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!
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.
There is nothing that brings people together like watching cat videos. In its third year the #catvidfest was back on the original stomping grounds of the Walker Art Center. Boy oh boy, did the cat people come out with an audience of thousands the cat video fest is one of the best attended free events that Minneapolis hosts each year.
The highlights always include the actual collective watching of the film, seeing the stars of the videos like lilbub, and just being amazed that there are that many cat people in one place at one time.
Also, you cannot miss the cat fashion!
The fest did not stop there though. You could also make your own GIF with the people from Animal Planet, write your own cat poetry, draw a cat picture, grab a cat themed beer from Flat Earth, and try out one of the food trucks. They even had Rudy Fig a local artist painting cat art!
The only large snafu was the screen that had a little mishap.
If you loved the #CatVidFest as much as I did make sure you help fund their Kickstarter. They want to make a book about it! Visit the Catstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/301071279/catstarter
A few complaints were that there were not enough bathrooms, parking, and no where to sit (the fuzz had to do a little crowd control). Not sure how to remedy this for next year other than maybe trying to do it a few days in a row.
I advise that if you want to attend the event next year make sure you come early. Not only do they have a lot of fun activities that you can participate in but you will be able to get parking and a good spot on the hill.
Because cat people are the best people.
Hey, it happens. I’ve been there.
Don’t fret because I have some ideas of how to wow your Valentine on Valentine’s Day. Which you must have just found out it was today.
My best suggestion is to quickly at least handwrite a card and go to the grocery and pick up dinner to make.
But, here are some other ideas too.
If you like to do things in epic proportions:
Tell your partner to wear comfy clothes. Then head out to the Mall of America! Spend the night riding the rides and eating food at one of the local establishments. You could even go shopping for a gift while you are there. You will get 10 bonus points for creativity. Just remember to keep up the enthusiasm and pretend that you’ve had this plan for months.
If you will be watching House of Cards tonight on Netflix but you still want to impress your Valentine:
Go to a place that can help you with the meal like Surdyks. They will be able to point you in the correct direction. You can make a cheese plate and a meal that is fancy with some help from your friends. Then, stop by Patina and pick up a gift.
If your Valentine thinks you are going out to dinner and that you already made reservations but, you didn’t:
Tell them that you heard of this really cool restaurant. But, they don’t take reservations. There are several places that don’t take reservations like The Sample Room, Brasa, or World Street Kitchen.
Play it cool like you had this plan all along. And buy a gift that can be used while you are waiting for a table or food.
If you want to have fun on Valentine’s Day and your Valentine is cool with having a relaxed night:
Go to a dive bar. Or a bar. They tend to not be very busy on Valentine’s Day because people go out to fancy restaurants.
You better have an awesome gift. Just sayin’….
If your single:
Order Toppers taco pizza and watch House of Cards. (Hey, it sounds like a great night to me.)
Go to this event and support Secondhand Hounds with other singles. More information HERE.
Tonight, I will be eating a homemade dinner and binge watching House of Cards because nothing says love like that does.
Because it doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you make the person feel special.
Add in your ideas. What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
So, I am not sure what you are doing on Halloween but this sounds like a lot of fun. Acqua in Forest Lake is having a ‘night of the living fed’ dinner party.
Acqua just opened its second location in Forest Lake. You may remember the original location that is on White Bear Lake near Tally’s. I haven’t been to Forest Lake yet, but the food in White Bear Lake is amazing. I had a honeydew gazpacho there once that made me look at gazpacho in a new light.
This Halloween party is limited to 200 guests and costs $100. This includes a five course dinner, drinks, a costume contest and raffle prizes.The dinner includes a cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres, salad with fried pork belly, roasted butternut squash soup, scallops, beef tenderloin and pumpkin tiramisu. Drinks include, wine, beer, and select cocktails.
It sounds really great but I hope they know how to serve 200 people at one time. I think that will be quite the challenge. This is their first time trying an event like this, so it will be interesting to find out how it goes. If it goes well, this would be a great event to have each year.
