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2015 Resolutions Check-In–Halfway There

Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2015?! Where did the year go?? The first few months felt like they just INCHED by and then the past few have been at warp-speed! Sooooo… how am I doing on these resolutions?!… I originally thought I’d failed at most of these, but when I went back through and looked, I hadn’t. Only one do I really think I’ve failed, but looking back it puts me on the fence. Oh well, trying to stay positive anyway! I still have 6 months to turn it around and kick booty!!Smile

  • Sit for and earn my PMP – Check!
    • Planning on sitting for this in October or November of this year
  • Patience/Stress Management – Check!
    • After spending the end of last year and the early parts of this year with my stomach in complete knots, I’m happy to say that I think I’ve done really well at this. Other than a trip back to Dallas in April that I was incredibly anxious over, it’s been smooth sailing!!
  • Make a big dent in debt – kinda epic fail?
    • Yeahhhh this one. I haven’t made a dent, so from that point of view it’s been an epic fail. HOWEVER, I few huge opportunities came my way, and I finally feel like I’ve figured out how to budget and stick to it. So I’m thinking this one is a draw for now. If I can figure out a way to do both big trips I want to do this fall and pay for both in cash THEN it’s a win. Otherwise I’ll have to skip one of the trips. We’ll see, fingers crossed!
  • Explore more of the new city I live in (3 new places each month) – Check!
    • I nailed this one! I started tacking the mibeer.com brewery list where I want to hit up all the breweries in the mitten part of the state. I’ve made it to 35 so far out of 150, and I’ve seen quite a bit of the state now which has been awesome!! No regrets, I honestly do believe I’ve lived it up as much as I can financially afford to up here. Most of my coworkers say I’ve seen and experience more of this state than they have and they’ve lived here their whole lives!
  • Cut back on the amount of sugar I eat – On the fence
    • Another draw, I’ve cut back substantially, but still not quite where I want to be just yet. In the past year I do think my eating has changed a lot. I never ate a ton of processed foods, but it’s very rare that I eat anything processed these days. Lots of whole foods!
  • Maintain my 4 solid workouts each week – Check!
    • Since the weather warmed up I’ve been biking and run/walking quite a bit. Plus softball started back up! Last year during my elbow injury I started walking (because I couldn’t run and really didn’t have another choice if I wanted to try and stay active) and found that I really do like it. I can throw a podcast on and go walk several miles. This comes in handy since I’m going to PERU in September and will need the walking shape to be able to hike for 4 days up to MACHU PICCHU!! I lightened up a little the past two weeks, so I started hitting it again hard yesterday. It’s a trip of a lifetime for me and I want to be ready for it.

Weekend with my boys

Since it came up that I would be staying in Michigan beyond the initial 6 week period, I have been begging my friends to come up and visit. Every chance I get I’ve said something, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting it to happen. Plane tickets are expensive! And depending on when they left, it might involve taking time off. So that’s always hard. Back in January I got a text on Friday night that 4 of my boys booked tickets for the first weekend in March. CUE THE BIGGEST HAPPY DANCE EVER!!! This past weekend was the trip, and I can’t tell you how amazing it was. Friday morning I received this text and I started getting giddy. I really worried the day was going to move by at a snail’s pace (luckily I was busy and it wasn’t an issue!)


Sorry in advance for all the iPhone photosSmile

They landed on Friday evening, and after a few beverages at my next-door bar Hi Tops, we grabbed dinner at Como’s, and decided to hit up one of the casinos. We went downtown to the Greektown Casino. Initially we chose that one because it had neighborhood bars for afterwards… haha but we never ended up going out afterwards. The boys gambled a bit for a few hours, we saw and met some very interesting people, and then we headed back up to Royal Oak. I put a dollar into the slot machine, and on my third press of the button won $15! Needless to say I cashed out immediately. I’m sooo not a gambler!!


Saturday morning we all showered, got ready, and headed downtown. I drove them down Woodward from Royal Oak to downtown on a quick driving tour. Then we headed out to Corktown where one of the big highlights of the weekend happened. We played catch at old Tiger’s Stadium! None of us grew up Tiger fans, but we later Googled the stadium and I rattled off the handful of facts that I knew. As big baseball fans, it was really fun.

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See the snowman in the one picture? He was made on home plate. The boys took turns striking him out! And then we tried taking a selfie, and pic on the right is as close as we got. Hahahaha I love everything about that picture!

