I am an avid animal lover. I can’t help but assist wild animals in need, fawn over dogs and cats out in public, and leave many heart-eyed emojis on my friends Instagram posts of their pets. As crazy as I am about animals, however, I really haven’t had a irregular amount of pets.
I grew up with cats in various numbers. When I was in fourth grade, for example, we had 2 adult cats and my mom volunteered to foster 5 newborn kittens! It was so much fun to watch them grow. We also had a rescue yellow lab when I was in high school named Sandy, who was scared to death of anyone but my mom (poor girl!). Then in a previous relationship, I had a Newfoundland dog named Atlas! I don’t miss that situation, but WOW do I miss that doggo! Breakups with pups are involved are even worse than normal ones. Then of course, there is Asia. Asia was the first cat I ever got as a second grader, and is still alive today. She is TWENTY years old, and just as sassy as ever. I adore that girl and consider her my sister.
When David and I started dating, I got to meet his rescue pit bull terrier mix, Khan. Khan has some trouble socializing with humans (because he too, had some unpleasant stuff in his past), but he LOVES other dogs. So I decided I wanted to get a dog both for me & David, and for Khan as a playmate.
Picking a dog breed is hard. I looked at shelters and watched rescue organizations like a hawk, but never felt a connection to any of the dogs I saw. My lifestyle is incredibly busy. I needed a dog who could easily socialize when I went places, and wasn’t scared of people or other dogs. I knew because of my schedule I needed a dog with a moderate to low exercise requirement but one that would still play with Khan. I took “dog personality tests”, and ended up even more confused than before.
I was discussing this with Corbin, who in turn said “What are those little spaniels? Like Allie (our friend) had?”
And that was it! A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel! I found a woman in Michigan who raised them casually (she has 4 and when they have puppies, she sells them), and got in contact with her. I loved her personality right away. She spent 20-30 minutes talking to me about my expectations for a dog, and learning about my living situation. She recommended that I take the smallest boy in her newborn litter. She sent me pictures and I fell in love.
We adopted Napoleon when he turned 10ish weeks old. He was about 5 lbs at the time. He is a perfect fit for our little family and has done amazing since we brought him home. Erin (my oldest and bestest friend and photographer EXTRAORDINAIRE who lives all the way in KCMO) came and visited and took these CUTE pics of Napoleon and I. I will cherish them forever, because he already is about 3 lbs bigger!
If anyone is wondering, Napoleon sleeps through the night but is struggling a little with potty training. We have only had him about 6 weeks now, so everything I read online suggests he is just a little too small to figure it out still. Either way, he is the best. Adopting him amidst the COVID mess was actually easier than expected. I work from home all day so he gets taken out as often as Dave or I can remember and snuggled basically every time he stops playing with Khan.
If you are interested in more info about Napoleon or the family I adopted him from, please feel free to email or contact me. We had a great experience with them, and Napoleon came to us socialized with cats, dogs and lots of humans. He is love incarnated in a tiny fuzzy coil. If you follow me on insta or follow my blog, you can expect to see a lot of him from here on out.
P.s. Keep scrolling if you’d like some everyday life photos of Prince Napo, King Khan, David, Mom, Corbin and the whole gang!
I’ve been working NONE stop at my day job and in hand lettering for weeks and I realized I didn’t finish this second post so HERE IT IS. If you were waiting for a part 2 to my and Francisca’s adventure, keep reading! If, like I suspect, you are simply here because you saw my posts on insta about having a new blog post, worry not! You are welcome here too! AND, if you are a history buff and wanting to see some pictures of VERY OLD things, You are among friends here! 🙂
I think I left off with Francisca and I in a GoOpti vehicle, traversing the Slovenian countryside. We wound between seaside beaches and rolling hills. I love Italy, but Slovenia was also so so so so dreamy. The weather was stunning. I struggled through a few sentences of dialogue with our driver who was thoroughly disappointed that Francisca (a traditionally italian name) didn’t speak Italian. Approximately two hours later we landed in Pula Croatia. We were immediately stunned by it’s beauty.
