Category Archives: Travel

I Believe In Nashville

HEEEEYYYY…..YOOOOOUUU….GUYYYYYYS!!

Guess what? I’m still alive.

Thought I’d stop by to unload some pictures from my recent trip to what we like to call, Nashvegas. That’s right, Nashville TN. I spent about a week there visiting my one and only brother and a few friends that used to live in Texas. It looked liked coffee, food, more coffee and more food. Take a look…IMG_9302antique archaeologyIMG_9293tex-mex Chuy'sIMG_9337IMG_9335Elvis NashvilleIMG_9345IMG_9347IMG_9343IMG_9348IMG_9344Barista Parlor, Nashville TNBarista Parlor, Nashville TNIMG_9332crema nashvilleNashville skyline

(P.S.- I’m pretty sure you can’t hardstyle with a smile on your face! Oops.)

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So Long Summer


Since the last time we’ve talked…the entire summer has flown by and I did not once update this blog! Shame on me. So here it goes, a summer recap. Just a few of the highlights that happened to be photographically documented. Hopefully now we can return to our regularly scheduled programing.

First things first, one of the major things I’ve done since I last checked in was take a trip to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to visit my sister who lives and works there semi-permanently. There’s too much to tell and it was 4 months ago, so I’ll spare you the details. You can read a little more about it and check out the pictures over on my sister’s blog if you’re interested. This picture was taken on one of our walks through an area called The Ravine, where Erin helps provide food and medical care to the community. These children were shouting “Blanc! Blanc!” at us as we passed by on the other side.
The Ravine PAP Haiti

After Haiti I promptly returned home and back to work. Beginning in June, our quiet little coastal town turns into tourist central.  Running a business in our area means work, work, and more work during the short summer season.  So we try to make the most of  what little time that we have off.  Even if that means making ordinary things extraordinary just to entertain ourselves.  It makes us feel better about ourselves if we can believe we have some semblance of a life. HA!

So in July, I found out that one of my favorite bands was going to be playing a small show in Owosso, Mi. This is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from my house, so I talked Erin into going along for the ride.  Of course, as all things go, we got tied up with something at the shop and ended up making it for just about the last 2 songs. Still worth it. If you know us at all, you know the expanse of our love for Chipotle. We decided since we were already so far down state we might as well drive 45 minutes further south to get ourselves a little bit of tex-mex heaven rolled up in burrito form. This is when #sistersofspontaneity was born. Listener Owosso, MiIMG_2990Also in July, I got to see one of my favorite people ever. Thee Stella Malone. She was on Warped Tour promoting (for lack of a better word) her ministry SKAD. Stella is one of the coolest people I know and I had such a great time hanging out with her on her tour bus and hearing stories from the summer. Such a blessing to get to see her face. I love this picture of her in front of the bus. The license plate says it all.Stella Malone SKAD

Then there was that one time when we thought “Singing Baristas” would be a great idea. Oh Geez. This is embarrassing, but I’m gonna put it out there anyway. I know, I know… it’s hard to believe that I’m making this song up as I go. Real. Raw. Talent. Now please forget you ever watched this.

Don’t think I was alone in this. These ladies were in on the action as well. Maybe a Singing Barista Trio in the future? I wouldn’t count on it:).

singing barista trio

It seems our favorite summer past time was kayaking this year! That’s right, I bought a kayak! We made several lake to lake trips in the evenings. There’s something unexplainable about getting outdoors and being in nature. While paddling down the river we saw a bunch of ducks, a few deer, a couple Osprey, and one busy beaver. We tried to follow him home down an eery waterway through tall weeds and stagnant water. We’re just a touch crazy.kayak collageerin kayak lake huron

You’d think with all the fun it seems I’ve had this summer I’d have no problem being in a consistently good mood. However, with all the working that took place, I often had to remind myself not to be in a perpetual state of grumpy.  It’s real easy for me to put one leg after the other into my grouchy pants first thing in the morning. This usually results in a negative attitude for the remainder of the day.  So I took this picture to remind myself, “I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT!” It’s so true. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve, I have no reason to be a grump. Smile. Choose happiness. Every day I have to remind myself to choose the joy of the Lord.

