Minnesota and Alligators-Two Words that DO NOT Belong Together


I love shows on Animal Planet or the Travel Channel that explores exotic places or showcases the ball-sey individuals who can deal with things like rattlesnakes, alligators and sharks.

I’ve often thought, “I am SO glad I live in Minnesota and don’t have to deal with ANY of those things!”….


Firmly entrenched in the category of “WhiskeyTangoFoxTrot” (WTF) are these two lovely bits of new from my hometown.

Article #1 (July 12, 2016)

Baby alligator found in Barrows

Minnesota alligators

SHUT the front DOOR!


Oh wait…it gets better.

Article #2 (July 20, 2016)

Another alligator found in central Minnesota

Bring Me the News stated, “There’s an infestation in the Brainerd Lakes area and it’s not of mosquitoes – it’s alligators.”


For REalZ?

Now, you may be asking yourself, “where did they come from?” YEAH. WE’D LIKE TO KNOW THAT TOO.

Rumors have flown around on social media involving everything from them being released from an illegal alligator farm in a neighboring county to them being escapees from a local wildlife park. All told there have been three sightings of these swamp monsters in an area that is used to dealing with things like skunks and bears. THREE SIGHTINGS. I seriously am afraid to let my kids swim in a lake. Did I mention we live in The Land of 10,000 Lakes?

The only comforting thing (and this can be viewed as a sad thing too) is that there is no way these poor buggers (if there are more…and I believe there is) will never survive a Minnesota winter.

Honestly, I have never wished for an extremely cold winter so bad in my life. And “17 weeks until winter” sounded too soon, now it sounds like an eternity.



A New Option for Plus Size Consignment Shops In Minnesota

Stacked Boutique

As a mom of an almost  3 year-old little boy named, Luca, (who she describes as “kind of the coolest kid on the planet”) Michele Starbeck discovered that, like most moms, her body shape and size changed after the birth of her son.

“Having a baby and being a mom is amazing,” Michele shared. “But I haven’t really felt great about myself since, especially when shopping. I missed the cute boutiques and variety of clothing, but it was hard to find things in my new size. About a year ago I Googled ‘plus size consignment’ and was really surprised to not find anything near me. It kind of bugged me for a few days so I called a friend who works at a vintage shop in St. Paul and picked her brain. As it turns out, there is a high demand for plus size consignment clothing, just not a lot of options on where to buy them.”

Being an ambitious person by nature, Michele shared that she did some research on the topic. She even posted her idea within a plus size Facebook Group and the response was an overwhelming “YES!” Within an hour or two there were 100+ women begging her to please create a plus-sized consignment shop in the Savage, MN area. Fueled by the information she had gathered and the support of others, Michele went into action

“I started a business plan for my consignment store dream, but was planning on implementing it at a later date. But then the location on West 124th street fell into my lap. I totally wasn’t ready, but remembered the lesson my dad had taught me. His words, “If we didn’t do anything until we were ready, we’d never do anything” inspired me to just go for it! I signed the lease and started transforming the location from a dark dated antique store to a bright airy sparkly boutique!



Stacked Boutique

I’m so blessed to have had the help and support of my boyfriend who (thank God) does construction and helped every step! My mom was a big help too and was always there to calm me down when things weren’t going right. Stacked Consignment is officially open now and I am blessed beyond measure thanks to the support of family and friends. I’m so excited to give women a place to shop and chat and feel beautiful and encouraged and worthy.”

Stacked Consignment  is located on 4740 w. 124th street Savage mn 55378. You can visit Michele’s website or connect with her on Facebook.
Hours are Tuesday 1-5
Wednesday 1-7
Saturday 10-7
We accept and sell items starting at size 14/xl on the tag including maternity
We also have handbags scarves belts shoes boots etc
We are the only plus size exclusive consignment shop in the South Metro and I think one of two in the whole metro! We cater to plus sizes because it’s crazy that 67% of the population is over a 14 and less than 30% of brands even go above a 14/16. We tried to make our store look and feel like a beautiful boutique because plus size women are tired of stores that feel like warehouses, we deserve the fancy boutique experience too! :) Hope to see you soon!

