weekend review

This weekend Mr.C & I…

ran last minute errands before my big trip, watched West Wing & The League on Netflix, had a tasty steak dinner, kayaked on Lake Minnetonka, and played mini golf, laser tag, & Rock Band to celebrate Jessica’s birthday.


We also hit up the State Fair and attended the Paramore/Fall Out Boy concert which was a blast! We saw Fall Out Boy perform seven years ago and with our wedding anniversary coming up here on the 17th we thought it’d be a fun, romantic night out. Plus FOB is my favorite band! :)



weekend review

This weekend Mr.C & I headed down to Okoboji, IA with our friends, N+B.

B’s parents hosted us at their gorgeous lake house and it was such a great time!

We got to sleep in, enjoy the beautiful views, share delicious meals, and play many rounds of Euchre & Ticket to Ride.


We also got margaritas & went mini golfing at a neat Wizard of Oz themed course.minigolf1

minigolf2We kayaked, rode jet-skis, toured the lake by boat, and swam.


We ended the trip with a few games of bags and a stop at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, MN.bags

It was a quick trip, but a fun + relaxing one.

Hope you all had a nice weekend too!

Let your hair down with Camille Albane Paris

Last Wednesday, I attended the grand opening party for Camille Albane Paris, a new salon in Maple Grove, MN.

Now, I know some of you are laughing because it’s clearly not my normal scene (I mean what’s a girl who air dries & doesn’t own a straightener/curling iron doing at a salon opening!) but it was a really nice night out, a chance to mingle with a few of my fellow MN Bloggers (Jen, Zhenya, + Shelby), and welcome a new business to the Twin Cities community.

Plus, I finally got to learn more about “balayage” – a freehand hair coloring technique that Pinterest everyone’s been raving about. It’s actually been around since the 70s but is having resurgence alongside the new ombre trend.

After the event we were invited to stop back in to try out a few of Camille Albane’s services so yesterday Jen & I headed over for an evening of pampering. We were greeted by our lovely stylists and shown around the salon. It’s fresh and modern, with pops of color, and the right balance of relaxation and flirty fun.


My stylist, Michelle, and I chatted about my usual hair routine, texture, expectations, and inspiration – then it was off to shampoo. And guys? It was heavenly! You get all wrapped up in a robe and recline in a fabulous massage chair while the stylist gently scrubs and massages your scalp into submission. Lovely.

(Oh, and did I mention I left obsessed with music they were playing? Yeah, if someone can get me a copy of their soundtrack I’ll be forever grateful. )


Back in the chair, Michelle began to expertly cut my locks. We talked about the training they received from Camille Albane’s Paris instructors and then chit-chatted about make-up, work, what it’s like coming from small towns, food/chemical sensitivities, and how eating whole foods can have such an impact on your mind + body.

I was then treated to a paraffin wax treatment for my hands as my hair was dried and styled. Meanwhile, Jen was across the salon finishing up the coloring process.

Before the grand reveal, the stylists touched up our make-up which is a free (and thoughtful) addition to Camille Albane’s services. After all, you want to leave looking + feeling your best, which may not be the case if your lip gloss has faded or your foundation is speckled with water from a shampooing session.

Finally, we were ready to take a look in the mirror…


…. and bam! Bombshells.

I was so impressed with my cut – finally someone who knows how to do great layers. (Thanks, Michelle!)

Seriously though, our stylists were fabulous and we left there feeling positively gorgeous.

So, if you’re on the hunt for a new salon, want to give balayage a try, or desire a little Parisian pampering – definitely jot yourself a note about the new Camille Albane!

7808 Main Street North, Maple Grove, MN, 55369

763-316-6957  |  Website  |  Services & Prices

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weekend review: summer fun

Between soaking up summer, planning the big mama/daughter trip in Sept., and doing overtime for work – this poor little blog has fallen by the wayside. But, not to worry – the time spent away has been filled with plenty of fun.

So what have we gotten up to lately?


