Home Sweet Second Home: TC Michigan

Hey hey! Where to begin?!?! The last few weeks have been non-stop and filled with unforgettable times. I have mentioned this before, but I started this blog as sort of a journal to record special memories, adventures, and moments. These next few posts probably will contain details that seem extraneous, but are momentous to me- so as always feel free to skim where you see fit 🙂 I start graduate school in just a couple weeks so I am soaking up these precious moments of spending time with family and friends before 3.5 years of grinding through the books commences.

I think it is going to take me all of August to recap these adventures, but I am biting at the bit to share all the fun times and a crazy amount of good eats. I can’t wait to catch up on your lives as well!

So let’s begin with my first trip to Traverse City, Michigan to celebrate my Grandpa’s birthday!

Traverse City, Michigan is known as the Cherry Capitol of the World, but to me it is much more. It is the place growing up where I spent many weeks of the summer on the water, and many winters on the slopes. My grandparents live there (as do my Aunt and Uncle now too!). My mom’s side of the family all grew up there so it is home to a big chunk of the fam.

Unfortunately, DJ couldn’t go with work, but he was very missed. To prepare to return to my second home, I packed a ton of food for the airplane.  I packed boom chica pop, a sweet potato with a black bean chipotle burger and hummus, tomatoes, carrots, grapefruit, an apple, almonds, and a ton of protein bars. (I put the perishables in my lunch box that I once included in my Friday Faves). I hate spending an arm and a leg in airports, so this was perfect! I ended up spending $15 total for the trip all on liquids- a coffee, a vitamin water, and a regular water.


I headed out on July 19th. After going through TSA, I found an outlet friendly seat and blogged a bit while sipping on my cafe au lait & munchin’ on my protein bar.

Everything went super smoothly (initially). I even did a free trial of CLEAR through TSA- which was effortless! If I traveled more often I would totally do it permanently. Highly recommend.


You will get a kick out of this. I had been desperately trying to finish the fourth book of HP (as you probably know)….. welll, I literally did not have five extra seconds to finish the dang thing so I quickly screen shotted each page so I could finish it while traveling. The ending was a page turner! (below is the screen shotted frame of all my individual screen shots on my camera roll, lol). So, yes— I am officially done with The Goblet of Fire- ya proud?!


Anyways, while sitting on the Tarmac for over 30 minutes, the pilot finally said in that pilot’s voice “Uhhhhhh folks, if you have a connection, uhhhhhhh, you may want to make other arrangements.  Uhhhhhh looks like we won’t be getting off the tarmac for a while. Uhhhhh”. He said we were free to get off the plane at that time. I figured I would just grab a hotel near O’Hare’s airport rather than rescheduling my whole trip. While waiting, I was so grateful for all my snacks! I feel like I ate the whole flight.


As we were getting close to landing in Chicago, I thought, “I could really still make this connecting flight!!” The connection was set to leave by 9:30 pm. Boarding ended at 9:00 pm. The pilot said to make sure to let those with connections into the aisle right away. My neighbors were SO friendly, and were cheering my on to make my connection. I sprinted, legs burning, through the airport. I was that person- bags flying, limbs flailing… you know, that person.

I arrived to the gate at 9:12 pm (the terminal was totally on the other side of where we landed). Womp womp. I missed it by literally 12 minutes and could see my plane sitting on the tarmac. Sadly, I missed it by O’Hare…..


I waited with all the others who missed their connections in the customer service line, absolutely sure that I was going to have to stay overnight. I was slightly excited to stay the night in Chicago, but also bummed that I wouldn’t make it sooner to see my family.

When I made it to the front finally, the customer service rep said there was one seat left on the American flight they would comp for free, but it was about to board. I hustled ran like a crazy maniac once again through the airport and arrived to H1B with one minute to spare. “Boards in 1 minute” displayed on the screen sent a wave of relief through me. I made it!


