Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All Pints North 2015

This past weekend we went up to Duluth, MN for the All Pints North beer festival.  This has become my favorite of all the MN Beer festivals.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that we're getting away for a weekend or the summer vibe or the fact that it's in one of my favorite cities in the state or what it is, but it is just my favorite of all the beer festivals.

We drove up on Saturday and just spent one night, next year I might be tempted to have us go up on Friday so we can have a little extra time in Duluth, but it worked well for this year to just go one night again.  We dropped off Ollie in the morning with Nate's parents and made it to Duluth by around 2:00.  The festival started at 3:00, so we had just enough time to drop off our things at the hotel and then walk over to the park.

The gates opened and the bagpipers lead us inside the park.  I seriously love that every beer festival starts with bagpipes!  We stopped at the Surly Brewing Company tent first, we knew from past experience that their lines would get long and they would likely run out of some of the special kegs they brought, so early would be better than later.  We tried their Nein, which is their ninth anniversary beer.

Happy to be out and about together 

We hit up a few other places, ran into a few people we knew from the Cities and then decided we needed a little food to go with our brews, so we grabbed a hotdog from my favorite food truck of all time, Natedogs.  We also grabbed some water (it was pretty warm, even for Duluth and our rule was one bottle of water per hour so we wouldn't get heatsick) and parked on a hill in the shade for a bit.

Best hotdog ever!

It's so fun to people watch at these events!  It was such a beautiful day.  It was pretty warm, but the breeze off Lake Superior really helped a lot.  The backdrop of the iconic Lift Bridge in the background was pretty neat too!

Crowd shot - Lift Bridge in the background, you have to love it!

Of course I made Nate take a bunch of selfies with me.  He's a good sport.  

Outside of the Bent Paddle tent (they are local to Duluth) they had cute whiskey barrel tables and stools to sit on so we stopped there for a bit.  I thought this was so cute - barley in a beer can.  I might have to duplicate that for our Oktoberfest party this year!

Another selfie while Nate was in line getting something.  I wanted to show off my hat.  I remembered it was very sunny with not much for shade last year so I decided a hat was very necessary!

Bent Paddle also had a giant Jenga game, so we decided to play for a bit.  Nate was the victor, but it was a very close game.  We had the tower almost taller than both of us for a time!  

Festival outfit! 
Shirt and top - Stitch Fix, Hat - Target
Bag - Thirty One, Sunglasses - Fun Sisters
Shoes - Thrifted

He is pretty much my most favorite of all time ever.  

Pretty soon it was 7:00 and the party was over!  It goes by so fast.  We made sure we paced ourselves well, we shared everything and as I mentioned, we made sure to drink plenty of water too.  We stopped by the merchandise tent to pick up a shirt I liked, we each grabbed one final beer taste and then we started our walk back to the hotel.  

We had to take pictures by the Lift Bridge on our way back to the hotel of course!

Our hotel was right next to Canal Park Brewing Company so we stopped over for an after festival snack and a final beer and sat outside and enjoyed the view of Lake Superior and watched people walking the boardwalk.

Lift Bridge at night

We grabbed breakfast on Sunday morning at a restaurant not too far from the hotel, then drove about twenty minutes north of Duluth real quick to stop at a smokehouse we love to get some smoked fish to bring home with us.  Then we drove back home to the Cities and were reunited with our boy.  We really had a great time though.  I absolutely love this festival and plan to return again and and again. I'm already excited for next year!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Soak Up the Summer Instagram challenge

Hey everyone!  I'm back after a little three day weekend.  I can't wait to share more about the All Pints North beer festival, I'll be posting more about that tomorrow.  Today I am excited to announce a super fun Instagram challenge for August that I am co-hosting with the lovely Shea of Shea Lennon! Shea had been talking about wanting to do a collaboration with someone and I said I'd be interested. We chatted and decided an Instagram challenge would be lots of fun.  For the month of August we're going to celebrate summer with our Soak Up the Summer Challenge!

We'd love to have any and everyone play along!  We'll be using the hashtag #SoakUpSummer. Follow along with us, I'm still @bethietheboo for now, that's changing soon but I'll be sure to let everyone know!  Shea is on Instagram at @shealennon.  We both enjoy style challenges a great deal and we're so excited to be hosting our own!  

