around MSP: five watt coffee's oatmeal bar

Here's what they don't tell you on Prairie Home Companion or in any of the Coen Brothers films: Minneapolis sometimes feels like a diluted Portland. Take Portland's famous hipster scene, biking community, and progressive culture, and water it down with some good old fashioned corn-fed Midwestern-ism, and you have Minneapolis: where every hipster has a fixed gear bike, a growler of homebrew in their basement...and a signature hot-dish recipe. 

Every once in awhile, I get a vibe that is all Portland -- like I could be in a Portlandia sketch. The Sunday Oatmeal Service at Five Watt Coffee was one of those times. (another? Butter-churning aerobics.)

Five Watt Coffee is my favorite coffee shop for people-watching, eavesdropping, writing, and maybe hating myself a little bit. (One day while I was doing some work there, I looked up and realized that a line of about 10 of us had identical Macbooks. But I was the only one without an ironic mustache, so I felt a little better.)

For someone like me who loves coffee shops and hates coffee (I know, I'm the worst), Five Watt happens to be perfect -- all of the specialty drinks are made with so many extras, you can barely tell you're drinking coffee. Even still, my favorite drink is the London Calling: black tea, fennel bitters infused milk, and vanilla.

Yes, coffee purists might tell you Five Watt is trying too hard with its cocktail inspired drinks. But what puts Five Watt over the edge into Portlandia territory is the oatmeal bar. You can mix and match toppings to create your own oatmeal. Or you can turn to the Oatmeal Curator, so capitalized because that is his title. Swear. It's on his business card.

Every Sunday, the Oatmeal Curator --what else--curates an oatmeal special. When I visited, it involved walnut bitters and bacon and was pretty delicious. If you're not into the special, you can order omakase: "entrust the topping selection to our esteemed oatmeal curator." 

You'll be asked a few very important questions: your last oatmeal experience, your best oatmeal experience and the thickness your prefer your oatmeal. Then, it's up to the Curator. 

Laugh/sneer/roll your eyes all you want, but my oatmeal was delicious and for five dollars, not the worst brunch deal out there. Plus I'll probably get rich when I pitch this scenario to the producers of Portlandia... so there's that. 

just the two of us

When you find out you're going to have a baby, a few things happen:

1. You wash your hands, because they're probably covered in pee, or at least they were pee-adjacent.
2. You celebrate, etc. Maybe you take a picture of the thing you peed on, because this is 2014 and what don't you take a picture of these days? (For the record, I did not take a picture of my pregnancy test. I needed to save space on my phone for pictures of Ike pooping, which I sometimes like to send to Y while he's at work because... well, I'm not sure.) 

What we do for fun: selfies on the couch. 

And then if you're me, you start documenting your weekends because, incredibly exciting or comfortably mundane, you know you're going to miss them. Just a little. 

A typical child-free weekend, part 1. 

Friday night: We're invited to a friend's house for pizza. Some of us drink whiskey, some of us eat 6 pieces of pizza, and then Y starts telling a story from his childhood that sounds too interesting to be true. So, when he's not looking, I text his mom. The answer comes while Y is in the bathroom --"he's actually just remembering a story we told him, he wasn't actually there." When Y returns, we press him for more details, which he starts to tell us before we dissolve into laughter. Caught. 

Saturday: Y works until noon or so, and when he gets home I remind him that we've been invited to a concert. Y sighs heavily (I've borrowed a line from New Girl and like to tell him "You sigh constantly! You sigh like you are the President of the United States and you are deciding if you want to declare war!") and asks, "is it a sit down concert or a stand up concert?" clearly hoping for the former. I can't confirm, but we decide to go anyway.

Saturday night: We head to the concert which is in, as the band's lead singer says, a "crusty" area of town. We throw open the doors to the venue with bated breath and -- sigh of relief -- it's a sit down concert! Y promptly falls asleep sitting up and misses most of the concert. The band, the Barr Brothers, are great, but they're very chill and the room is dark and I honestly might have fallen asleep, too but the baby is doing some serious dancing.

