Monday, November 8, 2010


What a weekend!

Many of you who know me, know that I love being busy. I would much rather have a million things going on at once than have nothing to do at all. This weekend was no exception.

On Friday I told you that we were going to Famous Dave's Blues and BBQ Club in Uptown for dinner and music. We ended up going a little after 6:30pm to beat the cover charge and wound up having a really great time during the Happy Hour with Gregg Inhofer. After a few beers and BBQ, we didnt end up staying long enough to hear the main act of Magic Slim and the Teardrops which was disappointing, but overall it was a really fun time. I would definitely recommend Famous Dave's in Uptown if you are looking for a chill night with some good blues and good food. I wouldnt necessarily go there on a date if you wanted to talk to someone because the music is really loud, but I heard that during the main acts there is dancing and toe-tapping on the floor, so bring your dancing shoes after 9:00pm ; )

Saturday started off early as I am dog-sitting for the Theisen's while they are in the Dominican Republic for a wedding. Their very loveable pup is Rosie, and she can be a handful. Although she is a very well trained dog, when Rosie starts running around, its hard not to smile and get just as excited! On Sunday morning I took her for a walk and realized quickly that next time I would need to bring my running shoes, and some doggie bags! Whoops! Sorry City of Maple Grove, I'll pick those up tomorrow.....Anyway, jumping around a bit, this morning I got up early to go on a run with Rosie and it was insane! Not only did we get kind of lost (I really dont know anything about the streets in Maple Grove) but Rosie was practically dragging me the entire time! You know those dogs in Up that hate squirrels? I think Rosie watched Up and decided that attacking the squirrel race was a good idea. We would be jogging along nicely when BLAM! Rosie would practically rip my arm off to chase a squirrel up a tree. Needless to say, it was a long run. But I forgave her, and it still breaks my heart every time I have to leave her for the day :(

Back to Saturday, after feeding Rosie and finishing my book at the MG Caribou (I am rereading the Lucas Davenport books by John Sanford which are awesome!) I scooted on down to Adrian's Tavern on 48th and Chicago Ave to chat with my Uncle Steve and cousin Molly. Adrian's is said to have one of the best burgers in Minneapolis, and I will say, they do have a mean Juicy Lucy. The burger goes delightfully with my favorite brew on their tap, Summit EPA of course ;) It was nice to catch up with the both of them, even though Uncle Steve whooped my butt in cribbage. I even got to see my aunt Barb who just got back from her African adventure! I can't wait to catch up with her and hear about her trip!

Sunday was jammed packed. After the run around with Rosie, I came back to Uptown to have lunch with Miss Lindsey, who was in town for the weekend from Lacrosse. Unfortunately, she got a little bit lost coming to my apartment and ended up in North Minneapolis, which is not anywhere close to where I live. I felt terrible, and to make matters worse, our lunch wasnt the best either. We went to the Uptown Cafeteria, and although the decor was interesting, the service and food werent the best. I have heard good things about the Uptown Cafeteria during the summer when they have their rooftop patio open, so I guess I would have to wait until I can get up there to give a final verdict on the place. I would recommend the Uptown Cafeteria for their Happy Hour specials ($1 additional drinks and $3 select foods) but not necessarily for the dining experience.

After lunch with Lindsey, I had a running date with Krissy around Lake Calhoun which was wonderful, but not a good idea after eating spicy sausage hash for lunch! Regardless, we had a good time and the weather was absolutely beautiful!

Next was a "quick" drive back up to Maple Grove to feed Rosie, and then down to St. Paul where I met Heather, an old friend from Madison, at Bonfire for dinner. Bonfire always has awesome food, and last night was no exception. I had the chicken bruschetta salad and it was amazing! I also had a glass of Malbec, which is my favorite red wine : ) The atmosphere at Bonfire is great, perfect for sitting and chatting with friends! It was great to catch up with Heather again and hopefully we will get to hang out more since we both live in the cities now!