In July I followed the #JulyPinnedItSpinnedIt challenge and a couple of others including #WearWhatWhere and #JulyBeStyled.  I made a collage of a few of my favorite looks below.

Lots and lots of color this month, that's for sure!  I really love using these Instagram challenges to help re-mix my wardrobe and to share outfits of the day.  In addition to my own challenge in August I'll be following along with a Jewelry Instagram challenge too, I'm quite excited about that, I need to be better about using more of my jewelry - I tend to do a lot of repeats lately!

August will be a pretty fun month I think! Stay tuned and I hope to see some posts from some of you on the Soak Up the Summer Instagram challenge!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Foodie Friday

It's time to make you all jealous again.  Here are some more of our goodies as of late with our CSA veggies!  I've been so spoiled this summer!

Ecuadorian style lamb chop with vitamin greens, rice and egg.  Nate took the vitamin greens and mixed them up with tomato and spices so it turned into a nice side dish that he describes as kind of a Mexican "stew".  He cooked the lamb on a cast iron skillet with just some oil and salt and pepper. And then the rice was simple and we put an egg on top of it again as that is frequently done in Ecuadorian cooking.

Chicken fried steak with grilled cauliflower, carrot and fennel.  This one was pretty easy.  We got the chicken fried steak from an Omaha Steaks pack we recently ordered (got a really good deal in the mail and took advantage).  Nate whipped up a pretty simple white gravy.  He tossed the veggies with some olive oil, salt/pepper and a few Indian type spices and then grilled them until they came to a nice crispy perfection.  SO yummy.

Stir Fry!  This was pretty basic, but so yummy.  We took some sirloin and stir fried it with broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, green pepper and mushrooms and put that on top of some rice noodles.  It was pretty much perfection.  When all else fails and we don't know what else to do with our veggies for the week we stir fry them!

This next one is another of my favorites.  It's a homemade chicken and basil ravioli we make.  We make the dough from scratch and then fill it with chicken, ricotta cheese (which also came from our CSA!) and basil.  Then we boil it up and when it's done we toss it with a light sauce made of olive oil, lemon zest and more basil.  It is sooooo good.  Nice light meal in the summer too.

And this last one is cheating, no prep required other than washing it.  Sugar snap peas.  We only got them once this year and I'm still sad they're gone.  These made a fantastic snack one afternoon while Nate was brewing beer.

So we are making the most of our veggies.  We have a ton of cabbage on hand right now and can only make so much coleslaw, so Nate's going to attempt making his own sauerkraut.  We have some green beans and I think we just might make green bean casserole for the summer because why not?  I just love CSA season!!  I'm not the main chef on these items, but if you want more specific recipe information just let me know and I'll be happy to email more details to anyone!

Have a great weekend!  We're Duluth bound for All Pints North and I can't wait!  I'll be sure to share all about it next week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thrift Style Thursday - Polka Dot Parade

Time for another Thrift Style Thursday post! Carissa of Carissa Knits chose today's theme - polka dots!  Girl after my own heart, I do love to rock some polka dots!  I was mildly worried I wouldn't come up with something for today though, while I have many dotted goodies in my closet, much of them are either A. for winter or B. not thrifted.  I remembered this skirt though and then thought, hey, I bet that polka dot blouse I have would look cute with it too.  So I'm mixing up a bunch of dots today!

I attempted to add the belt to try and break up the top and bottom a bit and while I like it, it's clearly the wrong size belt for me.  I will have to be looking for a new one!  Otherwise I like how this came together, kind of has a retro feel and that's kind of fun!  It's definitely girly and flirty.

Shirt - Banana Republic (thrifted), Skirt - LOFT (thrifted)
Necklace - Stella and Dot, Sandals - Merona (Target) 

And now all of this talk of dots is making me think of Pee Wee Herman singing "Connect the Dots" on Pee Wee's Playhouse.  I could wax nostalgic for hours about that show, so I'll just stop now, but I bet other 80's kids have that song in their heads now too.  My apologies!