Trieste is an old city, but Pula is an ANCIENT city. Francisca, being the AirBNB queen she is booked us an apartment with a balcony overlooking the Arch of the Sergii. If you google the Arch, you can see our apartment! We sat and stared. The city was so beautiful and so alive. Trieste is not a tourist city, but Pula is. People buzzed around with cameras outstretched, and vendors called out in various languages trying to convince us to consider their wares. It was a completely new experience from our time in Italy.
Humans, in one form or another have been near Croatia and specifically Pula, for a WHILE. Pre-history, it is noted that there is evidence of one link in human evolution, Homo Erectus in a cave near Pula. The holy Roman empire took the entire Istrian peninsula on which Pula is located in 177 BC and was eventually elevated in colonial rank under Julius Caesar. Caesar was obviously betrayed and killed by his friends (et tu, Brute?), and civil war erupted. Pula sided with Brutus and Cassius, two of Julius Caesar’s murderers because of their ties to Cassius’s brother, the city’s founder. The triumvirate Mark Antony, Octavian and Lepidus led the opposition and eventually won the civil war. When Cassius and Brutus lost, most of Pula was demolished in retribution. It was later rebuilt under Octavian’s daughter’s request and many great classical architectural constructions were completed in the reconstruction. Some of these pieces still exist today; Francisca and I marveled as we wandered the cobblestone streets at a city that had been here for more than a thousand years. It is a surreal feeling. We ate more pasta and gelato and walked past places like the Temple of Augustus, shown below!
One of the “great classical architectural constructions” (say that five times fast) created post demolition was the amphitheatre, Pula arena. The arena was constructed between 27 and 68 AD, making it as old as modern Christianity itself. If you know anything about Christianity, post-Christ, who is believed to have died in 33 A.D., then you know about the “diaspora” of christians to flee persecution from the Roman Empire. In 64 A.D. Emperor Nero claimed a large fire that demolished most of Rome (that the general public blamed HIM for) had been started by Christians. Christianity was seen as a threat to both the existing Jewish religion and also to the reigning Roman Empire so the followers of Christ were an easy target for Nero to choose. Christians suffered horrible martyrdoms and torture in the wake of Nero saying Christian’s were the enemy. The most famous arena for the death of gladiators, criminals and christians alike was the Colosseum in Rome, but the Pula arena also housed such games. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote of the events and choices of Nero in his book “Annals”, published but a few years after the event. Tacitus was a young boy at the time Nero’s persecution of Christians began:
“Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition – repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, – where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.”
In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own garden players for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man.”
I considered these stories and the stories in the bible as Francisca walked towards the massive structure.
Once we entered, we immediately stopped. A wave of emotion swept us both. I immediately texted my mom. First we walked the entire perimeter of the arena. I imagined the crowds, the spectacles, the events. Then we walked in the pits. The execution places. Would I be brave enough to stand in the face of a burning pyre or wild animal execution and still claim the name of Jesus? Would I be as faithful as those men and women and children? A deep pit in my stomach as I write this tells me a deeper truth than I could even truly articulate; I genuinely do not know. In some of the most defining moments if my life I have certainly felt the Holy Spirit fill my heart with a strength and capability unknown to me but moments before and moments after, but it’s hard to know how I, a lifelong Christian and yet skeptical wanderer, would react.
We also sat and discussed how thankful we were to be walking in history. Both our parents chose to encourage us to work hard and be able to provide for ourselves outside of marriages, and we both are here, unmarried and living lives we are so unspeakable grateful for thanks to their hard work and good teaching. I especially am thankful my parents chose to encourage me to persue my gifts in science and mathematics. I am an engineer. I have a cute apartment downtown. I have a nice car and nice things. I eat nice food and can buy my friends nice gifts for their own fun weddings and baby showers and all of that. I dont say that to praise myself, I say that to praise God for his faithfulness and my parents for their work to show me that hard work pays off. It is because of them i am able to live my life. It is because of them I am able to run around with my friends, like Francisca and experience things and places they never got to.
As I am sure you have figured out, let me restate it: This trip ment the world to me.
Francisca and I ended our day with more food and drinks and desserts. Then we prepped to hit the beach the next day. A very drunk, very excited group of mid twenties girls who spoke english with midwestern accents loudly walked right by our apartment at about 3 in the morning and I was struck with a realization of why most of the world doesnt like american travellers. But also, they sounded like they were having a blast, so I would like to wish a resounding, albeit belated “Happy Birthday” to whatever girl among them they were celebrating. It sounded like you had the time of your life.
