Category Archives: Life

Yeah I’m Alive

Well well well. Lookie who it is.

I have no excuse for my blog absence except that I was just out doing my thing in life and most of you probably follow me on Instagram and have seen what I’ve been up to the past few…years. Yikes. Has it seriously been like two years? Whoops. I want to try to make a conscious effort to keeping this place updated because, well, I pay for it. And if anyone out there really does come here to see about updates, you will now hopefully have them!

All I can say is that 2015 totally kicked 2014′s butt. The year before last was a pretty hard one for both REB and myself. We had some pretty heavy family stuff going on, my job got ridiculously stressful (his too) and we had some other things happening. So I was glad that this past year was a nice change and for the better.

Here’s a quick recap of 2015!

• I traveled to Chicago a lot to see my nephew and spending time with him is the absolute best!  He’s growing up so, so fast!
• REB and I traveled to Europe in May for two weeks. We went to Amsterdam, Brussels/Ghent/Brugge and Copenhagen (even spent a day in Sweden!) It was unforgettable! I still need to go through the big round of photos I took.
• My photography business is still thriving and kept me busy for a big chunk of the year. I have my friend to thank for that since I assisted her again for may of the weddings in 2015. I also booked and commissioned my first wedding entirely on my own for one of my best friends.
• I traveled to San Francisco over the summer while REB had a training for work there. It was a “long weekend” type trip but was sufficient. We saw some really great sites, hiked/ran up and down those ridiculous hills, saw some friends and ate a lot of really great food! That city is a lot of fun. If it wasn’t so horribly expensive there, I could see myself living in northern Cali.
• I gave myself another pat on the back for my progression in my fitness. This past year marked some new records for me and I’m stronger than I have been in years! I also found a yoga studio I really love where one of my favorite instructors teaches and have been enjoying adding that to weekly routine.
• We attended a few weddings this year; One of course being my friend’s wedding I was the photographer for; one being one of REB’s best friend/college roommates in upstate NY; and another was one of our high school friends here in Ann Arbor. All were fun, beautiful and we’re so happy for the newlyweds!

All in all, it was a pretty superb year and has me optimistic that this year is going to be another good one, too. I’m looking forward to making some fun times happen which includes:

More travel! I’m visiting one of my best friends in the south, going to Vermont in April, trips to Chicago to see the nephew, sister and BIL, and possible trip to WY this spring. REB and I are also already planning our UK trip for 2017.
More photos! I’m happy to already have some sessions set up with families this year, plus hopefully helping my friend with weddings again
• More Canada! I hope to go to Toronto with my friend Amber again for TIFF in September
• More fitness! While I don’t have any set-in-stone fitness goals for myself, I do want to focus on improving my strength training and yoga progressions
• More events! This will be a year of events starting with some Spartan basketball games, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ellie Goulding concert and also seeing Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Stoked!
• More reading! I set another reading goal for myself. Follow me on Goodreads or follow along on my Instagram (#aebreads2016) to see what I’m reading and see if I can surpass my goal to read 40 books!
More blogging! I’d like to keep this place updated for all of you with general going-ons in my life, what I’m reading, product reviews of what I’m using, what I’m eating and where I’m going.
So, as much as it sucked to be away, I’m so glad to be back! I hope the rest of you are also back and here to stay and see what this year holds :)



…keeping fit with Running + Yoga + Bootcamp = Beast Mode 4-5 days a week.


Photo courtesy of Amber

…running to
I’ve been on the treadmill in our basement (which has been working out beautifully!) and it faces the TV we have down there. Except the TV is not hooked up to cable; REB is using it as a gigantic monitor for his computer (Did I mention we have like 6 different laptops or computing devices in our house already? I married a compunerd!). While I run, I stream my Vevo playlist which has become my go-to running playlist! I’ve become accustomed to knowing when a certain song starts, I should be speeding up, slowing down, sprinting, etc. It’s been great!

