HOME                        ABOUT                        ADVENTURES                        VANLIFE                        STYLE                        HEALTH                        PARTNER          

November 26, 2016

The Engineer

 Living in Minnesota, I refuse to sacrifice warmth for style. The fall and winters here are brutal and the only way to make it through these bitter cold months is by staying warm. Therefore, I have strategically purchased my winter wardrobe from technical brands that create clothes with purpose and function.

One of my favorite pieces this fall is the Bomber Vest from Patagonia. I love the color, feel and 600-fill power of down warmth this vest provides. Also, it seems to match and pair with many different outfits to keep me nice and warm.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces for the fall / winter:

Head to Toe Style

November 6, 2016

Northern Grade

Northern Grade was back in Minneapolis this weekend and it was bigger and better than before. This year, Machine Shop in Northeast Minneapolis hosted the show with over 30 vendors and hundreds of conscious consumers from the Twin Cities.

So, what is Northern Grade? If you are not yet familiar with Northern Grade, it's a marketplace that highlights USA made goods from local / regional makers. The event allows you, as the consumer, a chance to meet the makers and shop local, sustainable goods.

A few of my favorite vendors from this year and makers you should take note of are:
Candle Makers: Hawk and Hatchet 
Underwearables / Essential Goods: Urban Undercover 
Canoes / Hatchets / Cool Things: Sanborn Canoe Co.
Men and Women's Boots: Red Wing Heritage
Longboard Maker: IVY Lifestyle 
Jewelry Maker: Neal Jewelry 
Furniture Maker: Concrete Pig

Northern Grade is a revolving marketplace with stops throughout the country and Europe. As the shows are wrapping up for the year, be sure to check back soon on upcoming shows for the new year. Check it out here! New this year to Northern Grade is one permanent location in New York, New York.

2015 Northern Grade Post

October 31, 2016

Happy Howloween

It was a day of laughs and awe's as dogs from around the Twin Cities gathered together for their own costume contest. The dogs and their humans got creative with unique and adorable little costumes. It was comical to watch these dogs prance around fully dressed up being the little 'pain in ass' they always are. 
Being around all these cute little pups, definitely put me in the Halloween spirit. A huge THANK YOU to Sidewalk Dogs, FreeHouse and all the other sponsors who understand dogs are part of the family and know how much we love to dress them up. 

Happy Halloween! 

October 30, 2016

Appsolutely Nike+ Training

Holy Sh*t! I feel like I've just discovered the Holy Grail of fitness! Have you heard of the Nike+ Training App? If not, stop what you are doing and download this FREE app now. It truly is the ultimate personal trainer that designs workouts for you based on where you are in your fitness journey right now. With over 100 workouts you will constantly be challenging your body and switching it up to keep your muscles guessing.

The workouts are broken down by Strength, Endurance and Mobility then branch off from there. If you know what you are looking for (i.e. abs, legs, run ready yoga, etc.) you can dive into it that way or follow your plan. From plyometrics, lifting and yoga - you will find your perfect workout here.

The best part about it is, if you travel, this app will become your best friend. You can choose from No-Equipment workouts, short workouts or whatever you have available while traveling. No excuses anymore!

I am two workouts in and already enjoying this app. Each move is broken down by technique, tips, time and motivation making it easy to follow and do correctly.

 I cannot wait to see how this app helps me in my fitness journey.

October 12, 2016

Jay Cooke State Park

 Without ever seeing photos or being told what to expect at Jay Cooke State Park, I arrived open minded and was blown away at the views surrounding me. Walking along the eroded gorge, watching the St. Louis River bend around the exposed slate, I couldn't help myself but to take hundreds of photos trying to capture the beauty.

My friend, Leah and I hiked along the river side and found hiking trails that opened in all directions, allowing you to branch off and take in the scenery for miles around the park. The colored leaves paved the paths making our hike more colorful and beautiful than ever. With over 50 miles of hiking trails within the state park, you can choose the views you wish to see. Leah and I hiked up and down the rivers edge and through the quiet backwoods which we had all to ourselves.

If you have the chance to visit Duluth, make sure to stop at Jay Cooke State Park to camp and / or explore the park for all the gorgeous scenery around.

October 11, 2016


 It was the perfect escape we all needed; a weekend getaway up North to remove ourselves from the stress and hustle of life and reconnect with the outdoors. This weekend we joined 5 other couples (and 3 dogs) in Duluth for a weekend of outdoor adventures. As the fall colors peaked, we hiked, mountain biked, ate and drank our way through the northern woods.

This wasn't the first time we have all got together to go outside and camp but the more we get together and explore the outdoors together I realize how important camping is for adults and here's why:

  • Disconnect from Tech - You need this more than you know - a break from all technology. Luckily where we were camping, no one had cell reception so we were forced to be without. Life is so much better when everyone is engaged and present in a conversation.
  • The Simple Life - In a way I think we're all guilty of 'Keeping up with the Joneses'' and being out in nature makes you realize how simple life is and how little we need to meet our needs.
  • Exercise Explorations - Fill your days with outdoor exercising - hike, bike and trail run / walk your way through the outdoors. When you have all of this in your 'backyard' how can you just sit there. Getting out and to bike and hike will help you experience the place you are camping in a new way.
  • Get Inspired - Being outdoors always gives me a fresh perspective on life and art. Without the distractions of everyday life and having the chance to reflect with a clear mind - I am always able to get inspired by something new.
  • Refresh - The Monday after a camping excursion, I feel refreshed and relaxed. It's a calming, fulfilling feeling that takes the restlessness out of me - it's my camper high.

