Category Archives: Weekend Adventures

Weekend Adventures // The Bowl

July 2, 2013

The Bowl. 
This spot ignites a swell of memories. 
Most of them include chilly fall nights, large campfires, booze, and the legendary Carl Morrison bringing us Taco Bell in the middle of the night. These moments were the epitome of my college career. The nights where we felt carefree, full of life, like there was only the present. I recall these all vividly, but one occasion at The Bowl stands out clearly from the rest. 
It’s daytime. As usual, Zach is up to something and won’t tell me where we are going. Driving slowly out to the country side, we pull over to the side of the road. I immediately recognize the place, even though we never come out here during the day. The Bowl. Zach grabs a backpack and reaches for my hand, leading me the way. We take the hard way up the dune, like everyone should. The air hits my face as we summit the top and the view kills me…every damn time. Racing down the other face of the dune, we fly towards the lake, heels kicking up sand. We sit down as Zach reaches into his backpack to pull out sandwiches, a bottle of wine, and my favorite candy. I’m thinking of how cute he is, how he always likes to surprise me, and how these precious occurrences are how I want to spend the rest of my life. With a smile on his face, he tells me to close my eyes. I hear him reach into his backpack once again, then move behind me. Gently, he pulls my hair back and secures a necklace around my neck. Whispering in my ear he says, “I love you.” It was the first time he had spoken those three words. It would be the first of many. 
To celebrate our two year wedding anniversary, Zach and I headed back to that spot. We ran thru the Saugatuck dunes and recollected the grueling workouts we did there in years past. We hiked up to The Bowl, then ran to the lake. All to remember that day, to remember how it all began. 
Happy Anniversary my love. 

Weekend Adventures // NYC

April 10, 2013

Every year my mom and I try to plan a trip together. Usually we end up meeting in Chicago for a few days, but this year we decided to treat ourselves to a longer trip to NYC. Both of us being big “foodies” and looking to revamp our wardrobes; our goal was to eat and shop. What better place to do that than New York? 
On the top of my mom’s list – visiting Beurre & Sel and Prune – both places created by culinary geniuses. Beurre & Sel is a tiny gourmet cookie shop by Dorie Greenspan. The concept behind this brick and mortar shop is beautiful. These simple cookies are sold individually or in tubes, which make such cute gifts. Sampling a few, they crumbled instantly in my mouth and were not at all overly sweet, making it hard to eat just one. 
After shopping and snacking for most of the morning, we opted for a light lunch of bloody marys & the Sous Chef Salad at Prune. I’ve only ever had a bloody mary that resembled a really bad V8 drink, so I was anxious to try Prune’s version as they are known to have one of the best in NYC. We weren’t disappointed. 
Probably one of the highlights of the trip was running each morning. If you are searching for a place to walk/run in NYC aside from Central Park, try the Highline. Since we stayed in West Village, we were about 4 miles away from Central Park, so I opted to stay in the area on one of my runs. Although the Highline is short (they are in the process of expanding it) it was so refreshing not to have to stop at lights or watch for traffic. 
It blows my mind how many amazing restaurants and shops NYC houses. By perusing thru endless stores; the amount of inspiration almost hit overload by the time we left. It was just what we needed. Time away to relax and gather ideas geared towards our passions. 
Couldn’t have asked for a better mini trip! 

Weekend Adventures // Hiking Mt. Sterling

March 8, 2013

Seeking out the unknown always creates a sense of exhilaration for me. Whether that is the physical limits of my body in an ultramarathon or hiking mysterious trails of a North Carolina mountain – the unknown can definitely be scary. When Zach told me we’d be climbing up to about 6000 ft up Mount Sterling, I knew this wasn’t going to be a quick hike. 
At the trail head we loaded up our gear – making sure we had enough water and food for about four hours – and worked our way to Baxter Creek Trail. 
Starting out, the trails had just a slight dusting of snow on them; such a nice change from Michigan’s packed iced sidewalks. I immediately noticed how much green was peeking out from the snow in the trees. Tropical looking trees flagged a good portion of the trails at the base of the mountain. After just a few miles of running (or at least trying to run since the ascent was rather rugged) we started dropping layers even though the snow had started to accumulate more and more. Carrying my Fluid 6 Mountain Hardware pack was essential to this hike. Storing my water, food, camera, jacket, and Yaktraxs; I’m not sure what I would have done if I had opted for just a waterbelt.
As we ran further, it was beautiful to watch the “climate” change before our eyes. The trees got thicker and more evergreens seemed to appear. Snow piled up and trees began to look crystalized. 

After 2.5 hours of hiking, the elevation was starting to get to me. 
The climb seemed to get steeper and the six inches of snow wasn’t helping…but I kept reminding myself, “I’m climbing a mountain!” Once we reached the summit we saw the 60 foot fire tower that marks the top. Amidst the clouds towered stunning evergreens that seemed to disappear into the sky above. I had hiked my first mountain!!!
Have you ever hiked or ran up a mountain? 
Any recommendations on ones to visit? 
A shout out to Rob for letting me use some of his photos. Can’t wait for our next trip! 

