Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

Today's favorites combine this week's "rude" theme with my love of TV. Why are the most selfish, ridiculous characters sometimes the most loveable? Here are five of my favorite TV characters who are incredibly entertaining to watch but would be horrible to interact with in real life!

1. Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm).
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2. Karen Walker (Will & Grace).
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3. Red (That 70s Show).
4. Marnie (Girls).
5. April (Parks and Recreation).
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Have a good weekend! Think nice thoughts:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rudeness challenge

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I don't know about you, but lately I feel like I'm drowning in negativity. Most of it is coming from sites like Facebook and Twitter, where people are either full out attacking other people or issues, ranting about some "horrible" experience somewhere or typing smug, little posts oozing with holier-than-thou attitude. Some of it is coming from people in real life too, whether it's someone at work, a stranger in the car behind me or random people I come across in public places. And of course there is also quite a bit of it floating around in my own head. I cannot escape!

I came across this blog post today and found out I am not alone.
It's an easy, short read, but to summarize: people are rude. We are all rude. And something needs to be done about it. 

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How many times have you heard, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" While it's helpful in some situations, and a lot of people would do well to follow such advice, why not go to the root of the problem and try to avoid the negative thought in the first place? Why is it so easy to be so mean? I cannot tell you how many times throughout the day the phrase "people are the worst" crosses my mind or escapes my lips. 

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I have especially noticed how angry I am when I'm driving. I used to take the bus to work, where my impatience and dirty looks were reserved for loud passengers, but now that I'm driving, everyone on the road has become an enemy in my race to save maybe two minutes on my entire commute time. 

At the gym, every tiny complaint I hear and every ridiculous statement I overhear just fuel my rage toward the ignorance and selfishness abundantly flowing through our society. So does every exaggerated, biased article I read, every injustice or hardship I see or experience, every time I see basic manners being ignored or someone being ridiculed for acting or believing in something different...pretty much every unkind thing I witness makes me grumpier and, oddly enough, meaner. Apparently I just want the impossible where everyone is nice to and accepts one another, which would make it much easier for me to be nice.

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I'm not naive enough to think that will ever happen. I may not have control over what other people are saying or doing, but there is plenty I can do about my own thoughts and behavior. There is no reason for me to let other people's bad attitudes or lack of self awareness bring me down. I have enough stress to deal with, and letting other people's poorly chosen negativity release methods bring me down even more is a waste of time and energy. And maybejust, maybeif I start thinking and acting in the manner I expect from others, it might start influencing them in a better way than a pessimistic or sarcastic comment would. 
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This is going to be much harder than it sounds for me, as I am human and quick to judge, but here is my challenge: for every negative thought I have about a person or a situation, I have to come up with two positive (and sincere) thoughts. Every negative action warrants two positive actions. Hopefully I can train myself to stop contributing to our rudeness epidemic, and I challenge you to try it too!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Favorites

Tonight we went to the Twins/Angels game, thanks to some awesome season-ticket-holding friends who gave us their seats. I usually go to a couple of games during the summer, but this was my one and only 2014 experience. Summer nights seem to be made for baseball games, and here are my five favorite reasons to go to a game:

1. The food (surprise, surprise): eating it, smelling it and walking the stadium just to look at it all. Brats, fries, burgers, ice cream sundaes in mini helmets—everything that just tastes better eaten outside. My must-have snack actually comes from Candyland, a few blocks away from Target Field: chocolate gummy bears. You have to try them.

2. KISS CAM! My ultimate goal is to actually be on it someday. 

3. People watching. The range of people brought together for the sake of a baseball game provides some pretty good entertainment, and since there's so much going on, it's easier to get away with checking everyone out. You know you do it too.

4. The general atmosphere. I just love the feeling I get walking into Target Field. There's a constant energy buzz, and you get a pretty awesome view no matter where you sit.

5. Trevor Plouffe, my favorite player. OK, so he's really only one of maybe three I can actually remember, but what a sweet name!

Least favorite part: The actual baseball playing. I just cannot get into it. And NINE innings? Is that really necessary?

Have a good weekend! Hopefully you can catch a game if you're in the area; they're here through Sunday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A glimpse into the life of. . .

     SHANE ERDMANN
I am excited to introduce you to someone who is living his passion—and getting paid for it, too!

I met Shane my freshman year of college when he was lucky enough to room with one of my good friends from high school, which meant I was constantly barging in on them, overstaying my welcome, obnoxiously spouting opinions about any and everythingbasically just being my fun self.

He ended up transferring, but we still keep in touch now and then, when he's not busy farming corn and beans in Fargo, and working as an owner of two businesses: Migrator Valley Outfitters, which offers spring snow goose guided hunting services, and The Shooting Park, which is basically what it sounds like.

So young, so successful, yet so down to earth. Read on to see how he does it!

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Tell me about Migrator Valley Outfitters: We guide goose hunts all over the Midwest.  We start down in Arkansas the first of January and then go to northwest Missouri,  and  finish up in northern South Dakota in April. We take roughly 400-500 hunters each spring and run clients from all over the US and other countries as well.
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When did you open The Shooting Park, and why? We opened in the summer of 2012. Basically, it was an existing business that had been run into the ground and had filed for bankruptcy. It was located adjacent to some land we farmed, and 40 acres of farm land came with the gun club. Long story short, we were the high bidder at a very reasonable price. 

