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Category: News & Announcements

The Messenger: The First Gift Designed to be Regifted

The Messenger: The First Gift Designed to be Regifted

I am writing to you today to tell you about my excitement for  a couple of my good friends, Becky and Miles, who started a business with a really awesome idea and are looking to be funded on Kickstarter.
If you have time, please watch this 2 minute video and learn about The Messenger….. the first gift designed to be regifted! Such a fun and exciting idea, I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

If you love the idea as much as I do, please consider helping them out by donating $25 or more to their Kickstarter campaign. By pledging $79 you can be one of the first to get your very own Messenger. This project is reliant on help from the public and every dollar helps. More info from Becky can be found below the video.  There are just 14 days left of their campaign and still need to raise $5,400.  Please help if you are able 😉
Thank you so much for your time!   Kristi
PS If you love the idea, please let me know and I will share your excitement with Miles and Becky 😉

He’s Here! {Welcome Baby Bretton}

He’s Here! {Welcome Baby Bretton}

Our sweet bundle of joy is here and we couldn’t be happier or more in love with our little guy.  He is adorable and sweet as can be!

Introducing Bretton Wayne Larson…..

Born 4-21-13 at 7:10am

8 lbs 10oz   22 inches

Bretton 4-21-13 011


I will be posting his birth story and more photos as soon as I can get around to it!

Time to Share {BIG News!}

Time to Share {BIG News!}

Dear blogging buddies far and wide,

I have been keeping something secret for the past few months but it is now safe to come out with it.

pregnancy announcement copy

This has been a long-time coming and we are thrilled to become parents!

More details to follow but I wanted to finally announce this exciting news!


On this date I have blogged about:

9,878 {Yahoo!}

9,878 {Yahoo!}

I have been wanting to blog all week but I have been swamped.

Want to hear something really awesome????!!!

The Twin Cities Restaurant shattered all personal records yesterday with 6,910 page views and 2,968 hits so far today.  (Average is 1500/day)

Why the big number???

I think I can finally announce some big news…. I have partnered with Yahoo! to bring my restaurant reviews and news to the Yahoo local home page.  Any article that I publish on the Twin Cities Restaurant Blog will also be seen by the thousands of people in the Twin Cities who use Yahoo.  This has been in the works for several months now and everything is still in “Beta” mode so I am not sure that everyone can see the changes yet, but it is starting to roll out this month.

The article that I published a few days ago “TCRB Editor’s Pick: Best Ribeye” got a ton of traffic and a ton of comments.  Of course there are urban food snobs out there who were not happy with my selections but there were also many people who were very supportive and complimentary.

Hopefully all this traffic puts some more money in my pockets 😉


Where Did My Weekend Go?!

Where Did My Weekend Go?!

……. Oh yeah, I spent almost my whole weekend working.

And now I am back at work for another full week….

Seems like the story of my life these days! Its all good though.

Going out to to eat and writing restaurant reviews only seems like work if I let it 😉  Most people don’t realize that I might put in 20-30 hours/week on the TC Restaurant Blog on top of my 45-50/hrs teaching.

I had been hoping to blog a bunch on posts on this blog over the weekend but I just didn’t get a chance.  That means I will be back soon with more!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend whether it was work or play!

Engaged in Australia! { Jeff & Amanda}

Engaged in Australia! { Jeff & Amanda}

When my phone rang on Monday night I didn’t think much of it until I saw who was calling…… my brother Jeff.

Not that having Jeff call me is a strange thing by any means, but I knew he had just gotten to Sydney, Australia within the previous 24 hours, why would he be calling me??  Surely it wasn’t to see how well the reception is on his iPhone half way across the globe 😉

He told me he had some awesome news to share with me……. he had asked Amanda to marry him and she said YES!!  I couldn’t be more happy for them.  Amanda is a great girl and we all love her.  I admit I got a little choked up with happiness

They will be in Australia and New Zealand for 17 days of adventure and to officially start the beginning of their life together.  They plan to discuss many of the details while they are there, so I don’t have any other details for now.

I am so excited!!!!  My baby brother is going to get married! Brian, Michelle and I get a new sister!!

Congratulations, Jeff & Amanda!!!!

My New Venture ~

My New Venture ~

I have exciting news to share! Remember when I mentioned last week that I was starting a new business??!!

After nearly four years of running the Twin Cities Restaurant Blog, I am taking on an additional venture that I think you’ll be very excited about.  Today I am launching a new online Daily Deal website called Twin Cities Daily Deals, found at  I am very excited to offer a new deal every day where you can save 20-90%  on different restaurants, products and services.  Twin Cities Daily Deals will be very similar to programs like Groupon and LivingSocial (to name a few).

