Still time to visit Santa’s elves at the Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis.

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For almost 50 years the downtown Macy’s store In Minneapolis has been the place to take the kids for one of the greatest Christmas displays in the Untied States.  This years theme is “Santa’s Elves”, you take a trip through their village on the way to Santa’s workshop.  How much fun does that sound like!?!?  You still have time to get out this weekend and up until Christmas Eve to enjoy this FREE event.  You can visit the Macy’s site for more details.

Hours are as follows:

Friday, Dec 20th: 8am-10pm
Saturday, Dec 21st: 8am-10pm
Sunday, Dec 22nd: 8am-8pm
Monday, Dec 23rd: 8am-8pm
Tuesday, Dec 24th: 8am-5pm


The must try Turkey Brine recipe

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In the few hundred years that we have had Thanksgiving there has been an never ending quest to figure out how to cook the perfect turkey.  Do you cook it upside down, what temperture is it really done at and of course do you cook it stuffed or not?  Well this year all the rage is to “brine” your turkey.  What does that mean?  First off it means if you are going to do one for Thursday you need to get it in the brine today because this thing takes some time to soak and get perfectly seasoned.  We can promise you though that once you do it you will never go back and that your turkey will be MOIST and tender.  So let’s get cooking…or at least brining today and enjoy the best turkey you’ve ever had this Thanksgiving.

Perfect turkey brine recipe

Here’s What To Do:

For a 16 to 20 pound turkey:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (1 cup of salt per gallon of water is the general rule here … )
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 stems fresh thyme
  • 3 stems fresh sage
  • 2 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (remove the leaves, discard the stems)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley (stems okay here)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • the peel of  a good-sized orange
  • 1 gallon (at least) of  water

With everything in the pot, bring it to a boil and then let it FULLY cool back to room temperature.

Submerge the turkey in the pot (it helps to put it breast side down and make sure the innards are removed first) and put saran wrap over the top. Weigh down the bird so it stays submerged and leave it be for at least 24 hours before cooking for your feast. In fact, if you can go for 36 hours of brining, your bird will be even better. Be sure to refrigerate or set the pot in a cool area during this time.

Then follow your usual turkey cooking recipe, but pat the bird dry before placing it in the oven. 

How to be a better neighbor/apartment living

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making a good neighbor at your apartment



Whether your building has an association or not…odds are you don’t exactly know your new neighbors yet, am I right?
Here are some suggestions on how to build your own little community in no time at all.

Back in the day they used to have an actual welcome wagon….and certainly if you’re crafty and enterprising enough you can go around to local businesses and get them to donate coupons or small gifts to the newly moved in, and then go around to each new neighbor and present them with a lovely welcome basket…but this is more about what to do after that.

local restaurant night: pick a local restaurant in your neighborhood that you can all meet up at for drinks or dinner…you’re getting to know your new area, supporting local business, as well as getting to know your neighbors.

Once you’ve got to know your neighbors a little better….hopefully someone will like you enough to make you something. Or borrow something. Remember the golden neighborly rule:

Always return a dish FULL…not empty.

Whether you’ve borrowed a large dish or pan to hold something…or you received the gift of food FROM your neighbor? The friendly thing to do is return it filled with something they will enjoy. if you can’t cook or bake, nothing says “howdy neighbor” like a big bag of M&M’s 🙂

Perhaps you’ve got so many fun people in your building, you’d like to step up the socializing…why not start a Facebook page? That way you can check in with one another…pass along important information….organize the next potluck…oh hey, that’s another groovy idea!

Potluck! everyone brings a dish. It would be nice to be invited to one without the added agenda of someone selling something (tupperware/jewelry/candles, etc) but either way…it’s nice to know who the good cooks are in the building, how they furnished their place as opposed to yours, and who’s door you will NOT be knocking on for a cup of sugar.
Once you’ve established a rapport with your fellow building dwellers, sky’s the limit!

Cookie swaps! My favorite part of the holidays…everyone brings a certain amount of baked goods. At the end of the night you leave with a container full of delicious goodies to serve at your own holiday party.

