January Goals: I am Already Seeing Changes!!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Yo-Getters writers group from Stonyfield. I do receive free products and occasional monetary payments from them. 

At the beginning of the month I decided to set some goals for myself. Here are the goals that I set.

  • Improve overall health
  • Expand my writing
Two simple goals, yet both of them just equally important to me. While I have never been one to set goals and keep them, this year I decided things were going to be different. On the first day of January, I set out to succeed in my goals and while I haven’t “succeeded” yet, I have made some pretty good strides.

Goal: Improve Overall Health
What am I Doing Differently? 
This month I decided to get moving. I spend a whole lot of time sitting behind this computer during my day writing, editing, and researching. Also, since it is winter time here in Michigan, I am not outdoors as much as I am during the summer so my lack of exercise is a problem. To get moving, the first thing I did was order a workout DVD off the internet. Once it arrived, I worked out along with the DVD for about 4 days and then gave up. It wasn’t working. It was just too difficult to workout with my kids getting underfoot and fighting me for the living room floor space. After giving up on my DVD, a friend called me and invited me to try a aerobics class with her. That was it! I decided to sign up and have been going on average two times per week for the past three weeks. 
What am I NOT Doing?
So far, I haven’t changed my diet much. I am just not ready to restrict my eating or withhold sugar from myself. I am partially scared that I will quickly loose interest if I have to go without my favorite foods and partially scared that I will morph into a crazed sugar monster and eat my family. 
However, even though I haven’t given up sugar, I have found a way to replace the types of sugar I am eating. For instance, instead of having a bowl of ice cream at night, I have switched to a bowl of Stonyfield® yogurt topped in chocolate shavings. It’s just as good and it fulfills my cravings. 
What Changes am I Seeing?
First and foremost, I have so much more energy! Before, when we would go out at night I would barely make it to 8 pm and I was ready to go to bed. Now, I feel like I am back in my college years. During the day I am also more active. I actually look forward to going to work out (which is totally crazy for me because I usually HATE working out). 
I have also seen a change in my body. While loosing weight wasn’t my main concern, I decided to track my progress just so I could see if there was a change. Let’s take a look at the astonishing progress!
January 1st Body Measurements
Chest: 35.5
Arms: 11.5
Waist: 36
Hips: 40
Thighs: 21
Weight: 148

January 30th Body Measurements

Chest: 35
Arms: 11
Waist: 34
Hips: 38.5
Thighs: 21
Weight: 144
Wow, just by adding a little bit of exercise to my day (twice per week) I am already able to see some improvements in my measurements. That’s exciting! 
Goal: Expand My Writing
What am I Doing Differently?
This month I have decided to challenge myself to write more and to write for more publications than just my own blog. While a few publications are still in the works, I am now an official writer for the Stonyfield Yo-getters
One other thing I am doing is listening to classical music while I write. No final documentation on whether this is helping or not yet. 
What am I Not Doing?
I decided to take on this growth right now because I want to grow as a writer. There are so many things I can learn from joining other organizations. I am not, however, looking to change who I am as a writer. I believe that I have my own personal style and I intend to keep that. 
What Changes am I Seeing?
Since starting to work with other publications, I already feel more connected to a larger community of writers. I feel empowered to write more and improve upon my writing. I’ll take this as one small step in the right direction. 
Photo Credit; Enchanting Memories Photography
What goals did you set at the beginning of the month? Have you kept them? What changes, accomplishments or learning have you found? Share with me in the comments. 

Retro Fashion Friday Finds {January 30}

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Retro clothing can sometimes be hard to find, unless you know the right places to look. While many of my friends like to shop thrift stores, it really isn’t my thing. I have found that I can find vintage inspired clothing brand new from some of my favorite online stores. Let’s take a look at the fun retro choices I found on the internet this week!

Womens Fashion

These adorable lace shorts remind me of something my mom once wore in her teenage years. I am so happy to see them making a come back!! Super cute!