Sunday: Y has the day off, so I convince him we should go to something called Northern Grade, a marketplace of "artisan" menswear brands because I think it's right up his alley. Sure enough, once we get inside, I can't find him because literally every guy in there has the same beard. These are his people.

But here's what happened: in the parking lot, before we walked in, the trunk of Y's hatchback didn't open all the way, and when he leaned in to put something in the back of his car, he hit his head, hard. There was blood. 

Once we get inside, it isn't the identical beards that make Y hard to find, it's the fact that he is wandering aimlessly, in a head injury induced haze. We both decide he is going to die, so we leave BEFORE WE EVEN GET TO LOOK AT THE HAND CRAFTED CANOE PADDLES. 

As we're driving home, Y snaps back to reality and says, "I feel better! Let's get Indian food!" and I make a last second turn to get to an Indian restaurant nearby that has eight different flavors of chai. All is well.

Sunday night: We visit a friend's new baby. Y swears he knows where their house is, but we end up lost. Y ask Siris to text our friend, "What's your address?" Instead, Siri inexplicably texts me "I'll make macaroni and cheese for dinner" and we end up late. The baby is cute.


maternity style | how do i look #2

Me: How do I look?
Y: You kind of look like Mrs. Incredible

1. If you're familiar with the character Mrs. Incredible, you know this either meant that my hips looked HUGE or my waist looked tiny. Considering I no longer actually have a waist, I'm going to assume he meant the former. 

2. The general theme of fashion this fall seems to  be Olsen Twins Bag Lady Chic, which is awesome because it means I will never have to buy a maternity top.  Case in point: this H&M shirt.

3. Two minutes after these photos were taken, I fell. I'm so graceful. 

4. These pictures were taken at a random lake my work friends and I found 5 minutes from our office. When we're having a particularly stressful day, we spend our lunch break taking walks that often turn into what we like to call a senior portrait session. Posing ridiculously is good for the soul.

photos taken at 20 weeks, 5 days

october 2014 favorites

in twin cities adventures

+ Most of October was beautiful, so we tried to spend as much time outside as possible in the form of walking, hiking, biking, and eating. 

+ There's a corner in South Minneapolis that's home to three businesses owned by the same family, including an adorable little wine bar, Terzo, that serves half pours and amazing cheese plates. On the outside of that wine bar, facing the tiny parking lot, is their Porchetteria -- a window that serves just four sandwiches, three of them pork. They were amazing - we took ours to Lake Calhoun for a picnic. 

+ The West River Parkway along the Mississippi is my favorite place to explore in the fall. The biking trail is pretty enough, but when you venture off the bike path onto the hiking trails, fall gets cranked up to 11. 

+ Because I'm too much of a wimp for scary movies, I got my Halloween fix at the James J. Hill House (a creepily beautiful old mansion that, in the late 1800s, belonged to a railroad magnate named, shockingly, James J. Hill), where actors performed Victorian scary stories like A Telltale Heart. I'll take any excuse to visit this gorgeous part of St. Paul that's lined with mansions and history. 

in clothing/beauty

+ I'm adding this phrase to my list of things that needs to be retired immediately: capsule wardrobe. I mean, I like the concept... but the phrase has just started sounding smug to me. That being said, being pregnant is like having a mandatory..grimace... capsule wardrobe and mine consists of three pairs of leggings and this poncho in camel. 

