Swanky Speakeasy

One if my favorite spots in my tiny hometown of Fenton, Michigan is the Relief and Resource Co. – a speakeasy with amazing cocktails, great eats and superb service. The ambiance and artwork are bar none! My friend Donna and I enjoyed gin cocktails and charcuterie here this week, and had a wonderful time per usual.

The only thing that would’ve made it better is if Linley could’ve joined us 😌

Photos taken August 31, 2021

August Gratitude

August was, admittedly, a month full of turbulence, and was my last full month in Michigan. Despite all of this, there’s always light in the darkness. Here are some highlights that made me smile 😌

August 1 – kayaking, hiking and dining in Ann Arbor with Juan and Linley

Hiking at Gallup Park

August 2 – dinner and hot coco with my favorite cousin who visited from New York

Reunited with Katy

August 3 – an evening on the lake with one of my best friends

August 4 – Linley enjoying himself at Home Depot (and loving all the attention!)

August 5 – back to Home Depot!

August 6 – a good night with a great friend

August 7 – profound conversations

August 8 – checking out the Chicago home

Wrigleyville here we come!

August 12 – a night out with an old friend, and some new ones

August 13 – meeting Mindy, Tom and Autumn at the dog park

Lin’s favorite spot

August 14 – heading to Detroit’s infamous Eastern Market with one of my best friends, and being a friend’s plus one to the greatest wedding I’ve ever attended

August 15 – lots of small pups for Lin to play with at the dog park

August 18 – Linley getting Bark to School photos taken at camp, and playing with his friends at the dog park (again!)

August 19 – a dear friend taking my late-night phone call, and making my evening brighter

August 20 – a fun night in downtown Detroit

August 21 – Linley finally cooperating for a bike ride

August 22 – an afternoon at Belle Isle and eating ice cream

August 23 – getting to know my friend’s new boyfriend and having a little too much to drink on a Monday evening

August 25 – dinner and drinks with a bestie

August 26 – a best friend being a great listener

August 27 – celebrating Juan’s “big promotion” at our favorite jazz club

August 28 – reuniting with two of my best friends and spending the day together

Gonna miss Rochester Brunch House!

August 29 – family bonding in Ann Arbor

August 30 – seeing Lin run around with his friends at the dog park

August 31 – dinner and drinks at my favorite speakeasy with one of my closest friends

Speakeasy in my hometown

And, Lin was just grumpy all month long 😂

Cliff Bells

With heaviness in my heart, I reminisce about my times at my favorite Detroit jazz club. After moving to the Detroit area a few years ago, Cliff Bells instantly pulled me in with its allure and 1950s Art Deco. Now that we’re moving to Chicago next month, we won’t have the luxury of visiting every so often. I wish I could bring Cliff Bells with us, as selfish as that sounds…

Juan and I almost got married here.

Some of the better moments with my parents were shared over dinner and drinks here.

The best live music I’ve ever heard was played here.

Milestones were celebrated here.

Here, I laughed more than I’ve ever laughed in my life.

Here, I truly felt alive.

How can anywhere else compete with all that this jazz club has given me? Has given us?

I am beyond grateful for this incredible place, and hope to find something similar (not a replacement!) in Chicagoland 🥲

Weekend in Washington (Part I)

I did it again: I had a lovely weekend away with a friend, and didn’t journal once. I tell myself every time I travel that I’ll write down what I did each day before I go to bed, but I was out as soon as I hit the pillow every night (I blame this on working late and adjusting to the three-hour time difference). At least I have memories and photos I can reference…

Bethany is my go-to travel and adventure buddy. We travel remarkably similar: we hate itineraries, we enjoy going where the wind takes us, and we laugh often! Our four nights together flew by as they always do, but we packed quite a bit into our weekend in Washington.

Thursday, March 25: Hiking at Discovery Park & Dinner at Pike Place

The best part about our first full day together? Seeing Bethany’s dad! Steve is the kindest man and is perhaps the best board game strategist I know (and is fully vaccinated!). We started our day with a beautiful hike at Discovery Park in north Seattle. With a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the lush greenery surrounding us, it was hard not to have an enjoyable afternoon in each other’s company.