Scallop Laced Shorts – $12.99

from: Jane

Every girl needs a good pair of flats and these designs are adorable!


Perfect Flats – Size 5.5 to 10! – $9.99

from: Jane

Nothing say’s 1950’s like a swing skirt! I am totally crushing on the navy blue one in the middle.


KISSmeMINT Poppy Floral Spring Skirts! – $15.99

from: Jane

These are cute for Valentines day or really any other day.


Looking for Love Sunglasses – $14.99

from: ModCloth

Kids Fashion


Pink & Orange Ladybird Sideline Dress – Toddler & Girls – $29.99

from: Zulily

Banana ‘Hi Friend’ Tee – Toddler & Kids – $9.99

from: Zulily


Ivory Crochet Lace Dress – Girls – $43.99

from: Zulily

For the Home


Industrial Mason Jar Chandelier – $133.99

from: GroopDealz

Surviving the Winter Meltdown #McCafeMyWay

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias
#ad #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias

It’s getting to that time of year when the winter is really starting to close in on me. Even though statistically the snowfall and windchill have been mild this year in Michigan compared to the last, it is still freezing outside and it still hurts. For me, winter is such a gloomy time of year. The sky’s are grey and everywhere I look the white snow has wiped out almost all traces of color around me. So basically, it’s like walking around in a black and white movie all day. I still have to go through the same motions that I normally do, but now without color it’s just a little bit more boring. But wait, this post wasn’t supposed to be about me complaining! Ok, maybe 10% complaining but 90% making a plan! Yes, I have a plan!

I have decided that I am not going to let winter get the best of me this year. I have decided to embrace the beautiful differences that we experience here in Michigan through all four seasons, even though winter does take more than it’s fair share (just sayin’). To do this I decided to put my pen to paper and write down everything I could think of that would help me sustain myself during the final four months left in winter.

Below you will find my somewhat humorous look at different ways I can trick myself into enjoying the final months of winter. Feel free to add any other idea’s you may have for me in the comments below.

Surviving the Winter Meltdown

1. Go Outside. Realistically, this is the last thing that I want to do right now. I mean, I am trying to warm up, not freeze completely into a statue of ice. However, I know that the only place that I can get fresh air is to go outside. Plus, there are some fun things to do outside in the winter. Really! Take skiing for example. I have found no better way to get fresh air shoved down into my lungs than by screaming my heart out as I race down a steep hill on two slippery sleds that don’t have any breaks. See? Fun!

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias Skiing
Are you digging my hat? 

2. Work it Out. That’s right baby, it’s time to pull my leotard and leg warmer out of storage because I’m joining an indoor aerobics class! Why waste away these months of having nothing great to do by sitting on the couch? Instead, I’ve decided to use these last four months as the pre-game to the summer. Yep, it’s training season baby! Time to work it out!

3. Enjoy the Small Things. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning, throwing off the covers and feeling the slap of winter hit my body. If I was smart, I’d either sleep in socks or have slippers close by to sink my feet into, but nooooo. I like to go hardcore and run to the kitchen barefoot to get my morning cup of coffee. That way between the tasty cup of McCafé French Roast, the icy cold floors and the need for slight jogging, I am sure to be awake and ready to face my day.

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias McCafe Pod

However, after the quick jogging session, I do enjoy retreating to my favorite chair with a warm blanket and cup of hot coffee to mentally prepare myself for the day. Yes, it’s all about the small things and this 5-10 minutes of solitude really does help me.

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias Morning Coffee

4. Enjoy Good Food. Ok, so this is one good thing about winter. I do love a good bowl of homemade soup or a fine chili and these are things we don’t typically eat in the summer months. Again, it’s about enjoying the small things about winter.

