NEW HOUSE, NEW LIFE

Less than 2 weeks until we move into our first home. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of everything I’m excited for, and the idyllic, perfect life I think homeownership will bring

I’m excited to:

→ just listen to and have music playing
[ can’t tell you the last time I’ve listen to The Wombats, The Format, or Young the Giant ]

→ have an overflowing candle collection to burn year round

→ showcase my collection of art

→ more drawing, more writing, more painting

→ display and utilize our cookbook collection

→ organize and style my books

→ create a home bar with thrifted and vintage glassware

→ dive into the art of craft cocktails

→ drink more ice water

→ meal prep and meal plan weekly

→ Soup Sundays
[ aka football Sundays ]

→ hang bird feeders and and bird watch

→ make thoughtful and ecosystem-conscious decisions for garden and landscaping
[ the monarch butterfly is now deemed endangered ]

→ keep a clean and tidy home

→ purge school papers and streamline file folders

→ organize and keep a home binder

→ monthly check ins, personal, financial, house

Until next time, Meryn


LIFE UPDATE: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE

The last week of June 2021, we announced our resignations from our full time jobs with a plan to travel the US for 3 months, embarking on what affectionately became known as our National Park road trip

One year later, during the last week of June 2022, we closed on our first home

Wild what can happen in a year’s time


I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ve done literally the most impossible thing in 2022

We bought a house at asking price

In a post pandemic market dominated by bidding wars

Where houses are under contract the same day as listing

Selling 30 to 40k over asking

With buyers waiving home inspections

Insanity

Thankfully,

Incredibly, we didn’t have any of that

And we did it on our own with no financial assistance

My second greatest accomplishment in life

And now the count down until we take possession in mid August

While I dread the thought of packing and moving

We both are so excited for this next chapter in our lives together as homeowners

Winning lottery numbers would be much appreciated

We have a lawn mower, washer, and dryer at the top of our to buy list

(Because we already bought a smoker)

Until next time, Meryn


LIFE LATELY // Q1 2022

Reading
Planning

PT license renewal, monthly family dinners in Defiance, spring break trip to Cincinnati and Mammoth Cave National Park, Kyle’s return to college courses, financial successes

Watching

Completion of NFL 2021-2022 season, Super Bowl LVI where Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 23–20 in Los Angeles, Olympic Games Beijing 2022, NCAA March Madness, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Cooking

Beef stew, cottage pie, frittatas, Dutch babies, BLT salads, tikka masala, chili, shakshuka, chicken pot pie

Eating

Exclusively Whole30 in January

Drinking

Always and forever black iced coffee from Biggby

Creating

Winter Igloo, the occasional book related Reel or Tik Tok, reorganizing my bookshelves, bookstagram pictures

Going

Weekly trivia nights (Blarney, The Casual Pint, Beer Barrel, Home Slice), Twin Oast, Uncle T’s 50th birthday party

Loving

Bamboo ladder plant stand, new plant friends → Frittata the fittonia and Linguini the snake plant from Hoen’s Garden Center, Wordle and it’s spin offs (Waffle, Quordle), winter sunsets, NCLA sage green nail polish

Dreaming

Of my first 6 figure year

Feeling

Thankful for the financial freedom and consistency in my PRN jobs
Excited for the warm weather and sunshine of spring
Lost with plans for our wedding
Nervous for period of transition with another new DOR (second this year)
Suspicious that the pandemic is over

Listening

Audiobooks, And Her Books podcast

Celebrating

Valentine’s Day dinner at Mancy’s Italian Grill, The Ultimate (Taco) Twosday 2/2/22, the occasional 1st and 2nd place trivia win,  the joys of running outside + up to 5 miles

Learning

From exclusively black authors in February, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Buying

Used books, Glacier National Park Rumpl (REI on sale), Nikon 7500, 2 lens, and tons of accessories from Camera Mall in Ann Arbor, books from Book Depository as Valentine’s Day presents, bird enamel pins from Etsy for Kyle’s new camera bag (Blue Jay and Cardinal), KENDALL + KYLIE jeans from TJ Maxx, Lodge cast iron reversible griddle/grill, collapsible camp kettle, handmade pottery (mug) from MCNP

mantra

You are not the work you do; you are the person you are. Toni Morrison

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JULY 2021

Reading

Watching

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, booktube per usual

Planning

Summer reading, last minute details and purchases for our 3 month road trip

Cooking

Honestly the bare minimum, attempting to eat all the food in our fridge, freezer, and cabinets before we move out at the end of July