Be sure to check out the other Thrift Style Thursday gals and see how they styled their polka dots today!  We still don't have a link for Alison, so check out her blog here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

LYBS - Shows I'm Addicted To

Welcome to "phoning it in" week on the blog.  I kid, but I have been picking posts that have been pretty mindless to write, which is nice, my brain just needs a break.  So today I'm linking up with the Let Your Blog Shine prompt of "Shows I'm addicted to."  

We actually don't watch that much TV overall, especially in the summer, but some nights it is nice to unwind with something and sometimes we just enjoy binge watching our favorites. Today I thought I'd discuss my tried and true faves, the shows I'll watch again and again and why I love them.  

Friends - So I've been a fan of Friends from the very beginning.  I was probably too young to even really be watching when it was first on the air, I think I was in 7th grade when the first season aired. But I watched anyway and while some of the jokes I appreciated much more as I watched in re-runs later, I've just always loved it.  It has the right amount of humor and heart.  There is something relatable in each character.  And I think while they were a good 15 years older than me, I could relate to them sort of coming of age from their twenties to their thirties while I was coming of age from my teens to my twenties.  I still cry when I watch the finale.  I live my life in "Friend-isms."  I'll just always love this show!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Everything about this show is so wrong it's right.  It's actually the anti-Friends in a way.  There isn't a single likable thing about any of the characters and yet, I just love the show.  The scenarios seem almost unbelievable at times.  So I just can't say why I love it and yet I can watch it again and again because while all the things I said are true, it just makes me laugh so much.  

Corner Gas - I've talked about this cute Canadian show before.  It's clean, wholesome and light hearted and we just love it so much. We own the entire series on DVD.  It takes place in a small town and has that small town charm about it.  Sometimes we just need some basic fluff.  We pretty much watch this series beginning to end about once a year.

Snuff Box - This was a British show that ran for one season only and many British seasons are only six episodes long, so there aren't many episodes of this show.  It's kind of a sketch comedy starring Matt Berry (who plays the boss on The IT Crowd if any of you have ever seen that show) and American actor Rich Fulcher.  They work as hangmen and much of the series is about the time they spend in this club where the hangmen get to relax and unwind.  Rich is kind of a doof and Matt is pretty much a jerk, but the little sketches interspersed with the main storylines are pretty funny.  And we like dark comedy so we just love this show and pretty much quote it all the time at our house. And being that it's British, it is a bit crude at times too, but we don't mind that much!  We watch this pretty much once a year too.

Black Books - Another British show that is hilarious, it takes place in a book store run by a guy that's pretty much kind of a sloppy drunk and the mis-adventures he has with his employee and female friend who runs a shop next door.  My favorite episode is when Bernard the owner and Manny, his employee, decide they're going to write a children's book because there are no good children's books and they end up getting drunk (happens a lot on this show!) and write a book called The Elephant and the Balloon.  It's just classic.

Dead Like Me - Fantastic show that was only a couple of seasons long but so well done.  I believe it was a Showtime show or maybe HBO when it first ran.  The main character is killed by a toilet seat falling from an airplane (it's another dark comedy) and she ends up becoming a grim reaper.  She becomes part of a family of grim reapers and has to deal with her life in the afterlife while still on Earth where she lived her previous life.  I don't know how else to explain this one, but it's just a great show, definitely a little bit darker, but actually has a lot of humor and heart too.

Psych - LOVE, love, love this show.  I'm not usually much for police/crime type shows, but when Nate got me into this show he hooked me by saying there were a lot of 80's references because of flashbacks and things like that and I was pretty much sold from the first episode.  Shawn the fake psychic has a lot of charm and you just can't help rooting for him.  It has some more serious moments but overall never lets itself get too dark and heavy, though there is an episode they do that recreates some famous Hitchcock moments that gets kind of intense at times.

The Muppet Show (original) - You knew this would be on my list right?  The original Muppet show was intended to be mostly for adults.  I have always loved the sort of "Saturday Night Live" feel to it. It's definitely the show I go to as a pick me up when I'm feeling down.  My favorite episode has always been the Steve Martin one. I'm beyond excited for the new Muppet show coming out this Fall, I love that they're going to be doing it in sort of that faux-documentary style similar to Parks and Rec and the Office.  There was a long extended preview released yesterday and I can say it just fueled my excitement even further if that is even possible!

