Lake Michigan with mom and Linley

Yesterday I decided to take my dog, Linley, up north to hang out on the beach and do some hiking. Luckily my mom was able to join us and we had a fun, all-day adventure!

Linley and I picked my mom up early and we headed north around 7:00am. Before we headed toward the beach, we found a unique cafe where everything was gluten, dairy and soy free. We had to sip some iced coffee, indulge in morning pastries and take some photos on the butterfly bench!

Once we replenished, we ventured toward Empire Beach. This took as longer than we’d thought, however, because our GPS didn’t take us to the dog-friendly area like I’d hoped. We may have lost an hour of time, but we made up for it elsewhere.

I may be a prepared dog mom, but my mom is the prepared human mom! She brought us so many snacks and even some matching hats. I would’ve traveled north with Linley myself, but it’s always better when she’s around, too!

Linley had so much fun in the sand! We found a cool place where he had plenty of shade and could dig to make himself even cooler. We were on the beach for about an hour or so; we even put Linley’s life jacket on so he could swim a little!

After my mom and I had enough of the heat, we headed toward Empire Trail where we could all experience some shade. The trail is tucked back in the woods and once you reach the end, you’re in the midst of pristine sand dunes. My mom was intrigued by markings in the trees, where as Linley was busy leaving his mark on all the trees!

I didn’t capture many photos from yesterday; simply being with my mom and pup meant the world to me. Thankfully my mom took a sweet photo of Linley napping under our bench…

After we rested on the bluffs, we headed back down the trail, enjoyed a nice dinner in downtown Traverse City, and were back on the road again. Linley was fantastic in the car, on the beach and during our hikes; I can’t imagine going on these adventures without him (or without my mom for that matter)!

January Jazz

We’re one month into the new year and 2020 has already proven to be a roller coaster. Despite being hit with a viral infection during the holidays and the flu last weekend, January was a fantastic month overall! 
In early January, Juan was finally able to meet two of my closest friends from work, Zachary and Bethany. That might seem crazy, but I actually live two hours away from our headquarters. And THAT is the crazy part 🙂 
The four of us went to the Purple Door Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan to celebrate Zachary’s birthday the fanciest way possible. The tea was nice and all, but we were still hungry and obviously needed to visit the Detroit Cookie Co. for the goods! 
Après cookies à la mode, we walked around the Detroit Zoo to see the infamous Zoo Lights show. It was nice because I’ve never been to this festival with Juan, and it was awesome to have such a good evening with great friends. 

Another cool thing I did in early January was visit Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for some upbeat, eclectic jazz music. The secret is out: I LOVE JAZZ!!! Seeing two unique bands perform – who have clearly been friends since they were in diapers – was a fun, ‘dance like no one’s watching’ experience. I highly recommend this bar if you’re ever in Toronto. 

The jazz continued throughout the month as I recently bought an alto saxophone, which is an instrument I’ve wanted to play for over ten years! I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of it… 
My inspiration grew even more because Juan and I treated my parents to a birthday dinner at Cliff Bell’s, Detroit’s best jazz club (and one of my all-time favorite spots on earth!). The four of us had an unforgettable night together – we’re still talking about it as though it happened yesterday! 
Aside from all the jazz music and Detroit shenanigans, I’ve also been blessed to have quality time with some of my best friends. I was able to see two of my best friends from college, KayLee and Madison, earlier in the month as well as one of my best friends from home, Danielle. I’ve been chatting it up while indulging in all the ice cream and tea lattes a gal could wish for. 

My Dorky Dog

I am IN LOVE with my dorky dog! Linley is a good boy with a little bit of sass every now and then…

During the holidays, Linley was not a fan of his new PJs or the fact that I donated some of his old toys to pups in need.

He also poses around the house and looks at me with disapproval when I eat too much chocolate!

Linley is also the side-eye expert, especially when I’m taking photos of him or when he’s my copilot.

Did I mention that my pupper is tired of all the photos?

But did I mention that it’s tiring to carry him around while I’m trying to cook dinner? Lin is a needy pup!

