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


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.


In May, We Preserve.

Let me set this scene for you. I’m currently sitting on my patio, listening to The Current, drinking a Fulton Lonely Blonde, wearing my favorite Vikings sweatshirt. Could I get any more Minnesotan?   It’s kind of insufferable, I know. But damn, spring in this state is the BEST. Have I ever told you guys how I love the month of May. Oh, yeah, I think I have [obligatory link to previous post]. For real though, it is the best month of the year.

Did you know it is PRESERVATION MONTH (… you should because I told you all about it the post I referenced above ^^^^)? The National Trust for Historic Preservation dedicates the month of May to raising awareness of preservation advocacy across the country. This is something very near and dear to my heart and I want YOU to take full advantage of all the wonderful preservation-y things going on this month. Links should direct you to more details on each event, those marked in purple (because, Prince.) – you will definitely see me at (you know, if you wanna say hi or something).


Ready. Set. Go.

Continue reading “In May, We Preserve.”

Tech High School: St. Cloud’s Past, St. Cloud’s Future

This time last year I was just finishing up a three month process of researching schools. A subject that, to be honest, has never interested me. I guess, on some level, I’ve always understood that schools are important, but I could have never anticipated the piles of research, hours of reading and the depth of knowledge that existed, centered around one topic: schools and their impact on community.

Continue reading “Tech High School: St. Cloud’s Past, St. Cloud’s Future”

Dominium’s A-Mill Artist Lofts

You may, or may not, know that I started a new position with Dominium Development last August. Dominium is a great organization that specializes in multi-family, affordable, housing projects. Some of their recent, more high-profile, projects are Schmidt Artist Lofts in St. Paul and A-Mill Artist Lofts in Minneapolis.

Our company holiday party took place at A-Mill last week and I thought you guys might like a little peak inside!

Continue reading “Dominium’s A-Mill Artist Lofts”

My Day at St. Cloud Tech High School

Today I took a little road trip to St. Cloud to take a tour of St. Cloud Tech High School. You’ll remember, I wrote a post about the school back in February as I was concerned about the school district’s decision to vacate the building in favor of building a new school on the south edge of town.

Well, the referendum to fund construction of a new school was defeated last November. I was interviewed by Kevin Allenspach at the St. Cloud Times regarding my thoughts on the school and its location, read that here. Since the article I’ve been lucky enough to connect with many people who share my concern for the school, and a couple of us got together today to take a tour of the building. I’ll expound upon my tour in a later post – but in the meantime here is a collection of my Snapchats from the day!

Be sure to add me on Snapchat: cvlovesmn

Stay tuned for more updates!