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!

HOME SWEET HOME

We made it into our new digs! It’s been an exhausting last couple days, make that the last 3 weeks since this adventure started! From purging & selling all my stuff to purchasing new space appropriate items, planning out my layout and actually moving in, its been a whirlwind! I am so happy with everything though. I’m already unpacked and 90% decorated. I’m going to just live here a few weeks and see what other decor/art I think I need.

Mia is adjusting, slowly but surely. This place is A LOT different than our Uptown gem. The community spaces & amenities are absolutely amazing and beautiful! All the artwork in the building is by local Minneapolis artists, which is really cool. They went the extra mile on everything.

I am going to leave you with a picture tour this week. No words are even needed as the pictures definitely speak volumes!

And finally, my view. WOW.

AUGUST FAVORITE FINDS •MOVING EDITION•

This month I am going to feature some of the new exciting finds that I have purchased for my new place. If you are in the market for any new home items, this post may spark some ideas. As I mentioned in my post last week, I am downsizing to a studio, so I had a lot to get rid of and in turn, had to get some new smaller items that fit the studio life. I will be doing a tour post of my new digs once I move in there so for now you will have to envision these items in my new cute little space!

Tv Stand – Overstock

I had planned to use my bedroom TV stand that I already had but when I sold that TV and hauled in my living room TV it was clear that thing was not going to be strong enough to support the massive living room TV. I wanted something clean & sleek – not a ton of drawers and places for junk to accumulate. This is surprsingly sturdy and I love how it looks. I plan to angle it in a corner in my new apartment.

Entry Table – Amazon

My new entry way area is a rectangle shape but the front door and bathroom door open into it, so space is limited. I decided to go for something round for the corner. I am happy with this! It is very sturdy and the wood looks nice.

Chairs – TJMAXX [link is to an almost identical pair because tjmaxx doesn’t them have online]

I stumbled across these babies one day at TJMAXX and they just spoke to me. LOL. For real though. I had this vision of a little bistro 2 person table against the window in my new apartment – dinner with a view!

Dining Table – Amazon

So along with that random chair vision I had in TJMAXX, I pictured it all with a table similar to this. I found a couple others I liked but they were over $300 and I wasn’t totally sure on the wood color. This is actually a laminate top, most likely the reason its more cost effective, but it really looks like wood in person and its super cute with my chairs. Alex & I have eaten at it a couple times in my current apartment and it works great.

Sheets – Amazon

These sheets are my absolute favorites. They hold up so well (even with Mia on them!) and are so affordable. I’ve been buying them for a few years now. They are extremely comfortable and soft too.

Comforter/Quilt– Target

Okay, I seriously had a major struggle with comforter shopping. This was my FOURTH one I bought. I wanted most of my place to be really neutral. Since I’m moving into a studio my bed will be out in the open so I thought that I could have one pattern/pop of color item and it would be my bedding. After trying a few though, I decided to go with a plain dark gray color. I also have this thing where I’m VERY particular about the texture of comforters and how they show wrinkles. LOL. I like quilts because they lay heavier and show less wrinkles. I think this will look great.

Headboard – Target

I went out on a limb with this one. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it person and I actually really love it! It’s more velvety in person too. I think it will look great in my new space.

Bath Towels/Curtain – Home Goods & Target

If you don’t shop @ Home Goods you are seriously missing out. SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. I got my entire bathroom towel collection there for a very good price. I also got kitchen stuff, throw pillows, art & so much decor from there. Seriously a must check out. If you like HG/TJMAXX/MARSHALLS, Tuesday Morning is another good store with a similar concept. I found some great rugs there.

The shower curtain is from Target and again just drew me in to the simplicity and I like the water color look.

Couch – HOM furniture

My big purchase! I went back and forth on what I wanted to do at the new apartment couch wise. I only had a maximum of 6 feet to work with. I thought about a loveseat but most loveseats that small were not that comfortable and then I would need an ottoman of some kind or a coffee table. They were also so short that even I would not be able to lay on it. Then I thought about an oversized chair. Every one of these I looked at though had bulky armrests and two people would not be able to sit in one of those things together. So then I randomly stumbled across this baby! I am so excited for this! It is like the perfect lounge area. I spent a pretty penny on it but it’s very comfortable and a quality brand that will last me many years to come. I think Mia is going to love this thing too!

C table – Amazon

This will be my new nightstand and also will double as an end table next to my couch. It was super easy to it together and looks nice for the price!

