“Camping” at the North Shore

Minnesota is the US state known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” Minnesota has such beautiful areas of the state and one of those places is The North Shore. The North Shore is about 2 1/2 – 3 hours away from the Twin Cities and it’s right along Lake Superior, one of The Great Lakes. For reference, The North Shore is the northeast tip of the state. Our friends like to visit The North Shore once a year and this time I decided to come along.

You might be wondering why I’m putting quotations around “camping”. The reason is me and a friend ended up getting a hotel room because we aren’t big campers. I have been camping a few times before, but it’s simply not for me. I like hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, but I prefer indoor plumbing. It worked out perfectly! My husband camped outside which he loves, it’s simply not my preferred way to enjoy the outdoors.

Throughout the weekend, we drove through various small towns along Lake Superior. One town is called Grand Marais and it’s about 30-40 miles from the Canadian border. My husband is a big fan of a brewery up there called Voyageur. Voyageur had an upstairs patio and it was heavenly to sit, have a pint, and goof off with friends in the sun. The day before we also stopped at another brewery that was on my list called Castle Danger. I have always drank Castle Danger beer, but I never had been to the brewery.

It was such a fun weekend! It goes to show that you can do so much exploring in the state or area you’re from. Our friends were talking about making this an annual trip and I’m all for it. The North Shore is calling me to come back.

Blue Milk Beer – May the 4th

May 4th is always a fun day. I love scrolling through social media and seeing everyone express their love for Star Wars. I knew I wanted to spend the day celebrating Star Wars but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I discovered that Dangerous Man Brewing Company brews a special Star Wars beer called “Blue Milk (Blue Razz Milkshake Ale)” along with playing the Star Wars films throughout the night. I convinced my husband to come with me, so I didn’t have to go by myself.

Dangerous Man Brewing Company is a brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. I have been to Dangerous Man once before, but it had been a while. As we arrived, I noticed that there were several Star Wars banners hanging on the ceiling. I wasn’t surprised to see that the taproom was packed. The line fortunately was pretty short when we got there. I knew right away that I had to try the Blue Milk beer while my husband opted for a lager.

I’m open when it comes to beer. I don’t mind trying pilsners, lagers, fruity beers, and sour beers. I will admit that I was apprehensive as to whether I would like Blue Milk. I’m not a big fan of Blue Raspberry-flavored things, however, this had a mild flavor. It was smooth, fruity, and light. I let my husband try a sip and even he thought it was pretty good. My husband hates fruity beer, so for him to say it’s not that bad is a big compliment.

Besides Blue Milk, Dangerous Man had special Star Wars-themed stickers to pass out. I took one as a souvenir. It lists Blue Milk with a few Storm Trooper helmets on some of the letters. Unfortunately with the taproom being packed, we only stayed for one beer before leaving to go to another favorite brewery of ours nearby.

This was a relaxed way to celebrate May 4th. It sounds like Dangerous Man does this every year and I would be open to making this a ritual. Let me know in the comments how you celebrated May the 4th!

May the 4th Be With You – 2022 Plan

May the 4th be with you! May the 4th has a special place in my heart because I’m a big Star Wars fan and I look forward to this month every year. Every May, I dedicate the whole month to Star Wars. I wanted to share my official plan for this year as far as the books I want to read, the shows I want to watch, and the video games I want to play.

Books and Comics

I have three books on my list to read for the month of May. The first book is Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray. This book highlights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan before the events of The Phantom Menace. I have a soft spot for the prequels, so I like that more of the Canon Star Wars books are taking place during this era. The second book on my list is Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) by Claudia Gray. This book focuses on Leia as a sixteen-year-old girl who starts to begin her dive into the fight against the Empire. The final book on my list is Resistance Reborn: Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book focuses on Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the final movie in the trilogy. This book has mixed reviews, so I’m going into reading this book with a mindset of wanting a fun adventure between the trio versus this being the best book I have ever read.

