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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Ok, ok, so I’ve been going on living life, and not really sitting down in front of my computer much. Which good for me, sad for you (when I disappear for who knows how long), but good news, I’m still here, not goin’ anywhere, and I’ve got updates, pictures, and fun things to share (minus that Zucchini Cookie mishap. I can’t share a recipe that totally flopped. They turned out more like muffin tops, healthy yes, cookie no. Sooo, if you’re looking for a muffin-y recipe with zucchini, choc chips, & craisins, then contact me at aminnesotalife@gmail.com 🙂 ).

Remember back when I attended the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago? Well, I also mentioned that I won not one, but TWO drawings. The first was from Athenos. It was a Swoop Bowl like this:

And a 2-piece Arctic Salad server

Wow, THANKS AGAIN Athenos!

Then, not only did I win that awesome set, but wait, there’s more! I won a drawing from Attune Foods!

I won 5 boxes of Uncle Sam’s High Fiber cereal, 5 boxes of Erewhon’s Gluten-free cereal, AND the best of the best: 3 bags of Attune Granola Munch (Apple Cinnamon, Maple Nut, and Chocolate with Chocolate chips). I’d be lying if I told you they lasted more than two weeks (if that). My FAVORITE was the Maple Nut (I’m secretly a Canadian at heart…or at least wish I was). The Maple Nut and Apple Cinnamon had little yogurt chips. Heaven. I tell ya, this product will be purchased in the near future! Thanks again, Attune Foods!

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The second (technically 3rd) big thanks goes out to Ms. Tomoyo who came ALL THE WAY from Japan to visit me this last week. Let’s recap, shall we?!

Some wordless recaps:

(ok a few words: I bought this shirt in Japan for my dad. Tomo saw it and burst out laughing. Apparently the Japanese written on it says: Emperor of the Night who is summoned by women into their snack bars to get drunk and then take those said women home). Well in Japan, my dad would be a pimp evidently.

Ok, no more words:

Thanks for an amazing week Tomo! See you again soon, hopefully in Japan 😉

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Hello all! Ok, so since I’ve gotten home a little less than a month ago, I’ve neglected this little blog. Let’s just say I’m spending some quality time with family and friends, sans internet and technology (excluding my cell phone, let’s be serious, going a year without texting…I obviously have some catching up to do 😉 ). But I do believe I have some India travels to share with you all. So here it goes!

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You wanna know something funny!? Being a Midwest girl, it’s pretty likely you’ll run across a family of ducks, a turkey in the road, or sometimes a deer (if you’re *not lucky), but in India, it was a-whole-nother story. Well-put by our driver ‘Veej’, the cows are the ‘King of the Road’.

He wasn’t kidding either.

Before heading out of Delhi on our 3rd day, Mr. Singh promised to bring us to Gandhi’s Memorial Site. I have never been so moved, inspired, and changed in a span of 2 hours. I wish everyone could see just a fraction of the things Gandhi did for his country and the world.

Ton and I were able to walk the same path Gandhi took to his daily prayer, before being shot and assassinated at his home.

Below is the exact point where Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 (according to the U.S., but my journal says 1947, which is when India celebrates, I believe).

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On a lighter note, we took off with Vijay and made our way to Jaipur. A few things he said, which made us laugh:

When you travel, laughter is good for health. Laughter means happy brain.

Do you know Ramayama? You can search in the Googles.

We call people Gadha, means: he is so stupid.

Obviously we probably found his antics a lot more humorous than you would reading those, but at the time, this guy just brightened our day and made us laugh, a lot. Healthy brains, right?!

We arrived at the Radoli House (Hotel) and pretty much called it a night (after 9 hours of driving!)

Next up, our tour of Jaipur and a night none of us (3) would forget!

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Hellooooo strangers!

Today marks 2o days since I’ve come home from Japan. I’m a little behind in my laundry, my job hunting, my workouts, and God knows, my relationships. I know I can’t be everywhere at once and see everyone in one night, but man, time seriously flies!

Last week (am I seriously rewinding that far?) Timeliness= big fail on my part. At any rate, on Tuesday afternoon the fam and I packed up the dodge caravan and headed north. Reason #1 why I love Minnesota.