Artwork – Etsy

I bought several new pieces of art but this is my favorite! I’ll show more when I do my tour post next week. This is coming from Ireland so hopefully it will be here by then. I bought a really similar matted frame from Target to put this print in. I kept a few pieces from my current place too that will make their debut in my new space.

That’s all for this week! This little shop-a-holic needs to take a retail therapy break! HA! My next post will be a tour of the new place! SO EXCITED!

TOP EATS IN MINNEAPOLIS

I totally became a real-life foodie when I moved to Minneapolis. I have always loved me some good food but once I moved here I started finding the true gems. I am sort of a foodie snob sometimes to be honest. One of my dream jobs is actually to be a food blogger! That would be so amazing.

Minneapolis is filled with great food spots and I have made it a point to try as many as I can. I narrowed it down to my top 15 … there are some other ones that were close to making my list but these top 15 have been tried, again and again, proving to be the best of the best! I’ll share my favorite dishes/orders from each too! (Side note: I have only eaten meat a handful of times in the last 6 months … so some of my choices may change now that I am sticking to a more plant-based diet, but these are my original favorites).

In no particular order here are my top 15 eats of Minneapolis:

#1: Zelo (Downtown) – Italian food is probably my favorite type of food and Zelo never disappoints. It’s cozy, intimate and beautiful inside! Top favorites include the parmesan crusted shrimp appetizer and this amazing fettuccine alfredo below (spinach, almonds & light cream sauce).

#2: Bar La Grassa (North Loop) – Hands down my favorite Italian spot in the city. It is dark inside with a grown and intimate vibe. They have some really unique dishes on the menu but my favorite dish is below … “MUSHROOM & TALEGGIO AGNOLOTTI” … It’s SO rich and filled with fresh mushrooms! My mouth is watering just looking at that picture.

#3: Rise Bagel (North Loop) – This little gem is the best breakfast bagel shop around. I went searching for bagels like I had in Seattle and wound up here. There’s tons of natural light inside and it’s a perfect little bagel/coffee shop. Any of the breakfast bagels are amazing. This one is my new fave … classic egg, cheddar & vegan sausage on an everything bagel.

#4: Crisp & Green (North Loop & Dinkytown) – Where do I even begin on this one?! This has been my go-to place the last few months. They have locations in the burbs too but these two are nestled in Minneapolis. Literally everything I have tried has been amazing. They make fresh salads and grain bowls right in front of you and switch up the menu every new season. My forever favorite is pictured below … The Chef Curry 2.0 bowl. I could seriously eat this every single day. A MUST TRY.

#5: Lago Tacos (Uptown Lyn-Lake) – The best authentic tacos around in my opinion and they also have the BEST queso dip I’ve ever had. There’s a super cute and cozy enclosed patio out back right on Lyndale. Oh yeah! Awesome HH margaritas too! My beloved queso is pictured below. I have not had any vegetarian options here, just different meat tacos and all of them were amazing!

#6: Young Joni (Northeast) – I don’t make it to NE very often but this place blew me away. It has a cozy hipster vibe inside where you can just be yourself. My two favorite pizzas are the Korean BBQ and the Tavern Pie (pepperoni, jalapeño, honey). I know the honey sounds weird but trust me, it just works!

#7: Cocoa & Fig (Downtown) – My cousins got me onto this place at our family Christmas. I have been a serious macaron snob, searching and trying literally all of them in the city and I keep coming back to these babies! They are so fresh and flavorful. Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Pistachio are my favorite flavors.

#8: Manny’s (Downtown) – One of the best meals of my life. Not even kidding. I don’t think you could order a bad thing off the menu. Pictured below: creamed garlic spinach, manny’s brownie, loaded mash potatoes, lobster cakes, and filet mignon. This is definitely a more high-end dining experience but totally worth it.

#9: Red Wagon Pizza (Southwest) – This is seriously a neighborhood gem. It’s just a couple blocks from the school I work at, tucked right into the neighborhood. They have a nice patio to enjoy too. This was the “Red Wagon Pizza” … crispy sopressata ribbons, banana peppers, and sausage … finished with chili flakes & fig balsamic. AMAZING.

#10: Glam Doll Donuts (Eat Street & Northeast) – If you’ve never experienced Glam then you are definitely missing out! They recently opened their second location in NE but I still frequent the original Eat Street location. They have literally every type of donut you could imagine. I am a cake donut girl so lots of times I simply go for one chocolate and one vanilla of the “Darling” donut.