(other phrases on my to-ban list: burning a candle, lovely,  tucked away, this season of my life)

+ Since the age of 16, I've been addicted to straightening my hair. With all of the free time that's about to be yanked out from under me, I decided I needed someone to teach me how to wear my hair curly. After extensive research ("Okay Google, what salons in Minneapolis specialize in curly hair?") I found the Hive Salon, which sent me home with products and cheat sheets. I still prefer my hair straight, but it's never looked this good curly before, and I've been wearing it this way for a record two weeks in a row. 

in music

+ I am not ashamed to admit that I bought 1989 with a Target gift card I received for... Boss's Day. I have so many feelings about this. 1) How am I a boss? 2) Boss's day is a thing? 3) Does buying a Taylor Swift CD immediately make me no longer eligible to be someone's boss?

in eating

+ I made these cookies three times in October, which is pretty significant since I'm not sure if I made cookies three times last year. 

Now that pumpkin spice appears to be jumping the shark, can we move on to apple caramel as the annoying fall trend? We can start with the Pepperidge Farms caramel apple swirl bread. I'm obsessed. 

+ If you're still into pumpkin (you are, I can tell), my favorite pumpkin things this October: siggi's pumpkin spice yogurt, and the pumpkin chai from local cafe People's Organic

around the house

+ Thanks to this marble shower curtain, our bathroom is finally sufficiently fancy. 

+ We're doing some closet shuffling, and Y decided he wanted to wallpaper his new closet in toile. I love it. The idea of fancy wallpaper hidden inside a closet feels like an inside joke. Or a wink. Or something. 

+ We also got a new Turkish rug. By that I mean we got a new Ikea rug and the tag tells me it was made in Turkey. IT COUNTS. 


It's happening. 

Yesterday was going so well. It was a random 72 degree October day, and Y and I were buying lunch to take to a picnic by the lake. Perfect, right?

And then the most horrifying thing came out of Y's mouth:

"We should go across the street and buy some pop."


I guess there were other signs that we were starting to acclimate to our new state. First there was the flannel. 

And then there's the one member of our family that has mastered the art of Minnesota Nice.

The epitome of passive aggressive behavior: When Ike wants to go for a walk, he now just sits by the door and looks really, really sad.

I had accepted all of that. But pop I just can't do. It just sounds so wrong to my ears.  

To my fellow Southerners; y'all will be happy to know didn't let him continue until he clarified and said soda -- even though every good Southerner knows you say coke and let everyone wonder which specific drink you mean.

Mama loves you [volume 2]

Dear sir or madam,

You're currently negative 4 months old, and everything you own right now fits in an Ikea bag.

Now before you get all offended, you should know that Ikea bags are huge. Like, don't expect to bring it to a grocery store as your reusable grocery bag without getting remarks and stares.

With that out of the way, I want you to know what's in that bag -- I want you to know your first four possessions:

1. Periodic table blocks: The very first material item you owned was a set of building blocks with the periodic table on them. If you haven't figured it out by the time you read this letter, Y is a bit of a science buff. I'm going to guess that he has gotten frustrated with you for not knowing something science-y at least 100 times by now. I predict the first time was somewhere around day 3 of your life.

The other night Y and I went to a frozen yogurt place with a chemistry theme. The flavors are displayed to look like a periodic table... but that periodic table was not accurate enough for Y. And he told me allll about it. That was a long frozen yogurt date.

2. Swaddling blankets: It seems to me like you should know who gave you your very first gift, and in this case it was our sweet friend (and Y's coworker) Rachel and her husband. Y thinks so highly of them that one time we all went bowling, and as Y was entering our names into the computer, he completely forgot Rachel's husband's name. "Hey man," he asked, "how do you spell your name?"

[long pause]

"M-i-k-e," said Mike slowly.

We treasure their friendship. 

3. A flight jacket. For an 18 month old. Because we like to plan ahead (and because it was 50 cents at a garage sale. Only the finest for you, my future aviator!)

4. Vintage flashcards. I found these flashcards from the 60s at something called Junk Bonanza (I repeat: only the finest for you!) I got all the important flashcards: dinosaur, tiger, buffalo, hobo...

Mama loves you,

stay classy, carols


I think I legitimately squealed when I got my Carol Convention reveal package in the mail. AJL had us all fooled -- every single one of us thought we were going to South Carolina. So when I pulled the California postcard and California shaped sugar cookies out of a hot pink Baggu bag, I was completely shocked.