5. Bond as a Family. If you don’t like your family than you are pretty much in trouble for winter. Winter is all about confinement, close quarters and sometimes being held up inside your house for hours or day’s on end when a blizzard comes through. So I have decided that bonding with my family is a good idea. We could watch a movie, play board games, stare blankly at each other….you get the idea.

6. Spend Time with Friends. When I’ve had enough of alone time with my family I can usually count on the fact that my friends have too. This is a perfect opportunity to get together for a play date or mom’s night out. It is also a perfect reminder that I am not alone in my despair of winter and like they say, misery loves company!

7. Get Out. Yes, get out of the house already. I promise, there are things to do in the winter. What about museums, arcades, restaurants and other places with indoor activities? Rollerskating could be fun, yes?

#ad #McCafeMyWay #cbias Rollerskates
I don’t think these are going to fit anymore. 

8. Take a Trip. Ok, that’s it! I’m outta here! Sometimes taking a break from the winter cold is all I need. Then, after spending a week sitting on a beach somewhere warm, I can come back to the bitter cold and appreciate it. Or, taking a break from the cold will help me remember what I am missing and make me want it even more. I guess I really can’t be sure until I test this hypothesis. So, where should I go? I can’t let down science!

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias Beach

So far, this is all that I was able to come up with, but I think it’s a good start. Do you have any fun ideas to help get me through the final stretch of winter? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. Only comments that don’t involve me sticking my face in the snow will be considered. Thank you.

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias McCafe Box

Now, let’s talk about my coffee because without it I wouldn’t be awake or out of bed to write this list. Today, I am drinking the new McCafé at home brewing pods. I was given the opportunity to taste test a cup at my local Walmart a few days ago and loved it so much that I bought a box to bring home with me. It is made with 100% Arabica beans!

McCafé is available in 8 different flavors and can now be found on the shelves at your local Walmart.

#McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias Walmart McCafe

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!


What are your ideas for surviving winter? 

SNOWFEST 2015 – Frankenmuth, MI

Pictures of SNOWFEST 2015 Frankenmuth, MI

If there is one thing people in Michigan know, it’s snow. After spending over half of our year covered in the white nasty stuff, we have come to terms with how to drive in it, how to dress for it and even how to play with it. In fact, here in Michigan we laugh when our neighbors to the south and west call off school and close the city when even a drop of snow starts to fall, while we can still get to where we’re going in piles of snow that sometimes even completely cover our cars. Yes, we have incredible skills.

While most everyone you talk to in the north will say how much they hate the snow, most of us secretly like it. If we didn’t, would we have celebrations such as SNOWFEST in Frankenmuth, MI? Ok, ok. . so the snow sucks most of the time, except when it is beautiful.

Take a look at what these amazingly creative people were able to do with snow. It is pretty “cool”. <–sorry. 🙂

Shark Snow Sculpture in Frankenmuth, MI
Snow sculpture
snow fest 2015
fun snow pictures #Michigan

For more information on Frankenmuth’s SNOWFEST and to find out what else this tourist attraction town is up to, check out their website at www.zehnders.com/zehnderssnowfest/
Did you visit SNOWFEST 2015? We would love to see your photos, tag us in them on Instagram and we might repost them. 

Visiting the Sea Life Aquarium – Southeast Michigan’s Newest Aquatic Experience

Disclosure: I am an #ambassador for SeaLife Michigan. I have received free passes to explore this facility. All opinions are my own. 
#ad #SeaLifeMI Visit Sea Life Michigan Aquarium Michigan Travel
So by now I bet you’ve been hearing all kinds of buzz about the new Sea Life aquarium scheduled to open it’s gates on January 29th in Auburn Hills, MI. Many of you have contacted me with questions about what it is really like and if it is worth the drive, the costs and the time spent to go. Today I would like to share with you some of the features and photos of the new aquarium to help you make your own decision. 
Where is it located?
First, let’s start with the details. The Sea Life Michigan aquarium is located in the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, MI. The newly designed aquarium is the new next door neighbor to the Rainforest Cafe, a long time favorite of my family’s. 

