I had such a great time this weekend at the October #MNBloggerBash! Each time I hold these events I get so excited to show off something that I love and this was no exception. This blogger bash took place at Zywiec’s Haunting Experience on highway 61 in Cottage Grove where we got the backstage “lights on” tour and then had a chance to give the haunted house and hayride a chance in the dark with the Haunters ready to show us a great time.
I wanted to get everyone out to the Haunting Experience because everyone needs a tradition for October! Getting the crap scared out of you is a great way to bond with your teenage children or go on a much needed date night.
This #MNBloggerBash started out with some pampering from Spalon Montage Woodbury! They were there ready to loosen up our muscles with chair massages, give us a little flair for our hair with awesome colored extensions, and even do skincare consultations.
We then got to learn a little more about the Haunting Experience and try the food. You won’t want to miss the pork chops. They even have a special seasoning just made for them.
Next was a “lights on” tour of the Haunted House side of the Haunting Experience. It was great to see the behind the scenes work that goes into putting on a show like this. They put so much time and effort into each room. You would never guess how they get things to look scary.
It was time for the big show! As the sun went down we anxiously waited in line for the Haunting Experience. We screamed our way through the house and on the hayride. Then it was time to shoot some zombies! Big Zombie Hunter is great for the younger kids. Its not as scary and you get to shoot a paintball gun that is fixed to a trailer.
Overall, I want to thank everyone for coming out to this #MNBloggerBash and I want to thank Zywiec’s Haunting Experience for hosting us!
See all of the pictures from our night HERE!
because I love being scared!
If you are a blogger and want to come to the next one, let me know!
You have no idea how excited I am about this! A few weeks ago my cousin and his wife were in town and they told me about this meal delivery service that they have in Milwaukee. They have fresh ingredients shipped to their home with recipes that they can make fairly fast. They like to cook like I do but since they have a new baby, time is not on their side. This is a quick way to get a healthy meal and still have the taste of a freshly cooked meal. All I thought to myself is— how do we not have this in Minneapolis?
I ran across Local Crate recently in my Twitter feed thanks to the awesome people that I follow. It looks like they are trying to make a go of this same idea but are sourcing local Minnesota ingredients.
Local Crate is a delivery service that sends fresh, local, portioned ingredients, and chef designed recipes to Minnesotans weekly making it easy for people to cook locally. Now, this is an idea that I can get behind! I enjoy eating out at restaurants but it is not something that I can do everyday. This would be a great fill in for the weeks that I am craving a home cooked meal and when I have commitments that don’t allow me enough time to get to the grocery store.
I usually only cook for two people and you usually can’t buy the ingredients for only two portions. This is a great way to get only what you need for the recipe and eliminates that one jam you needed for that ONE recipe that you made a year ago and it is still sitting in your refrigerator (not from personal experience, nope, not here).
Local Crate was started by the Kitchen Ninja and the Baby Kitchen Ninja AKA: Mike Stalbaum and Frank Jackman. They both were working for a large food manufacturer and realized that they could create a business around helping their community by working with local farmers and providers. They are passionate about changing the way that people eat and want to give back to our community. I am super excited to see where Local Crate goes!
The meals look great with options ranging from Spaghetti Carbonara to Shakshouka. Each recipe on listed on their website is something that I would enjoy trying. Also, they have enough variety that I don’t think I would get sick of the options. Each recipe comes with detailed instructions and a picture (this always helps me).
Currently, they are doing a Kickstarter project to raise much needed, cash flow for packaging, ingredients, cold and dry storage, and photo equipment. They have some great thank you gifts available and if you are interested in getting Local Crate I would suggest that you help them raise the $7,000 that they need to make their goal. I am clearly a proud supporter of this great idea so I backed this project! He
CLICK HERE to help them reach their goal!
Because this is a great idea and I can’t wait to try it!
Congratulations! You got a ticket to one of the best events in town! The Minnesota Blogger Conference is something that I look forward to every year and this year is no exception.
Here are a few things that you might want to know if this is your first Minnesota Blogger Conference. I know these were the items that I worried about for my first year.
