Thursday, August 18, 2016

One of the things I absolutely love about getting my monthly Stitch Fix are the sweet notes I get from my stylist.  Tiffany is my current stylist.  The first two fixes were 0 for 2. I knew the best way to receive better fixes was to update my Pinterest Boards.  I spent some time updating my boards and the next two fixes were fabulous!  While I really liked this fix, I also stuck to my budget and only kept one item.

What is Stitch Fix?
Stitch Fix is a monthly service where you receive a stylist and he/she sends you "Fixes."   You sign up, fill out the Style Profile, and then pay $20 as a styling fee. Stitch Fix sends you clothes that match up with your profile.  Within the profile there is a place to link your Pinterest account. This helps the stylist see what styles you like.  If you purchase something, the $20 is applied against your purchase. If you do not purchase anything, then the $20 is forfeited as a "styling fee."

This month's Stitch Fix!

CeCe by Cynthia Steffe
Mieko Dress - $128

The colors in this dress are absolutely stunning.  The teal, corals and orange simply made the dress incredible beautiful.  The dress was lightweight and very comfortable.  What I did not like about the dress was that it really hung on me and did not do a lot for my shape.  I also could not get over the price of $128. It was out of the budget. I have a lot of dresses and since I didn't love this one, I could not keep it.  Verdict: Returned

41 Hawthorn
Sugar Dot Print Dress - $74

When I went on my Pinterest Pinning frenzy, this is one of the dresses I pinned for my stylist to find for me.  The gal that I pinned wore this dress so well. I unfortunately did not have the same luck.  Since I am a little bigger chested the top fit very tight on me. The polka dots were not as cute as I had hoped.  However, this dress is very versatile. I do like that it is work friendly, great for weddings or even Sunday church. Unfortunately, because of the fit it was not a keeper for me. Verdict: Returned

Daniel Rainn
Kurkova Crochet Detail Blouse -$64

I am an absolute sucker for anything sheer and floral. I usually get something like this top in nearly every one of my Stitch Fix boxes.  The crochet detail on the neckline is gorgeous.  The darts on the side are also crocheted and created an illusion of a smaller waist line. (Of course I LOVED that!).  The top is definitely my style and something I would wear on a daily basis. However, last month I kept a sheer floral blouse.  Plus with a $64 price tag, I gave this one back to Stitch Fix.  Verdict: Returned

Collective Concepts
Elisa Faux Wrap Dress - $78

When I first saw this and it had a little elastic in the waist, I knew this would NEVER fit.  Then I tried it on and fell madly in love with it.  It is a little shorter dress, so I grabbed a pair of my favorite black leggings and bam!  This outfit is perfection. The colors are goregous, very fall like.  I really like the way the waist fits and how it has the "faux wrap" but also has a snap closure so I stay professional but put together.  Verdict: KEEP!

Sweet Grey
Carlisle Mixed Material Top - $78
Confession. I peeked!  When you receive your shipping notification you can essentially "peek" to see what is in your fix. (The App is even better as it shows pictures of the clothes!).  When I saw this top, I immediately thought, no way. Tacky. Ugly. Not me at all.  Then I pulled it out of the box and started warming up to it.  Next, I put it on and felt how soft it was paired with my leggings.  I felt like I was in my PJs but entirely put together.  I immediately put this on the "maybe" list.  "Maybe" because you never know with Stitch Fix pricing.  And then I saw it. $78 for what feel like a fancy long sleeve t-shirt.  I could not justify it.   
Verdict: Returned.

I think the element of surprise (okay even if I peek) is always the most exciting part of Stitch Fix.  Someone else is picking what they think you will love and what may look great on you. It's fun to step outside of the box and try something different.  While I may only keep one or two things each fix, I still enjoy having (new) clothes and those that are different from everyone else.  Consider giving Stitch Fix a try!!

