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Friday, August 30, 2013


While, much to my chagrin, we don’t have neighborhood ice cream trucks in my area of Minneapolis, I did get to attend an ice cream social with my friends Carla and Donna a couple weeks ago.  The evening was perfect for it.  The weather was warm with a cool breeze, and the attendance was great. 

These ladies were scooping ice cream late into the night.

The cookies went very FAST!!!

My friend Carla, one of the organizers, checking on last minute details.

Local businesses provided free ice cream, cookies, and beverages, while an amazing jazz trio provided music throughout the evening.  The event was very family friendly with two inflatable bounce houses, and a fire truck from the local fire department that children could climb on and explore.

This jazz trio, made up of neighborhood residents, was amazing!

The two inflatable bounce houses were very popular with the little ones.

My favorite part though was the petting zoo, which housed exotic baby animals – not your average petting zoo.  Young and old had the opportunity to pet exotic breeds of cattle such as the African Watusi, White Park, and Miniature Zebu, along with a Llama, Nilgai Antelope, a parrot, and my personal favorite, fainting goats.  Yes, you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.

The petting zoo include cattle from Africa . . .

. . . a llama . . .

. . . African antelope . . .

. . . And my favorite, fainting goats.

I volunteered with Donna to oversee the trash/recycle containers, and was most impressed by this.  The organizers had a “Green Team” who purchased special bowls, plastic cups, and plastic silverware that were all compostable!  (This was my first encounter with compostable plastic beyond trash bags.)  In fact, this was so well organized that between the compostables and recyclables, we were left with very little trash.  I’m always impressed when groups and organizations make “green” decisions, especially to this extent.

My friend Donna overseeing the recycling.

The firetruck was big hit!

The music played on, and the ice cream scooped well into the night, making this an incredibly fun and most enjoyable evening.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Last March, as I was putting together my outfit for Easter, I needed to find a yellow sweater vest, and so the hunt was on.  Fortunately the hunt was short lived, as the first place I stopped was Brooks Brothers, where I found the perfect vest.  It was their supima cotton sweater vest.

I loved this vest from the get-go as it was exactly what I was looking for.  It was the classic V-neck style that I love, with ribbed trim at the neck, arms and hem.  It was soft and very comfortable, but more importantly, this was the exact shade of yellow I was looking for.  Ok, I admit it.  I get little too particular about shades of color sometimes.

I was so please with this vest, that this summer when I was deciding on what I was going to wear to an event I was attending, I again returned to Brooks Brothers, and purchased this vest in orange.  I have been back since, and now have it in both kelly green, and purple – the purple is more on the bluish side but I like it.  It comes in a few other colors and I suspect I may get them as well, especially since they are on sale right now at half price!

I have been very pleased with this vest and it has definitely become one of my favorites.  It was perfect in the spring when there was a slight chill in the air, and will be perfect in the early fall as well - at least until I have to switch over to the merino wool.  If you’re looking for a great cotton sweater vest that’s both functional and beautiful, I highly recommend the supima vest from Brook Brothers.  But you’ll have to get it soon before they’re all sold out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I live in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, where the predominant color of clothing is black.  Actually that’s not too surprising as I think black tends to be the predominant color of clothing in most cities.  There’s the old thought that we should only wear darker, more subdued colors in the city, and leave the bright colors for the suburbs and country, but I’ve never quite bought into that.  Most of my friends will tell you that I love colors, and wear them pretty much all year round.

As far as black goes I do have a couple of black items of clothing but, truth be told, I’d rather wear navy.  I recently heard that in the preppy world, navy IS black, and I pretty much agree with that. 

Navy is perfect color for sweaters as we move into fall.

Personally, I think navy isn’t as stark of a color as black, and tends to look good on most people.  I also think navy is the perfect compliment to all of the other colors.  But what I love most about navy is that it works well in any season making it the perfect “bridge” throughout the year.  It seems to transcend the seasonal limitations.

Navy also provides the perfect background for the transition 
into the bright colors of spring.

However, I’m interested in what you might think, so please leave a comment below and share your thoughts on navy versus black.

As a prelude to that discussion, here are a few more photos of Minneapolis men in navy, showing how this wonderful color makes every season classic.

Layering navy during the cold winter months.

The navy jacket is the backbone of any wardrobe and works well with chinos . . .

 . . . Or jeans . . .

. . . Or as part of a great suit.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


One of my favorite late summer events is the Irish Fair of Minnesota, held each year on Harriet Island in St. Paul.  The three-day fair is held on the second weekend of August each year and is the nation’s largest free celebration of Irish Culture, playing host to 100,000 attendees annually.

My friend Steve in full kilt!

From Friday afternoon on through Sunday evening, there are dozens of cultural events for people to experience.  Headlining bands play on the main stage all weekend long while smaller music ensembles perform on other stages around the grounds.  A beer garden is located on the grounds and several food vendors line the walkway to the main stage.  Along with this, vendors sell their wares – some more authentic than others – in two different shopping tents.   All these are great by themselves, but what I think I enjoy the most are the information and demonstration tents.

Headlining bands performed on the main stage . . .

. . . While smaller ensembles performed on stages throughout the grounds.

Musicians entertained in the "Rose Garden" while customers 
enjoyed sumptuous pastries!

Vendors sold their wares in two shopping Tents.

Throughout the weekend, there are numerous education opportunities, on Irish Story telling, folklore, and history, in addition to demonstrations of Irish dancing, and various Irish musical instruments.  There are soccer and hurling demonstrations for the more sports minded, and my favorite, a sheep herding demonstration. 

Demonstrations included Soccer . . . 

. . . Irish dancing . . .

. . . And Irish instruments like these pipes.

The Cathedral of St. Paul stood watch over the weekend's festivities.

In addition to herding dogs, there are several breeds of Irish dogs on hand whose owners are happy to tell you about the history of each breed and how and why it was developed.  I’ve always been very fascinated by the breeds and learning their history just adds to their appeal

The sheep herding demonstration is my favorite thing to watch each year.

Irish Wolfhounds were just one of the many breeds of Irish dogs on display.

Bagpipe, drum and fife corps entertain us several times during the weekend, and also lead the various teams to the sports field.  Not being much of a sports fan, this gives the competitions a more authentic feel for me.

Bagpipes wait to lead the hurling teams on to the field.

My friend Todd bought a new hat.

The Irish Fair of Minnesota is one of my favorite summer events, and I always reserve the second weekend in August so I can attend.