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Buy This Book Now!

January 24, 2017
Buy this book now!

OMG I haven’t even finished this book and I had to stop and tell you to go and buy this book now! 

Buy This Book Now!

Seriously, go now, I’ll wait.

Wait, if you buy it now you won’t come back. Wait a minute. Buy it after reading this which is only going to be a few more paragraphs because honestly, I want to get back to it asap.

What book?

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight.

Yeah, I might be on a bit of a self-help binge, but that’s okay, in fact it’s great. Get Your Sh*t Together is an anti self-help book by an anti-guru who happens to be funny as shit. If you liked You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, you will love Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight.

While both will get you fired up about getting down to business, they take a very different, albeit funny, approach. 

If you’re in a rut, want to break out and try something new, are tired of making excuses, or just really need a kick in the ass to do the things you already know you need to do — then buy this book now! Hell, buy them both, you’ll thank you, I promise.

Get Your Sh*t Together is a really quick read, or listen, that will help you to well, get your shit together. Sarah Knight will show you how to prioritize the things you need to do so you can do the things you want to do. 

You may have heard of Sarah Knight before, she also wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide).

It seems oh so simple, and really there is nothing she says that you don’t already know, but she lights a fire under your ass all while making you laugh out loud.

Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough. I do plan on writing a complete review as soon as I finish the book, which will probably be later this evening, so check back. Of course you don’t even need that, it’s awesome, trust me, and it will provide the motivation you need, right now, to do what you know you need to do. 

Food Minnesota Minnesota Nice Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

January 10, 2017
Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

This recipe, Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto, is a variation of the Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish. Like all great flukes it happened because I didn’t read the recipe carefully and ended up with way too much liquid so I had to find a way to make it less soggy. I had a bag of Alessi Risotto with Mushrooms so I quickly cooked it up and added it to the mixture. 

You’ll notice I said mixture. Oops. Another mistake. I mixed all of the ingredients instead of layering them. 

Even though I am an authentic Minnesotan, I did not grow up on Tater Tot Hot Dish. I did date a guy whose mom made it (and he raved about) but that was as close to it as I got until I made it last year.

OMG it is delicious! And it’s perfect for cold weather. I have not tried it in the InstantPot because I just don’t think the Tater Tots would do well in it. They really need to get crisped up in the oven.

You can see the original recipe here.

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 lb ground beef, browned

2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 can vegetables (I used corn and peas because I didn’t have two cans of either one of them)

1 packaged prepared Alessi risotto with mushrooms, or any packaged rice with mushrooms

While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.

In a mixing bowl combine soup, ground beef, drained vegetables and risotto. Mix well. Place mixture in baking dish or casserole.

Arrange tater tots on top of mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.

That’s it! This is a great hot dish for a winter day when you have to go out and shovel snow. Goes well with any boxed white wine.

Blogging Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like Winter

Ice Castles in Stillwater

January 6, 2017
Ice Castles in Stillwater

One of the greatest thing about being a Minnesota Blogger is that I get invited to some pretty cool events. Last night I was lucky enough to attend a preview of Ice Castles in Stillwater, MN. It was a beautifully clear night out because it was -1°F, the windchill was -24°F. Trust me when I say it was cold. It might not be on your list of things to do in Minnesota – to visit a giant ice sculpture when it’s that cold, but that’s what I did.  

And you should too. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Ice Castles in Stillwater

The Ice Castles in Stillwater are made with a combination of hand placed icicles and running water. The people who build these magical ice structures place around 15,000 icicles by hand as they grow the ice around them using running water.

I believe this is the first year Ice Castles has been in Stillwater, MN. It’s been at the Mall of America in Bloomington before and Eden Prairie before this. Stillwater is a great place for Ice Castles. Not only is there ample free parking, but it’s such a picturesque town, something special like Ice Castles fits right in.

Controversy

You’d think something as lovely and beautiful as these ice sculptures wouldn’t have any controversy around them but you’d be wrong. Evidently there are some people who are upset that the ice structures are named Ice Castles, they argue they should be called Ice Stalagmites and Stalactites because of the way they are created. That may be so, but it’s silly to get worked up over something so petty. 

However, Ice Castles are not to be confused with the ice castles created for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Those structure are build out of blocks of ice, not grown using running water. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

They’re Beautiful

It doesn’t really matter how Ice Castles was formed, they’re beautiful. I toured the structure at night so the various ice walls and fountains were lit up in a stunning display of blue, red, orange, and green. I would have loved to have stayed longer to really get a good look at the way the ice was formed, it was really cool. It was also really cold and difficult to stay for too long. 