As far as comics, I have three graphic novels on my list: Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol #1, Star Wars: The High Republic Volume #1, and Princess Leia Volume #1. I have a few comic book store trips planned this month, so I may pick up Star Wars comics as I see fit.

Movies & TV

My number one priority is to finish Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I typically only watch the show during May, but we shall see if this is the year where I finally finish it! Besides The Clone Wars, I do want to do a re-watch of The Mandalorian. There’s also The Book of Boba Fett and Bad Batch. My focus this month will be on the Star Wars TV side of things, however, I would consider doing a re-watch of Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. I did a move re-watch a few years ago, and I don’t think I made it through those three. I know for a fact that I haven’t watched The Rise of Skywalker since I saw it in theaters, so I may add that to my list. There’s so much content and such limited time to watch it all.

Gaming

This should come as no surprise since I wrote about this recently, but I’m still going through LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I’m at the end of episode III right now. My goal would be to complete all episodes by the end of the month, but that seems like a huge task. I do have Jedi Fallen Order on my list to play as well, however, I don’t think I will have time to complete both games.

May the 4th be with you and don’t forget that May 5th is “Revenge of the Fifth”!

Peepin at the Peeps Exhibit – Year #2

For Easter, I go to my husband’s family outside of Milwaukee. One of our traditions is to go see the Peeps Exhibit at the RAM (Racine Art Museum). The first year we went, my husband thought it wouldn’t be that great, but he was pleasantly surprised. This will probably be a tradition for us as each year brings new art submissions. I wanted to share a few photos from this year’s Peeps submissions.

After completing the exhibit, you can vote for your favorite submission. The winner wins the “Golden Peep” I voted for the Prince-inspired art while my brother-in-law voted for the Godzilla-like dragon. This exhibit is always a blast and I can’t wait to go again next year.

Southern Charm – Charleston and Savannah

In the last post of my Virginia/Carolinas road trip, I’m going to focus on Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Charleston was our main destination and where we spent the majority of our trip. Savannah was our last stop since Savannah is only a two-hour drive from Charleston. This part of the US is stunning. Both cities are the perfect balance featuring Southern charm that’s rich with history.

Downtown Charleston – an beautiful park area.

Our first day in Charleston was walking around downtown. Charleston has so many parks. Each park seems to have a historic statue and the hanging moss trees often seen in the South. I could have easily brought my book and read for hours in a park. One of the tourist areas called the Battery is a sea wall that lines the coast. Without the Battery, Charleston would be underwater as the city is below sea level. Strolling along the Battery is the best way to see all the architecture. The houses are colorful and historically restored. My favorite part about Charleston was staying downtown, walking the parks, and eating a lot of great food.

The Battery.

Charleston is a historic city in the US. One of the historical sites me and my husband toured was Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter was attacked which led to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. It was a thirty-minute ferry ride and we only had an hour on the Fort. It felt rushed as there was so much reading. I felt I had to skim a lot of it. There’s also Fort Moultrie which played a big part in the Revolutionary war. I’m all for going to a museum while on vacation and Charleston has plenty.

Fort Sumter

After spending three days in Charleston, we drove to Savannah. Savannah is a city right along the river. Savannah is a city that had the best shopping. There were several blocks of shops with red brick sidewalks and a Gazebo in the center. There was music playing, restaurants lined the sidewalks, and various tourist activities. The first thing I wanted to do was the Prohibition Museum. The Prohibition Museum is downtown and it’s one of the few museums in the US that’s solely devoted to Prohibition.

Display of a protest against alcohol “Bread not Beer” “Liquor is a Curse”

Part of the significance of the Prohibition Museum existing in Savannah was Savannah was one of the last Georgia cities that was heavily resisting Prohibition. The museum featured several displays, old articles, and a video on how to make Moonshine. Included in our museum tickets was a cocktail at the Speakeasy located inside. We felt so bad because there was a huge line with only one bartender. He was awesome and I was able to Venmo a tip. I had a Gin cocktail which was so strong! I didn’t mind because I like Gin. My husband had a Gin cocktail with champagne, so it tasted sweeter.

