Monday, July 22, 2019

Up North Weekend

Friday afternoon the Mr. and I headed up to our favorite northern Michigan town, Frankfort.  We’ve only ever spent just a couple of hours here, but this time we were spending the night.  We got there around 2:30 and were able to check in to our hotel right then, which was great, because we got one of the last parking spots in the lot, and did not have to worry about street parking!  We stayed at The Hotel Frankfort, which was conveniently located 3 blocks from the public beach and right next door to one of our favorite breweries, Stormcloud!

We took our stuff up to the room and then went to the hotel bar for a late lunch.  We shared their GLT, which is a take on the classic BLT.  It had guacamole, lettuce, tomato and we apparently got the bacon added on, which is an additional charge, but was still good.  My husband got to partake in the Ludington BayBrewing Company tasting they had going on and enjoyed the four he tried.  His favorite was the Tangelo Dream.  I had a sip, and agree it was delicious!  I had a strawberry lemonade, which was also yummy.

After our lunch we decided to walk around Main Street before we hit the beach.  We went through a few touristy shops and hit up the local bookstore.  Then my pregnant self was feeling the heat so we went back to the hotel for a bit and then headed to the beach.

We put our chairs right on the edge of the water because for once, Lake Michigan waves were not huge, which we hear was NOT the case down south.  So we sat with our feet in the water with a few dips to cool off until almost 9pm.  We were going to stay for sunset but we witnessed sunset around 8:15 when the sun went into a cloudy haze.

first we sat further back, but then we decided we watched our toes in the water!

We headed back to the hotel and washed off and hit up Stormcloud for dinner.  They had live music and we got the last table outside.  We shared the Stormchos (pulled pork nachos) and the Stormgarden (flat bread with arugula, tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella).  The Stormchos are literally my favorite pulled pork nachos anywhere, but they just did not live up to my previous experiences.  Which was sad because I was literally looking forward to them for months.
After dinner we went back to our room and read and watched TV before crashing.

Saturday we were up early and hit up the very light breakfast the hotel had set out.  I just had a yogurt and a cup of coffee.  My husband had coffee and raisin toast.  We MEANT to go to the farmers market and then completely forgot.  We grabbed coffees to go and had a relaxing morning of reading before we got ready to head to Traverse City.

Our first stop was the Point Betsie Lighthouse, which we had tried to stop at a few years ago with the kiddo but it was insanely busy and packed that day.  We got there just as it was opening and walked around the grounds.  We got a postcard to add to our postcard collection at home but did not pay for the lighthouse tour.

Then we headed up to Traverse City where we had lunch on the top floor of the Grand Traverse Resort.  The food was delicious.  We had salad, potatoes, green beans, cherry chicken, and a mushroom beef.  The mushroom crusted on the beef was the best part of the beef.  I am not a fan of mixing cherries with chicken ha.  The dessert was amazing.

After lunch, we walked around the resort and went into a few shops.  The weather was very cloudy and looked like rain so we decided not to hit up the private beach club.  We did head out to Torch Lake and visit some friends who had recently moved from the river to the lake. Such a gorgeous lake and a beautiful home.  Their view is amazing!

We headed back to the resort about 4:30 and checked into our room.  I read, he napped, and then we decided to go to one of our favorite Traverse City restaurants, Red Mesa Grill, for some dips.  We had a huge lunch and didn’t want a ton, so we split guacamole and queso.  Plus, the salsa/chips on the table.  We may have overdosed on chips!

We were going to stop at get fudge on our way back but it had just closed, so magically we made it out of the weekend with no dessert.

Back at the resort, we walked around and took a look at the pool/spa area and then decided to just relax.  He watched a movie on the moon landing and I read my book.

Sunday we hit up Meijer in TC to check out the booze (ha!).  I got a bottle chardonnay from a local winery that I enjoy and he got some local beer.  We also picked up some local cherries and donuts for breakfast.

