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Thursday, April 30, 2015


Green grass, blooming flowers, and warm sunny days.  There's no doubt that spring has finally establish a firm hold in Minnesota, and that is something to dance about!

***How are you welcoming spring?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Last weekend, quite unintentionally, turned out to be an arts filled weekend as each day brought another experience of art in one form or another.  It all began on Friday with a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see the Habsburgs exhibit.

Before entering the exhibit there was a photo opportunity . . . 

. . . Complete with a crown to wear.

I’ve always been fascinated with the royal families of Europe, and a free afternoon on a rainy Friday, provided the perfect opportunity to visit the exhibit.  This collection, spanning the 600-year reign of one of Europe’s most influential families, begins with Maximilian I and ends with the dynasty’s dissolution following Word War I.  This must see exhibit, which shows the wealth, power, and great works of art achieved by the Habsburgs through marriages, battles, and their relationship with the Catholic Church, ends on May 10.

Artist, Stephanie Lake was commissioned to create jewelry inspired by the exhibit.

A rainy afternoon at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

When I returned home from the MIA, my friend Marisa texted to invite me to the St. Paul Art Crawl on Saturday.  It had been several years since I attended the Art Crawl, so I eagerly said yes.  The event took place throughout St. Paul, but we spent our time in the Lowertown area, near the historic St. Paul Depot.

Spring Fashion.

This young lady caught my ear because she was playing 
the theme from Star Wars on her violin.

I love these events because of the wide variety of mediums and styles they feature, and the afternoon lived up to my expectations.  A number of the buildings in the area have been converted into artist’s studios and loft/studios, which adds to the charm of the area.  After a rainy day on Friday, the weather on Saturday was sunny and warm, making it the perfect day for the Art Crawl.

Photos of participating artists were mounted on the outside walls of the buildings.

The Historic Depot.

This amazing installation in the depot, consisted of hanging light pendants 
that changed to project a movie of people swimming.

Finally, my Arts weekend came to an end as I, unexpectantly, was able to attend the James Sewell Ballet.  I’ve mentioned before that the JSB are my favorite dance company in the Twin Cities, so I always look forward to their performances, and their current offering, The Silk Road, did not disappoint.

The title selection, a mixture of Eastern and Western sound, was the first piece performed and featured music from internationally acclaimed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.  The piece was amazing, and the performance was wonderful.

After a brief intermission, the audience was treated to Dusty Realms, which originated with the company’s Ballet Works Project, followed by a short piece entitled Tryst.  The performance ended with Into The Spin, which featured the music of Dessa, a Minneapolis based singer, rapper, and spoken word artist, and was one of my favorites in this collection.  The Silk Road has performances through this weekend so if you if you have a chance, be sure not to miss this production.

The James Sewell Ballet performs in the Goodale Theater at the Cowles Center.

Though unintentional, my weekend filled up with a number of incredible events.  I think what I like most about the Twin Cities, is their long-standing commitment to the Arts in all its many forms - a commitment that can sometimes provide us with wonderful surprise opportunities.

***What kinds of Arts opportunities do you enjoy?

Monday, April 27, 2015


My Favorite outfit from an art filled weekend!

This was my favorite outfit from the weekend:    
               French Blue Shirt:  Jos. A. Banks
               Sweater:  L.L. Bean
               Bow Tie:  Brooks Brothers
               Khaki Pants:  Tommy Hilfiger
               Shoes:  Nordstrom's 1901 saddles
               Socks:  Brooks Brothers
               Watch:  Timex
               Watch Strap:  Brooks Brothers

***What did you wear this weekend?

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I love the simple and natural beauty of this garden ornament.  Under the watchful eye of the eagle new blooms will soon appear.

***Do you have a favorite garden ornament?

Friday, April 24, 2015


Few years back I began the migration from long ties to bow ties.  It was at first an intimidating move that now seems old hat to me.  While I still wear long ties now and then, I must confess that bow ties are part of most of my outfits.  In fact, if you were to ask my friends, many of them would say that bow ties have inadvertently become my trademark.  Although that was never my goal initially, I must admit that I really do love wearing bow ties.  

I also love the "Bow Tie Fridays" craze, established online in response to "Casual Fridays" which seem to have gotten out of hand at times - are sweatpants really considered appropriate Casual Friday work attire?.  The second weekly social media event I want to mention is Flash Back Friday, or #fbf, an opportunity to "flash back" and remember an earlier point in time.

With these to items in mind, I would like to welcome you to the second installment of a series I like to call, "Flash Back Bow Tie Friday," which is designed to feature bow ties and looks from my past.  While this "flash back" version won't be a weekly component, it will pop up now and then.

Today I want to "flash back" to the very first bow tie I purchased from The Bow Tie Shoppe.  I've mentioned before, that Renee Larson is one of my favorite local bow tie artisans, and her creations are nothing short of spectacular.  This beautiful floral denim diamond point tie is one of my favorites.  I love it because it can be dressed up nicely, but also is perfect when you want to add a bit of casual comfort to a great outfit for a night on the town.  This tie can easily go from work to Happy Hour to beyond.

I first met Renee a year ago, after several of my friends kept telling me that we had to meet, and I have been very impressed with her and her bow ties ever since.  I love supporting local small business, but there are only a couple of local bow tie manufactures that I support and promote.  Renee is definitely one of them.  She has also been chosen as a commissioned artist by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, to create a line of bow ties inspired by the MIA's collection to celebrate their 100th anniversary.  I hope to have more on that later.

