THE OPEN BOOK

22
Jul

Seven Stones Coming to Wisconsin!

Now that I’m rested from my trip to the Highland Games, it’s time to get back on the road! I’m officially on vacation mode!!! Shane and I are taking some time off to visit friends back home, take a train to D.C., and stand up in two weddings. It is going to be an action-packed vacation! But what would a vacation be without an author event?! That’s right, during our vacation, I’ll be making a stop at my old coffee shop, the SweetSpot in Whitewater, Wisconsin!

I love the SweetSpot!

What?! You’ve never been to the SweetSpot?! Now is your chance! The SweetSpot has some of the BEST food and coffee this side of anywhere. I used to spend hours after getting off of my barista shift, writing short stories and scraps of scenes that would eventually inspire Seven Stones.

I’ll take one of everything, please!

I’ll be at the SweetSpot for a book reading and author Q&A from 5:00-7:00pm on Friday, July 31st. After I’m done talking with everyone, I’ll be selling and signing copies of my novel. Good food, great coffee, and a signed copy of Seven Stones? Now that’s what I call a perfect night!

One of the most exciting parts of the trip for me will be the train ride to D.C. I LOVE trains–they are my favorite way to travel. And this year, Shane and I sprung for a first-class cabin as our five-year anniversary gift to each other. I’ve never traveled first class before, and I can’t wait to share beautiful photos from the train windows and especially report back on the food (first class cabins come with meals on the dining car included). After reading so many Agatha Christie novels, I feel like I’m Poirot about to embark on an adventure. But I’ll be okay if no dead body mysteriously appears on the train. 😉

Our food for the train trip is taken care of, but there is still the 10 hours of driving between us and the station in Milwaukee. That means road trip snacks! Here’s what Shane and I are packing in our coolers and bags:

Fresh veggies from our CSA (including snap peas, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, and greens)

Fresh fruit

Dried fruit: mango, figs, & dates

A batch of homemade granola bars

Pizza Popcorn

Hard boiled eggs

Now, that list may seem like a lot, but we’ll be visiting friends and family, sharing the extras along the way. And, as hobbits, those snacks are just the barest of essentials (can’t miss second breakfast).

One of my absolute favorite snacks EVER is popcorn. I could eat it every day–and most of the time, I do. I’ve had popcorn every way: microwaved, air popped, those Jiffy tins. Over time, I’ve grown to be a bit of a popcorn connoisseur and the best way to make popcorn, in my expert opinion, is on the stove.

Stove top popcorn has such great flavor, is leagues healthier than the nasty wannabe microwaved stuff, and is open to almost endless topping combinations. The one I’m taking with me on my trip combines two of my favorite foods: pizza and popcorn! Salty, crunchy, and dusted with herbs, this snack is sure to satisfy! As a bonus, I add nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has 8 grams of protein per serving and about 200% of your daily B vitamins–plus it gives the popcorn a lovely cheesy flavor.

As for oil, my favs are coconut oil, EVVO, and Earth Balance. Usually, my go-to is coconut oil, but I use different ones depending on what I feel like that day. Each will give a pleasant and unique flavor to your popcorn.

So, get ready to experiment, have fun, and munch on a whole grain, unprocessed snack that packs a powerful flavor punch!

Julia’s Pizza Popcorn!

Photo courtesy of noshon.it

Popcorn + Pizza = BRILLIANT!

1 cup organic popcorn kernels

1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, Earth Balance–whatever you fancy)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp Pizza Seasoning 

Salt to taste

Turn a burner on medium-high. Grab a large pot (with lid) and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Begin shaking the pot gently back and forth over the burner to prevent kernels from popping. The kernels will be popping and filling up the pot–keep up the shaking motion until the kernels are almost done popping (until there are considerable pauses between pops. Like five seconds between pops).

Remove pot from heat. Remove the lid (once you’re sure the popping is done. Otherwise, you’ll have popcorn all over the kitchen 🙂 ). Add the nutritional yeast, pizza seasoning, and salt. Put that lid back on.

Now’s time for the best part. Grab that pot and SHAKE it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture. Or like you’re trying to disperse the seasoning and salt evenly. Whichever works for you.

