Summer in Minnesota!

Ahh Summertime! The sun is out, coffee drinks turn to cold brews and people just seem to smile more. I moved back to Minnesota after getting my DREAM job at EVINE Live in the dead of winter. I will tell you that was a doozy. I was coming from what felt like one of the hottest locations on earth – sunny Dothan, Alabama!

I spent a glorious amount of time in the South when I worked as a News Anchor. It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to the temperature of a place. It seemed to never really get cold. I tossed all my long sleeved shirts and pared down my wardrobe to shorts and tanks. On blissful weekends I would hop in my car and fill my beach bag singing at the top of my lungs as I drove the short distance to the beach. I was in the very lowermost corner of Alabama, which meant in a mere two hours I could be at Panama City Beach, Florida. There I would lay in the white sand beaches and it seemed all my cares melted away.

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Enjoying the evening at Panama City Beach, Florida!

One day as I was laying on a beach chair feeling I might just literally burn to a crisp with the hot sun beating down something crazy happened. My phone rang! Wow shocker you may be thinking! It was a Minnesota number and it was EVINE Live trying to schedule an interview! Yep, your life can really change that quickly.

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Before I came back home to Minnesota I decided to take a solo adventure to the beach. It was pure bliss. I spent the entire weekend enjoying my own company and reflecting on the past several years of my life. This is my view of the lovely waters of Panama City Beach at dusk.

 I said a bittersweet goodbye to the beach weekends and hot summer sun for a cold, misty day in October. It was the kind of cold that gets in your bones and shakes and rattles you. I am FROM Minnesota but have lived away from home for so many years I had forgotten how brazen that biting cold can get. For the first few months I never left my space heater and drank copious amounts of coffee for internal warmth.

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Enjoying a hot sunny day with my friends in Atlanta . . . love when sunshine and friendship comes together . . . it’s magic!

But nothing lasts for long and now it’s summer in Minnesota!  I am reminded why I love having four seasons and the warmer temperatures remind me again of times in good old Dothan, Alabama. I still have to remind myself I don’t have to grab a jacket when I head out to get in my car. Summer makes us all sing a little louder and play a bit harder. I hope you enjoy your summer and cannot wait to connect again soon!

The lazy days of summer?

As a girl who was born in Scotland and raised in northern Minnesota, no one appreciates the beauty of summertime more than me.  However, I’ve noticed a few funny contradictions . . .

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I love the feeling of the warm sun on my skin and all of the benefits of Vitamin D it provides. I love the warm, beautiful, sun-kissed glow my skin will have by summer’s end and look forward to the spattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks.   But, at that summer’s end, I’ll look in the mirror and panic! I ‘ll immediately return to the serums and creams I’ve so religiously applied morning and night to eliminate the new sun damage I just created with the goal of looking like I’ve never spent a single minute in the sun.

The ‘lazy days of summer’ is a concept that my brain has never quite figured out. It implies that I’m supposed to be snoozing in a hammock, sipping ice tea, sunning by the beach, dining al fresco every night and being stress free without really not accomplishing much. While great in concept, this whole idea totally stresses me out. I am a consummate list maker and list crosser-offer. As long as I can keep doing that while sipping ice tea in a hammock on a beach somewhere, I’m good.

One of my biggest passions is gardening. In Minnesota, we really get to enjoy the fruits of our gardening labor for a short 5 months. In my excitement, I usually start way too early. Inevitably, an early frost arrives and I’m covering up my pots and window boxes with blankets and will always lose some of my beautiful new flowers to the cold. Also in my excitement, I’ll spend a small fortune on flowers for my gardens. My rationale is that summer is such a short season so I just have to spend . . .  with my husband’s rationale is being that, since summer is such a short season, I shouldn’t spend!

In the end, come Labor Day Weekend I’ll do what any good Minnesotan will do when it really kicks in just how glorious (but short) a Minnesota summer can be.   I’ll wish I had soaked up the more of the goodness of the sun, I’ll wish I had relaxed and chilled-out just a wee bit more, and I’ll wish I had designed another colorful and beautiful back-yard garden.

Cheers to making this summer the best one ever!

Dreams come true . . .

My husband Noel and I embarked on the ‘adventure’ of rehabbing a small lake cabin several months ago.  Now, we could enjoy our free time near the water in Minnesota during the summer, but also in the spring and fall!

