Denver – What We Did Day 2

If there was one thing I was looking forward to when visiting Denver it was the hiking. I’m not a big, big hiker, but I do love being outdoors (to an extent; I’m not Cheryl Strayed in any sense) and I love seeing nature as it is: undisturbed.

I already knew that hiking in the Rockies was something we’d probably do so I came well prepared with shoes, clothing, etc. My over-zealous self also wanted to hike a summit trail. I knew this probably wouldn’t happen as the elevation game would be 2,000 or more feet. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re starting out between 8-10K feet, it is a lot! Amber’s husband Richard picked out an easy-to-moderate trail for us to do that would be about 6 miles round trip with a little bit of an elevation gain and still amazing views, water and seeing wildlife. SOLD.

We got up around 5:30/6 that morning ready to hike the Cub Lake Trail! We packed our backpacks with quick lunches of pb&j, granola bars, pretzels and plenty of water; my camera, extra clothing (light jackets); sunscreen; bug spray; band aids; hand sanitizer! The drive out to Rocky Mountain National took about an hour and a half and aside from a quick stop to take a picture of the foothills on the way to Boulder, we made some pretty good time and started the trail around 9am. We ended up extending the hike by about a mile so we could see the mysterious “The Pool” before looping back around and down to the car. I think we started around an 8,000-feet elevation or so and gained no more than 1,000. Round trip we ended up doing between 6 and 7 miles and it took us about 3 1/2 hours.

I can’t even begin to express how amazing and beautiful it was. We saw some elk, some cool birds, ridiculous views and overall, the hike was made better just talking to Amber about any and every thing. It was truly unforgettable. I think the photos speak for themselves!

Scenic overlook en route to Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park -- in the foothills before Boulder!

Scenic overlook en route to Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park — in the foothills before Boulder!

Trail head! We ended up extending to The Pool and looping back!

Trail head! We ended up extending to The Pool and looping back!

Start of Cub Lake/The Pool trail

Start of Cub Lake/The Pool trail

Made it to Cub Lake!

Made it to Cub Lake!

Cub Lake!

Cub Lake!

#SpartansWill <3

#SpartansWill <3



I already know that next time I visit them, I want to extend my trip so I can get some good elevation and summit hikes in. I mean, by the time I come back for another visit, they’ll have probably scaled Pikes Peak’s summit a few times! Regardless, this was probably one of my most favorite and memorable parts of the trip. If we’d had enough time, I wanted to see the Trail Ridge Road for some sweet views, but I’ll save that for next time! I can’t thank Amber enough for making the drive up there and showing me all the fun things to do in Estes Park including seeing the Stanley Hotel (the hotel based on The Overlook from The Shining). I would absolutely recommend this to anyone with a Denver area bucket list.

Have you done any hikes in the mountains? Any you can recommend?










Denver – What We Did Day 1

If anyone of you follow along my Snapchat or Instagram, you saw that I was recently in the Mile High City for a long-ish weekend trip! I visited my friends Amber and Richard, who just moved out there and they showed me a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, there was no humidity so my hair was doing cartwheels and I was surprised at how quickly I became acclimated to the altitude. While sorting through all the photos I took, I started thinking about how I wanted to deconstruct talking about this trip. So we’ll do it in parts, and this first part is all the fun things we did in Denver — most of which were F R E E ! !

Regardless of getting to bed late on Wednesday night, we were up and at ‘em by 6 a.m. on Thursday so we could take a walk around Sloan’s Lake and get some legit breakfast. Amber had told me that the folks in Denver are “Active City Denver People” (hence the hashtag #ACDP2016 in case anyone was wondering), so this trip wasn’t about to be one where I’d sleep in. This was fine by me; I tend to be my most energetic self in the mornings. Our plan for the day was to discover the city of Denver!

Thanks to Thrillist, I found this list on 40 Free Things To Do in Denver. Some of it is really silly, but some of it was actually pretty great. We ended up walking to the light rail station near their apartment and took that into Union Station – a beautiful refurbished train station.




I loved how they redid the space in there and while we were there, we crossed off #28 – Take a selfie in front of Union Station.


From there we walked to the 16th Street Mall, which is a pedestrian-only street kind of like that area of Times Square. And it was even like that: a lot of chain restaurants, shops, etc. and tons of people. While you’re there, you can look at the skyscrapers and cross off #25 – Find the cash register in the sky — a building shaped like a cash register. Not a whole lot to see on the mall, but it does offer a free trolley you can ride up and down the street. We ended up taking that and went to the last stop to walk to the State Capitol building in order to cross off #4 – Stand on the 13th step of the capitol building and you’re exactly one mile above sea level.



After taking many pictures there because it was silly and fun, we headed over to City Park where the real action was. The NFL Kickoff Event was taking place since it was the opener for the NFL season of the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Now, most people in most any city big with football are ridiculous football fans, but this was unlike any kind of fan base I’d ever seen. Granted this was a Superbowl rematch, but still. The crowd was huge! After a little weird series of incidents of how we got into the event, we were in and walked around for a while. There were all kinds of things you could do there: try on actual Broncos gear; pretend you were drafted and stand on stage with a team jersey of your choosing, and the big thing we did: stand in line to view and have a picture taken with the Vince Lombardi trophy. I’m not a Broncos fan at all, but I am a huge football fan in general, so seeing the Superbowl trophy was pretty sweet.