Things to Know

The floor of the Ice Castle is chopped ice/snow. This is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Walking in the inches deep ice/snow was slightly challenging in big old lunky boots. Pets are not allowed. It is cold inside the structure, it might even be colder than outside – you know, because you’re inside a ice. There might be some science about it one way or the other but at -24°F windchill, it really doesn’t matter. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Dress Warm

I wore fleece tights under jeans and my legs still felt as if they had frozen. I wore boots rated to -30° and my feet were just fine. Tennies or any other kind of shoe is not going to be comfortable or easy to navigate through the ice/snow floor. Wear warm boots that have some grip to them. Mittens, hat, ear muffs and a scarf or ski mask to cover your face is completely appropriate. 

Tickets

Buy your tickets online, you’ll save a ton of cash. Click here to purchase tickets. And click here to learn more about the ice structures and how they’re made.

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Make a Day of it

Stillwater is a lovely town. If you plan on visiting Ice Castles make a day of it and have yourself an adventure. There are whimsical shops to visit and some great restaurants all within walking distance of Ice Castles. 

Blogging Books Dumb Shit I Do Events Food Kids Minnesota Minnesota Nice People Pets politics Recipes Reviews Things I Really Like Things that piss me off Writing

Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

December 31, 2016
Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!

I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.

There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.

No One Ever Said There Would Be This Much Cat Vomit

Blog Posts about the Election

I really didn’t think he’d win, and I might watch too much Walking Dead.

How to Survive the Trumpacolypse

How to Prepare for the Post Election Apocalypse

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!

Blog Posts about my Relationship with My Mother

My relationship with my mother is difficult at best, but it isn’t unique. I also posted a story from my book, Minnesota Nice. 

Life Isn’t Fair

I Made my Mother Cry… Again

Do You Know your ACE Score?

Recipes

I cook a lot this year, mostly because I got an Instant Pot – the most awesome thing ever!

Shrimp Alfredo in 7 Minutes

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hot Dish Instant Pot Recipe

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish Recipe – Seriously, if you try a new dish in 2017, make it the MN Tater Tot Hotdish, you won’t be sorry. 

Best and Worst in Books and Movies and Blogs

I saw and reviewed several movies this year, they aren’t worth sharing here except for one exceptionally horrible movie I really hoped would be awesome. It wasn’t.

Independence Day Resurgence Review

Life Changing Books

Bloggers who Blog

Prince and Jacob

2016 was a year of loss, but these two are still difficult for me to reckon with. 

Summer in Minnesota 2016: We Lost Prince and Found Jacob

On the Passing of Prince, from a Minnesotan

Events Minnesota Things I Really Like Winter

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this December

December 5, 2016
Family friendly things to do in the Twin Cities this December

If you’re looking for family friendly things to do in the Twin Cities this December look no further than all these great events taking place this month. There’s really something for the whole family to enjoy this December. Head on down to the Landmark Center in Downtown St. Paul and get your skate on at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate arena. If you’d rather take a less physical approach to the season then put on some warm clothes and head out to the Holidazzle taking place now through December 23rd.

It’s a busy month with family and friends, parties and commitments, and let’s not forget shopping, just be sure to take some time to enjoy all that this wonderful season has to offer.

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this December

Holidazzle
When: Now through December 23rd
Where: Loring Park
Minneapolis, MN

As downtown Minneapolis’ premier holiday celebration, Holidazzle has delighted residents, visitors and downtown employees for years. Now, in 2016, this tradition is bringing family-friendly programming to Loring Park completely free.

Rice Park Powered by Xcel Energy
When: Now through December 23rd
Where: Rice Park
St. Paul, MN

Make downtown Saint Paul your family holiday destination and enjoy the beauty of Rice Park as it sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The festive tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
When: Now through February 5th
Where: Landmark Cetner
St. Paul, MN

Skaters are invited to experience the unique urban setting of downtown Saint Paul. Located in the heart of the city, Wells Fargo WinterSkate creates a fun, winter experience for visitors of all ages. The historic Landmark Center creates a beautiful backdrop for the outdoor rink, showcasing Saint Paul’s charming European architecture and old-world ambiance.