DEVOUR!

Suggested Pairing

A cold glass of iced tea and the open road

3D Glasses optional

What is your favorite popcorn flavor?

So long for now! I’ll see you when I get back with lots of pictures and stories from vacation!

 

 

 

20
Jul

2015 Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games!

Photo: StarTribune

The last thing I posted on Facebook about the Scottish Fair was, “Sweaty and gross after setting up my tent” on Friday afternoon. I was, indeed, both of those things. But I was also proud. I had made the four hour trek to the Cities all by myself, drove through rush-hour traffic, set up a tent for the first time in my life, and rewarded myself with a delicious trip to the Crescent Moon Bakery. I was full of Afghani baked goods and on my way to hang out with two incredible friends. Life was pretty awesome.

Then, I woke up at 1:00 am to a terrible storm. We’re talking crazy lighting, roaring winds, driving rains–the whole shebang. As I lay in my bed, I thought of my tent–my poor little tent being mangled by the winds.

Needless to say, I got up extra early the next morning and headed back to the fair grounds to assess the damage.

Ho-ly Cats.

The fairgrounds were a mess. It was only later that I learned a tornado was reported in the area (seriously? I feel like they are following me). My poor tent was reduced to a sad, twisted lump of metal. Other, HUGE tents were collapsed–some of which had taken the vendor hours to set up the day before and already had goods inside. Luckily, there were several stores nearby and I joined the clean up and a mad dash for tents. Through the kindness of others, I managed to set up my tent just in time for the fair to open. Though some tents took a few hours to sort out, it was really amazing how quickly everyone came together to help.

Who doesn’t love men in kilts?

The rest of the day was a GREAT success! The day was sunny and bright with a nice breeze, and there were so many people enjoying the beautiful weather. I met fellow writers, was invited to be a guest on an Irish radio show (named Malarkey–love it!), was introduced to distributors, made some new friends, and–best of all–met more new readers!

*Drum roll please* I SOLD FIFTY BOOKS!

Scottish Happy Dance!

AMAZING! And I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many–especially my friends Mike & Jenn who let me crash at their place, usurp their shower, fed me like a queen, and who even braved the heat to help me out at the fair. I had a truly awesome weekend, and I am just so grateful for yet another opportunity to share Seven Stones with more people!

Special thanks to Liz for coordinating the event and answering all my questions!

Next stop on the Seven Stones book tour: Whitewater, Wisconsin! I’ll be at the SweetSpot on July 31st from 5-7pm, for a book reading, author Q&A, and book signing (and, yes, I’ll have copies to sell)!

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend was just as fabulous as mine!

15
Jul

Cherry Street Books & Brainerd Brown Bag Lunch!

Fantastic time at the Brainerd Public Library!

Fantastic time at the Brainerd Public Library!

WOW!

What a crazy, fantastic, scary, wonderful, amazing weekend! It all started on Saturday while I was on my way to Cherry Street Books in Alexandria for a book signing. I was about an hour out from the book store, when I got rear-ended while pulling over for an ambulance. I’m okay, the car can still drive, and the other driver’s insurance is covering the damage to the bumper (it’s pretty much falling off). Waiting for the sheriff and state trooper to arrive and document the accident took about an hour-and-a-half, so needless to say, I was late to my book signing.

At Cherry Street Books!

At Cherry Street Books!

By the time I got to Alexandria, I was a little frazzled. Then, I turned the corner and saw Cherry Street Books. Oh my goodness! It is such a cute, inviting, comfy shop with so many great books and gifts for book worms. Kathleen sat me in a big, cozy chair and I ended up having a wonderful afternoon, meeting new readers and spreading the word about Seven Stones. Afterwards, I got to have dinner with a friend and made it back to Bemidji without any more excitement. So, a day that started out a bit dodgy ended in a very positive note. I am very grateful to the awesome folks of Cherry Street for hosting me and graciously invited me into their store. I will definitely be back! If you are in Alexandria, check out this independent book store (and feel free to pick up a signed copy of Seven Stones while you’re there!).

Beautiful!

