Archive for the ‘Cool things in Minneapolis’ Category

Twenty Years.

Frogs bring good luck.

Frogs bring good luck.

That’s a long time–not as long as my parents (55 years) or my in-laws (52 years), but impressive, I think, when 50% of marriages end for a reason besides old age. With multiple kids playing multiple sports, I understand how this anniversary can slip by, under-celebrated.

I looked for bargain airfares. Sailboats, beaches, and Margaritas beckoned but ultimately, we decided that rearranging childcare and transport for 6 games was too much work for too much money. Don’t call me a curmudgeon just yet. The romantic lives on.

Tonight, we celebrated the last day of school at a favorite restaurant, Glockenspiel in St. Paul (Jen, our favorite bartender always works on Tuesday nights). The banter was familiar, the Hefeweizen cold even though it’d been almost a year since our last visit (yes, we grew up Catholic). Tonight got us reminiscing about where we used to hang out — before kids, with flight benefits, and even now.

We’ve lasted longer than many of our employers or favorite haunts. All Saints Brands was a pre-internet importer and distributor of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, Gaja Barolo, and funky, tasty beer that was difficult to sell (Rogue Ales, Bells Brewery, and Geary’s). Northwest Airlines was gutted, sold off, and moved south. I still miss the flight benefits, though (the Replacements European tour seemed irresistible until i priced out the airfare).

But enough with the work stories: what about the beer? the tapas? the amuse-bouches?

Who’s left? Who’s gone? Who’s changed?


Pracna on Main, Minneapolis:  best gin and tonics (and where I met my husband)

Ciatti’s on Grand, St. Paul:  best cheap, late-night happy hour

Grandpa Tony’s on Randolph, St. Paul:  thank goodness there are other pizza joints

The 510 on Groveland, Minneapolis:  (sigh) truly missed:  impeccable service, linen tablecloths, and fantastic wine list

Around, but different:

Italian Pie Shoppe, St. Paul:  moved down the street to Macalester

La Cucaracha, Minneapolis:  gone, but still on Dale in St. Paul

Half Time Rec, St. Paul:  they serve food now!

Still clucking:

Frog et Rosbif, Paris:  English-style ales since 1993

First Avenue, Minneapolis:  many derivations and bleeding ears since 1970

Micky’s Diner, St.. Paul:  greasy eggs for over 70 years

Paradiso, Amsterdam:  a former church that became a creative center in 1968

W.A. Frost, St. Paul:  best patio, smallest keg room


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Travel = Museums

IMG_4549When I was 16 I wanted to see the Mona Lisa, in person. Travel means art museums. At home, like many people, I forget what’s in my backyard. Thankfully the Minneapolis Institute of Arts just send me a few emails reminding me of their new exhibit, Italian Style:  Fashion Since 1945.

Fantastic marketers, the MIA employs direct marketing via email and social media, such as their Facebook page and videos, to remind art lovers to visit. Getting there is only part of the marketing journey; consider the brochures, catalogs, and signage one encounters at a museum, as well. In fact, I have rather large box of postcards from museums I’ve visited all over the world.

Art in Your Backyard

Yesterday, I took my marketing communications students to the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery yesterday to understand the role of artists statements as supplemental media. In preparation, they read two different perspectives on this type of writing:

And then wrote their own about Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person and the Great Mother of Islam.

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery is free and open every day. Plan your visit, soon.

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Perhaps I have spring fever from watching the icicles melt outside my window. Regardless of the cause once it really is spring and not just a warm February day, I’ll head to the Mississippi below the U of MN and check for new graffiti. Until then last year’s photos we’ll have to suffice.

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Saturday dawned foggy and cool, but turned Minnesota Perfect after lunch:  sunny and breezy in the 60s.

This is the THE weekend to be outside.

If you’re not interested in traveling far, consider a drive to Shakopee to visit the Sever’s Corn Maze. Honestly, I’d never been to one until Social Media Breakfast-MSP (#SMBMSP) invited me–unless you count the 2 days I detasseled corn one summer and got lost trying to find the bus home.

Unfortunately, the day I went to Sever’s was freezing–upper 30s with a biting wind. But it was a great day to test my tech-friendly gloves from Talbot’s and take pictures free of frostbite. The Thumbs and forefingers have a special covering that works on touch screens.

While I had my “big camera” with me, I had a lot of fun playing with photography apps and my smart gloves. My Canon Rebel photos can be stunning, however I can’t share them until I download them at home (which I still haven’t done).

Taking Photos and Sharing Them

With my iPhone4, I have the native camera app, Camera+, Hipstamatic, and Instagram.

I take much better photos with Camera+ than I do with Instagram. It’s not only the cool special effects and touch exposure–the photos are clearer–even without the new 99¢ Clarity function. I don’t think it’s operator error either.

My method is the same with each app:  Open, Aim, and Click.

It’s easy to share my Camera+ photos to Twitter, Facebook, or via email to my dad, but Instagram is a social network. As soon as I snapped and shared the photo of the maze entrance (above), my friend Teresa Boardman of St. Paul Photos liked it! Plus I could look for other friends lost in the maze (or the corn pit that I somehow missed) by their photo maps and hashtags.

When my fingers aren’t freezing (and I have time to kill) I take pictures with Camera+, save them to my Camera Roll and upload them to Instagram. But it’s a lot of work just to share photos with my friends.