Once I arrived finally at 12:30 pm, my momma took me to the 24-7 Meijer to get necessities that I wouldn’t have since my luggage was going to be a day late. It was one of those memories I will treasure, just the two of us in the quiet Meijer grabbing essentials while catching up while the rest of the town was asleep. I just love hanging with her- any time or place! After stocking up, we drove to my Aunt’s in Sutton’s Bay where we were staying for the week.

In the morning I had avocado toast on Dave’s bread with hummus and avocado & the BEST Tim Horton’s coffee. Someone knows me well and had the fridge stocked 😉


After working out on Saturday the 20th, Momma bear and I went to Grand Traverse Bay Company to pick up a pie for my Grandpa’s B-day party.


Once back to my Aunt Terry’s house, we got ready for dinner and soaked in the calming, gorgeous views. It feels like staying at a resort! (Oh also fun fact- this is where DJ purposed to me  & you may also remember one of my VERY first blog posts was a trip here).


We then went from Sutton’s Bay to Traverse City where my grandparents live (and truly my second home through my childhood).

We greeted one another with tons of hugs and then finished getting ready for dinner.


But always before dinner is cocktail hour at Gma’s and Gpa’s- which includes your drink of choice and grandma spoiled us with her famous cheesy crab english muffins and pretzels with cream dip. The cheese crab english muffins are pure magic, and I wish I could share them with you!


And ALWAYS ALWAYS a blue cheese stuffed olive from grandpa. Any other blue cheese stuffed olive fans in the house?!


We all went out to the deck to enjoy our drinks and apps.


This is Halston (my sister) and Kevin (her boyfriend). Can ya stand it? Tooo cute.


Sista sista


For dinner there were ribs, refreshing coleslaw, my grandma’s famous three bean salad, and mashed potatoes. My mom made her and I seitan ribs since we don’t eat meat- it was PHENOMENAL.


And of course- dessert. Key lime pie…. (yummers)


And chocolate mousse pie.yumyumyum.


My Uncle Jeff from Asheville & I. <3


It was such a lovely evening.

In the morning of July 21st I used Aunt Terry’s gym to do a nice 6ish mile run while reading Sharp Objects. Gosh, Gillian Flynn is a truly adroit writer. The book is undeniably dark, but goodness the storyline is tremendous & well written.


We all got ready for the BIG day- my Grandpa’s bday party. Get a load of this living room. *heart eyes*


The food was on another level. I mean this would out-do most restaurants. The smoked salmon is something I still dream about.


Time for photos! I took an asinine amount, so I kindly narrowed them down to just a few, haha.

My sister, Halston, and her bf Kevin. <3 My favorite couple


My mom and I


My stepdad, Pete, and Grandpa!


The gang – just missing Deej


The girlies! My mom, me, Halston, Aunt Terry (Left to Right).  Can ya tell we’re related? Haha.


And the man of the hour with our Grandma surrounded by all their good friends <3. These two role model what it means to have a beautiful marriage and relationship.


Family picture!


My sister, Uncle Jeff, and I <3


Me, Halston, Aunt Terry and Uncle Jeff & Kevin (LOL). This picture kills me every time.


They had such a lovely little bar area & set up for the party too.


My Aunt even made cucumber lemon water. She so effortlessly hosts the best parties!


Before eating we said a prayer all together, and I read a poem to my Grandpa for his birthday. It was easy to write because he is one of the best individuals I have ever known, along with my grandma <3


After these special moments, time to eat!!!

A bowl of carbs is just a bowl of happiness


Below is an avocado salad my momma made that was one of the most refreshing, delicious, tasty concoctions ever. SO good.


Annnnd it wouldn’t be a party without my Grandma’s famous potato salad. Good lawwwd.


My Uncle Pat went above and beyond with this steak. I didn’t try any since I don’t eat meat- but it looked pretty darn perfect!


LOVED this cake <3 My grandpa loves to mow the lawn, so this was just perfect. Haha.


These two . CAN. YOU. STAND. IT. ?!


We finished the evening with the delicious key lime pie from Grand Traverse Bay company. Seriously the best key lime pie I have ever had.


