A Day at the Beach: South Haven, MI

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Monday was our 8 year anniversary, 2 years married and 6 years dating. Brett and I both took the day off of work so we could spend time together. We decided to head to South Haven which is about an hour from our house.

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South Haven is a little town in Southwest Michigan located along Lake Michigan. One of the best things about Michigan is all of the lakes! We usually spend time at one of our smaller local lakes but being only an hour from Lake Michigan is pretty amazing. South Haven is special to me because my grandpa, the landscape artist, worked on the design of the downtown area.

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We started our day at the beach by wandering through the downtown area with all of the cute shops. My favorites are the Blueberry Store where you can buy products made from locally grown blueberries and the pet store, Decadent Dogs. After wandering through a few stores we stopped for lunch at Clementine’s.

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Clementine’s usually has a line out the door and is a must for any trip to South Haven! Because it was a Monday we were able to get seated right away! I got the Outlaw steak and a strawberry daiquiri. This is my usual Clementine’s order.

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After lunch, Brett and I headed for the antique stores. We love to go hunting for antiques! My favorite thing to collect are tea cups and dishes of any kind. I’m lucky to have a set of china from my grandma but I still love collecting pieces of china here and there. Brett collects aviation related items and vintage signs. Brett was able to find an aviation sign for our outdoor bar and some vintage beer labels for our basement.

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We grabbed some boba smoothies and headed for the beach! It was the perfect summer day in Michigan, 81 degrees and sunny! The beach was pretty packed for a Monday but we were able to find a parking spot right away! We set up camp near the water and I read while Brett napped. We did a bit of swimming and hanging out on the sand bar.

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Being at the beach always makes me sleepy so after a couple of hours we packed up. Before heading home we made sure to stop at Sherman’s Ice Cream! Sherman’s is a must for any South Haven adventure! My favorite ice cream flavor is Chocomania.

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We had a great beach day and it definitely reminded me that I need to make more time to spend with Brett. We spend a ton of time with family and friends but rarely make time for just the two of us unless we are traveling. I loved spending the day with him!

If you are ever visiting Michigan, I would highly recommend a day in South Haven! We barely scratched the surface of all of the great things to do in this adorable beach town!

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I Just Want to Travel

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I love to travel. There’s just something so amazing about exploring a new place, culture, way of life, that really makes me feel alive. I love wandering around new cities and getting lost. I love listening to people speak different languages and wondering what they are saying.

Every year my vacation days refresh and I begin to plan all of the things I want to do and see. My work is pretty good about vacation time but it never seems to be enough for me. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore!

Brett also loves to travel so we talk constantly about the next places on our bucketlist. In 2020 we really want to visit Amsterdam and Prague but I’d love to sneak in a few days in London. We didn’t plan a big trip in 2019 because we traveled to Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida again. I think we will visit Massachusetts or New Hampshire in the fall though!

Travel is something that is always on my heart and mind. I visited Europe for the first time in 2011 and became addicted to exploring new places. There are so many places that I haven’t been and I’m looking forward to visiting all of them!

Do you love to travel?

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Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

 

 

Learning How to Say “No”

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I’m a people pleaser and that’s not always a good thing. I hate disappointing people and nothing brings me more joy than helping someone in need. This people pleasing quality gets me in trouble a lot of the time because I make other people happy but don’t have time to chase my own happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately with this because sometimes people take advantage of how caring I am. I get myself in situations where I’m so busy taking care of other people that I don’t take care of myself. I end up exhausted, crying, and swearing that I’ll make a change and start saying “no”.

This weekend we had a family member ask me to do something for her and her family that went way too far. I want to help them but helping them would hurt my mental health in a way that would take too long to recover from. I don’t want to go into details but I had to have a serious conversation with Brett and luckily we both agreed that I had to say no.

Saying no is hard, especially when you love the person and want to help them. But sometimes you have to say no in order to protect yourself from damage. It feels selfish and wrong but it’s needed. I hate disappointing people and I know that this decision will hurt my relationship with the person. But this time I have to put myself first. I have to save myself from something that will damage me.

Taking care of yourself is more than just “self-care Sunday”. Taking care of yourself means protecting your mental health, your energy, and your well-being. It means learning to say “no” to things that will hurt you. Put yourself first, you’re worth it!

Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Any advice on getting over being a people pleaser?

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Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

I love summer reading! I’m always looking for a book that I can relate to that’s not too serious. Something that I can get lost in for a little while. I had read a few other reviews for Love and Other Words and added it right away to my TBR list.

