All-Star Game 2014 Minneapolis Festivities

All-Star-GameMinneapolis has All-Star Game fever. Everywhere you look downtown, you will see some sort of baseball related adornment. It’s awesome. Yes, I’m not a fan of the traffic and crowds the festivities will create, but the energy is one of pure joy.

We went to the Futures Game and the Celebrity/Legends Softball game at Target Field on Sunday. It was so much fun. Baseball has such a rich history and there really is nothing like going to a big stadium filled with baseball fans. It’s so communal. You sit in your assigned seat, but you chat with some of the folks around you at some point. You all have something in common, baseball. Whether you are booing everything Yankee related or talking about who has stolen the most bases in a season, there’s something to talk about.

Even while walking to the stadium, you can sense the excitement and fun in the air. At the stadium, the energy gets stronger. There are press everywhere. There are people taking pictures of everything with big smiles on their faces.

The Futures Game is fun because these are guys who could be on the All-Star team in the future. Right now, they are relatively unknown and usually playing in the minors, but it’s still fun to see them hit a home run, or hit a foul ball into the windshield of a truck parked as a display at the field. Yep, that happened.

The Celebrity/Legends Softball game is fun mostly for the legends. It’s great to see guys who you can tell just love the sport of baseball and any excuse to get out on the field. They are having a ball, pun totally intended.

If the All-Star Game comes to your city or near your city, I highly recommend checking out one of the festivities. Sure, the All-Star Game itself is probably priced out for most of us minions, but there are other things to do and see that are exciting and fun and baseball related.

Five tips for attending a blogging conference: #BlogHer14

Blog conference tips: #BlogHer14It’s summer blog conference time! One of the bigger conferences bloggers attend is BlogHer.  This year it’s in San Jose, California. Ah, the Silicon Valley, such an amazing place. If you are going to BlogHer for the first time, I’ve got some tips to help you ease through your nervousness.  While most of my blog conference tips are centered around my experiences at BlogHer, they can be applied to just about any blogging conference.

Blog conference tips #1: Be friendly.

Honestly, most of the gals there are welcoming and friendly. Just say hi and start chatting. You have an opening line. You all have a blog. Ask them what they write about…that always breaks the ice because bloggers love talking about their blogs. Other things to talk about: Where they are from? Have they been to BlogHer before? Have they been to California before? How long have they been blogging? What sessions/parties are they going to attend?

See? I’ve given you tons of things to talk about with people you haven’t even met yet! Where can you use this blog conference tip? The meals are a great place to break the ice. Seating is usually at tables with 10 chairs, so sit down next to someone and say hello. Continue reading

Why are weddings so expensive?

BudgetWeddingTipsI’m pretty sure a budget wedding is a myth like a unicorn.  Unless of course, you actually elope and just go to City Hall one day while on break from lunch at work and your reception is a sandwich from Subway. Hey, they have $5 footlong sandwiches.  That will feed at least two people!

Throughout this wedding planning adventure I have come to realize that shit is expensive. Although, I’m pretty sure people are gouging brides and grooms, but I don’t have enough evidence to prove this theory.

You know that stuff you see all over pinterest that looks all shabby chic, vintage, and handmade?  None of that is cheap. Even if you are lucky enough to have the talent, time, and patience to create that barn door chalkboard on which to display the wedding agenda, you still need the cash to create it.

Also, those apothecary jars full of light orange jelly beans look really pretty on the tables, but who in the hell will eat them? Unless they are Jelly Belly, yuck.  And if they are…spendy! What the heck do you do with them when you’re done? Use them as decor in your house?  Hooray for dusty jellybeans.

At my wedding, we are having 25 people, not including me and Paul.  I thought I could do the whole thing for under $5,000. Um. No. Maybe if we weren’t getting married in Las Vegas, but it seems at every turn I am getting nickeled and dimed…well, more like ten and twenty dollars.

Photography is insanely expensive.  Yes, I know it’s artistic and these people are making a living.  It’s just that I am still reeling from the sticker shock. I can’t find a decent photographer for under $1,100 and expect to get digital negatives.

We aren’t even having most of the traditional crap you find at weddings.  There will be no cake.  There will be no DJ. An ice sculpture of Goldy the Gopher? No. Sorry, Paul. Although, it’s cold enough in Minnesota that we could probably do it tomorrow on our patio.