We spent the weekend in the cutest house in La Jolla, a half a block from a beach where perfect people played with their perfect toddlers and wore thongs that showed off their perfect butts.

Five years ago, in Dallas, we decided to call ourselves Carol to solve a problem:  creepy guys talking to us in bars. This year we stood outside of a coffee shop in Coronado pulling grey hairs out of each other's heads.

I guess we solved our little problem.

5 things you should never say to a pregnant person

Is it just me, or have articles with titles like this taken over the internet recently? It's gotten to the point where I don't talk to anyone anymore for fear that I will offend them -- but let's be honest, I probably wasn't going to talk to them anyway because my eyes are glued to my phone where I'm simultaneously refreshing my Instagram and reading an article called 12 THNGS YOU SHOULDN'T SAY TO PEOPLE WITH BROWN HAIR. 

I do think I tend to see more posts calling out people for daring to say things to pregnant people or mothers (Exhibits a, b, cd) and I always wondered if those same things would offend me when I was pregnant. Sure enough, I've developed my own list:

5 things you should never (ever!) say to a pregnant woman (or anyone, really):

1. Look at you! Pregnant, you resemble a walrus!

2. I'm going to murder your family tonight!

3. Congratulations! I bet your kid grows up to be Hitler.

4. YOU'RE pregnant? And it's HIS baby? Did you guys consider... you know... going to the schmashmortion clinic?

5. BRB, honey, going to join ISIS!


Basically my advice to you this weekend is LIGHTEN UP, WORLD. There are some pretty terrible things people could say to you, and then... there's the stuff you would be a whole lot happier if you didn't get so worked up about. 

DIY: Do it, Yoni


I'm hopeless at doing just about anything with my hands, so in our house DIY means DO, IT YONI. In all caps. It's a demand. I like to think of myself as the art director and Y as my creative, because our house is apparently Mad Men.

Y's latest accomplishment is our bathroom -- he painted it, put up some much needed tile, patiently waited three months for me to find shelves and towel  bars that I liked, and then hung said shelves and towel bars. 

While I flew to New Orleans this summer,  Y tackled the hideous pinkish-tan bathroom walls. After begging me for months not to choose grey or white paint ("I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE GREY IN THIS HOUSE") he finally convinced me to let him paint the walls an actual color. I chose navy. 

Joke's on him, because everyone knows navy is a neutral.

As he kissed me goodbye at the airport that weekend, Y told me, "When you come back, we'll have a nice bathroom for you and the baby."

While he was slaving away creating the perfect bathroom for a baby (which I guess means ensuring that there are plenty of surfaces for him or her to poop on/in), I spent the weekend singing karaoke until all hours of the night, eating way too much deliciously unhealthy New Orleans cuisine, and seeing Jay Z and Beyonce in concert -- and probably inadvertently giving the baby a contact high. 

I think we can all agree Y won for best parent that weekend. 

Although without my child rearing skills, the baby would never be able to claim that his or her first concert was a Beyonce concert. So maybe it's a toss up?

For reference, this is the bathroom we purchased. Like.... on purpose. Why?!

mama loves you (letter to baby)

Dear sir or madam:

Is that too formal? I was always taught that when you were writing to someone important, but weren't sure to whom you were writing, you use "sir or madam." Since you're the most important person, we'll just go with that. Also, consider this your first writing lesson.

Let me tell you why we're not quite sure if you're a sir or a madam. One day in May of 2014, your dad (that sounds weird. Let's just keep calling him Y, short for Your Dad) came home incredibly excited. 

"I was just talking to my OB friend. Let's not find out the sex," he said.

This was like, twelve minutes after we knew I was pregnant. I hadn't really thought about it.

"She says births where the parents don't know the sex are a lot more fun and everyone seems a lot happier," he continued. "And she said, 'really, how many surprises are there left in life these days?'"

