Monday, August 30, 2010

The Great Minnesota Get Together


Every year during the last week of summer millions of Minnesotans gather at the mid way point between Minneapolis and St. Paul to stuff their faces, buy random crap and gawk at farm animals. Sounds awful doesn't it? Well, IT'S NOT! The Minnesota State Fair is epic.

Starting in 1859, the fair runs for twelve days with the last day being Labor Day. The total number of people who attend the fair is upwards of 1,600,000 people, which is the largest state fair in the country by daily attendance, though not by total attendance as the Texas State Fair runs for almost twice as long. The fair is home to livestock, such as cattle, horses, sheep, and llamas, which are all on show and compete in various competitions. A personal favorite, the Birthing Center, allows fair goers to witness live births and take a peek at some of the cutest newborn animals ever! The piglets are my favorite! No fear all you thrill seekers, the "Midway" houses dozens of rides, fun houses and games...just make sure you haven't eaten too much before you explore this part of the fair. The Minnesota State Fair also hosts a varied and talented array of live entertainment with 70 bands on 5 stages. The most popular is the Grandstand where Tim McGraw played on Saturday night and Carrie Underwood will be tomorrow (tickets sold out in about 10 minutes otherwise I would be there! Still bummed about that). The most famous and popular aspect of the fair is the food. With over 270 food stands, there is something for every one. Most famous are all the deep fried and on-a-stick items, and we're not just talking about corn dogs. Every year something new comes out which is on a stick and every year it seems to be more creative. Most recently candy bars, macaroni and cheese, hot dish, fresh fruit and bologna have been deep fried and thrown on a stick! 

Yesterday, J and I battled the 89 degree heat and made our annual trip to the fair! We met up with my dad, step-mom and little sister...I highly recommend going to the fair with a group because you can all split and share the amazing food. The fair is spendy and with so many yummy things to eat sharing saves you some cash and lets you try everything want. Here's what we enjoyed yesterday....

Australian Battered Potatoes
sliced potatoes, battered and deep fried then topped with cheese and ranch dressing
As you can see, we demolished these really fast! Soooo yummy! One of my must-haves at the fair
Scotch Egg on-a-stick
hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried
This is my dad's favorite! They have a bunch of different sauces you can choose dad uses horseradish but I prefer maple syrup. 

Tater Tot Hot Dish on-a-stick
Tater tots and meatballs deep fried with cream of mushroom dipping sauce
This was our first year trying this and I loved it! The mushroom sauce was super good and I LOVE tater tots! 
Nitro Ice Cream
Ice cream made on site with the use of liquid nitrogen
 This was just an accidental find...we went in to the food building and they were giving out's the best ice cream I've ever had. It's so smooth and creamy and soooo delicious!

Cheese Curds
Battered deep fried cheese curds
I would think this has to be one of the most popular item at the fair, a definite must have
Honey Sticks
I always love to go and visit the MN Honey Producers Association. They have honey in a variety of forms including liquid, spun, creamed, comb and whipped. Here I'm posing in front of some award winning honey eating a Peach Honey stick! 
 Cheese on-a-stick
Cheddar cheese battered and seep fried on-a-stick
This is my #1 must have item at the fair. It's my absolute favorite. A classic. It's basically a corn dog but with cheese instead of a hot dog....amazing! Sooo yummy! 
Walleye Cakes
These were also new for us this year, but after all the rave reviews we had to try them. They didn't disappoint!  The cakes were made with walleye and wild rice and served with a sweet honey mustard sauce. Delicious!

Corn on the Cobb
This another one of my must haves. This corn is to die for! It's grilled, dipped in butter and salted to perfection! 
Sweet Martha's Chocolate Chip Cookies
I know for a fact that these cookies are the most popular thing at the fair because last year alone Sweet Martha brought in 2 million dollars! In 12 days!  They are pretty amazing cookies, served warm! 
 Summit on-a-stick
3, 7oz cups of Summit including  Pale Ale, Oktoberfest and Horizon Red Ale
 Deep Fried Candy Bar on-a-stick
Batter dipped, deep fried candy bars on-a-stick (Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups)
BB and I shared some deep fried Reeses Peanut Butter cups! They're so rich but soooo good!

Deep Fried Pickles
Crumb coated deep fried pickle slices with optional cajun style or cream cheese served with Ranch Dressing
These are J's favorite fair food! We actually got two of them yesterday because he loves them so much. We got the sampler platter because you get a couple traditional, a couple cajuns and a couple cream chesses. So yummy!

