MN State Fair 2015

Today was Fair Day. We arrived around 8am. Kate had to leave at noon; the rest of us stayed until the Gaelic Storm show finished at 10:30pm. We ate a lot! Here’s the ol’ list, in order of consumption. We didn’t get two footlongs like we normally do, but we tried a lot of new things so I think it’s a fair trade.

  • mini cinnamon rolls with milk
  • mini donuts
  • footlong hot dog
  • apple dumpling with ice cream
  • samples of Peace coffee
  • 3 types of jerky: cheddar, maple, & BBQ
  • corn fritz
  • snicker salad
  • chilled bread pudding
  • giant turkey sandwich
  • all-you-can-drink milk, both white & chocolate
  • chicken samosas
  • frozen cider
  • 3 beer flights: darker, belgian, & brewpub (Kate left after flights)
  • fried green tomatoes
  • raspberry mocha frappe
  • ribbon fries with cheese & sour cream
  • strawberry lemonade
  • deep fried candy bar
  • samples of cinnamon butter
  • lobster rolls with chips & iced tea
  • ice cream from the dairy building (this is when we stop for a while to rest/nap)
  • cream puffs
  • sweet corn
  • 1919 root beer
  • s’mores beer
  • maple bacon beer
  • leinie’s harvest patch shandy
  • cheese curds

I had my iPod with, running its built-in pedometer. I started it after we finished our cinnamon rolls, and stopped it at about 6:30 when we sat down to claim seats for the concert. In that time, we walked 18,750 steps. Success! Photos can be found on Instagram.

spoiler alert: my mom doesn’t have cancer

Not this time!

On Friday, while we were getting everything ready for Darren’s party (before he threw out his back. He has since fully recovered), I received a text from my mom. it was a group text to my and my three brothers that said she’d be having back surgery on the 25th. She hurt her back at work in May, and at some point her doctor found a “suspicious mass” that needed to be removed.

So that’s fun.

Mom had cancer – I don’t know if it was technically tongue or throat, but the very small tumors were on the way back of her tongue – back in 2006 or so, but I was all “nope nope nope” and figured it was best to just wait and see. I didn’t even think to google until just now, so good job me.

Anyway, I got another group text while I was on the train home yesterday. Good news, surgery went well and it was a benign tumor. I sent a happy response and teared up a little, because the last thing my family needs this year is anything else shitty. Happy healing, mom!

lift with your legs

Darren’s birthday party was last night. It was held in the back yard of the house of some friends. Tons of people showed up – apparently Darren is very popular. There was one major problem, though. We went splitsies with Tara on a keg from Summit, which she brought over shortly before the party began. Darren got it out of her car himself, which was a mistake as he promptly threw out his back. The pain only got worse as the night went on. We left earlier than anticipated, although the party was winding down so really he was able to stick it out for the most part. He’s still sore today but with some improvement. There were a lot of “that’s what happens when you get old” comments, which… yeah. Helpful.

Meanwhile, I am typing this out on our tablet because my beloved laptop is disassembled. A few days ago the display went wonky and it seemed like the connection might be loose. I hooked up an external monitor earlier today but that whole setup was a nightmare. Darren took the laptop apart tonight and discovered that the display cable needs to be replaced. He accidentally broke the keyboard in the process, so that’ll need to be replaced too. Bu it’ll be like a $50 repair, which is obviously better than a several hundred dollar replacement.

So I guess it’s been an interesting couple days. Yep.

the landscape of an August day

Where did the past three months go? Summer, man. It’s a time-suck in all the right ways.

So I turned thirty, and a bunch of my friends have too since then. Good work, team! Way to be alive. Darren’s birthday is on Thursday so he’s throwing a big ol’ yard party at a friend’s house on Friday. We both have the day off work to “prepare,” a.k.a. sleep in and I guess buy some stuff to grill? Oh, and I’m making a cake.

