Staycation at The Harbor Grand

Disclosure: I was provided a free night’s stay at The Harbor Grand in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Last month, I was honored to attend the Southwest Michigan Sip & Stroll Weekend hosted by Deb at Just Short of Crazy and Renee at What Mama Wants. My bestie, Jen and I decided to have a girl’s weekend and take advantage of the opportunity.

MeandJenselfie

We drove for about three hours and checked into The Harbor Grand, a full-service boutique hotel in New Buffalo, MI. When we arrived, I was surprised by how small the hotel was, which I loved! There are only 54 rooms, which make it the perfect place to stay. Jen and I got a room with an amazing balcony view! I bet this looks even more beautiful once everything has bloomed! The other feature that really stuck out to me was how updated the bathrooms were, they had whirlpool tubs and a stand up shower!

balcony view

After we checked in, we headed out for Part 1 of our wine tour which I will recap in a separate post. We came back to the hotel around 5:30 p.m. for drinks and appetizers in The Terrace Room at the hotel. I had a lot of fun with this because the Terrace Room has a rustic, Italian theme to it, complete with a waterfront view and a fireplace. We gathered around the fireplace for some appetizers, which were delicious!

the terrace room

I had fun trying a few of the drinks including this delightful Lemon Raspberry Fizz, with one of my favorite ingredients…Limoncello!

Lemon Raspberry Fizz

If we would have stayed after dark, you can order a smores kit and take that outside to make them over a real campfire. I thought that was a fun touch! We also had a lovely chat with the owner which I loved because you could tell he had a real passion for hospitality. New Buffalo is a great destination as it is halfway between metro Detroit and Chicago. It makes the perfect getaway with a little something for everyone.

After appetizers and drinks, we headed off to The Four Winds Casino (about a 10 minute shuttle ride away) and recently featured in USA Today’s Leaving Las Vegas: The best casinos outside Sin CityThis was a lot of fun and a HUGE casino, definitely providing some fun nightlife in the area.

Since we didn’t do so well at the casino, Jen and I decided to head back to the hotel and sample the movie and ice cream selection. One of the fun parts about The Harbor Grand is they offer a huge list of movies that you can rent as well as 24-hours of Ben & Jerry’s…yes you heard that correctly. We decided on Mean Girls and Chubby Hubby!benandjerrys

The next morning, we were treated to a lovely breakfast in bed care package outside our door. It came complete with mimosas for the perfect girl’s weekend!

care package

mimosas

We had such a great time at The Harbor Grand and I would love to bring John back with me next time. He would have loved it! Next time I would love to make this a long weekend and spend more time in New Buffalo. This could also be a fun stop on the way to or from Chicago. I am so glad that Deb and Renee tuned me into New Buffalo. I never would have thought to go there, but I can say with certainty that I will definitely be back soon!

Have you ever been to New Buffalo or stayed at The Harbor Grand? What was your experience like?

For the original Sip & Stroll Weekend post, click here.

For the Love of Chocolate

Disclosure: I received a 2.5 LB chocolate bunny to give away in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I was recently invited to an evening of wine and chocolate tasting at Gayle’s Chocolates in Royal Oak. I had heard about Gayle’s and even passed the stores multiple times in Royal Oak and in the airport, but I never stopped in. I had no idea what I was missing.

I am a huge fan of successful women and Gayle’s story is no different. Gayle Harte started Gayle’s Chocolates in 1979 with one saucepan on a stove in Huntington Woods. Gayle started the business because she couldn’t find an intense enough piece of chocolate to satisfy her sweet tooth and decided to make one herself.

gayle

This is the real Gayle!

At this event, Gayle’s organized a chocolate and wine tasting led by Elie Boudt from the Elie Wine Company. I wasn’t familiar with Elie’s before the event, but was excited to hear that they have a store close by in Birmingham that I can visit to purchase wine and get personal recommendations. I have a feeling that I will be hitting them up for some future Wine of the Week recommendations!

Gayle's Collage

The chocolate and wine tasting were very well thought out with different concentrations of chocolate paired with a variety of dry and sweet wines. I learned a few things to share with you:

  • Smell, true taste and taste sensation are the three important parts of wine tasting
  • We can only taste sour, sweet, bitter and salt
  • Smell the wine & chocolate before you taste to take in full flavor
  • If the wine and chocolate are too cold or warm you aren’t going to get an accurate scent
  • Don’t keep your chocolate in the refrigerator

After the tasting I got to check out all of the fun different in-store chocolates. I was literally a kid in the candy store! Gayle’s makes all sorts of fun chocolate items like chocolate pizzas, chocolate shoes, chocolate Eiffel Towers and more!

