Do you have a BFF ?

I read somewhere yesterday that only 35% of women polled say that they have a best friend. I’m not talking spouse or adult kids, those friendships are different. But a classic “best friend”.  That one person who is always by your side.  Someone you could call in the middle of the night and would rush over no questions asked.  Someone to take a spontaneous road trip with, hold your hair while you are sick or cry with you while watching Grey’s Anatomy.

For me, the types of friendship go like this:

Workplace friends:  People you laugh with, talk crap about other coworkers with, they make your job fun.  You don’t see each other outside of work but you probably spend more time with them than your other types of friends.

Social Media friends:  You may have met them in person or online, but either way you pretty much only connect through social media these days. You tag each other in funny memes, like and comment on each others posts, know what is going on in their lives based on what they share. It’s a very real type of friendship and your social media life is better because of them.

Friendships based on your kids:  These are the moms you meet because of Little League, marching band, Girl Scouts, etc.  You don’t hang out together without the kids but have gotten to know each other as you wait around for the kids to finish up.  You text each other when you forget what time something starts or if your kid needs a ride home. The kids often hang out together so you sit together at birthday parties and know a lot of the same moms/kids. But once the kids move on to different classes or activities the friendship fades away, and that’s ok.

Close Friends: These people may have started as another type of friend.  Or they may be a neighbor or friend from high school.  However you met, this is someone you hang out with. You’ve been to each other’s homes and you know each other’s families. You’ve gone places together; concerts, road trips, movies, etc.  They will show up to your parties and help you clean up afterwards. You have a solid foundation of shared memories.

Best Friends:  These are the people who started out as close friends. But over time you have gotten closer and now they are family. You get each other’s stupid jokes, you can look at each other and know what you are thinking.  They will tell you if those jeans make your butt look big or if you need to blow your nose.  They feel comfortable enough to tell you they disagree with your opinion but will always have your back with outsiders even if they don’t agree with you!  You know you could show up at their door in the middle of the night and they would just hand you a pillow and blanket and you’d talk in the morning.  Your relationship can survive distance, full time jobs and hectic schedules.  These are the sisters you chose for yourself.

I do not have a BFF.  I have quite a few best friends and to say that one is the “best” of them is just not possible.  There are some that I would call up for certain things.  Watching scary movies, jumping out of planes, singing karaoke, playing group games. But I can’t narrow it down to one person and say they are my ” best friend forever”.

What about you?  Which of the following is most true for you ?


 Do you have another type of friend that I didn’t include?  Do you want to do a shout out to your best friend?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments…

Sorting through the Memories

I’m not someone who collects a lot of stuff.  But we do have a few collections of things from vacations and special occasions that need to be trimmed down. Our new home is less than half the size of this one and I simply have nowhere to display these items anymore. Looking at my curio cabinet full of local treasures from trips to Alaska, South Dakota, Hawaii, the Outer Banks, etc; I am remembering the stores and galleries where we found each treasure.

Keeping my new motto in mind (SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY) I pushed on and worked on reducing the collection by half.  After consulting with Chad (these are his memories too) we came up with what I think is a nice representation of our travels. I was even able to keep a wooden display table with shelves that Chad made to put them on and it looks great in the new place.  That is the ONLY piece of furniture we have in the new house that is there to display things and it is now full!  From now on when we travel we will have our memories and some pictures.  We don’t need to bring home “stuff”.

Years ago we started collecting shot glasses from our trips.  We never use them all and they are on a shelf on the kitchen where you can’t see them anyway.  We decided we couldn’t see ourselves needing more than 6 in the future.  If the party is that big we are taking it to a bar anyway!!  So we laid them all out and Chad and I took turns choosing. There were some that I was sad to let go.  What about the 4 souvenir shot glasses I had to wash in the bathroom sink from House of Blues in Chicago.  Well, thought I had washed until I looked in my purse the next morning!  But in all reality it had been years since I had really looked at all of them anyway and I had to let go!

We also have pretty glasses/goblets. Just random mismatched glasses that caught our eye.  We aren’t wine drinkers but it has been fun every now and then to use them with dinner.  Who doesn’t want to drink water or milk from a fancy goblet? The kids always loved it too. But we don’t need them and space is limited to we had to purge. We reduced from about 20 down to 6. I’m not even sure we need 6 but I will fit them in if I can.

I have a lot left to do in the next few months but I’ve already had some tough decisions to make. The vase that my son in law gave me, the birdhouse my daughter painted, the photo albums from a friend.  I just don’t have room to take these things with me.  I would rather someone else take them and use them. They aren’t doing anyone any good sitting in a box in a storage unit.  Part of living simply is realizing I still have my memories and those memories and relationships mean more to me than the gifts ever will!  

Just Keep Swimming

My mom has had health problems my entire adult life. She takes the hit, works through it and keeps on going. There have been times when we thought we were going to lose her, but she keeps fighting.

As I visit with her today, enjoying the sunshine and listening to her talk hopefully about the upcoming camping season, I am reminded of Dory from Finding Nemo.

