Thursday, July 21, 2016

Anniversary Pictures | Grand Rapids

One of the items on my GR Bucket List was to have professional photos taken around Downtown GR. I wanted to have our favorite spots captured on film and I am so glad we did, especially now that we're moving.

After some googling I contacted Katie at Katie B. Photography and booked a session right away. We had the photos taken on a Thursday evening and couldn't have asked for a better evening. On the day of our pictures I got my hair styled at Bang Blow-dry Bar (my first time!) and had my makeup done at Sephora (which was free with a $50 purchase). We started out at the Downtown Market, headed to Founders, and ended at my favorite place in all of Grand Rapids: the Blue Bridge!

Katie was awesome and made the session so much fun. The photos turned out beautifully and captured this time in our lives perfectly. I can't wait to frame a couple of them and to always have a little piece of Grand Rapids with us wherever we go. Katie posted the session on her blog as well in much better quality ;) We are really going to miss this city..

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Midweek Ramblings + Purchases

Job Hunt: Is FINALLY over!!! I have officially accepted an SLP position and we're moving to Ann Arbor in August. Everything happened so quickly and we haven't really had the time to process everything, but we're excited for a new adventure :)
Moving: As of Monday night we are technically "homeless" until August 6th, but we have some wonderful friends that are letting us crash with them for the mean time. On Sunday we drove 98% of our belongings to a storage unit in Ann Arbor. Due to how high the rent costs in AA, we're getting a 2 bedroom/2 bath unit, which means we need to downsize A LOT of our stuff! I'm on the verge of wanting to become a gypsy.
Vacations: One huge bonus about working within the public school system is the paid days off and we plan on taking full advantage of them this upcoming year! We have plans in the works for four trips: AZ/Grand Canyon, Texas, NYC, and PNW! I can't wait to travel frequently again :)
Anniversary Pictures: I'm giving a little preview at the top of this post, but we got our anniversary photos back and they are amazing! I'm so glad we did them and Katie knocked them out of the park!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: I purchased two new LUSH maxi dresses from Nordstrom. I already have two and live in them so it was a no brainer. I also purchased a new strapless bra, which was very overdue.
Sephora Play: I received my first Sephora Play box and I'm a fan. I think for $10/month it's a great way to try new products.
Swim Coverup: I came across this coverup while browsing at Marshall's today and had to scoop it up, because it's adorable! Not to mention it's extremely light weight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Founders Brewing Company Tour + Tasting

Once we decided that we were going to have a staycation in Grand Rapids to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary I knew that I wanted to do something new and something Thomas would really enjoy. So what's better than a tour + tasting at our favorite local brewery, Founders? I purchased the tickets, $30 each, and hoped that Thomas would be on board (we're there all the time after all..). Our tour was on Wednesday evening and blew every expectation out of the water.

The tour began in a "classroom" where we met the other 10 attendees and surprisingly only 3 of us were Michiganders, which I think is awesome and shows how big Founders is! After introductions we watched a quick promo video and then headed off to the production facility. One of the most fascinating things about Founders is that they produce every single one of their beers at this location, one block in Grand Rapids, MI. They produce over 500,000 barrels every year and are available in 47 states and 23 countries. That is mind blowing! Also mind blowing is the fact that they don't have ANY storage space, so they operate on a one order in one order out.

We learned the history; they started under the name Canal Street Brewing Co, the meanings behind the beer names, and that they almost filed for bankruptcy twice. We saw the bottling line, canning line, and keg-ing line. We spent over an hour walking through and it is very apparent that when they added the expansion they had these tours in mind. It was such a amazingly planned out tour with murals and diagrams.

