Visitors!

We had our very first non family visitors come to see us last month. Anthony and Melissa came to see during her spring break. You might remember them: they’re the goofballs that followed us all the way to Georgia last year. Yes, they came to Michigan on spring break. Yes, they live in Florida. Yes, they were warned what Michigan weather is like in February. But they came anyway. Don’t you just love friends like that? Here’s a short video of a few things we did while they were here. Thank you guys for coming to see us. We’ve missed seeing our friends’ faces and it was such a nice way to break up the winter blahs! 

 

 

We made it

As I type this entry, I’m sitting on my deck in my new house in Michigan. We made it! We left Florida on July 7th. Three days, two nights and over 1,200 miles later, we landed in Michigan. I had grand plans of taking lots of pictures and video and even making another iMovie. But when you’re busy driving the whole way, there isn’t much time left for photos and movie making.

I was overwhelmed with amount of help we had packing and loading our truck. Friends and family started arriving the Thursday before we left and continued Thursday night and Friday. I had friends help load, pack and clean my house. I had no idea we were such messy people until I started putting everything into boxes. But my friends never once pointed it out to me. We have some awesome friends and family, I tell you. The goodbyes were tough Friday night. We said our goodbyes to friends but the hardest was to my brother, my sweet sister in law and her two precious girls, Molly & Ruby. I still tear up thinking about that night. That was a really hard goodbye. If they’re close, go hug your family. I love my brother and his family but they’re more than family; they’re friends. That’s wonderful but makes moving that much harder. 

The actual trip was pretty uneventful once we actually left the Florida house. (We got a late start that morning.) Two more friends came over that morning to say goodbye to us. Anthony and Melissa showed up promptly at 6am to see us off. They waited while we finished up the odds and ends around the house. Then these two goofballs followed us all the way to Georgia! They took a mini road trip that day and saw us off on our way to Michigan. What a wonderful surprise!

My awesome dad volunteered to drive the truck all the way to Michigan. The poor guy was bounced all over the place on rough roads in a truck that didn’t have shock absorbers and kept pulling to the right. He’s such a trooper. I know he doesn’t love the fact that we moved so far away and for him to still volunteer to drive us means a lot to me. A lot. Thanks, Daddy. And my wonderful mom helped me so much with unpacking and setting up the house. I couldn’t have gotten so much done without her. She worked her tail end off while she was here and I want her to know it didn’t go unnoticed. Thanks mom. They stayed for a week and it was a great time. I loved having them here but saying goodbye to them wasn’t easy either. In case you don’t know, I married at a young age (20). So I moved right out of my parents’ house and in with Ken. We moved all the way across the street from my parents. I loved living there for 17 years. We have an awesome relationship with them. We’ve spent countless hours together, watching movies, having coffee, dinner or just spending time together. I’ll admit that the thought of being without my “mommy and daddy” took my breath away as I left them at the airport. (Thank you to Ken for being there for me.) Thanks, mom and dad for all your help with this move. I promise that we’ll see each other more than once a year. I promise. 

Where was I? Oh yeah…The six humans and one lab/shepherd mix made it safe and sound to Michigan on July 9th. So far, we love it. It’s usually cool enough at night to take walks around the neighborhood and a few nights we’ve even slept with the air conditioner off and the windows open! We would NEVER do that on a summer night in Florida. Ever.

I love our little city, too. We’re close enough to walk to all of the following:
grocery store
drug store
Jackson’s school
hardware store
movie theater
library
and countless restaurants

We’ve already made some friends through the church Ken has been attending. They’ve welcomed our little family with open arms. I’m sure these will be lifelong friends. No one could ever replace our friends in Florida but it’s nice to know that we’ll be making some new ones on our adventure here in Michigan.

So there you have it. In a nutshell, that’s our trip to the Great North. I’m sure there will be tons of stories for this Florida Family to tell once winter comes. Heck, I have a hunch that Fall will be colder than any winter I experienced in Florida! I already have some stories I want to share as well as some pictures, so stay tuned. 

 

 

The year of the camera

For the Chinese, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. But for me, this is the Year of the Camera. Remember when my friend Vickie gave me this camera? Well, for my birthday I got two more cameras! Can you believe it? Vickie sent me this Brownie with a box and owner’s manual!! Look at this baby:I can’t wait to get some film and see if it works! Even if it doesn’t work, it’ll be a great addition to my collection. Then, a few days after I got home from my California trip, my other friend Raegan gave me this little number:This is a Metascoflex TLR (TLR stands for twin lens reflex – instead of today’s SLR, single lens reflex).This one didn’t have an owner’s manual but came in this awesome leather case.It has a little window that pops up on top and becomes your viewfinder!And this is probably my favorite picture I’ve taken in a long time. 