We may lose our way, we may have obstacles to overcome or scary journeys ahead of us. But we have to look forward and just keep on swimming!

100 years of Michigan State Parks

Did you know that 2019 marks the 100th year of the Michigan State Park organization? One of the things I love so much about this beautiful state is the natural beauty of our parks. I’m sure everyone has their favorite one, mine happens to be the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park.  No big surprise there. Situated on over 200 acres on the northern tip of Tawas Bay, it offers a full hook up campground, several beaches (including a dog beach), a historical lighthouse, a 2+ mile trail that weaves through marshes, beaches and woods where you can observe all kinds of wildlife. There is a bathhouse, a beach cafe and even live entertainment from time to time. Kiteboarders and windsurfers come from all over the Midwest to play in these waves. Birdwatchers also love the Point, they have their own annual festival and have recorded over 160 species in a single weekend!

There are MANY cool things offered by the Michigan State Parks that a lot of people just don’t know about.

Examples: (SP= state park)

Snowshoe building clinics at Sleepy Hollow SP and Ludington SP

Ice fishing clinic at Micthell SP

Lantern lit snowshow hikes at many SPs including Hoffmaster, Island Lake and Tahquamenon Falls

Easter Egg Hunts at Young SP and Lakeport SP

Moonlight Bootleggers 5K run at Ionia SP complete with old timey music and moonshine cocktails at the finish line.

Beach Yoga at the Lighthouse at Silver Lake SP.

These are just a few examples of the year round activities offered at your local state parks. Most activities are free, you just need an annual recreation pass which is only $11 at the SOS or $16 at a DNR office.  That is an incredible deal when you think about everything you get in return.  Plus all of that money goes back into the park system and keeping them operating for generations to come.

Part of my new “Living Simply” lifestyle is to spend more time outside. Just breath in the fresh air, relax, unwind. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in one of our gorgeous parks. I encourage you to get out there and visit one today!

Helpful links:

Michigan State Parks

List of Events

Map and list of State Parks


A Few of My Favorite Places

Everyone who knows me know how much I love my state. I was born and raised here and no matter how cold the winters get, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. So as we dig out from another snowstorm and brace for the next, I thought I would share a few of my favorite places to go in Michigan. Spring is right around the corner. Soon you can fill up the tank, put on your sunglasses, turn up the radio and take a day trip to one of these fun places!

1- Mac Woods Dune Rides- Mears

This place has been around since 1930 and is a great way to see the Silver Lake sand dunes for people that don’t have their own ORV. It’s fun to be driven over the hills and sometimes even splashed by a wave while letting someone else do all the work.  I’ve seen people of all ages enjoy this ride, from toddlers to seniors. No reservations needed unless your group is over 20 people.  Check out their link for more info.  Mac Woods

2-Rau’s Country Store- Frankenmuth


This one of a kind store in right in the heart of downtown Frankenmuth and has always been one of my favorites. I’ve seen the store change their inventory a little since I started going there as a kid. But they have done it in a way that interests new customers while also keeping the nostalgic feel that keeps their regulars coming back. Giant pickles in a wooden barrel, old fashioned candy, tin signs, funny pajamas and fuzzy slippers.  There really IS something for everyone! Make a day of it and check out the other cool shops and restaurants in town while you are there.  Rau’s Country Store

3-  The Detroit Zoo- Royal Oak

Another place I’ve been going since I was a kid and it just keeps getting better. One of the criticisms I hear about this zoo is that everything is too spread out. But that is one of the reasons I love it so much! I can’t think of a better place to get some exercise. The grounds are beautiful, there are lots of shady places to rest, the animal habitats keep improving for the animals benefit.  And bonus-the iconic fountain and train are still there! If you haven’t been lately you need to check it out.  Detroit Zoo

4- Mackinac Island Bike Loop- Mackinac Island

This is by far my FAVORITE place to go bike riding, anywhere! You can take your own bike over on a ferry or rent one at one of local bike shops. We’ve always rented them because I love the old fashioned bikes and while they may not be practical for riding around your local trails,for this trip they are perfect. The 8 mile road goes all the way around the island, I recommend going counter clockwise. And since there are no cars on the island, the only thing you really need to dodge are the horse piles and the people! You start out in town and go by the shops, cute hotels and the fort. Mission Point is the last big resort you see, then it’s Arch Rock and nothing but the cool breeze off the lake as you pedal around the back side of the island. Make sure you bring your camera, a water bottle and maybe a lightweight jacket. This link has some rental pricing and more information for you.  Biking on Mackinac Island

5- Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park- Grand Rapids

This is one of those places that you always hear about but aren’t prepared for how awesome (or huge) it really is! Open year round with seasonal displays, there is always something new to see. It boasts a 30 acre sculpture park where you wander through trees, gardens, meadows and water features while taking it some of the most unique sculptures I’ve ever seen.  There are many themed gardens including a life size farm and an 8 acre Japanese garden. Green houses, rotating exhibits, demonstrations, etc. Plan on spending the whole day and bring sunscreen and good walking shoes. There is an on site cafe and they do offer a tram tour for those that may want a little less walking.  Meijer Gardens

We are blessed to live in a state with so much of offer. Let’s remember that as the snow is coming down and we are counting down the days til’ spring (35!)  If you have a favorite place you think I may enjoy please comment below.

