Monday, March 30, 2015

Work Hard, Play Harder

Steve and I returned yesterday from an RV road trip to Nashville and back with Girly Muse and her family.  My first ride on an RV and my first time in Tennessee.   RV life had it's challenges, but we got the hang of it eventually.  We met some lovely people, ate great food (on and off the RV), and even managed to squeeze in a few rounds of Disc Golf.

"We" worked a little bit too.  Music was made.  A documentary film is underway.  I'm so excited to share these projects with you in the next several months.

There are too many highlights to count, but it would be wrong not to mention spending the day in downtown Franklin, TN.  GREAT shopping, food, and overall atmosphere.  I could have done some serious damage in just about every shop, but I was a very good girl.

Scarf: TJMaxx?,  Jacket: Levi's via JCP,  Dress: Wet Seal,  Boots: Coconuts via DSW

About this outfit...
I wore this to the church we visited in Dayton, OH on Sunday.  It garnered some attention from a few little girls in the congregation who confused me for Kristen Bell (score!).  You're never too old for a tutu.  Refer to this post to see how I originally styled this dress.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

World Water Day

Hi!  I'm honored to have been asked to participate in World Water Day, March 22!  Fact is, approximately 748 people lack access to a commodity that I take for granted every day.  Every minute a child dies due to contaminated water and poor hygiene.  Real stuff.

To raise awareness, I'm wearing this gorgeous, silk scarf from the World Vision Store.

Watch this short video for an inside look at the impact the water crisis has made in one girl's life.   Check out all the opportunities World Vision has to share, donate, and get involved.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mickey Needs a Tan

And so begins outfit-posting season...

Hat: My mom-in-law made it!,  Plaid: JCP,  Sweater: Target
Jeans: Gap,  Boots: KMart

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Macy's Flower Show 2015

Who is ready for Spring?  According to my handy weather app, temps are on their way up starting tomorrow.   Perfect timing, as my level of pastiness has reached a low even Casper would envy.  Kidding not kidding.

Every year, I want to attend Macy's Flower Show and every year something comes up to prevent me from going.  This year is no exception.  I plan to be on a road trip while stuff blooms here at home.  I do hope to be back in time to have brunch with the Easter Bunny.  Because....hello, it's a massive Bunny who delivers creme-filled chocolate eggs.

The theme for 2015 sounds especially magical - Art in Bloom.   Macy's is promising quite the gallery exhibition at their beautiful Downtown Minneapolis location.  They've supplied an extensive calendar of events.  You're sure to find something to inspire your Spring projects.

Taste of the Oak Grill
March 21st – 5:30PM
12th Floor, Oak Grill RestaurantGuests will enjoy a four-course meal of traditional and specialty menu items paired with four different wines. Those attending this event will also get a sneak peek of Macy’s Flower Show that evening. Guests will receive a coupon for 10% off at the Flower Show Marketplace & CafĂ© as well as a coupon for 10% off of a future dining experience at the Oak Grill. Tickets are $35. For more information, please visit

Chef Marie Hansen Culinary Demonstration
March 23rd – 12noon
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Join Macy's Chef Marie Hanson as she whips up some delicious springtime desserts inspired by the theme 'Art in Bloom".  Be sure to stick around to enjoy her samples and learn her techniques to make these tasty treats at home.

Rinata Restaurant Culinary Demonstration
March 24 – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Rinata is an Italian restaurant located in Uptown whose focus is on simple homemade Italian cuisine.  Everything from the pasta to the desserts is made from scratch using the best ingredients from local sources when available.  Chef Erik will be demonstrating how to make one of the pasta dishes for which Rinata is famous as well as bringing some of their delicious focaccia bread for everyone to try.

Libertine Restaurant Culinary Demonstration
March 25th – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Libertine is an Uptown-tailored bar, restaurant, and “third space” hangout created by Tim McKee to bring new freedom and flexibility to drinking and dining in the neighborhood. Executive Chef Stephan Hesse’s eclectic menu features “old school” butcher cuts of meat, a range of shareable vegetarian dishes, and a boozy weekend brunch. Chef Stephan Hesse will be showcasing some of Libertine’s most famous shared plate recipes with tastings.