Be prepared to meet new people! This is one of the best parts of the conference, but it is best to be prepared for a day to step out of your comfort zone. Be ready to introduce yourself to new people and give a 10 second blurb about what your blog is about and why you are there. Also, don’t sit alone. If you don’t know anyone, go and introduce yourself.
Bring business cards! I enjoy giving out and receiving business cards each year. It allows me to reach out to someone that I had a connection with or allows me to follow up and start reading a blog I might enjoy. I have a stack of cards that I’ve kept incase I want to connect a blogger to a business or if I need help with a project.
Seek out people that you’ve been meaning to meet! I love twitter and I’ve found some people on twitter that get me but we haven’t met in real life. The Blogger Conference allows me to meet some of those people that I’ve wanted to meet in real life.
Read up on some Blogs! Seriously, one of the best complements any Blogger or Writer can get is that you’ve actually read their work. It’s a great way to start a conversation too!
Be yourself! I was worried my first year about what to wear. I couldn’t decide between more business like or clothes that I really liked. My best advice is to wear something you feel comfortable in. I’ll wear a dress because thats what I like wearing. Don’t go too casual but formal attire is not necessary.
Ask questions! If you have a question, ask it! There is most likely someone else out there that has the same one. The more open that you are the more people that you will meet. Your question might spur on a conversation that happens during the free time.
Be prepared to take notes! I take notes every year to remember everything that I’ve learned. Usually, these notes turn into my to-do list for the next year. Bring your electronics if you wish to do so. I do! Make sure they are charged ahead of time.
Prep your blog for the conference! People will most likely be looking at your most recent posts on your blog. Write a few more blog posts than you normally do. Make that change you’ve been meaning to do. The more you put into it beforehand the more you’ll get out of it afterwards.
Prep your Twitter for the conference! I suggest that you start following people that you know are going to be at #MNBlogCon. It’s a great way to join in the conversation while you are there and meet some new bloggers.
Plan your day! I am a planner but at the conference I tend to be more of a pantser. Have an idea of what topics that you are interested in but also be open to changing the session that you go to if you find something interesting. If you need any help choosing ask a volunteer or a blogger that has been to the conference before.
Go to the after- party! Why wouldn’t you? There will be beer!
Say, “THANK YOU!” to the amazing people who make this day possible! This event is something that is a labor of love from the people who put it on (THANK YOU JEN AND MYKL). Make sure you thank volunteers and the sponsors of this event too!
If you’ve been before, what’s your favorite part of the conference?
If this is your first one, what other questions do you have?
Because a gathering of bloggers is one of the best things in the world.
One of the many delights of the Minnesota State Fair is trying all of the new foods! I was able to get a preview of some of the new foods coming to the fair this year. Every year there are some hits and some misses, but it is all a lot of fun in my book. From new foods on-a-stick to ice cream with a kick here are some of the new foods that I got to try!
One of my new favorites is the Salted Caramel Puff malts and sundaes at the Dairy Goodness bar! It’s sweet, salty, and perfect for a hot day. I am a huge fan of Old Dutch Puffcorn and adding the caramel and sweet ice cream to the mix made me jump for joy. Going to the Diary Goodness Bar is a tradition for many fairgoers and there’s a reason why, they have the best treats! This new flavor was chosen during the “Flavor of the Fair” contest. The contest is back this year and you’ll have a chance to submit your own flavor to become the next Flavor of the Fair next year. I’m going to enter–that’s some serious bragging rights.
I’m also a fan of the Blue Barn that’s part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Group. They bring food at the fair to a whole out-of-this-world level. They know how to serve food to large groups of people because they have the experience of doing it every day. I was able to try their new snickers salad which was refreshing and sweet. But, I am even more excited to try Pi their apple pie flavored beer. Hopefully, I can get a glass. I have a feeling that it might be one of the most popular items at the fair this year. Some of our favorites from last year will be back and there are a few more new items on the menu.
The Maple Bacon Funnel Cake from the Funnel Cake stand in the food building was also really great. We already know those flavors are complimentary, but they somehow got them to work with a funnel cake too. If you are a funnel cake fanatic you should try this one.