Summary:

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

Review:

I started reading this book on one of the nights where we had a bad storm and our power went out. I read for about an hour and decided that I didn’t really like it. I was disappointed because I really thought I’d like it. My friend encouraged me to keep reading it and I’m glad they did!

I fell in love with Macy and Elliott. I loved their story and their characters. I cried with them, laughed with them, and cheered them on throughout the book. I loved the flashbacks to when they first met and fell in love. There’s just something so magical about falling in love and this book was special because you get to see it happening twice.

Macy’s story was rough to read but so powerful. I loved that she was fiercely independent but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do with her life. This book shows her struggles and you get to watch her overcome so many things from her present and her past.

Favorite Quotes:

“I give myself three more seconds to look at him, and it’s like another punch to the gut. He’s my person. He’s always been my person. My best friend, my confidant, probably the love of my life. And I’ve spent the last eleven years being angry and self-righteous. But at the end of the day, he tore a hole in us, and fate ripped it wide open. “I’m going to go,”

“Sometimes it feels like I think about you every minute,” he whispered.”

“Tell her you love her. Girls need the words.”

“Admissions make feelings intensify simply because they are given space to breathe. Admissions lead to love, and admitting love is like tying yourself to a train track.”

“Don’t spoil her with toys; spoil her with books.”

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Again, I didn’t think I would love this book after reading it for a little bit. But in the end the powerful story and brilliant characters won me over. Macy’s family dynamics broke my heart but her love with Elliott sewed it back together.

Love and Other Words was a cute read but felt more meaningful than my normal YA romance book. It brought me back to my first relationship and heartbreak. It made me feel for these people who are really just characters in a book. It made me wonder if maybe these characters are based off of real life people?

I haven’t rated a book so highly yet in my book review series. I thought long and hard about this but honestly I think Love and Other Words deserves 4.5 stars. It was almost perfect in my eyes.

Have you read any good books lately?

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Murad Skincare Review

Murad Acne Products

I shared my acne story a couple of months ago and had a lot of great feedback on it! I hate hearing that other people are also struggling with acne and skin problems but I love how we are able to have open and honest conversations together. It’s hard to share something so personal with the internet but I would be happy to help just one other person with their acne journey.

Today I thought I’d share a super honest review on Murad. I first heard of Murad from our Danish exchange student when I was in high school. She came to Michigan with a tube of the acne spot treatment and let me borrow it to help with my acne and it worked really well!

A few years later when I was in college I was really struggling with my acne and saw that same spot treatment at Ulta. I noticed that they had the Clear Control 30-Day Acne Kit ($38) and immediately purchased it. Even though it was about 5 years ago I can remember my exact thought after trying the clarifying cleanser for the first time. I remember this moment because I still think the same thing every time I was my face with the Murad Clarifying Cleanser. I think “this feels and smells like a spa treatment”!

I first purchased these Murad products when I was in college with a really tight budget. I honestly feel like all of the Murad products are really reasonably priced for how well they work! I don’t mind investing in my skincare because I know what it’s like to have bad acne and I don’t want to go down that path again. One of the things I love most about Murad is that I know the products work for me so it never feels like a waste of money. I can’t even tell you how many times I have repurchased all of these products at this point!

My Tried and True Favorite Murad Products

  • Clarifying Cleanser ($30): What more can I say about this product? I love it so much and I have tried a ton of other cleansers! I feel like I am a cleanser expert by now. This makes my skin feel refreshed and clean but not dried out. I can feel it working but it’s not painful. I look forward to washing my face because it feels luxurious and spa-like. If you are going to buy just one Murad product I would recommend the Clarifying Cleanser!
  • Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment ($22): This was my first Murad product and what made me want to try more. For the most part, I don’t have a ton of new breakouts that form. But I always have a tube of this spot treatment on hand for any unexpected breakouts that form. This is easy to throw on and walk away because I know that it will get the job done!
  • Skin Perfecting Lotion ($40): I fell in love with this Skin Perfecting Lotion pretty quickly after buying my first Murad starter kit. I’d put it on after washing my face and could feel it start working right away. I contribute a lot of my clear skin to this product right here. One bottle easily lasts me 3-4 months and I use it every single day!
  • Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15++ PA ($40): Moisturizer is the most important part of my skincare routine. I always look for something that has SPF in it to wear during the daytime. This is my go to moisturizer for the summer because it’s a bit heavier than normal moisturizer. It makes my skin feel hydrated but not greasy. Best of all, it protects my skin from the sun while doing my normal day to day activities.

I have tried a few other Murad products and really loved them too but these are just my everyday favorites that I use to keep my skin healthy and clear. I still have breakouts every once in a while but it’s nowhere near my cystic acne that I had a few years ago.

