Minneapolis food adventures part 2

A few months ago I chronicled my food diary from a weekend in Minneapolis and I just wrapped up another amazing visit that I have to tell you about! 

I made the trip on Saturday morning and my first stop was visiting my friend Rachel in Saint Paul. I knew I would be arriving at typical “brunch” time so I let my host choose the hot spot since she’s the expert. We went to Colossal Cafe and it was two thumbs up. I had a hearty breakfast of coffee, a ham and Swiss croissant (absolutely delicious), hash browns, and a bowl of fresh fruit. Rach enjoyed a spinach scone and coffee and we had a great catch-up session. 

The whole reason for the planning of my weekend trip came today….I spent Saturday night with my friends from college, Joy and Eric, and this morning we trekked to Uptown to enjoy the Uptown Food Truck Festival. Multiple blocks were closed off and lined with 65 (yes you read that right, SIXTY FIVE) food trucks. There was also live music and beer gardens to enjoy so the atmosphere was all around lovely. 

There were food trucks of your wildest imagination ranging from fresh salads to falafel to paella to Mac n cheese sandwiches….the list goes on and on. 

In these situations I wish I had multiple stomachs so that I was able to try a little bit of everything…but I had to resort to trying only a select few things that caught my eye. 
First stop was whole (sum) kitchen’s truck for a delicious natural chocolate, peanut butter, and banana smpothie 

Next came the show stopper of them all (for me)…..6 cheese macaroni and cheese topped with house made BBQ sauce and popcorn chicken. It was amazing you guys, I don’t know how to convey it in words. 

The best named food truck goes to “Tot Boss” which as you can infer does everything you can think of with tater tots. I went the “bacon wrapped tater tots” route and wasn’t disappointed. 

The last venture at the festival was to the new (and already famous) Dough Dough which serves up scoops of safe to eat cookie dough in flavors that cover something for everyone. I enjoyed a scoop of “Celebration” think birthday cake/funfetti and a scoop of monster cookie. 

As you can imagine, after that sampling we needed some rest and a short nap πŸ™‚ before I hit the road for home I decided I wanted to check off a famous ice cream place I hadn’t yet been to in Minneapolis but have heard SO much about….Milkjam. When I arrived the line was out the door but I didn’t want to miss my chance! 

I got a 2-scoop sundae to enjoy as fuel for my drive home and it was easily the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Choosing two flavors was tough, but I went with a rainbow sherbet and a scoop of Ridin’ Duurty which was an Oreo based ice cream with salted peanut butter and cookie bites. I topped it off with fruity pebbles, oreo pieces, and homemade peanut butter sauce. The whole experience was 10/10 and I can’t wait to go back again!

For those of you that live in the cities or don’t but are intrigued by the food truck festival concept no need to worry that you missed it because there are two more this summer!! One in July in Anoka and one in August in Saint Paul πŸ™‚ you can check out all of the details on this Food truck festival website

Have a wonderful week and as always, thanks so much for reading!! 


Xoxo Jen 


Tracking your Zzzzs

Ahhh sweet sleep. Some mornings when I wake up and remember that I have a long, possibly tiring day ahead I find myself already thinking blissful thoughts of what it feel like to crawl back in to bed.

We’ve all heard how important sleep is to our overall health and wellbeing; but many of us (myself included) may not always make quality sleep (length and restfulness) a priority all of the time like we should. Since I have been in the more traditional working world for the last 2 years and in a quite regimented “8-to-5” position for the last year my schedule and when I wake and sleep each day tends to stay very consistent.

When I was in college (and DEFINITELY not on a normal sleep schedule) I started using an app called SleepCycle to track my sleep and its quality/length each night. I really enjoyed using the app at the time and it gave me good insights in to how well I was actually resting each night. I’m not sure why but somewhere along the way I stopped consistently using it and then stopped using it all together. A few weeks ago while I was reading an article online about sleep quality and it’s importance for your health I remembered this app and immediately downloaded it so I could begin using it again.


The scope and purpose of this app is quite simple. Each night when you are getting ready to go to sleep you go in to the app and select your desired wake time. For me, on work days, I like to wake up at 6:45 AM. When I select this in the app it automatically corrects to a range of time and says “Wake me up between 6:15 AM and 6:45 AM”. What the app does is monitors your sleep cycle and the alarm will begin to go off anywhere within that half hour period when you are in your lightest stage of sleep.