  • Nelly Furtado – Promiscuous
  • Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff
  • Duke Durmont – Need U 100%
  • Big Sean feat. Nicky Minaj – Dance (Ass) Remix
  • Disclosure – Voices
  • Britney Spears – Work B***h
  • Disclosure – F For You
  • Britney Spears – Womanizer
  • Afrojack feat. Spree Wilson – The Spark
  • Britney Spears – Toxic

…feeling motivated!
11 down, 9 more to go! I’ve been at the “10 pounds left” spot twice before and never accomplished it. I am determined more than ever to try to get there this time. Third time’s a charm, right?

…planning a mini vacay with REB out west this summer!
It took us a while to figure out where to go. We tackled with going back to Vermont, visiting Arches Nat’l Park (but doing that in October), San Fransisco (on my list, not so much his) or doing our big Seattle/Vancouver trip. But I think we just want a quick getaway and we’ve decided on Portland, OR! I’m pretty stoked.

…realizing I’ve had a total of four drinks since Jan 1. Whoa.

…in home improvement mode and happy because our master bedroom is almost finished!

…loving March Madness! Who’s with me? Go Green!

…obsessed with my new loose leaf tea travel mug

…still going strong with the 100 Happy Days project.

…loving my new haircut courtesy of my awesome stylist

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…proud of myself to finally be able to run continuously for 30 minutes and taking 30 seconds off my pace. 

…gearing up and putting ideas together for upcoming photo sessions with new and returning clients. I seriously can’t wait!

…more than halfway done with my reading goal for the year.

…looking forward to a weekend of fun and family.

What’s going on in your world?










Marvelous Monday

Monday once again. Why is it, that Mondays come around so quickly but it takes forever to get to Friday? Something to think about. Report back to me once you all have figured it out. And while that’s happening, let’s talk all things marvelous!

Marvelous is having one of my coworkers, who is back to work after a six-week vacation in India, tell me it looks like I’ve lost weight!

Marvelous is having a workout routine scheduled for non-running days! This morning I did Pilates for the first time in years. I had forgotten how good it can feel and oh my goodness…what a perfect way to stretch, work out and wake up!

Marvelous is spending a weekend surrounded by loved ones and friends! We celebrated my friend’s 3-year-old son’s birthday at the Hands-On Children’s Museum here in Ann Arbor. I played photog for the day and took pictures of the kiddos and parents having a good time and learning! I gotta say, I think there were certain things that REB and I found more fun than the kids.


Sneak peek pic from the back of my cam

Sneak peek pic from the back of my cam

On Sunday I attended the bridal shower of one REB’s cousins. Her wedding is just over a month away, and it was so good to see the family-in-law for some fun and celebrating love!

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Me and the beautiful bride-to-be!

Marvelous is having photo sessions lined up for the year and assisting my friend Rachel in weddings again for the 2014 wedding season! I seriously can’t wait to work with new and returning clients. Along the same lines as photography, marvelous is also looking forward to new photo equipment and props coming in the mail soon. I’m slowly, but surely getting that studio room in my house put together. I’m still in search for the perfect desk, and my uber pickiness isn’t helping to get it done any faster.

And finally, marvelous is looking forward to the weekend already! REB and I are going to hang out with our good friends and I will be doing a family portrait session in their house. It’s been so long since I’ve seen my friend Valerie (Um, I think my birthday party in October - not OK!) and REB and I still haven’t even met her newest daughter, who was born back in June! So it will definitely be good to get some adult conversation in and spend a day with three incredibly cute kiddos!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! What marvelous things are happening for you today and this week?

New Treadmill and Playlist

On a completely different note from recipes and what I’m currently reading, I thought I’d share what I’m currently doing for #operationgetfit. REB and I decided that as the “big” gift to one another for Christmas, we would get a treadmill for our basement gym. It would add to what we already have (weight bench, heavy bags, yoga mats, TV/workout DVDs, free weights, trainer for bike), thus completing the gym.

First I should begin with: This was the hardest thing to purchase. And not because it was timely to research, but because we had to deal with what seemed like endless drama with Sears and Sears Outlet. We had three or four failed attempts at getting this thing delivered because they kept messing up, they don’t communicate to each other even though they’re all the same system and bah. It was just a nightmare.