#ad Rainforest Cafe #SeaLifeMI
What is it Like Inside?
When my family and I first walked into the aquarium, we were directed into a small room to wait for our tour time to start. As I looked around the bright orange room with two great big doors ahead of me, I had no idea what I would find just on the other side but I knew that it would be great. The anticipation was overcoming me as the opened up to doors and I found myself taking my first steps into an underwater world like I’ve never seen before. 
#ad #SeaLifeMI Interactive Tanks
On the other side of the doors was a entirely new world created. There were brightly lit fish tanks with interactive elements, such as this bubble into which would allow you to crawl into the center of the tank for a new perspective. 
On the walls next to each tank hung a computer screen to learn more about the creatures swimming around you. The interactive screens displayed pictures for easy recognition and fun facts about the natural habitat, size and hazards these creatures may find in the wild. 
#ad #SeaLifeMI Learning
For added learning, each room in the aquarium is dedicated to a different location and replicates what that location may appear like in real life. For example, this room (the Harbor) is designed to look like you are walking under the bay and features the types of creatures you may come in contact with in this location. Another room (the Shipwreck) is designed to look like you are walking into the bows of a ship underwater and includes creatures that you might find there, such as an octopus and sharks. 
#ad #SeaLifeMI Themed Rooms
This aquarium truly is an experience. Just take a look at this room, which is one of my favorites, in which you are surrounded by a circle of tanks. The calming blue colors and the swirl of the fish surrounding me was mesmerizing.  
#ad #SeaLifeMI
#ad #SeaLifeMI Jellyfish room

Some of the other rooms included a jelly fish room, complete with a jelly fish wall decorative jelly fish hanging over head. There is also a 3D tank, which creates an appearance of the fish swimming out to kiss you on the nose.

#ad #SeaLifeMI 3D Tank

There are also opportunities to come face to face with a stingray and view them from a new angle, which I thinks shows their true personalities.

#ad #SeaLifeMI Stingrays

And if you are brave enough, this aquarium features a touch pool! Inside the low sitting tank are starfish, crabs and other friendlier species available for petting. My son was braver than I and touched the starfish, however, neither of us was ready to touch the decorator crab. Eek, it looked like a wolf spider crawling around underwater! These are the things nightmares are made of!

#ad #SEALIFEMI Touch Pools
#ad #SeaLifeMI Touch Pool
At the end of our journey we found ourselves within one of the most spectacular views of all, a 180 degree tunnel. All around me there were fish, stingrays and other creatures swirling. I found a nice bench inside and sat for awhile to take it all in. Truly spectacular. 
#ad #SeaLifeMI 180 degree tank
#ad #SeaLifeMI Sea Goddess
My family as a whole enjoyed this experience together and ended up spending about an hour visiting with the tanks and exploring the interactive elements within. This time could differ per family and age group. 
Ticket Information.
Advanced tickets are recommended. This is because the aquarium only allows so many ticket sales per half hour slot to keep the crowds down and the experience personal. 
Tickets are sold online and at the door for designated times. 
How much do tickets cost?
Right now, before the grand opening, ticket prices are $17.50 each for 3+ (under 3 are FREE!). After the grand opening, prices at the door will be $23.50 for adults and $18.50 for children ages 3-12 (3 and under FREE). 
Annual passes are also available and provide a discounted rate from the regular priced tickets. These may also be purchase online before the grand opening for a greater discounted price. 
Other Helpful Information: 
There is a play structure at the end of the aquarium, which is included in your ticket price. 
There are restrooms located inside the aquarium. 
Strollers are welcome! 
At the end of the tour, a gift shop is available to purchase souvenirs from your visit. 
Do you and your family plan on visiting the Sea Life Michigan aquarium? What are you most excited to see? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Don’t forget, we’ve got a giveaway going on for free family passes and more! Click HERE to visit the giveaway. 
Curious about the progress of the aquarium from start to finish? I’ve been documenting it all along. Check out these other fun articles. 