I have nothing to complain about

And for goodness sake, I live on one of the Great Lakes!!tawas point state park

We were able to make a few trips out to the Tawas Point Lighthouse with some out of town visitors at the end of July and also in August. tawas point lighthousetawas point lighthouseWhile we’re hitting the highlights of the summer, I can’t leave out The Moffatt wedding! Daniel got married to a girl who’s just perfect for him in a beautiful ceremony.  It was such a fun celebration, congratulations Daniel and Katelynn!IMG_3507Also in August we rooted for the Great Lakes Loons. My mom, my sister, the neighbor boy and another friend of ours spent the evening catching a minor league baseball game. We had $1 hotdogs, chips, cokes and ice scream sandwiches! The neighbor caught a fly ball, we caught a glimpse of ourselves on the jumbo-tron and The Loons won! I’d say it turned out to be a great night. great lakes loonserin adam loonsErin and I went spent an evening enjoying some blues at the annual Blues on the Bay Festival. From behind the fence that is. We’re cheap so we didn’t purchase tickets, but it all sounds the same whether you’re inside or outside the fence. We ordered a pizza and sat on the grass. It was some great people watching and we even learned a few dance moves.blues fest erin

pizza blues festIn keeping with Fairbanks tradition, we finished off the summer up north at our family cabin. The whole family came this year, minus my brother (insert sad face). We had a good ole’ time camping out in my tent, shooting guns, playing football, eating, sitting around a bon-fire, playing round after round of Skip-Bo, and of course passing around the newest family member. There’s something about our humble little cabin in the woods, it’s so peaceful and rejuvenating. I’m hoping to make a few more trips up there this fall before we close it up for the winter.  labor day campingIMG_2668trail tunnel

This summer was quite a whirlwind! I’m so looking forward to fall, it is after all my FAVORITE time of year.

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Music Monday- Alexander, Jade and the Magnetic Zeros

It’s Monday, but you already knew that. Today was definitely a Monday for me. I started subbing again. It’s been just about 5 years since I’ve been in a classroom. I figured it’s about time to start loosening up the ole joints, shaking the dust, stretching those muscles again (and also I could really use some cash in a serious way). I had a kid ask me today what the word “hell” meant. I thought about going all Rob Bell on him and telling him that hell is just a figment of his imagination, a metaphor. That it doesn’t really even exist, so not to worry about what it meant. I opted for the…”you should ask your parents about that one  later” answer instead. I could go on about my day today, but really I’d like to forget it. SO since it’s Monday I thought I’d give you (or mostly me) a little music therapy to get you through.

What I have today isn’t necessarily new, but I came across some interviews with Alexander Ebert. I for some reason find him completely fascinating. I think it’s because he is so strange sometimes and then so normal other times, I’m just trying to figure out what he’s all about. It was interesting to hear little bits about his past so I found myself watching interview after interview with him one night. This of course resulted in listening to numerous Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros songs and also becoming acquainted with some of his solo works. I like this first song titled “Truth.” In one of his interviews he talks about his love for rap music as a young boy and how for a long time it was all that he would listen to because he really loved the rhymes and the wordplay.  He was later introduced to some Bob Marley and the list goes on from there. You can absolutely see the influence of both rap and Marley in his song and I think that’s cool. I like when you can point out influences in someone’s music without it necessarily being a copycat. Have a listen.

Let’s talk about Jade Castrinos for just a minute shall we? That voice! I think it’s one of my absolute favorite female voices hands down. I’m also convinced she is the reason Edward Sharpe is so successful. Not that I don’t love the whole band, but without Jade?? I don’t know. I love this song, she is perfect. Can we listen to her all day please?

It could be Alexander’s haphazard hair or his easy sense of style that makes me so obsessed? I’m gonna bet it’s this song though.

There was this one time that I made a trip to Austin Tx to catch these guys on stage. It seems like ages ago, but someday I’ll get the privilege again I hope.

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Exploring Rockport- Alpena, Mi

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I got lucky and found the headband lying on the ground. It came in really handy since the wind was constantly blowing my bangs in my face!

I got lucky and found the headband lying on the ground. It came in really handy since the wind was constantly blowing my bangs in my face!

