Monday, January 26, 2009

Precious Love

When I get a chance to watch daytime TV I try to tune in around 4pm just in time to watch Ellen. She is absolutely hilarious and I think I laugh out loud at least for half of her show each time I watch! Today is Ellen's birthday and she had a phenomenal musical guest on, James Morrison. I had never heard of him until just a few moments ago (shows how out of the musical loop I am) but I was blown away. I love the happiness and joy he performs with, and vocally he is truly gifted! Therefore I decided that all of you need to know about him too!

Be sure to check out his wesbite and click on "Audio." The song Precious Love is my new favorite and a must for iTunes download. What a great beat and the most precious lyrics to share for your first dance or one of many dances in the kitchen with the ones you love. Love is precious and enjoy James Morrison.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


There is nothing more enjoyable than spending the afternoon in the kitchen baking yummy treats with great tunes! I recently stumbled upon Smitten Kitchen, a phenomenal blog committed to one of the things I love, food. I've had this recipe on my to do list for quite some time but I haven't gotten to it yet (like the gazillion and one other things I would like to do- learn to sew, make veggie lasagna, clean all the baseboards, re-organize my office, be more proficient with my camera, spend more time outside). My hopes by posting this incredibly yummy picture, is that someone (being you) will make Smitten Kitchen's Austrian Raspberry Shortbread. Then of course let us know how delicious they are!!

Happy baking!!

Photo from Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life's a bowl of cherries!

There are some things you cannot afford to miss when you head north. One of those is a visit to Cherry Republic, the land of Life, Liberty, Beaches and Pie! The Great Hall of the Republic in Glen Arbor, their world headquarters, includes sampling their 170 some products including chocolate covered cherries, cherry BBQ sauce, cherry trail mix, cherry almond butter, and of course the famous Boomchuka cookie.

Northern Michigan grows over 70% of the worlds tart cherries. And all those beautiful blossoms you see in May turn into the luscious red jewels of juice and flavor we northerners eat by the cup full! Cherry Republic has been transforming these wonderful cherries into gourmet foods for years and guess what- they offer custom packaging for weddings and events!

To satisfy your cherry cravings be sure and visit Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor or their Traverse City location located downtown Front Street!

Photo from Cherry

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This day..

This day will be remembered forever.
This day will be a moment marked in time.
This day is a day that we as a United States of America witness history.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama!

Image provided by Shepard Fairy of Obey Fame

Monday, January 19, 2009

Morning light

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Call me old fashioned!

Do you ever reminisce about the good ole' days? The days before iPhones, laptops, and the internet? Whoa, whoa, how many of you did I loose there?! I'm not suggesting that we turn back the technological clock and enter the world of morse code, I'm simply asking you to take a trip down memory lane.

To this day one of my favorite daily activities is getting the mail. Most of it's junk with credit card offers, coupon booklets or tempting catalogs that JCrew and Anthropolgie spies send knowing how much I want to buy everything in them but must restrain myself for fear Kyle would bury me in the backyard with the down spouts! But every once in a while their lies a blast from the past. The lovely script address on cotton pressed stock with colorful stamps. Nothing brings me more unexpected joy than a card or handwritten note on beautiful paper.

You will soon come to know that I have a huge obsession with stationary. But it's not just the paper, I love the guache calligraphers use to produce the beautiful addresses and the stamps, oh the stamps... I swear that my Dad wouldn't mind if I sacrificed his collection for beautiful letters!

Speaking of stamps and letters, Ardour Bookbinding in Chicago produces these lovely gems...

The Bureau de Poste set includes six different note cards and envelopes handmade from enlargements of vintage post complete with first class postage. What a great hostess gift or set to take with you on your honeymoon or vacation to say hello to the folks back home! Or if you'd like to pick and choose envelopes that correspond to your wedding invitation you can select one of these beauties! This is style No 24189- I love the detail and color. They even sell these beautiful Letterprecious Lables for you to use on your own stationary.

The next time you open your mailbox and reach in my wish for you is that, amongst the bills, magazines and Publishers Clearinghouse winnings, you find a handwritten note sealed with love!