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Gayle’s also has a little coffee cafe where you can get macaroons (my favorite)!

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Since we are quickly approaching Easter, Gayle’s has a plethora of Easter treats to choose from and is giving you the chance to win your very own giant chocolate Easter bunny!

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To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter below and Gayle’s will ship one of these chocolate beauties right to your home. This giveaway is ending on 3/25 at 5:30 p.m. and the winner will be announced that evening:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Win $500 for Sharing Why #MichiganisAuto

Disclosure: I was selected for this sponsored post by HayThereSocialMedia.com.  All opinions expressed are my own.

I thought this was the perfect post to write this week as I have spent all week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). I had the opportunity to attend Press Preview and Industry Preview days for one of my clients and it just blew me away. I have worked in the automotive industry for a number of different clients, but getting to be involved with the show with one of the premier sponsors was an awesome experience. There was a buzz in the air and it was so fun to be a part of.

An Auto Show selfie with one of my coworkers on the show floor Monday

An Auto Show selfie with one of my coworkers on the show floor Monday

I went to a lot of fun press conferences, but was busy working so I only got a few pictures for myself. It was so much fun!

Ford’s press conference felt like a concert – they hosted it at Joe Louis Arena and it was just massive:

ford collage

I also got some great pictures from the Ram press conference:

Rebel Collage

Now, here is the fun part for you. MICHauto, the state’s automotive accelerator, is using NAIAS to reinforce why Michigan is the epicenter of the auto industry.

Michigan Is Auto Graphic (1)

From Jan. 12 through Jan. 23, MICHauto will award two $500 VISA gift cards to the entry that posts the best, most creative reason why #MichiganIsAuto. To enter, post your submission on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MichiganIsAuto. You can also tag MICHauto using their handles:

Twitter: @MICHauto
Facebook: www.facebook.com/michauto
Instagram: @MICH_auto

To learn more about MICHauto and the #MichiganIsAuto campaign, visit http://www.michauto.org.

I encourage you to enter the contest and have some fun with it. I can’t wait to see what how creative everyone gets.



January Fun

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the Henry Ford Museum for this exhibit and Buddy’s Pizza is a client of the firm I work for. All opinions are 100% my own.

I mentioned in my Be the Best You in 2015 post that I wanted to have more fun in 2015 and go on more dates with John. I started off my January with a great fun-filled weekend and wanted to share it with you.

I decided that I wanted to try out new fun brunch places this year, so when John headed out to work on a Saturday, I called up one of my friends to try the brunch at One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale. I had been meaning to try their brunch for a long time and it seemed like the perfect day to do it.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Bloody Mary came with a side car of Ghettoblaster (this is a beer from Motor City Brewing Works)! It was a good Bloody Mary too! I had the Cotswold and Chives.

One Eyed Betty's collage

On Sunday, I planned a double date with our friends Brittany and Dave to see the Gridiron Glory exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum. Since the Lions were in the playoffs, we figured it would be a great opportunity to get the boys together for a football themed date. The boys were in heaven in the exhibit, there was so much football paraphernalia for them to check out and we had a lot of fun taking pictures. (The exhibit has more stops in 2015/2016 in case you are interested you can check out the link).

gridiron glory

Brittany and I wanted to be one of the crowd…

part of the crowd

The boys are checking out the grips of their favorite players:

grips

We found the Vince Lombardi Trophy (designed by Tiffany!):

lombardi

You could also go into the booth and make your own call, which was really neat:

call

John and Dave were checking out the gear the players had to wear. I got into these too and they were not comfortable. I don’t know how the players do it!

shoulder the load

We had a lot of fun watching the guys get so excited about all of the football stuff. Then we headed over to Buddy’s Pizza to get some food and watch the Lions lose in the playoffs:

Buddy's Collage

This was such a great football-themed date, we had a blast! I can’t wait to have more fun weekends like this in 2015!

I would love to hear about your favorite brunch spots or date ideas below.



