Summer Sand

This summer has been filled with sun, sand, and sangria.

Ah. Just the way I like it.

Nieces running in the sand.

Nieces running in the sand.

For the 4th of July, Mr. Speedy’s sister, her husband, and their three children drove in from Nebraska to join us on Lake Michigan in a beach cottage.

Randomly, the property also included a train caboose:

Boxcar Children, anyone? If you know what I am referring too then we are probably book soulmates.

ANYWAYS, we spent three full days burying our toes in the sand, drinking my sister-in-law’s yummy margaritas that involved a number of things and tasted like the most delicious thing ever to hit your lips, and just being together. My brothers even joined us. Here are a few favorite snapshots:

The men in my life.

The men in my life.

Possible Titles: Lover of Me. Lover. I Drool At You, Eternally. Let Me Stare At You.

Possible Titles: Lover of Me. Lover. I Drool At You, Eternally. Let Me Stare At You.

Can we just take a moment and appreciate the utter cuteness of tiny Lillyan—-

Look at those blue eyes.

Look at those blue eyes.

Question- what do you get when you have some seashells with tiny holes, weeds, and time on your hands?

Answer: Fancy crowns only mermaids would wear.

I channeled my inner-Pocahontas and weaved this seashell crown of weeds for my niece, Londyn to wear:

Fancy!

Fancy!

Cool, RIGHT?

We even found a flower to add to it. She had to pose by her Uncle Speedy, sound asleep:

Hello? Are you alive?

Hello? Are you alive?

One of the best parts about this trip was spending time with my sister-in-law.

She is totally an inspiration for the type of mom I want to be- hard-working, supportive, organized, AND did I mention she teaches Jazzercise and is in super shape? Yeah. In between meal preps, bath time, and poopy pants, she does it all.

This e-card sums reminds me of her:

bahahahhaha

bahahahhaha

Also, her and her husband are the cutest. She will hate me for posting this picture BUT can we just comment on her hubby’s dreamy look towards her? UM SWOOOOOON:

If this is not a look of love, then I don't know what is.

If this is not a look of love, then I don’t know what is.

I loved hanging out with them.

This was our first time hanging out with another sibling married couple. It was like a rite of passage and we passed with flying colors… at least I think we did. They didn’t run way screaming to get back to Nebraska.

On a completely unrelated note, my sister-in-law is an excellent cook. She made this bean recipe that is BEYOND any type of pork n bean thing you have had. If you like beans with a BBQ, you must try this out:

Bean Casserole
1 can pork and beans
1 can kidney beans – drained
1 can butter beans – drained
1/2lb browned hamburger
1/2lb cooked bacon
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 TBSP vinegar
Mix all together, put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for an hour. Howeer, she does suggest to put it in a crockpot for a better flavor! 
WARNING: Don’t eat like 5 cups like I did…. you will regret it the next day and your husband will question ever sitting next to you in a car again.
Sincerely,
Lily

The Best Stamp in my Passport

Name this movie-

But Jack, Jack gave me the perfect gift
a stamp in my passport.
He took me to Florence for our honeymoon.
I guess he might say he gave me the world.

While You Were Sleeping.

While You Were Sleeping.

As I held my ticket to Paris, this scene and these words kept replaying in my head.

I was about to see the world, a world I only had studied and read about in Art History, a world that Mr. Speedy knew meant everything to me.

I hope one day I can give him the world.
The trip of a lifetime.
Take him some place he has always wanted to go but never had the chance.
Maybe this will just a be a lifetime of making a home, family, and memories with him?

Here is an overview of what we did/saw during our trip.

First, Mr. Speedy really went above and beyond with our stay in Pairs.
We stayed in a suite at the Saint James Pairs.
A previous mansion that is now a luxury hotel.

The lobby.

The lobby.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Us on the first night outside the Saint James.

Our room was two levels and decorated in highly elaborate fabrics, wallpapers, patterns, and paintings. We had a spiral staircase that made me dizzy. Portraits of people. A set of really tall windows (no screens). It was very unique.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

The sitting room. I LOVE this book wallpaper.

