one year ago today

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, we landed in Minneapolis on the most gorgeous spring day you can imagine, picked up our rental Kia Soul, and met our realtor in front of a bright green co-op where I ate a vegan duck banh mi sandwich. (I don’t really know why. I think I was inspired by the hippie-ness of the co-op.)

Then we proceeded to see about 13 houses, of which I hated about 11.

Including the one we bought.

But I appreciated the challenge of making this house that was so blah our own. And here we are a year later, and while it’s still a work in progress, I think we’ve done a pretty solid job. 

(Real talk? The bed is unmade because Y was actually under the covers, sleeping off a night shift.) 

the sunday currently

I’m linking up with Lauren today (finally!) for the Sunday Currently. Two things you should know about Lauren and I:

1. Neither of us had seen Dirty Dancing until we watched it together…. like, two years ago. I’m aware that this is absurd.

2. Fun fact: Lauren and Y did gymnastics together in high school. Yep, Y was a gymnast. Proof, from the walls of our living room:

 I love this photo of Y and my nephew
And, now for the currentlies:

reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I’ve been trying to finish this book for a month. It’s actually pretty interesting, but for me, reading non-fiction is like reading a foreign language: slow. I can read three fiction books to every non-fiction book, no matter how amazing the non-fiction. Case in point: Devil in the White City. Great book, thought I would never finish.  
writing in my head. I keep thinking of these great blog posts and articles in my head, and then forgetting about them by the time I make it to some paper. (Related: this article on writing in a notebook in the digital age)
listening to college basketball, and wondering if Muse anticipated the amount of airplay their latest single would get during March Madness. Also listening to Ike whine because some kids are playing catch with a tennis ball outside and THEY FORGOT TO INVITE HIM.
thinking about the amount of matzah ball soup I’m planning to consume tomorrow night. 
smelling the leftover turkey chili we’re defrosting. Yep, it’s still hardcore chili weather here. See the hoping entry below. 

wishing the place we tried to go to for breakfast this morning at 8 am, The Kenwood, had been open. I studied the menu last night and had picked out my perfect (albeit slightly odd) meal: a granola parfait, cheddar grits and a croissant. But unfortunately, we were dining too early — they only sell pastries prior to 10 am. We’re definitely not in the south anymore, where grits are acceptable — maybe even mandatory — at all hours. 
hoping some warmer weather decides to make its way up here. Y was working nights the last few weeks, and to distract myself from the creepy noises my house makes approximately ALL THE TIME, I kept the TV on. We got one station: CBS. This means a) that I was present for Selena Gomez’s Bieber burn on Letterman and b) the news is on a lot, and the weathermen just love to talk about how a year ago, it was 75 degrees! We were wearing shorts! We were eating on patios! SHUT. UP. 

wearing the new hat Y’s mom made for me. She’s the best. You’ll hear more about her and her handiwork later… if I can ever get anyone to help me out with a little winter accessories photoshoot. (Y has been fired. Any takers?)
loving my newest toy. Literally. I bought a toy. Well, a video game, if we’re getting specific. Just Dance 4. It. Is. So. Fun. I’m just slightly worried I’m going to crash through to my basement in the middle of Call Me Maybe. 
wanting to be Mindy Kaling’s best friend. Universe, get on that. 
needing to get started on my Passover baking — chocolate souffle cupcakes and what we Jews like to call matzah crack. It’s the only thing that can make matzah appealing. Well, besides kneidlach. And matzah brei. And maybe matzah pizza. And charoset. Did any of those words make sense to anyone else?
feeling better — I pulled a muscle in my chest early this week. I blame chatarungas. Do you have any idea all the things you use your pectoral muscles for? Rolling over. Singing at the top of your lungs in the car to Demi Lovato. Sneezing (I sneezed the other day and screamed in pain. It was mildly embarrassing). Breathing. Et al. 
clicking coffitivity. For those times when you wish you were a freelancer working in a coffeeshop. 

(You guys, I just mentioned Selena Gomez, Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato in one blog post. I swear I’m almost 29.)

The pros & cons of Minnesota winter, part 2

+ I have an excuse to wear neon accessories, and as we all know, neon is totally in right now. (These are called yak traks. They keep you from slipping on the ice when your 65 pound dog decides you aren’t walking fast enough.)