It was a very relaxing, fun weekend.  It was nice to be up in our favorite area and really have no plans but to just do what we wanted! 

What’s your favorite local to your vacation area?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

5 Bookish Things I'm Loving Right Now

This is my second installment of  Five Bookish Things I'm Loving.  The first one can be found here. 

1. I read this article about giving a book instead of a card for a kid's birthday.  I do this frequently for baby showers.  And a book is usually part of every kid's gift I already give.  I might as well just utilize the book as the card. :)  For the most part I have my 8 year old artist make the cards around here, but I really like this idea of personalizing a card for every birthday.

2. I love Mighty Girls.  I follow them on facebook and I have found out many historical facts about women that I didn't know before and have gotten introduced to a ton of books/games/toys that I wouldn't have stumbled upon without their assistance.

The article 100 Mighty Girl Books for Tween's Summer Reading List, had a lot of good books!

A Dash of Trouble by Anne Meriano is the first in a newish series that looks like something I'd want to check out!

"Leonora's mother, aunt, and older sisters run the best bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, and Leonora wants to help prepare for Dia de los Muertos — but once again, they tell her she's too young. One day, when Leo sneaks down to the bakery, she learns why: they are all brujas, witches of Mexican ancestry, and they bake a little delicious magic into every bite! Leo's sure she's old enough to learn magic too, so when her best friend has a problem, she decides to dig into the family recipe book. But Leo doesn't read Spanish, so deciphering the recipes isn't easy... and when things go awry, Leo learns that her family will support her but she has to fix her own mistakes! This charming story effortlessly weaves together Mexican, Texan, and American cultures and adds a dash of mystery and magic to delightful effect."

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is on my shelf and I'm hoping to do a read aloud with my kiddo this summer, or read it by myself!

"Delphine may only be eleven, but she's used to caring for her sisters, Vonetta and Fern, since her mother left seven years ago for California. But the summer of 1968 is going to be different: their father is sending all three girls to visit Cecile in Oakland. They're expecting family trips to Disneyland to meet Tinkerbell; instead, Cecile sends them to youth programs at a Black Panther center and tells them to stay out as long as they can while she writes her poetry. They may not be getting the maternal experience they expected, but over one crazy summer, they'll learn a lot about their family, their country, and themselves. "


so true!!!

I feel this problem in my soul!!! I love having books all around me.

5. I finished my reading goal in July!!! So this is the second year where I finished my goal months ahead of schedule.  So perhaps I need to increase my goal.  However, I've also had many years where things have come up and I have not made it.  So maybe until I can verify what reading with two children will be like I shall keep my 52 books in a year goal!

My favorites from January were Becoming by Michelle Obama and Ohio by Stephen Markley.

February's favorite was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!

March's favorite was The Dry by Jane Harper.

April's favorite was probably Knit Two.

May's favorite was The Nick Adam's Stories by Hemingway.

June's favorites were The Stolen Marriage and Crazy Rich Asians.  I also really enjoyed The Sandcastle Girls.

So far in July I've read 9 books and my current favorite is The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth, 

If I was to pick out of these 52 which to recommend off the top of my head I would say Becoming, Ohio, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Dry, The Nick Adams Stories, and The Mother-in-Law.

What bookish things are you loving right now?

Friday, July 12, 2019


I've hit the point in the summer where I am completely confused on days of the week and without my phone calendar beeping at me, I may forget where I'm going.  This could also be related to the fact that I am 28 weeks pregnant.  Technically, 29 tomorrow.  And holy crap, I have so much to do on that front.  Still need to figure out a stroller and car seat.  Still need a dresser.  Ahhh.  I'm kind of in denial.  I have to refresh my mind on breastfeeding, I need diapers/wipes.  And a curtain rod and curtains.  Our house is being painted the week of August 20th so I feel kind of in limbo until then.  We are not putting carpet in the bedrooms now because of darn asbestos, but carpet will be put in the living room and on our stairs leading to the basement in early September.  Ahhhh.  Okay, back to denial...