Lulu’s Public House is my favorite place to grab a beer at the fair. They have a top deck which allows you to relax and do some people watching. I spent a lot of time here last year and I know I will be back again to enjoy it again this year.
If you are working at the fair, Mancini’s has a great pizza that is not your typical fair food. After working all day you don’t want the usual deep fried foods that people typically share. Give this a try this year! Not a new food, but a great one, there’s a gyro booth by the Giant Yellow Slide that has great gyros and salads.
Although, this is just a preview of some of the great new foods you’ll see at the fair I hope you are pumped to get out there and give some of them a try.
because going to the fair is a tradition!
What food are you most excited to try this year?
I am a huge fan of this whole crowd funding movement. It just makes sense for me to be able to easily give money to products and causes that are important to me. Plus, it is really cool just to see all the awesome stuff that people are trying to do.
Here are a few local projects that need your help to become completely funded:
ENDING SOON Appetite for Change – is a social enterprise that hosts community cooking workshops, builds urban farms and engages community to build a community-based food system. This money will go towards training youth in their job program. You obviously don’t need me to tell you how important this is!
They have some amazing rewards still available for restaurants like Spoonriver, Burch Steakhouse, the soon to open Brut, and even a unique experience with Andrew Zimmern and Gavin Kaysen available. I totally volunteer to come to any one of these dinners!
Help them fund their project HERE
Bark and the Bite- Artisan Barbecue Truck serving Minneapolis with world class smoked meats, craft sauces, scratch sides, great vegetarian and gluten free options. This is from the team behind Sapor this food truck seems like it will serve some awesome food.
I love food trucks and I love BBQ. Naturally, I think it would be great to have another one on the road.
Help them fund their project HERE
Crapola- Awesome high-fiber breakfast cereal, which is named by playfully combining the words cranberry, apple, and granola. (Smart)
They want to move to a larger production facility. “We don’t want to have to hire someone else to make our granola – we prefer to continue making our products ourselves.” – I agree!
Help them fund their project HERE
Omni Brewing- OMNI means “all, every, of every kind.” That’s a perfect summation of their vision – a beer for everyone. They serve a wide variety of interesting craft beers at our inviting taproom in Maple Grove. No pretense here. Just beer.
They are trying to make their taproom a comfortable place to be.
They will be using the funds to:
- Build a great bar
- Renovate the taproom area
- Buy tables, chairs, and bar stools
- Stock the taproom with games and entertainment
Although, they already hit their goal they are offering a new perk if they hit their stretch goal of $40,000.
Get some awesome perks HERE
because it’s fun to help people with their dream
What’s the coolest perk you’ve ever gotten from a Kickstarter project?
I am not the type of person to normally wear lipstick. I am starting to get more into wearing lipstick after discovering the Aromi Matte Liquid Lipstick at Garden of Eden. I love the highly pigmented colors that you can get because it really pops.
The greatest thing about this lipstick is that is stays on! I call it my two beers lipstick because I can drink two beers without it all coming off. It is not permanently on your lips so it does come off with any makeup remover and if you are licking your lips a lot.
I wear the flamingo red which is more of a blue-red and cannot wait to see what new colors will be coming out.
Aromi is a local company that provides handcrafted cosmetics and fragrances that are formulated from scratch, handcrafted in their own laboratory, with great ingredients. I first discovered them awhile back when I wanted to buy their solid perfume for travel purposes. It is also great and solved a problem that I had– I wanted to wear a fragrance but only wanted to bring a carry on bag. I ended up falling in love with their scents and I’ve bought many of the cologne solid fragrances for gifts.
The Founder Hannah, created Aromi out of a passion for chemistry and all things beauty products. She is a chemist by trade and spent years working as a formulation chemist before finally starting Aromi. All the products are vegan too!
You can buy both the Matte Lipstick and women’s solid fragrances at Garden of Eden on Grand Avenue (Only some of the colors available).
Because it’s fun to wear lipstick
Have you tried Aromi? What is your favorite color?