Weekend Adventures // Olympic Trials

July 4, 2012

It’s hard to imagine that two days ago I was amongst some of the most talented runners in 
America. The Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon – the mecca of Track & Field – I felt like a kid in 
a candy store. Inspiration, drive, and hard work seep through the historic Hayward Field; allowing
dreams to be made and records to be broken. Not only did I get to witness some intense races, 
I also took in the character of Eugene. From it’s overwhelming growth of greenery, to the endless 
trails at every corner, I smiled and took it all in. 
Staying at the Brooks House, we met dedicated athletes and specialty running retailers who
 all were held captive by the atmosphere the Trials create. Pure courage, mental drive, strength
and high emotions were all witnessed. It was where you left it all on the track.
Standing in front of Pre’s Rock was surreal. Steve Prefontaine was like no other – cocky as hell, 
but fast and gutsy. He will forever be a legend in the running community. 
Spending the weekend running through Pre’s Trail, Amazon Trails, Dorris Ranch, and
 Spencer Butte, I was never at a loss for places to explore. By far my most rewarding run was
climbing 2055 feet up Spencer Butte. Reaching the summit, joy and a sense of freedom overtook
 me. The meaning of running ran through my head – it’s the places you go, the things you see, the 
strength you achieve, and the happiness that is bound to be found. 
Have you ever been to Eugene? I think the west is calling my name for my next big travels. 

Weekend Adventures // North Manitou Island

June 14, 2012

I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate the first year of marriage to my best friend, than by hiking thru the wilderness and soaking up the sun on the beaches of North Manitou Island. This past weekend was one that will not be forgotten – making us realize how vital it is to get away and focus on the important aspects of our lives – our relationship, our health, and our earth.

Removing all the “noise” in our daily lives, we spent the weekend hiking, reading, talking, 
and just absorbing the beauty around us. Dips in the lake were taken and deer sighting occurred.
I even ran around the entire island, despite the abundance of poison ivy and garter snakes that
lurked at every turn. And without a soul for miles around us, the silence was refreshing. 
After such a killer trip, Zach and I are already talking about plans for next year. 
I highly recommend touring the island if you are in the northern parts of Michigan. 
Do you camp? Where is your favorite spot? 

Weekend Adventures // At Home

May 23, 2012

To stay at home all weekend long is a rarity for us as of late. This past weekend we vowed to 
have some quality “couple time” and just work on the backyard projects… which turned out to 
be one of the most rewarding undertaking. Once more grass is seeded, plants bought, and 
dirt removed – I’ll have to share the finished result. As for now, a glimpse into our weekend.
Green sun tea with fresh mint & lemons + Lemon sorbet = the best things to enjoy on a hot day! 
This weekend also marked the start of our ultra marathon training… Lots of running braids will be 
happening this summer. It’s the only way I can handle having such long hair on sweltering days like 
this past Sunday! Makes me scared to see how hot August will be if it’s already been in the 90’s! 
Digging out our old, crumbling retaining wall to replace it with the above gem was the major project we 
accomplished this weekend. It took way longer than I expected, but turned out perfectly. A bonus
touch, Zach put together the arbor he had built for our wedding and placed it on the pathway to 
the lower level of our yard. Such a lovely reminder of a perfect day. 
Hope everyone has a killer week. Any fun plans coming up? 
Enjoy the sunshine and the feeling of spring bliss! 

Weekend Adventures // Away to Austin

April 19, 2012

Amongst busy lives, little trips away can be a blessing. 
Packing light, I took off to visit one of my best friends, Kenz, out in Austin, Texas. 
During this mini vacation, we celebrated Kenzie’s birthday with a cookie crawl… think pub crawl, 
minus the booze. Hitting up the best bakeries in Austin, we filled our tummies with sweet goodies and 
giggled how cute Kenz looked in the chef hat and apron we made her wear. 
Wanting to absorb as much of Austin life as possible, we made our way around the city. 
Chowing down on lots of food, hitting up the shopping district, and taking in tons of great sights, 
Austin has so much to do and see! Here are just some of the killer spots we visited…
Via Instagram
1. Torchy’s Taco – a yummy food truck that boasts some rad taco’s – the fried avocado is delish
2. Rogue Running – of course I had to visit a running store! Not only is this store cute, the staff is
amazing. We ran with the Rogue running group on Saturday along Lake Bird Lake, which is definitely
something I recommend to anyone going out to Austin! 
3. Quack’s Bakery – part of Kenzie’s cookie crawl, Quack’s had some of the fanciest desserts and
an awesome Vegan Trail Mix cookie! 
4. Hopdoddy – several friends recommended eating at this burger joint, including the lovely Megan,
from The Fresh Exchange. After finishing our 12 miler on Saturday, a hearty veggie burger was just what
 I needed…. of course there was french fries and beer involved. 🙂
5. JuiceLand – I want to transport this quaint little juice shack back to Michigan. Probably one of the
best green smoothies I’ve ever had here. With an abundant list of smoothies, juices, shots, & cocktails,
I wanted to try everything. The Ginger Kale Smoothie & wheatgrass shot had to suffice. 
6. Austin Java – before leaving on our flight, we had a lovely brunch of breakfast tacos and coffee at
Austin Java. I was really surprised at the length of the menu & how you can customize your own tacos! 
7. Buffalo Exchange – if you love to thrift shop, Buffalo Exchange is a must go to! This fuchsia dress
was my favorite find of the day. 
8. Whole Foods Market – since we don’t have one in Grand Rapids, I drooled my way through this
store. It’s definitely an experience in itself. Please Whole Foods, come to GR!  
9. Mother’s Cafe – the ultimate vegetarian/vegan restaurant…and don’t forget dessert. The chocolate
cake and chocolate peanut butter pie are incredible!  
10. UT Campus – In the center of Austin lies the University of Texas’ campus.
It’s pretty big and worth the walk or drive past. 

