Twin Cities Coffeeshops

I hate coffee, but I love coffeeshops. The music, people-watching, and constant activity spark my creativity and help me concentrate (and I enjoy my frequent eavesdropping breaks.) 

Each of my favorite places has a personality, so I recommend you choose your location based on your current project:

Your project: post an aesthetically pleasing photo of a cup of coffee. 

Where to go: Spyhouse | North Loop location. With marble tables and impeccable latte art, the North Loop Spyhouse guarantees at least 37 likes on your Instagram post.  

The vibe: corporate man bun

Favorite treat: the Spygirl, a predictable yet delicious lavender latte

Your assignment: dream up your next large scale mural

Where to go: Spyhouse |  Nicollet location. You'll be surrounded by other artists, fresh from a sleepless night in their studio at Minneapolis College of Art and Design down the street.

The vibe: art school grunge

Favorite treat: the Spygirl again, but when you get hungry, you're on Eat Street, so you should probably get pho.

Your assignment: an emotional chapter of your memoir. 

Where to go: Quixotic Coffee | Highland Park. Curl up in a dusky booth at the back of the shop and let the warmth of this place hug you like your mother never did.

The vibe: serious writers; family breakfast; one time I saw a Keri Russel lookalike squeal at the top of her lungs "I LOVE lavender in drinks" and stand on top of a stool to get a photo of her coffee. So, whatever that is. It's a mixed bag.

Favorite treat: this place has the best coffeeshop food. I highly recommend the matcha chia pudding. Right now they have an orange clove chai that is perfect. 

Your assignment: create a gig poster for an underground band

Where to go: Five Watt Coffee | KingfieldThe hum of conversation is your playlist. The fliers lining the bar are your inspiration. The Sweet Science ice cream pints are your reward. Get to work. 

The vibe: hip, loud, crowded, leave your pc at home.

Favorite treat: Nearly every drink is dressed up with bitters and house made syrups, and you can't go wrong with the Kingfield. on Sunday mornings, there's a delightful toast bar. (formerly an oatmeal bar) 

Your assignment: a new post for your style blog

Where to go: Urban Bean | Uptown. You've got an SD card full of outfit shots and 500 words to tap out. This quiet, bright white spot is perfect for your post on your minimalist capsule wardrobe.

The vibe: upscale hipster, inside voice.

Favorite treat: my friend and I had their oatmeal once and it was LUH-GIT but every time we've been back, they haven't had any. 

rue's dictionary | volume 1






When anyone wears a hat, point to it and say “ah-dah!"

suspected etymology: 

When Rue was about six months old, I discovered that I could make her laugh by putting something on my head, then pretending to sneeze so it fell off. Soon, she started trying it, too—except that she couldn’t say “ah-choo,” only “ah-da.” Now, anything that goes on a head is an “ah-da."

vaguely related:

1. Hats are a popular topic in our household—not only does Rue delight in talking about them, but Ike is actually terrified of them, and has been since he was a puppy. If we want him to leave us alone, asking "do you want a hat?" usually does the trick.

2. In preparation for her first bike ride, I've been following Rue around with a helmet for the past week telling her it's her "special hat" and clapping every time it touches her head. 

lately | early June 2016

LAUGHING, still, at this photo from a few weeks ago. You can't see it, but Rue is screaming at the creepy hand in front of her. I don't actually blame her. (That photo was taken at the fabulous Art-A-Whirl, where artists in Northeast Minneapolis open their studios to the public/dream up insane homages to fallen musical heroes.) 

READING a real, live book - with paper and everything. I'm all about the e-reader for all kinds of reasons, but sometimes I just want to turn the pages of a physical book. The book is It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool, too) by current local hero/celebrity Nora McInerney Purmort. I laughed out loud for the first time on page six and have been ever since. 

WATCHING Fixer Upper and Veep, both of which are predictable in all the best ways. I laugh every time Buster offers to make Selina a cup of tea, and every time Jo announces she'll be putting an island in a kitchen.

WAKING up a little earlier every morning with the help of my army of alarm clock apps. Have you seen Ruggie? I need it, I think. 

CHASING a toddler who would prefer not to sit down for too long, thanks.

LISTENING to Beyonce, riding the high from her concert a few weeks ago. 

