Chance Chat #32: Proof

This week I’m telling you straight out: I don’t agree with this statement.


Goose Bumps are a great sign, but I don’t think they should be the deciding sign. If you declare “I want to be a Doctor” maybe you should look into the details of what that will entail. There might be other ways to help people or be involved in medicine without spending a million years in school.

I believe in taking steps towards success.

I believe in being open to the future.

I believe in mystery.

There are things that I want, but I’m open to those things changing as life changes.

Do you agree? Can blind faith be enough to sustain you?

The Stopover – 3 Years Later.

August 2012 was a stressful one for me. I packed up and moved home, to my childhood bedroom, to work for my parents. It seemed childish. I had managed to graduate from Gustavus within four years, I managed to get a job with a major corporation, and hold that job for almost two years. But I wasn’t happy. I hated the windshield time.

Company Ford Escape

Let’s be clear. I do not want to move again. I’ve been very happy in Aitkin these past three years.  In my first year at home I became a certified Yoga Sculpt instructor, marathoner, and completed a duathlon.

Irongirl Duathlon Bloomington Medal

In my second year I began coaching with the Aitkin All Starz, and working out with the Lakes Area Multisport group (Triathlon Group).

All Starz All Teams

And in my third year I started exploring MBA options, applied, and was accepted.

Throughout it all I got to spend extra time with Johnny. (This is an old photo of us, but one of my favorites).

john barney

None of these things would have happened if I was living in Duluth, they probably wouldn’t have happened if I had gone from Duluth to the Cities. I had to do this “stopover” in Aitkin to get to where I am today.

Have you had stopovers in your life?


P.S. My local paper has had an ongoing “letter to the editor” discussion about Aitkin and I submitted a letter for next week’s edition. Here’s hoping that I don’t get hate mail after it is posted! ….And next week I will probably post the letter as well as any clarifications that I feel need to be addressed. For now I’m just hoping that people understand how much I love the community and want it to continue to thrive.

Minnesota State Fair 2015 Preview!

It’s almost that time of the year! The Minnesota State Fair runs from August 27 until September 7, and with 40 new foods to try, you’ll need each and every day of the fair. Or a really big group to go eat with so you can all enjoy a taste of the different offerings!

I was invited with a group of other local bloggers to take an early visit to the fair and try some of the new foods. I’ve gone to the fair quite a few times in since College, but as a kid I only toured the livestock areas. So I’m not the best at navigating around the fair, but thankfully the fair website and app helps me figure out where I want to go!

Salted Carmel Puff Ice Cream Malt

Salted Carmel Puff Malt and Sundae: Hands down my favorite! Crunchy, salty, sweet, and cold! I always wind up a sweaty mess at the fair, and a trip to the Dairy Building is a must! You can always leave suggestions for next year’s flavor, and the top three selections will be voted on next spring!

Minnesota State Fair Snicker Salad

Grandma Deb’s Snicker Salad: Confession, I am not a fan of Snicker Salad…until this recipe! The filling wasn’t just a dump of cool whip, there was so much flavor and it was so light, while the apples were perfectly green and crunchy, yum!

Minnesota State Fair Meatloaf on a Stick

Meatloaf On A Stick: I’m not a fan of meatloaf. My mom and I always joked that the nights I was gone for dance competitions were meatloaf nights at home. I tried to eat it again last year at my Grandma’s house, but still wasn’t a fan. HOWEVER. Neither of their recipes include a cheesy center. This was my favorite of the “non-sweet” offerings.

Maple Bacon Funnel CakeMaple Bacon Funnel Cake: Always a fair staple. And while I’m not usually one to order it, the bacon inside the batter makes it a top contender for my dollars! I’m also glad they went with a maple frosting instead of a maple syrup, it would have been much messier!

Minnesota State Fair Food 2015

Totchos = Tater Tot Nachos! These were great and perfect to share (the size you get is much bigger) I did cruise through the Minnesota Public Radio recap of the new food lineup, and they mentioned that this is a gluten free option. And it sounds like there will be a few different allergy groups at the fair.

Mac and Cheese Cupcake: While I didn’t need the cheese whiz on top of the cupcake, it did act as the “frosting” which is a nice touch! This held together really well and would be perfect for a picky eater who wants a familiar comfort food with a fun spin!

What is your favorite part about the Fair? What other states have awesome fairs I need to check out?

