Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday: Best Days

I've always believed that the holidays really are the best days (even though it took me a little longer than usual to get into the holiday spirit this year). Between my birthday (I turned 25 on the 23rd!), Christmas, get-togethers and time spent with family and friends, I wish these days lasted longer (and as I'm sitting at work today after more than a week off, I wish this more than ever...)

On Dec. 23, I turned 25! To celebrate, we brunched at Hazel's Northeast (I ordered hippie cakes and a sake bloody mary, of course). 

My BFF Becca and I continued the celebrations with an afternoon Corepower Yoga sculpt class with one of our favorite instructors, Jaclyn. Burnt calories mean I can eat sugar cookies for breakfast the next day, right? 

We then headed to Northeast Minneapolis for dinner at The Mill Northeast. I sipped on Hemingway daiquiris all evening (a new favorite of mine). 

Then we celebrated with a plaid-themed party (s'more cake included from Sweet Molly B's). An evening filled with the best friends a girl could ask for? I'm a lucky lady. 

On Christmas Eve, we cooked a "Feast of Seven Fishes" with Jack's family in Minnesota (talk about delish). We technically cooked eight fish total, but who's counting...

We woke up on Christmas morning and celebrated with mass and presents (I'm bringing back socks with sandals, and Jack is making the "Santa hat" happen). 

We ended the day with a nail-biting game of Settlers of Catan (amidst our squabbles, Jack and I ended up winning - a true fluke). 

On the 26th, we got up early and drove to Wisconsin, where we marveled at that gorgeous spruce. Happy to be home for the holidays! 

Once we settled in, the day commenced with old fashioneds, present exchanging and cozying up around the Christmas tree. 

And of course, we ended the evening cuddled up watching a Harry Potter marathon; a must in our house.

Only 361 days until next year...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Life: Morning Sun

I love when nature stops me in my tracks to appreciate and marvel at how beautiful earth truly is.

On our early morning drive from Minnesota to Wisconsin, the drive started out pitch black (which didn't help our still half-asleep bodies and minds). Ever so slowly, the sun started to rise. Just as I was beginning to wonder when we'd see the sun, there it was.

It happened so perfect and beautifully; we drove to the top of a hill and were greeted by the largest, most vibrant sunrise on the other end, paired against the pale pink and gray sky. It was so unexpected, and so unexpectedly beautiful. While I try to calm my busy mind, sometimes I need a little help, and this was it.

|| Photo is property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday: Holly Jolly

Merry Christmas! I hope you're enjoying time spent with family and friends.

To save money and trees this year, we skipped the traditional holiday card this year. Instead, we sent out an e-card of our handsome, holly jolly mugs (these are a few of our favorites from my company's holiday party). A normal picture just isn't our style.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas, from us to you.

|| Photos are property of Snap Yourself! Thanks for the photos! ||

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday: That's a Wrap

Merry Christmas Eve! I'm spending the day recovering from an incredible, busy day yesterday (I turned 25!) and getting ready for holiday celebrations with Jack's family and mine. So much to do, but I couldn't be more excited to spend time with our families over the next few days.

One of the things on my to-do list today is to finish wrapping gifts! I finished nearly all of our wrapping earlier this month, but I'm putting the final touches on a few gifts before packing them into our car for the long drive to Wisconsin. 

When it comes to wrapping gifts, I tend to put a lot of time and effort into each and every one. My mom is the master when it comes to wrapping gifts; whether they're adorned with ribbon, ornaments, pinecones or winter foliage, her gifts are always a thing of beauty. I hope to follow in her footsteps!
This year, I went for simplicity. We have a small apartment, so I didn't want the wrapping paper to be too bold or distracting. Butcher paper, twine, ribbon and pine gave our gifts a sophisticated, put-together look without being too distracting in our apartment. I'm happy with the outcome, and even happier to be almost finished wrapping. Almost time to relax...

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

Merry Christmas Eve, loves. Enjoy it all.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fit: Good For the Soul

There's something so incredibly moving about seeing people do good for others. Especially during the holidays, doing good for others is so good for the soul.

I'm a brand ambassador for Karma Collective, a yoga company that wishes to inspire and empower others to share good karma and give to others. Karma Collective was founded on giving back, and currently donates a percent of each purchase to their current campaign with Change Heroes. Through their current campaign, they are trying to raise $10,000 to build a schoolhouse in Ecuador that will impact more than 1,000 children over the next 20 years.