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IMG_9347IMG_9272A few weeks ago my brother and I took a short little trip up to Alpena, Michigan to visit our good friend Daniel (I’ve mentioned him a few times before when he came to Texas to visit us and again when he helped celebrate my birthday). While we were there he took us to Rockport State Park. Rockport is located on the shore of Lake Huron and includes a deep-water protected harbor and an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres as well as several off shore shipwrecks. We wandered around the old launching dock for a bit and then traversed up that mountain of rocks. The view was well worth the climb! We decided to do a little exploring back to the limestone quarry in search of fossils and whatever else we could find. When we were just about there, we came upon a semi frozen lake. We debated whether or not we should try to cross on the ice, walk all the way around, or just turn back. After working up the nerve (and throwing some rocks to check the thickness of the ice) we decided to go for it. We made it to the back of the quarry, found a little waterfall, some Petoskey stones and even made up a game of throwing rocks into different holes in the ice (it was a rough game as evidence by the bloody fingers). Then we hiked back to the car and called it a day…a really great day. It was bitter cold, but so much fun!

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Trip to Michigan Part 1

I know, it’s been just shy of a month since I took this little trip to Michigan for my Grandma’s 80th birthday. I should have gotten these pictures up sooner, but things don’t always happen like they should. I came back to Texas just in time to put all of my time and attention on our annual fall Art and Music Festival which happened on the Saturday that I returned. So here we are talking about this trip now. I’ll try to keep it short, but I’ve broken it into two parts, because that’s how the trip seemed to go. I flew in on Monday night, spent Tuesday with my parents since they both already had the day off because Monday was their anniversary and they were supposed to be out of town. That rarely happens, so it was nice to be able to spend time with them simultaneously. At 6am on Wednesday morning my sister and I loaded up her 98 Dodge Neon and hit the road heading to Kentucky. “The Friends” had a 2.5 week old baby that I was dying to see in the real.

We did not make it to Kentucky without a few major hiccups! My sister insisted that her car would make it just fine on the 8 hour drive. I had serious doubts. Needless to say it didn’t make it just fine, we broke down in Cincinnati where a supposedly good samaritan/mechanic pulled over to help. He did help, he gave us a ride to Auto Zone (just for the record, it is not a good idea to get in a car with a stranger in a strange city, I do not recommend it), we bought new spark plugs and he installed them for us. Then I like to say he “hustled” us. Pretty much he told us we needed to give him $80 for his services. We were not about to give him $80 especially since he didn’t mention that up front and we were scrapping by as it was. We ended up giving him $50 and getting the heck out of Cincinnati. We made it about 30 more miles and broke down again. Whomp whomp. This time we called our friend to come rescue us and we hid out on top of a hill on the side of the road so not to be pitied by any other “Good Samaritans.” Good news is we got to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and the scenery wasn’t so bad either.

 

We did finally make it to our destination, I got to hold that baby in my arms and spend a great 24 hours with my best friends. Even with all of the car troubles I don’t regret it a bit. We spent a majority of the day in Louisville, which is actually a really cool city. Naturally we had coffee at two different establishments, took a walk on the river walk trail, and had lunch inside a classic car.

We went to pick up a rental car and of course that didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked it either, but we did end up with a car so that’s all that matters. We high tailed it back to Michigan to make it home in time to return the rental car and then head north with the ladies in our family to celebrate my Grandma’s 80th birthday!

To be continued…….

 

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Pieces…Mother’s Day Edition

This is my Mom. She came to visit us for Mother’s Day. This week’s “pieces” were taken from her visit.

We walked around downtown Waxahachie and I forced her to stop for this photo op. I think it turned out great!

We were nosey for about 40 minutes trying to see some action on this movie set.

It rained some and my brother and I both had to work a lot, but we tried to make the most of it.

I also forced my mom to have this photo shoot with me on Mother’s Day. I don’t know why I like this one so much. Well, probably because it just makes me laugh every time I look at it.   Marianne will probably hate me for posting this, but it could have been worse:).

We went to Urban Taco for Mother’s Day lunch. Delicious.

Remember when I said I had wished I’d taken pictures of my food last time I was at Urban Taco? Well, yeah…forgot this time too:) Luckily my brother had this picture.Monday we both have the day off, so we set off on a little Dallas adventure.

First stop…Hypnotic Donuts

The Evil Elvis…donut, peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey

After lunch we decided to jump on the Dart since all of us love a good public transportation system, but had never riden the Dart.

We headed to the Dallas Zoo. Where I was a bit skeptical and always wary of escaping gorillas…or chimps…or tigers for that matter. I was pleasantly surprised and thankfully still alive and in one piece.

