Showing posts from November, 2019

Avoiding Thanksgiving

I have a really hard time with Thanksgiving; it's always been a slightly awkward holiday in my family, and it's when, years back, that it was clear my mom would not make it. So we like to try to get away over the weekend when we can (past trips have included London, New Orleans, and Vegas). This year, for some reason, it felt especially like we needed to get away, and so we decided to replicate a trip, twelve years ago, when we went to Chicago to stay at the Palmer House and escape the first Thanksgiving after my mom died — and we were off to Beatrix's first Chicago trip! On the way, though, we had the bonus of stopping to see our friends Michelle and Steve in Madison (who we also had not seen in forever). Let's just say that hilarity ensued, and it was one of the most fun nights I've had in forever! The next day, after a stiff cup of coffee, we drove on the couple of hours to Chicago, starting out at the Driehaus Museum , in all its Gilded Age glory. It was be

Shelter Empty

I'm sooooo divided about this. Minneapolis Animal Control had a "clear the shelter" event yesterday where they waived all adoption fees and all animals were adopted. Now the pessimistic part of me knows that animals given away for free are at a miuch higher risk for being mistreated, used as bait dogs in dogflghting, and other horrible things. Yet I am also told that this animal control division does a very good job of vetting potential owners. And it obviously worked to clear the shelter, making room for more animals in need and getting some animals into good, loving homes. Saint Paul just changed to having a fine-free library, which has been extraordinarily successful. While I'm not equating accidentally dropping a book into a bathtub with animal mistreatment in terms of consequences, it does make me wonder about how many people are unable to use public services because the fees charged are just not possible for people who might otherwise make excellent


Beatrix does not need us anymore. Or, more to the point, she had sleepovers both Friday and Saturday nights, allowing us to have two consecutive date nights. It's been about 15 years since that has happened (in fact, we realized when we were out on Friday night that it was our 15-year dating anniversary...) We started at The Mudd Room , a charming little speakeasy located under Lucky's 13 in Mendota Heights. Now if you know Lucky's, you know it's kind a a family-friendly zoo on the weekends, and when we pulled up it was in full swing, with a line out the door and no parking to be found. But somehow, when you enter the Mudd Room through the side, it's a whole different world — quiet, sophisticated, and charming. The room was almost empty, though it filled up quickly! We stayed perhaps longer than we should have, enjoying a delicious flatbread and lobster guac, as well as a few cocktails. It was lovely, and we could not imagine better! That is, until we got to

Salary Ranges on Job Postings - Why It's Important

I know. You've become used to this blog being a fun little thing about cocktails and activities. I rarely post about work-related issues, mainly because I'm usually just head down, doin' the work. But this one is really important to me. For the love of all things holy, when you post a job description, please include a salary range! I’m so committed to this that I’ve recently made the professional decision that I’ll no longer share job descriptions that don’t have a salary range in them.  I’ve been in this business long enough to remember when wages were the third rail that was never touched, and so it took some re-aligning on my part, but I’m glad I did. In the beginning, it flew against everything I thought I knew. Wouldn’t you want the ultimate amount of flexibility for the job, to bring in someone with promise at a lower level and let them grow with the position? Or to be able to draw someone at a higher level, who was interested in your organization? What i

Sweet as Cherry Pie

Beatrix was off of school yesterday, so she spent the afternoon with my aunt. She introduced my aunt to her favorite places, all of which were new to Jan — lunch at Cafe Astoria, a stop by J. Crew (we don't know why that's her favorite!), and Anthropologie (I think much of this interest stems form wandering down Grand Avenue with her friend Frances the other day....) They then baked cherry pie with cherries off our sour cherry tree at Summit that Jan had picked and frozen. Who says days off school are not educational?


Today. Back on the mat at Yoga and a Pint . Hard, but worth it. Went on a tour of Celeste Saint Paul , since we loved it so much after we visited the bar there the other night. Beatrix loved it as much as we did. Visited Aldo Moroni's studio to take part in what is likely his last big piece. Left in tears. (We're hoping to go back Friday for the "opening" — join us? Visited a new brewery — Broken Clock — with a great vibe. Tasty beer. Fascinated with the membership model but not sure I want to take one more thing on. Very dog-friendly. Ended the day with a (surprisingly enough) fantastic dinner at Buca . Who knew? Totally worth it to get on their dinner club list, because dinner for 3, with plenty of leftovers and a huge dessert, set us back under $30 with tip.

Make New Friends - Estelle and Celeste

While Beatrix was at a birthday sleepover last night (thanks, Ava's family!), Patrick and I went out after the Gala rehearsal to try some new places! First on the list was Estelle, a new Mediterranean small-plates place on Saint Clair and Fairview. I have fond memories of the place; I used to work there when it was Napoleon's, and when Patrick and I got engaged, we went to the bar there when it was Heartland. Estelle lived up to these memories! There's a nice cocktail and wine list. I had small plates — patatas braves which tasted just like Spain, and some delicious arancini. Patrick had rigatoni and soft serve (because, as the waitstaff said "the building came with a soft-serve machine."). Even with a reservation there was a bit of a wait, but staff was attentive, and for a place that only opened two weeks ago, it was remarkably smooth. It was all fantastic, and I will meet you there any day of the week! Next we decided to check out the bar at the new bou

Conference Lunch

This morning we had parent-teacher conferences at Beatrix's school. Middle school conferences are waaaaayyyy different than elementary school! We got 10 minutes with each teacher, which went by in a flash; yet at the same time that meant that we were at the school for almost two hours seeing eight teachers with a little time in between. Yikes! They were great, though, so we took Beatrix out to lunch to celebrate. She picked Thirty-Six Cafe , which just opened on Grand (in the old Himalayan Java spot, boy was that place short-lived!) And it was a great choice! It's very glamorous, with light pink walls and lots of pink and cream flowers, plus gold accents. And it was packed! It's kind of a breakfast/brunch place. They are known for their pancakes, which were fluffy and custardy at the same time and delicious! As to me, I might have finally discovered what all the fuss about avocado toast: We did not try the coffees, which was an oversight — we'll have to