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Minneapolis, MN // May 2015

This past Spring, Artspace awarded me with the Dejunius Hughes Award for Activism for my creative activism work with Blindfold Magazine and with various organizations. Artspace is an amazing organization that develops affordable spaces for artists to live and work in. Their headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minnesota, so they flew me out there for the awards ceremony. This was not a city I had ever imagined I would travel to, but I am so glad I did. My favorite things about the city:

1) The Culture: There is so much exciting culture there for music, theater and the LGBTQ community. The bar scene is also pretty cool. I went to some breweries and a couple of hipster spots that were intriguing.

2) The City Planning: I got pretty excited about their transit systems here because I ride my bike as often as possible, but Fort Lauderdale is a death trap for cyclists. In Minneapolis, they created bike lanes on the inside of street-parked cars so that you are as safe as possible. Minneapolis is ranked as one of the best biking city in the country. There is also a very convenient train system that will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go. These combined features limits the number of cars on the roads, which also decreases the number of accidents and amount of waste.

My friend, neighbor and fellow #LadieswithaLens creative, Tabatha Mudra, flew out to Minneapolis with me to explore the city and to support me at the ceremony.

This is the public train that I was referring to before. And Tabatha holding both of our coffees.

I'm all about outdoor adventures so we took the train out to see Minnehaha Falls.

Minnehaha Falls is inside of Minnehaha Park, so we rented bikes and road around until we found this beautiful scene.

We wanted to get closer to the waterfall, so we broke into a "restricted" area.

I think everyone must ignore them because there were some people sitting on the rocks behind the falls. We also saw a girl trying to climb over there wearing flip flops. I thought I was going to see her fall to her death, but thankfully that didn't happen.

I felt like a creep taking this photo, especially when they spotted me, but it was so adorable that I had to capture it.

She had an allergic reaction to the pollen after this photo was taken, but I'd say it was worth it.

I was so incredibly nervous to speak in front of the audience of 100+ people and via livestream. I also challenged myself to memorizing my speech. It is a challenge I am proud of myself for completing. One of my life goals is to be able to speak to high school and college students on how they can help others by giving back, raising awareness for causes and mentoring. I have made a NEW challenge for myself since my Artspace speech, which is to sign up for Toastmasters to improve on my public speaking skills.

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