October 10, 2016

Camp Vibes

While Polar Stuff may have coined the phrase ‘Camp Vibes’, the feeling and meaning is a bit different to all campers. To me, Camp Vibes is the sound of the van doors opening and closing, the zipping of the pop-top canvas and sleeping bags and the ticking of the manual dashboard clock. It’s the smell of campfire in the air and the musty-camper smell of the van. Camp Vibes, means drinking out of tin cups, eating with sporks sitting around the fire cooking food. Camp Vibes are the feeling of being disconnected from the busy lives we lead and escaping into the woods to connect with nature and yourself.

Here is what Camp Vibes looks like to me:

October 3, 2016

What to do in Cannon Beach, OR

After a quick weekend getaway to Oregon's coast, Ken and I came, saw and Cannon Beached in a wonderful, relaxing manner. Below are highlights from our time in Cannon Beach and recommendations for you if you have the chance to visit this lovely town. Enjoy a stroll through the neighborhoods of cedar homes and historic New England types of hotels or visit the landmarks below. Either way, if you're lucky enough to visit the coast of Oregon - you're lucky enough. 

 Haystack Rock

There is not a bad time of day to visit Haystack Rock - from sunrise to sunset, the light and reflection from high-tide makes this rock a remarkable landmark to photograph. This rock is iconic to Oregon's Coast and a must see.

Local Breweries
There are two local breweries in Cannon Beach, Pelican and Public Coast Brewing. Pelican is more of your commercialized made for everyone type Brewery and Public Coast is more of your local, authentic brewery that brings you the culture of the town with each brew.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park is only a few miles away from Haystack Rock. It is a beautiful drive through the dense Northwest Forrest with vibrate greens of the massive evergreens and moss. There is a $5 charge to get into the park but the views are absolutely worth it. 

Hidden Beach
Within Ecola State Park is Hidden Beach. The beach is free to park and visit. Surf was up and locals were riding the waves. From Hidden Beach you get a great view of Tillamook Rock Lighthouse off the coast and can get caught up watching the powerful waves crashing into the rocks.

Local Restaurants
It is always a nice break to not see chain restaurants flooding the streets. There are many charming restaurants and wine bars along the downtown strip.  Take your pick and enjoy the fresh caught tuna and halibut. YUM! 

Local Shops
Cannon Beach has the most beautiful little downtown with all local shops. Make sure to set time aside to casually walk through the shops and find a souvenir for yourself or a loved one. 

Ken and I only had a day and a half in Cannon Beach but were able to do everything we wanted before making our way North to Astoria.

September 26, 2016

Cyclocross Madness

"It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself." 
- Lester, American Beauty

Not sure how familiar you are with cyclocross, but is one hell of sport. It is a true test of endurance, bike handling, agility and perseverance. These races are all full out sprints with hurdles, climbing, stairs and this time around mud... lots of mud.

This weekend Ken and I made our way to Iowa to watch the UCI Cyclocross World Cup, this is the Tour de France of cyclocross (so, it's a pretty big deal). Not only did we have a chance to watch professionals from all over the world but we both raced the same course the pros did.

Here is a peek at the pros race. Watching the video will also give you a little more insight on what cyclocross is and how challenging these races are:

This is my first year racing bikes and I am so proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying something new. It goes beyond just trying something new to being competitive in a new sport. It has been both challenging and reward taking on a new sport at 29 years old.

What an amazing weekend with my team and being able to explore a bit of Iowa City.

September 19, 2016

These Boots are made for...

 We are days away from fall and already the leaves are changing, the air is crisp and life has started to slow down. With the change of the season comes changes to our wardrobe, and like many, fall is my favorite season to dress for. There is something about boots, layers and a good sweater that make the season comfortable.

Since the launch of Red Wing Heritage's new women's line, I have started reworking outfits from the ground up. I start with a great pair of boots then find an outfit to match. When I started over with my wardrobe, I found solid pieces that I can wear year-round by adding (or removing) articles of clothing to build the perfect outfit. This dress I found at Madewell is simple, classic and great for year-round use. Add a sweater and tights for fall and winter or add a simple summer heel for hot summer days. That's the beauty of the cotton/wool/elastane blend. I am absolutely loving this look!

Head to Toe Style

September 12, 2016

Salsa Ride Camp

Photos by: Scott Haraldson

In the Northwoods of Wisconsin is where I spent my weekend with over 250 other cyclist to get away from our busy lives and connect most with the passion we all had in common, riding. With no distractions, just bikes and the great outdoors, we spent our weekend exploring the north woods the best way possible.