So like I said, it was a busy weekend seeing people and doing things! But I wouldnt have it any other way! Another busy week of seeing people and places coming up, cant wait to keep you updated! :)

Also I know I am doing a bad job of integrating my ideas/thoughts about events and things like that into the blog, so I am going to try and do a better job of that. If anyone has any suggestions on what they would like to see on the blog in that regards, please let me know! One little tidbit I have, I am in the midst of my third event for The Family Partnership; the National Family Week Leadership Celebration. Among my list of duties, I need to create center pieces for the tables at the event and would really like to do something in the paper/tissue paper/duct tape flower arena. I did a tweet/facebook post about it a couple of days ago, but does anyone have any other pointers on how to make these? I think it would be a fun and personal touch for the event, and the nominees or their families can take them home with them once the banquet is over.

Song of the day: Today I thought I would give a shout out to a local artist that I really love. His name is Tim Montag and he does all his own writing and recording out of his studio in Becker, MN. I really like all of his songs, but my favorite is "New Love", an lovely little upbeat song that brings a smile to my face when I hear it. Please check him out, he is under Tim Montag on facebook and you check out his album at Tim Montag store.
"And when my lips touch yours you'll know, You and I will write a new meaning for, Love, in a way the world could never dream of. Love, love, You and Me will be in New Love" :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chipper Friday!

Good Afternoon!!

I am so sorry for the long hiatus, after my Italy trip it took me FOREVER to get all caught up with work and my events and everything! Also I just moved to Uptown so I was busy unpacking and exploring my new city! I am going to try and get a fun, new place on here everyday (or so) so keep checking back! I am also working on my Italy posts, I just havent had time to sit down and remember all the fun things we did! But dont worry, I will be getting them done this weekend, so look back for those!

Anyway, here's a recap of some fun things I did this week. : )

On Monday is was the lovely Ms. Sarah's birthday so a couple of us went to Lyndale Tap House for dinner. According to the website, The Tap House was opened in 2009 to bring residents of the Lyn-Lake neighborhood (which now includes me!) together for some high quality, original food and drinks at affordable prices. Their big draw is the Baltimore Style Pit Meat, which is specially marinated and seared on a specialty grill for maximum tenderness and juciness. When we got there we weren't terribly hungry so Dani and I split the Habenero chicken lollipops (sadly not as spicy as you would think) and a bowl of chili which was wonderful. I would definitely recommend the Lyndale Tap House for some down-home quality barbeque, and they have a great beer selection as well : )

Tuesday was election day, and after a long hard day at work I was bummed that I forgot my license in my apartment and had to go from Edina, back to Minneapolis, and then all the way to Eagan to vote. It was a double bummer because once I got there, they were out of "I Voted" stickers! So sad... :( But the evening got better when I went and had snacks and a photoshop lesson with Beth. It was great to catch up with her and I got to hear all about her recent trip to LA! I'm thinking a trip out to California will be in the works soon ; ) Plus I got schooled on Photoshop so I can make all my Italy pictures look really cool!

On Wednesday Megan's boyfriend's mom got us all free tickets to the Twin Cities Live "Girls Night Out" showing of Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and Harrison Ford. The movie was really cute; it was about a young executive producer taking a job at a failing morning talk show and turning it all around in time to save the show from being canceled. Its a definite chick flick, and I've got to tell you, Harrison Ford looked ANCIENT as one of the co-anchors! Long gone are the days of Han Solo I guess.

Thursday was another crazy day at work, pay day and month end billing are not fun times, but I was able to have dinner with Maddy at one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Sawatdee! It was really interesting because I am used to going to their St. Paul location which is a little bit bigger and has a wide selection on their menu. However, the Uptown Sawatdee was really small and had only about 10 items on their menu, including the delicious Pad Thai that I had : ) I liked the small business feel, and the owner was really friendly and chatted us up about how everyone seems to disappear on the streets once the weather gets cold! Brrr!

Today I deemed "Chipper Friday" because, well, I'm just in a chipper mood! I am really excited because a) I am finally blogging again ; ) and b) we are going out tonight to Famous Dave's Blues and BBQ club in Uptown! I have heard some good things about the music here, so it should be fun to chow down on some good BBQ, drink some beer, and jam out to some blues! I'll let you know tomorrow how everything goes!

