July 22, 2013


Top: Rhubarb-strawberry-blueberry crumble pie with chai coconut ice cream.

Bottom: Greek yogurt with granola and freshly-picked wild blueberries.

I've already crossed several items off my "Month in Michigan" to-do list: pie for breakfast, watch a storm roll in across the bay, root beer barrels at the Downtowner, solo kayaking... all while working from my home-away-from-home. Now Kathleen and Jeremy are visiting for a few days (it's the third time they've been up!), and Micah is coming up at the end of the week, which means it's actually vacation time for me now. So, I'm taking the next two weeks off: from work, from the blog, from wearing anything but pajamas and bikinis.

I'll see you in early August, when I get back to North Carolina. Until then, you can follow me on Instagram to watch as I cross off more of my vacation list (bike around Mackinac Island, hike around Tahquamenon Falls, beers at Soo Brewery, full moon ritual bonfire, skinnydipping, big-wave swimming, kayaking with Micah).

July 15, 2013


This weekend, my mom and I went boating with some family friends. We spent about five hours tracing different inlets and channels of southeast Lake Superior, all while straddling the American-Canadian border. We stopped and ate lunch on a small, wild island surrounded by a half-mile band of knee-deep water. We watched deer run along the water. And we chased a few hundreds-of-feet-long freighters headed for the St. Lawrence Seaway, dancing around their massive, swirling, dangerously powerful wakes.

It made me feel very small, in the very best way.

July 10, 2013


I love windy, stormy days just as much as beach days. The waves reach far up onto the beach and sweep away all the driftwood and crawfish claws, leaving everything smooth and clean. The beach is usually deserted, making walks feel surreal and kind of alien – like you're exploring another planet, and you're seemingly the only person alive. The swimming is so much fun, albiet more dangerous than usual – everyone up here knows someone who has drowned. The air is so cold that the water feels warm for once. And the bay takes on stony yet vibrant green and blue tones that would seem more at home on a squalling ocean.

We usually keep a fire going on windy days, and if you're not planning on swimming, it's a nice excuse to stay in your pajamas all day. It's also a nice break for anyone who might be sunburnt, or sore from skiing / wakeboarding / tubing / jetskiing, or you know, working from the cabin. A breather in between beach days, that makes us appreciate them that much more.

July 9, 2013


I made these blueberry basil popsicles a few days before I left for Michigan. It's funny to look back and see all the things I was consuming and doing in the last few weeks – everything was a subconscious effort to hurry time along, to remind me of where I was going, to bring a little bit of the cabin into my home.

I had two pints of blueberries (I'm still waiting for our wild bushes to ripen) going south, and the last of my purple basil going to flower, and an ongoing obsession with incorporating popsicles into all my meals. I didn't really follow a recipe; I just made a simple syrup with equal parts water and honey and all the basil I could stuff in the pot, then stirred in the blended, strained berries. Cooking the honey (or sugar or whatever) makes a nice, consistent, less-crystallized, more-slushy popsicle, which I like.

I only managed to eat a few of these before I left for the cabin, and I'm excited to come back home to them. By then, they'll be a tasty reminder of my time up north, and a cool treat to get me through August. (I also omitted yogurt this time, because I think these would be amazing muddled up with some gin or vodka.)

July 8, 2013


From top to bottom: patriotic kayaking. My mother, the decorator. Adrift in Lake Superior. My mother, the officiant. The first s'more of the year. Lighting lanterns after the wedding. All photos from my Instagram feed.

Everyone was up at the cabin this past weekend: the perfect storm of the Fourth of July, a beach wedding (that was styled and officiated by my obviously multi-talented mother), and a dose of good luck.

I got off the plane, dropped my luggage off at the cabin and changed into my suit, ran down the beach to the Honkanens for some intense Beer Olympics (our team was named after a traditional Scandinavian sausage that's cooked in the sauna; we lost valiantly) – and I haven't stopped since. Swimming, kayaking, sauna-ing, drinking, catching up, walking the beach, enjoying bonfires late into the night... all things I plan to continue over the next month, albeit at a much more laidback pace.

Today, most of the friends and family from the last few days have gone home. I'll be working from the cabin for the next two weeks. My mom and I will be alone together for the majority of it – I'm looking forward to breaking in her new KitchenAid pasta attachments with her, and enjoying many a long, wine-fueled conversation in front of bonfires (or at local dive bars).

I'm in my happy place.

July 1, 2013


Above: The smallest sampling of rugs at Nomadic Trading Company. One day, one of them will live in our new home.

At the end of last week, Micah and I toured our first prospective house. A (relatively) large ranch tucked away in the woods near Eno River State Park that had seen better days, but also had a temptingly low asking price to match. Since I'm about to be out of state for a month, we scheduled it, just in case it was The One (and just to jump straight into the touring game, now that we're pre-approved).

Continuous, rolling storms also meant we lost power a handful of times throughout the weekend, inspiring many an impromptu bar visit to discuss the house's pros and cons. We spent a lot of time trying to find that precarious balance between what our hearts felt when we surveyed the 2/3 acre lot, and what our heads thought when we even tried to gauge the amount of work that would need to be done to make it a Home. It was... fun, and exhausting, and exhilarating.