Friday, May 22, 2009


Hi All!!

B and I just stopped in at an internet cafe in order to clear our inboxes, and I wanted to let you all know that we are having an AMAZING time on our trip. Barcelona was so urban, so modern, and so fun. We felt very at home there and had the best meal of our lives. Huge blog post about it when we return.

We are now in Moraira- a small, seaside town (on the Mediterranean). We arrived last night, had amazing paella, walked around town this a.m., and laid by the pool at the house all afternoon. We´re now on our way to have a glass of vino and then go to dinner.

The weather is great, and we are truly enjoying our time together here.

Adios, amigas!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We're Off!!

Just a few more hours and we'll be leaving for the airport!! We've just woken up, and we're getting ready to go to the lakefront for a long run (I'm doing 5, he's doing 10!). Then we'll finish packing our carry ons, shower, get ready, and be off! Wow! I absolutely cannot believe that our gradu-moon (that's graduation trip + honeymoon) is finally here. Our camera batteries are charged and ready to go, so be prepared for an amazing amount of pictures when we get home!

I'll be back in two weeks! I hope you all have a great Memorial weekend. I'm sure my google reader will be insane when I get back, but I promise to catch up once home. See you soon!!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Tonight, B and I are going with two other couples to see

The Zac Brown Band and

Keith Urban!!

I am SO excited. I haven't been to a concert in forever, and this one should be great!!

I'm sure a lot of you have heard this song (and either love it or completely hate it), but if you haven't, take a listen. It puts me in such a happy mood!! I'm sure the All State Arena will go nuts tonight when they start it!

What are your plans for tonight? Dinner? Plans with friends? Going to see Angels and Demons (if you are, let me know b/c we want to see it tomorrow and I want to know how good it is in advance!) Fill me in!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An "up north" kind of girl

My up north adventures began long before I was born. My grandmother and grandfather raised their 8 children in Petoskey, and my parents, both being teachers, knew early on that they wanted to buy a cottage in Bay View for their summer break. The years I was three and four, they rented a cottage for the "season" (the eight weeks when most of the community is present). When I was five, they bought a cottage on Hemlock. It was a four bedroom, 1.5 bath adorable box with a teeny kitchen, no washer and dryer (very few cottages had them until maybe 10 years ago), and strawberry wallpaper in the dining room. It was kitty corner from my bestie's cottage and next door to one of the "hot" older boys (though I didn't figure that out until much later!). It had a porch swing and wicker furniture all decorated in pinks, greens, gingham, and florals. We lived there for 9 years, and there is SO much that I loved about it. We did have older, grouchy neighbors on one side, but the rest of it was perfect!

My parents were divorced when I was 11, and the year I turned 14, they decided to sell the cottage. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for them and I think both of them completely regret it in hindsight. After that summer, I started spending each summer with my grandmother. Gram lives about 3 blocks from BV in a year round house that she and my grandfather built when they were first married. It was easy for me to just ride my bike to my friends cottages, work, etc., and I was so happy to still spend summers up north, that I didn't care what I had to do to obtain it!! Because I spent 8 summers with my grandmother, we are incredibly close, and I'm so glad it worked out the way it did. Living with someone just allows you to understand and know the other person on a much more intimate level, and that's what happened for us! Let me tell you that the summer after I graduated from college and had a real job, it was awful!!

During the season, there is a ton that goes on. Kids between the ages of 3-14 all attend club. Club is like a day camp from 9- 11:30 with swimming, sailing, and tennis lessons in the afternoon. The kids are all divided up into different age groups (about 20-30/group and the groups are mostly in two year divisions (ie 13-14 year olds together)). There is a summer music program for graduate and doctoral music students so there are amazing concerts every Wed and Sunday nights as well as many Friday afternoons. There is a musical and an opera at the end of every summer which are much better than the average local production due to the music students and faculty. While kids are at club, there are Ladies' and Mens' days at the tennis courts as well as Women's Council and Morning Council (volunteer activities and social groups). There are multiple Bible studies that go on throughout the summer, and there is a visiting minister who comes each week who speaks on Sunday and then lectures each morning. There are book groups, shuffleboard groups, croquet groups, etc. There are tons of committees to get involved in (education, recreation, historical preservation, arts, etc) and most BV members are actively involved in something. I also have to say that it is a very tightly knit community who truly care about each other and the sense of community that so many "winter" communitites lack. I wish I could take the cohesiveness of BV and translate it into everyone's lives. It's just such a great way to grow up, surrounded by people who love you, expect the best of you, and who have similar religious and moral beliefs as you do. while I can imagine this might be stifiling if you were in this environment all the time, it was wonderful for me each summer!!