It was an amazing day at the fair, and now all of us Minnesotans are ready for fall.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fashion Friday

It happened again. I fell asleep. Only this time I was asleep before the show even started. I got in to bed around 7pm, turned on Lifetime to re-watch last week's episode and was out cold in about ten minutes. Apparently, P.R. needs to move to a night when I don't work 13 hours. I did, however, wake up a few times during the new episode and in an attempt to keep myself awake saw bits and pieces. I gathered that the 12 remaining designers were split in to two teams and had to create a cohesive 6 piece collection. I was also awake long enough to catch this....

And this....
I thought this show was about fashion......??? I am assuming the team with the cute clothes won because I was lucky enough to see the elimination where stupid face Gretchen went on a tangent in which she tap danced her away around admitting that every piece of clothing that her beloved team created was complete and utter CRAP! I was hoping I would then dream about drop kicking Gretchen in the such luck.

What did you guys think about last night's episode? Fill me in! I'm going to watch the whole thing later today but I saw just enough to know what let's have it. What are your thoughts?

Something I don't think any of you new blog friends know about me is that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE award season! The Academy Awards are one of my favorite holidays, yes it's a holiday! I am obsessed with the Oscars! Sunday night the 2010 award season gets kicked off with the Emmy's and the countdown to the Oscars begins (184 days!) I thought in honor of the Emmy's I'd look back at some of the best fashion from the 2009 show!

Mindy Kaling from The Office looked gorgeous. This color is great against her skin and I love the detailing under the bust. It makes the dress unique and more interesting. It fits her great too! 

I don't necessarily love this dress, in fact I hate that flower, but I had to put this up. Sally Field always looks so gorgeous. She dresses for her age but isn't frumpy. She still looks sexy and classy and timeless without trying to look too young. I love her. 

Kristin Chenoweth looked amazing! I love how she did really simple hair and simple make up with a bit of drama around her eyes. This dress is blinged out and gorgeous so she didn't need to do a lot in the way of hair, make up and accessories. So gorgeous.

Selena Gomez looked stunning as usual. This dress was gorgeous and youthful but classy...not skank-a-licious like her friend Miley tends to look. I love the bodice detailing....very Grecian.

Can we tell that metallics were a trend last year? Sandra Oh always looks beautiful. This dress is stunning and fits her like a glove. It's very simple but still gets that "wow" factor. I love that she did simple soft curls and wore her hair down. So good. 

Holy baby bump Heidi! She always looks amazing and being like 30 months preggers clearly doesn't make a difference. This dress is gorgeous, classic and sexy....even with that enormous bump!

That's it for me dolls! Have a fabulous weekend! And make sure that if you're going to talk about all things Project Runway OR fashion in general to play along and grab that super cool Fashion Friday button!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stieg Larsson

I just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second book of the Millennium Trilogy. Here's a quick little synopsis from the author's website:

Lisbeth Salander is wanted for a triple murder. All three victims are connected to a trafficking exposé about to be published in Mikael Blomqvist’s magazine Millenium, and Lisbeth’s fingerprints are on the weapon. Lisbeth vanishes to avoid capture by the justice. Mikael, not believing the police, is despairingly trying to clear her name, using all his resources and the staff of his magazine. During this process, Mikael discovers Lisbeth’s past, a terrible story of abuse and traumatizing experiences growing up in the Swedish care system

Like the first book, this one is filled with suspense, drama and brilliant writing. I didn't like this one quite as much as the first but still plowed through it in a day and a half. My only problem with this book was the extensive and pretty unnecessary character list. I felt that there were just too many worthless characters that didn't contribute much to the story but added confusion with their "ssen" ending Swedish last names. I did like that this book ended with a cliffhanger. The first book very easily could have stood on it's own, but this one leaves the story unresolved which is making me crazy to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