Christmas at FlyOver America
When: Now through January 2nd
Where: Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America
60 E. Broadway
Bloomington, MN

FlyOver America will transform into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Guests will have fun helping Santa search for his missing elves during an exhilarating flight across America and onto the North Pole.

St. Paul European Christmas Market
When: December 1st – 4th, December 8th – 11th, 2016
Where: Union Depot
240 E. Kellogg Blvd
St. Paul, MN

The European Christmas Market in St. Paul is based on the traditional, charming, and festive open air Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season. Shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), and taste European inspired food and delicacies during the first two weekends in December.

Black Nativity
When: December 1st – 23rd, 2016
Where: Penumbra Theatre
270 N. Kent St.
St. Paul, MN

This is a timeless holiday tradition treasured across the Twin Cities! Today, kids who grew up with Black Nativity are returning with their own families. Under the direction of Lou Bellamy and the musical direction of Sanford Moore, our homegrown Christmas show returns featuring exceptional lead vocalists, the outstanding Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir, and the stirring choreography of Uri Sands of TU Dance. Join us for an experience full of joy, community, and spirit.

Summit Avenue Artisan Festival
When: December 3rd, 3026
Where: St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
900 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Join St. Paul’s United Church of Christ as we celebrate the season with our community. We are a proud Saint Paul Grand Meander event! Shop handcrafted jewelry, pottery, food items and more from our 30 local artisans. Take a photo with St. Nicholas! Enjoy a cup of Fair Trade coffee or tea and specialty Christmas items at our bake sale!

Grand Meander
When: December 3rd, 2016
Where: Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Grand Meander is a St. Paul tradition that captures the charm of historic Grand Avenue and the cozy communal spirit of the holidays! Pick out your Christmas tree, have breakfast with Santa, hear carolers meander from store to store, and hop on a classic trolley and ride the 20-block length of Grand Avenue.

Minnesota Zoo Santa Saturdays
When: December 3rd, 10th, 17th
Where: Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN

December is a great time to visit the Minnesota Zoo. If you’re looking for that perfect holiday photo, bring your family and camera to the Zoo on Saturday, December 3, 10, and 17 and meet Santa. He’ll be available for photos from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
When: December 9th – 11th, 2016
Where: Northrup at the University of Minnesota
84 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN

Cirque Dreams lights up the 2016 holiday season with its critically acclaimed holiday stage extravaganza, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a new cirque show, Broadway musical, and family Christmas spectacular all in one! Hailed by The New York Daily News as a “delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleighload & so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil!”

Winter Solstice Celebration
When: December 18th, 2016
Where: Lake Hiawatha Recreation Center
2701 East 44th St.
Minneapolis, MN

Let’s welcome the return of light! Nourish your heart’s longing for renewal by tapping into the seed of potential that begins every year. This contemplative, participatory and embodied evening enters the fertile embrace of darkness as the starting point for new life. Individually and collectively it is an opportunity to shed what diminishes us. The community experience of music, meditation, and movement helps us tap into a deeper experience of connection. We gather on the solstice to remember our interconnection and access a wellspring of life that is ultimately joyful and liberating.

Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum
When: Now through December 31st, 2016
Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN

Winter Light At The Arboretum, the first large-scale light installation at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, will illuminate the winter landscape after dark.  This ticketed exhibit makes its Minnesota premiere with a series of five outdoor and two indoor installations that have inspiration and connection to Munro’s visits to the Arboretum, his imagination and life experience.

Gingerbread Wonderland at Norway House
When: Now through January 8th, 2017
Where: Norway House
913 East Franklin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

The holiday tradition of gingerbread houses, called pepperkake in Norway, has crossed the sea to Norway House. Create a special piece to display – a local Twin Cities landmark or inspired structure – or just come to admire, as dozens of creations are on exhibit for this multi-generational, magically festive event. Invite family and friends to join you in baking an exhibit piece, or spark a friendly competition for bragging rights. A winning entry will be selected by professional bakers, and a “People’s Choice” award will honor the structure most admired by attendees. Gingerbread Wonderland also includes special displays from renowned local bakers.

Night Trains
When: Now through February 25th, 2017
Where: Twin City Model Railroad Museum
668 Transfer Road, Suite 8
St. Paul, MN

Night Trains Season comes to museum layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. The make believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations.

