Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Be Thankful Everyday


It’s this time of year when Americans tend to stop to give thanks. But shouldn’t this be a practice all year round?

Over a year ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal nearly every day. I have filled over five and a half journals now. It has changed my life.

We’ve all heard people brag, “I’m a glass-half-full kind of person!”

I’ve never been that person.

Somewhere along the way, I learned how to think of the negative. Only the negative. I learned how to put myself down even though I would never treat anyone else I know that way. I’d think of something wrong in my life, which caused me to think of something else related, which in turn snowballed until I convinced myself that my life was a complete mess.

Why couldn’t I think of anything positive?!

It was because I wasn’t accustomed to it. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know where to start. Even if I thought of something positive, my first instinct was to think of something negative to contradict it.

Pretty sad, isn’t it?

That was until I read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.

I wanted to change the way I was thinking. I wanted to be happier. So I adopted the practice of keeping a gratitude journal.

Every day, I write in it ten things for which I’m grateful and why. That way, I can truly feel it.

Yes, some days it’s still tough, especially if I’m going through a difficult time. But there are so many simple things we tend to overlook. There are simple things that we feel entitled to that we all take for granted sometimes. Like these.

No matter what, I can always come up with something to add to my journal.

And then, you know what?

The gratitude is what snowballs!

Generally speaking, the more I write, the easier it becomes.

But will it ever become natural for me? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that this practice reminds me on a daily basis of what is truly important.

I’d always heard that attitude is everything. I was the one to roll my eyes when people said that to me. I thought it was just cliché. I didn’t truly understand what it meant. All of those people knew something I didn’t. I didn’t know how to change my attitude. And other people telling me to just made me angry.

But I do now.

The practice of writing in my gratitude journal daily forces me to think of all of the positives in my life, which in turn changes my attitude, and in turn makes me happier.

Since I’m expressing my gratitude every day in my journal, maybe Thanksgiving should be the day that I skim through those past journals and let the joy overflow.

How do you express gratitude?

Happy Thanksgiving.


Entitlement: The Opposite of Gratitude


Today a whole slew of posts of gratitude with explode upon The Internets!

I love seeing those things this time of year! So much love fills the air. However, a list of what I’m thankful for is not what my Thanksgiving post will entail. For I have adopted a practice of focusing on graditude every day. I have filled an entire journal with it since I began this practice. I highly encourage you to do the same. Don’t think about those things for which you are grateful just today. Think about them every day. Trust me. It’s life-changing.

Because the opposite of gratitude is entitlement.

I’m not talking about the kind of entitlement we label our youth with today. I’m talking about the kind of entitlement we all experience… on a daily basis. We aren’t exactly ungrateful, but we feel entitled – inadvertently.

We feel entitled to have:

  • Hot water for our showers
  • Clean water for drinking
  • Our families to be nice to us and say the right things
  • A working stove for our Thanksgiving meal
  • Two loving parents
  • Friends who understand
  • Enough money for food
  • Transportation to get us to our destination
  • Legs to walk
  • Hands to eat or type
  • Eyes to see
  • The post office to deliver your mail
  • The cashier to give you correct change
  • An open gas station
  • A warm winter jacket
  • A heater in your home or vehicle
  • A place to sleep
  • Someone be, do or act a certain way that you deem appropriate

Yes, these may sound simple.

But not everyone has them.

And you may not even realize that you felt entitled to them. You may have even spent time judging or labeling people or circumstances who got in the way of these things. You are not entitled to any of them.

So instead, be thankful for any of those that you have. Turn of away from those that you don’t. Look around today and be thankful for Every. Single. Thing. you see.

Continue to do the same every day by writing down ten things you are grateful for and WHY. Then, instead of feeling entitled, your life will become truly magical.

Name one thing you may have felt entitled to, but are truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!


2013 Beaujolais Nouveau Battle


Happy Wine Wednesday!

If you are in a pinch and are looking for some great Thanksgiving Wine Pairings, click here. Or, just drink what you like and don’t worry about pairing!