Well, Mr.C’s family came for quick weekend visit from Florida. We attempted to geocache, explored the sculpture garden, played many games of Blitz/31, met up with Ryan’s uncle+cousin for dinner at The Bulldog Northeast and Red Cow, and took a nice evening stroll along Mississippi River to see the Stone Arch Bridge.


We also got to spend some time with Ryan’s other cousin who was visiting from NYC where she attends college. We had dinner out on the deck at Maynard’s, played laser tag, and escaped being trapped in a room with a zombie. That’s right! The Big Thrill Factory in Minnetonka is currently putting on Room Escape Adventures;  live interactive theater productions/team building activity that create scenarios where participants must rely on each other, their ability to communicate, and their creative genius to escape. Using clues, puzzles, and teamwork – we were able to escape the room (and the zombie!) with 18 minutes to spare!



I also saw some of my MN Blogger pals this month. We went out for brunch one Sunday and also attended the salon opening of Camille Albane (known for balayage – a hair coloring technique) in Maple Grove.


Other notable fun times include going with my friend Jess to see The Little Mermaid at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater (it plays until August 30th), kayaking with the Ryan on Lake Minnetonka, watching the horses race at Canterbury Park, many Saturday morning trips to the local thrift stores, hot dates to the movies (The Hundred-Foot Journey, The Giver, Sex Tape, Boyhood, and more), and re-watching The League on Netflix in prep for football season (Go Bears!).

Phew! Have we ever been busy! :)

Hope you all are having a fun-filled summer too!

Living LEAP: Phase 5

Don’t know what LEAP/MRT is? Missed the start of this series? Click here to catch up!

Since my last recap, I wrapped up Phase 4 and am almost done with Phase 5.

The foods I can introduce during Phase 5 include:

turkey, sole, watermelon, pineapple, grape, hazelnut, and pistachio.

So far, from Phase 5, I have successfully tested / added back: 

watermelon, pineapple, grapes (I’m on the fence about my reaction to turkey and plan to keep testing it a little longer)

Once I complete Phase 5, I’ll move on to Phase 6 – the final step!

Generally, foods that scored moderately reactive (yellow) are avoided for 3 months and highly reactive foods (red) are avoided for 6 months. Phase 6 (usually at the 6 month mark) is also when you can challenge foods that the MRT did not test so you can determine your tolerance level. You also begin a rotation diet in Phase 6. The rotation diet ensures that certain foods/food families are not over-consumed to the point where you lose a tolerance for them or even become sensitive. Phase 6 is basically where you’re on your own. You’ve learned how to eat and what to and now you just live your life.



I’m 5 months into my LEAP/MRT journey. I actually haven’t eaten any foods or exposed myself to any chemicals/ additives that were listed as moderately reactive (yellow) or highly reactive foods (red) on my test results. Well… on purpose at least! I had a bad run-in with a bit of lemon that sneaked into a grill seasoning while we were on vacation.

All my results are posted here – but as a refresher:

My moderately reactive foods and additives (yellow) are beet, cabbage, cashew, cheddar, codfish, coffee, dill, egg, red #40, garbanzo, green pea, maple, oat, pear, pinto bean, rice, salicylic acid, sodium metabisulfate, spelt, and strawberry.

My highly reactive foods and additives (red) are crab, lecithin, lemon, salmon, sesame, and spinach.

My plan is to finish Phase 5, test out all my “yellow” foods, reach the 6 month mark, begin to test my “red” foods, and after that try out foods that were not tested by the MRT (like limes, dates, nectarines, brussels sprouts, etc).

What I’ve been eating lately: basically everything I’ve listed in past posts + my latest obsessions – Middle Earth Organics Basil & Tomato Pasta Sauce that I discovered at Lakewinds co-op, Babybel cheese,  BOOMCHICKAPOP sweet & salty kettle corn, and the amazingly juicy, fresh peaches that seem to be everywhere right now!