Stitch Fix carries sizes XS-XL and 0-14 as well as both maternity and petite.  (They have shoes now too!).  It's not age or body specific, they do try to meet your tastes and likes! If you're interested, here is my referral link. I receive a $25 credit for you signing up and once you sign up you can have other friends sign up under your personal link. (The credit isn't applied until the first box ships!)


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Exploring: Afton, MN

One of my favorite small towns to visit is Afton, MN.  Just across the river (and a little ways down the road) from Hudson is another great little river town! 

Most of my day trips are spent doing one of two things, eating or shopping.  My trip to Afton is no different.  What started as an innocent afternoon outing earlier this Spring, has turned into a complete crush on a small town.  

My current go to shop in Hastings, Eye Candy (see Hastings Exploring), has a sister shop in Afton. I set out to photograph the crap out of it because I love the place and the owner is completely badass.   I think everyone I know should go support local businesses like Eye Candy.  EXCEPT, I found out after I photographed but before I posted, that Eye Candy is closing its doors in Afton.  So bittersweet!  While I'm super pumped that these awesome ladies are going to continue to do great things with their Hastings store, I'm so bummed they won't be open in Afton anymore!! 

Just across the street tucked behind Baglio's (clothing/chocolate) is The Foundry.  We stumbled upon the Foundry on one of our many trips to Afton.   The porch outside of the shop is SO inviting!  I just adore this store.  Whenever you walk in, the lovely ladies are always so kind and helpful.  I am still trying to convince them to come to my house and stage it.  You will find industrial/modern/french/farmhouse style home goods in the store. Some things are new, some are home made, some are upcycled.  The store is so well put together!  Oneof my favorite items are their picture frames!  Their unique sizes make for a perfect addition to a gallery wall!.  Stop in and check them out.  You will love it!!

Just down the street from the Foundry is a little Red house.   When you first drive by (as you'll see in the photos) you may simply think this is a residence.  Let me assure you, this is not a normal house!  Open the last weekend of the month and during special Vintage Crawl weekends, this house comes to life and is called Dwell!  Vendors take up on the front lawn, and turn this house into a gorgeous shop.  Inside you will find furniture, photos, lights, pictures, desks, knick-knacks, globes, maps, jewelry, candles and son on!  During the Vintage Crawl weekends there are food trucks. It's quite the site to see and a great reason to travel to Afton!! 


Vintage Lights/Rake/Shelving

Handcrafted Table and Rehabbed chairs

If after shopping you are starving or simply need a cocktail, Afton also has several restaurants where you can sit down and relax.  What makes them even better is most of them have great little outdoor patios!  Nothing beats sitting outside on a great summer day here in the MN/WI area!

Restaurants in Afton: 


Lumberyard Pub


And by FAR the best reason to come to Afton?  Selma's.  Selma's Ice Cream has been a staple in Afton for years (they were closed for a while, but reopened in 2012).

George and I took advantage of a little afternoon sunshine and stopped and picked up some ice cream and then headed over to the park.

I love getting to venture out to small towns close to home!  It has been so great exploring towns both new and old, meeting new people and finding some great little shops and restaurants along the way.  Where should we go next??




Monday, August 1, 2016

August Goals

I always admire other bloggers who post their "goals" for the month. I did the ONCE. Yes. one time and it was like 2 years ago - and who knows if I even remotely came close to accomplishing them. Let's just go with probably not.  I've been really trying to push myself with writing so why not set some goals, right? 

My goals.. For August... 

This is the dirt pile in our front yard...

1. Landscaping.   We have been working on this landscaping since we moved in.  Last summer I pulled a ton of pavers out of the front yard with the hopes to plant grass by fall.  That never happened and this is what our front yard looks like now.  (I cannot wait for another year to show the ENTIRE progression of start to finish!).

2.  Running.  My running has been so limited because of my back injury. However, I can start running again (slowly) by adding some biking and other low impact activities.  I only have 1 race scheduled for August and it's a 5K this weekend (Gopher to Badger).  Last year I was in top shape and ran a great 1/2. This year I'll be cheering on all the runners looking forward to my next one! (Which I swore last year was my last... but hoping to do Grandma's in 2018 and MAYBE gopher to badger 2017?!)