That sounded slightly suspect -- I'm sure births where the parents know the sex aren't actually less fun -- but in my head, I pictured sad trombones in a hospital room filled with pink balloons. I didn't want a sad birth. Plus, the second part rang true. I don't think I've ever been surprised about anything, ever. 

It was settled, 14.5 minutes after finding out I was pregnant. We weren't going to find out whether you were a boy or girl. 

Later, someone asked me if we planned to find out. "Nope," I said. Y looked at me in horror.

"What? When did we decide that?" he asked.

"When you announced it dramatically after talking to your OB friend? Do you not remember?" I said.

"We never had that conversation," he protested. (He still claims that to this day)

Let this be a warning to you, Baby. Y remembers approximately 2 out of 10 things he and I talk about. He already seems to like you more than he likes me, so I predict he will remember 4 out of 10 things you two talk about. Still not stellar. So prepare yourself. 

You're going to say "dada" for the first time and two days later, he's going to be all, "JESUS, IS OUR KID EVER GOING TO SAY ANYTHING?" He's going to tell you you can get a new iPhone 37c and then the next day, BAM. Conversation never happened. 

It's okay. We still love him. 

Mama loves you,

P.S. Is there a chance you are a koala? You're up all night and I've been strangely drawn to the scent of eucalyptus lately. Kick twice if you're a koala. 

How the Grinch Stole Fall

Do you feel like you're going to scream if one more person mentions pumpkin spice? Is the general love of fall wearing you down? I present to you y, the fall Grinch, to balance things out a little. 

Y [as I take the above photo]: Can I help you?


Me: Look! There's butternut squash growing in that front yard!"
Y: We're already on a fall walk, you don't have to point out every fall thing we see.

Y: Happy October 1st. Don't forget to pay off our credit card bill.


Me: Crap... I forgot to blow out my [pumpkin scented] candle
Y: Are you serious? This is what happens when you partake in fall activities.


music for the weekend | sorry not sorry

I was about to call this post "weekend mixtape," but I decided that calling playlists "mixtapes" is getting a little tired. What should be the next intentionally nostalgic way the people of the internet refer to their music? 8-tracks? Minidisc mixes? 

This weekend is looking quiet (tonight starts Yom Kippur, the most serious day of the year for us Jews) and, apparently, cold -- it's supposed to snow tonight. The Twin Cities Marathon runs along the lake right by my house this Sunday, and I always take Ike for a long walk along the route. Then, inspired, I go home, put together a marathon training plan, and forget about it after about 12 minutes. 

In the words of Sarah at Note to Self (whose playlists I look forward to each month), every playlist has a story. I love finding new ways to tell a story; here's one for this weekend.

sorry | not sorry (listen on Spotify)

01. I'm Sorry Now -- Jude (because on Yom Kippur we ask for forgiveness) 
02. I'm Not Sorry -- Meiko (because maybe we don't really mean it) 
03. Timothy -- Tennis (because I believe in second chances and will be seeing Tennis again next week)
04. Budapest -- George Ezra (because Jen posted it the other day and I was immediately hooked)
05. Home (Leave the lights on) -- Field Report (because I'm excited to not be at work past sundown this weekend)
06. This Time of Year -- Better Than Ezra (because it's a fall anthem)
07. So Sorry -- Feist (because you probably haven't apologized enough)
08. Don't Panic -- Coldplay (because at the first sign of precipitation I pull out the Garden State Soundtrack)
09. Nothing But Time -- Opus Orange (because on my to do list for this weekend is making a video of our latest Carol Convention trip to California, and this song is a front runner for the soundtrack)
10. Lost in the World - Kanye West (because if I were to train for a marathon, this would be on all of my running mixes)

currently: october

smelling: in turns out I'm most productive while laying in bed, propped up by three pillows (it has to be three). So here I am being productive -- aka answering five simple questions -- smelling the lavender linen spray I spray on my sheets because I like to pretend my life is luxurious and lavender-scented (when really it's just my pillows). 

