Monday, October 5, 2015

Pure Michigan | Back Home

Last week I promised pictures from our trip to Michigan back in August. I continually find myself saying better late then never when it comes to posting pictures lately. I'm amazed at the amount of digital files we have. Maybe someday I'll get around to printing some of them, because it's nice having something you can actually see and touch in your home. That aside, I love having the opportunity to share my hometown with my husband, but it was extra special watching our son experience Michigan for the first time!

We spent some time watching the sunset from the place where I grew up. There honestly isn't a day that I don't think about the beautiful lake I took for granted as a kid. I don't think too many people had a backyard like that. Like they always say, hindsight is 20/20. I'm so glad we're fortunate enough to at least make it back for visits.

No trip to northern Michigan would be complete without a bonfire. A big storm blew threw the week before our visit, so there were quite a few downed trees. I remember losing massive trees to raging storms when I was younger. There was a night my mom packed up me, the dog, and our bird and headed into town to my grandma's house. The next day we returned to multiple downed trees lying on our roof. It was crazy. Reminds you not to mess around with mother nature.

Speaking of mother nature, you just can't beat a sunset up north! We witnessed a few spectacular sunsets. They're one of the best parts of being in northern Michigan.

We timed our visit so we could watch my dad race power boats! He builds them and races them. We're pretty proud. Chase said "boat" for the first time while we were there. Who could blame him? They are pretty fascinating and exciting to watch. Plus, they're loud. It was a little boy's heaven. He even got to sit in grandpa's boat. Those pictures will come later this week.

There were so many new experiences to be had in Michigan. Living in Arizona, we don't spend much time near water, grass, or trees. Don't get me wrong, I love our desert environment, but I think our little guy loved all of the new adventures in Michigan. Grandma bought him some fun beach toys, and we took full advantage of the water, sand, and rocks!

We all enjoyed fresh air and the outdoors. There's just something special about northern Michigan. I guess maybe you need to see it for yourself before you can really understand. Most people aren't sure what to think when you say you're from Michigan. I love when I come across someone who actually knows where my hometown is. It doesn't happen often, but it's nice to know others appreciate it too. I hope we get to visit often enough that our son will appreciate it some day too.

Our visit was filled with many firsts for our son: first time in a lake, first time driving across the Mackinac Bridge, first time watching grandpa race boats, first haircut, first time meeting some new friends, and most importantly first time seeing where mom grew up.

I have plenty more pictures to share from our trip to Michigan. I figured I'd spare you and break it up a bit. Later this week, I'll post pictures from the boat races and our trip to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore.

Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Trapeze Dresses | Saturday Favorites

Ever since seeing a salesgirl at Nordstrom wearing the adorable black trapeze dress below, I've been obsessed with finding one for myself. I love the versatility of being able to dress this up or down, and it's a great fall piece. Not to mention, this type of dress doesn't cling to your body or reveal less than favorite areas on your body. Below are some of my favorite trapeze dresses, and they're all $60 and under. I can't wait to wear mine this fall!

Trapeze Dress Favorites
. . : : from left to right : : . .

Leith Trapeze Dress -- This dress has been taunting me for days now. I had it in my online shopping cart, and the next day it was gone. It's nowhere to be found now, and I won't be able to get a good night's sleep until I get my hands on one. (I'm known to be a bit dramatic at times)

Forever21 Stretch Knit Trapeze Dress -- For the price, this is a great buy. It looks really similar in cut to the Leith dress, but you save some cash on this one. I bought this dress in grey for fall, and I'm going to pair it with my cowgirl boots and a scarf.

Express V-neck Long Sleep Trapeze Dress -- I love the color of this dress. I'm a sucker for olive green lately. If you're not wanting a little black dress, then this is a great option. This color green looks great with brown boots and accessories.

Everly Stripe Trapeze Dress -- This is a great option from the black, grey, and greens of the world. It would look great styled with a colorful cardigan or handbag. It's casual enough for tennis shoes too.

Which one is your favorite?

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thanks for reading!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Our little guy absolutely loves airplanes. I don't have much experience with other boys his age, so I can't speak for any other boys besides ours. He really, really loves things that fly though! We've traveled with him by plane, I believe, 4 times now. He's a pretty decent traveler. *knock on wood* I probably jinxed us by saying that, but I swear he loves the change of scenery that comes with traveling and, of course, the opportunity to see airplanes up close.

trucks, planes, and trains... a little boy's dream

I can't pass up an #airportcarpet photo op

watching the activity below

DTW is still one of my favorite airports... and I love the fountain there

watching the train and people at DTW

one last #airport carpet shot before we head home

for the love of lines....

the tunnel at DTW... check it out if you're in the McNamara terminal

otherworldly lighting

who can resist peeking at the 747?!

All of these photos were taken during our trip to Michigan in August. I'll share more about our trip back to my home state next week! There's a lot to share.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scenes from Arizona

It's sometimes hard to believe that we've lived in Arizona for about 10 months now. It's cheesy but true, but time flies when you're having fun. We've had a lot of firsts since moving here. We're still surviving, and surprisingly not hating, our first summer in the desert. We also saw our first dust storm. It wasn't nearly as exciting as I was hoping. We still miss our family and friends very much, but I think Arizona is doing a nice job growing on us.

 don't be fooled... this is turf and not real grass

 watching our first dust storm roll in

 we caught a local 4th of July parade

 trying to stay cool in the pool

 watching a little team roping

 what little boy doesn't love breakfast at the airport?!

starting him young ;-)

Have you ever been to Arizona?
Did you love it or hate it?
If not, come & see it for yourself!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Grand Canyon :: aka Wow

This is incredibly indicative of my nature, but I worried about our Grand Canyon plans for weeks before leaving. We would only have a few hours there, and I didn't want to blow our opportunity to really experience the natural world wonder. I was concerned that we would have unrealistically high expectations and be disappointed after viewing it from the parking lot or a crowded overlook. Thank goodness we're only about a 4 hour drive away, so we should be able to visit again.

