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Archive for the ‘Cool Things in St. Paul’ Category

As a teenager I lived on Diet Coke. I’d wake up at 5:00 a.m. and drive to swim practice with a can in my hand. I gave up that habit a long time ago, but every so often I’ll buy one on a hot summer’s day, drink two sips, shake my head in wonder and dump it out. In case you’re curious it tastes like overly carbonated chemicals to me — or just weird (if I were being polite).

I drink a lot of water, the occasional good beer and fantastic wine when I have the chance. However, every so often I want something sweet. Crystal Light doesn’t cut it.

Unrequited Love

Homemade lemonade satisfies, but few restaurants serve it on their menus. Last summer I bought some at a Bastille Day celebration flavored with lavender. It was sublime — tart, slightly sweet and meant to be savored. I’d drink it all the time if I could find it.

Enter Cribbage

Board games don’t obviously have much to do with my search for limonade à lavande except you find plenty of games at tap rooms. And beer + games = fun. Having mastered UNO, Candyland and Monopoly I needed a challenge. I tried golf. Golf goes well with beer and my husband  plays it. Golf does not go well with me — too much sun, takes forever and I have no skill. It’s not a game one can quickly play on par with one’s spouse if said spouse has played since he was six. And you can’t play golf in a taproom, you have to bring the beer to the game.

Cribbage seemed like a more strategic choice. How hard can it be, I thought? But I just can’t remember the rules after 8 ounces of beer. So in the pursuit of excellence one night, I ordered a grapefruit soda at Bad Weather Brewing. It was delicious. In fact, it was so good the next few times we went there I didn’t even order a beer.

Like a seasonal beer, the soda tap rotates at Bad Weather. Gone was the grapefruit Friday night and in its place, cherry basil. By midnight, I was thinking of serving it with barbecued ribs and Thai-style green beans or with a dark chocolate chipotle-laced brownie. In other words, like a wine or beer, it would pair well with food. Plus it’s good for my game.

Back to cribbage:  last week I almost skunked my husband. (That’s an official cribbage term, by the way!) I’m sure the soda helps.

 

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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?

Gone:

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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Roof top Art ParkThe Roof Top Art Park debuted in 2003 at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. Do you remember when exactly? I do —  I was there with son number one.

He said, “I’m up top, Mama! Come up! Come up!”

“No can do,” I thought peering down at my round midsection — at 9 months pregnant I was impressed that I even visited the museum.

Son number two arrived that night, which is why I know exactly when the Rooftop Art Park opened. This playful visit is just one in a long series that illustrates the Minnesota Children’s Museum role in my family’s upbringing. Like many Minnesota families, I can chart my children’s growth by their mastery of skills such as blowing bubbles, shopping a grocery store, or making kimchi in the Our World Gallery.

Play at homePlaying at the Minnesota Children’s Museum meant more playing at home. The open-ended play in the galleries sparked the same kind of creativity in my dining room.

I’m just really glad I invested in a waterproof table-cloth…

Why Play is Important

Play fosters creativity.  I teach an MBA class at St. Catherine University in creativity and innovation because business requires creative thinking to solve problems like water scarcity or food spoilage. See my #MBA6410 tweets to see what goes on in that class. I’ll give you a hint:  we play, experiment, and test ideas.

A business whose only ambition is to continue doing tomorrow what they did yesterday, will wither as both its competitors and customers change around it. The central role of creativity in business survival was recognized in an IBM survey of more than 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries. They reported that – more than rigor, management discipline, or even vision – successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.

What Is Creativity’s Value–In Marketing, In Business? Forbes, 10/04/2010

Taking Play a Step Further

Championing the role of play and creativity in business brings me a new adventure. I’m still encouraging play, but today it’s from a new perspective as the director of content and communications at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.CJamThumb

Creativity:  Thinking of alternative ways to do something, or altering a step to change the result, displays a child’s ability to be innovative-the wave of the future. New ideas, tomorrow’s inventions, the next, big innovative thing is often sparked by an unusual and creative idea.

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum MCM.org

In my new role, I direct the content and communication strategies of the museum as we truly engage with families in their online spaces and, of course, throughout the museum.

Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Leaders

Help me support the power of play by visiting the museum and donating to fund our amazing expansion.

Looking ahead to the next 30 years, and what living, working and contributing in the 21st century requires, we determined that constructing and developing the proficiencies and skills your child will call upon and use daily to succeed in school and in life would be our focus. There are seven proficiencies which is not a fun name so after a raise of hands we chose to call them “The 7C’s.”

These seven “tools” are consistently viewed as crucial and necessary for success in the 21st century by researchers and Fortune 500 company executives. And amazingly so, these tools begin to surface in early childhood and are first developed through play!

Play and the 7 Cs. Minnesota Children’s Museum

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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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And two more I just found with insert-your-favorite-adjective photos:

 

Dear everyone I’ve ever known. See you tonight at the Replacements!

— Steve Nelson (@stevenelsonmn) September 13, 2014

 

A Westerberg @StPaulSaints jersey?! Take my money, please. 💰 #MatsMidway

— Brett Baldwin (@brettish) September 14, 2014

 

I saw the replacements!! I saw @TheReplacements !!

— Samm (@velvethursday) September 14, 2014

 

Alex Chilton: 1st Mats song I ever heard. It was ’87. I was 13. I’M DYING! #iminlovewhatsthatsong

— Jacquie Fuller (@JacquieFuller) September 14, 2014

 

There are exactly 4 Portapotties outside Midway for the Replacements concert.