We were getting hungry so we headed over to Ottava Via where Pete said he had some of the best Italian food of his life. It was so SO good. Everything was fresh and made with great ingredients. Needless to say we were all a bit full leaving there! We headed over to Grosse Point to our first brewery next: Atwater in the Park.

This brewery was built into an old church. They now brew on what once was the altar!

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It really was gorgeous and the atmosphere was really cool. Not to mention the beer was delicious! Three of us got sampler flights and the afternoon flew by.

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We grabbed two drinks over at Brew Detroit afterwards before heading back up to Royal Oak. Dinner that night was at Noble Fish – some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. I forget how much I like that place! And how cheap it is!! It’s a further drive than either of the two grocery stores closer to me, but for the same price, I can get 2 rolls of wayyyy better sushi. And sushi with more fish and less rice!

The wait at Noble Fish took awhile, so Pete and Jax started drawing. Look closely to see where Jax left his mark there…


In honor of their visit, my trivia team and coworkers had a party on Saturday night. IT WAS A BLAST!! Everyone had fun (haha and behaved and kept their clothes on!) By the end of the night, Jax started playing the Hulk with his wayyyy too small pearl-snap shirt. And he needed some help getting his sweater on. It was a 3 person job.

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We got back to the house a little after 2am, is there a better time for ice-angels?!

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Jax went in head-first.. because in Arkansas they do things backwards. And because they both were a bit of a mess at that point anyway! With Daylight Savings we all slept in later than we anticipated, and recovered with burgers, bloody marys, and onion rights at Redcoat Tavern. It was DELICIOUS!!


From there we headed over to the highway to get a shot of Jax at the exit 69 Big Beaver sign. Which of course turned into the hardest part of the weekend! The roads over there are all kinds of goofy, and aren’t always running in the same direction. We pulled onto the shoulder and got a picture of the sign, but it was too skinny to get out and get Jax in the picture. Oh well… sign will have to do!

The boys were all pretty wiped and some ‘quiet-time’ at the house was needed before their flights. I think everyone was just tired more than anything else from the night before! A couple of them napped, I read and watched Star Trek with them. And then all of a sudden it was time to head back to the airport. The weekend was over.

Again, not going to lie, I was dreading that drive back. It was so SO exciting and SO MUCH FUN having them here. I miss having nonsensical friends around. Not every weekend needs to be quite so much go-go-go anymore, but I miss having things to do and places to go with people. Some weekends do get really lonely up here. I have friends, but they are my only friends and I’m only one of theirs. Hahaha they have other things going on and they have family commitments. Now that spring is coming, the warmer weather will let me be outside running and biking again. Sheesh just going walking for an hour is amazing! I’m a terrible couch-sitter!!

Thanks to my boys for booking tickets and coming up, thanks to my Detroiters who made them feel welcome and partied with them. It was by far my favorite weekend so far in Detroit!


A week of intermittent fasting

Happy Hump Day from the middle of the (sub) arctic tundra! I have another post brewing about my experiences with a real ‘winter’ coming, aren’t all 3 of you still reading this excited?!

I’m always curious to try out new things, and given my life is sadly sedentary at the moment (it’s just too stinking cold!), I figured why not give Intermittent Fasting a try to see how I feel. When I’m at my usual go-go-go I’m pretty much always hungry, so I don’t know that this could work for everyone, but for right now I feel good.

So what is intermittent fasting? There are several ways to do it, but at the core, it’s the idea that there are specific times you eat, and specific times you fast. During the fasting your body uses the stored sugars/fat as energy and all around it’s supposed to help you shed fat. There are a bunch of articles on it (that I’m not going to try to regurgitate because they are the science-folks), I was just curious if I would notice a difference in how I felt or if I liked it. Knowing me and my body, I went with the option where you ‘fast’ for 14 hours a day, and you eat your meals within a 10 hour window.

