Tagged: weather

Sep 11

Reasons I Love the Season

The weather today is a bit crisp and the sky is a dull gray, which happens to be my favorite kind of day (although it’s in a pretty close race with summer thunderstorms). I love fall. It’s most definitely my favorite time of the year and just thinking about it makes me smile. I know lots of people miss the heat and the sun of summer, but I don’t. Here are some of the reasons why autumn rocks my face off. BRB, gotta go wash my Harry Potter Snuggie.

  1. Hot cocoa
  2. Halloween
  3. Fires in the fireplace
  4. Pumpkin beers
  5. The amazing color palette of changing leaves
  6. Fantasy football (I’m super good at it)
  7. Sweaters & hoodies
  8. Great apples
  9. Skirts with tights and boots
  10. Falling asleep with the windows open
  11. Soups and stews
  12. Pajamas with feet
  13. Thick scarves and warm knit hats
  14. Spiced cider
  15. Raking (yeah, I actually enjoy it)
  16. Knitting and crochet
  17. Wool socks and fuzzy slippers

Fire Close-up

What’s your favorite season, and why?


Aug 27

The Funk of 40,000 Years

I’m in a funk, dudes. I’ve lost my creative mojo and I can’t seem to figure out where it went, or more importantly, how to get it back. I’m still drawing every day. I’m keeping up my 365 Sketch Project, and I’m keeping up on my regular daily visual journal. But my heart isn’t in it. I don’t feel the same zeal for either project at the moment.

For about the last month or so, I go to my studio lair when I have time and I sit there. I flip through stacks of papers and paints and fondle my paint brushes and daydream and watch art videos and sit there some more until I eventually emerge a couple of hours later with little to nothing accomplished. I WANT to create and I WANT to be creative, but somehow my muse eludes me. Actually, I NEED to create. Art is my emotional outlet, and without it, I feel sort of lost and rudderless.

Inspiration is an interesting little beastie. There are times when I have so many ideas that my hands can’t even work fast enough and I have to write down scraps of thoughts and plans for things I want to do so I won’t forget. And then there are times like this where the idea snippets are still floating all around me but my imagination just can’t seem to find a spark in any of them.

I’m not sure what to do. The weather has been chilly the last couple of days, and I’ve been thinking about sweaters and boots and steamy mugs of hot cocoa, so I think maybe I’ll paw through my yarn stash and start knitting  up a scarf. Or maybe even some of my crazy funky technicolor patchwork mittens? I think this pair was my all-time favorite – Mittasaurus Rex. 🙂

Mittasuarus Rex Mittens

If you have any brilliant ideas or suggestions for how to find inspiration and get my creative groove back, I’m all ears. I hope that you’re having a great week! XOXO


Mar 01

Drink All Your Cares Away

Yesterday, Dawn & I headed to Grand Rapids for the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival. This year is the 10th anniversary of winter fest, and it was an amazing experience as always. We could not have asked for a more beautiful (winter) day. The sun was shining, and even though it was cold, it was sunny enough that we didn’t suffer too much!

Winter Beer Fest 2015

My favorite beer this year was Rochester Mills Chocolate Cheesecake Milkshake Stout. DELICIOUS. It was intensely chocolate with a very creamy finish. As you all know, I love the weird beers – the more unusual, the better! That’s what a festival is for, right?!? In the deeply strange category, Unruly Brewing’s Cole’s Garlic Bread Ale was exactly as advertised. It was like eating garlic bread without the need for pesky chewing. Very unusual, and I’m so glad I had a chance to try it!

In short, an amazing day with amazing people and amazing beer. Did I mention that it was amazing? XOXO


Oct 08

We are the Dreamers of Dreams

The last few weeks have been crazy around here! Let me share some highlights:

  • A couple of weeks ago, Mike & I took a quick little weekend trip to Myrtle Beach with 2 other couples to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We went on a private plane and rode in limos like rock stars, and it was a really great time. Mike & I took some time to walk the boardwalk and see the sights, and even though it rained, it had a ball! We spent some time in the arcade, did a bit of shopping, and really enjoyed ourselves.
  • Last weekend, I went to the Octoberfest celebration downtown with my BFF and 2 of my favorite munchkins. It was freeeezing and raining off and on, but we’re so awesome that we didn’t even care. Amazing live music, great brews, and a playground! We also had cupcakes, so pretty much a stellar day.
  • Mike & I got to see our niece, Alexis, play a live show right here in Kalamazoo! She was really great, and we were stoked to get a chance to see her perform, and to spend some time with her.
  • We went to a BBQ at a friend’s house, and on top of the killer company, we were treated to live music that was really incredible. Charlie King from the Asylum Street Spankers played guitar and sang for us, accompanied by Nathan, a truly gifted fiddle player. It was such a great time, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to see these 2 play together!
  • Mike & I went to the Alamo Drafthouse’s Ultimate Willy Wonka Party, where we had the pleasure of meeting Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) and Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee)! Willy Wonka is in my Top 5 all time movies, so this was a super experience and the chance of a lifetime. Both of them were so sweet and even posed for a selfie with us!!
  • My Fantasy Football team is killing it, except that my BFF and Arch Rival (always one and the same, right?) is clinging to first place for dear life while I wait in the wings for my moment to snatch it right out from under him. We’re only in Week 5, but this is already getting cut throat. The suspense is terrific.
  • Oh, I also left my job last week. For a million reasons. And to be honest, I haven’t felt this relieved or this happy in a long time. Onward and upward.

