Looking back on 2009...

I wanted to do a couple of posts to wrap up the year of 2009. Since I consider this more than my fashion blog, it's also a personal lifestyle blog.. I wanted to do a post to recap the year on my personal life. Next I'm going to do a fashion post on a few of my outfits through the year (even though I really only started this in September!) but it'll be filled full of goodies, especially for new readers who haven't lurked back far enough yet. So enjoy. (Note: This is extremely picture heavy. For those of you with slower connections, I don't blame you for backing out now.)


Tall Ships released their full-length, Voyages, with Truth and Justice Records. They were able to put them out at this hardcore show in East Lansing at Mac's Bar.

This was the month that we said goodbye to our favorite venue in the world, Skelletones. It was a local, underground, all-ages venue in downtown Grand Rapids. I started going to shows when I was 14 years old, so for about 9 years and Skelletones was open 10 years, so they have always been around. I've spent countless hours here.. having some of the best times of my life. This is our really good friend's band having a reunion show, The Tide, at the farewell weekend. What a sad weekend.


In February, Tall Ships had a little mini weekend tour up north in Mount Pleasant and Traverse City. We had the biggest snowstorm ever and drove in pure madness. We stayed the night at a friend's house and played two shows that weekend. It was a blast.


In March, I lost 20 pounds (This is me jumping for joy!) I started December 31, so this took basically 3 months to lose 20 pounds and I couldn't have been happier. I never felt more accomplished in my whole life. This is when I started to fall in love with fashion, too, obviously. Once you have a new body to work with, the possibilities are endless, it feels like.


I was running and training at the YMCA when I receive a call from Brett saying he crashed his scooter (yes, we used to own amazing scooters!) and flipped over his handlebars.. and thinks he broke his shoulder. I ran and sped so fast to the hospital and we found out it was a broken clavicle. Worst thing ever. Brett works at job that requires a lot of labor, so he was put on disability. For 4 months.

In April, we also purchased an amazing $300 van for Tall Ships! We found it on craigslist and it's the crappiest piece of crap ever, but it's amazing. It breaks down, it doesn't start, the power steering is awful, it's an absolute dump.. but we love it. It used to be an ice-cream truck, so it came equipped with a music box. Not a good idea for the boys in Tall Ships...

I also went downtown to Grand Rapid's sidewalk chalk flood with Jen. There are a ton of cool events in Grand Rapids like that. We just walked around, drew a bit of art on the sidewalk, got some lunch and enjoyed gorgeous weather. Love her.


In May, it is tradition to go to Holland for their Tulip Time Festival. Tulips everywhere, festivals, carnivals, food, everything Dutch you can think of. It's a really great time.. and always marks the prime of spring to me.

Brett and I decided to destroy our bodies in May too! We went to Mos Eisley's with a friend, because he was getting a tattoo and Brett dared me to get this done. I had my monroe pierced before, but I mean a septum piercing? Ouch! But I did it. Well, Brett did it first.. and I watched him wince in pain and I can't believe I actually went through with it.. but I did. I'm so tough! Look at us! Matching husband and wife septum piercings!

In May, we decided we were going to move to Grand Haven (we were living in Grand Rapids at the time.) A super amazing, adorable, wonderful, huge, gorgeous apartment opened up and we couldn't say no. It's perfection. I'm so glad we decided to move. This is home to me.

I also trained and worked my !@% off for months to run my first 5k. I know a 5k isn't much, but when you're 35 pounds overweight and have never ran more than a mile in your life, a 5k is a huge deal. Well, I got through the race, I didn't want to die and I didn't give up.. I finished.. and I felt so so so amazing. I'd recommend a run/race/marathon to anybody. It's so liberating. Especially if you're trying to lose weight like I was.

That same day I ran the race, one of my very good friends, Kimmi, got married to the love of her life, Anthony. It was a gorgeous wedding.. and I had so much fun. I'm so happy for Kimmi and am so excited to see her grow as a person with him. It was an incredible day.