A Retro Themed Valentines Day Party for My Daughter #RedVelvetLove

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Retro Valentines Day Party
Apparently, my daughter loves Valentines Day. In fact, she proceeded to remind me of this the other day as she confidently stated that Valentines day was coming up and she was really hoping that I would leave another box of  M&M’s® for her on the counter like I did last year. She is such a sweetheart. 
I am not, however, a really big fan of Valentines Day. Maybe it’s because of the year I didn’t get a carnation in school when they sold them for $1 in the lunch room cafeteria, so I had to buy myself one and pretend to everyone that it was from a secret admirer. Maybe it was the year in college when I thought that this really cute guy I liked was going to ask me out, but instead he was just stopping by my room to get my advice on a good place to take someone else. I could go on, but you get the idea and bringing up all of these memories is really starting to bum me out, so I’ll stop. 
But my little girl, she loves the idea of a pink and red day to celebrate love, and why shouldn’t she? She has not yet experienced the pain and awkwardness that can come along with the day. To her, Valentines Day is all about showing love to her family and celebrating the love that we show to her, and we definitely do love her. So before my daughter gets to the age where all or some of these things may happen to her, I want to nourish her good feelings about love and Valentines Day and show her that love can also be found within family and friends (not always just from the ones we are attracted to). 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Reto Valentines Day party Ideas
To do this, I decided to throw a rockin’ fun retro themed dinner party for our family (extended as well) and friends to enjoy. This holiday, which has a tendency to make people feel isolated or left out, turned out to be a great opportunity for all of us to come together and share in the love that we have for one another.

I decided that it would be fun to honor my daughters wishes and give her the one thing she looks forward to most on Valentines Day, her much anticipated box of M&M’s®.  For this reason, we made the new M&M’s® Red Velvet our theme for the evening and created the entire party around her favorite candy. We decorated the dinner table real fancy with charger plates, cloth napkins and place cards made from the M&M’s® classroom exchange bags sold at Walmart. They worked perfectly to write each guests name on. 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias M&M's Classroom Exchange Bags
Next, we worked on putting together a totally fabulous dessert bar. My first idea to add to the table was to create a pudding station for the kids. To do this I filled three large jars with three different types of M&M’s®, traditional, peanut butter and the new M&M’s® Red Velvet. I also purchased some little pink cups, whipped topping and chocolate syrup to set on the bar so after dinner the kids could create their own desserts by filling their cups up with the pre-made white chocolate flavored pudding and mixing in their favorite M&M’s® and toppings. As you can imagine, this was a hit! 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Valentines Day Pudding Bar
To keep with our M&M’s® theme and give more substance to our dessert bar, I decided to make a pretty traditional Valentines Day treat to share with the kids. You might recognize this treat, however this one comes with a super tasty twist. Can you guess what it is? 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Chocolate and M&M's covered strawberries
If you guessed chocolate covered strawberries, you’re right! However, here is the twist. After dipping the washed strawberries in the melted white chocolate, we decided to dip them in crushed red velvet and peanut butter M&M’s®. Ohhh Yeeeaahh. . . 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Gourmet Chocolate Covered Strawberry ideas
What fun we all had! Turns out, hosting a love filled party with my kids and family was just what I needed to. Together we enjoyed dinner (which I worked hard at calling in and having delivered), tasty dessert options and time spent with family. What could be better?
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Valentines Day party
Hopefully through all of this I have started my daughter off with a good interpretation of what love really is (and quite possibly re-invented what Valentines Day means to me as well). Have a happy Valentines Day everyone!

