CURRENT FAVE EATS

I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever. To be honest, I haven’t been in the mood. I’ve been busy with other things & just really have needed to rest in my spare time. But I did want to do a post today with some MPLS restaurants that I’ve been digging or plan to try in the near future. You all know how I love me some good food. #foodie

There’s been a lot of turnover in Minneapolis lately in regards to restaurants. I revamped my ongoing food list when I moved to another area of the city in August. I’m more NE and DT now so some of these may be old news, but new to me! I’m going to do a little run though of my thoughts & if you’re looking for some good local MPLS eats, try something from my list below! Going to try & highlight places that I haven’t blogged about before! I have a few random pics to accompany my thoughts but I’ve been so bad @ taking food pics … need to stop just inhaling first – HA!

PIZZERIA NEA: so sad to report that after 17 years they closed a couple weeks ago! Bummer since it’s right out my front door. I did get to try it before they closed their doors & it was amazing.

STRAY DOG: aka my new hangout. This is literally 20 steps out my front door. They also have an entire vegetarian menu! My favorites include the house baked soft pretzels & cheese dip and the vegetarian nachos!

MACS: never eaten here but did have some drinks & watched a vikings game. Another one right out my door. Seems like pretty basic bar food.

SAVOYS: has been a fave for years but now I’ve got one a block away! Green & black olives are my go to toppings!

SONDER SHAKER: I was so excited to try this one & it didn’t disappoint! The loaded fries were on point! They have a new fall/winter menu out that I’m excited to try. This one is about 2 blocks from me! Yay! They also have crazy good fancy drinks!

GINGER HOP: I was sad to move away from Amazing Thailand but now I’ve got this! Thai style fried rice is my jam.

BLACK COFFEE & WAFFLE: the Como one isn’t far from me & I’ve fallen madly in love with the strawberry cheesecake waffle. I’m heading there this weekend with my girlfriend & we plan to try the new pumpkin waffle & the apple one that I’ve been eyeing up for awhile now!

ASTER CAFE: haven’t been here recently but it’s not far from my place & I’ve had it in the past and loved it. Nestled right down by the river & Stone Arch Bridge too! I want to go one night when they have live music!

R TACO: another walk across the street gem. If you’ve never tried their tacos, you must do so. They are on my foodsby app @ work too … very tempting to eat tacos 24/7!

HIDEAWAY BURGER BAR: went here for a Vikes game & got a burger, which looked so good online but I would say it was a so/so burger … really greasy, very little flavor & not much there. I’m gonna stick to Shake Shack or Five Guys for my burger cravings!

WILDE CAFE & SPIRITS: breakfast gem! I love their breakfast & brunch food. Down by the river with cozy vibes.

KEYS FOSHAY: another breakfast gem & a classic. Everything they serve here is so delish. Mushroom omelet has been a fave in addition to the French toast!

MUCCIS: before moving out of Uptown, you bet I tried this new hot spot! It lived up to the hype for sure! Tried the pizza, garlic montanara & rigatoni. Everything was awesome!

HERBIVOROUS BUTCHER: interesting concept, was sort of weirded out by the look & texture of the “meat” … but my sandwich did taste like a normal Italian sandwich.

CHEESE LOUISE: this is a southwest mpls gem. The grilled cheese was some serious comfort food. The bread was so soft & the combo of cheeses was perfect. Also fell in love with the parmesan truffle fries. Who doesn’t love fries!?

LIST TO TRY:

FIRST DRAFT TAPROOM: been here several times before but they recently added more food to their menu & the pics make my mouth water every time!

TARACCINO COFFEE: across the street & it looks like they have some good breakfast options in addition to fancy coffees.

TRIO: this one is back in good old Uptown. a plant based vegan restaurant! The food looks seriously bomb.

BARDO: fancy date night spot right out my door! I’m waiting to see their winter menu!

BACON SOCIAL HOUSE: this is next on my list … need to try a bacon flight!

PRACNA: don’t know much about this one. Just saw it down by the river & thought it may be a good one to check out.

GRAZE: a new North Loop Food Hall! Exciting! It appears to have awesome DT view too.

JEFE: Mexican food … right next door to Aster & Hideaway. Good HH!

SAMPLE ROOM: NE … don’t know much about this one either but would like to check it out as I’ve read good things!

