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March 31, 2014

New Favorite Song - Young Heart



I have a new favorite song that I would like to share with you from the band Blondfire called "Young Heart".  I haven't heard much else of theirs, but I love this song and wanted to make sure this was on your radar.


March 30, 2014

Building a Network

As a new blogger, I am constantly monitoring blogs that I am interested in and ones with a large following to see what makes them successful and how they do it. I am also looking to my friend Laura (www.relativelyoffbeat.com) for the 'How To's' on blogging, since she is the one that got me started.

Since I started the blog I have been searching online for blog networks and blogging events to be a part of; and since I couldn't find any I created one. I am eager to grow and learn as a blogger and I want to connect with successful bloggers to continue learning. I truly believe this is going to be the key. Also, what do bloggers love most? Networks! So here is a new network for them to be involved in.

If you are a Grand Rapids Blogger, or know of one, please direct them to my new blogging network of Grand Rapids Bloggers (www.grandrapidsbloggers.blogspot.com). I will be hosting monthly blogging events for mingling and sharing tips and successes, as well as planning events in the community for bloggers to get involved in.

Please stay tuned on this new venture of mine!

March 29, 2014

Festival Season



Festival season is right around the corner and I am beyond excited to pull out my festival wardrobe, start hearing new bands and see a few of my favorite artists play live.

This year we are going to Boston Calling for the first time all because I am dying to see Modest Mouse perform again! I saw these guys for the first time at Sasquatch in 2011 and they are the main reason Ken and I are making the road trip out. Here are other bands that I am looking forward to seeing at this festival:

Boston Calling:
  • Modest Mouse
  • The Decemberists
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Brand New
  • Edward Sharpe
  • Walk of the Earth
  • Built to Spill

I am trying hard to recruit someone to go to Lollapalooza with me to see to check out this line up. If you are heading down to Chicago for this festival, please let me know so I can tag along.
  • Eminem
  • Outcast
  • Young the Giant
  • Broken Bells
  • Interpol
  • Lorde
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Kings of Leon

One day I would love to make it to Coachella - this one seems like a riot! But for 2014, Boston Calling and Lolla will do just fine. Stay tuned for more photos and blog posts about my festival extravaganzas! 

Boston Calling Video - Get Excited!!



Photos from Sasquatch! 2011











March 28, 2014

Costa Rica Recap




Some of the best trips are the ones you plan last minute. It was another snowy Saturday morning in February, and we had been shoveling at least twice a day every day that month. We were so exhausted from the snow, bitter cold weather, wind, and with the windchill well under -20 degrees, we had to escape from this Michigan winter. We had hit our breaking point by early February, so we decided to book a last minute trip to Costa Rica with only 5 days to spare.

For this trip we choose to enjoy a relaxing vacation, instead of one of our adventure packed trips. We had planned on doing a lot of sun-bathing, surfing, site seeing, drinking, and all that embodied ‘vacation’. And that is just what we did.

Here were our travel plans:

February 15: Jump on Delta Flight and fly to Liberia
February 15 – 17: Stayed at  JW Marriott – Guanacaste (along the Pacific Cost)
February 17 – 19: Stayed at Marriott Collection - Hotel Punta Islita in Playa Samara, which was the coolest place I have ever stayed! If you are travelling to Costa Rica, this should be a must!
http://www.autograph-hotels.marriott.com/hotel/72/punta/
February 20: Back to the bitter cold Michigan weather

Side Note: We rented a car to take us to our different destinations. 



We went to other beaches and towns throughout our travels, but spend most of our time at our resorts. This is a great way to go if you are looking for more of a relaxing Costa Rica adventure, but I know we will do it differently next time around. When we go back, we will fly into San Jose and see the more of the Volcanoes, Rain Forrest and more ‘touristy’ things. But for this short trip / escape this was absolutely perfect. 

See below for a few of our travel photos:


























March 26, 2014

Confession

A lot of my friends don't know this, but I am a weekly and most often bi-weekly Mega Millions playing junkie. I figure, if someone is going to win the lottery each week, it might as well be me.

I know this goes against everything I blog about, that money doesn't buy happiness, and I still 100% support this through and through. But you know what money can buy - time! And that my friend, is what I want most. I want more time with friends and family, more time to travel, more time to learn / grow, more time to enjoy the outdoors, more time with Ken and Peugeot and more time for VW adventures. Each time I play the lottery, I think to myself; this could be my ticket out. Then again, maybe that is my desperate cry that I need a new job.

