A Maid Marian Made Migration ~ Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Sunday morning I was in Minneapolis I set out for a three-mile walk (round trip) to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in search of the city's iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.  Located adjacent to the Walker Art Center, the Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the United States.  A leisurely stroll through the gardens allow you an up close and personal look at nearly 40 permanent sculptures including some by Henry Moore.  The garden also has tons of robins, orioles and finches flying about. 

Henry Moore, Reclining Mother and Child, 1960-1961

The day I went was overcast and misty so the Spoonbridge and Cherry wasn't as vibrant as the photos I seen but it was still an impressive sculpture to see.

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje Van Bruggen, Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985-1988



A Maid Marian Made Migration ~ Manny's Steakhouse

Sign up dinners are a tradition the first night of this conference.  It allows a group of attendees (or friends) to dine together at a local restaurant.  This also allows for the conference attendees to try some of the host city's local fare.  I signed up to go to Manny's based on a recommendation from a friend back home.

Manny's is reminiscent of a New York style steakhouse.  At Manny's, each diner orders their entree and sides are served family style (i.e., super large portions).  Our waiter presented the entree options from a butler's cart.  Besides the house specialty...STEAK...you can choose king crab legs the size of my son's arm, a 28 ounce Australian lobster tail or pork chops.  If I had had more money (in the amount of a small loan), I would have loved to have tried either seafood option.  Being as we were at a steakhouse, I ordered the filet.  I know, I know, but it's my favorite cut.  As my side which I planned on sharing with the rest of my party, I chose the creamed garlic spinach.  Yum-e! 

Other folks at our table ordered hash browns with and without onions, loaded mashed potatoes, asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, and truffle fries.  All of the side dishes were exceptional but my favorite was the truffle fries.  I've never had truffle oil before I came to Minneapolis.  These fries were the bomb!  The best pomme frites I have ever had. 
I adore the leafy greenness of spinach so the garlic creamed spinach was a close second when it came to the sides. 

There is no possibility of dessert with the amount of food you receive with an entree and a portion of a side at Manny's.  If you can stomach dessert after a meal here, you are a better woman than I.



Continuing my escapades in Minneapolis, I took the LRT to the Mall of America.  It's a 30 minute ride from downtown Minneapolis.  I was not prepared for this monolithic mall.  I spent approximately FIVE hours at the MOA and barely got through the first level.  And there are four levels.  Being from Middle Georgia, we have to travel to Atlanta to shop at certain stores.  So this was a real treat to shop (or at least window shop) at some of them at the MOA.  Arden B, Burberry, For Love 21, Lucky Brand Jeans, Betsey Johnson...I could go on and on and on. 

I found some incredible sales ($2 tank tops at Old Navy) and made some purchases.  I even splurged on this jean romper I found at the GAP.  I rarely buy anything at full retail price but this was an exception.  I couldn't leave Minneapolis without it!

The pure vastness of the space allows for a Nickelodeon Universe amusement park and larger than life Lego sculptures.  There's even a roller coaster inside the mall.  How insane is that?  My son would have loved that Diego was there as well as The Backyardigans.  This mall definitely has something for everybody.

I would love to go back but I would have to take out a loan or either win the lottery to fund my shopping spree.  Have you ever been to the MOA?  What was your favorite thing about it? 


Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially my husband, Mr. MMM!  You are the best as this photo can attest.  Our son thinks you are the greatest and so do I. 


A Maid Marian Made Migration ~ Minneapolis

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to Minneapolis for a business conference. I arrived on Friday afternoon and took the light rail train (LRT) from the airport to downtown Minneapolis.  The LRT is a great bargain at $2.25 per ride. It's very clean compared to other mass transit trains (NYC, ATL, etc.).  Note to self:  Check the calendar of events.  The LRT was quite crowded, think sardines in a can, from all the Twins fans trying to get to the game that night.

After checking in, I ventured out to find some grub.  When I visit a new city, I make it a point of eating at non-chain restaurants.  So I passed on Fogo de Chao, Applebee's, Arby's et al.  I happened upon Seven near Target Field.  At Seven, I dined on the house special the Seven Filet.  It was an 8 oz. filet mignon topped with lump crab meat and drizzled with their chef's signature honey bourbon butter sauce.  Magnificent!  The honey bourbon sauce was a nice compliment to the perfectly cooked steak and lump crab meat.

The menu is a la carte so I ordered the truffle mac for my side dish from the potatoes menu.  I was disappointed when the dish was delivered to the table for it looked like regular mac n' cheese.  I had been expecting mashed potatoes with cheese and truffle oil.  My disappointment was soon forgotten after I took my first bite of truffle mac.  OMG!  Hands down, Seven's truffle mac was by far the BEST mac n' cheese I have ever eaten.  Bar none.  Seriously! 

Review ~ The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)

In preparation for the Eclipse movie premiere, I read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.  I bought it while traveling and began reading it in the airport while waiting on my flight.  Just like the rest of the Twilight series, I devoured it.  No pun intended.  I read it the entire flight and was done before we landed.  The book was different in that it was not written in Bella's perspective but Bree's perspective, a newborn vampire.  Another difference that it was a novella and not a full-blown novel. The novella is just as powerful as any of Stephenie Meyers' earlier novels.  My only complaint is that it was way too short!  I'm thirsty for more.


My Tastebuds Are On Fire!

I received a personal invitation to try Chick-fil-A's new Spicy Chicken Sandwich today.  As a member of Chick-fil-A's e-mail community, I was eligible to receive a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich before it is offered to the general public on Monday, June 7.  I printed out my personal invitation and arrived at my local Chick-fil-A during my reservation window (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) where I placed my order. 