305/365:

Thank you, friends! You’ve sent me over the moon with your gifts. See guys, I told you I had the best friends anyone could ask for!

I love technology

Here’s another movie for you: Napoleon Dynamite. Did you see it? Did you see the song at the end? Where Kip sings to his bride about his love for technology? If you haven’t seen it, click here for a 30 second clip of the song. Just like Kip, I love technology. And here’ why: all through my vacation, I was posting photos & updates on Facebook so my family & friends could follow along. I emailed a fellow blogger from the shore and even had a couple of friends download the Find My Friends app so they could follow me on my adventures (thanks Anthony & Melissa!). It was so delightful sharing my fun experiences in and around Santa Monica.

After my time at Leo Carillo Beach, I was hungry. Before I even left for California, my friend Vickie from Lilacs and Cupcakes had told me that I just had to eat at one of her favorite cafes. She couldn’t remember the name, couldn’t remember the address but knew it was across the street from the beach & the Malibu police station. But when I looked up the police station, it was miles from the beach. We went back and forth with text messages and she told me it was right in the middle of a shopping center on PCH. We were getting close: I only saw two shopping centers on PCH. I took a guess, pulled into one, took a picture & sent it to her asking if this was the right one. Lo and behold, it was! Now do you see why I love technology? My friend in Missouri was giving me “directions” to a cafe in Malibu! 

I had a delicious burger at Coogi’s Beach Cafe. Inside, it looks more like a diner than a cafe but the food was divine. I had the pesto burger and oh.my.gosh. So very good.

When I left Coogi’e I decided to head up toward Los Angeles. My friend, Kevin (who lives in Florida), has a brother, Tom, that works at Fox Studios and I was going to meet Tom for dinner. This isn’t something I normally do; meet strangers for dinner but I just had a feeling that this would be fun. Since I still had a couple of hours before dinner, I thought I’d drive around Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive for a bit. I posted on Facebook that I was heading that way and I really felt like everyone at home was cheering me on as I went. I got requests for pictures (but they felt more like threats if I didn’t get pictures). I rushed to get there before dark but the California traffic was working against me. I got there in enough time to snap this picture from the car:

Not a great picture, but proof that I made it! While receiving directions from my dad over the phone, I found The Witch’s House. This old house was in several silent films and can also be seen in Clueless (one of my guilty pleasures).

I told Facebookland that I was now heading to Rodeo Drive. Again, I got requests (or threats) for pictures. Most of the stores were closed when I arrived but, like Beverly Hills, I got some pictures to prove that I was there. I didn’t realize that the window displays are so extravagant there.

Ralph Loren:

Chanel:
Most of the other pictures are too dark to see much of anything but I still had fun wandering around pretending that I could go into any store and buy whatever I wanted. From a new Hugo Boss suit for Ken to some jewelry for me from Cartier. And then I found the mothership: Paper Source. It’s a cute little shop with all things paper and paper crafts including books, wrapping paper, cards, rubber stamps, home decorations. I could have spent an hour in there! But I think the craziest thing I saw at Rodeo Drive were parking meters that take credit cards. Super convenient and a great idea but I never thought I’d see this.

And now it was dinnertime! I followed Tom just a few minutes down the road to Farmer’s Market (be sure to watch the video). And this is why I love meeting people that live in places that I’m visiting: I would never have gone to this place, I would have missed it completely. I highly recommend this place. There’s something for everyone at Farmer’s Market. It was so much fun. So many different places to eat and if I wanted I could have picked up some fruits and veggies. We walked around and decided on a place for dinner – The French Crepe Company.

We ate dinner and then walked around The Grove. Tom is the most fascinating person I’ve met in a long time. He’s a foley editor currently working at Fox Studios. In case you don’t know what a foley editor is I’ll tell you. Anything you hear in a movie that isn’t dialogue is the direct result of foley artists. Background noise, footsteps, cars crashing, keyboard tapping, punches being thrown…all that is created by the foley guys. I could have sat there and listened to his stories for hours. Wait…that’s exactly what I did. Let me stop here and say that I really hate people that are name droppers just for the sake of impressing others. And Tom was nothing like that at all. He had story after story of people he’s worked with but never made it sound like he was trying to impress me or those around us. I know the secret (maybe it’s not a secret but I like to think that it is) of how they made the sound for Face/Off when the boat crashes. I know how they got the sounds for the fight scene. I know that Jim Carrey is most likely a great guy to work with but I probably wouldn’t want to work with director William Friedkin.