Enough about the room.

Here is what we did:

  • Arc de triomphe
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Musee de l’orangerie (see the beautiful massive Monet waterlilies here)
  • Champs Elysees (major street with shopping, shopping, and more shopping)
  • Musée Marmottan (a tour of a patron’s mansion…. SO much impressionism inside. GO SEE THIS.)
  • Louvre – we did not go in because that would take me weeks to get through, but walked along the outside
  • Notre Dame
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Pont des arts (the lock bridge for lovers — DO THIS IF YOU GO TO PARIS WITH YOUR LOVE)
  • Musee Rodin (MY FAVORITE. I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN HERE.)
  • Les Invalides (Napolean’s tomb…. it is massive and the most regal thing ever).
I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

I started to cry when I saw this. I cried pretty much everywhere I went. It was all so beautiful.

Oh someone was being funny.

Oh someone was being funny.

Zee River!

Zee River!

Lover’s Bridge-

Locks, Locks, Locks.

Locks, Locks, Locks.

He bought a big lock.

He bought a big lock.

Notre Dame.

Notre Dame.

My favorite place- Rodin’s museum and gardens-

I have no idea what I am doing.

I have no idea what I am doing.

Close -up of 'The Kiss'

Close -up of ‘The Kiss’

Napolean’s Tomb-

It was MASSIVE.

It was MASSIVE.

Then we took a train and went to Nice for the rest of the week.

Our hotel was built into the side of a rock formation (Hotel la Perouse), jutting out along the sea. Just above us, we could hike up to the castle ruins and overlook the entire town. Nice was relaxing, less crowded than Paris, and had all the food of Italy. I loved it.

View from hotel.

View from hotel.

Bird!

Bird!

Loved these steps.

Loved these steps.

Mountains in the distance.

Mountains in the distance.

Everything was in bloom!

Everything was in bloom!

We exlored the marina, I got my hair cut, and we sat long the coast.

It was a bit chilly!

It was a bit chilly!

Our room here was very romantic-

Hearts everywhere.

Hearts everywhere.

Kissing.

Kissing.

And the only sunset we caught was on our last night, in a hotel room at the airport, a perfect ending to the entire trip-

Airport sunset.

Airport sunset.

Tell me-

What has been your favorite vacation ever?

Was it Florida?
That time you went on a girls only getaway to your best friend’s house.
Italy.
Somewhere with a beach.
Tell me what blew your socks off.

 

Sincerely,

Lily

 

Honeymoon Location……

Several months ago, Mr. Speedy did something.

On my birthday.

On my birthday.

I was getting stressed over some wedding detail while out to dinner with him, my Mom, and sister. I barely enjoyed my meal because I was so upset and in a fit over whatever (I can’t even remember what it was – money? centerpieces?). I did not finish my meal and remember leaving the dinner feeling selfish and silly and exhausted. How dare this planning rob precious time away from a beautiful dinner with my family and love. What the heck, I thought to myself.

While driving home, Mr. Speedy turned down the radio, grabbed my hand, and told me something that I did not predict at all.

“The honeymoon,” he said. “You have been doing so much with everything else and  I can see it is a lot….. so the honeymoon.”

“Yes? What about it?” I questioned. At this point, we had played around with different places but nothing had formed.

“I am going to take care of it. I am going to plan it, pay for it, and get it all together. You just show up, say ‘I do,’ and fly away with me.”

And then my jaw fell straight into my lap and I melted into a pile of mush.

Really.

I’ll plan it. Pay for it. Show up and marry me then fly away…

WHO SAYS THINGS LIKE THIS? DO ROMANTIC GESTURES LIKE THIS EXIST?

Yes, Mr. Speedy does things like this. I felt just like Carrie in Sex and the City, when Big decides to pick up the tab for their new, beautiful apartment. Like no big deal. I got it.

