Tuesday, October 28

All the Fall Stuff Pt. 2

Per tradition, we had our friends Louis and Lindsay in town last weekend for a day of apple orchard visiting, spiked cider drinking, football watching, pumpkin carving fun.

And please, how cute is Louis's snowman themed pumpkin with the tiny gourd hat and leaf arms? Sah cute!

Also included in the weekend was our first visit to Harmony Brewing Company where the pizza--on par with recommendations I had heard--was indeed the bomb dot com.

Our pumpkins are still on display on our deck, and attracting regular admirers. Every hour is feeding hour at casa de Blinder-Burland.


Thursday, October 23


The worst part about wedding planning is sorting through details that aren’t closely related to the actual dedication of your life to the person you love. You know, the person who you love more than Wendy’s frosties and french fries.

Last night was so not that. It was a post-work trip to the jewelry store where Ben quickly found a ring that met his must-have needs and where I made about zero wedding band progress but heavily enjoyed myself anyway.

One day, we’ll give these rings to each other. One day, we’ll wear them forever. Until then we keep planning, and occasionally pause to enjoy each other—like we did post jewelry store with matching his and hers frosties and a shared small fry.

Monday, October 20

The Funnest Ever

What do you get when you stack 11 people in 1 small house with a fridge full of beer and a box of Guesstures? The funnest weekend ever.

A whole slew of lovely, fun friends gathered at Ashley's parent's house up north this past weekend. The weather was lackluster but it hardly mattered. We had a family-style pancake breakfast, watched the MSU football game, went shopping downtown and played a beer and vodka gummie bear infused marathon of Guesstures. Ari's slightly confusing impression of crutches and Ben's adorable acting of “balloon” were crowd favorites.

Weekends like these—and plans for more in the future—fill my tank with fuel for another work week.

Two mini scoops of vanilla ice cream in my coffee
Breakfast with part of the gang
Some of the boys. Not pictured: Brian, Ben2 and football.
A quick break in the clouds

Wednesday, October 15

The Extended Party

"How many people will be coming with you?”

It’s a frequently asked question from wedding vendors when setting up meetings, and I’ve frequently answered “just two, thanks”. With our out-of-town wedding, we don’t always have a family or bridal party member we can easily grab to come with us.

But as planning goes on, I’m recognizing the silver lining to that.

When I couldn’t have my maids with me for dress shopping, I invited two girlfriends whose friendship—and style opinions—mean the world to me. The four of us, with my mom included, had a blast sifting through hangers of what seemed like big white sleeping bags and snapping photos for the girls who couldn’t be with us in person. It was special to share the first try on of the dress with them.

When Ben and I found ourselves faced with a midweek cake tasting appointment this past week, we invited our good friends Andy (the best man) and Ashley. How horrible to burden friends with free cake on a random Tuesday night, right?

All this tag-along stuff is fun, but very intentional too. We’re uniquely lucky to have supportive family, a fantastic wedding party and the opportunity to celebrate even more great people in our lives by including them in small but meaningful wedding related ways.

Ashley P., Chelsea, Andy and Ashley T. are such big parts of our life. I hope come May when they see me in my dress again and taste the cake they helped pick out, they feel even more a part of our story. And if they’re really good friends they’ll make sure the bride and groom get extra slice—with extra frosting, please.

Thursday, October 9

Ode to Home

It’s been over two years since Ben and I moved to Grand Rapids together. With the huge exception of missing friends who grew to feel like family in Pennsylvania, it really has been lovely.

I love being back in Michigan. We're two hours away from family which means more weekends and holidays together. We're 3-4 hours away from some of the state’s best scenery and character like the Sleeping Bear Dunes that cut so deeply into Lake Michigan it shocks me every time. I love that there’s so much more to explore, too, like the wilderness of the upper peninsula.

I’m so happy to call Grand Rapids home. Downtown is constantly challenging itself to be more sustainable, more charitable and more of a place to besomething is new every year. The surrounding neighborhoods and farmland feel oh so Midwestern with their friendliness, too. And yes, even in the winter I’m constantly amazed at how beautiful Lake Michigan is covered in fingerlings of ice and frozen waves.

Our town—while not a permanent home—is a great place to be. My local grocery store has enough foreign food, grind your own nut butters and stinky cheese to keep my wannabe chef self busy. And the trails! There are five I can jump on right outside our apartment door. Five! The library, gym and my favorite frozen yogurt place are all easily (and often) accessible via tree-lined trail. All those trees extend to our little neighborhood, too, which make for beautiful snowy days.


And for all the quirks apartment living brings, this one has largely been good to us. We have a massive back deck overlooking a sometimes scummy pond covered by a big colorful tree. We get wildlife visitors by the masses like gaggles of quacking duck, gymnast squirrels and newly sighted this year—blue herons. Inside we have just enough room for us and our stuff, plus a fireplace that amps up the cozy factor on winter nights quickly.

Three years later, we’re still exploring and bike riding and packing up the car for random adventures. It’s a pretty dang good place to call home.