+ Related: fighting gravity is an amazing ab workout. When you forget the aforementioned yak traks and have to save yourself from slipping every 15 seconds while walking, you might as well have done 100 crunches. 

– I’ve learned the origin of the phrase “old man winter”. It refers to my face, after the dry, cold air shrivels up my skin and makes me look like an old man. This one’s a toss up — a pro because I learned something new; a con because MY FACE LOOKS LIKE AN OLD MAN.

+ Everyone has feathers stuck to them (from their puffy jackets). This is a pro simply because it amuses me.

– That moment when you’re driving 60 on the highway and the car in front of you throws a snowball at you. SERIOUSLY. Snow that’s been sitting on the car is whipped off and flung at the car behind them at a rate of 60 mph and you’re just minding your own business, singing along to Ke$ha when WHAM, a giant snowball hits your windshield and causes you to scream and swerve and Ke$ha just keeps on singing like nothing happened. That’s a really neat trick, winter.

+ Also driving related, my winter accessories have made me a nicer driver — it’s kind of difficult to make rude hand gestures while wearing mittens.  This is crucial, because Minnesota drivers are … special.

+ I haven’t seen a bug in months. If this long winter business means I never have to see a cockroach again, I’m down. 

I think you’ll see the pros clearly outweigh the cons. 

going home, eating cockroaches. the usual.

The first time I left Minnesota was in July, about a month and a half after we moved here. It was hot, really hot, and Minnesotans’ complaints about the humidity were contagious. I — born and raised in the sticky swamps of Houston and Baton Rouge — was tempted to agree that the summer was humid.

Then I stepped off the plane in Memphis in July, and remembered what humid actually feels like. 

Y and I thought we would have a similar experience last month, when we visited Louisiana for the first time since moving. We would be boarding the plane in 2 degree Minneapolis and stepping off the plane in 75 degree New Orleans. The thought of breathing 75 degree air made me giddy.

But when we emerged onto the jetway in New Orleans, it wasn’t the temperature that struck me. There was something in the air that enveloped me; it was thick and heavy.


Sure, Minnesota claims to be purveyors of fried food, with their eight million kinds of fried food on a stick at the state fair. But that happens once a year. If you’re going to claim something, own it —  the dirty south owns fried food year round and has the obesity rate to prove it and apparently makes fried chicken on the tarmac at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Just a few of the delicious things we ate while in Louisiana:

And some of the not so delicious.

Springtime in Louisiana is more than spring, it’s crawfish season. For some reason, the entire state decides it would like nothing more than to gather around a table that smells like rotting fish, and peel apart a red cockroach with a shell and suck oily yellow meat out of it.

I’ve never been able to get over the rotting fish smell, so, I’ve never eaten a crawfish. I decided on this trip that I should try it. It was about as gross as that time I ate raw herring in Amsterdam. 


(By the way, once we made our way through the fried food smog, it was an amazingly beautiful day. While we waited for our ride, we sat down in a patch of grass as people looked at us strangely. I’m pretty sure before that day, the only thing that grass had been used for was smoking and discarding of cigarettes. )

you’re probably thinking, wow. pictures of grass. how exciting. Let me tell you, when you haven’t seen grass since LAST YEAR, it’s exciting. 

weekend lessons v10

01. There’s nothing cuter than when Ike sits down next to you, gazes up at you with his giant brown eyes… and farts. 

02. This is last weekend’s lesson, but because I like you, I’ll share anyway: it is possible to throw a baby shower for couples that doesn’t make the guys want to gauge their eyes out. The secret: no games, serve beer (we chose craft beer with some kind of baby-related-ish name), pizza, and a mocktail for the mom-to-be), and leave the presents at the door. Proceed like any other party. Maybe play the N Sync Pandora station. 

03. March is apparently Minnesota’s snowiest month. I learned this from the beer expert at the nicest liquor store ever… so it must be true. No, I don’t want to talk about it. The snow, not the liquor store. We can definitely talk about the liquor store if you want. 

04. Meeting a lot of bloggers at the same time is sort of terrifying. As a side note, I don’t think I had heard the words “bloglovin” or “google friend connect” out loud until this weekend. Try saying them out loud. It’s weird, right? 