Once we had finished the tour we headed back to the classroom where the tasting started. We sampled seven beers: Dirty Bastard, Rubaeus, Porter, Sumatra Brown, Red's Rye IPA, All Day IPA, and the highly coveted KBS as our surprise tasting. KBS just so happened to be on tap that week so Thomas was actually able to enjoy a few of them! Our Education Ambassador explained the history behind each beer and while I don't like beer I did taste each one :) Our tasting took about 45 minutes and at the end we were given a couple vouchers for a beer in the taproom and stickers. On our way back to the taproom we walked through the offices, conference rooms, etc. and even those were very impressive!

We were so blown away by this tour. Thomas has been to a couple brewery tours and said the others didn't even compare! We highly recommend that anyone visiting or living in Grand Rapids should check it out.  It is well worth the $30 price tag, even if you visit the taproom often.

Monday, July 18, 2016

GR Eats | Blue Dog

One of our favorite West Side hangouts is Blue Dog Tavern. It's off the beaten path and a local hole-in-the-wall bar, but it has an awesome atmosphere, including scrolling pictures of dogs on the TVs, and even better tater tots! The Buffalo Tots are my favorite and my mouth waters just thinking about them. Their hotdogs are pretty good too, despite looking the opposite :) My favorite is the Ditka. If you're ever in the mood for a low-key drink and love dogs it's a pretty great place!

Weekend Recap | Moving & Final Visitors

I am in denial that July is already half way over.... Where does the time go?! We had another amazing, albeit crazy jam packed weekend.

On Friday we picked up a U-Haul and then packed in 90% of our boxes. That evening my brother and his girlfriend, Sarah, arrived in town for a weekend of breweries and "hip Grand Rapids" aka the stuff my grandparents aren't interested in ;). We headed to Perrin Brewing, where we started our brewery tour and ate dinner. From there we headed to The BOB for the comedian show at Dr. Grin's. It was by far the best comedy show we've seen there! We all had such a great time. Once the show was over we headed to GRBC and then closed down Founders.
Saturday morning came early, but we grabbed some breakfast before hitting up Grand Rapids Coffee Roaster's Saturday Experience where you get to enjoy free coffee, espressos, and americanos. After everyone was hyped up on coffee we headed to Millennium Park with hopes of paddle boarding. Unfortunately, all of the paddle boards were checked out so we decided to kayak instead. After we got our workout in for the day we needed lunch, so we stopped at Blue Dog. We headed back to the house for a quick nap before hitting up Brewery Vivant and Le Bon Macaroons. Next up was dinner at The Mitten Brewing Co, where we enjoyed a pizza flight :) Our final stop for the night (and trip) was Founders for the Saved by the 90's concert. They are a 90's cover band and were awesome!
We were up at 6:30am Sunday morning and spent the entire day packing, loading up the truck, driving to our storage unit, and unloading. It was a longggg day and we couldn't have done it without our friends or my in-laws! I also feel like Duke deserves a shoutout for being the best copilot :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fourth Wedding Anniversary

On July 6th Thomas and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary! I can't believe that it's already been four years!! Due to the 6th falling in the middle of the week we had an extended celebration this year, a staycation if you will :)

On Wednesday Thomas had to work in the morning and when he got home he had an Edible Arrangement for me. I prefer these over flowers any day ;) The chocolate covered strawberries were delicious! Next up on our agenda was to head to the hospital for T to get an MRI on his shoulder. #reallife It ended up taking way longer than we anticipated, but once that was over we headed to Rockwell-Republic for happy hour drinks and sushi! The main event of the evening was the Tour + Tasting we did at Founders. It was awesome! We were both blown away. I'll post a full recap soon. Bottom line: if you're ever in Grand Rapids do this tour!

The rest of the celebration took place on Friday when we stayed the night at the JW Marriott. My friend Michelle gave us her F&F discount so we took advantage of it. We were even upgraded to a river view room! The hotel is impeccable and so fancy. We headed over to The BOB for dinner before going to the movie in the park. This week it was A League of Their Own.

We had the room until noon on Saturday so we took our time, grabbed breakfast, and checked out the pool before I headed next door to The Amway Grand hotel for my massage and facial. It was my first time getting a facial done and now I want to get them all the time! So relaxing and definitely needed.