Cheese and wine night. Guys bring the cheese. Gals bring the wine. Prizes for the most exotic of either. You see where this is going. Your are only limited by your imagination. Have fun, and welcome to the neighborhood!

Creative and easy ways to get more space in your bathroom

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Need to spiff up your bathroom? or maybe you think you just don’t have enough space to do anything different? Trust us, you DO!!!!




 Inspiration is everywhere! 


Look for tips from the world around you….where to store your hair dryer/curling iron/straighteners? Why not do what your hairstylist does? install holsters on the side of your vanity!



You can certainly go to the fancy schmancy container stores but make sure you google and pinterest before you shell out the big bucks. there are tons of easy peasy diy solutions that may surprise you!!



want to get rid of that cd rack? hold on!!! install it in your bathroom:







other great space savers are sliding storage drawers under the sink….and rolling your towels instead of folding them for optimal storage!




 and of course, there are literally hundreds of ways to store your toilet paper…get fancy!!!





Don’t be discouraged…we live in an age where the answers are literally right at your fingertips. Get inspired!!!


The Rules of the Playground

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You are the proud parents of a toddler! congratulations. You’ve survived the first year and now your kidlet is mobile!!!  You now get to do things like keeping them occupied in grocery stores! Guard against them putting everything that isn’t nailed down in to their mouths!!! And the biggest bad….THE PLAYGROUND.

It doesn’t matter where you live…the rules of the playground are the same. and you best get schooled, because as a parent of a small whippersnapper…you’re going to be spending a colossal amount of time there.


Be prepared.


Never go to the park without snacks, water, wipes, extra clothes, and diapers. Inevitably there will be all sorts of shenanigans that will involve one if not ALL of these items on the same outing.


Do NOT bring a toy, bike, stuffy, or any beloved item of your child’s to the playground unless you (and your child) are ready for ANY child present to play with it. This is a biggie folks..and not an easy one to swallow…if you can’t handle others touching your stuff. Do NOT bring it to the playground. It’s a huge universal playground rule…and you should know it BEFORE you get there.


The Swings…oof. listen, here’s the thing about the swings. They are a slippery slope. If your child is not interested in them yet….GOOD…stay away as long as you can. Because it’s going to be YEARS before they can learn to pump their legs and swing on their own…so you will spend all day pushing them. ALL. DAY. It’s a cute idea on day one. Day three or five? not so much.


Enclosed parks are your friends. The more confined a park is…the better you will feel. You’ve always got to keep an eye on your child, but when you’re in a smaller play area that’s surrounded on all sides by a fence, there’s just a little extra room to relax. As much as you can…between the swings…the slide, and heaven forbid there’s one of those flying deathtraps knows as a merry go round! Also be forewarned, there is often a great divide between stay at home parents and nannies/hired caregivers. Try as you might, it’s a divide you’re unlikely to mend. Find other like minded parents…and don’t be upset if the nanny crew in the corner gives you the cold shoulder. Good luck, and welcome to the Jungle…I mean PLAYGROUND  baby.

Angie Shaw 





Take a day off for a “stay-cation”

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Be a tourist for a day on that staycation!  So you’ve decided to stay put this vacation season? Still plenty to do…and no reason you can’t act like a tourist for a day. shh…your secret is safe with us!  Some fun things to do in St. Paul:


Take a trip to the past and see how the other half lived by visiting the Julian H Sleeper house

This guy was not only a successful entrepreneur, real estate speculator and theatrical promoter, he was also a bit of an eccentric. Who else is crazy enough to move his house to another address so he can link it up with two other buildings conjoined by underground tunnels? COOL.


It is also a museum holding collections of decorative art from the Guilded Age ( 1865-1899 ).  So you can check out a piece of history AND be inspired for that living room redesign you’ve been toying with in your head! win-win!

After all that perusing on how the other half lived, you will have worked up quite an appetite, so why not head over to the iconic ‘Mickey’s Diner”?

One of the first diners build in the Art Deco style, it’s been serving up juicy burgers and extra thick shakes 24 hours a day since 1939!  Not only has it been around since the 40’s (!!!)  but it’s also been featured in several Hollywood films and music videos. Yes, you can enjoy a burger, Mickey’s famous bean soup, and a black cherry ice cream float in the diner featured in The Mighty Ducks, (the Schwarzenegger tour de force ) Jingle All The Way and a Pet Shop Boy’s music video!


