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This weekend was gorgeous.

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Hubs and I brunched, farmer market-ed, gardened, dog parked, sunburned, happy hour-ed, grilled and just enjoyed each others’ company.

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It’s amazing what sunshine can do for my mindset and my mood.

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I know that I’ve been reveling in late-season snow flurries, but I’ll admit that the dreary weather was getting to me. I’m feeling refreshed, and I’m beginning to think that living in a summer-every-day state will permanently boost my mood and motivation.

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And more than that, I’m looking forward to some quality one-on-one time with the hubs. We’ll be learning, adventuring and leaning pretty heavily on each other in the coming years. Just the two of us (and Cooper) in the jungle. If this weekend was any indication of what’s to come, I like it.



Knees! (And Shit Gets Real)

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Look, people! Those are my pasty, bare knees! Sixty degrees feels downright tropical, so some coworkers and I ducked out over lunch to drink frozen pomegranate margs in the sunshine. It’s finally spring in Minnesota. And after spring comes summer. And at the end of summer we’re moving. Eek! It’s real.

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Even more real than the changing weather? This week, hubs let his work know that he’s leaving.

Circumstances beyond his control landed him in a meeting during which his boss proposed a complete restructuring of the restaurant. As a promotion was proposed, hubs felt he had no other choice than to be honest and forthcoming about his decision to move. The organization was shocked and stunned, but thankful for the notice. It will be hard to replace him. He will work through the summer, leaving for good at the end of July.

When he told me I panicked. This is really happening.

He’s so excited.

I’m so nervous.


Treat Yo’self (And Do Good)

It has been a bummer month. Between the tragedies in Boston and Texas, earthquake in China, factory collapse in Bangladesh, Congress’s gun control fail, escalations in Syria and a never-ending winter, I think we all deserve a break. Here are three things I did this week to treat myself while doing good for others at the same time (I encourage you to get in on this feel-good action!):

1. Dining Out For Life

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TODAY! On April 25, more than 3,000 restaurants across the country are donating a portion of their profits (millions of dollars!) to AIDS service organizations. This is an event that I look forward to every year – dozens of restaurants in Minneapolis participate! Last year the hubs and I had a faaaabulous dinner at Lucia’s. This year, I’m taking it up a notch with a Patti Cake from Yum!, lunch at Good Earth and dinner/flights at The Sample Room. Chances are you will find one of your favorite restaurants on the list, so grab your friends, coworkers or a hot date and dine OUT today!

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2. Aveda Earth Month

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Aveda salons across the country are raising money for local clean water initiatives the entire month of April. This year, I did my part by getting my hair-did during the Aveda Cut-A-Thon on Earth Day. But there are tons of other ways to treat yourself and do good. Get on it!

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3. Warby Parker

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I’m trying hard to use all of my vacation and health benefits before we hit the road for Hawaii. This week, it’s time for an eye appointment. I must admit, the last time I ordered a batch of Warby Parker at-home try on glasses, every single pair looked ridiculous on me. This round worked out much better, and even if they are a little dorky, I can rest easy knowing that a pair went to someone in need. Is there anything more satisfying than one-for-one shopping?

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 6.12.10 PMI chose the Baxters in Catalina Blue (top, center). [Yes. I took 5 selfies, made a photo collage and posted it on the internet. Don’t. Judge me.]



Are you having a hard time getting through hump day?
I’m having a hard time getting through hump day.


Things I Shouldn’t Be Packing

I am a notorious over-packer. It’s who I am. I accept this. And so begins a series of posts about items that I know I shouldn’t be packing, but will be packing anyway.

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My king-sized West Elm chevron duvet, because (A) They don’t make it anymore (get it while you can!), and (B) It will cost a million dollars to ship a cute duvet to our Hawaii home once (read: IF) I find different duvet that I like. So what if it means we have to purchase a king mattress when we get there? I like it and it’s coming with me.


Kombucha Is Weird. Make Salad Dressing Out Of It.

Have you ever tried kombucha?
(Warning – reading that Wiki page will make you never want to try kombucha.)

The hubs used to brew it in our basement.
A strange concoction of fermented sugar and tea (grown with the grossest looking cultures known to man – believe me people, you never want to see a “scoby”), kombucha is an acquired taste. It’s extremely acidic, and the home-brewed variety tastes an awful lot like apple cider vinegar.

If you’re not an aspiring brew-master (home beer brewers will find the process familiar and may want to give it a try), there are a handful of commercial brands sold in grocery stores. GT’s and Kombucha Wonder Drink have dozens of delicious flavors and are MUCH more palatable than their home-brewed sisters (Literally, sisters. It’s a scoby thing. Don’t ask).

So why would I ever try this stuff?
Converts will tell you that it’s a miracle drink, but in truth, the verdict on kombucha’s health benefits is still out. I will tell you that it is probiotic and probably has some digestive benefits (think yogurt). It is also naturally effervescent and a great alternative to soda when you’re craving some bubbles. But more importantly…

Because of its acidity, kombuca makes some seriously killer salad dressing.

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Arugula and Fennel Salad with Ginger Asian Pear Kombucha Dressing

For the dressing

3 parts extra virgin olive oil
1 part Kombucha Wonder Drink – Ginger Asian Pair
Squeeze of lemon juice

Toss with

Shaved fennel (bulb)
Chopped fennel (fronds)
Thinly sliced pear
Shaved parmesan or manchego cheese
Toasted walnuts

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Can you imagine the possibilities with flavors like gingerberry, mango, guava, cranberry, or peach!? Start experimenting.