To help raise money for the campaign, my good friend Caitlin and I joined forces to host a donation-based karma yoga class at the Om Collective in Uptown Minneapolis. A handful of friends and fellow yogis joined us for a vinyasa class focused on confidence building, taught by our friend Sarah, a good friend and amazing yoga instructor. To finish class, Rita from Juice So Good stopped by with bottles of Radiance. The perfect end to a good, good flow.

Getting together to practice yoga and give to a good cause felt good. Not just surface good, but truly good for the soul. I think it's easy for us to get wrapped up in material goods and possessions, especially during the holiday rush. But getting together to celebrate the goodness in life with the best girls I know and give back to charity beats any gift money could buy.

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. || 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dine: Twin Cities Coffee Crusade: Black Coffee + Waffle Bar

If you ask me, birthdays should always be celebrated with best friends, sisters, coffee and waffles.

So, thank goodness for Black Coffee + Waffle Bar.

I've had my eye on this Como gem for a while now. How can you not when they have the chicest logo painted on their iconic Como brick building that wraps around the block? I'm basically addicted to their Instagram account, and knew this would be the perfect place for Kelsey and I to celebrate our birthdays with brunch (and continue the #TwinCitiesCoffeeCrusade!)

First things first, Black Coffee + Waffle Bar is the new staple of the Como area. I had visited the Como neighborhood many times during college, but honestly haven't been back since. I was so excited when Black joined the neighborhood, and will be making the short trek to the area much more often with this gem nestled on Como Avenue (not to mention, street parking is abundant over here!)

Then there's the aesthetic of this coffee house. Black and white, modern typography, dark wood tables and stark white subway tile. This place is a dream. Not to mention, Love Actually was playing on the flat screen behind the coffee bar, so there's that.

And if all this wasn't amazing enough, the coffee and waffles were incredible. Truly delicious. Two lattes and an entire "Naughty Waffle" later (yes, that's a thing), I was the happiest camper there ever was. Black Coffee + Waffle Bar, you have my heart.

Can I go back, yet?

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

Northeast has been good to us, but we're a long way from finished! If you want to join us in the #TwinCitiesCoffeeCrusade, use the hashtag when visiting your favorite local shop, or join us at these coffee shops over the next few months!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dine: Twin Cities Coffee Crusade: Sip Coffeebar

The crusade continues! With the holidays only a week away (crazy, right?), Kelsey and I decided our minds were elsewhere, and grabbed our coworker Karla to celebrate our December birthdays over coffee. Our office is in the Mill District, so we decided to hop across the river and head over to Sip Coffeebar in Northeast.

None of us had been to (or really heard of) Sip Coffeebar before, which made the trip that much more exciting. It was a gloomy and snowy morning, and stopping by this charming little hole in the wall shop was exactly what we needed.

Sip Coffeebar is in an old warehouse in Northeast. The decor was lively and colorful, and everything was adorned with holiday lights and tinsel. With a Mexican mocha (make sure you ask for only a light dusting of cayenne) and coconut chia oatmeal in hand, we chatted the morning away.

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. || 

Want to join in on the #TwinCitiesCoffeeCrusade with us? Head to your favorite local coffee shop and use the #TwinCitiesCoffeeCrusade hashtag, or join us at these coffee shops over the next few months!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dine: Twin Cities Coffee Crusade: Spyhouse Coffee

In my mind, there's no such thing as a bad winter, especially if you know how to keep warm and cozy. We Midwesterners are pretty good at this.

In an effort to stay warm, happy and caffeinated this winter, my good friend and coworker Kelsey and I are embarking on the best of Minneapolis food challenges. Over the winter months, Kelsey and I are making it our mission to visit the best coffee shops in the Twin Cities! **squeals of excitement ensue...**

After lots of type-A planning (let's just say multiple maps and outlines were developed), we finally narrowed down our list to roughly 20 coffee houses. Who knew the Twin Cities were bursting at the seams with delicious coffee?! By the time spring decides to grace us with its presents, we will have visited each and every coffee shop.

In early December, we kicked off the Twin Cities Coffee Crusade at Spyhouse Coffee in Northeast Minneapolis. It's hands down one of my favorite coffee shops in the Twin Cities. It's far too soon to be picking favorites, but this bad boy will sure be hard to beat.

I've been to this gem of a coffee shop a handful of times for breakfast and some peaceful "me" time after weekend hot yoga sessions. I'm completely drawn into the natural yet modern, industrial design and aesthetic. Glass and iron fixtures, wooden tables, modern typography, brick walls; this place gets me. Not to mention, the Spygirl is borderline life-changing (latte with honey and lavender). Topped with some serious latte art, I think I could live on these. It's quickly turning into my go-to coffee shop; I can't wait to take my sister there when she visit this weekend (eek!)