The success of my new venture is dependent upon people like you subscribing to and buying the deals that I offer and spreading the word to those you know who live locally.  Once you subscribe you will receive a daily e-mail with the opportunity to save money by purchasing the Daily Deal.  If you’d like to get a $10 credit, refer a friend and when they buy their first Deal, you get $10 credit for any future Daily Deal.  Sweet, right!?

This weekend Friday-Sunday I am offering an AWESOME deal……

You can buy a $75 gift certificate to Murray’s Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge for only $37!!!!!!

Ribeye Steak ~ Murray's Restaurant

Ribeye Steak ~ Murray’s Restaurant

It’s as easy as checking out and signing up to get the Daily Deals! You will receive an e-mail confirmation with a special password.  Make sure to save this e-mail and/or password so that you can sign in to your account! Once you are signed into your account you can buy the deals and refer friends.

Thanks for your help with my new endeavor, I appreciate your support!

Come One, Come All ~ Jacob’s Hope for Sight Benefit

Come One, Come All ~ Jacob’s Hope for Sight Benefit

 Friday, September
18th, 2009 4:00 pm-12:30 am 

Osbourne Road, Fridley MN 55432

I would like to invite all of you to the Fridley VFW this Friday, September 18th, 2009 for a special Benefit
that my best friends and I are hosting for Jake Cartier-Airhart (the
infant son of our best friend Kim), who was born with a
genetic eye disorder
called Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy, aka “FEVR". 

With this diagnosis it was discovered that Jake has
only “light sight” and minimal peripheral vision. On July 16
th &
th, 2009 at 5 months old, Jake underwent double eye surgery to
reattach his retinas and remove fluid blockage. With his first surgery there
are hopes of him to have the chance to see at least shapes and shadows. It will
be 4-6 months before they will know if the surgery was successful.  What is
known is that Jake will need extensive eye therapy, glasses and most likely
multiple surgeries. FEVR is a progressive disorder with no known cure. The only
thing that is certain is that Jake will be fighting for sight for the rest of
his life.

Because of all the therapy and ongoing care that
Baby Jake needs, his mother (my friend) is unable to return to work. 
As you can imagine, this has caused a great financial burden on the
We are holding the benefit to help cover the cost of his medical bills, extensive therapy, surgeries and the loss of income.

It is going to be an awesome event! $5 at the door ~ includes an entry into the Raffle Drawing

  • Bake Sale (Tons of yummy treats for sale )
  • Chili Feed
  • Silent Auction  (4-8pm)
  • Raffle- $5/ticket for chance to win a variety of items including gift cards to local restaurants and a  LG 42" Flat Screen TV
  • Live Bands  (7pm-12am)
  • Cash Bar

Some of the items in the Silent Auction include:


Scrapbook Basket

5 sheets 7 Gypsies patterned paper
2 sheets/ Basic Grey ~ Mellow line/
5 sheets My Minds Eye ~ Lime Twirl line/
7 sheets My Minds Eye ~  Screen Door line
/9 sheets Pixel Decor ~ Hunky Dory line
2 sheets KI Memories ~ Pop Culture line
3 sheets Cosmo Cricket ~ Love Notes line (2 sided)/
4 sheets Three Bugs in a Rug ~ Rhapsody line
3 sheets Cherry Arte ~ Little Friends line
/3 sheets Daisy Buckets Design ~ All Wound Up line
/9 sheets Daisy D’s ~ Fruit line
3 sheets Flair Designs ~ Hit the Beach line/
5 sheets Basic Grey ~ Scarlet’s Letter/
3 sheets Imaginisce ~ Black Tie Optional line/
3 sheets Basic Grey ~ Two Scoops line
/10 sheets miscellaneous patterned paper
1 Bazzil Cardstock scalloped textured/
1 Archiver’s 8 x 8 Mini Album Kit
1 Basic Grey ~ 
Holy Cow Paisley Rub-ons/

1 Marcella by K ~ Dome Stickers/
1 Wordsworth ~ Alphabet Rub-ons

1 Making Memories ~ Defined stickers
/1 Crystal Alphabet stickers
/ Assorted Silk Flowers



Romance Retreat Basket

1 night White Bear
Lake Country Inn

1 bottle Chardonay,
2 wine glasses, 1 candle

1 pair chenille socks


 Romance Basket

1 night Whirlpool Suite at Stillwater Country Inn and

2 champagne glasses,
1 bottle champagne,
3 scented candles



Botanical Spa Essential Kit

2 shower gel, 2 foaming bath,
1 Nature CD with incense,
1 scented candle,
1 decorative hand towel,
3 botanical shampoos,
3 botanical hair repair,
2 glycerin botanical bar soaps



