Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Date Night: The Sardine Room

Last night Nathan and I decided to check out The Sardine Room. Not sure why we haven't been before since it's right down the street and definitely our style of dining, but what better way to brighten up a Monday? We strolled into town and had a wonderful meal and plentiful cocktails!
(sorry about the photo quality - super low lighting)
We kicked it off with drinks - Nathan had a "Rosemary's Baby" made with hangar one vodka, lime, rosemary infused simple syrup, and sparkling water. I got the Tarragon Lemonade or two -  plymouth gin, st. germaine, a generous bit of lemon, simple syrup, and tarragon soda. We both decided we liked mine best, and will definitely be recreating it soon! 
 Then we selected two items off the "raw" portion of the menu. Of course, the shrimp is cooked! but it was in that category. We got a half dozen west coast oysters and the B.A. shrimp cocktail served with extra spicy atomic cocktail sauce. It has actual grated horseradish on the top - soooo good. I'm excited to try east coast oysters next round ;) they're known for being a bit brinier and less sweet. 
For the main meal we shared three small plates. Crawfish hushpuppies with red hot honey and coleslaw, to die for pan-seared scallops atop pork belly confit with hollandaise and pickled onion - majorly decadent. and my absolutely favorite item, seriously considering getting just this as my meal next time - roasted bone marrow with salsa verde on toasted baguette. If there's one thing I can say about Fiamma, Comparis, and now The Sardine Room - they all know how to cook a damn fine scallop. 

Definitely going back! Especially since they offer happy hour on drinks and oysters if you sit at the bar. What could be more fun than drinking PBR, shucking oysters, and stumbling home with friends? Nothing. that's what! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Midsummer Regroup

Summer has seemed to pass me by completely without any documentation of it's events!
So now that we're a little past midsummer (not technically, but summers are a bit shorter here), I'm regrouping and trying live in a more focused and purposeful manner. So far we've had visits with the bees, we've attended Bonnaroo, had many family gatherings, game nights with friends, and every bit of it has gone almost completely undocumented. I suppose with the hustle and bustle of last summer I needed a break from the camera! 

Here's what we will be up to the rest of the summer and I hope to clue you all in a bit more!

We're lucky enough to be attending two weddings this summer, a much slower pace than last year, and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures at each!

More visits with the bees which I hope to make some videos of using the Go-Pro

Trips Upnorth with family and friends - boat rides, wake boarding, toasty marshmallows, ice cold beer, book reading, and relaxing

Walks into downtown for dinner, ice cream, people watching

Attending Church more often

A trip to Traverse City - for one of the weddings, but also to celebrate our 1 year anniversary! We're hoping to visit some wineries, spend time with friends, have a few romantic dinners, and just chill for a long weekend. 

and I'm sure much more! 
I'll keep ya posted ;)

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Visit with the Bees

 The Bees have been busy!
As you can see there is lots of action happening. Funny comb formations (they'll get the hang of it ;)), capped combs and lots of babies! It was a perfect spontaneous visit with them. I didn't get a picture of the queen but I will be sure to next time. 
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have fun!
We are headed up north after work so we should be getting everything ready for summer, making fires, boating and getting tan! Should be a good time, as always.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Morning Installation

"I dreamt - marvelous error! that I had a beehive here inside my heart. And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures." - Antonio Machado
This past Saturday evening, Nathan and I drove to Holland, Michigan to pick up my bee box. I purchased a 3 lb package with a marked queen, meaning they put a dot of color on her to make her more easily visible when you inspect the hive. Don Lam offers a great price if you're in the market - $98.00. Off we went with 12,000-15,000 bees! 

They stayed warm in the garage overnight and on Sunday morning we went to install them.
This year, I opted to keep them at a family friend's home instead of the pumpkin patch. It will be easier to visit on my own hours, instead of worrying about whether I'll be bothering pumpkin pickers come fall. 

Here's a video of the morning, if you'd like to see

xo!




Thursday, April 24, 2014

St. Kitt's Vacation and Travel Guide

St. Kitt's was a wonderful and relaxing place to visit!
Most people I talked to had never heard of the island, but it's actually the first to be discovered by Christopher Columbus, in case you wanted a little history fact 

Here are some ideas of what to do once you arrive, which are all from a handy power point that the condo owner had for us! & a video of our trip :)

Restaurants

Cathy's
This was a little bar/restaurant on "the strip" 
They had awesome rum punch, topped with nutmeg - which is very common here and I wish they did this everywhere!
I had the jerk ribs and shrimp and they were both awesome. 
Very very casual - as are all restaurants along the strip. We sat at a picnic table right along the water.

Sunset Cafe at Timothy Beach
Also on the strip - I recommend this place for breakfast. The coconut pancakes were really good and the bacon was prime. We sat underneath the roof to avoid the sun, which is very strong in St. Kitts. 

Sprat Net
This is considered a can't miss, according to many people. I didn't have the chance to go on our trip, due to our schedule, but people love this little spot! Nothing fancy on the menu but you get mountains of food.

