Thursday, December 25, 2008

Neighborhood Arts

In the process of working on my own website (the forthcoming that's live that rhymes with give, not with hive, got it?!?), I realized how much I like the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Website. Everything you could possibly want to find in the area is on the website--from places to eat and shop and take classes to all of the studios and galleries. The maps are particularly great--showing you where all of the galleries/studios are and giving you a picture with address details too. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Treats

It is always a treat when my husband and I get to spend some quality adult time out and about in the cities. Today we had an amazing morning by starting out with breakfast at Hell's Kitchen. Yes, the much ballyhooed lemon ricotta hotcakes (see left) lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Even better though, we found a treat to take home with us--the homemade peanut butter. Folks, this is not your typical Skippy. This is chopped peanuts with loads of honey and brown sugar. It's more like a dessert peanut butter. This will go into everyone's stocking next year. Amazing!

After our hearty meal, we headed out to Fort Snelling State Park to go snowshoeing on Pike Island. It is a woodland oasis nestled in the shadow and roar of MSP International Airport. The solitude and pristine snow conditions made this urban, outdoor adventure truly stellar. After today, I'll be more easily able to remind myself why winter in the Twin Cities is a wonderful thing.
Merry Christmas!

images: Hotcakes at Hell's Kitchen, Jumbledpile on Flickr; Pike Island @ Ft Snelling State Park, Sharon Somero.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Can you believe I've got one more post on geography and fonts?

I know I must be killing some of you readers who couldn't care less about cool maps and interesting type face, but for the rest of you geeks I thought I'd showcase these funky neighborhood maps today. Alas, Ork Designs has not launched a Minneapolis or Saint Paul version yet, but I'm hoping with enough gentle pressure we'll see one soon. Lots of other hip, progressive cities are featured (e.g. Portland, Seattle, S.F., NYC, etc) so I have to imagine that we'll make the cut soon. I bought the DC map yesterday to honor the place where my husband and I met, where my daughter was born, and where I spent 8 great years of my life--as well as to add some much needed art to our walls!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Extra! Extra! News in the land of citizen journalists

Yesterday I found myself on the Twin Cities Daily Planet website for a good half an hour or so. While I've been here many times before, this time I was struck by the high quality articles that freelance, non journalist, folks have contributed to the site. It's also great to be able to find stories about really neighborhood-specific issues that aren't covered in this kind of depth anywhere else.

We're also lucky to have MinnPost too. Replete with top-notch writers, many of whom have worked for the area's major dailies, Minn Post offers some great analysis and investigative reporting.

I'm still a traditional, print version newspaper junkie, but I love having other quality journalism outlets too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

For all lovers of fonts, geography, and humor

Hard to believe that a year has passed and that I have attended my second No Coast Craft-o-Rama. This year was really great--tons of excellent vendors with really interesting wares (not to mention the fact that Salty Tart is now located in the Midtown Exchange--so that now you can shop for handmade items with a pastry-cream filled brioche in your hand. It simply does not get any better than this!!) I heard from one vendor that they had over 300 applications for 80 slots. I think that they should consider expanding next year (while keeping it in the same location, because the Midtown Exchange is awesome!) My favorite vendor, Campfire, schlepped all the way from Akron, Ohio and I'm so glad he did. I can't believe that there is someone out there who shares my love of cool fonts and geography. I'm pasting a bunch of images of his awesome t-shirts here.

All designs from Micah Kraus @ Campfire.

A portrait of Minnesota Winter

Well folks, winter officially arrived in the Twin Cities last month (as evidenced by snow sticking on the ground--that's my litmus test.) And while we're sitting here in a bizarre 38 degree rain storm that will obviously freeze since tomorrow's highs are in the single digits, folks up north are getting slammed.

Our friend Pam recently wrote an excellent blog post about Minnesotans' tendencies to put up Christmas lights a month early. Pam reckons that we do it because it gets dark, really dark, really early, and for a really long time up in these latitudes. The lights, while a celebration of the upcoming holiday, are also a way of reclaiming some brightness during a long, dark, and cold winter. So thank you to all who emulate Clark W. Griswold this holiday season for giving us a little artificial sunshine, in a rainbow of colors, after 4pm!

image: Eric Hylden, Associated Press.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Uniquely Awesome

Alright, so this isn't officially in the boundaries of Minneapolis (or Saint Paul), but I just discovered the best thrift store of all time.  Unique Thrift on Stinson and 37th NE in Columbia Heights rules!!  Despite being packed, it was so neat and well organized that I couldn't believe it.  The merch was great and the lines moved quickly.  I'm so making the trek out this way again.  No offense Saint Paul, but this Unique location is waaaaaaay better than the one on Rice Street.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tasty Thursdays

I feel the need to give a shout out to own very own, James Beard Award winning, "Taste" section of the Star Tribune. Every Thursday, you can be treated to delicious recipes, a great wine review, and practical info about all kinds of gadgets, restaurants, and events. Not to mention the fact that I'm still so impressed with this years Holiday Cookie Contest winners--proof that not only can the Taste Section contributors write interesting copy, they can also judge a delicious cookie when they eat it! What more could you want?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Save the Date for NEXT October

On my blogging hiatus, I missed the chance to share the news of Hennepin County's "Choose to Reuse" month which fell in October. In celebration, the county issued a killer coupon book with discounts from a bunch of thrift stores and other eco-friendly retailers. I'm counting on everyone to help me remember this next year--so I can actually take advantage of the savings.

A great holiday gift for your budding Twin Cities Geographer

I recently bought this map for work-related purposes and cannot speak highly enough about it! If you want a beautifully illustrated map that includes EVERY neighborhood in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, get to Big Stick Maps ASAP and order this stunning gem. You'll discover some of the smaller neighborhoods you may have never heard of before as well as get your bearings straight in different parts of the city. A great resource for the geographer, city-lover, or map-nut on your shopping list.