Also, another redneck tradition of ours, is to go to the Fruitport Old Fashioned days. It's basically just a dirty carnival with a petting zoo and rides and fireworks, but I love it. Every year. It's probably because it's when Brett and I first started flirting 3 years ago. It brings back the good memories.

For memorial day, Tall Ships had their first show in Detroit. We took the disgusting Tall Ship's van and I was stuck in back with these two. It was the sickest ride of my life.. and this is the sickest picture ever, but it was a blast. Definitely some of my favorite Tall Ship's memories are in this van.

At the end of May, we finally moved into our new place. We spent weeks painting it, prepping it, cleaning it and getting it ready. The first day we moved in, I finished our bedroom.. and I'm still in love with it to this day. What a perfect apartment for us.

Moving to Grand Haven was a dream. This is definitely a place that feels like home to me.. and probably because Brett grew up here, it reminds me so much of him. And since he's my favorite person in the world.. this place is my favorite place in the world.


In June, we had an "apartment warming bbq" for friends. We grilled on the outdoor patio, stuffed our faces with this amazing chocolate cake and went down to watch the musical fountain. If you didn't know, Grand Haven has one of the largest musical fountains in the world. Amazing, huh? Haha. I live in such a tourist town.

Our very good friend's, Kaline, had their CD release show. Tall Ships played the show and put me on the spot for "Tieka ships". That's where I go up and "sing" for one of their songs. I'd have to say.. I have a blast on stage. It's all a huge joke, but it's so so much fun up there.

After a few trips to IKEA (and maxed out credit cards...) we pretty much finished up our living room. I still have a few chairs to get and some things to do, but I love it. It's the coziest living room we've had. Our entire apartment is all wood flooring.. and I love it. Such an old place, but with so much character. I love the walls even with the white baseboard. If and when we buy a house, I want it to have the same charm as our apartment does.

We went to the most ghetto drive-in theater ever to see The Hangover and I slept through Terminator. I just loved laying in the back of Brett's old car with him. I'm still a teenager in love with this kid.

I took these pictures because I was super impressed you could see my collar bones. Not once, ever, ever ever, could you see my collar bones. This is right when I got down to about 120, which is 30 pounds loss. It's amazing having a brand new body that you're in love with.

Many of our summer days were filled with playgrounds.. and bike rides.. and trips to the local ice cream shop.

At the very end of June, our friend Peter, moved in with us for the summer before he had to leave for school in the fall. He took our spare guest bedroom in the back. It was super fun having him there all summer.


On the day before 4th of July, we always go to Gun Lake for the fireworks to Peter's mom's house. We always grill out, eat yummy food, play wiffleball and watch fireworks. A lot of our friends came out and it was just a great summer memory.

Brett and I decided to start our tradition of taking a once monthly "michigan adventure" trip. It was a gray and yucky day, and we didn't know what to do. Brett asked, "Are there any caves in Michigan?" and so we googled it.. and there is only one in the lower peninsula. Bear Cave. So we drove 2.5 hours and went. It was so so so amazing. I had an absolute blast doing something totally corny and amazing with Brett. Afterwards, we went to St. Joseph and fell in love with Silver Beach. Michigan is a gem in this world.

We took another trip in July on the ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee, WI. We visited Milwaukee for a little bit, but it wasn't really our city, so we proceeded on to Madison, Wisconsin. Now that's our city. Very cool town. We had tickets to go see The Riverdales but first walked all around, shopping, eating pizza, touring the Frank Lloyd Wright building, enjoying gorgeous summer weather, sitting on benches, running in the rain. The show was amazing. Afterwards, we left at 1 am (our time) and I drove straight through the night and we got home at 7 am. I'm a trooper!

July 29, I turned 23 years old. I was treated to my favorite restaurant, Olive Garden, and spent the evening with him and his parent's scarfing on confetti cake. Look at those legs.. I was so fit back then! This is probably the first "fashion" shot of me, even though I didn't intend for it to be!