Erte Culinary Demonstration
March 26th – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Erte and The Peacock Lounge have an old European feeling, a Parisian Steak Salon in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Historic Arts District. The Lounge has been awarded with the best martini around and Erte hosts some of the most talented local musicians offering a variety of jazz, pop, and blues! Get ready for Erte's Executive Chef, Jeffrey Klemetsrud who will demonstrate one of his one of a kind recipes.

Bachman’s Floral Arrangement Class
March 26th – 5:30PM 
8th Floor, Auditorium Hallway
Bachman's experts Leah Schmidt and Karen Ortiz will demonstrate how to express yourself through the art of floral arranging and teach how to make those beautiful bows which add that perfect pop of color or subtly camouflage a bare spot. Guests will receive ribbon to practice at home and create their own creations. Guests can also enter for the chance to win one of the arrangements created during the demonstration. Space is limited. To RSVP, call 1.800.329.8667.

Artist Marketplace
March 27th – 12noon 
2nd Floor, Skyway Level
Join Dana Sikila as she creates her masterpiece using printmaking, performance and a little help from the audience. Return on April 3rd to take a picture with the finished product. Stop by the poet’s corner and for a personalized haiku while enjoying the sounds of the sitar, a photo booth and more. For more information on these activities, visit, and

Macy’s Bunny Brunch
March 28th – 9AM – Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis, 12th Floor, Oak Grill Restaurant
March 29th – 10AM – Macy’s Ridgedale & Southdale Stores, Lakeshore Grill Restaurants
March 29th – 10:30AM – Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis, 12th Floor, Oak Grill Restaurant
April 4th – 9AM – Macy’s Downtown Minneapolis, Ridgeadale & Southdale Stores
It's an exclusive brunch with the Easter Bunny! Enjoy a buffet brunch, Easter fun and a visit from the Bunny himself. Tickets are $23.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids under 10 years. Children under 12 months of age are free. Tickets can be reserved starting March 8th at 12noon by calling 1.877.556.2297 or by visiting 

Family Fun Day
March 28th – 2PM 
4th Floor, Kids Department
Join us for a fun day of face painting, balloon twisting, games and more. Enjoy arts and crafts by The Children's Theater Company and dance the day away with the Blue Engine street team.

Solomon’s Bakery Culinary Demonstration
March 30th – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Solomon’s is an all-natural, from-scratch bakery with a focus on organic, local, European-style breads and pastries. Don't miss this fun and exciting culinary experience by their executive chef who will demonstrate how to make perfectly baked goodies. They will also discuss the steps and provide useful tips on making delicious masterpieces at home. Visit for more information.

Chef Susan Johnson Culinary Demonstration
March 31st – 12noon  
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Macy's Chef Susan Johnson will be sharing her secrets for making delicious home-cooked meals that are healthy, but tasty.  Sample her dishes and learn tips from the best to practice at home.

Foxy Falafel Culinary Demonstration
April 1st – 12noon  
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Foxy Falafel is a Middle Eastern inspired restaurant and food truck.  They source local, organic, sustainable ingredients as much as possible and cater to many different dietary needs. For their Flower Show appearance, their expert chefs will be demonstrating their most popular food items from hummus, gyro meatballs, cauliflower steaks and more. For more about Foxy Falafel, visit

moto-i Culinary Demonstration
April 2nd – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Join Chef Omar Gillego as he demonstrates how to prepare some of the small plates from moto-i ramen and sake house, located on Lyndale and Lake Street. Grab a seat and take this exciting chance to sample Japanese pub food at its finest.

Wine & Canvas Art Class
April 2nd – 5:30PM  
8th Floor, Auditorium Hallway
Join Macy’s for an evening filled with wine and painting. Wine and Canvas brings art classes to some of the most popular businesses in the Twin Cities with a centrally located studio cafe and spaces for both public and private events. For Macy’s Flower Show, they will be hosting a spring inspired painting class. No experience is required. 21 years or older only. Space is limited. To RSVP, call 1.800.329.8667

Chef Tom Douglas Culinary Demonstration
April 3rd – 12noon 
Lower Level, Culinary Kitchen
Join Macy's Culinary Council Chef Tom Douglas as he demonstrates how to prepare some of his favorite award-winning dishes with scrumptious samples. After the demonstration, explore the latest in cookware and gadgets for the kitchen. With any purchase of $35 or more in the Home department on the day of the event, guests will receive a $10 Macy’s gift card* and a copy of Tom Douglas' book, The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, which he will sign. Seating is limited. To RSVP, please call 1.877.556.2297. To learn more about the Macy’s Culinary Council and upcoming events, log on to or follow @CulinaryCouncil on Twitter. *while supplies last