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Both of us being Minnesotan; we grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes (to be exact, we have 15,291!)  The state has over 90,000 miles of shoreline, which is more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.  To take advantage of this, one out of every six people in Minnesota own a recreational boat.  So, it’s no surprise that I, like my fellow statesmen, love lake life and, like many . . . my husband and I have dreamt of owning a lake cabin ‘someday’. Well, that someday became a reality this past December!

Here’s how the dream started: we bought the smallest, most neglected, outdated cabin on the lake . . . but with 50 feet of shoreline line and a sandy bottom!  My husband said the cabin had ‘good bones, but no muscles’, so the work began.  As Noel is a general contractor, he took on the project over this past winter.  He started by bringing it down to the studs.  He then put tongue and groove on the walls and the ceilings, put in a shower (there was none before), carpeting, new windows . . . and the list goes on . . .  By the way, he did a fabulous job! I offered the much needed moral support and home décor talents, but that was it; he deserves all the praise!

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Seven months later, our little, 600 square foot cabin feels like our home away from home.  It’s 98% done and is already such a blessing.  We’re making new friends, creating new memories, and fishing every chance we get.

Kristine cabin kitchen

So, summertime 2016 means I’ll be by the water, on the water, or in the water . . .

Kristine boat

Here’s to cabin life, and making dreams come true!

What Dreams, or ‘someday’s’, do you wish for?  Please share, I’d love to know!

 

Summer fitness ideas!

Unleash your inner childish beast with fun summer fitness ideas! (as well as some nostalgic sing along opportunities along the way!)

As a kid, I remember the anticipation of summer break like it was yesterday! No early morning alarms, no homework, the excitement of sleepovers, summer camp and endless hours of just being outside and playing. Life was good!! But then we grew up, got jobs, family responsibilities and along the way, we kinda forgot how to play!

(Sing along) I like to ride my bicycle….

There was no greater feeling of freedom than my daddy giving me that final push as the last training wheel came off of my bike- woo-hoo! This was fantastic – I would ride around for hours, never once thinking about the ‘workout’ I was getting.  Today, it’s still so cool exploring the Twin Cities and beyond from the freedom of my bike!  I can ride just about anywhere I need to go, from the grocery store, to a Twins game, to lunch with friends and more! So, dust off that old banana seat, bell and basket and enjoy the ride!

Kimberly bicycle

(Sing along) Ohhhh I got a brand new pair of roller skates ….

Anyone fancy a good old fashioned ‘all skate’? Obsession doesn’t even begin to describe my love affair with roller skating as a kid. I even convinced my parents to give me lessons ‘cuz I was SURE it was going to be an Olympic sport and I was gonna win gold! Well, 40 years later, the yellow pom-poms may be gone and the wheels have been upgraded to blades…but I still get a thrill taking a spin on the trails. Inline skates are, to my generation, the hover boards of today.  We skate vs glide, all the while getting a great lower body workout that we don’t even think about –  and its fun! Who knew?!  Just remember to wear your knee pads and wrist guards!

Kimberly rollerblade

Brain rollerblade(Sing along)  A my name is Alice…..

And, while my boyfriends name isn’t Arthur, I can still remember being a jumping fool and begging my friends for one more spin! Yet, why is it so darned hard as an adult?  So, grab your shoes, put on the Rocky soundtrack, and go for 3, three-minute intervals of good, old-fashioned jump roping- whew!!  Your heart will get pumping, you’ll work every single major muscle group of the body and I guarantee it’ll make you smile as you think back on the good ol’ days of summer!

Kimberly jump ropeKimberly jumprope2I’d love to hear about your summer outdoor plans this year!  Keep cool, stay hydrated & have fun! After all, it’s ‘summertime and the living is easy….!’  Enjoy!!

 

Fore!

I LOVE summer!  Living in Minnesota, what that means is trying to make the most of all (what seems to last) 15 minutes of it before winter kicks in again!