3.  Cleaning/Organizing/eBaying. I am a clothes hoarder.  This has been a bit of a revelation as I've gained and lost (and gained) weight. I cover up with new clothes.  So I'm slowly paring down my closet and selling my shit high quality clothes (several with tags) that I couldn't live without and have never worn :)  Typical, right?

4. Weddings.  Not mine. HA HA HA.  Two of them.  One which happens to be on my favorite weekend of the year.  Adam is in one so we'll be doing wedding festivities all weekend the last weekend in August.  They will both be fun :)

5.  Pub Crawling.  Erin Adams's Hargrove's 10th Annual Polar Pub Crawl (North St Paul, MN) is this upcoming weekend.  I can't even handle that it's been 10 years since she started her pub crawl.  There have been a lot of fun memories, and some not so fun memories (headstands and card cheaters) okay that fits in both columns :)   We haven't made it to all 10 but are really excited about making it this year.  

6.  Pepper Fest See #4.  My favorite weekend of the ENTIRE year is in North Hudson, WI.  I grew up down the street from Pepper Fest and L-O-V-E going every single year!!  This year will be cut short by a wedding ...ahem... please be considerate and check a calendar next year folks... j/k.  Parades, Italian Food, Beer, Music, and old friends!  What more could you ask for?  (Pepper Eating Contest, Spaghetti eating contest, a 5k/10K race, rides for the kids, bags tournaments... ) Seriously, one of the best summer get togethers around!! 

7. Help Dad.  Dad is having knee replacement surgery August 15th.. So while he's pretty humble about his health and what's going on, he is going to need his army behind him for this one!  While I'll be covering most days and a few nights, the rest of the family will be helping as well.  So grateful for all that he has done for us and am so happy to be able to give back and help him :)  

Grandpa and George taking Sam for a walk

8. Unpack.  Seriously.  We STILL have boxes at Adam's parents... and we STILL have several unpacked boxes in our basement.  I think until we actually paint and get each room the way we like it, we will have boxes of stuff just waiting to make its debut!

9. Go to Church.  I am baptized and confirmed Catholic but have never felt as connected as I once was in Arizona (99-01).  I recently went to a funeral (good time to think about your Faith) and admired how connected the Pastor is to the community.  The following Sunday George and I went to service and the minute we sat down, the pastor walked over and introduced himself. I felt welcomed and knew that was where I needed to be.  George and I have been going to church the past few weekends there and plan to continue going. 

10.  Be in the moment.  That was last week's church message.  Just appreciate where you are when you are there.  Put the phone down. Put your tablet down.  Put any and all distractions aside and simply live in that moment.  How often do we meet a friend for coffee, or take our kids to the park only to find ourselves with our heads buried in our phones or thinking about something else?  I AM SO GUILTY!!!   I am trying to simply put my phone down and enjoy a few minutes of whatever it is I'm doing. Simply be.  

11. Live in front of the Camera.  I read a blog post another woman wrote, where she recognized that she was capturing all of her children's milestone moments but was never visible in any of them. She was behind the camera.  There was nothing to show that while the child blew out his birthday candles and opened presents she was there.  She was taking the pictures.  This hit home with me. I was looking for a recent picture of myself with George and my storage is maxed out but none of them have me in them.  So when I stumbled upon this it truly spoke to me. My goal is to post one picture a day for the next 365 on my Instagram Account.   Go check out my Instagram (shameless plug) @upnorthmama1 for my daily post of in front of the camera!

Dinner selfie - no filter, unedited.



Sunday, July 31, 2016

6 Educents Must-Haves Cheaper than Amazon

I'd love to be able to shop around for the best price always, but sometimes there isn't enough time in the day!  

