Tuesday, April 28, 2009

World-Wide Jam Session

Every day the internet shows me "the coolest thing I've ever seen." Today was no different. Here's a video from the Playing For Change project. Mark Johnson created the project to show how together we as the human race can inspire each other, and changes in the world, more than we can separately.

Street musicians of the world, you should be proud.

If you'd like to learn more about the Playing for Change project and to see more videos made to inspire changes for peace in the world, go to http://playingforchange.com/.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dive Night ~ 4 Seasons

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.  See a list and links to the previous dive night posts here.

The Dive Night report is here. The participants: Me, Husby, Ruthie, and Ray, as usual. The place: 4 Seasons Restaurant/Drive-In. It used to be the 3-Seasons, but they turned it into something they could use all year round. During three of the four Minnesota seasons it is actually drive-in, which is about the coolest thing ever.

We didn’t hit it during one of those seasons, but had a marvelous time anyway. The restaurant is located in Mahtomedi, MN, right in the middle of town. It will take you back to the ‘50s with its neon and chrome. There were booths with slippery seats and a U-shaped counter with stools. One of the most refreshing things about this place was that it is a hang-out for high school kids. Nice high school kids. Many of the employees are high schoolers, and their friends come in for a soda and burger to visit with the waitresses.

Cool glass block windows, fab lighting fixtures, and a retro lunch counter

Our waitress was a nice high school girl who answered all of our menu questions with the finesse of a lifer. Interestingly enough all four of us decided to get the Friday night fish fry. With the all-you-can-eat fried fish came a choice of two sides. The restaurant is alcohol-free, so we all enjoyed pop or iced tea with our delicious dinners.

More specifically about the food, the batter on the fish was deliciously light. The onion rings and mozzarella sticks were dangerously greasy, which made them taste like heaven. As I mentioned before, the fish was all-you-can-eat, but the first serving was so generous none of us had seconds. The coleslaw went wonderfully with the meal, and the garden salad others chose as a side looked fresh and crisp.

We were so full from our meal and appetizers we didn’t have room for dessert; however, there were wonderful homemade confections available.

Prices were very reasonable, service was excellent, ambiance was retro. Very fun. I would recommend the 4-Seasons to anyone, and I’ll definitely return this summer to get a feel for the drive-in experience.


Ray and Ruthie simply had to have an adult libation that evening, so we picked another dive right down the street from the restaurant. This was truly a dive.

The Flame Bar has been in business since the '30s. It's dark and it smells...bad. If you're looking for a place to drink heartily without food (except for a bag of chips or a microwaved pizza, this is the place to go. While it wasn't someplace I would want to spend an entire evening, it was a pleasure to soak up the character of a real bar.

Mardi Gras beads hung from the ceiling

Behind the bar

So come on up to Mahtomedi, MN for some small town fun. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blogs: Fact Or Fiction

It's no secret. Anyone who knows me at all knows I love to read blogs. Writing them is another story. Oh, I love to write them, but I don't know that I'm very good at it, especially when it comes to posting on a regular basis.

Most of the blogs I read are personal; at least they seem personal to me. They are accounts of people's everyday lives, complete with pictures and links and everything else technical.

I could account for my everyday life and include pictures and links too. The problem is, you'd be reading the same post every single day.

Tell me the truth. All you people out there who project lives of bliss and serenity, is it really that way for you? As a reader I find your blogs soothing and inspiring. But seriously, are you truly that serene? You're homeschooling your houseful of kids, keeping a house relatively clean (I see those pictures), maintaining a romantic and fruitful marriage, and on top of all that you have a business of writing a blog, writing for other blogs, taking all the pictures for your blog, creating for and maintaining an online shop of all the things you've made in your spare time, and even writing books on the subject.

Honestly, are you really that productive? Are your business ventures lucrative? Is your life really as carefree and wholesome as it appears on the pages of your blog?

Just curious.

And maybe a little envious.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back In The Game

Hi, I’m back.

For three weeks I spent every spare moment pouring, labeling, and wrapping votives for the Governor’s Fishing Opener on White Bear Lake. You won’t see my name on them, but be assured, they are mine. I used tons of different fragrances and colors – made me want to keep them all! It was an experience I enjoyed undertaking, and I was pleased to know that despite my deadline being lessened by ten days I was still able to complete the order.

Then I just rested for a while.

Next? I’ve submitted some applications to shows and will hopefully be out on the road showing my wares this summer. It’s good to get out there and mingle with the crowds. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on one in particular. Another one I’m interested in has a past with me. It was the first summer show I ever did, years ago. Set in a lovely park the show was coordinated and run by a group of fabulous people. I was inexperienced at the time and while I did profit from the show I really hadn’t a clue about what to show and pretty much underachieved. Now, with a few shows (lots!) under my belt I think it would be fun to go back with a new line of products for a set of customers I haven’t seen in a while.

Also, what about wholesale? I have some dreams. I’d like to send out some letters and samples to admired shops but feel a little shy about the whole thing. I get this way when I need to solicit. It’s not that I don’t think I’m worthy, but I do feel a little insecure. It’s wonderful to be represented in a store where I would shop myself, but presentation has always been a hurdle for me.

On the topic of wholesale, I guess I forgot to mention that my palm wax candles are now being carried in a gift shop in, are you ready for this…Bangkok, Thailand. Tres exotique!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Divine Gifts

I know this is all over the internet and you've all probably seen it by now. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have it right here in my little corner of the world. This is one of the most marvelous things I've ever seen. I was unable to embed this video, but please click the link for a big treat. If you're like me, you might even get a lump in your throat. It's a great reminder to let your little light shine, baby!


Thursday, April 02, 2009

In The News

Hooray for Auntie B! Seems my little votives will be part of a welcoming gift bag to all the anglers who partake in the Governor’s Fishing Opening on White Bear Lake next month. So nice to be included. So busy I will be in the next couple of weeks!

Busyness is the key to business. So far this year I’ve been quite busy, both with production and planning. In fact, the summer is fast approaching and I have yet to approach some prospective wholesale customers – customers who thrive on summer tourists. My planning has been lagging behind production. Looking from the other side of things, if I’m this busy producing, maybe I don’t have room to squeeze in more customers. What?! Impossible! There’s always room for more. And there will be no squeezing. All of my customers get my utmost attention.

Also in the news, I’ve become a contributing author on the HandmadeMN blog. For now I’ll be focusing on the Etsy shops run by various Minnesota artists and crafters. Check out the blog and the many talented people who make HandmadeMN happen.
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