Walk-on for the Lions 2016!

Walk-on for the Lions 2016!


After perusing the line of food trucks near the event and having a quick bite, and after clocking in over 20,000 steps we were exhausted and HOT (it was around 90+ degrees that day). So we took the bus back to their place and had some time to chill, walk their dogs, hydrate even more (PRO TIP: Drink a lot of water when visiting Denver since you’re in a higher altitude!) before getting ready for dinner at a legit farm-to-table restaurant where Amber made reservations. We also watched a bit of the game, which was kind of fun because they actually live about a 15-20 minute walk from Mile High Stadium!

Our night ended early though, because we had to be up early for our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stay tuned for that post coming up next.

When traveling or on vacation, do you sleep in or are you up early to start the day?


The Doughbar Doughnuts

Last week REB and I indulged in a treat he had shipped to our house from The Dough Bar – protein doughnuts! As promised, here’s a quick review on them, what they are, how they tasted and overall thoughts!**

For those of you who don’t know what it is, The Dough Bar was started by a husband-and-wife team in California with a mission to provide a healthy alternative from traditional doughnuts and theirs are handmade, baked, lower in carbs and sugar and full of protein. It’s a great way for people to indulge in something sweet without straying from their fitness goals. They created this company, which will ship a box/pack of doughnuts right to your door.


Orders are placed on a Thursday through their site, and then shipped on a Tuesday. And they sell out quick! It’s a pretty hot commodity I guess! REB placed the order the Thursday prior, they were shipped on a Tuesday and we received them on a Thursday; so about a week turn around time from order-to-door.

Upon arriving, the packaging was cute! I liked how they looked like homemade, hand packed boxes because they are. I also liked their little note card that explained their mission, how to eat them, store them and how to spread the word of the product and business.

My favorite thing is what they stood for: “We are excited and humbled to share our vision with you – which is defined by nutritious eating, active living, and giving back to others.” They find ways to give back to the community and charities. A portion of sales go towards a charity of their choosing for the month, like helping reduce childhood obesity or helping kids get up and moving. I really liked this about them!


So now, onto the doughnuts! The doughnuts are in vacuum sealed plastic and the glazes that come with are in little plastic containers. REB ordered a dozen doughnuts in various packs/flavors:
• The Classic Variety Pack with 1 of each: Maple, Cake Batter, Chocolate and Vanilla
• A 4 Pack of Cookies & Creme
• A 4 pack of Vanilla Bourbon

We put half the doughnuts in the freezer to help keep them fresh since we knew we weren’t going to eat them all in that day. We placed them in the fridge to thaw overnight when we were ready to eat them the next day or whenever.

The concept to consume is pretty simple: remove doughnut from plastic, place on plate, warm in microwave for 10-15 seconds. Warm the glaze in the microwave for 5-8 seconds until melted/thinned out, drizzle over doughnut, add garnish if provided. E N J O Y !

We did find we had to warm the glaze up in batches of 3-4 seconds at a time since we didn’t want to melt the plastic container it came in, but other than that, the whole process is pretty fool-proof.


Cookies & Creme with Oreo Crumble

Now, here’s the thing: you have to take these for what they are. These are not Krispy Kreme doughnuts, nor are they trying to be. You aren’t going to bite into it and taste something from your local bakery. However that said, these are not bad at all.

I will say that there are certain flavors I favored over others. For one thing, the chocolate did not remotely taste like chocolate or look like a chocolate glaze, which was a little bit of a disappointment. The vanilla bourbon and maple were probably my favorites – the glaze was more like an icing and tasted delicious! The doughnuts are pretty dough-y and can seem a little chewy, but again, you’re nuking them in the microwave and they’re baked, not fried.

Here’s the breakdown of Macros per doughnut on average (this includes the glaze):
Calories: 179
Carbs: 21-23g (depending on flavor/glaze)
Fat: 5g
Protein: 11g
Fiber: 2

Overall I am pleased with the product. It was a no-guilt treat for us. I know some of you might think “Well, if I’m going to treat myself, I’m going all out” and that’s totally fine! I’m not a big doughnut person to begin with, but these are something I can feel OK about eating every once in a while if I want that sweet treat or need something with protein post-lifting/working out a shake won’t cut it. They are a little expensive, but they are handmade, hand packaged and shipped from California. Plus, I really like their mission and the way they give back to the community, too! If you guys try them, let me know what you think!

What is your favorite doughnut flavor?


 **I was not compensated for providing this review. Nothing in this post was sponsored. The views and opinions are my own!

Mikette Bistro and Bar

Both REB and I recently went to the new French bistro and bar on the north side of Ann Arbor called Mikette Bistro and Bar. It’s the third restaurant opened by owner-operator Adam Baru. He owns two other places both located next to each other in downtown Ann Arbor (on the same block as my office building actually!) called Mani Osteria (a wood fire pizza place) and Isalita (higher end Mexican street food). We have been to both Mani and Isalita, and I have to say, I think Mikette may get the higher vote from me!