Disclosure: I bought by own Lipstick at Garden of Eden. These opinions are my own and when I find something like this I feel the need to write about it to let other people know. Plus, supporting local small businesses is my thing.
I know, I am behind the times. This was my first time at Eli’s East and I loved it! It has a great casual atmosphere but with a great menu of supper club classics and new local dishes. It made me wish that I lived in Northeast so this could be my neighborhood spot.
I had a great cocktail to start the night with gin and a blueberry lemonade sort of thing. It was a great summer cocktail. I did see a bunch of people order a pink martini that I want to try next time. It must be very popular since they kept coming out of the bar. Don’t miss out on their wine specials as well. I thought they had a well curated wine list with many great options to go with their dishes.
I had a really hard time picking what I wanted for dinner. They had many items on their menu that appealed to me but ended up going with a burger. It was cooked perfectly to order and the fresh avocado on top was delightful. One of the highlights for me was their chips. No other place does homemade chips like they do. It was a nice change from the fries that you get everywhere else.
I also was able to try the Coq Au Vin. It had great flavor and looked beautiful when it came out of the kitchen. The chicken was a little dry for my taste but overall it was a great dish and something that I want to try again in the winter. It was very comforting.
They have a great dessert menu that I didn’t get to try because I was way too full. Their portion sizes are a little bigger.
They have an excellent outdoor patio and a parking lot which makes this a great place to go for smaller groups 8-12. Plus, a back area that many families with children were using. They give you a little bit more privacy which is great for those with young ones who still want a fantastic meal!
Because I love a good neighborhood place.
Where else do I need to try in Northeast? Any places I should move to in Northeast?
I had so much fun last night! I hope you did too. Last night I helped host #MNBloggerBash with Linda from Garden of Eden and Alexis from myTalk 107.1 at Bread & Chocolate. It was just a night for bloggers to get together and talk. We rarely get to see the people we talk to on social media in real life and this was a great chance to do that. Plus, a few giveaways and a swag bag from Garden of Eden! Did you like your signature scent? I hope you were able to meet someone new that you didn’t know before and make this blogger community a little bit smaller. I think everyone did because there was so much energy in that room!
It was really fun to get to catch up with friends that I met when I first started blogging (Life with Levi, Katie Looking Forward, and Being Zhenya). But, I also met new people (HappyShoeDay, A Pinch of Lemon, Champagne and Macaroons, Wool and Whiskey, Some of the Flock of Broads, and so many others). I wish I had a chance to meet every single person that I didn’t know!
The feedback that I received from the event is that we need to do this again! We need to do it again just because I wasn’t able to meet everyone that was there.
The Blogger Bash was born out of wanting to get together with my blogger friends to just have some time to chat. I feel like the only time we get together is if it is educational or being pitched. Rarely, do I have the chance to get together with a HUGE group of bloggers where I just get to hang out. It was amazing to FINALLY meet bloggers I know only from our twitter relationship (Twila Dang)!
I want to send a BIG thank you to Alexis Thompson from myTalk 107.1 and Linda from Garden of Eden for being excellent hosts. I hope you liked the wonderful swag bags from Garden of Eden. Linda wanted to pick signature scents for each of you! It also contained Aromi Matte Lip Stain, Aromi is a local company that can be found at Garden of Eden. You each got my signature color Flamingo Red! We are thankful for all of the great local businesses and non-profits that could come: Plush Pumpkins, Hope Chest, Invision, Ten Thousand Villages, and Vine Park Brewing.
If you loved this event make sure that you don’t miss out on the Minnesota Blogger Conference. It happens in the fall and is one of the BEST events for local bloggers. I saw a presentation from Lauren Melcher that changed my life.
Give me a little time to recover and I will start planning the next Blogger Bash! If you are a blogger and would like to get an invite to the next event comment below with your email address. We will be limited again by whatever venue we choose so only limited amount of invitations will go out. You know that whole fire code thing.
Because we need to meet each other in real life!
What was your favorite part of MNBloggerBash?