After a brief rest, Shane and I were off to Brainerd on Sunday for Shane to shoot some sports highlights, attend a wedding, and prep for my Brown Bag Lunch. What we didn’t plan for was the CRAZY storm! You’ve probably heard by now, but it was SCA-RY. The storm ripped up trees, toppled power lines, threw trees on cars, tore roofs off buildings, and caused more damage than I can describe. There are–as of now–no reported injuries, however, so that is something to be grateful for. Shane and I spent the storm huddled in an equipment room under a desk. I was quaking like a scared little rabbit. Shane fell asleep. During a tornado. Can you believe that boy?

I had so much fun!

I had so much fun!

The next day, I made it to the Brainerd Public Library unscathed and excited for my Brown Bag Author event at noon. I used to work at the Brainerd Library (I LOVED IT!), and used to dream of being a part of the Brown Bag program someday. Because of the storm and clean-up, I was afraid that few people would be able to make it. But as I set up and chatted with friends, people just kept arriving! I had a full room! AMAZING!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to see me!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to see me!

I started off talking about Seven Stones, doing a few short reading excerpts, then talked about my writing process, my publishing experience, and the sequel in progress. The audience was AWESOME! Before the event, I was nervous about filling up a whole hour without being boring, but I had SO MUCH FUN! People kept asking really great questions, and even made some touching comments about my writing. We talked about everything, from my early writing inspiration, Ojibwe & Celtic research, cultural identity, and what house I’d be in at Hogwarts (Hufflepuff Pride)! We had such a great energy buzzing in the room that my talk ran a little over an hour! 🙂

The line for my book signing!

The line for my book signing!

After the presentation, there was a line of people waiting to buy my book and say hello. INCREDIBLE! It is humbling and gratifying to know that people are connecting with my story and with my journey as a writer. I am still smiling from the warm reception, avid readers, and all-around awesome people of the Brainerd Public Library. A HUGE thank you to the library and the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library for inviting me to be a part of their wonderful program.

The Seven Stones dream team!

The Seven Stones dream team!

My publishers and I got to have a celebratory lunch at–where else?–Prairie Bay! I got the new Thai Curry Pizza (YES! TRY IT!), and we had a delightful time toasting the success of the Seven Stones book tour!

Next, I’m off to Eagan for the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games! I’ll be there ALL day so stop by, grab a signed copy of Seven Stones, and say hello! I’ll be driving all day Friday, so I’ll see you next on Monday with pictures from the event!

Minnesota Highland Games: July 18th!

Happy Wednesday!

10
Jul

Friday Favorites: Five Year Anniversary!

The radio interview this morning was AMAZING! A HUGE thank you to the folks at KAXE for inviting me on the show and letting me spread the word about Seven Stones. I was a teensy bit nervous (read: really, REALLY nervous) about going live on the radio, but Heidi and John were so easy and fun to talk to! Thank you to ALL for listening!

I am off to Cherry Street Books in Alexandria to sign books from 12-2pm tomorrow, then to the Brainerd Public Library on Monday from 12-1pm for the Brown Bag Author Program. I hope to see you there!

All these things are reasons to celebrate. But the REAL reason I am celebrating July 10th? It is Shane and my FIVE YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

Five years!

Five years!

I can’t believe it. It feels like we just got married yesterday! Our wedding was an absolute fabulous event, and the marriage that has been taking place since then has been a dream come true. Shane is my best friend, partner in crime, confidant, cheerleader, and the love of my life.

Look at those chops!

Look at those chops! Such cute Freshmen.

Having him as a husband is the best part of my life, and gives meaning to everything else I do. There is no way I could be doing what I am doing without his constant love, support, and encouragement. He makes me want to be a better person, and is always there when I need him with a hug or ice cream 🙂 (there have been plenty of both in this relationship!). These past five years have been some of the best of my life, and I can’t wait to see what the next five brings!

What a good looking couple!

What a good looking couple!

Tonight, we’re celebrating by grilling, a bonfire, going through our wedding photos, reading our vows, dancing, and plenty of delicious treats! To mark the occasion, I changed out of the fuzzy purple robe I conducted my radio interview in and put on my wedding tiara, Irish necklace I wore for our wedding, and a fancy dress. 🙂

Here's to the next five years!

