5 Twin Cities Dates to go on this Summer

So you found that special someone did ya? I bet you want to take them out on some great dates too! Not to worry, I’ve done all of the creative thinking for you. All you have to do is follow the instructions below and enjoy your date. Oh, and by the way, I will expect an invite to the wedding since I am helping you out after all ;).

1. Longfellow Neighborhood Date:

Start the evening around 5pm with a stroll by Minnehaha falls, and then take a swing into Sea Salt Eatery for some great food. When you are finished eating their scrumptious sea food, drive a few miles to the Riverview Theater to catch a movie. I’m a lover of all things vintage, and this is my favorite theater in the metro because walking in is like taking a step back in time. When we took my mom there for the first time, she said that it reminded her of the theaters she grew up going to. Another reason I like it is because it’s easy on the wallet. Instead of showing the most current films, it plays the most popular movies that just exited the regular theaters. So go ahead, get your special someone some popcorn AND a soda… You can afford it ;)! Finish out the evening across the street at the charming Riverview Cafe to grab a late coffee, tea, or wine at their wine bar. You might even be able to catch some live music before or after the movie! Check Riverview’s schedule to see who is playing when you are planning to go.

2. Downtown Minneapolis Date:

I can’t get enough of the beautiful weather in the summer, so take a walk across the Stone Arch Bridge. If you have the time, consider setting up a tour of the Mill City Museum as well. When you are ready to go inside, head over to The Dakota Jazz club for an amazing dinner and to listen to some tunes. You will need to reserve your table and tickets in advance. Do this by clicking here. This will be a fun & classy evening that anyone would enjoy.

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3. Uptown Minneapolis Date:

This is a great date to have on a Saturday afternoon. Head over to Surdyk’s in North East sometime before lunch. Take a look around their their deli and cheese shop to pick out the perfect picnic spread (including at least 1 or 2 of their amazing cheeses). I recently went here with a friend and accidentally spent over $20 on cheese alone. It’s all just soooo good. Take your food to go and drive over to lake Calhoun. Rent a canoe, enjoy a paddle around the lakes, and eat your lunch together on one of the more secluded lakes for a bit of romance.

4. Stillwater, MN Date:

Take the half hour drive east to Historic Stillwater. Wander down historic Main Street together and look in all of the shops. At your scheduled departure time, head south on main street to where the riverboats are docked. Have a great dinner and enjoy the sights as you boat down the river. Surprisingly, you can get both the boat ride and dinner for only $30 a person! Book your tickets here.

 

5. Edina, MN Date:

Centennial Lakes in Edina may be man made, but it has a certain charm to it. Walk hand-in hand around the lakes, play some mini golf, and then head up the stairs to Pinstripes for dinner. To extend your evening, schedule a game of indoor bocce or bowling at Pinstripes, or relax by either one of their 2 outdoor fire pits.

 

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RIP Prince

 Celebrating the life of Prince in Minneapolis tonight! RIP Prince! 

Thousands started arriving to the sectioned off portion of First Ave. in Minneapolis to show their love to newly deceased artist, Prince. The Current, a local radio station put together the block party honoring his life. They proudly played his music in the streets as we all danced until the wee hours of the morning. All I can say is that I’m thankful to have been a part of the crowd. Prince was loved by many around the world, but he felt like he belonged to Minnesotans because he never left home.

Why you should go to The Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis on March 31st

“Cause I was on the verge to scream when you wouldn’t scream about anything” – Ghosts by On An On

       Music is about the art of story telling. If you choose a compelling storyline and add the right details into a song, you will have a masterpiece. People will put it on repeat and listen to it over and over again basking in the feeling it left them with. Miss a vital part of the story, or leave emotions out of the mix and you have another song that sits unplayed in the endless sea of iTunes.

       We listen to music because we want to feel something. We want to connect to something from our past, reach for a desired state of mind, find a song that speaks the words we cannot find, or go on a journey we’ve never yet taken… You name it, and we want to relate. Musicians have the opportunity to use their words, their sounds, and even their silences to pull us into the world of their song to bring us on that emotional ride. The Minneapolis/Chicago based band ON AN ON has the ability to do exactly that. Whether the storyline is familiar or foreign, I feel myself being lured into their songs.

       ON AN ON’s members: Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing are all Minnesota based, which makes me immensely proud. This trio has toured the world and will be coming home for a show. My husband and I already have our tickets. If you have ears and enjoy music you should purchase them too! Their band was previously named Scattered Trees and they broke up several years back. When they reunited in 2012 as ON AN ON I fell in love. Their new sounds are far from mundane or unoriginal; It’s quite the opposite. I would describe their sound as inviting, intriguing, detail oriented, even poetic. The categories I would group them in are Indie and Ambient. Although they are completely unique, if I had to compare their sound to someone else’s, I would call them a toned down version of Radiohead and The Killers, with a little of Bon Iver, and throw in a folk feel for their story telling abilities.

