Hey guys, it’s been a crazy week! I’m leaving for a week-long cruise in the Caribbean on Saturday. I thought I would share some of my must-have travel essentials to pack on your next adventure.
My favorite season, Fall, is here. Time for sweaters, scarves, soups and pumpkin spice lattes. It also means that all of the leaves are changing colors. Below are some of my favorite photos (taken by me) of fall related things.
Note: This is a new series of posts that I’ll be doing. Each post will focus on a specific neighborhood and I’ll share what makes each one great.
Since this is the first post in a series, I thought it would be fitting to start with my current neighborhood. Audubon Park, Minneapolis, MN.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, yes this is a new blog theme! But what’s up with the weird post title? It’s not New Year’s. In fact, it’s not even close. Let me explain.
Recently, I took a trip up north, to Duluth, MN for a weekend getaway. Here is what I learned
Last weekend we went to the lake. Aaron’s cousins have a lake cabin near Cumberland, WI that they have recently started upgrading. It’s a really nice place. It was vastly different than other lake cabins I have been to in the past. To start, the upgrades have made the interior phenomenal. Also, other cabins I have frequented in the past have neighbors super close up to you. Here, it was difficult to even see the closest neighbors (if you stopped and looked, you could see them between all of the trees). We really were in the middle of no where!
We had a good time at the lake. We had a campfire, made s’mores, and wandered through the small shops in the nearby town (Cumberland). We also enjoyed coffee on the porch while watching a chipmunk try to steal our snacks. Plus, when else do you get to play a ’90s version of Trivial Pursuit that asks questions about Y2K?!
It was too cold and rainy to actually go out on the lake but it was really serene being there. Watching the fog on the lake in the mornings seemed almost dream like.
In other news, I found a sweet old Kodak DuaflexII camera at an antique store when we were wandering through town. I’ve always wanted one of these cameras. I absolutely adore the fact that you have to hold the camera down close to waist-level to take the photos. It’s such a unique experience. Instead of holding something up to your face, you have to adjust your body to the camera. Now I need to buy the film for it and figure out how I’m going to get it developed. I already have a ton of ideas of things to photograph with it!
Practice makes perfect cool camera find at the antique store in town #FilmCamera #DuaflexII A photo posted by @amberhanson on
Bonus photo of the lake taken with my iPhone looking into the DuaflexII:
As always, thanks for reading!
I did it. I went canoeing for the first time in my life!
A few weeks ago when Aaron and I were at one of the lakes in the area, I noticed that they rent out canoes and kayaks. I decided that looked really interesting and like something that I wanted to try out. Lucky for me, Aaron just so happens to be canoe expert and agreed to go with me. We decided to go to Lake Calhoun because it is a part of Minneapolis’s Chain of Lakes and is connected to 3 other lakes. Once we had our plan made, I packed a backpack with snacks and Gatorade, just in case we got hungry on the lake. I also sought out these fancy zip-lock type bags for our phones. Obviously Instagram-ing is required during a first canoeing experience.
As usual, it was a very busy day in Uptown on Lake Calhoun! Even though rain was in the forecast (it never did actually rain), there were probably 20 people in line before us. We paid for our hour of canoe time, picked up some life jackets and went to find our canoe. Surprisingly, there was little to no direction from the people setting us up in the canoe. They just pointed to a canoe told us to get in, handed us our paddles and pushed us out into the lake. I’m glad Aaron knew what was up because I would have been terrified by myself.
Once we started going, I realized just how easy it was and how much fun I was having. There were a ton of people out on the lakes with those paddle boards. That’s definitely something I’d also like to try someday, but for now I just want to canoe EVERYDAY!
The coolest part about being on the Chain of Lakes is that since we were in the middle of Minneapolis, there are all of these bridges that go over the lakes. They are pretty interesting to explore under, the photo below shows a bridge that also has a walking path under it and some people try to fish there!
Summer is officially here.
My sister came to visit me last weekend. She is moving 17 hours away so she came to visit one last time before the big move. With work being extra stressful lately, a sister weekend was exactly what I needed.
Last Friday we went to a comedy show and then enjoyed the nice weather by having drinks on a patio.