During coast guard festival (our town turns into the craziest tourist town ever!), Tall Ships played their last show with Peter as their guitarist. It was at the fire barn right downtown. It was a pretty good show.. and we spent it with friends. Friends stayed all weekend for the festival. Peter left Tall Ships to head to grad school in Cincinnati.


We grilled out for friends on the day of the coast guard parade. We all watched the parade in the rain (well some of us) and then saw a movie during the day.. and grilled out in the evening before all walking down to the fireworks. I love coast guard festival. Way too many people, but it is really a fun part of summer.

Our good friend, Jeremy, has an aunt who had a cottage up in Shelby, so we decided to go spend an evening there. The cottage was gorgeous and right on Lake Michigan. We got there, but the summer had gone away and it was pretty much cold and rainy, but we stayed inside talking, cooking and sleeping. It was really a good way to say goodbye to summer.. with good friends.

We raised a butterfly, Dill. I had never gone through the process of watching a butterfly emerge from their cocoon until I was 23 years old. Well, we caught Dill at the cottage when he was a caterpillar, watched him crysallis, watched him hatch. It was tearful watching him fly off into the world!


In September, Brett's parent's treated us to the most amazing weekend ever in Mackinaw Island. Well, our first night was in Mackinaw city. We stayed in a lovely hotel right on the lake and walked around the city.. stuffing our faces on ice-cream. Saturday, we took the boat to the island and checked into our adorable bed and breakfast for the weekend. Between the tour of the fort, the ice-cream, the food, the fudge, the bike riding, the graveyards, the caves, the hikes, the naps in our adorable lilac bedroom and the haunted walking tour.. it was one of the best days ever. I'm absolutely in love with the memory of looking back on that trip.

I went to visit Andrea to go to one of her events, IgniteLansing. It was definitely.. a blast. Something I didn't expect at all, but was totally blown away. It was just a bunch of speakers who got 5 minutes to give a presentation and it was fun, and refreshing to be out with people I didn't know and amazing to see Andrea at work with her photography. I loved it. And I loved spending time with her. (This is when I was at my thinnest too.. 113.. I want to get back there!)

Soon after that, autumn began. Leaves started coming down and little did I know that this autumn would be the best autumn yet. I love this time of year.. it's my favorite. I love the colors, the scents, the atmosphere, the events, the amazing things to do. Autumn is definitely the best time of year, especially in Michigan.

One of the most amazing things to happen was ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. It is the largest Art prize in the world.. it's a competition where artists come from all over the world to compete and win the grand prize. There was art all over our city.. and I loved every second of walking around looking at everything. Definitely one of my favorite memories from the year.. is walking around, seeing (and hearing!) Nessie.. and drinking hot apple cider with Brett. Love, love, love. Can't wait for ArtPrize again next year.


Brett and I took our annual autumn Chicago trip. Since Chicago is so close, we go way more than once a year, but we just make it a 100% habit to go in autumn. It's gorgeous. This time, it was absolutely freezing. We went for Brett's 25th birthday to see a few shows for Riot Fest. We got to see Screeching Weasel for the first time.. and it was amazing! I loved it. We stayed at a friend's house, did some shopping, saw some amazing city views and had a blast. I love my time in Chicago. I'm glad we live so close to the greatest city ever.

Grand Rapids Fashion Week was definitely a highlight of my year. I tried to get more girls to join, but it ended up being Andrea, Brenna and I, which was fine by me. I thought more girls in our area liked fashion? C'mon..! Maybe next year I'll have a bigger turn out. We got all dolled up at my apartment, drove out to the show, walked around the boutique area, grabbed dinner downtown, watched the runway show.. and it was so much fun. We went out afterwards to get dessert and drinks.. ultimate girly fun. Loved it. Love these girls.

