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Thursday, July 31, 2014


We all have our life to pursue, 
Our own kind of dream to be weaving . . . 
And we all have the power to make wishes come true,
as long as we keep believing.

Louisa May Alcott

***What dreams are you weaving?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Eighteen months ago I got my first smart phone (Yes I was late to the party).  Since then I have been using it non-stop and have become addicted to all of the social media sites (there’s probably a 12-step program for that).  I truly don’t know what I did without it.

This phone case from Fossil is actually black plaid on red, 
but I use it with navy and red outfits.

The shirt, phone case, and boat shoes are all shades of purple.

One of the great things I discovered about my smart phone is the variety of phone cases that are available.  I have a few different ones and am always looking for others that are really cool.  My favorite is a navy case with white anchors from J. Crew.  It was exactly what I was looking for and I found it at a very good price online.  It’s my go to case.

Pink and green phone case from Greene.

The shirt is actually white, and the tie, pants, and socks are navy, 
like the J. Crew phone case.

A year ago I was at my friends Karla and Charlie’s wedding.  I was wearing a navy jacket and white shirt combo, and pulled out my phone (with the J. Crew case) to check something.  On seeing my phone case, one of my friends asked me if I had a phone case to match all of my outfits.  I found myself, rather sheepishly, answering “Not yet.” 

So this brings me to my question.  Are phone cases accessories? 

I have to admit that I will change out my cases depending on what I’m wearing, and clearly, from these photos, I’m definitely using them as accessories.  Is this just me though, or is this something that others do as well?  Or am I simply justifying a new addiction?

Orange Phone case from Fossil. 

This Brooks Brothers phone case matches the tie, and the KJP bracelet.

Knowing me it’s probably a combination of all of these things.  I'm guessing this is a piece of me I’ll just need to embrace.  In the meantime though, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the next great phone case I see.

***Do any of you use phone cases as accessories?  Where are 
     your favorites from?

Monday, July 28, 2014


Many cities across the country have statues and monuments dedicated to historic figures that were born, lived or died in those communities (often all three), and while Minneapolis has its share of those, it also has a rather unique monument to someone who never actually existed.

Back in the 1970’s, Minneapolis was the setting for what has become one of the most famous and groundbreaking television shows of all time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  This show was groundbreaking in that its main character, Mary Richards, was a single woman, who was not elderly or widowed, but rather, young and full of life.  She was established in her own career, was not looking for a man to “take care of her”, and even used birth control, and although the character dated quite a bit, she remained single throughout the entire seven-season run of the show (1970-1977).

In the opening credits of the show, Mary could be seen wandering the streets of Minneapolis getting to know her new home.  Finally at the end of the opening shots, she did what has become perhaps the trademark of a generation; she threw her beret up into the air as a sign of claiming her new city and her new life.  This hat toss has been ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the second greatest moment in television, and in 2002, Mary Tyler Moore was on hand to see a statue of that famous toss dedicated at the intersection in downtown Minneapolis where that shot was filmed (I was there too).  To this day, visitors and residents alike, stop to have their photos taken with “Mary”.

The other iconic location from the show, located in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis near Lake Of The Isles, is what has affectionately come to be known as “The Mary Tyler Moore House”.  Seen from the outside, this was the house owned by Mary’s snobbish friend and neighbor, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), where she rented a studio apartment next door to Rhoda (Valerie Harper).  This house was so well known that for years after the show ended, people would show up at the house and ask if “Mary was home?” and roughly 30 bus tours a day would still drive by over a decade after the show had ended.

The "Mary Tyler Moore House".

As I look at many of the reality shows on television today, it’s hard for me to see any of them having the lasting impact that The Mary Tyler Moore Show has had.  It’s been almost forty years since the show went off the air, and people are still looking to her to turn their “world on with her smile!”  That’s a connection Minneapolis is proud to have.

***Who is your all time favorite television character?

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Last Wednesday evening I met a friend downtown for dinner.  Afterwards, as I was walking to my bus, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of our Minneapolis downtown.  The buildings were just lovely.  Honestly I’ve always been impressed by our skyline, and for a city our size it’s pretty amazing. 