#ad #RedVelvetLove #cbias
The M&M’s® Red Velvet mentioned in this post were found at our local Walmart store in the candy/seasonal aisle. Be sure to check them out this Valentines Day. 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias Walmart

See more great M&M’s® Red Velvet recipe and party ideas at myconfectioncorner.com/valentines-day where you can also download a coupon to save on your M&M’s® purchase.
Love the ideas presented in this post? Why not PIN them for later so you don’t forget! Simply hoover over the image below and click on the “PIN” button when it appears in the lower left hand corner. Then simply PIN the image to any of your favorite boards on PINTEREST. 
#ad #RedVelvetLove #CollectiveBias A Retro Themed Valentines Day Party for My Loves
Love it or hate it, do you have any special plans or ideas for Valentines Day? Tell us about it in the comments.

Sweet Potato Tacos : A Meat Free Meal Option {RECIPE}

Sweet Potato Tacos Recipe
A few months ago I had my first experience eating out of a taco themed food truck. The experience was amazing and I haven’t been able to get the sweet potato taco’s that I had out of my mind ever since. Because food trucks aren’t a common thing here in Michigan and I can’t just go out and have this meal again whenever I want, I decided to recreate the sweet potato tacos that I had from this food truck at home.  
This is also a great option for a meat free meal, which my family is trying to incorporate a few times per week. To make this meat free taco, I used the following ingredients: 


Ingredients

– 4 Sweet Potatos (Yams)
– 1 Can of Black Beans
– Shredded Mexican Cheese
– Arugula 
– Sour Cream
– 1 tsp. Cumin, Paprika, Garlic and Chili Pepper
– 2 TBS Olive Oil
– Tortillas
Directions:
To begin, I preheated my oven to 425 degrees and sliced my sweet potatoes into strips. In a large 9 x 13″ glass baking dish I tossed the sweet potato slices with 2 TBS of olive oil and all of the spices listed. Stir to coat. 
Next, I baked the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. During this time, I turned the sweet potato slices regularly. 
While the sweet potatoes were baking, I heated the black beans of the stove according to directions and prepared all of the other ingredients. Once everything is cooked, I prepared the tacos by placing the cooked sweet potatoes, cheese, black beans, sour cream and arugula inside a flour tortilla. 
Meat Free Meal Options

The recipe was a success! Everyone in the house loved it, even my meat loving boys. This recipe is definitely going on my dinner rotation list.

If you’d like to save this recipe for later, simply hoover over the image below and click on the Pinterest icon in the lower left corner of the image to PIN this image to your boards. 
Sweet Potato Tacos

Do you have a favorite meat free meal in your house? Share it with us in the comments section below. 

29 Different Non-Sappy Valentines Day ADVENTURES to have in Michigan for Couples

My husband and I are not sappy romantics, so with Valentines Day coming up, I started to think about what we could to to celebrate that didn’t involve a box of chocolates (since we are trying to eat healthier), a teddy bear or really a gift of any kind. Seriously, the last thing we need is more stuff.

So what is it that we both enjoy? Adventure! We love to go out and try new things, drive to new places and see new things. It has been awhile since we’ve gone anywhere just the two of us, so I started to look at fun places we could go together to “celebrate” the upcoming “holiday”.

As I made a list, I quickly started to realize that there are many places we could go for an overnight adventure right here in the state of Michigan. Without having to drive a super long way, we could getaway and still be back the next day to relieve the babysitter.

Sounds fun right? Below you’ll find my list of places and things to do in Michigan for Valentines Day, categorized by city. So if you live in one of these cities or want to take a little road trip to visit them, check it out. 


The pool inside the adoba hotel in Dearborn, MI. 
Dearborn, MI
Dearborn is a nice little hub just outside the city of Detroit that has quite a bit of adventure within a few mile radius. It is easy to pick and choose what you’d like to do here. Here are a few of my favorites:

– Dinner at Giulio & Sons. This is one of my favorite restaurants and it just so happens to be inside the adoba hotel. It’s a perfect match.