After receiving my order and finding a place to sit, I took my first bite of their new sandwich.  Boy, did my tastebuds wake up!  They were on fire but in a good way.  The sandwich is prepared similar to Chick-fil-A's regular chicken sandwich with the breaded chicken breast, buttered bun and two pickle slices. However, that's where the similarities end. The sandwich is definitely spicy, more so than Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich.  After a couple of bites, my nose began to water.  In this case, that's a good indicator of the heat quotient.  Since the chicken breast is marinated in spices, it holds its spiciness where other sandwiches lose theirs because the breading is the only thing that contains the spices and the taste.  I enjoyed my first Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A and look forward to having another one real soon.

I overhead another patron saying that the sandwich tasted like they had taken a regular Chick-fil-A sandwich and poured Tabasco on it.  Obviously he doesn't eat as many chicken sandwiches as I do, nor does he eat as much hot sauce as I do, because Chick-fil-A's new Spicy Chicken Sandwich tasted way better than that.  Way to go Chick-fil-A!  You have given me yet another reason to visit you besides your impeccable service, great tasting chicken and your delicious lemonade.  See you soon!


A Maid Marian Migration ~ Mary Mac's Tea Room

For someone who lives an hour and a half from Atlanta, I have yet to fully explore the city.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having lunch with some girlfriends at Mary Mac's Tea Room.  Located on Ponce De Leon Ave in Midtown, Mary Mac's is one of Atlanta's better-known dining establishments.  The Tea Room has been serving "authentic Southern meals" for over 60 years.  Decorated with "Gone with the Wind" movie posters to photos of celebrities that have dined at Mary Mac's over the years, there is hardly a square inch of wall space that is not covered. This gives the restaurant its charm.  Based on the photos I saw, the most intriguing celebrity to have dined there has to be the Dalai Lama.

After being seated, you peruse the menu and mark your selections on a slip of paper with one of the pencils that resides in a glass at the center of your table.  The very hospitable wait staff recite the selections you have marked to ensure the accuracy of your order.  As a special treat, first timers to Mary Mac's receive a cup of Pot Likker with cracklin' bread, a house specialty. 

It was difficult to make up my mind because everything (and I do mean everything) sounded delicious.  It didn't help that there are over 30 fresh vegetables to choose from daily.  Over 30 vegetables...unbelievable!  I finally decided on the fried chicken (your choice of three legs or one breast), butter peas, whipped potatoes and a bottomless glass of freshly brewed iced tea.  I was very pleased with my selections.  The fried chicken lived up to the restaurant's claim of being "the crispiest, juiciest fried chicken you'll ever taste."  And the vegetables were as fresh as could be.  It reminded me of one of my grandmother's Sunday dinners.  If you are ever in Atlanta and are looking for some great down home cooking, stop into Mary Mac's Tea Room.  You will be glad you did.


Fare Thee Well, Kelly

Last week, I had to say goodbye to my friend and co-worker, Kelly.  She and her husband are moving closer to Atlanta for his new job.  I was asked to say a few words about Kelly.  Here is what I said.

"It is bittersweet that I come before you today. I was hoping that Kelly and I would attend the July board breakfast to celebrate her fifth anniversary with Flint. Unfortunately for us, Kelly is leaving the co-op to be a stay-at-home mom to 1-year-old Anderson. To say I’m saddened to see her leave is an understatement. When I was searching my heart for what to say about Kelly, the same bible verse kept coming to mind, Proverbs 31. “She is worth far more than rubies.”

Kelly has been my right arm in the PR department for nearly the last five years. I interviewed her on her birthday in 2006. Though she had no co-op experience to speak of, I knew she was the right choice for the job. And man, was I right. Thank God she accepted the job offer.

Continuing the proverb, Kelly “set about her work vigorously.” Her graphic design skills were strong to begin with but continued to grow under each new task. She is the ideal employee of which any supervisor would love to have. One that you can rely on no matter what, one who took direction well but also challenged me to look at things in a different light. She could take my sometimes crazy ideas and Jimmy’s crazy ideas and turn them into show-stopping pieces of art. We’ve worked so well together that we can finish each other’s sentences at times. And we were so in tune with each other that we even had our son’s four months apart. The passion and the love we both share for Flint has shown in the work we’ve produced these few short years together, 23 national awards to be exact, not counting Mr. Ray’s CEO Communicator awards.

Not only is Kelly a great PR person in her own right, but she is also a great person. Proverbs 31 continues, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hand to the needy.” Kelly has done that with our Linemen for Little Ones program. Without her benevolence, her hard work and determination, our Linemen for Little Ones program wouldn’t be where it is today. I’ve worked side by side with her shopping…we’ve spent A LOT of money…wrapping and delivering gifts to less fortunate kids so that they can have a Christmas. It’s been an honor to know someone like her.

“A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Kelly works tirelessly not only for Flint but for her church family as well, from keeping the nursery, to being on several committees and singing in the choir. Kelly is not only my direct report, but a co-worker, a teammate, a graphic designer…the best I have ever had the pleasure of working with, a sister in Christ and most of all, I call her…a friend."

I wish Kelly the best of luck as she starts this new chapter in her life.  She so deserves it.  For those of you who may need graphic design services, please call on Kelly.  Her company is called Full Plate Graphic Design.  Kelly is a fantastic graphic designer.  She even designed the Maid Marian Made banner for my blog.  Thanks, Kelly!