But as for this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau, we did the research for you!

It’s been a few years since I’d had a Beaujolais Nouveau. My husband and I are hoping for some good luck in 2014. So it was time to open a bottle before the new year.

But which do you choose when all the Beaujolais Nouveau bottles are staring you down in the store?

Rob and I set out to try a few of them side-by-side to determine our favorite producer for future years. {Although wines will still vary from vintage to vintage!}

photo 4

What I learned?

I don’t really like Beaujolais Nouveau, or at least not the 2013 vintage.

Of course, Beaujolais Nouveau is not a big, bold red like a Cab or Zin. It’s truly not a serious wine. It’s meant to be fruity and drunk young. Like NOW. And don’t confuse a Nouveau with other Beaujolais wines. They are all made with the gamay grape varietal, but there are some serious Beaujolais and Beaujolais Cru out there. Some are even made to age. Nouveau is just not one of them.

We picked up the four bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau available when we were at Zipp’s Liquor in Minneapolis stocking up for Ale Fest 2013. {More on that next week!} Then we rounded up our glasses and evaluation sheets.

photo 1(1)

Here was our lineup {uh, right to left}:

  • DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $9.99
  • Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $12.99
  • Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $10.99
  • L’Ancien Beaujolais Nouveau 2013 – $14.99

photo 3(1)

What we found is that these wines weren’t really the fruity, easy-drinking red that we all know and love. They all started off smelling quite lovely, like strawberries. Rob picked up some violet and rose petal on the nose, too.

But they all tasted astringent to me.

The most heinous offender was Mommessin, which after my second taste, I just couldn’t drink anymore. We did slightly chill these wines, as BN should be, but perhaps we didn’t chill them long enough. {Beaujolais Nouveau should be served right around 55 degrees – colder than a red, but not quite as chilled as a white.}

We began to feel like we did when we came back from Tuscany. All the Italians keep the good Chiantis for themselves and ship the crappy stuff to the U.S. Same thing here perhaps?

Because of this, there wasn’t a clear winner.

photo 2(1)


Georges DuBoeuf (12%) – Rob said that if he had to choose one to drink, it would be this one. And if we opt to share a Nouveau next year, this’ll probably be it. The aromas mostly consisted of strawberries, violet and rose petal. Besides the strawberry, I tasted something a little more tart – maybe black currant. As expected, both the tannin and body were light, but there was definitely some acidity there, making it great for pairing with food.

Joseph Drouhin (12.5%) – Strawberry, prune and floral aromas. And although these wines see no oak, I got a whiff of vanilla and a hint of spice on the nose, as well. However, the taste was very tart and Rob described it as “almost aluminum” tasting. Again, light tannins, short finish, maybe a bit more complex than the DuBoeuf, but not quite as balanced either.

Mommessin (11% to 14%) – <–First off, how can you legally list that as the alcohol percentage on your bottle? Were you unsure when you made the labels what the alcohol content would be? Did you make a couple of batches then mix them together? Or not intend to label them separately? I’m thoroughly confused by that one. Whatever the case may be, this was our least favorite. Faint strawberry aromas, light-bodied with high acidity. On the first taste, I actually felt that dusty quality that I like in a good Pinot Noir. So it’s something I would not expect out of the Gamay grape. But that was short-lived because each subsequent taste was astringent and vinegar-like. Ack! Oh wait, Mommesin also made this unimpressive wine.

L’Ancien (12%) – Rob didn’t like this one at all; but to me, it was the first BN we tried that I thought tasted more like a serious wine. It was more complex with not only berry aromas, but also that of olive and white pepper. Rob hates that white pepper flavor that can be found in some Grenaches. That’s probably what turned him off here. I liked the label of this one the best because it was basic and not so gimmicky-looking.


But when it comes down to it, if we’re buying a fruity, easy-drinking Beaujolais Nouveau, we aren’t looking for complexity. That’s why Georges DuBoeuf would be our winner this year. But only by process of elimination.