My favorite picture from the week:  

The high of my week was having a ‘girls day’ with my mom and kiddo.  We went to an outlet mall, did some school shopping for the 8 year old, newborn sleeper shopping for the newbie, out to lunch, then back to my parents house and the kiddo swam for a bit.

The low of my week was the stupid exhaustion I get at the end of some days after not doing a ton.  My legs get all restless and I can’t sit in a spot for a long time.  I think a lot has to do with the amount of water I drink.  I feel like I’m drinking a lot but apparently I’m not.  I hardly drink anything non-water unless I start my day with coffee since I am back on the coffee train after a few months where it grossed me out!

The book I’m reading is I just started Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco.  It’s the third book in the Fudge series that I’ve been reading. I love that the series is set on Mackinac Island.  I have started liking cozy mysteries in the last year or two, I just learned that I can’t read a ton of the same series back to back because I catch discrepancies and/or the writing can sometimes leave some wanting.  I caught up on the Women’s Murder Club, 18th Abduction.  I like that series, but I have the opposite problem of the cozy mysteries.  It’s so long since the last one, I can barely remember what it was about, and the book descriptions do not help! I have a huge stack from the library right now too.  I’m trying to catch up a little on the Louise Penny series, but apparently so is everyone else at my library! So I’m slowly pecking away when the books become available.  I’ve read some out of order so that helps a bit.  I’m also excited to pick up Mistress at the Ritz soon, as I was lucky enough to find that on the shelf at my library yesterday!

The best money I spent was the clothes shopping I did on Tuesday! I got 3 newborn sleepers, 1 3 month fleece sleeper, and a 12-18 month summer dress for the newbie.  I got all but the dress at the Carter’s Outlet and the dress at Old Navy.  Then Posh Peanut had a sale and I got the changing pad cover that matches the crib sheet, hair bow, and swaddle blanket I had already purchased when that was on sale a couple months ago.  I also got 2 dresses and a pair of leggings to add to the fall school wardrobe for the soon to be 3rd grader from Old Navy.  I already picked up new Nike tennis shoes for her on a super good sale back in March.  And I got some stuff at Kohls/Marshalls/Target on clearance already.  I for sure want to get her 3 more pairs of leggings but that I may hold off on until the weather is cooler since she is a growing kid.  Side note: I took her for her 8 year old well check yesterday and she is 4 feet 3 inches.  Only a foot shorter than me! She also clocks in at 57 pounds.  She has maintained her 50th percentile for weight and 75th for height for the past 8 years.  I do need to try to get her more calcium and may end up with supplements because she doesn’t really care much for milk and neither do I so I completely get it! She also isn’t a huge yogurt fan (again, I get it) and cheese and broccoli all the time may not be good for the tummy hahaha!

My plans this weekend include this is a rare weekend where we do not have concrete plans.  I have a hair appointment today.  We really should do work around the house.  We may end up at a lake, or having a pool day.  I do need to spend time planning out a meal plan for our next camping trip because it will happen quickly after the husband and I come back from a couple days away in Frankfort/Traverse City.  We may end up attending the Eat Great Food Festival that is in town for women’s golf tournament that is town next week.  It’s kind of pricey at 40 dollars a ticket, especially since I can’t get the alcohol samples.  However it is 4 hours long and the amount of vendors/types of food are enticing.  Plus, the kiddo is free.  So, 80 bucks for the 3 of us to indulge may be on our agenda!

What was the high of your week? What are you reading?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Reading:  Surprise Island by Gertrude Warner, The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth, and Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I'm enjoying all of them!

Loving:  we finally have summer weather! 80s and humid! Not that I'm enjoying it much this year in my pregnant condition, but I am savoring it as much as possible.  Because we all know the long dreaded winter is soon coming!

Feeling: overwhelmed with what we need to do for this new child.  I really just need my husband to do what I asked him to do and get the room cleared of office stuff because that will make me feel better.  Oh and for my husband to get the stroller out for me to look at (asked this in April).  We also need a carseat.  And I need to remember what stuff I need around the house when you have a newborn.  

