2014 with the Mikes

This year has been quite the whopper and I had hoped to do a fun post with pictures from each month. But alas, I was not that good at documenting the first part of the year, so we’ll make do with … Continue reading

7 QT: The tail end of summer

The last couple weeks of summer have just whizzed right past. I’m hoping we can still eek out a little summer, I love fall and have twice caught myself thinking about where I would put Christmas decorations in our new house. But really, winter can wait.

1 – Two weekends ago I drove back to western PA. Friday and Saturday we had a girls’ getaway for the Anzaldi cousins at Conneaut lake. All the food was delish, but my two favorites were both made by Tricia: Sarasota Lemonade and S’mores Pizza. We played Spin-the-Nailpolish and Blindfold Make-up Application. The results were pretty amazing, as you can see.Conneaut Collage2 – My sister wasn’t able to come to the lake because she was busy traveling the wild west on the trip of a lifetime. Kelly called Saturday and I put her on speaker phone to say hi to everyone. Well she completely surprised us all because it turns out she called to tell us she and Ryan got engaged on Friday at Rainbow Bridge in Utah! And we thought it was exciting that Ryan had gotten on the Price is Right the week before (airs Nov 3). Ha, story topper!

3 – Sunday was my cousin Lisa’s baby shower. It was great to see more of the family and celebrate our next addition to the family. I can’t wait to meet the little guy this winter! My Grandma N. gave me her favorite baby hoody pattern, which was my late Gram A.’s. So I tried my hand at the pattern, a la Steel City pride. I wanted to make some coordinating booties. I like the pattern, but sadly the sizing was off. Both the hoody pattern and the booty pattern were supposed to be sized for six months, but the booties look more like 10-12 months. Does anyone have a tried-and-true booty pattern for a 5-6-month-old baby?


4 – The next weekend was Labor Day and Kelly and Ryan came out to visit and we had such a blast. Saturday we went to a German festival. We hung out with some old friends and when they left we made some new friends: Jenna, Ruthie, and Rochelle. Our new friends brought the party including festive tablecloth, Cards against Humanity and fake mustaches. Plenty of beer and hilarity ensued.
German Park
5 – Detroit’s Jazz Festival is Labor Day weekend and is F-R-E-E. Definitely worth the trip into Detroit. We spent about 8 h in Detroit Sunday and Chris insists that next year he is going all three days. I’m not sure if I can handle it, but the one day was great. There were 3-4 stages set up on the riverfront and extending to Greektown. Everything was an easy walk, there were lots of booths, vendors, and people, but not much green space to set up our blanket on. Eventually we found an open mound of dirt/grass in a parking lot that was definitely the best place to chill for a few hours in the evening. We got my favorite baklava at Astoria’s and gyros and flaming cheese at a hole in the wall in Greektown. We also found the fanciest bathrooms in Detroit (Greektown Casino Hotel) and free, safe parking (Greektown Casino). Kelly was scared for a brief moment when she saw police lights ahead, right on our path to the parking garage at the end of the night. But it was just the border patrol and an American mountie. Overall, it was a major win for our second time venturing into the big city.


As seen on the Instagram. Later in the day I was like, “Oh, this picture is way cooler than I first realized!” #notthatartsy

6 – We broke in our brand new LP grill (thanks Mom and Dad!) on Labor Day. Kelly and I made a kick-butt pasta salad (use half the sugar) and the three meats turn out perfect thanks to Grillmaster Chris. It was the first time we had Michigan friends over to hang out at our abode and we can’t wait for more to come!

Labor day picnic
7 – Labor day marked the end to my summer swimming pass. I loved swimming under the evening sun and I can’t wait to do it again next year. I’m going to pull back on the swimming for the next couple months because I’m not sure how easy it will be for me to use public transportation to get across town to the indoor pool. ANNNNDDDD my custom orthotics have come in and I’m going to start running again! Perfect timing as the temperature starts to drop. My friend Brittany and I always used to comment on how great fall is for runners because it makes you feel like you are so awesome and fast, when really it’s just the cooler temps helping you out. So far I ran two miles, once. The run felt great, but oh, my quads were S-O-R-E. And this is why it’s so good to cross-train.