I’ve been meaning to go here forever and finally made it out to Eastlake Brewery! I am a huge fan of the Midtown Global Market where it is located. I think it holds some of the best food found in Minneapolis. If you haven’t been to The Rabbit Hole or The Salty Tart yet, go there soon.
When you go to Eastlake Brewery come with an empty stomach because you can get food from the market and bring it in to the brewery to enjoy. The space is fairly big and contains a lot of natural light. It is also family friendly. When I was there, there were several families sitting around and having a meal together.
I wasn’t hugely impressed by the beers that I sampled other than their current sour brew Kirby Pucker and Belgian Pale Ale. They were a little too fruity and floral for my personal taste. I am the first to admit that don’t take my word on it. I love to drink beer. BUT– I think beer is such a personal thing that beers that I am not a fan of, others would like. Their current Saison with ginger and pink lemons was not my thing but I could see people who like fruity beers loving it.
With all that being said, I would come back even though I wasn’t a huge fan of their brews I tried. I didn’t get a chance to try their IPA’s since I got their lighter flight. I will be back to give those a try sometime soon. I went lighter because I was looking for a great summer beer.
I loved the space and it’s fun to bring food from any of the places in the market. If you are going to eat at the Brewery try Hot Indian Foods or Manny’s Tortas. Both are wonderful!
Overall, I liked this place as a perfect place to hang out and I’m excited to try some of their heavier brews next time.
because a great hangout and great food make a wonderful night.
What’s your favorite brewery to hangout in?
We have some talented folks here in the Twin Cities. Clearly, I am proud to call Minnesota my home and this is one of the reasons why. We have awesome people here. We have awesome people here who go after their dreams and create really awesome things.
Recently, I had these two Kickstarter projects come across my twitter feed and I couldn’t help but give them a shout-out (Holla). They seem like really great things that I would love to see funded.
1. Brewin’ USA
23 Days left to go and only a couple thousand left before it is funded. There are stretch goals too!
Fund this project here: Brewin’ USA
Do you love beer? Do you love board games? Well than you are going to want to back this project. This is just a really fun idea and I love a good board game. Don’t you? Made by a local guy named Adam who is an Engineer by trade that loves beer and games (my kinda guy). He also won some kinda contest with CAH- Cards Against Humanity so he has to be a badass.
This isn’t the board game you made in the fifth grade that was essentially Candy Land but with the Backstreet Boys*. Take a look at the Kickstarter website for all the game details and instructions on how to play. This is legit. It even uses bottle caps which is sweet.
This idea has to become a reality so you should back it.
2. Brooks High Beer Battered
They have only 5 more days and about $10,000 to go.
Fund this project here: Brooks High
Another food truck! Yes, another food truck. You just need to take a look at the pictures of their food on their Kickstarter page to know that if you are drinking a beer you want to be eating that freaking sandwich. They are doing something different by infusing local brews into their batter. Honestly, I don’t care. The food looks freaking good. I don’t need a reason to eat those glorious sandwiches other than the fact that they taste good.
You know I’ve been hearing some buzz in the food community about how we have too many restaurants and food trucks. Really? Yeah, I agree that there are a lot of them out there but why can’t we have more? This food truck will be serving food that I really want to eat when I go to a brewery. Many of my favorite food trucks such as Get Sauced, WSK, and The Moral Omnivore all stand up to the test. I even ventured on a 20 minute trip once this year to get food from a truck. I think these two will pull this off and I can’t wait to see them at any one of the local taprooms.
If you want to eat one of those sandwiches, back them today on Kickstarter.
If I had unlimited funds I would use it to make the dream of owning your own business a reality for people. That’s what I would do. Hey—if there is anyone out there that wants to give me a large sum of cash I will research and spend it on some awesome projects, ideas, businesses, micro-loans, and non-profits. Just sayin’ you could do that, if you want to do that.
We all can all make living in this city a better place by helping people live their dreams. If you can’t fund these projects, pass the word on. Sometimes, getting the word out can reach people who also want to fund this project and can do it with cold hard cash.
Because helping someone with their dream is cool.
*Side note: Don’t steal my BSB Candy Land idea.
Am I missing another great local Kickstarter? Tell me about it.