Weekend Wandering: Up North 2016


Happy Monday and first day of August!

I have to share a bit from our mini getaway this past weekend. It was our annual trip to the Leelanau/Traverse City area. We’ve gone up there the last three years at least once and every time we go, it gets better. This time we learned a couple more things and found some new favorites. I want to go back so badly (I’m already scouting out beautiful Airbnb rentals in the area).

We combined this trip with a reunion with some of our best friends after a year apart. It felt extra special to be on a beautiful vacation with people we really like. We spent a bit too much time in the car and in tacky shops, but since we never stopped chatting, even those less exciting parts of the trip were great.

We enjoyed some of the best beach days I’ve ever had on Lake Michigan and watched 3 stunning sunsets. Some of my favorite times were our meals on the enclosed porch overlooking the lake. I’ll share the cutest spots we discovered later, in case you want to plan your own trip and so I don’t forget for next year’s trip.

Life is good when you’re Up North with friends.


Summer Loves

Happy Monday!

Since we can’t go back and physically relive this past weekend, I’m doing so in digital form today. The things that made it so enjoyable were small and simple. Cancelled plans on Saturday meant we did one of my very favorite things: farmer’s market breakfast date! I even made us go to bed earlier on Friday night, so that we could get a little “sleep in” and get up early enough to get a cup of cold brew (I’m afraid of them running out before we get some). I’m addicted to iced coffee in general these days, but the cold brew from Heirloom Coffee Co. is my very favorite right now. It’s probably a good thing it’s only available on Saturday morning, otherwise I might need an iced coffee budget.

I thought peony season had escaped, without me finding any to take home and enjoy. But happily we found the prettiest bouquet on our way out of the farmer’s market with peonies in them. I resisted the urge to take them to work, just so I could look at them during the day.

After setting my summer capsule, I ended up returning the black jacket and got this dress instead. When I say I wore it all weekend, that is not an exaggeration. The only time I took it off was while we painted our little camper on Saturday afternoon.

I’ve found my absolute favorite nail polish color last week. (Sidenot, just googled “favorite synonyms” and came up with no good alternatives so I’m sticking with “favorite” though it sounds redundant) My toenails usually sport some shade in the pink to red family, but for the first time in ever, they’re playing it cool with Get Mod. *heart eye emoji* time 10.

If you find yourself in possession of a large amount of farmshare rhubarb and none of the ingredients for either pie or crisp, just boil it down with some strawberries and lime juice, puree with stick blender, allow to cool and pour over strawberry ice cream. It’s simply delish. We polished off almost an entire quart of ice cream that way on Sunday. What can I say, it was hot.

The rest of our weekend was filled with activities like cleaning, laundry, garage organizing and such. Though not really my favorite in the moment, I’m a pretty big fan of the results and the less stressful week they produce.

Hope you enjoy the rest of June and are savoring all the wonderful little things that summer brings your way.

Well, that’s a wrap: the craziest May

May was insane around here. I think we did enough in 3 weekends to fill an entire summer. We’ve declared this upcoming weekend a “mandatory weekend of rest” and will be staying home for some well-deserved quiet time.

When we made the plans for May, we didn’t quite realize what a whirlwind it would be. Every time we tried to figure out what we could cut, if anything, we realized that nothing was worth sacrificing. So we just zipped around the state like a pair of sleep deprived maniacs (I got sick twice) and soaked up all the moments with special people that we could.

Weekend I: gearing up for what we knew was coming. It was the first weekend we had Hudson and did some work on him. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we did have to squeeze in a quick trip up North in on Sunday to visit Dave’s parents.

Weekend II: Part 1: My little sister’s college graduation. She was a freshman my senior year, so it was a little crazy to think of her being done with school. We’re all so proud of her.


Part 2: We headed up north to celebrate our first anniversary in Petoskey at Stafford’s Bay View Inn. I was expecting it to be kinda old and stuffy, but it was so nice. It was so pretty and the room was very comfortable. We enjoyed a long dinner and had breakfast on their enclosed porch. The chance to relax and unwind without having to set up a tent or cook for ourselves was amazing. We kept saying it felt like a mini honeymoon.

Weekend III: Dave’s oldest brother was in state with his family. I took a day off to spend with them and it was so fun to get some time with our nephews, niece and sister-in-law that wasn’t because of a wedding or funeral. Just chill time to play and chat was so relaxing and fun. The only problem was it wasn’t enough time.


That Saturday we zipped down to photograph the wedding of my  high school best friends. Dave helped me and we worked as a team. It was a little stressful to be responsible for someone’s wedding pictures, but in the end I think it worked out well. We’re still amateurs, but we captured their day and got some really pretty shots. And we’re so happy that they’re married!