So, what would I do if I won the lottery? I would give at least half to my family, close friends and to every animal organization out there. Then I would buy a small A-Frame house in the mountains and spend my days hiking in the mountains, taking photographs, starting a small farm and /or organic farm, blogging, and still living the most simple life imaginable. I would just have the time and financial comfort to support my simple lifestyle. Oh, and I would have my dreadlocks, of course!

Tell me - what would you do if you won the lottery? I am assuming it is much more luxurious than my dreams, but I would still love to hear about it.

The bad news is, I did not win last night. The good news is, there will be another lottery drawing this Friday, and someone has to win it. Why not me?

March 25, 2014

2013 US Travel


2013 was an amazing year of travel for Ken and I. The map above shows the US states we visited together last year. Ken and I did also travel to Canada to see Banff and Vancouver for the first time, but mostly kept our site seeing to the US.

We made it to Alaska last July, which was a trip of a lifetime! My parents took my brother and I, along with our significant others on a dream vacation that none of us will ever forget. Throughout this trip we were able to cross off 3 National Parks from our National Parks Passport and see more mountains and wild animals that I could have ever dreamed. We also managed to turn this trip into an Alaskan Beer / Brewery Crawl - that's what happens when you travel with me.

2014 is off to a great start for travel. Ken and I have already been to Colorado and Costa Rica, and will be heading off to Ireland in the next few weeks! Not to mention that Ken is in Chile as I write this now - lucky duck! Wish I were there with him now. Colorado and Costa Rica photos coming soon.

I would love to share with you a few of our photos from our incredible 2013 adventures. See below for a few of my favorites. To see more travel photos, be sure to follow us on Instagram.













March 24, 2014

Countries Traveled


travel map, travel blogger, world traveler


There is defiantly not a shortage of countries left for me to visit. Here is a great site for you to go to and map out either places traveled, or map out areas you would like to travel to. I see each country not in blue, as an opportunity for a new adventure! There is so much to do and see in this world, that I  find it crazy people don't get out more. I have been very blessed with opportunities to travel, and have never once taken it for granted. I am always asked how I get so travel to much - easy! I make it my priority. Clothes, big houses, fancy accessories like shoes and handbags, hair, nails and make up - these things don't mean anything to me. Breathing the air of a new place and seeing things I have never seen before is a high for me and makes me feel alive. This is where I want to invest my time and money.


http://www.amcharts.com/visited_countries/

Here's the site - I would love to see where you have been and places you would like to go - please share this with me.

travel quote, world traveler, blog traveller

March 23, 2014

Men's Fashion - Grey Tones






Grey hues seem to be in trend right now with Ken's wardrobe. Ken is sporting a casual, skate / snowboard, layered look from the following brands:

Sunglasses: Costal Del Mar
Bottom Up Shirt (worn under the sweater): Discrete
Sweater: Animal
Jeans: Carhartt
Shoes: Cushe


http://www.discreteheadwear.com
http://www.animal.co.uk
https://www.costadelmar.com/home
www.cushe.com
www.carhartt.com

March 22, 2014

ich bin ein beacher



ich bin ein beacher


And by a beacher, I mean I am absolutely obsessed with the story, The Beach by Alex Garland. I have read this book and watched the movie (with my boy, Leonard DiCaprio) time and time again. The moment I start feeling anxious, restless or that I have been locked up too long, I find my release through this story.

Every time I watch this movie or read chapters of the book, I immediately start searching for my next adventure and visit Delta's site looking for my next ticket out. I start dreaming of where in the world I could go to experience something like this, and dream of place that I can run away to. The feelings and the quotes from the characters come to life for me and I cannot help but to feel that I am somewhat a part of this story. In a sense, we are all searching for paradise.

Here are a few of my absolute favorite quotes, not only from the book, but in everyday life:


I want to do something different, and everybody wants to do something different. But we all do the same thing.

The fact is, I've never grown out of playing pretend.

Maybe to have a memory you need time for reflection, however brief, just to let the memory find a place to settle.

If I'd learnt one thing from traveling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don't talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.

So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it.

Escape through travel works.

In an all-blue world, color doesn't exist. It makes sense to me, if something seems strange, you question it, but if the outside world is too distant to use as a comparison, than nothing seems strange.

Normally, small talk is enough for me to form an opinion of someone. I make quick judgements, often wrong, then stick by them rigidly.

-Alex Garland


March 21, 2014

Easily Entertained


It has been 3 weeks since I started my blog, and I have successfully blogged everyday since I began. I am absolutely loving it, and truly falling in love with creative writing and thinking of new ideas and perceptions to share. At most times I feel that I am only blogging to myself and that I have become a master in self entertainment.

