws people from all over the state (and the world) to come together to graze on buckets of cookies, while sipping all-you-can-drink cups of milk, then heading to the animal barns to see the largest swine, watch baby animals being born at the Miracle of Birth Center, nibbling on something fried or something on a stick, catching a live newscast by one of the local network affiliates, checking out the arts and crafts on display in the Creative Activities building, setting a spell at the bandshell for some live music, trying some MN Wines, eating some more fried foods or something on a stick, like a Pronto Pup, people watching, and maybe ending the day with a show by a favorite artist at the Grandstand, and capping off this year’s trip with fireworks. Or maybe checking out machinery, or going to the Midway, or taking the kids to ride the kiddie rides, or seeing the bees up close in the horticulture building, or checking out the 4-H displays. There really is something for everyone, and everyone really does seem to have a different favorite thing to do or experience at the Fair.

Personally, I have several favorites. I saw my first concert (Alabama) at the Grandstand when I was six, and nearly every year since then I’ve gone to a Grandstand Show. Of course I’m going again this year for the Dixie Chicks (and Alabama is back. As far as fair foods, I have several favorites including Fudge Puppies (Belgian waffle on a stick dipped in chocolate), several items at Mancini’s, the Reuben Bites at O’Gara’s and of course…corn on the cob! A trip to the Fair is not complete without it.

Another favorite thing of mine is the baking contests. Last year, I entered an original recipe for the first time, and I took second place in the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest. It was so exciting! I’m currently finalizing this year’s entry…stay tuned….

2015 Gold Medal Cookie Contest Winners

What’s your favorite State Fair food or experience?

The Uptown Art Fair

If you like strolling along the street, looking at art by a variety of artists, then the Uptown Art Fair is the place to be.

Typically held in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis on the first weekend in August, the fair draws more than 340 artists from around the world specializing in everything from printmaking to glass blowing.

This year, attendees were treated to especially perfect weather. With highs in the low 80s, soft breezes and plenty of sunshine, there was something even more magical about checking out the booths along Hennepin Avenue. I especially loved Adam Turman’s prints, Dogfish Media, and Greta Sandquist’s colorful paintings-especially her squirrel art!

Even the garbage cans were turned into works of art for the event!

Uptown Art Fair Art Can.jpg

In addition to art, there were a variety of local food trucks, including Bridgeman’s Ice Cream and the Kitchen Window had a paella stand that pretty much was its own art form.

Uptown Art Fair Paella StandUptown Art Fair Bridgemans

When it was time for a break (and some dinner), we decided to head to the rooftop patio of Libertine. What a view of the festival, and the bustling Uptown neighborhood. And I must say…the Fried Chicken Sandwich was pretty fantastic.

To top it off, the drive around Lake Calhoun leaving the Art Fair was a picture perfect Saturday evening with cool lake breezes, the Minneapolis skyline in the background, and a gorgeous sunset.

Lake-Calhoun-Summer-EveningSunset On Lake Calhoun

Did you attend the Uptown Art Fair? Who were your favorite artists?

If you didn’t go this year, mark your calendar for next year…there’s really nothing like it.


Unleash Your Creativity

Getting in touch with your creative side is always a good idea, and the growing number of paint-your-own-canvas options in the Twin Cities makes it easy.

If you’re looking for a fun experience, head over to Brush Studio in the the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. Offering public paint nights most Wednesday to Saturday evenings, along with Sunday afternoons, Brush Studio is locally owned and operated. There’s also options for private group events as well (I highly recommend, as I organized an alumni event at Brush Studio and it was a great success).

First, you must check out the calendar to decide the date you want to go based on the painting design. When you arrive, you’ll put on an apron, select your spot with an easel and canvas, then get your supplies. Adults will want to make a visit to the bar to get a beer or wine to enjoy while you paint, and then the fun really begins.

IMG_6089An artist/instructor will walk you through the painting process step-by-step. Along the way, everyone’s artistic skills will be revealed, likely providing some fun and comedic moments. In the end, you’ll have a completed masterpiece to take home and proudly display, along with the pride of knowing you’re pretty good with the paintbrush after all.

IMG_6092IMG_6096Is looking at finished art more your thing? Be sure to check out the Uptown Art Fair, August 5 to 7, 2016. Featuring 350 artists from around the world, 22 food vendors, culinary competitions, youth art fair, and a family imagination station, there really is something for everyone.




The New Home of Purple Pride

Talked about for years, and under construction since 2014, the new U.S. Bank Stadium opened its doors to the public on Saturday, July 23 for an open house.

USBank-ExteriorThe highly anticipated stadium is the new home of the Minnesota Vikings and is set to host the 2018 Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four in 2019. Located on the former site of the Metrodome, and surrounded by a $400-million redeveloped area that includes a two-block community park, offices, access to the light rail, condos, and apartments, the shiny new building is a sight to behold.

U.S. Bank Stadium offers a climate-controlled, glassed-in environment, allowing fans to enjoy natural sunlight, while keeping the frigid temperatures away. On mild days, the stadium’s large glass doors that open toward the downtown corridor will allow comfortable Minnesota breezes. Guests will be able to select from a variety of local food offerings including Ike’s Food and Cocktails, Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen, Murray’s Steaks and more.

Throughout the stadium there are nods to the team’s heritage, including a special bar designed to invoke the feel of Viking ships from long ago. There’s also an art museum with Minnesota and football focused art, and of course, there is plenty of purple, including all of the stadium seats.

In addition to football games, the stadium is set to host a variety of events including the Chelsea vs. A.C.Milan soccer game as part of the International Champions Cup. The inaugural concert is set for Friday, August 19 when Luke Bryan and Little Big Town will take the stage.

