Cloudless in St. Cloud

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Hi from St. Cloud, Minnesota!

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It is absolutely PERFECT in St. Cloud right now.  Warm and sunny but just breezy enough… And everyone here is SO nice.  I can’t get over how nice people are in Minnesota!


Normally, for Operation Beautiful events, I pop in and out over 24 hours, but I have two events over two days + a travel home day.  That meant I had a travel-free day (today!) in the middle, which was so nice.  I’m actually staying on campus in the dorms (well, a special ‘guest suite’ that’s more like a private apartment), and it’s been pretty fun to loiter on campus, eat in the dining halls, and hang out in the rec room during my down times.  Takes me back!


You know what has drastically improved about dorm life since 2002?  The food.  So much healthier!


Last night’s event was the big general event.  My presentation went well.  They served the students bags of popcorn to eat as I talked <— awesome idea!

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This morning, I slept late and then woke up and rolled around bed for a good hour, absolutely relishing the free time.  Eventually, I got up and got dressed for a walk.


I have not exercised in about a week – no really legit excuses, I’ve just been crunched for time or too tired to make it happen.  So my 30 minute stroll felt EXTRA amazing.

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For lunch, I went to an Indian restaurant that is rated the #1 restaurant in all of St. Cloud on Trip Advisor.  They had a lunch buffet, which was delicious.  Indian food never photographs well, does it?  But dang – it’s tasty.


I had a fun parenting milestone after lunch – Henry called me on the phone and we had a legit phone conversation. Meaning I asked him questions and he actually responded appropriately. It lasted 5 minutes too (AKA forever in toddler land).  Kristien took him to the Day Out With Thomas event this morning (it’s basically a big festival where you can ride a real Thomas train, play with a ton of train tracks, go through a maze and jump on bouncy houses, and meet characters from the show).  Henry told me all about it from beginning to end, including the part where he met Mr. Toppen Hatt and it was really scary.


Kristien said that when he saw the man dressed up in a Mr. Toppen Hatt character suit, he started to scream NO NO NO NO and then turned on his heel and ran away – and ended up clotheslining himself on a rope and falling flat on his face!  Ahhhh.  Poor Henry! 


Note to self: Disney would probably not go over well right now…


Thankfully, otherwise he loved the event.  I am so sad that I had to miss it!  But hearing about it secondhand on the phone was pretty cool, too.


This afternoon, I did a second presentation to Residential Advisors on how to implement Operation Beautiful programming on their floors.  This was a special event that I crafted just for St. Cloud – I had a lot of fun going through the hundreds upon hundreds of Operation Beautiful emails from schools who have done their own things and compiling their ideas into one big presentation.  People are so creative with what they do!

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So – that was my day!  I’d say I was beat, but it’s actually been pretty relaxing.  Maybe I should go away for work more often… Hah.



  • Ellen September 26, 2014, 8:37 pm

    Welcome to Minnesota!

  • Julie September 26, 2014, 8:47 pm

    We were at the Day Out with Thomas today too and as my son was running through the maze I looked over and realized that was your husband and son. Too cool! It looked like they were having a blast.

    • Caitlin September 26, 2014, 9:01 pm

      Oh so cool!!! Hope you had fun 🙂

  • Lauryn September 26, 2014, 9:20 pm

    Welcome to Minnesota!!

  • Carrie (This Fit Chick) September 27, 2014, 12:51 am

    I absolutely LOVE Operation Beautiful. I am literally heading over now to see if there are any events near me! That Indian food looks delicious! I haven’t had Indian in years!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 27, 2014, 7:46 am

    I love that you’re able to travel and spread such a positive message! I’m sure it’s hard to be away from your family when that happens, but it’s definitely a goal of mine…one that I’m hoping I’m getting closer to achieving… 😉

  • Carrie September 27, 2014, 9:39 am

    I’m so happy that you’re enjoying your time in St. Cloud! I’m from Minnesota (currently living in Colorado) and whenever I hear people mention how “nice” we are, I’m reminded that I’m proud to have grown up there!

  • Rebecca September 27, 2014, 11:43 am

    Aw, you were only an hour from me! And I had yesterday off… Wish I’d known you were in the area!
    Glad we could show you some good weather! 🙂 Good, job, MN.

  • Nicole September 27, 2014, 1:47 pm

    When my nephew was Henry’s age, he was terrified of people in suits. If someone suggested going to Chik-Fil-A (where they occasionally have a person in a cow suit) he would get very anxious and shake his head, “No cow! No cow!”

  • Cara September 28, 2014, 8:25 am

    Caitlin! I’m about 10 minutes away from you in St. Joseph! Where was your conference at?

  • homemadehay September 29, 2014, 12:06 am

    Welcome to MN! Hope your other event takes you to the Twin Cities. Such gems in the middle of the country. We’re blessed to live here. Next time schedule a January event! 😉

  • Katie September 29, 2014, 9:46 am

    Oh man, had I know you were in St. Cloud I would have driven over, I’m pretty sure I know where you had lunch, and that place is amazing!

  • Kerry September 29, 2014, 9:50 am

    What is in that rice/salad dish? It looks AMAZING. I just had breakfast and I still want to eat that right now.

  • Melissa September 29, 2014, 11:17 am

    You were in my town!!! Did you go to Star of India for lunch? They have some tasty food. Would have totally loved to meet up with you. Been a long time reader. You came at a perfect time weather wise. Gorgeous weekend indeed.

    • Caitlin September 29, 2014, 11:41 am

      Yes it was so good!!

  • Julie September 29, 2014, 11:58 am

    Little kids’ reactions to the big costume characters cracks me up. When my daughter was about Henry’s age, I took her to an Easter egg hunt. In the middle of the hunt, while she was intently filling her basket, I caught sight of the Easter Bunny making his way across the field. I thought, “Uh-oh…” Sure enough, as soon as she saw him, her basket was up-ended, & she was high-tailin’ it in the opposite direction!

  • Kim September 29, 2014, 1:05 pm

    I wish I’d known you were going to be in St. Cloud! I would’ve tried to sneak into the speaking event!! When I saw the first line, I thought, no way was it OUR St. Cloud! Glad we had some good weather for you!

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 29, 2014, 1:15 pm

    I live in NYC, so when I went to Rochester, MN last year for work it was definitely a breath of fresh air to encounter so many friendly people. I’m from Kentucky, so I’m used to “nice folks” but the grind of the city can be tough at times. Sounds like you had a really nice trip!

  • Melissa September 29, 2014, 3:49 pm

    Totally cool to see pics of the town I used to live nearby for 5 years!(Coincidentally we live north of Charlotte now). Minnesota is and always will be where my heart is. So glad they could show you a good time.

  • Jen in SC September 30, 2014, 9:38 pm

    Awww, St Cloud!! I smiled so huge when I saw this post. We lived in St Cloud for over 7 years. Just moved south from there last summer, in fact.
    While I like the climate in SC a whole lot better – I STILL miss Lake George. We lived in walking distance and that place just kept getting better and better.
    Love your St Cloud MN pics! 🙂

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