Category Archives: Travel


Happy New Year to everyone!  2014 is bringing in many new and exciting experiences for us all!  To begin with, we had negative temperatures far lower than I could ever imagine, or at least want to experience (-45 wind chill – burrrrrrrrr!), which caused several days of hibernating at home for me and my family.  It was nice for a while, but by the third day we were all getting a little stir crazy in our small condo.  It’s great to get back into our daily routine.

Soon I will be sharing with you a new:

It’s something that I’ve actually done for a long time, by telling your story through photographs, but I’m pulling it all together as a package that you can make choices from AND it will help me to get to know you a little better! More details to come soon!

Blessings in 2014 to all!


ipod time



soccer fun


listening to music



reading, wherever


Thanksgivikkah in Chicago

A few weeks ago my son and I heard on NPR that the next time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day it will be in 79,000 years.  He found this information fascinating and shared his Public Radio information throughout that weekend with any and everyone that would listen.

So my husband’s family is split on religious terms.  His dad celebrates Christmas, but his stepmom and her family celebrate Hanukkah.  As you probably know, usually the two holidays are celebrated in the month of December, but this year Hanukkah was in November, so we had a dual Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebration, Thanksgivikkah.  Turkey for lunch and dreidel playing and the lighting of candles in the evening. 

Our combined families, that come from as far as California, has now grown to over 20 people getting together for Thanksgiving.  This year we all met at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Chicago…one of my favorite large cities.  We had a fabulous time, although unfortunately I was very ill much of the time.  I did however get in a few hundred photographs before heading back to Michigan. 

A night view from our city view room.

Cousins having fun at Shedd Aquarium.

Lakeside view from Grandpa and Grandma’s room.

Playing hide in the pillow fort in the big bed.

Thanksgiving day lunch in a private room at the Sofital Hotel.

Z chose an untraditional TG dinner, steak and French fries off the kids menu.

More Sofital.

View from the Sofitel.


Breakfast with a view.

Our hotel was so beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.

A sneak peak of the playroom.

Grandma’s fun menorah.

Cousins on their way to the famed Home Alone 2 pool.

A beautiful church across the street from our hotel.

The shops connected to our hotel…very nice.

More of the church across the street.

The famed Water Tower.

I love the horse and carriages!

Packed and time to go home after lunch.

What’s the score dad?

Inside the 900 Shops mall.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you celebrate Hanukkah, happy, happy to you too!

The Great Up North

This past week my dear friend Alexis and I decided it was time, time for
that drive that we had talked about for over a year.  So we each packed
2 bags, one with clothes and the other bag brimming
with camera gear, then we headed to the great up north.

The original plan was to drive slowly throughout the trip, but as usual, we
were running late that initial bon voyage day.  As we pulled away from our
beloved Ann Arbor, we could feel all stresses being left behind.  We were
on our way to the island, Mackinaw Island.  Now we just needed to make
that last ferry of the day, or we would be losing our reservation at Mission

After driving 4 hours and 23 minutes, or 285 miles, our plan to drive
directly up 75 hailed us a front row seat (if we had chosen) on the hydroplane
ride to paradise.  Okay, so it’s not the Caribbean, but it is our island,
Michiganders little slice of the slower life.

 The first day was spent soaking up the sites, but in a quieter, slower version then a day-tripper would.  The slow walk from Mission Point to the downtown area provided us with many beautiful photo ops of flowers, a sweet old lab resting in a big chair, architecture and of course horses and the quaint fudge-filled village.  It was still early on Friday, so the weekend crowds were only beginning to arrive.  We headed down a back street and discover a new coffee place and possible job opportunities for next summer (for my friend, not me!).

Once again, we realized that an appointment made earlier was upon us, so we
dashed back to the resort to enjoy some much needed spa treatments.  You
may wonder what this has to do with photography.  Well, I believe to find
ZEN in this world, I must be in a Zen place myself.  So this was our treat
before leaving the island that afternoon. 

Onward to the Mighty Mac and beyond. Next stop the other paradise, Paradise,
Michigan.  The drive up highway 2 was stunning with the setting sun
catching the yellows, oranges and red on fire!  We were surprised at the
low availability of rooms once we arrived in the sleepy town, but finally found
a place to rough it for the night.  Let’s just say we were inside…I
think.  A quick trip to find some food and the shoreline to view
the amazing starlit sky, then off to sleep.  Another 69 miles for the

The next day was filled with a lot of travel.  We completed the 15
minute drive to Whitefish Point to catch the strong winds blowing in some nice
sized waves, then back south to view the Taquanamum falls and across the bridge
to the Lower Peninsula before a big storm was predicted to hit.

I love the northwest side of Lower Michigan.  Its beauty is like an oasis.  To end the day we traveled through the tunnel of trees, catching the sunset on the beautiful tree lined winding road.  The plan was to find a place in Petoskey to relax for the night, but we found what seemed like the entire southern half of MI occupying every hotel room in the northern hemisphere!  Sigh, this was not a part of the plan, but we are flexible, and the drive down to the thumb area just gave us new destinations to photograph the next day.

Our last day was spent touring the countryside to Port Austin and lunch in the German town of Frankenmuth.  I live in such an amazingly beautiful state, from the rolling hills and farmlands to the rocky, pine tree filled Upper Peninsula, to our gorgeous shoreline that surrounds us.  We are very lucky to have the 4 seasons and over one fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. 

Nine hundred twenty two miles and hundreds of photographs later, we arrived home with the feeling of real satisfaction for what we accomplished, along with a twinge for another road trip soon!

Viewing D.C.

After planning a family trip to Washington D.C. for years, we finally did it! It seemed there was always something that stood in our way, but this year we ventured east, to Gettysburg, then on to D.C. for a week long immersion of U.S. history.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  Our history enthusiast, our 11 year old son, soaked up every minute from the battles to the Smithsonian’s  wonders and we never heard the words all parents cringe at, “I’m bored!” 

Charlotte bound

Getting on the plane for a 4 day photo shoot in Charlotte…just realized I forgot to put on makeup this morning, and I don’t have any with me…uggh.

Southwest Michigan Hideaway

One of
our favorite places to stay on the southwest coast of Michigan is at a Bed and
Breakfast called Harbert House
, in
Harbert, MI. Located near the Warren Dunes, this B & B is run by Nancy, who
is wonderful chef from Chicago. The rooms are very comfortable, with a private
bathroom in each room. If you have diet concerns, she is very accommodating to
making sure her homemade food is perfect for each of you. Believe me; we have
carnivores, vegetarians and someone with celiac disease in our family, not to
mention picky children! Our entire family has rented all of the rooms and stayed
for a week over the holidays! My in-laws now own a home nearby Nancy, but we
still have friends and family stay there when we have an overflow at our home,
and she has become such a part of our family that we invite her to our holidays.
Just tell her Janice sent you!

Cupcakes in Cadillac!

I got word from my hometown of Cadillac, MI that there is a new sweet stop on the north side of town.  If you are in the neighborhood visit the bakery and deli on the north
side called The Sweetest
. In the bakery they make gourmet cupcakes with a variety
of fillings. If you are in the mood for lunch, they also make wraps and panini’s
served on authentic Italian bread.
This is a brand new business with exciting
flavors to try, and what a great way to support a local family business. The
next time I’m up north you can bet I won’t pass this one by! YUM!