The atmosphere in Austin is so different than Grand Rapids. There were so many things that
I’d love to bring back to Michigan, but I guess that’s what makes each place unique. I know I’ll be
returning to see more shows, eat from more food trucks, and explore some of the spring pools
we didn’t get to visit.
So, so long for now Austin. 

Weekend Adventures – The Quiet Times

March 28, 2012

Some weekends are meant to be a gift to yourself – a time to wind down and take in the life that usually flies by. This past weekend I can truly say was great for my soul. During my 10 miler I conjured up ideas, dwelled on the future, and thought about topics I usually tuck into the deep recesses of my mind. It’s easy to fall into the routine of daily life, to not give yourself a need “me time.” So this weekend was dedicated to myself – to think, to work, and to just be. 
It is in these quiet times, these rare moments, that mean the most to me.

It’s walking through our beautiful neighborhood, taking in this gift of early Spring and cherishing it.  
It’s finding a treasure hidden under a pile of rubbish at a thrift store.
It’s sporting bright red New Balance sunglasses b/c they make me smile.
It’s watching our small seedlings grow each day. 
It’s running slowly and not caring.
It’s staying happy and kind.
It’s being myself. 

Weekend Adventures – New Years Eve Glitz

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!!! 
With 2012 finally here, I’m looking forward to all the plans Zach and I have talked about doing this year. 
I still haven’t sat down and wrote out my resolutions, but a few things are for sure: 
– I want to train for a half marathon this summer
– Attempt to start on the renovations for our kitchen
– Take several long weekends to travel & camp with Zach
– Continue on our journey of eating/living a healthy lifestyle
To kick off the new year right, the glitter & sequins came out… 
Since I don’t get dolled up that often, I had fun putting together this outfit.  I was pretty excited when Anjolee Jewelers sent over this stunning Eternally Yours Eternity Band just in time for the holidays. It was the perfect accessory to my glitzy outfit. What I love about this band is how versatile it is. Anjolee has a huge variety of diamond bridal set and wedding sets, but this ring definitely doesn’t have to be used as a traditional wedding band or diamond anniversary ring. I adore fashion rings that can be stacked and worn with a variety of other rings, so immediately I knew my thin silver rings would go perfectly stacked with the Eternity Band. To top it off, this ring almost matches my own wedding band, so I can easily add this piece for a stack-able wedding set of my own! 

I usually try to be pretty simple in my jewelry and outfits, but couldn’t help myself once I had my sequin top on… I finally backed down and told myself I had to take out the three inch sparkly dangling earrings and put more simple studs in. I probably would have put glitter all over my eyes and face if Zach hadn’t had said I already had enough makeup on. Oh well, there is always Halloween! 🙂 

Weekend Adventures – Back At The Farm

November 15, 2011

Since our wedding, life has gotten so busy that I’ve sadly not been back home to Illinois. 
Missing my parents and my roots; it was time to take a break from working on the house. 
This past weekend I drove the 4.5 hours home and prepared myself for relaxing, eating my mother’s amazing food, thrifting, and being a daddy’s girl.  Here are a few snap shots of my grandfather’s old barn, the family farm, and our doggie, Diesel. 
Isn’t he so precious?! 
As much as I adore Michigan, my roots back in Illinois are firm and deep.  I know most people wouldn’t think that the flat land of corn and beans are beautiful, but there is something about the vastness of it all. It brings the vividness of the sun and clouds alive during the day and the brightness of the stars and moon by night. Whereas in other places, buildings, trees, and pollution block the fullness of these moments. On my way back to Michigan, I drove enraptured by the wind pushing the clouds so fast; their shadow moving over the harvested land like an unforeseen force for miles.  Although I’m not meant to live in Illinois anymore, it’s hard to take the country out of the girl.  🙂