Friendship in February

I immediately thought of the infamous Spongebob song “F is for friends who do stuff together…” when I typed the title of this post!

In all seriousness, February has been one of the best months I’ve had in a LONG while. The quality time my friends and I have given each other is one of the best gifts 2021 has given me. I’m grateful because I know for many, February wasn’t as easy and giving for those in other parts of the country and world.

We can all (or at least mostly) agree that it’s hard to imagine that our lives were almost turned upside down one year ago; we’re still experiencing the whiplash of COVID-19, the restrictions and uncertainties of the pandemic, and the lack of normalcy in our lives overall. Any bit of sanity and time well-spent with friends is exactly what I’ve been craving and desperately needing!

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and happy!

Cate

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 🙂

Dog Days of… January?

Some of us are excited for what 2021 will bring. Some of us remain uncertain and are maybe even afraid for the future. I’m almost certain that no matter which bucket you fall into (if not both!), you’re ready for some normalcy. And one of the only beings in my life who is loving all of this is my pup, Linley.

Salty about me cleaning the mud off his paws…

For Juan and me, January has been filled of some quick (and safe) visits with friends, tons of work after hours, and the occasional date with just us two; but mostly it’s filled with Linley-related quality time.

I hope that the remainder of 2021 involves more time with friends and more traveling, which includes more adventures with Lin!

I promise that Juan wears his mask right 99% of the time…!

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. 

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 🤗

Everyday Resolutions

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones.

I never establish New Years resolutions per se; however, I believe in continuous personal growth and becoming better every single day.

Things I’m scraping:

  • Allowing others to bring me down
  • One-way friendships/giving people too many chances
  • Comparing myself to others/feeling inadequate
  • Not putting myself first (sleepless nights, etc.)
  • Pressure to be “normal” (no need to follow others’ status quo)

Things I’m embracing:

  • Spending quality time with the best people
  • More travel (duh, it’s me!)
  • Volunteering more
  • Gaining 10+ pounds
❣️
PS: please note the new name and domain change 🙂

Niagara Falls

My friend Alice, who is visiting during the holidays, has always wanted to see the Niagara Falls. We went to the Canada side over the weekend and we were blessed with some good weather and great views!

Best. Wedding. Ever.

As I currently lay in bed with puffy eyes, a clogged nose and a sore throat, I try to reflect on the good of 2019.

2019 was by far the most challenging year I have under my belt. It was the epitome of struggle and adversity (especially when it comes to family and work). But 2019 has also brought many unexpected blessings, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

One of those blessings (perhaps THE best thing that happened this year) was the honor of standing by my best friend’s side as she married the man of her dreams.

Looking back at these photos makes me feel nostalgic and homesick in a way, because Carolyn, Ryan, their friends, family and bridal party all made me feel welcomed immediately. I might attend nice weddings in the near future, but none of them will ever top this feeling…

Lunch in an Igloo

I took my Little Sister to one of my favorite hometown restaurants: The FireHall. As you can probably infer from the name, this used to be Fenton’s fire station, which now has some of the best BBQ, homemade mac and cheese, and unique eats.

Another unique thing about this restaurant is that you can dine in heated “igloos” during the winter months. There is usually a long waiting list to dine outside, but we were able to snag it this time!

The food, the ambiance and the company were all 10/10!

Fall Feels

Autumn is a wonderful time of year; the air is brisk, the colors are vibrant and the clothes are cozy as can be. This weekend truly felt like fall with my loved ones.

Witches Night Out

My parents live where I grew up (Fenton, Michigan) and recently moved into the oldest home downtown. On Friday night, we dressed up as witches and spent the night shopping, drinking and dining in costume!

Pumpkin Patch

My little sister and I went to a giant pumpkin patch in Saginaw. Aniya and I escaped from the corn maze in 40 minutes (our new record!) and had lots of hot cider on such a cold and windy day!

Brunch in Downtown Flint

Say what you want about Flint, but their downtown is booming and better than ever. The Flint Crepe Co. never disappoints, especially when you can order all of the gluten-free goodness your heart desires. The company didn’t hurt either, because my best friend Danielle always has me crying from laughter! There’s even some new murals downtown.

Apple Orchard

Nothing screams fall more than visiting an apple orchard, getting some donuts and strolling around with your mom and pup!

I hope you’re enjoying autumn as much as we are!