I really love that so many of you posted about where you love to be in the summer. Wouldn't it be great if we could do a week at everyone's favorite summer place? Who decided that working in the summer was necessary, anyway? Door County is high on my list of places to visit- I see it similarly to Petoskey and Harbor Springs, so, QBS, if we ever get up there during the summer, I'll give you a holler and we can meet!! The lower shore of MI (Harbor County, Holland, St. Joe, Grand Haven etc) is also a great spot, especially if you have been going there forever and have family friends who also all go there at the same time. My friend's husband has a cottage in Grand Haven, and, while he had a different experience than we did, he loves it just the same, and she has come to love it as well!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wait, tell me................

Do any of you have a cottage somewhere that you want to tell me about? A lake house get away? A place on the Cape?? Or do you have one spot that you love to vacation more than others? Is there somewhere you go every year for a long weekend? Fill me in in the comments or do a post about it. I'd love to see pics and hear all about it.

Why I call my blog "Up North Preppy"


Since I was a tot, summer has always meant one thing- going "up north". That's it, that's all. Now that I live in Chicago, I realize that the term "up north" has plenty of connotations for different people. Many go up north to Wisconsin or to the lower part of Michigan for weekends or weeks away. For me, though, it means one thing- Bay View, Michigan. Bay View is a National Historic Landmark Community in northern Michigan surrounded by Petoskey, MI a small, year round town where my family is from. Bay View was founded in 1875 by Michigan Methodists as a camp meeting "for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality." They chose Bay View as the site because of its salubrious summer climate, its beautiful location on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, and its availability by railroad and lake steamer. The following year ground was cleared and tents put up to house the several hundred people who came for six days of religious talks and sermons delivered from the "preaching stand," which was the first building erected on the grounds. It is now a part of the Bay View Historical Museum. By 1877, streets, parks, and public areas had been platted and twenty simple cottages had been built. Ten years later there were 125 cottages, a hotel and a chapel. The religious program expanded and grew into a Summer Assembly of eight weeks. Chautauqua-type literary and scientific circles were formed.

Although Methodist in origin and still associated with the United Methodist Church, Bay View has always been ecumenical in spirit. From its beginning, the Association has welcomed persons of any denominational affiliation who have desired to assist in perpetuating the Association's principles and purpose. "The Mission of the Bay View Association is to be an institution in which Christian values and traditions are central; to enrich the human experience for individuals and families within Bay View and the surrounding community through a seasonal program of religious, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities; and to provide a Christian perspective in a changing world."
The chapel-communion and private ceremonies are held here. Church is held in the auditorium.

The library

Education has always been important in Bay View. A so-called "university" was begun in 1886 with many departments. The School of Music was the forerunner of the Conservatory which brings students from many parts of the country. Albion College conducted a summer school on the grounds from 1917 to 1969. A recently-introduced series of seminars offering training in a variety of skills varying from knitting and needlepoint to Spanish and bridge, together with the daily "Religion and Life Hour Forum" carry on the long tradition of adult education.

Recreation and sports have not been forgotten at Bay View. Tennis, swimming and sailing are enjoyed by all ages. An active program of clubs, games, athletics, crafts, camping, hiking and music for children of all ages is carried on under full-time leadership each weekday morning. A social program for Junior and Senior High young people under trained leadership, is centered in the "Rec Club" building on the beach. The Campus Club, a separate member organization, has its own building and provides indoor games and the outdoor sports of shuffleboard, croquet and bowling on the green. The Woman's Council has been in existence for over 50 years and also has its own building, where weekly meetings are held with programs and social hours. The Garden Club has added and keeps adding much to the beauty of the public grounds of Bay View by planting and maintaining flower beds, ornamental boxes, and hanging baskets.