P.S. I use Instagram and Twitter to share lots of behind the scenes secrets! Make sure you’re following me to know all the best stuff! My username is @katie_LF for both accounts!


Also, I’ll try to keep up, but here are the posts from the other bloggers who attended!

Mad Mommy, Writing with Bangles, The Beth Next Door, The Whimsy Factory Blog, and Family Fun Twin Cities.

My Summer Albums: Elle, Kacey, Casey, and Neverland.

I don’t listen to the radio much, so I don’t know what the song of the summer is, but these are the albums that I have playing on repeat.

Elle King: Love Stuff

Elle King

Favorite Song: America’s Sweetheart

Why: This song always lifts my mood! A friend recommended that I check out the album, and once I bought it I realized I had already “shazamed” America’s Sweetheart. But the entire album has a great energy. If you like Grace Potter, you’ll be into Elle King.

Kacey Musgraves: Pageant Material

Kacey Musgraves

Favorite Song: Family is Family

Why: I connect with basically every song on this album. I loved Kacey’s first album, and saw her open for Katy Perry last summer. I’m constantly looking at her website for shows I could road trip to, but there hasn’t been a good option yet. (When she was in Minnesota, I was in Florida, go figure).

Casey Abrams: Casey Abrams

Casey Abrams

Favorite Song: Hit the Road Jack

Why: I found this album by “shazam”ing the songs Great Bright Morning and Get Out. This is a great album for when you don’t know what a situation is. If you aren’t necessarily partying, not on a date, just need some solid background music that sounds familiar but isn’t the same old songs that are always played.

Finding Neverland: “The Album” and “Original Broadway Cast Recording”

Finding Neverland Albums

Favorite Song: Stronger (both versions)

Why: Mainly because I saw the production when I was in New York. But I would recommend “The Album” for anyone! The “Original Broadway Cast Recording” is really for people who LOVE musicals. The theme of Finding Neverland is believing. It’s all about doing what hasn’t been done before, and not listening the naysayers in your life.

Do you still buy albums? Or do you stick with the singles?





Chance Chat #31: Friday

Happy Sunday! Some of you might be getting the Sunday blues. I’ve definitely experienced that in the past, especially when I lived in Duluth. I rarely was at my apartment for the weekend, which meant that I was driving every single day of the week for more than 100 miles each day. Now that I’m unemployed I don’t really drive unless I’m heading to the cities for an interview or networking event. Friday’s aren’t any different than any other day of the week. If anything, the weekends are harder because I know I’m not going to be contacted by recruiters or Human Resources professionals.

Stop Waiting for FridayI’ve tried hard to make the most of this time. I’m trying to clean out my closet, train for Superior Man Triathlon, and prepare myself for moving to the cities. Of course I would love to get a job and start work tomorrow. But that’s not going to happen.

I have to trust that the right job will come. A job where I’m not miserable and wishing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday away just so I can enjoy Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That is no way to live.

Do you wait for Friday? Or do you try to add good things to the weekdays?



Coming Soon: MBA!

August is almost here and in September I begin the St. Kate’s MBA program! I started considering an MBA last fall when I attend the Minnesota Bloggers Conference held on the St. Kate’s campus. It was a gorgeous fall day, and the campus was so welcoming.

MNBlogCon at St. Kates

In January I started researching schools and options. I looked into Duluth options, I dismissed St. Cloud options (I’m sorry, but I am not a fan of the St. Cloud area), and realized there were some huge differences in the programs offered in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Life Map Happy Hour Effect

Ultimately St. Kate’s was the website I kept going back to. They have the program I was most interested in, MBA with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications. After encouragement from friends who have gone through the advanced degree process I started my application! I reached out to two wonderful women and mentors who agreed to write my reference letters. (it would be great if I had a photo with them, but instead you get a selfie, sorry).

curly selfie

I have no idea how the blog will change as I get back into education. I suspect that my posts will become more irregular. Maybe one post per week instead of the two – three posts per week I prefer.

Have you considered adding to your education?

Have you made other changes that significantly impacted your daily life?

July 2015 Recap

When I posted my Out of Office notice I knew the month would go fast, but I never believed it would go THAT fast.

Airport Adventure

I had two amazing guest posts while I was gone. Jennifer and Emily!

networking conversation

I posted a peek into how I network (and have another networking post that I’m working on).

Pablo Neruda Graffiti Santiago, Chile

And recapped my trip in Part 1 and Part 2.