But in the end, we found a great NordicTrack treadmill.There were several factors in getting a treadmill. Like most big purchases we’ve made, we had our list of wants and needs.


  • At least 2.25 CHP motor. While we aren’t marathon runners, we know that power is important, so we wanted a decent motor.
  • At least 55″ long belt. My hubby is a tall guy and while I don’t need to take long strides to run, he does, so we needed a longer belt.
  • Weight capacity of at least 300 pounds
  • Incline up to 10 or 12% grade and same with speed


  • Built-in fan
  • Built-in speakers/iPod-compatible
  • Track calories, distance, etc.

Budget was a big factor too. I wasn’t ready to or about to throw down $1500+ on a treadmill. We also didn’t pay attention to the big treadmill review web sites because they claimed that if you spent less than $3000 on a treadmill, you were buying a piece of garbage. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’m happy to report that the one we received had both our wants and needs. We got the NordicTrack C900i which has a 3.0CHP motor, 60″ long belt, iFit compatible, built-in fan, speakers, iPod/iPhone-compatible, shock absorbers to mimic running on concrete or indoors at a gym, incline and speed up to 12% and 12 mph respectively and training programs! It’s been working out fantastically! I’ve gotten used to (it’s only been a week now) getting up before 5 a.m. in order to get a good run in before showering and getting ready for work. I signed up for a race this summer, so I need to get back into it!

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To help with that, here’s my current running playlist. While I tried to set it up from warm up, to running, to cool down, I mostly just put it on shuffle and let the good times roll. All these songs are available on Spotify.

  • Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
  • Afrojack – The Spark
  • Afrojack & Steve Aioki – No Beef
  • Azaelia Banks – 212
  • Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us
  • Britney Spears – Work Bitch
  • Calvin Harris – I Need Your Love
  • Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?
  • Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have A Kiki (remix)
  • Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (remix)
  • Kaskade – Don’t Stop Dancing
  • Selena Gomez – Slow Down
  • Breach – Jack

I don’t get through the whole playlist, but there are some definite good ones in there to keep me going and keep the beat up! I’ll update again after I’ve used the treadmill a bit more so stay tuned!

Do you have a treadmill? What factors went into your purchase?
Are there other songs you think I need on my playlist? What keeps you running?


Book Reviews Part 2

Photo by Amber

Photo by Amber

So in my last post about what I was reading, I listed three books I had read and at the time, I was reading The Shining. I must be a reading machine right now, because since then, I’ve read quite a few more books. Seriously! I figured now is as good a time as any to recap what I’ve read since the last post, and hopefully give some of you fellow readers some ideas/recommendations of what you should read next!

  • The Shining by Stephen King

Oh. My. God. I loved this book. I couldn’t stop talking about it. You can ask REB, my coworkers and friends…they were probably sick of me talking about it so much. I managed to read this book in about 3 days because I couldn’t stop. My nightly ritual of reading before bed was extended by 30-45 minutes just so I could get in a few more pages before shut eye. My lunch break at work, I would force myself to take because that meant I was able to read. Many people have seen the movie already (myself included), but the book is so much better than the movie. For one thing, parts of the books that were downright scary to read, weren’t even included in the movie and I felt pretty strongly about it and thought they should have been. Reading about Jack, Wendy and Danny was incredible. Even though I knew how this story ended, it was great to read and see the parts that foreshadowed what was to come. It was very fluid, easy to read and kept me reeled in. All in all: I applaud you Mr. King. And to Mr. Kubrick? I say “shame on you.”

  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

This book was one of the ones I added to my list while I was searching through the “What’s Hot” list on my library’s web site. I later found out that it’s being made into a HBO movie, so I figured I should read it first before I watched it – if I do watch it, that is. This book reminded me of Gillian Flynn’s Gone GirlIt’s a “thriller” or “mystery” but it was kind of lacking in some areas. The overall plot is a mother, Kate, piecing together the mystery of her daughter, Amelia, by looking through social media, talking to friends and reading her phone. Doesn’t sound like much, but there’s more of course! I enjoyed that the book was written from both Amelia’s perspective – as the mystery is unveiled – and also from Kate’s perspective, as she’s piecing together the mystery. It wasn’t the best book I’d ever read, but I would recommend it if someone is looking for a quick, easy mystery.

