I got 5 on it #12

Hi guys!  Welcome to August!  I can't beLIEVE we're already nearing the end of Summer...can you?!  In honor of the peridot and sardonyxere birth stones, here are 5 things I've been loving lately...


1. Northern MI is the BOMB.  My family used to go up to White Birch Lodge on Elk Lake (kinda near Traverse City, MI) every Summer when I was growing up, but all of that kinda stopped once my brothers went off to college (wah).  I have such fond memories of that time.  The smell of the air, learning to water ski from the edge of the dock, bonfires, square dancing, bathing in the lake instead of taking showers while my dad swam laps back and forth along the beach, running to breakfast when the bell rang to eat pancakes and the constant smell of powdered sugar in the dining hall.  It was just the best tradition...I think I even liked it more than Disney World!

 White Birch Lodge (photo via michiweb.com)

White Birch Lodge (photo via michiweb.com)

So, linking those memories to today, my parents' 50th wedding anniversary was last weekend, so we took a trip as a family to Glen Arbor, MI which is up in that same general area, but on Lake Michigan.  We stayed at the Homestead Resort and really loved it!  I want to make it a yearly tradition again, maybe not at the Homestead neccesssarily, but up North.  It is truly "Pure Michigan."  (Are those not the BEST ads, btw)??

 The Homestead (photo cred: golfadvisor.com)

The Homestead (photo cred: golfadvisor.com)

P.S.: If you like wine, I have a personal prediction that Northern MI will someday be on par with Napa/Sonoma/Willamette Valley.  The weather stays just cool enough that their reds aren't too sweet like they are in SW Michigan.  Be sure to book a wine tour (or do your own tour w/ a designated driver, of course) on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.

 Leelanau Wine Trail Map (photo via pnweb.com)

Leelanau Wine Trail Map (photo via pnweb.com)

 Special shout-out to Rove Estate.  Super close to Traverse City...we loved it! (Photo from pnweb.com)

Special shout-out to Rove Estate.  Super close to Traverse City...we loved it! (Photo from pnweb.com)

 We also went here in Leland, MI and loved it. (photo from verterra winery webite (linked). 

We also went here in Leland, MI and loved it. (photo from verterra winery webite (linked). 


2. Self-deprication I'm as guilty as anyone of the occasional self-deprecating joke.  I guess I would tend to be of the mindset that a little of that is fine and meaningless.  Who doesn't enjoy a good self-disparaging water cooler joke amongst co-workers to make the time pass?  But there are people (you know who you are) that take it just one teensy weensy step too far.  To where it becomes a turn-off and almost uncomfortable for those around them.

I have to admit, I used to be one of these people.  At the time, I didn't look into it too much and found it to be pretty harmless.  My brother and some of my close friends would occasionally point it out and tell me not to say things like that.  I can see now why they said that...only because I'm not in that space anymore (thank God).  I mean, there's Chelsea Handler who gets paid to make fun of herself, and there's people who just don't take themselves too seriously...and that's great!  But ultimately, if you aren't trying to be a comedian and are making jokes about how you'll be single forever with a spinning wheel and 18 cats, or how your clothes don't fit anymore so yes, of course you're always game for a shopping spree...we need to talk.

I continue to learn everyday how powerful my mind is.  What you outwardly express just perpetuates what you believe to be true, even if you think you're making a joke.  Deep down, you feel that way.  And you're not fooling anybody.  So, even if you don't believe it, verbalize how fabulous you are.  And tell knock-knock jokes if you want to show off your sense-of humor.  I'm sure there are other ways to make people laugh that aren't at your own expense.  Tell people what you're proud of.  Demonstrate to others how much you care about yourself and embrace the person that you are.  Because, even if you don't always feel that way, the more you say it, the more it will become a natural feeling and the more respect you'll receive.  Watch your life transform simply by practicing positive thoughts!  Tell your dad jokes, but be mindful of casually cutting yourself down.  It catches up and is more damaging than you think.

(Keep in mind that I'm not a trained therapist or even a perfect practitioner of what I may preach here.  But I've lived it, and continue to live it and know what continues to help me.  So maybe something resonates with you, and maybe you think it's a bunch of bull-honky.  Either way, take what serves you with a grain of salt and leave here what doesn't).  Okay, I digress.

 photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

 photo cred: ascensionews.com

photo cred: ascensionews.com


3.  Lightening things up a bit.  Here's a product I love and 100% recommend if you don't already use it.  Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover.  Do it.  Literally, you dip your finger in this little pot contraption once or twice and your polish is GONE (no-chip/gel mani's excluded from this info).  If you legit go and buy this product and aren't satisfied, I'll send you the $9.50 you spent on it (or to make it easier on both of us, Sephora will take it back)...but you WON'T be disappointed!  See?  Little tid bits like this MUST be shared.  You're welcome.

 Click image to purchase on Sephora's website!

Click image to purchase on Sephora's website!


4. Need an awesome gift idea?  I'm your girl.  I can't take credit for it though, because I received it as a gift from my friend Michelle (howdy and thanks again, Stefl)! 

As some of you already know, I took a trip to Jamaica this past April with a whole host of people I didn't know (I had one friend who was the connector and met 9 others there that were strangers to me going into it).  Luckily I came out of that trip with 9 new friends and am SO glad I went.  So, as an homage to that trip, one of the girls gifted everyone a customized Yankee candle with a picture on the front that we had taken while there.  How thoughtful is that?!  I just love it.  It's approximately $5 more expensive than the candle without the personalized label, and the more you buy, the cheaper it is.  I had no idea you could do that!  I mean, I knew you could personalize m&m's and shit, but candles?  Now you're speakin' my language.  (And yes, I know Yankee candles aren't the cleanest burning room fresheners on the planet, but I still love this gift idea and kind of don't care AND am even burning it RIGHT NOW.  Totally toxic, right?  Excellent. 


5. The perfect Chicago date idea.  Who doesn't love mini golf?  If you don't, you might be incompatible with the general population, but don't say I told you so.  I thought mini golf only existed in suburban towns and like, in Myrtle Beach, SC.  But, turns out there's a little slice of mini golf heaven right here in our own backyard! 

City Mini Golf at Maggie Daley Park leaves a little something to be desired...I mean, they could be SO much more creative with their course sculptures and overall design.  That being said, its a fun option that not a lot of people know about in the city to really sweep that special someone off their feet (guys, women LOVE a date that feels well thought-out and different than your run-of-the-mill dinner-and-drinks date).  Or you can take your kids...if you like that sort of thing. (self-depreciating humor alert?).

Why is this the perfect date you ask?  It's enough activity to alleviate the pressure of constant conversation, but not so much that you're sweating and need to ruin your fresh blow-out.  It encourages some healthy competition, which can be a good avenue for flirting and friendly banter to keep things light.  It brings out people's childlike side...which is attractive and sweet and innocent all rolled up into a little burrito.  If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, it's just busy enough to have time to sit and explore some conversation that can't get too deep or involved (good for a first date), but not so busy that you feel like you're waiting around all night.  Plus, it's cheap!  (Not that I'm usually the one expecting to pay, but doesn't hurt).  Go get a beer or two afterwards and call it a night. 

But what if it's Winter in Chicago, Betsy?  Then what?  Same place, same idea, but SKATING RIBBON.  Check it out. 

 skating ribbon: photo via chicagotribune.com

skating ribbon: photo via chicagotribune.com

 mini golf: photo via chicagotribune.com

mini golf: photo via chicagotribune.com


Tha tha tha that that's all folks.  Until next time....Have a great week!

XO,

Betsy