Category Archives: Minneapolis, MN

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6 Awesome Reasons to Go to a Harvest Fest this Fall!

With the fall season steadily picking up in the Twin Cities, there is more than one way to keep entertained! And even for the super-introverts, there surely is something to do.

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If you’ve added apple picking, zombie pub crawls or halloween parties to your bucket list for the 2017 fall, then you should definitely make some time to attend a Fall Harvest Fest in Minnesota this year! After all, it’s one of the locals’ top fall activities, and here are 5 reasons why:

1. Creative Pumpkin Carving: one thing people certainly look forward to every fall, is the amazingly creative display of carved pumpkins everywhere. Whether you are an amateur or a seasoned “pumpkin carver”, this is definitely an activity that anyone can learn and enjoy1 Experiment with creative styles or just go for the fun designs!

2. Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest: there is no fall without a pumpkin pie. This is the “unspoken” official dessert of the season. And whilst you might want to prepare one at home, why not enter a pie eating contest at one of the local fall harvest fest? And plus, if you’re lucky like we were at the Stillwater Fall Harvest Fest this weekend, the contest was free! And the winner got a food shopping gift card of an attractive value. And for those who did not win, who cares. They got a free pie. And they showed amazing team spirit.

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3. Chili Cook-Off Competitions: I didn’t know there was at least 8 ways of cooking chili until I attended the Stillwater Harvest Fest. Well, that is definitely something good to know, and a great activity for all food lovers and chili connoisseurs! So if you’re heading to a fall harvest fest this season, make sure to check out the food competition booths!

4. Beer-Tasting Like Nobody’s Business: if you didn’t get the chance to attend any Oktoberfest event in the Twin Cities, then a Fall Harvest Fest might be your last chance (or perhaps your best excuse to go beer-sampling without having to explain yourself!)

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Beer is so special that it grows in its own garden. Beer Garden.

5. Well… Comfort Food Everywhere! Harvest festivals are always great ways to indulge in different kinds and varieties of foods, and a great time for food sampling. Don’t worry about the extra kilos (at least not yet), you’ll need to burn those calories to keep warm anyways!

6. Memories to Look Back To: great memories are always made with great company. So whether you want to spend time with your family, friend or significant other, a fall harvest fest is a great event to bond, rekindle and just simply.., get together!

What’s your favorite fall event?

Leave me a comment below!

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

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Linking back to City Tripping this week!

Wander Mum

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The Medtronic Twin Cities 2017 Marathon: 5 Life Lessons You Learn from Running!

Let’s get one thing straight: “I did not run”.

Now that we have this out of the way…

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is one of the top 10 marathons in the USA. Professional athletes, beginners, runners from all the continents travelled to the twin cities last weekend to take part in this amazingly inspiring event. And though many did it to win the Grand prize and dethrone the reigning champions, Dominic Ondoro (Kenya, 2016 male winner) and Jane Kibii (Kenya, 2016 female winner), there were a wide variety of inspiring reasons why people participated, according to my survey:

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  1. It was on my bucket list
  2. I wanted to do something that I was proud of
  3. It would be the greatest challenge of my life yet
  4. I love running

There are a lot more inspirational reasons why people run marathons. For my part, I was among the crowds of happy and enthusiastic cheerers on the sideline, and here are 5 key lessons that I learned, from attending my very first official marathon…

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Preparation is Key.

Practice Makes it Perfect. And this goes without saying, especially for a physically demanding event like the Twin cities marathon. Training is crucial for any challenge or undertaking you want to dive into. Whether you’re looking into starting a new job, picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, whatever it is: it takes time, dedication, patience and training. Secondly…
Forget About the Speed. Focus on Endurance…

Some might argue this for a while, but let’s look at it from a “sustainability” perspective. If you use all your energy, your drive, your resources for the first mile, then you might not have enough left for the remaining 25 miles. That is why it is critical develop endurance. Endurance creates habits, that create consistency. Sometimes in life, it seems like it is better to get somewhere faster than to climb step by step and develop our endurance. But stop and think: the more you develop endurance and consistency, the more the methods you are using turn into habits (repetition) and the faster you become.

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… And Resilience.

Wikipedia defines (psychological) resilience as the “ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions”. I was dumbstruck to see that people who I did not expect in such a highly demanding physical undertaking were well present and close to the finish line: children (who seemed younger than 10), physically impaired, wheelchair-bound and people with disability. This just goes to say that while society might put a halt or a break on what you can or cannot do based on your a) background, b) social status, c) gender or d) race (or any other parameter), at the end of the day, the only limitations that matter are those you put on yourself.

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‘Wonder woman” doing her thing.

And even for physically fit people, resilience is very important. When I spoke to Erin, one of the Twin Cities Marathon finishers, she told me that it was her second marathon and at multiple times, she felt like giving up. She felt like stopping, going back. But she didn’t. She just had to continue., regardless of the fact that she still had a lot of miles to go. And at the end, the feeling of having accomplished that challenge was for her, something “indescribable”.

You’re Never Too Old, and It’s Never Too Late.

I was amazed to see more than one 70+ years old folks running the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon; and even better: close to the finish line! What type of lesson can you learn from that? All kinds of lessons! It goes without saying, those elderly people did not wake up one day and decided to run a marathon the next day. I would assume they had a dream, a desire, a vision and decided to go for it. So you might not be interested in running a marathon “ever”, but don’t be discouraged to chase your dreams because “it’s too late”. There is no such thing. Girl please.

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A courageous “Viking’ at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, 2017.

