Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Naked Award Winner – Jamie Oliver wins TED Prize


Jamie Oliver, who revolutionized how many people cook with his groundbreaking “Naked Chef” television series and cookbooks has been named the recipient of the 2010 TED Prize.  With the prize Oliver wins $100,000 to grant a wish to “change the world.”

Changing the world is nothing new to Oliver, who as a very young chef took his training in Great Britain and Italy and showed that food can be stripped down to its very essence, “Naked” and enjoyed by all.  His father owned a pub in Essex where his love of cooking began to be fostered.  He went onto Westminster Catering College and then trained in France. And after time at prestigious restaurants it was while a documentary was being filmed at the River Café where Oliver’s irreverent style and what he calls “cheeky” nature found the cameras.  Soon after “The Naked Chef” was born and Oliver became one of the newest and certainly youngest of the celebrity chefs.

jamies-america-largeBut the British kid who plays drums in a rock band didn’t just cook food. He was passionate about it, where it came from, and especially how food was affecting the youth of Britain.   With his celebrity Oliver launched a campaign to improve the food in UK school lunch programs. He filmed a multi-part documentary and worked with the British government to change policies about what was being served to the UK children in his battle to fight obesity and ensure they were eating healthier foods.

Oliver didn’t stop with school lunches, he founded the Fifteen Foundation a program that exists to help disadvantaged youth, now across Europe, assisting them to build careers in the restaurant industry. The concept is based on an apprenticeship model with a working restaurant, foundation and training program all together.  The  Fifteen program has graduated 159 students at a cost of $49,500 each through the start of 2009.

He also took his love for good food to the British television airwaves in a documentary to dramatically demonstrate how chickens live and die to reach consumers’ plates in the UK. Olivers’ “Fowl Dinners” on Channel Four has directly lead to a dramatic increase in the demand for free range chickens at grocers like Tesco and Sainsbury.

Following the chicken across the road, Oliver also launched a fight to save British pork in his series “Jamie Saves our Bacon.” Which discusses UK pig breeding and the heritage of local pork.   His other special focuses on getting people back into the kitchen. Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” shows how simple healthy cooking is just as easy as nuking frozen school-dinners-featuredinners and is an important part of a good diet; how making your own food is most often less expensive than buying pre-made, pre-assembled and pre-packaged foods. Oliver has also fought for clear and accurate food labeling in supermarkets and grocery stores in Great Britain.

Jamie has launched his own wines and foods as well as dinnerware and other products like most celebrity chefs. Unfortunately for us Yanks, the food and wines do not seem to be available in the United States yet and shipping on most of the other products is obviously spendy, but it can be well worth it.

Of course, the cookbooks are still his bread and butter,excuse the pun. In fact the Fifteen Foundation is funded entirely by an endowment from sales of one of his cookbooks. Oliver continues to come out with unique approaches to food to surprise and entertain.  His latest, Jamie’s America, includes his take on American cuisine after filming recent specials and a BBC Series in the United States.  He is also about to launch his fight against childhood obesity and toward healthy foods for children in schools across the pond to the American market in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution USA to be aired as a television special on ABC.  You can sign Jamie’s petition for better food in US school lunches here.

As the  recipient of the TED prize, Oliver is certainly one person who use that $100,000 prize and take “One wish to change the world”, he has already done so in so many ways.

Fiona’s Five – 5 Quick Gift Suggestions

As a former Retail Slave for over 20 years people often ask me for advice for what to give for the holidays. That is a Transfer3 Turner Cooper teesvery tricky question because I am the kind of person who tries to give personalized gifts. I ask several pointed questions about each person then narrow down personalities or hobbies and try to come up with something at would be appropriate for each individual. I have been making gifts for friends and families for several years, including the t-shirts for my nephews and friends that seem to be very popular. Last year’s tees seemed to be a pretty big hit (pictured right).

But inevitably, there are some items each year that I think can be broadly applied as universal gifts for a large number of people so here are my five suggestions in no particular order:

Iphone chargerI.Sound 2 in 1 Back up Battery & Charger for IPhone & IPod They may be the coolest thing amongst a big circle of people but they also suck power like a starving anteater. If you are like me and have a large circle of friends who are addicted to their IPhones you also know how jittery they get when their phones begin to die from too much Tweeting and they have no power source or way to recharge. Friends have even cut evenings short because their IPhones are dying so this charger that retails for $49.99 on the I.Sound website but can be found on other sites for less, is the perfect gift.

