New (old) House Tour!

In 2012 I was 25 and working in residential mortgage. It became increasingly clear to me that it made financial sense for me to buy a house, rather than continue to watch my rent climb year-to-year. I found an adorable little house in St. Louis Park, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis. The house had everything I needed, but having moved from the bustling and culturally vibrant neighborhood of Eat Street, I did miss Minneapolis a lot and hoped that someday I would be in the position to move back.

Fast forward to this past July, a friend of mine forwarded a “for-sale-by-owner” listing of an adorable Minneapolis house. The seller was a former college instructor of hers and when she saw the listing she thought it might be what I was looking for – she could not have been more right. That night I met the seller to see it in person and I knew with my first step in the doorway that this was meant to be my Minneapolis house. Fifty-eight short and excruciatingly stressful days later, I closed on the sale of my St. Louis Park house and the purchase my piece of Minneapolis history.

I’m finally ready to give you guys a peak! I’m so excited to show you around and would love to hear what you think!

Continue reading “New (old) House Tour!”

A letter to my Grandma McKenzie

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Dear Grandma –

Today marks two years since you left this world. I had hoped I’d be writing to you today to tell you that we’ve elected our first female president and tell you how much I wish you had been here to see it happen. Instead, I’m left bewildered and confused as I come to the realization that our country has elected, possibly, the most dangerously unqualified candidate to ever have run for the office. I wonder what you would say to me if you were here – I think you’d share my outrage and you would encourage me to make good use of it. I think you’d reassure me that the world is fundamentally good and I should not let this rob me of my optimism. I think you’d say that this is not the time to become complacent, to give up or to feel resentful. You would want me to collect what is left of my idealistic views and cobble it back together into a new foundation of strength and empowerment.

Although I do not get to share with you the news that I had hoped, I want to share with you what is inspiring me today.

My mother. This incredible woman that you raised has never waivered in her support for me and my goals. She’s been a reassuring touchstone for me in my most difficult moments and it is from that strength that I’m able to stand tall today and believe in a better tomorrow.

My friends. This morning I reached out to some of my closest female friends. I wanted them to know I was worried, too, but also that I am still here and together we are not giving up. Grandma, I think you’d be truly proud of the women I have surrounded myself with; they are some of the strongest people I have ever met. I sometimes feel that I, alone, cannot have an impact – but all I have to do is look at those around me to know that the change is coming. We are creating it, every day.

My beloved Minnesota. Our country may have made a grave decision last night, but our state did the right thing. We choose the right person, and although it ultimately does not matter – it matters to me, and I think it would to you, too. Not only did we choose to vote for equality, not division, for love, not hate, in our president – we showed our country that we value diversity and elected our first Somali-American to the Minnesota House of Representatives. Moreover, Grandma, this new Representative is a woman, and she won by a landslide. Progress is here, it is happening.

The last two years have seen a lot of big changes in my life. As I skipped onto each one of these milestones I felt pings of pain, yearning for your presence and wondering if you ever knew how much you meant to me. Perhaps no day more than today, is your loss more prominently felt in my life. Today I need your independent bullheaded strength more than ever. As I sit here and run my fingers over the sapphire stone of the ring you gave me when I graduated from undergrad, I recommit myself to my own empowerment. One person, not even a US President, can stop me from changing the world.

Love you. Miss you. Every day.

Claire

Old Blog, New Introduction

Happy 2016 Minnesota Lovers! I hope that this New Year finds you healthy, happy and ready to take on the world!

Anyone who follows my blogging regularly (I’m talking to you; close friends and family members), knows that I’ve struggled to keep up with consistent posting ever since this blog’s inception. That being said, I have received a lot of positive feedback from the blog and much encouragement to keep pushing forward.

Blogging is time consuming – not to mention very personal. This is difficult for me; there are times when I’m uncomfortable, feeling too exposed. And when people disagree with the opinions and thoughts I share, sometimes I feel personally attacked (although I encourage people to disagree – it’s just sometimes difficult to hear, however good for me it might be in the long run).

All this is to say, I believe that this blog has been good for me. It has given me a platform to voice my ideas. A reason to research and explore the topics I find interesting. And, most importantly, it has helped connect me with many opportunities – especially within the last year. So, with that I have taken on a new challenge and joined a course give through WordPress, “Blogging 101”. As a part of this course I’ll learn how to achieve better blogging and broaden my audience. The first assignment is to write an introductory post, and although I’ve had this blog for some time already, I figured it was worth giving a little refresher of who I am and why I’m here.

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A little paint, exposed brick and pieces of my favorite people

Ok, guys, let’s lighten things up a little bit here, alright? Lately I’ve been posting on serious topics which I’m very passionate about, from the way that preservationists represent themselves, to a decision made by the St. Cloud School District to vacate the 1917 building where I attended classes in favor of building a large, sprawling school on the edge of town. These topics are important, and I encourage you to visit those posts if you haven’t had the chance to take a look at them yet. All that being said, I thought it was time to add some levity to this blog so I’m going to share with you some of the projects I’ve been working on in my house!

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2014: A Review

Welcome to 2015 and happy New Year!

I was planning on posting a piece about my high school, St. Cloud Tech, but I’m not quite finished with it yet and so I’ll share that with you in February. The School Board has decided to build a new school, opting to relocate from the 1917 building where I attended high school from 2001 to 2005. I am disappointed by this decision and I’d like to share my thoughts on why as well as what can still be done to keep the school right where it is, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, since January 1st happens to not only be the first Thursday of January, but also the first Thursday of 2015 – I thought it might be appropriate to share some of my highlights from the past year.

Continue reading “2014: A Review”