It was an spectacular day, and a stunning evening.


I will recap part two of the trip soon!

Questions for youuuu!

  • Blue cheese stuffed olive fan?! Yay or nay?
  • Where is your “Second home”?
  • Have you been to TC, Michigan?

xo <3

mack marie signature

38 thoughts on “Home Sweet Second Home: TC Michigan

  1. I LOVE these posts beauty! And week I am so excited for you@ You are going to do amazing!
    Ahh I LOVE this! I still can’t believe you sue to visit Traverse City! It is SUCH a small world! I love it!
    I love that you brought your own food! And those outlet seats are precious!
    Ahhh Peets! And oh my Potter I am so stinking proud of you! And NOW you have to start on the fifth one! Lol
    Ughhhh that is the worst! and oh my gosh I love your pun!
    And yay for making it! That is the best! Awe I love that!
    Oh my word those look sooo yummy! I am totally going to ask my aunt and cousins about all of this stuff! 🙂
    Ahh I Love your pics! It is SO pretty!
    Oh my that food looks amazing! And Yasss to cheese stuff olives! ESPECIALLY in bloody marys!
    All the food! there is something about family dinners that is just the yummiest! And i love all your pics of your fam!
    And those pies! But girl no cherry pie? Sorry couldn’t resist asking ;p
    LOVE LOVE LOVE these pictures! Making my heart so full for you lady! You guys are the sweetest! And I LOVE the “prom” picture. LOL. That is amazing!
    And aweee what a sweet poem! Girl YOU are the sweetest and your family is so lucky to have you!
    Your grandparents break my heart! SO stinking cute!
    Seriously this post gave me all the feels I am so happy you got to go back and spend time with your family! I can not wait to read the next recap! <3

    1. Also I forgot to add I LOVE your outfit! SO cute! Also you guys look nothing alike ;p Kidding you legit all could be sisters! Your family has amazing genes! <3

    2. Thank you sooo much! I am feeling slightly apprehensive as it gets closer so that means more than you know!

      I am SOO excited to read the fifth book. The ending was incredible. Wow. AND we may be going to Universal studios this December– so I have to be done by then!

      Also thanks for catching that pun 😉 I was hoping someone would. Tehe.

      Ahhh I was SO tempted to just grab a cherry pie for myself- but it was gpas bday and key lime is his fave. I think they may be a bit cherried out from living there for all these years. Tehe!!

      Oh my gosh- you are so sweet, but I am soooo lucky to have them! they keep me sane. Haha.

      Aren’t gma and gpa the cutest ever? They are goals. Thank you for getting soo excited with me about getting to go back! you’re the best! XO

  2. Looks like you had a great time with some great people and some great food. The lawnmower cake is awesome.

    To answer your questions…NAY (olives are in my top 5 gross foods), Citrus Heights, CA and no.

    1. Isn’t the cake so great?! I’ll let my Aunt know you said that- she’ll appreciate it !!! And haha – olives are definitely a divisive food! Oooo I have never heard of citrus heights- but will look it up. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. So wonderful to see all these pictures of your beautiful family!! And this does make me think of your engagement to DJ, do sorry he couldn’t be there. The food looked fantastic, my mouth is watering for that key lime pie and did I see a strawberry rhubarb pie in that pie picture?? Also you liked CLEAR at the airport? They were talking about it at the Charleston airport when I was there, would love to know more. Thanks again for another great blog!! Love you, your Ohio Mom

    1. Aww! I know I wish he could have been there sooo much- we missed him TONS! Yes- they have some awesome strawberry rhubarb!!! We went with key lime since it’s gma and gpa’s fave- but you really cannot go wrong with Grand Traverse Pie pie– it’s the besttt! (besides your pumpkin of course 😉 ). I LOVED clear!! If I traveled more often I would totally sign up. It’s only $100 (something) a year, and you get to pass up all the lines, super easy check in. it’s great! LOVE YOU!