BUYING flare jeans from American Eagle and feeling like it’s 2000.  

FEELING like an elderly person on Snapchat, which I am treating like my own personal lip sync battle. Is that frowned upon? (username: werejustdandy)

DRAWING with my new art supplies in an old book about racquetball. Does that need an explanation? Probably. I saw the artist Lisa Congdon speak at Creative Mornings Minneapolis and immediately started following her on every social channel and bought all of the art supplies she recommended. One of the things she does is practice doodling in an old book so she does’t waste valuable sketchbook paper. Hence.

WAGGING my finger at Rue, apparently, because now every time I scold her she wags her finger at me.


hello again

When people ask me why I stopped blogging, I’m always surprised for a second. “But I am still blogging,” I think.

This is because anytime anything happens to me—a conversation, an observation, a life-changing event—I think to myself, I can’t wait to write about this. Often I actually start writing in my head.

In my mental internet, I blog three days a week with a hefty list of links on Sundays. I went viral a few times. I got picked up by the Huffington Post. How dare you ask me why I stopped blogging? 

But when I have the opportunity to sit in front of a blank screen or an open notebook for a luxurious, blog-writing amount of time, nothing comes out.

One day I hope to figure it out. But as I'm writing this, I’ve got an entire afternoon, a hipster coffeeshop (Which is playing, naturally, a surfer punk version of hava nagila), and no one to take care of.  

A day like this happens about four times a year: I'm off work, for a holiday I don't necessarily celebrate, but D still has daycare. I'm free, and I only let myself feel guilty about it for three minutes. This is the hardest thing about parenting, I think: succumbing to the fact that I might have five days to myself, tops, for an entire year. 

I guess it's worth it, though.

WKND 11.8.2015 and 11.1.2015

8 snaps  

November 8 weekend | 1. A November warm enough to sit outside is a beautiful thing | 2. I just love that these are our neighborhood swings | 3. One of the many activities they enjoy doing together (others include playing with dirty diapers and drooling) | 4. Just Sunday

November 1 weekend | 1. There is something equally hilarious and, for some reason, sad, about the idea of a baby painting a picture of a dragonfly | 2. First Halloween: successful until you consider that our trick or treaters took all the Reese's pumpkins and left all the Twix | 3. She has good taste | 4. My dinner part rules: I'll make you food if you bring your instant camera and take lots of pictures of me

4 moments

1. On Sunday I read a book on my couch for TWO UNINTERRUPTED HOURS. Do you have any idea what a luxury that is?! 

2. Crazy Halloween this year, guys. I dressed Dalia and myself in Rosie the Riveter costumes under the guise of feminism, but really because it required nothing more than a five dollar bandana from Target. (We already had chambray shirts. What are we, animals???) We went to a party at 2 pm in a basement apartment where I sat on the floor with a bowl of candy corn and an apple cider and grand marnier, and Dalia enjoyed one chicken nugget. Then we answered the door for our six trick or treaters while friends came over for a glass of wine. Something about this series of events makes me feel refined and low key all at the same time. 

3. In the books: my first Shabbat dinner as a Jewish mother. My matzah balls were, according to Y, "bad." The challah I picked up from Whole Foods was, according to Y, "meh." The ham stuffed squash our friends brought was, unanimously, "not kosher." (But so, so good.)

4. Last weekend we got a baby gate. If you're visiting Minneapolis and love hearing obscenities screamed every three minutes, please do stop by my house because we have tripped on that stupid thing nearly every time we've walked into the kitchen.

In fact, one time I thought I heard Ike eating the remains of a rotisserie chicken off the counter so I ran as fast as I could and then sat screaming on the kitchen floor convinced I had broken my toes. We even got so far as to brainstorm babysitters in case we needed to go the ER.

(Well, Y brainstormed. I sat hunched over yelling something about how my toe felt like a wet noodle.)

In the end, we decided my toes were not broken, but they did turn blue. We've been calling the incident BabyGate. 

And as far as who hasn't been having trouble getting past the baby gate...

4 tastes

1 | Breakfast with Y at a neighborhood-y spot called Pilgrimage Cafe. Neither of us were into it. At all.