Song of the Day: After a crazy week at work and my excitement for some good music and of course beer tonight, I thought this song by Josh Thompson would be perfect! "Beer on the Table" is a classic kind of country song about workin that 9 - 5 just to get some food in your belly and beer down your gullet ; ) Three Cheers to Chipper Friday! : D

"It puts the gas in my truck, butter on my biscut,

Couple bucks when I'm itching, for a scratch-off ticket.

That poker makes me broker every Saturday night,'

but I still got running water and they ain't turned off the lights.

Come Friday night my friends and I start peeling off them labels,

working hard all week, puts some beer on the table!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Me llamo Emilia

Work, work, work, all day long.... man if I am going to have this much paperwork piled up when I get back from being gone for a week, I'm definitely not looking forward to getting back to work on the 19th......

The good thing about being back at AgeWell is that I am back in Edina and therefore available to go on my bi-weekly lunch date with Joel : ) Each time we meet, we try to go to a different place (except a couple of weeks ago when we had a small communication error and ended up at Toby Keith's again ; ) but I love Toby so I'm not really complaining!).

Today we went to a Mexican place in the Shops at West End area called Rojo Mexican Grill. Located on the corner of West End Blvd. Rojo has a really cool outside eating area with dark wood and fun earthy red, brown, and yellow tones to go accent. I didnt get a chance to go inside because it was such a beautiful day outside and we just ate on the patio, but I saw on their website that they have several "Watch-them-cook" stations, which are always really cool to see. The food was very good, I had some mammoth chicken tacos and super tasty sticky rice and Joel had the Rojo burger which apparently was very spicy! Because it was only 1:00pm on a Tuesday, I didnt venture out and try one of their 75 different tequilas, although I do love me a good tequila ; ) If you are in St. Louis Park or the north part of the cities, check out Rojo Mexican Grill yourself, or call me up and we can meet for margaritas!

I have been slacking a bit on my "Operation Beautiful" messages lately, so the other day when I was at Starbucks I left a fun one in the bathroom that I hope the staff and customers will appreciate ; ) I mean we all know how caffeine can give us that extra burst of energy in the morning, so why not use that enthusiasm to help make someones day! If you are picking up "postie" trend (haha I love that word) please let me know and send me your pictures!! I can't wait for the day when I am going to put my own Postie up and see one already there!

Song of the Day: It seems the song of the day has been predominantly country music for the past couple of days, and though I LOVE country music, I think it's time to mix it up a little bit. This song is from one of my favorite rock artists now, the unbelievably talented Zakk Wylde. Formerly Ozzy's protege, Zakk plays for Black Label Society, an awesome hard rock band, and also has his own solo material. I really enjoy this song "Between Heaven and Hell" because it shows off his incredible guitar skills and is smooth, deep vocals.

"All that you know and all that you knew In the end child, tell me what's it all mean to you? Don't forget just who and where you are -- You can spread your wings son But don't you spread yourself too far"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Home for a day and already wrapped up in the planning of my next trip. Back to work today at the Family Partnership, getting things finalized for the Peace Power and Unity Conference that will be happening while I am gone (October 16th, you all should check it out!) and National Family Week which is in November. Although I get to show off more of my creative instincts doing weddings and party like events, I really enjoy working on conferences and workshops like these. It creates a different atmosphere that definitely helps me when organizing and planning my other projects : )
After work I had to take care of some of the things I needed to get done before Italy, mainly going to the bank and the AT&T store so I will have money and a way to connect with people while I am overseas. I haven't been to Europe in a while, so I forgot how much the Euro to the Dollar exchange rate is. Despite having to pay the 1 Euro to every $1.50 rate, I got soo excited for my trip with that colorful money in my hands : ) The last time I was in Italy, it was my sophomore year of high school when my high school band went for our spring break trip. At that time we traveled down the Southern coast, stopping in Rome, Sorrento, the Almalfi Coast, and Tuscany.

This time around I am going with my fabulous Aunt Cindy and cousin Sam! We are renting a villa in the town of Positano and I'm sure the wine will be flowing the entire trip. We should have wi-fi in the villa so I am going to do my best to bring you with me on the trip!