The residency period for cottagers is May through October. The business of the Association is cared for by a nine-member Board of Trustees, three of whom are elected annually and one of whom serves as President. The year-round staff includes the President, Executive Director, Business and Superintendent’s Office staff and Security. The community is comprised of more than 440 cottages, most of which were built during the first 25 years, and over 30 public buildings. The cottages are Victorian in style and any changes made to the interior or exterior of the home must be brought before the Historical Preservation Board before they can be done.

All information on this page taken from the Bay View Website. This is all the historical information. Tomorrow I will tell you about my own personal experience.

Wanting to be in two places at once.......

We leave on Sunday afternoon for our honeymoon! It is going to be an amazing and well deserved trip for both of us, and I am so excited to spend two weeks with my husband away from "real life". I've never been to Europe before (he's been a few times), which makes it all the more exciting!!! We have tons planned- awesome sight seeing, amazing restaurants, a stop in the Cava region at two wineries, etc. I absolutely cannot wait

However, Memorial Day weekend falls while we were on our trip. We did this on purpose so that B would have to take one less vacation day over the two weeks. It totally made sense, and I didn't really think much about it. I have since found out that all (and I do mean every last one) of my "up north" friends will be headed to Bay View over Memorial weekend and there are already two parties (a 2 year old birthday party and a wedding shower) that I know we're going to miss. Usually some people are able to come up for the weekend and others aren't. Even last year for my wedding shower, a few couldn't come up for various reasons. This year, it works for all of them to be there (most for 4 days). While it will be freezing (it almost always is a high of 50s, maybe 60s that weekend), it would till be such a fun time seeing each other after the long winter months. Plus not only do we get to see each other, we get to see all the parents, kids, and other family friends that we spend 8 weeks each year socializing with. It truly is the (cold) kick off to the summer.

While I know I won't regret missing the weekend in the long run (or even once we get to Spain), right now I really miss my friends and am sad that I won't be able to join them. I also hate to be the only one who is missing out on all the winter catch up news. Yes, I know I'll get filled in by the two besties once I get home (Thank goodness I'll see S the next weekend) but it's not the same as when it's in person!!

Does anyone understand how I'm feeling about this? Are there times that you'd love to be at two different social events/places at once? Has anyone figured out a way to teleport yet?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend activities!

Friday during the day, B had to work so mom, Ralph and I took a long walk, ran some errands, and spent the afternoon gardening and getting ready for dinner. Then, Friday night my mom, Ralph, my cousin (he lives here in Chicago), B and I all had dinner together. It was a great meal, and it was so nice here, we were able to grill everything and eat out on the back patio. We had steaks, asparagus, potato salad, wine, and cookies that my mom brought down for dessert. YUM!

B and I

Me and the boys

Mom and H

Me and the boys again!

B and I with my mom and Ralph

The Wine

The Steaks!

Saturday morning, mom and Ralph left to go back up north so that they could celebrate Mother's Day and my brother's birthday with my mom's side of the family. I was sad I wasn't going to celebrate with my mom, but the weather up there today was 48 and cloudy, so I'm glad I didn't go!! It was so nice to have the time with them, and I can't wait until the end of June when we get to see them again for a VERY short weekend.

Today B and I went to church, got all our Spain paperwork together, met up with a few of his friends for a patio drink, packed for Spain, watched golf, made dinner, and watched the Amazing Race finale. Have I ever mentioned that I love the Amazing Race? That and AI are the only reality shows I watch. I was so sad that Margie and Luke didn't win, though I think Tammy and Victor were great competitors too. Also, did you see that B's dark horse for the Master's (Henrik) won The Players today?? He was really excited about that. I was even more excited about how well Luke played all weekend long. He got TONS of tv time, so I was able to actively cheer for him and keep an eye on his fashion. His shirt today looked like it was from a 1970s tv show, but I loved the pink pants! Henrik's daughter, Lisa, was too cute when her daddy won! I just adore the part where the kids run out onto the green to see their dads after they win!!

Okay, ladies, my bed is calling out for me. Hopefully you all had great weekends. I can't wait to catch up on your blogs tomorrow morning!

Graduation Day!!

Thursday was graduation day!! Woo Hoo! The ceremony was about two hours long since it was all undergraduate, masters, and doctoral nursing students. The speaker was good, and the dean gave a great speech as she is leaving to be the dean at ASU this fall. Overall, it was most exciting to see all my classmates (we haven't seen each other in over a month) and find out who has jobs, who has interviewed, and who is just waiting until boards are over to figure things out!!