Eating

Wixey’s donuts for my birthday at work, grilled cheese from Manhattan’s, Kroger donuts for out last day in our Holland apartment, Joe’s KC BBQ and ice cream at Silas and Maddy’s in Olathe, Kansas

Drinking

Catawba Island Brewery (Port Clinton, OH), Brewery Becker (Brighton, MI), Boulevard Brewing Company Beer Hall (Kansas City, MO), Afterword Tavern and Shelves (Kansas City, MO), Causal Animal (Kansas City, MO), Boiler Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), White Elm Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), McKinney’s (Lincoln, NE)

Going

Camping in Brighton, MI, St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO, Lincoln, NE

Loving

The absolute freedom and badass energy and vibes from quitting my toxic job in healthcare to travel the US

Creating

Summer and road trip TBR list

Dreaming

Physical and mental space from my work in healthcare

Feeling

Disappointed by Riley Sager’s newest release Survive the Night, a little sad but mostly excited to wrap up work at my nursing homes, nervous about living on the road for 3 months, stressed about moving out and cleaning our apartment, to be 100% honest, also stressed about finances prepping for this trip, extremely frustrated by my company and their mismanagement of my retirement accounts, impressed by my own gusto and risk taking

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Songs: Almost by Hozier, Breathe and This Kiss by Faith Hill, Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
Spotify Playlists: Rom Com Pop Hits as recommended via Tik Tok, Grand Teton by Parks Projects

Celebrating

The announcement of Alex Snodgrass’s second cookbook The Comfortable Kitchen, My 28th birthday, last day of work, the start of our “first retirement”

Learning

You are easily replaced in the eyes of management, everyone wishes they could do what we are doing, ya’ll just need to do it

Buying

Silicon bands, playing cards and dice for our road trip

Instagram Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


REVIEW OF YEAR 27

The people, places, and pleasant pastries that defined my year

Year 27 highlights:

1 | 30 pounds weight loss

2 | exploring Detroit

3 | Traverse City for Kyle’s birthday

4 | solo half marathon

5 | COVID19 vaccination

6 | 7 years with Kyle

7 | BFF’s wedding in Presque Isle, Michigan

8 | longest run of 10 miles

9 | quitting my job to travel for 3 months

10 | car camping in Brighton, Michigan

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JUNE 2021

Reading

Planning

Birthday weekend camping trip near Brighton, Michigan (Brewery Becker and Bourbons Brighton), packing and moving out our of first apartment, last minute purchases for our road trip

Cooking

Tomato basil frittata, grilled hot dogs, baked beans, and pasta salad for Father’s Day

Eating

Double dates at Twin Oast Brewing, The Heights, and Bronze Boar, Garden Harvest, Mr. Freeze sundaes for Father’s Day, authentic Amish donuts in Pennsylvania

Drinking

Sibling Revelry Brewing’s Blood Brood, Twin Oast’s Kellys Island Pilsner, Ship Burner, and Legitimate Swells, Wilhelm Winery (Hadley, PA) samples and Fredonia

Going

Many trips to the library, Twin Oast Brewing, Delaware, OH for PT classmate wedding, The Lodge in Pennsylvania for the annual Fourth of July pig roast

Loving

Audiobooks, exploring new coffee shops, new library books, double dates with friends, Book of the Month subscription

Creating

Color coordinated book collages, an aesthetic bookstagram

Dreaming

Again, but always, moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Relieved finally announcing my resignation, excited for this next chapter, proud of our courage and gusto for quitting our jobs, foraging our own path, thankful for the support from family, friends, and coworkers

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Albums: SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Normal People soundtrack
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams, Grand Teton by Parks Project

Celebrating

Wedding of two PT classmates, resignation from my first PT job, 49 books read in the first half of the year, coworkers 30th birthday, 100 followers on this blog and over 1,000 views

Learning

As an employee, you are always dispensable and replaceable to your employer

Buying

More bike shorts from Old Navy, sports bras from Aerie, vintage America’s National Parks book for our trip, pre-ordered Riley Sager’s new thriller Survive the Night

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MAY 2021

Reading

Planning

Memorial Day weekend in Cleveland, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City or Detroit for birthday in July, GART planning is slowing down, we’ve secured like 90% of our campsites, permits, and hotels

Cooking

Kyle’s favorite Alton Brown meatloaf for mom’s birthday, HBH corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad, HBH browned sage butter chicken pot pie for Mother’s Day

Eating

Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, Royal Docks Brewing Co, Harvest, The 27 Club, Beerhead Bar and Eatery, Stone Made Pub, lots of salads at work and for dinners