The next day Francisca and I had a snag in our plans. We decided to take the public bus to one of the many beaches near us but had to figure out how to use it. We got some conflicting information from our airbnb host and other locals, so we ended up a little turned around. After some confusing conversations and more broken sentences (this time in Croatian, which unlike Italian, is very complicated and not as easy to flub your way through), we finally arrived. It was very worth it and very, very beautiful.
We camped out, slept, dipped our toes in the Adriatic Sea and relaxed. The beach we were on was mostly rocks but that didnt stop us from making the most of our time.
We left after a couple of hours and a couple dozen photos and headed back to our apartment. We departed for Italy the next morning and decided to do some final shopping. Like clockwork, we got more pasta, but this time with salads too, more gelato and shopped the many stores.
Before we left for the states, Francisca and I ran into Alberto, our boat driver again. He recommended we have dinner on the rooftop terrace near the pier where his boat was docked. We realized quickly when we got there that they didnt serve dinner, so we wandered to the restaurant below. There we had the best dinner I have ever had, mixed with the best view. Hours passed and we discussed every aspect of what our trip meant to us. It was the greatest way we could have spent the last night.
So I know my last post was peppered with information about how this trip happened and all my insider tips. Given the history and all the photos I wanted to share, I left those tips for this post until now! Here is how the trip ended and how the planning we did paid off:
1. Having a translator downloaded made a huge difference. It was unspeakably helpful, even given how complicated the Croatian language is.
2. Know your borders and country alliances! I hadn’t considered that Croatia wasnt a part of the European Union and thus when we arrived we needed to get new currency and ended up needing to use our passports to gain entry. A lot of places in tourist towns only accept cash. I also panicked not knowing the currency exchange and had to do an emergency bank check to make sure I hadn’t overdrawn taking out Croatioan Kuna. Thankfully. I had not. But a little foresight would have saved me a mini heart attack!
3. LEARN YOUR AIRPORTS. The airport in Paris was under construction and left me and Francisca sprinting across the terminals to reach our flight carrying fresh pasta and our bags. I have never sweat so badly from a mix of stress and physical exercise. We made it, but man was it a mess!
4. Travel with someone you love enough to be honest with (and who doesnt mind taking photos of you!). Francisca and I are like sisters. This worked out because we both felt comfortable saying “Hey! I’m having a great time. I am so glad we are here together. When you do *insert action here* it bothers me”. This especially came in handy as I started to get a sense of just how bad my anxiety has become. Francisca pointed out, lovingly, to me that I stress about a LOT. I have since really considered how my actions are affecting others and me and have seen more professionals for help. I could do a whole other blog post about that but I will not 🙂 This also came in handy when Francisca told me she needed something healthy to eat because all the bread and pasta was killing her. So we found an amazing salad place to have lunch at one day and loved it! We also never flinched when one of us said “Hey will you take my -” “Yes! But fix your hair it looks funky”. Talk about a dream come true in a travel partner.
5. Plan ahead but know unexpected issues will arise. Between the bus problems, my own mix up with our goopti transfers, Paris’ airport being under construction and thinking I emptied my bank account, its hopefully implied that the best laid plans are no match for reality. We spent hours working out details but knew some things would just have to fall into place as we went. This made us both confident and comfortable as we traversed our trip both physically and mentally.
6. If you fly from Toronto, plan to have a hype playlist for your drive back. Driving TO toronto for a trip is easy. Driving HOME is hard. We jammed oldschool MCR and P@TD and yelled the lyrics as a way to stay awake and also enjoy passing the time.
7. Enjoy. Enjoy it all. Take it all in. I have found if I put too much pressure on myself I can feel like, when life happens, trips are ruined. If you take every thing that happens as a part of the experience, then it’s all positive and all worth remembering. And trust me, every experience if framed in the right light is worth a space in the memory storage hardware of your brain.
And that’s it, friends! I know this post was long but I hope you enjoyed seeing behind the scenes of this trip and our time. I was so thankful for Francisca and being able to travel with her on such a special trip. Thanks again for tuning in and I hope you have many exciting travels in your future!