This for some reason happens to be the ONLY picture I took at the zoo. Why??

After the zoo there was a ride on the trolly, a stop for coffee (of course) and then some Serious Pizza. Which by the way is the perfect name for this pizza place with pizzas the size of your house.

There was also a couple of trips to Pinkberry, some thrifting, church, movies, a marriage proposal, a book signing, shish kabobs, coffee training…you know, the usual. I would definitely say it was a good week and I’m so thankful that I got to spend it with my mom.

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STOP in the name of the law.

That's me on the right...always eager to drive. Lucky for me, sorry for you, my first driver's liscence is hiding somewhere in my parent's house in Michigan.

So it’s kind of a funny story (well my mom doesn’t think so).  I got pulled over last April.  Yes, April, as in 7 months ago. Like blue and red lights flashing in my rear view, a police officer with the uniform and all acting real serious like.  You see what happened was, at the bottom of the hill coming from the Wal-Mart parking lot there’s this STOP sign. If you know anything about the Wal-Mart in Midlothian, then you might know how frustrating it is that someone had the bright idea to build this super store jungle on the top of a hill. Maybe you hadn’t noticed, but I unfortunately spend a LOT of time there trying to prevent my cart full of groceries from rolling down the hill or from smashing into surrounding cars.

::Little tangent- Once I saw a lady chasing after her cart that was rolling down the hill picking up speed with her toddler daughter in the basket screaming her head off.  I proceeded to laugh my head off. Oh, sorry not funny::

So as I was saying, at the bottom of this hill is the STOP sign.  I may or may not have come to a complete stop at said sign. Ok, so most likely it was may not have. I did slow down, I did look both ways, I did see the stop sign.  I just hate getting stuck there waiting for the cars entering onto the highway entrance ramp. I know, no excuse.  So sure enough an officer pulled me over and issued me a traffic violation.

Let me take you back a few years now. Let’s say it’s the year 1997. Melissa is an eager 15 year old with crazy hair and a learner’s permit chomping at the bit to get her driver’s license.  Got a mental picture? Ok, now forget it:). One day, I was out driving with my dad trying to accumulate as many driving hours as possible (I really really wanted to drive), when we came upon a STOP sign on a deserted back road. I remember stopping (in my opinion) at the stop sign and then making a left turn. I’m going on my way, when my dad starts making a big deal about it and tells me that I didn’t stop at the stop sign and that I needed to back up, come to a COMPLETE stop and then make my turn. I informed him that I did stop and backing up would not be necessary.  He didn’t agree and sure enough, I backed ALL the way up.  I just remember being really frustrated and somewhat embarrassed about being called out about it.  After all, I did learn all of my driving skills from my father:).

Fast forward to yesterday. My mom called me freaking out to inform me that the Ellis County Police Department had issued a warrant for my arrest. You see for some reason I decided that I was going to ignore this ticket and not pay it because I didn’t have the money. I don’t know why in my right mind I would think that something like this would just disappear and all go away.  I knew it wouldn’t, but I think maybe that’s part of my non-confrontational personality.  That maybe if I just ignore the problem long enough it will go away or something will change.  Yeah, that doesn’t happen when it comes to the government collecting their money.  Still, the thought of getting arrested and going to jail didn’t really even motivate me to check on the ticket. I just expected that the fine would be outrageously expensive. Not gonna lie, I even contemplated turning myself in and doing jail time rather then shelling out the cold hard cash.  Jail almost sounded like a vacation to me, three meals a day…nothing to do, time to just sit and be. I’m crazy I know.  Needless to say, my mom made me promise that I would get the issue taken care of because worrying about me going to jail wouldn’t be good for her blood pressure.

Begrudgingly I drove to the court house to pay my fine, which actually was much less than I had anticipated (this only makes the whole thing worse).  As I walked up the side walk to the court building, at that moment my entire driving experience came full circle. From that afternoon at the STOP sign on Lincoln Street, where my dad tried to teach me a valuable lesson…to this moment in Ellis county as I painfully parted with a couple of hundred dollars because I guess I hadn’t learned that lesson well enough.  If only I had listened.

Let’s just say, I now always usually come to a complete stop at the bottom of the hill (I at least check the Pizza Inn parking lot for hiding police, some old habits never truly die).