Photos from Ardour Bookbinding

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fast Food Wedding?

Photo from NBC Chicago

I don't know of many couples who would purposefully plan a wedding at a fast food joint but Paul and Caragh Brooks did just that. At a Taco Bell in Illinois for $200 they tied the knot, click Here to read about this off beat wedding!

Link provided by Libby Godwin of Chicago.

The Cooks House

A treat for the tastebuds is exactly how I would describe Traverse City's 18 seat bistro, The Cook's House. Rarely do I get to enjoy the fabulous cuisine in the area but, yesterday local photographer and designer Chandra Demers of Hitching Post Photography and I met for lunch at this hidden treasure on Front Street in downtown TC.

A simple and uncomplicated menu designed with flavor combinations that seem to dance effortlessly on the pallet are what keeps the doors opening and closing throughout the day. From the bright colored interior to the cozy seating arrangements with white linen and parchment paper, this atmosphere is reminiscent of the cafes in Paris where friends and once dined.

Chef's and owner's Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee are transforming the local cuisine scene as we know it. From the famed Andre's restaurant in Las Vegas Patterson and Blakeslee breathe life and love into food with a passion that's spreading like wildfire. The restaurant is open Monday thru Saturday 11am to 9pm serving lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended an can be made by calling 231.946.8700.

As my newest favorite I look forward to many more meals shared and experienced at The Cook's House!

Photos by Charles Korson via culinae

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nature's design

If you haven't heard of Nettleton/Hollow you should have! This fabulous site specializes in decorative branches and dried natural elements. Justin Brandreth started this company in 2003 after his search online for branches to decorate his apartment left him empty handed.

For great design and DIY projects visit their blog. NH shows you how to use their products to make beautiful, lasting arrangements that are stunning for your dining room table or your wedding centerpieces. I love this image from their blog showing how sanded Mantanzita branches can be transformed into a weeping willow of crystals. Be sure and light this glittering masterpiece with some small canister lights to really make it pop!

Photo from Nettleton/Hollow

Monday, January 12, 2009

Huge thanks!

Thank you to Barb Ellis, the wedding coordinator, at The Homestead Resort, in Glen Arbor for the lovely tour, dinner and spa treatments that she arranged for myself and other local event planners this past Saturday.

We started off with a great tour of the property and their many event locations, then enjoyed a great Swedish massage at their new Spa Amira perched cliffside on Lake Michigan and capped off the evening with a great wine tasting and food pairing at Nonna's Restaurant featuring wines from Silverleaf Vineyard in Suttons Bay and a fabulous menu prepared by their Executive Chef.

More to come from this great resort later!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day Trip No. 2

Our second day trip keeps us closer to Traverse City. We're headed to Old Mission Lighthouse!

This destination is one of my favorite beach areas because of the privacy and unique shoreline. Since we're closer to town this time I would stock up on water, fresh cherries, great cheese and crackers, plastic cups and a wine key. Why this combination, you'll see! Plan on heading out to catch the later afternoon sun to be sure and have an appetite for some great cuisine on the way home.

But, before we get to the 45th parallel (yep, that's right, OML is built exactly half way between the equator and the North Pole) from downtown TC head north on M-37 or Center Road. This takes you on Old Mission Peninsula dividing East and West Grand Traverse Bay.

I hope you left room in your cooler for a couple bottles of wine! 12 miles from the base of the Peninsula on Rue de Vin lies Chateau Chantal, one of Traverse City's esteemed vineyards and bed and breakfasts.

With a beautiful tasting room and fabulous 360 degree water views Chateau Chantal delivers on all aspects- fabulous wine and fabulous views. Tastings are complimentary however it is polite to purchase a bottle of vino if you tend on enjoying the samples!

A wonderful aromatic white wine is their 2006 Pinot Grigio. This wine finely aged in stainless steel in the cellar and is light, fruity, crisp and dry. A great addition to the picnic foods you've packed! And if you are at the Chateau and are looking for a great bubbly my personal favorite is their Celebrate sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and a splash of Pinot Noir. This blend makes a fabulous Mimosa or a Northern Michigan Bellini!