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. || 

Want to join in the #TwinCitiesCoffeeCrusade with us? Below are the coffee houses we'll be visiting over the next few months.

Spyhouse Coffee
Sip Coffee Bar
Empire Coffee

Black Coffee & Waffle Bar

Open Book
Boiler Room

Blue Moon
Peace Coffee
Fire Roast

Angry Catfish

Blue Ox

Bob's Java Hut
Uncommon Grounds
Isles Bun & Coffee
Bull Run
Five Watt

St. Paul
JS Bean Factory
Cafe Latte
Claddagh Coffee

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Style: Deck the Halls: For Him

I don't know about you, but shopping for the men in my life is never a walk in the park. My mind definitely doesn't operate like a man's does!

Creating a men's holiday gift guide is really helpful for me to brainstorm what to buy for the gentlemen. on my list. If you have as hard of a time shopping for them as I do, I hope this gift guide alleviates some of your shopping stress!

Pants: Dockers makes amazing collegiate-branded khaki pants. They graciously sent me a pair for Jack, and he loves them. There's nothing better to wear on gameday! Especially if you have any collegiate sports fans on your list, these pants are a great option.

Book: While you can't go wrong with a good book, a winter cocktail book is a timely, unique gift for the man who likes to entertain. The winter cocktails book below has some great seasonal recipes.

Outerwear: You can't go wrong with a good pair of winter gloves, especially for the men who brave the arctic chill of the Midwest. I'm a big fan of The North Face, myself.

Watch: Nixon makes a great watch. I bought one for Jack a few years ago, and it's held up so nicely. In addition to being incredibly stylish, they're also affordable (hello, no-brainer).

Thermos: I don't think I know an adult who doesn't enjoy a nice, hot cup of coffee. 

Soap: "The Woodsman?" I can't imagine a greater scent. Plus, how many guys do you know that don't use soap? Exactly.

Candle: Candle's aren't just for women, especially when they smell like "Cavern Moss Flame." Yum.

DVD: I'm a big fan of buying seasons of TV shoes on DVD, especially if they aren't available on Netflix. "Workaholics" is a personal favorite of Jack's, and received a "must own ASAP" recommendation for him, so it's safe to say it's a good gift.

Shoe: I'm pretty obsessed with Chukka-style shoes. They can be dressed up or down and tend to look good on everyone, no matter what your fashion style is.

Game: Cards Against Humanity. Enough said. 

Socks: Everyone loves a cozy woolen sock (it's true, there's research about that somewhere, I think). Not only are J. Crew's socks stylish, they're also unbelievably warm and cozy. The men in your life won't feel embarrassed wearing these socks at Christmas, his work holiday party, opening presents by the fire, or anywhere else. 

Phone Dock: A phone dock is a unique gift that most people would never consider buying themselves. Especially for outdoorsy men, this wooden phone dock is a wonderfully unexpected gift.

Bottle opener: There's nothing manlier than throwing back a few craft brews, horned bottle opener in hand.

Time to shop, yes?

pants || book || gloves || watch || thermos || soap || candle || dvd || shoe || game || socks || dock || bottle opener

Style: Deck the Halls: For Her

The holidays are here! Call it cliche, but I truly enjoy buying holiday gifts. My holiday shopping usually begins in November (I'm a little OCD). As I've mentioned before, I have a running list that I update throughout the year of gifts I think our family and friends will enjoy. Let me tell you, it makes holiday shopping so much easier!

But the ladies make it easy; they're so fun to buy for. No matter who you're buying for this holiday season (mom, sister, mother-in-law, grandma, aunt, niece, BFF, coworker etc.), the below gifts are affordable, unique and can please a wide variety of women.

Sweater: If you're close with the women you're buying gifts for (like your mom or sister, for example), a simple sweater can make a great gift. Especially in a neutral color and print, a sweater can make a great holiday gift.

Perfume: Especially in a neutral, seasonal scent, perfume can be an unexpected, unique gift. I'm currently swooning over the "Winter" unisex perfume from Dasein (hint, hint, family!)

Book: I wholeheartedly believe that books make the best gifts. No matter who you're buying for, you can't go wrong with a good read. My current favorite is Where'd You Go, Bernadette. I can't give this book enough praise. If you're looking for a good recommendation, you can't go wrong with this one.

Outerwear: Who doesn't love a good hat during the chilly holiday season? Choose a hat with little/no print in a neutral color. Fleece-lined? Even better.

Clutch: Again, a clutch is a no-brainer. Made out of leather, neutral and with a modern design, there isn't a women on your holiday list who won't fall head over heels for this gift (see my favorite clutch below. Again, hint hint, everyone!)