Here’s to the next five years!

I’ll see you guys on Monday after I get back from the Brown Bag program with plenty of photos and stories. Until then, I’m going to relax and enjoy my anniversary!

Happy Friday!

08
Jul

My First Radio Interview!

“So, Julia, how do you feel about being a published author?”

Can you say “I’m ready for my close-up” when you’re talking about a radio interview? How about, “I’m ready for my mic check?” However you say it, I’m READY and EXCITED! This is my first radio interview EVER! I can’t wait to talk about Seven Stones to folks over the airwaves at 8:10 in the morning this Friday on KAXE.

Would you like to listen?! Of course you would! If you live in Northern Minnesota, you can get KAXE on the following channels: Grand Rapids 91.7 FM, Brainerd 89.9 FM, Bagley/Bemidji KBXE 90.5 FM. If you don’t live in the broadcast area, visit the KAXE homepage and click “streaming” to listen to the interview live on Friday morning! We’ll be chatting about Seven Stones and spreading the word about my upcoming Brown Bag Lunch event at the Brainerd Public Library.

July 11th 12-12pm!

And that’s not all! Don’t forget that I’ll be driving to Alexandria, Minnesota for a book signing at Cherry Street Books from 12-2pm!

So many exciting things are happening in the month of July! Stay tuned for updates and tune into KAXE on Friday morning to hear my interview with Heidi Holtan! 🙂

06
Jul

Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Creamy, tangy, sweet frozen heaven!

To me, 4th of July is about three things: food, fun, and friends! Luckily, I got to enjoy all three this past weekend! We grilled Portobello mushrooms with red, gold, and blue steak fries, walked to Lake Bemidji for a refreshing swim, and met up with friends to watch the lakeside fireworks display. The best part is that our good friend Justin came up to celebrate the holiday and is staying with us the whole week!

As you all should know by now, I LOVE to cook–especially when I have company over. It gives me a chance to show off. To impress our esteemed guest, I’m pulling out all the stops with the BEST STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM RECIPE EVER!

This is no exaggeration. I found this recipe last year and made it more than a dozen times over the summer. Now that strawberries are in season, strawberry ice cream is once again a regular on our dessert menu (and, yes, we have dessert every day).

Technically, I suppose I should say strawberry frozen yogurt. This recipe is made with plain Greek yogurt which gives it the creamy consistency of a custard, but provides generous helpings of calcium and protein. I’ve used both full fat and nonfat Greek yogurt, and I like both versions. For the extra creaminess, go with full fat.

A few last tips: this recipe was created for an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one, go out and buy an ice cream maker (seriously, what are you waiting for). If that isn’t an option, fear not! You can still have your strawberry ice cream and eat it, too! Simply make according to the directions, but pour the base into a freezer safe container and cover with plastic wrap. Stir the base once every half-hour to break-up the ice particles until frozen to the desired consistency.

Another option is popsicles! Pour the base into popsicle molds or just paper cups and freeze! Insert the sticks after the base is somewhat solid.

Whatever version you try, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This is the perfect summer treat to celebrate the tastes of the season!

Summertime Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1 cup Greek Yogurt

2/3 cup Sucanat, or granulated sweetener of choice

1 package fresh organic strawberries, chopped and tops removed

1 tsp lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend! If it seems like your ingredients aren’t blending at first, blend in a few short bursts, stopping several times to give the ingredients a mix. Do NOT add extra liquid. The mixture will blend easily as soon as the berries break down and release juices.

When blended to a smooth consistency (leaving as few or many chunks as you want), pour into an ice cream maker. Turn the ice cream maker on and let it work its magic!

DEVOUR!

Serving Suggestions: Red, White, and Blue Yogurt

Top with coconut flakes and fresh blueberries for a healthy patriotic treat!

Happy Monday!

What was your favorite 4th of July food?

03
Jul

Friday Favorites!

Having Monday off really made this week fly by! I feel like we just got back from our mini-vacation and it is already Friday. Not that I’m complaining–this weekend will be filled with good food, fun, friends, and fireworks! All the important “fs.” I’m looking forward to kicking back and enjoying a relaxing weekend before continuing my book tour next weekend at Cherry Street Books in Alexandria, MN. Before I do that, here’s a list of my favorite things from this past week:

VACATION!