Adventure by Bike, as Salsa's tagline and mission reads, was only the beginning of the journey - with organized group riding options in bikepacking, flyfishing, mountain biking, gravel rides and endless other outdoor activities, we were given the opportunity to choose our own adventure and you better believe I chose mine wisely.

At night, things slowed down a bit as Salsa sponsored riders shared their latest stories of rides, races and adventures. After presentations and photos were shared,  the masses surrounded the fire pits with local brews in our hands, as we shared our own personal stories or cycling.

It was great to be removed from everyday conveniences and 'rough' it for 3 days and 2 nights with tent camping, outhouses, no electricity and 1 barrel of water.

The highlight of my camping experience was riding a fat bike out to the river to learn how to flyfish. With all my gear on my handlebars, I made my way to fresh water, changed shoes and spent hours in the river working the line.

To learn more about Ride Camp and how you can participle next year, visit Salsa Ride Camp.

September 6, 2016

Everyday, You have a choice

Inspiration, one of the greatest feeling in the world. It's the feeling within you that makes you powerful and guides your dreams of only positive futures ahead.

I recently met with a beautiful, brilliant woman who stopped me in my tracks and made me rethink exactly where I am in my life and where I want to be. This woman is influential, successful and has been relentless in chasing her dreams and making everything she wanted possible. As I sat across the table from her, she exuded confidence, poise, success - I want to be that woman!

The conversation meant so much more than the career, self development and even fashion advice that she was providing me and took off into a common theme that everyday, we have a choice to be better than we were yesterday. Everyday, we have the choice to present ourselves, self educate, learn, grow and succeed without relaying on anyone else to push us and by simply telling ourselves, "I can".

I took this conversation to heart and made simple changes in my life that I know will make drastic changes in the near future. It started with an entire wardrobe change and has lead to reading every day, signing up for community organizations and extra-circulars and teaching myself graphic design and code.

Over the next few weeks, I will sharing some of my timeless, capsule wardrobe style with you. I am breaking away from my "trendy" style casual clothes to a more elegant and classic style. The way you present yourself through appearance says a lot about yourself, what are you telling the world? I will also start a segment on Thursdays called, Thursday Thoughts that will recap what I'm reading, what's inspiring me, etc. so you will be able to dive deeper into how I am embracing self development. Hope you follow along!

Thank you, Betsey for being an incredible burst of inspiration and the most influential mentor.

Head to Toe Style

September 4, 2016

Jazz it up a little

Jeans and a Tee Shirt - It's the most simple, approachable, low maintenance outfit we can wear. But that doesn't mean it has to be boring. There are four fundamentals to fashion that I recently developed for myself and I am stickly sticking to it:
  1. High quality pieces
  2. Timeless styles (say no to fast fashion)
  3. Simple Pieces 
  4. Great Shoes
Using these four style principles, I turned a 3 piece outfit into a classic, casual look. Let's break this down:

Now, if you have followed us for sometime now, you've probably noticed we haven't spent much time in the van this summer, luckily there is a good reason. Ken has spent the summer working on the van - the good news is we now have running water, our gas burners work, we have electricity and a sound system! We are getting so close to making the van a live-able home on wheels (you know what happens next!)

This Labor Day weekend, I finally convinced Ken to take me for a van trip since this simple getaway makes me happier than anyone could imagine. We had an awesome day in Stillwater, MN and a great drive in the van. Hope you had a great Labor Day Weekend!  

September 3, 2016

Banks & Steelz

We stumbled across an unexpected duo, Banks snd Steelz. The voices sounded oddly familiar and the music was new and fresh. A quick google searched confirmed the true coolness was unlikely collaborators from two of our favorite groups, Paul Banks (lead singer of Interpol) and RZA (one of the leaders of Wu-Tang Clan).

A poppy beat, moody chorus, and aggressive lyrics proved to be an interesting sound and quickly grabbed our attention. Giant is there major single hitting independent music channels now. My favorite song upon quick scan is Love + War, featuring Ghostface Killah.

Going through other songs by Banks and Steelz, the guest artists they have brought into their mix are: Method Man, Kool Keith, Ghostface Killah, Florence Welsh and more. Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for these guys. I can't wait to see what they will surprise us with next!

August 21, 2016

My First Alleycat

How well do you know your downtown streets and back alleys? An alleycat race will definitely put you to the test.

Before moving to Minneapolis, I had never heard of alleycats probably because these races are often done in big cities and typically organized by bike messengers because of their familiarity of the city streets and shortcuts through back alleys. The bike community of Minneapolis embraces alleycats and will host quite a few throughout the year. I am happy to have completed my first with a Minneapolis local by my side.

So, what is an alleycat? Let's break it down together: Before the race starts, each racer is given a manifest with check points, pickup and drop off locations, location of manifest sealing and your finish point for the race. Each racer is then given roughly 30 minutes to map out the order of their checkpoints, their routes and what they need to do to be the first one to the finish point. From there, it's utter chaos once the race begins with racers weaving in and out of traffic, hauling ass through crowded downtown streets and being absolutely relentless to be the first one to complete their stops and claim their fame as the alleycat winner.

The race was an absolute blast and BikeJerks did a great job organizing and hosting the event with a wild afterparty at the finish point, Modest Brewing.