Willkommen in Deutschland!

9 Jan

Yes, much has happened since I last blogged.  For one thing, Chesley and I got engaged – yay!  For another, we moved to Hamburg, Germany!  Today is Day 4 here in Hamburg.  Things have gone smoothly so far:  Chesley got his working papers approved, his bank account opened, etc.   My only complaint so far would be the weather.  I haven’t seen the sun since I got on the plane in Minneapolis last Friday.  It’s been dark and cloudy since we arrived, with occasional spitting rain. Yuck!

At the moment, we’re living in temporary housing at the Elb Residence, which is connected to (and run by) a Holiday Inn.   To give you an idea (and to explain why we’re trying to find an apartment ASAP), here are two shots from our balcony (which I only use to take photos – it’s miserably cold outside!):


Day 3_evening


Day 4_morning

The top photo was taken last night, er, AFTERNOON, at 4:20!  The bottom photo I just took about 10am today.  Yes, dreary.   The building we’re living in is called Haus A, although we refer to it affectionately as Cell Block A.  Because that’s how it looks from the outside.  The apartment, itself, isn’t bad.  Very sparse.  Reminds me of our dorm rooms at business school in Jouy-en-Josas.  (Vive Résidence Expansiel!)

Off to look at apartments so that we can move into happier surroundings!

À bientôt,



Happy Trails

24 Nov

This summer I headed with some friends to Red Wing, Minnesota for some antiquing, lunch and a stop at Minnesota heritage brand Red Wing Shoes.  On our way back to the Twin Cities, we drove along the Mississippi River on the Wisconsin side and saw a motorcycle rally in a small town (the name of which I’m forgetting now).  I’m not a motorcycle person, but the images were stunning, so I took some shots.

À bientôt,


Bourbon Chase, Day 4: The End

1 Nov

Day 4 was the end of the (bourbon) road.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the end of the race.   Or the bourbon tasting, for that matter.  Just this Kentucky-made pottery horse (you know, because Kentucky is famous for horses and horse breeding).


Bon weekend à tous!

À lundi,


Bourbon Chase, Day 3: Woodford Reserve

31 Oct

We’re into Day 3 in Kentucky, and Day 2 of the Bourbon Chase relay race.  It’s a loooong day.  Only 2 hours of sleep the night before and a middle-of-the-night run.  (I ran 5.1 miles starting at 4am.)  Our final runner for this leg passes off the bracelet and we head to get some breakfast (at Dairy Queen, as it turns out).  The hand-off from our van to Van 1 takes place at the Woodford Reserve distillery.  Unfortunately, the weather is crappy, with spitting rain.

the bar (at 9am)

the distillery

I’m fascinated by shutters…

the old-fashioned method of transporting bourbon barrels across the premises

more barrels

another bucolic setting

runners chill before their next legs

traditional Mint Julep cups for sale

antique riding boots. cool, but not for sale : (


leaving Woodford Reserve after our first runners sets off

Happy Halloween!

À demain,


Bourbon Chase, Day 2: My first leg!

30 Oct

It’s late in Day 2 of the Bourbon Chase and I’m finally running my first leg – 5.8 miles.  And let me tell you, as prepared as I thought I was, it was brutal.  Although I trained up to 10 miles, I failed to consider the rolling hills of Kentucky into my training regime.  It was also over 70 degrees and the sun was beating down.

But the scenery was pleasant…..

bucolic farm land

a Mexican restaurant (?!)


FINALLY at the top of a gigantic hill

flat ground, with horses to admire across the highway  – yay!

a stream runs through it

getting closer to the hand-off point

1 mile to go!!

home stretch

still in the home stretch

a mere 50 yards from finishing the leg!

moving into the night shift

meat, anyone?

night running..

More to come….

À demain,


Bourbon Chase, Day 2: Maker’s Mark

29 Oct

Ooohhh…clearly I’m very behind in my blogging.  Anyway, without further ado…

And for the record, I realize these photos are not great quality, especially the ones taken indoors.  I didn’t bring my fancy new external flash : (


– The Maker’s Mark Distillery was the hand-off point from our team’s first van to our van.  We got there early so that we can tour a bit. –


red shutters..note the shape of the Maker’s Mark bottle carved in each of them


The sweet little covered bridge.


– Then we headed into the building where workers complete (put labels on, etc) the bottles for shipment. –





– Next, we checked out the Tasting Room for a special Maker’s Mark cocktail.  (Yes, I had one, pre-run!) –


– Then it was on to the shop. –



– Finally, we were back outside to see our van’s first runner take off. –

Go Barb!

Yep. Cheers to that!

All of that and we’re still on Day 1 of the actual run, and I won’t run my first leg for another 5 hours!  More tomorrow (promise!).

À demain,


Bourbon Chase, Day 2: Jim Beam Distillery

15 Oct


After a little break, I’m back to continue the story of my Bourbon Chase race through Kentucky.  On Friday, we all woke up (that’s 4 women in 2 double beds in a cheap hotel on the outskirts of Louisville) and got dressed in our running gear.