loving: I've been listening to Meiko nonstop since my friend invited me to an acoustic concert in a high-ceilinged pasta bar. I loved it!

planning: a quick road trip somewhere quaint to see some fall colors. fancy dinner parties. a blogging comeback. a nursery. (yikes)

baking: this apple cake for Rosh Hashana -- probably one of the best things to come out of my kitchen, you should really make it -- and these pumpkin donuts for Yom Kippur break fast (always a crowd pleaser).

celebrating: Ike was born at some point in October, so we call it Iketoberfest. Okay... I call it Iketoberfest. In my mind.  But it should be A Thing, right?

a doctor's note

October in Aspen

Let's do something really outside of the box today and talk about fall. 

More specifically, let's talk about that time I was wandering through a strip mall on a sweltering October day in Shreveport, Louisiana about 4 years ago. Someone exited Ulta as I walked past, and as the door opened I caught a whiff of something. Something intoxicating. 

The hairs on my arms stood up. Tears welled up in my eyes. It was the smell... of freedom.

Okay, that was dramatic. The smell was actually just pumpkin. 

I doubled back and walked as casually as I could into Ulta. No, you cannot help me, I telepathically told the saleswoman. I do not need my mustache tinted or my eyelashes waxed or whatever tiny beauty products you have next to the register. I just need to get to your pumpkin candles. 

When I reached the pumpkin candles I took a giant sniff and -- I'm not proud of this -- started to cry.

Because it was 90 degrees. In October. And it would likely be 90 degrees again in November. And I know you rolled your eyes up there when I said "it was the smell of freedom" but summer in Louisiana makes me feel trapped in this body that is so clearly not meant for summer. It burns, it peels, it sweats, it sticks, it makes me miserable. The smell of pumpkin represents me returning to my old self. 

(Sorry, is this manifesto ruining all future pumpkin spice lattes for you? My deepest apologies. Maybe try a green tea? I think it's healthier.)

With the smell of those Ulta candles came the memory of what a breeze feels like. The long forgotten practice of snuggling. The thrill of exhaling and seeing your breath. The anticipation of actually feeling those things, combined with the realization that winter was not, in fact, coming to Louisiana anytime soon, and neither was fall? 

That's why I cried in the corner of Ulta holding a pumpkin candle. 

(And that's why you didn't scare me when you told me Minnesota was cold.)

All this being said, I'm giving myself permission to love fall without being classified as a "basic white girl." I have a doctor's note. Or something.
This post was sponsored by Ulta. Just kidding. But if any companies out there would like to pay someone to write about a time one of your products inspired a visceral overreaction, I'm your girl. 

oh, hello.

If you read as many blogs as I do, this story sounds familiar: blogger takes a long hiatus; breaks hiatus to announce pregnancy. Reason for hiatus? Exhaustion during the first trimester and fear of revealing their secret.

That's not my story.

First of all, I haven't been exhausted. I've taken exactly one nap. The only time I've felt nauseous was in La Jolla, California, after sea kayaking for 90 minutes on rolling waves with the smell of sea lions thick in the air. (They balance those little red balls on their nose to distract you from their slimy scent).

The pregnancy fairy decided to bestow upon me only the weirdest of symptoms -- tongue zits (which the highly reputable Yahoo Answers confirmed others have had while pregnant) and shape-shifting eyeballs. Oh, and you know how your hair is supposed to be luscious and full during pregnancy? That has held true strictly for the hair on my legs. My head hair is as limp and pathetic as ever.

My hiatus is a combination of visitors, vacations and a sudden job change that's had me working later than our building's janitorial staff. With some upcoming days off, I might be able to get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing because I could use a creative outlet more than ever. 