Ok, I did get some favors, but they were not expensive.  I think I paid like $50 for the whole lot including shipping. And I don’t have to shove bags of jordan almonds together.

So, we cut back in places that really don’t matter to us…like the DJ and the cake, but we splurge on things that will last a lifetime…like the photography.

Was anyone else shocked by the price of things when they got married or am I just a cheap ass?

Wine Review: Holman Ranch 2011 Chardonnay

The good people at Holman Ranch also sent be a bottle of chardonnay to review in addition to the sauvignon blanc I previously reviewed.

This is an estate grown chardonnay.  What does estate grown mean on a wine label?  Basically, it’s a fancy way to say that a certain percentage of the grapes are grown by the winery.  OK, it’s a little more in-depth than that, but that’s for another blog post.

Are you confused?  Well, not all wineries can afford thousands of acres of land to grow their own grapes, so they will buy them from various places.  Personally, I don’t care.  I only care what the wine tastes like when I drink it.

Maybe this quote from the Holman Ranch website will clear things up:

Our estate-grown wine varietals are planted on approximately 19 acres of undulating terrain. The wines produced are unfined and crafted to deliver the true varietal of the grape from harvest to bottle.

They have five estate grown wines in all.  The sauvignon blanc I recently reviewed was also labeled as such.

Let’s talk appellation.  Basically, it’s the area in which wine is grown.  In Monterey County, where Holman Ranch is located, there are seven distinct appellations.  Holman Ranch is in the Carmel Valley appellation.

According to the Carmel Valley Wines website:

Nestled into the towering Santa Lucia Range, Carmel Valley geographically defies daytime zephyrs and fogs, yielding the sizzling summer afternoons that are especially favorable to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other red varietals. Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel also perform exceptionally well in Carmel Valley.

Many people have strong feelings about chardonnay.  They usually either love it or hate it.  I personally enjoy it.  It was very popular in the 90s. Yes, I was old enough to drink in the 90s…the later half, but still.

This chardonnay was lovely. It was buttery, crisp, and light. Everything I’d want in a chardonnay. The price point for this bottle is $28.  It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank either.  It’s great for a nice meal or to take as a gift to someone.  Who wouldn’t want a nice bottle of wine? Ok, maybe some, but not me.

Be back soon: Gone winter crazy

My first winter in Minnesota and it’s awful. Honestly, do you people know California exists? I now understand why people thought I was nuts for moving here.  Love does make you do crazy things.

I mean what the hell, Minnesota? Getting to the grocery store is a freaking chore. I’m not used to having my movements so restricted. I used to be annoyed by the rain.  What a fool I was.

The thought of going out to dinner exhausts me. Do you know how much effort that will take?

I’m tired of having to wear 5 layers of clothing just to ensure one of my extremities doesn’t fall off while getting out of the car. I’m tired of worrying that the oil in my car might be too frozen for it to turn on after a day of work. I’m tired of seeing the Wind Chill Advisory and a temperature well below zero as the high…THE HIGH!

When I was getting ready to move out here, I was worried about road conditions. Someone made a flippant comment about it not being the 1800s and not driving a wagon.

Um, dude. You have NO idea.

Snow blowing across the road makes me cringe. Ice on the road is frightening. I know now just how stupid people are in their cars.

My poor car has taken one hell of a beating….Not from the snow, but from the horrible potholes riddled throughout the streets of Saint Paul and even Minneapolis.  Sorry, dude, but my Beetle won’t roll over the 4 inch pothole as quickly as your SUV. Deal with it or tell your council member to get off his/her ass and fix the roads.

Speaking of…there are roads that don’t get plowed. I’m dead serious. They are side streets and have a giant layer of snowy ice lining them. How the people who live on them deal with that crap is beyond me.  I’d be the crazy lady dragging a giant bag of salt up and down the road, cussing the government the whole time.

How many more days until spring?  I keep day dreaming about it and summer, which is a clear sign I’ve lost my mind because I usually hate summer. Now I understand why it’s so much better.  You don’t have to be holed up in your house shaking your fist at the weather person. You can actually leave whenever you want or need. Ahhhhhh, the freedom.

All venting aside, I wouldn’t leave this place without Paul. Being able to laugh with him, snuggle with him and generally enjoy life with him does make all this crap worth it.  Besides, it won’t be winter forever, right?