Detroit/Michigan Gift Guide

I’ve been meaning to write this post since last year. I was initially a transplant to Michigan, born in Ohio, lived in Pennsylvania for 7.5 years and started high school here in Michigan. So not having grown up here, I didn’t really have an preconceived ideas about Detroit. When I got my first PR job out of college at Pewabic Pottery, a Detroit treasure, I was open to loving the city. After 10 years of working in all different Detroit spaces and currently the Renaissance Center, I have a deep appreciation and love for the city. Because of this, I want to share some of my favorite Detroit things for a fun holiday gift guide.

Pewabic Pottery Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments ($60/set or $22/ornament)

These are one of my favorites. I was still working at the Pottery in 2005 when they developed this series. Each ornament represents one of the gifts from The Twelve Days of Christmas classic. You can buy them individually or in sets of three. It would be so fun to give someone one of these ornaments every year and they would look beautiful on your favorite Christmas tree.

Pewabic 12 Days

Jenna Kator Lake Superior Handbag ($108)

Jenna Kator is a Michigan designer who creates animal friendly vegan leather handbags with fun Michigan names. Her bags are high quality and beautiful. I loved this recent Lake Superior bag.

supmidd

Shinola The Runwell Contrast Chrono Bracelet Watch, 41mm ($975)

Made right here in Detroit, Shinola’s watches are beautiful. They sell them at Nordstrom, which makes it the perfect purchase to use your triple points day on.

shinola

Faygo Candles ($50)

Faygo “Pop” is a Michigan tradition and these candles would make a fun gift! They come in a Faygo 6-pack container with Grape, Orange, Rock & Rye, Redpop, Vanilla Creme and Root Beer fragrances.

faygo

KO Photo Vogue Detroit 2 a.m. Prints

Our friend, Amin, is a talented photographer and has created a line of photographs showcasing Detroit at 2 a.m that you can order for your home. These are stunning and I can’t wait to have one in our new home. I am sort of loving the Joe Louis Fist right now.

ko photo vogue

Reclaim Detroit End Grain Butcher Block ($109)

This is beautiful and so cool, these cutting boards are made of old growth reclaimed lumber from Detroit area homes salvaged by Reclaim Detroit’s deconstruction crews. Each board is handcrafted and unique.

reclaim detroit

Caliber Detroit Steel Cuff Links ($250)

Caliber Detroit created these cufflinks to eradicate illegal violence in the city. They take weapons found at crime scenes, melt them down and create these cool steel cuff links. The serial number corresponds with a gun that has been removed from the streets. The proceeds from these cufflinks benefit the Caliber Foundation which offers support to persons and communities devastated by gun violence.

Caliber-Cuff-Links-detail

Good People Popcorn White Cheddar Salsa ($32)

What says holiday more than a popcorn tin? This popcorn is so delicious and made in Detroit!

good people popcorn

LDV 6 Bottle Raw Steel Wine Rack ($44.99)

These wine racks are designed and manufactured in Detroit out of one single sheet of automotive grade steel. Each rack is completely custom and designed to be hung vertically.

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Stormy Kromer Petal Pusher Cap ($44.99)

I’ve been admiring this cap for a while now and I love that their factory is right here in Michigan.

cap

I would love to hear what your favorite Detroit/Michigan made gifts are in the comments!



You’re Invited: Kate Spade The Sky’s the Limit

I was generously offered the opportunity to host a party at Kate Spade at the Somerset Collection this Sunday, November 16, 2014 to celebrate the launch of the new holiday collection. Kate Spade is also offering my readers 25% off any purchase they make at the event! If you are in the area on Sunday, I hope you can join us!

Kate Spade Holiday Collection

I was thrilled when I saw the new holiday campaign for Kate Spade. I LOVE Las Vegas and having the catalog inspired by old Vegas glamour is right up my alley. They also recruited Anna Kendrick to be the face of their campaign. These pictures are fabulous and I can’t wait to shop this collection. You can check out the entire lookbook here.

vegas 2

Here are my favorite pieces from the upcoming holiday collection:

Wine Totes ($28)

There are two different versions of this adorable wine tote. These would look awesome as hostess gifts.

wine tote

MADISON AVE. COLLECTION DESSA DRESS ($798)

I just love this! So beautiful!

madison

KATE SPADE EARRINGS SMALL SQUARE STUDS ($38)

I love my Kate Spade stud earrings, but they have blown them out of the water with this sparkly version. A definite holiday must have!