Tumi wallet

Tumi Money Clip Card Case When I worked at Dayton’s/Marshall Field’s/Macy’s this was the singular item that we could not keep in stock and the best seller in Men’s Accessories. It holds two cards per slot and upwards of 20 bills in the money clip yet maintains a slim profile in a front pocket. Perfect for the frequent traveler, or any age group, men and women. There is a nylon/leather version available as well as an all-leather version and the Tumi quality is unparalleled. Just remember it is unlucky to give an empty wallet as it means you are wishing poverty on the receiver, so you must put at least a penny inside before it is given away. Available at many department stores, or go see Patrick at the Galleria Tumi Store.

CSACSA Membership – For those who don’t know CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, and when you purchase a membership you receive a share of a Farm’s harvest. There are dozens of Minnesota Farms for which you can purchase shares. Braucher Sunshine Harvest Farms Eggs and Grass-Fed Beef, Chicken & Lamb is a longtime favorite of mine, but many more CSA’s can be found on the Land Stewardship website. Some may not have updated for the new season yet but if you send an email I am certain most farms will be happy to accommodate an early request for 2010 as a holiday present.

I Heart MPLS T-Shirt – Locally made t-shirts in a variety of colors & sizes for Men & Women. What better way to express your Minneapolitan Pride? Full disclosure: these are available at a client’s store but he was a longtime friend and former coworker for 20 years at Dayton’s before he became a client, so I feel comfortable adding this great product to the list. The tees are available at Elsworth Menswear store in the Downtown Minneapolis skyway and should be online soon as well. They are much better than anything you’ll find on Cafepress. The T-shirts are only $20.00 each so are the perfect present for the Minne-apple in your life.

Cutting Boards

Wood From The Hood Cutting Boards – If you’re like me and feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach every time you see the red band of death go up on one of the beautiful ancient elms in your neighborhood you’ll be happy to know that even though the diseased trees must be felled there is a fantastic company that is using the wood. You can select them by zip codes of neighborhoods from where the trees originally grew. The boards which cost $20-$33 are available at numerous local stores including Mother Earth Gardens, Natural Built Home, Seward Coop and CorAzon. A great gift for the foodie or anyone who has a kitchen!

Just five Quick suggestions; affordable universal presents that are sure to please and ones that should be easy to pick up at the last minute.

First Impressions – Xerxes to France

So, I just moved to Minneapolis (remember?). So far I’ve had the chance to check out these local establishments between 50th & France and 50th & Xerxes:

  • Beaujo’s Wine Bar and Bistro – great service, tasty bruschetta, and adorably cozy atmosphere – thanks @DeRushaJ for the suggestion!
  • Gallery 360 – I’d spend a lot of money here if I had it – but there are some good deals and steals on local artists’ creations. I did some Christmas shopping, and I bought a couple of hand-made cards for my out-of-state friends. And the ladies working there were super sweet; it was obvious how much pride they take in their shop.
  • Shop in the City – I actually just popped in looking for locally-made Christmas cards, but was directed across the street to Gallery 360 instead. I will,however swing back into this place. There was SO much there, and I will go back.

I keep meaning to swing by Wuollet’s on my way to work, but thanks to having to dig my car out of the snow (thank you snow plows) brush the snow off of my car every day for a week now, I haven’t been able to get my ass out of bed early enough for pastries and safe driving.

Either way, I’m liking this new neighborhood.  Your suggestions have been heeded!

Gifts of Bacon-y Goodness

Fellow local blogger (and fellow lover of bacon), Emily, recently alerted me to the existence of Baconnaise. I will be ordering myself some of this spreadable goodness soon, as she’s already discussed it’s bacon-y perfection on grilled cheese and fried egg sandwiches.

Imagine my excitement then, when so shortly after hearing of that, this afternoon while perusing my neighborhood Patina store (in my case, the one at Selby and Snelling in St. Paul), I happened upon no less than such wondrous gifts as bacon-flavored dental floss (ok, maybe that’s a little weird), bacon-flavored toothpicks, and band-aids that look like strips of bacon.

So if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your bacon-loving families and friends… our friends at local Patina stores can hook you up.