About a month or so ago I returned from one of my favorite trips to date; a whirlwind girls week in Italy and Croatia. After getting back, I knew I wanted to write about the experience… but instead of talking specifically about the trip and the things we did, I have decided to detail the planning and execution of the age old question “How did this happen?”. I have gotten questions about the feasibility of travelling abroad in the past and I think it’s time to share my secrets… Buckle up, in almost every facet of this story will be “INSIDER TIP” and “MINI TIP” inserts! These are the main ideas I use and follow in planning vacations.
Traveling abroad takes patience and organization but it is not hard. I repeat: You can travel internationally with confidence if you do the work.
Let’s start at the beginning… Like, way before the trip happened. The year is 2018, probably sometime in the fall. I am itching to get on a plane but have no reason to go anywhere other than for work (did you read my post about my trip to Cinci? If not, you can click here ! *shameless self plug, sorry*)
Anyways, back in the fall I was lamenting to my girl Francisca Berry (her IG is here, if you want to see who I am talking about!) about how scary it is that things move and change so quickly in life. She and I are what I like to call “new things” girls. Everytime there is a new restaurant, we are there trying it. New coffee place? Let’s test their lattes. New park? Let’s take a walk! New boutique, let’s go blow a paycheck there (this sounds like a joke but I’m looking at YOU, Birdbee Detroit.) Any time there is something new I want to try, Francisca is my go-to partner in crime. I promise we do more than sit and eat, but this particular story started with us sitting … and eating.
“We should take a girls trip. No boys. No expectations.” “But where should we go?!”
The first thought we had was Iceland. WOW air recently had opened and started offering RIDICULOUSLY cheap flights there. We both had a number of friends who had been and loved it.
Sidebar: BOY AM I GLAD WE DIDN’T DO THAT. In case you don’t read the news, let me summarize what happened a couple weeks ago. Wow Air closed… With no warning and no refunds. A number of my coworkers were stranded with no way to get their money back. Thank HEAVENS that was not us!
Obviously when we were talking about this we didn’t know WOW air would go out of business. Iceland was thus, a contender in our trip idea list. She and I also discussed a Southwest USA trip, maybe a road trip! I want to see Arizona and Utah. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how we landed on Croatia exactly. Francisca certainly mentioned it first. While researching things to see and places to go, I noticed Pula, a smaller northern city in Croatia was very close to Trieste, Italy. I went to Trieste in 2016 and LOVED it and was dying to see it again. So we landed on Italy and Croatia, sort of by accident.
INSIDER TIP: Both trips I have made to Italy were to/from Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is SO much cheaper than flying from Detroit. Toronto is 4 hours from my apartment in Detroit, so it’s a big commitment…. BUT as my grandma always said “If you want it to happen, you have to MAKE it happen.”
So in February-ish, I booked two tickets to Trieste Italy for the end of May! The plan was to drive to Toronto, fly to Rome, fly to Trieste, drive to Croatia, then do it all in reverse order on the way home. We would complete a road trip through Canada, see Italy and visit Croatia all in one.
Once the day of travel arrived, Francisca and I packed our bags in my jeep and giddily set off kissing my mom and her nana goodbye. My neighbor yelled “We sure weren’t going to Italy when WE were 25, were we Cheri (my mom)?”. We all laughed. But the words have stuck with me. I am thankful to be living the life I am.
Four-ish hours, 250-ish miles, two Tim Horton’s stops and a full playlist of love songs later, we arrived and parked my Jeep at our prepaid parking spot. Mini tip: I find paying for parking before I arrive eliminates the concern of finding it when you get there! I have parked at an offsite lot and at an on-site lot. There are pros and cons to both. Personally, I like being able to walk to my gate and not wait on a shuttle.. so this time I chose a parking lot within walking distance to our terminal. We wandered to our gate, got coffee and camped out waiting for our first flight. Smooth sailing so far.