Drinking

Earnest Brew Works, Jolly Pumpkin, from the tap at Harvest, The 27 Club, Southern Tier, Butcher and the Brew, Phoenix Coffee Co

Going

Ann arbor, Up North for Leeann and Anthony’s wedding, Canton, OH to visit #girlgand, Cleveland for Memorial Day Weekend, back to Planet Fitness with emphasis on stair climbing and incline treadmill walking to prepare for our hikes

Loving

Ann Arbor in the spring, free little library find – The Maidens, dog sitting, parents new cat Alley Cat, air brushed make up, thriving house plants

Dreaming

Moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Incredibly proud having ran 10 consecutive miles (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), highly annoyed at the crack in my windshield (second incident in two years), excited and nervous to quit my job, overwhelmed by my June reading plans

Listening // Books

Listening // Music

Albums: Justice by Justin Bieber, SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Let Go by Avril Lavigne
Songs: 1 step forward, 3 steps back and happier from SOUR, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams

Celebrating

7 year anniversary with Kyle in Ann Arbor, the wedding of Leeann and Anthony, parents 35th wedding anniversary, securing a Glacier hotel reservation

Learning

About white fragility and how to be anti-racist, to love my body for what it is capable of (running 10 miles) , not for what the scale reads (167.0)

Buying

Went hog wild buying camping gear and new clothes during the REI anniversary sale (30% off), tshirt and national park stickers from Keep Nature Wild (Memorial Day sale), Canon point and shoot camera – PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // APRIL 2021

Reading

Planning

Anniversary weekend in Ann Arbor, weekend in Cleveland in May, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City for birthday in July
Road trip: campgrounds, back county permits, hotels, continuing to tweak the schedule/itinerary, coordinating with friends and family

Watching

Booktube: Ellias, Gabby (gabbyreads), Kayla (booksandlala), Sabine (Sabine’s Book Nook), Jack Edwards, Joel (fictionalfates), Noelle Gallagher, Reagan (PeruseProject), Sydney (Syd Bookworrom)
Beauty Youtube: Kelly Gooch, Jessica Braun
Instagram: Hayden Cohen of @hayderz
Other: REI virtual class Exploring Crater Lake National Park, NFL draft live from Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Indians games

Cooking

meatloaf, Mexican cabbage soup (The Defined Dish recipe), cabbage soup, Greek chicken meatballs with Greek salad (The Wooden Skillet recipe linked here)

Drinking

Market Garden Frosty, Olipop strawberry vanilla sparkling tonic, King KoKonut from Avon Brewing Company, local kombucha from Boochy Mamas

Going

Ye Olde Durty Bird, Gathering Volumes independent bookstore, Flying Joe’s coffee shop with BFF, hammock hangs and reading in Oak Openings, dress alterations for MOH dress, lots of walks and hikes at Secor Metropark

Loving

Mike’s macaroni and cheese pizza, audiobooks, long runs to clear my mind and challenge myself, prioritizing time outside in nature weekly if not daily

Dreaming

breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, beautiful landscapes, freedom, lightness, togetherness, new beginnings

Feeling

very ready to quit my job and take a break from patient care, nervous for another new boss and another brand new PTA, excited for our road trip and our next chapter together

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Books: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Podcasts: Thank You For Asking

Listening // Music

Albums: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, Justice by Justin Bieber
Songs: MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Runaway by Aurora
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits

Celebrating

Independent Bookstore Day at Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg (3 book purchase), new personal best: longest run of 8.25 miles, over 34 miles ran in the month of April, 1 year of investing with 4.5k gain, Easter with family I haven’t seen in over a year, Earth Day by picking up trash around the neighborhood, the lives of the 18 lost in the past 6 months at Wauseon

Learning

various National Parks as we plan for our GART, camping food prep, how to be anti-racist, always, running is therapy as much, if not more, than it is exercise

Buying

active wear from Nebraska brand Little Movements Apparel, sunscreen from Sephora, hotel reservations for GART, spring dresses from Petal and Pip, spring colored athletic shirts for work

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MARCH 2021

Reading

Planning

Logistics of quitting our jobs in July, our 10 week, cross country, Great American Road Trip starting in August (blogs to come)

Watching

Chef’s Table with Ana Roš (season 2, episode 5), movie I Care a Lot starring Rosamund Pike, March Madness basketball games

Cooking

Homemade meatballs, chicken salad, quick and easy weeknight meals, mini ground chicken meat loaves

Eating

Panda express, Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit, Bon Bon Bon, Delanie’s Grille

Drinking

Starbucks new spring drink iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso, personalized non-alcoholic cocktails at Sugar House, craft cocktails at Cleveland Speakeasy

Creating

Starting and updating my reading journal, book cover collages, bookstagram content

Going

Detroit, Livonia, Garden Harvest, neighborhood runs, Defiance stops for spring cleaning

Loving

Running outside, I feel like a different, better human being returning to running outside! The Toledo Public Library, I don’t think I can express how much I love requesting and borrowing books from the library (21 of the 24 books I’ve read this year were library books!)