As promised- here are the funny pics of my gown....

What's with the tail??

The side view!!

Here's a more normal shot!

B and I

B and I before I put on the gown

Me and my mom

My mom, Ralph, and I

Most of my graduating class plus two of our professors

I can't believe I'll never have to turn in assignments again, take any more tests, or write up any more case studies!! Nice!! Now I just have to pass boards and find a job...........................

ETA: Wow- I absolutely cannot get blogger to get the pics to line up correctly or tag correctly. Hopefully you can figure this all out!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Package in the mail today!

These arrive today!!!!! Hopefully I can break them in by May 17 because I would love to wear these around the cobblestone streets of Seville (our last stop on our honeymoon). My mom was super great and is treating me to these "just because". Awwww......

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crazy busy week (and I'm happy for all of it!)

Yesterday- grocery store, ran outside (4 miles!), got my hair cut and colored (much lighter still uncertain on it), errands, home to clean and get food organized for the week, dinner with B, more work in the kitchen.

Today- awful car incident (see earlier post), work until 8, then my cousin arrives at our house! He has an interview for a job in Japan, so he's coming today and staying with us until Thursday. We're having a good dinner tonight, hanging out, etc.

Wed- I work until 4, go home and get ready FOR MY MOM TO COME!!!! My mom and Ralph (her adorable boyfriend - sounds like they are five but I don't know another word to use!) are coming tomorrow around 6:30 p.m. and staying until Sat. They're coming down for my graduation, and I can't wait to see them. I haven't seen them since Christmas! We'll have 7 for dinner- Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin, a savory squash dish, broccoli, and a Chocolate Peanut butter Torte. YUM! I started marinating the meat last night, and the marinade smells absolutely delish!!!! I can't wait to try it.

Thursday- workout with the fam, get ready for the big event, head down to UIC, and graduate at 1 p.m. (I can't wait to show you all how hideous and weird this gown and hood are!! There are wings and a tail- not kidding!). Attend the post graduation gathering, head home for a few moments of relaxation, and then dinner downtown at a newer restaurant we've been excited to try.

Friday- Mom, Ralph, and I will hang out all day while B is at work. We'll take a long walk, shop some, perhaps work in the garden a bit. Then we are having another cousin (he lives here) over for dinner. Steaks on the grill, potato salad, veggies on the grill, etc. It's supposed to be nice, so we'll eat out back on the patio.

Sat- Long walk/run at the lake front with everyone. Then Mom and Ralph will get ready to go back to MI. B and I are joining our friends after they leave for a pub crawl sponsored by one of the local radio stations. It's always a great kick off to summer and a great day to hang out with our friends. It's 9 bars in 8 hours (insane!) so we'll be home as soon as it's over to recoup!! I can never "hang" with the boys, so I'm usually just along for the diet cokes and the fun conversations that happen about the fourth or fifth bar!!

Sunday- Church, cleaning, relaxing, and packing for Spain!!!!!

Wowzers- it's going to be a hectic 6 days, but I am so thankful that I have so many things to look forward to. I can't wait to officially graduate and to spend some quality time with my mom.

I'm quite behind on my reader, and though I am trying hard to comment, it may be sporadic at best until next week!!! I am still thinking about you all and trying to catch up during the few slow moments at work.

Bad, bad, bad morning.......

