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10 Minnesota blogs that deserve your attention in 2010

Doniree, Leora Maccabee and Jennifer Emmert
Three of the Minnesota bloggers to watch (and read) in 2010, left to right: Doniree, Leora Maccabee of TC Jewfolk and Jennifer Emmert of Prior Fat Girl.

Over the last several years, Minnesota has developed one of the most thriving blog cultures in the country.

Minnesota blogs such as Powerline, PharyngulaMy Charming Kids, House of Turquoise and 22 Words have all garnered national followings. 


We also have a strong crop of local bloggers who've achieved micro-celebrity status, including Bill Roehl, David Erickson, Ed Kohler, Erik Hare and Alexis Mckinnis.

Who's next to break through?

There are several contenders, dozens of talented Minnesotans who blog thoughtfully on topics they are passionate about.

So as we head into a new year, I've pulled together a list of the top 10 excellent Minnesota blogs that you probably haven't read before. They all deserve your attention in 2010.

10. Switchblade Comb 
Thousands of media companies make millions of dollars each year publishing information and news about the national movie scene. But who's watching over the movie scene in the Twin Cities?

Switchblade Comb is the product of three guys who all worked together at the Uptown Theater. During long work conversations, they decided there was hardly anyone publishing information on the local movie scene and that there was a hole to fill. They were right. 

The site pivots back and forth between a site about local films, nationwide releases and entertainment in general. It is at its most effective when informing readers about upcoming local entertainment events that might not otherwise get much attention, such as a schedule of upcoming movies at the Walker Art Center. 

9. Doniree
Originally from Memphis, Doniree's warm Southern charm and overall passion radiates through the words and photos on her site. Who else would have their "Life List"  of priorities posted up on their site for the world to read?  

She has little motive for her blog other than connecting with other Minnesotans and forming a sense of community. 

"I don't determine the value of my blog or a particular post by the quantity of comments or reactions," she explained. "Forming real connections with other readers is amazing."

8. Get A Film 
Can a film change your life? Daniel Getahun at Get A Film believes it can, and that's why he's been cranking out volumes of copy on films over the last three years. He exhaustively rates movies from 1-10 in areas ranging from acting to music to social significance, tallying up the movie's final grade with the precision of a math teacher. 

"You watch, you think, you discuss, and you grow -- depending on how you look at it, every film you see has the potential to change how you live your life," he said. 

For a taste of his philosophy on movies, I suggest consuming his recent review of “A Serious Man.”

7. An Amber Colored Life
Amber Carter does not want you to take her or her blog seriously. After all, she deals with serious issues all day at work and blogging is supposed to be fun, right? 

This point of view is not an uncommon among bloggers. What makes An Amber Colored Life unique is Amber's distinct writing voice that shines above the many other average writers who attempt humorous indifference online.

Like most strong writers, her character is best displayed when she's upset. Case in point: Her post earlier this month about the rise of mystical wolf t-shirts.

6. Borangutan 
What does the future hold for the local Twin Cities music scene? Skelly, editor-in-chief of Borangutan, and his all-volunteer staff ponder this question every day. 

They've developed a site and a brand focused wholly on the local music scene to "help local artists reach younger audiences around Minnesota." 

The obstacle, as Skelly tells it, is that most local musicians are relegated to the downtown areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. So the bands have trouble connecting with younger listeners in the outlying suburbs who are hungry for new music.

And as for the funny site name, it all started with and episode of  “Orangutan Island” on Animal Planet and a night of drinking at O'Gara's Garage. We'll just leave it at that. 

5. What Would Dad Say?
G.L. Hoffman began began blogging about career searching a few years back and has developed a delightfully direct blogging voice. 

The chairman of JobDig and LINKUP.com, Hoffman's sharply written advice is at times blunt. But as the title suggests, it’s reminiscent of stern, fatherly advice. 

He demonstrates his skill at conveying timeless advice in short pieces with a recent post that uses the Tiger Woods' fall from grace as a way to share career networking tips. 

Like most bloggers, Hoffman has embraced the concept of "connecting" through social media. And he has embraced Twitter.

"I think Twitter is a bit like shouting at people walking by you at the Mall," he said. "But every once in a while you learn or meet something or someone very important."


4. Prior Fat Girl

Jennifer Emmert was out for a run  this past summer when she noticed a couple running toward her, apparently doing some kind of training.

Emmert was about to realize just how much of an impact her blog has had on the world. 

"As they passed me, the lady turned and screamed ‘PRIOR FAT GIRL!!!’ I lost my breath and didn’t know what to do! To be recognized? I can write on a blog but can I talk? What? So many thoughts flashed through my head, and but I just kept running," she said. "Like a dork, I didn’t even stop to talk or say hi or turn back and wave."

Emmert's Prior Fat Girl blog details her excruciating -- yet successful -- journey through weight loss. She's vividly honest in her writing, holding nothing -- and I mean nothing -- back. 

And she's brave enough to post before-and-after pictures

(Note: Emmert changed servers over the weekend, and as a result her blog won’t be available until later today.)

3. TC Jewfolk
There are about 32,000 Jews between the ages of 18 and 50 in the Twin Cities. Leora Maccabee wants every single one of those people to visit her site, TC JewFolk, in the next two years. 

Maccabee, an attorney with Maslon Law Firm during the day,- helps jam the site with content ranging from Hanukkah recipes to Jewish dating advice to Israeli politics. 