#NaBloPoMo Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like

The Murder Mystery Company: Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

November 22, 2016
Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

I was recently invited to a production of The Murder Mystery Company Totally 80s Totally Murder to review . The show took place at a Stillwater Knights of Columbus and people came from as far as Hastings, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Crystal and Hopkins. If you’re not from around the Twin Cities, that’s quite a hike for a Minnesotan to make on a Saturday in November. The place was packed, since the show had been sold out. I went with Leigh, my partner in most crimes, and even though she was on time I was late. Sadly, we skipped the offer of getting our picture taken when we walked in. It was my fault, I turned down the offer, and I really regret that I did. It would have been a lot of fun to have a picture of Leigh and myself dressed up in our best 80s outfits.

Let me back up a bit. The show we saw was Totally 80s Totally Murder. In a nutshell the show was about some of our favorite 80s icons. The audience was encouraged to dress in their best 80s fashion and OMG that was fun.

For me it was easy, I came of age in the 80s. I wore every fad fashion that came along during that glorious time. From headbands, crimped hair, bangles, bandanas tied around my ankle, to pink and purple make up, and especially Big Hair, I did it all. I lived in a ripped sweatshirt turned inside out and let’s not forget about the leg warmers and shoulder pads. I had it all. And because I like to hang on to things I will never wear again I still had most of it.

Leigh on the other hand, was born in the 80s so she had to fake it for the most part. She looked more like Madonna than Madonna ever did in the 80s. And she managed to crimp her hair without a hair crimper!

Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

As I said, we got there a little late. The tickets clearly state to arrive 20 minutes before the show starts, we got there about 10 minutes after the show started. I suspect we missed some directions. We were immediately seated with an incredibly enthusiastic table of women ranging in age from 28 to 60. Everyone was super excited, pumped up and dressed in their best 80s outfits.

I have to say, getting ready for this event was more fun than I have had in ages. I can’t remember the last time I wore so much makeup, and it was awesome!

If you follow me on Facebook, you can see all of my tweets with pictures as I was getting ready.

We were seated as a couple of the actors were talking to each other in the front of the room, they were arguing about something though I am not sure what it was. Coming into it a little late it was still possible to catch up. There were a few main characters – Poison – a rocker and our host who has an unnecessary almost cockney accent, Pat Minotaur – a rocker who only wants to rock and roll all night (and who has an amazing voice), Cindy – you know the kind, she just wants to have fun, Johnny – the victim and Detective P Nes. In addition to these main characters, participants from the audience played along too.

At our table the participant was Trish Hughes, a super model from the 80s who also happened to be the love interest of some of the 80s. Of course it was the 80s and everyone was sleeping with everyone else. Sadly the person who was chosen to play the super model quit about 10 minutes in which sort of confused the members of the audience who were supposed to ask her questions for clues to solve the mystery.

I’ve never been to one of these murder mystery dinner theaters before but those at my table had and they all said it was done a little differently here. That there was much more audience involvement at this version.

We were given a book with some basic info about the character at our table, she did not know if she was the murderer. Neither did the other participants. We were also given a wad of fake money with some questions written on them. The idea that we were supposed to go from table to table asking questions of the other participants (who did not know if they were the murdered) and actors. It was a bit confusing and most people didn’t bother asking questions. Instead they talked about how crazy everyone looked in their great get ups. Oh, and they went to the bar for drinks.

I forgot to mention, this was all happening over a three course meal, which was surprisingly good for a Knights of Columbus.

Each table was to submit their best educated guess about who murdered Johnny and why. Our table came in dead last, which was pretty hilarious. Our guess? In the kitchen with the rope by Ms Scarlet.

I’m not usually one for participating in anything, but this was a lot of fun. It was something completely different to do on a Saturday night and it was a great way to meet a ton of new people. People who all have a great sense of humor in their mullets, spandex and hair spray.

Even if participatory dinner theater isn’t your thing, you really should give this a try, it was such a fun experience and so much better than going to the movies or hanging out at the neighborhood bar.

#NaBloPoMo Books Things I Really Like

Life Changing Books

November 3, 2016
life changing book

This year I celebrated my 50th birthday. I knew I was going to be making some life changes, but I wasn’t sure where to start, so I started reading. After nearly a year, I have this awesome list of life changing books and now I’m sharing them with you!

I’m only including non-fiction books here. Most can be found in the self help section of any bookstore. All of them made me feel as if the author was speaking directly to me. Which is, actually, a very comforting thought because if you think about it, that means there are a lot of us struggling with the same kinds of feelings, stress, anxiety and all that other crap that pops into your head when no one else is around.

