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August 31, 2015

The T-Shirt Dress

Right now, I am loving the T-Shirt Dress. Of course, it's perfect for summer, but add a scarf and some cute booties and this dress will easily transition into fall.

Our summer is quickly slipping away from us and the weather here in Michigan has been proof. I'm holding on to these next few weeks of warm weather, sunshine and full bodied trees and flowers.

Dress: Old Navy, Women's Tee Dress
Scarf: H&M, Patterned Tube Scarf
Boots: Hush Puppies, Noliva Maria

August 29, 2015

My Grand Rapids Checklist

Our time in Grand Rapids is quickly coming to an end; just a few weeks (32 days) left in this city we call home. Throughout our time here together, we have found favorite restaurants and favorite places to visit around the city. While building this list, I became slightly emotional knowing these spots won't be around the corner from us anymore. Ken and I were regulars at many of these places and know we will miss frequenting them together. As we mentally and physically prepare to leave this amazing city, we have put together a list of activities and eateries that we would like to do one last time before we leave. Of course we will be back to Grand Rapids very soon, but we want to enjoy our local Grand Rapids favorites at least one more time while we are still here.

Here is our Grand Rapids To-Do List:

Our Favorite Eateries to Visit One Last Time
Donuts from Propaganda Donuts
Brunch at Terra
Dinner and Drinks at Terra
Lunch or Dinner at Donkey
Wine and cheese/crackers/meats at The Reserve
Ice Cream at Jersey Junction
Beer and sandwiches at Founders Brewery


A picnic at Reed's Lake
Visit the stores Hunt and Gather and Woosah
Walk the Blue Bridge Together
Experience one more ArtPrize
Dune Rides along Lake Michigan's Lakeshore

Don't worry, you will see photos and stories posted on the blog soon from these adventures! Just stay tuned...

August 28, 2015

Hello, Minnesota!

When Ken told me we were moving to Minnesota, I had no idea what to expect or how I should feel about the move. I had heard from many people who had visited that it was a larger version of Grand Rapids and that it would be an easy transition from one Midwest state to the next. So, I kept an open mind on my first visit to the place we would soon call "home".

First Impressions
Comparing this city to Grand Rapids is an understatement. If the cities of Grand Rapids and Portland somehow got together and had a baby, Minneapolis would be their offspring. It's a perfect mix of Midwest hospitality, approachability and friendliness that Grand Rapids breathes with Portland's artistic, progressive and contemporary city.  

I could not have been more impressed by my new home state and new city of Minneapolis after my first visit. It is such a beautiful, clean city sprawling with opportunity and adventure. As the 16th largest metropolitan city in the United States there is so much to see and do. There is way more going on here than any city here in Michigan. I am counting down the days until we make our big move from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis. Only 33 more days!

August 7, 2015


The most beautiful part of life is the unpredictability of what comes next. It's a wild mix of fear and excitement of the unknown that makes each and everyday a blessing. It is the surprise that at any moment one thing can change and take your life in a new direction. 

In late July, Ken was recruited by a company he has always admired to lead a team and take the company down a path they have not yet explored. This is a company rich in American heritage and an icon to the fashion industry. A company who is confident in who they are while still pushing the boundaries to be innovative in fashion-forward design and craftsmanship. This is a Made-in-America company and one that Ken truly connects with.

Ken's new company is headquartered in Minnesota, which means the first of September, Ken and I will be moving to the city of Minneapolis to begin the next chapter of our lives together. We are both thrilled to move to a new state and explore a new city that we have heard the most amazing things about.

Our lives have quickly gone from peaceful and somewhat predictable, to hectic, frantic, and stressful. We have less than a month to sell the home we love in East Grand Rapids and purchase a home in a city we have never been. We will be leaving behind a very close group of friends that we have had for years which breaks my heart.

Regardless of how stressful this next month will be, I am so proud of Ken and his hard work, dedication, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and ability to grow in every company he has ever worked in. He is brilliant, charming and unbelievably talented. Love you, Ken - Congratulations!

August 6, 2015

Secrets of the Thumb, Part Three

With Guest Blogger, Jeffrey Irwin 

As a versed kayaker living in south Florida, I am accustomed to seeing amazing sights and incredibly clear waters while out in the bay and the ocean.   But after kayaking the tip of the thumb, I couldn't have been more impressed with my kayaking experience.  

It was an especially calm day out on the waters of Lake Huron when we departed from Port Austin State Harbor.  We rented kayaks from Port Austin Kayak, 119 E Spring St., a very quaint business right by the harbor, then started paddling east into the lake.

Our first destination was Turnip Rock.  The rock is a geological formation that has been shaped by waves making it a very interesting top heavy rock just yards away from shore.  The rock is just a three and a half mile paddle from the harbor, but due to the uncommonly calm waters, it was a very easy paddle.  We traversed through clear shallow waters passing through small flooded peninsulas and sandbars on our way to our target.  As we made our approach the beaches became rock walls and we could tell we were heading to something special.
Turnip Rock is on privately owned property, however you are free to kayak around the rock and pull along shore if you need to rest, as we did.  The scenery is simply amazing.  The rock is accompanied by other small outcrops and a wall of stone that encircles around the small tree adorned formation.  After spending some time taking photos and enjoying the scenery we decided to head out to the Port Austin Lighthouse.

