Tag Archives: Blog Post 1

Soundset cancelled… where can we get some good outdoor music in its place?

For the past 12 years Minnesota’s own Rhymesayers has hosted the Soundset Music Festival; a one day outdoor hip-hop music festival that showcased hundreds of artists from the local to the national level. Past acts have included local artists like Greg Grease, Prof, The Lioness, and Sophia Eris, and national artists such as Da Baby, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Travis Scott. There were multiple stages that hosted different talent such as musicians, DJs, B-Girls/Boys, and other art installations like artists creating graffiti live. The festival was originally hosted in the Metrodome parking lot, then moved to Canterbury Park, and was finally held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to keep up with its large number of attendees. This year on January 24 on their official website, Rhymesayers posted a letter to their fans announcing the show would be cancelled this year to “assess what Soundset will become in the new decade.”

Rhymesayers’ Official Statement: https://rhymesayers.com/news/2020/01/soundset-will-not-take-place-in-2020

The abrupt cancellation of Soundset left many of us to wonder what outdoor concerts do we have to look forward to this summer? Our weather in the summer is usually filled with sunny, warm, and humid days and cooler nights. The perfect setting for live music. After checking around online I found a few music festivals that might fill the void of a large outdoor venue and live music in the Twin Cities. Here are a few local shows that may be of interest to you:

Twin Cities Summer Jam

            Twin Cities Summer Jam is being held July 23rd through the 25th at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN. The festival is hosted by Minneapolis’ local  radio station KFAN and country recording artist Chris Hawkey, and is nominated for USA Today’s Best Emerging Festival. Performances this year range from Carrie Underwood, the Zac Brown Band, Ptibull, Nelly, and of course Chris Hawkey. Tickets for the festival start at $99 for one day or $199 for all three, with package specials and VIP tickets also available. There are campgrounds where you can reserve a camping space, or you can pay to park on the grounds for $20 per day. For more info visit their website at www.tcsummerjam.com.

The Basilica Block Party

            This year will be the Basilica’s 25th year throwing the Basilica Block Party, hosted by Cities 97.1. This outdoor concert is held at The Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis. Although hosted by a church to raise money for its yearly restorations, this festival is not religious and the agenda of the church is not imposed upon its participants. This is a two day festival, July 10th and 11th. This year’s performers include Sylvan Esso, Dermot Kennedy, Hippo Campus, Mister Wives, and Bora York, just to name a few. Tickets start at $60 for a one day pass or $110 for the two day pass. There are also four additional packages like the Fan Zone package that allows you specific stage viewing spaces, and the Hall of Fame package which offers you all of the VIP perks of the other three packages plus free parking and a commemorative t-shirt. There are also opportunities to volunteer to work the festival. Visit www.basilicablockparty.org for more information on how to volunteer, buy tickets, or read more about the performers.

MPRB Music in the Park

            Minneapolis parks and rec centers host a slew of programs and activities over the summer. Some of these opportunities include summer sports for youth and adults, and fitness classes like yoga or pilates. One of my favorite things to do in the parks over the summer is Music in the Parks. Music in the Parks is a weekly concert series hosted at five parks throughout Minneapolis from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The concerts are held at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minnehaha Falls Park, Father Hennepin Park, the Nicollet Island Pavilion, and Bryant Square Park. The shows usually start between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm, and include performances from different Swing, Folk, Rock, Bluegrass, and Classical artists. All of the concerts are free to enter and most times there are food trucks and other local vendors there as well. Go to www.minneapolisparks.org for more information and to find schedules, closer to summer.

Dog aggression vs.play

Did you know that a high majority of dog owners mistakes aggression as play. Dog aggression is always overlooked and that can cause a big problem within community. Yes, dogs can bite, paw, and even wrestle with one another. But, when it goes overboard, owners need to know when to stop it. A part of that comes with being able to read signs, age, and body posture.

Me and my girlfriend own an Australian Shepherd. Every time we play with her in public dog parks, we will always test other dogs behavior first. What we do is walk our dog along the fence and let her greet other dogs from the other side. This is a safety test for dogs to see their temper, attitude, and dominance. It’s a safety precaution for both dogs and owners. You never know which dog is looking for a challenge, especially on heat season.