  • The Ruins by Scott Smith

This book came recommended to me by my friend Amber. She actually owns the book and lent it to me to read. It’s another mystery/suspense/thriller and while it was slow in the beginning, it picked up pretty heavily. It’s about four college grads who are vacationing in Mexico, meet up with some new friends, go exploring the jungles nearby and then become trapped there. Now they have to learn how to survive in their new surroundings for who knows how long, but also endure the strange things that start happening while they’re there. This book is hella descriptive, graphic and at times, had me feeling queasy. REB would come upstairs and ask me what was wrong because apparently I would have a horrified look on my face or my eyes were really wide. I haven’t read other books by this author, but I really liked the way he wrote and again, I liked the way the book was told from all four kids’ perspective. Warning though: because it’s so descriptive there isn’t a lot of dialogue. This was also made into a movie so I’ll need to give that a watch soon!

  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This book is best read in the summer. Perhaps that was my mistake for having read it during the cold Michigan winter. I probably would have enjoyed it way more. It’s a pretty story that spans over 50 years. It’s about a Hollywood star who comes to Italy and the innkeeper who sees her and falls in love with her. The story starts in the 1960s, but it’s also told “in the now” as you read about how he comes searching for her on the set of a movie (similar to Life After Life where you read the same story, but from different time periods or whatever). It’s a cute and an easy read, but I don’t know that I’d recommend it to anyone. It didn’t keep me interested that long and the author name drops a lot of famous actors throughout the novel too.

  • Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I was surprised by the number of people who gave this book 2 or less stars on Goodreads. This story is another one of those woman-does-something-so-she-writes-a-memoir, but it was good. I had my doubts because I read that horrible, atrocious pile of garbage Elizabeth Gilbert wrote (Eat Pray Love) and hated…and I mean…HATED that book. So having read a book like that, I was really nervous to read this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This book is about a woman named Cheryl who, when she was 26 years old, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own, which runs from California up to Washington. The reason she does it? Her mother passed away a few years before and she never really found herself centered.She meets people along the way, is smart about what she packs, but learns a lot. I loved this book, plain and simple. I thought about my life at 26 and what I was doing and “hiking 2,600+ miles” sure as hell wasn’t on my list. Sure, she was stupid in some decisions she made both on trail and off, but she was 26. She’s a grown up but hasn’t gotten it all figured out yet. I read this book in one day. It’s also being made into a movie. Give this book a chance. Especially if you want something better than that other pile of crap.

  • The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This is another book-turned-movie that I wanted to read. I think it’s actually already out and on DVD/Blu-Ray. It’s a young adult/teen book that follows the story of Sutter Keely, this senior in high school who has a live-in-the-moment view on life. Along the way he meets a girl from his class, Aimee, and feels the need to help her open up from her quiet, sheltered life. It doesn’t sound like much, but I found I could relate to the story in that we all knew that kid in high school. I knew of at least three or four boys in my class who acted like Sutter and I desperately wished I could have been their friend, but I was the awkward, quiet girl who had band friends, but we were definitely deemed as the class nerds. It made me feel like a teen again going through those experiences and imagining what my life would have been like if I had been invited to one of Paul Doerr’s hose parties (only peeps from my school who read this will know who he is). I don’t even know if Paul threw amazing parties, but I heard they were a good time. Anyway, this is a good read. It’s told from a guy’s perspective, which not too many teen/young adult books do and it’s highly entertaining!

I have really enjoyed finding all these different kinds of books to read so far. If you have more you can suggest to me, please do! And please give these books a read if you get a chance. Stay tuned for another installment of book reviews in a few weeks! Happy reading :)


Roasted Vegetable Salad


Confession: this is a recipe I made back in August and prepped for the blog and then never updated it. Today I’m sick and home from work, was looking through my computer and backing up photos from photo sessions and other blog posts, when I came across these photos and realized I never posted this.

But this recipe is just as good now as it was back then and it’s something I highly recommend you all make sometime soon.


