One Great Dog

We got Maxi when I was 10. It took about that many years to convince my mom to get a dog, but finally, we had one! Maxi was a great pal to my brother, Samuel, and me and often a source of entertainment:

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She was always good for a snuggle:

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And, damn, that girl could eat:


Even my mom grew to love her:


When Maxi was about 10, we got Clover – a feisty labradoodle with a lot of energy. Sometimes too much energy:

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But Maxi and Clover were pals, and deep down they loved each other:

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Plus, they always enjoyed a good car ride together:

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The average life span of a lab is 12 years, and time definitely started taking its toll on Maxi. She got diabetes and went blind:


And the amount of time she spent laying around without moving seemed to increase (at least she had a buddy to lay around with her!):

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Sometimes she would lumber around:

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But then she would get tired quickly:


Maxi was 15 years old this year which, as the vet said, “for a lab is ancient!” We found out that Maxi had a large tumor and it would be increasingly difficult for her to eat and move around. We didn’t want her to be uncomfortable, and we thought the kindest thing would be to put her to sleep. As of yesterday at 2pm, Maxi won’t be around anymore.

Maxi said goodbye when I went to college:


And she said goodbye when I moved to Minneapolis:


And I’m so sad that I wasn’t there to say goodbye to her yesterday. So, hopefully this can serve as a goodbye of sorts.

Bye, Maxi, I will really miss you.





48 hours in New York

This past weekend, I had a great two days with my beloved family in New York.


With such a short visit together, we made the most of our time by sitting at the hotel, eating, and going on prolonged walking adventures throughout the city. Obviously. 🙂 Highlights from the days together were:

Lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz’s is a classic New York deli with overflowing corned beef sandwiches, top-notch pickles, and piping hot knishes. Although it hasn’t achieved the same notoriety with tourists as Carnegie Deli, it’s well known to anyone from New York and all Harry Met Sally fans (you know, the scene at the deli…).

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The place was packed but we were able to get a table and order without too much difficulty. Our feast was devoured before I remembered to take a picture, but deliciousness included corned beef sandwiches, matzo ball soup, knish, latkes, and coleslaw.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Heralded as the longest suspension bridge of its time, the Brooklyn Bridge serves as a great way to take a stroll and look over at the city. It bridges the water from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and there is certainly quite a different feel from one end to the other.

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Breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien 

Breakfast during vacation with my family is always quite an operation. It’s more like brunch, or lunch actually, since it often may not happen until close to noon. But hey – maybe the anticipation makes the payoff all the better. Le Pain Quotidien is a bakery with several locations along the east coast, and their breakfast was delicious. One of our favorites was the belgian waffle with jam:

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And finally, Shake Shack

Shake Shack is a fast-growing burger, fries, and frozen custard joint along the east coast. But, don’t be fooled. This is not the burger at your typical diner. Shake Shack puts an emphasis on sustainability and community support, donating time and money towards social concerns like hunger, education, and the environment.

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Overall, a great two days spent with the greatest of company.


A Guide to Spring (in Minnesota)

It’s definitely supposed to be spring right now. Yet, as I write this, snow falls. So, here is a guide to enjoying the season of rejuvenation in Minnesota.

1. Don’t fear the white stuff! If it’s snowy, then you might as well take advantage of it. Noah and I recently went skiing at Theodore Wirth Park. The park in north Minneapolis has 20 miles of cross country skiing trails, tubing, and snowboarding areas.

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We enjoyed a little over an hour of skiing, and we got a great workout. The trails were beautiful!

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2. Celebrate indoors! Luckily for me, the holiday of Purim provided a perfect opportunity to have fun inside. I invited friends over to make the traditional triangular-shaped Purim cookie, hamantashen.

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Another Purim tradition is costumes, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dress like a taco:


And a person wearing footie pajamas (read: not really a costume):


3. Try new food! One of the best indoor activities I know is eating, so I’ve enjoyed spending more time in the kitchen as well as trying some new restaurants.

We tried Victor’s 1959 Cafe, a Cuban restaurant in south Minneapolis.


The restaurant featured lots of unique Cuban dishes, and I was excited to try a vegetarian dish with yuca and plantains. Noah had a salmon dish with beans, rice, and plantains.


We also tried a Cuban beer and a Cafe Cubano (espresso sweetened with sugar and a tiny bit of milk):

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Highlights from my kitchen have been chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom rice from the Jerusalem cookbook:

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Salmon with thyme, broccoli, and rice:

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Peanut butter granola from CarrotsnCake:

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And cilantro burgers:

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The cilantro burgers were incredibly easy to make. Recipe as follows:

– 1 lb. ground beef
– 1 bunch chopped cilantro
– 1/4 cup chopped onion
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1/2 cup flour

Mix everything together and then broil for 8 minutes on one side and 5-7 minutes on the other side (depending how pink you like it).

How to ____ in the winter

Minnesota winters are often among the coldest in the country. This year’s winter, however, has really outdone itself. This is my seventh winter in Minnesota and by far the worst. Schools have been cancelled five times (often on government order) due to extreme temperatures, and there were 36 consecutive days where Minneapolites woke up to sub-zero temps. I’ve managed to still keep biking on some days when it’s above zero, but those days have been few and far between. What’s worse, we’re now into March and spring seems far from around the corner.

Having such a prolonged and extremely frigid winter has been a challenge to several typically-enjoyed activities. How can we Minnesotans keep up when it looks like this outside?!

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How to exercise in the winter

I have run less this winter since any time since I started running (about six years ago). Normally, I continue to run outside a few days a week during the winter and head inside to the gym for the occasional treadmill run on an especially cold day. This winter, however, I have only run outside once since December! I’ve been logging a few miles on the treadmill, but it’s also started to feel a little too much like the dreadmill…

The solution? Find new activities! Fortunately, introductory free weeks to fitness facilities abound, and I recently tried out an awesome gym called The Shed Fitness in Uptown (I know, it just sounds hardcore, right?!). The Shed offers a variety of classes including spin, circuit training, body pump, TRX, and yoga sculpt. I tried five classes during my intro week, and I definitely hope to go back for more!

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How to stay busy inside in the winter

Normally, if I’m not at work or another scheduled activity, I like to spend a lot of time outside – walking, exploring, biking, visiting friends, etc. The severity of this winter has meant a lot more time cooped up indoors in my apartment, needing to fill long periods of time. The best solution I’ve found is to do more cooking! Plus, the extra time means I can put more effort into elaborate recipes and dishes that require extra prep time. Some favorites from the last couple weeks include:

homemade ice cream


roasted kabocha squash


chickpea and red pepper soup with quinoa (recipe from Women’s Day magazine)


and chilean squash (from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook)

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How to smile big in the winter

It’s no secret that weather is a large determinant of mood for many people. I’ve never considered myself to be highly impacted in this regard, but there have definitely been a few times where I feel a bit down or blue and think sunshine sure would help! In this long winter abyss, it’s been nice to take special notice of ‘the little things’ and to make an effort to do something fun/goofy every day.

feeling positive after finding this note stuck to a bathroom mirror


enjoying an impromtu photo shoot