They are giving out some big prizes. The prizes for the costume contest are $1,000 gift card, $250 dollar gift card, and a $100 gift card. It would be a great way to treat your family to a wonderful meal. Also, they are not stopping there, they are also giving out two raffle prizes, one is a dinner for ten including wine pairings prepared at your home. The other is a limo, wine tasting, and dinner for eight at one of the restaurants. Plus, chances are good since they limited the dinner to 200 people.
You can sign up to receive weekly emails from Acqua that tells you about the specials and events like this one on their website.
If you want to attend you can call Acqua Forest Lake at: 651-464-6130.
because it is better than eating all of that candy.
Don’t worry, I am not affiliated with Acqua in any way. I got an email from them and I thought I would share this fun event with people who love food.
Zombie Pub Crawl is tonight!
Are you ready? I love all of the pictures on Facebook and Twitter of the creative costumes that people come up with. Tweet me your pictures @mplsgossipgirl. Seriously, show me your creativity!
Don’t have a costume yet? Head over to GoodWill, Arcs Value Village, or your local thrift store. They have people there that would love to help you come up with a great costume for tonight.
If you have a big group of people Uber is doing a Zombie Bus that you can order on their application. Check it out.
If you need a ride home tonight Captain Morgan will be offering free rides home with Uber from 7PM-12PM at the Captain Morgan Tent on Portland and 5th.
Because be safe.
As you all know, I love the Minnesota State Fair. I wanted to share some pictures I took this year at the fair with all of you.
In other good news, I didn’t win a ribbon but I know my scones made it in the top 25 which makes me proud. Next year I might need to get some advice from a winning State Fair baker. I want to be in it to win it.
Check one item off the LIST.
I am going to go with the Heavy Table on this one. The gyro was my favorite food that I had at the fair this year. I did not get to eat all of the new fair foods and missed out on the fried olives but, I enjoyed the freshness of this gyro.
because summer is almost over
Get your tickets for the Minnesota Cheese Festival that is going on this weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
On both Saturday and Sunday there will be two sessions, one from 10-1 and another from 2-5 in order to keep crowds small and give you an opportunity to interact directly with the Cheesemakers.
During the event you will be able to sample the best cheeses from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. You can also attend demonstrations, seminars, and buy cheese from local Cheesemakers directly.
Redhead Creamery that I mentioned in my post yesterday about neat Minnesota Kickstarter Projects will be there. A few of my other favorite Cheesemakers such as the Caves of Faribault, Ellsworth Creamery, Shepard’s Way Farm, and Singing Hills Goat Dairy will also be there.
Support the Redhead Creamery project : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/redhead/redhead-creamerys-cheese-needs-to-come-home?ref=home_location
You can get tickets: HERE
because I am not vegan anymore.
The fair can be expensive but you can still do and see some really wonderful things for free or cheap.
Here are a few of my FREE picks:
I love the DNR building. I can spend a good bit of time watching all the fish in the pond and in the new indoor fish exhibit. I hear there is a huge sturgeon in there this year.
You can also get a free lake map from the DNR. In the past, they have had someone outside at a little store selling fishing licenses but they will also give you a copy of a lake map if you know the name of the lake and the county it is in. Yes, there are 30 Long Lakes in Minnesota.
Head over to the Eco Experience building, they have many free demonstrations each day. I am interested in many of the topics such as vertical gardening, rain barrels, eco fashion, straw bale gardening, healthy local foods cooking demonstrations, and chickens in the city. I mean where else can you learn how to become an urban chicken farmer?
You can look at the full schedule at the Eco Experience HERE.
Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts from the fair and many times they have performances from musical artists that are performing later that night. P.O.S. will be at the MPR booth on August 29th at 4PM and the pre-show music-on-a-stick is from 3-5PM on August 30th.
See the full schedule at the MPR booth HERE.
There is free entertainment on many different stages at all times of the day. I think this is one of the best benefits of coming to the Fair.