Ship Wreck Bar and Grill
This place had live music, tons and tons of monkeys, and a great atmosphere!

Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack
If you're on the island, you'll be asked a million times if you're going to this place for Thursday!
It had great jerk chicken and a fire dancer! It was a can't miss spot for sure :) 

Spice Mill
This is one of the more upscale places we went to for our trip. This is one place where I'd dress up a bit more! The atmosphere was really lovely and relaxing, with great views. It's a bit pricey but good food. Be ready for a very leisurely pace, they don't rush things at this restaurant. 

Rituals
This is St. Kitts' equivalent to Starbucks. 
We went here most mornings to get our iced coffee and bagel sandwich fix!
They were often out of ingredients to make their menu items, which we found odd. But hey, I never had a problem finding an alternative and I need my coffee! :)

Beaches

The Lion Rock at Cockleshell Bay
This was by far my favorite beach spot.
Very authentic and nothing fancy, but you get right up to the water, it's not crowded, and they have awesome prices. Try the rum punch and watch some people play dominos! The food was also abundant and delicious and I got a complimentary aloe rub, haha.

Carambola
If an upscale beach setting is more your thing, try this place!
Very beautiful with an extensive wine list. Very nice beach chairs and umbrellas. We didn't personally go here, but were told it can be crowded so get there early. 

Things to do

Excursions through The Marriott
We set up two different activities through The Marriott, which I'd recommend doing since they make it so easy! We didn't stay at the Marriott, but they were a short walk for us and very helpful.

Full day catamaran tour: This is a must in my opinion!
It was from 9-5 and we got unlimited drinks, went snorkeling, had a delicious lunch, got to see Nevis and lay on the beach there, and had a wonderful ride home and got to see whales! This actually saved us money for the day - it was such a bargain! The rum punch and Carib made it well worth it!

Zip lining: We opted for the half-day zip line, which ended up being a bit of a disappointment. Keep in mind they count your first "practice" line as an actual line! Still had a nice time but I think I'd say do the full-day tour or just don't bother and go zip lining on a different tropical vacation! 

Scenic Railway Tour: It's a bit expensive - $90 per person. This did sound really great though and I wish we had the time to do it! Plan ahead because cruisers like to do this. 

Tips

- Pack wayyyyyy to much sunscreen. Once you're here, they know you don't have a choice and it's insanely pricey. $18 USD for 8 ounces of No-Ad. I mean it's legit insane.

- Pack hats. The UV index has this place off the charts for sun strength. I got burned on my scalp and had to quickly buy a hat to protect myself. This has never really happened to me anywhere else I've been! 

- Enjoy! This place is so relaxing. Kick back and enjoy yourself and eat lots of ribs for me! ;) 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bee Update

Unfortunately, my bees did not make it through our harsh Michigan winter.
After a sneak peek of Spring, today we broke the record for most snow since 1881. It was brutal and it was quite disheartening for a first-time beekeeper and hive.

I did, however, get to taste some of their hard labor! The honey is bright orange-gold in color and packs a punch! I credit the pumpkin patch's beautiful flowers for this awesome flavor and hue. It seriously tastes divine! I'm happy there is a tiny bit left of my bee babies' legacy. 

I know I gave them a great shot with plenty of food to survive and I have my new strategies set for next winter. I will be picking up my new package of bees on May 10. Here's to hoping this is a heartier brood! 

Since Nathan and I now have a GoPro, I'm going to post more videos! 
I'll be showing you my road trip and installation in May.

Stay warm if you live anywhere near me! 

xo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Packing for a Casual Beach Vacation! St. Kitt's & Nevis

Recently, my cousin and his fiancĂ©e were lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in a beautiful condo in St. Kitt's and invited Nathan and I to come along. Needless to say, we jumped at the chance to go! I'll share more on our trip in another post, but for now I wanted to talk packing.

I have said in the past, I love packing (yes, I'm a weirdo). Knowing this isn't the usual attitude towards packing, I thought I'd share how I packed and some of my tips and tricks. 

First of all, if you're looking for the most efficient style of packing, this probably won't be for you. I am not inefficient by any means, but I don't try to get away with as little as possible. I do end up wearing and using about 99% of what I pack. Nathan and I share one big suitcase, which we check and share one carry-on. Here's specifically what I packed for our trip *side note: St. Kitt's is a casual place

Here we go!
7 Days

Undergarments
- 8 Pairs of day time underwear
- 8 pairs of night time underwear
- 3 bras - one convertible, one bralette/bandeau, one regular
- 2 pairs of socks, assuming you'll mostly wear sandals

Beach Wear
- 8 bikinis, yes this is overkill. I am a bikini buying freak! I own 20 after severely cutting down my collection. For a normal person, I'd suggest 2-4 that you can mix and match.
- Cover up or sarong

Clothing
- 2 warmer pieces of outerwear - one casual like a light sweatshirt, one nicer like a light jacket or cardigan
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 6 dresses - 5 more casual, 1 you can dress up. I prefer wearing dresses when it's hot out. If you prefer shorts and tanks more, then pack more of those :)
- 5 tops
- PJS - about 6 PJ items

Shoes & Accessories
- Tennis Shoes or close-toed shoes for activities
- Nice Sandals
- Wedge heels
- Flip Flops or easy sand-walking shoes
- A belt to cinch in casual dresses
- A baseball hat
- A day-time or beach hat (like a straw fedora)
- A mini cross-body bag
- Your regular purse
- Stud earrings, regular jewelry (remember, I'm being casual :) if your trip is fancier, pack jewelry that you want to match your special outfits).
- 2+ sunglasses, since you're always wearing them and they make the outfit!