I received a list of items that are cheaper on Educents, (one of my favorite online stores for educational resources) than on Amazon. I was shocked to find some items were $100 cheaper on Educents than Amazon. So, of course I wanted to share this time-and-money-saving list with you!

Hot tip: Use code GETREADY to get free shipping on every order, no minimum required or WELCOME16: 15% off + Free Shipping with no minimum for new customers

Hooked on Phonics Learn To Read Kit for PreK-2nd - Save $170.00

hooked on phonics review

 Hooked on Phonics is one of the most trusted brands in teaching children how to read. This set is for Pre-K-2nd graders who are looking to create a strong foundation in phonics. This set includes workbooks as well as access to the HoP online learning portal. Retail Price - $299.99 / Amazon Price - $265.00 Educents Price - $129.99

Maestro Classics Musical Stories Set - Save $112.00


 This 12 CD collection features perennial classics you'll remember from childhood like Peter and The Wolf, The Nutcracker, and The Tortoise And The Hare. Each disk also includes activities to complete for students after they have finished the story. Retail Price - $200.00 / Amazon Price - $93.43 Educents Price - $88.00

Times Tales Animated DVD - Save $10.00


 Times Tales is one of the best ways to teach kids multiplication - period. One mom said, "Best money spent on math. It really worked. Within a week my 9 and 11-year-old completed 110 problem text with scores of 99% and 100% respectively. Wow." Audio, visual, logical - what's more to ask? Retail Price - $29.99 / Amazon Price - $28.99 Educents Price - $19.99

Reusable Human Body Sticker Set - Save $9.00


 The Mona MELissa reusable sticker playsets are an amazing way to create a hands-on learning experience in your home, classroom, or anywhere with a wall. Teach kids all about anatomy - and make it stick (literally!) - with this scientifically accurate set. Retail Price - $28.99 / Amazon Price - $24.99 Educents Price - $19.99

Tegu Magnetic Building Blocks: 40 Piece Set - Save $27.50


 Tegu blocks are the wooden magnetic blocks that are captivating children's attention worldwide. Aside from being an outside-of-the-box toy, Tegu cares about creating social good, and hires workers in Honduras to create these wonderful toys. Plus they plant a tree with each purchase. :) Retail Price - $110.00 / Amazon Price - $110.00 Educents Price - $82.50

Hooked on Phonics Spelling Program - Save $20.00


 Spelling Bee here we come! The Hooked On Spelling program is no exception to the quality of Hooked on Phonics programs and teaches spelling in a way that's unique and fun at the same time.
Retail Price - $79.95 / Amazon Price - $130.22
Educents Price - $59.95

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Staples: Back to School Supplies! Under $10!

It's that time of year again!  Wait... it's only July. Yes! It's time to start thinking about Back-To-School already!  School supplies are on crazy discounts right now at many of the major retailers.  Although I don't have school age kids, I am a teacher at heart and can't resist a fresh pack of new markers...crayons..notebooks... you get the idea :) (I'm also SUPER thrifty and love finding a good deal... you can read my post about other ways to save here and here).  This is not a sponsored post but may contain affiliate links.

One of my favorite bloggers is Collin over at Hip2Save.  If you aren't already following her, get on her email list. Yes, you will get daily emails full of amazing deals.  Trust me, it's the only email I religiously look forward to and read, every-single-day.   I was able to score an amazing deal on several school supplies.  I didn't grab all the supplies in her bargain, but I did get some.  Staples in Woodbury, MN has an AWESOME supply of all these items, so no worries about fighting to get them.  The sale is on through July 23rd. Don't miss out!

What did I get?

