Joy: Twenties

As I attend more and more 30th birthdays I realize just how long my twenties were. A lot happens in 10 years. You finish college, you get a first job, you more than likely have a few other jobs. You may go to school again.

gustavus adolphus college sign old main

Even if you don’t go to college you are still learning so many things. Everyone’s experience is a little different, we don’t all learn the same lessons at the same time. But we can still support each other as we go through the learning process. I’m hopeful for the next decade. I’m sure there will still be some comparison, and some new lessons to learn. I thankfully haven’t experienced too much divorce, but hopefully can still experience some happy unions.

I spent the weekend exploring Gustavus and St. Peter with some friends from college. I found that some things have not changed, a lot of things have changed for the better, and the things that aren’t better probably aren’t permanent. So my twenties slowly come to a close, hopefully my thirties will bring on new and good things.

Joy: 218

I already had a “joy” post with “home” in the title. So 218 was my way of differentiating my posts. I came home “for no reason”. My reason was I hadn’t been home in a while. Or more that the last time I was home it was only for 23 hours and it was strictly for family time. Even with “no” plans, I still filled the day, and have more that I wanted to get done.

golden draft light bottle

I drove straight to my parents house and unpacked my car, I had an appointment for new tires Saturday morning and didn’t want to hassle with bringing the car in at 9 am. I met my dad for dinner at the 40 club, one of my favorite places in town. We were still home by 10 pm and I got to sleep in without an alarm set.

Saturday I was lazy (which was a nice change) and eventually met up with a friend at her parents’ house to catch up. I had to leave “quickly” aka after 2 and a half hours to meet up with another friend. I finally went to the Iron Range Eatery. Which was delicious, although I forgot to pick up my kickstarter rewards. Which means I’ll “have to” stop in again when I’m home in December.

I wish I could move back to Aitkin. Yes I was single for three years, yes the job opportunities are limited, but dang it I love that place. I hope that someday life will take me back, until then I will visit as often as I can, and love every minute of it. I didn’t do everything I wanted, I still need to do some downtown shopping, and I didn’t go to brainerd for a workout. But there is always next time!


How often do you go to your hometown? What is your favorite thing to do there?

Alchemy: Two Months In!

There’s a “new” studio in town! I use quotations because I attended my first Alchemy workout shortly after North Loop opened in 2015, but since then they have added 3 more studios in the Twin Cities. Once I heard they were crossing the river into St. Paul, I signed up!

Price: uff da my friends. Once you’ve committed to group fitness you swallow the price tag and commit yourself to getting to class. I was lucky enough to nab a “founding member” membership which means I have a slight discount for the first year.

Workouts: Think of crossfit and corepower melding together into one class. The A10 and A20 classes are the main classes, I’ve attended 1 AStrong, and will eventually make my way into an APulse. But for now A10 and A20 are my jam.

Gear: Free TOWELS! (seriously, annoying that Corepower charges $2 per towel). Bring water. No need for shoes in the A10 or A20 (although some do wear them). No need for a mat.

Actual Workout: 15ish minutes of a warm up, 15ish minutes of a cool down. In-between there is either 10 minutes or 20 minutes of a high intensity workout. Each day the workout changes, and each location does the same workout. Plus! You can view a sneak peek of the workout on their Instagram stories the night before, or check the website for a write up of the workout.

Results: 2 months in I’m definitely stronger! As for weight, that has remained about the same. But that’s more my choices than the workout style.


Joy: Internet

I have friends from the Internet. And I love it. And them. They aren’t the same as the relationships I built in Aitkin, or at Gustavus, but sometimes I am more honest with strangers than I am with friends.

nora terrible thanks for asking feelings

For those that know me through family, you see a different side of me than my coworkers see. For those that know me from Aitkin, you may remember the 3rd grader who cried all the time, or the middle schooler who unfortunately really liked kissing her boyfriend (i am slightly more discrete these days). Or you met me anywhere between ages 16 and 26 when I was certain I was grown up (I wasn’t, and I still am not).

The internet has opened up so many doors for me. With someone who I may only see twice a year, I can send a message on Linked In and get a job recommendation. With a girl who lived in Wisconsin, is from Iowa, and loves science (aka Emily) can end up being a wonderful friend who I can FaceTime and have quick real talk whenever is necessary. And then there are the casual acquaintences who I may only know from Twitter. But they know some of my secrets.

What do you use the internet for? Travel plans? Wedding plans? Recipes?

Have you ever met anyone through the internet? Online dating?

Joy: Breweries

I found my new favorite brewery yesterday. Pryes has a beautiful space, plenty of parking, and a food menu. Plus, the beers I had were wonderful! Now two of them were special released for halloween, but I will definitely be back to try more on their regular menu.

pryes brewery minneapolis

I love checking out new places, and being in the Twin Cities there are so many options. I don’t know if I could ever get to all the breweries, never mind the distilleries that are also opening.

What are your favorite breweries? Do you keep going to the same ones? Or are you checking out the new ones as they open?

Vacation Friday

I have tomorrow off. And I’m not sure I’m doing “vacation” right. I was hoping to be able to head up to Duluth, but it doesn’t seem to be a good use of time since I’d like to stay overnight, but also don’t want to pay those hotel prices (I’d rather spend the money in December when Bentleyville is open).

fall leaves blue sky

So I’m making the most of the fall day by getting my oil changed, attending Social Media Breakfast, getting a massage, and hopefully the expected Snow/Rain won’t get in the way too much. I don’t want to sit in my apartment, but some of that might happen.