       I also find great pleasure in promoting this band because of my personal story with one of the members. Nate Eiesland, the lead singer of the trio is from my hometown. He is quite a few years older than me and happened to be the heart throb of the church I grew up in. I distinctly remember him heading out on a missions trip to London alongside many others including my sister. They were around the age of 16 and I was at the young age of 10. As they were about to board their plane for London I was begging my cool older sister for a hug. In true older sister fashion (because I really was embarrassing) I got the cold shoulder as she walked away to board the plane. A moment later, my little girl dreams came true as Nate himself said “awe, don’t worry, I will hug you”, and did just that. The stars aligned as it happened, and my little girl world was made.

       Now, I am a happily married 25 year old who has a memory that brings an innocent smile to my face. So, with that memory in mind, I can’t help but support this band and their singer who made my day. It also helps that their sound is so compelling 😉

Their show will be held at The Fine Line Music Cafe in Downtown Minneapolis on March 31st.

The doors open at 7:00pm with the show starting at 8:00pm.

Tickets can be found at http://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSearch.jsp?performance_id=2494742&cobrand=first-avenue and go for $15.00 for general admission or $30 for reserved balcony seating. They will be playing alongside Chappo and Big Data (Big Data is the headliner and so you should purchase these tickets).

I hope you all attend and enjoy it as much as me. Need a bit more convincing? Then keep reading.

Why you should attend ON AN ON’s show on March 31st:

1. It gives you a chance to up your cool factor 😉

ON AN ON is mainstream enough but still under the radar. Don’t you hate that moment when you realize the band you have loved for years just got insanely trendy and you are no longer different for liking them? Well this band is just trendy enough to be loved, but not so big that you will loose your cool factor. (Admit it, we all like to feel superior from time to time)

2. It gives you a chance to “shop local” 

I am a big believer in shopping local. I live in a town with individually owned shops, I lean toward locally owned restaurants, and I want to help support the arts that come out of my state. If we lived in a world with only big corporations, chain stores, and pop music then all individuality would be gone. Be loyal to the people trying to offer you a variety of unique products and services.

3. It gives you a reason to go downtown

I love living in a suburb, but find myself going to downtown Minneapolis less and less. This makes me sad. The only reason we have suburbs is because the city is there. When I am excited about Minneapolis I say “it’s only a 20 minute drive!” When I’m less excited, I complain to my husband because it’s really closer to 40. Make the drive. An adventure is always worth it. If you are coming from farther away, and the thought of driving downtown is intimidating, then take advantage of our light rail system. Park in a suburb and ride the rails into the city for your adventure.

4. Because they are a really great band

ON AN ON got special mentions on MTV.com and TEENVOGUE.com. How did they come up with this original sound, you ask? Well, try having some leftover studio time that you want to use from when your first band broke up. They went to the studio without any specific sonic goals and they came up with something short of musical genius. Thus began ON AN ON. If you go to a studio with very few ideas, and come up with this, your career will be golden. Check out their songs, The Hunter & Ghosts.

http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2013/01/25/on-an-on-the-hunter-video/

5. And maybe, just maybe, you need a night away from the kids

Enough said.

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Check out a preview of their new song which was recorded at Sunset Sound in sunny Los Angeles with legendary producer Joe Chiccarelli (Spoon, White Stripes, The Shins, My Morning Jacket). The first preview into ON AN ON’s second coming is the hauntingly suspenseful “Drifting”, inspired by falling asleep behind the wheel and trying to forget unforgettable things.

Disappearing Winter: A Minneapolis day trip to take before spring officially arrives

If any of you readers are like me, you find yourself holed up inside from October to March (and let’s be honest about it, sometimes April). The snow, the ice, the wind; it should all just truly disappear. I have spent many a year curled up inside my house sipping coffee, snuggling in blankets, reading books, and watching my favorite movies all in an effort to avoid the terrible world that is winter. I make minimal trips to the store, and try to get from my car to the safety of home as quick as possible. Yes, I admit it, I am a closet hermit throughout the winter. To continue in my theme of honesty, it gets really boring just sitting around even though my Instagram makes it look otherwise. 

 We had a friend from El Salvador visit this last week and I realized I can’t have her sit indoors with me and just wait out this dreaded cold. We’ve got to show her something! Our friend is from a HOT climate and has never been in weather colder than 60 degrees. What can Minnesota offer someone from paradise? In my effort to help her enjoy her time, I found myself inspired. Minnesota can offer a lot. The leafless trees are not barren but tall and haunting. The snow is not blinding, but glistening, The ice is mesmerizing rather than thick and cumbersome. The wind, well I still hate the wind, but you get the idea. Luckily, this time of year offers the best of two worlds. You can still experience some of the beauty that winter has to offer, but it’s starting to feel like spring. Take advantage of this amazing time of year before it’s gone!