As I was reading this book and after having read the first, I began to think a lot about the author, Stieg Larsson.  I was thinking, there's no doubt this man is incredibly smart and creative but to come up with these awful scenarios (that make the book what they are) he has to be somewhat deranged. So I decided to do some research and learn about the man behind these incredible books. 
It turns out Stieg Larsson was far from deranged, he was actually the opposite, he wrote about these subjects as a way to bring awareness to issues in Sweden that he was extremely passionate about. When Larsson was 14 years old he witnessed three men rape a young girl which fueled his position as an active feminist as well as inspired these books. Stieg was a notorious left-wing activist in Sweden and was under constant threat from opposing groups. He met his life-long partner, Eva Gabrielsson, at a Anti-Vietnam rally and was with her for over thirty years. Larsson was also the founder and Chief Editor of a magazine, Expo, which leads me to believe that character Mikael Blomqvist is loosely based on himself. Larsson had outlines for a series of ten books, which he started by writing three. It wasn't until the first three books were completed that Larsson got in touch with a publisher and finally worked out a contract. In November of 2004, six months after the contracts were complete, Stieg Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack. Two months after that the first book was published.  There are rumors that the beginning and end of the fourth book are written and can be found on Larsson's laptop which is currently in Eva's possession. The hope is that Eva would be able to complete the fourth book, something she isn't willing to do until she is granted full rights to Larsson's work. Because they were not married, Eva received absolutely nothing after his death. She wants nothing to do with the money but wants to be responsible for his work. I found a super interesting interview with Eva Gabrielsson, it's a little long but if you're interested in these books and the man behind them I highly recommend watching it. Check it out HERE

All information was found on

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You Only Turn 30 Once

Thank all of you for your kind comments yesterday. I think I was just being super lazy the last few days. Today I finally got the pictures from J's party uploaded and edited! The party was awesome! I held it in a private room at a sports bar near our house where we go all the time. The room was perfect, the food was delicious and we had a great turnout. It was so nice to see so many family members and friends together to celebrate J. He is a very loved boy, that's for sure. The night started out a little more low key, a lot of socializing with family and people we haven't seen in a while, and then the night ended in complete mayhem....which was to be expected. Here are some of the highlights....

Thanks to prohibition, Major's has a special on the 21st of every month....21 cent drinks until 7pm and we were just in time! Yup, that's right...our first round of 14 drinks cost only $2.94!!!!!!!! 
J's friend Steve was nice enough to pick up the tab for that one. 

The amazing Mint Chiffon birthday cake from Buttercream! If you live in the Twin Cities and have never had a Buttercream cake....change that now and thank me later. But get this. As you can see I bought some super cute candles and was really excited to light them and have all our family and friends sing to J. Well, we couldn't because when I went over to light the candles half of the cake was gone and people were already eating it. SOME ONE CUT THE FRICKIN' CAKE! Isn't that like social manners don't cut the cake until you have permission from the host?! I could not believe it! I'm glad everyone was enjoying the cake but I was furious that we didn't get to light the candles and sing. I mean, seriously, WHO DOES THAT?!

Me and the birthday boy! Thanks for all your fashion help on Friday. As you can see I went with the strapless bra and did my absolute best not to tug on it unless absolutely necessary. And, it's hard to tell in this picture but I went with the ankle boots! Thanks to some last minute modeling and discussing with my BB.

Orlando Hudson from the Minnesota Twins made a guest appearance and was nice enough to pose with the birthday boy! 

My favorite girls! My best friend Libby and sister Natalie!

Me and J with his dad, step-mom and little sister. I LOVE this picture!

Shots for the last people standing...all of which stayed at my house that night. Pretty amazing group if you ask me!

No birthday is complete without a ridiculous dance party and I think our after-bar dance party takes the cake. Me and Seth dancing to "I Like You" by Enrique....which we danced to on repeat for a minimum of 5 times.

On a different note, I wanted to quickly wish two of my dear friends a very Happy Anniversary! Two years ago on Monday my friend's Matt and Jessi were married and I was lucky enough to be a part of their big day! It was without a doubt the most fun wedding I've ever been to and cannot believe it's already been two years! I love you guys....Happy Belated Anniversary!
If you don't already follow Jessi's blog Real Housewife in need to!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogger Block

Hi blog friends. Do you ever just straight up NOT feel like blogging? I do. Right now. I don't know if it's because I'm exhausted from all of last week's events, or if I'm feeling uninspired or just plain lazy but I can't get myself to write. It's not for a lack of topics either because I have tons of pictures from J's party on Saturday and I finished The Girl Who Played with Fire yesterday and am excited to share both with you.

Some days I could write ten posts but for some reason the last couple of days I just haven't been motivated to organize my thoughts (or pictures) enough to put together a post that I am proud of. I'm hoping this luxurious day off and a good night's sleep will bring an end to this blogger block.
Wish me luck.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fashion Friday

So, I have to be honest. J and I went to my dad's for dinner last night and didn't get home until around 9:30pm. Now, I instantly hopped in to bed, flipped on my DVR and started watching Project Runway....but I fell asleep! I made it halfway through the runway show and then I was gone. Apparently I was tired. So, I didn't see the end and I don't know who won and who got voted off. But, since I did see most of the designs I am still going to pick my favorites and least favorites. If you watched last night, don't tell me what happened!