After the Prohibition museum, me and my husband stopped at a brewery along with visiting a comic book store called Nerdheim. I spent about $150 on comics and I have no shame. After comic book shopping, we strolled along the Savannah riverfront stopping for a beer or two. Finally, we ended our day by grabbing dinner before going to bed early to begin our drive back home.

This was an amazing road trip. Driving through the Virginias and the Carolinas was one of the most scenic road trips I have ever taken. Both me and my husband want to go back to visit Charleston, West Virginia, Asheville, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia as we felt we could have spent more time there. As far as future trips, I mentioned a potential Arizona Memorial Weekend trip, however, I decided against this. My husband wants to start house hunting soon, and I want to save for a trip to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con in August.

Have you traveled anywhere recently? Let me know in the comments below.

Sweet Caroline – Virginia + North Carolina

Last week, I talked about West Virginia and primarily focused on the Mothman statue. I’m still in awe of how beautiful West Virginia was. For my second recap post about our road trip, I’m going to focus on Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina.

Barter Theatre

Starting in Charleston, West Virginia, me and my husband began our drive the following day. When I reviewed our route, I found a small town in Virginia I wanted to stop in. Abingdon, Virginia is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western Virginia. I looked at pictures online and it looked stunning. Abingdon was on the way to Asheville, North Carolina and I knew we needed to make a few stops along the way, so the drive didn’t feel long.

As we drove through Abingdon, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I needed my sunglasses because I couldn’t escape the sun. It was the best feeling. As we pulled into Abingdon, I was amazed. One of the highlights of Abingdon is the Barter Theatre. It’s a historic theatre that’s been historically preserved. There are classic plays along with various festivals happening throughout the year. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see a play, so we could only walk around and take pictures. There’s a small park right across the street from the theatre that we walked through. After stopping for lunch, we got back into the car to head to Asheville.

The picture doesn’t do North Carolina justice. It was beautiful and had lots of mountains and hills.

Asheville is on the Western half of North Carolina. Asheville is known for being in the mountains and for being an artsy town. As I was looking online at what we had time to do, I saw numerous art museums, galleries, and hiking trails. As we approached Asheville, it was busy! There were people walking everywhere. We thought that there was some event happening the day we stopped in Asheville. We ended up settling on an outdoor brewery where we had a pint and could enjoy the sun.

Asheville was another city we stopped in where we wouldn’t hesitate to come back. It’s one of the negative parts of a road trip where we weren’t able to spend as much time as we wanted in some of the cities we stopped in. On a positive note, I know that if I was able to make it back to Asheville, I know I would love it.

After Asheville, it was another few hours of drive time before we made it to Charleston, South Carolina. In next week’s post, I’m going to finish up my road trip blog posts with a detailed rundown of Charleston and Savannah, GA.

Spotted Mothman! – West Virginia

Me and my husband got back from our road trip yesterday. It was such a fun and much-needed vacation. Similar to my other vacation posts, I’m splitting this up into three entries: West Virginia, Virginia + North Carolina, and South Carolina + Savannah, GA. This way I don’t end up writing one huge long post. In this first post, I’m going to write about West Virginia and seeing Mothman.

We began our trip from Madison, Wisconsin as my husband’s twin brother lives there. It was a 9-hour drive from Madison to Charleston West Virginia. For the most part, driving through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio is flat and boring. Once we reached the Wayne National Forest at the Southeastern part of Ohio, it turned into a beautiful drive. The trees were so green and there were hills that we ended up driving through.

Throughout our drive through the Wayne National Forest, I saw a sign for the Mothman statue in West Virginia. One of my favorite parts about driving is seeing these quirky tourist things along the way. I knew we had to stop in West Virginia to take a selfie with Mothman. From what I know, Mothman is an urban legend stemming from sightings and events from the 1960s in West Virginia. I bought a non-fiction book about this at a bookstore to learn more. As we arrived, we were too late to go through the Mothman museum, so we took a picture by the statue instead.

