Monday, October 31, 2011



Tracy: Orange and black decorations? Is this Halloween or Princeton Parents Weekend? I don't know whether to be scared, or proud of my cousin...

Kenneth: It's Halloween, sir.

Tracy: Proud it is.


Although I'm not big on Halloween, I'm looking forward to passing out candy tonight with Kyle, Morgan, and Henson. Have a fun and be safe!

Friday, October 28, 2011

friday confessions

In honor of Halloween...

Confession: I have really irrational fears.

Don't we all? I've blogged in the past about a few things that really scare me. And apart from my fear of hopping amphibians and glowing red eyes, I would say most of them are pretty legit.

Except for the one I left off the list.

Horrifying, right? Horrifyingly cute, maybe. What's wrong with me?

Yep, that's a giraffe.

Ok, so maybe not giraffes persae; but giraffes outside of their natural habitat or zoo.

Scene: You're driving along at night, you're in the middle of nowhere, and suddenly a frickin' giraffe just walks across the road. A dark silhouette of this billion-foot-tall animal just menacingly moseying along...Seriously, how creepy would that be?!?! (Anyone? No? Just me?)

Not that this has ever happened to me in real life. But a few weekends ago, I came close.


Scene: Kyle and I are headed up north on US-131 late at night. It's pitch black and pouring rain. These guys are hanging out on the side of the road...and they're BIG. No signs, no warning. They're just there. It was horrifying. (To me, anyway. Kyle didn't even see it...which only made me question my sanity.)

When we got home, I did a bit of sleuthing to confirm that I wasn't going crazy. Because I didn't see any signs near the giant giraffe, and I wasn't even entirely sure where we were, I just Googled "giant giraffe us 131 michigan." And what do you know? These things are actually part of something even creepier than a wayward giraffes.


Um, yikes. I couldn't find very a lot of information on Robinson's Scenic Gardens, but this blogger at Roadside Curiosities actually went there and took these pictures. Check out the rest of them good ol' fashioned goosebumps raising. 

So creepy.

Is it bad that I want to go? I need to take a picture with that giraffe.

Happy Friday, friends.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

at least we got fudge

In the four years that Kyle and I have been together, we have made it a tradition to go to Mackinac Island every October.

First view of Mackinac Island from the ferry, Fall 2010.
 Mackinac Island is located at the very top of the Mitten (Lower Peninsula), just east of the Mackinac Bridge which connects the two peninsulas. Fall is (usually) the perfect time to visit the Island. Beautiful changing leaves, sunny jacket weather, and fewer tourists. Ah, bliss.

Leading up to the Grand Hotel, Fall 2010.

On the other side of the Island, Fall 2010.

Not so much this year.

We arrived in Mackinaw City on a chilly and rainy Friday night and got a hotel, hoping that the weather would turn around by the next day so that we could take a ferry over to the Island. We woke up Saturday morning to 20 foot waves on Lake Michigan, 30 mile per hour winds, and frigid temperatures.  Talk about disappointment.

Scary weather on the Straights, Fall 2011.

Trying to keep it positive, we made the most of our time in Mackinaw City. We took goofy pictures (in the crazy wind).

Um, yikes.

Oh, hey wind.

I tried a pastie, a very popular dish in the UP.

Yes, that's a bowl of gravy with spoon. No, I did not eat like soup.

And we were still able to buy the famous Mackinac Island fudge and salt water taffy.

Joann's--by far the Island's best fudge.

Of course, we woke up on Sunday, and the weather was beautiful Michigan weather is never a guarantee. Que sera, sera.

Quick stop at Sleeping Bear Dunes on the way back to GR.
Here's to next year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

midweek rambles (BFF edition)

+ This lovely lady stayed with us last weekend while she was in GR on business. While she was here she treated us to ice cream and gave us some pretty awesome haircuts. (Fear not, she's a trained professional.)

Molly & Sarah
Being sassypants, Summer 2011

+ This lovely lady will be staying at our apartment this week/end while she job hunts in GR. I'm really excited to have her here. Let the thrifting and hot dog-ing commence!

Molly & Morgan
Reunited, Summer 2011
+ This lovely lady sent me a Starbucks gift card and the sweetest birthday card in the mail last week. We have been best friends since we were 14. She never fails to make me smile.

Molly & Shannon
Kicking ass as MOH, Summer 2011

+ These lovely ladies and I will be catching up over dinner next week. They were among my first friends in college, and the sources of many laughs over the past 5 years.

Cady, Val, & Molly
Silly faces at the Pub, Spring 2010

+ And you lovely ladies, who write such wonderful blogs and who leave thoughtful comments on my little ramblings. You're fantastic.

Let the weekend countdown commence!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

current obsessions

+ Eggplant.
We've been experimenting with eggplant dishes at least twice a week lately. It's so easy to fix and it tastes amazing. Favorites include eggplant parmesan, eggplant on paninis, and eggplant with couscous. Any favorite eggplant recipes to pass along?

+ Bare Minerals eye primer.
I'm not knowledgeable or overly picky about makeup or "beauty" products in general. At all. But this stuff is fantastic. Just smear a bit of this on your eye lids and add mascara and you're good to go. Perfect for someone who gets out of bed 15 minutes before she has to leave for work.

+ Adele. 
I'm seriously loving her music. I don't know where I've been that I'm just now discovering her. According to Lauren, probably the same place I was when The X-Files and Harry Potter were popular.

Fun Fact: I'm not typically a fan of music videos, but this gives me chills.

+ Starbucks.
Ugh, talk about cliche. I need an intervention.

How a majority of my October lunches were spent.

What are you currently loving?