RED RABBIT: this one has been on the list for awhile & it just never works out to go. I think my problem is that I compare it to my real fave Italian spot & don’t even give it a shot! (see below)

SNACK BAR: not sure this is even open yet … was slated for October. Small bites, wine & pizza in North Loop, what’s not to love?!

GIGIS: another one back in Uptown that I never got to. A little neighborhood cafe.

BOLUDO: EMPANADAS! YUM!

AND OF COURSE MY ALL TIME FAVE PLACE & LAST MEAL PICK …. would be @ the one & only BAR LA GRASSA. I’ve posted about BLG before & I honestly can’t get enough of it. It’s been a once a month affair for awhile now! Planning to go back in 2 weeks! HA! Highly Highly recommend if you want AUH-MAZING Italian.

SEPTEMBER FAVORITE FINDS

Just in time, on the last Friday of September! I feel like I’ve been finding all sorts of gems lately! I’ll share my top ten fun and/or practical purchases of the month. Everything is linked if you’re interested!

#1 – BATHROOM SPINNING TURNTABLE – I came across this on IG and I was in need of some organization in my bathroom cabinet. This is perfect! I keep my most used items in it for easy access. If you are tight on space this is a life saver!

#2 – OVER THE CABINET HANGING STORAGE – This was another great IG/Target find! It fits perfectly inside my cabinet in the bathroom. I keep my blow dryer, flat iron & curling iron in it. It created some extra shelf space as a result. Love it.

#3 – SILICONE FACE MASK BRUSHES – I purchased a tub of that Aztec healing clay to use for weekly face masks and it’s an absolute mess to put on and you don’t want it going down the drain because it will harden in your pipes. So I found these awesome silicone brushes that make applying the clay mask super easy. I just wipe it off with a wet paper towel after. I also figured out to make the clay mask in a ziplock so that you don’t have to clean a bowl out without getting the debris in your sink drain! Hack!

#4 – LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS – who doesn’t love a solid classic long sleeve! They are fitted and ribbed. I of course, bought in 3 colors. LOL.

#5 – CND VINYLUX NAIL POLISH – I have been giving my nails a break from gel & dip mani’s since July & painting them myself. This is legit the best nail polish ever. It goes on so smooth, lasts an entire week without chipping & dries super fast! Highly recommend. I just bought another one this week so now I have 3 colors to rotate between.

#6 – MAKEUP BOX – I think I came across this on IG but can’t totally recall. It’s amazing though. I do not want anything out on my bathroom counter. I like it to be clean & clutter free. I also hate makeup bags where you have to dig and can never find anything without dumping it all out. This is the perfect solution! And you can grab it & go when traveling. Highly recommend! You can also adjust the sizes of each compartment to make it your own!

#7 – PINK PUMPKIN – I am probably more excited than I should be about this! HA! I just hate like clunky ugly colored holiday decor. I know, I know. I got rid of most holiday items when I moved and only want a few things out to keep my place clean & simple. I spotted this on a target IG account and had to have it. It’s glass & the perfect shade of light pink!

#8 – ADIDAS NMD R1 PRIMEKNIT SHOES – My addiction with shoes will never die down. I just can’t help myself. These are the latest & greatest for me. I love them! They are actually men’s so I had to size way down but they fit fine! I like the off white creamy tan color a lot.

#9 – WOOL BLEND COAT – I have wanted this coat for awhile! I just love the color. Especially now that I’m a Corporate worker, I need some stylish coat options! Found this online @ the Gap Outlet.

#10 – PLATFORM SLIP ON SNEAKER – I set out to DSW a couple weeks ago to get a new pair of the Steve Madden platform slip ons but came across these babies on clearance for half the price, so decided to try them out. They are really comfy & I have received lots of compliments when I wear them to work.

So there you have it! A glimpse into the random stuff I order – HA! Who knows what next month will bring!?