Some of you may be wondering “Why does that matter?” The creators of the app and many others have found that when we are woken up in our lightest stage of sleep we tend to have a better start to our day because we were woken more naturally and during a time when we were already in a light sleep state. When we set a traditional alarm to go off at a very specific time it will go off exactly then but it’s possible that we will be in the middle of a heavier state of sleep. When this happens and we wake up to the alarm we tend to feel more groggy and probably crankier, too!

Since starting to the use the app again these last few weeks I have noticed that I feel better rested when I wake up each morning and not as cranky because I am given the opportunity to wake up more slowly and the app is waking me up at a time that is naturally good for me! Some mornings it has been waking me between 6:15-6:20 and even though that is 25-30 minutes before my “usual” alarm I have felt better and more prepared for the day.

What may be my favorite part of this app is the “sleep graph” that you can look at from each night of sleep. The app uses your microphone from your phone to monitor and decipher what “stage” of sleep you are in throughout the night. The less sound you are producing the deeper sleep you are in (dream state, deep sleep, REM sleep). As you move around or make more sound you are coming out of a cycle and closer to the “waking” stage. The graphs show you the peaks and valleys of each night’s sleep and also give you a total time in bed and a quality (in percentage rating) of sleep. It also averages out your number of hours of sleep for the week.

Here is an example of my highest and lowest quality rated nights of sleep from this past week:

You can see on the left in my lowest quality night of sleep for the week how even thought I went very quickly into deep sleep at 2 and 4 in the morning I was awake for brier periods of time before falling into sleep and deep sleep again. On the right is my highest quality night from last week. Here I went in to deep sleep fairly quickly also and then continued to stay in either regular or deep sleep until about 4 AM.

As you can see there is a “snore” tracker as well and I am thankful to see that I spend zero minutes snoring each night!!! If you are someone who might snore or snores depending on your quality of sleep this would be a way to know that since the microphone would pick that up for you.

All in all I am hoping to use this app consistently in order to keep track of my quality of sleep and what might affect that. You can also add “sleep notes” after each night of sleep if you would like to. I have added things like type of exercise I completed that day, how many steps I had, whether I ate well or made not as good of choices. That way when I look back Β I will be able to see if there are correlations between my lower quality nights of sleep and the behaviors/choices I made the day prior.

If you are interested in learning more about the app you can follow this linkΒ or download it in your app store to give it a try tonight πŸ™‚ The app is free and you can choose to upgrade to a premium version for additional features. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you all have a great week filled with great nights of sleep!!


xoxo Jen

the journey to 10k

A few weeks ago I ran my first 10k during the festivities at the Fargo marathon weekend! Working up to and training for the 10k truly was a journey and undertaking for me but I learned a lot about myself and my abilities over the course of my training.

I have a dear and best friend named Chloe who has always been the friend to push me out of my comfort zone and whenever she asks me to do something with her, even if it’s something I would never think to do on my own, her spirit and joy always encourage me to say yes πŸ™‚

Last year we ran the END Racing Uffda Mud Run together and then this past year during late fall/early winter when Chloe and I were hanging out one day and discussing our health and exercise she said “Hey, we should run a 10k”. I am sure my initial reaction was one similar to “HECK NO” because running is very low on a list of exercise that I enjoy. After some more conversations about it I thought it would be a great way to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone.

Towards the end of January is when Chloe and I officially began our “Couch to 10k” training plan. We decided on a run training app that allowed us to customize how many days per week we wanted to run, which day of the week we wanted to be our “long run”, etc. but there are so many choices out there! If you’re looking to train for a race choose whatever plan seems best for you πŸ™‚ Since we started training about 4 months before our race we essentially had an extra 3-4 weeks before the real training plan began.

The plan was really easy to follow and if one week the plan didn’t work right for your schedule you could edit and move the suggestions for those days around so that it was do-able for you. Some weeks I found myself editing my cross training days so that they fell on the nights I wanted to go to spin class. While we’re on the subject, I found it really important during my training to engage in the cross training and other kinds of exercise. It helps to work different muscle groups and breaks down that soreness that can come from consistent running.