When we’re in a dog park, playing is natural and seeing the signs are almost basic. A playful dog is also submissive. Meaning they’re willing to show respect towards your dog. Respect is not pawing your dogs rear, not biting and locking the neck, and not dry humping. Because those signs are of dominance and claiming of your dog.

“Discipline isn’t about showing a dog who’s boss; it’s about taking responsibility for a living creature you have brought into your world.” – Cesar Millan

During heat season, dogs can become more aggressive and attack other dogs or people. Dry humping is one sign of masturbation and can be a dog trying to claim another. Biting on the neck is also a sign of dominance and can become an aggression as well. It’s not only a kill aggression, but a way to make other dogs submit by force. With that, if a dog is showing submission, they’ll usually show their stomach. Showing the stomach is a sign of submission, because that’s their most vulnerable body part. Letting other dogs mount onto them can be one sign of submission as well.

Yes, seeing these actions a part of nature. But to own them and let others mistreat them is not okay. Because they are your companion and your property, showing respect and boundaries a must. Knowing aggression and play is something to know about when it comes to your dog. If you want them safe and sane, be more cautious with them.

Knowing when to take your dog away from those situations are vital, because it can be a life saving moment for your dog. It’s not just a discipline, but also a training for yourself. It’s a lesson to know when owning a dog, to treat them like family and friends. You want them to be safe and treated equally, with that comes being mindful of situations and alert of others.

Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness

Success takes longer

Almost three years ago, I quit my job to pursue my passion of becoming Software Developer which has been long dream of mine since childhood. At the time, I had wife and two-year-old who depended on me to support and any decision of quitting my job to pursue dream was difficult. This is because I had to abandon my personal responsibility of taking care my family, but I also knew that unless I take risk with my life for the greater good nobody would hand me an opportunity unless I seek for it and I will be saying what if for the rest of my life. It had been constant struggle in mind for month until I read how Jeff Bezos left six figure salary to start Amazon and it validated my inner thought of pursing my passion. Two months later, I quit my job and signed up coding bootcamp called the Software Guild in Minneapolis and after gruesome 4 months I landed my first job as developer and I am excited that I took that incridible step of pursing my passion.

 If I had not made that decision, I would be stuck cubical somewhere in Minneapolis counting the hours when the day would be over.

We Don’t choose our passion, but we can choose to follow it. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/07/amazon-and-blue-origins-jeff-bezos-on-identifying-your-passion.html


A Road trip to Maryland

This is my life! My life is embedded with the philosophy to helping society and giving back to humanity is what holistically defines me and I love doing what I do. As a community leader working with Liberian immigrant community in the Twin Cities, we gather each year at a designated state, raise funds and purchase instructional and medical supplies for under-privileged children in Liberia. As a person, I feel the world is meaningless IF we as human beings knowingly and unknowingly fail to be our brother’s keepers. We’re on a road to trip to one of our annual conventions in the state of Maryland and I leading this team.

My health rejoices!!

Have you ever felt really good when someone smiles because of what you’ve done for them especially when all hope is gone and you show up and put an unexpected smile on the person face? Have you ever? It’s fun and therapeutically benefitting.


According to research, the physical benefits that come with helping are enormous.

  • It reduces stress. Doing things for others helps maintain good health. …
  • It helps get rid of negative feelings. Negative emotions such as anger, aggression or hostility have a negative impact on our mind and body. …
  • It can help us live longer. Giving and helping others may increase how long we live.

This’s my little girl, Gloria at a nursing home in Maplewood where we volunteer our time helping older folks. Gloria is about to play some songs.

You feel good!!

When you give back to society this what happens!! You’re excited and full of fun and laughter.

Yep – I’m THAT Neighbor…

The above picture may not be exciting to you, but to me it is – I’ve been working for a couple years to get Prairie Smoke plants to grow in a difficult space in my front yard and this spring they came back!! Yep – I’m THAT neighbor. While my yard doesn’t look like The Addams family lives here, you will immediately notice the front lawn has more than its fair share of dandelions and Creeping Charlie (excellent early pollen resources for the bees) and several spaces devoted to native prairie grasses and plants. If you were to look in the back yard, you would see even more native garden spaces (I’m excited to begin this year’s project – converting 50% of the remaining backyard green space back into its natural native prairie state).

