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)!

Happiness in my Marriage

2019 was challenging to say the very least; I was tirelessly searching for happiness and inner peace amidst the chaos around me.

At least I could (and still can!) say this: there is always happiness in my marriage, even on the not-so-good days. Why is this? I married my best friend, the person who allows me to be weird, and actually loves me unconditionally for being my dorky self!

Find yourself, and embrace who you are. And if you’re searching for your soulmate…

1) it truly happens when you least expect it.

2) don’t try so hard!!! It’s not authentic if you do…

3) allow your partner to be weird, too. Life’s more fun that way 🤗

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 Dynamic Duo Takes Detroit

Living 20 minutes from downtown Detroit is a blessing and a curse: it’s great for our sanity but a detriment for our wallets!

Muse in concert (April, 2019)

James Bay in concert (March, 2019)

Cliff Bells – our fav! (January, 2019)

December in Detroit!

3OH!3 in concert (November, 2018)

November 16, 2018: Wedding Photo Essay

Juan and I went on our first date Friday, November 16, 2012 and were married Friday, November 16, 2018; it was truly a night to remember.  Being his wife is my biggest and best adventure yet…

All photos were taken by the lovely David Lucas at http://www.dsphotomi.com/index2.php#!/HOME

My husband is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  He has shown me love since the beginning, as others did not.  He has taught me to feel confident in myself, even when I have not.  Juan is my best friend and I am incredibly proud of the man he is today.

Myrtle Beach (May 2018)

I realize I am very late to the party here, but better late than never 😉

Over Memorial Day weekend, my then-boyfriend of nearly six years proposed to me!  I knew it was coming, but the weekend was truly special and being in such a beautiful place with such a beautiful, loving man means the world to me.

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A few weeks prior, Juan asked my dad for my hand in marriage.  Although I knew we were taking a trip, I had NO idea where we were going until I boarded the plane!  My dad knew and apparently told Juan that I enjoyed Myrtle Beach in high school (true!), but I’m so impressed they both lasted so long without telling me.  More importantly, I’m (pleasantly) surprised that I didn’t guess our destination correctly!

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Feeling the sand in my toes, seeing sharks and dolphins swim around and enjoying the sunshine with my babe was the perfect way to spend a long weekend 🙂 I am truly blessed to have this man in my life, and I’m even more grateful that as of 11-16-18, Juan is now my HUSBAND!

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Juan has had this stone for me since I was 19, yet this whole journey still doesn’t seem real…

All Smiles With This Guy

My boyfriend, Juan, and I have been in each other’s lives since 2012. We have traveled to foreign countries together, as well as a few states in the US. He’s truly my best friend.

We first met in 2012 during my first semester of college. The rest is history…

Juan and I have been able to enjoy many family events together, like my brother’s high school graduation and family Christmases at my grandma’s house.

Juan and I drove to South Bend, Indiana so I could meet his mom and aunt for the first time!

We also visited Juan’s hometown, York, Nebraska to celebrate his college graduation in 2013. And I thought I grew up in a small town…

Juan and I traveled in France, Italy, and the Netherlands together in 2014 (after my two-month study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France).

France

Italy

Netherlands (Amsterdam only)

We’ve been to Chicago a couple times since 2012, one time being my 21st birthday!

The list goes on and on! 😊

I can’t wait for our next adventures in 2018!

When You’re Feeling Down

Hello everyone, I’m feeling down today.  I know it’s a weird thing for me to say/admit, but it’s true.  I haven’t blogged in awhile or wrote anything worthwhile in a couple weeks.  It’s not about the views or the likes for me; it’s about how I feel while I write.  But I haven’t felt the need to write recently, and now I feel as though all of my thoughts are bottled up inside me.

Here are some things I’ve been feeling lately:

  1. Stressed
  2. Frustrated
  3. Not myself
  4. Afraid

I feel these emotions and feelings are quite normal, but I need to combat these feelings.  As an aspiring Buddhist, I believe acceptance and embracing is key; however, I don’t want to be “okay” with feeling blue.

Here are some things I am going to try in order to ease my anxiety:

  1. Take things one minute at a time
  2. Stop comparing myself to others
  3. Remember what I enjoy doing
  4. Live in the moment rather than in the past or future

I have two exams next week, on top of having to clean my room, my hamster’s smelly cage, packing for a trip up north, and having two jobs to hustle through.  Let’s just say that next weekend cannot come soon enough!  I need to just face facts and realize that my two exams are important, but will not make or break my life (although they may do that to the grade in my class).  I have always been the type who is stressing over exams and sweats the little stuff; I need to be my type-B self when it comes to my education.  Exams are exams, and exams are tough, but that shouldn’t define the day or week I’m having.

On top of the stress associated in school, I cannot stop comparing myself to other people.  Many of my friends have recently announced engagements or marriages, while I’m over here bickering with my boyfriend of almost three years like an old married couple.  We’re both stressed about work and classes, yet while we spend any amount of time together, we take that stress out on each other.  It’s not fair for either of us.  Also, many of my friends are graduating this May (I guess I “should” be, too).  I keep feeling like I’m struggling or something…?  I can’t really explain the feeling I have about it.  I guess my point is that I need to stop comparing myself, my grades, or my relationship with other people because I am my own person.  I know there are things that people think about me that they find impressive (hopefully).

Aside from writing, I have other passions believe it or not.  Maybe if I dig into my passions I won’t be comparing myself to others as much (it’s human nature – it’s bound to happen).  I really enjoy photography, playing the piano and the flute, as well as golfing.  I took homecoming photos for a good friend of mine who is running to be on court, and it made me realize that I really miss photography.  I started my own photography website via SquareSpace, and I will be publishing that live within the next few days or so.  Whenever I travel, I love capturing what I see because it brings back whatever I was feeling in that moment.  I need to keep up with that.

I have also been listening to a lot of Regina Spektor and Stromae lately, which has inspired me to play musical instruments again.  I took piano lessons as a child and I had the ability to be a concert performer, a music major, maybe even play for a living.  I turned it down when it became too challenging – I gave up on it.  But really, I gave up on myself.  I did the same thing with the flute; I was really good, but I couldn’t handle the competition.  We had to compete for “first chair,” where the best performer sat closest to the instructor.  I don’t want to be the best, but I want to be my best.  I want to play for me, no one else.

Looking on my past is both inspiring and depressing, and I mean that in the best way possible!  I look at things that I would have done different, but I would not have changed a single thing.  I am leaving for Sweden soon, which inspired me to look at a few photos from my previous study abroad adventure:

Lyon, France

Nice, France

Fourth of July, France

Lavender Fields, France

These photos bring me hope; they show me that happiness is real and that this is just a dark time right now.  I hope that I can feel like myself again soon, because I miss it when my cheeks hurt from smiling too much!  It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Market Dog, France

Aix, France

Lyon, France

Guise, France

Picnic time!

That’s all for now!  Sorry about the photo spam (not really)! 😉