As our 4 months of training went along Chloe and I tried to meet up every so often to do our runs together to keep each other motivated, especially on our longer run days. During the winter months we were often meeting at Choice to run inside on the track but as the weather improved we started meeting down at Lincoln park to run on the greenway trails. When I think back on the training program I truly believe I wouldn’t have been as successful as I was if I hadn’t had Chloe doing it with me. It was great to have someone who asked me how my runs had been going, encouraged me through the tough days, and was a running buddy whenever we could make our schedules work together. Here we are on one of our cold, rainy training runs on the greenway. We ran a 5k that night and were feeling like rockstars at the end!


As we got closer to race day I was sometimes feeling discouraged because the more I began to run outside the more I realized how different it was from running inside on a track. With our winter weather it isn’t something that is easy to control around here but I had to move past the fact that my times outside wouldn’t stack up to my times inside for the same distance.

The night before the race Chloe and I drove to Fargo and were able to stay with our friend Lynsi so we could get good rest and be ready to wake up early for the big day!! We had a nice carb-filled supper and went to bed early. The morning as we got dressed in our matching funky floral leggings we were nervous but knew this was the big day and were excited at how the accomplishment would feel once we crossed the finish line.

The energy when we arrived in the Fargodome that morning was electric and it became clear to me why people loved doing competitive races so much! The race itself felt like a blur from the adrenaline and excitement and it was so encouraging to have so many people lining the streets and neighborhoods we ran through. There were funny signs, high fives, and cheers for everyone as well as a few bands along the way to keep your motivation going with the music.

As I neared the Fargodome and the last 2/10 of a mile until the end Lynsi was there cheering for me and that pushed me through to the end. The smile on my face when I crossed the finish line was genuine and joyful. It feels good to see the results of your hard work pay off and it was overwhelming to officially check off that 6.2 miles!!!

As most of you have gathered from previous posts of mine I really enjoy food. Once you finish the race the thought of food is exciting to say the least and the Fargo marathon team didn’t disappoint with their post-race snacks!! Edible cookie dough, pizza, chocolate milk, bananas, fruit cups, and more were all waiting for us when we got back in to the dome. It was fun to share a post-race celebratory meal with Chloe after we were reunited after the race!

I have spent the last few weeks taking a break from running for the most part and my legs are happy for that! But on my radar and coming up next is the Wild Hog marathon weekend here in Grand Forks in late September. I am planning to begin training again to run another 10k and I hope to improve my time and really focus on following my training plan diligently to get the best results possible.

At the end of the day, I am so thankful that Chloe encouraged me to take this journey with her. As someone who despised running at the start of this process I can now see why so many people enjoy making running part of their exercise routines on varying levels. I hope that this journey will keep me in this same mindset about running and I also hope that I will continue to push myself to reach new goals! I encourage anyone who has considered training for a race like this to give it a try. It’s a great feeling to accomplish a big feat and stretching yourself (physically and mentally) proves to allow for some exciting growth.

Thanks so much for reading! Have a great week,


xoxo Jen

furniture flip

This weekend I got to tackle a fun project that has been on my radar for awhile but I haven’t had the right conditions to get it done! I have 2 chairs that were given to me by a friend as well as a table from my aunt and uncle that I have wanted to re-do and use as my furniture in my bonus room/2nd bedroom/craft room.

The pieces now match and look like a cute set πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to utilize them in that space for my future craft projects and it also looks like the perfect new place to sit down and type up my posts for you each week!

Here are the pieces beforehand. All were wood but the chairs and table had slightly different shades to them and the blue legs on the table made them look mismatched.

I don’t have much experience with spray paint, but with items like this that had a lot of notches and small pieces it seemed like the best route to go. This project only required 2 cans of spray paint (so that I was able to get 2 coats in) plus some decorative washi tape for added detail. The complete transformation cost less than 15 dollars and it feels like I have something brand new! My spray paint was bought at Target and was a metallic gold with slight glimmer/shine. They also had bronze/rose and silver as well as many other non-metallic colors. I also got my black, white, and gold patterned washi tape rolls at Target. There were tons of patterns to choose from but these 2 suited my project best.

After about 2 hours in my driveway (including the dry time) the pieces were completely dry and transformed by the gold paint. The wind “got me” a few times and as you can see in the picture of the spray paint can above, my hands got the gold treatment as well as I was applying the paint! Here was the (almost) finished products outside after they were done drying and had 2 coats applied.

I love how the paint has a matte metallic look to it after drying. It makes the furniture seems sleek and almost makes them appear to be made out of metal instead of wood. Even though the color turned out great I felt that adding some washi tape to certain areas of the table and chairs would give them a little more interest and add some color variety so that all the pieces didn’t seem plain.