Anticipating: the 4th of July! Hopefully thunderstorms will stay away and we will be able to enjoy a day on the lake and a night of fireworks.  It's my favorite holiday.

Grateful: that I have a kind and caring kid who is so go with the flow and can be so chill.

Working: on still clearing out the office/new child's bedroom.  I really need to make some progress in there.  We are having our house painted on August 20th and then new flooring so I would ideally like everything done way before August 20th!
  Listening: to lots of podcasts! I'm so far behind.  I'm currently catching up on past Pod Save America episodes.

Watching: I don't remember when I watched tv last.  I think I have a few Southern Charm's to catch up on!

Wishing: for a personal chef and errand runner!

What are you reading and listening to currently?

Monday, July 1, 2019

June Reads!

Half of 2019 has gone by and with it, I've completed 42 books! In June I read 9 books.  I really enjoyed the majority of the books I read.  I started a book mid-month that I abandoned for awhile, I may go back to it, but it just wasn't what I wanted at the moment and instead I picked up 3 books in the Fudge series by Nancy Coco that is set on Mackinac Island.  I read one of the books last October, and decided it was just what I needed.

The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond was a book that took me awhile to get into and is Bond's debut novel.  I think there was a lot of things going on and it was just okay for me.  It was good in a mystery sense, but I just wasn't feeling it.

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder was a book that was put together after Ms. Wilder had passed away.  It doesn't read like the others in the series and is very short.  They only fixed spelling and some grammar issues from my understanding.  So it's kind of written more towards an older audience than the younger audience the rest of the series is aimed at. 

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian was a very good book.  It switched perspectives a lot.  I also think it could have used a different title.  However, it's a story of 1915 Syria and the Armenian genocide that occurred. I do recommend this, but it is not a light read at all!

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan was hysterical.  I loved it.  I really could see how this easily became a movie and I'm actually contemplating trying to see it this summer.  It's kind of lengthy but it reads super fast.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner was one of my favorite books as a child.  I loved this series! My kiddo got a boxed set of the first four or five books and we decided we'd read this one together.  She loved it.  We read it in like 2 hours.  We also found out there are now Boxcar movies??? We watched the second one on Amazon Prime.  We also immediately started reading the second in the series but I think I am going to encourage her to do the rest on her own!

All Fudged Up by Nancy Coco is the first in a series set on Mackinac Island.  These books can definitely be read out of order and I had already read one of them months ago.  Allie McMurphy inherits the family hotel from her Grandpa Liam and is trying to renovate and get ready for the season on the island when she finds a dead body.  Of course she becomes a suspect and she of course has to clear her name.  I loved the setting of Mackinac Island and how quick and fun this book was.  Plus, I love the fudge recipes included!

To Fudge or Not to Fudge by Nancy Coco is the second book in the series and this time Allie's dog finds bones of a dead body and she is part of another murder investigation on the Island.  This happens during the Island's Lilac Festival and included more yummy fudge recipes.

Oh, Fudge by Nancy Coco is actually the fifth book in the series but my library didn't have 3 or 4 so I just grabbed this one.  Like I said, you don't really need them in order.  Once again Allie finds a dead body, but this time she finds her cousin standing over the body and her cousin becomes the suspect.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain is set in 1944.  Tess DeMello finds herself pregnant with not her fiances baby and runs away to North Carolina and marries the father of her child.  Tragedy and heartbreak follow an interesting look at marriage and life in the 1940s.  I don't want to say much because there are a few spoilers that were well placed and made this an engaging read. 

I've definitely read a lot of interesting books in the first half of the year.  The one book that stands out as my OMG you must read this too book is Becoming by Michelle Obama. So so so good.

Right now I'm reading Father's Day by Simon Van Booy and Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. 

What did you read in June? What one book of June would you recommend? How are you doing on your yearly reading goal?