There you have it.  I frequently discuss what we're currently watching and what some of our favorite shows are, but the ones I just listed are the ones I'll watch again and again until I die and would want on my iPad or something if I was on a deserted island (provided I got to have an iPad with me that is).  What are your tried and true favorite shows that you'll watch again and again?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A to Z - Some more stuff about me

So all the cool kids are filling out this blogger survey that kind of reminds me of those fun surveys we all used to do back when Facebook was first a thing.  I'm all about lists, talking about myself too much and writing basic fluff when other ideas just aren't coming to me, so guess what I'm doing today?  You got it, I'm going to be one of the cool kids! (Thanks to AllisonSara and Laura for the inspiration!)

The A to Z's of Beth

Age: 33

Biggest Fear: Talked about this last week in a similar "about me" list, I fear sudden loud noises, fast moving bugs with many legs and losing my loved ones.

Current Time: 8:15 am

Drink You Last Had: Water

Easiest Person to Talk To: Does it count if I actually say my cats?  Because I can talk to them and they just listen!  

Favorite Song: I don't think I can pick one!  I will just say that I love me some Neko Case, Josh Groban, Decemberists, old school 80's like Journey, 70's stuff like Fleetwood Mac and current stuff like Taylor Swift.  There.  It's a mishmash in my iTunes for sure!

Grossest Memory: Well, there was the time I came down with a stomach virus right in the middle of rehearsal for our church talent show when I was around 13 and didn't quite make it into the stall in time in the restroom (and there was a stain on the floor for a long time after, even worse right?). There was also the infection I got after my wisdom teeth surgery when I was 16.  There were a couple of infections involving piercings in my 20's and even my 30's.  Infections are just gross.  And I'm with Sara, elements of childbirth are pretty gross too.  

Hometown: Minneapolis (well the northeast suburbs anyway!)

In love with: Well I could be sappy and say my husband and my son.  But I think that's a given.  So I will instead say I am in love with the place that I live. One of the things I love most about living in Minnesota is that while we might not love everything about all of them, we experience all four seasons and I really do enjoy that!

Jealous of: I will admit to being jealous of the moms I know that have made their situation work out for them to be stay at home moms.  I should have planned differently before we had Ollie, but I didn't and so I need to work.  It is what it is.

Kindest person you know: I know a lot of kind people actually, I'm pretty lucky to be surrounded by kind hearted people, but if I had to pick right now I'd say Megan and Nora from two birds (miss their blog so much this summer!) are two of the nicest people I've ever met.  They would give you the shirt off of their back and practically have in a literal sense for me, I've been the lucky recipient of clothes from them (and Ollie has too!) but I've been even luckier to be a recipient of their friendship.  These ladies are seriously the real deal, they're just great people.  

Longest relationship: My husband - we've been together as a whole for over 16 years and married for 9 of them.  And we were friends for years before we were a couple.

Middle Name: Ann

Number of siblings: Zero.  I'm not a lonely only though!  I have written many thoughts on being an only child and the fact that I'm likely raising an only child.  I feel like I'm pretty well adjusted and I think he will be as well.

One wish: I wish that I could find a career that was slightly more fulfilling than the one I currently have.  I'm working on it though. 

Person you last spoke to on the phone: Nate last night telling me he was just leaving his last client for the day and would be getting home a little late.

Question you're always asked: I can think of two right now - I've been asked when I'm going to have another child (polite answer: we're enjoying our time with our son and not worrying about that right now.  Less polite answer: Screw you, none of your business.) The other question I get asked a lot is when I tell people I have a blog "What do you blog about?" The short answer to that of course is "well, my life!"

Reason to smile: Ollie always gives me at least one reason to smile each day - even when he's being naughty he cracks me up, it's hard not to laugh at that kid!

Song you sang last: Fight Song by Rachel Platten was on in the car on my way to work and I've recently discovered I like to belt that one at the top of my lungs.  

Time you woke up: 6:00 am.  Yep.  The life of a working mama.

Underwear color: White with light blue flowers.  TMI?  Oh well!

Vacation Destination: I love to travel and wish we could do it more often!  I love going "up north" in Minnesota to Itasca or Duluth.  I'm super excited that Nate and I are planning our anniversary trip next year to...wait for it...Jamaica!  Yeah mon!!