This restaurant used to be the small cafe called Cafe Marie, which was known for its weekend brunch. I’m sad we never got to try it, but after more than 20 years, they closed their doors in 2015. Ann Arborites were curious as to what would go into that space, and were pleasantly surprised it would be this new French place!

Walking into Mikette, both REB and I felt like we were going to a brasserie or cafe like the ones we frequented in Paris. Given Adam apparently spent summers in France, it was pretty spot-on. The only big difference is that the places in Paris are tiny and tables are right next to each other since they try to pack as many people into it as possible. The “American” touch of having it be more of a place suited to fit Americans so you actually have room for your elbows, was nice. But the details! Ohhh the details!

The central area was lined with the giant red booth and then little bistro tables were set around around it. The bar was long and beautifully lit and actually crowded with folks seated there. They even had tall two-person booths along the window to the side. The ceiling is kept exposed for the most part, but there are giant French posters stuck up there so when you’re sitting you can look up and see a vintage fashion or entertainment French poster.

We could tell the menu had a southern France theme to it, since so many dishes features flavors of Procvence and there are even some Moroccan-influenced dishes. FullSizeRenderFrench food in general is actually a vegetarian’s worst nightmare. There isn’t a lot the French can offer people who don’t eat steak, chicken, or raw ham tartare (yes, we did see that while in Paris). We had a hard time during our honeymoon since we were getting sick of having eggs, goat cheese salads or bread for almost every meal – haha. However, we were surprised and happy with the options Mikette did have for us! REB figured out quickly that the left column of their small plates menu was all vegetarian-friendly and the right was all non-vegetarian. After perusing the menu for a few minutes, our server suggested we order several things since they would come out as they’re prepared. We decided to go with:

• Gougeres (goat cheese popovers)
• Pomme Frites (because obviously)
• Ratataouille
• Bread & Butter (because Zingermans)
• Omelette to split

I was so happy with our choices! The bread and butter we knew wouldn’t be a bread basket, but probably just a baguette with some salted creamed butter and it was just delicious! Honestly, I could have eaten more than they offered ;)

The popovers were a-ma-zing! The goat cheese and black pepper were bold flavors that didn’t clash! The dough was so soft and almost delicate that it felt like it melted when we’d bite into it.


I don’t think I need to go into detail about the French fries. They were cooked to perfection, crispy and the aioli that came with it was delicious. The star of the night for us was the ratatouille. It was served almost like a bruschetta! The Provencal flavors were so prominent, the tomatoes and vegetables roasted to perfection and were still juicy and when topped on the goat cheese crostini – I can’t tell you the magic that was happening. It was so, so good and I secretly wished we had ordered two I didn’t have to share with anyone.



Next up: the omelet. When it was originally served, one of the servers came by and said they noticed it looked to “herby” so they took it back in order for it to be prepared the proper way. I was actually shocked by this but so happy they did this for us! It was a pretty classic omelet, complete with French trifold, still soft and not overcooked and while we would have probably eaten the super heavy-on-the-herbs one, they get top marks for recognizing that and redoing it for us!

Our night ended with dessert: creme brulee for me and pot de chocolate for him as well as a kir royale to finish. I have to tell you: The French know how to do dessert and the folks at Mikette took that on pretty well. Both were so rich, decadent and I’m glad they were the serving size they were since it was so rich!


Overall, we had a wonderful dining experience: the staff was well informed, recommended some great things for us, offered tips when ordering and were friendly and attentive. The food was superb and the atmosphere wasn’t stuffy like some French places can be. We will absolutely be back here and we’ve been raving about it all weekend to friends in the hopes they too will go and enjoy!

So, well done Adam. Not only do have two successful restaurants in downtown Ann Arbor, but you’ve managed to create a pretty authentic French brasserie experience for residents too!

What about a restaurant impresses you the most?

Virtual Drinks – August Edition

Happy Friday, friends!

If we were having virtual drinks this evening, we’d be having them at Mikette, this new French bistro on the north side of Ann Arbor and I’d gush about how excited I was to try it finally! It’s owned and operated by the same people who own the fabulous wood fire pizza place on the same block as my office as well as the Mexican street food place next door. The husband-and-wife team are really bringing unique cuisine into Ann Arbor and I appreciate it immensely. Stay tuned for a review next week!

If we were having drinks this evening, I’d tell you how excited I am to go to Denver in two weeks to see Amber, her hubby and their two pups! By the time I visit her, it’ll only be a month since she’s moved from Ann Arbor, but it seriously feels like it’s been so much longer. It’s still odd to drive by her street and not want to pop over and say hi. I imagine I’ll be creepy and do that with the new owner of her house… ;)

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 8.42.50 AM

I’m excited about Denver, though! It’s been a long time since I’ve been there so I know it’s changed. I have a friend from high school who lives there too so I’m hoping to maybe see her or have her meet up with us if it works out. Things on the agenda are trying to find all the fun, free things we can do! Did you know: The 13th stair on the capitol building is exactly 1 mile above sea level. PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. Other items on the agenda include going to Casa Bonita! I mean, how could you go to Denver and not go there?! Regardless, I’m so excited to see them and snuggle their dogs, hike the mountains and check out some cool breweries and restaurants!

