{Road Tripping} November Adventures

We are blessed in Minnesota. Out west are the prairies, to the south the Mississippi River valley, to the east well its pretty much wisconsin, but the real magic is up north. Lake Superior is magic and in the winter the north shore truly shines with frozen water falls and snow covered pines.

Lake Superior is a canvas that changes with the seasons. Winter brings a whole different level of wanderlust. Superior calls you and brings you to her ever changing shore. As you walk you notice frozen waterfalls high above the tunnel cliffs and take in where water meets the sky.

Gooseberry takes on a whole new life in the winter and she is beautiful. Her summer roar is silenced by the ice, yet she is strong and she still flows. Winter is my favorite time of year to see the falls, the crowds are long gone and it is quiet. So quiet that you can hear the pines rustle in the wind and if you listen close enough you can hear the cracking of the ice.

Christmas lights light up the Duluth harbor as the chilly wind reaches around your back to remind you that, yes it is still winter. Bentlyville is Minnesota’s answer to the Christmas light fight, it’s beautiful, magical, and simply I cannot begin to describe in words how amazing it is. All of the lights are timed to music while eager children line up to chat with Santa.

Even though it is cold, winter is a great time to visit Duluth and take in the attractions. Groupon lead us to the Lake Superior Zoo. If you are not familiar with the Zoo you should definitely go! The zoo is still recovering from the 2012 flash floods that took every one by surprise, including the seal who was swimming down grand avenue. In the Zoo you will of course find animals and an unexpected water fall. The very falls that flooded and caused the damage to the Zoo.

As you know Christmas lights instantly turn me into a giddy 8 year old. When a friend of mine posted about the lights in Mankato I knew I had to go! Mankato is an hour drive for us and Jay was up for the adventure. Along the way we notice this huge building outline in lights….. it was Minnesota’s Largest Candy store!! I have heard about this mystical place but had never been and Jay well he knows me all to well and pulled right on in.

Like words cannot describe this place! It is fucking amazing!!! They have practically every candy your little heart could imagine and then some. From glass bottle sodas to pies, to gummy turkey legs, and OMG the world’s greatest chips! Yes I said worlds greatest chips! Zapp’s to be exact! Are fucking hands down the only chips you will ever need in your life. It’s been established that I cannot eat anything of the chocolate variety, nut rolls get me excited! Homemade nut rolls to be exact and of course I bought two. One peanut and one pecan because hello options! In addition to that I walked out with a couple pieces of divinity and I was instantly 5 again standing in my grandma’s living room. She made it every holiday and I have long for it since her passing. Anyways this place! You guys is amazing!! You must go!!

Now back to the lights because hello the lights were my original reason for the trip. Sibley Park is beautifully lit and best of all they give you options. You can A. Get out of your car and walk or B. You can drive through the lights. We chose to do both. The lights like in Duluth are timed to music which for some reason makes it more fun. I liked the lights in Mankato a lot better than Bentleyville. Why you ask? Because there wasn’t a huge crowed and we didn’t feel rushed, plus they were simply beautiful. Not to mention the park is home to some real life reindeer which I am certain will take flight on Christmas Eve.

Two tiny tyrants rounded out our November adventure. Because hello what’s more fun than going to Auntie’s house to decorate cookies, play Operation, and Watch Christmas movies. It’s an excellent time with little to no rules and if you want to eat the sprinkles go on ahead, we’ll get you a bowl!

Just for fun, let’s throw in a few photos of the light rail derailment that happened right outside my office. It truly made the last day of November interesting. I stood in the skyway FaceTiming Jack so he could see the broken train as he asked “Auntie they fixing it” in his sweet little voice. The train was righted at around 7:30 and by morning light rail trains were chugging down the tracks. It’s all fixed now, in which I again had to FaceTime Jack to show him that, yes the trains are fixed.

I hope all of you have a fabulous November filled with adventure, love, and more laughter than one soul could ever handle.

{Road Tripping} Chicago Illinois

When you own a Prius, it just screams “TAKE ME ON A ROAD TRIP WOMAN!!! I AM GREAT ON GAS!!” Well, one can’t argue with a Prius. So if you can’t beat em, ya mise well join em. Plus not to mention gas is pretty darn cheap right now, so we decided to hit the road. The boyfriend got one heck of a deal on a hotel room in Chicago and I found a bunch of Groupons that were to good to pass up.


Armed with many Groupons and our hotel reservation confirmation email, we dropped the muppet like dog off at Grandma’s and hit the open road. It is exactly six hours to Chicago from my parents house, we settled into the drive. Playing the “lets find religion on the radio game.” We found it eight times, well I found it eight times, as Jay slept for most of the way. He missed all of the really boring landscapes, billboards, and crazy I94 drivers. Don’t worry folks, he woke up just in time for the greatest time suck in the world aka Wisconsin Dells. More particularly Cracker Barrel, there darn shop gets me every time. Sell me an $8 breakfast and I will turn around and spend 50 bucks in your shop.

