A Little Southern Hospitality…

Last night I got together with a few of my friends for our monthly book club.  The theme for the evening was southern – so naturally we had sweet tea, biscuits and gravy, homemade macaroni and cheese, and shrimp and grits.  I made shrimp and grits because it is hands down my favorite southern meal, especially when it is made by the High Hammock in South Carolina.  I could not find their recipe, but recently Joy the Baker posted a recipe for Shrimp and Grits so I decided to use that one and then change things a little bit since I was making it in the north and the only kind of grits you will find here are instant grits or 5 min grits – but I worked with it and they turned out great.  In fact, the ladies had thought they would hate grits, but they tried them since it was southern themed and they were happy to find that grits can actually be good once you add butter and cheese and a lot of other ingredients filled with flavor to them.

My finished product: Shrimp and Grits

I love getting together with these ladies.  We talked about the book, Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, for a little bit – but the book made most of us frustrated or left going, so what really is the point?!  Don’t throw yourself at men that abuse you, or drugs, or really not matter how perfect you try to make your life look on the outside (as they were taught to do as Camellia’s in Charleston, SC) the reality is that something is messed up with you.  It was a page turner that is for sure, but there is a lot of pain in the book – and not every part of the story is given an ending, which left all of us wanting a little more.  It is a quick read and thought provoking, but I do not know that it will be added to the list of my favorites.

The cover of Girls in Trucks

We then switch to other topics rather quickly since this is also a great time to catch up on what is going on in each others’ lives, which naturally leads to blog talk – be sure to check out the ladies, Katie and Kelly, over at Two Minneapolitans and Mads (who moves to LA in a week) at La Petite Pancake.  I love that what started as us all joining the same sorority has lead to sweet friendship and reading some fun books along the way.  We may not be from the south, but we sure know hospitality and this week it was southern hospitality…

Waking Up…

This album, Waking Up,  by OneRepublic, which was released almost a year ago, is so well named because that is exactly what it does to you – it wakes you up.  Music that has the power to do that, to make you feel again – whether it is smile from joy, pain from a loss, long for something more or just move you to dance and enjoy this simple moment in life – is not always easy to come by.  Many of us have been enjoy this album for awhile now without maybe even realizing it because MTV has used it on a handful of their shows, not to mention the CW Network also loving it.  There are a few songs that do make you feel like you are walking down the streets of NYC or the beaches in Santa Monica, but that could also be just because I have seen them on The City and The Hills (yes, I will admit I watch those shows – they are set in two of my favorite cities and have great fashion – the drama just makes me thankful I have learned to work through conflict without extreme drama).  The real gems of this album, however, are not the ones already used or released on the radio.  My personal favorite is “All This Time.”  It is breathtaking.  It wakes your soul up – whether it makes you think of the one you love and could sing this song to, how you once used to have someone to sing this to and that feeling you miss, or leaves you in anticipation that one day you will be able to sing this to someone and actually mean it – and gives you 4 minutes and 2 seconds of pure delight.  Just take the time, close your eyes and listen to the music and let it move you, and don’t be afraid to start dancing in public – who cares what others think, they may even smile seeing you are truly enjoy life right now…

Album art for Waking Up

Oh, if you love the songs from the Eat Pray Love movie trailer – you will be happy to know that “Good Life” (the second song in the trailer) is also found on this album…just before “All This Time.”  Hope you enjoy Waking Up…

Little Delights in Uptown…

Since I will be staying in Minneapolis for a little while now, well actually until further notice this is home, and I have more time in my new found adult life I have decided to start finally checking out those places that have always caught my eye but have never had time to explore.  So, last night I decided to head to Plan B Coffeehouse, which is a perfect plan a when looking for a quaint coffee shop to  sit and read or enjoy with friends.  I got a hot chai to enjoy while I sat on one of the, maybe about ten, couches to choose from.  And – I even got it with soy milk, because at Plan B you can have soy or rice milk free of charge – brilliant, especially for the Uptown crowd.

2717 Hennepin Ave S Minneapolis, MN, 55408

Another little adventure I decided to go on was a hunt, yes it really was a hunt, for a cookie that contained sea salt.  I know, it sounds weird, but it is so delicious.  I personally prefer chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt, but I was craving it so bad I would take any type of cookie with sea salt.  Thankfully, Uptown came to the rescue – which was not shocking.  I headed over to Lucia’s on 31st St & Hennepin.  The menu looked amazing, but I just wanted to head into the bakery for my little treat.  They have a sit down restaurant, wine bar, and bakery – so it really meets whatever need you have.  The cookie was a chocolate chocolate chip sea salt cookie – and let me tell you, it hit the spot.  So good.  Loved enjoy my treat as I walked down Hennepin window shopping on a cool Minnesota evening.  Be sure to check them out…you will not be disappointed.

1432 W 31st St Minneapolis, MN 55408

This is just the beginning of my happy little adventures in Minneapolis…stay tuned to see what I discover next in this wonderful city in the Midwest.  I am hoping what I find changes my views on living in the Midwest…so far I am thinking these little delights make it not so bad after all…

Eat Pray Love…

…yes, please.  I loved the book and I really did enjoy the movie.  Like anyone else who falls in love with a book, the movie is bound to let you down because it is not how you pictured it and created it to be in your head – and there are always those little details that had such a large impact on your take of the book that they failed to include in the movie.  It is not possible to get every little detail into the movie, it is the director’s take on the story – and simply somethings will just not make the cut for the final two hour creation of film.  In 2006, Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert released her memoir of what she learned from a year of traveling to experience life and learn about herself after a hard divorce.  Then, in 2010 Ryan Murphy put it to the silver screen and directed the movie, which is to be released this Friday, August 13th.

So, whether you have a couple hours one day or are looking for a little escape that will last you a few more hours in book form, I highly suggest Eat Pray Love.  I would say read the book first and let your imagination have fun getting lost in the mind of Liz, but if you are not the reading type then go see the movie and enjoy…at least let it make you think about whether or not you are really living or are you just going through life sleep walking…

Dog Days are Over…

One thing I love.  Good music, especially that which is not mainstream.  Currently loving Florence and The Machine.  I have been a fan of her for awhile now, but recently I cannot get enough of her.  Probably due to the Eat Pray Love trailer uses her song, “Dog Days are Over,” which is the first song on her debut album Lungs.  It makes me do the Indian bobble head – even in public and I get a few funny looks but I just cannot help myself.  She grew up south of London, which explains why I like her so much – music out of Europe is bound to grab me rather quickly.  They just make magic over there!  Be sure to check her out.

Cover of Florence & the Machine Lungs Album

Be sure to check back tomorrow to hear how Eat Pray Love is…I won tickets to a sneak peek preview.  So excited!  I loved the book so hopefully I will love the movie, too…