Longaberger Handwoven Basket

1 bottle Château Ste Michelle Riesling
$50 Kincaids Gift



Man’s Best Friend Kit

1 free dog groom at Roseville Animal Hospital,
1 oatmeal dog shampoo,
1 dog brush
1 pet travel bowl,
1 box doggy cleanup bags,
1 tug toy,
1 rope toy,
1 pack of tennis balls,
1 vinyl dog toy,
1 plush dog bone,
1 chewy bone


Arrowwood Golf Basket

1 night stay at Arrowwood
Resort in Alexandria, MN,

Golf for 4 at Atikwa in Alexandria,
Breakfast for 4 at Lake Café at Arrowwood,
4 sleeves of Top Flight XL Golf Balls,
3 boxes Wilson Pro Staff Golf Balls,
1 bottle Shiraz, 


Sauer Photography Package



One Swift Click

1 digital photo frame, 1 photo session



Cozy Warm Basket

Hand-knit eyelash scarf,
1 Pair chenille socks,
1 Gourmet cocoa mix,
1 large pizza of choice at Mama’s Pizza


Game Informer Basket

Magazine 2-year subscription,

Game Informer Sweatshirt, Transformers Video Game for Wii,



Crystal Clear Basket

Lead Crystal Bowl 9”
Tulip Garden Block Crystal Vase 7” 24% Lead


  • Tastefully Simple Basket (3 bottles spices, 1 beer bread mix)
  •  11×14 Fairy Picture
  •  Here Comes the Sun Framed Art
  •  Hand-painted Wooden Santa Carving
  •   DVD Player
  •  Picnic Time Portable Grill and Cooler
  •  Maximum Security Door Handle Set
  •  Recessed Lighting Kit
  •  Mary Kay Basket
  •  Booze Basket from The Country Lounge
  •  Old Dutch Snack Tin Basket
  •  Handmade Silver Bracelets
  •  Custom made Crochet Blanket
  •  3-Wick Candle from Partylite
  •  Assorted Wii Games
  • And Many more items!!!

are hoping to have a really good turnout at Jake's Benefit and it would
be wonderful to see you all there…..  we sincerely appreciate any
support you can give!

Jay Leno’s last night on the Tonight Show

Jay Leno’s last night on the Tonight Show

After 17 years, Jay Leno hosted his final episode of the Tonight Show this past Friday night.  As many of you know, Conan O'Brien is taking over as Host starting this Monday.  For Jay's final show he had Conan on as a guest, a nice way to pass the reigns.  In case you missed it, you can watch the full episode of Jay's last show here.  I especially liked the ending when Jay shows us his legacy….so very sweet!  I wish both Jay and Conan good luck in their new positions 🙂

I’m a Published Photographer!

I’m a Published Photographer!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Schmap! to see if I was willing to submit a photo I took of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park for consideration in their New Minneapolis Attraction Guide.  I was notified this afternoon that my photo was one of the ones selected.  Awesome! Here is what the online version of the Schmap Attraction Guide looks like:

My Photo can be found here.  Hopefully this is just a start!

Breast Cancer 3-Day ~ Everyone Deserves a Lifetime

Breast Cancer 3-Day ~ Everyone Deserves a Lifetime

My dear, sweet roommate from college, Laura, is preparing herself to do something amazing this summer.  This year will mark the third time that Laura will walk 60 miles over a three day period in an effort to raise money for Breast Cancer.  Laura runs an amazing campaign to raise money for such a great cause and I can't thank her enough.  Breast cancer is some scary stuff.  I am sure it has effected many of you and it robbed me of a Grandmother.  My dad's mom died of breast cancer a few years before I was born and I never had the chance to meet her.

There is Hope! One of my mom's sisters has been a breast cancer survivor for 20 years now. There are many success stories  yet it is extremely important that research continue until a cure for breast cancer has been found. If you are able, please consider making a donation to Laura who I think is a true inspiration. She has pledged to raise $2,300 but her personal goal is $3,400.  Check out her flyer and her video!  3day_2009

My personal 3-day experience. from Laura Lamson on Vimeo.

Governor’s Fishing Opener 2009 ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Governor’s Fishing Opener 2009 ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Being that I am NOT a fisher-person, I had no idea what a BFD (big frickin deal) the Governor's Fishing Opener is.  The reason I now know is because the Governor has chosen White Bear Lake as the hot spot this year, and White Bear Lake is just 3 miles away from my house. 

I drive by it every day on my way to work and often stop to take pictures like these:



We are expecting a very busy weekend around town with everyone here to do some fishing!

Is anyone planning to be out fishing this weekend????

Hope you all have a good one!