We stayed at my aunt’s cabin for the night (and we definitely didn’t get up there till 4p.m.—even though we had really good intentions for leaving at 11a.m. and arriving at 1p.m.)….that never happens in our family. Again, timeliness, not something I was, or any of us were blessed with (except maybe my dad). Well, the sun hadn’t quite set and before our bratwurst dinner, we lounged around on the boat. Love relaxation! (No pics, sorry!)

Wednesday morn, we head out to Brainerd/Baxter area for our beloved Grand View Lodge getaway.

Cady’s and my upper loft sleeping area. Two queen-sized beds? Yes please. Foosball…bonus!:

Looking over our balcony to the first floor, dining room & living room. This place was legit:

Dinner at the resort restaurant (not the best, small menu list), but aren’t my parents freakin’ cute!:

The weather was a little dodgy on Wednesday, so we didn’t get out in the sun, but after dinner we hit the beach for a little walk, then it was home to watch The Proposal. I didn’t even make it past previews. I am a complete movie-watching-failure. Every freakin’ time. Grrr.

I absolutely love this resort. They even have a nice little indoor fitness center (bonus) and lots of lush green forest to run through if you so desire. Oh, and golf, for those who are gifted, I am not.

We stayed for two more days, basking in the rays. It was glorious. I love family time, relaxing, beaching, and best of all, dad’s homemade popcorn. It was a short vacation, but we couldn’t have had a better time together!

And it wouldn’t be a vaca without our tradition of stopping into Nisswa to visit this guy!:

He owns and runs Martin’s Sport Shop in Nisswa. Evidently he commutes to work by bike. Gosh, such a cute old man!

After family fun was over, we headed back on Friday afternoon, and I ALMOST stayed in to relax, but Minneapolis social life was calling my name. 😉

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I don’t have a single pic, so I’ll keep it short, but I can tell you: it was epic. Friday night consisted of Minneapolis shenanigans at Sneaky Pete’s. Always a good time.

Saturday consisted of recovery and Titanic.

Saturday night: Celebrations of friends’ bdays. Awesome night. I was reunited with my roomie Ashley, and our friends at Toby Keith‘s in St. Louis Park. Love that bar. If you’re in the area, like country music and a good time –> go there.

And that my friends, was my weekend in a flash. I can’t believe how fast they fly by, and even though I watched T.V. for days, didn’t clean my room, or do my laundry…I spent the last week with the people I love, and it couldn’t get any better than that!

P.S. Check out my new header!! Do ya dig it? I’m a fan 🙂

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Sooooo I’m baaaaaaaaack.

Loving life, just needed to get back in the swing of things.

After our morning run, we hit up the breakfast, which was perfection. Oats, granola, Almond Butter, fruit, yogurt, coffee, and a bag of Adora calcium chews for all. Yes please. Omg, seriously I love breakfast with my whole heart. However, I got greedy and inhaled it before even taking a pic. Oh well, I’m a healthy living blog, not solely a food blogger, so I consider myself forgiven.

However for lunch I made the extra effort. This is my attempt at being a Food Blogger:

Lunchtime! Soo delicious! Arnold Sammie Thin, with Turkey, veggies, side salad, a dollop of quinoa (but should have made that the main event), and then those awesome chickpeas that I discovered I couldn’t stomach (due to my recent bout with food poisoning in India…that recap coming a.s.a.p.), but I now have a VERY present food aversion to cilantro, which makes me VERY sad. I hearted cilantro until my run-in with Palak Paneer + peanut masala (with cilantro). Sad day my friends, sad day.

Ok, back to Summiting. SOooo to sum up the SUMmit (yes I’m lame), it was amazing and the people there were Fabulous. I said it before, but I’m a nerd when I say I was star-struck meeting the hosts. I’m that girl; gawking from a distance whispering to the person next to me: OMG, that’s Angela, or Ahhhh it’s Caitlin and I just bought her book! Anyway, the whole event was success and basically one big food fest, full of healthy goodies of course, so it was a guilt-free weekend!

I didn’t really take pics of the speakers, but I did capture the streets of Chicago!

Sears Willis Tower, costing $16 for a flight up to the Sky Deck. We passed.

Eye baaaaaaalls.

This was our first OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. fro-yo experience. It was EPIC!

OMG, freshness in a cup. I wish Minnesota had one of these places! Does anyone know of one?!

