Tag: Birthday


Author Fest & Backyard Drive-Ins or The Most Epic Weekend EVER

What do an author festival, an outdoor screening of The Sandlot, and big screen video games have in common? My weekend! It may have been the most epic weekend in the history of weekends, and I still can’t believe everything was so perfect.


Walking up to the beautiful Beagle & Wolf Books and Bindery

Let’s begin with the Beagle & Wolf Author Festival 2015! I arrived in Park Rapids, and seeing the bookshop for the first time was like stepping into a fairy tale. A cute little brick bookstore surrounded by an independent (and delicious) coffee shop and a bakery. Then you step inside: Beagle¬†& Wolf is eclectic, fun, and full of personality. I fell in love!


Karen Babine, author of Water and What We Know, reading from her book!


I talked a lot with Gordon W. Fredrickson and Nancy A Fredrickson, authors of farm life books & poetry!


Fellow YA author Margi Preus (Enchanted Lake) and Sue Doeden (Homemade with Honey). Awesome literary ladies!


Getting together with fellow authors is a BLAST!


My table was right next to Lin Enger, and I grabbed a copy of his latest novel, The High Divide

The wonderful people who work there did everything to make me feel welcome and comfortable–and gave me a table right in the front of the store! I was surrounded by 11 other authors, and soon began making new friends with my fellow literary enthusiasts. We traded books back and forth, talked about writing, and signed each other’s books. I was in author HEAVEN! I met SO many cool people that day–including William Kent Krueger!


William Kent Krueger! One of the nicest guys I’ve met!

This was as close as I thought I was going to get to him, but then he came up to my table right before his book reading and introduced himself to me! He said he kept seeing people walk around with copies of Seven Stones and had to meet the author. I was speechless, but tried to play it off all cool like I’d met tons of famous people and was completely unfazed. Ha. It was AWESOME!


I got to chat with author Tom Isbell and grab his YA novel, The Prey!


Cozy book nook


I just couldn’t take enough pictures!


Some of the wonderful staff behind it all!

I can’t thank Beagle & Wolf enough! If you haven’t been there, GO! And while you’re there, snag a copy of Seven Stones. ūüôā


Birthdays done right: Backyard Movie & Retro Video Games!

Then, there was the party. I don’t even know what to say except it was quite possibly the best birthday party of all time. For a week, we planned a surprise party for our good friend, Stefania. All of the Bemidji crew chipped in and helped to make this not only a birthday party, but THE birthday party.


Bonfire fun while we wait to surprise the birthday girl!


That’s what I call a party face


PERFECT weather for the perfect party!

At one point, I asked, “What do you guys think of doing our own drive-in? Does anyone have a projector?” Friends brought over not only a projector, but a screen, a speaker system, and an N-64 with multiple remotes and Mario Kart. Add in a bonfire, and you have one freakin’ epic night.


SURPRISE! Nothing says Happy Birthday like sweet potato brownies!


Setting up the projector screen!


SUCCESS! Thank you screen crew!


Mario Kart!


Oh, it is ON!


What would the first day of summer be without The Sandlot?

Happy, happy birthday, friend! Thanks to ALL our friends who came to the party and helped make the night truly fantastic. It was such a fun way to spend a day with people we love playing games, eating food, and celebrating! And yes, we are DEFINITELY doing this again!


What an AWESOME weekend! This one is going in the books as one of the best ever.

Happy Monday, everyone!

What movie would you want to watch on the big screen?


Birthday Cake Popcorn!

Happy Birthday to ME!

I’m officially 27!

Today, I’m going to spend my birthday writing, eating good food, and hanging out with awesome people. I am super excited for my Jane Austen tea party tonight, but the fun doesn’t end there. Shane and I will also be celebrating this weekend (because who can have just ONE birthday party?) with games, fun, and more good food.

I have to admit, being 26 was fantastic. Some big highlights¬†were:¬†the birth of my two nephews, Ira & Samuel, going to a Packer game at Lambeau Field, moving to Bemidji, receiving two grad school scholarships, being awarded the Region 2 Individual Artist Grant, starting a blog, and–oh, yeah–BECOMING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!¬†There were also hundreds of¬†small¬†moments and joys that made my 26th year wonderful. I am truly lucky to be surrounded by such loving friends and family. Thank you for making my¬†life something to celebrate!

And what treat will I be¬†celebrating with? As¬†I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the biggest fan of cake, so I really love to get creative with my birthday treats.¬†For my 27th birthday, I decided to make something that¬†is truly me: birthday cake popcorn!

To say I love popcorn is an understatement. I have no idea how some people manage to eat a few dainty handfuls–when I make a big bowl of popcorn, it is gone in record time. I inhale it. Popcorn is my absolute favorite go-to snack. When I discovered this recipe while looking up fun ideas for my birthday, it was fate. I’m only slightly tweaking from the original recipe by using unrefined, ungross ingredients and fair trade chocolate. Oh yeah, and I’m probably quadrupling the quantity. I mean, at least.

Julia’s 27th Birthday Cake Popcorn

Sweet and Salty! What could be better?

10¬†cups popped corn (I’m air popping those bad boys)

1 Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate bar, broken into small chunks

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, melted

Salt, to taste

A few handfuls of Let’s Do Organic Sprinklez

Place popcorn on two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for one minute or until melted and creamy, stirring halfway though. Stir in the melted coconut oil. Drizzle over the popcorn and mix with a spatula to coat (careful, it will be very hot!). Toss in the salt and sprinkles. Let cool completely, then break apart any large pieces that are stuck together.

Stick a birthday candle in a big bowl and DEVOUR!

Happy Wednesday!



Jane Austen Tea Party

I like big cups and I cannot lie…

My shoulder is feeling a little better. I’ve been icing it every day, resting, and so far it seems to be paying off. I can type without it hurting now, and am even able to cook and bake if I’m really careful. Which is good, because this Wednesday is my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY!!!!

You may have noticed by now that I love my birthday the way most five-year-olds do. I can’t help it. Every year on May 1st, my official birthday season begins. Then, the whole week leading up to the actual day is my birthday week. I wear fancy dresses and my wedding crown. I told you I was five.

I’ve dreamed of having a birthday tea party for years. I love drinking tea, eating tea, and all the foods that go along with the traditional tea ceremony. Since my golden birthday falls in the middle of the week, Shane and I are going to be celebrating it together¬†this coming¬†Saturday. But since he’ll be busy working Wednesday, I decided to throw myself the girliest birthday party EVER: a Jane Austen tea party!

Ain’t no party like a birthday tea party!

A few friends and I are going to meet, drink tea, eat food, and watch a Jane Austen movie. In addition, I’ve told everyone to bring a copy of their favorite book to share book club-style. Hermione would be so proud.

I’ve been planning the menu for a few days, and here’s what I think I’ll be serving:

Jane Austen Tea Menu

I have a feeling she’d be a big fan of my book


Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla (black tea)

Organic Mango Green (decaf)

Organic Earl Grey

Mocha Hazelnut Yerba Mate


Avocado egg salad


Cucumber (of course!)


Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

Fresh fruits & veggies


Green tea ice cream

I’m off to bake and cut crusts off of tiny sandwiches (and then eat all the crusts while no one is looking). In case you missed it, here’s the story Lakeland News did on my first book signing on May 16th!!! What a great early birthday present. ūüôā

Happy Monday!