The biggest (and really only) negative experience Francisca and I had actually happened before we even got out of Canada. Our flight took off from Toronto to Rome at 9:30 PM and for the first 10 minutes or so after take off, the plane VIOLENTLY shook. There was one particular dip in altitude that left the entire cabin gasping and clinging to their seats. Francisca calmly looked at her phone and asked me about connecting to the wifi. I was pretty sure I was going to vomit but breathing deeply to try and not. I chewed a motion sickness pill. Francisca held my hand. I normally love flying, but I found myself thinking “I am never getting on a plane again. We CAN’T keep going if it’s going to be like this. They have to turn around!” But, alas after the longest 8-12 minutes of my LIFE the ride smoothed out. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW. The calm stewardesses started handing out dinner almost immediately after. Unfortunately at that point my appetite was gone and I was just trying not to lose the starbucks frappuccino i had at the airport hours earlier. Francisca then admitted (while giving me her bread to help settle my stomach) that she downloaded the wifi and paid for it to tell her mother and her boyfriend goodbye. She was *mostly* joking. It was a SCARY way to start the trip.
INSIDER TIP: Have your affairs in order before travelling. And make sure you are good with God 😀
THANKFULLY none of the other flights were like the first one. I’ll be honest, I had horrific anxiety for the rest of the flights. Thankfully, after 10ish hours we made it to Italy. It was like walking into a familiar dream.
When I traveled in Italy before, any location transfers I needed to make were done with a cab company called GoOpti. For this trip I did the exact same thing and booked 4 total cab rides with them! GoOpti is reputable, helpful, very nice and best of all, their website is EASY to use. They give you a ton of information about who your driver is, their arrival time and phone numbers and they verify themselves and you when they pick you up. As a self identified anxious personality type, I like to feel safe and wanted Francisca to feel safe too! (This careful planning will be a theme throughout this post, did you notice that?) We caught our first GoOpti cab and stopped at our first stay, a cutie patootie apartment in a residential district of Trieste.
INSIDER TIP: If you are traveling to a country in Europe, it is worth picking up some basic language skills outside of English. Truly, most local residents will have some grasp of English but it is worth either studying up on or having an app handy! I downloaded an Italian translation app for my phone and used it quite a lot, particularly during our GoOpti transfers.
Francisca is a self professed AirBNB addict and total reservation making queen. She booked us the CUTEST places in both Italy and Croatia. The first place in Trieste was in a residential neighborhood, about a 10 minute walk from the waterfront with a balcony and beautiful interior.
INSIDER TIP: AirBNB’s are usually cuter and almost always cheaper than staying in a hotel. I know some people I talk to about this feel nervous about renting someone else’s home – I get it, I was that way too! After this trip however, I am addicted. As a renter, you can see owner’s ratings on AirBNB and of course, make sure you protect yourself with knowledge and awareness of your surroundings! I had the emergency phone numbers for local authorities in my phone and knew a couple people, by proxy in the area for emergency contact.
The first night we were there we explored locally and rested the best we could. It was HARD to sleep. Mini tip: Francisca and I both love white noise, so we ended up downloading white noise apps to help us rest. They worked AMAZING.
The second day we booked a sailing tour of the Adriatic through AirBNB. It was originally supposed to happen the night we arrived but due to weather, we ended up going the next afternoon.
Meeting someone we didn’t know for a private sailing tour was scary. As two women travelling alone, I think Francisca and I did really well staying aware and making smart decisions but this was a step outside of what we knew. BOY OH BOY was that risk worth it. Our boat captain was named Alberto (his IG is here) and he was very kind, helpful and funny. If you are ever in Trieste, we highly recommend boating with him!
That night Francisca and I ate our weight in pasta and other local goods, wandered through the streets shopping with vendors and taking it all in. Mini tip: Remember you will need cash sometimes, especially for smaller street shops but VISA is generally accepted everywhere with a storefront! You just need to alert your bank that you will be travelling abroad. I think this is common knowledge, but it’s worth repeating!
So! Yes! That was the first leg of our trip! I think that is PLENTY of information for the first half of this two part blog series – if you made it to the end THANK YOU FOR STAYING. I hope you find these tips helpful in your globe trotting adventures. I will have part two out soon, detailing Croatia and our adventures (& lessons learned) there!
If you’re new here, thanks for tuning in. I am VERY new to blogging so bear with me.
Most of what I write about will be Halcyon Creative and its happenings. I just got booked for three weddings, a baby’s first birthday and for a piece to hang in someone’s home. Things are BUSY.