These are the books that helped me realize I don’t have to believe the things I’ve been telling telling myself for the last 45 years or so.

Life Changing Books

 

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling
Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. If you’re ready to make some serious changes around here, You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.

Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, but it also affects our physical health, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents’ chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or hazed, and growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical “fingerprints” on our brains.

The Power of Grit by Angela Duckworth

In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

To make the journey into the Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of this extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. We become connected to the indestructible essence of our Being, “The eternal, ever present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death.”

Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle uses simple language and an easy question and answer format to guide us. A word of mouth phenomenon since its first publication, The Power of Now is one of those rare books with the power to create an experience in readers, one that can radically change their lives for the better.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Written in a voice that is timeless in its message of understanding, The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.

Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Wake up and take control of your life! From the bestselling author of Inner StrengthUnlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game, Anthony Robbins, the nation’s leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.

The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner

When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.
Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader.

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.

Your Erroneous Zone by Wayne Dyer

If you’re plagued by guilt or worry and find yourself unwittingly falling into the same old self-destructive patterns, then you have “erroneous zones” – whole facets of your approach to life that act as barriers to your success and happiness.

Perhaps you believe that you have no control over your feelings and reactions – Dyer shows how you can take charge of yourself and manage how much you will let difficult times and people affect you. Or maybe you spend more time worrying what others think than working on what you want and need – Dyer points the way to true self-reliance. From self-image problems to over-dependence on others, Dyer gives you the tools you need to break free from negative thinking and enjoy life to the fullest.

I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones

Stop listening to that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough. Stop worrying that you don’t have the perfect body, perfect job, perfect relationship, or perfect anything for that matter. Stop letting other people draw boundaries and limits around your life. And start living the life that you truly want (now!), the one you didn’t think you had the courage to imagine, but the one that’s absolutely possible! Including stories from thirty incredible women, Alexis has compiled everything she’s learned into one complete guide to being That Girl, the best version of you.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a 1937 personal development and self-help book by Napoleon Hill. The book was inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American business magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. While its title implies that the book deals with how to attain monetary wealth, the author explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. The book was first published during the Great Depression. At the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies and by 2011 over 70 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. Business Week magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published. Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

An international bestseller with over five million copies in print, The Power of Positive Thinking has helped men and women around the world to achieve fulfillment in their lives through Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s powerful message of faith and inspiration.

In this phenomenal bestseller, “written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying, and worthwhile life,” Dr. Peale demonstrates the power of faith in action. With the practical techniques outlined in this book, you can energize your life—and give yourself the initiative needed to carry out your ambitions and hopes.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peoplehas captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered. Within its pages are 9 key insights into life itself — insights each human being is predicted to grasp sequentially; one insight, then another, as we move toward a completely spiritual culture on Earth. Drawing on ancient wisdom, it tells you how to make connections among the events happening in your life right now and lets you see what is going to happen to you in the years to come. The story it tells is a gripping one of adventure and discovery, but it is also a guidebook that has the power to crystallize your perceptions of why you are where you are in life and to direct your steps with a new energy and optimisim as you head into tomorrow.

 

Events Kids Things I Really Like

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this November

November 1, 2016
things to do in the Twin Cities this November

If you’re looking for family friendly things to do in the Twin Cities this November, then you’ve found the mother lode of stuff to do. The weather looks to remain warmer than usual so be sure to get out and enjoy all that this great town has to offer. From the Autumn Craft Festival in Shakopee to the a make your own bird feeder event in Maplewood, there’s something for everyone. Of course, you could always spend your free time raking the leaves.

Family Friendly Things to do in the Twin Cities this November

Build a Bird Feeder
When: November 5th, 2016
Where: 2659 7th Street E
Maplewood, MN

Build a birdfeeder with reclaimed cedar fencing and learn which Minnesota native winter birds will visit your feeder. Explore stations to learn about different beak types and more. Your backyard birdfeeder will be a joy to you and birds throughout the chilly season! Fee: Prepay $5/birdfeeder by Tuesday, November 1. To register, go to maplewoodnaturecenter.com and click on the Register Online Go button. Call 651-249-2170 if you need help registering.