Flower Show Artist Marketplace
April 3rd – 12noon  
2nd Floor, Skyway Level
From wheel to masterpiece, stop by to see Sam Norman demonstrate the art of pottery-making while visiting Macy’s Flower Show. Let Scott Pinks create a personalized cartoon strip, be entertained by a Flamenco performance, and take a picture with Dana Sikila's finished masterpiece. For more information on these activities, visit, and

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Speaking Style

There are things in life that make me very uncomfortable.
  • Large insects.  Naturally.
  • Sting Rays.  The magnitude of this fear manifested on vacation recently.  Get those water rats away from me!
  • Gas stovetops.  Every time I turn one on, I'm sure it's going to torch my face off.
  • Microphones.  The amplified sound of my own voice is horrifying.
  • Public Speaking.  Goes along with the microphone thing.  Even if there isn't a microphone, being the center of attention freaks me out.  Watch <please do not watch> as my ears turn a shocking shade of red.
There are legitimate, justifiable fears - things that gross me out or threaten my safety.  Then there are irrational quirks that would be beneficial to overcome.  Normally, I would just say no.  Noooooo.  No way.  No, thank you.  Yet something in the last couple years has prompted me to reevaluate that response.  Perhaps I should be less afraid of the color of my ears and more afraid of missed opportunity.

When Jackie of the Self-Love Sisters group asked if I would be willing to speak to her group about dressing for body type, I thought to politely decline.  But given the concept behind this group of women, I reconsidered the offer.  I dress people for a living.  There's no good reason I couldn't share my knowledge on the subject with a small group of friendly strangers.  The more I think about it, the more pumped I get about this event.

It'll take place at Sisu where there are comfy chairs, snacks, bubbly beverages, and likely an adorable dog or two.  We'll tackle subjects like Why Clothes Matter, Identifying Body Type, Discovering Personal Style, and lots more.  There will be a shopping bonus too! - get 15% off your Sisu purchase.

Come on out Wednesday, March 11 at 7pm.  It'll be really fun.  Register you (and maybe a friend or two) right here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vacation Video

Here are some highlights from our vacation!  We cruised with 3 other crazy couples.

Highlights include (but definitely not limited to):
Roatan - aka The Happiest Place in the World
Swimming with Dolphins
Reading in the sunshine
Nate wins Sexiest Man Competition
Unlimited icecream

Get Me Outta Here - Cruise 2015 Highlights from Hungry Pug Studios on Vimeo.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Reivew: Maybe Maby

Buy it on Amazon
Meet Maby (rhymes with baby, short for Mabel). I've started and scrapped several book reviews about her.  Mainly because she's complex and I want to do her justice without giving too much away.

Of Willow Aster's leading ladies, Maby is definitely the crazy one.  It's not that I like her more or less than Sparrow or Caroline.  I just identify more with a character whose issues are more internal than circumstantial.  Maby has plenty of both.

Even before Maby's mom (her only true friend) dies tragically, there are problems.  She's left grief-stricken and alone with only obsessive routines to keep her from completely losing it (me: also a lover of routine, especially during dark times).

Chance encounters with guys from her past temporarily distract from her dismal life, but the result is more complication and heartache.  And the whole time I'm like, ugh. this girl needs a do-over. if only she'd give herself a flippin' chance...

And so it begins with a sassy haircut and a second look at the cute boy from the coffee shop.

Maby is full angst and volatile personality, but she's delivered in a fresh, authentic way that adult readers can appreciate.  If this were a movie, I'd call it a dark-ish comedy and rate it R for sex and swearing.  At it's core, Maybe Maby is an entertaining story about overcoming crazy with opportunity.  I've read it twice.  Count them: one...two.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wine & Canvas - Sisu Style

I'm back from a glorious, Caribbean vacation!  Ok, so I've actually been back for over a week now, layin' low.  There will be documentation of the trip at some point.  I've been posting a few of my cruise/island outfits on Instagram, so you can check that out in the meantime.

February is full of fun.  It makes it so much easier to be home.

Wine & Canvas is coming to Sisu.  Instead of canvas for the wall, it's canvas for the feet in the form of Bucketfeet sneakers.  Brilliant, right?