With food in our bellies and a new ceramic bird lamp in tow, we hit the open road. This time Jay was driving and I got to play co-pilot! Which is actually really strange for me because A. I never let anyone but my mama drive my Prius and that’s only if she asks nicely and B. I am always the one doing the driving. But alas I decided it was best to loosen my grip on the wheel and let Jay wear the pants. As you can tell I am alive, so yes he did a very good job driving the Prius.


I was super excited to be in Chicago with Jay, more so I was excited to show him my spots. Some of those spots are like a right of passage. Hello! Weber Grill Restaurant, Super Dawg Drive In, and Gino’s East. Not to mention I did drag Jay to the hood to buy Garrets popcorn. He was a good spot and served as my navigator. I locked the doors when our surroundings turned into sketchy territory.

Speaking of territory, we were looking forward to using the hotel hot tub. Well that was until we walked in only to find a very nice couple having sex in it. Yup, they were doing it in the hotel hot tub. I had to mention it in this post, because that image is forever burned in my pretty little head. You have a visual now and you are so welcome.


Welcome to the Chicago History Museum. I managed to snag a buy two for the price of one Groupon for the museum. The Chicago History Museum is self explanatory, its the history of Chicago. The museum is pretty fun, Jay and I had a riot in the kids discovery zone. I even became a Chicago dog, rode a very tall bike and jumped from spot to spot in a discovery game. The kids zone was losing its luster and my tummy was yelling “feed me deep dish pizza!” With that we said goodbye to the museum and headed out for deep dish.

Gino’s East is a Chicago institution and it never disappoints. Groupon once again proved to be my friend. Right now you can pay $16.00 for $30.00 worth of food at Gino’s. Folks, that is a $14 savings. We had no problem using our groupon and ordered the large meat deep dish. It was so good! Jay and I could barely eat two slices. Thank goodness for pizza boxes and hotel refrigerators, cause we had half a pizza to take home with us.


Gosh Darn Sunday came to soon, snow started to fall as we rolled out of Chicago. Home, was our destination and since we left early we had time to stop in The Dells. Its so weird being in The Dells during the winter, I am use to the summer buzz and thousands of people. Luckily a few of the stores on the strip were open and I was able to procured gummies and a toy for Sophia. I introduced Jay to Mac’s Memphis Mac and Cheese, we split the large. It was amazing as always.

When we got to Grandma’s house one very excited muppet like dog was extremely excited to see his mama. Muppet like dog hugs are the best little hugs and I was glad to see him too. Truth, I would totally do a million road trips with Jay, he wasn’t annoying, he was a good sport, and darn right fun to be around. I love that man and I am looking forward to what this life has to offer us.

{Road Tripping} Frank Lloyd Wright – Oak Park IL

“In 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright founded his architectural practice in Oak Park, a quiet, semi-rural village on the Western edges of Chicago. It was at his Oak Park Studio during the first decade of the twentieth century that Wright pioneered a bold new approach to domestic architecture, the Prairie style. Inspired by the broad, flat landscape of America’s Midwest, the Prairie style was the first uniquely American architectural style of what has been called “the American Century.”


Frank Lloyd Wright is the father of American architecture and was an innovator like no other. He dared to think beyond the mortar, tested the limits of design, and the wills of his clients. A masterful architectural designer, Wright developed a unique vocabulary of space, form, and pattern that represented a dramatic shift in design from the traditional houses of the day. Characterized by dramatic horizontal lines and masses, the Prairie buildings that emerged in the first decade of the twentieth century evoke the expansive Midwestern landscape.

Wright described his organic, unified interiors, declaring:
“They are all mere structural details in its character and completeness, heating apparatus, light fixtures, the very chairs, tables, cabinets and musical instruments, where practicable, are of the building itself. Nothing of appliances or fixtures is admitted purely as such where circumstances permit the full development of the building scheme. Floor coverings and hangings are a part of the house as the plaster on the walls or the tiles on the roof.”


One can tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park home and studio, all you need is $17.00 and 5 bucks if you want to buy a photo pass. This was actually my third time visiting the Oak Park home (well my first trip with the boyfriend!) and let me tell you I discover something new every time I visit. Wright’s designs never grow old, instead they inspire me. As in I want to build a tiny home utilizing Wright’s expansion and contract concept. Are you lost, well my friend then you need to head on over to Oak Park and the nice tour guides will explain expansion and contract to you. The volunteer guides are the best, they love Wright’s work just as much as I do. It is always fun chatting with them and learning which properties are their favorites. Everyone has a favorite Wright building, mine happens to be Unity Temple which is located just a few blocks away from his Oak Park home.


If I could invite anyone to dinner I would choose Mr. Wright, he was a conversationalist and loved to entertain. I feel that our conversation would flow like the floor plans of the homes he designed.

****I was not compensated for this post*****