Category: Travel

Fun in The Big Easy!

January 4

Well we’re now into the first week of the New Year!  I hope everyone enjoyed a holiday that was full of celebrations with family and friends, travel, or just having some time to stay snug in your jammies all day long!  I’m lucky to say I had the pleasure of all of the above this year…and those simple moments are often times the very best of them all!  After our Christmas festivities came to an end, my family and I headed to New Orleans for a few days for some colorful sight-seeing, exploring, eating, eating, and more eating!  None of us had ever been there before and weren’t sure exactly what to expect…I guess that’s the fun of investigating new places!  The truth is, we were blown away with the city–how easy it was to explore, the colorful and kind personalities of its citizens, the music, the festivity that never ends, AND the food…oh my was it ever good!  All I can say about that part is that my boys were thrilled but I’m glad to be back on a normal diet! (I sure did enjoy every bite though!) So without going on and on about how we fell in love with this city, let me share a glimpse of what we saw…

living well in NOLA!

Outing at the Butter Barn!

December 12

One thing I love about the holiday season is the chance to take in as much inspiration as I possibly can!  I have so much fun browsing the shops…you can get so many ideas for entertaining and decorating just by checking out all the displays!  And what would make this inspiration seeking even more fun?  To do it with friends!  On Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to head over to a wonderful little antique shop that I’ve been dying to see!  The Butter Beans Antiques Barn (also known as Butter Beans or Butter Barn) has come up in many conversations…my friends who’ve been there sing its praises and have been urging me to go!  But life always seems to get in the way and shockingly, it’s been over a year since i found out about this darling treasure trove!  So a couple of girlfriends and I hopped in the car and headed across the Michigan border to seek out all the fun!  Check out the link to the Butter Bean Facebook page so you can find out when they open their doors to the public and get plenty of inspiration for yourself!  If you’re in the southeast Michigan or Northwest Ohio area you really need to check them out!  This past weekend they had a holiday open house…let me share a glimpse of the joy!

merry and bright holiday outing…

Eat a Little or Eat A Lot…at Eataly!

August 19

Good Friday morning!  I decided to sneak in a Friday post this week because we had SO many wonderful experiences during our long weekend in New York City I just had to end the week with another!  And of all the experiences, I have to admit some of the best moments were spending time with my family around the tables of eateries or even indulging right on the curbside!  We all love to treat ourselves to good food so we were sure to stop at as many places as we possibly could for multiple tastes!  I even got smart this time and ordered the smallest portions that I could so I could sample the mouthwatering offerings and still keep up with my boys who can afford to eat pretty much non-stop!  So we proceeded to make many pit-stops at food carts, sweet shops, and restaurants and enjoyed every morsel of each and every one!  We didn’t really want to keep too many schedules so we only ate at one restaurant that required reservations…the rest were more spur of the moment and casual…but no less impressive!  And my favorite eatery of the weekend was filled with such wonder that we were all awestruck by what was within the walls!  If you’ve ever eaten at an Eataly restaurant you know what I mean when I say it’s a unique experience!  Whether you eat rooftop or casually amidst market shoppers mingling through isles that separate multiple dining options…it’s definitely a treat!  And those shopping isles are brimming over with varieties of pasta, produce, breads, deli meats & cheeses, seafood counters, cookbooks, and kitchen accessories…the list goes on and on!  Even better?  You can grab a glass of wine for some sipping and shopping while you wait for your table!  And for those in the family who are too young to visit the bar…they won’t miss out on any pre-meal fun with plenty of sweet options available…like nutella crepes!  We WERE on vacation, which i think is a perfect opportunity to eat dessert first!  So if you’re looking for a quiet, private table for intimate dinner conversation–this place might not be it!  But for lively fun paired with fabulous food…this is the place to be!

a little taste of Eataly…

New York, New York!

August 17

I hope you enjoyed seeing the shopping excursion we had on our family getaway…and I’m continuing on this week with a common theme:  New York!  There’s so many wonderful sights and sounds in the Big Apple…I can only scratch the surface!  One thing that surprised me on our visit was how comfortable it felt to be there.  Even through all the hustle and bustle, it was still somehow comforting, as though we had lived there all along.  It was easy to keep bearings so it felt as though we totally knew where we were going…most of the time! I was also shocked at how certain areas of the city were so NOT crowded…like we could be walking in a downtown neighborhood almost anywhere!  But no matter where we were, or how many people were around, there was ALWAYS something fun to see or experience! And though much of the scenery is a familiar sight for most, actually being there and seeing it for real is something that I can’t quite totally describe!  So that said, let me show you NYC from my perspective!

“i want to be a part of it…”

The “ABCs” of Shopping!