Making it through the holidays

Finance and Commerce reports Retail: Holiday spending projected to plummet 11.7% in Twin Cities.

David Brennan, co-director of UST’s Institute of Retailing Excellence, characterized results of the survey, released Wednesday, as “the bleakest holiday spending season” since the survey started in 2002. In dollar terms, retailers in the 13-county metropolitan area can expect holiday shoppers to ring up $832 million during the upcoming holiday season – down $102 million from what was spent last year. On a per-household basis, people surveyed by UST indicated they would spend an average of $663 this year, compared with $751 in 2007. 

During the holidays I’m happy just spending time with friends and family and I’ve never been really good at receiving gifts. I tend to have most of the little affordable things and the things I want typically cost way too much for someone to buy as a gift. I like it when someone makes me art or offers to help out with a project around the house. It seems like I always have some sort of painting,taping, or other type of household project going on. Last year my family finally started drawing names, which has been a big help. Has your family done anything to lessen the burden of the holidays?

What are you gift plans for making it through the tough times?

*Edit* per Bob’s comment – If you’re taking the buy Mn route, what are the best places to get local/Mn gifts?


The RNC and Sarah Palin are Helping Minnesota’s Economy

By spending a shit-ton of money on clothes for Sarah Palin.

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

The RNC certainly got more bang for their buck here, with that whole no-sales-tax-on-clothes thing. $75,000 at Neiman Marcus! That’s fancy downtown shopping. Not even at the MOA or the Galleria. Suck it, Bloomington and Edina!


  • twin_cities: ISO grassy metro parks for a guinea pig festival! “The grass has to be chemical free as dozens of hungry guinea pigs will be snacking on and simultaneously fertilizing it.” OMG SO KYOOT!
  • MPR: College of St. Catherine to become a university. “The new name hasn’t been determined, but will include ‘St. Catherine’s’ and ‘university.'”
  • Minneapolis Issues Forum: Do Idaho’s bike safety statutes make more sense?
  • MinnPost: How we’re doing so far. Joel Kramer reports in on the first six months of MinnPost. “ has more than 100,000 absolute monthly unique visitors, as measured by Google Analytics. This makes us the most-visited local-news website in Minnesota that is not driving traffic to itself from a legacy medium, like TV, radio or print.”
  • Minnesota Monitor: Congress studies wrong city for RNC disaster preparedness. “The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that Minneapolis’ Hennepin County Medical Center did not have sufficient capacity to handle a terrorist attack. The committee completely overlooked St. Paul’s Regions Hospital, which would be the first responder in the unlikely event of a terrorist attack on the RNC.”
  • Southwest Journal: Neighborhood organizations are adjusting their fundraising strategies in preparation for the loss of NRP funding. They mention Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association; Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc.; and East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association.
  • City of Minneapolis: Sustainability Initiatives
  • City of St Paul: Sustainable Saint Paul
  • The Deets: Ed looks at recent reports on the link between local food environments (i.e., stores/restaurants in your neighborhood) and obesity and diabetes. Ed’s theory: “The distance you drive to buy groceries effects how you shop.”

I Rant Therefore I Am

When we moved into the new casa last fall we realized there’d be things that needed fixing right away. For example; all of the kitchen appliances were circa 1980 and either didn’t work or only half worked.

In comes our favorite appliance store ApplianceSmart.
In the past we had used ApplicanceSmart a few times and been pleased with the quality and price.

Well, this time things started out badly and as is often the case when things start out poorly they only became worse. 

 The sales associate was hounding, which I can understand to a point since they are paid from commission, but he was new and not very knowledgeable on the products.

 Thent he lost our order, then he placed the wrong order, and finally he “upgraded” our fridge to a more expensive model for free.

Sounds good right? If only.


My Back Hurts Already.

It’s gardening time in the land of Minneapolis Metbloggers so let’s take some poetic license and spread the seeds of information.


I spent my early afternoon shopping for garden supplies. I needed to buy a few trees, replacements for those destroyed in last fall’s big wind storm, and to browse for some new gardening ideas. 

I found an interesting annual called the daisy vine that grows 5-8′ and flowers all summer and I bought a few whitespire birch trees. Bachmans is having a tree sale that includes 15% off and free delivery for all trees, except pines.

Any other gardening deals happening we should all know about? Anyone else getting worked up to garden? 


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