10 Notebooks (5 College/5 Wide Ruled).   These were .17 each = $1.70 (limit 30)
2 Packs of Markers - .97 each = $1.94 (limit 30)
2 Packs of Crayons - .50 each = $1.00 (limit 30)
1 Pack of Erasers - .25 =  $.25  (Hard to pass up, but I think I have plenty of these on hand!) (limit 5)
4 packs of Pens (1 Black, 1 Blue, 2 Purple) - $.75 each = $3.00  (limit 5)
Colored Pencils - .97 each = .97 (limit 30)

My total BEFORE tax was $8.86.  I simply cannot complain!!  There are other great deals out there as well. I know Target has .50 crayons this week as well as ongoing school supply deals.

Here are a few other deals at Staples:

Purell Hand Sanitizer $2 (reg. $2.49) – (limit 30)  (.75/1 Purell Coupon here - making even less!)
Two-Pocket Paper Folders $0.17 each (reg. $0.55) – (limit 30)
Buy 1 Staples Composition Notebook $0.50 (reg. $2.29) – (limit 30)

Also, if you're in the market for a new backpack, when you purchase one you get an additional 25% off on your school supplies! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Exploring: Willow River State Park - Hudson, WI

We are blessed with one of the most amazing parks in St Croix County, WI.  Resting just outside of Hudson sits a stunning State Park with endless options of things to do.  This park has been in my back yard my entire lift (literally, I grew up less than a mile away) and I never took advantage of all the great things it had to offer until the last 5 years.

"With nearly 3,000 acres of prairie, forests and panoramic river scenery, Willow River State Park offers year-round recreation opportunities in western Wisconsin. The park is about five miles northeast of Hudson and has a campground, a boat launch and a 400-foot beach and picnic area centered on 172-acre Little Falls Lake."  (Side note: the lake is drained right now as they are preparing a major dam project) - WI DNR Website

I started coming here to hike a few years ago and have only grown more and more fond of the park with every visit.  I also met one of my closest friends at the park.  I was on the fence about joining a bootcamp and the instructor was leading hikes at the park and then a fitness class after the hike. I put on my girl pants and came by myself and instantly made a connection with a gal and her daughter.  A new friendship was born and with that came many other awesome adventures!  You never know what (or who) you might find when you come to the park.

There are 12 hiking trails in the park and many connect up to campsites as well as gorgeous scenery and spectacular views.  The trails are both paved and crushed rock.  I usually bring my jogging stroller and can push George with no problems on either trail.  I would recommend a heavier duty stroller or even a backpack if bringing small children and doing a longer hike.

At the beach is a gorgeous brand-new beach house and playground for the kids to play (or for me to dread because I just want to hike and George just wants to play!).   With picnic tables and grills throughout the park, you really cannot go wrong with a day at Willow.   The lake is currently drained because they are working on a major dam project.  The sand is still there to play in, but no swimming at the beach (you can wade by the falls though) for at least 1-2 summers.

Beach House with a Shelter and Picnic Tables

Playground with activities for kids of all ages
The trail(s) I hike most often are the Green (Little Falls Trail) and Blue Trails (Willow Falls Trail).  When you take the Green to the Blue trail, this takes you to the Falls that are nestled in the park.  The Green Trail starts off at the beach parking lot.

Paved Trail (Green Trail)
One of the big draws to Willow River State Park is the camping.  As you navigate through the park, you pass many different camp sites. Some have some serious setups with campers, cooking equipment, coolers, etc.  And others keep it simple.

A little tent I passed while walking - these folks kept it simple
In order to get to Willow Falls, you have to move from the Green Trail to the Blue Trail. The blue trail is a bit more rugged and is crushed rock vs paved.  Its a bit more hilly and more "hiking" vs "walking" trail.  However, I regularly pass families with younger children and several folks (like myself) who are pushing strollers. Again, you will need a heavier stroller to make your life easier on this trail.  Let me just say, it is so absolutely worth it if you hike this trail! At the end of the trail you get to Willow Falls.. (which you can get to multiple ways, but this just happens to be my favorite!)

Willow Falls - Willow River State Park, Hudson, WI
Once you get to the falls, as you can see you can navigate onto the rocks and cool off in the water. I am not one you will ever see out there, but as you can tell there are several people doing this.  I just think when you're dealing with water, it's dangerous and you never know when you could get swept away (call me old and dull, but I prefer to play it safe here!).   