Along with her managing editor, Emily Cornell, Maccabee hopes that her site will become a hub for younger Jewish people in Minnesota.

"We're young, we're hip, we're Jewish," she said. "We're writing for our community."

2. I Will Dare
Experience matters in the blog world. You can tell within a few seconds of reading if a blogger actually has purpose and is worth your precious reading time.  

It'd be difficult to find a Minnesota blogger with more experience than Jodi Chromey, who began her I Will Dare blog on July 31, 2000, before few knew what a blog was. 

"I've never changed URLs, never quit, never took a six-month hiatus, never turned it into an online magazine," she said. "It's just me, writing about about my life on the Internet for a long, long time." 

Her blog is nothing more than an online journal, an engaging and emotional public measure of her life against the larger world.

Posts such as "The Dawson's Dilemma"  and "It happened to me, therefore it is good" are indicative of a master at the top of her craft.

"When I started I Will Dare I never really thought other people would read it," Chromey said. "I figured it'd be me and my friend Tim, and that was fine with me."

1. Old and In The Way
Gary Sankary's wife does not read his blog, but her friends do. 

"This has created some great dinner time discussions over the years," he joked. ”It gives us an opportunity for open and honest communication." 

Sankary, a salty 40-something husband, father and native of northern California, writes about family, life experiences and Minnesota weather from the perspective of a middle-aged guy. 

He describes his blog as "Ray Romano meets Red Forman with some Erma Bombeck thrown in." 

Sankary aims for humor, and nails it more often than most others who head to the blogosphere hoping to extract a chuckle from fickle Minnesota readers.

So there you have it, my subjective list. Now feel free to use the comment field and tell me why I am wrong.

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Comments (18)

And just like that, Jennifer Emmert pulls her blog down.

Pharyngula is a den of vipers, but if that's your sort of thing, go for it. One of your 10 blogs seems to have went out of business after your publication (Prior fat girl). At least the only way to see it right now is through goggle cache.

Quick note -- site #4, PriorFatGirl, doesn't appear to be up this morning. I am checking in with Jen to find out what's going on -- I'll keep you posted...

How come you only used pictures of some women bloggers and not of the men?

Update on #4: I just spoke with Jen at 'Prior Fat Girl' and she made a domain change over the weekend and the servers have not caught up yet. She said she was frustrated by the delay, but expects her site to refresh and be back up and running today.

I would like to get some suggestions to possibly get wider distribution of my blog; www.youandmedoweagree.wordpress.com
I post daily on mostly political issues, but I do comment on the sports scene as well, especially Minnesota sports.
Can you guys help me? Thank you.
Cam Obert

But, but, but you missed my favorite blog: http://intelligentguidetoms.wordpress.com .

Powerline is a Minnesota blog?! Well, that's embarrassing.

Thank you for highlighting blogs with something to say. I really do appreciate it when people go out of their way to help each other in the blog world. There is some good stuff there, and none if it had made my radar before.

Thank you also for calling me a "micro celebrity". I'm still not sure that it's a compliment, but it sure sounds accurate. :-) If only this got me some paying work!

Thanks Justin for highlighting TC Jewfolk as one of the top 10 Minnesota blogs to read in 2010. We're thrilled to be one of your recommendations, and look forward to checking out the other blogs you mentioned.

If you're a Minnesota writer and you're reading this, keep in mind that TC Jewfolk is a community blog and we're always looking for new voices. If you think you have something interesting to share, shoot me an email. Thanks!

The fact that you didn't include all my picture is probably best for everyone.
Thanks for the props, I'm in a bit of shock actually. Good news is I have several new blogs to link back to to give my readers good stuff to read.

I have to admit that the public posting of Life List idea, while something that's been swimming in my head for many years and has been a work-in-progress for longer, was actually inspired by some other bloggers who've posted theirs as well. I do love having that public and love the feedback I get on that as I cross things off!

Thank you so much for the kudos! I'm also looking forward to checking out the other bloggers on this list :)

Appreciate the inclusion on the list and the goodwill from the other bloggers! Also, Aaron you should know your blog has been a favorite eye candy stop for me for a while (I'm talking about the pizza). Thanks for taking time to appreciate the greatest food on earth.

Don't forget to highlight some of the many outdoor bloggers living in the state, like http://dharmablog.everyday-beat.org/, www.boundarywatersblog.com, and mine.

Thank you for the hat tip Justin! Minnesota music blogs like ours always need more attention to help spread the deep culture of music our state has to offer. When we get a bump, local artists get a bump, and then hopefully hundreds or thousands of Minnesotans get to spend a righteous Friday, Saturday, or even Wednesday night out listening to local music. An opportunity they may never have had, had it not been for the initial kind words of folks like you.

The Borangs salute you, sir!

Incidentally, this list of yours rocks. The insightful content of these bloggers makes me feel like somewhat of a bottom feeder!

It didn't make your list this year, but you'll be remiss if you don't include Bombshell Beauty (http://www.bombshellbeauty.blogspot.com) in your next list.

Bombshell Beauty is a smart, down-to-earth blog by Sara from the cities. She offers fashion, beauty, and product advice/information in a way you can appreciate - like it's coming from your best friend. It's definitely worth your time. I look forward to reading her latest posts every day.

Take a peek at this blog...one of my faves.

http://www.redheadranting.com/

Don't forget to check out this one:
http://aprilknight.blogspot.com