And the short version… I liked it! I have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but otherwise from when I eat dinner, usually between 7 and 8 pm until lunch the next day, I’m in my ‘fasting’ period. I eat normal meals for lunch and dinner, I’m not eating anything ginormous or unhealthy, I just go longer in between two of the meals. I do notice my lunches now have some sort of carb in them, whether that’s bread on a sandwich or a serving of the absolutely amazing potato soup I made last weekend, but I’m certainly not inhaling anything crazy. I’m drinking water throughout the day. The only thing I’ve noticed so far is my portion sizes at meals seem to be smaller, or I’m more aware of when I’m full. One or the other. Hopefully that means my stomach is starting to shrink just a smidge! I can really do some damage on a plate of food Smile

While I haven’t been on the scale, other than a ‘lighter’ feeling in the morning, I don’t feel like I’ve lost any weight. I am curious how quickly the hangry-ness comes back once I’m up and doing more each day. This may be overly naive, but I’m hoping the worst of the winter-weather is done and I can start walking into work again (I did 3 days last week and have walked twice this week so far), but it’s all dependent on the weather. When that happens I’ll probably go back to my tomato juice and hard boiled eggs for breakfast – it’s just so good!

There’s a rowing machine down in my basement, so I’m going to start doing that a couple times a week to just do SOMETHING. Between that and walking, hopefully it tides me over one more month until the temperature starts staying in the 30s! Fingers crossed!! My sanity could use a little sweatiness!Smile


2015 Resolutions Check-In–1 month in

Welp, 1 month into the year and how am I doing? Better in some areas than I expected, but ok overall. Here’s to the shortest month of the year, let’s see what kind of damage I can do to these goals if I really sit and focus for the next 28 days of February!!

  • Sit for and earn my PMP – Check! 
    • I can’t really do anything about this until at least April, but I’ve done my research for what paperwork needs to be filled out and how to study for the test!
  • Patience/Stress Management – Check! 
    • This one has really surprised me, I’ve been kicking butt here! It hasn’t been a super stressful month by any means but still I hope to keep this going!!
  • Make a big dent in debt – Check! 
    • I set up a Mint.com account with buckets I can drop each transaction on my debit card into. I definitely notice that doing this I spend more money than I think I do. I may have to readjust some of my budgets here in a few days (It was a fairly normal month), but it has been a great learning experience! I need to re-examine some of my initial goals at the beginning of the year with what I’ve learned, but I know this one is doable.
  • Explore more of the new city I live in (3 new places each month) – Check!
    • I nailed this one! This one really shouldn’t be hard, I love trying new places. I took a trip out to Penn St to watch the Purdue/Penn St basketball game with Tommy and Kristin and we ate at a bunch of new places there! It was also my first time driving through Pennsylvania (which was absolutely beautiful!). It definitely counts. I also went ‘fowling’ for my birthday here in Detroit and to a new foodie place in Ferndale for drinks before a sketch comedy show I went to last Friday.
  • Cut back on the amount of sugar I eat – Epic Fail
    • If anything it feels like I’ve eaten a ton of sugar this month. I definitely need to do better on this one next month!
  • Maintain my 4 solid workouts each week – Epic Fail 
    • I’m still doing 1-2x weekly body weight workouts at lunch with a few of my developers, but other than occasionally walking to work when it gets to 30 degrees outside, I haven’t been working out. I’ve pretty much gone backwards on this resolution! I did Crossfit once after Christmas, but when I went through the budgeting exercise with Mint realized it’s just too expensive for me right now. With it being so cold I’m thinking about just shelling out the money for a gym membership up here, but a gym membership would be in the $30-$50 range per month instead of $125!

2015 Resolutions

Welp it’s about that time again to sit down and think about what goals I want to set in 2015. Two of these carry over from last year, but the rest are all new! It’s been awhile since I had a whole bunch of “new” goals to hit in a year. But I’m determined to do it! Aim big, right?!

At the Crossfit box I joined, they put a bug emphasis on setting “SMART” goals. (SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely), so I’m going to apply that to each of these. There are fewer on the list this year, but they are also completely new that I’ve never tried to tackle before and I wanted to keep it realistic. (Ha! see what I did there?!)

Anywhooo here I go. The first 3 are my biggies!