This a.m. I woke up, got ready for work, went out to my car, and could hear the engine quite clearly. I just figured I'd left a window down, so I looked around in the car and realized that last night someone vandalized my car by breaking the rear side window. It was shattered to smithereens- completely and utterly shattered. I immediately started crying (doesn't everyone in these types of situations?) and called B. Yesterday when I went to the grocery store I had tons of bags to take up, so I left the case of Diet Coke, the Tide, and a 12 pack of beer in the back seat. B was going to bring everything up last night, but we got really busy around the house and just forgot. Turns out some alcoholic person or an underage teenager (yes, I am generalizing- please don't yell at me about this) decided that taking the beer was of utmost importance and shattered my window to get to it. Did they take the DC, the tide, the cds, the money that was in the cup holder??? NOPE - JUST THE BEER! For goodness sakes, it was a 12 pack of Miller Lite that was on sale at the grocery store for $8.00. I'd rather have you ring my doorbell so that I could just give it to you and then you could save me the $200 I lost this a.m. replacing everything and losing 2 hrs of pay at work. I park my car in the back of the house, so it's not on the street or even somewhere that is easy access really. I'm so frustrated, annoyed, mad, and scared right now. Things like this happen, and it definitely reaffirms that I am ready to move. I realize vandalism still happens all over (suburbs, cities, rural areas), but if I had a garage, if I didn't have to walk up three flights with heavy bags all the time, if if if............... then maybe this wouldn't have happened. I want to cry right now just thinking about it. I did file a police report for it, but they do it over the phone and don't even come out to take finger prints. They said it was pointless b/c there is no way to really charge anyone if I didn't catch them in the act. So whoever did it gets away scott free with no guilt or punishment, and I am stuck with a bill that shouldn't be mine.

And honestly, who wants to spend $150 on a window to a car that yesterday was just fine? If I'm going to shell out that kind of money, I'd like it to be on a cute new dress or a new shirt for B or for dinner and drinks, etc. I just can't believe this happened........................

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gardening!! (the rest of the weekend)

Saturday, B had a class at work in the a.m., so I got up with him to get an early start on the day. I worked in the yard for 3.5 hrs- it was AWESOME! I planted basil and tomatoes in containers for mid summer bruschetta and caprese salad. I weeded the side garden, raked the leaves from the yard, swept the patio, planted flower seeds in front of the side garden, and planted some rosemary in the corner where nothing ever grows. We live in an apt in a three flat, and that side garden hasn't been touched in years, I'm sure. I filled two huge garbage bags with dead plants, leaves, weeds, etc. I also split some hostas in order to balance out some of the spaces in the yard. I can't wait to see how things look in a few weeks. I'll definitely take pics for you guys once things begin to grow and blossom. This is one of the reasons I would love to find a house for us. I can't wait to plan my own yard and garden. I have such a love for digging and planting, and I love to see the fruit of my labor later in the summer.

After B got home, we went for a 5.5 mile run/walk and found a gorgeous, slightly hidden street in the city that we would love, love, love to live on. Definitely out of our price range, but amazing older (historical) houses on good sized plots that definitely put other areas in the neighborhood to shame. It was a part of the city neither of us have spent any time in, and it was definitely fun to explore. We then showered and got ready for a great dinner at Frasca. I had a cucumber and basil vodka cocktail that was really interesting and very refreshing. We're going to try to recreate it at home. Met some friends for drinks in Wrigleyville and then came home because I had to work in the morning.

Sunday I worked all day. B played golf and cleaned for the week ahead. We had an amazing rice salad for dinner last night- I'll definitely post the recipe next week. It will be a great summertime dinner, especially for picnics!! Plus it holds really well and would be an easy lunch the next day.

Boring post- no pics! But you'll get inundated with pics next weekend- just wait!

Friday, May 1, 2009

What I am doing tonight

Watching this

and eating these

Life doesn't get much better!!

Tom's Mom's Cookies are the absolute best cookies in Northern Michigan. They aren't too soft, aren't too hard, just perfectly chewy, and come in amazing flavors. One of our favorite "up north" activities is to ride bikes from Gram's house across the bay to Harbor Springs, have lunch at Gurney's (a liquor/wine store with the best deli sandwiches on that side of the bay), eat by the boat docks, and get a cookie after we're done with the sandwiches. It's a fabulous lunch!

When I was talking to family friend's during the Lenten Season, I was lamenting missing sweets, and the mom was astonished that I would be able to do it for 40 days. She definitely has the sweetest tooth of anyone I know. Today a box of cookies arrived for us in the mail from them as a graduation present and to thank me for helping take care of their son while he was in the hospital. It was a huge and amazingly wonderful surprise! Don't you all just adore suprises???

Who gets to wear a pretty necklace this summer???

MOM X 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is going to look so purty on you this summer!! Please email me with your address so I can have Stella ship it to you asap!

Also, please don't forget that Stella has 20% off all her pieces through the end of May with the code TWENTYOFF. Treat yourself to a gorgeous piece for summer (or do some REALLY early Christmas shopping!!). Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway- I loved seeing what all your favorite pieces are!