See you soon,


Woman Realizes She’s Pregnant After Insufferable Fruit and Vegetable Comparisons

 Minneapolis, MN – One Minneapolis woman has finally realized the cause of her inane fruit comparisons.
“The first time it happened was in a strategy meeting at work,” says Daci Platt, 30. “For some reason, it just occurred to me to compare the size of our logistical problem to a papaya.”
“It was accurate,” admits former colleague Lisa Furman, “The problem was actually about that large. But no one else on our team would have ever thought to describe it that way. We thought she was a genius.”
Over the next few weeks, Platt’s husband, Yoni, says he noticed the fruit comparisons happening more often and without warning. “She sent back her meal at a restaurant because it was the size of a plum and she was expecting it to be the size of a grapefruit,” remembers Yoni. “Frankly, it’s embarrassing.”
Platt says it was a comment at the dog park that convinced her to take a pregnancy test. “I was there with my dog, Ike – he’s about the size of a watermelon, for reference – and this puppy came up and sniffed him.” Platt remembers she squealed over the puppy and informed its owner that it was “the size of a butternut squash.”
“The puppy’s owner smiled knowingly and asked how far along I was,” laughs Platt. “I stared at her blankly. She whispered, ‘I’m 6 weeks and the nausea is unbearable, but thank God my fruit comparisons are pretty mild.’”
That’s when it clicked, Platt says. She left the dog park immediately and stopped at Target to pick up a few “carrot sized” pregnancy tests.  “Sure enough,” she says, “They were all positive.”
Baby Platt is due in February and the Platts would like everyone to know that they are aware it will be cold that month -- and they couldn't care less than a garbanzo bean. 

weekend lessons | 06.08.14

01. Every time I realize that I really, really like a new restaurant, it closes. So, to the powers that be -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge -- I HATED the Rabbit Hole. The poutine with Korean spices and a poached egg? Disgusting. The Korean fried chicken? Tasted like a diaper filled with Indian food. The chef's booth we sat in with a front and center view of the kitchen? The cardboard box of seating options.

 I really hope my SEO is terrible and those lines don't come up in a google search. Please don't close, Rabbit Hole. I loved you.

02. Yesterday it was rainy and gloomy and I found myself getting bored. UNACCEPTABLE. So I took myself to an art museum to see an Edward Hopper exhibit, where I discovered my summer style icon:

(PS, this is the same art museum where we saw the inaugural Internet Cat Video Film Festival, played artist-designed mini golf, and went to a butter churning aerobics class. I freaking love this place.)

03. At the end of the Hopper exhibit, a room was set up with a still life surrounded by easels for you to try your hand at sketching. So I took up an old hobby of mine (not paying attention in class and drawing clothes) and drew the dress the mannequin in a still life was wearing. Here's some brand new information: drawing is surprisingly relaxing.  I was even able to tune out the kid screaming next to me because his drawing wasn't perfect.  I love the dichotomy of these two drawings:

04.  A homemade bagel + soft serve + a 17 mile bike ride = balance. Y and I biked uptown for Open Streets, an event where the city shuts down about 20 blocks of a busy street so pedestrians and cyclists can explore to local stores and restaurants. 

Side note: Amsterdam is a lovely place to visit, but do you know what traveling there has robbed me of? The ability to say "I've never seen so many bikes!" If I had never been to Amsterdam, I probably would have used that phrase about Open Streets.

Anyway, we tried homemade bagels from Common Roots Cafe (delicious, far better than Bruegger's) and World Street Kitchen's ice cream. Picture this: salted caramel soft serve with chocolate sauce, marshmallows and roasted almonds. Worth the 10 minute line -- and the rest of the menu looks pretty tasty. I have a feeling we'll be back. 

05. It's going to take me a lot longer than 2 years to get used to seasons. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that just a few months ago, this:

was this:


reading: I finished Delicious! by Ruth Reichl this weekend. This (vaguely spoilery) review pretty much sums up my thoughts.
listening to: Ray LaMontage, my go-to rainy day music
watching: Orange is the New Black obviously, what am I, a monster?
cooking: this pasta primavera, which I wouldn't say was my favorite thing I've ever made, but a decent way to eat a ton of vegetables. 

where is Y?