While the skyline is pretty impressive by day, I think it’s in the evening that the buildings shine in all of their splendor.  My favorite time to see them is at dusk, when the sky is just turning dark and the lights of the buildings are just coming into crisp view.  That was the point of evening that I was walking after dinner, and my sentimental side was filled with wonder and awe at the beauty that was awakening before me.

While other, larger cities give me that same feeling at this time of day, there is something special about how this happens in Minneapolis.  It’s always so unexpected, and I’m always caught off guard by its beauty.  That moment when the combination of daylight, and city lights is just perfect, enveloping me with feelings warmth and serenity.

Even the buildings downtown smile at their beauty!

Knowing this moment exists, I find myself looking for it at times when I’m near the downtown, but I rarely find it.  It’s something that can’t be planned or calculated out.  It just has to happen organically, and when it does, that moment is truly spectacular!

Friday, July 25, 2014


"The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck"

Walter Cronkite

Thursday, July 24, 2014


My friends will tell you that I start wearing shorts early in the spring and continue doing so on into fall.  They will also tell you about my love of color, and so likewise, my love of colored shorts.  

Over the years I’ve found that different brands fit (or don’t fit) differently, and it is sometimes difficult to find shorts that both fit well and are comfortable.  That problem was solved when I discovered the shorts from Izod.

Many of us are familiar with Izod because of their collaboration with Lacoste from the 1950’s into the early 1990’s, and a number of us sported their now famous polo shirts with the green crocodile.   Eventually, Cyrstal Brands, who owned the rights to the two lines, separated them to help boost its financially troubled company.  Lacoste was returned to its upscale reputation of the past, while Izod was designated as a mid-range product.  Lacoste retained its crocodile logo, and Izod now sported a patch logo.  This split wasn’t able to save the company and they eventually folded, selling off the brands.

Since the split, Izod has sort of received a bad reputation as a lesser quality product, but I’m not sure that’s quite fair.  As we’ve seen with so many of the long-standing icons of preppy clothing - Brooks Brothers, J. Press, LL Bean, Lands End, and others – the quality of many of their products has gone down considerably, so pointing fingers at Izod seems, well, pointless.

Like all companies nowadays, you have to sort through and find those articles of clothing that are well made. When it comes to Izod, for me that would be their shorts.  I have been very pleased with their quality, fit and wear, and I have several pairs in a variety of colors and wear them constantly.  They are one of the few brands that I can count on consistently to fit me well, and their prices are reasonable which is always a benefit.  In fact, now is the perfect time to buy them, as most stores have them on sale.

As with all clothing brands you have to pick and chose to find the better quality items, and for me, these shorts from Izod are a winning selection.

***Do you have a favorite brand of summer shorts?  Leave a 
     message below and tell me about them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This past weekend we celebrated National Ice Day.  I have to admit that when the summer temperatures start to rise, my favorite way to beat the heat is to reach for a bowl of delicious ice cream, but I’ve learned over the years that not all ice creams are created equal.  Shortly after I moved to Minneapolis, I discovered what is, for me, its most iconic ice cream shop, Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Cafe, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

The line is long, but moves quickly, and is SO worth the wait!

The ice cream company was started in 1984 and has been serving up an assortment of flavors ever since.  Made in small batches, this premium ice cream is made with the highest quality, all-natural ingredients, and you can really taste the difference.

This visitor from Canada enjoyed a tasty treat.

This difference is why every evening there is a long line of customers winding through the adjacent seating area, waiting for that delicious delicacy.  Their friendly and helpful staff, however, does an amazing job of getting people through quickly, and I think the longest I’ve ever waited was twenty minutes - which included taste testing a few of the flavors.  While I may add a second flavor, I almost always get their Salty Caramel.  It’s definitely my favorite.

The Salty Caramel is by far my favorite flavor.