If we were having drinks this evening, I’d tell my current music obsession is the new Carly Rae Jepsen album – Emotion Side B. It’s pretty fantastic and true CRJ electropop. There are some songs she sounds just like Madonna or Debbie Gibson. The synth is strong with this one. If you need something peppy, fun and upbeat for the weekend, play this one!

If we were having drinks this evening, I’d tell you I’m a lean, mean, reading machine this week. I’ve gone through two books and onto another that I’ll have finished tonight or tomorrow. I’ve really honed in on the whole “unplug” ritual at night and instead of being on my phone on social media in bed at night, I’m throwing that device aside and picking up a book for 1-2 hours before bed. Here are the two books I finished this week:


This book was a pretty intense psychological thriller. Not as great as every review made it out to be (in my opinion anyway), but it was gripping, at times incredibly disturbing and perverse and gave me some angry feels. It’s a quick read though – under 300 pages – so at least it didn’t drag on like some thrillers do!

I mean, people shouldn’t be so surprised that I read this book and finished it in a day. You throw the name “David Duchovny” on anything and my inner 15-year-old squeals in delight. This book was pretty good with some great dialogue and you can’t help but read it in the famous monotone voice at times! And don’t worry, it’s not super heavy on the baseball like the cover may have you think.

I also recently finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which honestly didn’t live up to the hype I was hoping for. You can read my review on Goodreads if you follow me on there, but I am glad I read it at the very least! Just lacked a little something for me. Maybe because you’re reading a screenplay and not a full-on descriptive novel? I don’t know… It was a little more mature than magical and maybe my expectations were expecting what I read when I read them 10 years ago!

And finally, if we were having drinks tonight, I’d tell you that you’d need to go home and start watching The Get Down on Netflix. It’s the new show created and directed by Baz Luhrman (genius behind Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Great Gatsby) and it’s a-ma-zing. It takes place in the late 70s when hip-hop was starting to come out from the Bronx and Grandmaster Flash was becoming huge. It’s got the colorful-ness Baz offers in all his productions, it’s got great music, great beats and incredible cast and character development. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already!

Come back next week for more book reviews (hopefully) and a review of the French bistro. And always, shout out and thanks to Dixya for always hosting these fun, virtual drink posts!

What book are you currently reading or would recommend?

Five Thoughts on the Last Five Years

If someone 10 years ago told me I’d end up marrying someone from my high school, I’d have laughed in their face. REB and I weren’t even really friends in high school. We had mutual friends and a mutual circle of friends, I knew he was a nice guy and not a douche like many of the people in my graduating class, but he and I weren’t actually friends at all. In fact, I had more classes with his brother than I had with him. I love how things ends up working out, though.

REB and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary tomorrow. Hard to believe it’s been 5 years. Like, no joke. It really is hard to believe! So on the eve of this blessed date, I thought back on the past five years married together!


1. Be Yourself. Be Weird.
I have seriously met my match in this department. I have been a weirdo my entire life – my sister can attest to this. And now REB can attest to it, too. I say a lot of weird things, I make up words and use them on a daily basis, have a dumb, weird shoulder dance I do, and I haven’t stopped making weird faces at cameras for photos. The fact that REB can put up with that and find it “endearing” is beyond me, but I appreciate it nonetheless. There was a night he and I were laying on the couch and I started bobbing my head forward and said “I’m a chicken”. Why? Who knows. He laughed though and knowing he can put up with my weird, random moments is a blessing to me. He has even told me he likes my weird. Things feel off we can’t kid around and laugh every day. Kindred spirit nerds. Don’t ever stop being weird around your loved ones. I know I’ll be 75 and still doing that weird shoulder dance around him if I can help it. Especially if my knees, hips and other joints allow for it.



2. Make Time For Each Other.
Easier said than done, right? I can’t stress how important this one particularly has been for us. We are on completely opposite schedules. He’s a night owl and I’m a morning/afternoon person. I work out right when I get home, he likes to decompress and work out later in the night, so often times we just do our own things for dinner. I go to bed earlier like a grandma, and he’ll stay up and come to bed later. I sometimes work longer hours and there are Saturdays that he has to work. It’s all mixed up, but one thing we absolutely try to do, is a date night once a week. Whether it’s dinner out, ordering in, watching something together, going outside for a walk with the dog, just sitting in bed talking, or even trying to go to bed at the same time. That last one sounds bad, doesn’t it? I used to get so mad he wouldn’t go to bed with me, and sometimes still do (I’m learning to let that little crap go, though), but quickly learning that if he at least comes up and sits with me and we talk about our days, it’s almost like a lullaby for me and I fall asleep. Seriously. Regardless, we make time for each other despite our busy schedules and “extracurricular activities”. This is also an excellent segue into the next point.

3. Let Go of the Small Crap.
I feel like this is a life lesson for everyone, no matter your marital status. I am still learning on this one and probably will continue to learn and iterate on it. (Oh God, I sound like my freaking scrum master now). I  used to hold grudges over the dumbest, littlest things and in the grand scheme of things….none of that matters! If there is one rule we try to live by, it’s to not go to bed angry. It doesn’t always happen, which is not great, but we at least talk about it. Communication has become key. If I can’t talk to my spouse or anyone about what is bothering me and really talk it through, that’s no bueno. I know there are things that each of us do that the other finds irritating or whatever, but the point is, don’t sweat the little stuff. Life’s too short.