Here are my picks:
Hanson– Known for their hit from the 90’s MMMBop, they are making a come back. August 26-27 at 8:30PM.
Jared Sherlock– Great for families, Jared is a magician who will surprise and amaze you. September 1-2 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The Okee Dokee Brothers– Great for families, these Grammy award winners are fun and know how to get your children dancing. August 24-25 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The full schedule is available HERE.
Always do the free park and ride or bike to the fair. It is way less hassle then trying to park at the fair.
If you volunteer at the fair usually you get in for free. If you have some extra time and know of a place where you want to volunteer, it is a great way to do something good and get in free.
You can listen to people sing “Call Me Maybe” at The Giant Sing Along for free or even sing along yourself. If you are into that kind of thing.
Not sure where this is at the fair, but the Boy Scouts have a climbing area for kids and it is free.
It is free to walk through the Fine Arts building. You will get to see art from local artists and the building is air conditioned.
If you are looking for free swag, don’t miss the Education Building where most of the colleges give away something such as the purple St. Thomas bag. All of the news stations and construction type companies give away stuff at certain times during the day. Stop by early on to see when you get in line for free stuff. KARE 11 is giving away blue sun glasses, Home Depot usually does make it and take it crafts, and Menards has nail aprons.
I also suspect the health fair will be giving away pretty neat stuff this year since MNSure is launching and Healthcare Reform is underway.
Gopher State One Call is giving away free bright colored yardsticks if you promise that you will call before you dig. They are located across from the Giant Slide. Give it to your favorite teacher as a beginning of the school year gift.
You can see a list of all the free items on this deal list HERE.
Here is a list of cheap items at the Fair:
Get an Apple Cider Freeze in the Ag/Hort building, they are only $1 and made from cider from the Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake.
Also in the Ag/Hort building you can get a Honey Stick from Mademoiselle Miel for only 50 cents. They have a smoked scotch version that I have to try. Plus, the money goes to benefit the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
All you can drink milk for $1 is always a favorite of mine. I can taste the freshness of the milk and it actually is quite refreshing.
Because many of the best things in life are free
What is your favorite free thing to do at the fair?
1. People Watching.
Where do all these people reside when the Fair is not going on?
2. Trying all of the new foods.
Okay, maybe not all of them. The one that caught my eye was the new candied bacon cannoli from Ole’s Cannoli.
3. Free Hanson concert (or any of the free concerts).
My middle school self is thrilled. Mmmm Bop. You can watch Hanson for free at the Bandshell on August 26th and 27th at 8:20PM. I heard their new single is pretty good. I am sensing a come-back.
4. Visit the new attractions.
You can ice skate in August at the D1 Backyard Rink near the Fine Arts Building. Go to the Luminarium Exxopolis, whatever the heck that is…
5. Seed Art.
Art made from seeds, it can not be missed in the AG & HORT building.
6. The Fine Arts Building.
This building houses great work from local artists. I always love to walk around and see amazing work that people have created.
Meow. Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00PM. Tickets are $10. I went last year to the one at the Walker Art Center and it was purrfect.
8. All you can drink milk & Martha’s cookies.
If you haven’t figured out how to do this yet it is pretty easy. First, buy a bucket of Martha’s to share. Next, walk over to the all you can drink milk booth and buy a cup. Then, eat cookies with ice cold milk. Enjoy!
When will they put the booths next to each other?
I want to see the rabbits in the poultry barn. Why? because they are cute and fluffy.
10. Eat all of your favorite foods.
Get the staples: Corn Dog, Pronto Pup, Cheese On a Stick, Deep Fried Candy Bar, Luigi Fries, Cheese Curds, and Mini Doughnuts.
Have any questions about the fair? I am somewhat of an expert, so ask away.
My post from the 2012 Minnesota State Fair: HERE
because “Our state fair is a great state fair, don’t miss it don’t even be late. It’s dollars to donuts that our state fair is the best state fair in our state.”
What do you look forward to at the MN State Fair?