Being a bit of a hippie, my ‘normal’ (but seriously, what is ‘normal’ for this girl?) summer activities are all about hitting up as many outdoor music festivals I can, and I will for sure do that this summer.  BUT, a once in a lifetime event is coming to Hazeltine National Golf Course (my home course): THE 2016 RYDER CUP!  Okay, so if you’re not a golfer, you’re thinking, huh?  The Ryder Cup is a biennial men’s golf competition between the best 24 players from Europe and the United States. The competition is played every two years, with the venue alternating between courses in the USA and Europe. It will only be at Hazeltine National this one time, EVER!  Here is a picture of me and my hubby, John, with the Ryder Cup trophy:

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The trophy is only 17″ tall and weighs 4 lbs. but is fiercely fought over.  It’s not the traditional quiet, golf-clap kind of tournament, it’s one of the most patriotic events you’ll ever see.  In fact, you can barely hear yourself think over the “U- S- A” chants and the Europeans “Ole Ole Ole”!  The Ryder Cup tournament is actually bigger than the Super Bowl, and more like the ‘golf olympics’.  We’re expecting over 1/4 million people from all over the world right, here in my hometown!  The construction of the massive corporate villages and grandstands has already begun on the course, taking 4 months to get it all built!  As a member, I’ve been really involved in helping find private homes to rent for corporations and golf enthusiasts from all over the world.  I’ve met celebrities, corporate giants and even a cricket team with one thing in common….they LOVE golf.  I’ll keep you posted about all the happenings as we get ready to tee up for the greatest game ever played!  Fore!!

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Summer in St. Louis

BK photo 1 rightWhen I was a kid, Summers were filled with making my spending money cutting lawns, going to the McKenzie Neighborhood Pool when finished for the day, and frequent stops with my family at the St. Louis Phenomena, Ted Drewes, for the best Frozen Custard on this planet. If you ever travel to the “Show Me” State of Missouri, it’s well worth your time and travel to get there and get in line!

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Since the 1930’s, St. Louisans have been lining up 12-windows-across, sometimes 20-people-deep, to enjoy a cone, sundae or Concrete with our favorite toppings amidst the Frozen Custard Crowd.

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Depending on the night, you may see the mix of families with kids in red wagons, Muny Opera-goers dressed in full Lilly Pulitzer, and countless baseball, softball, & swim teams, either celebrating their victories or dusting off their losses.

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BK photo 5 rightMy favorite sundae is the ‘Tiramisu’, with chocolate, pistachios and cherries on top. It’s just one of dozens to choose from!  And yes, I have been more than once in the course of a day, on more than one occasion . . . (you would too!)

July is National Ice Cream month and, may I say, Frozen Custard more than qualifies.   So why not plan an ‘Ice Cream (or Custard) Social’! Gather your most deserving friends and family together to share in a tradition dating as far back as England’s King Charles II with something delicious that you make yourself.

No one Frozen Custard recipe would satisfy everyone’s different likes and/or food sensitivities, so I’m including a link to Pinterest to inspire you.   Note: frozen custard does not have to be just vanilla, and a number of recipes can even be made without an ice cream maker!  Custard is much like ice cream, just without the whipped air.  (Sorry, but Ted Drewes is not giving his up at any price, although many attempts have been made to buy him out.)

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/frozen-custard-recipes/

BK photo 7 middleWe make a lot of ice cream at home and will all the more with the fresh eggs our new chickens will provide this summer. Want to upgrade your creation? Consider shopping your local kitchen store for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You’ll love the rich taste and it can be substituted in equal amounts to sugar, honey, or corn syrup. Enjoy!

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P.S. Let me know how your ice creams turn out. I love to learn from you too!

 

 

Dinner in White

fatima overviewHands-down, one of my favorite events of the summer here in the twin cities is called dinner in white. The tradition started in Paris years ago, and it is where hundreds of people get together and set up a fancy picnic in a public space, dress up, and dine into the evening. My friends and I participated a couple of years ago and we are going again in a couple of weeks. We bring in everything including the tables, chairs, food, and decorations. It’s such a magical night!!

fatima pairIn the meantime, we are busy planning the menu, figuring out who is going to bring what, and the most important thing… What we are going to wear!! The rule is we have to wear all white. Last time, I tried to go with a bit of a twenties, Gatsby theme. This year, we are thinking more Gypsy punk circus flavor. I’m still open to suggestions though…

fatima day seatedHave you been to, or heard of dinner in white? If so, how did you prepare? Do you have events like this in your city? Or any annual summer traditions?

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Stay tuned to my Facebook page….pictures coming soon!!

 

Here goes nothing . . .!

