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.
Recently, during a hideous Minnesota snow storm when the google maps was colored all red, I decided to just hang out on Grand Avenue for awhile. I say decided like it was a choice. Rather, I was stuck there for awhile until traffic cleared up.
Instead of wallowing because I was not able to get home. I decided to frolic on Grand Avenue. Usually, when I stop by Grand it is for a specific purpose. I stop at the store that I need to get something from and I get out of there. Parking can be a mess and I get stressed out about leaving my car. Was that really a parking spot?
While I was over there freaking out about parking I completely forgot to explore. I had no idea that I was missing a bunch of other stores that I never knew were there. This storm made me make my own fun. After stopping into a few stores by Grand and Victoria. I stopped into Salut.
I have been to Salut a few times and already knew I was a fan of their Pomme Frites and french food in general. I took a seat in the bar and had red wine and ordered some food off the happy hour menu.
I cannot tell you how relaxing it was to sit down and just eat some really good food, alone.
Everything I tried was delicious and the staff was more than accommodating by allowing me to hang out in the bar until I could get home safely.
Overall, the happy hour menu isn’t dirt cheap prices. But, would you really want to eat food that was that cheap to make anyway? I thought the prices were fair for what you got and I really enjoyed the glass of wine that I had.
Because stop in and explore Grand sometime.
What is your favorite store on Grand Avenue?
I eat a lot of sushi. Now, I am finally ready to do a post about one of my favorite places to get sushi in Minneapolis–Kiku Bistro.
Kiku Bistro, formally known as Mount Fuji in Uptown is one of my go-to sushi places. I was hesitant to share it until now because this is a place that I go frequently and sometimes I just want a place to myself, but that’s selfish. So, here we go!
Kiku is one of my favorites because they have a great menu that allows people like me who love any kind of sushi to get what I want but still has rolls for those people who aren’t avid sushi eaters. They have several rolls that have more flair and are great for the new sushi eater. This includes well prepared deep fried rolls.
I like it because I have always had fresh fish. There has never been a time where I have had anything taste a “bad” fishy (you know what I mean).
The happy hour is excellent too! With $3 wine and Sapporo and discounted rolls you cannot go wrong. Plus, there is really only one or two hours a night that they don’t have happy hour so you are bound to hit it. The rolls aren’t super cheap. If they were wouldn’t you wonder what kind of fish was in them? Just saying.
My favorite items to order:
Lake Calhoun- This has a lot of flair with special sauces and crunch. Not usually my style but it is very good. Great for the first time sushi eater.
Avocado roll- It gives you a break from everything else. It is fresh and filling.
Spicy California- Good clean taste and is priced right!
Vegas- Deep Fried. This has great flavor and is fun. I am picky about deep fried rolls and they get it right.
Uptown Roll- If you like fish only this is a great option! Good flavor but you only get 4 pieces.
Rainbow Roll- It’s your basic roll with many types of fish. It’s fresh and good!
Overall, if you are looking for a new sushi place to try this is a very good option. I love it and I hope you do too!
Because fresh fish is good fish.
Okay. Okay. I get it the Minnesota Twins are not doing the best this season. You do have to admit that catching a game at Target Field is fun regardless if the Twins win or lose.
I am impressed each time I go with the different food and drink offerings. Plus, I am a total sucker for helmet nachos.
I guess for me going to a game is about the experience rather than about how anyone plays the game.
So, if you are the opposite of me. Give my approach a try sometime. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll enjoy the experience more than you thought you could.
Give some of the items on my list a try:
1. Try some food you haven’t tried before. AZ Canteen or Turkey to Go are always on my list of places to stop.
2. Grab a drink in one of the many bars at Target Field.
3. Meet a member of the staff. There are some really neat people who work at Target Field. Get to know one or a few of them.
4. Try a new beer!
5. Walk around–There are always promotions and fun things to do around the ball park so stop and try one of them.
6. Start a conga line. Why not???
7. Play some TWINGO because it is fun!
8. Talk to the person next to you about the song that you would have during your at bat.
9. Bet on the character race. I bet my cracker jacks on Spot every time.
10. Enjoy the people that you came with!
Because if you are not having fun. Make your own fun.
What’s your favorite thing to do at Target Field?
- #Recommend – If my description sounds like something you would like then you need to try this place.
- #Eh- This place is just okay. It would never be my first choice but it will work in a pinch.
- #Avoid- This place is somewhere that I would have a really hard time going even in a pinch. If you go there I might judge you a little bit.
- #4AM – It’s open late the day of the All Star Game
Today is going to be one of those days. It is a day that most of us have been waiting for, for months. It is supposed to hit 70 degrees today!
Stop what you are doing and take a second to think about how you want to spend today.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
My suggestion is do something that you have never done. Explore some place you have never been to before. Try a food that you have never tried before. Why? Because it might just put a smile on your face.
Here are a few things you could try:
– Pick up a picnic at a co-op, Maybe one that you haven’t been to before. I am a huge fan of Seward Co-op because they have many grab and go items. Then head to a park that you haven’t been to before.
-Stop at a library and pick up a book that you have been meaning to read. Or ask the librarian for a suggestion. Take that book to a small coffee shop like Rustica.
-Cut out of work at lunch and take a day trip to Red Wing or Stillwater. Buy something for yourself.
-Go for a walk around Loring Park and stop by Brits Pub for a hard cider.
-Enjoy a meal outdoors on a patio or rooftop. Spill the Wine and Moto-i will have their outdoor sections open today! When you are there try something that you never have tried before such as a wine flight or a new kind of sake.
-Jump on the light rail and go exploring. Seriously, it can be a ton of fun.
because sometimes you just need to switch things up and disrupt your day to day routine.
What adventure are you going to go on today?
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?