We renovated the whole place and increased the 120 league shooters to over 650 this season. We have a full food menu and beer/wine license and also do a lot of corporate parties.

First job ever: Farm laborer for my dad.  

First job after graduating/first "grown up" job: Farmer/goose guide.
Dream job: Farmer/goose guide.
What is the best part about your job(s)? They all give me lots of flexibility, and I can somewhat make my own schedule.
What is the most challenging part? Staying on task and not procrastinating.

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What advice do you have for someone pursuing a similar career? Don’t be afraid to take a chance. If you work hard toward a common goal and make that your entire life with a few growing pains, if there is a market for what you are doing you will succeed.

What was the biggest obstacle to starting your own business not once, but twice? Money. Being a business owner, you can never have enough. Your overhead is always about 20 percent more than what you initially plan for, so don’t cut it short.
What advice do you have for anyone hoping to start one?
1. Do it on your own, if possible. Having a partner sounds like a good idea to split the risk with, but in the end if you believe in what you are doing you should be able to go it alone.

2. Don’t cut any corners. You only get one chance to impress your customers the first time; be sure you have all ends tied up before opening any sort of business.

What is your secret to balancing so many responsibilities?
I am very laid back. When I wake up in the morning I know things are going to go wrong, but you have to take them in stride and stay focused on the end result.
Three words to describe where you're at in life right now: Building, pursuing and accomplishing.
How do you define success? Success is when your dreams get bigger than your excuses.
Who has been your biggest influence, personally or professionally, and why? My dad. He has been very successful, starting from nothing, and has acquired a lot over the course of his lifetime. If I’m half as successful as him I will be very pleased.
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What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time? Hunting and just driving around looking at crops.

What is number one on your bucket list? Travel around Europe.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookie dough.

Thank you, Shane!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites

You probably already guessed what today's favorites would be, and here they are: some of my favorite eats at the MN State Fair!

Top three classics

1. Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies.

2. Original cheese curds.
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3. Roasted corn at the Corn Roast.

Top three of the new foods of 2014

1. Deep-fried buckeyes at Spaghetti Eddie's.

2. Izzy's jello salad ice cream.

3. SnoRibbons at Blue Moon.

LEAST favorite new food

Green Mill's pizza tots. Nice idea, but no.

You have three days left to try it all. Go now!

 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to eat your way through the Minnesota State Fair

If you live anywhere near Minnesota, or know anyone who does, then you are well aware that we are already one week into 12 of the greatest days of the year: the state fair.


State Fair 2013
There are a million things to do at the fair, but the highlight for me is obviously the food. Greasy, gooey, cold, hot, on a stick, in a bucket...it is (almost) all glorious. But one does not simply wander around the fair grounds eating whatever catches the eye. Plans must be made. Lists must be written. Here are a few tips:

*Put a little money aside in advance of the fair. Eating such awesomeness is not cheap.*

*The new food list comes out in June. Read it. Know it.*

*Do not go to the fair the first, or even second day. Food bloggers and editors all over the metro will try the new foods for you. Take their reviews into consideration, unless there is something you just have to try.*

*Make your list! Remember to balance the new with the classics. With around 300 vendors, this is not an easy task! And don't include anything you can get regularly outside of the fair. What a waste!*

*Plan your route. Take into account all the other sights and activities you plan to take in, and remember to balance savory, sweet, salty, rich, light and greasy foods.*


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The perfect ending.
*Prepare your stomach. I don't recommend extreme diets or "dieting" in general. It's a lifestyle, remember? But this lifestyle includes indulgences, so I try to be pretty strict a week or two before and after this once-a-year food adventure.*

*Enjoy your food! I have found myself rushing from one place to the next, eating as I go without taking the time to really appreciate the flavors. It's an experience; make it count!*


Hungry yet? I'll see you at the fair!




Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites

Some days (weeks...months...) it's easy to feel like a failure and remind ourselves of all the things we haven't accomplished. 
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Which is why I sometimes cheat a little and give myself little boosts of confidence when I accomplish (really) small, daily things. I certainly don't recommend losing sight of the big things we look to achieve, but sometimes it's nice to enjoy a false sense of accomplishment. Here are 10 of my favorites:

1. Cleaning. Whether it's the dishes, the apartment or just the litter box, it always feels good to un-dirty a little something in your life.

2. Folding and putting away clean laundry—especially if you're someone who has no problem leaving freshly laundered clothes in the basket all week. They are more accessible that way, after all. 

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3. Grocery shopping without impulse buying anything that contains chocolate or artificial cheese.

4. Only eating half of the ice cream you did cave in and buy when you had to go back to the store to get the three  forgotten items from yesterday.

5. Getting your butt out the door and working out when you really...really...do not want to.

6. Doing something social. Yes, I do congratulate myself on hanging out with someone other than my husband or a cat.

7. Doing something nice for someone else. Even if it's just smiling at a stranger or letting someone merge in front of you during rush hour.
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8. Showering. Hey, some days are a struggle.

9. Eating vegetables. Fruits are no problem for me. Veggies? Not so appealing.

10. Going to bed at a decent hour instead of procrastinating it all night just to resist the fact that the day is over.

Have a good weekend, and do something (semi) productive!