Song of the Day: I heard this song on the radio for the first time today and immediately fell in love with it. I mean, you can never go wrong with a Tim McGraw song, and this one is no exception. Delightfully called "Felt Good On My Lips, " this song is a cute little sing along song that reminds me of that new crush feeling : )

"Said her name was a hand me down name, From the side of a family that long ago came, Over here on a boat from somewhere in Spain. Sounded to me just a little bit strange, I guess. But I have to admit, it felt good on my lips. Oh oh oh I wanna go crazy, You can go crazy too. Oh oh oh I wanna go crazy, I wanna go crazy with you"

Leg Six: New Berlin and HOME!

I dont want this trip to end.....maybe I'll become a traveling salesman and just drive the open highways catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and having a blasty blast all over the country....pretty pretty please? Never mind that this is what I look like after a week long roadtrip....hmmm maybe not....

Sunday was another early morning wake up call, as I wanted to get back on the road to make it home before it got too late. So I said goodbye to one Jayme in Chicago and hello to another Jaime in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Because Jamie had to work in the morning, we had a quick catch up chat at the Panera right by her house. Now usually I go to Panera for lunch or dinner for a salad or grilled pannini, so it was a rare treat to be there for breakfast. So I thought I would be a little adventurous and try something new, a ham and swiss souffle. And O' my goodness, did that decision pay off! I am a big fan of eggs and egg dishes, and this tasty treat was the perfect pairing of fluffy eggs and crispy pastry that absolutely melted in my mouth. Enjoying great food is always the best way to enjoy great friends ; )

After learning a little more about Jamie's life, it was back on the road again, this time on the long road home. I cant express how much I enjoyed this trip, I got the chance to reconnect with so many wonderful people, and meet some equally wonderful new ones! There really isnt anything more important to me than creating and fostering relationships with people. I know I was joking earlier, but I would really love an opportunity to travel the country, and even the world, meeting people, seeing amazing things, experiencing new things, and writing about them to share with you all! If anyone has any ideas or knows of any opportunities to do that, please let me know! : )

Song of the day:
Even though I love traveling, there really isnt any place like home. As "The Great Midwest Roadtrip" came to an end, it was so nice to fall into my OWN bed and curl up in my homemade quilt once I got back to Eagan. So the song of the day is a wonderfully soulful song by Marc Broussard called "Home". Home may be the name of the song, but all this song makes me want to do is get my boots on and make my way down to the South for some fried chicken and bluegrass ; )

"Hot damn you should have felt the groove,
Like I was swimming in a sea of soul.
The sun was rising and the day was hot,
And we was all about to lose control.
My daddy turned his face up towards the sky,
And I knew that there was nothing to lose,
I felt the crowd breathe in and I closed my eyes,
And we disappeared into the groove"

A Day in the Life of Jaymian

You know, I think I could get used to being in Chicago.... ; )

Saturday, Jayme and I got up early for a day full of sightseeing, Badger watching, and of course, WALKING! Despite the chilly and rainy weather, Jayme and I walked all the way down Michigan Avenue (picking a pretty snazzy Northface jacket on the way ; ) to Millennium Park where we got to see the BEAN! I had never been to the bean before, so it was SUPER fun taking a million crazy pictures. I'm not a professional photographer by any means, but I think at least some of our pictures turned out pretty cool! If you are getting married in Chicago, I would definitely think about going to Millennium Park for engagement or wedding pictures. Not only would you get the pretty outside garden shots in the park, but you could do some really fun things with the features in the park, like the bean, or the founders fountain. If you are goingto be in that area, Allori Photography has some good shots at the bean, also Huffaker Photography has some really cool pictures as well.