Next year, we may step up in search of a Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau. Or maybe we’ll do a Battle of the Beaujolais: Cru vs. Nouveau, knowing full well who the winner will be. It would just be a great way to learn and experience the difference.

What wines would you like to see us review or describe next?


2013 – Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrivé!


It has arrived!


To learn more about le Beaujolais Nouveau, its history, what to pair with it and how to correctly pronounce it, click here.

We didn’t buy nor drink any Beaujolais Nouveau last year. And I’m ready for a little good luck. So I’ll be buying those from a few different producers to drink and compare. Don’t worry, my husband and I will do the research for you and review them over the next coming weeks…

If you drink Beaujolais Nouveau, do you have a favorite vintner/producer?


Gratitude: Brought to You by the Number 40


It’s Thanksgiving – the day of the year when we Americans are reminded to give thanks. For some, that may just mean a day off of work and some home-cooked turkey. However, if you haven’t before (or even if you have), let’s dig deeper beyond that.

Although we hear the word gratitude and are encouraged to be thankful this time of year, most people don’t take the time to practice it more often than that. It wasn’t until I received a book as a gift called The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude that I started to practice it more often myself. But it took reading the book The Secret for me to truly understand its power. Being grateful for even the tiniest things can really change your perspective. For me, writing a list of things for which I am grateful helps me turn my mood around. It changes my focus from the negative to the positive. It may sound simplistic, but I find that it really works.

In honor of Thanksgiving, just one day that reminds us that we should be thankful, I want to challenge everyone reading this post to do any of the following:

  • Find someone you love and thank them for something you never have before.
  • Take a piece of paper or notebook and over the next week write 100 things you’re grateful for as they come to you.
  • Keep a notebook by your nightstand and each night before you go to bed, write five things for which you are grateful.
  • Join me on Twitter with thousands of others and tweet one thing each day for which you are grateful followed by #365thanks.

Because really, shouldn’t we show gratitude everyday? That is what #365thanks symbolizes. It’s simple to do and you’ll feel great doing it.

Today, I’m grateful for my wonderful husband.

It’s his  40th birthday today!

He actually *asked* me for a surprise party this year. I just laughed at him and said, “I can’t throw you one now!” Then, to throw him off, I threw a “40 Days Before Your 40th Birthday” party last month. It worked out perfectly. And he was absolutely surprised. I’m probably the only person in the history of mankind to throw one of those!
For his birthday on today, we elected to stay home. We normally travel back to Green Bay for Thanksgiving, but we decided to stay put this year because:
  • We visited two weeks ago for our nephew’s 5th birthday.
  • We went to the 10th Anniversary Ike Reilly Thanksgiving Eve concert last night at First Avenue and were out very, very late.
  • He’s allergic to turkey.

So it was another gift to him not to have to drive there and back. When we originally decided to do this, I thought I was doing him a favor as to not drive in snowy weather. However, this year, we just so happen to have the best weather here in Minnesota in years. It’s currently 61 degrees! {I bet people who were out doing Turkey Trots this morning were elated!}

For his birthday, we celebrated with our usual birthday dinner tradition {Restaurant Impression to come} prior to last night’s concert. But this morning, I put this box in front of him:

Birthday Box

This box contains 40 little gifts that I’ve picked up that reminded me of him. They are either things that he loved when I first met him, things that he likes or uses right now or just things I thought he might like now or in the future.

The first gift he opened however was this:

The instructions are that he has to set the timer for 15:00. Every fifteen minutes, he can open any gift of his choice. He’ll be opening fun gifts all day. {Well, while he watches the football of course.}

Happy Birthday, Baby! I’m grateful to have you in my life.

Cheers to many more years together. #365thanks.

Name one thing you for which you are grateful today.


Turkey Trot 5k – Last Race Recap of 2012


Most Turkey Trots take place on Turkey Day themselves. However, my husband’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, so I’m not about to drag his butt out of  bed into the cold that morning! Nor am I going to leave him behind while I go for a run. Besides, why not do one a bit earlier if it’s available?