I bet you're wondering what Y has been up to.

It's hard to say, because I don't actually see him all that often.

He's never been busier than he is right now. His hours are brutal and leave him in actual physical pain. He's constantly on his laptop in our living room troubleshooting problems that arise.

Poor Y, right? But I guess that's what happens when you decide to BUILD A VEHICLE IN YOUR BASEMENT.

Oh, you didn't think I was talking about residency, did you? Because that part is smooth sailing. Sure, he works hard saving lives filling out paperwork and -- his words -- "stomping out chronic disease." Sure, his idea of a vacation is a 40-hour work week. But the actual thing that's keeping him busy after hours is his pet project, his moped. 

Last fall, Y bought a broken moped on Craigslist with the intent to rebuild it and start riding it to work. That's why he's been disappearing to our basement for hours at a time. That's why, for the past half a year, I've been getting packages delivered to my front door from China containing carburetors and gaskets and spark plugs, OKAY NSA? 

And after hours and hours of work, it's actually finished! And it works! And here's the best part: he had no clue how to do any of this. He taught himself everything (probably using the research method every good doctor knows: google) this winter. So while you were complaining about the polar vortex and watching House of Cards, Y was basically learning a new trade. And watching House of Cards (yes, we lived through the Awkward Meechum Situation of 2014).

Pretty cool, right? I know I'm impressed. I even learned to spell carburetors in his honor....which is kind of a big deal. 

on concerts

This weekend I watched Fargo for the first time and suddenly, I understood why so many people seemed perplexed when we decided to move to Minneapolis. But rest assured that we live in an entirely different world than the setting of Fargo. I don't think I've met a single person with an accent like that, there is so much more than endless highways covered in snow and men with ambitions of buying parking lots.

There is a woodchip pile near the lake by my house, though. Shudder.

One thing you might not know about Minneapolis is that there's a pretty incredible live music scene. If you like an artist, chances are they will be here sooner rather than later. First Avenue is a legendary concert venue downtown made famous by Prince in Purple Rain, and apparently, on many artists' bucket list. Y'all, I think prior to moving here I dedicated about 5 minutes of my entire life thinking about Prince. Here? I hear about him once a day. Especially at concerts - every. single. artist has mentioned Prince or covered him.

It took me awhile to start taking advantage of the music scene, but now I find myself wanting to go to every concert. Last night I saw what I think was my favorite: St. Paul & the Broken Bones, a band I heard about on NPR. Who finds out about music on NPR? I'll tell you who: someone whose back was killing her by the end of the concert. (That would be me.) Not only was the band amazing live, I adored their opener, John & Jacob, whose song Be My Girl was used on the TV show Nashville.  

And the venue -- The Varsity -- was full of chandeliers and charm. Both bands mentioned the "fancy-ass bathrooms" which were indeed fancy and, I later learned, won America's best bathroom. What an honor to have urinated in America's best bathroom. 

Aside from last night's show, I've been trampled by girls in crop tops (Haim), gotten yelled at by drunk frat boys (Alabama Shakes), faced my fear of heights to dance my heart out at the tip-top of an arena (Justin Timberlake), enjoyed music at a classy jazz club with white tablecloths (Mike Doughty),  listened to quiet Americana on the coldest day EVER while strolling through a blissfully warm conservatory (Matt Moberg), took a successful chance on a random  band (Wheeler Brothers), danced onstage with Rebirth Brass Band, watched an awkward NPR crowd sway back and forth to rap music (Jean Grae at Wits) and relived an eighth grade obsession (Hanson). Oh, and I've been knocked over by two drunk college kids, one of whom had a bleeding lip, who were making out. (Passion Pit).

And here's the soundtrack:

[spotify id="spotify:user:dacijaye:playlist:2MMujTWwx5mZDrNXQRyefT" width="300" height="380" /]