I should stop here and explain a bit about how it works.  (This was my first relay race of any kind, let alone a 24-hour continuous relay, so it was all new to me!)  The race covers 200 miles total in Kentucky, starting from outside of Louisville and ending in Lexington.  Each team has 12 members, so each person runs a total of about 16 or 17 miles over the course of 3 “legs” (segments). The fact that the race is continuous means that someone from each team is always running – whether it’s 3pm or 3am.  Each runner has “slot” in the “line-up”.  I was runner number 10, so for each of my 3 segments, I would receive the “baton” (actually a snap-on bracelet) from runner #9 and hand off to runner #11.  (Although I cheated and switched places with a marathon runner for my last 8.1 mile leg.  Thanks, Molly Purdue!)

The starting times for teams vary.  Faster teams start later, while slower teams start earlier in the day so that they can get a head-start.  The goal is for all of the teams to finish within a few hours of one another in Lexington on Saturday night.   Because were one of the slower teams, our start time was 8:45am on Friday morning. There were teams starting every 15 minutes throughout the day, and the fastest teams started as late as 7pm on Friday night!  (That means the fast-ies had 24 hours to make up a 10+ hour head-start!!)

Most teams have two vans of runners, so that one van is always “off” – resting, trying to sleep, showering, eating an actual meal…  The van that’s “on” drives along with each runner in that van and waits at the “baton” exchange points, picking up the runner who has just finished his/her leg, and dropping off the next runner.

Back to Friday morning.  Our Van 1 headed to the starting line for our team’s 8:45am start.  Everyone in our Van 2 (which included me) headed to Cracker Barrel for a big breakfast.  Then we headed to the starting line.  Our team had left hours earlier, but we wanted the chance to see the starting line and check out the Jim Beam distillery.

The starting line.

There was even a band at the starting line! (Too bad it was drizzling, though.)







There’s plenty of Jim Beam merch. to buy, I don’t think the bike is actually for sale…




This tee was cute and so soft. But I’m trying to go easy on the clothing purchases, so I resisted the temptation.

So that was the Starting Line of the Bourbon Chase in Clermont, Kentucky.  After 30 minutes or so of wandering around, everyone in Van 2 piled back into the van and headed to where we’d be getting our hand-off from Van 1.

The adventure continues.  Tomorrow.

À demain,


Bourbon Chase: Day 1, Pre-race – Mexican dinner in the ‘burbs of Louisville

8 Oct

I did a really cool thing last weekend: I ran in the Bourbon Chase relay from Louisville to Lexington, Kentucky.  It was brutal and fun.  (Maybe that’s fair descriptor of life, too?)  Even with my misgivings at the time (horrible stomach cramps, lack of showering, lack of sleep), I would do it again.

When I signed up for the race a few months ago, I had a few specific reasons for doing it:

1) It pushed me out of my “comfort zone”  (“living” in a van with 5 strangers/new friends and running repeatedly without showering are not in my usual program).

2) It forced me to get back into running more than 3 miles.

3) As I’m still relatively new here in the Twin Cities, I jumped at the chance to meet people with a shared passion (running!).

4) It was a sneaky way to travel and see a part of the country that I didn’t know.  (Although it was really a working vacation ; )


As not to bore you with dozens of photos all at once, I’ll tell this story over the course of a few days.

This is, of course, DAY 1:

Not wanting a sugary drink, I opted for a Corona Lite.  I took the photo because I couldn’t believe how cheap it was – less than $3!!!

24 hours before race time: beer + chips

Dinner of champions?  No carb loading here.

In retrospect, Mexican probably wasn’t the best meal to prepare for a challenging run the next afternoon.  But hey, I didn’t choose it, so c’est la vie.  (Breakfast the next morning were eggs, grits and a biscuit at Cracker Barrel.)

À demain,


Northern Grade pop-up shop

4 Oct

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to attend my first Northern Grade show in Minneapolis.  Northern Grade is a pop-up shop for men’s heritage brands – J.W. Hulme, Pierrepont Hicks, Duluth Pack, Red Wing Shoes, and many more.

When I arrived and saw where the event is held – at Architectural Antiques – I was over-the-top excited.  What a genius idea to display classic, USA-made men’s brands among beautiful, classic antique and vintage pieces!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, just my iPhone, so my photos don’t do the show justice, but here are some shots, anyway:


J.W. Hulme display

Red Wing Shoes display

Red Wing Shoes’ “booth”

satchels at Northern Grade

men’s button-downs are displayed below an antique chandelier

plaids galore

shirts and antique sconces

fixtures + satchels

Love this gramophone speaker!

Because no menswear event would be complete without one.

antique dressform

Northern Grade is held twice yearly and is the brainchild of the Pierrepont Hicks founder.  Bravo!


Northern Grade will have a pop-up in Chicago on October 27, 2012:



À bientôt,


Field Trip: Red Wing Shoes

24 Sep

The girls and I recently headed down to Hastings and Red Wing, Minnesota.  Red Wing being, of course, the HQ of heritage brand Red Wing Shoes (which have become extremely hipster as of late).

Here’s a brief tour of the shop:

Red Wing Shoes owns the Guinness World Record for the largest boot!

upstairs is the company’s own Shoe Museum

all of the sizes that Red Wing Shoes’ work boots are made in (plus custom orders, I’m sure)

one of the early sewing machines used to stitch boots

in the basement is the outlet – with row after row of shoes & boots

Boops tries on a pair

a custom bench, sporting the company’s logo

À demain,