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Thursday, July 27, 2017

First Garden Harvest of 2017

It's been a couple of weeks since I blogged all about our recent Michigan trip, but I'm finally popping in for another post, less about traveling and more back to the domestic life! Don't worry though, there will be another travel related post in the near future, as we went back to Chicago for a Cubs game over the weekend. Trent and I are pretty sure Chicago is our second home now, since we have visited the city multiple times this summer!

Today though, I thought I'd share our very first harvest of this year. It's not very big, but we're excited that our tomatoes are finally turning red, and we have been able to enjoy our first veggies from the garden:

Yes, so far we have a lone ear of corn and a couple of tomatoes! So I got to add a couple of slices of fresh tomatoes to my salad the other day that we grew right here in the garden.

We have plenty more veggies that will be ripe soon, too. I actually need to go out to the garden and see what else is ripe, plus take more recent pictures!

The below photos are all from a few weeks ago, but you can see all of the tomatoes that have been growing. Here are the Romas: 

I'd imagine we have many more turning red now. And here was the corn a few weeks ago:

We also have some garlic that grows back every year. We're not really garlic experts though, so we're not sure when garlic is ripe and ready to pick...this looks close though, right??

It definitely smells like garlic, that's for sure.

Well, that's it for now...I'm sure I'll be back with some new posts this weekend!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Stop at The Found Cottage

Hudsonville, Michigan is the site of the cutest little shop, co-owned by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz of Liz Marie Blog. I've been following her blog now for a while, and I never miss any of her social media posts or Insta stories.

Liz just seems like the sweetest person. She's my age, and I remember following her blog as she was in the middle of taking interior design classes, and I became hooked. She has such a knack for making things look pretty, and I love following her new journey of life on a farm. Seriously, check her out if you haven't already.

Since I knew Liz was in Michigan and that's where we were going for our vacation this year, I had to look up where her shop was, so that we could hopefully stop there during our trip.

The Found Cottage is actually right outside of Grand Rapids, which was on our way to where we were staying in northern Michigan. We didn't have time to stop on the way up from Illinois, but luckily we had time on the way back home.

I was so excited to check out the store. It always looks so pretty from her photos, and after stopping and looking around, I was not disappointed.

There is a mix of antiques and home decor, along with some clothing and jewelry, too. I just snapped a couple of photos, but everything in the store is just so cute! There are so many unique vintage, rustic, and handmade items. It all looks so pretty, it's hard not to want everything!

I was of course wondering if Liz was going to be at the store working that day, and she was! I saw her there but didn't talk to her. I think she smiled at me, but I was too scared to say anything. I didn't want to make a fool out of myself! Haha. She did seem really nice though, and she sounded exactly like she sounds on her Insta stories. I was kind of star struck, I have to admit!

There was a necklace there that was so cute and I thought about getting it, and there were SO many other things I considered, too. In the end though, I ended up taking home this framed print, which we hung in the hallway:

And this throw pillow, which is now on the living room couch:

Are those not super cute?

I'm so glad that we had time to stop on our trip, and if we ever get back up there, you know I will be stopping there again!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Breweries We've Visited

Keeping with the theme of the week, I have another travel-related post for you today! On our Michigan vacation, we visited 2 new breweries. If you know Trent, you know he loves all different kinds of beer. He's a big craft beer fan, and likes to visit new breweries whenever we go on trips.

We have a couple of small brew-pubs here in our local area, but nothing we would consider something you would travel for. And we haven't been to a lot of breweries, but every once in a while we will stop at one on a trip, so I thought I would share some pics from those that we have been to, and also share a little bit of our experiences there if you're thinking about going to one of them yourself.

All of the breweries we've visited happen to be in the Midwest, including Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. I'd recommend stopping at any of them if you're in the area.

3 Floyds Brewery - Munster, IN (July 2017)

3 Floyds was the first stop on our Michigan vacation a couple of weeks ago! It was just across the Indiana border, which is on the way to Michigan for us. Trent loves his craft beer, so he loved going to this brewery and spending some time here.

I enjoyed the brewery tour and the food, too. (Trent actually ate quail here! I didn't. Haha) I'm not a big beer fan, but I tried the Gumballhead with my meal, which wasn't too bad. It was a little too "hoppy" for me though, I think.

The tour was interesting, and it was cool to see the huge barrels they use, and the state of the art equipment they have. But my favorite part of the tour was the cool artwork on the walls. They truly have some of the most creative and unique artwork on their labels, and the owner apparently has a lot of connections with comic book artists, and even artists that work for Marvel, so their walls have plenty of artwork to look at.

Plan on waiting a while to get a table if you go on a Saturday though, which was when we were there! We did the tour while we waited which was nice, but the wait was an hour and a half from the time we got there. The food was great though, and the atmosphere was pretty cool in the pub / restaurant area.

Founders Brewery - Grand Rapids, MI (July 2017)

Founders was another stop on our Michigan vacation - one of the last stops, actually. It's another beer company that Trent's a big fan of. We stopped here on the way back to Illinois. It's located downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

They don't do tours everyday here, and we were here on a Wednesday afternoon, so there were no tours going on. We just ate dinner and hung out on the patio, which was nice! It was perfect weather.

Here I had the Watermelon Gose, which is a tart and kind of sour beer. I like fruity beers, so I decided to try it, and it was actually surprisingly good.