Of course our mini-vacation to Lake Tomahawk, Minocqua, and Duluth is on my list of favorites for the week! We arrived back home Monday night, and the whole week was transformed by just a little break. And I’m still dreaming of that ice cream! If you missed it, here are the pictures and stories from our magical weekend. I hope this weekend is just as good!

 

Local Foods: Mushroom & Lambs Quarters Quiche

When I picked up our CSA cooler this week, I scanned the list of produce and stopped in my tracks. Lamb Quarters? I knew the little organic farm raises chickens and cows, but I hadn’t heard anything about lambs. Is there seriously a quarter of a lamb in my cooler?

While I did receive spinach, spicy greens, lettuce greens, radishes, radish greens, a loaf of homemade onion bread, and honey, there was definitely no lamb. Turns out, Lambs Quarters are a wild plant that, when cooked, taste even better than and can replace spinach in dishes. Luckily, our farm newsletter included a drool-worthy recipe that I just had to try: quiche.

I’ve never made quiche before because they tend to be full of heavy cream and–to me, at least–pretty bland. Not this quiche! I share with you my adapted version of the Northern Lights Farm Lambs Quarters Quiche!

Mushroom & Lambs Quarters Quiche

Oatmeal Crust

2 cups regular rolled oats

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp Sucanat, or other granulated sweetener

Quiche Filling

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 cups chopped Lambs Quarters (or spinach)

1 small onion, chopped

8 oz. chopped crimini mushrooms

1 Tbsp flour

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup milk

Enough shredded cheese to cover the bottom of the crust (the original recipe called for 2 cups. That was way too much for me, so I probably used about 1/2 cup shredded Gouda)

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

1. Make the crust: put all ingredients for the crust in a blender or food processor and blend until the mixture turns into crumbly goodness.

2. Place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of a pie pan and press the crust into the pan and up the sides until all is covered. Note: this crust is very crumbly and delicious! You can use a regular flour crust for a firm pie, but the oatmeal soaks up the liquid from the quiche beautifully!

3. Make the filling: Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add mushrooms and Lambs Quarters. Sauté until tender.

4. Add the flour, salt & pepper (to taste). Remove from heat.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add egg mixture to Lambs Quarters mixture.

6. Sprinkle cheese onto the bottom of the pie crust. Then, add pour filling over the top of the cheese.

7. The original recipe says bake at 325 for 45 minutes. I’d say it took our quiche more like an hour to firm up. The key here is to check the quiche and wiggle it around. If the middle looks liquidy, it needs more time.

8. DEVOUR! 🙂

 

Evening Horse Ride!

horse

I was lucky enough for one of my good friends to ask me if I wanted to join her for an evening ride this past Wednesday. I’ve ridden before, but sporadically and not for many years. Fortunately for me, Kori is basically the Horse Whisperer and her horses couldn’t be more sweet. I got to ride her horse, Firefly, through the beautiful woods of the state park at dusk. It was perfect. I felt all the stress of the day evaporate as we rode. Afterwards, also got to play with the barn cats and kittens (who were just balls of adorable fluff). The 12-year-old girl in me has never been more happy! I love summer! I hope there are many more rides to come!

 

Book of the Week: Enchantment Lake: A Northwoods Mystery by Margi Preus

A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbors are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents?

On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hot dish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built.

This is the first of my Author Festival books that I’ve been waiting to dive into! I got to meet Margi Preus at Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery’s Author Festival on June 20th, and just had to get this book. A fellow YA author, Margi was fantastic to chat with and her writing is incredibly engaging! Living in northern Minnesota makes this read even more enjoyable, as I recognize many of the ‘oddities’ that Francie does upon meeting the people of the small town she’s stuck in. It is a fun read that I plan on enjoying outside, curled up in a lawn chair, with an iced coffee by my side. 🙂

 

Word Count

638. I had a feeling it was going to be low this week. That’s what I get for going on vacation. I played catch-up to get all the stuff done that I hadn’t been able to this weekend. Totally worth it, though. I do feel like what I wrote is “keeper worthy,” and I also spent a great deal of time hashing out details. But it’s July, people. Time to get the lead out. Goal for next week is staying at 3,000 words. I’m going to hit it one of these times!