After the long walk home in the rain, I was ready for a good brew, burger, and some Badgers! Luckily there was a Wisconsin bar right behind Jayme's apartment in the city! The bar was called the Cedar Hotel, and they had a mighty good cheeseburger if I do say so myself. The only disappointing thing, besides the score of the game, was that they didnt have any Wisconsin beers (besides Miller lite) for us cheese heads to enjoy. A Spotted Cow sure would have hit the spot, but my Goose Island 312 did the job fine ; )

I know it seems that the day couldnt have gotten more exciting, but o yes, it did. That evening was most exciting because I got to see my cousin Chad and his lovely girlfriend Mary Kate! Because both of our dads moved away from Michigan before we were born, we didnt really get to see much of each other growing up. I have always been in the Midwest and Chad and his brother Jake were in California and Missouri and all sorts of crazy places ; ) So when we finally get to see each other, its a big deal! We celebrated by getting margaritas and appetizers at Blue Agave and then walked down to Bootleggers where Chad and I were robbed by one cup in beer pong! I had such a good time catching up with him and meeting Mary Kate, I cant wait till the next time I see them (hopefully as family and as clients ; )

Song of the Day: To go along with my excitement to see my cousin, the song of the day is all about being proud of your family and your name, however its okay if you go your own way and maybe do things a little bit differently. "Family Tradition" always makes me smile, and not just because of Hank Williams Jr's twangy smoothness ; )

"Don't ask me Hank why do you drink? (Hank) why do you roll smoke? Why must you live out the songs that you wrote? If I'm down in a Honky-Tonk Some ol' slicks tryin to give me corrections I'll say leave me alone I'm singin all night long it's a family tradition"

Leg Five: Chicago!

Bear with me, still recapping from the weekend! Not much to report for Friday cause I spent most of the day driving, but I do want to share the delicious restaurant we went to the first night I was in Chi-town!

After the fun filled evening with the family on Thursday night at Opus, it was tough waking up with the Garner family at 5:45am on Friday to say goodbye to them before they all jetted off to their wonderfully busy lives. It was worth it though, and after a quick morning catnap, I was on the road again, this time to visit Jayme in the windy city! The traffic in the city was CRAZY but I finally arrived and Jayme and I hit the streets! We ended up having dinner at Due, a sister company to the famous Uno's Pizzeria. Mmmmm I'll tell you nothing hit the spot better at a street side table than a pepperoni Chicago style deep dish pizza and a frosty Sam Adams Cherry Wheat! If you like the food they have at Uno's, I would definitely recommend Due, they have such a wide selection of entrees that you really cant go wrong if you go there : )

After the scrumcious meal at Due, Jayme and I walked to the three story movie theater on Illinois St. to see the Social Network. I thought the movie was good, a little different than I thought it was going to be but still good. It's funny, after hearing the backstory, I started thinking about the backlash that could come from the movie; yet within the 10 minutes when we got back to Jayme's apartment I was already on facebook. O the technology age we live in .... I should really work on my internet obsession....

Song of the Day: Since I went along with the Michigan theme on "The Great Midwest Roadtrip" I think it is fitting to continue on to the next city for the song of the day. Today's song is " 25 or 6 to 4" by, yes you guessed it, Chicago. This is a great song to jam out to because not only because, well come on it's Chicago, and the guitar solo is amazing, but also because I really like the horn sections : )

"Waiting for the break of day (ba da-da-da-da-da Da) searching for something to say (ba da-da-da-da-da Da Da!) Flashing lights against the sky, giving up I close my eyes"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hendrix Original

Ah! Its funny how even on vacations you get so busy! Sorry I havent been updating, I'm catching up today before making the final journey back home to Minnesota. I saw a TON of cool things over the weekend so I am probably going to do separate blogs for each day so you dont get overwhelmed : )

So on Thursday I got the chance to hang out a bunch with my family and get in touch with some of my Garner "entrepreneurship" roots. There are a lot of people in my family that have the entrepreneurial spirit, and I am eternally grateful for that because I can always turn to someone who has been there when I need help.

The oldest business my family owns is called Garner's Jewlery and Exchange and their main office is in Taylor, Michigan. In addition to be a jewelry store, the store also functions as a pawn shop. When I was a kid my sister and I would always come to Michigan for the summer and we would rush to the store to see what discount DVD's and videogames we could find ; ) They have a HUGE selection of items, everything from TV's and CD's to instruments and guns. If you live in the Taylor/Detroit/Redford area and are looking for something, come to Garner's and they can help you find whatever you need!