HALLELUJAH

I have been about to explode with EXCITEMENT since this morning when I received my latest biopsy results. NORMAL. Like we are talking completely normal, no traces of CIN 1, 2 or 3! WOWZA. Talk about emotional. When I had my colposcopy earlier this week, two areas turned slightly white (meaning something abnormal was there) so they took 3 biopsies to get more information. This was still a massive improvement from last year when my entire cervix turned white and she could tell it was CIN3 before the biopsy results even came back to confirm. But all three biopsies came back NORMAL this morning. This means that my LEEP surgery last October worked! She got all precancerous & CIN3 cells and my body is officially growing its own NORMAL & HEALTHY cells. HALLEJULAH! I still have to go back next year for another pap test & we will take it from there. This is likely something I will deal with on/off in the years to come, but for now, I am EXTREMELY happy, grateful, thankful, and BLESSED. Those of you who have kept up on my journey or know me personally, know that this has been hands down the hardest year of my life. You really do have to ride out the dark storms to be able to see the sunlight again. This journey has taught me the importance of leaning on my faith and believing in myself no matter what. I took this photo one year ago and I have had it as my background on my phone so I look @ it every single day. I even got it framed in my apartment because it just spoke so loudly to me when I took it. It reminded me daily to keep walking the path I am on and that there WAS sunlight on the other side. I would get to the other side slowly but surely. This one little picture has helped me stay focused the last year. THANK YOU for all the well wishes & support during this time. I know for a fact that the prayers & good vibes not only helped lift me up, but also contributed to my results today. ONWARD & UPWARD! 🖤

GRILLING

A short & simple post from me this week. It’s been a busy week and I have just been living in the moment, enjoying these last warm days we have had in Minneapolis. My new place has three grills on the 7th floor rooftop area. I was craving some grilled veggies this week and the weather cooperated for a little grill sesh. I did a very simple, yet delicious, mix of mushroom, onion, red pepper, potato and zucchini. I marinated the mixture for a couple hours in balsamic vinegar & oregano. I also found this nifty little grill basket from Target. It makes grilling veggies SO simple & they cook much faster. I’ve also seen them at Home Goods & TJMaxx. I would highly recommend.

view from the 7th floor patio/grill area

Coming up: September favorite finds, an update on my MBA plan and an update on my doctor’s appointment that I have next week!

DAILY HARVEST

If you follow me on IG you probably saw on my stories that I was greatly anticipating my DAILY HARVEST delivery this week. I have been seeing these beautiful little cups on social media & was highly intrigued. Basically, it’s a meal delivery service that provides you with fruit & veggie vegan meals that are completely ready for you. There is no cooking or chopping involved. I have tried other meal delivery services such as Hello Fresh & Blue Apron. While I liked not grocery shopping, I can’t say I was super impressed with the quality, variety & price of these services.

I looked into what these bowls actually were and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The company itself is committed to finding the best fruits & vegetables and preserving the nutrients until they make it to you! They are also committed to producing less food waste, which I like. They are able to take produce that usually is tossed because of its appearance and freeze it and you’d never know the difference. Each meal is frozen and will serve 1-2 people. The current options include snack bites, smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, oat bowls, chia bowls & lattes. Depending on what cup you order, you may need to add a liquid, blend, heat or refrigerate overnight. Everything comes frozen. By freezing the ingredients they are able to lock in freshness, even months after harvest, giving you access to summer’s best produce, even in the dead of winter.

Now you may be thinking why would you purchase pre-made fruit & veggie cups when you can easily go to the store and get the stuff yourself?! Well, I will give you my top 3 reasons why.

First, TIME & CONVENIENCE. I am at a point in my life right now where I want easy & convenient. I don’t want to go to the store and purchase several bags of frozen fruit and veggies and come up with combinations myself. Sometimes the store doesn’t have a great selection to offer either. Also, half of the time the fresh produce I buy goes bad because I don’t eat it in time.

Second, NUTRITIONAL VALUE. I want to have healthy options on hand that are super easy to throw together when I am on the go. These definitely satisfy that requirement. They are 98% organic and have a commitment to preserving nutrients and providing you with a quality healthy product.

Third, COST. When I do the math, these cups are worth it for me. They are a cost-effective way to have fruit & veggies but not have to worry about them going bad and buying several different kinds at once. You can choose how often you want these delivered. You can also choose how many you want. For my first time, I ordered a 9 pack. My thought was that I could see how I liked them and then stock up every couple of months and keep them in my freezer. I do not anticipate ordering these weekly. The smallest order is 6 cups of anything you want from their menu. That runs about $48 and it’s your lucky day because they gave me a $25 off coupon to share! So that brings you down to $23 for 6 cups. So roughly $3.83 per cup! When I get smoothies or healthy bowls from local health/wellness places they run me anywhere from $7 to $11. So to me, that speaks for itself. I will add the code down below if you want to try them out. There are no obligations and you can immediately cancel or choose to skip weeks.