Worst Habit: Ugh this is is so gross you guys and people who've known me for years know I struggle with this one - I pick the skin around my fingers.  It's so disgusting.  I actually quit for a year once - I made it an entire year and then I "fell off the wagon" so to speak.  It's a nervous tick, sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it.  I hope I haven't grossed you all out, maybe by admitting this I will give another go at stopping!

X-Rays You've Had: Fortunately I've only had mouth x-rays at the dentist and I suppose if we count ultrasounds while pregnant than I had several of those while pregnant with Ollie.

Your Favorite Food: I've talked about this a number of times - cheese.  Anything cheese.  Yes I love cookies and chocolate and sweets but I'll take cheese before sweets nine times out of ten!

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius.  I've never felt like it really matches me though.

So there you have it!  It's always fun sharing a little more about me!  I'd love to know more about you, if you decide to fill this out on your own blog, let me know so I can read along!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The news from here

It's funny.  I took Ollie to a friend of mine's house for a playdate over the weekend and we hadn't seen each other for awhile, so naturally she asked what was new and what we'd been up to.  And I said "man, I feel like we have been really busy this summer, but I can't figure out with what!" When I list off the things we've been up to, it really doesn't sound like we've been doing much, yet, we've been filling our days pretty well.  Anyway, I thought I'd just share a little of what's new here to kind of check in.  It's hard to believe we're kind of at the midway point of summer!

-We've been playing lots of disc golf.  We have made a rule for ourselves that every couple of weeks we have to try a new to us course.  So far we've tried one new one, ha.  There's a course at a park about five minutes from our house so a lot of times we pick that one out of ease!

-Ollie is starting swimming lessons this week which is both exciting and anxiety inducing for mama.  It's not that I'm afraid he won't love it or will have a problem - the boy is a fish, that will be no worry at all.  It's the whole timing thing, gotta get dinner on the table, get packed up and head out by a certain time.  It'll be a good exercise in being organized and prepared!  

-On Friday I enjoyed a nice day off.  I finally had a chance to attend a Social Media Breakfast event, it's a great event sponsored by some marketing firms in Minneapolis, it's all about networking and learning to make social media work better for you while enjoying a little bit of breakfast!  I really enjoyed learning more about social media and marketing (and drinking a mimosa!) After that event I enjoyed a pedicure with a good blogger friend of mine, Jen from Wonderfully Unkempt.  Then I picked up my boy and had a nice afternoon with him!

-CSA season is in full swing at our house and we're loving it.  The addition of a cheese share this year has been the best thing ever.  We're just loving having fresh veggies and eggs.  I'll be sharing some of our latest eats later this week.  

-I attended a fun event yesterday at a new to me brewery.  Laura from One Girl, Two Cities hosted a "Tweet Up" for some of us active Minneapolis Twitter folks at Insight Brewing.  It's a great space and the beer was delicious.  I'll be making a return trip soon with Nate because I know he'll love it too and bonus, it really isn't far from our house!

-Speaking of beer, Nate's been brewing a bit to try to get ready for our annual Oktoberfest.  He has a schedule for what he's brewing and when for the rest of the summer.  It'll be a little intense, but I'm so excited for what he's rolling out this year!  

-You might remember my post about the hypothetical bridge I wanted to cross.  Sadly that bridge was closed to me, but I decided what was on the other side maybe wasn't for the best.  I am still searching for other bridges to cross though.  I'll find the right one.

-The bridge I want to cross in terms of blog changes is getting closer though!  I'd say I'm about halfway across the bridge.  I want to do this right so I'm not rushing to get to the other side quite yet. We're very close, Nate's been helping me a ton.  I've set a "go live" date of August 1st, so we're just about two weeks from the big reveal.  If I feel things are ready sooner we'll roll it out sooner, but that's our goal right now.  I promise I won't just sit here and talk non-stop about it, but who are we kidding, I'm kind of antsy pants about it, I just can't wait to share!

So that's kind of the news from here!  Like I said, we're busy, but I feel like it isn't HUGE things keeping us busy.  It's just kind of life.  We take it as it comes and it certainly hasn't been boring.  It's been a pretty decent summer so far.  What's new with you?