In the same building as Garner's Jewelry and Exchange, my family also owns and operates Garner Properties and Management, where they manage over 1200 properties in the Detroit area. But wait, that's not all. My cousin Aaron also started his own law firm, the Law Offices of Aaron D. Cox. All of our family businesses specialize in customer service and making sure that our clients receive the best service out there. It makes me proud to be the next family member to be starting their own business : )

So after a day of family reconnecting, the whole lot of us went out to downtown Detroit where my Aunt Brenda works at the MGM Grand - Detroit. After some drinks and sushi at Ignite, we all met up at Opus One, a schwanky little restaurant of Larned St. Because it is restaurant week for many of the businesses downtown, we got to have a full sample of the menu, from appetizers to desert. It was great because the whole table ordered different things so there was a bunch of sharing and tasting of everyone's dishes. The food was absolutely delicious, and the wine never stopped flowing ; ) It was great to sit and chat with my family and get more advice on how to further my business. Per Aaron and Uncle Chris's advice, I am putting out a help wanted listing for my "catch phrase". Apparently I need a catchy slogan that people can associate my business with and I have been trying to come up with something but am not having any luck. So, if anyone out there has any suggestions for a catch phrase for events, post it here or let me know and there will be a prize for the person who comes up with the best slogan!! : D

Overall the Michigan trip was just great, I love being with my family and definitely need to make it a point to see all of them more often! Thanks to everyone for having me and to Uncle Chris and Aunt Brenda for letting me stay with them!
Song of the Day: This trip has been so fun and relaxing, especially when I am just chilling at my aunt and uncle's house with Turk. So the song of the day is "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson cause its just a fun little song that makes me smile and makes me want to just do whatever all the time, haha ; )
"This Song is meant to keep ya from doing what you're supposed to, like waking up too early. Maybe we can sleep in, I'll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it's the weekend now. And we could pretend it all the time"

Bravo Beverage: According to my Uncle Chris and his friend Gordon, this drink is the King of gin drinks. I am a fan of gin, but it has a very, so to say "ginny", taste to it so if you dont like gin I wouldnt really recommend it. The drink is called the Hendrix Original, and my Uncle is very particular on how you fix it. I dont remember exactly what is in it, but the two key ingredients are Hendrix gin and powdered sugar. I was a little skeptical at first, but after tasting it, I really liked it! Now its not a drink that I can see myself ordering all the time (fancy gin is expensive!), but maybe every now and then : )

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leg Four: Michigan

O driving, how I love thee....

I must say that I am extremely proud of Todd, we have made it over 1,000 miles in less than five days and I have yet to come across a motor-vehicle problem. There was a short period just outside of Detroit last night when I thought I heard some noises coming from the front of the car, but luckily everything was back to normal this morning. : )

So yesterday I got to hit up two totally cool places in Milwaukee. While I was waiting for Meghan to finish up her very exciting, and sometimes drama filled, PA shift at the clinic, I got a chance to drive over to the East side of Milwaukee and see Lake Michigan, which I can honestly say I have never done on any of my trips to the city. It was soo pretty, and if I was a native Milwaukeean (not sure if that is the correct pronoun ;) I would definitely look at the lakeside for a wedding/event location. I checked it out and the city has a couple of avenues for renting out park space along the lake, everything from botanical gardens, a terrace, and a bunch of different plaza options. If you are planning an event in the Milwaukee area, let me know, we all know by know how much I love a good roadtrip ; )

Anyway, while I was down by the lake and I stopped by Alterra, a very cool and funky coffee house, located right next to the lake. Meghan had told me that this place was a big deal in Milwaukee, but the big draw for me was when I drove by, the first thing to catch my eye was the Wisconsin Union starburst chairs! I was so excited, it was like I never left Madison that morning!! The great thing about Alterra (besides the awesome chairs) is although they currently have a bunch of locations across downtown Milwaukee, they started as three entrepreneurial minded friends in 1993, just looking for a place to get some quality coffee. If I hadnt have had a HUGE caramel latte before I wandered down to Alterra, I would have definitely tried out their master brews; however I settled for a personal favorite, lemon mint iced tea. The tea was heavenly, and the atmosphere around the whole place was just really cool. Hopefully the company will expand soon, and if they make it to the Twin Cities area I might have a new favorite coffee shop! O and they do these really cool leaf designs in their coffees which are just totally cool : )

After soaking the good tea and atmosphere of Alterra, I met up with Meghan for some good conversation and great food at Comet's Cafe. We were able to sit outside because the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and Meghan and I were able to appreciate the made-from scratch comfort food (like the overflowing Buddafucco sandwich I had) and custom brews (see Bravo Beverage for today ;) that this small cafe is famous for. Overall, a great late September dining experience.