BUT! As many of you know, I have a day job that I adore. I work as a Structural Engineer specializing in Bridge Design, Inspection, Rehabilitation and Scoping. I also have gotten to work on a bridge construction site and designing, rehabbing and inspecting dam structures! I’ve worked on teams to design vehicular and pedestrian bridges made of steel, reinforced concrete and timber. I also kayak under existing bridges to examine the condition of their surfaces not accessible from land. Yes, that tiny person below is me, in the kayak in the middle of winter.
If you are already lost, join the club. I can barely keep track day to day what I will be doing because as an engineer, it truly changes daily. If you’re thinking “Micah how do you balance a full time job and a side hustle?” Let me give you a completely honest answer – “Not well!”.. and God forbid, if you’re thinking “Micah you’re so smarrrrrrrrrrrt” let me ASSURE you I am not. But I am driven and eager to learn, and working to keep that mindset is a good start!
Now that THAT is out of the way, let me tell you something exciting! In January I got to spend 2 weeks in Cincinnati taking a course in Bridge Inspection. I was immediately nervous for what to expect being on a business trip for that long, and in a city I have never visited before.
As a native michigander, I have not heard many people lovingly talk about Ohio. Even my own dear brother refers to Ohio as the “armpit of the nation”. I have never understood the hatred, but I was unsure what to expect from Cinci.
You guys. I was BLOWN away.
Cincinnati is a thriving city with incredible personality and really stunning infrastructure. As a Bridge Engineer, I spend a lot of time looking at how locations choose to beautify their bridges. Most places don’t put much money or thought into it but Cincinnati, being located on the Ohio River and connecting to Covington KY had stunning examples of many different bridge types. If you are looking for stuff to do in Cincinnati, please keep reading. It is one of my favorite trips in recent memory.
1. Roebling BRidge
If you don’t immediately see the Roebling bridge when you enter Cinci, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems and ugly infrastructure AIN’T ONE. (Sorry, I laugh at my own jokes because somebody has too). When you see the bridge you may think “huh. That looks familiar” and you’d be RIGHT BECAUSE THE ROEBLING BRIDGE WAS THE PRECURSOR TO THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE. That’s right! Same designer. And Cincinnati was first! It opened for public use in 1867 and spans 1,057 feet. When I was in Cinci it was FREEZING outside so I spent a grand total of like 3 seconds on the steel grid bridge deck, but I sat in my car and stared for at least 20 minutes. Now almost 150 years old, the Roebling bridge serves pedestrian and vehicular needs connecting both the Cinci and Covington Riverfronts.
2. St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
Yes, you read that right. There is a historical basilica in Covington, Kentucky… and I happened to find it by total accident while looking for a car wash… and it has the largest stained glass window in the WORLD. ISN’T THAT INSANE?! The cathedral was started in 1894 and completed in 1915. Now, if you aren’t catholic (where my protestants at?!) you may wonder what a basilica is – I sure did! The answer I found is basically “Someone of importance decides it is one.” In this case, Pope Pius XII elevated St. Mary’s to the distinction of Basilica in 1953. I spent probably an hour going from window to window, remembering the stories of my childhood of Jesus and his mercy. It was a really emotional experience for me. Whether you are religious or not, the architecture and historical significance of St. Mary’s Basilica of the Assumption can be enjoyed by all.
3. Findlay Market
I have no doubt if you google Cincinatti, Findlay Market comes up as an option for shopping, food, sightseeing and relaxation. I came for breakfast the Saturday I was in Cinci, and spent a couple hours looking at the stores surrounding the market itself. Findlay market is ALSO historic (surprise surprise!) and was founded in 1852. The market structure actually is steel framework, which is common today for structural engineering but was very new at that time. There are endless food options and a number of CUTE stores for shopping at nearby. I am desperately loyal to Eastern Market in my hometown, Detroit, but Findlay was SO nice too.
& MANY OTHER THINGS!
I could go on forEVER about the things to see and do in Cincinnati. Instead of writing paragraphs for each of them, there is a list below with a number of pictures I snapped on my adventures. I am endlessly thankful for the life I have and the adventures I have gotten to experience, and I can honestly say with full sincerity I LIKED my time in Ohio.