Tom and I spent four hours talking movies, his journey to working in the movies, my interview with Roma, houses, the economy, Florida, California. It was so much fun. And like I said, not something I normally do, but I trusted my friends Raegan & Kevin and it payed off. I feel like I have a new friend for life now.

My California trip is quickly coming to an end. My dinner with Tom marked my last night in California. I was to leave the next day. I’ll only have one more post to tell you about the canals in Venice. This was not something I had seen on any of my previous trips to the West Coast and it was amazing. Can’t wait to show you pictures!

And the winner is…

Oh my, am I ever behind? This last week has been super crazy around here. Nothing major, just lots and lots of little things. We took a trip to Legoland on Friday (pictures to follow soon) as well as a trip to Ikea on Saturday (finally got the dining room set I’ve been dreaming about for a year).

I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to picking a winner for the giveaway. In between the announcement for the giveaway & the actual winner being chosen, it’s possible that the my friend, the mask maker, is now in talks with Martha Stewart’s company to be in an issue of her magazine. I cannot even believe it as I’m typing this. She was squealing at the possibility of being in Martha’s magazine. It’s like the Mother Ship was calling her home. I’ll be so happy for her if this goes through. Nothing is set in stone now but just the thought of it makes me over-the-moon excited for her. 

Now, onto the prize. Let me tell you, we had a very high-tech way of doing this. See for yourself.

We had the names of all our contestants:

A random name generator:

And finally a winner was chosen:
Congratulations, Raegan! I’ll be getting your masks to you in the next few days. This was super fun to do and I hope I have the opportunity to do it again sometime.

On the home-front, Ken has started his new job. Today was the first day and it seems like he’s really going to enjoy working for this company. I’m really glad this lay off didn’t last for months and months as it did last time. On one more home-front note, I will get the opportunity to go to California later this month. I’ll share more about that as the date nears but let me tell you this: I just may never come back home! A (almost) free trip to California? Heck, yes! I’m thrilled at the opportunity I’ve been given and can’t wait to share it with you once I have more info. 

My first giveaway!

OK, I promised a giveaway last week and it’s finally here! (My very first giveaway – squeeeeee!)

Let me tell you about my friend Alisha. She is co-owner of Mahalo. They’ve been getting quite a bit of sweet advertising these days. First of all, they were featured in a magazine. The August issue of Parenting magazine. Yes, Parenting magazine! And then that issue of the magazine was on The Office last Thursday. Then they were featured on Gilt.com (similar to Groupon.com). And just this week, I’ve seen them in two other online publications (here on page 53) and here. When I first started this blog, I told you that I had some pretty awesome friends. Remember this post? That post was about my friend Anna. Alisha is Anna’s mom. Cool/awesome/crafty/nifty/swell just runs in that family. 

I’m giving away both of these masks. I think they’d make a cute little Halloween costume, don’t you? All you have to do is leave a comment & tell me your favorite part of Halloween. Personally, I’m not a fan of the holiday. I think most of the decorations are gross and I’m so not good at coming up with costumes that my boys like AND want to wear. I can make a birthday card. But a costume? Not so much. So tell me what all the hoopla is that surrounds Halloween & maybe I’ll enjoy it more this year. It seems as if I’m the only one that’s a party pooper when October rolls around (except on my birthday).

Oh, and tell your friends and family about the giveaway. They don’t have to subscribe to my blog or sign their name in blood (although, that would be fitting for the holiday, no?). I want to get the word out about my awesome friend’s awesome etsy shop. And I don’t want to host a giveaway and have zero comments. So, go comment and go tell your friends, too.

Edit: Since choosing a winner is too much pressure, winner will be chosen randomly. Comments close on Friday.

 

Say hello to my (new) little friend

Remember yesterday when I told you I received a package in the mail? I’m here to reveal the contents. My friend, Vickie, sent me an antique Kodak Brownie camera! I just love her (yes, my camera is a “her”). Take a little look-see and enjoy for yourselves. 

273/365:

And now I have enough for a real collection!

Now I have to find the perfect place to display them. Aren’t they cute little buddies?