#11: Stellas (Uptown) – An Uptown classic! If you’re in the mood for anything seafood related, this is your place. They have an amazing rooftop which they recently revamped. I think it’s the tallest rooftop in Uptown too. They have a great daily HH where you can get this “Lobburger” … which is seriously delish. And my all time fave is the “Cape Cod Roll” which is a warm lobster roll. There are huge pieces of lobster and just the right amount of butter. The bread is buttery and amazing too. I am super picky about lobster rolls and this is hands down the best in the 612.

#12: Hola Arepa (35th & Nicollet … south of Uptown) – The best Latin food around! The vibe is super laid back and they have a cool patio to enjoy during the summer months. They also have some really unique and fun drink options. My favorites include the chorizo arepa, black bean & queso fresco arepa and the yuca fries. Can’t forget about those yuca fries … so good!

#13: Sleepy V’s Donuts (Northeast) – I was skeptical after being a Glam Doll fan for so long but I was pleasantly surprised! I have only tried their mini donuts and they were awesome! I love that you can try 4 different kinds and it really only equals like one regular donut! I was really surprised that my favorite one is the pink one below … the “Homer” … pineapple-hibiscus icing! WOW.

#14: Copper Hen (Eat Street) – My favorite brunch spot. Not only do they have amazing brunch options that are all from local farms, but they also have bottomless mimosas. Um, HELLO, YES PLEASE. The inside is super unique/rustic and they even do weddings and receptions. It’s not very large so I always do reservations online ahead of time to ensure we get a spot. They now have a sister restaurant in Minnetonka called The Copper Cow … have yet to try it but it’s on my list! I have also had dinner here and love the homemade chicken pot pie. Pictured below was my own creation: scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream and of course that mimosa!

#15: Amazing Thailand (Uptown) – I am blown away that I don’t have any pictures of my Amazing Thailand food! What in the world?! I searched through all my old pictures with no luck. I literally have been eating here the last 5 years consistently. It must be so good that I don’t have time for pictures, I just gotta chow down! HA! Authentic Thai a few blocks from my place … what more could a girl ask for?! It is sort of dark and mysterious inside so I get it to go a lot of the time. My favorites include the jalapeño cream cheese wontons and the Thai style fried rice. Can’t get enough.

So if you’re ever in Minneapolis or you just can’t decide on something new to try, definitely try something on this list. If you are looking for something specific reach out to me as I certainly have lots more suggestions!

WELCOME!

I am both excited & nervous as I begin this post! This is the beginning of a new journey for me. I’m going to start with a little bit about myself & what the purpose of this blog will be.

So without further ado … I am KAITLYN. I won’t bore you to death with details, I’ll just give you the “need to knows”. I am thirty years young & live in Uptown, Minneapolis. I have lived in this neighborhood for about five years now & absolutely love it. The perfect mix of city life & outdoor space with the lakes right down the block from me. Almost three years ago I rescued my main squeeze MIA. She is a min-pin chihuahua dachshund mix from Kentucky. We have been inseparable since she arrived … two peas in a pod. I am passionate about crunchy living, health & wellness. Taking care of my body has become a huge priority for me over the last few years. I love cooking & trying new recipes with a glass of red on the side. Reading & yoga are also things I try to fit into my life. You’ll notice that I’m an introvert at heart & one hundred percent okay with that.

I am an elementary science specialist in South Minneapolis. I have been in this current role for the last three school years. Prior to that, I taught for seven years in North Minneapolis. I was a classroom teacher in kindergarten, first grade & third grade over those seven years. My time in North Minneapolis has truly shaped who I am as a person & teacher.

As much as I love teaching & my current role, my heart & soul have been longing for more. That’s where this blog & writing comes into play! I have always enjoyed writing as an outlet … my teachers & mom used to tell me I was “such a great writer” (HA). I have blogged before but lost touch with that over the last few years. I journal a lot and find that to be the best way for me to spill out all the thoughts in my brain. I plan to use this blog to not only chronicle my life & adventures but also to showcase some other pieces of writing I will be working on.

Topics of interest to me include: health, wellness, food/recipes, workouts, teaching, product & restaurant reviews, fashion, fur parenting and life in the city as a 30 year old female.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Cheers to the future!

Stone Arch Bridge in Mpls