What we loved most about our afternoon hike was the contrasting sunshine peeking through the trees as we approached the beach, but the ominous, eerie feeling we felt on the shoreline. Bethany and I felt this exact same way in Iceland a few years ago, which I will post about at a later date 😊

Soon after the three of us grew tired from our multi-mile hike, we drove into downtown Seattle to relish in the sunshine a bit more. Despite it taking us far too long to find a restaurant I could enjoy (I’m gluten free and vegetarian, which tends to make things difficult…), our dinner was much-needed and well-deserved. Bethany and her dad enjoyed some burgers and fries while I scarfed down the best falafel salad of my life!

Our evening was full of gin and tonics, a few rounds of Rummikub, and we watched the crows migrate and settle in for the night. Who knew watching crows could be so entertaining?!

Photos taken Thursday, March 25 in Seattle, Washington

Happy Birthday, Bethany!

One of my best friends turns 27 today, and I can’t help but reflect on our adventures together. From Kalmar to Chicago, Reykjavik to Cortez, Colorado, we always have a spectacular time together!

Bethany is always a consistent source of joy and happiness in my life, and I know she always will be. Every conversation is meaningful, every adventure is purposeful, and every laugh or inside joke is cherished. This gal is truly my best friend!

Happiest birthday to you, Bethany! You’re more than anyone could ask for 🙂

Nostalgia is Bittersweet

I’m thinking of Sweden on this Saturday morning…

A few days ago I Skyped my friend Bethany, who has been featured in several of my posts, most notably for our travel experiences together. We met in 2016 as two eager U.S. students studying in Kalmar, Sweden and we haven’t skipped a beat since! Bethany now lives in the Seattle area and I’m hoping to visit her as soon as possible. She’s truly the friend you can always rely on, no matter the distance.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since we began our Swedish adventures. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, but also with watery eyes. I have a love-hate relationship with looking at old photos. I reflect and feel myself in that moment again, sometimes with sweet nostalgia and other times with immense longing to be there again. But why?

1. I’m craving new adventures and memories (aren’t we all?). In all seriousness, travel is my decompression. It’s an escape from work, from people, from life at home. Those long weekend getaways with a close friend, my husband or parent, and lengthier international adventures mean more to me than any material thing.

2. I don’t love where I am right now. I believe people looking into my life (especially through photos) would want what I have: a husband, a dog, a home, a job… but I am not emotionally where I’d like to be. I know deep down that I need to rediscover myself and what’s important to me, which is why I’m in need of positive change.

3. Sometimes the past is more appreciated in the present than it was back then. Sometimes I’ll look at an old photo and think “wow, that was an awesome day!” and maybe I didn’t even realize it at the time. It’s such a shame how our minds can trick us this way.

I’m trying not to beat myself up because all of us can experience these feelings. We can all look at old photos or reflect on old memories with a multitude of emotions ranging from sadness to warm-hearted joy.

I hope we can all create new memories – be it solo, with loved ones, or even strangers – this year and for many years to come 🙂

Friends are the family we choose

Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Saskia and I met ten years ago, and our friendship has proven the test of time and distance. I haven’t seen Sassi in person since 2016 (which is quite depressing to think about!), but we use WhatsApp to communicate on a weekly basis. She and I are closer than some of my family and friends who live close in proximity; she truly is my family right now. Although I love hearing her voice, I can’t wait to see Saskia again and give her the big hug that she deserves! Happy birthday, Saskia 🙂💛

Thinking of my friends in D.C.

I’m seldom at a loss for words; my heart goes out to the people who live and work near the U.S. Capitol. My best friend and her husband have lived in D.C. since 2016, which has easily been the most challenging four years for my friend’s husband as he is directly employed by the city. As protests sweep the nation, I always think about the safety of my close friends and hope that he returns home after chaotic days of work ❤️

D.C. October, 2020
Morristown September, 2019
Montréal August 2019
D.C. August 2016
Paris July, 2014

“Hindsight is 2020”

Last year, one of my closest friends from a past study abroad adventure stayed with us for ten days. We visited the Niagara Falls, enjoyed some live music in Toronto and went to a roaring 20’s New Year’s Eve party hosted by one of my dearest friends. It couldn’t have been any better!

Fast forward to December 31, 2020: another beloved COVID test, watching Portlandia and snuggles on the couch…

I hope 2021 is full of more adventures, quality time with friends, reading and career advancement. I also wish for less social media/screen time and self-doubt this year.

Happy New Year 🙂