31 December 2013


As the new year approaches (just hours left!) and everyone is publishing their top this or that of 2013 lists, I've been thinking of the top moments that will define 2013 for me when I look back. Here are a few of them:

Travel. I was fortunate enough to travel a bit this year. A girls trip to Chicago with my best girls from high school at the beginning of summer. Then out east twice this year. And the second trip out east at Thanksgiving included a side trip to Turks and Caicos, which was basically a dream come true!

Seeing tons of great live music. At the beginning of the year, I saw Quicksand in Detroit. Laneway Music Festival had its debut this fall and I had the good sense to get myself there to see the National, Sigur Ros, Frightened Rabbit, Matthew Dear and Run the Jewels. If the stage times had been a little more spread out, I would have managed to see Chvrches. Also saw Lord Huron and Alt-J in Chicago this fall. And We Were Promised Jetpacks here in Grand Rapids. Oh, and there was Lamp Light Music Festival mere blocks from my house. That was a whole weekend of house shows. Good stuff! My favorite show of the year would be a toss up between Lord Huron/Alt-J and Laneway. Both blew me away, they we so much fun!

Personal Best Time in the Grand Rapids Half Marathon. After achieving what had been my personal best time in a half marathon in my very first half in 2008, I was happy to have finally surpassed that time after hovering mere minutes behind that time for the last five years! How did that happen? I ran outside nearly all winter training for Riverbank Run 25K then basically switched to biking all summer until I picked up running again at the end of August. Maybe the cross training had something to do with the uptick in time?

SiTE:LAB. I volunteered again (quite a bit) with this great group of folks. An event in the spring. Then I was part of the team that launched an international design ideas competition to gather ideas for what should become of the historic, former natural history museum in my city. Then, hello Blandford Nature Center for a summer event and right into ArtPrize. Loved every minute of volunteering and can't wait to see what's in store for 2014. 

Biking this summer. Yeah, I already mentioned that I biked a bunch this summer up there with my bit about running, but there's more worth mentioning. There's something so satisfying about getting on your bike and being out on two wheels for a few hours. I did a handful of 60 mile round trip rides, and many more 30 milers. Yay for two wheels!

Overall. Looking at my highlight moments, this year boils down to doing the things that feed my spirit. While the activities themselves were part of what made my year a great one, the people I was fortunate enough to have shared time with this year - family and friends-who-feel-like-family made a huge impact on me this year. I'm grateful for everyone and everything that made my year an amazing one!

I hope you've had an awesome year! Here's to even more goodness in 2014. Happy New Year to you and yours!

23 December 2013

Post Solstice

Greetings from what seems like the longest winter ever already. How can it be that winter solstice was just on Saturday? I've had feelings of weather-related claustrophobia over the last few days. I'm trying my best to just be in each snowy/icy moment and embrace them for what they are, a chance to slow down and change up my routine. The worst part of the winter weather we've been having, the kind that makes traveling dangerous, is that I feel so isolated from other people. I need to be around people!

What do you do when you're feeling trapped by bad weather?

We were lucky enough in Grand Rapids to get not one, but two icy storms this weekend! I chipped through the ice to freedom Saturday morning. Then again Sunday evening so I'd be able escape to work this morning. While out in the elements yesterday, I enjoyed the smell of fresh doughnuts wafting over from the local bakery. Not that made the tedious chore of snow/ice removal a bit more enjoyable!

I managed to get out on Saturday for a long stretch of errand running that included a nice respite at Rowster for a latte and some Christmas card writing. Sitting in coffee shops has always been one of my favorite things to do. How great is it to be sipping something that warms from the inside out, listening as the constant coffee prep sounds and smells waft through the air? My favorite coffee shop activities include writing and people watching, if I'm not visiting with a friend.

Movies also figure prominently in my life when there's terrible weather. I finally saw "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" this weekend and loved it! Totally cried. It was great!

I've also been getting ready for my brother and my niece to visit the day after Christmas. They'll be staying at my house and I'm pretty excited to host them. Tonight I've been doing laundry, getting their beds ready - I completely rearranged my guest room to make it more cozy for them. In the last year or so the guest room had become something of a catch all room - lots of laundry that never quite seems to make its way either upstairs to the bedroom or downstairs to the laundry and the ironing board and iron always out and ready. I'm thinking the only thing the room needs now is a rug - my entire house is hardwood floors (save for the bathroom and kitchen, which both have tile). Do I dare brave Christmas eve shopping in search of a rug? Heck, I just might if the roads aren't terrible.

So, whatever you've been doing to make it through the season, Happy (late) Solstice and Merry Christmas, a little early. Truth be told, thoughts of that turquoise water and white sand beaches are also helping me get me through.