Summer Weekend Adventures

Weekends are never long enough, especially in summer.

Spending a long holiday weekend at my parents’ house on Lake Michigan is always full of adventures, from kayaking to hiking. This time we also hiked The Ridges and the Mink River Trail.

Exploring the variety of flora is a fun treasure hunt throughout the seasons.

Noticing the wildlife is an exciting outdoor activity too, finding birds, wildlife and insects.

Some critters are hard to capture with the camera, like this pileated woodpecker, and other critters are fun to watch their shenanigans, like these cute little red squirrels chomping on cones right outside our kitchen door.

And of course, there are many varieties of butterflies and dragonflies to follow. I’ve never seen this particular 12-Spotted skimmer dragonfly before. I had fun following a tiger swallowtail and a few monarchs too.

I always cherish these weekend getaways and wish I could stay longer. I’m already looking forward to the next one! Cheers to more summer weekend adventures!

A Walk on the Beach

I grew up near Lake Michigan so we spent a lot of time at the beaches when we were kids. These days, I like to take advantage of any chance I can get to visit the beach. It was really foggy in the morning, so it was cool to watch the fog over the water. The water was still freezing cold, but it was so refreshing and relaxing to walk on the beach before the crowds got there for a sunny afternoon.

Bradford Beach Milwaukee

fog at Bradford Beach

waves at Bradford BeachBradford Beachfeather at Bradford Beach feather at Bradford Beach zebra mussel shells at Bradford Beach

Hope you’re out experiencing some adventures during these last days of summer!


Photo of the Week – Concerts

My photo of the week is actually from last weekend, but it was from an adventure that has stuck with me all week. Hope you don’t mind that it’s more than just one photo 😉

One of my favorite things to do is going to concerts, which I don’t get to do often enough. I was lucky enough to go to a huge concert in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, so I wanted to share a couple photos from the two shows we saw. We were also lucky enough to have great seats, about 10 rows behind the mosh pit.

Thirty Seconds To Mars

30 STM carnivores concert

30 Seconds To Mars Carnivores concert


30 STM carnivores concert

Linkin ParkLinkin Park carnivores concert

Linkin Park carnivores concert Linkin Park carnivores concert

Linkin Park Carnivores concert

Linkin Park Carnivores tour

This is the second time I’ve seen both bands, but these shows were so much better than the last time. In fact, they were incredible! I jumped, screamed and sang every word, and then lost my voice 😉 Needless to say, we had a blast!

The event organizers don’t let fans bring nice cameras into concerts (cameras with a removable lens), so these are cell phone pictures from a cell phone that’s a few models behind the latest and greatest. Note to self: buy a point–and–shoot camera with a better zoom feature for the next concert.

Hope you have some fun adventures planned during these last days of summer.


Try Something New

Trying something new can be a little scary, especially a new sport.

I was lucky to finally get to try stand-up paddle boarding this past weekend with my sister and my nieces. We started from shore kneeling on the boards until we got out a little further and then stood up. I was so nervous and shaky because I really didn’t want to fall and end up completely soaked. I didn’t have a swimming suit and the water in Lake Michigan is still pretty cold.

marykay on a paddleboard

me on a paddle board

paddle boarding


I’ve been wanting to try paddle boarding for a few years, so it was great fun to be out on the water with family over the weekend. It’s a lot harder than it looks, especially on a windy day, but now I know what to expect for the next time. Of course, going on adventures like this with my sister and my nieces always gives me more courage and motivation to get out there and just do it.



This past weekend we went to the zoo for the first time in a few years. There were huge crowds of people, so it was a bit challenging to navigate around the zoo exhibits, but it was still fun. Some of the animals were still inside since our weather is just starting to warm little by little.

The jaguar was very attentive to the zookeepers across the way who were cleaning the cheetah exhibit.

jaguar close-up



The snow leopard was snoozing in the warm sun.




The elephants were just hanging out.



These little golden lion tamarins were so adorable and curious.



This cute little monkey lived with his family of eight.



The peacocks are always wandering around the grounds.