Plain+Acai Froyo + strawbs, cacao nibs, & yogurt bits. Not gonna lie, I kinda wanted a little bit of every topping…but some may consider that greedy. I’ll go back again someday. Mark my words.

I came back from our walk and guess what?!??!! I won not one, but TWO DRAWINGS! I forget all the things from the first one, but 5 Uncle Sam’s boxes of something (I’ll show you the pic when it get’s shipped), 3 bags of Attune Granola, and 5 boxes of Gluten-free cereal! As well as a salad bowl from Athenos!!! What a treat! Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday night was spent at Howl at the Moon with Jen, Caitlin, Molly (another MN blogger!) & her friend from Chicago! It was a blast! I can’t wait to hit up the Shout House in Minny!!!

We ended the night on a high— SUSHI! To die for. Again, major fail, and it all went un-pictured!

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We summed up the awesome weekend with a morning 10k (and some 5kers and walkers), but it felt great to get in one last run with fabulous women! I couldn’t have had a better time in Chicago. Furthermore, I can’t wait for next year’s event. I hope it becomes a tradition!

8 hours for a carride home was less than stellar, but at least I had awesome company! Thanks again Jen for driving us all that way!!! Love you girls~

Until next time, all you beautiful people, I’m hittin’ the hay.

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Let’s recap a fabulous weekend, shall we?

I’ve discovered that procrastination actually does a person good. Like when you wait too long to find a flight to Chicago and then prices spike to over $300 but THEN you find out a friend also happens to be going to the Summit within a span of 2 days. Perfect timing in my book.

Road trip anyone?

Friday~

Jen, Caitlin (new friend #2), and I hit the road in the early a.m. and because I rock at life, I didn’t go to bed until well after 2a.m. and had to get up at 5a.m. Not a pleasant wake-up call. We hit up a Starbucks right in Hudson, then made our way to Chicago.

A few hours into the trip, we were playing storm chaser and caught in a monsoon, no joke. And I’m pretty sure we hydroplaned. The last time I’ve heard of that happening was in my driver’s ed book at the age of 16. It was a little freaky, not gonna lie.

Then what seemed like 8 hours later, I experienced a new definition of traffic jam. Hello city. Note to all, Chicago and Minneapolis are NOT comparable in size; a common misconception (or me in denial that I live in ‘the country’). Minneapolis: 300,000/Chicago: almost 3 million. Ok, major fail on my part!

I met up with my roomie Laura (from Pennsylvania/New Hampshire) and we hit it off right away! I feel like we’ve been friends for years! I love this camaraderie of the bloggie world. It amazes me!

Then onto the cocktails…and socializing for us two ladies. We were starstruck. Yet, meeting all these wonderful, fabulous, down.to.earth women was the most surreal and fabulous experience of the summer, and maybe my life.

I kept saying to Laura cheesy things like “Omg, I wanna meet Kath, she’s such an inspiration, it’s like meeting a famous person.”

Then, when you meet them, they were so down to earth, friendly, peppy, and just plain FABULOUS. This weekend blew me outta the water, then clear across the land (again, I’m cheesy), ha, but seriously, I had the best time.

And here’s a serious plug for the best.book.ever. See above. That’s Caitlin. If you don’t know her- here’s the best way how: Operation Beautiful. The site + the book. Go buy it. Changed my life, hers, and thousands of others around the world.

And then, just when we thought the party was ovah…think again…we ran into Angela and got the party started. For real.

1a.m. was waaaaaaay to late for this granny (me), and 6a.m. came waaaay too early.

Saturday~

I’m surprised my mascara-crusted eyes were able to stumble outta bed and make it to the lobby by then. Like always, I’m so glad I went. There was a group of about 6 or 7 people, and by mile 2.5ish, Angela and I split off, hijacked a running clan, and made our way around the lake, through the woods, and along the city streets until we made it back to the hotel.

Ok, full day ahead of us, and FULL recap tomorrow. My blog says I reached my picture quota, eeep. Does this mean I need to buy more space?! I better get on that!

To all you fabulous ladies I met this weekend, I had a blast and can’t wait to see you again!

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Day Three in (New) Delhi

We woke up refreshed and had breakfast at the hotel again (complimentary) and we were lucky to have our favorite workers on duty! They were so funny!