Scroll through this for photos of all this great stuff.



Aug 10


It’s a little late for the Friday Five since it’s Saturday (technically Sunday even), but I don’t care so why should you?

  • What does your storm preparedness stuff look like?  Well, let’s see…I have some candles and a lighter in the kitchen in case the power goes out. So it’s quite extensive and well thought out.
  • What kinds of storms make you the most uncomfortable?  I looooove thunderstorms. Especially at night, but anytime really. They’re so exciting and I find them somehow romantic. Thunderstorms don’t typically make me nervous, though, I’m just rambling. Ice storms make me very anxious because they make travel so treacherous. On the flipside, there are few things as beautiful as trees and roofs and streets and an entire world covered in a glaze of shiny shimmery ice. Life is crazy like that.
  • What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without electricity, and what were the circumstances?  I don’t remember a time that was anything more than a few hours, honestly. I’m a pretty lucky gal. KNOCK ON WOOD
  • What’s the worst damage a storm has done to your dwelling?  A few years ago a tree in our yard was struck by lightning. It actually blew the tree roots out of the ground and left scorch marks on the tree bark. In terms of physical damage to our house, there wasn’t any, except that the tree died and eventually had to be removed. That was sad because it was a big tree that provided lots of shade. However, the power surge killed thousands of dollars worth of electronics including all of our TVs and computers. What a pain in the butt that turned out to be.
  • What was the occasion for your last storming of the gates?  I rarely get riled up about anything, so I have no idea.

In other news, I feel like I’m barely clinging to sanity most days. Things just seem to be swirling and spiraling around me and I feel completely out of control. Hopefully I can get some purchase on something stable in the near future. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.

Love & Kisses,



Apr 03

Upward Spiralling

Things have been crazy busy around here! I’m somehow still trying to adjust to actually going to work a few days per week. It seems like it’s no big deal for everyone who does it 5 days out of the week, but for me it’s quite dramatic. There are days when things just feel so chaotic that I’m barely clinging to my sanity. It’s getting better though. I am adjusting slowly but surely.

The weather is nicer so I’m finally back to running outside again, which is just incredible. I didn’t realize how easy running on the treadmill is until I went back outside. My thighs are sore and my knees are slowly making the transition. It’s so worth it though. Running outside is so much better in so many ways. I’m trying to get my nutritional house back in order as well. I was in kind of a downward spiral for a while. Part of it was being too busy to plan and prepare proper meals which left us eating out quite a bit, but part of it was also laziness and just being tired. My mojo is back though, and I feel really good about everything. Taking control of this piece makes me feel more in control of all of the chaos, even though I’m sure it’s just an illusion. 🙂 This week’s run faces:

RunRun Face 3/31/14

I turned 37 a few weeks ago! There was a bit less fanfare than usual, which I was fine with. My sister made me a cake, though, which was great as always, and after work I met some of my very best friends downtown at Tibb’s for a beer and a chocolate stout cupcake with Jameson Irish whiskey frosting. Mike & I ordered corned beef and cabbage from Ample Pantry for dinner and it was pretty incredible. So that was a really great day. 🙂

Birthday CakeBirthday Beer

In other very exciting news, I got a haircut yesterday and had pink streaks added. I love love love them. this is some new stuff that covers even dark hair, but it’s temporary and washes out completely in 3-5 days. My stylist told me I could probably put this stuff in myself at home. I think I might be hooked, but I want to see how it lasts and be sure it washes out without any weirdness first.

Piiinnnkk 4/2/14

I was just about to end this post when I realized there’s no artwork here. I’m in kind of a funk in that area. I lost my confidence somewhere along the way. Even my daily journal is several days behind (which is unusual for me) and working on it sort of feels like a chore. Luckily, Sketchbook Skool starts tomorrow, which is just in time. Hopefully I can get my mojo back in that department as well. So anyway, I don’t have anything at the moment that I’m willing to show off, but hopefully, Sketchbook Skool will be so inspiring that you’ll be seeing something soon.