After another hour of driving, we reached Charleston, West Virginia. Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and both me and my husband were surprised at how small the city was especially since it’s the capital. Charleston was surrounded by the river and rock formations on either side. I thought West Virginia was more of a “fly over” state although I was blown away by how beautiful it was to visit.

After settling into our hotel, we drove to 1010 Bridge for dinner. It was located on a hill overlooking Charleston. This came from a recommendation from a coworker to eat here. It was easily one of the best restaurants we went to throughout our whole trip. Me and my husband both ordered the Beef Tip Bolognese. It was tasty! Me and my husband joked we would visit Charleston solely to go back to 1010 Bridge.

West Virginia was such a surprise! I wasn’t expecting much, and I was surprised at how pretty Charleston and West Virginia was. Charleston specifically is on a list of cities me and my husband would love to come back to.

2022 – Traveling Plans

By the time this post goes live, I will be in Charleston, South Carolina with my husband. We planned a road trip through West Virginia, Virginia, the Carolinas, and a final stop to Savannah, GA before driving home. I haven’t done a road trip since Boston in 2018. Silly Covid-19 pandemic disrupting my plans. I’m a big fan of road trips as I think it’s a great way to travel. I wanted to share my potential traveling plans for the year.

March 2022 – Carolinas

The Appalachian Mountains in Georgia. Photo was taken in 2017

Me and my husband knew we wanted to do a road trip. There were several places we had in mind, but we ended up settling on the Carolinas. I have been to the Appalachian Mountains when I went on my road trip through Nashville in 2017, however, I have heard lovely things about the Carolinas. Someone I went to college with has a family cabin in North Carolina and she raves about the area. We will end up stopping in Charleston, South Carolina for the majority of our trip and I’m really looking forward to a beach day.

Memorial Day Weekend Trip – Arizona?

Phoenix Fan Fusion is happening Memorial Day weekend and I thought it would be fun to be able to attend. The only concern I have is whether I would be able to get up to the Grand Canyon and Sedona on the same trip. I’m more than likely to be flying into Phoenix which would mean either renting a car or figuring out if there’s a bus or a train I can take to get there and back. Another option I considered was Portland Oregon, Salt Lake City Utah, or Las Vegas. This way I can be in one city without having to travel long distances.

Emerald City Comic Con – August Seattle, Washington

Could this be the year I make it to Seattle? I was supposed to go to Seattle in March 2020 before the pandemic fully became apparent. I ended up re-scheduling which was the right choice to make. Emerald City Comic Con has been re-scheduled to August and I really want to go.

This is an ambitious year for traveling and I’m motivated to make it happen. With the pandemic stalling travel plans, I feel like I have a lot of traveling to catch up on. Let me know your travel plans in the comments down below.

Growing Older – Never Growing Up

Our grand entrance song was the Doctor Who theme song. Our photographer got this photo of me before we walked out. Yes, I did wave the Sonic Screwdriver around during the grand entrance.

I saw a tweet on Twitter the other day that I identified with. The tweet said they were sick of adults saying to grow up and give up hobbies that are deemed as juvenile such as video games, comics, collecting toys, or cosplay. The second half of the tweet mentioned how it’s ironic because it’s usually into our 20s and 30s that we can afford to invest in our hobbies. This is so true! I have a rad comic collection because I can afford to keep a pull list at my comic book store. I wanted to talk about how as I’m getting older, I have no plans to grow up.

When I was in middle school, my friend and I were still playing with My Little Ponies. We were made fun of although my friend was targeted more for other reasons. I think of how silly this is now because there are Bronies, or male fans of the My Little Pony TV show. While My Little Ponies always remind me of my childhood, I’m still a toy collector. I have a few Funkos including my Percy Funko from Critical Role Vox Machina, and I have superhero figures on my DC comics shelf.