4. Personal Cheerleader.
Be each others cheerleader! REB is one of my biggest supporters. I don’t even know how to thank him for the support he’s shown me while we dated, while we lived together before marriage and now being married. When I decided to change jobs, he was gung-ho about it and told me I could do anything. When I said I wanted to start up a photography business he told me he was surprised it didn’t happen sooner. When I want to take little trips on my own without him to visit friends, he encourages me to do it so I don’t lose touch with the people in my life I don’t see as much. When I told him I wanted to throw down hundreds of dollars on a personal trainer, he told me he loved the way I looked and always has, but if I want to work on form and strength, I should do it. No matter what I want to do, he’s right there cheering me. I’m returning the favor too. When he told me wanted to maybe get his PhD I told him to do it. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and if there’s one person who can do it, it’s him! When he thought about switching jobs to one that would completely change our location and lifestyle, I told him do it! If it meant he’d be happy, I want to make sure he can do it all.


5. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop the Love.
Who knows what the next five years holds, but I know the love won’t stop. We know that kids aren’t for us, so it’s just me and him for the long haul. I love that it’s just us, too. My mom once told me that I married a true gem of gems…and I used to think it was cheesy (because my mom is a super cute, traditional and superstitious Indian woman), but she’s right. He’s a gem and shines bright like a diamond and all that jazz. I’ve loved the adventures we’ve had so far, and can’t wait to see where we go next!



What A Week!

When people tell me their summers get busy, I used to laugh. My first thought was always, “How could they be busy?! It’s summer! You just gotta relax, man.”

I’m a judgmental fool. I now understand why people say such things. It feels like now as summer is ending, I’m getting busy. What was happening the first two months?!

So last week has been one of those weeks where I’ve had something going on every single day after work and the same can be said for each weekend for the month of August.

P H O T O S !   I swear it’s been a slow year for me. I don’t always go into a year assuming I’m going to book a bunch of sessions. I have a full-time job and while I’d love to make the photog thing my full-time job eventually, I take what I can get when I get it! My friend with whom I assist photographing weddings had smaller ones this year that didn’t require needing an assistant, and so many of my clients are already married and have already hired me for family, baby, maternity, etc. portraiture.  I now have 5 sessions lined up for the month of August. I’m not complaining of course, but I will be a lean, mean editing macheen! I also can’t wait to share some sneak peeks from those sessions, which all you lovelies can view on the Facebook page!

If any of you follow along with my Instagram or Snapchat, you’ll know that on Tuesday I participated in a little thing called Lessons from the Lemonade Stand. A few months ago, my friend Andrea, who I go to the hot vinyasa class with, suggested to our instructor Dominique that it’d be cool to do a class to Beyonce’s Lemonade album. So it finally happened!! Andrea has the best ideas. She’s the one who suggested we flow to Janet Jackson one class, which was one of the best classes. I knew Dominique would deliver an awesome flow for us! On top of that, her mom, who owns a local juicery, brought homemade juice and lemonade for after – with no added sugar.

Dominique and her mom with that incredible juice!

Dominique and her mom with that incredible juice!

Let me tell you: it was a hard class, too. Domnique’s class is probably one of the harder and more advanced classes offered at the studio, but this was no joke. It was longer than the usual hour, and her brother (in the back of that photo), recorded it while we were flowing and taking formation! We ended the class with some dancing too and just had fun. So while I was a sweaty mess (no surprise there), I was so sore the next day so I know she worked us real good!



The next item on our week-of-busy-ness was attending the grand opening for a new events space in town. The Zingerman’s franchise is a household name here in Ann Arbor and quite famous in certain parts of the country, too. They own several businesses: bakehouse, creamery, roadhouse, deli, coffeehouse and now an events space you can use for weddings, parties, etc.

My coworker and friend told me about the new Greyline grand opening and since it was a free event, I signed up for REB and I to attend before it sold out! The new event space is located in the old Greyhound Bus Depot that has been remodeled. It’s attached to the newly built Marriott hotel so it can be used in conjunction to weddings and such. The space is beautiful! Their previous events space was cozy and intimate with exposed brick, long tables, dim lighting, etc. This new space is modern with a big, open floor plan, dark wood floors, tons of big windows letting in natural light, beautiful, artistic-looking hanging light fixtures, tall ceilings – it’s just wonderful! We had a smorgasbord of food to try and two drink tickets and boy did we get our fill of everything!


• Assorted Zingermans breads (a fruit/grain bread and their famous sourdough)
• Assorted cheeses (most was from their creamery)
• Eggplant caponata with capers and peppers
• Blueberry and peach cobbler w/ crumble topping
• Sangria (they also had mock sangria for the kiddos)
• Curried popcorn
• Assorted meats (my friend ate that)
• Not pictured: watermelon and mint salad


It was a great event and I’m so excited for them to have this new space! Congrats to Ari and everyone at Zingerman’s!

My company’s annual summer picnic also took place this week, which is a great way to get out of the office and enjoy the weather (read; HOT MICHIGAN WEATHER) for a few hours and get out of the office. We once again had it at this huge farm/orchard which has a petting zoo, wagon rides, mini golf and more. It’s great because we can bring our families to the picnic!