One reason why I decided to do the Dakotah Sport and Fitness Turkey Trot 5k race was that it was different. It takes place on the Mystic Lake Golf Course in Prior Lake! But one thing that I totally missed until the day before the race was this:

The Turkey Trot 5K is a scenic run on the cart paths of the Meadows at Mystic Lake Golf Course in Prior Lake, Minnesota.  The rolling hills offer a challenge in this fun run.

Uh… How did I miss that? And what was I thinking?!

The Night Before…

We hosted our monthly poker tournament. At first, I wasn’t going to go out to Happy Hour. I decided I would just stay home, finish cleaning and eat some leftovers from the fridge. But after cleaning, I decided to distract myself instead and join everyone. I enjoyed one beer {Jubel Ale on tap!} and a couple of meatloaf sliders.

After a fun night of poker, people tend to leave by midnight. So I knew in advance that I wouldn’t be getting a full eight hours of sleep. Such was the case before my first 5-mile race, too, and it wasn’t a very big deal.  However, I was very tired by the time everyone left, so I skipped my usual night-before-race ritual of taking a hot shower and lathering myself with lavender oil. Instead I just crawled into bed and fell right to sleep.

Race Day…

When the alarm went off, I really had trouble getting out of bed.

Has doing 5k races become routine?

Like going to work?

Or was I just too tired from the night before?

I finally got up with just ten minutes to spare. I made myself some breakfast of a Magic Smoothie with a small piece of peanut butter toast. I threw my clothes on, brushed my teeth, woke my husband and downed some water before heading out the door to get some coffee on the way to the race.

What was different about this race is that it was sponsored by a health club. Therefore, no one had to wait outside. Check-in and registration was inside the building. We didn’t have to brave the cold {although it was a pretty nice day for this time of year} until just a few minutes before the race began.

At first the rolling hills were a bit of a challenge. But then I started to forget about them… Kind of like when you are riding a bike and you kick it into high gear to get up the hill and then coast down it. It became natural. They weren’t really steep. As I look back, I realize that I didn’t focus on the scenery as much as I wish I had. Granted, there isn’t much to look at this time of year after the leaves have fallen and the grass is brown, but I wasn’t very aware of my natural surroundings. I seemed to more aware, maybe too aware, of the people around me instead. You can check out photos of the event, though, on their Facebook Page.

I felt good for much of the run, but I was working pretty hard. I still had the cough that I had been dealing with the past week or so. But strangely, I don’t cough at all when I’m running.

I can’t believe I’m smiling as I’m nearing the Finish Line! And who is that guy in the background that seems to be running down the hill? A photographer? A spectator?

And as I hit the timing mats, I was glad to finish my final 5k of the year:

My Chip Time: 37:35

After the race, I usually just try to walk around and cool off a bit and search for water. For some reason, I often have a hard time finding it and Rob has to point me in the right direction! This time, it was set up inside – in the gymnasium. I walked in and all I could think of was, “Man is it HOT in here!” I hadn’t even worn gloves or an earband during the race and I was steaming! I grabbed some grub and we sat on the floor for a bit:

Post-race goodies!

The trail-mix wasn’t tasty enough for the calories for me. But I was most excited about the mini frosted sugar-cookie! I know it’s not the best post-race fuel. However, I can’t buy a batch of those cookies in the store without eating way too many of them at once. The mini-cookie was a perfect “taste” for me. They had other types of cookies, too, but I stuck to just one.

This is the last race I had scheduled this calendar year. But don’t worry, I’m not hanging up my running shoes altogether! I’m working on some HIIT, strength training and getting ready for my spring 10k. Maybe I’ll make it a goal to do a sub-35-minute 5k by spring, too. {I really want to hit a 30-minute one, but I think that may be pushing it!}

Don’t forget that I’d like you and anyone else you know to join me on April 21st, 2013 for the Challenge Obesity 5k!

If you’ve never run a 5k before, this is the one for you. Many people Run/Walk it, too.

Info here!