One of the more expensive hobbies I have is cosplay. Cosplay can be extremely expensive with the accessories, and if there are any weapons associated with that cosplay. I’m finding that being in my late 20s and being further along in my career, I finally have the money to start investing in more well-built cosplays. Besides cosplay, I can now afford to travel to conventions out of state. This has been a fun experience being an adult because I can explore a new city and attend a convention. It’s the best of both worlds. While I wish I could travel on a monthly basis, I need hobbies that help me find joy in my daily life.

Fortunately, I have had many adult role models exemplifying this message. My mom has Twilight posters all throughout her house. My mom read the Twilight books while I was in college and absolutely loved them. My uncle is still a big gamer, he has a Star Wars X-Wing collection and still plays the game on a regular basis. One of my best friends, her mom still goes to the Renaissance Festival and I occasionally see her at Convergence when I would go. I have never been made to feel ashamed by anyone close to me about being who I am and having my hobbies.

This post is a reminder to have no shame about the hobbies carried into adulthood. Life is so precious, so find hobbies that make yourself happy, not to please anyone else.

Celebrating with Cheesecake – Mom’s Birthday

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. My mom is an extraordinary person in my life. She’s someone who’s equally geeky like I am and she is such a selfless person. While I have talked about my mom in previous posts, I wanted to write a more personal essay into who my mom is as a person, so you can understand why I love her and appreciate that she’s a big part of my life.

My dad and my mom as babies holding hands in the same baby carriage! They knew each other as babies and ended up together. If that’s not true love then I don’t know what is.

My mom was born and raised in Minnesota along with my dad. The above picture is literally my dad and my mom as babies holding hands in the same baby carriage. My aunt (dad’s older sister) taught my mom and her sister (aka. my aunt) dance lessons when they were little. I believe in true love or fate and the above picture solidifies why I feel this way. While my parents knew each other as babies, they didn’t reconnect until the 80s. My dad was working in radio in California when he found out his dad died of a heart attack (my grandpa who I never met). My dad moved back to Minnesota to be closer to family and that’s how my mom and dad got together.

When I was born, my mom was the breadwinner in our family. She worked full-time while my dad worked part-time to take care of me and my brother. My mom worked a somewhat stressful job and took the bus to work, so my dad could have the car. Her commutes were long, but she did this, so me and my brother could live in a stable home. I admire my mom for working a job she may not have loved, so me and my brother could have a fulfilling childhood.

For those who have never read any of my posts, my dad passed away from cancer when I was 12. All of a sudden, my mom had to work full-time and raise me and my brother. Now that I’m married to my husband, I think about the pain I would feel if I were to lose him tragically. My mom had to feel that plus be strong for us. I will forever be grateful to my mom for raising me and my brother in such a traumatic circumstance.

On a light-hearted note, my mom is geeky like I am. She is big into action movies including James Bond, any Marvel movie, and thinks Baby Yoda is the cutest thing. There are various trinkets around her house including a Baby Yoda stuffed figure, Daniel Craig posters, and a few Twilight posters in her room. She’s fully embraced wearing geek t-shirts including her Gryffindor hoodie she purchased in Orlando during a family vacation. I hope that when I grow older, I am like my mom who will love what she loves no matter her age.

To celebrate my mom’s birthday, we went out to dinner at a nice restaurant. After dinner, we went back to my apartment where we played a few board games. I introduced my mom to the card game Exploding Kittens. She has asked my brother to buy her a copy, so she can keep playing.

My mom is my rock. I’m so fortunate and grateful that my mom loves me for me. She’s someone that I aspire to be in every aspect of my life. She’s someone who has had to overcome adversity and showed me how to be independent and to get through life’s challenges. I hope that if I ever have kids, I’m as selfless as my mom. Happy Birthday to my lovely, caring, and wonderful mom.