This recipe is adapted and recreated from a restaurant about 1.5 miles from our house called Eat (appropriate name, eh?). The great thing about Ann Arbor is its philosophy to grow local, buy local and support local. This restaurant changes its menu every season and makes really fresh food. It’s a touch on the spendy side, but they keep things creative and delicious.

This is one huge salad with a bounty of roasted vegetables, a light dressing and the best part: goat cheese! I made a few changes to satisfy my and REB’s tastes, but I have to say, it might be the best restaurant recreation I’ve made at home in a while. It is perfect for summer and can be easily altered to use root vegetables for fall or winter, or make as is during the winter when you’re craving the summer heat (like right now for instance).


Roasted Vegetable Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Roasted vegetables, tart goat cheese and a light dressing make this salad perfect for any season.
Recipe type: vegetarian, main dish, side dish
Serves: 6
  • 2 golden beets, washed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium or large zucchini, washed and cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 medium or large yellow squash, washed and cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  • Mixed greens salad mix of your choice
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons (eye ball it) olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F
  2. Arrange cut vegetables on a large baking sheet in a single layer
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, you can prepare your dressing: Add shallot, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a small bowl. While whisking, and pour the olive oil and mix until desired consistency. Let dressing cool in fridge while vegetables finish roasting.
  6. TO SERVE:
  7. Add dressing to the bottom of your salad bowl. If serving on a large platter or plate, skip this step.
  8. Toss greens with dressing and vegetables lightly to dress
  9. With your fingers, “tear” off pieces of goat cheese to add to salad
  10. Serve warm

“What are you reading?”

I love when people ask me this question. I’ve always loved to read, but lately I’ve been reading more, which I think is a good thing! I love having a break room at work and when I actually can take a break, I like that I can go in there and read the book I’m currently reading. What I like even more is when a coworker will walk by, see me or someone else in there reading, pop in and ask “What are you reading?” and a conversation evolves.

Thanks to my friends Amber and Jackie, I seem to be reading even more than I had before. They both have very interesting taste in books, but similar interests to the types of books I read, so they have been able to recommend all sorts of great books for me to read. Like many, I make a reading goal each year. It’s gradually gone up and it’s not anything crazy like 100 or something, but I do try to read at least 30 books each year. Last year I got to 26. ALMOST! So here’s hoping I can get closer this year. I have read some really great books this past year, but I thought I would share what I have most recently read (since Thanksgiving-ish). I will try my best to not give away too many spoilers (or say anything about them other than what is stated on the book jacket or description on Amazon or something), because no one likes spoilers!

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I think a lot of people have heard of this book, seen its cover or have already read it, but I came across it because Jackie’s husband had made a comment about it on social media. I was intrigued so I read it. Someone should have prepared me for the water works. It’s a beautiful story about a teenage girl who is battling cancer and what she’s experiencing at the rightful age of 16. One word to describe this book: honest. It is written so honestly as a 16-year-old girl would speak, it just shook me to the core. It’s definitely worth a read and very easy to read. I think I read it in a day or something.

  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This book came recommended to me by Amber. I vividly remember being at work and getting two texts from her: “Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.” and “I’m 100 pages in and hooked.” That was all it took for me to go onto the library website and get it on hold. I was so happy that not many people were in queue to have it. This book tops out as one of my favorite books I’ve read. That’s a fairly tall order to say for a book, but it was really good. I got it right when I left for holiday break at work so I spent what time I could over break reading it. It’s about a girl who is born, but then dies at birth, and some where else in the world, she’s reborn again and relives her life in the early 1900s and dies and is reborn and dies, etc. It’s like Groundhog Day, but better (I know, I know. Bill Murray is the man, but trust me). Warning: It’s long, and at times can seem slow. When you put it down and then pick it up again later, it’s sometimes hard to figure out “where you are” in the story (so to speak). I read it in both long jaunts and also short reads here and there, and at times it was confusing, but nothing that I couldn’t figure out quickly! This is another book I would recommend!

  • Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

This book I came across when perusing the library website and Amazon. One way that I try to figure out what book to read next is to go to Amazon’s Top 100 list in Fiction. I ignore the lady pr0n (Fifty Shades kind of halted that whole “endeavor” – ha) but look through the rest and read through people’s comments/reviews to see if it’s a book I would read. I do the same thing on the library website and search the “What’s Hot” list in the catalog search to see what people are checking out (literally – ha!). This book was one of those. It’s about an immigrant Chinese girl and her mom moving from Hong Kong to NYC and what she goes through having to adjust to life in the States. I am a sucker for books like this. Being an immigrant myself, I relate very easily to books about people coming to America and having to adjust to life here. Trying to figure out a balance of holding onto your own culture while still adapting to culture here in the states or wanting to be accepted, is a challenge I faced and many still face! You don’t know where you fit in and you feel disenfranchised from both American culture and your foreign culture. It’s hard! The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a book like that, which hit close to home for me, so I gave this book a shot. It was pretty good! At times, very hard to read just by the graphic nature of poverty and culture shock and the need to being accepted, but it was beautifully written. If you want a quick read, I recommend it!

So there we have it, what I’ve read so far towards my goal. True, Fault in Our Stars doesn’t make the 2014 list since I didn’t finish it this year, but that’s OK. And I know it seems silly that I’ve only read, like, 3 books, but it’s only mid-January and I started reading these around end-of-November! Not too shabby.

And what am I currently reading? Well, I decided to give thriller a chance and I’m reading The Shining by Stephen King. It is so good and I can’t put it down. I’m actually mad at myself for having seen the movie first since I know what happens, but reading the actual story is pretty neat, because there are things the movie didn’t have that are actually scarier. Stay tuned for a review of that soon! I also have tons of other books Amber and Jackie let me borrow, and books that I’ve picked up from the library. Here’s hoping I can dive into those next.

So the real question now, is: What are you reading?

Let me know what you’re reading and/or if you have any suggestions for me!

Obligatory Snow Post

Polar vortex. Arctic blast. COLD COLD COLD. I’m sure many of you have seen and heard about the ridiculous amount of snow and cold the Midwest and Northeast has received, but I am still in shock over all of it.

Snowmageddon, as we refer to it here in the Mitten State, happened two years ago in February and it was pretty bad (or so we thought). We got roughly 8-9 inches, and it was cold, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Then this year. This was the real Snowmageddon. Ever since early December, we’ve received snowfall with a fair amount of accumulations every weekend or so. Christmas we received a lot of snow (ice storm up by my parents), same goes for New Years, and now this past weekend.

Saturday I took full advantage of the sun and somewhat warm temperatures and took the dog on a much needed walk around the neighborhood. It’s a good thing I did, because the snow came later that night.


As you can see, the snow was still pretty deep for him even then. So then that afternoon into that evening, the whole winter storm advisories came through, the warning of cold temps headed our way during the week came in, and we just kind of shrugged and said “bring it.” …and oh, was it brought’n! I woke up on Sunday and couldn’t believe the amount of snow we had received and how much was still falling.



I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it was pretty awful. REB and I shoveled three times together on Sunday. Since we have a corner lot, we’re also responsible for the sidewalk/easement that runs alongside our house and in front, so by the time we were done with all of that, we had to re-shovel the driveway because it had accumulated again. He even shoveled late that night around 11 once he was done working out!


We had already received emails about working from home on Monday, or having a snow day, so it was at least nice that we had another day at home.

Not when you have to shovel though. Again.


We have some wonderful neighbors with heavy duty snow blowers and they actually came through and cleared all the driveways in our cul de sac, and the sidewalks that run in front of and alongside the houses. Note to self: make cookies for said neighbors as a HUGE thank you. However, that didn’t stop REB and I from shoveling. Because of the wind and the temps dropping, we had a fair amount of drift, which blocked our garage door leading out to the backyard, so we had to shovel all that away and also shovel a path for the dog so he could actually get into the backyard to TCB. We appropriately named him Sir Stumpinton since watching him hop around in our yard with snow up to his neck, was pretty derp and cute.

