Sunday, October 31, 2010

Girls Gone Up North

I've been a little absent from the blogging world lately.  All because I've been very busy.  Busy doing what you may ask....

Where to start this story.  Several months back, I had this idea that I wanted to gather up all my favorite girls and go somewhere.   OK...some of us haven't been girls for a long time, but I'm not letting a little thing like that stand in my way.

I find great joy and comfort in the company of my girlfriends and the thought of sharing a long week-end indulging in food, wine and laughter seemed just what I wanted and needed.

I quickly pulled together a list of all my favorite ladies and emailed them to see who might be interested.  Fortunately, I got a very positive response.

The next big decision was where to go.  But when you live in Michigan, that isn't really a hard decision....the best place to go is always "Up North".

So I searched the internet and found this beautiful log home on Lake Michigan in the Leelanau Peninsula.

House from Lake Michigan side

Our view from the deck and from the living room


Living Room from the loft

Kitchen from the loft

Dining Room from the loft.

Front entrance

View from the front porch


Even though the color was not at it's peak, there were still areas of bright glorious color.



After unloading the cars...we got down to business.  Cooking dinner!


This is me getting ready to start on the Salmon (oh and I'm talking...it's actually hard to get a picture of me NOT talking and with my eyes open).  

It was a beautiful piece of Salmon.  Better yet, let me show you.


I cedar planked it with a Maple Ginger Glaze.  Quite yummy.


The next morning we had a delicious frittata with warm apple bread made by Kathy.


We then headed out for a day of wine tasting.  For those not familiar with the Western part of Northern Michigan, it has a climate well suited for growing grapes and there are probably some 30 wineries in the area.

Here we are at 45 North: 

Mary and Rebecca

Myra and Sue

Caitlin and Marlene

Kathy and Me

And this little guy came too. (He will be so happy his Muma put him in this hat one day)

We visited Circa Winery next (forgot to take pictures) and then we had lunch at The Knot where we also were able to catch the end of the Michigan State / Northwestern game.  There may have even been some singing of the MSU Fight Song.  I'll never tell.



Sunday morning after we ate a delicious breakfast of sausage strata made by Caitlin (again forgot to take pictures), many of us headed off for a 3 mile hike at the Leelanau State Park.  I can't even begin to explain the beauty we saw on this hike.  My camera does a much better job.



We ended up at Cathead Bay where we hike across some small dunes to Lake Michigan.



We had the added benefit that both Mary and Rebecca are horticulturists or "co-horts" as they liked to be called.  They provided some color commentary as we walked along...although they didn't always agree.


The hike was an unexpected treat for all of us.


Sunday evening was spent eating (yet again) this wonderful Chicken Broccoli Bake that Sue and Myra made.


Cait and I were then able to introduce the group to two of our favorite games, Wits and Wagers (once Kathy got the hang of the wagering, we were all done in) and Pit.  Nothing like a rousing game of Pit to enliven the troops.

It was a fabulous week-end and I need to thank each and every member of our group.

Thanks Marlene for making Mary laugh harder then I have ever seen her laugh and for the yummy Ice Cream Sundaes

Thanks Rebecca for the incredible back rubs.

Thanks Mary for helping us weave our way around the back roads and leading some of the group to Leland for scarf shopping.

Thanks to Myra for just being an all around great help. I'd vacation with you anytime. 

Thanks to Sue for turning Luke into giggle man and for all the cookies

Thanks to Caitlin for being my right hand and for showing us the "running man"

Thanks to Kathy for my first yoga class and for making me laugh so many times

And finally...thanks to Luke for just being the sweetest little guy in the whole world.  


Do you think he knows it?

And this is for you Cait...



Yes...this was hanging from the beams.  


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RED Movie Review

RED


Grade: B+

If you like Bruce Willis movies, you will like this movie.  Sprinkle in the amazing Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich at his craziest and you've got a fun little movie.  Is it believable...no, but than who would want a Bruce Willis movie to actually be believable.

Bruce plays Frank Moses a retired black ops agent who is forced to gather his old team together when someone in the agency targets them for extermination.  Also mixed in to the storyline is Frank's budding relationship with HR rep Sarah, played by the quirky Mary-Louise Parker.

The bullets really fly during this movie, so sit back and just enjoy yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Kind of Town

We all had a great time in Chicago.  Lots of eating and shopping and talking.   At least, everyone else was able to talk.  I got a cold right before the trip (thanks Ry guy) which ended with my usual condition....laryngitis.  Since high school, if I get a cold I always end up with laryngitis.  I attribute it to years of cheerleading.  (I wasn't the best cheerleader, but I was always the loudest.)

By the time I got to Chicago, all I had was a croaking whisper.  They immediately labeled me "Lou" for the week-end.  The best was when I spoke up in the Ladies restroom.  I'm sure I gave someone quite a start.

Needless to say, it's hard to have a girls week-end when you can't really talk.  I'm sure I strained my voice trying to contribute anyway, as I am still croaking and it's been 2 weeks.  There is improvement, but I'm still more Lou than I am Linda.

Here's some pics to prove that I really was there.

Our view from our lunch at Fulton's on the river




My lunch the first day...I love an Iceberg Wedge







My girls



Indiana Jones in Legos


Just some of the flowers along Michigan Ave.