Jan 24

My Body & Me

2013 was a great year for me health-wise. I lost about 40 pounds over the course of the year, exercised regularly, and ate well. I started running in the spring and I actually found myself enjoying it, if you can believe that. I found a way to eat that I can live with, which I think has been the missing piece of this puzzle for me. I eat really healthily about 85% of the time, and the 15% of the time that I don’t keeps me in the game without sabotaging everything. Seems perfect, right?

As I move forward into 2014, I’m finding it more and more difficult to keep up my pace from last year. For one, this winter has royally sucked for any kind of running, so that has slowed me down as far as activity. A seasoned runner friend just told me the other night that he was sorry that THIS has been my first winter as a runner because it’s been so awful. The bigger problem, though, is motivation. Please believe me when I say that I am not intending to be braggy when I say this, and trust me, I know I’m far from anything resembling perfect, but here it is: I like my body. !!!!

I’ve never really felt this way before. NEVER. I literally can’t remember one time in my life where I thought my body looked good. Don’t get me wrong, it still has it’s issues, but somehow they don’t seem like a big deal. I like the way I look in my clothes, and I’m not even horrified when I’m naked. This is a completely new feeling for me, so I don’t even know what to do with it. On the upside, it feels AMAZING to be at peace with something I’ve never been at peace with, but there are some downsides too.

I still have work to do. My BMI still puts me at obese. I need to tone up and add some strength training. I definitely have more weight to lose. The problem is that I’m having a hard time finding the motivation to work on those things because I’m happy with what I have. Since the start of the year, I’ve maintained last year’s loss, and I’m completely fine with that. I’m complacent. Which is both A) the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, and B)  severely hampering any future progress.

Is this just a phase I’ll get over? I hope so but I hope not. Maybe this will work it’s way out and I’ll find a happy medium, but right now I have no idea what I’m doing. So it’s just a typical week for me, really. 🙂


Dec 16

The State, Not the Lube

I spent the weekend in Kentucky visiting my homegirl, Dawn. It was such a great trip, I can’t even begin to describe it adequately, but I’ll give it a go.

Friday: Around 11, my 2 chaperones, Andrew & Zach, and I hit the road. Zach created a great playlist of mostly holiday music that I thoroughly enjoyed. We made a pitstop in Indianapolis. Andrew really impressed Zach & I with both his knowledge of the beer industry and his persuasion skills in dealing with his business associate at an Indy brewery. This guy is so gregarious! We had a quick snack and some beers there, plus got a super low key quickie brewery tour, too (thanks to Andrew!).  I scored some brewery stickers, too, so this was a fun little stop. We didn’t dilly dally, though, because we had places to be. We arrived at Dawn’s around 7:30, had a quick beer, and then went to a pizza joint called BoomBozz. Killer pizza, really good local beers, and amazing conversation. We met some friends of Dawn’s – Drew & Garrett. I fell a little bit in love with both of them.

After pizza, we went to a joint called the Highlands Taproom for karaoke. Zach rocked the house, as he does. We met more of Dawn’s friends, and even a friend of Andrew’s, who we will refer to as Mike. Mike was a GREAT guy, I enjoyed meeting him very much. More beers, singing, cab rides, dancing, ditching friends, flirting with old ladies, laughing until crying, hysterical misunderstandings. THE END.

Saturday: Low key morning as people retrieved vehicles and reunited with friends. The 4 of us (Dawn, Zach, Andrew & I) had a really fun lunch at Against the Grain brewing. I had my favorite beer of the trip there – a peppermint milk stout called Santa Came Early. I also had my favorite meal of the trip – Nachos made with homemade kettle chips, topped with BBQ pulled pork, pickled jalapenos, and cheese. Incredible. Great lunch with AMAZING friends. Pictures from Against the Grain:

Against the Grain Brewing

Wall Mural at Against the Grain

After lunch we hit a flea market, which I really enjoyed. I found a dude with a big box of really old photos and I got several cool ones, and some negatives even, for a buck. They will work great with my Yearbook Journal I think, so I’m excited to play with them. Dawn, Andrew & I also got mini Tarot card readings. Mine was spot on with her telling me that I made the right decision to change jobs and my new job will work out great, so that was fun and really awesome. Next, we found a pub called the River City Drafthouse and copped a squat to watch the UK basketball game. JEN ARRIVED, which made me very happy! The Cats lost, which made me very sad, but I think I masked my utter disappointment and nobody really noticed. I didn’t want to bring everyone down. John also joined our little gaggle at this point. Here’s the gang at River City:

The Gang

Time for dinner – we all hit a place called The Irish Rover and Mike appeared again! After dinner, we decided to check out Sergio’s World Beers. It’s one of the top 5 beer bars in the world! The selection was insane. I’ve never seen so many different beers in one place. I got to meet THE Sergio, which was such a pleasure. We all shared a bottle of beer called Black fist, which wasn’t my bag (liquorbeer), but I still love to try new things. Sergio’s was GREAT, we had a blast there. Here’s all of us drinking the Black Fist:

 Sharing a bottle of Black Fist!