This meerkat posed for me 😉


It was a great chance to experiment with my new telephoto lens so I could practice taking super close-up pictures.


TGIF – Thankful Friday!

TGIF! My mood and motivation always perk up on Fridays, even if we don’t have specific plans for the weekend.

Weekend Postcard 1.25.14

Here’s my list of things to be thankful for from this past week:

  • This week, I got to do some cool things at work, for which I’m thankful. New brochures, a new newsletter, new maps, a new infographic.
  • I’m thankful for a box of stationery goodies in the mail.
  • I’m thankful the heat in my hubby’s car was working this week.
  • I’m thankful for Vitamin Water as an alternative to soda. Love the energy flavor.
  • I’m thankful for freelance client referrals.
  • I’m thankful for homemade chocolate chip cookies.
  • I’m thankful our cable TV was restored. It was a painful week with just the bare–bones network channels (which I almost never watch).
  • I’m thankful to PBS for airing a really interesting show about J.D. Salinger.
  • I’m thankful to our local grocery store for carrying such a fabulous Greek olive and feta cheese salad.

Hope you have some things to be thankful for this past week. Now go out and explore this weekend!


Weekend Adventures: At the Lake

On the weekends, especially Saturdays, we’re always trying to think of something fun to do that’s outside our neighborhood. Sometimes, we go to the farmers market. Other times, we go downtown for a slice of pizza and a dose of people-watching. Other times, in Fall, we hit the hiking trails.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a couple days with my family at my parents’ lake house.

Door County house

I met them at one of our favorite restaurants, Fred and Fuzzy’s (named after the owners), which is a waterfront bar and grille. Simple patio tables, chairs and umbrellas. Simple menu. I always get the whitefish sandwich with sweet potato fries. Their cherry margaritas are SO good. (Door County is famous for its cherries, which grow well in the local conditions.)

cherry margarita

view at Fred & Fuzzys

We took the boat out to sea for a cruise.

Abby and MK on the boat

boating at sea

out to sea

We had a bonfire, complete with s’mores and a lovely sunset each night.

bonfire at sunset

After the bonfire simmered down, we were able to do some serious star gazing, another one of my favorite pastimes. We saw lots of shooting stars, constellations, satellites on the move, and the milky way galaxy.

bonfire party

We went letterboxing, which is always fun, even though the notebooks in this box were pretty wet and the entries were a couple years old.

girls letterboxing

found the letterbox

It was still fun to peel apart the pages and see the variety of stamps people use.

letterboxing in Baileys Harbor

sample letterbox page

Did I mention that I haven’t seen my sister in a year or my brother in six months? I have really missed spending time with them and spending time on the water.

we 3 in Door County

We enjoyed a few days of fresh air, good food, and good times together!

lake michigan

It’s been a crazy busy summer, so a weekend full of R&R was exactly what I needed. Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday Adventures: Botanical Gardens

On Saturdays, we’re always trying to think of something fun to do that’s outside our neighborhood. Sometimes, we go to the farmers market. Other times, we go downtown for a slice of pizza and a dose of people-watching. Sometimes, in Fall, we hit the hiking trails.

This Saturday we went to the Blooming Butterflies exhibit at the botanical gardens. We saw a nice variety of free-flying butterflies in the conservatory:

Painted Lady butterfly, found in Europe, North Africa, America and Australia. I’ve seen these in our gardens, but they were much darker brown and orange.

painted lady butterfly

Julia butterfly, native from Brazil to southern Texas and Florida.

julia butterfly

Zebra Longwing butterfly, the official butterfly of Florida, also native to South America, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, North and South Carolina.

zebra butterfly

Monarch butterfly, the milkweed butterfly, the most known in all of North America, and famous for its migration from central Mexico to Canada and back again.

monarch wings up

monarch wings open

They also have cases of butterfly specimens from all over the world. The most colorful butterflies seemed to be from warm, exotic places.

butterfly and stamp

colorful butterfly

I took as many pictures as I could for drawing reference when my imagination needs a boost. Such a great adventure full of discovery, treasure hunting, nature, and creative inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!