Now that Will and I have started the oh-so-fun process of packing, this big summer move to Dallas is actually beginning to feel a little more real.
And as much as we've both complained about living in Minnesota (6+ months of winter will do that to you), there are a few things we'll definitely miss about the place.
After all, when you've lived somewhere for almost four years, you can't help but get a little attached.
So now, with no further adieu, here are seven things (in no particular order) that I'll miss about living in the land of 10,000 lakes.
My pal Krista B. (a.k.a. the "other" Krista)—Back in college days, I liked listening to my Brit rock loud—very, very loud. So while I was getting my dorm room in order, this girl walked by and had to see who the freak was with the loud music and all the green and gold Green Bay Packer memorabilia. Turns out, she was a fairweather Vikings fan, but she didn't hold my Cheesehead devotion against me since we had the same name and all. Cue: lifelong friendship.
The best thing about hangin' with Krista is that even though I've moved around quite a bit, (and she moved to Africa for a year, right when Will and I moved back to Minnesota—yeah, I wasn't bitter, ha ha) we've always managed to stay in touch and had absolutely no trouble catching right up (there's a reason Krista's dad calls us "Chatty Cathys") whenever we hang out.
And since we're both big fans of cooking, she's practically the only person who truly gets the undeniable importance of walking languidly through a Williams-Sonoma. Yep, she understands that you'd never want to miss out on any of the fantastic spice rubs or cool new kitchen gadgets, so every corner most be explored thoroughly. It's funny because every time we're there, we basically want the salespeople to box up the entire store and send it home with us because we want, well, everything they've got...
Caribou Coffee—I'm mostly a Starbucks girl, but I love absolutely love having Caribou as a delicious coffee back-up. In fact, most days that I'm writing at home, I'll walk through the skyways just for a Caramel Hi-Rise just the way I like it (skim, with the smallest cloud of whip on top). Plus, the baristas at my favorite Caribou (you know who you are, Jessie and Ashlee) not only whip up a great cup of joe, but keep me properly connected to the outside world.
All the Minnesota-isms—I love how everyone says "bag" like it's actually "beg." I also love how almost every time I tell someone who's not from Minnesota that I'm from Minnesota, the "yeah, you betcha" Fargo quips inevitably follow, even though Fargo is technically in North Dakota.
People also routinely inquire on whether I know Garrison Keillor personally and if I can score tickets to see him (I don't, and I can't). Equally intriguing is when I'm asked if I think Brett Favre will actually return and play for the Vikings this year (I'm not clairvoyant, but I think he will. Naturally, he won't actually decide until the night before he needs to make an announcement).
Saturday Breakfasts at Bon Vie—Since I haven't been to Paris yet, I gotta live vicariously through delectable French cuisine on occasion, and Bon Vie, an adorable little Parisian café in Cathedral Hill, does breakfast just right. Not only are the omelets simply out of this world, but the hash browns, well, I could go on about those for days. What's fun, too, is that the chefs are always switchin' up the menu, so you never know what treasures you'll find that particular weekend. In a word: Yum.
Landmarks, Parks and Those Walks on Grand Avenue—Thanks to living in downtown Minneapolis during my college years, I had plenty of time to explore all the sights...the Mary Tyler Moore statue on 7th, the cherry on the ginormous spoon at the Sculpture Gardens, the purple house where Prince used to live and lots, lots more.
But my latest chapter in Minnesota was in St. Paul, so it felt like I was living in a completely different city, a welcome change of pace. I loved St. Paul for a lot of reasons—strolling by F. Scott Fitzgerald's place, checking out the very Euro-esque parks, not to mention the gorgeous St. Paul Cathedral and walking with Will on the always-picturesque Grand Avenue with all those fantastic houses that you make you downright envious on anyone who lives in them.
The Cooks of Crocus Hill—After I graduated from college, I was pretty sure I'd never step inside a classroom again. But since I've been back in Minnesota, I have absolutely loved taking cooking classes at The Cooks of Crocus Hill. Not only is the "homework" so incredibly fun, but I've learned things I never would've otherwise like making delicious fettuccine from scratch (yes, the actual pasta, not just the sauce) and whipping up delicious buttercream frosting that wasn't prepared by Duncan Hines first.
Noshing on Italiano at La Grolla—It's impossible to talk about our time in Minnesota without mentioning our favorite Italian restaurant, La Grolla. Not only is the atmosphere straight out of a Manhattan restaurant with tables so close together that it forces you to get to know your neighbors, but I'm convinced that it's impossible to have a bad meal there.
Chances are, you'll be even more full than you ever thought possible, thanks to an array mouthwatering antipasto, to-die-for pasta dishes and a dessert tray that's out of this world. Who knew that using mascarpone instead of cream cheese would produce the lightest, most heavenly cheesecake you've ever sampled? I sure didn't before I tried theirs...and a meal there isn't complete without that—and a good cappuccino—to end things on the most exquisite of notes.