They currently have two shops in Minneapolis and both locations offer a wonderful environment to enjoy and savor this frozen delight.  After a night out with friends or family, I think Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream CafĂ© is the perfect place to top off the evening.  Life’s cares just seem to disappear while you’re enjoying a cone or a bowl of your favorite flavor of ice cream.

***Where is your favorite Ice Cream shop, and what is your  
      favorite flavor?

Monday, July 21, 2014


Who says decorating a home, or my case an apartment, has to cost you big bucks?  This is one of my favorite pieces of art hanging in my apartment.  What I love about it is that it looks very expensive, but cost me less than $20 total. 

It began with the beautiful needlepoint square, which I found for a $1 at the annual rummage sale at Temple Israel in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis (a small investment for a very cool piece of needlework). 

A few weeks later I found the frame and mat on sale at Michael’s Craft Store for about $17 (maybe even less, I can’t remember now).  I matted the cloth in the frame and it was all set to go – a beautiful piece of artwork for a very small investment.  I’m always amazed by how many people like it and will comment on it.

Never be afraid to be creative when adding artwork to your home.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Nothing gives me more joy at this time of year than the beautiful flowers that suddenly appear everywhere around us.  

I’m humbled by the variety and colors of these fragile blooms, that give their all for such a short lifetime.  Their beauty never ceases to fill me with joy and happiness.

“The earth laughs in flowers.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 18, 2014


Lately I’ve been attracted to, and buying, striped bow ties.  There really isn’t any particular reason, it’s just what I’ve been doing, but that all changed when I saw this great bow tie from Bruno Piattelli.

I was walking past a store in the little shopping mall near where I live, when I happen to spot this tie on their mannequin.  I immediately went inside to check it out.  Normally I’m a little leery about buying lower end ties – I always worry about the quality and how long they will last, but this tie put my fears to rest.  Made from 100% silk it seems to be fairly well constructed, and looks to be as durable as my more expensive ties.  Plus I totally love the bright and vibrant colors of the plaid.

This tie reminds me not to let the price be the only criteria I use when purchasing a tie.  I have purchased some higher end ties that have not held up as well as I had hoped, and whose pattern I found matched fewer and fewer of my clothes as time went on.  This tie, however, is not only made well, its beautiful plaid colors are a basic pattern that will match many of my outfits for years to come.  

As we celebrate Bow Tie Friday, I’m happy to say that I totally love this new addition to my wardrobe.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


One of the most recognized and notable structures in Minneapolis is the Witch’s Hat Water Tower, located in the Prospect Park Neighborhood.  It is one of only three remaining original water towers in the city, and this past weekend the tower celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of it’s dedication.

It rained on Saturday of the anniversary weekend . . .

. . . so the line to enter the tower was especially long on Sunday.

Norwegian born architect Fredrick William Cappelen designed the tower, and its construction took place in 1913, on the highest natural land area in Minneapolis.  Many years prior, there had been a tower on this hill (most likely in the years 1825-1870) that served as a military sentry tower, to oversee caravans of oxcarts, used for trading, that would gather near the river crossing at St. Anthony Falls and then continue east on Territorial Road to St. Paul.

The view of the Minneapolis downtown before the Metrodome was torn down.

A view of St. Paul in the distance.

The tower is designed in the Romanesque Medieval style and originally had windows lining the winding stairs inside.  The windows were later removed or covered over during a 1955 restoration.   That same year the tower was struck by lightening and the city decided that it should be torn down.  The neighborhood residents did not agree, and started an intense, and successful, campaign to “save the tower,” and in 1997 the Water Tower and its surrounding Tower Hill Park were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Witch's Hat Water Tower seen here in 1914 (Minneapolis Historical Society photo) . . . 

. . . and today, one hundred years later, in 2014.

The Water Tower and its surrounding park were placed 
on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1997. 

With the one-time exception of its hundredth anniversary, the tower is only open to the public one day each year, on the Friday following Memorial Day, as part of the Pratt School Ice Cream Social.  If you are in Minneapolis on that Friday, I highly recommend that you visit the Witch’s Hat Water Tower.  It’s a view not to be missed!

***Some photo in this post are from our archives.