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The Grand (part 2)

You’re not going to want to miss breakfast at the Grand either. It’s your choice of either a 5 course affair, or the largest breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen. We just went with ordering our courses off the menu. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grand Hotel is really the one who coined the phrase…”breakfast of champions,” because that is exactly how you feel while eating it, like a champion. Thinking about it makes me really hungry for breakfast right now and unfortunately all I have are eggs in my refrigerator. Boo.

After breakfast we headed out to the world’s longest front porch (over two football fields in length) to check out the view.

This is part of the view from the porch

We decided to walk into town to wait for our mom to join us, she was supposedly coming in on the 12:00 ferry. It’s evident where we get the tendency to be running late. She barely made it to lunch with us by 2:00. If you haven’t noticed a pattern, when visitng the Grand Hotel really all you’re going to do is eat! It felt like we had just gorged ourselves at breakfast and poof, time for the Grand Luncheon Buffet. This isn’t your regular every day style lunch. Tickets to this luncheon are $45 a piece! The buffet is huge and filled with all kinds of cheeses, fruits, veggies, hors d’oeuvres, salads, pasta, oysters, shrimp, mussels, chicken, fish, along with a man carving some kind of red meat. It wasn’t till we were about to leave that we discovered the dessert buffet table filled with cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, cakes, eclairs, etc… Trouble. Big trouble.

We were just about the only ones left in the dining room so we had a friendly chat with our lunch waiter and our dinner waiter from the night before who are both from Jamaica. They told me that with my style I’d be more than welcome in Jamaica. Ha! Then I realized I was wearing a reverse Tye dyed shirt and dreadlocks with a chunky headband. Of course I’d be welcomed in Jamaica:)

After lunch we went and rented some bikes to work off all of that food! We rode the perimeter of the island

We shopped, took a little nap in the park, then headed back to the hotel for a little R&R on the balcony of our room.

My sister made a deal with me, that no matter what we were doing for my birthday, that we would be sure to watch “the sunset on my 20’s.” We caught the sunset both nights, it was spectacular.

Then guess what time it is?! You’re right, time once again for dinner…(look at my mom looking all young and beautiful)

We demolished another Grand Pecan Ball, did some more sight seeing in the hotel and then headed out for a little excursion up the middle of the island to check out the part of the island that typically goes unseen. The homes of the locals.

Here’s a look at the bridge lit up

Main Street without any people on it is a rare sight

The next morning we had another round of breakfast and then hiked up to the West Bluff.

We spent a little more time around the island, grabbed a Mackinaw Island Fudge ice cream cone and jumped back on the Arnold Line to head home. This was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. It was all made possible by my very generous Aunt Jacquie who gave us her hotel vouchers as a gift to celebrate my birthday. I am so thankful for such an amazing family! If you ever get the chance to visit Mackinaw Island whether you stay at the Grand Hotel or not, you definitely should.  It’s a magical place:). Here’s a link if you happened to be interested in some of the random facts about the island, like that they don’t allow any motorized vehicles on the island, or how many gallons of water it takes to fill the swimming pool…

I guess this concludes my birthday week, I suppose turning 30 wasn’t so bad after all.

(This is the Grand Hotel Taxi…very swanky)

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The Grand.

Swanky is not a word commonly used in my vocabulary. I just don’t usually have a reason to pull it off of my vocabulary shelf and throw it into normal life conversation.  Get ready, I’m about to dust that bad boy off and use it in a sentence! Watch this. The Grand Hotel is swanky. Actually Swankified (if you don’t mind me making up my own word), would be how I’d like to describe it.  Ok never mind, I just checked and swankified already exists in the urban dictionary. Dang you urban dictionary, stealing my thunder like that. Anyway for the final installment of my birthday celebration that took place one month ago now, we move on to Mackinac Island. (Just gonna warn you, this post might get a little heavy on the visuals).

Erin and I headed up to the Island on Thursday night. Bags packed, headed north, taking the Arnold Line.