  • Sit for and earn my PMP
    • In April I will have 36 months of project management experience and I can sit for the PMP exam. While it won’t make a difference in my day-to-day life, the extra certificate keeps me in a good position career-wise should I ever leave this job or drop out of the workplace for awhile. I want to sit for the test in the late spring/early summer so that I have the whole summer to go around and play in the sunshine!
  • Patience/Stress Management
    • I have a high-stress job, it’s part of the gig. I love what I do! But right now I pretty much only manage the stress through the occasional run (which it’s too cold to do outside right now) and twice-weekly Crossfit. While both certainly help, when I’m extra-busy or really stressed out, it really affects my sleeping and my appetite (basically both disappear and my stomach twists in knots). I really want to figure out a better way to deal with stress (and in turn patience!) than I have in the past.
  • Cut debt in half
    • Another carry over from last year. But I set specific monetary goals for each month. I got this! I think I’m in a better spot to get a grip on this this year, and it’ll still be quite the challenge with at least 4 weddings (2 of them family) popping up this year. It’ll take quite a bit of strategery but I can do it if I really focus!
  • Explore more of the new city I live in – 3 new places each month!
    • One of my coworkers gave me this ‘insider’s’ book to Detroit. At some point I need to get over not wanting to go places by myself and just get out there and go explore some of the places in the book. The book is HUGE so I won’t get to them all – particularly ones that are in more questionable parts of town – but no reason I can’t make a decent dent in what I have. Let’s see if I can get through 36 places in 2015!
  • Cut back on the amount of sugar I eat
    • This one is so funny.. because as a result of kicking the soda habit, I find myself eating a lot more sugar and sweet things. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional dessert, but I think I probably eat a lot more sugar than I think I do. I’m already pretty good about reading labels, but starting tomorrow I’m going to *attempt* to go 1 month without sugar to see how I feel. If it’s fruit, that’s no problem. Honestly the hardest part of this will be the 1 or 2 times a week I drink coffee, my coffee is definitely sweet!
  • Maintain my 4 solid workouts each week!
    • Semi-carried over from last year, but I want to keep this up. Now that the holidays and all the yummy once-a-year indulgences are done, I want to clean my diet back up and get back to hitting the gym hard. And I know it’s cold, but I’d at least like to get back into walking. If I can get myself to walk to/from work (which OMG!) I think the extra movement would do wonders. I definitely feel cooped up inside most of the time up here in Michigan. There’s something about fresh air I definitely miss!

Eff Yeah 2014

Like the past few years, with the end of the year wrapping up it’s time to sit down and look back through the awesome things I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this year. I’ve done this the past few years (2011, 2012, 2013) and because I’m the sappy-sap I am, I have a good time reminiscing through the fun times of the year.  This list is, “…that list of badass things you accomplished throughout the past 12 months – big and small – that makes you want to dance naked around the kitchen with pride.” This year was a mix of high-highs and low-lows, but on the whole it was a great year. I grew and learned a lot in 2014, bring on 2015!!

So without further ado, here is my list of things that made me say “EFF YEAH” in 2014!

1. I pretty much picked up and moved across the country to Michigan! I still need to work out some details and it’s not technically done-deal, but even if I go back at this point, the opportunity came up and I jumped on it and got in my car.
2. I went to the NCAA National Championship Basketball game in Dallas!
3. Dave took me and Jax up in his airplane and we flew around Dallas in a little propeller plane – SO cool!
5. I spent the entire summer traveling around
6. I finally got to paddleboard on the west side of Michigan in Lake Michigan!
7. I finally tried Crossfit and (not surprising!) I really liked it. We’ll see how long I’ll be able to push my body like that, but it’s been fun so far.
8. My sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor in her wedding next year!!
9. Enjoying the ASWS even more than last year, which I didn’t think was possible! Each year gets better and better. This year having played with the Team Detroit team all summer, it was so fun to know two teams so well.
10. Getting another holiday season with my entire family together! With both siblings engaged and my grandparents getting older, I’m not sure how much longer that will be as feasible.
11. Staying healthy and active all year – I know people say it, but it’s such a true thing that you feel so much better.
12. Pushed myself WAY OUT of my comfort zone so many times this year! In ways I don’t even know how to list out!
13. Deuces to the soda habit!!!
14. Professionally took some huge strides forward in my career. I worked my butt off the past few years and I’m so much further ahead of where I was last year that I’m excited to see what happens in the next year.


2014 Resolutions Check-In

Well it’s about that time as the year comes to a close to take a peak at where I netted out with my 2014 resolutions. Ha! Spoiler alert that it of course could’ve been better with two of them and they’re going on next year’s list! But with all the life changes that happened this year, on the whole I’m happy with the year. Really, it was a great year from a goals perspective, and I really took advantage of unique opportunities that came along. It was definitely a hard year, and a growing year, but looking back at what I wanted to accomplish this year (and then DID!) helps keep the memories of what was hard at bay. You take the good with the bad, right?