Stay tuned for more later this month…as I will be attending the inaugural concert!

A Lift Bridge, Lighthouse and Loss of a Legendary Lady

As a tribute to my Great-Great Aunt Ruby—one of Duluth’s finest residents who passed away last week, today’s #MnMondays is all about Canal Park in Duluth, Mn.

Situated on the westernmost tip of Lake Superior, Canal Park is home to lighthouses, the famous Lift Bridge, Lake Superior Marine Museum and a variety of shops, hotels and restaurants. Popular with visitors and locals alike, the park welcomes guests and ships from around the world. This summer, the port will host the Tall Ships Festival from August 18-21. In addition to a variety of ships, the celebration will include the arrival of the Draken Harald Hårfagre—a hand-constructed Viking replica ship from Norway.

One of the loveliest views of the city, port and lakefront can be found by taking a walk out to the Duluth North Pier Lighthouse. Built in 1909, the structure is not open for tours, but it’s the perfect spot for photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For those craving in-depth details about Lake Superior, shipwrecks and historical details, the Lake Superior Marine Museum. Need a little retail therapy? The DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace is former manufacturing warehouse built in 1909 that was transformed into a shopping and restaurant space in the 1980’s. If breweries are your thing, the Canal Park Brewing Company offers lake views, craft brews and pub foods.


LakeSuperiorProud Duluth resident for more than 50 years, my Great-Great Aunt Ruby was one of a kind. She and her dear husband Bob met many years ago in camera club and traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada capturing nature’s beauty through their camera lenses. Avid storytellers, they shared their photos and experiences with such great detail. As a young girl, I was inspired by their stories and credit them for my early interest in photography and travel writing. She’d come to the cities to visit, always bringing candy and bars to share while catching up over coffee.

The last time I visited with Ruby at the nursing home, we asked her what she missed the most and she said “My Freedom.” After 92 years on earth she has her angel wings along with the freedom to explore heaven with Bob, sip coffee with her siblings and flaunt her Norwegian pride.

In Ruby (and Bob’s) honor, I shall go forth with my camera in hand to capture all of life’s journeys…

Photo credit: the above photo was taken by Ruby’s late husband, Bob.

Farewell to a Music Legend: Memorial at Paisley Park

PaintingThe world lost a music icon on Thursday, April 24 but in Minnesota we lost a hometown hero.

In this week’s Minnesota Mondays post I wanted to share a first-hand account of the memorial that has formed outside Prince’s home and studio—Paisley Park.

On Saturday evening just before six, I made my way out to Chanhassen to pay tribute to the music legend. As I made my way closer, the traffic on Highway 5 began to slow, and I saw the lines of cars making their way to find parking within Lake Ann Regional Park and streams of people dressed in purple, carrying signs, flowers and mementos. As I became part of those walking along the trail to Paisley Park, I was taken aback by the sheer volume of people who had come out on a Saturday night to pay their respects. As I got to the fence surrounding Paisley Park, the massive amount of purple balloons, flowers and people just amazed me. The fence was lined with cards, drawings, notes, paintings, buttons and bouquets of Tootsie Pops. Prince’s music was playing, press trucks were lined up along Audubon Road and thousands of mourners were gathered at the site, somberly paying respect to a life lost, yet celebrating the legendary work of the artist at the same time.

The rainy weather had moved out, there was a soft breeze blowing and the sun illuminated all of the purple along the fence. Family and friends were coming out of the private memorial that had just ended, media outlets were reporting live from the scene, artist Dan Lacey was adding details to a painting of Prince, there were multiple languages being spoken and people of all ages and ethnicities were amongst the crowd. It was truly a moving experience and it was clear to see the depth and importance of Prince’s music.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sadly, I don’t think we always realize the profound greatness of people until they’re gone. Growing up in the 1980’s as a child in Minnesota, Prince’s music was everywhere. It seems nearly everyone has a Prince-related story  to share with everything from sightings of Prince at The Dakota, Paisley Park parties and even a sweet story of him stopping by a young girl’s lemonade stand. As a music lover myself, I always enjoyed when artists would sing a Prince song at a concert, and I knew he had a lot of fans, but standing at the fence on Saturday, I realized I hadn’t fully recognized all that Prince had given to the state of Minnesota. He put our local music on the map and gave the state some serious street cred. Plus, regardless of his success, he stayed local, created thousands of musical masterpieces and ultimately left this earth right at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota, within an unassuming white structure along Highway 5.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my own story to tell about the time I met Prince. But as a writer, music aficionado and Minnesotan, I want to say thank you to Prince for your music that you shared with the world and bid you a fond farewell. #RIPPrince #Prince #Purple

What’s your favorite Prince-related memory?


Cathedral of Saint Paul

CathedralExteriorIn honor of Holy Week, this week’s Minnesota Mondays feature is about the Cathedral of Saint Paul. Perched high on the hill overlooking our capitol city, the beautiful structure was completed in 1915 and listed on the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1974.

Situated at the corner of Summit and Selby Avenues, the Cathedral offers gorgeous views of the city from its steps. But perhaps the most breathtaking feature of the structure is the interior. There’s an Ernest Skinner organ in the sanctuary and a Aeolian-Skinner organ in the choir loft, plus ethereal stained glass work by Charles Connick. The sanctuary is surrounded by the Shrine of Nations, while the altar features seven bronze grilles demonstrating God’s grace.

Glorious from every angle, the Cathedral of Saint Paul is worth a visit. If you’re timing is right, you’ll hear the bells ring!

Do you have any special Cathedral memories?