I was a hair model for Andrea! Well, it was for one of her friend's, but Andrea got some amazing photographs out of it. It was in downtown Muskegon.. and it was interesting. ;) I love the way this photo turned out.

We had our ultimate autumn day. We went to Halloween USA, we picked out pumpkins and binged on caramel apples, we watched halloween movies, listened to halloween music, carved pumpkins, baked seeds and made our apartment so autumny and lovely. Perfect autumn day.

My BFF, Jen, came to visit all the way from Denver, CO! She moved last May with her husband and is now an art teacher.. how amazing is that? Although I miss her to pieces and want her to move home so that we can watch every girly movie and eat too much delicious food together, I'm so proud of her and how amazing she's doing in Denver. She's such an inspiration to go for my dream career someday too. Someday..

Halloween is my favorite! I love it. This halloween we didn't do too much besides go watch Paranormal Activity and go to a hardcore show in downtown Grand Rapids with Peter. We had like.. 3 trick or treaters. I was so highly disappointed. We passed out all of our candy at the show instead. I dressed up as a cat for.. like.. 3 years in a row? I need to come up with something more creative next year.

Brett and I found a really great spot on the beach for photographs. It was very very cold this day.


Brett's parent's got a new kitten, Belle! Well.. it was Belle. Until we found out it was a boy, and now it's Bello. Hahahah. Love this kitten. He.. she.. he.. is adorable. I love him.

We had freak weather in November of 70 degrees. We were in pure shock and there was no way we could sit inside, so we took a trip north to Pentwater. We quickly realized Pentwater is a summer tourist town.. and there was absolutely nothing to do, but we enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the drive back. It felt like summer.. perfect, perfect weather.

Like I said.. freak weather. Me, in November, on the beach, warm, sunshine, gorgeous weather? It's a miracle!

I loved November because of Brett's amazing long hair that he chopped. Booooo.

Brett took, probably my most favorite photo of me ever, in November. Perfect weather.. again.

Of course, November is famous for Thanksgiving, which we spent with 3 families. First, my Dad and his girlfriend. Then we stopped to my Mom's house. Then we went to Brett's parent's house. Never again. Next year it will be 1 family.. and it'll be the family that asks us first. I hate traveling around to 3 families.. it's the worst! But it was a good year. Peter came along too. I stuffed my face.


Our weather has been perfect this year. I mean, summer was a little cold but I can't complain. October was cold, but November was so warm, so I mean.. Michigan really has been blessed this year. Perfect timing.. because December started.. the first snowfall began. It was gorgeous.. but we were pounded! I drove home in a crazy blizzard. I love first snowfalls.

We bought a new car! Brett's Passat had been in the shop for weeks.. things were going wrong left and right with it, so we traded it in and got a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee! We love it. A bit of a gas guzzler, but we love it.

Our December's "michigan adventure" was to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Michigan's little bavaria. Basically Christmastown, USA. Perfect town for December.. and it was a blast. We went to Bronner's.. the largest Christmas store in the world. Walked downtown, shopped around. Ended up at Tony's in Birch Run for the biggest meals ever and it was such a lovely winter day.

I experienced a gorgeous ice sunset right in my very own amazing town. How beautiful. This is the winter that people don't see or appreciate.

We held our 3rd annual Christmas party at our place! Too much food as always, too little people as always, but it was a great time nevertheless. Love our friends.. loved this night.

And last but not least, I celebrated the holidays with my family.. number one, being Brett. I had a rough Christmas Eve.. and the best part about having crappy days is that I get to go home at night and curl up with Brett in bed and he just totally understands without me ever having to say a thing. Even though I rant and rave and complain to him and he just totally gets me. He's the best family I could ever ask for. I love him more than words can say.

I'm not done with 2009 yet though. New Year's Eve is coming up.. and I'm hoping that it's wonderful as always. I'm so excited for 2010. I'll be posting resolutions soon.. and a lot of other new things for the new year! Yay! If you read this entire post, you're a trooper. You deserve a treat.