  • Travel more, at least once internationally and ideally someplace new – Check!
    • Done, done, done! I didn’t get to travel internationally, but especially over the summer and fall I was all over the place and very happy with all the adventure. There was a trip to Washington DC, several to Austin, one to San Antonio for the 2014 ASWS, one to Chicago, one to Ohio, several to Indiana, a cross-country road trip, and exploring all-around my new state of Michigan!
  • Get back into running shape and run at least one race a quarter – Check!
    • This turned into the year where I tried out a whole bunch of different types of fitness programs and I ended up really liking it. Because of that, I’m calling this one done! I ran regularly from March-September and then it started getting cold, but I ran two 5Ks and one 10k up here in Michigan in that time. I also did 5 triathlons this year! But I also tried Orangetheory, Crossfit (which I’m still doing!), PiYo, and Convict Conditioning.
  • Patience/Stress Management – Epic Fail
    • This will be a repeat in 2015… I really really struggled hard with this all year and definitely still have a lot left to work on for this. It would be nice if there was an easy way to measure progress in this.. but nope, because that would be too easy! Granted there were a lot of big decisions to make at the end of this year, but patience/stress management went out the door and that completely defeated the purpose of putting this one my resolutions list to begin with. Ha! Oh well, trying again in 2015!!
  • Cut debt in half – Epic Fail!
    • Not even close. This is the one I’m most disappointed in. I had a great time this summer living it up and trying to soak in as many experiences as possible. But unfortunately it affected this resolution. I already know for next year I’m setting some smaller incremental goals to hit it.
  • Get 4 solid workouts in each week – Check!!!
    • Crushed this one! I mentioned it in the running resolution, but I tried a bunch of different types of fitness this year and on the whole I think I stayed healthier for longer without the “all or nothing” mentality that’s plagued me in the past. I’m so proud of this one and feel in a good place to keep going in 2015, and good timing since I have 2 family weddings in 2015.
  • Bring breakfast/lunch to work at least 3 days a week – Check!!
    • Another goal I really crushed this year! It really was the turning point for cooking and bringing food and not spending so much money eating out all the time. This was another one that I’m pretty excited with. This because so regular that I don’t feel the need to include this on the list for next year #gome
  • Blogging once a month – Sort-of check!
    • Yeahhhhh on the whole I blogged more in 2014 than I had in years past BUT I didn’t post once a month. I’m going to keep this on the list for next year.
  • Do at least 4 things this year that really scare me – Check!
    • DONE DONE DONE.  I nailed this one also and spent most of the year pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And for the most part I think it ended well… some were hard and just bad decisions, but I tried! I’m on the fence if this will be on next year’s list or not.
  • Kick the soda habit… again – Check!
    • DONE! I waivered back and forth, but mentally I know I’ve kicked it. I have one occasionally (like when my dad offers me a glass with a cold one in it to be hospitable) but I went through two 3+ month stretches without them. I did start occasionally drinking coffee, but it might be once or twice a week. I also started drinking some tea. This one definitely doesn’t need to be included on next year’s list.

In the Garden of Beerdom

I’m jumping out of order here and posting about the weekend I just had (I’ll be jumping back to my Bucket List summaries this week, but for now, let’s talk about the amazing weekend I just had!)

When I found out I’d be up here for awhile, I knew I needed to sneak in an extra weekend with my favorite DGs. The only date that worked for people was this weekend, and it just so happened it was the same weekend two of my friends had already bought tickets for a Trolley Pub Crawl put on by the Chicago History Museum called ‘In the Garden of Beerdom’. Basically they’d go to 4 hole-in-the-wall bars, be at each for a drink, and then get back on the trolley and head to the next place. In between, the tour guide gave us a little history on the bar and the neighborhood it was in. And a ticket was $30… ummm nerdy history + beer + friends.. SOLD! I bought my ticket and counted down the days to the weekend.

I took the train from Royal Oak to Detroit on Friday afternoon and got in right around 8:30pm. Kristen was so nice to pick me up from Union Station, and then we headed back to her condo. Once there we met up with her bf, Joey, and headed down to Noodles & Co for dinner. Afterwards we went to Guthrie’s, which is a neighborhood bar by her that has a good beer selection and a bunch of board games you can play. The three of us played Guess Who, Candyland, The Game of Life, and Battle of the Sexes. All of a sudden I hit a wall, and realized it was 2am… umm yeah. I’d been up at 5am that morning to go play golf with one of my devs, by the time we were back at the condo it was 3:30am. Yeah, I’d almost pulled an all-nighter! No wonder I was so exhausted!!