I bought some skinny jeans and a pair of black boots.  So unlike the me.  Hope to share a photo soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One of Our Beautiful Boys


Krissy's sister-in-law has become quite the photographer.  When I first met Jena, she was just starting to explore her photography passion.  It's been so fun to watch her skills develop and blossom.  Her photo's of the boys always take my breath away.  This one is no exception.  I just love the bokeh.

This is Austin in all his curly glory.  I still don't know how she got him to stop for a minute, cause this is one energetic and frequently contrary kid.  Somehow she magically captured his most amazing feature.  Oh, those eyes!

You can check out more of Jena's work at McShane Photography on Facebook.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easy A Movie Review

Easy A



Grade: A

This is a very funny and very charming movie, while at the same time it does a great job of exploring some of the challenges that face teen-agers today. This is the story of Olive, a surprisingly mature young woman, who gets caught up in a string of mistruths regarding her virtue.

As the school rumor mill perpetuates the stories….Olive finds herself in a similar situation as Hester Prynne in the Scarlet Letter (which they are studying in their literature class). Using Hester as her inspiration, Olive escalates the rumors by dressing the part. A quick trip to Victoria Secret and a little bit of hand sewing and Olive now looks the part with a scarlet A emblazed across her collection of new corsets.

Olive is played by the marvelous Emma Stone. Emma completely captivates the camera with a maturity beyond her years. She makes Olive totally believable and likeable. I anticipate a very busy future for this young actress.

I loved her parents, played by Patricia Clarkson and the always amazing Stanley Tucci. Their quirkiness somehow makes Olive’s viewpoint and maturity completely believable. They also have some of the best lines in the movie.

I really can’t wait to see this movie again. Some of the dialogue is so funny and clever, but it flies by so quickly, that you can’t really remember it.

While watching this movie I felt that if John Hughes was still alive, this would have been the kind of movie he would have directed. I clearly wasn’t alone in this thought as the scriptwriter and director were paying a little homage to John Hughes when Olive says, “Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he’s got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But, no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”

Clever, clever movie.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sneak Peak at Fall Projects

I have been completely inspired by all the creativity out in the bloggersphere and I know I'm not alone on this.   Ideas and inspiration from fellow bloggers can lead you down a tricky path.  You start by visiting one of your favorite sites and before you know it, you are three blogs deep trying to remember where you started.  With a little effort, I was able to recreate the path where my current inspiration all started.

Last week I visited Kate over at  Oh Write because she posted a really cool picture of her fall mantle.  I then followed a link on her blog to a  Fall Mantle Party at Nester Place.  From there I visited site after site of amazing Fall or Halloween themed mantles.  This all got my creative juices flowing and here's what I've done so far.  (Goal here is also to keep things on the cheap.  Going to need some spending money when I'm in Chicago.)

This sort of scary house was something I bought years ago when Stinky was little.  This was back when he was a joy and treasure.  You know...before he became a teenager.  (OK...I'll stop beating that dead horse).

Cute, but a little corny maybe and as I'm not a huge fan of scary Halloween decorations, I decided the place needed a little updating to welcome the Fall season.

Using some acrylic paint (20% off at Michael's), I now have this cute little house.


I plan on writing "Welcome" down the sign on the front door.  Just waiting for the paint to dry completely.  I'm pretty happy with it.  I know the freehand windows are kind of funky, but I think it gives the place character.  (That's a nice way of saying, I suck at drawing.)

My next project utilized these frames on sale at Michael's for $4.99, plus I had the 20% off everything coupon.  I just used a couple of my leaf stamps and made some art.  Simple, but pretty I think.


I hope to have the mantle actually done sometime this week, but I've got a few more things to make.

Again...Happy Fall Everyone.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Week in Review and Miscellaneous Thoughts

My brain is all over the place.  Here's just some highlights:

Misplaced my camera, which gave me a small heart attack.  Turns out I had just relocated to a "better" spot in my bedroom.  Clearly NOT a better spot.

Got a new car this week.  I'm super excited about it, but it's just like my last car.  2008 Red Jetta...replaced by a 2010 Red Jetta.  Is that lame?  Does it indicate a complete lack of imagination?  Or does it show that I know what I like and I like what I know?  Hmmm, makes you think doesn't it.

Brilliant episode of 30 Rock last night.  They merged with one of my other favorite shows when Tracy got into a NY cab and it was "Cash Cab".  So freakin' clever (and Ben is so adorable).

I' ve been hanging out with my good friends "Joann" and "Michael's" this week.  Very disappointed in myself.  I promised no more visits for awhile.  But,  it has been about 3 weeks, does that equal "awhile".  Had a 20% off entire purchase coupon (including sale items).  I couldn't waste a perfectly good coupon.

I need to get a new pair of jeans that fit my ever expanding waistline.  Muffin top is killing me.

Actually found a practical use for Facebook this week.  Long story, but basically found a friend that I went to school with from K-12 (and then we even went to the same college for a couple years). 

It's time to de-flower my porch and deck.  Everything has got to go.  So sad to see my home grown tomatoes go away, but I probably have enough fresh basil for one more batch of pesto.

Am I the only person in the world that hates creepy Halloween decorations.

How is it that I only find my grammer and spelling mistakes on my posts after I've published them.  Then I edit and republish again, only to find another mistake.  Keeping in mind I've already proofed it two or three times in draft mode.  

And finally...this time next week, I'll be in Chicago with all my girls.  So excited.

Happy Friday!