05. The following ingredients make an amazing cocktail: white pepper, lavender, chamomile infused vodka, ginger beer and lemon bitters. It’s called the raven, and you should come visit me and we can order it at Birdhouse. 

06. RELATED: Moving somewhere with tons of restaurants sounded really amazing… until it became a full time job trying to keep up with all the places I want to eat. It’s so intensive that I have to use an app. Life is hard.  

beer & consequences

One day last month, Y accusingly pointed out that I needed to post in my blog.

“Give me something to write about,” I retorted.

He delivered, but I kind of wish he hadn’t

See, Y’s new hobby is brewing beer.

His other hobby is not taking out the trash… which is actually a hobby we share.

On this particular day, Y was brewing a new batch, resulting in discarded hops filling our trash can. 

We left the house soon after for dinner and drinks at Marvel Bar, which I’m pretty sure is the hipster capital of the world. I mean, only a bar catering to hipsters would have an unmarked, underground entrance and serve the most delicious, well thought out cocktails made with liquor you have to Google, and then offer just one, blissfully ironic food item: Cheetos. 

ANYWAY. Back to the story of how Y almost killed our dog. 

Yep, that’s what this story is about. When we returned home from our night of craft cocktails and Cheetos and found garbage strewn around the kitchen, we didn’t think twice. We always take out the trash when there’s food in the bag, and Ike is surprisingly skilled at detecting the difference between food and not food. We assumed he just moved some paper towels around with his snout and buried a loaf of bread

But later that night, as I got into bed, Ike began panting uncontrollably. And, just like when you’re not sure of the liquor you’re about to order, when you’re not sure what the f is wrong with your dog, you google that shit. Here are the things that can cause your dog to pant uncontrollably:

1. pain

2. cardiac arrest 

My smart and discerning readers will understand by now that Ike was poisoned by Y’s hops. So at three in the morning, we sped to our nearest emergency vet, where 4 notable things happened:

1. The vet injected Ike with fluids that caused him to have a terrifying hunchback.

2. The vet told us Ike would be okay, and that it was probably the pitbull in him that saved him. Apparently, hops are insanely toxic to some breeds (“A greyhound will look at hops and die”), but pitbull isn’t one of them.

3. The vet googled Y’s name, found out that he was a resident, and proceeded to speak in Medicine-ese and ignore me the rest of the visit. 

4. The vet told us we had to take Ike’s temp rectally every hour for the rest of the night, and I traded in my “THIS WAS YOUR FAULT card” and went to sleep.

And that’s why you always leave a note take out the trash.

What to do when it’s -20 degrees in Minneapolis

What is there to even do when it’s so cold outside? (part 1)

I haven’t experienced the soul crushing cabin fever that everyone warned me would hit come February. (Honestly, I feel more of a cabin fever in July in Louisiana, when I’ve been sitting next to an air conditioning vent for 2 months straight, watching my freckles and frizz multiply.) Despite it being really, really ridiculously cold, there is still so much to do — inside and out.

Like eat soup.

The Midtown Global Market is in a diverse area of town, where supermercados and Halal markets checkerboard the streets, and an old Sears building sat empty (HOW CREEPY DOES THAT SOUND? Sears is creepy even when it’s not vacant) from 1995 until 2005. Then, some genius turned it into a mixed use building with apartments, office space,and a DMV — and added the indoor market as a place for recent immigrants to the neighborhood to start a business and live the American dream. 

The clincher was hiring a great designer. Now all of us boring, non-ethnic people who like a trendy space can feel good about ourselves for supporting local entrepreneurs. 

There’s even a fresh produce market and live music.

And, randomly, a James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef’s bakery. Not that I’m complaining.

 So one snowy day (which probably wasn’t actually -20 degrees because I don’t think it can snow when it’s that cold), I saw on Twitter that the Global Market was holding a Global Soup Cookoff featuring a soup from each stand at the market. I was obviously in.

After taking the tour de soup, we voted for our favorite: a chicken saffron soup from Safari Express (which is where you need to go if you’ve ever wanted to try a camel burger… which, don’t lie, you totally have.)

They won. But then, I’ve always known I have good taste in soup.