Last night's challenge was to create a look that complimented the Phillip Treacy hat that the designer's corresponding model was wearing. 

I love AJ's look! It's very Kentucky Derby! I thought he did a great job making something cute and fun but still understated enough for the awesome hat. Plus, I love the polka dots!

This is Christopher's design and I thought it was amazing! I absolutely love the print he chose. It's super trendy and wearable and looks great with that hat! I don't know how I feel about those boots with it....but that's my only beef! Christopher is definitely one of my favorites (Valerie is my other fave).

Better Luck Next Time:
Seriously April? It's granny panties with booty shorts peeking out of the bottom. I know she was going for a futuristic beach look, but it's 2010 and no one would wear that.

I hated Mondo's look! I actually didn't see this one come down the runway as I was asleep but when I saw this picture......yuck! I'm not a fan of all the different prints. Gross, bad, no thank you.

I had to throw Kristin in to the mix as well....I just don't like her! Seriously, I could make this dress. It's so sloppy, unthoughtful and I don't think it went with the hat AT ALL! She needs to go...her stuff just does not even compare to everyone else. At least Mondo and April DESIGNED something instead of just letting their model roll through a fabric dumpster.

Now, I need your help! I need some fashion advice. J's 30th birthday party is tomorrow and I got a super cute new romper-type dress and I'm having a serious shoe and bra dilemma. I've spent all morning looking for a picture to accurately describe the dress and shoes that I have, but to no avail. Plus, my laptop likes to do this thing where it clicks things and erases text on it's own. So this super lame blog post that should have taken 10 minutes to write has now taken 45. Not cool. Anyways.....I'll do the best to describe what I'm wearing or attempting to wear tomorrow, and if you can get a good enough visual to help me out...leave a comment. If not, leave a comment letting me know that I have no future as a picture-less fashion magazine writer (which, if was a career I probably would have considered pursuing). ANYWAYS. I bought a sort of romper dress, which out of all the romper dress pictures I saw, looks the most like this one (shape wise):
My dress is a cute black and white sort of zigzag print and has a zipper going all the way down the front. The straps are thin, like in the picture and cross in the back. Which brings me to my bra dilemma. I hate bra straps showing almost as much as I hate strapless bras. So what do I do? If I wear a normal bra, it looks totally fine from the front but then the straps show in the back. It's got gray straps so it blends nicely with the pattern of the dress. But, is that really tacky? I can wear my strapless but then I'm going to be messing with it the whole night because it drives me CrAzY! I'm always pulling it up and adjusting it which is for sure tacky. So what do I do? My strapless bra has clear straps I can attach to it but since I'm not a stripper I think I'll skip that. Thoughts???

As for shoes. I am one hundred percent bringing black flip flops to change in to so that I can efficiently tear up the dance floor without my feet wanting to murder me. But, I would like to look presentable for at least the first half of the party. So here's what I've got. I have a pair of black leather wedge flip flops, that would be a more casual look. I couldn't find a picture because you wouldn't believe the nonsense that comes up when you google "black leather wedge flip flop." But they're pretty standard. Problems---they're boring and I feel like a mom in them. No offense to all you moms because most of you dress way cuter than I ever will....but I mean "a mom" in the negative non-stylish way. My other option are shoes kind of like these:
The ones I have are a heel not a wedge and the laces are also black suede so they're not so cheap looking. Basically, they're black suede Steve Madden ankle boots that have an open toe and lace up the front. They're super cute...but I'm not sure how they'll look with the romper. The dress is a super light, airy, satin like fabric and I'm afraid these might be too "heavy" for the dress.

So, with little-to-no information and horrible visuals to go by....what do you think? What the heck should I wear?

Also, if you're using your blog to talk Project Runway or anything related to fashion...grab my button and play along with Fashion Friday!

Ok....why does my signature all of a sudden have a white box behind it? Why does technology think it can just do whatever it wants? UGH! I om OVER computers today!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Birthday Festivities

It's been a great couple of days and I'm pretty confident that J had a wonderful birthday! I have been keeping secrets about birthday surprises for weeks (thank God for my BB, since she was the only one I was talking to about all of it) and after nearly busting at the seams with excitement everything is out in the open and went perfectly.

