Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gift Guide: The Local

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I don't know about you but I didn't eat enough mashed potatoes this year.

Now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to start talking about Christmas. Here in Traverse City we have a great variety of small businesses from boutiques, book stores, restaurants, and more. Since today is Small Business Saturday, when you're encouraged to shop from your local small businesses, I wanted to highlight gifts that are made in Northern Michigan (mostly right in TC).

- Soaking salts from The Great Lakes Bath + Body or any of the other good smelling body products they offer.

- A gift certificate to see a movie at The State Theater (with enough for popcorn too!)

- A favorite wine or beer from a local winery or brewery.

- Something sweet or savory from Cherry Republic.

- Olive oil from Fustini's for the cook in the family. They also offer cooking classes which I hear are a lot of fun, plus you get to eat the food after it's made.

- M22 clothing and accessories so they can show off their love for Northern Michigan.

- Locally made cold weather accessories from Baabaazuzu.

Have a good weekend and don't forget to shop locally for Small Business Saturday on November 28th!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Understanding Homelessness, A Local Coloring Book

One thing I love most about working at the library is being able to interact with people in the community. All types of people walk through the door and it's been nice connecting with individuals I might not meet otherwise.

Randy Parcher and his girlfriend Laurie Koelsch use the computer lab almost every day. Randy is an artist and he's constantly using the available resources to create new and exciting things. I've been lucky enough to witness his talent first hand and have watched him create some amazing work. Randy's most recent project has been a children's coloring book dedicated to educating people about homelessness. At the moment Randy is trying to raise money using a GoFundMe page to get the books printed and he's hoping to have books to sell within the next couple weeks.

Homelessness is a problem in every city and projects like these can help people better understand those who are on the street. To learn more about Randy and his coloring book check out this article from the local news or Randy's personal website.


Friday, November 20, 2015

November Essentials

Hat: This felt hat from Gap was a Christmas gift from several seasons ago. It's the perfect way to jazz up a dull November ensemble and I love the hunter green color. Find similar hats here.

Boots: You can't go wrong with a pair of booties in November. Mine are Lucky Brand.

Sweater: I found this sweater at a second hand shop in Kalamazoo a few years ago. The fact that it was originally a guy's sweater makes it comfortably oversized. The style isn't exactly perfect but it's great for days I just want to stay home and be warm (which is most days).

Dirty Chai Tea: I love dirty chai lattes so when I saw that Celestial Seasonings came out with new Dirty Chai Tea bags I knew had to try them out. It's not much of a surprise that they're amazing. I'm obsessed, much easier than making the espresso separately and certainly less expensive.

Fingerless Gloves: November has been unusually warm for Northern Michigan (well until yesterday) so my favorite pair of fingerless gloves have worked flawlessly this month. If you live where it's chilly but not too cold these are definitely a necessity.

Poetry: I'm currently reading "You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense" by Charles Bukowski. I enjoy reading poetry in the colder months and Bukowski is always good when you're feeling angsty.

Lip Balm: I have a confession; I lick my lips too often (as in all the time) so my lips are constantly chapped in the winter. Since chapped lips are never in style I always rely on my favorite Burt's Bee Mango lip balm.

Hand Lotion: Similarly to lip balm, another late fall/winter necessity is Aveda's Hand Relief moisturizing lotion.

What are some of your November essentials?


Monday, November 16, 2015

My Week In Links 4

Hello lovely readers,

First up, my coworker has an awesome blog where she writes about funny things and gives you library recommendations for all occasions. She recently posted this and I just want number four to be an actual thing. Someone make that happen.

If you want a laugh this gets me every time.

Speaking of laughs. I've gotten back into Hark! A Vagrant lately. I love this blog.

How badly do I want this ring

I'm in love with this jumpsuit from Johanna Ortiz. Everything in her Spring/Summer 2016 collection is beautiful. It's collections like this that make me wish I had followed my childhood dreams of being a fashion designer.

I'm on the hunt for simple, classy Christmas decorations like this one. If only I could figure out what the blog says about it...

I've been obsessively watching Tiny House videos for the past week. There's so many different options out there. 

Well hello beautiful glass planters.

Words to live by.

Please please please don't forget this. It's not religion that makes people violent it's violent people. Do not blame all for one group's actions.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Past The Weather

I was at work last night trying to write drafts of blog posts in my head. It was windy and cold yesterday and my brain kept wanting to start off with the weather. What a cliche. You'd think I'd be able to write a better introduction these days than a description of the weather. The weather is something you chat about with strangers to make things less awkward, and granted most people on the internet are strangers, one of these days we need to get past the pesky small talk and jump into the good stuff.

I'm still amazed that I've had this blog for five whole years now. My first blog post was November 5th, 2010 when I was still under the impression that this was a fitness blog. I haven't always been faithful to writing, and I certainly haven't been faithful to writing about fitness. This blog has morphed into something obscure even to me. I never know what I want to write about anymore. Life I guess? Everything. I always tell myself I'm going to blog more. I'll take more pictures and post every day but that never happens. It's okay. I forgive myself but that doesn't mean I'm ready to give up.