If you are a blogger, you understand how hard it is to get people engaged with your writing, your photos, and your blog. When I first decided I needed to start writing, I read from multiple blogging sites that it takes time to build a following and to build readers, which I am fine with. At this point, I am truly blogging for myself. I am so grateful for my friends and family who have followed my blog and keep up with the posts, and to my blog followers from Bloglovin' - thank you so much! Again, I did not start this to take over the world of blogging, to me this is simply a creative release. It is also to thank the brands and companies that generously support Ken and my lifestyle and send us goodies along the way, this is a way for us to thank you. In addition, Ken and I live to travel and explore, so we hope you can enjoy the journeys with us.

When it comes to blogging, it is nothing more than a personal diary. Once everything has been documented and is live on the web, it always makes me think of the Bright Eyes song, Bowl of Oranges:

But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall
Then I think we would see the beauty, then we would stand staring in awe
At our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges
Like a story told by the fault lines and the soil.

Below is the video if you were interested in listening. It's a cute song, I promise.

March 20, 2014

Happy Spring?

flower photo on blog


Waking up to fresh snow on the ground is not what I was expecting on the first day of Spring. For those of us living in the Mid-West, we have been experiencing 20-30 degree weather since November. That means we have had Winter-Like weather for close to 6 months! I think seasonal depression is kicking in for a lot of us here and we are so anxious for Spring to actually begin. Looking ahead at the 10 Day forecast, there are still no signs of the weather breaking the 40 or 50 degree mark. I wonder how much longer we will have to wait.

As a way to escape the snow, my girlfriend Alyssa and I went to Fredrick Meijer Gardens to experience an indoor version of what Spring is supposed to be like. There were blooming plants and flowers all around us and butterflies in the air. The best part about it, was the green house was hot and humid and made us feel like we were somewhere tropical. I wish we were!

Here are a few photos from our adventure.


flower photo on blog

photo of Alyssa, fashion on blog

flower of orchid on blog


March 19, 2014

Why Artisan Happiness?

quote on happiness and life

Why Artisan Happiness?


We titled our blog Artisan Happiness for a few different reasons. Artisan by definition is a person who is skilled at making things by hand. Most often, artisan is talked about as creative, skilled, hand crafted, custom, a builder, a creator, an originator etc. Artisan Happiness first came about from our desire to live more of an 'nontraditional' life and simply crafting or customizing happiness just for us.

In everyday life, I feel the pressures from our society to have that 'important' job so you can make great deals of money, to have kids, the big house, fancy clothes and everything that comes along with it. I have realized that this is not the life for me or for us. Sure I want that job that makes me happy and makes me feel fulfilled, but the I do not want my life to be like my parents and their generation where you work for 50 years and retire hoping to start your life then. Or like most Americans who are tied down by kids and the big house / big payments where you can't just pack up and leave for an extended period of time. We may be doing things a bit different, but this is our crafted life. We love to feel weightless, selfish, free-spirited, and adventurous. This is what makes us happiest.

In addition to just a lifestyle, artisan or craft is also a word that can describe our taste in food / beer, clothes, and products. We have fallen in love with craft beer, and American made, hand crafted products like Shinola, Wolverine, Filson, Taylor Stitch, Detroit Denim, and more. We have also become somewhat food snobs and choose to only eat local, organic foods. So, this blog will be about all the craft beer, organic eats and the products that we love.

March 18, 2014

Happiness Is Only Real When Shared


Have you seen the movie or read the book, Into the Wild? If so, you may have recognized the bus in the Welcome post of Ken and I. In many ways, I admire Christopher McCandless for rebelling against society's expectations of us and burning his money to live the most simple life imaginable. I also admire what he learned from his journey on the road and in the wild. Last summer on a trip to Alaska, I was able to see the bus and personally see the journal entries he documented. The most memorable lesson I was able to take away from Christopher is 'Happiness is only real when shared'.

I am very fortunate to have found my best friend early in my life, and to have found someone as adventurous and restless as I am. Throughout all my travels and all the adventures I have taken, I truly believe I have not experienced anything until it I have done it with Ken. I have also been very fortunate to have traveled with my parents and brother growing up, and to be able to look back on photos, stories and souvieners to relive the memories, this is the most wonderful thing. When I was in college my parents sent me to backpack through Greece and Italy alone. Although I have amazing photos and great memories, I have no one to talk about the trip with or anyone to relive these memories with. This lesson is truly valuable, to cherish those you spend your time with.

Here are a few images from my trip to Alaska and seeing the 'Magic Bus' up close and personal.