It was a good thing the food at Comet's was so amazing, because I spent the next 6 and 1/2 hours, nonstop, driving to Grosse Ile, Michigan, where my Uncle Chris and Aunt Brenda live. I love coming to visit my Michigan family, and I really appreciate being able to stay at my aunt and uncle's place. Not only are they super fun to talk and hang out with, but they also have the cutest dog, Turk! This morning I was able to go on my first run EVER with a dog, and let me tell you, it was a very interesting, yet fun, experience. Let's just say it was really great to have a running companion, however, if I ever got lost and the GPS on my phone died, Turk would be able to lead us back to the house because he stopped almost every five feet to "mark his territory". Although we did have some minor delays, the run (and eventually run/walk) was very pleasant; I got to see a lot of the island that the Garner's live on, and the views along the river bank were very pretty.

Song of the day: Going with the fourth leg theme of "The Great Midwest Roadtrip", the song of the day is "Especially in Michigan" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Like I said before, I just love being here, I cant wait to see the rest of my family in the next couple days that I'm here!

"Life is my friend, Rake it up to take it in, Wrap me in your cinnamon, Especially in Michigan...well I could be your friend"

Bravo Beverage: As promised before, the Bravo Beverage for today comes from Comet's Cafe. The cafe had a huge list of custom beers, and although I had to take some time deciding what to try, I ending up choosing this charming brew, Bitch Creek. I am a very big fan of pale ales, and this beer had a delightfully hoppy, yet crisp taste, that made me appreciate the beer's name, cause this brew was definitely bitchin' ; )

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Leg Three: Milwaukee

So sad to leave Madison this morning, I think I might have to stop in quick on the way back at the end of the week ; ) Luckily I got to top off my marvelous Madison visit with breakfast with the beautiful Miss Erin at the Madtown chow-down hot spot Mickies Dairy Bar on Monroe. I am a BIG fan of breakfast, and Mickies has got to have one of the best morning munchies menus EVER. Not only is the food uber delicious, the portions are absolutely HUGE and the prices are ridiculously cheap, even for poor college students. They even have menus on the walls from when they originally opened in 1946, and even then their prices were awesome ($.75 for a three egg omelet? Yes please!)

After filling my belly with a oooey-gooey ham-mushroom-and cheese omelet I hit the road again, setting my sights on the horizon and my wheels on I-94 to Milwaukee. I really enjoy the Milwaukee city feel, they have a lot of big sky scrapers and old architecture buildings that are really cool. With some time to kill before my date with mono-y Meghan, I stopped in at Steamer's Coffee on Water Street for a large latte. The place is pretty cool, latte was good, and free wi-fi is always a plus.

In addition to getting some work things done at Steamers, I got a chance to put in place my next project : ) One of my favorite blogs that I have been following for some time now is The Healthy Tipping Point, a great general healthy living blog. In addition to supplying some really good vegetarian recipes (I'm not a vegetarian but I LOVE vegetables : ) Caitlin, the blogger, started this amazing movement called Operation Beautiful which is a crusade to end negative, self esteem hurting thinking, which she has artfully called Fat Talk. The action behind the idea is to leave uplifting or inspirational messages in public places where women everywhere can see them and feel good about themselves! It is amazing how just a smile or a post-it saying "You are Beautiful" can change someones day!

So on a Target run yesterday I picked up a bunch of Post-its and a sharpie and am pleased to present you with my first Operation Beautiful postie! I hope the ladies at Steamer's Coffee will like it!

Song of the Day: Rockin on with the free spirit of "The Great Midwest Roadtrip" my song of the day is "Wildflower" by Janedear Girls. Listening to this song makes me want to pull over on the side of the highway and just run through one of the open fields next to the road! Haha!

