New Year, New You

This New Year’s Eve I had an epiphany whilst on the dance floor at the Minneapolis Black and White Ball. In between navigating pools of spilled beer, over-zealous revelers in 3” heels and a ballgown I had a sudden realisation. The reason I am so determined and focused with my New Year’s resolutions is that whilst most people are waking up with a sore head on the first day of the year I wake up the day after that a whole year older as my birthday is on January 2nd.

I’ve never been a fan of giving anything up for New Year. I find setting an intention to take something up is far more proactive, fun and achievable. I took up yoga seventeen years ago and still practice to this day. I remember having to take up Facebook when it eclipsed MySpace as the social media platform to be seen on. I find it exciting to step into a new year as a new version of myself and defining who I want to be. This year has been particularly special as on Saturday 21st January I had been in Minneapolis a year to the day. 365 days earlier I had stepped off a plane with just two bags and didn’t know a soul in the State of Minnesota outside of the Evine family.

Fast forward to January 2017 and my Saturday couldn’t be more different. My day began bright and early at my Miracle mornings discussion group in a local coffee shop where we watch a short YouTube video on a topic and then discuss it. This week was the philosophy of Stoicism. After the group, I drove to brunch with a writer friend whom I met when I volunteered at the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival last Spring. I just read the lead in her play and now wants me to resume the role in a short film she’s writing.

Afterwards I burned off my brunch at salsa class. My friend and fellow Evine host, Fatima, has given me the bug for salsa but she is one of, if not THE best dancer in the Twin Cities. I, however, am still stepping on people’s toes and turning the wrong way, which is incredibly frustrating as I’ve always loved to dance but that’s a whole different experience to learning to dance!

Next, I went to Uptown Minneapolis for a Soul night with a friend. It was a strange coincidence as we’d both found out about it months before from totally different people but just as I was about to ask her if she wanted to go, she mentioned it to me. Soul night was not about the musical genre but a gathering of people wanting to connect on a spiritual level. There were hugs, crystals, sageing (an ancient practice where people burn sage to clear energy) and some positive live hip hop. Lastly, my friend and I grabbed dinner before I headed home.

The reason I want to share this with you is to show what’s possible in just one year. Even as I write this I just went to an outdoor Shanty art festival on my way home from buying groceries.

As a life coach, a common question I ask is, ‘What’s stopping you?’ So often the answer is ourselves. It’s not that we consciously hold ourselves back but more that we don’t give ourselves permission to ‘colour outside the lines’ so as we get older our worlds get gradually smaller.

Something I’ve done differently this year for myself and my clients is to mind map my 2017 goals. It’s really simple. Print out a photo of yourself that you like (or photos, if you’re doing a family one). Get a big board – the foldable science fair ones work well and they’re about $5.

Paste your face into the centre of the board and then just get busy with the Sharpies and BIG ideas. Draw lines coming from you and begin to create categories like, ‘Family’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Fun’, ’Fitness,’ Community’, ‘Vampires’. OK, so not vampires, I was just checking you were still reading but, YES – vampires! Think outside the box, nothing is off limits and have fun.

Then put it somewhere where you can see it every day and keep adding as ideas pop up.

Putting your face next to, ‘Win Nobel Peace Prize’ is literally aligning yourself with it in front of your very eyes.

An even faster way that takes up zero space and you can do when you’re half-watching TV is to create Pinterest boards for your goals. I have one called Fashion Goals 2017 to achieve the perfect capsule closet (Prince Harry’s new girlfriend Meghan Markle is my current style crush!).

I can’t guarantee it will stop me from buying random things like neon pink PVC boots (but to be fair the mileage I got out of my Mum howling with laughter when I couldn’t get them off in the shop far outweighed the cost and the fact I never wore them) but it does give me a structure for when I go shopping.

I also want to travel across America this year and I’ve created a board called Bucketlist USA.