Jitney at the Penumbra
When: Now through November 13th, 2016
Where: 270 N. Kent Street
St. Paul, MN

It is 1977, and in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, city officials threaten to level a makeshift taxi dispatch office where neighbors have gathered for years. At a time when safe and comfortable transit was not guaranteed for black customers, Becker’s car service provided mobility and a modicum of respect for the community. Now his building has been identified as prime real estate for redevelopment, and he might be forced out of business. Meanwhile, his estranged son has been released from prison and wants to come home. As pressure mounts, Becker is forced to reckon with powers beyond his control. Jitney is an “explosive” and “gripping” portrait of African American life from the pen of one of America’s greatest writers. Join us for a riveting production brought to you by the nationally-known and critically-acclaimed creative team at Penumbra Theatre.

Eagan’s Indoor Winter Market
When: November 5th and 19th, 2016
Where: Eagan Community Center
1501 Central Parkway
Eagan, MN

Stock up on market favorites for the Thanksgiving and holiday season. Thanksgiving recipes provided featuring local MN produce and products.

Autumn Festival, An Arts and Crafts Affair
When: November 10th – 13th, 2016
Where: Canterbury Park
1100 Canterbury Road
Shakopee, MN

Hundreds of the nation’s finest artists and crafters display and sell their handcrafted works. Our Arts & Crafts tour of shows are consistently ranked in the Top 100 Shows in the Country by Sunshine Artist Magazine. Stage entertainment, hourly gift certificate winners, plenty of food & drink, lots of family fun, and free parking!

Cardboard Gallery
When: Now through January 1st, 2017
Where: Science Museum of Minnesota
120 Kellogg Blvd W.
St. Paul, MN

The Science Museum is devoting 3,500 square feet of space to cardboard-inspired ingenuity. We’ve provided hundreds of cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes and an assortment of tools and connectors, and visitors of all ages can turn their ideas into cardboard reality in a giant ongoing free build. Assemble forts, create creatures, design mazes, construct rocket ships—or build whatever you can imagine!

Hometown for the Holidays
When: November 18th – December 31st, 2016
Where: Historic Main Street in Stillwater, MN

Experience the holidays like you remember. Historic Main Street Stillwater is alive with Christmas decorations, lights, and traditional events for a month-long celebration from November to New Year’s Eve. Get in the old-fashioned holiday spirit! Downtown Stillwater’s independently owned unique boutiques and restaurants welcome you. Shop small and local throughout the season to support local businesses and Minnesota-made gifts. Find joy in shopping and dining during the holiday season with many free family friendly events in November and December.

Hip Hop Nutcracker
When: November 22nd and 23rd, 2016
Where: Ordway
345 Washington Street
St. Paul, MN

The Hip Hop Nutcracker is an evening-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ, and violinist.Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of a palace of sugarplums into a romance set in 1980s Brooklyn. The dance work celebrates love, community, and the magic of New Year’s Eve.

Holidazzle
When: November 25th – December 22nd, 2016
Where: Loring Park
Minneapolis, MN

Holidazzle creates a community gathering place and holiday destination for people of all ages to come together and celebrate winter in Downtown Minneapolis. This year’s Holidazzle features stories highlighting local people, products and places that showcase the food scene, art district, park system, active lifestyle, local entertainers and community groups that make our city and our region unique and special.

Events The Walking Dead Things I Really Like Things that piss me off

Where Does The Walking Dead Go From Here?

October 24, 2016
Where Does The Walking Dead Go From Here?

After last night’s brutal episode, where does The Walking Dead go from here? SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t watched the series premier of episode 7 and don’t know what happened, then hit the back button now and back away. This post is filled with predictions for where the show will go and also filled with spoilers about what has happened so far.

You’ve been warned.

Without a doubt, last night’s The Walking Dead was the most brutally disturbing episode yet. Of course, it had to be with all the hype that’d been built up over the last 6 months due to the cliffhanger nature of the ending of season 6.

For 6 months I wondered and worried if Glenn was actually going to die, like he did in the comics, or if the whole fake Glenn death under the dumpster somehow rendered him safe.

Nope.

I had hope, for a little while. I liked Glenn, he was the heart of the show. He was the plucky pizza delivery guy who was always willing to do what was necessary for the group, with little thought of his own safety.

Problem was, he didn’t do much else beyond that. As expendable main characters go, he was the best choice. He was the only choice.

It doesn’t hurt that he got the bat in the comic as well.