  4. I have missed “you”! Man what a fab trip!! But gah I would’ve been SO nervous with a flight sitch like that! Thank goodness you made it safely & in decent time.

    Ok first your family is SO gorgeous & just exudes love!! Happy birthday to your sweet grandpa!! That poem is beautiful, you’re so talented!

    What a fantastic spread of food! Also, that house looks like it popped out of a magazine!

    Your dress is adorable, & your sister is such a beauty! She & her bf make such a cute couple. 🙂

    •I can’t recall having a blue cheese stuffed olive buttt sign me up! Sounds fab!

    •I’d say my 2nd home is Plano, TX, which is where my dad & stepmama live! I’ve never lived in TX, but it’s where my dad is from (born in Galveston) & kor & I have visited quite a bit over the years.

    •I’ve never visited TC, Michigan! Looks breathtaking & charmig tho!

    1. AWww, that means SO much! <3 I have had a few travel glitches here and there- I just kinda see them as an adventure at this point!

      Aww oh my gosh, thank you! You are TOO sweet!!! My grandpa is a stellar man- super easy to hype him up!

      Agreed- my aunt's house is so beautiful- I can't get over it!! I'll be passing on the sweet words <3

      Thanks for the dress compliment! I got it at Express for I think $20 , it was on sale-super cheap!

      LOVE my sister & her bf. (hopefully not just bf soon- we shall see 😉 ). Tehe!

      Oooo Plano?! Oh how fun!!!! I had no idea you guys were born in Galveston! Too cool. My mom and step dad live in fort worth. Thanks for stopping by, gf!

      1. What an epic price for a cute dress!

        Ooooo that would be so exciting!

        Oh sorry for the confusion! My daddio was born in Galveston, kor and I were born in good ole Knoxville, but we visited Galveston when we were little! Fort Worth is pretty close to my dad and stepmom! What a small world!

      2. Thanks, girl!

        OOOH I see! I think I just read a bit too quick 😉 And how fun- seriously SUCH a small world. I bet our families have acquaintances somewhere along the line!

  5. Can’t stand blue cheese. Honestly, I don’t enjoy or eat any cheese. Just not something I want to eat or include in my daily foods. My 2nd homes are in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (my parents have a vacation home there) and Apple Valley (Minneapolis), MN where my mom lives. I honestly love having places to visit to get away from day to day life. Finally, I would LOVE to visit Traverse City, Michigan. Sounds beautiful!

    1. Tehee- you either love it or you HATE it for sure! No in between! Oooo I have never been to colorado but have heard amazing things. nor have I been to MN but thanks for sharing!! I bet it’s pretty there too. And I highly recommend everyone visits! Such an amazing place. Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay <3 XO

  6. I wish I would have traveled to Michigan more when I lived up north in Ohio! I had no idea there was so many gems there. Also, I don’t know what’s more beautiful, the view from your aunts backyard or your family! You guys are so cute! I love these posts, as always I feel like I’m there with you. Can’t wait to read the next one!

    1. Aw, yessss it is truly a hidden gem for sure! Especially way north michigan! So beautiful <3

      Oh my goshhhhh you are TOO sweet! <3 You seriously just made my whole day, Diam. Thank you for your super kind words. Have a great rest of your weekend, love!

  7. Looks like a beautiful place and a lovely time away! I completely agree about Gillian Flynn and “Sharp Objects” – was so great! Love her writing.

  8. Holy cannoli, where do I even begin?! Your whole family is so incredibly adorable!! All of the women are pretty as can be, the men are very handsome, and your sister and her boyfriend are such a lovely couple!

    I commend you on staying calm during the traveling fiasco. I would’ve lost my nerve! But trying to take things as they come, laugh them off as best we can, and make the most of any situation is certainly something I strive for. The way you write about spending time with your mom no matter what warms my heart.

    All of the food – my gosh, it all looks delicious! Your grandfather’s cake is hilarious and so cute! Your grandparents sound the very best example of a true loving marriage, and the house looks like it was plucked from the pages of a magazine.