When I first started the blog my intention was to keep a daily schedule but I soon ran out of ideas. I lost momentum. I had nothing good to say so instead of saying whatever else there was I didn't say anything at all. Now I realize playing it safe, not writing because I didn't feel like I had a voice, waiting only for those times I thought I could produce something worthwhile was actually the wrong choice. When you wait for inspiration you end up silencing yourself for longer than you think. When it comes to blogging, or really anything in life, I'm no expert, but I do know that creating is like exercise. The best way to achieve success is to keep a routine.

So I can't promise to blog about one aspect of life specifically. I'm also sure there will be a fair share of less than stellar posts along the way, but after five years of blogging maybe it's time to start trying to open up. Maybe we can get past the weather and on to the good stuff.


Monday, November 9, 2015

The One Where I'm Addicted to My Laptop

I don't think I realized how reliant I was on my laptop until it decided to quit working last Monday night. One minute I was blissfully watching Twin Peaks and the next it was giving me error alerts and restarting every five seconds. Not usually a good sign I'd say. It's funny how a piece of technology can become your whole life. On my days off I am on my computer for probably 70% of the day, whether it's watching Netflix, watching YouTube, filming videos, editing, listening to music, writing a blog post, or just checking up on Facebook.

When it happened my first thoughts were, "shit, what do I do now? How soon can I get a new laptop? How can I afford another Macbook? How can I live my life without a computer?" As silly as it sounds, I thought it would be impossible to live without my own computer. I felt a big ball of stress form in my chest and a sense of loss for this object that represented so much of me. I guess I've always become easily attached to objects in my life. In school I was always hated lending out my pens and pencils because they felt too important. If someone forgot (or didn't really forget) to return a pen I would feel sad and occasionally a little angry.

I know now that these feelings are a waste of time and that writing utensils are not actually an extension of my own hand. My laptop is not a physical representation of my personality or sense of self for the last four and a half years, but sometimes it still feels that way. Remember that episode of Boy Meets World when Shawn finds Angela's purse and falls in love with the woman he believes she is by the items he finds inside? Well I've always considered my computer like Angela's purse; holding my private thoughts, my favorite books, music that I love, pictures of my family and friends. The internet may be an open pathway to the rest of the world but I know plenty of people who guard they're computers like a woman would her purse.

Honestly, I feel like this has forced me to really reevaluate my relationship with my Macbook and how dependent I am upon this technology. There are plenty of chores and activities to be done without a computer. In fact most of what I was doing, with the exception of filming/editing my YouTube videos, can be done without one. Once I got past the original feelings of frustration and the "I have nothing to do" thoughts, my mind felt much more free. I could read a book without being sidetracked by an email or blog post. I could concentrate on watching TV or Netflix without browsing the internet at the same time.

Being without my computer has allowed me to be more deliberate with my actions. I have gotten more done around the house in the last week then I have in the last month. I can't just waste hours of my life on the internet. I've had to adjust my daily schedule, especially my morning and night time routine. Now when I head to bed at 11:30 I spend a few minutes reading before falling asleep instead of spending two hours on my laptop.

I'm currently using my parents' Windows desktop. It's been years since I sat in the spare bedroom typing away on this faulty keyboard but it feels nice here. The more days that pass, the more I'm loving the freedom of living a laptop free life. Yes I have my phone, and I get frustrated when I know something would be that much easier on my own computer. I'm still looking to get a new Macbook as soon as possible, but the necessity and urgency I felt has worn off. It's easy to live in denial until you're forced to be without the thing you're addicted to.


P.S. Don't worry this will still be me the minute I get a new computer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Annual Mackinac Island Family Trip

Hey guys,

My family and I took our now annual trip to Mackinac Island a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful for most of the day until the clouds blew in and the temperatures dropped. When we went last October it wasn't quite so chilly.

Although there were more people on the island this year, we didn't have to worry about fighting crowds or finding quiet paths to walk on. I really do prefer visiting Mackinac in the fall. Despite the weather you can't beat the color and the views.

After a nice walk to visit some of our favorite spots, we all headed back into town for a warm meal and some shopping. Another perk to visiting late in the fall: the sales. Mackinac Island has a surprising number of cute stores with a full stock of items you're likely to find on Etsy; pillows, greeting cards, fancy prints, and so much more. This year I picked up some supplies to make a Christmas bunting for the holiday season. I also ventured into the bookstore and managed to only buy one book. 40% off books will be the death of my bank account. Lastly, I couldn't leave without fudge since you know, I couldn't just buy it downtown Traverse City.

Just before we left the rain started to pour and the boat ride back to Mackinaw City was one of the longest of my life. At one point the boat tipped so far a few children and adults started screaming. Let's just say I've never been happier to be back on land.