I feel much more confident in my skin now and realize how important it is to invest in my skincare routine. I don’t change up my skincare products a ton because I have a good thing going. I do have a few other favorite skincare products that are not from Murad that I can share at a later date.

If you are struggling with acne, just keep trying products until you find what works best for you! I tried SO many other products before I found Murad. What works for me may not work for you. It’s frustrating and expensive but you are worth it! Skincare is something that I am passionate about because it’s been an uphill battle to get where I’m at now with my skin.

What are your favorite skincare products? Have you found any life changing acne products?

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Saying Goodbye

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Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you don’t know when goodbye is coming.

I’ve mentioned Brett’s grandparents many times in travel posts and quarterly goals. His grandma and grandpa moved to Florida 20ish years ago. Brett and I made a point to go down and visit them at least once a year and they became another set of grandparents for me to love.

Grandma Emma passed away on November 30th, 2017. She was a fierce woman who stood strong for everything she believed in. I loved her stories about all the places they traveled, her brutal honesty, and her love for her family. We’d sit on the couch in the Florida room for hours and just chat about anything and everything.

Emma made the best homemade chocolate frosting, french toast, and roast. Each visit she’d welcome us with a homemade cake and a hot dinner. We shared a love for travel, books, music, and the Bailey family. The first time I met her she dragged me to her closet and had me try of dozens of Mardi Gras beads. I really cherish the time we had together.

Grandpa Ed passed away on July 15th, 2019. This loss hit me really hard. He was a WWII veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and an amazing story teller. He was stubborn, strong, and had a great sense of humor. He looked so much like Brett. Ed passed away suddenly and at 97 years old it was still unexpected.

Ed is the reason why Brett loves airshows and aviation as much as he does. He’s also the reason why Brett has so much respect for our military and our country. He taught Brett to love history and introduced him to many of his favorite movies. Ed was a hero and I feel honored to have known him. My last words to him were “see you soon” and I know I’ll see him again one day.

We will be traveling down to Florida soon to celebrate Ed’s life with our family. He will be missed but Brett and I will make sure to pass on his legacy to our future children and grandchildren. The sacrifices he made for us will not be forgotten.

This week has been hard (and it’s only Tuesday!) but I feel good knowing that Emma and Ed have been reunited. I aspire to have 70+ years of marriage and to travel the world like they did.

See you later, Ed and Emma!

“After all, to the well organized mind, death is but the next greatest adventure.” – J.K Rowling

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Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

June According to my iPhone

June 2019

June was a good month! We slowed down a bit at work so I was able to enjoy my time more and get projects done. I enjoyed time with friends and family and finished a lot of projects around the house. We were also finally able to take a vacation! All in all, it was a really productive month!

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One of the first things Brett and I were able to get done in June was getting a couples massage! Brett got me a gift certificate for Valentine’s Day to a local castle bed and breakfast. We’ve been there a couple of times for dinner but this was our first massage there. It was a great way to start the month!

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Next up is this adorable picture of our cat, Lucy. She loves the bench in our sun-room and is so happy to sit out there whenever the sun is shining.

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We spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house on the lake this month! On this particular trip, we took a 1.5 hour tour around the lake and stopped for ice cream. While Brett ran inside to get ice cream I snapped this picture of Oscar “driving” the boat. He loves being out on the water!

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Is there anything better than a lake sunset? This was the view when we got off the boat that night.

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My parents went to Hawaii to visit my sister so Brett and I watched their two dogs. They have a dachshund named Bruno and a puggle named Megan. The three dogs love eachother!

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I threw my sister in law’s baby shower on June 15th! It was supposed to rain all day so we moved the party inside. I was really busy setting up and playing hostess so I didn’t take any pictures but everything turned out super cute! We got these cupcakes at a local bakery and everyone loved them!

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Vacation time! Brett and I traveled to Oregon to meetup with my friend from Germany and her boyfriend. I hadn’t seen Anna Sophie in four years and it was SO nice to catch up with her! I’ll post more about our trip later.

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My sister in law ended up in the hospital on bed rest at 32 weeks pregnant with twin girls. I picked up all the baby laundry and washed, folded, and sorted it for her. Dreft smells so good!! Brett had to talk me down from my baby fever moment after the baby smells and cute little clothing!

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Speaking of my sister in law, we are also watching her dog, Carolina, while she’s in the hospital. Carolina is a 13+ lab mix who loves cuddles and sleeping. Oscar and Carolina love spending time together!

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Last but not least, our hydrangeas are starting to bloom and I love them! We have two big hydrangea bushes by our front door.

How was your June?

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