Tech Gloves, Typing, and Snapping

My gloves performed beautifully. In fact, I think I type more accurately with them–especially when aiming for an “o” and not an “i.” Oddly they worked better with Instagram than Camera+. I’m not sure why, though. While functional and fashionable, my bright red gloves are wool and slippery, which means driving with them is dangerous. This winter I’ll have to invest in lined leather ones, so I can answer my phone in the car.

Other than Taking Pictures,What Can You Do at Sever’s Corn Maze?

Just Imagine the State Fair with a lot of corn and pumpkins and you’ll get the idea. Here’s a few of the fantastically fun attractions:

  • Mini Donuts
  • Giant Slide (from the Fair)
  • Corn Pit
  • Pumpkin Shooting
  • Straw Bale Mini Maze
  • Camel AND Pony rides
  • Exotic Animal Petting (watch out for the Ostriches)
  • Farm Animal Feeding (the goats are cute)
  • Pumpkins for Purchase
  • Much Appreciated ATM

By the way, if you don’t automatically save your Instagram photos to your iPhone Camera Roll, read here for Mac or here for PC to learn how to download them.

Have a Super Sunday!

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I love to Tweet during conferences–it helps me remember and share the cool stuff I’m learning. However, even I can’t type fast enough to catch everything. So today I’m sharing the posted notes of Saturday’s speakers. Prefer photos or simply curious what the conference looked like? Take a peak at co-founder Arik Hanson‘s post, The Minnesota Blogger Conference recap–in photos.
NOTE:  The links are not complete. I’ll re-Tweet this post as I collect the speaker notes.

Session Speakers

 MN Blogger Conference Podcast Panel Notes

    • Moderator: Kate O’Reilly
    • Panelists: Steve Borsch, Albert Maruggi, Patrick Rhone

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I love First Avenue. It’s my downtown danceteria even if I don’t dance. But this is not a fangirl post. It’s about email marketing.

Like you, my email inbox clogs up with messages I’ve opted in to. I subscribe to Teresa Boardman’s real estate blog just because I like her photos. Business news comes from Fast Company’s Co.Design, and concert news from First Avenue. You get the picture. I get a lot of email.

Admittedly, I scan them from my preview pane. Most I delete.

I opened today’s missive from First Avenue, On Sale This Week because I saw the word “December.” No that’s not a band. It just means local band holiday shows are coming soon. I’m hoping Trampled by Turtles will play in town because the Dakotas (and the U.K.) are just too far away.

Tomorrow everyone can buy tickets to Mason Jenning’s December 22nd show. But today, me–I’m special. I have the secret code. I could buy tickets at noon today!

Well maybe I’m not all that special, because I’m sure I’m not the only email subscriber of First Avenue’s concert preview. But I still feel special. I feel important. I feel thankful and appreciated. Why? In addition to the value of the news; I’m getting first dibs on tickets to a concert that will surely sell out.

So what’s the point?

Your opted-in customers are loyal and valuable; don’t take them for granted.

Reward your brand advocates.

Test messages in your email campaigns. Do you get more clicks due to placement? or does content rule? What do your customers value? What offer will make them act?

Is this new? Not at all, but it works

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I realize that’s an odd question, but one that pertains to how we buy and value products and services.

Here are some examples:

  • You see a house go on the market in a great neighborhood and it’s sold in 3 days.
  • You hear a song on the radio and think, “Cool band, I’d like to go see them.” Then you find out the show sold out in 2 hours at First Avenue.
  • You attend an awesome networking breakfast that sells out in 20 minutes with 3 ticket drops.
  • Your favorite band is in town, but there are still tickets the day of the show–how can that be?
  • You just need a cheesy hamburger, but the line’s 30 feet out the door and it’s only 20 degrees out.

What do these experiences (all real) say about value?

  • You want to buy a house near Mattock’s Park in St. Paul? Get in line. It’s one of the most popular micro-neighborhoods in St. Paul.
  • The first time I heard Mumford & Sons on the Current, I was intrigued, but too slow to buy tickets in time.
  • The Java Meetup 612 group is entertaining and educational even if it’s at 8 in the morning–but maybe I shouldn’t tell you about it if I ever want a ticket again?!
  • Bob Mould played First Avenue Saturday night. I’ve followed his music since I was not-so-sweet 16. I couldn’t believe the show didn’t sell out until Friday. Doesn’t everyone know how brilliant he is?
  • And the storied, Juicy Lucy. You can buy them all over town, but if you go to the Blue Door in St. Paul, expect to wait.

As consumers, our value perception changes based on product availability. Are Mumford & Sons any better than Jeremy Messersmith just because its slightly harder to get tickets to them? No. But then music is subjective. How do we think differently when everyone’s talking about something? Despite Bob Mould’s stunning show on Saturday night, most of the buzz I heard last week was about Dessa’s sold out lipstick unveiling. I really like her, too, but Bob, well Bob takes precedent and he doesn’t play here that often anymore. Was the buzz shining for Dessa because she’s local and Bob moved away a long time ago? Does she have better public relations? And, oh, Dessa Red is sold out…

My point really is when something is continually sold out, when do we lose interest? How much hype is too much?

If you have an answer, find me Saturday at the Minnesota Blogger Conference — that is if you have a ticket. It’s been sold out for weeks!

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