Saturday we all slept in straight til 10:30 (and even then waking up was a struggle!). We showered, grabbed breakfast at Einstein’s, and then met up with Joey’s sisters to play trivia. The trivia at this place was INSANE.


It was the championship tournament, and there were 87 TEAMS!! And, they made you check your cellphone at the door. I left mine at the bottom of my purse and didn’t touch it, but seriously, if you were caught with a phone, your team was disqualified no. questions. asked. The first round was only ok, we got about half the questions right, and then it went all downhill. I couldn’t believe how hard it was! I’m not sure how anyone knew these answers. Finally around 4:30, we packed it in and started walking back to Kristen & Joey’s condo to wait on Meghan & Cody who were coming down from Madison to join us.

We enjoyed happy hour out on the patio before getting dressed for dinner and heading over to Coast. Coast was an awesome sushi place that was also pretty cheap! And it was BYOB, so you know I loved it!!


From Coast, we headed over to this awesome Prohibition-era bar called The Violet Hour. We waited for about 20 minutes to get in, but once inside it was really cool. From the outside all you can see is this light, there’s no signage or anything.


We finished out the night there and cab-bed it home, but it was a fun night! And once again, the old-lady in me was very happy to finally crash and go to sleep!!

On Sunday we woke up, showered, and headed back down to Old Town to enjoy something I hadn’t had in 6 whole weeks… MEXICAN FOOD!!


I had my heart sent on enchiladas, but once I saw they had a brunch menu, I knew I’d be regretting not getting my beloved migas. It absolutely hit the spot and I had the craziest happy-grin on my face the rest of the day!! We also met up with Jason and Amy at the museum and caught the trolley to start our tour. Our first stop… the J Parker.

     JParker3  JParker2

It was a rooftop bar atop this boutique hotel (The Lincoln Hotel) and the views were breathtaking! It was sunny and warm outside and it was just amazing. We could’ve sat there all day chatting and soaking up the vitamin D. But about 30 minutes later we were back on the trolley and heading to our next stop. Stop 2 was The Plymouth.

              Stop2_Plymouth    Stop2_Plymouth2

This patio was so fun (and covered!) and my Moscow Mule was delicious!! Getting out of the sun for a little bit was awesome and I think it perked everyone up for the rest of the trip. Stop 3 was a total dive, and by dive I mean I felt absolutely at home there. It was called Happy Valley.

Stop3_HappyValley   Stop3_8bit

Happy Valley is one of the few Peter Hand breweries left in Chicago. And the pale ale I had there (pictured above) cracked me up. Being that I work with developers, it seemed fitting that I had to try it. And it was pretty good! Not too hoppy, so I liked it!!

Last stop was Clark Street Ale House.

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I tried a German Weiss there that was delicious, but it was getting close to the time I needed to head back to Union Station and catch my train back. So unfortunately I had to rush out of there and say quick goodbyes to everyone. But I will be back!

I had such a good time catching up with everyone and it was so weird to be leaving knowing that we would be getting together again in the next month or so. I’m used to going a year in between visits! Also knowing it was the end of my crazy traveling for awhile, it was a great end to a great stretch!! Now I’ll be in Michigan for at least the next two weeks before heading home. Operation make-Michigan-more-of-a-home and less of a temporary situation begins next week. I’d love to make some more friends and start to meet new people. Definitely will be pushing me out of my comfort zone, so here is fingers crossed that it’ll go well!! Smile


Adding another thing to my list of “first” I’ve experienced… actually wearing jeans in the summer time and walking around outside! Holy bananas!! I was planning on heading to Dayton over the 4th of July weekend, but plans had to be altered a little last minute. I still went to Dayton, but I didn’t leave until Saturday so on Friday the 4th of July, I decided to head out to Ann Arbor and tackle a couple items off my list.

After a 4 mile run that morning, I went home to shower, change clothes, and eat breakfast before heading down to downtown Detroit to play tourist. I walked all along the riverfront. I saw the memorial to Joe Lewis and wandered around the River Walk area.