Friday, October 21, 2011

sure, when it's autumn

In honor of this rainy, gray, and blustery weather we've been experiencing as of late...

Just a small reminder of how beautiful fall in GR can be.


Friday Confessions will return next week in its regular time slot.

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of me acting like a dinosaur...

...and one of me getting eaten by one.

I need a hobby.

Happy Friday, friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

birthday redux

Recently, Kyle and I celebrated our birthdays. I love that they're less than a week apart. It makes for a fun whirlwind of dinner at our favorite restaurants, seeing our families, and basking in the glory of fall.

We celebrated Kyle's birthday on the 7th by eating burgers at Stella's Lounge downtown. Stella's is a whisky bar known for their half-pound stuffed hamburgers. It's interesting to note that other than their burgers, the rest of their menu is almost entirely vegan. I had the most amazing black bean/lentil burger. Besides having a kick-ass menu, Stella's also boasts a variety of retro video games. We may or may not have spent a small fortune playing pinball and TRON. And Mario Brothers, aka the only video game Molly knows how to play.

Kyle is unimpressed with my gaming skills.

On the 13th, we celebrated my birthday by going to San Chez, hands down my favorite restaurant in GR. San Chez is a tapas bistro, specializing in a fusion of European/Mediterranean cuisine. Ohmygodthisfoodissogood. Like, bring tears to your eyes good. My favorite is their Queso de Cabra--an entire plate of melted goat cheese tomatoey goodness. And because it's tapas-style, the portions are tiny, so you can try multiple dishes without the guilt. Oh, and I had goat cheese cheesecake for dessert. Redundant? Nope.


Kyle gave me the most thoughtful presents: used books, a cookbook that uses honey in every recipe, an owl candle holder, and a CD recorded by the Young @ Heart chorus. (More on that later.) Not to mention, he sent me beautiful flowers at a tea cup no less! I tell you, this guy knows me well.

We were also able to spend some time with our families in the week before our birthday. My parents and sister came to GR one evening after work and treated us to dinner at the Cantina, an awesome Mexican restaurant. Kyle's family visited one Saturday and we spent the day exploring ArtPrize.

L to R: Dad, little sister Svet, Mom, me
We were really jazzed about this life-size Tonka dump truck at ArtPrize.

I'm so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. Here's to another trip around the sun...

Friday, October 7, 2011

friday confessions

Confession: I knew that I was going to marry Kyle from the moment I met him.

True story.

I know this sounds cheesy, cliche, far-fetched, etc., etc.; but it is totally and completely, 100% true. Seriously.

Allow me to explain...

Back in the spring of 2007, I was a freshman in college. My friends and I went to see a production of The Rocky Horror Show on campus. I was inexplicably drawn to the actor playing Eddie. Returning home shortly thereafter for summer break, this stranger crossed my mind occasionally. There was just something about him.

Kyle as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Show
GVSU: Spring 2007

Fall 2007. My roommate at the time was in a play with "that guy who played Eddie in Rocky last semester." She thought we'd get along, so she invited him over to our apartment one Saturday night to watch Phantom of the Opera, one of his favorite movies.

From the moment he walked through the door of our apartment, I knew that my life would never be the same.

Silly pictures the night we met
GVSU: Fall 2007

As soon as our eyes met, I knew that he was the man I was going to marry. I can remember everything about that moment. What I was wearing, what he was wearing, the smell of campus housing, his unkempt beard and long hair. (He was in a play set during the Civil War.)

I don't know how I knew, I just...knew. (And have never been more certain of anything in my life.)

We spent the evening hanging out with my roommates. We talked a bit. Discussed shared interests and mutual friends. Mostly just hung out as part of a group. I was nervous. You don't just tell someone you just met that you're going to marry them.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we talked a bit more. Watched movies together. Flirted. Held hands. Nothing out of the ordinary, and yet everything felt extraordinary. On his 21st birthday, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

October 7th.

Two years from the day that this picture was taken, Kyle asked me to marry him, on the stage where we had first "met."

A picture from the early days--celebrating Jeff's birthday
Main Street Pub: Winter 2008

The proposal
GVSU: Winter 2010

We've been together for four years today, and we celebrated our two month wedding anniversary yesterday. I'm so glad he walked into my apartment and into my life that chilly fall evening. And now, I'm so honored to be his wife.

Our first dance as Mr. & Mrs.
St. Cecilia's, GR: August 6, 2011

Happy 25th, Kyle---To the man who always supports all of my harebrained ideas, watches the same X-Files episodes with me on repeat without complaint, and who embraces all of my many quirks---I'm so glad to be sharing this grand adventure with you.

Happy Friday, friends.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ArtPrize Top 10

The Top 10 Finalists were announced last Thursday. ((Sorry this is belated!))
Grizzlies on the Ford
Llew Tilma
Wayland, MI

Under Construction
LiveStatue & Friends (Robert & Jasper Shangle)
Sparta, MI

Ocean Exodus
Paul Baliker
Palm Coast, FL

Van Duinen, Osborne, Schuster, Bellomo
Grand Rapids, MI

Fiberglass Resin President Ford
President Gerald Ford Visits ArtPrize
Sunti Pichetchaiyakul

Mantis Dreaming
Bill Secunda
Butler, PA

Lynda Cole

Ann Arbor, MI

Crucifixion Stained glass mosaic
Mia Tavonatti
Santa Ana, CA

The Tempest (detail)
The Tempest II
Laura Alexander
Columbus, OH

Ritch Branstrom

Rapid River, MI

I'll be placing my vote this afternoon. I don't know how I'm going to pick just one! The winner is announced tomorrow!

Who would you like to win?
In no particular order...