They also have a ton of seating inside as well, so you can go on a rainy or colder day, too! The inside atmosphere actually looked pretty cool, and there is a gift shop, that of course Trent had to spend some time in before we left. :)

Anheuser-Busch Brewery - St. Louis, MO (August 2010)

Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis was the first real brewery we ever went to...wayyy back in 2010. Unlike Founders and Three Floyds, Anheuser is a huge beer company who makes Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, and tons of other brands. 

I'm sure they've changed quite a bit since when we were here 7 years ago, especially with the craft beer scene becoming more popular. I think they may have added more craft-style beer brands in recent years to stay relevant.

We took the whole brewery tour while we were here, and at the end, got to sample some beer straight from the brewery, which was cool. As my first brewery tour at 22 years old, it was a pretty memorable and fun experience. I recommend doing it at least once while in St. Louis.

New Glarus Brewing Co. - New Glarus, WI (July 2016)

We visited the New Glarus Brewery last year on our way back from Milwaukee. It was a little out of the way, but Trent had been wanting to check it out, so we took a little detour.

I'm really glad we decided to go, because it was one of the coolest breweries we've visited in my opinion.

New Glarus is a really cute Swiss-themed town, with some pretty countryside as well. They actually call themselves "America's Little Switzerland." The brewery is out in the country, but almost feels like a European villa.

We took a self-guided tour of the inside of the brewery, then we paid to sample a few different beers outside on the courtyard.

You can walk around the grounds, and take in the pretty scenery that the area has to offer. It's just a really nice place to spend an afternoon.

I don't mind New Glarus beer at all, the light beers anyway. Spotted Cow is a popular favorite, but you can only get their beer in Wisconsin. So, every time Trent or one of his friends visits, they always have to bring some Spotted Cow back!

Potosi Brewery - Potosi, WI (November 2014)

Potosi is a small town in south-west Wisconsin, just across the Iowa border. The brewery and National Beer Museum here are the main attractions that draw people to stop at the town.

We were up here in late fall a few years ago so decided to stop on our way back home. We went through the Brewery museum first, which was pretty interesting.

The museum has a lot of displays about the history of the beer industry, and the evolution of beer throughout the years, including models of cans and bottles throughout history.

After going through the brewery museum, we ate at the pub. I don't remember what beer I had, but I had some pretty good mac and cheese here. It was overall a pretty cool place to stop and visit for a couple of hours.

Miller-Coors Brewery - Milwaukee, WI (September 2011)

Finally, back in 2011, we were in Wisconsin for Labor Day weekend, and spent a day in Milwaukee. We stopped at the Miller-Coors Brewery hoping to take a tour, but they were actually closed for Labor Day. So, I don't recommend going on a holiday for this reason!

Even though they were closed, we still drove around and checked out the area. We got pictures by the "High Life Cruiser" bus in front of one of the buildings.

So, we didn't get to try their beer straight out of the brewery, but at least we could say we were there!  Maybe next time we're in the area we'll be able to do the tour. :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Just Another Weekend In Chicago

I titled today's post, "Just Another Weekend in Chicago," because I feel like we are here all the time these days. Haha. We are just under 3 hours from the city, so it's not too far, and it's one of our favorite cities because there's just so much to do here.

Last week, we spent a couple of nights here on our way back from our Michigan vacation. We actually stayed here because we were attending the Third Eye Blind concert Thursday night. They are one of my favorite bands, so I was so excited to finally see them for the first time!

We stayed at the Congress Plaza hotel again, and this time our room was even better than the first time we stayed here. We had a lake view, which was awesome.

Our room even seemed bigger, even though it was only a standard room. It was a bit noisier with the traffic right outside, but the view of Grant Park, the lake, and even Navy Pier in the distance was totally worth it.

Plus, it looked even better at night. Amazing view!

The Taste of Chicago was going on right across the street in Grant Park, too, so we could hear music from that, and we walked through it on our way to the concert Thursday night. You could buy tokens to try some of the local food from the vendors who were there, but we didn't partake in the food since we didn't have much time.

We did eat at Italian Village on Wednesday night after we arrived in the city.

It had been a long time since we first ate here. Actually, it was back in 2010 on my 22nd birthday to be exact! So it was nice to finally come back to this place. The atmosphere and food is a little like Olive Garden, but 100 times better.

It's more authentic Italian, and the food and wine we got were all great.

The next day, we went to North Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan. I had always wanted to go to the beach here. It was a fairly hot day, a little breezy, but the sun felt good! We layed out for a while, and Trent went in the water. I waded for a few minutes, but the water was freezing!

After getting a pretty good sunburn (haha), we ate at a restaurant at the beach called Castaways.

The building is shaped like a huge boat, and we sat on top and had a great view of the entire beach.

I got a Pina Colada which was pretty yummy. It kind of felt like we were back in Jamaica. It was so nice to have a day to relax at a beach after an eventful vacation!

That night, sun burns and all, we went to the Third Eye Blind concert at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. They were just as amazing live as I had imagined!

It was literally a nineties music dream come true.

After the concert, we had a great view walking off Northerly Island. I mean, Chicago, could you get any prettier?

We had to do a selfie in front of the lake and night skyline. It was such a perfect ending to a great night!

The next day, we drove home but stopped at a couple more places along the way. First, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, which is a pretty awesome mall, though we just ate there and didn't buy anything. And then to Haley and Dan's again for another quick visit.

We got home on Friday night, and while it was so nice to be home, we were sad that it was the end of our 4th of July vacation. It's been back to reality and work for us this week! I'm sure there will be many more fun vacations and trips to come, though. ;)
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