Happy Friday! Safe travels for the 4th!

01
Jul

Book Signings & Sight Seeing: An Author on the Go!

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Book Signing at Book World!

Hello, all my lovely readers! Did you miss me? I can imagine your dismay when 7am Monday morning rolled around there was no post from The Open Book. Sorry I didn’t give any warning on Friday. Shane and I went to Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin to visit his grandparents this past weekend and I didn’t know that their cabin was beyond the reach of the internet. We stayed in a cabin nestled deep in the Northwoods, and I savored every second of it!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about my book signing at Book World! It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, but luckily, the store was just as lovely as the sunshine. The Baxter Book World and its staff were wonderful, and I spent a delightful 3 hours meeting new people, getting some new readers, and hugging old friends. I had a fabulous time, and was told by the staff that my book signing was one of the most successful they’ve had! WooHOO!

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Ready for my adoring public!

Shane got some great pics of me chatting up new readers!

Shane got some great pics of me chatting up new readers!

There's my adoring public!

There’s my adoring public!

Thanks, guys! :)

Love these guys!

THANK YOU to Book World and everyone who came to check out Seven Stones and support my writing! If you missed me in Baxter, I’ll be making another stop in the area at the Brainerd Public Library as a part of their Brown Bag Author program! I’ll be there July 13th from 12-1pm reading excerpts from Seven Stones, talking about the writing process, how I got published, answering questions, and–yes!–signing and selling books.

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From the book signing, Shane and I made an obligatory stop at Culver’s for some much needed custard, and drove 5 hours to Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Never heard of it? Lake Tomahawk is up near Lake Superior in the Minocqua/Rhinelander area of the state. I gotta tell you, it was some of the most scenic drives we’ve had. Everywhere I looked was breathtaking forest or lake views. We were lucky enough to stay at Shane’s grandparents’ cabin in the heart of the woods overlooking a large pond.

The Lee Cabin

The Lee Cabin

Early morning view from the pier

Early morning view from the pier

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View from my writing spot

Shane :)

Shane 🙂

It was there that I found my perfect writing spot. I wanted to stay out there for hours with my little notebook, but there was so much else to do–and eat!

Minocqua!

Minocqua!

We drove to Minocqua and explored the quaint downtown area. One of the coolest parts of Minocqua are the murals. Painted on old brick buildings all over town, these were really cool surprises that we couldn’t resist taking photos of.

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A French mural we found on the side of an old building.

Shane couldn’t resist “drinking” from the fountain

Our favorite part of Minocqua? The Minocqua Fudge Shop. Oh. My. God.

Dan's Minocqua Fudge

This place is where dreams come true

When you walk through the door, rich, buttery aromas practically lift you off your feet and pull you toward the rows and rows of homemade fudge. Just breathing that air made me feel like I gained five pounds.

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

Like walking into Honeydukes!

Like walking into Honeydukes!

Then, there was the ice cream. All of it is made at the shop with quality ingredients–and boy, can you taste it. Shane and I tried to practice some self-control by splitting a double-scoop, and THIS is what they gave us.

One massive scoop of Bear Paw and one of Pistachio ice cream.

One massive scoop of Bear Paw and one of Pistachio ice cream.

You can tell we were really heartbroken.

YUM!

YUM!

After another day and too many Euchre games to count, we said goodbye to Shane’s wonderful grandparents and headed back home. But the adventure wasn’t over yet! We stopped in Duluth to stretch our legs on the Lake Walk. We both fell in love with Duluth last September and were really glad to have an excuse to go back to Lake Superior and the rose gardens. We spent two hours walking hand-in-hand along the shore. I guess you could say we take stopping and smelling the roses very seriously. 😉

View from Duluth Harbor

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You know those rare weekends that are so relaxing that two short days feel like five? That was this weekend retreat for us. A book signing, visiting family and friends, and a jaunt in Duluth. It was perfect. I still can’t get the smile off my face.

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Happy Wednesday!