Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites

You probably already guessed what today's favorites would be, and here they are: some of my favorite eats at the MN State Fair!

Top three classics

1. Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies.

2. Original cheese curds.
3. Roasted corn at the Corn Roast.

Top three of the new foods of 2014

1. Deep-fried buckeyes at Spaghetti Eddie's.

2. Izzy's jello salad ice cream.

3. SnoRibbons at Blue Moon.

LEAST favorite new food

Green Mill's pizza tots. Nice idea, but no.

You have three days left to try it all. Go now!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to eat your way through the Minnesota State Fair

If you live anywhere near Minnesota, or know anyone who does, then you are well aware that we are already one week into 12 of the greatest days of the year: the state fair.

State Fair 2013
There are a million things to do at the fair, but the highlight for me is obviously the food. Greasy, gooey, cold, hot, on a stick, in a is (almost) all glorious. But one does not simply wander around the fair grounds eating whatever catches the eye. Plans must be made. Lists must be written. Here are a few tips:

*Put a little money aside in advance of the fair. Eating such awesomeness is not cheap.*

*The new food list comes out in June. Read it. Know it.*

*Do not go to the fair the first, or even second day. Food bloggers and editors all over the metro will try the new foods for you. Take their reviews into consideration, unless there is something you just have to try.*

*Make your list! Remember to balance the new with the classics. With around 300 vendors, this is not an easy task! And don't include anything you can get regularly outside of the fair. What a waste!*

*Plan your route. Take into account all the other sights and activities you plan to take in, and remember to balance savory, sweet, salty, rich, light and greasy foods.*

The perfect ending.
*Prepare your stomach. I don't recommend extreme diets or "dieting" in general. It's a lifestyle, remember? But this lifestyle includes indulgences, so I try to be pretty strict a week or two before and after this once-a-year food adventure.*

*Enjoy your food! I have found myself rushing from one place to the next, eating as I go without taking the time to really appreciate the flavors. It's an experience; make it count!*

Hungry yet? I'll see you at the fair!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites

Some days (weeks...months...) it's easy to feel like a failure and remind ourselves of all the things we haven't accomplished. 

Which is why I sometimes cheat a little and give myself little boosts of confidence when I accomplish (really) small, daily things. I certainly don't recommend losing sight of the big things we look to achieve, but sometimes it's nice to enjoy a false sense of accomplishment. Here are 10 of my favorites:

1. Cleaning. Whether it's the dishes, the apartment or just the litter box, it always feels good to un-dirty a little something in your life.

2. Folding and putting away clean laundry—especially if you're someone who has no problem leaving freshly laundered clothes in the basket all week. They are more accessible that way, after all. 

3. Grocery shopping without impulse buying anything that contains chocolate or artificial cheese.

4. Only eating half of the ice cream you did cave in and buy when you had to go back to the store to get the three  forgotten items from yesterday.

5. Getting your butt out the door and working out when you not want to.

6. Doing something social. Yes, I do congratulate myself on hanging out with someone other than my husband or a cat.

7. Doing something nice for someone else. Even if it's just smiling at a stranger or letting someone merge in front of you during rush hour.

8. Showering. Hey, some days are a struggle.

9. Eating vegetables. Fruits are no problem for me. Veggies? Not so appealing.

10. Going to bed at a decent hour instead of procrastinating it all night just to resist the fact that the day is over.

Have a good weekend, and do something (semi) productive!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A glimpse into the life of. . .

                      AARON MUNNS
Well, last week completely got away from me, but I am back with a new glimpse for you—someone who would probably scold me a little for that first statement since, in reality, I let the week get away and didn't put in the time or effort to make it happen. He stands firmly in the belief that if you want something to happen, you must put in the required work to make it happen.

I met Aaron when I first started working at the gym. He was a manager there, and when he learned more about why I was there and the doubt I was feeling about the situation I had put myself in, he was very straightforward in telling me to set a goal and figure out what I was going to do to get there. He even loaned me an inspirational book that had helped him through some challenging times. 

I don't get to work with him anymore, but it is so great to meet people who are able to maintain a positive outlook on life when it is so easy to let life's disappointments weigh you down. 

Aaron currently works at Loring Pasta Bar, bartending during the day and working security at night. He's worked in security for eight years. I can't even imagine the crazy things people in this line of work have to deal with, so I was curious to learn more about someone who's been able to handle it for that long already, and I hope you are too!

Current job: Bartender and security at The Loring Pasta Bar.

First job ever: Taco Bell at MOA.

First job after graduating/first "grown up" job: Customer service rep at United Healthcare.

Dream job: Personal trainer.

How did you get started in security? A friend asked me to fill in one night and I enjoyed it.

What is the best part about your job? Meeting people from different countries every week.

What is the most annoying behavior we concert/event-goers should stop doing immediately? Waiting for autographs from artists without a formal meet and greet.

What event has been your favorite to work so far? Imagine Dragons, twice. They're some nice guys.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing a similar career? Have patience for drunk people.

What is your secret to maintaining a life balance with two careers? I make time to see the people I love and for my personal interests.

When you are 50, what do you want to be able to say when you look back at this moment in your life? How amazing it was to be a part of a historic venue, interact with so many creative people, and see amazing artists.