I love my dorky, sassy, high-maintenance pup! Linley is truly my best friend.

PS: yes, that is a toy with my husband’s face on it 😂

Depression

I’m going to come right out and say it: I have depression. I’ve known that something was “off” since I was about 10 years old, but things really took a turn for the worst when I was 17. And at 26, things are REALLY BAD and have been since late 2018.

During my routine spring cleaning in November, I decided to go through some old photos. While recalling memories of how my family once was, I felt numb. I kind of shrugged it off like, “well that was nice, but it’s in the past now.” What really hit me were the photos of how happy I was as a child. I was outgoing, genuinely excited about everything, and didn’t have a care in the world if others thought I was crazy. I was unapologetic 100% of the time.

When did she go on vacation and never return home? How can I get her to come back and visit me, or even stay forever? These are the necessitous things I’d like to know…

Happy Birthday to my Favorite Cousin!

Katy, who is three years younger than me and lives miles away, has been a sister to me for a very long time.

I’m not close with a lot of my extended family members (for reasons I won’t mention here), so having a third-cousin who is more like a sibling means the world to me. Every single time we reunite, we pick up right where we left off.

Words can’t express how much I love this lady! Katy, if you’re reading this, I’m blessed to know you and call you a friend and sister. Happy birthday!

We’ve had many amazing memories over the years, and we’re guaranteed to have many more 🙂

The Bay Area with Bae

Two weekends ago, Juan and I flew all the way to Oakland, California for a one-day music festival. One of our favs, Lane 8, performed at an all-day event in the middle of the city (I can’t emphasize how rad this was)! No phones were allowed and it was a truly immersive experience.

The only photos I have from our weekend away aren’t even from Oakland: they’re from San Francisco.

Juan has never been to the Golden Gate Bridge, so obviously we had to take a detour. When I visited two years ago, it was clear and sunny outside (see below):

When we visited two weekends ago, however, that wasn’t the case…

Regardless, we still had a great time and made the most of our foggy day!

Pro tip: do not get the croissants at the visitors center (Juan said they were hella stale).

“Let’s raise our glasses and lower our expectations” – Geoffrey Zakarian – Cate Spader

Going Places with your Pup

If you’re anything like my husband and me, you have a difficult time doing anything without your dog. After all, dogs are part of the family!

Here are some tips for traveling with your pup:

  1. Do your research before you go. Bring Fido and other apps like Trip Advisor are great resources. You need to know where pets are allowed and what activities you can do with the entire family!
  2. Bring a bag for your pup! Juan and I had more gear for Linley than we did for ourselves, especially when hiking in northern Michigan. Bring food, water, toys, treats, gear and worst-case-scenario items for your furry friend.
  3. Travel safely at all times. Whether you’re driving a long distance, walking in your neighborhood or visiting a new place, you need to be aware of your surroundings and consider your dog’s safety at all times. Also take breaks for rest, food, etc. into consideration.

Linley is definitely part of the family, and we’re very excited to take him on more adventures! 🙂

Halfway through 2019

2019 has been a year of turbulence and exhaustion as opposed to the year of happiness and fun that I was hoping for. But I’m going to look at my worn-out, busted glass as half-full…

This year has been filled with:

Jazz music

Quality time with the ‘rents

Concerts

Trevor Noah

Quality time with my best friend and my Little Sister

Selfies with the pup

A sick honeymoon

Bark in the Park

Carolyn’s amazing bridal shower

I’m hoping that the rest of 2019 is full of weekend getaways, more quality time with loved ones and music!

And if not…

“Let’s raise our glasses and lower our expectations” – Geoffrey Zakarian – Cate Spader

Loving East Lansing!

Every basketball season, my dad and I head to East Lansing to see the Spartans win!

Although we both love college basketball, that’s not the best part of our time together. We always grab breakfast and dinner, shakes at the MSU Diary Store, some souvenirs and share lots of laughs.

My parents met and fell in love at MSU, which is yet another reason why I enjoy East Lansing as much as I do!

My dad and I are very close and seeing him get all excited about being back on campus fills my heart with warmth 🙂