This weekend was an opportunity to embrace the cold & just have fun!

On Saturday we pulled on our boots and went trekking outdoors. Where did we end up, you ask?

Minnehaha Falls

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The Minnehaha Falls from above

It was one of my favorite days of this entire winter! The Minnehaha Falls are a great spot to visit in the summer, but it’s much more mesmerizing in the winter! The falls are surrounded by gates and fences that say closed, or no trespassing. They even state that it is illegal to walk down to the falls in the winter, so this activity is not for those afraid of criminal activity ;). For me, being a goody goody in most of my life, I welcomed the mischief! A lot of Twin Cities natives know about this spot, but growing up in northern Minnesota I can say that not everyone knows this is there! It wasn’t until I moved to the Twin Cities for college that I found this gem. It is well worth the adventure.

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Acting touristy at the falls with Stacy & Wendy

We had planned to do the falls in a half hour, but once we got there we realized there is much more exploring to be done. If you are taking a trip to the Twin Cities and want to visit Minnehaha Falls, I would plan for an hour and a half. The falls are located in the sprawling Minnehaha Park which is filled with walking trails and trees, and borders the beautiful Mississippi River. We Minnesotans are hearty, and so many people were out walking their dogs and jogging in the cold. Once you get to the falls, there are many things you can do. Be a rule follower and just appreciate from the bridge and walking paths above the falls, or break the rules and jump the fence. (*Disclaimer- I made the personal decision to visit the falls close up, as a lot of visitors do, but I am not telling people to engage in criminal behavior, or put themselves in harms way by walking out on thin ice.)

Once you are down at the level of the falls, you can climb around on the frozen stream and walk right up to the spot where the falls have frozen in place. If you are lucky and get there on a day when it’s relatively quiet, you can hear the open water flowing beneath you and down behind the frozen part of the falls.

DSC_0157Pause for a photo op and then get ready to get messy. Oh, did I mention that you shouldn’t wear anything you aren’t willing to let get dirty? If you are facing the falls, there is an opening on the right side that is said to have never frozen shut. Climb up the hill directly below that spot, or jump over the fence by the staircase and walk across the hill to get there (this is the messy part…. we went on a day when the ice was melting and got muddy)! The opening takes you into a magical wonderland behind the falls. If Narnia were a real place, I think it would be located here. Depending on the time of year and time of day you meander behind the falls, you can see the ice illuminated in brilliant blues and greens. It is a spectacular sight to behold, and if you saw nothing but that, the trip would be well worth it.

The falls are beautiful, but no day trip to Minneapolis is complete without completely stuffing your face full of the amazing cuisine this city has to offer. So here is a step by step of how to plan your day.

A day trip for that inbetween time; When It’s not fully winter and not fully spring

1. Spend your morning at Minnehaha Park and Falls taking in the brilliance.

2. Grab some lunch! When you are ready, take a 15 minute drive further into Minneapolis and visit one of my FAVORITE restaurants that is sure to help you warm up! What restaurant am I talking about?  None other than The Quang (located on Nicollet Ave. AKA, Eat Street). Order a steaming bowl of Pho (pronounced FUH) which is a Vietnamese soup filled with yummy yummy goodness. This soup is all about the broth, and in my attempts to satisfy the craving at home, I can say that The Quang’s broth cannot be replicated! In that broth sits herbs, rice noodles, beef strips and/or meatballs (you can order other meats but this is my preference), and add fresh bean sprouts, basil, and hot peppers. To add even more flavor, squirt some hoisin and siracha sauce in. You will not regret eating this tasty dish, and if you are like me, you will start craving it from the second you step out the restaurant door.







3. Did you save room for dessert? Bundle up and take a block and a half walk down to Glam Doll Donuts! Step back in time in this retro themed bakery. Order a donut or two, or ten ;), in any flavor and I promise you will enjoy. They have the amazing ability to make their donuts light and airy yet dense. I don’t know how one can accomplish that goal! I also enjoyed a warm Chai tea when I was there, but I must warn you, if you aren’t ready for a very authentic Indian Chai taste you might be surprised. What did I taste in that chai to make it so different from others? Cardamom, and a lot of it! If you are up for something a little bit different than the norm, then you will thoroughly enjoy your chai.



4. By this time it might be 2:00pm and you far away travelers are thinking of heading home, but don’t! Take a quick jaunt over to Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington. During this time of year they teach their visitors how to tap trees, collect the sap, and boil it to make syrup! My husband and I spend time with his family in the sugar maples in Grand Rapids every year and it’s such a fun activity. It makes you feel like you are stepping back in time and are living off the lands like the natives did! It takes a lot of time and sap to make syrup (I’m talking hours and gallons) so you may not be able to sample your own batch at the nature center, but they always have some for you to try.