I will be doing separate posts on my favorite places in Tawas/Oscoda and downtown Detroit as they need their own posts! 

Cheesecake Bars and a Lighthouse

I was so excited to attend my first meeting for the Friends of the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park today. One of the things I had planned on doing when we moved to East Tawas full time was join some community groups. Two years ago I started following their Facebook page and really liked what they were all about. So my husband and I sent in our membership form and joined the group. We’ve helped with a couple of events when we happened to be in the area but I wasn’t planning on joining any committees until I moved up here in June. But then one innocent suggestion led to an invite to the planning committee. So here I am about to attend my first meeting and as nervous as a kid on their first day of school. Should I sit back quietly and just observe or jump right in as I usually do?  These people have known each other for years, maybe even grew up together.  I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or come across as too eager.

So I decided that the best thing to do was bring a treat. How can you go wrong if you show up with goodies?  I came up the night before the meeting specifically so I could bake these cheesecake bars and let them cool overnight in the fridge as the recipe calls for before the meeting this afternoon.  All of this turned out to be for nothing though as freezing rain and bad road conditions led to a virtual meeting on Google Suite. This was the first time the group has done a virtual meeting and I have to admit I laughed more than once watching everyone try to figure out what they were doing.  But we got through it and I felt totally comfortable with this group. But now I have a whole pan of cheesecake bars sitting in my fridge! I’m going to have to go to karaoke tonight so I can share with my bar buddies! You can impress your friends too with this easy recipe. Whether you make them sing or not is up to you!!



2 packages Pillsbury Crescent rolls (either original or butter)

2 8oz blocks of cream cheese (room temp)

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup white sugar

1 cup cinnamon sugar mixture



1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2- Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside

3- Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla.

4- Lay one package of the rolls in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, pinch the seams together as necessary. Try to make this layer as even as possible. You may even have to trim off a little in the corners if it is bunching up.

5- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the first layer of rolls.

6- On a clean surface spread the 2nd package of rolls out and pinch the seams together. You want to make this layer as close in size to the first layer you did.  Once it is sealed and the right size carefully lift it off the surface and place it over the top of the cream cheese layer. If someone is around to help with this step it makes it a little easier.  Gently make any necessary adjustments. Again you may need to trim off any extra in the corners. You want to make it as even as possible making sure all of the cream cheese is covered.

7- Pour the melted butter over the top layer of rolls making sure it is evenly coated.

8- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top evenly.

9- Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely and then leave covered in the refrigerator overnight.  Gently cut into squares when ready to serve.




One of my favorite parts of small town living are the unique festivals and it seems the smaller the town the more interesting the festivals are! Take Perchville for example.  It has been an annual winter festival for the Tawases since 1950! Now growing up in the suburbs of Detroit it’s not an event I was even aware existed until a few years ago and it is very hard to describe. Part Frat house, part Holiday weekend combined with the small town charm you come to expect from Tawas Bay.

It seems many people treat the weekend as a homecoming.  Lots of people that grew up in the area and moved away after high school come back to hang out with their friends.  I saw many happy reunions. There are also big groups of friends that meet up each year dressed in themed outfits. They have been coming for years and even have shirts made for their favorite bartenders and staff from the local resort and bars.  They reserve a block of rooms and have hallway parties with decorations and music.  We even saw a group of people dressed up in pirate apparel that were playing music together for no other reason but that they could and no one would think it at all odd.  From boas and fish net stockings to fish hats and footed pajamas it seems anything goes this weekend.

There are many events that are family friendly.  An ice fishing contest, teen dance, scavenger hunts, snowmobile races or atv barrel races, a polar plunge, a big family activities tent.  If you are looking for daytime activities for your kids you can find it here.  But the main draw does seem to be the bands and the beer tent.  There is live music everywhere you look and people dancing, laughing and having fun all around. Even though the beer tent is not my scene, I stopped in just to take a peek and a few pictures. Inside were people of all ages….20’s through 70’s enjoying the loud music, the flashy lights and of course, the beer!

My favorite part of the weekend though was the “chilly” cook off.  The streets of downtown East Tawas were closed off and 20 local businesses all made huge batches of chili.  For $6 you could buy a coozie and go around and taste all of the chilis and then vote for your favorite. There were all different.  Some had corn, cocoa, hot dogs. There was even a paleo one and most places had toppings you could add. A couple of stores even had people dressed in costume going up and down the street talking to people and trying to get their votes. It was fun to talk to local shop owners and employees and compare notes with people walking around. I have no idea what the prizes were but hundreds of people were partaking and a winner was crowned.  Way to go Village Chocolatier!


If you haven’t experienced this winter tradition you really should. I’d be happy to be your tour guide!