Speaking of days off with Darren, our anniversary was a couple weeks ago. It was our 5th, and it fell on a Friday so we figured we should probably go big. Not all plans go accordingly, though. We were going to visit the MN Zoo, then the Mall of America, and end with a fancy dinner. Well. Did you know the MN Zoo doesn’t have giraffes? Listen, I’ve never been there but I’m sure it’s a great zoo. But the night before, we both agreed that the cost of admission (plus parking) was just not worth it and our money would be better spent elsewhere. We agreed we’d hit up the Como Zoo instead, which is close to home and donation-based. AND THEY HAVE GIRAFFES. Also a polar bear.

Except neither of us slept well the night before, so we slept later than planned, went out for breakfast, and decided to skip zoo-ing altogether. Everything else went as planned, though! We wandered the mall, bought some craft liqueurs, ate some Coldstone, and snarked on the weirdos. We took a couple hours to relax after that, then had an amazing dinner at Bennett’s Chophouse in St. Paul. So good, you guys. If you go, get the smoked salmon appetizer. Trust me.

Anyway, most of the rest of the summer has been relatively uneventful. Patios, a lake day, yard parties and bonfires — just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. The state fair is next week, which is the best thing about the season. I’ll be sure to post the list of gluttony.


Well, I made it to thirty. Darren and I celebrated with a day off work and a huge lunch at Fogo. Last night we had a bunch of my favorite people over for food and games. It was for sure the best birthday I can remember.

such twins.

such twins.

So! Let’s check in: how’d the 30 by 30 thing work out? Click that there link to find out. Long story short: as I expected, I did not accomplish every item, but knocked out some great ones.

Life is good, y’all.


I’ve written and deleted a whole lot here, but I just don’t really know what to say. My grandma passed away a couple weeks ago. It was not sudden, but it is still sad. Mostly I just wanted to write down some memories, so instead of coming up with a good segue I’m just going to start a list:

Grandma was an amazing cook, as grandmas often are. She made the best and prettiest lemon meringue pie in the entire world.

Taco Tuesday used to happen every week at the restaurant where she worked, so when Kyle and I would visit in the summer we would always pick up tacos for dinner.

Before I got too old, I would often share a bed with her. Every night, no matter the time of year, she would recite The Night before Christmas, which I totally forgot is actually called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

Grandma was in charge of walking the dog whenever they had one (Beagles. First there was Clancy, then a little while after he died they got Corkey). We took many, many long walks around the tiny village of Bagley, WI with those dogs.

There used to always be kittens living in the shed out back of the restaurant and she always let us hang out back there and play with them while she worked.

Only grandma could get the perfect ratio of Hershey’s Syrup to milk every time. Related: it was always her idea to make chocolate malts.

She had gold flatware before it was trendy.

She didn’t teach me to crochet, but she was the only person in my family who actively crocheted. We all have so many afghans. She and I both made blankets for Kyle & Jenna’s baby.

Love, you, Grandma. xoxo


statement hair

As evidenced by my 30 by 30 list, I have been wanting to dye my hair again for quite some time. I think the last time I did was in college. I’d been considering it off and on since then, but was never able to make a decision. Also I didn’t want to go to a salon because $$$. I’m all about the box color, y’all.

Um. Anyway, I read about eSalon on a message board, and saved it in the ol’ memory file. The gist is that you answer some questions about your hair, choose your color, and their stylists customize it for you based on your answers.

Here’s the ridiculous photo I uploaded to eSalon during the questionnaire:

hair before

I also had it cut recently, and got rid of the asymmetrical swoopy thing I had going on.

The color that I ended up choosing was “Darkest Brown Red Mahogany.”

via eSalon

via eSalon

Yes. So dark, so interesting. Spoiler alert: this isn’t quite how mine tuned out!

My order arrived yesterday and, instead of waiting for the weekend like I’d originally planned, I dove in. If you’ve ever dyed your own hair before, the process is the same. Thanks to my short hair, it was extra simple- minus the rinsing process, which still took forever and made my bathtub look like a crime scene.

Wee! Here’s the result:

bande 2

The difference is much greater in person, I think. Depending on the light it might look purpley, reddish, or nearly black. I’m kind of obsessed. Mission accomplished!

PS, if you decide to try eSalon, your first order is only $10 plus shipping. And if you use my link, I get a little deal too. Everybody wins.