2 | A new friend of mine recently introduced me to an amazing dish I hadn't really thought much about before: APPLESAUCE OMG THAT STUFF IS DELICIOUS. Also that new friend is my eight month old. 

3 | I worked remotely last week from the new Urban Bean. Not only was it beautiful, I had the best oatmeal of my life, hands down. And you should know that I have traveled around Ireland eating porridge at bed and breakfasts so I know my shit.

4 | It appears I need to step up my eating game.


Still going on The Clasp, and liking it more and more. In the car I've listened to Why Not Me (Mindy Kaling's new book, and I'm one of those people who thinks she can do no wrong so I loved it), and am now listening to On the Move (Oliver Sacks' autobiography). 


So much Hamilton, so many podcasts (I need an entire post to talk about my favorite podcasts), and a lot of Adele. I don't watch much tv (starting a new tv show seems like a lot of energy, and the fact that there is SO MUCH good tv and I will never have the chance to see all of it makes me not even want to try... I am officially the only person too lazy to watch TV), but we started watching Master of None (Aziz Ansari's new Netflix show) and it's SO good.  

Where I come from...

During the third song at the Ingrid Michaelson concert last June in Minneapolis, a woman in the fifth row started tapping her foot.

I know this because I was high up in the balcony with a view of the entire audience, and this woman was literally the only person moving.

Forget the snow and the bone-chilling cold: this is my least favorite thing about Minneapolis. Here, dancing at concerts is weird. People stare at you and make snide comments under their breath. 

(I don't know how I still have friends, because one of my favorite hobbies is convincing people to go to concerts with me, and then spending 60% of the time complaining about how no one is moving.) 

Last month, in New Orleans, I realized why this bothers me so much. 

Y and I decided to take Dalia on the streetcar to the French Quarter.  I was regretting my decision as we crossed the street into the icky part of the Quarter, dodging puddles of mystery liquid. It smelled like last night's daiquiri. (I, on the other hand, covered in spit up and carrying a tiny human who poops herself, smelled heavenly.)

But the whole experience was redeemed when we ran into a crowd of people, a dancer, and a band  in front of St. Louis Cathedral. It was a funeral -- not just any funeral, famed chef Paul Prudhomme's funeral -- and the jazz march was about to start.  

As the band led the mourners and spectators and a handful of famous chefs down the street to Prudhomme's restaurant, as service industry people stepped out of their restaurants and removed their hats in respect, as the band leader (Rockin Dopsie Jr) encouraged the crowd to dance with him to When the Saints Go Marching In, I understood why the lack of enthusiasm and celebration at Minneapolis concerts bothers me so much: 

Where I come from, we dance at funerals. 

WKND 10.25.15

4 snaps (okay, 5)

IMG_0618 copy.jpg


1. All of my fall dreams came true when Y raked our front yard and I plunked D into the pile of leaves and she LOVED it. | 2. Waiting for brunch at The Kenwood. | 3. Ike ate my decorative gourds and now fall is RUINED. |4. Don't you love it when you randomly stumble across the perfect leaf strewn walk? Fall redeemed. | 5. Hey, have you heard it's fall?

4 moments

1 | Saturday afternoon. I'm sitting on my couch watching college football playing around on my new obsession, The List App. It's like Twitter, but instead of 140 characters, you get your very own bulleted list. I love a good bulleted list.

This is right after Ike ate my gourd, so, as has been my custom over the past two weeks, I make a list about it. 

And then it happens. Someone else, from across the country, is also sitting on their couch - or maybe their toilet? In line at Target? - and sees my stupid picture of Ike, chuckles, and decides it is worth sharing.

And that someone was John Mayer. 

It wasn't a big deal. I only texted "MY BODY IS A WONDERLAND" to a cool dozen of my friends  and am still talking about it five days later. But it really wasn't a big deal.  

2 | Do you watch The Americans? On one episode, a ridiculous character named Martha repeatedly asks her partner, in the most obnoxious voice known to man, if they can have a "long lazy romantic morning" and now anytime Y and I have nothing to do on a weekend, we call it LLRMing (pronounce lurming, although I think it should be pronounced yurming). A LLRM can consist of a wide variety of things, from breakfast at the restaurant down the street, to breakfast at the slightly nicer restaurant across town. But what's really important about it is that it usually doesn't involve phones. (Which can be a little upsetting when all of your friends including John Mayer live in your phone.)