If you speak to me one on one for almost any amount of time, my passion for pollinators (including bees and butterflies), the reestablishment of native prairie spaces in city spaces, and hatred of all things green lawn related will come up almost immediately. Things haven’t always been this way for me…it all started around seven years for purely selfish reasons. My divorce was complete, and I was stuck with a much too large house with an even larger yard. It was all too much for one person to maintain, so looking into ways to mow my lawn less was a priority. Almost immediately I found this article: https://healthylandethic.com/2013/11/17/why-prairies-matter-and-lawns-dont/

I bought into its message without hesitation: green grass lawns provide no long-term benefits to our, or the populations of wild animals, living experience. The article provides a great launching pad into this topic that everyone should be informed on. It states the obvious – the overuse of chemicals, combined with the overwatering of lawns is detrimental to our water supply (did you know that 99% of all open bodies of water tested in the United States contain common lawn pesticides?).

The article discusses how native prairies not only provide vital habitat to native birds and pollinators, but how their root systems extend up to 15 feet into the ground (as compared to the few inches that green grass lawns due). Why is that important? All green plants pull carbon gasses out of the air and store them in the ground. Native prairies are one of the most efficient ways we can reduce carbon gas from entering the atmosphere. Prairie root systems are also important for water filtration purposes (not to mention, once established they take little to no watering or maintenance). Be sure to check out the graphic showing different root systems compared to standard lawn grass.

As mentioned, I started looking for ways to cut back on lawn maintenance and it has quickly grown into a passion. As such, I can go on about a variety of topics related to lawns but will stop here for now and ask one thing from you: If you have a lawn, please consider returning some of it to a native state, or at least include native plants in your gardening and landscaping – our world needs it. The more you do, the more you will see your ecosystem change and I promise you that once the bees and butterflies begin showing up, the native birds will as well (it sounds geeky, but it is pretty cool). While you aren’t solving all the world’s problems, you will be contributing to the solution in a tangible way. Who knows, maybe it will become one of your passions that you can spread along to others as well.

Essential Oils

I have heard about essential oils for the past 8 years from various friends and family members but didn’t really put much thought into them myself. That is, until recently. I have battled a 6 week illness that continues to plague me. This effects my sleep, my energy level, my work, my school work and my interaction with people. Round 2 of steroids and round 3 of allergy medications along with 2 doses of anti-biotics had no effect on my illness but really wreaked havoc on my body. It was time to do something different. When I got to week 3 of my illness, conversations began to echo in my head about the natural healing effects of essential oils.

I started with the company Melaleuca as I am already familiar with their products. This is a wellness company that surrounds their whole business around health, preserving nature and overall wellness. We currently only use Melaleuca products to clean our house due to their commitment of using natural ingredients, most notably Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil). I their descriptions of the oils and learning what each can do for the body. I ordered some oils to try these for myself. For more information on Melaleuca products you can go to their site at https://www.melaleuca.com/


I next went to an essential oils “class” at a friend’s house to hear about the importance of the purity and potency of the oils we use. The most important tid-bit of information is that the oils should be 100% PURE Therapeutic grade. I also learned some oils are okay to ingest in small amounts, some oils need a “carrier oil” to ensure the oils will not be uncomfortable on the skin, some oils are better when diffused, and so on. With so much information to digest, Melaleuca recommended a reference book called The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness Paperback – by Nerys Purchon (Author), Lora Cantele (Author). This book is loaded with what each oil can do and provides information on how to blend oils to assist with increasing energy, enhancing sleep, calming an upset tummy, soothing a headache and so much more. Quick tip: Five oils I think everyone should start with and always have on hand are Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil and Bergamot.


So far, I found I sleep better with oils diffusing in my room at night and I breathe easier. (For my night blend I use Lavender, Frankincense, Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil.)  I also found it helpful to diffuse oils in my office during the day for energy and clarity. (For this I use Lemon, Bergamot, Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint.) There are many websites and Pins on Pinterest to help guide your way into the use of essential oils. One site I find helpful in knowing how to use oils for specific needs is http://www.edensgarden.com/pages/health  You can also ask your massage therapist, chiropractor or a local health enthusiast for recommendations on how oils can add to your health and every day life. (We are lucky to have Elise Pederson as a resident expert in all things natural health and wellness.) I hope you are intrigued and inspired to venture into the world of essential oils and benefit from what they can do for you.