The Port Austin Lighthouse was built in 1878, and is about two and a half miles north off the coast of Port Austin.  We were advised not to go out there in our rented kayaks, but due to the calmness of the water, we decided differently.  It didn't take much time to paddle out, and when we arrived it almost felt like we were pulling up to a haunted guidepost.

As no one has manned the lighthouse since 1953, the octagonal building has an eerie feel.  When near the lighthouse your voice echos in all directions.  It towers above the shallow waters and is an incredible feat of engineering.  I was surprised at just how shallow and clear the water was out by the lighthouse.  At times probably only waist deep and there were bricks that littered the lake's rocky floor, remnants of the lighthouse's construction. 
Finally, after spending some time enjoying the light house, we headed back due south to Port Austin.  Our trip only lasted three hours, but I feel like I got a whole new experience out of the Thumb.  I would absolutely love to go back to explore these locations and would recommend anyone in the thumb to check out Port Austin Kayak and take the adventure for them self.  

August 5, 2015

Secrets of the Thumb, Part Two

Our next secret was one that proved to be quite challenging to find. After hearing about a painted barn in the town of Port Austin, my brother, Jeff and I drove down miles of cornfields searching for an old barn used as the canvas for local street art. Jeff and I both studied art in college and constantly share artists we follow with each other; so it was fitting that we took this adventure together. 

We were so excited when we found the barn and began photographing right away. The bright paint against the faded barn wood and red, sunset light made this scene even more beautiful to photograph.

The Detorit artists, Steve and Dorota Coy, painted both sides of the storage barn. The pigeon on one side, which is the logo for their company Hygienic Dress League Corporation and on the other side a man and a woman wearing golden face masks holding a large pitchfork, in the style of American Gothic. In an interview with Port Austin's local newspaper, Huron County Tribune, the artists report that the two people represent what it's like to work for Hygienic Dress League Corporation. The golden masks are their way of proving their company is more elite than corporate America and that they are not breathing the same air everyone else does; even though they have no other employees in their company. Interesting, none the less!

If you ever choose to visit this barn the address is 298 Stoddard. The cross roads are Stoddard and Lake (M-53). It is only about a 5 mile drive from the tiny downtown area of Port Austin.

Barn at Dusk
Photos by Jeffrey Irwin Photography

Barn at Day

August 4, 2015

Secrets of the Thumb, Part One

I am love with the state of Michigan and all the beauty it has to offer. I believe Michigan is one of the most underrated states in the US and can't figure out why. When you make the time to explore this state from coast to coast and peninsula to peninsula, there is no doubt that this state is filled with the most beautiful little hidden gems.

Last week, Ken and I met my parents and brother in the thumb of Michigan to spend time for a small family getaway. This is something we do every year, but unlike every other year, we got a little crazy and went off the beaten path to discover the beauty of Huron County, Michigan. What a success it was!

Over the next few days I would love to show you some of the places we discovered and tell you the tips and tricks how to get there; just in case you are inspired to see this yourself.

The first stop was the Huron County Lighthouse. A classic lighthouse, built in 1857 with full access to the keepers house. Unfortunately, you cannot climb the lighthouse to oversee Lake Huron and the whole park at this time. The grounds are still completely accessible making it a fun stop to visit and explore.

Down the street from the lighthouse is a small historic village with original homes from the late 1800's. All the homes have been preserved and it is a charming street to either walk along and drive through.

Huron County Lighthouse Park

August 3, 2015

My Fitness Journey Recap

My fitness journey has just begun and I am absolutely loving it. I have never felt stronger, healthier and happier. My confidence has gone up and I love the way my clothes are fitting and how I feel in them. I hope throughout these 13 days you were able to learn a few things along the way and find some motivation within. I look forward to where this journey will take me and can't wait to keep learning and growing from it. Here is a quick recap of lessons I have learned throughout my journey thus far. There will be more lessons to come and I hope you continue to follow me throughout my journey.

My Fitness Journey, Lesson Thirteen

It's 100% Mental

Conquer your mind and you can conquer your body. Changing your lifestyle from diet, exercise, past time, social gatherings and more will all boil down to how mentally strong you are. You have to want your goals more than you want the temptations in front of you. You also have to push yourself to go to the gym every day and push yourself while you are there. Be stronger than your strongest excuse and always visualize the goals in front of you. That's how you will get everything you want and achieve your goals on your  own fitness journey.

August 2, 2015

My Fitness Journey, Lesson Twelve

Be Grateful

Be grateful and love your body every step of the way. Love your body so much that you want to make it stronger, fuel/feed your body better, strengthen your heart and let your endorphins kick in to make you happy. Change your mindset that working out is not punishment but a blessing because your body is healthy and able. Learn to love the struggle, the pain, the processes, the determination and the journey. It is challenging but well worth it.

August 1, 2015

My Fitness Journey, Lesson Eleven

Your Future Abs

Truth: Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

About a month into my journey, I started waking up in the mornings with baby abs - it was the most amazing thing. I was such a meat head for just staring at my little abs in the mirror every morning and making sure Ken saw them too. The best part about it, was I hadn't done a single sit up, crunch or ab workout in months. My abs came from my diet and cardio - simple as that!

Don't believe me? Take it from the experts at Bodybuilding.com to break down your plan to achievable abs.

6 Ways to get Ripped 6-pack Abs
1. Eat Enough Protein
2. Eat Post-workout Carbs
3. Eat Healthy Fats
4. Focus on your Diet
5. Stop Doing Thousands of Crunches
6. Use Smarter Cardio Workouts