Healthy Summer Grillers! Chicken Skewers Sizzle

By Shellie Cibuzar, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

 On a summer day, spicy chicken skewers sizzling on the grill are one of my mouth-watering favorites.

Grilling often focuses on meats, especially beef and pork. Opting for chicken or turkey instead gives you a meal that’s lower in fat and calories, which is ideal for managing your weight. Poultry is also a good source of protein as well as essential nutrients and vitamins.

A spice rub or marinade can add high-impact flavor to chicken. I recommend blending your spices with grapeseed oil, which keeps the flavor in and also helps prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill. Remember to give your grill plenty of time to preheat so the chicken gets safely and evenly cooked.

This recipe is from chef and television host Ainsley Harriott. It’s low in fat and a breeze to prepare. If you’re entertaining, make the marinade the night before and you’ll have more time to spend with guests.

Sticky Garlic Chicken Skewers

Chicken Skewers


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, or you can use mild
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak twelve,10-inch bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes. Mix together garlic, honey, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot pepper sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in chicken and stir until well combined. Transfer to a non-metallic dish, cover and marinate for 20-30 minutes or overnight. Prepare grill, or preheat broiler to high. Thread marinated chicken on to skewers. Grill for 5-6 minutes. Or, arrange on foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 6 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally until well browned and cooked through. Serve with mixed salad and baby new potatoes.

Nutrition information

  • Servings: 4
  • Calorie: 221
  • Protein: 28 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 21 gr
  • Total fat: 4 gr
  • Saturated fat: 1 gr
  • Fiber: 1 gr
  • Sodium: 636 mg

Essentia Health


Shellie Cibuzar, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

Learn more about Essentia Health of Brainerd and Duluth HERE


Taking on Tiny Ticks: What you need to know about Deer Ticks

{shared with permission from Essentia Health of Brainerd, MN}

Taking on tiny ticks

Tiny ticks are becoming a big problem in the Brainerd Lakes area. A growing number of people are getting sick from diseases carried by the black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in Minnesota and Wisconsin so that’s the one everyone thinks about first, says Dr. Kevin Stephan, an Essentia Health infectious disease specialist. But ticks also spread anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, a parasite that infects red blood cells.

Adult deer ticks are tiny – about the size of a sesame seed. That’s why many people don’t realize they’ve been bitten until they have symptoms.

Prevention is key, says Dr. Stephan, who reminds you to do a thorough check of your body after being outdoors. Your risk is greatest from late spring through mid-summer, when ticks are most active. Ticks are active again in fall. Treat your skin with a repellant that includes DEET and your clothing with permithrin, which is available at sporting goods stores, he advises.

deer ticks

Dr. Kevin Stephan, an Essentia Health infectious disease specialist, uses four black sesame seeds to demonstrate the size of deer ticks.

Tick-borne illnesses can range from mild to severe. Fever often brings people to the doctor. Other symptoms feel like the flu, such as severe body aches and headaches.

All four tick-borne diseases are easily treated, Dr. Stephan says, but Lyme disease can have lasting effects if it’s not caught early.


deer ticks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deer or black-legged ticks are tiny. Adult females are red-brown. Males, which don’t bite, are darker. These ticks can transmit a number of diseases, most often from late spring to mid-summer and again in the fall while in the nymph stage.


  • Tuck pants into socks or boots
  • Insect repellent application
  • Check yourself often
  • Know symptoms of tick-borne illnesses: fever, chills, muscle aches, severe headache or bull’s-eye rash


With a tweezers, grasp tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull tick backwards to gently remove. Some small parts can remain. Key is to get tick’s stomach, where bacteria live. Wash the area.


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