La Paz Bolivia

The ending of the month is consumed by Miss Aitkin, and next week I’ve got some fun plans in the cities that will be sure to hit the blog!

Chance Chat #30: Royal

As summer flies by my biggest volunteer week of the year is here! I will be acting as Director of the Miss Aitkin Scholarship Pageant for the first and last time this week. Back in the summer before my senior year of high school, I was a candidate. I didn’t end up as royalty, I don’t consider myself a failure. I’m not always Team Oprah, but today I am.

Chance Chat 30 Royal

These days entering a scholarship pageant, or anything with the word “pageant” in the title can be quite a chance. You’re putting yourself out there to stereotypes, and critisism. But those who have experience a pageant tend to have different feelings than the passive observers. This same stereotype vs experience can be true in other parts of life.

How sad to think that people are afraid to try something just because of what they assume people will assume about them. Take the chance, try something new. Even if you “fail” or don’t win the crown, you’re still taking a step towards greatness.

Have you ever failed at something only to realize the experience helped you in the long run?

Anyone else have a “secret” pageant in their background?

Week of “Nothing”

When I realized that I would be gone for almost two weeks for my South America trip, I decided to clear my schedule for the week following. Being unemployed I knew I would need to focus on applications, and following up on whatever emails came in that I wasn’t able to deal with while out of the country.

Lake LifeMy first few hours back in Minnesota included a phone interview, then the first full day I spent the morning at Social Media Breakfast, and then the weekend was blissfully sitting on the deck with my brother. The photo above was my view for Saturday and Sunday, much needed peace and quiet.

Johnny Cummings

Johnny loves pictures, so we had to snap one after I picked him up from work one day this week. And while I love that my bike is in the car, I wish I felt good enough to ride it! I was sick on my trip and finally went to the doctor on Wednesday. Turns out I needed a Z-pack, which I should have just bought in South America when I saw a million pharmacias.

Smack Shack Lobster RollThursday was a long day of interviews. Once the stress was over I celebrated with a Smack Shack lobster roll before heading back up north. Now I’m just debating whether or not to attend All Pints North tomorrow. I’ve been craving a Duluth trip, but not sure I want to go on a weekend and deal with crowds.

Have you ever cleared your schedule so you can see what happens?

Summer Crowds: join ’em or avoid ’em?


South America Adventure: Part 2


Day 4: Boat trip to Isla Del Sol. The intention was to take a boat to the island, and then take a 3 hour hike across the top and down to a different boat dock. After hiking up to take this picture and explore some of the Inca ruins, I realized there was no way I was hiking 3 hours with high altitude and without full breathing capacity due to the cold/allergies inhabiting my nose and throat.

Isla del SolSo I sat and enjoyed the view. Napped in the sun, attempted to chat with a nice Mexican girl that was touring for a few weeks by herself, talked to a nice couple from D.C. that were touring for 6 plus weeks. And just enjoyed a day of quiet. In the evening we took another bus back to La Paz, with another random boat crossing, although this time we were expecting it.

Day 5, 6, and 7: Fly back to Chile, bus to Vina del Mar / Valparaiso.  Confession, in our days there I never learned which area was which town, but thats the benefit of traveling with someone who has been living in the area for 4+ plus months!

Graffiti in Valparaiso ChileThe graffiti art is unlike anything I have every seen! I wish I could have seen someone in action creating the art, the above photo is my favorite piece for its style. If you open the photo in a new window and zoom in, you’ll see that the face is composed of dots and is so gorgeous.

We also took a tour of Pablo Neruda’s house unfortunately, they didn’t allow pictures so you’ll have to settle for more graffiti photos.

Valparaiso Chile GraffitiWhile there would be the occasional random words written on stupid stone, for the most part the graffiti was amazing. We stopped at a random bakery for empanadas, my philo dough with spinach and blue cheese was amazing! The chilean culture eats a large lunch about 3 pm, but we didn’t follow them. Each morning we had a large breakfast at our hotel, had something small for lunch, and then enjoyed dinner. It worked best for us, and we made sure to travel with granola bars just in case.

Graffiti Selfie Chile

I am so thankful that my aunt and cousin invited me to travel with them. I never would have toured South America by myself, and while I wasn’t healthy on 90% of this trip, I still enjoyed it immensely!

Have you traveled while sick before? What do you think of graffiti as art?