    If I had to choose just one, I’d choose pie over cake, so those pies are calling my name. Yum!

    The view of the water is just spectacular. What a serene, peaceful place. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so glad you are able to soak up time with those you love before starting your program. I’ve missed your posts and was so happy to see this recap! XO

    1. Ahhh oh my gosh, you are TOO sweet! Thanks, Kori <3 We all rarely can all be together in the same place, so it was very very special. They are a hoot. hehe.

      And I almost lost my nerve but tried to stay positive that maybe I could get a Chicago dinner out of the whole thing! The hotel that I booked for the evening also waived the "non refundable" fee because of the circumstances which was AWESOME (when I realized I wouldn't have to stay).

      My Aunt went over and above with the cake- so good haha. And I agree! I'm a pie girl too. Do you have a favorite flavor?!

      TC and Sutton's Bay is the definition of serene- I never feel more at peace and rested than when I am there <3

      Thank YOU for sharing in this special place & memories with me!!

  9. Your grandparents are so adorable. That house is gorgeous, and the food seriously looks incredible. Also, SUPER glad you finished HP4! HP5 coming up soon?

    Have an awesome weekend 🙂

    1. Aren’t they?! I just love um’ so much. Thanks for your sweet words, gf!! Love seeing a comment from you. And heck YES HP5 is in my queue whenever I have an extra couple minutes! Been a non-stop couple of weeks. Have such a great rest of your weekend too 🙂

    1. Aw thanks, girl! Yesss -you either love them or you hate them- but they are my weaknesss. So tasty.

  10. Yayyy for finishing GoF! That’s my favorite book in the series, haha! I think it’s rather hilarious how you took a picture of each page to finish the book! Really creative, actually! Also, what sweet family photos! Looks like you all had such a wonderful time together.

    Oh! And I wanted to let you know that this is my new username and blog now instead of Tialla’s Tellings! I know not everyone has had a chance to get around to it and I just wanted to give you a heads-up. It’s still me! Lol 😂

  11. Hahaha I love how you took a picture of each page in the book so you could finish it! & agh, so sorry you missed that connecting flight by “O’Hare” hahaha. 😉😂 but how lucky to get that last seat!!

    Mmm, I wish you could share those crab English muffins with us, too! They look soooo good! So does all of the food for the party!! That smoked salmon, potato salad, & perfect steak?! Gimme gimme!!

    You have an amazingly beautiful family, Mack!!! Love all of the photos especially the one where Uncle Jeff is hugging David, LOL.

    I’ve only recently started liking plain green olives (still not the black though). I’ve never tried ’em stuffed with bleu cheese yet! I don’t really have a “second home” anymore — it used to he where ever my ex-BFF & her family were. & I’ve never been to TC, Michigan but it looks so wonderful!!

    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!!! ♡♡♡

    1. OK I am SOO glad you caught that. I was proud of that pun 😉 although DJ rolled his eyes big time when I told him it, lol!

      I seriously think of those darn crab muffins alll the time. Like I’ll be at the grocery store, then BAM – think of the crab muffins. Doing the dishes- BAM – think of the crab muffins. Middle of the night- CRAB MUFFINS. They are so goood, it’s annoying cause I can’t always have them. wahhh . haha.

      Awww thank you sooo much, Hunida! My Uncle J is too funny. It was such a treat to all be together cause it rarely ever happens.

      Oh no- ex bff? Bummer! We have all been there though. I think it’s part of life & growing, ya know?

      Thanks for reading, girlie!! These posts are LONG haha.

      1. Hahaha I seriously crack a smile at all of your puns!! I’ve not even eaten those crab muffins & I’m thinking about them. I want!!! LOL. & yes, ex-BFF. 😛 Oh well…

        I love reading your posts! I don’t mind the length, they’re so easy to read — time flies by!! 😀 <3

    1. Aw, it is has been sooo busy but SO fun! Thanks for stopping by girl. It was easy to write- I think the world of him <3

Leave a Reply