We tend to run late, it’s just what we do.  No one in their right mind staying at the Grand Hotel would even consider missing dinner and we weren’t about to, so as soon as our feet hit the ground we hiked the mile or so up the hill, luggage and all to the hotel. Remember how I said “swanky” is rarely used in my vocabulary? Well, if you know me at all then you know that I tend to dress a bit on the casual side.  This day was no different and for some reason I decided I should look extra homeless for the occasion. Did I mention the Grand Hotel has a dress code to even walk around inside after 6pm? Right, so I’m already feeling a little out of place in my thrifted trucker shirt, hoodie, utility style jacket and crazy hair. My sister has turned into somewhat of an anxious person lately I guess, so as we’re checking in she’s asking every question she’s thought of since she last called the hotel clerk 20 minutes ago and I’m just trying to be invisible (Sorry Erin, love you! Someone’s gotta ask them). We get the key, which is an actual key.  Like on a key chain with a tassel.  Fancy. We head up to our room, open the door and are immediately overtaken by floor to ceiling mint green candy striped walls, bright yellow floral print curtains and emerald green furniture. Now whether the decor in our room is swanky or hideous is totally debatable. Here’s a peek, you be the judge.

However what our room lacked in modern decor, it made up for in the view of the lake and the Mackinaw Bridge from our balcony.

So after getting a little carried away taking pictures of our room and the view, we hurried and quick changed into our dinner attire.  We got our meal tickets and headed to the main dining room. I’ve got two words for you…UNDER DRESSED.  In my little commoner brain, I was thinking lets kill two birds with one stone. Pack a sundress, or something I can wear during the day around the island and be comfortable in and then wallah, head to dinner in my dress code attire. Makes sense right?? I don’t know why on earth I didn’t think that dinner at the Grand Hotel might be a big deal? Like a sit down, 5 course, full on tuxedoed waiters serving menu items that I can’t even pronounce. Yes, UNDER DRESSED. I had on what I like to call my “Little House on the Prairie” dress with brown leather booties. This outfit is anything but swanky. I’m not sure how, but I missed the memo that I should wear my evening gown. You know what you do in an awkward situation like that?? You own it. You walk with a purpose (famous wise words of my mother), with your head held high, like you belong. We didn’t belong, but the wait staff seemed to like us. We even got an extra dessert out of our waiter. My sister and I decided that they were just excited to see normal people among the hundreds of people dripping money.  Who knows, but what I do know is that dessert at the Grand Hotel is something to be serious about. We ordered the Grand Pecan Ball, a carrot cheesecake and then an apple/pear strudel with vanilla ice cream. Hands down no mistaking, my favorite of course was the Grand Pecan Ball. Mackinaw Island is famous for it’s fudge, so it only makes sense that this heavenly ball of vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans, drenched in hot fudge and served on a chilled metal plate would be out of this world delicious. Oh yeah. We also found some interesting facts…the hotel has been serving it’s most popular dessert, The Grand Pecan Ball, since 1947. They serve around 60,000 of them a season and in the 2010 season they used 6,000lbs of pecans!

As if my clothing choices didn’t give it away, the picture taking during dinner definitely did, but how can you resist photographing such beauty on a plate:)? Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the glorious dessert. Probably because it was gone to quickly.

Here’s a little tour of the place…

Down the hall with my model sister…she got the memo

Into the Parlor where you can be entertained by live piano playing or maybe a little orchestra.

No fancy hotel would be complete without strange canine art would it? There was actually an entire gallery dedicated to dog art. Weird.

Then there’s this one…who doesn’t love dogs playing poker?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, it does…cat head on woman body.

And it’s companion picture, dog head on man body. In a suit coat no less.

We found the ballroom where there were only two brave souls on the dance floor

There were even old fashioned telephone booths equipped with real life landlines (yes, this is my $12 Target clearance dress that for some reason I thought would be appropriate for dinner)

We found gaudy furniture

And an art gallery

These are just a few of the many stops in the Grand Hotel, there’s also a movie theater, a bar with a gorgeous view, a convenience store, a tea store, a wine bar, an Aveda salon, a clothing store, an arcade room, and the list goes on. After a little exploring, we decided to head back to our room to put our street clothes on and hit the town to hang out with the locals.

TO BE CONTINUED……

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Eight.