Washi tape is very forgiving and easy to apply. You can put something on and if you don’t like it it’s very simple to remove. This kind of tapes reminds me a lot of painters tape but just much thinner. It doesn’t stick to your finger so much so it makes it easier to work with and peel off and on in order to get things straight. I added the bronze/black patterned tape to the table and the black and white striped tape to the chairs to give them some uniqueness.

The small amount of time and money that went in to this project definitely made this transformation easy and worth it. Now I get the look of a brand new set of furniture for a fraction of the cost. The set now looks like it belongs in the space and matches the vibe I had already set for the tone of the room with my original decorations. The tapestry, which may be my favorite decorative piece in my house, ties everything together even more so now and the space feels “just right”. πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for reading! I enjoyed this project so much I already have another furniture versus spray paint mission underway so I will be sharing the results with you soon! Have a wonderful week.


xoxo Jen


getting personal with your vitamins

One of the most confusing aisles during a shopping trip for me has always been the vitamins. I’ve always known that it’s important to take them; especially to supplement for things in your diet that you may not do a good job of eating (such as seafood/fish for me!) The things that I don’t know about vitamins FAR outnumber the things I do so I have always felt overwhelmed when trying to make decisions on what’s important to take and what might not be necessary.

A couple months ago I started to see ads for a personalized vitamin company on social media. It caught my eye a few times but I never was interested enough to click. About a month ago after more time spent confused in the vitamin aisle at Target when deciding what to buy I decided to read in to it….now I am just wrapping up my first month of personalized vitamins and supplements and I couldn’t be happier with the process and how easy it has made things for me!

Care/of is fairly new company and they are starting to take off (which makes sense because their idea is brilliant!!) Their philosophy is to provided individualized vitamins to people based on their needs and goals. They also are focused on the best ingredients, going around the world to find them, and making taking your vitamins so easy you won’t even believe it.

When you visit their website the first thing you can do is take a short quiz that tells them about you and what you are looking for in your vitamins. The questions encompass demographics (gender, age range, etc) but they also ask questions about family history, activity level, amount of time spent at a computer during the day, and habits: just to name a few! They also show you a list of categories and ask you to choose which are most important to you. These categories include things such as: immunity, concentration, bone/join health, and heart health.

After you’ve finished the questions Care/of will give you recommendations of 5-6 vitamins and supplements that would work well for you and your needs and what you want to focus on. You can edit the suggestions and don’t have to use the vitamins they recommend for you but it’s a great place to start and you can add/subtract other choices from there!

I ended up taking the exact recommendations from Care/of and ordered my first month of vitamins. Within 3-5 days they showed up at my house in a sweet dispenser box and all individually packaged in 30 “daily packs” that can be torn open each day and poured right in to your hand to take with water and your first meal of the day! No big bottles or counting/pouring out to mess around with!! Not to mention the packs even have your name printed on them for an even BIGGER personal touch πŸ™‚

For those that may be curious what vitamins I take here are the 5 that Care/of recommended for me based on my lifestyle, family history, and focuses that are important to me!


Fish Oil –Β This was a vitamin I took previously. I don’t eat nearly enough fish/seafood and heart health is a big watch based on my family history so it’s important this is a part of my daily regimen.

Astaxanthin –Β This is also another heart health focus supplement

Vitamin D –Β Something that SO many of us don’t get enough of (especially women!!) and it is a great ally in bone health

Ashwagandha –Β They have lovingly nicknamed this the “chill pill” which is supposed to help suppress food cravings. I can sometimes be a bad snacker, especially at work, so this will help keep that at bay.

Rhodiola –Β This helps to support mood and stress control as well as focus when having to be on the computer a lot during the day at work.


One final note about my experience with Care/of so far is the affordability of the system. My initial month was $46 dollars which in comparison to what I was spending when buying multivitamins, fish oil, hair/skin/nails supplements, etc at the store is very reasonable. Also I appreciate the statements on doing their due diligence to search the world for the best ingredients possible to make the products high quality. I’m looking forward to continuing to use this system and will be happy to see my new 30-day supply show up in my mailbox each month πŸ™‚

If you want to get started or check out Care/of yourself follow this link!!

Thanks so much for reading,


xoxo Jen