That being said, here is what I know about the surprise honeymoon:

  • Passport: He asked for this so we are going out of the country and I don’t think it is Canada.
  • No-beach (maybe): We have already done the sun and beach trip to Cancun… something tells me we aren’t repeating that type of trip.
  • Europe: Someone slipped and hinted that we were traveling to this continent… SO I AM PRETTY SURE WE ARE FLYING IN THIS DIRECTION. I REALLY want to go to Europe and we discussed this location a bit before he decided to plan the entire thing. My vote would be France because what better place to go on your honeymoon? Plus, the art. I would…. drool over being able to see Paris.  Or Italy…. Tuscany or Venus? Actually, anywhere on that continent would be fantastically wonderful. Greece. Ireland. Spain England. ANYWHERE.
  • I don’t know what to pack: This is a dilemma. If you think planning a wedding is hard, trying doing that and then packing for a honeymoon where you don’t know the location. YEAH, HELLO SUITCASE ANXIETY

However, he did recently gift me this beautiful Brooks Brothers dress (find it here) and said it was specifically for the trip:

I should probably buy this purse..... don't you think?

I should probably buy this purse….. don’t you think?

I can’t wait to wear it! I also think I should pack this hat, pictured below:

I am the perfect tourist.

I am the perfect tourist.

KIDDING. I only wear that hat to super formal events that involve exotic cheeses and disturbing levels of various peanut butters. In other words, never.

I am contemplating about bringing an almost completely EMPTY suitcase and then I will just HAVE TO SHOP on the honeymoon for outfits. But if Mr. Speedy planned a honeymoon in like rural Antarctica, well, I am not sure how much shopping I will be able to do. So this might not be the smartest plan.

So, let me ask-

What are your favorite items (clothing, type of shoes, etc.) to take on a trip?

What would you bring on a vacation that is a surprise?

Things I am for sure bringing: camera, books, clean underwear, lingerie, my favorite jeans, and my husband.

(I’m not really packing that last item, I just wanted to use the word husband).

Sincerely,

Slightly-Anxiety-Filled-But-Very-Excited-For-The-Surprise-Honeymoon Lily

P.S. He could have really planned a trip to rural Antarctica and I would be happy as a clam. As long as Mr. Speedy is beside me for the entire trip and I have access to wine and a crackling fireplace,  I am totally fine with going anywhere with him. 

P.S.S. But really, I hope we aren’t going to rural Antarctica. 

My Top 10 Gift ideas for HER

HER.

You know who I am talking about – that lady. Her could be your mother, girlfriend, crush, sister, best friend, teacher, or wife.

HER.

Here are my top 10 gifts for any HER in your life:

1. Burt’s Bees Lip Gloss: Or any Burt’s Bees lip product. It is all natural. It creates a smooth shine and healthy lips. All women wear chapstick, lip gloss, lip stick, or a combo of all three. We need this. It is an essential part of our daily routine. My friend Brittany mailed me this and it is always in my coat pocket.  Find it at CVS for $8.99. PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER.

This is THE BEST.

This is THE BEST.

2. Magazine Subscription: THIS IS SUCH A GOOD GIFT. You know what I love? Curling up a with a good magazine that I didn’t have to pay for. Does she like cooking? Home decor? Travel? Clothes? Sports? I look forward to finding my Self, Runner’s World, and Country Living in my mailbox every month. Get her subscription to a magazine- you can’t go wrong! It is like getting a present every month! Find a variety on Amazon for a range of prices… or just find the magazine directly and order.

YES. DROOL.

YES. DROOL.

3. Wine, this wine: This is just not any wine. This wine is made in Northern Michigan and it is hands down the BEST RIESLING I have ever had. It is sweet but not as sweet as a Moscato. It is smooth and airy and light. I love it. Buy her a bottle of this or an entire case and invite me over. Please. Find the Late Harvest Riesling at Black Star Farms, they can ship or have a list of stores that carry it (many in Detroit area). $15.00

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This wine seriously taste like an explosion of all good things.

