Category Archives: Adventures

The Big City

We just returned from a trip to NYC to visit family. The last time we were in the Big City seems like a long time ago, over four years ago.

Since we have family living in NYC, we’ve been there a lot. On this trip, we did a few new things. We walked The High Line, an elevated rail that has been landscaped into a beautiful green space. It’s been expanded since we last saw it, so we got to see more beautiful landscaping.

High Line

the High Line

High Line

the lawn on the High Line

High Line

We toured Chelsea Market, shopped, snacked on Mast Brothers chocolate, and drank Ninth Street espresso.

Chelsea Market

chelsea marketchocolates at Chelsea Market

NYC cookies espresso at Chelsea Market

We had cocktails at The Jane Hotel rooftop lounge in the West Village, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Monument Lane, which specializes in farm-to-table food.

We ate our way around Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn Heights. I loved the swordfish skewer and the lobster roll. The views of lower Manhattan were pretty awesome too.

smorgasburgsmorgasburg food at smorgasburg

lower Manhattan skyline

We shopped for some NYC-themed fabrics at The City Quilter and fresh art supplies at Dick Blick’s.

city quilter NYC fabrics

city quilter NYC fabrics

We had cocktails at Mad46, a rooftop lounge on the top of The Roosevelt Hotel. According to a recent article in Time Out New York, rooftop bars are the latest trend in NYC, so we were lucky to try a couple on this visit.

Mad46 rooftop lounge

mad46 rooftop loungeWe had burgers at the Shake Shack and toured a few exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History that I’ve never seen before.

Am Museum of Natural History

Their Butterfly Conservatory special exhibition was fantastic, with over 400 butterflies flying around the habitat!

butterfly exhibit

butterfly exhibit blue butterfly specimens

I also loved touring the Hall of Biodiversity and the Hall of Ocean Life. So overwhelming and exciting to learn more about the abundance of life on our planet.

hall of biodiversity oceans of life

We had fun navigating the subway and resting our feet at plenty of Starbucks around the city, which also make great places to get a pick-me-up for the next burst of excitement.


grand central stationstarbucks treat

bryant park

flatiron neighborhood upper West Side


brooklyn heights

brooklyn heights

Besides the fun experience of being in the Big City and exploring the diverse neighborhoods, we had a great time visiting family. I can’t wait to go back soon!


Spring Break in the Sunshine State

We recently went on vacation for the first time in four years! It was as wonderful as I remembered.

palm trees on the beach

We spent a few days in Naples, Florida, soaking up lots of warm temps and sunshine.

sunset at Naples pier

It’s been eight years since we’ve seen the ocean. What a tragedy! The beach was as fabulous as I imagined.

We went for a boat ride to see the waterfront mansions.

Naples Princess boat ride

mansion on Gordon River, Naplesmansion on Gordon River

mansion on Gordon River, Naples mansion on Gordon River, Naples mansion on Gordon River, Naples

We saw lots and lots of flowers, especially a wide variety of hibiscus, which I’m looking forward to growing in containers in our yard this summer. We also went to a farmers market, which was a treat since it’s March!

yellow hibiscus red hibiscus pink hibiscus red hibiscus

We saw a variety of palm trees.

palm tree palm trees palm tree palm tree palm tree wrapped in lights

We were lucky to see dolphins and lots of birds.


pelicans and dolphins

white ibis bird on beach


seagull on beach

seagull on the beach

We enjoyed dinner on the beach, watched the tide go out, and saw some beautiful sunsets.

sunset in Naples

sunset in Naples

sunset in Naples

It’s always fun to spend idle time walking on the beach and splashing in the warm ocean waters, watching the waves and wildlife, people-watching and seeing the sights.

beautiful beach in Naples beautiful beach in Naples

One thing I noticed while going through the hundreds of pictures I took is that I love to take photos of my feet covered in the soft, powdery sand after being in the water.

feet on the beach

We did a lot of beachcombing and found a few handfuls of seashells, but I left them with my mom to bring back on her drive home in a few weeks so they wouldn’t break in my suitcase.

wine on the beach

Note to self: go on vacation more often! Cheers!


Notes From the Trail

We squeezed in a little free time this past weekend to hike a trail not far from our house. I love these woods because they are full of very tall pine trees which are fun to walk through.arboretum trees arboretum trail

tree silhouette squirrel nest

tree lichen tree moss

pine cones on the trail tracks

It was great to be in the woods, soaking up fresh air, listening to the crunch under our hiking boots, and searching for treasures, from squirrel nests high up in the trees to lichen and moss on fallen tree trunks to pine cones and tracks on the trail.

Hope you found time to get some fresh air over the weekend too!


Birthday in the Rainforest

We celebrated my birthday over the weekend with a trip to the rainforest!

waterfall in the rainforest

coconut tree in the rainforest

ferns in the rainforest

 in the rainforest

I love all the funky sizes, shapes and textures of the big leaves in the rainforest.

big leaves in the rainforest big leaves in the rainforest big leaves in the rainforest

I always love seeing the coffee trees, which were full of green and red cherries. I think it would be great fun to add  a coffee tree to our house plant collection, even if it didn’t produce coffee cherries and tree
It was the featured exhibit at our local botanical gardens, which was a great place to be on a cold, rainy day. in the rainforest

After this adventure, we enjoyed a celebratory dinner at a local Irish pub, one of my favorite things to do. We lucked out with a live Irish band!


Notes From the Weekend: Big Waves and Fall Color

We took a road trip to spend the weekend at my parent’s cottage on the lake. The first couple days were super windy with cold winds from the North, producing big waves that were 4 to 6 feet.