 

When I travelled back to the UK a few weeks ago, I sat next to a guy called Mike from Minnesota who is stationed in the Air Force in London. He was telling me I must visit the Boundary Waters – I’ve Googled it and it’s on the list. I have friends in San Diego, Portland, Hawaii so they’re all must-sees and the Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list forever. 2017 is the year!

 

With technology as sophisticated as it is now we’re all visual people even if we don’t consider ourselves creative. Pinterest makes everything look pretty for you but having a visual image – especially if you can put yourself next to that beach in Costa Rica – is sending your brain a powerful message of possibility! In 2006 I went on holiday to the island of Ibiza with some friends and when I came home I made my screen saver the view of the sunset from the very popular Cafe Mambo. Two years later I moved to the island, got a job at Cafe Mambo and on my first night looked out and had an emotional moment as I realised that what had become background – something I didn’t even notice on my laptop – was now not only my reality but my ‘office’ view every night when I went to work. In January 2015 whilst on a coaching course I spent 3 days being coached around the topic of moving to the US. Six months later without having done anything else, I got an email from Evine offering me a job. Don’t question the ‘how?’ just trust this stuff works!

I would love to hear your goals, plans and dreams for 2017. What do you want to be looking back on this time next year? And if like Minnesota Mike you have somewhere you think should be on my Bucketlist USA, let me know and I’ll add it to the board.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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My Own Private Idaho

Brian blog 2 1RThere seems to be so very much talk these days about ‘farm-to-table’ sourcing of food for an ever-growing number of restaurants.  The thought that perhaps the meat and produce were grown locally, or even better, on the premise, makes food seem extra healthy, no matter the amount of butter, salt or oil chefs add to make it taste good!  Restaurants based on this concept where I live in Minneapolis can’t find enough tables and chairs for their trendy clientele, and Pinterest can’t find enough bandwidth for the photos.

Brian blog 2 2LSo, what to do with all this extra land around my home, now that the flower gardens are maturing and the chickens are getting settled?  Create a ‘yard-to-table’ flow of fresh greens, vegetables and berries that can bring organic, healthy and creative benefits this summer and every summer that follows!

I can think of no one better to partner with than my Partner Aaron. He’s a farmer’s son and knows a great deal about planting and crop rotation. Me, I’m just a non-stop farmhand that can go after the weeds (including the roots!) for hours. I just start with 70’s hard rock in the a.m. and finish Brian blog 2 3Rhours later with the best of the 90’s blaring from my Bluetooth speakers and Spotify.

Over the winter, Aaron created a potager (a kitchen garden) and, together, we planted over 100 unique types of vegetables, fruits and berries this spring.

Five types of lettuce (including the delicious Red Romaine and Little Gem), three varieties of blueberries, French breakfast radishes, Roquefort beans, wax beans, and Dragon beans will for sure expand the gastronomic journey for all dining at our home.

Brian blog 2 4L (2)Sure, sure, you’re absolutely right . . . this is going to be some of the most expensive produce brought to any table, but it’s food we created for ourselves and friends.  And how exciting to see otherwise unused property become something very useful, and seeds go from packet to produce!

Oh and the seeds . . .  please don’t ask the price of the seeds! They’re not just any seeds.  Aaron had to find non-GMO seeds from probably one of the last places on earth that purvey Berian blog 2 5Lthem: the Baker Seed Co.  I guess we’ll just look the other way on the total cost of seeds, plants and water bills as we prove the cliché, “You get what you pay for.”

Is there a saying “A farmer’s work is never done”?  If not, there should be because in August we’ll be installing the next round of plants in the rotation per the potager.  More beets, squash and melons will be next on the menu for our fall harvest dinners with Brian blog 2 6Mfriends.

Brian blog 2 7ROh, and the rabbits!  Yes, they couldn’t be more excited for us and our little private Idaho. They eat well. They eat organic. They have variety. They, are very happy here.

So, tell me about your garden!

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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!

BK photo 8 rightBK photo 6 right

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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