Tag Archives: Twin Cities

Literary Gift Ideas

Looking for gift ideas for the readers in your life? Or perhaps you love books and don’t have any ideas for the friends and family begging you for Christmas lists? Here’s my bookish wishlist—things I’ve asked for in the past or would love to find under the tree this year. And I promise, they don’t all cost $100 (though there are a few big-ticket ideas). I know what a budget is ;)

  1. A gift card for an independent bookstore (If you’re in the Twin Cities, Magers & Quinn and Common Good Books are my personal favorites.)
  2. A gift card for a coffee shop or cafe where they can read (Starbucks, anyone? Or, if you’re in the Twin Cities, check out Tin Bins in Stillwater.)
  3. Books (Are they on Goodreads? Look there for ideas!)
  4. Audiobooks
  5. An e-reader (I love my Kindle!)Kindle_Reading
  6. A new e-reader case
  7. A new journal and a nice pen
  8. Literary T-shirts, totes (yes, that is an entire novel printed on a bag!) mugs (this is a British site, but if someone got me this one, I’d love them forever), socks (yes, you read that right), jewelry, etc.
  9. Literary art for home or officeart
  10. A subscription to Audible
  11. A booklight
  12. A collectible or vintage edition of a book they love
  13. A book about books
  14. Books from local authors, or books about the area they live in or would love to visit (bookstores usually have a local/regional section)20150815_135117_HDR
  15. Literary action figures
  16. Literary board games or puzzles (Pride and Prejudice, for example)
    Agree to read their favorite book and then go out for coffee to talk to them about it
  17. Tickets to a play or musical based on a book they’ve read (This one is on my list this year)
  18. A trip to an author’s hometown or other significant place (I want to go here with my sister someday)

There you have it. If this list doesn’t give you any ideas, you might be out of luck . . .

P.S. None of the pages I linked to are reimbursing me for this post :)

Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep

brentwoods-ward-cover-peek

Click on the image to see Brentwood’s Ward on Amazon.

Nicholas Brentwood’s sister’s health is failing and he’s desperate for funds to move her out of the city. His opportunity arrives when he’s asked to serve as guardian for Emily Payne, a fiery, independent woman who doesn’t like to follow instructions. He figures it’ll be easy money, but before long, two people are dead and he has to figure out why—while also caring for his ailing sister and sorting out his feelings about Miss Payne.

I really enjoyed Brentwood’s Ward. I love the grittyness of Michelle’s writing style. It’s not as fluffy and flowery as most of the Christian fiction out there. And her characters aren’t immune to unfortunate circumstances and they don’t always make it out of danger’s way. They could easily be real people.

And Brentwood’s Ward is just a great story. There’s a lot at stake—beyond the romance—to keep you turning the pages. If you’re a fan of historical fiction (and even if you’re not) this is a great read. Grab a copy, cozy up by the fire (or a candle), and sip some tea while you get sucked in to the story.

Through January 19, you can get it on sale at Amazon!
$4.99  Kindle edition
$10.83 Paperback

And if you’re in the Twin Cities area, head over to the Burnsville Lifeway next Saturday afternoon to meet Michelle and get your book signed!

Collecting October

October in Minnesota has been beautiful. We’ve had several opportunities to enjoy the fall colors—a quick stop in Stillwater, a family boating trip down the Mississippi, a walk through William O’Brien State Park, and even a few walks around the block.

Stillwater

DSCN0387WEB

DSCN0382WEB

Redwing & The Mississippi

DSCN0462WEB DSCN0448WEB DSCN0423WEBDSCN0407WEB DSCN0397WEB DSCN0405WEB

William O’Brien State Park

DSCN0623WEB DSCN0627WEB DSCN0612WEB DSCN0620WEB DSCN0628WEB DSCN0679WEBDSCN0622WEB

DSCN0608WEB DSCN0598WEB

Close to Home

DSCN0567WEB DSCN0543WEB DSCN0527WEB DSCN0519WEB DSCN0496WEB DSCN0497WEB DSCN0488WEB

Here’s to hoping November is just as lovely!

My Fair Lady at the Guthrie Reviewed

Those two heathens you saw sneaking out of church early on Sunday? That was us. We were going to the theater. And call me a sinner (or maybe just an English major), but sometimes theater does more for my soul than church ever could. (God has used stories in powerful ways in my life, but I suppose that’s an entirely different blog post . . .)

We had tickets for the 1:00 showing of My Fair Lady at the Guthrie. Happy birthday to me.

myfairlady

I’ve gotten the impression that it’s sacrilegious or something, but I had never seen the Audrey Hepburn movie, so I didn’t really know much about the story, but it did not disappoint.

It was the best production I’ve ever seen at the Gutherie. Or anywhere. I don’t think it gets much better. The music, the acting, the costumes, the set—oh, the set!—were incredible. I recognized half of the songs. And to top it all off, our tickets gave us access to a Q & A with some of the actors after the show.

The discussion afterward was what got this English nerd really excited. They talked about the controversy surrounding the ending (did you know the movie version is different from the original ending written by George Bernard Shaw in Pygmalion?), the quality of the shows at the Guthrie (just as good if not better than what you get in New York, they said), where the actors came from (some from New York, one from England, some locals), and which scenes were the most challenging (“I’m Getting Married in the Morning”). And there were some pretty cute kids asking about advice for young actors.