Door County - big waves Door County - big waves Door County - big waves

The last day we were there the winds completely died down and the waters were calm.Door County - calm waters

Door County - calm waters We were lucky to go hiking a couple times since the fall colors were spectacular!

Door County - fall colorDoor County - fall colorDoor County - fall colorDoor County - fall color

Door County - fall colorDoor County - fall color Door County - fall colorDoor County - fall color Door County - fall color

Door County - fall colorDoor County - fall colorDoor County - Fall Color

Door County - fall color Door County - fall color Door County - Fall ColorWhen you look closely in the woods, you find all sorts of cool things!

Door County - fungus

Door County - fern Door County - fern

Door County - wooly bear Door County - Fall ColorDoor County - mushrooms Door County - mushrooms Door County - mushrooms


We were also celebrating my mom’s birthday, so it was a treat to get away for the weekend and spent lots of time in the woods!



Notes From the Weekend: Fall At the Botanical Gardens

I went to the local botanical gardens on Friday afternoon to soak up some fresh air and see what’s new for fall.

mountain ash at botanical gardens

leaves at botanical gardens IMG_4685The sugar maple tree is always the one of the first to turn colors around here, and it offers quite a show with its vibrant yellows and oranges.
fall color at botanical gardens pops of fall color at botanical gardens

sugar maple leaves at botanical gardens

tipped leaves at botanical gardens

red grasses at botanical gardens

There’s such a wonderful variety of colors and textures in the planters throughout the botanical gardens.

fall planter at botanical gardens

fall container at botanical gardens

fall planter at botanical gardens

fall planter at botanical gardens

fall urn at botanical gardens pops of color at botanical gardens

I love this hanging basket that lives in a shady spot throughout the growing seasons. Definitely want to try this in spring on our front porch, which faces north and doesn’t get any direct sunlight.

hanging moss planter at botanical gardensI was happy to spot my first wooly bear caterpillar of the season!wooly bear caterpillar at botanical gardensI was also surprised to see a few butterflies still hanging around, like this red admiral. I saw a couple monarch butterflies and a variegated frittilary butterfly too.
red admiral butterfly at botanical gardensIt was such a treat to visit the botanical gardens in fall. My next visit probably won’t be until December to check out what their gardeners have done to the grounds for the holiday season.



Field Trip to Botanical Gardens

Speaking of being on the trails, another one of my favorite things to do is make a field trip to the botanical gardens. There are so many wonderful nooks and crannies to investigate.

Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich GardensOlbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens swamp at Olbrich Gardens alpine garden at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens

Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens

There are always so many unique and unusual plants and flowers to see.

frog at Olbrich Gardenswater lily at Olbrich Gardens rose at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens tiger lily at Olbrich Gardens monarch at Olbrich Gardens globe thistle at Olbrich Gardens huge leaves at Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens Olbrich Gardens coreopsis at Olbrich Gardens glowing at Olbrich Gardens

I’ve decided to make this a regular field trip by going every few weeks to see what’s new as the seasons change.


Hollow Tree

Remember the pictures I’ve shared over the years of this cool hollow tree on a hiking trail we love to go to?

the hollow treeI always love to hide inside the tree to pose for a picture.

me in my hollow treemy hollow treeme hiding in that hollow tree again!

We haven’t been on this trail for about two years, and we recently discovered that the tree collapsed. Here’s what’s left of it.

IMG_7340 IMG_7341Naturally, I still had to climb inside anyway.


This old tree was such a wonder to discover in the woods and watch it decay over the years. I’m sure it provided shelter and sanctuary to many critters. Hope you’re out finding treasures in your world too.


In the Woods

There’s nothing like a hike in the woods to kick off the Fall season.

at Indian Lake trail at Indian Lake trail

goldenrod at Indian Lake trailThese woods were full of lichen, moss, mushrooms and all sorts of other hidden treasures.
lichen at Indian Lake trail lichen at Indian Lake trail lichen at Indian Lake trail

acorn in the woods

mushrooms at Indian Lake trail ferns at Indian Lake trail

wild asters at Indian Lake trailWhen we started out on this trail, I was complaining that I never see an owl in the wild. A few minutes later we heard an owl hoot really loud! We looked for it the rest of the day, but the only wildlife we saw were blue jays and woodpeckers.

I’m looking forward to hitting this trail again soon to see some of the fall color that seems to be popping up overnight. Hope you’re enjoying some fresh air this Fall season.


The Beach

When I was a kid, my family used to go to the sandy beaches on Lake Michigan for the day to picnic, swim and play in the sand and waves.

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

I thought it would be great fun to show this beautiful area to my husband so we made the two-hour drive this weekend to one of these beaches called Kohler-Andrae State Park.

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake Michigan

It turned out to be a nice windy day with lots of puffy clouds in the sky and big waves that crashed onto the beach. We walked and walked and walked, soaking up the fresh air, watching the waves and looking for beach artifacts.

the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

This beach has some really cool dunes and lots of beach grass to help keep the shoreline intact.dunes at the beach at Lake Michigan

It also has really fine, soft, powdery sand so it was fun to walk barefoot on the beach and try to avoid getting soaked by the crashing waves.
feather on the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake MichiganI wish we lived closer to these sandy beaches along Lake Michigan so we could go there more often. It’s a great place to escape the rat-race and get some R&R.

Hope you’re making time for fresh air, field trips and adventures these days as summer transitions to fall.


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