Later in the week was our going away dinner for Amber since she was leaving for Colorado on Sunday (emotional mess over the weekend, lemme tell you). We treated her to her favorite wood-fire pizza place downtown so she could get her fill before leaving the mitten state. It was a sad, but wonderful send off and I’m glad her close Michigan friends could drive into town for it!

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Ride or Die

Ride or Die

The week ended with seeing BT in Detroit Friday night! The first time I saw him live was in Chicago at Vision for my 21st birthday and my sister and BIL got us tickets to see him. It was Halloween weekend and I dressed up like Parvati Patil from Harry Potter (not thinking then that I looked like a hoe-ish Catholic school girl /facepalm) and even got to meet him! He signed my Ravensclaw tie and also my shirt, which was pretty superb. The next time I saw him was a few years after that when he rolled through Detroit after his Emotional Technology album dropped. Another fun show, but since then, I hadn’t heard much about what he’s up to! But then I saw he was coming back to Detroit and it was only $10 to see him – I jumped at it!

Top that week off with another busy weekend and now we’re already into the start of a new week. Here’s hoping I have a less-than-busy week, despite having some busy weekends ahead of me.

Happy Monday!

What are you favorite ways to keep your summer fun?

End of an Era

Disclaimer: I have written and rewritten this post about 5 times and deleted each draft because I didn’t know what to say. And I think I was also in a bit of denial to write this post due to its subject matter. Tears were shed while writing this because I’m a pansy and legit thought this day wouldn’t come in my adult life.

Second disclaimer: I realize I’m being hella melodramatic, but in a matter of seconds you’ll understand why.

My friend Amber is moving away.

No, that can’t be right. Let me repeat it.

My friend Amber is moving away.

Nope. Still hard to bring myself to admit as something that is happening. And in 6 days.

For those of you who don’t understand the breadth of this announcement, it’s basically the end of an era.


When I was a kid, I moved around a lot. No, I wasn’t an “army brat” but rather the daughter of a professor working his butt off trying to make tenure. When it didn’t work out, we’d move onto the next university. On the one hand, I’ve been able to live in some different states and seen some cool places (and the travel bug was born from an early age). It also allowed me to become resilient to change and as a result, I have friends all over the country. But on the other hand, moving is hard when you’re young and you have friends and you don’t want to leave because you can’t set up the foundations of middle or high school with said friends – SO tragic I know.

I figured that being an adult, we were done with the whole “moving away” thing. This is not the case, however, because…

My friend Amber is moving away.

If you’ve read my blog for the past 5 years, you know about Amber. You know the adventures she has, the adventures we have, the fun she and her husband, and my husband and I all have together.  She lives less than 2 miles from us. We review scary movies on Vine, we have the weirdest dogs ever but we’re obsessed with them, we love Ann Arbor and wine and pizza and hell, we started the hashtag #realhousewivesofa2 …but all that will change in a matter of days.

Her husband has gotten a new job in Colorado and it’s a pretty great job and opportunity for him, so they’re moving. He’s already made the trek out there to get things settled and this weekend, she’s packing up her car, truck and pups and making the drive out to The Centennial State to join him and start new adventures.

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….And it’s hitting me harder than I thought I would. But, I know how great this job opportunity is for her hubby and they love the state of Colorado. Being completely outdoorsy-hiking-awesome people, this is a great fit for them. So after getting over this thought:


I thought back to the amazing times she and I have had together and I know this isn’t goodbye forever!

The story of Amber and I starts on Twitter 5 years ago. We were following one another because we were both females, married, living in Ann Arbor and vegetarians. It was decided we would have a “tweet up” and get dinner for her birthday. Both our husbands came along to make sure the other wasn’t actually a CraigsList killer and it turned out to be one of the best nights ever complete with conversations about every nerd thing imaginable: scary movies, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and more. We started hanging out every Sunday for “Sunday Funday” to watch Game of Thrones, which evolved into movie nights to get over my horror movie fear (accomplished!), walking our dogs, having dinners together, Friendsgiving, renting a cottage up north in Michigan…the list goes on and on.
I may have only known her for 5 years, but it feels like we’ve known each other for so much longer. I can’t remember a time hanging out that we didn’t have fun or laugh.

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I am eternally thankful that the internet introduced us and we became such fast friends. I’m thankful for her and her hubby who would take care of Gryff when REB and I were out of town. I’m thankful for the amount of times she’s helped us out in some way or shape or form. I’m thankful for the laughs, the fun, the wine, the movies, the dogs, the adventures and more I’ve had with her. I’m also feeling a bit selfish and envious in thinking that she might meet a new brown girl out west who might be slightly cooler than I am.  But I also know that she and her husband and dogs are an amazing bunch and new adventures never hurt anyone.

So, Amber, I know this isn’t goodbye forever, and is “see you later” for now. I know Denver isn’t far and is only a quick, direct flight from Detroit. I know you’re going to have the most amazing time in Colorado waking up with mountains and babbling brooks. I know your dogs are going to love the open fields to run around and find munk-munks and bunnies. I know you will love your weekends filled with hikes and clean air. I know we’re going to make our way back to Toronto for TIFF one year soon. I know your husband is amazing and hardworking and this change is definitely a good one for him. I know you’re going to kick ass and take names when you start your new job out there. I know you’re going to make a whole new set of friends you can be weird with, and maybe you’ll even meet a new brown girl out there who will remind you of me.