I have read the comics, up to episode 100, which is where we are now. I don’t plan on reading it anymore, prefering the show on only one possible timeline. When the book and the show diverge, like they did with the death of Abraham/Denise it’s too heartbreaking for me.

I loved Abraham, he was comic gold and was great at relieving the tension created by the stress of living in the zombie apocalypse. I suspect Negan will now wear that mantle, I’ll just have a difficult time laughing at his jokes. There’s not much relief in that. If one is to laugh along with the bad guy (though, to be fair, Negan does not see himself as the bad guy, and there’s actually some debate on that title. Rick and his group sort of had this coming), one risks identifying with that bad guy a little comfortably.

Abraham and Glenn will certainly be missed, but they had to go. The writers and producers had hyped the show for months, they could not kill off a secondary character such as Eugene or Sasha (my pick). The only other character they could have sacrificed and maintained the hype, would have been Daryl. Thankfully that didn’t happen, though the writers did throw him under the bus when they made him the cause of Glenn’s death.

Where Does The Walking Dead Go From Here?

Obviously, wherever the comic goes, and like I said, I’m not bothering to read it anymore. I do hope the show spends more time with the rebuilding rather than these constant upheavals. The show is so formulaic it’s surprising anyone watches. The characters settle in a seemingly safe place and then a bad guy comes along and destroys it allowing it to get overrun with walkers and the group must find another place. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m hopeful that they will remain in Alexandria after they successfully defeated all the walkers that descended when the Wolves attacked.

Negan is the Problem

I want to see the people of Alexandria, and other communities, work to bring civilization back. That is the interesting story to me. I don’t care about the endless bad guys they have to slay. I’m not even sure they’re believable.

How sustainable is it when Negan takes half of everything from these communities that are producing?

It won’t work, it can’t go on for very long because they won’t be able to produce enough resources for those who choose not to participate, as this image from conservative artist, Sabo illustrates.

Sabo poster about Negan and Hillary Clinton

Negan said he wasn’t going to plant a garden when someone else could do it for him.

Those sorts of regimes never last, and of course, we know it doesn’t last in this story either.

I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he’s hot as fuck, but Negan is a chore to get through, much like The Governor was. Of course, I am not the target audience for The Walking Dead, and I have no illusions that it will turn into a real character study about what happens when the shit hits the fan. For the most part, the writers shy away from those storylines. The few times they have have been the most interesting episodes, but probably not ratings generators.

I want to keep watching the show, I think about this show and its characters more than any other show I can recall. I have to remind myself that it is just a show. And yet I worry I will lose interest sooner than later.

As the scene unfolded last night, I watched through my hands. I have not been able to get the image of Abraham beaten to a pulp, lying lifeless on the ground out of my head. Same goes for the image of Glenn with one eye popped out (though I stopped watching and just listened after that). I felt the impact of those deaths just as surely as the characters who witnessed it.

Negan has a very fine line to walk

If Negan is too brutal and takes so much, what is the point?

When he was driving Rick around, trying to break him, I kept wondering why Rick kept fighting. I get it, he has Carl and Judith to protect. He’s recently let himself fall in love with Michonne and has that to go on for. Other characters, most of them, don’t have something like that to hold on to. Negan can get Rick to do things because he has leverage. For people like Sasha, Rosita, and eventually Tara when she learns about Denise, they’ll have to find a reason to go on in a world that is so incredibly brutal the title was indeed prophetic.

The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be

The title was taken from dialog from the final episode of the first season, when Dr Edwin Jenner provides a way out of the death trap that is the CDC.

He probably never imagined anyone like Negan and his Saviors.

I’m still traumatized by last night’s episode. I wish both characters were still with us and I am trying desperately to not lose hope in the writing of the show. We shall see.

Where do you think the story will go and where to you think it should go?

74 Days of Positivity Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice Things I Really Like Winter Writing

74 Days of Positivity

October 19, 2016
74 Days of Positivity

It’s almost Halloween which means it’s almost winter here in Minnesota so I’ve decided to have 74 days of positivity. If you’re missing the obvious connection, that’s okay. I’ll explain. When the days start to get shorter I start to get this overwhelming urge to hibernate. I don’t necessarily want to sleep, I just don’t want to do anything. I tend to get down. I won’t use the word depressed, because I don’t think that’s what it is. I tend to get negative, especially around the holidays. It seems to set in earlier and earlier each year. By the time How the Grinch Stole Christmas is on TV (usually before Thanksgiving) I’m so sick of all the heart warming bullshit I could just puke.