Additional highlights from my trip:
FOOD 1. Sotto (Italian food that was INCREDIBLE) 2. Eli’s BBQ (classic barbeque, what else could you need) 3. Bakersfield OTR (there is a bakersfield in Detroit as well, and I LOVE it so it was nice to have it on my trip too!) 4. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar (this was close to my hotel and I ate there a couple times! Delicious.)
ACTIVITIES 1. Cinci Botanical Gardens 2. Krohn Conservatory 3. Overlook Park 4. Observation deck 5. Cincinnati Art Museum 6. Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum
I am so behind. I hoped to launch my website in 2018 and start with a BIG OL’ POST about the fabulous fall weddings I was hired for. Then life happened. And I didn’t launch until March. Whoops!
Even though these three weddings were less than a month apart, you can CLEARLY see how amazing and unique each of my clients are through their own adaptations of what throwing a “fall wedding” is. Below you will find Bridget & Mike, Hannah & Josh and Katie & Steve. I know all three girls from different areas of life and I could not be happier for all of them and their husbands!
B R I D G E T & M I K E
October 20, 2018: Weller’s Weddings Carriage House
I don’t know where to begin with Bridget and Mike. Well, I guess it makes sense to say how we are acquainted: I actually work with both of them at my day job! Bridget is a Professional Engineer/Professional Traffic Operations Engineer and Mike is a Professional Bridge Engineer. I truly consider them both friends before coworkers, and then coworkers before clients… but they were nice enough to hire me to make their seating chart and a couple other signs for their BEAUTIFUL October wedding.
Bridget and Mike are truly some of the most genuine people I know. They are both kind, caring and incredibly fun. Their relationship started as a little bit of a secret (because office gossip is the worrrrrst, amiright?) but then BLOSSOMED into them literally inviting every person from our group to their wedding and bringing in the donuts they were considering serving instead of wedding cake for our office. They are amazing.
On a personal note, I want to tell you Bridget has been like a sister to me in the 5 years I have known her. We met when I was 20 and SO unaware of the world around me. She helped guide me through the different stages of my early 20’s and for her love and guidance I am endlessly thankful. OKAY ILL GOING TO STOP NOW SORRY.
Their wedding was held at Wellers Carriage House in Saline Michigan. Bridget styled the event herself (like, how amazing is that?!) These photos are by Yana Benjamin. The donuts were catered from Washtenaw Dairy in Ann Arbor.
These hooligans are my coworkers ^ I really really care about them and am thankful to work with such great people every single day.
H A N N A H & J O S H
November 9, 2018: Belle Isle Casino
I think it will go without saying when you see some of the gallery photos for Hannah & Josh’s wedding, you will be floored. Every detail was meticulously thought over and executed to perfection. When Hannah first asked me to make a sign for her, it was for her “Nashlorette Weekend”. I always take my first opportunity to do work for someone almost as an audition (like, please hire me again!), but during my planning meeting with Hannah she finished explaining what she wanted and in the next breath said “So do you want to talk about the wedding signs now too?”. I was thrilled to know she trusted me enough to give me such a chance to spread my creative wings. She is a huge supporter of local vendors and had one of the most beautifully thought out weddings I have ever seen.
Hannah & Josh’s wedding was held at the Belle Isle Casino. These photos were taken by Alora Rachelle Photography. The entire event was styled and coordinated by Sophia Frances Events & Co. Their pies were catered by Sister Pie. You can see their wedding published in Seen Magazine. YES THAT’S RIGHT, IT WAS PUBLISHED.
K A T I E & S T E V E
November 3, 2018: Ypsilanti Freight House
SURPRISE: Katie is also a coworker of mine!! I met Katie a few years ago doing a field review for a local job we were both assigned too during the dead of winter. We had such a great time running around in the freezing cold to look at pedestrian facilities that I swore she and I would be friends outside of work too. AND YEE HAW WE SURE ARE.
When Katie and I met, she and Steve had been happily dating for a while. When she got engaged, all our conversations gained an intensity and excitement of at least 70% and I got to watch in amazement as she took her vision (which all started from a color palette inspired by a photo she took HERSELF) and created an incredibly individual, unapologetically amazing wedding.