When it comes to amazing, locally hand made, one-of-a-kind bow ties, I can't say enough about The Bow Tie Shoppe.  Renee's creations are top notch, and a true pleasure to own.  If you haven't already checked out The Bow Tie Shoppe's products, I urge to do so, but remember, many of them are one-of-a-kind and sell out quickly, so be sure to buy now!

***Have you made any purchases from The Bow Tie Shoppe?

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Even though spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, our weather has been inconsistently warm.  After a beautiful sunny weekend, we’ve had light snow on both Monday and Tuesday of this week.  These cooler temperatures mean that we still need to add a sweater before leaving the house in the morning, and when it comes to sweaters, I love this yellow cotton/cashmere sweater from L.L. Bean.

During this “in-between” time, when it’s cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and cooler again in the evening, this sweater is perfect for layering, and its lightweight material means that it won’t be overly warm, yet will still keep out the chill.  I chose to buy it in yellow because it’s quite possibly my favorite springtime color, and it can easily be dressed up or worn casually, making it a truly versatile sweater for spring.

When comes to springtime layering, nothing keeps out the chill like this cotton/cashmere sweater from L.L. Bean.  It’s the perfect bridge to warmer days ahead.

I Wore This Sweater On The First Sunday Of Spring:    
               Light Blue Shirt:  Jos. A. Banks
               Sweater:  L.L. Bean
               Bow Tie:  Social Primer for Brooks Brothers
               Khaki Pants:  Tommy Hilfiger
               Shoes:  Yellow Calvin Klein Felix
               Socks:  Vannucci
               Phone Case:  J. Crew
               Watch:  Timex
               Watch Strap:  Timex

***Do you have a favorite sweater for spring?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


One of the most talked about events of the weekend was the limited edition collaboration of Lilly Pulitzer and Target.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), I was out of town at a somewhat remote campground for a work event and missed the balk of the frenzy as it was happening.

The limited release collection sold out quickly, both online and in stores, creating a number of unhappy customers who took to Twitter to voice their frustrations, while others posted boastful tweets featuring the many items they had acquired.  Then there were the people who purchased tons of items, only to list them on eBay at greatly inflated prices.  No matter how you look at it, there is no way for a limited release collection to please everyone.  It does however, teach a valuable lessen in supply and demand.  People complaining about the scarcity of items only shows what a demand there is for the products.

So why do a limited release collection rather than offering an ongoing line in the stores?  Well first off, having done these limited collections in the past, I’m sure Target knows how profitable they can be.  Secondly, I’m sure Lilly didn’t want to lessen the demand for their core line.  From a business standpoint this type of collaboration can be a win/win situation for the companies.  Target increases sales; and Lilly has an opportunity to introduce their products to a much wider market. 

In addition to the people voicing their frustrations on Twitter at not being able to purchase items, there were also people posting derogatory comments about “fake Lilly” versus the “real Lilly.”  Given their need to comment, I suspect those people were just upset they weren’t able to pick up a few good deals on Lilly products.

The Lilly For Target limited release collection was given ample hype and advertising before the release date, and everything paid off for both companies involved.  Given this success, I hope we’ll see another Lilly/Target collaboration soon.

(Lead Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Target)

***Were you able to purchase items from the Lilly For Target            

Monday, April 20, 2015


Last October I posted photos from Camp Eden Wood showing the beautiful fall colors that had taken hold there.  Over the weekend I had the opportunity to return to Eden Wood, located on beautiful Birch Island Lake, and was able to see how the trees and bushes are now now starting to don their fresh green leaves of spring. 

The bright shades of green popping out amidst the brown lawns and branches at Camp Eden Wood were wonderful see.  Spring has definitely arrived in Minnesota, and soon all of our trees will be in their full springtime attire.  This is truly a wonderful time of year.

***How are you enjoying these early days of spring?

Friday, April 17, 2015


This was one of my very first bow ties, and was my first reversible bow tie. It was from a collaboration that Brooks Brothers did with Social Primer. Over the next few months, several more from this collaboration would find their way into my collection.

***Do you have any bow ties from the Brooks Brothers/Social Primer           collaboration?

Thursday, April 16, 2015


On my way to the theater a couple of weeks ago, I took a short cut through Calhoun Square (a small shopping mall in my neighborhood), and too my surprise I ran into my friend Lee from Five Watt Coffee who was there for the Arc'Teryx Grand Opening and spring line introduction.  Lee was promoting Five Watt’s sister company, Big Watt Beverage Co., and I was thrilled.  I hadn’t had the opportunity to try their cold coffee yet, so I was glad they had a couple of kegs on hand for sampling – yes, coffee in a keg, how cool is that!

Since I was on my way to meet friends, I didn’t have a long time to visit (be watching for future posts later on), but I can tell you that their cold brewed coffee is some of the finest I’ve ever tasted. and I will definitely be having more.  As I’ve stated before, Five Watt is one of my favorite coffee venues in the city, and now Big Watt just broadens that amazing experience out even further.  

If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out both Five Watt Coffee and Big Watt Beverage Co.  Your inner coffee guru will thank you.

***Where is your favorite place to get cold brewed coffee?