I was so worried this summer about my remaining vacation days. I didn’t go to the waterpark or valley fair. I hope that next year I do a better job of allocating my time so I know what days off I need and what days I can just take off for fun.

How do you allocate vacation days?

Do you save them all for December? Or use them up by September?


Joy: Balance

As I adjust to a life without homework I find that I am filling my week nights! If I were planning a perfect schedule I would have plans on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and some Friday nights. I like Monday and Tuesday to be home cooking dinner, doing laundry, maybe going to restorative yoga. But life isn’t always balanced. So last week and this coming week I have plans each weeknight evening.

I can be a tricky thing. It requires committing to early morning workouts, and attempting to eat healthy while out, or finding quicker yet still healthy options before I go out or once I get home. But the plans I have I want to be at. So its not like I can just say “no”. I would be disappointed if I didn’t say “yes”.

Today I’m up north, it was a 24 hour trip, but it is part of finding the balance. Friday night I had dinner with friends celebrating a new job (not for me) Saturday I went to Alchemy and a Hocus Pocus themed brunch. But I still needed a little family time, so north I went!

What does balance look like for you? How many week nights do you make plans for?

Hanson love forever.

My 10 year old self is so impressed with me. I dreamed of meeting the Hanson brothers. They were probably my first crush (no I did not pick a favorite, I was open to whatever opportunity became available).

hanson first ave minneapolis minnesota

I wasn’t lucky enough to meet them last week, but I was able to be in the same room as them, and that is more than enough! Hearing them sing live the songs that have gotten me through so many difficult times in my life was so comforting (throw back to my post from Sunday).

Sitting on the side
Waiting for a sign
Hoping that my luck will change
Reaching for a hand that can understand someone who feels the same
When you live in a cookie cutter world if you’re different you can’t win
So you don’t stand out and you don’t fit in

After buying a t-shirt (obviously, and yes I wore it to work the next day) my friend Emily and I found a random table that had a great view of the side of the stage. Since all women were attending (and a few men, but overwhelmingly a female crowd) we could see all three of the guys.

hanson middle of everywhere first ave

They played everything I could have wanted. And there were a few songs that I didn’t recognize since I am so devoted to their first album. Hearing On and On was very cool, while I may seem like a super fan, I’m not an actual fan club member, so I hadn’t heard this song before. The same was true for “I Was Born”

Don’t need a map, I can’t be directed
I’ve got a madness, don’t need the method
My heart is a weapon and my mind’s electric
I’ll shock the world when you least expect it
Everybody’s betting on the big guy
But don’t underestimate the sting of the butterfly

10 year old me and no idea what my 29 year old life would look like, and seeing Hanson in concert proves that life is pretty darn good.

What are your thoughts about Hanson? Did you know they had songs other than Mmmbop?

Joy: Comfort

October has been good to me. Tuesday night I not only attended the Hanson concert, but also had dinner at Bar La Grassa. I strayed from my typical order and tried the smoked spaghetti all chitarra with brown butter and lobster (it is quite the name, and quite the dish)┬áit was flavorful and delicious. You can’t ask for much more. Other than maybe the wine I had in my glass.

I am so glad that I have friends who can just be. Who can enjoy an awesome dinner, chat, catch up, and not need to take shots or be distracted by something else in order to hang out together.

Friendships are valuable, so is time. I may not be able to devote as much time to each of my friends as I would like, but I am glad that when the time is available, we can make the most of it. It is okay to admit when something isn’t right. It is okay to share when you are struggling. And everyone deserves to find some comfort.

Comfort might mean going out for a night, or it might mean staying in. What you need to be comfortable may change, and that is okay.

What brings you comfort?

48 Hours in Denver

I went to a workout class on Friday morning, and a yoga class Sunday afternoon, and in between that time I flew to Denver and back. I definitely need more time in Denver, but if you’re looking for a quick trip with maximum enjoyment, Denver is definitely the place to go.

herman gultch trail

I started my trip flying into Denver and taking the train from Union Station. I could have spent all weekend exploring downtown. Definitely no car rental needed if you don’t want to hike mountains.

I headed straight to Denver Brew Company and got a flight and tacos from a food truck. The beers were delicious, and the taco hit the spot, but the crowd was noisy and not my vibe. So I walked to Prost Brewery, with traditional German beers, and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon. After meeting up with my friends near their work we stopped at Ratio, which had great beers and great atmosphere.

Saturday brought hiking, another brewery (Westbound & Down) a dive bar visit (Don’s) and oysters/pizza for dinner. I realized during my hike that i’ve never actually officially hiked before. My mom and I like a good long walk, but it doesn’t usually include altitude, and it usually includes a paved sidewalk so we can push Johnny in the wheelchair. I can see more hiking in my future. And I’ve already had oysters and pizza since my trip.

This week has been crazy busy post-trip. I am attending the Minnesota Blogger’s Conference on Saturday and can’t wait to meet new people, learn new things, and spend a little time writing posts.

What are your favorite spots in Denver?

What types of food do you eat when you go on vacation?