Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Most Beautiful Place in America

Deciding on the most beautiful place in America is quite subjective, but Good Morning America did vote Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes as number one back in 2011. Having been there a number of times myself, I'd have to say it's definitely tops when it comes to natural beauty. There aren't many places, if any, like it. Seeing the giant dunes climb out of a big blue lake is pretty amazing. Describing these places can sometimes be difficult for me, so I hope the pictures help a little.

Sleeping Bear Dunes on a misty August afternoon

After all the years of being with my husband, we'd still not taken the time to see Sleeping Bear Dunes during any Michigan trips. I'd always wanted to take him, so we made sure to visit on our trip this summer. Plus, we purchased a National Park pass back when we visited the Grand Canyon in May. We had no excuses to not see it this time around, and I wanted to stamp our son's National Park passport as well. He's already racked up an impressive number of stamps, and it's something that will be fun to continue over the years.

My dad joined us on our trip to the dunes. We left somewhat early in the morning for the drive to Empire, Michigan. It's a little more than 2 hours from the town where I grew up, so it's an easy day trip. Thankfully one of my good friends lent us their hiking pack for the week we were in Michigan. It made for the perfect ride for our little guy. We tried him in a pack before, and he hated it. Thank goodness he actually really enjoyed riding around in our borrowed pack. We're going to have to get one for hikes in Arizona!

 panoramic shot from above the dune climb

taking a break and eating a few snacks

While everyone else took a little rest, I decided I would tackle a taller dune and try to get a glimpse of Lake Michigan. From the dune climb area, it's quite a hike if you want to get all the way to the great lake. I did get a peek at it through the mist from atop a tall dune. It was a long ways away, but I saw it. The best part of climbing these dunes is running down them so quickly that your legs can barely keep up with your body. It's fun; I promise! I must have a thing for dunes, because back in 2010 I insisted on climbing the Great Sand Dunes in Alamosa, Colorado as well. Climb on, I say!

my dad and us... glad we brought some sand toys

no joke... this is a very steep climb

After visiting the dune climb, we took a drive around Pierce Stocking scenic drive. From there, you can park in a pull off and it's a short walk to a dune that directly overlooks Lake Michigan. If you're short for time, this is a perfect spot to quickly experience some incredible views and get some pictures. We did just that.

 someone won't wear sunglasses... or hats

Pure Michigan

One day I hope to return and maybe even camp somewhere nearby. There's so much to see and do all around the Sleeping Bear Dunes, that a few hours hardly scrapes the surface. We really enjoyed our day at the dunes.

blue skies, green trees, and lots of sand

Do you have a favorite outdoor park? Even just a local one? I love getting outdoors. I think it's great for renewal and getting grounded again. Sometimes it's so easy to forget that we have these incredible places right out our front door. I'm looking forward to exploring more of Arizona, and I can't wait to return to the Sleeping Bear Dunes again!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

TSC : Football, Food, & a Birthday

Today is all about football, food, and celebrating the birthday
of someone very special to me... my husband. Happy Sunday everyone.

we're finally getting a bit of a cool down here in the desert

reading -- well, I'm still not really reading anything at the moment, but I do want to read "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. My aunt mailed her copy a while ago, and I just haven't found time to sit down and read it.
writing -- just this Sunday Currently for the blog. I imagine I should probably think about putting together a meal plan for this week. Does that count as writing?
listening -- I finally signed up for Spotify. Thanks Lauren! Right now I'm enjoying "Pulaski at Night" by Andrew Bird and also "The Less I Know the Better" by Tame Impala.

any Spotify peeps know why this play button doesn't work??

thinking -- that I'd really like to see something new. I can't stand not getting out and seeing the surrounding country! There are a couple of national parks in Arizona I'd like to see, and I also really want to visit Solvang, California... oh, and maybe Disneyland. :-P
smelling -- Nothing right now... but I am anxiously awaiting my Scentsy delivery! I can't wait to have our place smelling like fall. Yum yum.
wishing -- for much cooler weather and to get outside more! I can't wait to take part in all of the upcoming fall festivals and events.
hoping -- that the Broncos win today of course!!
wearing -- light blue skinny jeans and super cute Young, Fabulous & Broke top that I found at Marshall's for cheap... and my Pandora bracelet.
loving -- my Spotify songs that take me back. There are so many great songs I sometimes forget about that I enjoy listening to lately. It's been fun finding new music on there too.
wanting -- a person who will do my grocery shopping for me. Haha! I've really grown to dislike the whole process of grocery shopping. It's nice quite as easy with a little one, but I guess someone has to do it. Now who wants to shop for me?
needing -- patience. I don't always have a lot of it. It helps to take a deep breathe every now and then... and relax. Maybe I need to find a good yoga studio for some me time. :-)
feeling -- ready for fall. Seriously.... this is about the time of year I start hoping to wear boots and scarves, etc. Again, remember how I can use some patience... ugh.
clicking -- through some of the Sunday Currently entries to see what others are up to today!

* If you missed previous editions of The Sunday Currently, you can see them all here

Now link up your edition of The Sunday Currently with Lauren

Happy Sunday!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Top O' Michigan Marathon Nationals

In my Michigan post from a couple days ago, I mentioned that we watched my dad race boats during our trip. It's considered the toughest race in the world for that type of boat race. Something to brag about I suppose. As a young girl, I grew up looking forward to the race that occurred at the end of summer each year. It brought people from around the world to our small town, and I loved the energy that came with it. One year my dad met some racers and offered them a place to stay in our yard. We had quite the yard full of racers each year, and it's a tradition that's been carried on for over 20 years. Now my dad, who worked in carpentry for quite a number of years, builds and races the very boats we watched race for all those years. It's pretty fun to see these things come full circle! We're quite proud of my dad (grandpa).

checking out the boats

enjoying the noise of engines revving

trying out grandpa's boat

hanging out before the race

giving grandpa's boat a good luck tap

obligatory family shot

beautiful Burt Lake

the starting line

watching from dad's shoulders

watching grandpa cross the finish line on day 2

I don't remember exactly, but my dad ended up in about 6th place overall. Not too shabby for an older guy in a class of 30-something boats. Some day he just might build our little one a boat. We have to carry on the tradition, right? We hope to keep watching my dad race for at least a little longer. If not, I'm sure we'll find another reason to visit Michigan in the summertime!

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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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!