It was thrilling to see people who love their work get excited about it and want to share their thoughts with the audience, who, by the way, had given them a standing ovation.

If you’re going to be in the Twin Cities between now and August 31, go see it. And if you’re not, get here and see it anyway.

And if you’re 30 or younger, sign up for the Guthrie’s 30 Below program to get rush tickets without having to stand in line. It’s a glorious thing. And if you’re lucky, you may even get free tickets to a show or two.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. I’ve already been trying to figure out how I can see it again!

Northshore Tourists

A few weeks ago, two of my favorite people came to visit us—my Aunt Renee and my sister, Cilia. They were only here from Friday to Tuesday, but I kept them running. We visited the Stonearch Bridge, Stillwater, the Mall of America, and the North Shore.

By the time we headed home on Monday night, we were all tired and crabby and full of happy memories.

adirondack2 auntandnieces cillighthouse coldwater DSCN9672 gooseberry jonathanwaterfall Lighthouse onthebeach sarahjonathan sarahreneewaterfall ship ship2 splitrock

 

Saturday in Duluth

A few weeks ago, we went up north for the weekend. We were both desperate for a vacation and it was glorious. We stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house (they’re in Arizona), slept in way too late, and spent Saturday in Duluth. It was nice enough to spend some time outside, and it was still cold enough for Lake Superior to be frozen, at least the part we could see. And yes, that is is a guy on a bike. He and another guy on a bike drove off across the lake. bikeandlighthouse

If you’ve been to Duluth, you’ve seen the old loading dock that people swim out to and jump off in summer. I would never be able to stand the water long enough to handle that. BUT we were able to walk out to it. I may or may not have been terrified of falling through the ice. And I maybe fell on my butt while a bunch of strangers watched. Maybe.

Loading-Dock-Distance

Jonathansarahloadngdock inloadingdock icewindow

To warm up, we spent a few hours at the Amazing Grace Cafe with our books (notice the creeper in the magazine rack next to Jonathan). Then we went to Va Bene (my absolute favorite restaurant in Duluth) and got some great pictures of the sunset.

magazinecreeperliftbridge

sunsetsunset2

Hudson’s Hot Air Affair

When I was a little girl, my aunt and uncle helped plan the local hot air balloon festival. Every summer, I got to spend an entire weekend watching balloons launch, fly, and glow. The whole thing was magical. Then, when I was ten, my family moved to a different town that also hosted a hot air balloon festival every summer. It was close enough to our house that we’d often see the balloons fly over our house. And then, when I moved to Minnesota, there were no balloons. It was sad. Until . . .

Until I randomly came across a website about Hudson’s annual Hot Air Affair. Not only is there a balloon festival within driving distance, it happens in FEBRUARY. That’s winter, guys. If a hot air balloon festival is awesome in June, it can only be awesomer when there’s snow on the ground, right?

So last weekend, when my cousin Rachael came for a visit, we took her with us to see the balloon glow on Saturday night. This is before we all looked like Rudolph (it was maybe 15 degrees out).

If you don’t know, a balloon glow is when they inflate the balloons at dusk and take advantage of the dark to make the balloons “glow.” They don’t actually launch. They just look pretty.

rachaelsarahjonathan

guppieballoonballoon-basket

patchwork-balloon-2 quilted-balloon balloon-glowballoon-glow-2My favorite part about this festival was that they actually let you out on the field. We got to stand right next to the balloons. It might be different for the launches, but it was the coolest thing. I had so much fun, and now I want to go up in a hot air balloon even more than I did before. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I’m willing to suck it up for that experience.

Unknown No More (Kinda)

bridge

Awhile ago, I posted about some big changes that could be coming for me and Jonathan. Well, they came, and today I can finally tell you about them.

downtown2

downtown

Tomorrow morning, Jonathan starts a new job as the managing editor of a newspaper on the east side of the Twin Cities. (He’s still working for the same company, just a different paper and a different office.) And this Sunday, we’re making what feels like an awfully big move to be closer to his new office. (It’s not really that big—I’m keeping my job and we’re not changing churches, but the new place is at least half an hour from where we are now, and we don’t know the area at all.)

River

This has been a long time coming, and we’re excited (and a bit stressed) that it’s finally here. It’ll be a great opportunity for Jonathan and a bit of a “culture shock” for both of us. We really love our current location, and quite honestly, I’m really struggling with the move. Our new place is gorgeous, but it’s in a much more “rural” setting than where we are now. Being minutes from Uptown really has its perks, and I’m going to miss being able to get just about anywhere in two minutes.

courthouse Church

But all whining and worries aside, we’re both confident that God has been guiding us every step of the way, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m excited about getting to know Jonathan’s new community and living in a more “rural” area.

farmersmarketsign farmersmarket

These pictures are from when we visited Jonathan’s new coverage area in August. Pictures of our new apartment will come after we get settled in. In the meantime, say a prayer for us. We’re having a few difficulties with the company that manages our current apartment and aren’t quite sure of the best way to handle it.

So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I’m getting settled :)