Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Perfect Day

Inspired by Kaylah over at The Dainty Squid, I decided to write a bit about what "a perfect day" looks like to me. I've long been a daydreamer, so when I'm having a difficult day, I like to let my mind transport me to times and places that I enjoy the most. It's like a mini brain vacation and it almost always makes me feel better. 

I have a many ideas of what constitutes a "perfect day"--days spent up north on Lake Michigan, days spent wrapped up in blankets reading in my loft, vacations to far away places, hiking and tacos with friends, the list goes on and on. But for this post, I want to focus on what a perfect "normal" day would look like: a day all to myself where I can do exactly what I want. 


My Perfect Day would begin with me sleeping in just a bit and waking up slowly. The day would be sunny and breezy. I'd eventually make my way out of bed and put on a comfy outfit, topped off with my Cubs hat. I'd take Henson on a long walk through the neighborhood, breathing deeply and letting him stop and sniff every single tree on our route. Then I'd drop him off at home, grab my book, and walk to a coffee shop in my neighborhood. After getting a large iced coffee, I'd find an outdoor table and settle in to read or write for the remainder of the morning. 

When I'd inevitably start getting hungry for lunch, I would pack up my books, get a coffee refill, and start walking. I'd most likely stop to browse at my favorite neighborhood shops, Rebel.Reclaimed and Books & Mortar. Despite being starving for lunch at this point, more than likely I would find myself stopping for macarons at Le Bon Macaron on the way home to save for dessert. 

Lunch would be a cheese and tomato sandwich on my porch with an iced tea, a book, and my dog to keep me company. (Noticing a bit of a pattern here?) After lunch, I'd go take a yoga class. Then, I'd come home and do some sort of home improvement project--most likely either painting a shelf or hanging pictures or going through my closet. At some point during this project, Kyle would come home. We'd make plans to go out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner and poke around a used bookstore or I'd let Kyle talk me into seeing a movie. 

After our date, we'd come home and stay up late watching The X-Files reruns on Netflix, playing cards, and munching on homemade popcorn. We would talk and dream and make hypothetical travel plans and laugh at dumb jokes. I would fall asleep feeling content and happy. 

...and that's my perfect day. It's quiet and simple, but exactly what refreshes my spirit. 

What's your perfect day? 

Friday, March 24, 2017

#mittenhiking: Rogue River Park

Our latest Mitten Hiking adventure was at Rogue River Park in Belmont, Michigan, less than 10 miles north of downtown Grand Rapids. We were greeted with a gray and misty morning (as most of our hikes tend to be) that has me really looking forward to the sunshiney days that hopefully lie ahead. 

We were able to get about 3 miles out of this hike by doing multiple loops and taking a few side trails. It's quite flat and takes you along the banks of the Rogue River, through a fish hatchery, and gives you the option to link up with the White Pine Trail. With its close proximity to the city and easy trails, Rogue River Park would make a wonderful family-friendly hike!

Monday, March 20, 2017

#mittenhiking: Pickerel Lake

I've shared before a bit about #mittenhiking, a weekly hiking group my friends and I created where we explore trails in and around Grand Rapids. I post about it frequently on Instagram, but I want to get in the habit of sharing regularly here as well. 

I'm going to start with my favorite trail in the GR area, Pickerel Lake in Cannonsburg, Michigan. Pickerel Lake is part of the Frederic Meijer Nature Preserve, located just northeast of downtown Grand Rapids. Trails weave along the shoreline and throughout forests of pines. A recently renovated boardwalk allows you to walk along the lake and is the gateway to roughly five miles of trails. Be prepared for conquering quite a few hills, but know that you'll be rewarded with gorgeous lake views at the top!

As I mentioned, this trail is a favorite haunt of the Mitten Hikers. We've hiked it in both the spring and fall months, and I've done a few solo winter hikes. (Pro Tip: If you're hiking in the winter, be prepared for extremely icy trail conditions.)

Pickerel Lake is beautiful at any time of year, but I'm certainly looking forward to the days of more sunshine. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Woman's Place


I'm truly grateful beyond words for all of the amazing women in my life (and there are many). I come from a family of independent, intelligent, and deeply caring women who always encouraged me to take my own path, stand up for myself, and march to the beat of my own drummer. The women that surround me in my daily life offer me words of advice, make me roar with laughter, and remind me to breathe. 

I am uplifted by these women daily. I carry their passions and love and hopes and dreams in my heart. I strive to make them proud. Their confidence and bravery make me strong.

This year, today is also A Day Without a Woman

It's upsetting that we need this. It's upsetting that we need to go on strike in 2017 to communicate our value as human beings. It's infuriating to be constantly bombarded with messages and articles and commentary and unsolicited advice about how we should act. How we should look. How we should dress. We're told we're too fat, too skinny, we wear too much make-up, wear not enough. We're not confident, we're narcissistic, we're too feminine, we're too butch. We're sluts, we're prudes, we're not assertive, we're too bossy. 

"Cover up."
"Show a little skin."
"Asking for it."
"Give us a smile."
"Honey, you're evading my question."

We're told to hate our bodies, hate other women, hate ourselves. Be ashamed.

So today (and every day) we fight back. We recognize our contributions and our value. We strike from all labor (paid and unpaid). We don't make purchases (except to support local, woman-powered business). We wear red in solidarity. We educate. 

Today, my library is open. I am at work. I am here to serve, to be a resource to the community, to offer a safe place. I am dressed like Rosie the Riveter, proudly wearing a red bandanna. Yes we can. 

I am striving daily to be bold. To take up space. To speak up. To not back down. I am channeling the power and gathering strength from the women who have come before me. Who spoke out and stood their ground so that I could have a future of opportunities. Be bold for change.

"And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives. That we not hide behind the mockeries of separations that have been imposed upon us and which so often we accept as our own...For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us...for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken." 
 ::From "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," Audre Lorde

I'm proud of you. I stand by you. I support you. Always.