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But, I also know that you’ve become one of my very best friends, and, I’m going to miss you so much beyond words can even comprehend. And you will be missed by the mitten state too.

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No Ragrats

I would start apologizing for not being around and blogging, but I can’t. I’ve seriously been doing so much and enjoying so much of the spring and summer that blogging became a total appliance-in-the-back-of-the-cupboard type thing for me. However, if you’re one of those people who follow my Instagram, then you’ve seen what I’ve been up to the past few months! For those of you who don’t (no hard feelings), maybe I should do a quick recap of what I’ve been up to…

OK. I went to Vermont in April. A P R I L. I still have photos I’ve taken there on my fancy cam and never downloaded or edited them. I had planned on doing a full recap (two posts in fact) stating out the things we did, and a food guide since it was my second time visiting the state. That never happened. Even if it’s late and may not be relevant, I may still do that post so stay tuned for it! If for nothing else, maybe it will help any of you looking to travel there in Fall or Winter!

I’ve been falling in love all over again with this city. Detroit has totally made a comeback peeps, and it’s good. Really, really good. I get super defensive and irrationally angry at people who talk badly about Detroit, say they never want to visit, etc., but then comment on photos of food, places visited, etc. when I post about the city and ask where I am when said photos are taken. You can visit it too! True, there was a dark time for the city a few years back, and yes, there are parts that are still kind of sketchy, but many cities are like this. Detroit has seriously grown and is continuing to come back and people in Southeast Michigan should come support it! I’ve been discovering all kinds of new bars, restaurants, museums, events, public art, etc. in the city and each time I go, I fall a little deeper in love.


Yes! In the summer, we have a beach in downtown Detroit!


3. New Ink
I jumped on the tat wagon and got my fourth tattoo a week ago. I absolutely love it! Had a little bit of an awkward haggling session with the artist, but we ended up agreeing on a price that was reasonable and fair for its simplicity. I love tattoos! I know they aren’t everyone’s thing, but they’re fun and I like having them. And you absolutely should not do it unless you’re totally cool with having something stamped on you (literally)  F O R E V E R . . .


“I have no fear, I have only love”

I’ve still been committed and steadily going to my gym for group fitness, personal training and recently started up yoga again. Every time I stop doing yoga, my body notices and the repercussions are kind of bad. My balance gets off kilter, my flexibility deteriorates and overall mental health and well being takes notice of it missing, too. I’ve been loving going back and seeing my favorite instructor too. She’s actually doing a “Lessons from the Lemonade Stand” class in two weeks that I’m registered for. We’re going to – get this – flow to the entire Lemonade album by Bey. I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. Will definitely need to recap on that later!


Every year, four days in the middle of July, Ann Arbor becomes a total cluster-you-know-what with thousands of people looking at art. It’s a pretty big art fair we have here, right downtown, and it brings thousands of artists from all over the country, as well as tourists coming to see art, buy art, talk art and more. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for almost 10 years and I’ve been coming to art fair each of those years. I used to love it a lot more, but as I got older (and more cynical) I get more annoyed than anything. For one thing, it creates a ton of road closures for us since the booths are set up right in the street, so driving around, wanting to eat downtown is pretty much non-existent. My office building also sits in the heart of “Propaganda Alley” so the booths outside are not art-related but every cause imaginable wanting you to sign up. It gets pretty annoying to walk out of the office for the day and be accosted to sign four different petitions, or be attacked by Hari Krishna’s claiming you aren’t actually Hindu (that’s my favorite by the way). However, I know it brings a lot of tourism (read: money) to this city and that’s always a good thing. Ann Arbor is a cute little city so it’s fun to see people enjoying it. Even in the 100-degree heat. I try to buy a piece of art every year, too, and this year was no different.


I haven’t been watching a ton of TV lately. Truth be told, I have no shows on right now and I’d rather be reading or doing something outdoors with the dog and hubby. However, there are two things I’m currently obsessed with: Stranger Things on Netflix and The Great British Baking Show on PBS.
Stranger Things I started watching last night and watched the first four episodes. I didn’t get any sleep, but it was worth it. It’s like a weird supernatural show, X-Files-esque, with killer synth music and mystery. I still don’t know exactly what it’s about, but I like it. A lot. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing!
The Great British Baking Show I’ve been obsessed with since the Downton Abbey days when it would air before Downton. They’re really on like Season 7 across the pond, but here in the States it’s like Season 3. It’s a great show! No commercials since it’s on PBS, and talented bakers making some very hard baked goods in various challenges. And some of these things they make are insane! I think older seasons are available on Netflix if you want to check it out.