Three words to describe where you're at in life right now: Enjoying priceless moments.

How do you define success? Living my life to the fullest and giving it my all no matter what it is I'm doing in a way that inspires others.

Who has been your biggest influence, personally or professionally, and why? My late friend/brother, Omari. He pushed me to accomplish my goals; he always gave tough and honest love.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time? Reading, working out, taking walks, watching documentaries, salsa dancing, and spending time with my loved ones.

What is number one on your bucket list? Visit Tokyo.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip cookie dough.

Thank you, Aaron! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Favorites

Let's face it: 98 percent of these posts list at least one food, so I decided to make them all food-related today. 

1. Brookside chocolates.  

Oh, these are just SO GOOD! They're a little bit on the spendy side, so I don't buy them regularly, but I knew it was meant to be when I saw a deal on Target Cartwheel. All I will say is I made them last as long as I could.

2. Snapea Crisps.

I have had a ridiculous amount of debates in my head about buying these for months since I pass by them every time I'm buying groceries. I finally tried them; the only regret I have is not trying them sooner, and there are plenty of other flavors for me to get busy trying!

3. Pumpkin noosa.

I don't know if it's a good or bad thing to already be seeing pumpkin flavors, but this is so good I don't care. If you've never tried noosa yogurt, go get some now. My favorite flavor is blueberry, but this definitely comes in second.

4. SO Delicious frozen non-dairy dessert.

 Not too sweet, but it has a rich enough flavor to satisfy you after a few bites. Nothing is ever as good as real ice cream, but this comes very close!

5. Powerade.

OK, so there's nothing too exciting about Powerade, but sometimes water just doesn't cut it, and after a run one night this week I probably told Jared at least five times how badly I wanted some. The next day, there were two waiting for me in the fridge:) It really is the little things.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cry a little

The "glimpse" I had planned for tonight didn't work out, but unlucky for you, I've had a little something on my mind lately. This is in complete contrast with a recent post of mine, but that shouldn't surprise you since I'm pretty much a walking, talking (only if I have to) contradiction.

Anyway, I've been dealing with some difficult issues lately, and if there is anything I am the absolute best at, it is worrying (thanks, Dad). I win at taking something unpleasant or unfortunate and tornadoeing it into a never-ending headache that consumes me. I eat, breathe and sleep anxiety. 

If finding an immediate solution is not an option, there are several healthy ways to relieve apprehension: chocolate, running, prayer, acts of service (focusing on someone besides myself for once), etc. But there is always another temporary yet oddly satisfying option: A big, long, ugly cry.


Maybe it sounds a little sad, a little pathetic, a little pity-party-ish, but sometimes a good, deep cry that brings you to pure exhaustion is just the reboot you need. A quick search on the Google (how old am I?) tells me I am not alone in this. While there are studies and opinions arguing for both sides of the matter, the majority seem to give it the go-ahead. Why? Here are a few reasons I came across:

  • It's a cathartic release.
  • It can lower stress and blood pressure and elevate mood by releasing chemicals and toxins that build up in your body from stress.
  • Tears kill bacteria and help us see.

Some articles also mentioned that crying with someone can be more healing than crying alone. For me, I think it depends on the situation. Sometimes I do need to cling onto someone (or to feel supported during my minutes or hours of blubbering. Sometimes I feel better alone with an emotional song playing in the background to really set the mood.

Oh, One Tree Hill, you never disappoint.

While its probably not something to make a habit of, crying does not deserve all the negative connotations it's associated with. So next time you're frustrated, angry, scared, upset and just in need of a release, don't think twice about cranking up the saddest or sappiest movie or song you can think of and having yourself a little (or big) cry. Just let those tears flow because you deserve it. In the meantime, I'll be watching The Vow. . .

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Favorites

It's Friday again! Am I the only one who feels like the days drag on, but the weeks fly by!? Here are five things I'm loving this week.

1. I received my Jamberry Nail Wraps! 

My cousin recently introduced me to these through a virtual Jamberry party (go to her website to check them out). They're basically stickers you press on using heat and then trim to fit your nails. They are made in the USA, not tested on animals, do not damage natural nails, do not use any harmful chemcials and last up to two weeks on fingers and six weeks on toes. I was skeptical at first, but I was able to try a sample, and they actually stay on and look awesome! I am so excited about the two styles I got and can't wait to try more! 

2. New hummus.

Jared and I visited a new-to-us sub shop in the area, and though the sandwiches were impressive, the hummus was unreal! It's made in-house and is the best I've ever had, so of course I asked them if I could buy a giant container of it.

3. Pandora. The only thing keeping me sane at work lately.

Specifically, two stations: Christina Perri and The Piano Guys (my mom's obsession rubbed off a little).

4. Homemade peach salsa.

Made with love by three of my favorite people (my grandpa, his wife and their beautiful daughter), it is so delicious! My favorite way to eat it is on a wheat tortilla with spinach and melted cheese. Mmmm!

5. Colbie Caillat.

She had my heart at "Bubbly," but with her fabulous "Try" video all over the Internet and a lot of her songs popping up on the Christina Perri station, specifically "If You Love Me Let Me Go," I am in awe all over again.

Have a great weekend!