When I first learned I would be writing a blog, I immediately knew I’d dedicate the entire blog to fashion. It’s my not-so-secret obsession and playing dress up every day sounds like heaven to me. But in the spirit of summer and truly introducing myself to you, I have to start at home. I have to start with my sweet little family, otherwise known as, Team Newburg.

erin collageTeam Newburg

erin boatAs much as I adore the sunshine and energy of summer, when you’re raising two boys, a husband and a German Shepherd, summer is also a time of insect collections, bug bites, melt-downs, wrestling matches, dirt and bizarre smells.  I mean, seriously bizarre smells.  The boys literally never stop moving.  Even though I’ve been known to have a bit of energy myself, keeping up with these variables (a.k.a. my kids) is no joke.  For erin bikeexample, yesterday was a fairly basic day for us.  We went to two parks, took a bike ride, had ice cream, baseball practice, hockey practice (it never ends!), and played on the trampoline…then the boys asked, what’s next?  Next???  Give a girl a break.  I was thinking a glass of rosé on the patio was a great next…Instead, the boys had to undress outside and get hosed down before I’d let them in the house.  By the time their bath was over,erin ice cream ‘dinner’ was served (we’ll get to my culinary skills, or lack-thereof, later) and bed-time rituals ensued. When they were both finally asleep, so was I…..

erin poolAh, summer. It’s here in all of its glory!  I learned many years ago to throw in the towel of any sort of order in our home and surrender to the chaos. It’s way more fun for all of us and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

From the pool to the bike trails, boating to vacations, sports to the BBQ, our summer game is on!!

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Here goes nothing!

 

 

Get dirty this summer!

Summer can get dirty!

Summer is spectacular in Minnesota. You have the chance to leave the winter behind and get outside to enjoy the lakes and farms.

As a chef, it’s even more important to search out the local farms with fruits and vegetables. While I love a great farmers market, here’s an important tip:  make sure to find the ‘grown in 60’ area. This means that what you are choosing is coming from farms that are within 60 miles of your market.

beets2We love getting to know the farms and farmers in our area. When looking for ones near you, I’d suggest asking them if they have an email list.  That way, if you’re looking for a particular crop, such as blueberries, beets, cucumbers or tomatoes, you’re able to ask them to send you the best time to come and harvest at the peak of deliciousness.  I also love to dig in and work with some of the local farmers on harvest days for special items.

Like many of you, my grandmother and great aunt taught me to can foods at the peak of their ripeness. It’s something we love to do and, as a result, we get to enjoy these treats all year long!  If you’ve never canned before, don’t fret;  anyone can do it and put in the freezer for up to 6 months.   Since you already know that I have roots on a farm, it won’t surprise you that I especially love jams and jellies . . . .however I never understood why my friends would stop at putting these lovely concoctions on their toast!  In our home, they go with all kinds of hearty cheeses, cakes, cookies, ice creams, iced drinks with club soda and more. We use these in sauces with beef and pork, as well.  You’d be amazed at the flavor a teaspoon makes in a savory dish.

I wanted to share one of our delicious favorites; Blackberry Basil Jam. One taste of this jam and you might not want to stop eating this light, fresh, rich concoction!  Here’s the recipe (and happy canning!), and please let me know if you’ve got a favorite jam recipe!

Blackberry Basil Jam

Ingredients

16 cups fresh, blackberries
6 cups fresh, basil, leaves, tightly packed
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed, orange juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeeze, lemon juice

Directions

Sterilize lids and jars for 10 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. They can stay in the hot water after sterilization until you’re ready to use them.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the basil leaves, sugar and orange juice until smooth.

Place the blackberries in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot.

Stir the mixture into the blackberries, add water and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick, about 25 minutes. You can use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to lightly smash them.

Stir in the lemon juice, taste and add more if you’d like. Cook about 5 more minutes until it coats the wooden spoon. Remove jam from heat.

Set a large stockpot filled with enough water to just cover the jars on high heat. Ladle the hot jam into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean cloth and seal with the lids.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Using tongs or a jar lifter, remove from the water and set on a towel to cool and seal. To test the seal, run your finger over the lid after 30 minutes. You should feel a slight depression in the center of the lid. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

If a jar does not seal, put it in the refrigerator and use within one month or freezer for 6 months.