"I'm a wildflower, growing in the sunshine, soaking up the way of life, I was raised in. Running barefoot, blooming in a summer shower, ponytail dancing, I cant help it, I'm a wildflower"

Bravo Beverage: Last night when Colin and I were at Bluephies, I was totally overwhelmed by all the drink choices they had at the "Vodkatorium"! I was finally able to make a selection: The Red Bullet. Made with Tanqueray gin, red lillet, peach liquor and fresh lime juice, the piece resistance of the drink is the peach sugar lining the glass. It was soo good, and I wont lie, I was a little sad when the waitress took my empty drink glass away before I could finish the sugar ; ) I feel lame cause I forgot to take a picture of the Bullet, but here is a pretty much what it looked like.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Local Food for Thought

Go small businesses!

Today is my second day in Madison, and I celebrating by reconnecting with some great friends and eating some fabulous food!! This morning I had breakfast with my "Madison Parents" Tom and Cheryl Chanos at Marigold Kitchen.

The food at Marigold is absolutely delicious and I would fall over in excitement if they opened a cafe in the Twin Cities area. Marigold Kitchen was opened nine years ago by co-owners Phillip Hurley and John Gadau. The pair chose Madison because of it's welcoming, community atmosphere and slightly urban setting. Every time I go out to eat with the Chanos's we go to Marigold, the food is just that good. Not only do they offer unique twists on regular menu items, but they also stick with the Madison community feel by using fresh foods from local markets and farms. I personally am a big fan of their grilled angus burger and the ever so purpley-delightful coleslaw, but as we were there for breakfast this morning, I had the scrambler that was magnificently delicious. If you are in the Madison area and are looking for a place to eat, Marigold Kitchen on South Pinckney Street is the place to be. They also offer a full catering menu, so check them out for your next event!

So one would think after such a heavenly breakfast that food life just couldnt get any better, at least in the same day. But o wait, it did. Getting back to my breakfast dates this morning, Tom and Cheryl Chanos have been great friends and mentors to me ever since I moved here in 2006 and coached their youngest daughter Lexi. Not only did these two wonderful people give me rides all over the Midwest and make me feel at home -away-from-home, but they are also very successful entrepreneurs. In addition to owning Badger Consultants, a Madison based, independent research company, Tom and Cheryl are Midwest franchisers of the sandwich shop Capriotti's. After opening two locations in downtown Milwaukee and Middleton, Wisconsin, the Chanos's had the grand opening of their downtown Madison shop, located on the corner of Regent St. and Park St. The sandwiches at Capriotti's are absolutely delicious; they use only fresh ingredients and jam pack their subs full of meat and, if you like, spicy-peppery goodness. If you are near any of these Wisconsin locations you should definitely go out and try some of this fantastic food, and support some local, serial entrepreneurs! But if you aren't in the Midwest area, don't fret. Capriotti's is a nationally operated franchise, check out their website for a location near you!

So as you can see, the food selections on "The Great Midwest Roadtrip" have been fabulous, and the good times just keep on rolling. Not only am I getting margarita's at Pasqual's with Laura tonight, I think my friend Colin is taking me to Bluephies for dinner, another local restaurant favorite which I have yet to go to so I am really excited. I've heard they have something called a "Vodkatorium" where they showcase all sorts of premium vodka. I'm not the biggest vodka drinker, but I might have to make an exception for this...who knows, maybe I'll have a new favorite drink to show you all tomorrow!

Song of the Day: To celebrate all the delicious foodness that is going on today, my song of the day is "Too Much Food" by Jason Mraz. Jason Mraz is one of my favorite artists, I like how he jams his songs full of mouth mumbling lyrics, which make me smile every time I sing them : )

"Pass me the spoon, pass the analytical knife, cause your about to get, cut up or get cut down, its all about the word play, all about the sound of the tone of my voice, you gotta let me make my choice alone, before my food gets cold. You better shut up or get shot down, it's all about the know how, its all just a matter of taste. Stop telling me the way I gotta play now, you're putting too much food on my plate!"