Another activity you can do while at Willow is Rock Climbing.  You bring all of your own equipment and will need to have some experience climbing because it is not only dangerous but also a challenging wall to climb.  It certainly didn't stop these guys though! I am always so impressed with the people who are so talented/fit and accomplish this.

Look close and you will see the climber hanging from the rock

I mentioned there are multiple ways you can get to Willow Falls.  You can park at the parking lot on top of the hill (near the entrance) and navigate down the stairs to the falls.  However, you can also navigate up those same stairs which is very challenging, but an excellent workout.  I had my doubts, but George and I climbed the stairs and again, it is so worth the view at the top!

View over the State Park at the top of the Stairs near Willow Falls
I could just sit here and be at peace for hours on end. (Plus I'm usually still dying from climbing the stairs and need that much time to recover).   It is quiet and serene and the view is simply breath taking!  It is all right here in St Croix County and so many people have no idea what they are missing out on.  

Apparently after all the stair climbing my sweet George wanted more.. He really did.  He was all about climbing stairs..and not even halfway (I begged repeatedly) he wanted to make it to the top.  

My little adventurer
We survived all of the steps, both up and down and navigated our way back over the falls.  This is the view if you look West instead of East (Opposite of the falls). 

Usually you might see a fisherman or two out here trying to catch a fish for supper.  Its amazing to watch the raging rapids on one side and see this nice, calm river flowing on the other. Nature is certainly incredible.

Willow isn't just a summer State Park either!  In the winter they offer several groomed cross country ski trails as well as Snowshoeing trails (although you have to be very careful to be sure you're on the snowshoe trail as the skiiers will give you dirty looks even just trying to get to your trails).  (It's a brown trail if that helps!).

We managed to get out one time this winter to do a little snowshoeing!  George got to ride along in his little sled (which thanks Jen for giving us that years ago! It has been so handy!).

At the parking lot of the beach house there is also a Nature Center.  Here, you can get souvenirs, sunscreen and any other small item you might need to make it for the day or weekend (plus there are plenty of gas stations nearby if you leave the park).  The nature center also has great educational activities for children of different ages to get children engaged and learning about the outdoors.

Nature Center

Kids activities - pick up at the Nature Center
Whether the patio is as outdoors as you get or if you're a rugged outback sleep under the stars kind of camper, Willow truly offers a wide range of options of things to do!  It's $8 for the day if you're a WI resident, $11 for out of state vehicles and $28 for a yearly pass if you're a WI resident.  We are there enough times a year to make up for the cost!

Trail Map - you can get a copy at the gate or online


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Exploring: Downtown Hastings, MN

I had so much fun with last week's post about Hudson, WI that I thought i would try to make this a weekly series where I explore a small town and share some of the great adventures I have along the way.

Last Thanksgiving my friend Vicki asked me to run the Thanksgiving Gobble Gait 8K with her in Hastings.  I had never spent much time there and just figured it would be like any run.  Let me say, it was one of the most beautiful runs I have done!  All of the money from the race is donated to the Hastings Family Service which serves the local community.  What started as a small run has now grown to over 2000 runners.

Post Race Photo with Vicki (right) and her friend Stacie (center)
Although it was cold and went, it was SO WORTH it!  Just being able to say I did it and knowing my race fee went to someone in need felt pretty darn good!

The race started and finished on Main Street in Hastings and although it was cold and wet, I fell madly in love with Main Street!  There are tons of cute little shops and restaurants.  Its very quaint and a nice little day trip. From the Downtown Business Association of Hastings, MN, " The Historic Downtown Business District of Hastings, Minnesota. You'll find charming shops that feature; Antiques, Collectibles, Gifts, Fashion, Imports, Toys, Pottery, Jewelry and many one of a kind specialty items and services. Most of our shops are located in preserved historic buildings dating back to the 1800's."