Then on Saturday we went to the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. This is a yearly festival that takes place down by the Mississippi river. Local artists set up tents and sell their art, and there’s food trucks and entertainment. It was hot and humid out, and it was really busy there, we circled around the area looking for a parking spot for what felt like forever. But, at least it didn’t rain and I always enjoy looking at local art.
After saying our goodbyes to my sister, I was eager to get as much outside time as possible over the weekend so Aaron and I headed to a lake. Last summer we checked out a couple of lakes in the Twin Cities area but I didn’t really have a favorite. I had read some reviews about Lake Nokomis so I decided this was the day to see if it lived up to the hype. Short answer: it does. It was incredibly calm and peaceful there. Some of the other lakes that are within the Twin Cities always feel crowded and noisy to me, which makes it hard to enjoy the fact that you’re at the lake. They felt more like being at a public pool on the hottest day of the year. Even though it was somewhat busy, I wouldn’t say it was crowded though, it never seemed crowded or noisy. We didn’t bring swimsuits but I did stand in the lake and it was very enjoyable. Then we sat in the shade and I walked barefoot through the grass and took some photos. Typing this out makes it seem so simple and possibly insignificant but it was really one of the most enjoyable and relaxing days I’ve had in a long time.
Hello Lake Nokomis. #minneapolis #nokomis #canoe #lake A photo posted by @amberhanson on
A good end to a great weekend.
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Big news: we bought a house! It all happened on a whim. We had been looking around for an apartment for a few months and everything seemed so expensive. In order to get a place that met our needs (which I didn’t think were that extensive: parking, 2 bedroom, outdoor space, near a bus line), it was way out of our price range. So for fun, we went to a couple of random open houses that we saw posted online. I really didn’t think that I would ever be approved for a home loan though. So just to see what they would say, I applied for the pre-approval process and they said I qualified! I think Aaron and I are still in awe of this and are just waiting for someone to show up and say, “j/k, lol nope, no house for you” but it hasn’t happened yet.
The house hunt was crazy and I was worried that we would never find anything, or have to settle for something that I didn’t love. But, we found it.
The house was built in 1895. Yes, the 19th century. I like to think about all of the memories that are in this house. For being built that long ago, it has been kept up really well and you’d never know it was that old just by looking at it.
Obviously the first thing to do when you move into a new house is to celebrate with fancy champagne! And then take photos of all of the empty rooms:
We got the keys on a Thursday and had rented a moving truck for the following Saturday, but we wanted to stay there the first night so I packed up some essentials for us, along with an air mattress and my bistro table and chairs. Aaron made pierogis and got us some fancy champagne. Real champagne.
The move went better than I had anticipated. I recently realized that I have moved 10 times in the past 10 years. Some moves have gone better than others. I was fully prepared to be extra stressed and for everything to end up broken. Luckily, we had a lot of help! I’m so grateful that friends and family were so willing to come help us move all of our stuff, I even got to supervise the second half. Nothing got broken! Although Aaron did have to cut the guest bedroom, queen box spring in half to fit it up the stairs! At least our California King mattress is memory foam so we just squished it up the stairs, and Aaron is building us a bed frame for it (keep an eye out for a DIY post about this!) so that will have to be assembled in place.
We got everything moved over in the morning and celebrated with pizza and beer for everyone. I found out that we live walking distance to a really tasty pizza place.
Here are just a couple of photos of the place now. It’s not fully decorated how I want just yet. In fact, I haven’t even finished unpacking or getting organized. This weekend is going to be full of IKEA shopping, garden planting and unpacking boxes.
My plan is to post regular updates about the house by sharing new décor photos, DIY posts of projects that I do, and of course the instagramable photos that I take of things around the house. I also plan to continue my actual Instagram posts, as well as any other exploration, photography related posts.
As always, thanks for reading!
Recently I went to a photo event at the Minneapolis Institue of Arts (MIA). They have a recurring event called the Third Thursday where the entire museum is free to visit and each month has a unique theme/event. The MIA is celebrating its 100th birthday this year so this event was 100 years of photographs to showcase the best of the best.
Part of this third Thursday event included a workshop put on by LABMPLS where they provided all kinds of different things to photograph that were both modern and vintage looking. Some of those things included old cameras, picture frames, postcards, books, art supplies, and a bunch of random things that were bright and colorful.
I really enjoyed this workshop. I could’ve stayed all day! I liked arranging the different pieces I selected to get the perfect Instagram shot.