August 15

I’ve been doing a lot of talking about our wonderful weekend trip to New York City a couple weeks ago!  It was my first visit and one I won’t soon forget!  And even though it was a whirlwind couple of days, we had so much fun packing in shopping, eating, and TONS of sight seeing!  Anyone who’s had the good fortune to spend time there knows that there’s no end to all the things you can do and see in that great city…so we need to go again, and again…and again!  When I asked one of my friends, who’s very familiar with the city, what shops we should see while we were there she told me that I absolutely HAD to visit ABC Carpet & Home….ABC Carpet & Home?? I wasn’t expecting that one.  Sounding a bit utilitarian, I have to admit initially it didn’t sound all that appealing.  But knowing she has such impeccable taste I went straight to the computer and googled…let me tell you that she was so totally right!  I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome their site is…and it goes without saying that the real deal is even better!  Let me share with you some of the best shopping I’ve ever experienced…

NYC shopping treaure…

Hunting for Treasure!

July 13

Monday I shared some Michigan beach fun…but I did mention that we spent some time searching for treasure didn’t I?  So whenever we head up north it’s always on the agenda to make a pitstop in Grand Rapids!  Not just because I love to pass by my old apartment, drive by my very first home, or reminisce about my old stomping grounds…but because this city has so much to offer including some wonderfully unique shops!  Even though the town has changed a lot since I lived within its limits, my parents shop here regularly so they’re up to speed on all the best off-the-beaten-path places that really shouldn’t be missed!  Let me share with you some of my old and new favorites…

Grand Rapids treasure trove!

Michigan Road Trip!

July 11
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I hope everyone had a festive and joyful Fourth of July holiday!  To me, once the 4th arrives it feels as if summer has undeniably taken hold and I’m almost in full summer swing!  And if there’s one thing I love most about summer vacation it’s being able to take some spur-of-the-moment road trips…which is exactly what my family did last week!  We decided to sneak in a mini vacation that coordinated with some meetings my hubby had in Michigan.  So we packed up the car and headed up north for a few days of relaxing, visiting family, strolling the beach, and stopping in some wonderful shops for a little treasure hunting!  Today I’m sharing the wonderful sights of the windswept beaches of Lake Michigan…the water so blue with the sun’s rays dancing across the waves it was almost like watching the twinkle of fireworks once again!  If you get a chance to explore any of the wonderful beaches of Michigan…I would definitely do it!  There’s plenty to choose from, each with it’s own personality but all with the same beauty!  Have a peek at Ludington…

feel some sand between the toes!

DC in Bloom!

April 8

Our spring break plans were somewhat different this year…normally we spend time in Florida hanging with my parents who reside in the sunshine state all winter long!  It’s so great to have a place to stay near the beach, with a washer and dryer, AND a chef…since my mom knows her way around a kitchen!  But we were thrown for a loop this year when we realized that my oldest, who’s taking some courses at The University of Toledo, was not on break at the same time as our school!  While he was on vacation as far as the High School was concerned, the University…not so much!  And since he had an exam during that week we couldn’t even consider skipping…not that we would promote that, but for Florida–maybe!  So we found ourselves scrambling to find something to do during our break!  And though we couldn’t relax on a beach, we did have enough time to head to Washington DC for a weekend getaway…so we packed up and hit the road right after the exam on Thursday!  We’ve been to DC several times to visit my husband’s family but I’ve never seen the cherry blossoms in bloom and was really excited to catch a glimpse of what I’ve heard was a magnificent sight!  And what a sight it was…and today I’d love to share it with you!

in full bloom…

Sugar Shack

March 2

On Sunday we decided as a family to take full advantage of the beautiful, springlike weather to embark on a road trip!  We headed off to our family farm in Indiana…and nestled within it is a maple syrup camp!  I’ve had the luxury of not only eating the delicious, family-made syrup my entire life…but also having the opportunity to see it being made!  Our shockingly open Sunday free of activities AND this crazy weather we’ve had made it possible once again for our family to take a peek at the production in action!  The roller coaster of freezing and thawing temps has the sap, which flows through the veins of those trees, practically pouring out like a faucet!  So we loaded up the muck boots and hit the road to visit relatives, enjoy some fresh farm air, and breath in the soft scent of sugar wafting from the woods!  Have a peek at our trip to the sugar camp for some…

marvelous maple syrup!

Autumn Outing…

November 9
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Fall is one of my favorite times to do a little window shopping!  It’s still warm enough to comfortably stroll the streets but crisp enough to get me in the mood for the first thoughts of Christmas!  So yesterday some friends and I squeezed in a trip to a nearby city that I REALLY need to visit more frequently…Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Home to The University of Michigan, this place is filled with excitement everywhere you go!  Such a fun place to shop, eat–and shop and eat some more!  And even though we were limited on time…we definitely weren’t limited on fun!   AND I’m happy to say I even got a jump-start on my holiday shopping!  If you’ve never had a chance to explore this wonderfully vibrant town I would definitely encourage you to check it out…whether with friends, family, or go it alone–it’s a trip worth taking!

an afternoon of awesome…