So the final tally for Ann Arbor was 10-11 inches, but in some areas of our yard we had accumulations of up to 17 inches. My parents (1 hour north) got roughly 17 inches, which tops out the most in the Lower Peninsula for Michigan.



View from our driveway

And finally I had to take the obligatory picture of me next to one of those snowbanks.


The last time I took a picture with a snowbank as tall as me, was when my family and I lived in Houghton, MI in the UP. I was about 7 or 8 years old then. And believe me, being a kid in a blizzard/snowstorm situation is way more fun than having to deal with it as an adult. I think we’re supposed to get more snow this week, but because the temps are in the negatives (with wind chills at -42 or something ridiculous), we may not have as much accumulation. Here’s hoping!

So, I hope everyone stays safe and stays warm! And for those of you in warmer climates and states…send us some of that sunshine, will ya? :)


Hello 2014!

And hello to all of you! Soooo yeah. The last time I wrote a blog post was over the summer… I think…? I hang my head in shame at my lack of contributing to the blogosphere. I don’t really have any excuse, except, life happened and kind of took over everything else. So this blog kind of got stuck in the back of the metaphorical pantry and almost reached its expiration date. Funky.

But I digress. I thought I would take inspiration from Amber and recap what happened in 2013 and what I’m hoping will happen in 2014. It’s cliche but it’s fun! I am not a person who like to make resolutions. I call ‘em goals and each year I set a few for myself and hopefully I can accomplish most, if not all!

Recap of 2013:

  • I turned 30! I had a list on here for the 31 things I wanted to do before turning 30 and I did what I said: I accomplished half. There are things that just didn’t happen due to money and time constraints, but I’d still say that’s pretty damn good. How did I celebrate turning 30? My friend and I threw a Roaring 20s party to say goodbye to our twenties. It was definitely a highlight of the year!
  • Ran two 5K’s! I ran my first 5K in April 2013 and then did the Color Run with Amber in May. Both were fun! I had hoped to run another one, but oh well.
  • Trip to Cali. We witnessed two of our very good friends tie the knot and partied with them in a beautiful villa in Santa Barbara. The addition of wine tasting, running/walking on the beach and driving the Pacific Coast Highway made the trip fun, though busy!
  • Trip to NYC with my friend Jackie. To ring in our 30th birthdays, she and I spent 5 wonderful days in The Big Apple. I didn’t want to leave. Hands down, one of my Top 5 favorite vacations of all time.
  • Excelled at work. I helped lead a major project at work, which was successful and made me feel pretty good!
  • Had a total of 15 photo session this year, 4 of them being weddings. This was absolute perk for me this year. I had hoped to gain more exposure for my photography side business and it totally happened! Here’s hoping it will continue.
  • Interior design/home improvements. We spent a good amount of money repairing things in our house and also decorating it. It’s slowly but surely coming together.

I can’t complain about the way things went in 2013. I just hope 2014 can be like that, or better! Here are some things I hope to accomplish this year.

