I’m having a moment of appreciation for fashion, food, friends, and the wonder of connections. What’s stimulated this moment is the voice of Julie Andrews in my head. The speakers are turned up high, and she’s singing a verse from My Favorite Things. Do you remember it?
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver-white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
One time of the day when I think of my favorite things is around 3am. I don’t know if you wake up in the middle of the night with a busy mind, but when that happens to me I try to wipe the to-do list out of my head and think about a few of my favorite things.
Those favorite things often lead me to scenes and smells in Fargo, North Dakota.
Favorite Fargo things: new friends
Sandi lives in Fargo. We met through my blog. She wrote to me and shared the fact that she’s a native North Dakotan and a farm girl like me. We even share the same birthday. She hoped we’d have a chance to meet one day.
The next time I flew into Fargo, I called her and a tradition was born. When the plane touches down in Fargo in the late afternoon—that’s if the connection in Denver goes well—I meet her, her husband Paul, and my niece Jessie at the HoDo on Broadway. The HoDo is a cool restaurant and bar that’s part of Hotel Donaldson, which is way cool. Often, my twin brother Brent is with me.
We have drinks and nibbles. The laughs and stories get better and better as the night goes on. You might not expect this from North Dakotans, but we’re pretty darn fun people. There’s nothing like being with friends who share a history of place, especially a low populated place that’s mostly known for its wind chill.
This fall I spent my first night in Fargo at Sandi and Paul’s house. Sandi was going to drive me the next day to Perham where I’d spend the week with Dad.
Finding my favorite scones at Nichole’s
The next morning we headed to another favorite place of mine: Nichole’s Fine Pastry and Cafe.
I had to get my currant scone fix. No place has better currant scones than Nichole’s in Fargo. You don’t see any of them in the picture of this case, because I bought the three remaining scones that were there. I’d have them to munch on them throughout the week in Perham.
Take a peek at these cakes. Nicole’s won the Best Cakes in North Dakota award. I think I read that in People magazine.
Fashion delights in Nichole’s
The best place to spot great fashion on real people is at Nichole’s. As much as I love the pastries, salads, soups, and sandwiches, I love watching people in line. Even my twin brother Brent, notices fine fashion and points out people to watch. Every time I’m there, one to five patrons get the Brenda gaze. I try to be discreet, but there are times when I have to go up to individuals and compliment them on their outfits.
It happened again on this trip.
Sandi and I were enjoying lunch. The lunch line got pretty long, and I had my eye on three lovely women standing next to each other. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I got up to get a glass of water and broke into their conversation.
“I can’t help but notice you beautiful ladies. You look so great! Is there a special occasion why you’re altogether today?” I said.
The tallest woman was wearing a white coat. Who doesn’t love the bold choice of a white coat? She told me that they were in a workshop. Miss White Coat helps models and actors prepare their portfolios. Her two students were getting prepared for a trip to Chicago for auditions. Her students looked fabulous. I was sure they’d nail it. “What a terrific service!” I told Miss White Coat. “Well, you just all look great, and I had to tell you so.”
I got my water and sat down with Sandi who had noticed them too.
I couldn’t let this fashion moment pass
A few minutes later out of the corner of my eye I saw the white coat come off as the image coach took her seat to have lunch. I saw the head-to-toe black outfit that had been underneath the coat. It had so much interest. I told Sandi, “I just have to go and talk to her again. That black outfit is just too fantastic.”
I marched to her table and said, “Excuse me, but this outfit is incredible. I write about fashion for my blog. I’d love to highlight your outfit in a post. It’s an example of how to mix black separates and create interest with the mix of textures.”
I worried that I was sounding like a doofus, so I did what everyone does when they’re nervous: I kept talking. “I don’t live here, I live in California, but I’m from here,” I said.
“Oh, what’s your name?” she asked.
“Brenda Kinsel? I have your book at home! I met you in 2000 when you spoke at the Women’s Showcase at the FargoDome. I was in my 20’s and I wanted to work with women in their 40’s. I had a wardrobe consulting practice and you were my role model. You were doing what I wanted to be doing,” she said.
That’s when Miss White Coat turned into Natalie Sparrow and we had a hug fest. I mean, what are the chances? Over the last nearly twenty years, she’s expanded her scope. Her company is Ultimate Image Management.
This whole conversation evolved over about ten minutes. Connections like these don’t happen every day, and aren’t they grand when they do? That bubble of time at Nichole’s is a memory I cherish.
So when I’m awake in the middle of the night, it’s not so bad. I have time to think about some of my favorite things: family, good food, great friends, inspiring fashion, Fargo, and the wonder of personal connections.
My friends, what are some of your favorite things? Do share!