It feels like a really cheap thing to call Katie a coworker, but cheesy to call her a sister right after I called Bridget one too. She and I have long conversations about life, love, mental health and self care. She and Steve are a BLAST to spend time with and have left me crying laughing more than once. I am so lucky to have her and Bridget to both work with regularly (or at least instant message during work hours 100+ times 🙂 )
Katie and Steve’s wedding was held at the Ypsilanti Freight House, Katie did all the styling and coordinating of the event herself (she needs a business ASAP) and all these photos were taken by BAM Photos.
I hope I didn’t gush TOO much about the amazing fall weddings I got to be a part of, but if I did thanks for bearing with me and reading to the end anyways. If you have any questions about any of the vendors present in my blog post, please feel free to reach out to me! I will happily send any and all information I have.
When I started making signs and chalkboard designs in 2016, I had no idea it would lead me to this.
That’s how all great stories start, right?
It was Spring of 2016. I was newly graduated with a Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree, I had a job promised to me starting two weeks after I graduated. I was standing in the wedding of two people I deeply care about. Life was fine!
Allie, the bride, asked if I could make her a couple signs for their wedding shower. She wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted, but she gave me some general directions and brought me some markers. I took some art classes in college, I knew my way around a sketch pad…. but I had never made anything like a sign. I spent a week looking at other artists designs and started sketching. The signs I made her are below.
Allie was thrilled with the results. She had a stunning shower filled with love and support and my mini business unintentionally launched.
Since that pivotal spring, I have taken part in over 50 independent projects including weddings, business ventures, styled photo shoots, baby showers, parties and custom commissions for gifts.
So where does this leave me?
Well, in 2019 I decided to get serious about my little business and get organized. You are seeing the finished website (Let’s be honest though, it really will never be finished because I have changed it like, once a week since I started working on it). I have compiled pictures of some of my work. I have a name.
A name. What a scary and difficult thing to decide on.
I spent months toiling over the thought of what to call my business. I certainly didn’t want to name it after myself, so I started compiling pretty and meaningful words. I had lists and lists of potential names and phrases. I went through them all with my sweet mom and dear friends and we all landed on one. You guessed it-
“So what is a halcyon? How do you say it? Why did you pick that name?”
If we turn to our friend Google and it’s endless wisdom, you will find that the definition of Halcyon is as follows:
To refer to a time period as the Halcyon days, in modern times, is to look back on a memory and recall it as being blissfully happy and entirely peaceful. In Greek mythology it referred to a bird that could only lay her eggs in the middle of winter on the shores of the mediterranean sea, during an unexpected warm and calm period called the Halcyon days. It speaks to the belief that there are days we can count on that will serve as a break from the storm of life. These days will bring back peaceful and idyllic memories when you think of them. Halcyon days are a promise amidst the chaos that there will eventually be peace. So why did I chose this name?
I want to help others create memories that they can recall as Halcyon Days in their lives. Creating Halcyon days = Halcyon Creative.
It may be a little spacey and “hippy dippy” for some of you, I get it! But it makes perfect sense to me.
To date, most of the projects I have taken on have been beautiful brides and glowing expectant mothers. These women are facing incredible stress (physically, mentally, emotionally) but they know on the other side of the storms they are going to have halcyon days. It is a joy beyond words to be invited to take part in some of the happiest memories of their lives, and in the lives of all of my clients.
What are some days in your life you regard as “Halcyon Days”? I would like to challenge you to think for a moment about them. I think about standing in an open air jeep on an African Safari, staring at giraffes peacefully eating in 2012. I think of holding my baby cousin Remington when he was born in 1999. I think of the late nights spent cradling coffee cups (or Little Caesar’s Crazy bread) and genuinely talking to my girlfriends. I think about seeing Venice, Italy and crying because I was so overwhelmed to be there. I think about watching my dad sing and dance with my mom, not caring how hard it made my brother and I cringe to see how much he loved her. I think about hot summer nights at bandcamp in high school, exhausted, sunburnt but so happy. I think about the faces of the people who were there… especially the ones who have since gone home to God. I think about all the Halcyon Days to come.
I know this blog post should probably be about 4 paragraphs shorter, but I wanted to genuinely tell you all about where my heart was when I chose my name, and that I am so so so honored to have had enough people trust their ideas to me that I have need of a website at all. Thank you for checking out my work. Thanks for being you.