  • HEALTH. It’s so cliche to make this statement every year, but I really, really need to focus on my health this year. I’m officially in the “old” category (haha, OK not really but you know what I mean) and it will only get harder to lose weight, keep endurance up and the energy up, so I want to make a conscious effort to continue a healthy lifestyle. The first big thing? Cutting out alcohol for a least 3 months. I did this before I got married and I didn’t miss it one bit. I felt healthier, lighter and more energized.
  • Completely decorate and finish 2 full rooms in the house. We decided to start with our bedroom since we want it to be a place we spend time in other than to just sleep. I’m happy to say that with a few more accents, this room will actually be done! Then I hope to start the front rooms of the house, or the guest room.
  • Run another 5K. One of the Christmas presents REB and I got each other was a treadmill for our basement. I plan to put that thing to good use and put it (and me!) to work.
  • Explore more of Detroit. I had the pleasure of finally going to Eastern Market in Detroit and also trying out Supino pizza! It was definitely well worth the wait and easily became one of my favorite spots in Motor City. I have seen other parts of Detroit a few times (Heidelberg Project, MCS, Dequindre Cut, Cafe Roma, Tigers and Lions games, theaters downtown, etc.), but I want to explore more! Like, I’ve never been to the River Walk, or a Red Wings game, or a casino downtown other than getting a drink at MGM and Greektown. Plus, I’d still love to do a portrait session down there sometime. I hear Amber is looking to see more of Detroit so maybe she’ll join me in this quest!
  • Have a picnic in the Arb. I love living in Ann Arbor and it might be totally “hipster” or stupid, but I want to have a picnic in Nichols Arboretum here in town. Especially when all the lilacs and flowers are in bloom there in the spring/summer.
  • Blog more! I feel awful for not having blogged in so long this year, but I hope to blog a little more. Maybe not recipes all the time, but anything. At least once a month. That’s a pretty good goal, right?
  • Sleep earlier. One of the biggest factors in having a healthy lifestyle is getting a sufficient amount of sleep. I can function on between 6-8 hours sleep, which I think is pretty average for someone of my age and stuff. However, we always, always watch TV in bed before going to bed. I’d like to make a conscious effort to not do that. To spend the last part of my day reading in bed then getting some decent shut eye.
  • MOAR PHOTOS! I hope to continue with portrait sessions for families, kids and seniors. I’m also excited to be assisting my friend in a few weddings this year, too.

So here’s to 2014! It’s going to be way rad and full of high fives and fun!


ABCs of Yours Truly

A. Attached or Single? Very much attached and very happy :)

Happy hubby :)

B. Best friend? My sister Shar. She’s way rad.


C. Cake or Pie?  Pie. Always pie. Say “YES!” to Pie!


D. Day of choice? Saturday. Middle of the weekend, still a day left, and a whole day to spend however I want!

E. Essential Item?  Wedding rings, iPhone, Chapstick, ID

F. Favorite color?  Green

G. Gummy bears or worms?  Ew

H. Home town?  Being a professor’s kid I moved around a lot as a kid. I was born in New Delhi, India. But then I moved to Columbus, OH; Pullman, WA; Houghton, MI; Oxford, MS; and then Grand Blanc, MI and now Ann Arbor, MI. Pop Quiz! name the universities at each city (except for GB).

I. Favorite indulgence?  Gelato

Coffee flavored nomz!

J. January or July?  July. Middle of summer, warm weather (although sometimes ungodly hot), July 4!

K. Kids?  None, unless you count the four-legged fur kid. Not sure kids are in the future for us, though.

L. Life isn’t complete without?  Laughter

photo (1)

M. Marriage date?  August 20, 2011. We beat Kim Kardashian!


N. Number of brothers/sisters?  1 older and wiser sister. She’s rad.

O. Oranges or Apples?  Apples, but then I have to share with the four legged fur kid

P. Phobias?  I have several: Entomophobia – the fear of insects; Arachnephobia (MAJORLY); Coulrophobia – fear of clowns; Achluophobia – fear of the dark.

Q. Quotes?  “Life is full of surprises, but never when you need one.” -Calvin & Hobbes

R. Reasons to smile? 

  • When I see other people smiling
  • When REB holds my hand, then kisses it -swoon-
  • When my dog gets “greedy eyes” when we’re eating apples or carrots
  • When we gift a present to my mom or dad and they smile
  • When I see older people who I know have been married for 40+ years
  • Texting my best friends random inside jokes (DFB…B…B…)
  • This could go on and on….

S. Season of choice?   Fall: football (college and NFL), cider mills, pumpkins, Halloween, sweater weather, boots!

T. Tag 5 People.  All of you! <3

U. Unknown fact about me?  I don’t really like beer.

V. Vegetable?  Any and all. Om nom nom.


W. Worst habit?  Biting my nails. I know how gross it is yet it’s a terrible, nervous habit.

X. X-ray or Ultrasound?  Is this asking what I prefer? I’ve never had an ultrasound, so x-ray?

Y. Your favorite food?  Indian street food (chole batura, chaat, etc.); risotto, pickles, mom’s southie Indian home cooking ;)

Z. Zodiac sign?  Libra. I’m balanced and shit ;)

Big thanks to Parita for tagging! Hope you all have a wonderful week! <3