What I’ve been using lately: Well, after both raving about and second-guessing Alaffia Shampoo & Morrocco Method products for my hair care routine – I’ve decided to dump both of them. It’s been months of testing both and they just aren’t doing it for me. My hair is either too greasy or too dry and gets tangled so easily. So, I’m on the hunt for something that works and has natural ingredients. Ideally, I’d like to avoid all the “baddies” that can be found in shampoo and conditioner and even stay away from alcohol which can be drying to your hair/scalp – but that can be quite tough without going super extreme with your routine. Right now I’m using and loving Bumble & Co. However, some of her ingredients are questionable – at least for what my goals are. But the smell is heavenly and my hair is soft, light, and I only have to use a tiny drop or two of my jojoba oil as leave-in conditioner. The price is a bit expensive for my tastes though so I am also going to give Fruit of the Vine a try.

I believe I mentioned before that I ditched all my face wash & lotion in favor of only jojoba oil (or jojoba oil mixed with sugar for a light scrub). This is working extremely well for me and I’d never go back to traditional products even if I had the choice. My skin looks really good – smooth, not dry or oily, and acne is a rare thing. I’ve recently started mixing a little Rosehip Seed Oil in with my jojoba oil when I use it as a moisturizer for my face. Rosehip Seed Oil is great for fading acne scars or fine lines, restoring elasticity, and being anti-inflammatory. I can’t rave about it enough! I find mine at my local co-op – the brand of essential oils is Veriditas Botanicals.

Since it’s summer, I’ve been using Badger Sunscreen. Next year I plan to “DIY” my own sunscreen and bug spray.


What I’ve been reading lately:

Letting food consume you: Being careful how we talk about food via Offbeat Home & Life

How To Know If You’re Truly Hungry via The Pilates Nutritionist

10 Herbs that Heal via Knowledge of Today

DIY all-natural bug repellent (salve + spray) via Body Unburdened

Essential Oils Education via Melissa Farris at Veriditas Botanicals


So, that’s what’s been going on over here!

Again, if you have any questions about things I’ve written about or about MRT/LEAP in general just let me know. Wishing you all good health and happiness!

weekend review: quarter century party

On Friday morning, we packed up the car and drove to meet our friends in Baraboo, WI. We all turned 25 this year and wanted to get together to celebrate! So we rented a quaint & quirky cottage at the WilloWood Inn and set off to make some memories.


Friday afternoon we grabbed lunch at the Broadway Diner then headed over to explore Pewit’s Nest, a natural gorge with a few small waterfalls.



We waded around and skipped rocks at Pewit’s Nest since it was a bit too chilly and breezy to swim.

Friday evening we took a very neat but tiring kayak tour of Devil’s Lake. Sadly no pictures were taken because we were afraid of our phones/cameras taking a dunk! Ryan actually did end up tipping his boat right before the tour began.

However, the boys did end up conquering the 3 mile lake trip in single kayaks, while E and I weaved around in our double. We definitely paddled much more than the guys since we couldn’t keep the darn boat straight – I’d say we went about 5 miles. Ha!

After kayaking we dragged ourself back to the cottage to make dinner and play a quick game of Ticket to Ride before hittin’ the hay.

Saturday morning E and I snuck off to Spa Serenity for some girl time while the boys slept in and relaxed. Our massages were pure magic especially for all the sore muscles thanks to kayaking.

Saturday afternoon we drove to the Wisconsin Dells, visited an old-time candy store, wandered through Witches Gulch, played frisbee at Mirror Lake, and had dinner at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty.



Saturday evening we got decked out in glow-sticks and went dancing at The Reef at Marley’s, a night club.


Sunday morning we cleaned up the cottage, checked out, and went back to Pewit’s Nest for a quick, chilly dip in the waterfall. From there we headed over to Devil’s Lake to swim some more, sunbathe, and have a picnic lunch. Finally, late that Saturday afternoon we hugged goodbye and went our separate ways.

It was a very fun + relaxing weekend and very nice to be with old friend again.

Hope you all had a great weekend too!