December Cheer

I can be a little “grinch-y” over the holidays. I like Christmas. I like December 24 and 25. Those days are Christmas. Everything else is December in my book.

I spent some time with my mom’s family last weekend. We traveled down to Gustavus for Christmas in Christ Chapel. I was in the bell choir in college and got a chance to say hi to my former director. He did a wonderful job with the Reformation theme and yet still tying in the advent season.

This week I’m going to a wrestling match….and not high school wrestling. I don’t exactly know what to expect, but I’m sure it will be interesting! I have a pizza night with friends planned, I’m going to see the orchestra perform Harry Potter, and it sounds like I’ll be at both of the last 2 Vikings home games for the regular season. Plus Pitch Perfect 3 comes out, and I already have plans to see that in theaters before I start a long break from work.

I am so glad I’ve got good activities planned to end 2017. The year gave me a lot of surprises. I have no idea where 2018 will take me. I’m looking for some changes. But for right now I’ll enjoy what I have and try to share a little December cheer.

How long do you celebrate Christmas? All month? 2 days? 1 day?

p.s. are you shocked I posted not on Sunday?

Joy: The Cities

Growing up in the 218 area code the entire Twin Cities Metro area is typically shortened to “the cities”. And I’m not certain how many of us knew that was supposed to mean Minneapolis and St. Paul. It may have been Maple Grove, Anoka, or Burnsville. Anything with a mall that wasn’t St. Cloud or Duluth fits into the obscure area of “the cities”.

spitz minneapolis prince wall

Because I have family in Edina (yes, Every Day I Need Attention). I had a little better sense of direction, but it was more because Johnny went to St. Paul Children’s Hospital, and Minneapolis had the Metronome.

Now I’ve lived in St. Paul for over 2 years. I can discuss the different neighborhoods within Minneapolis if I want, but I definitely don’t know everything about “the cities”. And I still am happiest “up north”.

BUT! Yesterday I was able to get lunch with a friend at Spitz in NorthEast, and I will be going there a few more times even if parking sucks, because it was delicious!

How specific are you about areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul? Do you put the metro in one big lump, or get super neighborhood specific?

Joy: Thankful

I’m slow on the blogging game. I’ve found that I just don’t want to spend time online after my workday, so posts will continue to be sporadic, and I have no idea what 2018 will look like.

I had to work on Black Friday, which meant no traveling to see my parents and brother. Thankfully my mom’s family lives in the Twin Cities so I was able to still be with family on Thanksgiving.

tree lake blue

Work was crazy busy on Friday. I plugged in my headphones and stayed on task, I skipped lunch hoping that I could leave early, but alas it was too busy for that. I owe the blog a dating update post, but its safe to say I’m still single at this point.

I decided to drive north on Friday night to see friends and relax in the quiet. I like my little apartment, but I relax so much better when I’m in Aitkin. I’m hoping to map out my plans for the next few weeks so I have a good balance of activities.

My list of things I’m thankful for remains pretty constant over the years: my friends, my family, and coffee.

Thank you for continuing to read this little corner of the internet.

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?