After our Arizona road trip and a stop in Las Vegas, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon. Everyone says it, but it really is one of those places you need to see with your own eyes. I also tend to say this about a number of places, but pictures and videos really don't do it justice. I hope my pictures do this beautiful place at least a little justice or maybe even make you want to visit for yourself!

The night before our Grand Canyon visit, we spent the night at a hotel in Tusayan, Arizona. It's just a couple miles south of the southern entrance gate. It killed me being so close to the Grand Canyon and having to wait until morning to actually leave the hotel and see it. Patience may not be one of my strengths, especially when it comes to travel. What can I say? I want to do it all and with a limited amount of time.

Driving into the Grand Canyon from the south, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of trees and how lush the plant life seemed. I guess I have no idea what we were expecting. You tend to imagine Arizona as simply a desert filled with cacti, dirt, and various other shades of brown. However, you'll find the landscape varies tremendously, especially in the northern mountains of the state. The 48th state has been surprising us since we moved here.

We drove into Grand Canyon National Park, purchased our National Park annual pass and proceeded a parking lot near the main visitor center. All along we're wondering when are we going to see this incredible canyon. We made a stop at the visitor center and gift shop before proceeding down the trail to one of the many overlooks.

We wound our way through the trees and followed signs to the canyon. I couldn't help but wonder how much further until we could see it. (Patience is a virtue.) Then all of a sudden the trees ended and, bam!, there it was. There we were standing in front of the Grand Canyon itself. I can honestly say it took my breath away. Even our 16 month old could sense the wonder of it, because he repeatedly hollered "wow" with amazement. All my worrying about where to park, hike, overlook didn't matter anymore. We were there standing in front of one of the grandest sights in all the world. It was incredible.

Utilizing all of your senses is a must when visiting the Grand Canyon. The sound of the blowing wind next to the giant chasm is indescribable. The sound masks all the noises of daily distraction. No horns honking, planes flying, or phones ringing. When the wind blows and you're standing next to the Grand Canyon, all you hear is the thoughts in your head. That can be a good or bad thing, but I think it helps you really take in the sights.

I wish we would have had more time at the Grand Canyon. That tends to be a theme when we travel. There never seems to be enough time. Such is life though. We enjoyed the little time we did have. Even the littlest adventurer among us seemed to enjoy shaking fences while shouting his amazement into the canyon.

It blows me away that we heard multiple different languages and accents while walking the canyon trails. People from all over the world stop to get a look at this wonder, and all too often we take these types of places for granted. They are right underneath our noses, and we often don't make the time to see the beauty of our own country.

Every now and then we caught a glimpse of the Colorado River down below. It's sometimes too easy to forget that a river, plenty of passing time, and the forces of mother nature shaped this place. The Grand Canyon doesn't give credit to any human for shaping, creating, building, or forging it. Man has designed and built some pretty spectacular things, but natural wonders like the Grand Canyon exist outside of man. Quite simply, it's a place to be enjoyed and experienced.

We walked a rather small portion of trail along the canyon rim, and it's shocking to think that plenty of people make the hike down into the canyon each year. I'm sure that experience is something completely different and one for the record books. Maybe some day we'll tackle the trails leading down into the canyon, but for now we have visions from atop the canyon seared into our memories. Our little guy probably won't remember our visit, but we have pictures to prove he was there.

Thanks for reading!

If you've never visited the Grand Canyon in person,
I hope you'll get to see it some day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Falling for Faux Fur

I have always loved wearing at least a little bit of faux fur when it gets snowy and cold outside. I think part of me is clinging to the cold-weather girl inside of me. What can I say? I grew up in northern Michigan, and I love cuddling up to something cozy when it gets cool outdoors. My winter coat has a faux fur trim around the hood, I had a fun pair of tall boots with fur trim around the tops, and I even wore a faux fur jacket on our wedding day. I guess you can say I'm a little crazy for faux fur.

picture by Alison Rose Photography in Denver

Finding the perfect faux fur vest for fall has consumed me recently. I searched online for quite some time and thought I knew what I wanted, but there are so many different styles out there. For now I found a really affordable option (under $40) at Forever 21. I can't wait to wear it once the temperatures drop a bit!

 :: some of my favorite faux fur vests ::

Falling for Faux Fur

1. Forever 21 Open-Front Vest I recently bought this and can't wait to wear it in cooler temps. The Arizona weather isn't exactly faux fur friendly at the moment.

2. H&M Brown Fur Vest I almost purchased this one. It's a little looser fitting than I wanted, so it would be great for layering over top of larger items of clothing like sweaters.

3. Mark & Graham All-Over Fur Vest this is a nice versatile, brown vest for fall.

4. Camille Faux Fur Vest by Lovers + Friends This vest is a little pricey, but I love the color variation in this one. I think this vest looks a little more like real fur than some others.

Do you have any favorite faux fur items?
Happy Friday!