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.

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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.

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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?!

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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.

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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…..

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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!

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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 😉

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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Sista sista

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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.

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

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And chocolate mousse pie.yumyumyum.

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My Uncle Jeff from Asheville & I. <3

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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.

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

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

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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

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My mom and I

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My stepdad, Pete, and Grandpa!

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The gang – just missing Deej

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

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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.

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Family picture!

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My sister, Uncle Jeff, and I <3

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

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

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

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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

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After these special moments, time to eat!!!

A bowl of carbs is just a bowl of happiness

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

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

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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!

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

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

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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.

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It was an spectacular day, and a stunning evening.

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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

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A Perfect Wedding Weekend <3

AHHH! I am SO SO SO excited to share this momentous weekend, I cannot even contain it. But I will say.. it was one of those weekends that was just soo good, I’m afraid I won’t do it justice! I have an obnoxious number of pictures to share, so I’ll try to keep the typing to a minimum.

Also, I accidentally published the first post after only uploading a few photos- super sorry if you get an additional e-mail!

SOooooOOoo…

Let’s get started shall we?!

Clair is one of my best friends since sixth grade of middle school. We were inseparable, and still talk on a nearly daily basis even from across the country. This wedding was a celebration beyond compare.

With Clair’s permission, I want to share a little background with you all. Growing up, Clair has always been the life of the party, the “live in the moment”, nurturing, compassionate, beautiful, fun loving, happy-go-lucky, and all around amazing friend. However, she definitely has the give-everyone-the-benefit-of-the-doubt type characteristic, which lended to some not exactly great relationships.

Then a couple years ago, a tragic, life-altering event happened that would shake all our worlds. Clair’s little sister, her beautiful, perfect 16-year-old sister passed away in a horrible accident. Even typing this, tears come to my eyes. Gosh, I miss her, and it is still incredibly hard to believe this is still the reality we live in. But around that time, Clair met Robby- truly one of the most incredible men I have ever met and definitely the most perfect man for Clair. We always say that Kat pulled some strings in Heaven to make this happen. So, although this wedding day was super bitter-sweet without her little sis, seeing where Clair is now and who Clair is with brings us all more joy than I can possibly describe. I would desire nothing less for my best friend, my sister. I love you, Clair & Robby. <3 <3

The weekend began at SamWanna Salon in Akron, OH where the sweet bride treated us all to manis and pedis. Come on now, how stinking sweet is that?!

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You guys know this girl never gets her nails did being a nurse and all that. What a treat!

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In the evening, we got all dressed up and headed to the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner. It was such a wonderful time.

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Me with Momma Babak, mother of the bride (but also my second mom growing up). <3

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The beautiful bride <3

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After the rehearsal dinner, I stayed with Clair and the maid of honor (Clair’s sister, Elane) at the Residence Inn Marriott in Akron. It was a stinking blast to say the least (girl’s night!).

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Annnnd cue the multiple snap chat photos!!

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At 6:30 in the morning (3:30 am my time in San Francisco) I woke up to squeeze in a quick run. Can you tell I’m ecstatic to be up so early? Lol.

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It was worrrth it, the line up from the hotel for breakfast was fab. So many delish options and the coffee was on point!

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After breakfast, the other girls came by for mimosas and bridal party pamper time!

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The stunnerrrr… <3 (I know I am using an absurd amount of hearts in this post, but it’s entirely warranted).

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For lunch we had takeout Aladdin’s (a God-sent restaurant from above, amen, hallelujah, praise Him from whom all blessings flow). This Greek food is fabulous, and I could seriously eat it for dayyyyyyyyssss. Dat hummus, dem grape leaves, dat tabouleh, dat PITA…… do not get me started!

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Post getting Hair Did. I cannot do my own hair for my life, so these moments must be documented.

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Snap chat x2

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All our makeup DONE!

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Don’t mind us.. 😉

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Clair and the maid of honor (who seriously gave the BEST speech of all dang time).

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Here is a full on bridesmaid pic! Clair gifted us all these gorgeous robes for that pamperin’ process, and to wear in the limo on the way over. (PS. She ordered them from Etsy for any future Mrs. out thur)!

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After many laughs, mimosas, and ratchet dance moves we jumped into the limo to head to the party center (fun fact: I worked at Todaros Party Center in high school with my Clair bug).

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I meannnnn…

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Aunt Mo also met this little nugget for the first time (Clair’s son, Jacob). Y’alll….. MY FREAKING HEART. I could not even handle it.

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HE IS PERFECT

img_3955Naturally, I didn’t get any pictures of the ceremony being on stage and all that jazz *hair flip*….

But for dinner, there was a fabulous array of cheese, crackers, spinach dip, and then main courses of chicken, steak, and a vegetarian option (HOLLAAA!). This was ah-vegan-mazing! SOO Dahhh lisshhh ! I don’t know what they did to these veggies, but they were flame. (Potentially literally, maybe they were barbequed?!). Also, I quickly snatched my favorite rolls that I used to secretly eat while making bread baskets when I worked there and carb loaded for the dance floor.

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OK. Someone bring me tissues.. have you ever seen anyone more perfect?! Stahp dis.

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And the gorgeous couple after <3

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One of the best parts of weddings is seeing people you love love love love. Here is my sweet Lynds, who you may remember had her absolutely incredible wedding in July! You can see throw back pics of all of us in that post- Clair wasn’t able to make it because she was due with Jacob!

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Me and the perfect Maid of Honor (also a fellow nurse). <3

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Me, ma, mo dinos. (No worries- you do not need to understand.. we don’t even understand)… jus’ three girls, tryna make it in this world. What is happening……… (once again.. see throw backs here).

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This is I and another good friend, Kristen (Clair’s cousin). Stop growing up, please and thank yas.

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The whole church gang all together <3

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Uhm, yum? Need I say more?

Also yum… getta load of this arm candy!

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Alien hand once again making a debut ^^^^^.

I also may have had a minor toe fiasco on the dance floor… resulting in a  bit of blood. What’s a good night without an injury?! One of the bridesmaids so sweetly helped me out .. we got that sucker bandaged up so I didn’t miss another second of dancing. 💕

Thank you, Clair and Robby, for allowing me to be part of your perfect day. (No- I am not over-utilizing the word perfect, it is entirely justified!).

After the wedding, we went back to DJ’s mom’s home (also my second home) for pumpkin pie, dirt pudding, and great chats. Oh how I miss the days of spending hours chatting in that kitchen <3

The next day, DJ finally got his ultimate pancake fix. Heck yah. There are OFFICIALLY no better pancakes (nor better pumpkin pie) than Mom B’s. The. BEST. Even on her birthday, she spoiled US with all the yums.

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On the flight back I worked out my schedule for December and early January. My research project is due in about three weeks (EEK!). I will be devoting nearly every second of free time to it, but I cannot wait to share with y’all what we have been working on. I nibbled on pita bread, hummus, tabouleh, olives, and feta. Is there anything better?!

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I hope you all are doing so well. I’ve been totally MIA on your sites, but once this research project is turned in I will be able to catch up a bit. Love to you all and a happy holiday season!!!

xo <3

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