– Evening Stay at the adoba hotel. After dinner at Guilio & Sons, take a walk upstairs to a room with a jacuzzi or enjoy laying by the indoor pool while you relax away the winter. 
– Love history or vintage cars? Take a walk through the local Henry Ford Museum!
– While your at the Henry Ford Museum, catch a film at the IMAX theatre
Dessert at the Giulio & Sons restaurant in Dearborn, MI. 
Auburn Hills, MI
– Take a walk through the new Sea Life Michigan exhibit inside the Great Lakes Crossing Mall. 
– When your done feeling like you’ve visited a tropical location, walk next door and a tropical themed dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.

Novi, MI
– Show each other how lucky you are in love at Lucky Strikes by enjoying some gaming, bowling, food and even drinks.

Bowling at Lucky Strikes in Novi, MI.
Frankenmuth, MI
Take a trip to southern Germany without having to stray too far from home! If you like adventure and exploring, this place is full of it!

– Enjoy a full course chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. The buttered noodles are amazing, just saying. 
– Stay overnight in a German inspired hotel at the Bavarian Inn lodge. They even have an indoor water play area to help bring out the kid in you. 
– Go shopping! Little Bavaria is full of fun shops, wine stores and a cheese haus to set you up for a romantic night in your room. 
Chelsea, MI
– Catch a performance at the Purple Rose Theatre. This place is amazing and very intimate. 
– Have a romantic dinner before the show at the Common Grill. (Just be sure to make a reservation)
– Stay the night at the Chelsea House, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast within walking distance of the theatre. 
Kalamazoo, MI
– Take a tour of the Bell’s Brewery and see how your favorite brews are made. Free guided tours are available at various times on Saturday and Sunday at both the nostalgic original location and the new location in nearby Comstock. 
– Taste test new craft beers at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe. You can also grab a bite to eat and possibly stay for a show. Be sure to try the Java Stout, it’s both beer and coffee!! <–my fav.  
– Have a romantic dinner and drinks at the Olde Peninsula Brew Pub. They also serve their own craft beer on tap as well as other familiar drafts and liquors. 
– Stay the night at the swanky Radisson in downtown Kalamazoo.

A look inside the Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, MI. 
Grand Rapids, MI
– Have dinner at Stella’s Lounge (an eclectic place and not fancy, but the best burgers & fries around!!)
– Catch a comedy show at Dr. Grins, located inside the B.O.B. 
– Stay overnight at beautiful and nostalgic the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.

– Have drinks at the Reserve, an upscale wine bar in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Detroit, MI
– Play your luck at the MGM Grand Casino
– Have dinner at Wolfgang Pucks restaurant inside the MGM. Amazing food!!
– Ice skate outside under the stars in the Rink at Martus Park. 
– Tour the Fisher Building. 
– Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts
Traverse City, MI
– Go wine tasting at the Old Mission Peninsula.

McMillan, MI

– Take a dog sled ride through the winter landscape at Nature’s Kennels to a winter camp for the night. Complete with a wine and cheese tour featuring wines from Northern Michigan wineries.

Can you think of any fun Michigan adventures to add to our list? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Share Why #MichiganIsAuto and You Could WIN $500!

I was selected for this sponsored post by HayThereSocialMedia.com.  All opinions expressed are my own.
Photo Credit: Adam Perry Photography
There is something special about owning your own car, isn’t there? From that first moment when you’re handed the keys and you drive it off the lot, it belongs to you. Your car symbolizes freedom. Your car symbolizes a future. Your car might even symbolize a milestone in your life or remind you of a moment, such as the first time you brought your baby home from the hospital. You could probably take a look at almost any old photo album and find a picture of a family or couple posing beside their car. Our cars mean a lot to us, and they have for many years.

Since the 1890’s, when Michigan’s automotive industry started, many Michiganders have relied on this industries’ jobs to provide for their families. Over the years, as the industry and the families have grown, we are seeing generations of workers following in their ancestors footsteps with a growing pride and loyalty for the industry. Did you know that Michigan employs more industrial engineers and mechanical engineers than any other state and alone is responsible for 22% of the total vehicle production in the U.S.? Michigan is auto, it is in our history and it is in our future.

Are you one of these people? Do you believe that #MichiganisAuto? Share why and you could win $500!!

#MichiganisAuto Social Media Contest

From January 12 to January 23rd, @MICHauto is encouraging #NAIAS attendees to share their personal perceptive on why Michigan is Auto through social media for a chance to win one of two $500 gift cards.

To Enter:

Step 1) Using a creative caption or photo, tell @MICHauto your reason why Michigan is the epicenter of the automotive industry for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

Step 2) Post your submission to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #MichiganisAuto. If possible, tag @MICHauto using the handles below.

Twitter: @MICHauto
Facebook: http://facebook.com/MICHauto
Instagram: MICH_auto

Step 3) Tune into’s @MICHauto’s social media channels on January 16th and January 23rd to see the winners of each $500 gift card.

#ad #NAIAS
Used with permission from @MICHauto and HayThereSocialMedia 

Also, be sure to check out the #NAIAS show happening this week at Cobo Hall in Detroit. There will be tons of cars on display for you to check out, including concept cars which are always a favorite. As always, the #NAIAS show is open to the public and welcome everyone, not just people in the industry.

Did you visit the #NAIAS this year? What caught your eye or what are you most excited for? Tell us about it in the comments. 

SNICKERS® Cheese-Cake {RECIPE} #BIGGAMETREATS

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#BigGameTreats #CollectiveBias
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias SNICKERS® Cheese-Cake Recipe

It’s that time of year again. With the “big game” quickly approaching on the horizon, I needed to up my game with a new party recipe to wow our friends with. Last year, for the start of the season, I made a scrumptious SNICKERS® dip (which everyone is still raving about). This year, as we are gearing up for our annual get together with friends and family, I decided to take my dip idea a little bit further and give my guests something they aren’t expecting. It’s not a cheesecake, it’s not a cake, it’s both!

#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias  Cheesecake filled SNICKERS Cake

Ingredients: 

  • Milk chocolate cake mix (plus ingredients per box instructions)
  • SNICKERS® unwrapped bites
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Cheesecake filling (pre-made tub)
I decided to go about this dessert the easy way. You could also make the cake and cheesecake filling by scratch, but today I decided to use pre-made ingredients to simplify the process. 
Directions: 
Begin by preparing and baking the chocolate cake according to your instructions. You will need to bake two 9″ cakes. After baking, set the cake aside and allow it to cool completely. Meanwhile, chop up the SNICKERS® bites either by hand or with a food processor. Mix 1 cup of chopped SNICKERS® directly into the cheesecake filling. 
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias

Once the cake has cooled, place the bottom layer cake on your serving platter and carefully spread the cheesecake filling, with SNICKERS® bites, on top of it. Next, place your second cake on top, making a sandwich with the filling. 
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias Snickers Recipe

Finally, add your chocolate frosting to the top of the cake and sprinkle it with the remaining chopped SNICKERS® bites. Place the entire cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to chill prior to serving it. 
Keep refrigerated.  
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias Snickers Cheesecake filled Chocolate cake Recipe

Now that we’ve practiced running this play in the pre-season, we are ready to wow our friends with this cheese-cake idea and some snacking Skittles® at our upcoming “big game” party for the win!

#BigGameTreats #Ad Party Desserts


You can find the SNICKERS® bites used in this recipe at your local Walmart. Just look for them in the candy aisle!
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias Walmart
Like this idea? You can PIN IT for later! Simply hoover over the image and click on the Pinterest symbol as it appears in the bottom left hand corner. 
#BigGameTreats #Ad #cbias Snickers Cake with Cheesecake Filling
Are you planning to do anything for the “big game”? Share with us in the comments.