February 26, 7 - 9pm.  $60 includes the shoes + art supplies, wine, snacks, and a shopping discount for the evening.  Call the store (651-436-2076) to register and reserve shoe size.  I'm not sure whether to go with a plan or wait and see what creative juices flow once I have a marker in my hand.  I've been perusing BucketFeet's Facebook gallery for inspiration.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Audrey Grace & Co.

Attention everyone who shops for tiny, stylish humans of the girly variety.   My friend Nadine just launched her new children's line!  She's incredibly talented and it's been so cool for me to be a part of this exciting process.  Check out the press release and lookbook:

Local Designer Launches Children’s Clothing Line 

St. Paul, Minnesota (January 16, 2015) – St. Paul native Nadine Ryther has expanded her custom clothing creations, launching a new Children’s line named for her two daughters, Audrey Faith and Meredith Grace. Her new company, Audrey Grace & Co., specializes in unique clothes and accessories for adventurous girls.

Ryther’s love for sewing and custom design started in high school, where she made mostly special occasion garments for herself and friends. She excelled at her craft through those years, and the decision to sell her wares was largely influenced by her friends, who weren’t satisfied with ‘off the rack’ choices.

Children’s clothing wasn’t on Ryther’s mind at first. After the birth of her daughter in 2006, she found a new passion in making clothing as happy, fun and adventurous as her own girls, without sacrificing their active personalities. “I didn’t want them to look like ‘mini-grownups’,” Ryther said. “I like that they are girly, but still want to jump on the furniture.”

 Ryther wanted to start her business for the past several years. “The timing just wasn’t right,” she explained. “The kids are a little older now. My husband Scott and I realized that it’s time for this new venture. We can finally move forward with our dream.”

Audrey (age 8) and Meredith (age 3) provide Ryther with much inspiration, and also double as her clothing models. Audrey Grace & Co. is “clever clothes for happy, sassy girls”.

The local community is also foremost on Ryther’s mind. She’s chosen to launch her first line at Teeny Bee Boutique on Selby and Snelling in St. Paul. “I like that they are local. I was raised here, I’m raising my family here, and now I’m building a business here,” she said.

The full line (sizes Newborn-5T) can be found at Teeny Bee Boutique at 1560 Selby Ave. in St. Paul, MN. Shop hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Instagram: audreygraceco

Friday, January 16, 2015

Vinyl of the Month: The Best of Andrae' Crouch & the Disciples

I didn't know that turntables were actually making a comeback.  My obsession began with Kiera Knightly's character in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.  Then was further solidified watching Almost Famous.  Several times, I talked myself out of the seemingly ridiculous notion of owning a record player.  The drawback simply being that I didn't own any records.

And then there was Taylor Swift's speech at the AMA's.  "To the fans who went out and bought over a million copies of my last 3 albums - what you did by going out and investing in music and albums is you're saying you believe in the same thing that I believe in, that music is valuable and that music should be consumed in albums and albums should be consumed as art and appreciated..."

Damn you, Taylor Swift, for how obnoxiously perfect (and right) you are.

I love music.  But the last time I purchased an album?  Long time.  Mainly because there's something about the digital medium that just doesn't do it for me.  I never have enough space on my phone for music.  In the car, I listen to the radio or old CDs.  I've been a lazy music lover and it was time for that to change.  I could get excited about records.

Christmas Day, guess what my in-laws had under the tree for me?  The cutest, lime green, portable record player!  And with that, an invitation to raid their old box of records to get my vinyl collection started.  Steve helped me pick out some good ones.  I hope to share one new (or old) record with you here every month.

Buy it on iTunes or find it on Vinyl
One of the gems we dug out of the basement was The Best of Andrae' Crouch & the Disciples.   This great man of gospel music passed away on January 8 this year.  There would be no better choice for my Vinyl of the Month.  One of my favorite church songs of all time is My Tribute (To God be the Glory).  I had no idea so many other great, familiar songs belonged to Andrae' Crouch.  The ones I grew up with in my music-centric, charismatic, inner-city church - like Soon and Very Soon - didn't surprise me.  It's the songs from my yuppy-conservative, Christian private school - like Jesus is the Answer - that made me realize the extent of his influence.  Andrae' Crouch blurred lines between urban gospel and contemporary Christian genres.  He crossed barriers between black and white artists, and between religious and secular worlds.  I think that's awesome.  Long live his legacy.