It was the perfect celebration and I wouldn't want to do life with anyone else <3

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekend Recap | Baby Shower & Beach Day

Another weekend has come and gone in the blink of an eye! I can't keep up with how fast time is flying by. This past weekend started with the continuation of our anniversary celebration, which I'll recap in separate post, and ended with a visit from my closest friend from WMU, Maggie!

Maggie arrived Saturday evening and after getting settled we headed to Founders. We ordered drinks, some beer cheese, and hung out on the patio for a few hours. From there we headed to Stella's where we closed down the dance floor to the tunes of the 90's!

Sunday morning came way too soon and it was time to head out to Muskegon for our friend, Emily's, baby shower! The shower was a perfect Harry Potter theme and Emily's parent's house on Muskegon Lake was beautiful. We had a great time showering baby Lillian :)
Once the shower ended, Maggie and I headed down to Grand Haven. While we were waiting for the rest of the group to meet us we wandered around the shops and grabbed some ice cream. We met up with everyone else and spent a few hours relaxing on the beach. Before heading back to Grand Rapids we took a walk down the pier. It was such a perfect day to spend at the beach!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grand Rapids | Fredrick Meijer Gardens & Sculptures

One of Grand Rapid's many gems is the Fredrick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It is ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums in the world, so you can imagine that people come to Grand Rapids from all over the world to see it.

Since we moved to Grand Rapids in August of 2014 we have visited the gardens 7 times, taking different people and going at different times throughout the year. T and I have been in the fall, my grandma and I went to Holiday Exhibition last winter, and we've been a handful of other times. We still haven't seen everything! I'd highly recommend stopping by if you're ever in Grand Rapids. I've broken my pictures into four sections: sculpture park, Japanese garden, children's garden, and indoor gardens.

Sculpture Park
Meijer Gardens has over 200 sculptures throughout the grounds. I highly recommend taking the tram ride for this section, $4 ticket, as there is a tour guide who provides you with some background information. It's probably no surprise that The American Horse is our favorite!

Weekend Recap | 4th of July

It's been quite a week.. with the holiday on Monday, an interview over 2 hours away on Tuesday, our anniversary yesterday, and hours spent packing today. Hence, this post being a few days "overdue." So let's get right to it..

Our holiday weekend started a little early on Thursday evening with dinner at another brewery on the Ale Trail, Perrin Brewing Company, and a Whitecaps baseball game! The Whitecaps are a farm team for the Detroit Tigers and while they aren't very good the games are always fun :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Recipe | Mississippi Roast

My grandma introduced me to this recipe a couple of months ago, after seeing it online somewhere, and now it's a weekly staple in our house! It's super easy and absolutely delicious. All you have to do is throw five ingredients in the crockpot and call it a day.

Mississippi Roast
1 boneless chuck roast (whatever size you'd prefer)
1 packet of Au Jus gravy
1 packet of Ranch seasoning
1/2 stick of butter
As many pepperoncinis as you'd like
At least 1 cup of pepperoncini juice
Optional: buns

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred. Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Grand Rapids | Downtown Market

One of Grand Rapid's many gems is the Downtown Market. It's located half a mile away from the heart of downtown (down Ionia St) and features a ton of "stands" and restaurants. Apparel, beverages, baked goods, food to order, etc.; this market has it all. Within the past year two well known east Michigan restaurants have opened up: Slows BarBQ and Social Kitchen and Bar, both excellent places! The closest thing I can compare it to is Pike's Place Market in Seattle, but it's still a little different. They offer cooking classes, host parties/wedding receptions, and different weekly events, such as beer specials and outdoor lawn games in the parking lot. If you're ever in the area with a large group that has different taste buds it's a great place to go due to the variety of options (BBQ, Mexican, seafood, sushi, desserts, etc.).