I also found some really interesting information on their website about traditional fresh produce vs the daily harvest way of doing things. I made a little chart below with what I found:

I wasted no time digging in & trying some yesterday! They were really as easy as they claim. I dumped the frozen fruit into my blender, added some almond milk & bam! I had a delicious smoothie in a matter of seconds. I ordered 8 smoothies & 1 harvest bowl that I am excited to try as well.

If you want to give it a try, you can use my code for $25 off your first order. You can customize your package any way you want! If you do try it, be sure to let me know what you think! You can order on their website or download the app for easy access!

CODE: RE-LG37M47

NEW CAREER BEGINNINGS

This week was sort of strange for me as it was the first time post college that I didn’t have a “first day” of school and all the anxiety that comes with that as a teacher. I’m not going to lie, it felt amazing! If you are a teacher or know a teacher, you know that the beginning of a new school year is just about THE most important event there is each year. And also THE most exhausting event there is each year. I don’t think people realize the amount of energy teachers put into getting ready for a new school year. And let me tell you, that first week with a brand new class is TOUGH. I remember feeling a new level of exhaustion every year after week 1. Especially when I taught Kindergarten. So next time you see a teacher, THANK THEM. They deserve the world. Here is a class pic of my last official class of my own (minus 3 that were absent). We had quite the year together but I miss these babies & hope they are all doing GREAT things! This class will FOREVER hold a VERY special place in my heart & soul.

So a little update on my new role … I am about 2.5 months in and LOVE it. Like LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It truly feels meant to be & it all comes so naturally to me. I enjoy the new tasks each day that still keep me on my toes but in a less exhausting way than teaching. I have a lot of flexibility which was something important to me when I was job searching. My role is VERY independent, which I personally really like. There is only 1 of me in the entire company of 500+ employees. I don’t necessarily have a team to work with and there is a lot I need to figure out on my own. But you see, I THRIVE in situations like that. I am also SO impressed with the company itself. I have never worked somewhere where just about everyone is extremely proud to work there and enjoys coming to work every day! The energy is great to be around. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this career switch.

I am also going to start working towards getting my MBA. My company is partnering with a local state college to create a first ever MBA cohort completely paid for by my employer. Yes, you read that right. They are paying for your entire MBA. I, unfortunately, won’t make the first cohort as I need to take some pre-reqs that I never had to take when I was in college getting my Education degree. So this fall I plan to start by taking the MBA math test which will count as my statistics class. This also counts as an alternative to the GMAT! Then next spring I will take 2 more pre-reqs … financial accounting & an econ class. Fingers crossed round 1 goes well and they continue this amazing opportunity so I can be in the second cohort. I will also be able to utilize the tuition reimbursement program my employer offers to get those 3 pre-reqs completely paid for. Talk about an opportunity you CANNOT pass up! I am excited about these new upcoming changes & challenges. I think it will set me up nicely for the future and it will be great to have another degree in addition to Education.

I feel extremely blessed right now with how things have lined up so well. That makes me feel confident in my decision to leave teaching & try something new.

Onwards & Upwards.

UP NORTH

I’m just getting home & settled in from an enjoyable trip “up north”. If you’re a Minnesotan you know what that means. For those who aren’t familiar with this odd obsession, just about anyone & everyone makes their way “up north” (north of the Twin Cities metro area) most summer weekends but especially on holiday weekends. Every direction you look, you’ll see campers, boats, trailers, atvs & more being hauled, as people are fleeing the city for the weekend! Just a few short hours out of the city & it feels like you’re in a completely different place. There’s something about unplugging & just relaxing away from the hustle & bustle of the city that rejuvenates people. MN is the land of 10,000 lakes after all!

My parents officially retired & moved up north this past year. It’s nice to have a beautiful place to visit & enjoy the MN lake life. I personally could never live up there full time but they seem to have adjusted and like it! Anyways, Alex, Mia & I ventured 3 hours northwest to spend the weekend with my parents. Being that it was Labor Day weekend, lots of others had the same thought. It was an abnormally cool weekend for this time of year, so there was not much water & beach action, but it was nice to just move slowly & lounge up there. We went out to brunch, enjoyed bloodies & mimosas, ate way too much good food, hot-tubed a bit, napped, went on a boat ride, got lots of laughs in with my parents, watched some tv & just straight chilled. Perfection in my book.

I didn’t take many pictures but here’s a few:

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend doing whatever brings you joy. Now it’s onto a short 4 day work week! YAY!