Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oh the merry month of January :)

Hello dear readers,

Is it just me, or does January seem to get a bad rep? It is true that after the buildup to the exciting holiday season and the New Year, January seems quiet and sometimes a bit forlorn, but I find January to be one of my favorite months for that very reason. While the holidays are full of traveling and hustling from one wonderful gathering to the next, January is full of... nothing. It is a month in which we can rest and regather- a blank slate so to speak. It is, as the New Year celebrations suggest, a month of new beginnings. January is when I reset my patterns for the next year, when I reconfirm my goals and plans, and just recharge. I love love love that January offers us that opportunity, because my introverted soul would wither away if it wasn't allowed that chance to rest!

January is not, however, boring. Or at least, it doesn't have to be! Two weekends ago Bob and I challenged the idea that January was no fun by exploring the city of St. Paul! It was thankfully warm that weekend (we've had a lot of -20 degree days... anything above -5 is appreciated), and I got it in my head that we HAD to find the 'cool' places in St. Paul. You know, the out of the way places that offer an amazing cup of coffee or make the best fresh doughnuts while still having a cozy "everyone is welcome and loved" atmosphere (though of course, cool hipster attire is recommended). Anyways, I wanted to explore and find these gems, but Bob wasn't as convinced (something along the lines of 'what the heck are we going out for instead of curling up and staying warm at home?'), so I had to change my tactics. With the help of a quick Google search (thank goodness for technology) and Bob's addiction to coffee, I lured him out into the cold to find one of the "best coffee shops" in the St. Paul area.

Amore Coffee is situated across the river from downtown, in West St. Paul, and it seems to be one of the few businesses in a mainly residential neighborhood. Housed in an old brick building, the coffee shop oozes a "we are your home away from home" vibe. The tables and chairs were all mismatching, and there are couches and small coffee tables which create a comfy nook within the larger space for groups to gather. Boardgames are provided, as are a few books, and work by local artists adorns the walls. The menu is not limited to caffeinated beverages, as soup, sandwiches, bake goods, AND amazing white hot chocolate are also offered. Bob and I both loved our drinks, and I had a blast watching as the 'regulars' drift through and interact with both the other regulars and the 'visitors' like myself. If you ever go to the twin cities and want a relaxing cup of coffee, defiantly check this place out!! 

Oh, and if all of that cool stuff isn't enough to convince you that Amore Coffee is awesome, it is SOLAR POWERED! I KID YOU NOT! THE PLACE IS SOLAR POWERED!!! HOW COOL IS THAT?!!!   

After an hour or so at Amore, Bob and I headed back into the downtown area proper and just wandered. Bob wanted to show me the Union Depot, so we headed into the sky-way close to where he works and backtracked until we hit the station. It was amazing. The station has been lovingly remodeled (or preserved, not sure which), and everything in it is stunning- from the polished stone floors to the high ceilings. The coolest part? Exploring it with Bob. One might think that since Bob walks through the station on the way to work everyday he would be bored exploring the depot, but he wasn't. As he told me, "It is so cool to actually take my time and walk through here. When I walk through on my way to work I get so focused on making it in time that I don't realize how beautiful this place really is." After we meandered and explored the station at length, we wandered around outside for a bit before returning home to nap before we headed to watch the Wild play. :) It was a wonderful weekend, full of exploration and rejuvenation- a perfect example of how wonderful January can be. :)


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Belated Review: 2013

Hello my wonderful readers!!

Happy (belated) NEW YEAR!!! It is 2014! How crazy is that?! Is it just me, or has this year flown by?! I am super excited to see what 2014 has in store for us, but as I look forward I am also compelled to spend a moment honoring all of the wonderful (and perhaps not so wonderful) moments in 2013.

This year:

I bought my first Iphone and, subsequently, 
Posted my first image on Instagram

Bought my first vinyl album and went to Nichole's for the first time 

I turned 22 

Went to my first NHL game (GO WINGS!) 

Started learning how to play hockey
Spent St. Patrick's day with family 

Attended an outdoor party (yes, we spent the day outside, and yes there was snow) 

Fell in love with the Como Conservatory

Graduated from college!!

I found/was found by Brooke Kupcho
Attended the first Wolftree Event

Visited the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for the first time

Ran/walked my first 5K! 

Went Kayaking
Went camping in Itasca State Park

Went to two family weddings (congrats again Emily and Charlotte!)
Lost dear family friends to illnesses :(  
Started working at a bank
Saw THE POSTAL SERVICE in concert!!!!!!!! SO AMAZING! 

Chopped wood for the first time :) 

Watched my dad run a half-marathon in the rain :)
Celebrated birthdays :)
Went to Colorado
Saw my Dad run an impromtu 5K in Colorado
Saw lots of my extended family
My best friend got engaged!
Donated to the Kickstarter community (and began an art collection) 

Commissioned a piece of art
Realized that the details matter to me
Worked on Wolftree's first Ebook, "5 Pies and a Sugar Cookie"
Baked. A lot. (for me) 

Attended the Wolftree cooking workshop!! :D 
Read books. Lots and lots of books. (and contributed said books to my library- also known as my room)
Had a food fight in a bar, and didn't get kicked out
Helped my dad create a rink  in our backyard 

I applied for grad school (all done!!! *happy dance-> like this about 20 seconds in*)
Had 4 wonderful Christmases

Thank you to all of those who joined me this past year! I am excited to see what the future will bring for all of us!! :)

With gratitude and joy,