Charger: I'm over the moon (pun intended) with this moon printed power bank charger. The techy ladies on your list will love this practical, stylish gift.

Subscription: For a more expensive gift, consider a subscription service. I love the Yogi Surprise box, but other subscriptions such as Graze, Birchbox, Conscious Box, Bark Box or Club W can be a better fit for the women in your life.

Candle: I don't know about you, but I love a good candle. There are very few things more relaxing than lighting a scented candle and reading a good book or taking a bath. Choose a natural scent that can be burned well-after the holidays are over. I have a handful of the Voluspa candles below. Not only do they smell amazing, the containers are adorable.

Planner: With the new year just a few weeks a way, a planner is a practical gift for the type-A women in your life. Target has an uber cute collection of Sugar Paper LA planners that are a steal for less than $20 each.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DIY: Wooden Chalkboard

When it comes to DIY projects, there are two things I'm head over heels for: anything made out of wood and chalkboard paint. Combining the two? That's a recipe for magic.

My mom agreed to be my DIY partner in crime this past weekend, so we rummaged through our DIY tools and hit the craft store. We've seen so many of these cute wood slice chalkboards on Pinterest and in magazines, and knew we could make a version of our own for the holidays.


Wood slice
Chalkboard paint
Staple gun or super glue (not pictured)
Chalk or a chalkboard marker


Get the goods. 

Trace a circle on the wood slice as an outline for the chalk paint.

Pour your paint, and use a brush that allows you to paint distinct edges.

Start painting. If possible, try to paint consistently in the same direction, either vertically or horizontally.

Once the paint is dry, apply a second coat. Let dry.

Cut twine to the appropriate length you'd like the sign to hang, and affix with either staples or super glue.

Using chalk or a chalk marker, begin drawing your design. I used a chalk marker to have more control of the drawing.

Allow to dry (this shouldn't take more than a minute or so).

Hang and enjoy!

|| Photos are property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. || 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mood: December Feel

December. It feels weird and wrong to say it out loud. Five minutes ago, it was September and I couldn't believe how quickly summer flew by. And fall? It came and went in the blink of an eye.

Now it's December; officially the holiday season. While listening to holiday music doesn't feel quite right yet, I'm sure that's nothing a nice hot mug of cocoa and a handful of sugar cookies can't fix. Cocoa and sugar cookies? I'm miraculously feeling more spirited already.

Give it a few days. Once our apartment is dressed in garland and holly, the presents are wrapped and I've purchased my first candy cane of the season, I'm sure things will start feeling quite right.

Welcome, December.

one || two || three || four || five || six || seven

Monday, December 1, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate

If you're like me, you have a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers (we're sitting pretty with about eight pounds of turkey). In my opinion, that's the perfect excuse to continue the Thanksgiving feasting. I know I never grow tired of the Thanksgiving classics!

One of the dishes I'm making again this week is sweet potato salad with pomegranate. I was tasked to bring a sweet potato dish to our Thanksgiving dinner this year, and wanted to change things up a bit. I knew we'd be having gooey mashed potatoes, and wanted to find a way to differentiate the potato dishes. I also wanted to make a dish that was on the healthier side...with the amount of pumpkin pie I knew I'd be consuming, I wanted to try and cut calories somewhere (if that's even possible on Thanksgiving).

The dish I ended up making is very non-traditional, and I was a little concerned with how it would be received. Quite the contrary, it was a huge hit! My family loved the new take on sweet potatoes, especially the fresh pomegranates. Needless to say, I think I'll be making it again next year!

The best part about this dish (other than the taste) is how incredibly easy it was to make. It looks a little complicated, but in reality, it's hard to mess this dish up. After roasting the potatoes, you just throw everything together in a large dish. And you're done!

|| Photo is property of Twentyapolis. Must give credit. ||

Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate
Recipe modified from Two Peas and their Pod

Salad Ingredients:
Sweet potatoes: 4 whole
Pomegranates: 1 whole
Pumpkin seeds: 1 cup
Feta cheese: 1 1/2 cups
Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper: To taste

Dressing Ingredients:
Pomegranate juice: 1/2 cup
Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
Honey: 1 tablespoon
Red wine vinegar: 2 tablespoons

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Dice sweet potatoes and cover thoroughly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast sweet potatoes until tender, roughly 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. While potatoes are roasting, combine the ingredients for the dressing. This is also a good time to seed your pomegranates.
3. Once the sweet potatoes are roasted, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
4. Combine dressing, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, feta, salt and pepper. Stir and serve.

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