When it came to getting a gift for J, I had a lot of ideas. It was his 30th so I wanted to get him something memorable. At first I thought about a nice watch, something that would last forever. I knew he'd love a watch but wouldn't be over-the-moon excited about it. After some thought I knew the only thing that he really, really wanted was a new TV. We are were one of the last households in America to NOT have a flat screen TV. J has been dying for one forever but we've never had an extra several hundred dollars that we could rationalize spending on a TV. So, I decided to call in some reinforcements and get my man the gift of his dreams. Luckily,  J's mom and step-dad, dad and step-mom and my mom and step-dad agreed that this was a perfect gift for him and agreed to go in on this perfect birthday present. My little brother has been interning at the Best Buy Corporate offices for the last two summers and was a HUGE help in deciding on the perfect TV (especially since I know nothing about electronics) AND played a crucial role as he was able to get us a discount AND was in charge of actually purchasing the TV. 

*Side note: I am a super proud big sister and have to brag about my little brother. He was just offered a full-time position with Best Buy corporate after he graduates. In this economy having a full-time offer before you start your senior year of college is HUGE and I could not be more proud of him!

Anyways, after months of planning, organizing and orchestrating, we got the TV and were ready to surprise the boy! Monday night, we went to Kevin & Judye's (J's dad and step-mom) for J's birthday dinner. Before I can go over the surprise I need to explain that Kevin & Judye are the super couple of cooking. Judye makes the most amazing sides and soups and desserts and Kevin is an indescribable grill master. Lucky for me, J's favorite meal is also my favorite meal, which is what we had on Monday.
 Perfectly cooked steak, the most amazing mashed potatoes and baked beans people would kill for.

As you can see, my brother LOVED the mashed potatoes. This was his second helping! No joke! And, he ate it ALL. When asked if he wanted something to drink he replied with, "I may have some more baked beans." The kid can eat!

After dinner, Judye asked J to take the trash out, which turned out to be quite the process since he was trying to pawn the chore off on his little sister. Finally, we got J out of the house for long enough to bring the TV down. And, when he came back inside.....
Don't mind the "Jason" t-shirt. It's a super cute story---for another time.

The next portion of his gift needs a set up story. Twins fans HATE the Chicago White Sox. HATE THEM! It always seems that the Twins and White Sox are battling each other for the division title. When I saw that the Twins were playing the Sox on J's 30th birthday, towards the end of the season, I knew it was going to be a big game and I knew we needed to be there. So a few weeks ago I scored some awesome tickets to the game! Keeping this from J was harder than the TV because I was SO excited, especially when the Twins took first place from the Sox just a few games ago! I had arranged for our beloved employee, Sara, to come in to work the afternoon shift. J had no idea his normally 13 hour shift was only going to be 7 hours! I showed up at Coffee Buzz and gave him a gift....a couple of shirts and the Twin's tickets! He was SO excited, even more so when he found out he got to leave work early! After we went to the hospital to meet Baby Aiden, we went downtown Minneapolis to our favorite restaurant, Runyons for dinner. Then, we hit up another bar for a couple drinks then we were off to Target Field. 
The Twins scored a quick 4 runs in the first inning, making the Twins fans cocky, confident and ready to beat down the Sox. In typical Twins vs White Sox fashion, Chicago came back and ended up tying the game in the ninth, sending the game in to extra innings. After the Sox scored putting them up one run in the tenth inning, it was time to get nervous! J looked at me and said (and I swear this it true), "Delmon's getting on base and Thome is hitting a walk-off home run." And that's exactly what happened! Delmon Young got on base and former White Sox player (all the better) Jim Thome absolutely crushed a home run making it the first walk off at Target Field and launching the Twins four games lof the Sox (yeah, eat it!)!!! It was INSANE! Target Field absolutely erupted! Alright Star Tribune, I'm ready for my position as a Sports Writer!
 Right after Thome hit the home run!

A VERY excited birthday boy rockin' his rally cap!

This pic was a total accident, but I think it's REALLY cool!

The man, the myth, the legend....Jim Thome!

It was an amazing day! But, the birthday celebrations aren't over. This Saturday, I'm throwing what is sure to be an epic birthday bash at Majors Sports Cafe. I am so excited!!! You better believe I'll be posting about 900 pictures of the party for you all to enjoy on Monday morning!