Technology
- Chargers
- Camera
- Go-Pro
- Ipad
- Cell

Toiletries
- Face routine - I personally use Proactiv and Clinique lotion
- Deodorant
- Travel size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
- Mini body loofah
- Self tanner (for touch ups and to feel extra nice) no body has time for wrinkles!
- Body scrub for exfoliating
- TONS of sunscreen - we did not pack nearly enough for the strong sun in St. Kitt's - it is 18 U.S. dollars for one small bottle of sunscreen in St. Kitt's - INSANE
- Usual makeup products you like, remember waterproof mascara!
- Perfume
- Razor
-Travel shave gel

Miscellaneous
- Your pillow, because sleeping on someone else's usually sucks
- Towel

Tips
- Roll your clothes to save space and prevent wrinkles
- Pack several clothing and toiletry items in carry-on in case your luggage gets lost, anything you'd be super bummed without!
- Wear comfy layers to airport - Jeans/yoga pants, tank top, sweater, slip on shoes, etc. so when you get off the plane from cold Michigan into sunny warmth, you can remove layers.
- Drink lots of water on the plane - lots and lots
- Bring a deck of cards, because they are fun for the plane and obviously the beach and drinking games
- HAVE FUN!

When I'm packing, I like to take my time, think of how I'll wear each item/outfit and all the good times that I'll have and play some music. It can be fun if you let it!

xo

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello, March

March has brought a glimmer of hope. 
I see melting snow, a bit of rain, and with the time change comes my sunrise walks. 
When I'm confined to indoor activities because of the harsh Michigan climate, I can get a bit morose. 

This will be a wonderful month. This coming weekend I'll be headed to St. Kitt's, I was engaged on March 16th so that always brings about wonderful memories, and St. Patrick's day is one of my favorite holidays (yes, I know I say that about every holiday, but I mean it!).  and the biggest and best of all, my husband will finally return home from his long work trip and we'll be reunited again. 

My spirit was buried in snow, and I feel a bit like a bear coming out of hibernation. 
Here's to a wonderful month!

xo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wedding Series: Let's Party!

Now it's onto the party!
We had a cocktail hour just outside the barn following our ceremony, moved onto the tent for dinner, and back up to the barn for dancing and dessert. Our planner called this a "progressive event" and I think it kept the evening fresh and guests seemed to enjoy the movement of the evening, I'd definitely recommend it if you have the choice! Our planner let us in on the secret that these types of events tend to have the highest guest retention rates because everyone can't wait to see what happens next! ;)

Here are some of my favorite details

Cocktail Hour
For the food we were inspired by our trip to Paris together, and we wanted that rustic, comforting, but beautifully executed vibe. 

Dinner
With our goddaughter, Cambrie
 Sneaking away for our first married sunset

Dessert & Dancing
We chose croquembouche for dessert. Neither of us are big on cake really, and a tower of caramel covered cream puffs delighted us!
 Father daughter dance to "My Girl"
 First dance as husband and wife

The End!
I hope you enjoyed my mini wedding series, next up I'll share some honeymoon pictures from Italy!

If you'd like to know any tips or planning advice, let me know in the comment below.
Thanks so much for reading!

xox

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wedding Series: The Ceremony

Our pastor, Melissa Anne, made our ceremony so personalized and I think that's something that we didn't realize was so important to us until we really thought hard about our relationship and the huge step we were taking and how we wanted to portray it to our guests. When we picked our readings, which were Sonnet XVII from Pablo Neruda and this piece from Anna Voskamp, we both welled up with tears. On the big day there were some ceremony blunders, which brought joy and laughs, and I think overall it just felt like it came right from our hearts. It felt like a joyous celebration. 

If I have one bit of advice, it would be to include your parents and guests.
Melissa Anne had us turn towards our family and friends and thank them for the roles they have played in our lives as individuals and our relationship. They all vowed to keep us on the right track and guide us through our marriage. I loved being able to look at everyone and acknowledge their importance and it made our vows that much more meaningful.

Here are a few of my very favorite pictures from our wedding ceremony.
 We had Kir Royale cocktails, Lemonade, and Sparkling water pre-ceremony for guests when they arrived. We wanted everyone to be in a celebratory mood as soon as they arrived and I think cocktails are always the way to go! :)
 Our ribbon wands we hand-made and stained together
 Sneaking a peak as everyone arrived and enjoying our cocktails with our wedding party
 The kiss! We didn't practice but it was just natural, modest, and very us.
and celebrating in the back room afterward!

xo