Head north from the Chateau about 5 miles until the road ends and you've arrived! Welcome to Old Mission Lighthouse. Built in 1870 the lighthouse remained active until 1933 aiding ships passing throught the rocky schoals and shallow waters of the Bays. The Parks Service is in the process of developing a Keeper program were visitors can rent the Lighthouse. However for now it's open to the public and for $4 you can climb to the top of the tower.

The beach area immediately in front of the house tends to be crowded but slightly further in either direction there is much more room for a quite picnic and lots of sun. One of the great features of the Lighthouse beach is the shoreline. Us locals aren't crazy about the low water levels but at the end of the Peninsula you can walk for over a half a mile and still touch sand. If you have sensitive feet I'd recommend some waterproof hiking shoes- it's a little rocky!

Once you find a great spot to picnic crack open the wine and enjoy a late afternoon snack in the sun. But don't stuff yourself, the Boathouse Restaurant at Bowers Harbor is waiting for dinner!

Owner and retauranteur, Doug Kosch, has been in the industry for over 20 years and has a great reputation for providing guests with wonderful dining experiences. If you're too full from your picnic to dine enjoy some the Ahi tuna or Oysters Rockefeller overlooking the sunset on West Bay. Don't be surprised when you see Chef Eric Nittolo out chatting with diners or if he approaches your table. He may even share some of his prized culinary secrets!

As you head back to town be sure and take Peninsula Drive south which follows the east shore of West Bay. But becareful, the views are stunning and if you're driving stay on the road!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't wait...

from Creature Comforts

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day Trip No. 1

There are so many great beaches and hidden treasures to find in Northern Michigan. My first Day Trip takes us to Sleep Bear Dunes National Park.

Before you leave Traverse head to West Front Street & Maple to Mary's Kitchen Port. This delectable specialty foods and kitchen store makes amazing fresh sandwiches, salads and desserts to go. My personal lunch favorite is their Tuba Pasta- pesto, roasted turkey, tuba pasta and other yummies and a homemade carmel found at the checkout counter. Make sure to pick up a couple bottles of artisian lemonade and a giant Rice Krispe treat for the road!

Photo courtesy of Larry Page via Flickr

From Mary's head west on Grandview Parkway then west on M-72 toward Empire. Along the drive you will be sure and find many great roadside stands stocked with fresh fruit and snacks for your day trip as you pass from Grand Traverse into Leelanau County. Once in Empire, M-72 ends. Make a left at the light and head south on M-22 about a quarter of a mile and you'll reach a chocoholics paradise, Grocer's Daughter Chocolate.

This isn't your ordinary chocolate shop. Grocer's specializes in rain forest protected certified chocolate and uses organic and natural ingredients grown in their own gardens and shop or locally throughout Leelanau County. Mimi Wheeler, the chocolatier behind this culinary treat, was the daughter of a grocer in a small town in Denmark. It was her mother, the beautiful women that graces the label of her chocolates, that inspired her to create such mouthwatering treats. One of my favorites is their Wally Bar chocked with great dried fruits, nuts and sesame seeds.

For the bite size lover try their truffles. Their heavenly flavors ensure that these morsels of love will be gone before you leave the store! And, if you are looking for an authentic Northern Michigan party or wedding favor, Grocer's will work with you to create the flavor you are looking for!

Photos above provided by Grocer's Daughter

Careful not to overindulge but grab a few more chocolates to go and stash them in the cooler! Leaving Grocer's, head north on M-22 and continue on S Lacore Street (stay left at the fork) to Sleeping Bear Dunes N L. When you've hit a dirt road on the left you are almost there.

Welcome to North Bar Lake!!

Once in the parking lot make sure to pull around near the access walk and grab an envelope to fill out and deposit your Park Entrance Fee in the self pay canister. Parking for 7 days is $10 and this allows you entrance into all Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore entry points. The best time of day to enjoy North Bar is mid morning/early afternoon or late afternoon/early evening.
Many year ago when my family and I first began coming to North Bar it was still a hidden secret, very few people except the locals new about it. This isn't the case any more, the secret is out!