This also makes a great hostess gift if you are attending a holiday party!

4. Home Decor OR Decor Surprise: This present only works if you live with the woman or are extremely close with them. Do not do this to a crush or teacher because it may freak them out. Re-arrange and re-decorate a space for them. It doesn’t have to be extreme and doesn’t have to cost much. This image of the bookshelf was one I rearranged- group colors and sizes together and add a pop of color with a new bowl, with fruit. Or buy a vase. A photograph. A few new pillows for the couch. We love and adore home decor. Seriously. These pillows from Kohls are a favorite, $64. I also love this cable knit pillow (it is like a big sweater!), for $69.  Love Nate Berkus line at Target and this starburst, $13.98. You can never go wrong with a classic Kate Spade vase, $50. I adore her Grace Avenue collection and it goes great with ANY room.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

A little home decor is always a good gift.

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

Mr. Speedy bought me this canvas art and I love it. What a perfect way to dress up the wall!

5. Gift Card to a Salon for WAXING: Or if she doesn’t get waxed, a nail salon or hair place will do. Every lady requires maintenance and let me tell you- I would be so happy to receive a gift towards getting my eyebrows waxed so I don’t have to worry about the expense of it all. A massage would work too. So many good options. Find out where she gets her business (nails, wax, hair cut, etc.) done and go grab a gift card!!!

Don't I just look like  a model?

Don’t I just look like a model?

6. Personalized Stationary: This goes along with the post on men gifts, but seriously, EVERYONE could use some high-end stationary for their personal correspondence. Or if the woman has a favorite flower, buy some with that on it. The choices are really endlessly. Include some stamps for extra bonus points. Order some from Paper Source, or these cute ones from NaomiLynn, $15.

Stationary!

Stationary!

7. A Getaway: Although pricey, this is easy peasy and means a lot. Book a weekend trip (or even just one night) somewhere to go. This is perfect for girlfriends, best friends, moms, or sisters. We love getaways. Find a picture of the person on vacation and write on the back “Merry Christmas- get ready for another trip because we are going X (name location) on X (name dates)!”. A great place in Northern Michigan where Mr. Speedy proposed but would be a fun trip for ANYONE, is the Inn at Bay Harbor. From $157. Or I took him for a night away to the Dearborn Inn (and we visited the museum across the street) which was a total blast, from $149. BE SURE TO GET BUFFET BREAKFAST.

Fate.

Fate.

8. Lavender Vanilla Pillow Mist: It is fact that the scent lavender helps relax and get into sleep mode. Pillow mist is probably one of the BEST THINGS EVER.  I use this before sleepy time, just spray a little on the pillows and climb in. Mr. Speedy doesn’t mind although it doesn’t make him sleepy…. never mind. What a great gift, find it at Bath and Body Works for only $10.

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn't like to relax and sleep???

Buy this for anyone, they are sure to love it. Who doesn’t like to relax and sleep???

9. The Pioneer Woman: A Year of Holidays (cookbook): The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite blogs and she is an amazing cook…. and photographer. And she is hilarious. All of her cook books are stuffed full of rich and flavorful recipes, complete with easy steps and pictures. Perfect for any level of cook. She has three cook books out, but this latest one, A Year of Holidays, is geared around holiday foods. I love that- recipes for any occasion! Find it at Barnes & Noble, $20.99.

Love this cook book!

Love this cook book!

10. Solar-Powered Dancing Daisy: Mr. Speedy bought me one of these and it sits in my window at work and DANCES ALL DAY LONG and always brings a smile to my face. When the sun hits it directly, it dances to fast that the plastic pedals hit each other. It is crazy but it makes me laugh. And brightens my day. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this thing. Find it at a Dollar Store, $1. If you really want to be funny, buy a whole bunch. (ha, get it? Bunch?)

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

It dances in the sun! So dang cute!

Other notable mentiones: soap from CerealFly – try XOXO scent, $4.50, a book on her hobby/passion, a red nail polish that is fast-drying – we rarely have time to wait for our nails to dry and we always need a good red color.