Really there’s more to share, but I’m going to keep it light on words and heavy on pictures so I can link up with Jenna‘s tl;dr and Jen‘s 7 Quick Takes.

A Frightened Sister, a Singing Priest, and a Rorschach Bruise Test

Here’s the low down on what’s swirling around in my head and life now. Last week I realized that the application deadline for my first funding opportunity is due August 8th. When I learned that, I was like okay, that’s fine I’ll buckle down and get it done. Then I learned it’s due to the University of Michigan July 28th and before it goes to the university, I need to turn it in to our departmental grant officer on July 21st. Whew. O-K. I REALLY have to buckle down. It’s rather unfortunate timing too what with me being out of town this weekend and next and us closing on our house on the 21st and moving later that week. I think the end of July is going to come fast!

I’m still a little more in the ‘freaked out’ stage rather than the ‘intense focus’ stage because I’m still trying to figure out what the content should be and I am getting different recommendations from my two bosses. One is suggesting content that is more like what I was originally thinking, which makes it easier, but the other is suggesting something more cutting edge and outside my comfort zone and it’s probably more likely to get funded. So that’s where I’m at. Nonetheless, I still need to find time to relax so I’m going to try to write at least one post a week to keep in touch, but if I drop off, you know why. I’m going to roll the couple posts I was going to do this week into one and link up with Simcha’s Summer Drawing Club Part I today and Jen’s 7 Quick Takes Friday. Work with me, okay?

1 – I was really intrigued by Simcha’s Summer Drawing Club and immediately got the book from the library. Really? A book that can teach anyone to draw – even me? We’ll see. Here’s my ‘before’ drawings.


My hand

Is my hand that bad looking or am I that bad of an artist? I think this is one of the times when the answer is “both.” I actually did a decent job representing how crooked my fingers really are. See? I think the crookedness is from years of clarinet playing.



Self-portrait. I think that problem is that my hair needs to be frizzier. It is never this tame.


My sister Kelly, drawn from memory. She just looks so scared.

Chris instantly recognized Kelly and thought my self-portrait did not look like me at all. What do you think?


Jim, Kelly, Chris and I – showing off the quarts of Yuengling Chris and I found on our honeymoon. Yes, we went to the Yuengling brewery on our honeymoon.

Ok that’s a long first quick take. I’ll make up for it with the rest.

2 – What do you see in my bruise? I think I see a Michigan mitten.


3 – Chris bought me a LARGE bike pack for my road bike because we got in a disagreement because he didn’t want me to put my keys in his pouch because mine was full with my granola bar and cell phone. I said that’s dumb to buy another bike pouch to prevent us from arguing. He says it’s worth marital peace… The pack is still on my bike.

4 – Here’s a teaser of the last two parts of the blanket. This is actually an old picture and I’m now done with the 5th (LOVE that pattern). Now I’m going to take it home to momma bear and have her show me how to put it together over the holiday weekend. Time to (re)learn a little crochet. Woo hoo!


5 – One of our dear Nashville friends, Emily, just joined FOCUS, which is an organization that supports Catholic missionaries on college campuses. It’s a great organization and Emily is an amazing witness to the faith. If you’re looking for a good place to donate, I give my endorsement to Emily and FOCUS.

6 – Since I’m on the topic of Nashville friends and charitable giving… Fr. Kevin McGoldrick, who is the Campus Chaplain at Aquinas College in Nashville is also a singer songwriter (yeah, even Emily is a singer songwriter). He’s running an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund his first album. You can learn more here. This is so Nashville and I love it and miss it!

7 – Somewhere on the interwebs (I can’t find where) Jenna posted this link to the easiest up-do ever. It really is the easiest and has been awesome for getting my hair up in the summer heat and humidity. All you need is a hair tie and ~30 seconds. Seriously, try it!