The holidays tend to suck.

I’m overworked, I’m tired, I’m crabby, etc… Every year I tell myself I’m not going to get all worked up about the holidays, I’m going to delegate some of the work, I’m going to chill the hell out and just enjoy everyone. I tell myself that, right around this time of year, and then as soon as Halloween is over I fall down the rabbit hole and don’t emerge until after Valentine’s Day.

I become more snarky during the holidays, and I’m sick of it.

74 Days of Positivity

I want to enjoy the holidays and all that this beautiful time of year has to offer. I love winter, but I hate the snow. The truth is, I don’t even hate the snow, I hate shoveling the snow.

I can do something about that. I have a child who is able, I can certainly teach her to use the shovel or the snow blower. Sure, I’ll have to endure all kinds of eye rolling, but I’m getting the eye rolling now. May as well make it worth her while. Or mine, as the case may be.

Truth be told, I haven’t fully examined why I hate this time of year so much. It could be that my family is severely fractured. I don’t like it, but I don’t want to fix it either. And, while I think I have let that go, it’s still bothering me so clearly I haven’t. It could be that I’m used to being broke during the holidays. While this has been true in the past, and might be this year too, the reality is I’m doing ok.

I think there are a lot of ghosts of Christmas Pasts that I just assume will make a show even though I have complete control over who shows up and who doesn’t.

It could also be that since I turned 50 I’ve been making a lot of big changes in my life and this is one I need to make.

I’m generally a pretty happy person. Sure, I have my moments and I tend to worry about things that are generally outside of my control, but for the most part I can laugh through much of it. Even if there’s a fair amount of anger underlying my laughter.

I’m tired of being angry. It hasn’t served me very well.

So, for the next 74 days, until the end of the year, I’ll be practicing more positivity.

It could take the form of yoga, going out with the girls (after I meet some girls to hang out with or wrangle the ones I used to hang out with before I isolated myself), it could mean taking time to read instead of doing the same old thing each night of watching TV and hanging out on Facebook.

I’m not really sure how this is going to work, I just know that I’m open to anything that comes along in the next 74 days and plan to look at any and all opportunities as just that – opportunities.

I’m going to actively enjoy life, dammit, instead of just letting it pass me by.

I also expect to piss a few people off while I do this. I’m not sure why, but isn’t that how it always seems? You do something good for yourself and it upsets the applecart?

Events Kids Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like

Pumpkin Nights Twin Cities

October 14, 2016
Pumpkin Nights Twin Cities

It’s getting spooky out there at the MN State Fairgrounds! Pumpkin Night Twin Cities has taken over the fairgrounds and it’s pretty spooktacular!! Actually, it’s not that spooky, which makes it perfect for the little ones (and their parents) who want to get into the Halloween spirit.

Haven’t heard of Pumpkin Nights before? You’re probably not alone. This is the first year I’ve heard of them, so what is Pumpkin Nights?

Pumpkin Nights, pig carved out of a pumpkin

Pumpkin Nights Twin Cities

Pumpkin Nights is a half-mile long path of over 3000 carved gourds! They folks who put it together created 12 different and amazing worlds made out of carved pumpkin. From local sensations like the Vikings and Prince to an under-the-sea world, a south-of-the-border retreat and some ghostly ghouls, there’s bound to be many favorites.

As you walk the path of pumpkins you can rock out to some great tunes, too!

Stop and get a family portrait taken and don’t forget the Tater Tots, Karmel Korn and mini Corndogs!

The Festival is open today through October 31st, 2016!

Sundays to Thursdays: 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Fridays & Saturdays: 6:30pm – Midnight

Pumpkin Nights

Enter on Como, just off of Snelling Avenue. You can park (for free!) right across the street.

1719 Como Avenue, Falcon Heights, MN 55108

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Click here to buy your tickets online.

Get your costume ready! Carve yourself a pumpkin and bring it to the festival to be added to our Community Carving world. For every pumpkin you bring, they’ll donate $5 to Scares That Care.

Pumpkin Nights, Vikings logo carved into a pumpkin

This was a really fun outing for the kids. It’s dark, but it’s not scary. No one will jump out at you while you walk through the displays. The path is handicap accessible so wheelchairs and strollers will be just fine. Dogs are not allowed.

If you’re looking for some family friendly entertainment in St. Paul, come out to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for this once a year spooktacular pumpkin fun!