Weekend IV: This past weekend we only went to one place for a change. Hudson the Camper got to go on his first trip up north. We camped in Wilderness State part, where Dave had reserved the group campsite, so we had our own private campground to share with about 12 of our friends. Saturday morning we ran the Mackinac Bridge 8k. It was one of the coolest experiences — both for the views and because it was the longest race I’d ever accomplished. We spent the rest of the day on Mackinaw Island and enjoyed some of the best planked whitefish for lunch. Highly recommend the Village Inn on the Island. The rest of the weekend was relatively quiet filled with lots of food and chatting around the campfire. It was so nice to have Monday off to leisurely make our way home.

Here’s to a quiet weekend putting our home back together and enjoying some activities closer to home. June will feel like a breeze after May.


TGIF, and an update on Hud

Happy Friday! Hope you are well. I got hit by a nasty sore throat this week and am not back to normal yet, which put me behind on my work on Hudson.

I did get a chance to figure out the interior decorating scheme I want to go with for Hudson. His name comes from the Hudson Bay Company blanket I picked up and the lovely primary color scheme that inspired. These are some images I pulled together to visualize what we’re shooting for:Vision.jpgHowever, we also started a little Instagram account for those of you who want to follow along. I’m working on just keeping friends up to date on what we’re doing and not worrying about presenting perfect pictures (it’s a big step for me, people!). So if you’d like to see what we’re up to with this crazy endeavor, feel free to take a peek:  @hudthecamper

Have a lovely Weekend!

Hudson the Camper

Can you tell I have camping on my mind? Oh boy, so I had been stalking Craigslist for weeks looking for the right trailer for us. And last Wednesday I finally found it. Dave went to check it out and everything worked out so that he bought it, and now we’re the proud owners of this handsome dude:


He’s a little rough around the edges, but he is at least 50 years old. I named him Hudson and Dave calls him “Campy.” I feel a little silly giving him a name, but it just happened.

We’re not quite sure what the name and model of the camper are, though the back of it does have this faded decal:
5I’ve used my googling powers pretty hard and still haven’t found any clues as to what type of trailer ours is. There was an RV manufacturer in Tawas, MI called the Anderson Coach Company, but it closed in 1963. Supposedly they only used the best materials and were considered top of the line and also had another branch in Utah. I’m not kidding when I say that’s about all I know. (If anyone by chance knows more, I would LOVE to hear about it).

The interior of the trailer has already been pretty extensively redone. A previous owner had wanted it for a hunting hangout, but never finished it. He redid alot of the cabinetry and floor, however are no finishing touches at all. We’re lucky that the windows all still work and seem to be waterproof, the electrical is functional and the water damage is minimal. There are soft spots in the floor, but only small areas in the corners. We debated whether it was worth it to work on fixing them, but decided since we won’t be walking on the corners, we don’t know how long we’ll use this trailer and this doesn’t have to be flawless in order for us to enjoy it that we’d just prevent further damage and leave it as it is. We did not want to start pulling things apart.

Here are some before pictures of the state of the trailer when we bought it:

We’re not aiming for a perfectly restored retro trailer when all is done, we merely want a cozy little den to take on weekend trips into the woods. A simple place to hang out and be hospitable. If you’d like to follow along, I’m posting updates on Instagram — @hudthecamper.

To finish it out here are some of the logistical things we’re working with:

Budget: $1500 total


  • Fix/waterproof Roof
  • Grind off Rust and Repaint Trailer Frame
  • Replace Tires
  • Install Trailer Lights, other safety features
  • Paint Exterior
  • Make Table convertible into 3rd bed
  • Get/Make/Find Mattresses and Cushions
  • Customize Kitchentte
  • Paint Interior
  • Window Treatment
  • New Light
  • General Cozy-fy

Haiti 2016

Haiti-webWe never thought we’d be here writing this.  Never expected we’d use half of our vacation time for something like this.  And certainly never ever thought we’d ask for support.  But we are.  We’re going for it. Giving our doubts into prayer and on June 18th we’re heading to Haiti on a short term mission trip. We don’t know what we’ll encounter. We’re praying that not only will it be a formative and eye-opening trip for us, but that we will be God’s hands and feet in Haiti. Some details:

Every four years our home church here in Midland does an intergenerational, international missions trip and 2016 happens to be one of those years. While first we didn’t think we’d be joining, after the first informational meeting and three weeks of prayer and discussion, we truly feel called to join on this trip. We’re committed and while we still have doubts we continue in faith.