Dreaming

Of the satisfaction that will come from pushing send on my resignation email to my regional managers, of the amazing collection of postcards I’m going to gather during our trip to make the post amazing keepsake and conversation piece

Feeling

Beyond frustrated with the headache that is managing my health insurance coverage with my company (long story short, they had my hire date incorrect so I was uninsured in the month of February which left me to cover the cost of a pelvic US and f/u appt to check my IUD placement)

Conflicted about having a hand in getting a boss fired *grimacing face emoji*, equal parts excited and scared for the unknowns that come with quitting a stable job to spend 10 weeks on the road, supported by friends and family regarding our GART plans

Listening // Books

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Justin Bieber’s new album Justice (favorite songs include As I Am, Holy, Unstable, Ghost)

Celebrating

Kyle’s 1000th transport, National Meatball Day, daylight savings time aka day light at 7:30PM, Women’s History Month, BFF’s bachelorette party in Ann Arbor at Vinology followed by Blank Slate ice cream, the joy of running 5 miles, $1,400 stimulus check, country wide vaccinations!

Learning

Life’s too short, it’s now or never to explore the country while we have so little responsibilities in terms of pets, home ownership, and no children

Buying

Bath and Body works hand soaps, Wax Buffalo candles – hummingbird and oatmeal stout, bachelorette lingerie from Aerie for a BFF, Osprey pack from REI

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // FEBRUARY 2021

Reading

Planning

To quit our jobs, move out of our apartment, road trip across the US for 4-6 weeks, and then move to Cleveland or Ann Arbor

Watching

Super Bowl LV Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Kansas City Chiefs 31–9, Noelle Gallagher of booktube channel (link), Sabine’s Book Nook booktube channel (link), this tik tok on repeat:

Cooking

Pork carnitas and homemade pico for the Super Bowl, Half Baked Harvest 4 cheese sun-dried tomato pasta bake, Half Baked Harvest kung pao chicken, spaghetti squash with meat and tomato sauce

Eating

Mike’s mac n’ cheese pizza (a little too often this month), big freakin’ donut from Holey Toledough, chicken nachos at Wolverine State Brewing Co

Drinking

Sippin’ Pretty by Odell Brewing Co, HOMES Brewery in Ann Arbor, Wolverine State Brewing Co in Ann Arbor, Tiramisu Brown Ale by Maumee Bay Brewing Co, Grand Mimosa by Ciderboys, black iced coffee from Biggby, Starbucks pistachio latte

Pinning

Beautiful home libraries and bookcases, bullet journal and book journal spreads, gallery wall inspiration, kitchen inspiration, white bean Greek salad, buckeye brownies

Making

Finally finished lettering the addresses for my classmates save the dates and mailed them back to her, repotted my house plants

Going

First house viewing in Westgate, second house viewing in Old Orchard, Ann Arbor to visit BFFs and pick up an item at REI, dinner at cheers with a coworkers, the library like 2-4 times a week

Loving

Blue skies and 40 degree plus weather, hammock stand, The House in the Cerulean Sea, compliments on my skill, integrity, and clinical reasoning and decision making, methodology in my career, mentoring and learning from my new grad PTA

Feeling

Devastated with the unexpected news of losing the Wauseon building, pissed off having only been given 1 weeks notice, hopeful for the end of quarantine, excited for spring, euphoria running outside again, appreciated and seen by my colleague and mentor

Listening // Books

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, Taylor Swift’s evermore album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Summertime Sadness and Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray, Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, 8 Letters by Why Don’t We, Heather by Conan Gray

Celebrating

Pre-approval for a mortgage, 812 credit score, Valentine’s week which concluded with the gift of a hammock stand (Kammok), running outside, beautiful blue skies and 40 degree weather

Learning

Big Bird has cousins (see below), cute and simple hairstyles from Tik Tok, George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth, no no, he had the teeth of his slaves

Supporting

Black authors only with February BOTM selections: NK Jemisin, Nancy Johnson, Bryan Washington

Buying

My own copies of The Night Tiger (50% off) and The Ghost Bride (second hand), foaming hand soap from Bath and Body Works

Mantra

Every emotion that I feel throughout the day I accept, because it’s what makes me human

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn