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I only own two cats. That doesn’t make me a crazy cat lady, does it? Perhaps not, but then again, actually owning cats is only the first step. Do you need your cat’s affection? Do you treat your cat like a child? Do you try to buy their love with toys, treats and expensive kitty towers? Maybe that’s just me.
Regardless of how you classify your affinity for the feline species, we’ve all got a little bit of “crazy cat lady” in us. And that little bit of crazy, it deserves some purrfectly pawsome gifts and accessories to go with it.
Ready to shop? Check out these purrfectly pawsome gifts you can pick up for yourself or the crazy cat lady in your life on Amazon.
It’s hard to believe, but we celebrated the one year anniversary of our move to Michigan last week. While everyone back home in North Carolina was enjoying their first real tastes of Spring, we headed northwest for a weekend adventure to Traverse City, Michigan and the surrounding areas. Mitsubishi and DriveShop provided me with the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL to test drive for the week and it seemed silly not to get her out and “stretch her legs” a bit. I’ve heard so much about Traverse City, so we planned a quick weekend trip to explore the area.
First things first, we checked out the weekend weather in Traverse City. While it might not have been warm at home, it was sunny. We had nice blue skies, a little breeze, and our first steady sun in months. The weather was not the same in Traverse City. The forecast was for snow and ice. All weekend long. The upside was that I knew I’d get to test out the Outlander Sport’s All Wheel Drive (also known as 4 wheel drive). I have never owned a 4 wheel drive vehicle before, so I really had no idea what to expect. More on that later…
I searched around online and ground a great deal on a hotel. Winter rates in the Traverse City area are super affordable. When I made the reservation, we weren’t looking for luxury. We didn’t plan to do much more in the hotel than sleep and shower, so I took that into consideration when making our choice. Bayshore Resort had really good reviews online, and with taxes included, a water-view room would cost us $180 for Friday and Saturday night (and included breakfast!) When we checked in, we were very pleased to find that the photos online were true to the condition of the hotel. They had a great pool area (nice enough that I was disappointed I hadn’t packed a swimsuit), the rooms were spacious and the beach area was really nice. We were also pleased with breakfast (very traditional continental style), particularly how much space the dining area had and how well stocked it was kept throughout breakfast. After a good night’s sleep, we headed out to explore the west side of Grand Traverse.
Our first stop was the Robert H Manning Memorial Lighthouse along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline. When I say it was cold, it was COLD. The wind blowing moisture in off Lake Michigan was brutal (but not so brutal that I didn’t get out and take a look around). The shoreline is gorgeous and the waves roll in off the lake just like they do off the oceans of the east coast of the US. This was my first time seeing Michigan lighthouses, and while they are smaller than the North Carolina lighthouses I’m used to, they were very beautiful. Bonus of the freezing weather, we didn’t have to fight crowds anywhere! I’m not sure it if was the temperature keeping everyone at home, or the road conditions (terrible), but the solitude was nice either way.
One of my absolutely favorite features if the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL was the 4 Wheel Drive. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never driven an AWD vehicle before. I’ve driven plenty of front wheel drive vehicles on snow and ice, and I’ve even driven my husband’s rear wheel drive V-8 (no thank you!). With both of those, slipping and sliding are expected (especially RWD). Knowing how to drive accordingly is a must. After turning on 4WD in the Outlander Sport, I couldn’t believe the difference in driving on snow and ice. There were only a few instances where I could feel any slipping at all, and again, we were on some seriously snow and ice covered, desolate roads. We were able to venture to some spots that I wouldn’t have dared taking my front wheel drive car.
We drove up the coast from the lighthouse to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Dune Climb. The view was beautiful and the dunes are truly stunning, even when covered in snow. There were several people using the dunes as sledding hills (getting great speed and distance too!) Despite nor being dressed appropriately for a winter hike, we attempted to make it up the dunes anyway. I tapped out half way (which is pretty far) and decided that going downhill in the snow was far preferable for me. I will save the dune climb for a warmer day.
After nearly freezing ourselves to death, we hopped back inside the Outlander Sport to warm up. I have always wanted a vehicle with heated seats (my husband’s car has them – mine doesn’t), and now that I’ve had a taste of luxury, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to buy a vehicle again without them. The heat in the Outlander Sport was quick to work, but having the immediate warmth from the seats was amazing after all of the bone chilling wind on the dunes.
After I could feel my feet again, we headed up the coast of Lake Michigan toward Leland. We stopped by to see Fishtown (photo below – a very cool little fishing village) and dropped by Trish’s Dishes for lunch. I had the most amazing Mooshu Chicken Salad. I would drive all the way back to Leland just to eat there again. The town of Leland was very small, but cute, and paired with Fishtown, would make a lovely Summer Saturday stop.
A few of the other places we stopped on Saturday were Hop Lot Brewing Company (amazing nachos), Grand Traverse Distillery and Mackinac Brewing Company (delicious sandwiches). If you are a foodie, the Traverse City area will not disappoint. Downtown Traverse City was full of restaurants and shops. We had a hard time choosing which to visit. Locals were super friendly and more than willing to give suggestions on their favorites. We hit up as many places as we could and literally rolled ourselves into bed Saturday night. We were officially stuffed!
Sunday morning, we slept in a bit then headed out to breakfast. We stopped by a unique little place called Rounds. It was packed, and after having the biscuits and gravy, there was no surprise why. The portions were huge, prices were reasonable and the staff was friendly. From Rounds, we hopped back into the Outlander Sport to head up the peninsula to the Mission Point Lighthouse. The drive up the coast was beautiful, but definitely snow covered and icy in many places. Again, I loved having the control of the four wheel drive. It made driving overall easier, but also allowed us to explore a few roads we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.
Mission Point Lighthouse was the only place we visited over the weekend that really had a crowd, and even then it wasn’t bothersome at all. There were maybe 10 other small groups there, all at various places around the property. Some were walking the shoreline, others we checking out the historic cabin or otherwise wandering the property. The lighthouse was closed when we stopped by, so we didn’t get to see the inside, but we checked out the exterior, read a little about the restoration project and walked the shoreline.
After checking out the lighthouse, we headed back down the east side of the peninsula and made stops at several local wineries: 2 Lads Winery, Chateau Grand Traverse and Brys Estate (pictured below). I wish I had more photos for you, but it was snowing pretty good and hard to get around on foot outside in most places. There are TONS of wineries on the peninsula, so if wine is your thing, don’t skip driving the peninsula.
My overall thoughts on the Traverse City area …
Don’t skip visiting just because it’s winter. There are plenty of things to see and do that you may enjoy even more in winter than in summer. The crowds are small (or in some cases non-existent) and that is a huge plus for me. Shopping, food and indoor activities are plentiful, and if you’re a fan of snow, there’s plenty of that too! There are several things we’d like to head back in late spring to check out again, particularly Sleeping Bear Dunes and the beach areas, and we still have so many restaurants to try!
As the driver of a small sedan, I was very pleased with how comfortable I was in the Outlander Sport. I was worried it would feel “big” on the road, but it didn’t. It actually felt a lot like driving my small car, but with far more room on the inside. I loved the convenience of the folding rear seats and the cargo space, and was impressed with how big the Outlander Sport felt inside verses it’s compact exterior. It was packed with lots of other little conveniences too, though none that I can note being exclusive to this particular vehicle / brand. As I mentioned a few times before, I fell in love with the All Wheel Drive. I couldn’t believe the difference it made when driving on snow and ice.
As with most vehicles, there is always something that could be improved upon. My biggest, and really only, complaint with the Outlander Sport was engine power. Let me start by saying that my husband builds race car engines for a living, so I am a little biased when it comes to power. If you’re looking for something small and compact with power to tow or haul heavy cargo, I would not recommend the Outlander Sport for you. Mitsubishi does offer a 168-hp 2.4 liter engine option, which would be an improvement, but even that is still light on the power side.
So, who would I recommend the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport to? For anyone looking for a smaller option, daily driver, that has room for all your kids and all their gear, the Outlander Sport is a great option. It has a nice interior and exterior, it offers all of the common convenience features, gets great gas mileage and is super roomy. It also comes in at a very reasonable price, starting at just $19,795.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Outlander Sport and Traverse City! If you’re familiar with the Traverse City area and have suggestions on places to visit or things to see/do, please share! Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.
I don’t know why, but I have a never ending need for animals to love me. People? Meh. I am way more of an animal person than a people person. My cats, however, refuse to comply with this need. In fact, I’m pretty sure they are actively opposing me most of the time.
They are super cute, super loving and super snuggly… just not with me. My husband, despite his lack of desire for the position, has been deemed “the chosen one”. He lays on the couch, they (especially Evie) want to curl up with him. He grabs a toy and plays with them, they stay engaged for an hour or more. He can brush them, clip their nails, give them a bath in the shower. They just keep coming back. He even blow dried Evie after her last shower. Me? They mostly ignore me. When they don’t, they’re usually grunting or complaining about me trying to touch/pet them.
Why won’t they love me? <sigh> I think they forget which one of us brought them home from the humane society.
So, the shower thing. I got all “love me, love me” with the cats on Monday and decided that *I* was going to spend a little time bonding with Evie by putting her in he shower. That, my friends, is when things went horribly, horribly wrong. See, when my hubby bathes the cats, they meow a bit, but tolerate it. When I bathe the cats, apparently they become homicidal pole vaulters. In addition to sounds that I can’t even describe, Evie shot herself a good 5 feet in the air (an attempt to clear the shower door), latched on to my hair, and then proceeded to use said hair to pull herself up to the point she could grab by forehead and scalp with her claws. I think she was trying to climb me to jump over the shower door, but it felt like attempted murder.
When it was all said and done, she emerged from the shower clean and I emerged sporting some battle scars. Specifically, I have a claw hole on one side of my forehead, a three inch scratch across the other side, and a literal slice into my hairline… that one hurts. Ouch.
She and I agreed to keep our space for the next few days. But last night, for no apparent reason, the most awesome thing happened. While laying on the couch, both of the cats hopped up and curled up with me.
I don’t think we’ll try the shower thing again. Maybe I’ll leave that little bit of bonding for my husband.
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Backwards. That’s how life seems to go for us. I don’t necessarily mean it as a bad thing, just an odd order for life to flow in. Our move to Michigan last year was no different. Michigan wasn’t really where either one of us wanted to go. We both dream of moving somewhere warmer, with better weather even than what we had in North Carolina…yet here we are. Ranked based on how miserable the Winters are, we moved from #38 on the list of 50 to #2. Look at us go.
I feel like I see the sun once a week (maybe a few times more in the last week or two) and there is no chance you’re going to find us doing anything outside. It’s been incredibly windy, so we can’t even enjoy the weather being above 32 degrees because it still feels like upper teens / low 20s. We have found plenty to keep us busy inside though.
I have wanted a KitchenAid Mixer for what seems like forever. Well, I finally got one for Christmas and I have been using it every chance I get. Hubby loves chocolate. And cake. Valentine’s Day seemed like a good excuse to bake, so here we are. Now I have a huge cake sitting on my counter, staring at me, begging me to eat it. French Macarons will be my next experiment. I love, love, love them. I hear they are hard to make, and between that and what I just spent on ingredients, I now understand why you will pay $2 or $3 each for good ones.
As much as I may want to stay in the house and never venture out into the cold (believe me, it has been cold), we try to get out of the house and do something every weekend. There was one weekend we didn’t leave at all. It was the weekend I did our taxes. That process sucked all the wind out of our sails. I really just wanted to hide when I was done, but there is no hiding from the IRS.
Among the least fun activities we’ve taken on, I would have to say that mattress and furniture shopping would have to rank at the top. We want a new mattress, we need a new mattress, my husband and I can’t agree on a new mattress. The truth is, we both want the complete opposite, so we continue to sleep on what we’ve got (which isn’t all that terrible, but it’s definitely near the end of it’s life cycle.) In addition to mattress torture, we’re also in the market for a new couch for the living room. We really want a sectional, and we’ve found one we like, we’re just having a hard time pulling the trigger. And sectionals are expensive, you guys.
That’s not my living room, or even my house, in the picture above. It is one of the displays at the Sloan Museum in Flint. We originally headed over because the traveling Titanic exhibit is here right now, but ended up checking out the rest of the museum too. I previously visited the Titanic exhibit when it was at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh, NC several year ago. Nothing has changed, but it was really neat to go through it all again. One of the cool parts of the exhibit is that you are assigned a boarding pass when you enter the exhibit. You get some basic info on the passenger you represent (where they are from, where they are traveling to, etc) and you can find out if your person lived or died at the end of the exhibit. When I went through years ago, my assigned passenger did not survive. This time though, my passenger was one of the lucky ones. I wish I could share pictures with you, but unfortunately photography of any kind is not permitted within the exhibit.
We’ve also made a few trips to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi for various events. The picture of Pikachu and me was taken at the Novi Home Show. There were tons of vendors there and I left lusting so badly for a hot tub for our patio. If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember seeing me post a video of the water dogs at the Michigan Winter Classic dog show. It was the weekend just before the home show and honestly, I felt like the home show would’ve been better if the pups had still been hanging around. I love my animals. My husband is totally prepared to come home to either a) another cat, b) a hedgehog or c) something I’ve rescued from the backyard. I’d be swimming in a sea of puppies if either of us worked less, but our days are just too long for a puppy right now.
Last, but not least, we’ve hit up a few hockey games. I’ve never really been a huge fan, but when you live in the north, being a hockey fan is expected. I’m trying to embrace the differences in the North and the South and hockey is definitely one of them. We haven’t been to an NHL game, but have been going to the league below and watching the Flint Firebirds. It’s fun, inexpensive and can be planned on the fly. I love that we can just walk in and get tickets. It is cold in there though. Very cold. I never take off my coat, even wear gloves sometimes, and will pay $2 for a cup of instant hot chocolate without thinking twice!
Our weather is supposed to be a bit warmer this weekend (signs of Spring?) and I am very much looking forward to getting outside. You know it’s been a long Winter when 45 starts to feel balmy. Next week, I’ll be working on a review of the Mitsubishi Outlander (courtesy of Mitsubishi), so please keep a look out for pictures on Facebook and Instagram. I will also hopefully be tackling those French Macarons in the next week or so and will have my success (or failure) story to share on those as well. Last but not least, we’ll be heading off to Traverse City later this month, so be sure to check back for a recap of our adventures there.
Valentine’s Day is the same date every year, yet prepping Valentine’s Day cards for my kiddos’ classmates sneaks up on me every. single. time. Why am I so ill prepared? It rarely fails that I am running to Walmart or Target the night before we’re supposed to turn those suckers in, and I’m over it. I know I’m not alone, so I’m going to share our Valentine’s Day cards with you!
They are girly and traditional pink and red (no, they aren’t Minecraft themed, sorry) but Valentine’s Day is traditionally a mushy, pink and red heart-filled love-fest, so why not?!
These print out on standard sized card stock. Cut them out, add a To/From on the back and you’re set. To download the image, just click on it to open the full size file, right click on the image and save it to a location on your computer. From there, you can open the image and print it.
We’ll be taping candy to the back of our cards. Hopefully I’ll remember to buy it (and tape!) before February 13th!
My morning routine has changed a lot of the years, but I dare say it is still pretty hectic. Some of that is self induced, especially in the Winter when it’s dark out both when I leave for work and when I get home. It’s very rare that I actually eat breakfast before I leave the house (usually because I’m trying to squeeze every second out of the alarm clock). I usually just grab something from the fridge and roll out at the last possible second. I always aim to pick something that is both filling and gives me the energy I need to get through the morning.
I came across belVita products several years ago. They were in one of the “trial” boxes you see me post about from time to time. I feel in love with them then and still buy them now. They are a major staple in my Gran and Go routine. Their biscuits have 4 hours of steady nutritious energy to keep you going all morning long, when served with fruit and dairy. The flavors are so delicious, it is hard to pick a favorite, but I think I have to go with Blueberry. That’s what’s in my pantry right now, along with Vanilla Yogurt belVita Breakfast Sandwiches.
I also love that I can take a whole box to work (where I also keep milk in the fridge and fruit in the kitchen) and have myself covered in the case I forget to grab before I go!
I guess you could say the Thanksgiving holiday was busy for us. We trekked back home to NC (11 hours each way) with both cats in tow, had Thanksgiving meals at three different houses and had a wedding. Our wedding.
We had a few reasons for not telling the world (well, Facebook) what we were planning, one of which was that we wanted a small, private ceremony for our immediate families. We knew how quickly invites could spiral out of control, and we didn’t want hurt feelings, so we kept the secret from all but those close family members invited until we said our “I do”s. We took a selfie before our minister announced us, yes – during our wedding ceremony – and then post “So, we got married today” and our selfie on Facebook.
An odd way to announce a marriage? Maybe. What can I say? Maybe we’re just trendsetters!
The following gift guide is sponsored by Savings.com and contains affiliate links. That just means that I make a small commission off items purchased through the links. It doesn’t cost you a penny more!
Today officially marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and if you’re like me, online shopping has become your go-to. This year, I joined forces with other DealPros and Savings.com to compile a 20-store holiday gift guide! Each participating DealPro handpicked our favorite gifts from our retailer (I worked with Home Depot) to give you gift options for every man, woman and hard to buy for recipient on your list.
Skip the lines and shop these 20 fantastic retailers instead! Let me know what you think of the gift guide, what you’d add and who your “hard to shop for” gift recipients are this year. Click on the image below to view the full 20-store gift guide!
I love to give gifts, but sometimes I really struggle with choosing what to give the person who has everything. Most of my girlfriends are huge fans of wine, so we often gift each other with wine or new wine glasses for special occasions. I decided to try my hand at something new… hand-painted wine glasses.
I try to make my gifts personal, something with meaning for the recipient. Hand-painting your own wine glasses will let you make something as personal as you want it for your recipient. Maybe you paint a phrase that has a meaning for you, or maybe a funny saying. Maybe they love roses, or sunflowers or bunnies? The possibilities are endless, and it’s so much easier than you think!
First things first, you need your supplies:
Step 1 – It’s super important to start with exceptionally clean glasses, so I run my glasses through a dishwasher cycle. Let your glasses dry thoroughly before you begin the painting process.
Step 2 – Layout your design, or decide to go at it free-handed. You don’t necessarily have to put your design on paper, but having a good clear idea of where you’re headed will make the process a whole lot easier.
Step 3 – Paint! Start slow and don’t be in a rush. The best thing to do is find a place where you can leave your supplies set out for a few days and do this a little at a time. It gives your paint a chance to dry between payers/coats and allows you to add depth to your painting by layering lighter colors on top of darker colors. See how I used lighter colors to highlight the sunflower petals?
Step 4 – Once completely dry – at least 24 hours after your last painting – you want to use the oven to set the paint. Place your glass(es) on a foil lined baking sheet and put them in a cold oven. Turn the oven on at 350° and let it heat for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the glass inside for another 10 minutes to cool before removing it from the oven.
Viola! Your hand-painted wine glasses are done and ready to gift!
Do you love giving and receiving handmade gifts? What’s your favorite? Has trying hand-painted wine glasses been on your crafting to-do list?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WrapGiveRepeat #CollectiveBias
While I know that gifts have nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday season, I can’t help but be excited about the prospect of shopping for my love ones, picking out the perfect gift and watching their expressions when they open the packages I have carefully wrapped to reveal the goodies hidden inside. I aim for the gifts I give to be a visually pleasing part of our holiday decor from the time I place them under the tree until we had out gifts at our gift exchange.
My grandmother taught me how to wrap gifts. I’ve practiced a lot over the years and here are a few of the things I’ve learned.
1. Choosing a sturdy wrapping paper is a must, especially if you’re wrapping odd shaped gifts. Corners are killer on thin paper. (Tip – I you are using a thinner wrapping paper, cover the corner areas with a small strip of tape. You can pick up a Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape 3 Pack Caddie or Scotch® Magic™ Tape 3 Pack Caddie near the wrapping paper at Walmart.)
2. Always use a small strip of Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape to secure your starting edge to your package, preferably on the backside of the package. This keeps the wrapping paper from slipping and makes sure you have a nice, even seam. I really love using wrapping paper that has grid lines on the back. It helps me keep everything nice and neat.
3. Nice, tight folds on the end will keep you gift wrapping job neat. Don’t skimp on the Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape. You only need small pieces, and you can generally hide them under the folds. Try to keep in mind where the front of your gift is, and fold so that you are folding the last flap toward the back of the package.
4. Gift wrapping isn’t complete without some embellishments. Add ribbon, string or a bow to your gift for extra color and dimension. Scotch® Gift Wrap Tape is the perfect way to adhere bows, ribbons and gift tags.
5. Speaking of gift tags, don’t skimp on those! One thing that people always notice are your gift tags. Of course, they have to! That’s the only way to see who a gift is to and from.
You can always buy gift tags, but we really like making our own. We’ve made a variety of tags over the years. This year, I’ve designed some printable tags that can be customized with To/From names and as well as blank templates that allow you to design your own! All of the files you need for the options I describe below can be downloaded here.
Wrap.Give.Repeat for a great holiday season! There is no better time to stock up on all of your gift wrapping needs than right now. Visit your local Walmart for an amazing selection of all of the gift wrap essentials. Find everything you need from start to finish, including a full selection of Scotch® Brand products.
Scotch® Brand is working with Fisher House, a charity that provides a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment, and is donating $200,000 to the cause this holiday season. By shopping Scotch® Brand products, you’re helping support the mission to aid military and veterans’ families. Bonus, you can save by shopping early with 50% Bonus Rollback at Walmart.
Do you have a special wrapping technique or pattern you follow year to year? We’d love to hear about it. Share here in the comments or on our Facebook page.
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