We moved on to a dive called The Back Door, which had both matchbooks and people dressed as elves, so I was pretty pleased right off the bat. However, I was exhausted, so we only stayed an hour or so and then hit the road for home.

Sunday: We all met up for brunch at a place with really good coffee and great food, but I can’t remember how to spell the name of it, so use your imagination. Sad goodbyes. 🙁 Then the 3 of us hit the road again. Travel was great until about an hour or so from home, then it started to suck. I was in the backseat and I tried as hard as possible not to have a complete breakdown. My terror was totally unfounded because Zach is a rockstar driver and we made it home totally safe and sound. I had a BLAST, but I sure did miss Mikey & my kitty cats, so I was happy to be home. 🙂

Today, I am still recovering and I think I’m even losing my voice! But it’s all so worth it. Great trip, great friends, great times. 🙂


Nov 18

“Heeeeerrree’s Johnny!!”

Another crazy busy weekend, so buckle up, kiddies.

Friday: Work, quick run around the neighborhood before it got too dark. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve run. I decided to take a short break because I was having pain in my knees pretty consistently. When I ran on Friday, I had no pain, and it felt really easy. My pace was fast as well. So I think the break was exactly what I needed. I think I’ll keep the running to once or twice a week going forward and supplement with some other types of cardio. Tonight, I made portabello mushroom risotto and my mom came over for dinner. I spent the rest of the evening at my art table working in my Yearbook Journal. Behold:


Saturday: Mike & I got up and spent most of the day running a million errands. We got an oil change for his car, then did all the random shopping we needed to do. I bought a new winter coat that I really like, so I’m excited about that. We also finally picked out pillows for the new couch! We got some really nice bright colors, and they look great. Saturday night, we hit the brand spanking new Alamo Drafthouse downtown to see The Shining. The movie was not my bag, but the theater is pretty cool. They have so many great beers, and the menu is really fun. Mike & I shared an endless popcorn and some cheese fries, and I also got the New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout Milkshake. It was pretty incredible. 🙂 This was the theater’s staff training days weekend, so everything was half price (except alcohol). The service was pretty bad, but the staff was super nice, and I know they will get it together with a bit more time. Overall, I enjoyed it.

Sunday: I slept in, did some drawing in my daily journal book, and then in the afternoon we headed back to the Alamo Drafthouse. The journey was perilous as there was a thunderstorm with heavy rains and high winds. There was even a lightpost that had fallen into the street downtown!! We made it though, this time to see Singin’ in the Rain. It was my first time seeing it, and it was really great. I enjoyed it. We ordered real food this time – I got a Royale with Cheese and a Beets & Oranges salad. I enjoyed both. Mike got a pizza and chips with queso dip and he liked both as well. As an added bonus, the service was PERFECT. They definitely turned things around and we were impressed. Oh! I also tried the Atwater Vanilla Java Porter Gingerbread Cake. It was tasty! After the movie, we went to Bell’s for trivia. We didn’t win, but we had a blast, as always. 🙂 When we got home, we discovered that our patio umbrella was snapped in half from the wind. Luckily, that was all the damage we had and we didn’t even lose power, so we were very lucky.

 Sad Umbrella

Sometime during the weekend, we also decided that we will host both Mike’s AND my family here at our house for Thanksgiving this year, which is both exciting and terrifying. Hopefully I will get some help with all the cooking since I don’t have that much experience cooking for 20+ people. Either way, it will be an experience!

I hope your weekend was as fun & exciting as mine was! Have a great week!


Sep 03

Run Face

Run Face

Here’s a quick collage of all my post-running pics for the last few weeks. I finished the C25k program recently, so that’s exciting news! I am running for 30 minutes solid now, however, I’m still slow. I’m not even finishing a 5k in that time. My plan is to keep running the 30 minutes for now, and focusing on increasing the pace. You can see from my pics that there were a couple of really humid, miserable days. I’m looking forward to some nice crisp fall weather, that’s for sure.

And since nothing happens to me without becoming a cartoon, here’s me finishing the C25k program. 🙂

 I finished C25k!!

Have a great week! XOXO