— Maria Reeve (@mdougreeve) September 13, 2014

 

I’m going to predict that tonight I will see more adult men simultaneously cry then at any point in my life. @TheReplacements

— jmcgnn (@jmcgnn) September 13, 2014

 

Panoramats. #MatsMidwaypic.twitter.com/OUNT4QWHvy

— C. Riemenschneider (@ChrisRstrib) September 14, 2014

 

I still get to see “Transmissions” Flaming Lips & J Roddy Walston over next 2 nights. Maybe I should’ve skipped last night & rested up.

— C. Riemenschneider (@ChrisRstrib) September 14, 2014

 

Me: “Why am I not as crazy for The Replacements as others?” Wife: “They didn’t burrow under your skin when you were 16 to stay forever.”

— John Moe (@johnmoe) September 14, 2014

 

The 1-2 punch of Androgynous into I Will Dare was such a happy-dance moment. @TheReplacements#MatsMidway

— Ali Lozoff (@AliLozoff) September 14, 2014

 

Allowed: Waxed-up hair, painted shoes. Disallowed: coolers, trouble. More ins and outs of tonight’s #MatsMidway show: http://t.co/tfDAaUYTlz

— TheCurrent (@TheCurrent) September 13, 2014

 

This photo is at least 60% male pattern baldness. #thereplacementspic.twitter.com/FTFQ3mMam6

— Tambre Massman (@TamboMcambo) September 1, 2014

 

As a public service, you have until noon CDT to get the Replacements tweets out of your system. After that, you will be answered w/cat pics.

— Uriah Deep (@SteveWalsh3) September 14, 2014

 

The over/under for instances of spontaneous human combustion at tonight’s @TheReplacements show is four. Bet the over.

— Dominick Washington (@dawashington) September 13, 2014

 

They hugged. They left. #TheReplacements

— Sara Kerr (@Saralitta) September 14, 2014

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A very popular contest at the Irish Fair of Minnesota is the Best Legs in a Kilt contest. Learn more (and enter if you qualify) about this fun event in this student blog excerpt.

Who has the best legs at the Irish Fair of Minnesota?

DSC_2986The Irish Fair of Minnesota offers so many fun activities and shows to watch! They have entertainment for everyone. This is made possible by the many vendors that help sponsor and support this FREE fair!

The Best Legs in a Kilt Contest!

 

img_1One such vendor is the Highland Kilt Company! Although they sell products, they also sponsor the Best Legs in a Kilt Contest. It is a contest hosted by the Irish Music & Dance Association for men of all ages. These men enter the competition for fun. They show off their legs and make the audience laugh. They attract many people to the fair and brings attention to Irish culture as well as Highland Kilt Company’s main product, kilts.

Competition Rules

There are 6 different categories for the men to be judged in:

  • Best Legs in a Kilt
  • Best Distinguished Gentlemen Legs in a Kilt
  • Best Youth Legs in a Kilt
  • Best Chicken Legs in a Kilt
  • Hairiest Legs in a Kilt

Other categories may be added if approved by the contest organizers. The category must be added prior to the entry deadline, which is Saturday, August 9th, 2014 this year. The prize for the winner in each category is a sash, the title and bragging rights. The compete:

  • You must be male
  • Wear a tartan or contemporary style kilt
  • Your act must be family friendly, meaning no explicit or offensive material and no dangerous weapons
  • NO late entries. So, sign up by Saturday, Aug. 9th,2014
  • the decision is made by a panel of judges for each category

Find more information about the Rules here. This is a popular contest that everyone can have fun with! Its fun entertainment!

Shop Kilts at the Fair

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 2.44.51 PM

The Highland Kilt Company goes to many different Irish fairs across the nation hosting the Best Legs in a Kilt Contest.  Their product, kilts and other accessories, are represented in a fun and attractive way in this contest. The Highland Kilt Company can be found selling kilts and accessories at the newly expanded Irish Fair of Minnesota Marketplace!

You can also find them at their website and on Facebook!

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Why do you go to the Irish Fair of Minnesota? I’m sure it’s for very different reasons than you do. Read on to hear a St. Catherine University student’s perspective.

Discover the Irish Fair of Minnesota!

There’s something for everyone at the Irish Fair of Minnesota! Games, contests, music,dance, food, and fun family activities! Here are some of the things that I’m excited for.

Food and Drinks!

Guess what am I most excited about? Yes! All the delectable food! I’m excited to see who the food vendors will be and I can’t wait to try some of the various Irish beers (remember your IDs).

Other Activities

Other things that I’d like to check out include basket weaving and Irish doll making. I wonder what those activities will be like. They sound really fun!

Contests

There will be a Baking Contest too! One contest will be for soda bread baking and the other will be for scones! Come try your luck and test out how good your recipe is! Maybe you’ll be the lucky favorite.

Kickoff Party!

There’s also a Kickoff Party taking place on August 7th, 7 pm-10 pm. The Mahones will be providing the music for this Kickoff and tickets will be sold for $20 and on the day of the Kickoff, $25.

IRISH OR NO, YOU’LL HAVE FUN IF YOU GO.

The fair is less than a month away and it sounds so exciting already! These are just some of the things that I’m excited about the fair. To learn more about the fair visit irishfair.com and check out what excites you. Come to this FREE event on August 8th-10th and join the fun!

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