studs

Tippy Sweater ($268)

This is the perfect holiday sweater, this only problem is deciding what color to get.

tippy

PLACE YOUR BETS EMANUELLE ($328)

This would be the perfect clutch for a Vegas or casino trip!

card clutch

PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT TEE ($78)

I love the sparkly component on this shirt.

cards tee

EVENING BELLES FEATHER MIMI ($398)

This is just so feminine, I love it!

feather clutch

MADISON AVE. COLLECTION MARCI TOP ($798)

marci

PLACE YOUR BETS LULU ($228)

Another great Vegas piece.

lulu

SILVER CLUTCH ($78)

This comes in gold as well.

bow clutch

BEJEWELED 2014 ANNUAL ORNAMENT, ICE CAP ($60)

ornament

What are your favorite pieces from this collection?

Click here to see my picks from the Hello Tokyo party.



FashionSpeak

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket to FashionSpeak. All opinions expressed are my own.

I never felt more like a fashion blogger than when I was invited to attend the Detroit Garment Group Guild’s FashionSpeak conference as a blogger. Never mind that I’ve worked with retail clients for nearly a decade or that I’ve taught marketing to fashion students for nearly five years. Becoming a blogger has made me more conscious of my style and I’ve become thoroughly invested in the Detroit fashion scene.

fashionspeak logo

FashionSpeak is a one-day conference for Michigan’s fashion entrepreneurs. The line up for this conference was awesome!

fashionspeak

This was the second year for the conference, and the location downtown set the scene for a fun day of fashion.

fashionspeak set up

First up on the conference agenda was Rachel Lutz. Rachel owns The Peacock Room, a darling boutique in Detroit. I was surprised to hear about her eclectic background. She once even worked for the White House! I’ve followed The Peacock Room on Facebook for a while and I love her funny dressing room quotes.

rachel lutz

Next up was Jeanette Puig-Pey and Bridget Sullivan who work on industrial design at LEAR. I thought this was a great message for my students. Here you have someone like Bridget who was working in the fashion industry and then went to work designing at LEAR. I thought it was a great lesson showing the many different aspects of fashion and showing that there are many fashion career options right here in Michigan.

lear

Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t hear too much of Matthew Burnett’s speech. Mostly because he was conferenced in and I was sitting in the back. I was also ready for lunch which was hosted by Michigan’s own Buddy’s Pizza! It was so delicious!

buddys

buddys food

Malina Joseph Gilchrist, T Magazine’s Senior Market Editor. She makes fashion decisions every day and had some great advice on how to get your product in front of editors.

malina

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for! Tracy Reese was up next. I loved her passion and enthusiasm for fashion! She also focused on the business side of fashion. It’s not enough to be creative or an artist. If your business is going to grow you will eventually have to be a manager and succeed in the business world too.

tracy reese

There was a fun afterparty following Tracy’s presentation and I wish I could have attended. I had to run off to teach my class so I had to skip the afterparty. I was jealous seeing everyone’s pictures meeting Tracy Reese. Maybe next time I can stay for the whole thing.

I had a great time at FashionSpeak and was able to meet some new fashion blogger friends who I look forward to connecting with again in the future.

I can’t wait to see who presents next year! I hope it will be John Varvatos as he recently announced that he was opening a store here in Detroit!

Who would you want to see at the next FashionSpeak?



Fashion in Detroit Recap

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Fashion in Detroit. All opinions expressed are my own.

I recently attended Fashion in Detroit and had a blast! I feel like the Detroit fashion scene is staging a comeback and I am so excited to be experiencing it as a blogger.

I arrived at the event just in time for the Somerset Collection runway show, which had awesome clothing from Kate Spade, LK Bennett, Anne Fontaine, Eileen Fisher, Intermix, Max Mara, St. John, Halston Heritage, and Neiman Marcus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t located in a place where I could get runway pictures, the white stage was making all the photos too bright, so I have to use the talented Scott Legato’s photos which you can get here. Here are some of my favorites from the first collection:

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Next up we had the House Ikhonic, Galore Groupe, Fotoula Lambros, 4 Men, Cheryl Zemke, Bricker Tunis Furs, Lyudviga Couture, Kevin Christiana for Adam Levine Collection, Trybe, Peter Soronen, Dodge by Joe Faris, and Joe Faris Detroit.