Right now they are redoing some sections of Main Street so my photos may be a little limited in the angles as I was simply trying to photo without all the yellow tape and orange cones.   However, even though it was under construction we were still able to navigate to all the shops with no trouble.

My friend Jayme has super awesome taste and had told me about Eye Candy Refind, so I HAD to check it out.  (If you've ever been in the Loft at Viva Voce Salon in Hudson, they have several stunning pieces from Eye Candy!!) After a quick trip to their shop in Hastings, I was sold!!  First of all I LOVE the owners.  Super bad ass ladies who run a great shop with gorgeous pieces!  They are SUPER friendly and totally willing to help you with anything.  (and I mean anything, I'm still looking for my card catalog and they are too!).   I ended up buying a gorgeous buffet my first trip there and continue to get inspiration every time I go to their shop!

My buffet table from Eye Candy
I absolutely adore the signs, furniture and decor in Eye Candy Refind. They also do painting classes in the Hastings Store as well if you want to learn how to chalk paint.  Additionally they share TONS of new pieces on their Instagram (eye_candy_refind) and Facebook Pages.  If you're looking for a one of a kind, quality piece at an affordable price, check out Eye Candy!!!

If you're someone who wants to DIY your own furniture pieces then stop into one of the many antique shops in town!

A few others:
Second Street Antique Mall

If home decor isn't your thing, they also have cute little clothing shops as well!  One that is always a stop when we are there is Lah-Tee-Dah Boutique.  They have adorable clothes at very reasonable prices!  You will also find that unique piece you wouldn't find online or at a mall.  That's what makes small town shopping so special.  You don't look like everyone else and you're supporting a local business.  

Other shopping locations for gifts and goodies:
Mississippi Clayworks

Let's be honest, after all that shopping I'm usually starving and (in my opinion) the BEST place in town is the Busted Nut.  We completely stumbled into the Busted Nut on a whim when we were picking up my buffet from Eye Candy.  It was the best decision ever!!  Fresh peanuts when you sit down and cold beers!  But better than that is the food.  I have been there several times now and I am never disappointed.  Last time we were there, a friend said "This is the best mushroom swiss burger I have ever had!"  I typically order the Chicken, Bacon Ranch Wrap with waffle fries and season sour cream and it's AMAZING!!!  (See below)

Although the Busted Nut happens to be my favorite, there are lots of other choices while in the downtown area.

The Onion Grille (I've heard this place is awesome too!)
Karl's Red Rock Cafe (Breakfast and Lunch)
Spiral Pizza

While I was walking around taking photos, I saw the sweetest scene in Reissner's Meat and Grocery. I was transported back 50 years. (or what I imagine life to be like 50 years ago).  Two older gentlemen were standing in the business enjoying a conversation and a coke.  It was the most refreshing, simple moment they were sharing.  They didn't have cell phones out, they weren't distracted by anything but what the other person was saying.  It truly warmed my heart.

One thing that always catches my eye when I'm in town is the Meyer Company Sign (Carhartt, Levis, shopping).  It again, takes me back to a time before modern technology.  And while I don't know the history, I imagine it was put up in the early years of Jc Penney, Montgomery Wards, Sears Roebuck Co.  Just the lettering takes me back to flipping through catalogs at grandmas house.  

As you find your way out of town, take a minute to see the beautiful new bridge that was built in 2014.  It's stunning at night and beautiful during the day.  

Hastings is only a short drive from the Twin Cities on Highway 61 South, and about 45 minutes from Western, WI.  I love any excuse to get down here to shop and eat!  (and there may or may not be a casino stop or a stop at Ellsworth Creamery on the way! Pretty sure we'll be checking out Ellsworth in the near future so I can go back for more fresh cheese curds!)

I hope you are able to seek out new adventures in Hastings or any of the towns I mention along the way.  It's such a fun journey for me to check out new places and bring friends along for the ride!