Be sure and load up on lots of sunscreen since there is no natural shade and bring the floaty rafts! North Bar has great sand and an awesome shore... once you step into the water the bottom drops from under you. You can literally shallow dive from the shore and surface where the water is well over your head! North Bar is also connected to Lake Michigan via a small stream. You have beautiful views of the Dunes and can enjoy body surfing on the Lake if the wind's just right! (For some more pictures of North Bar click here.)

With a good book in hand, sunscreen applied and your picnic lunch awaiting enjoy the calm and peace of North Bar and this hidden gem in Sleeping Bear. Beware, once you visit you'll be coming back for decades!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pink Initiative

I just received this email from Liene, The Smart Planner, about a great opportunity for wedding industry members to join a great cause- the fight against breast cancer and the chance for brides to win a $5,000.00 wedding photography package.

Photojournalist, Emilie Sommer of emilie inc. in Maine is the photographer behind the giving and the founder of Pink Initiative. To be eligible to win Emilie's talented services please visit Emilie's site and click to enter the raffle. You don't have to be a bride or even be engaged to enter. If you have a friend, Aunt or sibling that is planning on getting married soon enter for them!

On another note, if you are a member of the wedding industry and are interested in learning how you can join the Pink Initiative visit the site. A Day in May is pleased to announce that we are a participating vendor and are excited to help the Pink Initiative grow and create awareness for breast cancer research, treatment and early detection.

The Water

It's impossible to pinpoint why I love Northern Michigan so much. Growing up I could not wait to spread my wings far away from Traverse City. I had big dreams of living in a city where each day would be filled with adventure and excitement not living down the road from my old elementary school. But looking back I remember the moment I knew my heart would forever belong to this northern city.

Driving home from Ann Arbor was quite a hull, almost 4 hours due north on 23N, 96W, 127N, 10N, 115N, 131N, 113W, Clark Road, Garfield Road, 3 Mile Road... 3 Mile. 3 Mile crests the hills just outside of Traverse City. As I came down the hill on my first visit back home since school had begun it hit me. That was the moment, the moment I knew I'd always be home here. All because of this beautiful wonder. Lake Michigan.

The turquoise color had cast a spell over me. This place that I was trying so desperately to leave, never really left. Once graduation past I naturally headed north. Soon after, Kyle joined. Since then we've never looked back, well... maybe once. That's a whole other story we'll chat about later!

Ever since I was baby I'd been in water. The bath, beach or the pool; it didn't matter. I would stay in the water for hours playing and splashing around, my nickname was Lish the Fish. That was exactly how I felt when I saw that blue water again. No longer was I a fish out of water, I could breathe again, I was home.

It's clear why Traverse City has become such a premier wedding and events destination. With beautiful waterfront locations, great revitalized downtown area and world renowned cuisine and wine making, Traverse City is a great retreat and close getaway for Detroiter's and Chicagoan's alike.

This week I'll take you on two of my favorite day trips from Traverse City focused around the lakes and shores of Northern Michigan. Each of these locations would be a perfect place for fabulous photos, remote picnic for two or a fun filled pre-celebratory day spent with friends and family on the water. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's official!

Photo courtesy of Blaine Siesser Photography

Thank you everyone for taking the time to visit our new corner of the blogging world. With A Day in May continuing to grow and evolve we have decided to step things Up a bit... Up North that is! Our new blog is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest in Northern Michigan entertaining and event planning. We'll include topics on local products, vendors, great getaways and what makes our backyard such a sought after travel and weddings destination.

In addition to providing you with the in's and out's of planning a backyard barbeque or a black tie affair "the Up North way" we'll be sure to share with you our favorite places, things, ideas and people from around the country and across the pond.

With a weakness for all things beautiful and inspiring we hope that our blog brings you inspiration and a quite moments of creativity throughout the week. To continue our committment to you we'd love to take your blogging questions or topics and share them with other readers. Please send questions to

Happy New Year!

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