It was a lovely if slightly chilly day. I stopped in to The Detroit Shoppe on the way back to the car to tackle Bucket List #22: Buy something uniquely Detroit from the Detroit Shoppe. Sold! I got a cute navy Detroit burnout shirt. (And I wondered if I was officially a local since I’d bought a shirt…. probably not yet.) After walking around a little more and enjoying the day with iced-coffee in hand, I got back in the car and decided it was the perfect time to make a day trip out to Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is about 45 minutes to an hour away from my place in Royal Oak, and downtown is another 20 minutes away. So by the time I made it to Ann Arbor, my stomach was absolutely growling and ready for some food. A couple Yelp searches and I found a delightful little brewery that was open. My view at Grizzly Peak Brewing Company.


I settled for their Kolsh beer and a Michigan Cherry Salad, which has quickly become my go-to salad here. It’s basically a spinach salad with grilled chicken, feta (or bleu cheese depending on the restaurant), almonds or pecans, and the most amazing Michigan cherries. We’re in cherry country, and they’re amazing. Not too sweet and not too tart. Le swoon. SERIOUSLY.

After quelling the hangry-belly-beast, I walked down through downtown and over the U of Michigan campus.


So far in my tour of Big 10 schools (Purdue, Penn St, Michigan St), there’s been a lot of red brick and very classic looking campuses. U of Michigan was very different. There was some red brick, but mostly seemed to be a mish-mash of different architectures all spread out throughout Ann Arbor. I think having the school in the middle of the “city” made it seem larger than it was because at the time I remember thinking I’d never seen a campus so big! But after talking to some U of M alums, it’s more that it’s spread-out versus the university being that big.

Of course I had to make a pit stop by the Delta Gamma house to see how it measured up. Spoiler alert… the 303 at Purdue will always have a special place in my heart, so it’s unlikely to ever be topped! But I did love that this chapter had the same gold anchor in it’s yard that we have. And at least from the front, it looked a lot smaller than the 303. But it could’ve been a very long house for all I know. Either way. Awesomeness!


I had one more stop to make on the Ann Arbor tour… a pit stop at the football stadium. It was a necessity for all I’d heard of it.

      UofM_Stadium3   UofM_Stadium

It also didn’t disappoint! The stadium really is built into the side of a hill, and easily felt like it was 2-3x the size of good ‘ole Ross Ade at Purdue. I could totally see how tailgating and football games here are something to be experienced! Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get to go to a game this fall. Fingers crossed!!

I made it back home late in the afternoon, and at that point was most definitely ready to veg out on the couch for awhile. A couple hours later I headed up to Novi to meet up with my friend Tim (a former coworker) for dinner and drinks. I hadn’t seen him since December, so it was great to catch up. He’s loving his new job, but we’re still friends in spite of that. It’s fun having over folks to reach out too, and as much fun as it was, it definitely made me that much more excited to start making some friends out here. I love love love my coworkers and we’re very close, but still, I think it’s the last step to making this feel more real and less “temporary”.


Michigan Bucket List #8: Detroit City FC Game

One of the really fun things about exploring a new city is getting to see the funky little traditions that are crazy oh-so-different than what you’re used to. And the Detroit FC game was one of them!! In Detroit they have probably the equivalent to a triple AAA soccer team. This is easily two or three levels down from MLS soccer. Games are held at a big local high school (Cass Tech) in downtown Detroit and they are the Detroit City Football Club.


It was a beautifully sunny 90ish degree Sunday, and me, my boss, and another coworker (along with their wives and kids) packed up and headed down to the game. In short.. what a crazy experience! The games are played on Sunday afternoons/evenings and the $5 tickets sell out most weeks. Not only are they packed with avid Detroit FC fans, but the fans are up dancing/chanting/cheering choreographed cheers. An entire section of the bleachers, is screaming at the top of their lungs and doing dances THE. ENTIRE. GAME. I left the game exhausted from just having watched them! And each time they score, the fans go even more bananas if you even thought that was possible. They fire off smoke bombs and the cheering and chanting get to epically loud levels.


I never ever would’ve found this on my own. I’d call it a grassroots thing, but really, there were 2,000 people there. It wasn’t grassroots or small by any stretch of the imagination! I can only imagine the season ticket holders going into work each Monday morning hoarse and hung over (because oh yeah, there was copious amounts of drinking in this crowd!!). And oh yes, there were season ticket holders, and those that were very proud to tell you about it. Apparently the waiting list to get season tickets is a decent length. Who would’ve ever though?!?

It’s hard comparing two cities, especially when I’m still so new to this one, but what a fun and cool little adventure I had. It’s stuff like this have have made this summer so memorable and an awesome adventure. I’m so fortunate I’ve been able to do it!!