We are going with an organization called Poverty Resolutions whose mission it is to raise awareness for worldwide poverty, to inspire others to action, and to make a sustainable, lasting impact in Haiti. Since 2010, Poverty Resolutions has carried out development projects in Haiti and delivered educational presentations about global poverty to thousands of students in the U.S. Over the past few summers, hundreds of volunteers have joined Poverty Resolutions in Haiti and this year we hope to be two of those volunteers.

We are not foolish enough to think that we can do this alone. We know that all good things come from above and that any joy, blessing or growth that will come from this trip will be 100% God’s doing. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t have faith that God will provide.  He will provide through your prayers and support.  He will provide in ways we cannot even imagine. 

Most of all, we want to thank you. Thank you for your influence on our lives through the years, both in person, from afar, and through prayer. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your love.

God Bless,

Esther and Dave

P.S. If you would like to support us financially, we have set up an account at gofund.me/myu2typg. However, please feel no obligation whatsoever.

Low Key Weekend

Somehow low key weekends get just as many summary posts as the crazy exciting adventure ones. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Mostly we spent this past weekend with lots of good food, coffee and checking things off our to do list. We made some fun new recipes. I made the best gravy I’ve ever had from this book.

We have never been huge Valentines Day people, so we did a cozy breakfast date at a local crepe place and lingered over lattes and conversation. Breakfast is the perfect date. I love how simple and sweet it feels. During the weekend, a long breakfast is not possible, so it feels like the ultimate luxury.

Dave turned into a painting machine this weekend and somehow managed to paint all our kitchen cabinets. I’d done research and talked to people about this project and had braced myself for weeks of life in a torn apart kitchen. Then Dave took the project on and knocked it out in a weekend. When he put the doors back on last night, I just couldn’t believe it. The whole room looks so much bigger with a couple coats of primer and paint.

I spent the weekend working away on design and projects in my studio/office. We picked a desk up from Ikea last week and I’ve already covered it with my work. Once I have the room a bit more organized I’ll have to share a peak at what it looks like. I can’t believe how nice it is to have my own space.

We finished out the weekend with a quick 1 hour house cleaning party before we had a bunch of people over. It was a great way to end out the weekend — clean house and visiting!

Last winter, between wedding planning and the cold, I don’t remember enjoying much of the coziness or low key weekends. This year, they have been wonderful, and I may even not hate winter as much as I thought I did. maybe. But spring can come any time. I won’t complain!


Wandering Wrap-up: Pacific Northwest

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re enjoying a cozy morning with some nice people. I thought today would be a good time to do a little wrap up of our Pacific Northwest adventure from last weekend.

It all started because we found a killer deal for plane fare on Cyber Monday. We bought them, told our friends out there that we were coming and headed out last Friday. There wasn’t much more planning than that on our part.

When we landed, Dave’s college friend, Ben, was there to pick us up and we assumed our seats in his Tahoe that we would keep for the whole weekend. Every time we drove anywhere Ben gave us the rundown of the area: history, industry, and so many random facts. It was great to have our very own tour guide.

Saturday was our first day exploring and we headed into Seattle. My favorite part by far was our stop in to a little coffee shop. It was the best coffee I’d had since leaving Austria over a year ago. The little foam bunny didn’t hurt either. We spent the rest of the day wandering around Pike’s Place and some other places. I think my expectations were a bit high for downtown Seattle and while it was a fun experience, I think the real value is not in the city, but outside it.PNW5PNW8PNW.jpg

On Sunday we drove out to Mount Rainer National Park after a super early church service. It was such a clear blue sky day. Once we hit the mountain with our snowshoes, we could tell we were overdressed. One of the guys ran back to the car with a load of jackets and shed layers.

Considering we were prepared not even to see the Mountain due to the PNW’s infamous mistiness, we couldn’t believe how fortunate we were. As we ascended, the entire Cascades Range stretched around us. We saw Mount St. Helens with her top blown off, a small avalanche in the distance and 360 degree breathtaking views. We were truly in the middle of it all. My brain couldn’t register that what I was looking at was real. Every time we turned around we all exclaimed in wonder all over again.DSC_5238PNW18PNW27Our final day out there started super early as we had a 3 hour drive down to the Oregon coast. But even the long drive was interesting to us as we passed by the Columbia River and many other sights we’d never seen before.

We stopped in Seaside for lunch and totally splurged on some seafood. It was so fun to try oysters for the first time and get some fresh fish and chips.

After lunch we headed out to the Ecola State Park and hiked north toward Indian Beach. Not only was it sunny but it was 75 degrees. As I sit in Michigan with temperatures nearing zero, I can’t believe we were hiking through summer-like weather less than a week ago. While the temperatures were heavenly, the views were unreal. As a Michigan girl, I had always assumed the Pacific Ocean was a slightly more impressive Great Lake. Boy, was I wrong. While the mist, foam and general size of everything blew my mind, it was the wildness of it all that struck me the most. Everything out there is just so much more wild. So big and Wild.