Suddenly being a tourist in your own hood doesn’t seem so dorky now does it? 


Looking for some great tips for gardening at your apartment?

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So you’re in an apartment..and you love it..but you get frustrated watching Ina Garten go snip fresh herbs for her salads on Barefoot Contessa in her sprawling hamptons estate garden. well, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Apartment gardening! There are plenty of things you can grow yourself inside and outside your lovely apartment home. If you’ve got a balcony, patio, deck, or fire’re already half way there. What about a window box? or an outside wall you can hang plants from? railings work great. so do steps…heck, there’s even the ol’ trusty soda bottle garden!

The best news? All the resources you need to start growing are just a click or two away. Between pinterest, and celebrated authors like Amy Pennington and her latest book “Apartment Gardening” you’ve got a wealth of information right at your fingertips to get you started. 



Is there anything more satisfying than adding freshly grown chives or basil from your own pots into that salad for dinner? Even cooler if you’re feeding company.Sweet strawberries mixed in with your morning yogurt?  Or freshly cut flowers from your balcony as a centerpiece to impress the inlaws? There is a great sense of accomplishment when you grow produce. You’re a provider. Go ahead, beat your chest with your fists a little. you deserve it. you grew something. you ate it. and you saved money by not going to the grocery store. you also know there aren’t any sneaky pesticides or genetic altering going on either. (Unless you’re in to that sort of thing) so go ahead and get started! what are you waiting for? Don’t let apartment living hinder you from flashing that green thumb!!

Get out to a great water park in St. Paul

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 Great River Water Park 


For competitive swimming, the University of Minnesota’s capacious Minneapolis campus Aquatic Center is the region’s sine qua non, but with limited public hours, an $8 daily fee and a dearth of cheap parking, the facility isn’t a great option for we amphibians to sneak in a pre-work or midday swim. We prefer to head east to the Lexington Parkway exit off Interstate 94 for St. Paul’s public swimming hole: the Great River Water Parkat the Oxford Community Center. Parents can pad around a cushioned deck as their children squirt down the slides, climb on the floating log or romp in the spacious children’s pools. Lifeguards are always on duty and usually two lap lanes are kept open in the big pool, an eight-lane, 25-yard beauty with diving boards above a true deep end. A family of five gets in for $16. 270 Lexington Pkwy. N., St. Paul; 651-642-0650

Looking for a great dog park here in the Twin Cities

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The location of the Lake of the Isles Off-Leash Recreation Area is as enticing for dog owners as it is for dogs. Located at the south end of Lake of the Isles, the woodchip-covered, fenced-in park, which has a separate area for smaller dogs, is serenely nestled between Lake of the Isles Pkwy. and the Midtown Greenway bike path. It’s well-shaded by trees, making it a comfortable spot for owners to relax even on the hottest days of summer. And after the dogs have burned off their excess energy, the owners can join them for a relaxing stroll around the lake. Or, by following the walking paths to nearby Lake Calhoun, you can venture over to Tin Fish, where you’re likely to see several other dogs sitting on the patio as their owners wolf down fish tacos.

Best Bike Shop in MN: The Alternative Bike & Board Shop

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The Alternative Bike & Board Shop in Minneapolis

The Alt, a fixture of the Uptown area for nearly 40 years, is almost as hip as all those newcomer bike shops around town. See The Alt’s deep selection of gorgeous Electra and Breezer cruisers. And the employees might look like your typical twenty-something bike punks, with their tattoos and their hipster sneakers. Except they’re super friendly, even when an aging know-nothing enters the store. Longing for a commuter bike with a custom paint job and vintage styling? No problem. The folks from The Alt will hook you up with a baby-blue frame, hammered aluminum fenders and a brown leather saddle. Or maybe you simply want to repair your 1990s Specialized hybrid. The Alt isn’t too cool to fix your dorky wheels, either. 3013 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.; 612-374-3635,

Runner-up: Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop + Coffee Bar

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