Happy Monday friends! I hope you've all had a great weekend and are taking on your week full-speed ahead. I spent my weekend catching up with an old friend and exploring, so I thought I'd do a bit of a weekend recap to catch you up things. It was a quick 2-day trip downstate, but well worth the drive for everything we did!
Now if you're wondering, "Wait, I thought you said in your last post you were going to be sharing your past travels?" - I am! Those are coming soon. But first, this weekend. I had to drive down to my future neighborhood to tour an apartment, check out the yoga studio I'm planning to join, and do some grocery shopping for a few hard-to-find-in-the-UP items. Earlier last week, I was talking to my old friend Angela (who I've known for 15 years!) and we made the spontaneous decision to make it a 'girls' weekend'. The two of us met in fifth grade, and quickly became friends after realizing our mutual love of animals, organization, Neopets, and crafts. We both played the flute and sat next to each other in band every year. We rode our bikes to each others' houses and had many movie nights. We would even go to Michael's (a craft store) for supplies to make earrings. We kept in touch through high school (when she moved from Michigan to Ohio) and I stopped to visit her on my drive home from Minnesota when I was out there for school. I even got to meet her bearded dragon, Leonard Smaug. She's one of those wonderful friends where conversations never run dry and we can always find something fun to do. So on Friday I drove down from the UP and and she drove up from her town in Ohio. It was amazing to see her again as the last time we spent any amount of time together was at her wedding in 2016. We met at my parents' house, had a wonderful evening of catching up, and enjoyed a glass of vino (or two).
On Saturday we had a full schedule. I woke up incredibly early thanks to my parents' dog needing to go out at 3:45 in the morning, and since I couldn't fall back asleep (Coco kept licking my face from the side of the bed), I decided to do a quick yoga session from Yoga with Adriene. Angela woke up a short while later, and we decided on a spot for brunch. Because my apartment tour wasn't until 11:30am, we had plenty of time and found a cute place called Cafe Muse in downtown Royal Oak. It was right on the way, had a great menu, and was overall the perfect spot.
Cafe Muse had a cozy European vibe, and the menu gave us both plenty of options. As a vegan, I was excited that they had a "Tofu Scramble" with vegan chorizo (a first for me). Angela - who follows a Keto diet - found a steak-and-eggs breakfast. And coffees for both. Our waitress was beyond wonderful and was happy to answer our questions and keep our coffee cups full. We enjoyed our brunch, talked about everything, and made our plan for the rest of the weekend. Afterwards, we popped in and out of a few shops downtown, taking pictures and admiring the fact that some even set out bowls of water and treats for dogs. We checked out a paper/knick-knack store, got a very clumpy matcha latte at a hipster-y 'tea shoppe', and enjoyed seeing the different designs painted on every parking meter. It was a beautiful day out, and for a Saturday the downtown area really wasn't that crowded.
Shortly after 11:00, we headed out for the apartment. It was only a 15-minute drive from Royal Oak, and I loved that its situated right in a fairly busy area (no more middle-of-the-woods!). The landlord was out back at the pool (!!!) preparing for a barbecue for the residents and was happy to show us around. The apartment complex is a high-rise, and the one bedroom they have available is on the fifth floor. Since the tenant isn't moving out until next weekend, the landlord showed me two-bedroom with the same balcony view, kitchen, and bathroom. I didn't love the outdated cupboards and my next-door neighbor will be a smoker, but what can you do? The apartment complex offers free internet, has a 24-hour fitness center, is in a great location close to work, and fits my budget. I can rent a car port only during the months I need it, and the building even has a 'courtesy patrol' in the evenings. And I can paint! I've learned in the past that there will always be things you don't love about any apartment. But it seems that the pro's outweigh the con's on this one, so I put down my holding fee. Given that no major damage is done when the current tenant does move out, I should be all set to move in September 1st!
With high spirits from having decided on an apartment, we drove from the complex to my office just to get a feel for "the commute". It took less than ten minutes. Granted, I know with morning traffic it'll take a bit longer than that, but there are a few 'back ways' and anything under the hour-and-a-half drive I used to do is wonderful. After, we left and headed to Trader Joe's (also very close to my apartment) to stock up on our favorites. Angela doesn't have Trader Joe's in Ohio, so she was just as excited as I was about everything they have. With bags full of the essentials, we headed back towards my parents' house and stopped at a few more stores (Target, TJ Maxx, Kroger). In elementary school, we used to go to the same Target together all the time, so it was fun being there together again these many years later.
We spent the rest of the evening at home, making dinner with fresh veggies from my parents' garden and taking Coco on a walk. (Which ended up being a half walk/half spring since we didn't want to use her choke collar and she doesn't understand the concept of 'evening stroll'). I think I was more exhausted than she was! Then Angela and I settled in for more talks and some good ol' HGTV. It is such a luxury to have cable whenever I stay at my parents' house.
Sunday morning, Coco managed to sleep in until 4:30 (lol). I let her out, got her breakfast, got myself breakfast, and did some Pinterest-ing before Angela woke up. We got ready for the day and met my sister, her husband, and my niece at their church. After an hour of worship (and having my dress decorated with stickers), we headed home for brunch. Then it was time for yoga. I was excited to check out Karma Yoga, a studio near my future apartment, and had been invited by one of the instructors to come to her Sunday class. As soon as Angela and I walked inside, a wonderful aroma of essential oils greeted us along with calm music and a friendly face behind the desk. The woman there helped us sign in and was happy to talk with me about their specials and programs. At 11:30am sharp, we were on our mats, ready for a good flow. The instructor walked us through ab work, some hip-openers, a few upper-body positions, and finally into Savanasa. It was the first yoga class I'd ever been to where a gong was incorporated, so as we lay in corpse pose it was really neat to have such a powerful sound vibrating throughout the room. The instructor also chanted something in Sanskrit (which I'd never heard done), then brought us up into a meditation pose. After a few moments there, class was finished. Namaste.
Lunch was our final stop of the day and we went to one of our all-time favorite places, Panera Bread. The closest Panera to where I currently live is roughly 45 minutes south (plus you have to pay bridge fair both ways) so it was a treat to have my favorite salad and hazelnut coffee. I think we both felt like we'd gone back in time, back at our old 'lunch spot', talking like it hadn't been two years since the last time we saw each other. We decided that we'll visit each other much more often once I move since she'll only be an hour and a half away. (No more two-year gaps!) We drove back to my parents' house, packed our things, played with Coco a bit, and straightened up the house. Then it was time to say our good-byes and head home.
It was so great to see Angela this weekend and have a close friend help me out with some pretty big decisions. I seriously cannot wait to share everything here on the blog! I know the next two weeks are going to fly by, packing and preparing to move. My future landlord is going to email me the lease since I won't be making another trip down until I'm actually in a U-haul. I'm going to call this week to get organized with my yoga studio. I have a few items of furniture to build (or maybe I'll leave them in boxes until I arrive?) And then I have a few last-minute items to take to the donation center. It's going to be busy. But I am so excited for all of it.
...only 12 days to go!