At 10:30am we met up with Mr. Singh for the tour.

First up, Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple:

The temple is built in honour of Laxmi (Hindu goddess of wealth), and her consort Narayana

  • The famous temple is accredited to have been inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939.

While driving we also saw the Parliament Building, the Ministry of Defenses, and the Ministry of Parliament.

And onto meet the President (I wish!)

The President only has control of the Armed Forces and then the Prime Minister of India controls the rest.

India Gate

  • India’s Gate is a War Memorial arch that was built in honor of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during WWI
  • Below, it burns the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the eternal flame in tribute to all martyred soldiers of India

Next on the list, Humayun’s Tomb:

  • Humayun’s tomb is a complex of buildings built as the Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb, commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562 CE, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect.
  • It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale.
  • The complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is still underway.

After an entire day of not eating (except breakfast), it was now nearing 4pm and we had one more stop to go. Luckily the heat staves off all ques of hunger, but pretty soon, I would be blacking out!

The Qutub Minar:

  • The Qutub Minar tower is at 72.5 meters (237.8 ft) the world’s tallest brick minaret
  • The Qutb Minar is notable for being one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture

It was a glorious, but HOT day out, but luckily we had our AC car to take us from site to site. And if not that, Mr. Singh kept us entertained with his wit, humor, and adorable smile!

Day Four, we’re heading from Delhi to Jaipur. Before leaving though, we get to see Gandhi!!! Stay tuned. I’ll be back!

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FINALLY, recaps!

July 24th: India Day 1 (in transit) and July 25th, Day 2, our first day out in the city!

I took the 8-hour overnight bus down from Aomori to Tokyo, staying briefly in the Narita airport before taking flight to Malasia and onto India. Only 12 hours of flights for day 1. :-/

I made it to Malaysia and after chilling in their AMAZING airport, I was bumped up to 1st class when the plane had been over-booked. Not to shabby.

Dinner was seriously fabulous. I can’t believe I’m saying that about an airplane meal. But beef and lamb skewers with a curry peanut sauce. I was in heaven. And after the second 6-hour flight of the day and a few cat naps later, I landed in Delhi. It took about 2 seconds after opening the cabin door to the outside to realize–this place is hot, hot, HOT. It was 9:30pm and 32 degrees Celsius. (That’s about 90 degrees folks)

Tonya joined me at the airport a few hours later. Fun was about to ensue. We were ready for the adventures of India!

Welcome to the Grand Central Hotel, Delhi. The staff here was amazing. Not as sweet as our driver for the next 8 days, but they were entertaining nonetheless.

Day 2- (Old) Delhi

Ton and I woke up at around 8am and attempted to get ready in our slightly sketchy hotel. Before Vijay (Mr. Singh), our driver picked us up, we walked the streets of Delhi, near our hotel.

Not two steps out and beggars, homeless children, and shop keepers were in our face. Trash litters the streets, smog, dust, broken roads, and poverty everywhere.

At noon, our tour began.

  • There are 15 million people in Delhi.
  • It was colonized by the British. They left in 1947 (Aug. 15: Independence Day)
  • Many city names have changed since then (Dilli–>Delhi, Bombay–> Mumbai)

First up, JAMA MAJID

It was 2p.m. (prayer) so we had to come back later.

Second stop, RED FORT

The Red Fort served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. The British used it as a military camp until India was made independent in 1947.

Also called “Lal  Qila”, it is made of Red Sandstone and one of the most magnificent in Delhi. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638.

Back to the Jama Majid once again:

After our grand tour by an 8 year old, we were forced to pay for the tour we didn’t really know we were on. Hmm, we’re learning a little slowly, but at least we have our bartering down pat. Next time, no getting taken advantage of.

Next stop, and last for the day: Raj Ghat- Gandhi Memorial

  • This is where the cremation of Mahatma Gandhi lies, the father of the Indian nation.
  • An eternity flame is lit there and it is a sacred pilgrimage for all Indians.

Ton and I returned at about 6pm and hadn’t had food since 9am. Can you imagine how hungry we were?! We ate, passed out and woke up 13 hours later!!!

Next stop, day 3, in (New) Delhi!

Stay tuned (and thanks for waiting for an eternity for me to post something!)

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