Monday, August 13, 2012

Pin It And Do It Challenge - The Vacation Edition

Knowing the Pin It And Do It Challenge was coming up as I planned for our recent vacation, I used Pinterest to scout out things to do while we were on the road. I have to admit, it feels a little bit like cheating, except for the fact that now I have a lot of Minneapolis things pinned that we didn't get to do. If the purpose of the challenge is to work through the things we pinned, I've actually gone backwards by pinning vacation ideas! Here's what I did get done in the past week:

1. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan - from my Books and Book Love board, this is a book I've been wanting to get to for more than a year. I took advantage of my in-laws' wonderful porch and a beautiful cool day to finish this one. My review will post later this week.

2. The After Wife by Gigi Lavangie Grazer - definitely not the kind of story I generally read but perfect for a vacation read. My review of this will also post this week.

3. Hell's Kitchen - located in downtown Minneapolis, everything in this restaurant is homemade and incredibly delicious. With two vegetarians in the family, finding a place to eat can be tricky, but Hell's Kitchen had us covered. Mini-him did go for the chicken wings (most meat I've ever seen on wings), Mini-me had huevos rancheros, The Big Guy had a huge breakfast platter, Miss H enjoyed the penne pasta, and I had the most incredible grilled cheese sandwich ever (3 cheeses inside, coated with Parmesan outside). On our way out the door, we picked up some of their homemade peanut butter; good thing I didn't look at the price first - expensive but the kids loved it when they had it at my in-laws'.

4. Lake Harriet - We ended up at Lake Harriet for part of two evenings. Both nights there were concerts at the bandstand, the kids swam at one of the beaches one evening and we had fun feeding the ducks and just lounging lakeside. There's nothing I find more relaxing than sitting beside water and Miss H finally got the beach time she's been wanting for a long time. The only problem? There are a lot of people who enjoy spending time at the lake in the evenings - with walkers, runners, bikers, and roller-bladers, the paths were crowded.

5. Minneapolis Institute of Art - when you have a son majoring in studio art and you're going to be in a city where there is a major exhibit of Rembrandt's works, you know that you're going to be spending time at the museum. Luckily for the rest of us, the Minneapolis Institute of Art has something for everyone, from ancient works to modern art. I plotted out the galleries I was going to visit but got off track almost immediately. It's just impossible to walk by ancient works and not be awed by them.

The museum itself is free. The Rembrandt exhibit had a fee - unless you're Mini-me, who some how managed to get in for free (do you think he played the "hey I'm a poor art student card?).  The rest of us decided to forgo that exhibit, but Mini-me said it was fantastic. The rest of us worked our way through the American and European exhibits, finishing up with the Impressionists. I'm quite sure we could have spent all day at MIA; we didn't even get to the Modern galleries. But our feet were sore, our stomachs were growling, Miss H had exhausted her interest in art and there were too many other things to be done. My favorite things? The interior room exhibits (from a Chinese reception hall to an American Revolution era parlor) and the Impressionist rooms. Here is Mini-him's favorite painting:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - The Piazza San Marco, Venice

6. Weisman Art Museum - We weren't done with art museums yet. Mini-me is already shopping for graduate school art programs so while we were in Minneapolis is only made sense for us to take a spin through the University of Minnesota campus. Of course, while we were there, we had to visit the Weisman Art Museum, as much for the building as for the modern art collection it houses. I'm not much of a fan of modern art, so I'll confess that I spent half of my time there in the gift shop.

Designed by Frank Gehry
And that's how I used my vacation to get three-fourths of the way toward my goal for the Pin It And Do It Challenge. Pinterest was a great way for us to plan for vacation  - and with a laptop, we had easy access to the information without having to drag along a lot of brochures or printouts. I highly recommend it!


  1. Oh my, this does sound like it was an amazing time away, and that you got so many incredible things done! I am glad that you were able to find books that fir your reading needs for vacation, and that you got a chance to explore a bit. Great post today, and welcome back!

  2. I just read about the Pinterest Challenge...I love Pinterest and hope to participate in the next challenge. I like how you mixed up ideas for pinterest with books to read on vacation and places to visit. Sounds like a wonderful vacation. Reading Maine on the porch sounds perfect for a summer day.

  3. What a wonderful trip! I hope you had a great time. Is that the Hell's Kitchen of Gordon Ramsey fame?

  4. Seriously fascinating! So you searched for the location on Pinterest and then pinned or you searched elsewhere and then pinned so that they were easily accessible? I guess either could work. My favorite thing about Pinterest is the organization capabilities.

    Um, I also need to know the reasoning behind mini-me and mini-him. And how do you get two vegetarian children living in the heartland?!

    Glad you had a great trip!!

  5. I've been using Pinterest for vacation planning, too. A nice visual way of bookmarking the sites we may want to visit.