I had no idea how much I would love Peter Soronen. I wasn’t very familiar with Soronen prior to this, but you may have seen some of his glamorous evening wear on the first lady, Michelle Obama. He is known for his corset style dresses, which are gorgeous!

peter soronen

I also got to spend some time catching up with Shannon Lazovski from Glamorous Moms:

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When I got home, I was able to check out the gift bag, which was great!

gift bag

Which looks were your favorites?

For more information on Fashion in Detroit, you can visit their website here.



Fall Fashion Preview at Green Oak Village Place

I was recently invited to participate in a Fall Fashion Preview event at Green Oak Village Place in Brighton. I had never been there before, but I was impressed with all of the stores and the plaza in general.

green oak village place

As I arrived at the event, I couldn’t believe how many awesome stores were in the plaza including a Buffalo Wild Wings and Panera Bread. This would make an excellent girls shopping day with stores like Loft, Victoria’s Secret, White House Black Market, Old Navy, DSW, Bath & Body Works, ULTA and more. It might be a great Black Friday shopping destination…

A number of bloggers were invited to the event so I got to catch up with old friends and meet some new people. I also had fun checking out the various displays the retailers had put on display.

One of the first tables I visited was Yankee Candle. They had some of the fall scents on display. I would love to try the Chocolate Layer Cake candle (I like my candles sweet!).

yankee candle

I checked out the White House Black Market table next and I love this store. I tried on this beautiful pearl bracelet which I loved. I didn’t see it online, so you may have to go to the store to get it:

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Who am I to resist the beauty table? I visited Ulta next and they were doing a demo of their Dermalogica products, which I’ve never tried before.

dermalogica

You can actually make an appointment at Ulta’s salon and have a Dermalogica facial, which I got to try on my hand:

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I was so excited to learn that I had won the door prize…a bag full of beauty goodies from Ulta!

door prize

In this picture you have Lauren from Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood, Sarah from Coupon Savvy Sarah, Tiffany from Go Momma Coupons and me on the end.

As I was leaving, I spotted this beauty in the Dress Barn display! I found it online here in a different color, but I will have to go back to the store to get this color.

dress barn

When I got home I got to check out all my goodies from the door prize…beauty score! Thank you to Green Oak Village Place for a fun night out!

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If you want to check it out for yourself Green Oak Village Place is located at 9608 Village Place Boulevard  in Brighton, Michigan.

What are your favorite shopping destinations?



Fashion in Detroit

Since we can’t let New York have all the fun, Detroit decided to have it’s own Fashion in Detroit event this Saturday, September 27, 2014. I went to Fashion in Detroit, once a few years back and it is really like a day at Fashion Week, so I can’t wait to attend this year’s event.

Fashion in Detroit

So they’ve changed it up a little bit and it is more of an evening event with runway and a fun afterparty. Here is the official schedule:

Starting at 4 p.m. there will be an interactive pop-up shop featuring local designers and vendors.

The student runway shows start at 5:30 p.m. and will feature Michael Kawa and CariLynn Anderson-Battle.

Next up, we have the Somerset Collection runway at 6:30 p.m. which will feature fashions from Kate Spade, LK Bennett, Anne Fontaine, Eileen Fisher, Intermix, Max Mara, St. John, Halston Heritage, and Neiman Marcus.

At 7:30 p.m. we have the local/national runway shows which include House Ikhonic, Galore Groupe, Fotoula Lambros, 4 Men, Cheryl Zemke, Bricker Tunis Furs, Lyudviga Couture, Kevin Christiana for Adam Levine Collection, Trybe, Peter Soronen, Dodge by Joe Faris, and Joe Faris Detroit.

Once the shows have completed, Fashion in Detroit is hosting a fabulous After Party from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. featuring DJ Boji, DJ Chrome and DJ Surab Deb.

If you are interested in getting tickets you can buy them here. Tickets to the fashion show start at $20 and tickets to the After Party start at $20. In case you are still mulling it over, know that a portion of the Fashion in Detroit proceeds will benefit the Cass Community Social Services that works across the city in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health care, housing and jobs.

If you have the bug and want to make a week of it, 220 Merrill is hosting a Fashion in Detroit Happy Hour on Thursday, September 18 from 4-6 p.m. where you will be able to meet some of the designers  over cocktails and hor d’oeuvres.

Now, the most important question of this post…what should I wear?

Are you attending Fashion in Detroit? I would love to see you there!


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