3 | Speaking of phones, I felt strangely relaxed this weekend and on Sunday afternoon, I finally pinpointed why: for the first time in WEEKS, neither my phone nor my computer were out of space. I had no idea how STRESSFUL those popups were. It's like when you know you're in trouble, but your parents won't yell at you, which everyone knows is  much worse. 

4 |  As much as I love and miss screaming my face off at an LSU game, my stomach full of free jambalaya and tequila shots, there's something to be said about my current LSU football gameday ritual: watching the game on my couch, snuggled up with Ike. Bonus points if gumbo has been sitting on the stove all day.

That being said, if you give me tickets to the Alabama game I'll be there in a heartbeat, decked out in purple and gold and ready to scream, dance and be unnecessarily mean to people from Alabama and eat all of your Cajun food. 

4 tastes

1 | Eggy's diner. It wasn't my favorite breakfast, but it was fine and they have grits.

2 | HOWEVER, I also had brunch at The Kenwood this weekend and they ALSO have grits that are 10 times better. 

3 | Also at The Kenwood: banana bread with salty butter that tasted like a legit HUG. We're going to be talking about this banana bread for a long time. 

4 | I like to make this chicken on Sunday nights and make dinner out of it for practically the rest of the week - tacos, breakfast tacos, taco salad... so really, we just eat a lot of tacos.


I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloan Crosley is one of my favorite books, so when I heard her first novel, The Clasp, was coming out this month I put myself on the library waiting list immediately. I'm liking it so far.


Let's just say there hasn't been this much Drake in my house since I binge watched Degrassi. 

WKND 10.10.15

4 snaps

1. I realized that one of the things I miss about the South is the front porch culture, perfect for sweet moments like this one | 2. I always make fun of Y for getting the "basic breakfast" when we go out to eat, but when the "basic breakfast" includes cheese grits and praline bacon, I'm in, too. | 3. We're fun. P.S., The husbands of the Carols have decided that they are starting Lorac Convention. I'm certain it won't be as fun. | 4. Baby's first beignet. I chickened out at the last minute and didn't let her eat any. More for me. 

4 moments

1 |  We stumbled upon an epic jazz funeral (for Chef Paul Prudhomme!) which was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced. More on that later. 

2 | I highly recommend playing Cards Against Humanity with your in laws,  walking to every meal (with a bloody mary in hand, preferably), sleeping with cats that befriend you in an airbnb (we loved this place if you're ever looking for a place to stay in New Orleans!), pumping on a bathroom floor with your besties, and dancing until the wee hours of... ten pm. Hashtag this is thirty (one).

3 | Like many parts of parenting, flying with a baby wasn't nearly as awful as I expected -- even though D cried half of our plane ride home. Every time I thought someone was giving me the stink-eye, it turns out they were just trying to catch our attention so they could wave, play peekaboo, or give us a bag of cookies "for the baby" (yeah, I ate those.)  

4 |  Ten years ago, you might have found my friends Dana, Rachel and I on our couch on LSU's campus watching Newlyweds (Fact: I once owned a tank top from Gadzooks that said I'm a Jessica and it is one of my greatest regrets in life). This weekend, you might have found us dressing our daughters -- who are ten months, eight months, and two months -- in matching I woke up like this onesies and praying that none of them ever identifies as a Newlyweds-era Jessica. 


4 tastes

1 | Morning Call beignets on a picnic blanket in City Park. Best enjoyed with a big group of friends. 

2 | We had the first floor of Elizabeth's to ourselves on a Monday morning, so no one was there to judge me when I ate 6 pieces of praline bacon.

3 | Boudin at Frank's in Baton Rouge. We might move back to Louisiana solely for the boudin.

4 | The best part about New Orleans? When you're out to brunch and you're too busy feeding the baby to finish your mimosa, you can just... take it with you.




So many random songs punctuated our fun weekend:  a little Feist, What Does the Fox Say, When the Saints go Marching In, the Macarena.  By the end of our time down south, D had officially started dancing in response to music. What more could you expect from a weekend in Louisiana?