I got behind in my goal of trying to read 40 books this year. This time last year I was more than halfway done with my goal. Summer time has been keeping me busy and I picked back up on the reading and got the bug again. I’m almost halfway done with the goal but here are some books I recently read that could be contenders for the rest of you if you wish:
• Love, Loss and What We Ate – Padma Lakshmi
• The Sister – Louise Jensen
• The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper – Phaedra Patrick
• Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
• A Man Called Ove – Frederik Backman

And finally
I’m going to Chicago again this weekend, this time for a work retreat Sunday-Tuesday. They don’t do these that often (I think the last one was five years ago), but this year we’re going to the Windy City. Not sure what’s in store yet, but we’re staying downtown for it, which is kind of fun. I’m mostly excited to go there earlier and have part of the weekend to see my sister, brother-in-law and nephew! It’ll be good to see them before I do work-related things for two days. Also hoping me and Parita (My Inner Shakti) can finally meet up! We tried to last year when she was in Detroit for a wedding, but it didn’t end up working out with time conflicts. Hoping we can remedy that this year!

I’ll make sure to recap a little more and maybe make myself a little more prevalent in this space of the Internet. You can always keep following along on my Instagram or Twitter to see more of my adventures!

What are some favorite things about the city or town in which you live?

Wake Up and Smell the Routine

I am such a Type A person. I used to think I wasn’t, and hated to admit that I was because I thought it meant I was uptight and no fun at all. I quickly realized that this is not true, of course. I just like things a certain way and have to do things a certain for any number of reasons. One of those things is my routine.

I am a routine freak. I like having order and like knowing what I have to do. I also like having order in my house and having things done and placed a certain way. Now that doesn’t mean I’m like Danny Tanner.

I’m not planning travels or vacations with a strict agenda and I certainly am not a neat freak, but I am OCD about a few things and my routine is one of them. We all have bad days or weeks, though!

I’ve been feeling especially “off” with my routine when it comes to my morning workouts. Point blank: I haven’t been getting up for my 6am classes in probably 2-3 weeks, and honestly, considering it’s usually part of my routine, I felt bad about it and could almost feel the repercussions of it.

Routine isn’t for everyone, I get that. It’s hard to get up before 5:30 for work let alone for voluntary exercise. I’ve heard the phrase “It takes 21 days to form a habit” a million times, but all it takes is one relapse and for me and it will feel like I’m miles behind where I want to be or where I think I should be.

I found this article on Thrillist and it showed the routines of famous people and why they had to have routine. Some of them were doing so to help with insomnia or depression, but some do it simply because it made them more productive throughout the day. This is why I work out in the morning. I feel more productive, more energized and overall just feel better.

But back to my original train of thought on routine and specifically “workout routine”: it can be hard to find a schedule to exercise during later hours in the day, let alone early-ass morning. Doesn’t matter how motivated you might be, this is a hard thing to do!

This article shares ways to keep motivation for work out routines, and here are my basic takeaways from the article, as well as things I’ve found to be helpful for myself:

• Tell yourself or someone you know “I’m going to work out in the morning.” For me, having that makes me accountable for my actions. And being Type A, if I don’t do it, I see it as a goal I didn’t achieve. Ok, ok, I realize that sounds really harsh, but it helps to have a buddy to have your back and help you see through your goal!

• Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Easier said than done, but for me it’s where I put them. Mine are on my dresser in front of my glasses and in the order in which I will put them on. That way, I know I have to get up, change and put my glasses on to be able to see anything – ha.

• Set two alarms. This sounds silly, but I used do this when I was first starting to attend the early classes. I used to set one alarm for 4:51 so I could snooze. Then the real one was at 5:11 a.m. where I know I HAVE TO GET UP and I actually do get up.

• Take a few deep breaths when you first get up, stretch your arms and reach down, touch your toes. It’s been said that doing morning stretches is a healthy way to start your day and wake up your body and mind. And if you’re getting up that early for your workout, you definitely need all the energy boosts and relievers you can get!

• EAT SOMETHING. I used to work out on an empty stomach and would feel dizzy and downright sick to my stomach. I’ve read studies that say this is the way to go, and I’ve read studies that say you have to eat some kind of carb and sugar to get your energy up in preparation for your workout. I don’t follow either strictly. I just need to have something in my stomach before I go. For me, it’s half a protein bar, usually consumed within 30 minutes of my workout (so, on my drive to the gym). It’s got the sweetness (since mine are usually with peanut butter or chocolate), it’s got the carbs to give me fuel and it has the protein to keep me full. I have something right after my workout too (either a protein shake or the other half of the bar). Food gives you energy and Lord knows having energy at 6 a.m. is a must.

Keep at it. This is the hard one. It was for me anyway. Ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” What is the reason for your routine? What is the outcome?
Now I know that on those days I get up early to work out, it’s just something I do. There isn’t a real question about it. It might take 21 days to form this habit, but it might also only take a week. I feel more energized on the days I work out in the morning despite my complaining the two hours prior to finishing said work out. And having workout buddies and accountability buddies helps! A simple text from a friend, or your spouse or significant other, or anything to help you get there is all it takes.

There’s no science to this, and there is no science to routine. They say the hardest part is typing up your shoes, which used to be (and sometimes still is) true for me.. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be attainable if you at least try and more important, you want to try!

What are things in your life that need routine?

**I am not an expert in exercise nor am I claiming to be! These thoughts are my own and those tips are strictly my takeaways. Each person will have their own views on what to do pre- and post-workout!