Today is a glum day around the school district I work in, especially at the school I teach at in the afternoon.  Last Friday was the deadline for Principals to notify individuals whose positions were eliminated due to budget cuts and at least 11 teachers from our building were cut (including several tenured teachers).  I can't even imagine how this will impact our building next year.  District-wide we had to cut $25.4 million from our schools in one year, the biggest hit of all time.  It is very likely that an additional $10 million will be cut due to an Education Bill that the MN House of Representatives passed next week.  If this bill gets signed into law by the Governor, all teachers in our state will have our salaries frozen for the next two years. (That majorly stinks considering I am now at the point where my salary jumps up significantly each year!!!)
This time of year is one that always makes me nervous because my position as Gifted Services Specialist has been on the chopping block too many times.  This year my prayers were answered and my positions are being kept intact.  That is wonderful news for me, but I am feeling very sad for my colleagues that have to move on 🙁

Sweetsauer Photo Hunt #1

Sweetsauer Photo Hunt #1

April 1st….and so IT begins!



Here is the List!!  (All items are subject to photographer's interpretation )

1. Cool or interesting architecture
2. A sign of Spring/Autumn (So. Hemi)
3. Something musical
4. Something sweet
5. Something metallic
6. A landscape
7. An interesting doorway
8. A reflection
9. A cemetery
10. A pair of shoes
11. A body of water
12. A drink
13. A mosaic or mural
14. Rain
15. Classic car (1970 or older)
16. A work of art
17. A church
18. A statue
19. An interesting sky
20. Something in motion
21. Lights at night
22. A silhouette
23. Something historical (pre-1900)
24. A shot from an unusual perspective
25. Flowers
26. Self-Portrait


It is preferred that you try to take your photos between
today and April 30th.  If for some reason you are stuck on the 30th without a few
of the items on your list, then you can dig into your archives ( lets just say a max of up to 3 photos taken before 4-1-09 can be used).

It is up to you whether you post your photos on your blog as you go, or wait until  April 30th to unveil them and make it a surprise.  One thing I ask is that everyone who participates posts all 26 photos in one single post on their blogs or in a set in an online gallery by April 30th. 

A new post will go up here at on April 30th.  I will have an auto-link widget set up so that anyone who completed the Photo Hunt will just add their name & the url of where their Photo Hunt photos will be posted and your name will automatically be displayed with a link to your Photo Hunt entries.  Everyone who adds their name to the auto-link will have their name added to a Poll for Voting.  The Voting Poll will be open from May 1st-May7th.  Voting is also open to anyone and everyone.

leave a comment if you will be participating and include a link to your
blog or online gallery. If
you would like to recruit others for the Photo Hunt or
announce your participation, please feel free to post the above badge
on your blogs and remember to link back to this post.




Ella Press

Stacey Jean
Pink Monkey

Time to check out the Photo Scavenger Hunt entries!

Time to check out the Photo Scavenger Hunt entries!

The Photo Scavenger Hunt that I posted about a month ago is now over and its time to look at all the
contestants from around the World and VOTE!!!!!!!
Nicole has all of the links on her blog and also the poll for voting.  Make sure to visit her site and if you like my photos, vote for ME!!!!
See all of the photos in my entry on my Daily Photo Blog

PS I appreciate you all looking at my photos and even leaving a comment and voting for me in the contest.  I have been slacking on this blog because I have been spending more quality time with my camera!!


Photo Scavenger Hunt

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Last night I posted on my Daily Photo Blog that I have decided to enter a Photo Scavenger Hunt hosted by Nicole (who lives in Hungary) that runs until March 15.  Most of the 25 items on the Scavenger Hunt List are local-themed and since it was such a nice morning, I decided to start taking a few photos to mark off my list :)  Rather than duplicating what I already posted on the Photo Blog, you can Check them out here. 

For those of you who love to take photos, you should also consider entering the Challenge.

PS While I was driving down one of the roads that lead to White Bear Lake, I drove past this house that was on stilts!!  Apparently the house was actually MOVED ACROSS THE FROZEN LAKE!!Check out the video footage


Welcome, Baby Jake!

Welcome, Baby Jake!

 As I announced yesterday, Kim and Brent's Bundle of Joy made his appearance into the world at 10am yesterday morning.
Kim is feeling much better today after a very rough bout of labor (22 long and horrible hours) and recovering from the whole process.  Despite her fights and protests of allowing me to take a photo, I made her do it anyway.  I think she looks beautiful as a new mother!

I  visited Kim and the baby for a little while over my lunch break today and I think I fell in love.  Jake is so sweet!


A slightly closer view of Jacob.


So there he is!

Done, Done, Done!!!!!

Done, Done, Done!!!!!

After taking my final exam this morning, I have successfully completed all of the requirements for my graduate program.

It is now all a distant memory!!! That means no-more-bitching-about-school-ever-again.

Celebration is in order!