When we reached Indian Beach, I ran into the Pacific for the first time in my life. It was a good first impression. I just wanted to soak up every moment, every view.

PNW38 PNW43PNW46We finished the day with a walk on Cannon Beach, which proved itself every bit worth the clichés. It’s an otherworldly place. We hit it at low tide and in the perfect lighting. Dave and Ben introduced me to a pair of seastars and lots of other tide pool friends. It was a day of firsts.PNW49

Sadly we only had 3 days out there, but it was long enough that we’re both semi-seriously thinking about packing up and moving out there. If only the weather were always that beautiful and friends that available for adventures.

Pacific Northwest, you far exceeded our expectations and captured our heart. We’ll be back.

Adventures with Dave-Man: Pictured Rocks

We sent summer off with a bang. A homerun of a weekend, the kind that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Dave-man and I have been wanting to get back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since we came back after our trip up there in 2012 before we were a couple. Fun fact: I fell for Dave on that trip. (read the our full love story)

We finally made it up 3 years later and it was well worth the wait, though I really hope it won’t be that long until our next trip. The worst part of the trip was the fact that we only had 3 days to spend up there and with a long car drive up and back our time up there was more like 2.5 days.

Friday evening right after work we met up with some friends and drove 5 hours to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, arriving at our campsite right before midnight. First thing we did was walk to the beach. If you have ever been in a place where zero man-made lights are visible, you know how awe-inspiring the stars and milky way are. We decided right then and there that we were going to sleep on the beach. With a tarp and our sleeping bags, all six of us slept side by side right on the shore of Lake Superior. I woke up a couple times during the night and just listened to the waves and looked up at the stars. It was an experience that everyone should try at least once.

On Saturday we enjoyed a leisurely, delicious breakfast. (I have a theory that coffee tastes the best when it’s drunk outdoors after spending the night in a sleeping bag.) By late morning we hit the trails and hiked all day (somewhere around 10 miles) along the shore of Pictured Rocks. It was challenging at times, but the views were so worth it. We found a waterfall to swim in (on my insta) and generally took our time to really enjoy the scenery and gorgeous weather.


Sunday was the best day by far. I didn’t think we could top the beauty of the day before, but somehow we did. In the morning we visited some waterfalls that included a place where we were able to stand behind the spray. so cool. It was a scene straight out of a fairy tale book.

However, the main event of the day was the boat we rented for the afternoon. I had never seen the Rocks from below. And so I didn’t know what I’d been missing out all these years. We rented a pontoon and loaded it up with snack and drinks. The 5 hours we spent on the water could not have been more packed with crazy amazing experiences. The views and landscape would have been breathtaking enough, but then we would jump in the warm (for Lake Superior) water and clamber onto and into the rocks. I’m running out of words to describe what the cliffs are like — they inspire such wonder and awe.


At one point we stood underneath a 70 foot waterfall singing a Michigan anthem we made up on the spot. As we sang with all the exuberance of being alive we looked up to see a bald eagle watching us from a perch on top of the cliff. (hashtag puremichigan.)

We stared our fears down by jumping off a 60 foot cliff near one of the beaches. And at one point we found a crack in a cave leading out to the main lake and swam through it. Give me a day like that an amusement park or a city anytime. As we headed back to our dock, the sun was setting and the light on everything was spectacular. We were filled with an intense joy to be alive.
PicRocks2Monday dawned on a wet camp take down. It had thunder-stormed all night, so we were all a big soggy when we pulled outof our campsite. We finished off the weekend with a visit to the mouth of the Two-Hearted River and Crisp Point Lighthouse. Everything was misty and mysterious. It was beautiful and kinda creepy. When I’m that far north there is a sense that nature isn’t tame. I feel how enormous and unpredictable the forest and lake are especially when the weather isn’t sunny. It seemed appropriate that the weather should be a bit more subdued as we headed south. We were sad the adventure was over, but so grateful for the memories.

and we took off





Dave-man was off galavanting with his guys for a bachelor party this past weekend, so I took the chance to head up to Michigan’s wine country, the Leelanau Peninsula with some old friends. It was one of those peaceful, golden late August weekends. No stress, no schedule, just a little wine tasting, board games, a beach fire and lots of meandering open window car drives.

It’s funny to realize I’ve known these two friends since 7th grade — 10 years ago. It’s been so fun to have new experiences together and continue our friendship. There’s something so comforting about old friends.

I’m still soaking up each sunny day and while I’ll enjoy the next season, I’m not quite ready to allow this one to end.