Eight days. Ocho. Oh-8. Eight and feeling great. Sure, whatever you say. It’s true though, I am getting excited for my birthday. Not for the whole getting older part (if you hadn’t figured that out already right?), but for the part where I get to go on vacation! In 4 days, I’m catching a plane to a land dripping with fresh air and mild temperatures. I’m dreaming of wearing denim on my legs and knitwear on my arms. It has been ruthlessly hot here in Texas this summer, dang. The weather has not shown us an ounce of mercy, nope not one.  No pity either. I think it enjoys kicking us when we’re down, day after every single day. The duo that is Listener, has a lyric in one of their songs (ironically titled “I don’t want to live forever”) that says, “There’s a crazy old lady in the sun, she’s angry can’t you feel it?” I like to add “and she hates Dallas” at the end of it, I feel it’s totally appropriate.  Anyway, Michigan…home sweet home, looking forward to it and getting a chance to see my family, feels way overdue. Just for the record I wasn’t planning on writing this post about the weather, that just kinda happened. So for the real reason I’m updating tonight, the list….

6. Road Trip– In January, I was able to cross road trip off my list! I got to take a really fun trip with a special group of ladies to Nashville Tennessee. The story goes, that back in November, some of my friends from church put on a conference for girls in the area. I was given the opportunity to hang out and be a group leader for the weekend.  Also at said conference was Stella, the founder of SKAD, along with Ashley and Bethany two lovely ladies who are involved with the organization as well.  Little did I know that night, that 2 months later I’d be crammed in the backseat of Ashley’s car “Bella” up to my knees in snacks, driving through the night on our way to Nashville to spend the weekend with strangers. We didn’t really go with a plan, luckily we got hooked up with an old Ryfo house through some random Cornerstone contacts and it actually turned out to be a really great bonding trip. If you know me at all, you may know that spontaneous road tripping is right up my alley, but with three girls I barely know?? Yikes! That’s like pulling teeth from my introverted mouth.  Despite my (non-official) anti-social disorder, I am really so glad we made it happen and thankful for the new friendships that have transpired because of it.

Nashville with new friends

7. Plant something- Well, well, well…I have and have not planted something. Being the nerd that I am, I did take a gardening class this summer (got a deal on Groupon, oh yeah). So technically I did plant somethings, I planted sweet potatoes and tomatoes. I just didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of my labor seeing that they were planted in my teacher’s garden. I do have some plans for a fall square foot garden under my stairs, but we’ll see about that, fingers crossed. I did transplant some house plants into pots, does that count??

8. Finish a knitting project– Woohoo! I did it! I actually finished a knitting project. I can hardly believe it myself. I like to knit, I really do. I’m just not very good at it. I knit when I’m supposed to purl and I purl when I’m supposed to knit, and don’t even ask me what row I’m on, because I lost count about 18 rows back, I’m just totally guessing. And really, is gauging your project actually necessary? Who does that anyway? Here’s a picture of my humble headband.  Not perfect by any means, but totally done!

9. Read 5 books- Which brings us to number 9, a number that I can not get so excited about. Read 5 books. A person should totally be able to read at least 5 books in one year! Officially, I’ve read one whole book. I hesitate even telling you guys that, because it’s actually rather embarrassing. What kind of person doesn’t read? I will say the one book that I did read was really good and I’ve been tempted to read it again.  However, I told myself it wouldn’t count as a second book so I haven’t. Now don’t think this is me giving up, I have several (and when I say several I mean it) books in the waiting room. Yep, books just hanging out waiting for me to pick them up and read them. I’ve been reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” for going on two years now, but I can’t just give up on it. I’m also half way finished with “Living With Less” and someone just gave me the book “The Help.” So I’m still hoping there’s a slight possibility that I could accomplish this goal sometime in the near future. My friend Crystal volunteered me to read the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You Will Go” aloud at the graduation banquet we had.  She says I can totally count that book, so I totally am…Sam I am. I’ll update you on any further progress involving this task.

10. Get a tattoo- Ahhhh! I still can’t decide if I really want to go through with this one or not. My brother even offered to pay for it for my birthday. I know what you’re thinking, but come on people it’s forever…that’s a huge decision! I’m just thankful I never went through with it the other times I really really wanted a tattoo. I have a feeling I wouldn’t be digging that Sisqó inspired sun tattoo so much at this point in my life.

Thinking about sister feather tattoos with some script...feathers are kinda trendy right now though, so I don't know maybe overdone?

So that’s enough for tonight, I can feel age setting in as I type this.  It’s 1:15am and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Geez…pretty soon I’ll be wearing flannel night gowns and braiding my hair before I “hit the hay” at dusk.

Goodnight John Boy.

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