There is my little list of gifts for women… hope you enjoyed it and good luck with the rest of Christmas shopping! One more week and it’ll be here.

I am going to go put myself in direct sunlight now and see if it gets me to dance.

Sincerely,

Lily

Mackinac Island Re-cap: A present, fancy dinners, and lots of exploring

Lovers at Grand Hotel.

Lovers at Grand Hotel.

The post is going to be quick and simple, with lots and lots of pictures.

We had a blast at Mackinac Island. Here is a quick re-cap through some lovely shots:

Waiting for the ferry-

DSC_0002DSC_0005DSC_0016DSC_0021

The ferry was large and in charge:

DSC_0007The water was BEAUTIFUL:

DSC_0009

Once seated on the top deck and in motion, we quickly realized that it was WINDY and CHILLY. My hair was quite amazing:

DSC_0028DSC_0040DSC_0043

The bridge and the island!

DSC_0032DSC_0060DSC_0062

We immediately enjoyed drinks and a humus appetizer before going to our hotel. Have I mentioned I love orange peels?

We were on a pre-wedding-mini-moon.

We were on a pre-wedding-mini-moon.

Scenes from our walk to the hotel:

Our hotel room was AMAZING. Large king size bed, funny old-fashioned decor, a sitting room over-looking the lake and bridge:

Have I mentioned that I love his arms? I do:

Drooooool.

Drooooool.

Now for the TIFFANY PRESENT. Any guesses? Mr. Speedy was COMPLETELY SHOCKED (well, he knew I was giving him something because throughout the entire week I was like “I have a present for you and you shall receive it this weekend.” But he had no idea what it was!)

DSC_0117DSC_0120They were CUFF LINKS from the Gatsby line of jewelry that came out at Tiffanys….. aka perfect for our themed wedding.

I love them. They are perfect.

I love them. They are perfect.

I had to give them to him oh-so-early prior to the wedding because several times he attempted to purchase some for his tux or talked about purchasing them for his tux. What is a girl to do? I couldn’t exactly be like ‘DON’T BUY ANY CUFF LINKS BECAUSE YOU WILL GET SOME BUT NOT FROM ME, LETS GO RUNNING.” He ended up wearing them that night at our fancy dinner 🙂

Okay, after making out for 354365534 hours and recovering from our lovey-dovey feelings, we went to our fancy dinner:

Very patriotic.

Very patriotic.

The next day was full of adventures. After our buffet, we played chess on the porch:

I was frowning and losing.

I was frowning and losing.

And then we started off on exploring the island:

I am pretty sure that Mr. Speedy’s favorite part of this day, was discovering this dog who sat at still as a statue and just mellow and sweet:

Mr. Speedy loved this dog.

Mr. Speedy loved this dog.

In the far off future, I will have to learn how to love dogs because Mr. Speedy will want one. However, if we have a very large yard with plenty of room and like, a separate living house for a dog, then I am okay with this pet. But it cannot go near my bed, kitchen, couches, or drool near me. Or poop.

Maybe I am not okay with this….. ::shudddddders:::

After exploring, we had a couple of drinks at The Gatehouse, enjoyed some coconut shrimp and then had fancy dinner #2:

It was like a painting.

It was like a painting.

We also spent lots of time with my old college roommate and her mother, who were on this trip. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but the owner of the Grand Hotel is an alum of my college and every year, for the past 4 years, there has been an alum trip and you get to stay at the Grand Hotel at a very discounted rate.

It was a blast that she was on the trip and to catch up!

I also think I am going to do fudge wedding favors from the island….. I mean, how perfect does that sound and all of the out-of-town guests can drool over the amazing Michigan famous dessert. Um…. yes!

Seriously though, if you EVER get the chance to visit this place or need a vacation spot – go here. End of summer is the best because the leaves are changing and it is not very hot/humid and there are not hudge crowds.

Sincerely,

Lily