New Year, New Goals

I've never been one to make a solid commitment to any New Year's resolutions. Most of what I wish to work on or accomplish are overarching things that I've continuously worked on (more diligently at some times than others) and hope to work on for the remainder of my existence! For example, feeding my body the healthy foods that it needs, creating work that I'm proud of, challenging myself to learn new crafts, etc. These have become some of my more "standard" practices.


This year however, I do want to focus on treating myself with kindness and building more confidence, all of which is part of maintaining a more positive attitude in daily life. In order to hold myself accountable, I plan to begin an "accomplishments jar" that will hold all my achievements, big or small, that I document throughout the year. It's far too easy to find yourself in December wondering, "where the heck has this year gone, and what in the world have I accomplished?!" Honestly, I'm often plagued with a negative inner dialogue by this point.

So, by December 2018 I will have a handful of positive memories to look back upon, and each time I slip a piece of paper into the jar throughout the year, it will be that small pat on the back that we all owe to ourselves.

How do you rid yourself of negative self-talk? What are some of your "standard practices" that feed into your personal development and growth?

A Month of Chaos and Relaxation

Holy smokes. The month of May sure was a busy one! Things started out strong with a ladies' weekend of biking over 100 miles in the northern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula. Following the biking adventure I attended two of my best friends' wedding shower, lifted some heavy stuff at a CrossFit competition, and enjoyed drinks and bonfires while camping near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's upper peninsula. If you can't tell already, I really do love this state. It honestly amazes me how many Michiganders have yet to visit Pictured Rocks; it's absolutely breathtaking!

The physical challenges I've encountered in this past month have made me especially thankful to be able-bodied and free to explore this world around me. Not only was this biking journey a true test for my buns-n-thighs, but also a test of my mental strength. We encountered extremely chilling winds, and if you know me, you know I don't handle the cold well... Luckily with this being the second annual trip with these ladies, I packed more wisely this year and was ready for the challenge :) With either Rubblebucket blaring on the wireless speakers or the sound of the wind whizzing past us, we cycled from Traverse City, across to Glen Arbor, up to Leelanau State Park, and back down to our starting point. Despite any challenges we faced, I'm sure the tradition will hold up for years to come.


The month of May was topped off perfectly with camping at Muskallonge Lake State Park, but boy were the bugs relentless! Two days following, I still found mosquitos buzzing around in my car. A small group of friends spent a few days filling up with campfire meals (obviously including my favorite, tacos), hiking to the lakeshore, and sliding down dunes on our buns. On our second day in the UP, we decided to trek to Chapel Beach, which turned out to be quite the adventure. As soon as we stepped onto the shoreline, the sun broke through the clouds. However, after hunting for petoskey stones for a few minutes, this warm sunshine was followed by ominous storm clouds that materialized in the distance, accompanied by thunder. We abruptly packed up and made our way back to the trail head. With a couple of miles left between ourselves and our vehicle, the rain began to fall, followed by hail. Fortunately I was able to capture a few photos of my favorite greenery and mushrooms on our way out to Chapel Beach before we were pummeled with rain!

Summer is officially 20 days away, but it looks like this warm season is off to a great start! I'm already booking up my weekends with exciting trips, big and small. What do you have planned for this summer?

Endless Eating at Crystal Lake

This month I escaped for a girls' weekend away at a quaint little a-frame located on Crystal Lake for two nights. With our crockpots, bottles of wine and records (yes records and a record player) in tow, we made our way north. We went big on this trip guys, with all the comforts you could ever need. The weather was freezing, as in seven degrees fahrenheit freezing. But, we managed to wander out along the lake and into the small town of Beulah (aka Ferris Beulah hehe).

We filled our crockpots with tasty concoctions each day, taking turns playing head chef. The menu featured veggie chili one evening and steel cut oats for another morning. Endless home-cooked meals (including to-die-for curry) filled our tummies and numerous bottles of wine washed everything down. For lunch one day we were feeling adventurous and made our way to Iron Fish Distillery for a couple of fancy cocktails and food-truck tacos. Each day we were also sure to get our fair share of crackers topped with goat cheese and jam thanks to Aldi :) I ate so much goat cheese it must have been bursting out of my ears.

A weekend void of obligations or the feeling of being rushed was so refreshing. Sometimes the only way to slow myself down and take a quick break is to travel someplace far away enough that I have no other choice! 


Handmade Kalamazoo

I'm (extremely) excited to say that a few of my prints are now available for sale at Handmade Kalamazoo! This afternoon I drove down to check out the shop and see what it's all about. The shop owner, Melissa, and I graduated from Kendall College together and I've got to say it's pretty awesome to see someone who has created a business that they are so proud of! Handmade Kalamazoo offers an assortment of products, from leather goods and clothing to jewelry and ceramics, crafted by several Michigan-based artists. Make your way to Handmade Kalamazoo to support an authentic local business as well as many artists who have dedicated their life to mastering their craft.

Winter in West Michigan

I don't know about you, but I'm struggling to find the motivation to do much of anything when I have the time at home these days! It probably has something to do with the fact that it's now mid-January, and lately we have gone up to 2 weeks without seeing the sun here in West Michigan. So, earlier this month when we had that rare sunshine-y day, my husband and I set off for Lake Michigan. It had been years since I'd adventured out onto the frozen lake, and I've got to say it's amazing. As usual I let my habit of being a collector take over and brought home a few souvenirs. Plus, I am becoming infatuated with random-object styling and would love to make a point to create something of this sort each week to keep my creative juices flowing.

What do you fellow Michiganders do to occupy yourselves/find inspiration when the weather is getting you down? Especially during those rainy and dreary days?