You need friends. No, great friends.

There is no greater feeling than achieving something overwhelmingly challenging and seeing the people who love you the most share that moment with you. When I looked at the faces of the marathon runners who saw their family members cheering for them along the twin cities marathon route, I nearly broke into tears myself. And I could see their sadness and physical pain transform into an emotion of joy and fuel a “I can do it” attitude!

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“Nora’s friends” cheering at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, 2017

I saw family members cheering, friends cheering, and even total strangers cheering for all marathon runners! One of the marathon cheerers, who had come to support her friend Nora (first time marathon runner), told me that for these reasons, the twin cities marathon is her favourite time of the year. Doesn’t that show that there is still some goodness out there in the world?

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Nora’s friends cheering at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, 2017

So back to the opening statement of this blog post: “I did not run. But I might, someday”.

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Me at a Fundraising run in September. Minneapolis.

Have you ever ran a marathon? Do you know someone who did? Share your experience in the comments section below!


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“A Whole New World” with Aladdin! (The Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis)

There are a few things that I would go out on a limb for when traveling, and one of them is “attending musicals”. If you read my article on my musical experience in St Louis, Missouri, you’d get to better understand why I love musicals so much and why this is something I don’t mind spending money on.

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Minneapolis by Night.

Coming from a country where “performing arts” is not as developed as other areas of the society (and by many, not even considered as an actual profession or career path), I learned appreciate the true value of this type of arts during my experience as an Alto Singer at one of Dominica’s best cultural choirs, the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers. And tonight, just like when I went to watch Les Miserables in Perth, Western Australia, The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Paris, France, Mamma Mia! in St Louis, Missouri; I felt totally immersed in “a whole new world” at the first shownight of the Broadway musical, “Aladdin“.

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Maximal Happiness Meter: 100%

Pricetickets prices started at USD 42, but one all taxes and additional fees are added, prices can go up to USD 60-70. In my opinion and experience, this was very affordable for a show of such high quality.

Location: in Minneapolis, Aladdin was staged at the Orpheum Theatre.

What I Loved

❤️The graphics, decor, scenes, background and backdrop were just on point, from start to finish, for every scene and thereafter. I mean, they were able to recreate the “Arabian night” at a new level. The stage was literally “lit. And the “magic carpet scene” was the icing on the cake. I just wanted to join Alanine (Aladdin and Jasmine) up there.

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❤️The  costume design was on point, and the costume changes were extremely effective.  I was watching particularly the main characters who had speedy costume changes on stage, but I am still puzzled by how they managed to change Jafar’s gown towards the end in less than 2 seconds. 😗

❤️ The Choreography: this was definitely my favorite part. I appreciated the fact that while the choreographers stuck to the culture, feel and the style that are highlighted in this musical, there was also a great deal of expertise and creativity that were evidenced by an air of modernism and variability in the choreography. The performers used the stage so effectively that it kept me engaged all the time.

(I would have loved to mention the names of everyone who was involved in the production, graphic design, choreography, etc. But as you can imagine, they are too numerous to mention. Nonetheless, I give props and loads of kudos to all the background workers. The show was nothing short of phenomenal.  #ittakesavillage.

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Aladdin, the Company

What I did not like: for some reasons, I did not like the songs. There was just something that was not right for me there, except for “A Whole New World” and “A Friend Like Me” that were magnificently staged (I would love to see a behind the scenes clip and find out how they managed to pull off the Magic Carpet). Of all the musicals I have watched, the songs here were my least favorite. But perhaps this is out of personal preference, and your opinion (when you go watch it) might differ.

So if you are in Minneapolis right now (or for the next few weeks), I highly recommend you making time to watch Aladdin, the Musical at the Orpheum Theatre. What is your favorite musical? Comment below!

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Magic happens where you see it! #Iammyowngenie

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“Musicals are like a fantastic travel machine: they make you relive past stories, whether true or tales, in a present, today-kind of world”. 

Clementine Affana

 


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Welcome to the Minneapolis Greek Festival!

 

🌺“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous🌺

I am officially starting a new journey at a new destination, Minneapolis! And there was no better way to start it off than with the Minneapolis Greek Festival!

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Perhaps my love for everything Greece is a biased feeling because I am a huge lover of Greek (and also Roman) mythology, but having a taste of Greece before eventually traveling here (one day) was an amazing experience.

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The Festival was organized for September 8-10th, and so ran for the entire weekend. This is certainly an event that I would recommend to anyone visiting Minneapolis or if you live there, it’s a family friendly event worth checking out!

The festival featured greek future expressed in the form of traditional dances, music, and of course… food!

I particularly enjoyed the display of greek beverages and delicacies, not only because I am a foodie but also because food and culinary arts are a great part of culture all over the world.

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Food was offered using a “ticket” system, and every guest had the opportunity to earn 2 free tickets simply by bringing 3 dry good items for donations.

The Balkava Sundae that I had (on a perfect Sunday too) was a real delight! It was my first time tasting something Greek ever, and I certainly enjoyed it.

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I also loved the fact that I got the opportunity to discover the Orthodox church and learn more about its beliefs and teachings during the festival. While appreciating its similarities with the Catholic Church, I also got to discover the few features that make the orthodox church different.

Thinking about the fact that I nearly didn’t go, I feel contented by the fact that I did. ♥️

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Moving to a new city can be daunting, but hey – life is the living. I know for sure this taste of Greece revived in me the desire to… go to Greece one day.

Have you ever been to Greece?

 

 

 

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