Here is a list of my 5k race results for my own personal comparison:

  1. 38:54
  2. 38:20
  3. 38:40
  4. 36:08
  5. 38:27
  6. 37:44
  7. 35:35
  8. 38:13
  9. 37:35
  • The Event: Dakotah! Sport & Fitness 2012 Turkey Trot 5k
  • The Location: The Meadows Golf Course at Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake, MN
  • The Date: November 17, 2012
  • Night Before Dinner: Meatloaf Sliders at Burnsville Ale House with a pint of Jubel Ale
  • Pre-race Breakfast: Magic Smoothie + peanut butter toast
  • My Time: 37:35
  • The Weather: 40’s and windy
  • Attire: running pants, long sleeved Cuddl Dud shirt, lucky t-shirt
  • General Feeling: Just another 5k! I wasn’t worried about not completing it, but didn’t expect to PR either.
  • Uniqueness: Running the cart paths on a golf course with small hills throughout.
  • Size: Approx 234
  • The Goods: Long-sleeved Turkey Trot t-shirt, goodie bag: two Stay Put Hair Ties with slip-proof grip (love these!), Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Ointment sample, mini Clif Builders Mint Protein Bar
  • The Grub: Gatorade G2, Red Bull, trail mix, mini Clif Bars, bananas, Thanksgiving Cookies

What are your favorite Thanksgiving Treats?



Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrivé!


As I write this, it’s Wine Wednesday. But when the clock strikes twelve midnight, shops across the country that sell wine will be stocked with this year’s harvest of Beaujolais Nouveau. Yes, that’s right. “Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!”

First, for those of you who are unfamiliar, here are few quick lessons on Beaujolais Nouveau.

Beaujolais Nouveau…

  • …is a French wine coming from the Beaujolais region of France.
  • …is made from the gamay grape.
  • …is a wine meant to be drunk young, usually within six months.
  • …is different from other Beaujolais wines such as Beaujolais-Villages. If it does not say “Nouveau” on the bottle, chances are that it is a little more complex and can age a couple of years.
  • …is released in the U.S the third Thursday of November of the year the grapes are harvested, partly due to tradition, but mostly for marketing purposes for the American Thanksgiving holiday.
  • …is light enough to pair with turkey, bright enough to merry well with cranberries and has just a hint of earthiness to stand up to the herbaceousness found in dressing and other fixings.
  • …should be served slightly chilled. To bring out the flavors, serve it cooler than the cellar temperature you’d normally serve a red wine, but not quite as cold as a white.

Some like to practice the tradition of drinking their bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau before the New Year because it’s said to bring good luck for the following year.

Drink this vintage in 2012

for luck in…

Beaujolais Nouveau is not serious wine per se. It’s light, fruity and often lacking in complexity compared to most other wines. However, it can be perfectly enjoyable. I find it’s a great wine for newbie red wine drinkers. The tannins are minimal, which is often what inhibits inexperienced wine drinkers from enjoying reds. Tannins come from the skins, the stems and a seeds when a wine is fermenting. It creates that drying sensation on the tongue when you drink it. Tea also has tannins. Think about drinking a cup of black tea. It’s the same sensation. However, you’ll hardly ever notice the tannins in a Beaujolais. That’s why I call it the perfect “bridge” wine when I’m moving people along the spectrum of wine enjoyment.

And lastly, let’s pronounce it correctly:


It surprises me every time I hear someone talking about  BOO-jolais. Really? You would pronounce beau that way? C’mon, you know that word. If you pronounce beau like beau and not boo, you’ve got it. Congratulations! You are no longer drinking BOO-jolais!

Note: There is some speculation of a Beaujolais Nouveau shortage this year dear to Hurricane Sandy. The grapes are harvested, fermented and bottled within six to eight weeks. Then the wine is shipped around the world. I’m sure the hurricane has prevented the usual amount of Beaujolais Nouveau from arriving at normal release time due its unusual turnaround time for a wine..

So if you pick up a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau this year, drink it with gratitude. And toast with me to a speedy recovery to all those affected by the hurricane.

Do you drink Beaujolais Nouveau?

If so, do you have a favorite producer?