Petoskey, Michigan with the Pup!

My mom, Linley and I went on another adventure this week. This time, we went somewhere we’ve heard about but have never experienced before: Petoskey.

Lin was really happy, I promise!

We chose to stay one night because our day trip to Empire and Traverse City felt rushed (plus that’s a lot of driving for one day, especially for the pup!). Once we arrived on Wednesday afternoon, we walked around downtown, Lin marked every plant and we had a tasty lunch at a picnic table. We all had some ice cream afterward and Linley stole all the hearts of the customers behind us!

The main event of the day was kayaking, which is something all three of us enjoyed! We kayaked for nearly three hours at the Bear River Canoe Livery and soaked up the sun, the water and the winding river. Some cranes and a deer even welcomed us as we kayaked near the shore! The tunnels, the views and the company were perfect.

Ignore Grams’s sunburn – ouch!

This was Linley’s first time at a hotel and he did amazing! He saw his reflection and everything…

The next day was even more relaxing. We hung out at Bayfront Park and got in the water with the pup. Lin was even helping us search for stones in the water!

We wrapped up our trip by stopping at Kilwin’s for some fudge and ice cream!

All in all we had an adventurous AND relaxing vacation up north. 10/10 would recommend!

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. 

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

Photo Highlights of 2018

2018…what a year!  So many incredible things happened, which has led to lifelong memories that I’ll always cherish.

I was able to spend lots of quality time with my Little Sister of four years, Aniya!

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I had a travel marathon from March – July (Chicago, Boston, Iceland, Myrtle Beach, Peru and Portland)! I was able to spend time with old friends, have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my mom, hang out with my brother on the west coast and get engaged during this short period of time!

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I was able to spend more time with my pup Linley than ever.  We even went to a baseball game with grams in Detroit!

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My dad and I were able to hang out a lot more than usual, now that we’re in the same department at work.  My dad is also in Big Brothers Big Sisters, and seeing his Little Brother grow up is amazing (and scary…)!

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My best friend (who I call my twin) and I share the same birthday!!! We were able to celebrate our 25th year on this earth together 🙂

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My fiance and pup cheered me up on Halloween as they dressed as a minion and a bee!

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And the most eventful day was Friday, November 16, the day I married my best friend 🙂

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I have no idea what could be better than repeating 2018, but I’m very excited for what 2019 has in store for all of us 🙂 Happy New Year!

Lima, Peru in iOS (June,2018)

Toward the middle of June, my mom and I FINALLY decided to visit Peru! We were on the fence for a while, given the fact that I’m starting a new job in September and getting married in November…but our better judgment prevailed!

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I mean c’mon! Look at that itinerary (courtesy of my mom)!

We mainly stayed in Lima to become acclimated to the altitude change; however, we really enjoyed it! Aside from my mom feeling the initial culture shock while departing from the airport, all went smoothly!

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We had so much fun in the city! The Starbucks barista’s spelling of “Dawn” was my favorite part!  At the hotel, we even made friends with the pet guinea pig!

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From strolling through Parque del Amor to eating and shopping at Larcomar, Lima didn’t disappoint 🙂

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Ecola State Park, Oregon

Friday, July 27 (continued)

After our time relaxing at the beach, Al and I knew we had some hiking to do!

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Our walk to the state park wasn’t all flowers and sunshine though!  We had to walk up to the entrance of the park, which consisted of walking uphill for ~30 mins-1 hour and made us short of breath even before the “real” hiking began!

Once we arrived at the entrance, the guide helped us pick which trail we wanted to hike.  Since we craved high, ocean views, we chose to head west and felt the ocean air.

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Prior to heading back uphill to continue on our path, a huge bug landed in Al’s mouth as he was talking! I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even walk back up on the trail!

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Even though I couldn’t get his bug incident on camera, I’m happy we took the above pictures 🙂

The views were incredible, the stories were endless, and the laughs were much-needed after a long day of hiking!

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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).

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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!