Back At It

Hello Friends!

Wow, it has been more than a year since I last posted, and what a crazy year it was. Here are a few things that happened:

  • We got engaged
  • We sold my condo and bought a house together
  • We got married!

Our engagement was a holiday whirlwind in late 2014, as was the whole moving in together thing, combined with selling my condo, buying a house together and moving… ALL while trying to plan a wedding.

Our new neighborhood – look at all of the greenery! 

Trust me friends, I wouldn’t recommend all of this at once. It was intense. But, we made it through. I am working on a couple of posts about what to expect during the home search (and after moving into an 80-year-old home) and crazy things that happen/what to watch out for while wedding planning. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, hello again, I hope you all are doing well! More soon.

Wedding day!



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Weekend Recap: Duluth, Minnesota

Enjoying views of the big ships in Duluth, Minn.

Good morning! Happy Sunday. We had a relaxing weekend at home this weekend, which was needed after a very busy work week and trip to Duluth, Minn., last weekend.

*Disclaimer – we didn’t really get out of our favorite little area in Duluth, Canal Park.

We arrived late on Friday night and promptly headed to my favorite northern Minnesota brewery – Canal Park Brewery. They have an amazing assortment of home-brewed beverages, including one of my favorite stouts ever – the Pack Sacker stout (their beers also have fun names). Unfortunately they didn’t have the stout on tap this time so I went for their Ankle Deep pilsner. I’m not a huge beer fan but this one was very easy to drink and had good taste. I’d recommend it for someone who wants a drink that goes down smoothly.

Beer flights at Canal Park Brewery, Duluth, Minn.

After we had some food and beverages, we were on the hunt for the Aurora (a.k.a. Northern Lights). I have a “top three” list of things I want to see in the environment in my life, and the Northern Lights are on that list. There is a great Aurora resource that I follow for the “forecast,” and it was showing potential activity for Thursday-Saturday in northern Minnesota. Duluth had a great showing on Thursday night, so we were excited about the possibility of catching the Aurora.

After waking up hourly between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. to see what was happening and having NO luck, I gave up. Those Northern Lights continued to elude us and others who had been on the lookout. A bummer as usual!

On Saturday morning, we woke up to the sound of a ship horn and were able to catch a ship leaving the Duluth canal. I have to tell you, the large Great Lakes ships are SO intriguing to me. I become a total nerd every time I have an opportunity to see them, and even check the shipping schedule when I’m in Duluth, so I can be sure to catch them coming in to the canal. We had great luck this trip, catching four 1,000-foot boats entering and exiting the canal. We even saw the biggest ship on the Great Lakes, the Paul R. Tregurtha, which comes in at 1,013 feet long. I can’t even explain how cool it is to see these boats come through and hear them blow their horn as they enter the canal. It shocks me every time, no matter how many times I’ve experienced it (see, I told you I’m a huge nerd about this)!

Paul R. Tregurtha
Paul R. Tregurtha, the current “Queen” of the Great Lakes

After seeing some morning shipping action we headed to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center (and museum) to learn a little about the history of the industry and Duluth’s prominence in shipping. If you’re a history buff and enjoy things like this, I recommend visiting this museum. It’s not overwhelming in size, and has some fun interactive exhibits. You also have the opportunity to see the size of sleeping quarters in ships. Were people a lot smaller 100 years ago, or have we just gotten accustomed to large living spaces? I cannot believe how small some of the sleeping quarters were in these ships!

Later on in the day we made a total “tourist” decision to rent a surrey bike and bike up the path to Duluth’s Portland Malt Shoppe.

Riding a surrey bike around Canal Park, Duluth, Minn.

I have never ridden one of these surrey bikes before, and let me tell you – it was intense! I am so used to my easy-to-steer, fast, light road bike. This was not even close to the same! This was slow and hard to maneuver, but SO much fun. We got some great laughs as we navigated our way to the malt shop. If you are planning a trip to Duluth, I recommend visiting the Portland Malt Shoppe. I was there with my family as a child and always had really fun memories, so B.J. and I decided to give it a try as adults. We both ordered old-fashioned malts, which were AMAZING, complete with whipped cream and a cherry on top. I had strawberry and B.J. had moose tracks with chocolate and peanut butter. They were both delicious, and looked so appetizing I forgot to take photos before we started eating them!

malt shoppe
Portland Malt Shoppe, Duluth, Minn.

We did some more walking around on Saturday evening and concluded our night by having dinner and watching some college football at Grizzly’s Grill in Canal Park. We loved this restaurant and would definitely go back. We found our waitresses and the hostess to be very attentive and helpful, not to mention friendly! This actually might be one of the best restaurant experiences we’ve had in the Canal Park area.

On Sunday morning we caught some more shipping action before heading to Glensheen Mansion for a tour and more history fun. If you’re not familiar with this property, it was originally built for the family of Chester Congdon, a prominent Duluth businessman.

Glensheen Mansion
View from the front of Glensheen Mansion, Duluth, Minn.

Again, I am a huge history fan, but even if you aren’t, this is still a great experience. We took the “extended tour,” which was about an hour and a half and showed us all five levels of the mansion. It was amazing to see the quality of workmanship and the attention to detail that went into constructing the mansion and surrounding buildings. Some of my favorite parts:

  • The property’s name: Glen is a Scottish term for valley (the house sits between two creeks), and sheen stands for the sheen of the sun coming off of Lake Superior
  • Horse stalls and a barn that had a floor made of a tar/cork combination, for the comfort of people and animals who use the barn. Definitely better than concrete!
  • Burlap dipped in gold used as a ceiling covering in one of the main rooms
  • Pomegranate detail in the woodwork of the master bedroom (pomegranates are a sign of love)
  • The overall construction of the house – made of steel, concrete and brick. This house might last forever

After completing our tour of Glensheen mansion we headed back to Canal Park one more time (we can never get enough) before departing for the cities. What a great weekend in Duluth – we can’t wait to go back again!

What are some of your favorite parts of Duluth? We keep trying to hold ourselves accountable for exploring some other parts of the city (other than UMD, which we have seen), but have yet to do so, and would welcome any suggestions you may have!


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Fifteen’s 5K: Race Recap

Fifteen’s 5K Gear

Well hello! Long time no chat. July was extremely busy, and I was out of town more than half of the days in July (for work and fun). I had originally planned on doing a 5K in July with Esprit de She, but had to travel that week for work. I also wanted to do another triathlon in August, but the one I intended to do came so quickly and after traveling for work so much with little training time, I was not at all prepared for another tri this month.

So, B.J. and I changed our plan and decided to do a 5K in August rather than a triathlon. After doing some research, I found a 5K that looked fun and appealing – with the bonus of being a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis – Fifteen’s 5K.

This is a great run around downtown Minneapolis, put on by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher, Glen Perkins, and his wife Alisha. The vibe is friendly (no chip timing) and fun. After a nice run around the city, with minimal course challenges (e.g. only two small hills), you finish the race by running into home at the Twins stadium. How fun!

Bonus for mega fans: Twins players hand out medals after the race, and provide ample photo and autograph opportunities. I definitely recommend this run if you’re looking for an easy going 5K in Minneapolis.

Next up for us on the event front? We aren’t sure yet but are considering a September triathlon or another run event. I’ll keep you posted – and if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Fifteen's 5K
B.J. hanging out in the dugout after the race
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