Monday, April 27, 2015

OTF WITH PHD IN MI


I realize the title for today's post reads like a text message from a teenage girl, but if you've  wondered where I've been hiding for the last week, well, I was ON THE FLY in the great lakes state of Michigan.  A hop, skip and a jump from New York, Michigan holds a special place in my heart and was a no-brainer for me to take some time out to help a few VIP's move into a new pad.  My Aunt and Uncle recently built a house in Grand Haven, Michigan, a 35 minute drive from the cool city of Grand Rapids and home to many of my family members.  While the mission was mostly work, we certainly found time to play and some of the tips and tricks I use everyday came in handy in a huge way!

GRAND PLAN:
Grand Rapids is located on the Grand River approximately 25 miles east of Lake Michigan and is home to The Gerald Ford Museum (both former President Ford and his wife Betty are buried there), Amway Headquarters and several furniture companies (often called "The Furniture City," because it became a major lumbering center in the late 19th century, Grand Rapids established itself as the premier furniture-manufacturing city of the US).  While hunting down cool pieces for my Aunt and Uncle, we ventured into a neighborhood near East Grand Rapids called Eastown which is the city's alternative, hipster scene and is often referred to as the "Greenwich Village of Grand Rapids."  With coffee shops, hip blues bars, excellent restaurants and unique furniture stores, I can see why the cool folks in the area flock here.
TIP: While many beautifully decorated furniture stores often look intimidating, don't be afraid to pop in and give them a try.  We were on the hunt for artwork to fill the large 10' high walls and we were not disappointed.  For far less than many retail establishments, we found unique pieces that will look beautiful in the new space.  That doesn't mean we didn't zip over to Home Goods, one of my go-to stores for "fillers and fun-stuff."  We scored big on mirrors, decorative baskets, rugs and you guessed it, other Home Goods!

GRAND IDEAS:
While we sipped (coffee) and shopped our way around town, the snow refused to stop coming down, so I can't wait to return to the adorable lakeside town of Grand Haven this summer.  At first glance a few of my favorites would have to be:
THE HARBOR HOUSE: Located at the mouth of the Grand River where it meets Lake Michigan, the Harbor House is an adorable Bed and Breakfast with unique rooms, wonderful service, pink shutters and a wraparound deck, perfect for enjoying a cup of coffee and the breathtaking views.
WASHINGTON AVENUE: Grand Haven's main drag, Washington Avenue is peppered with wonderful antique stores, great restaurants, coffee shops and bars.  MORNING STAR CAFE was a great spot to have breakfast (I loved the Huevos Rancheros).
GRAND HAVEN STATE PARK: Located directly on the beach of Lake Michigan, GHSP is one of he prettiest campgrounds I've seen.  Because it's so popular and the season so short, you best book at least six months in advance at www.reserveamerica.com.

While we had a lot of fun and worked our buns off, a few lessons learned I must pass along.  No matter how organized you think you might be, making room for glitches and hiccups is incredibly important.  When renovating a home I always provide a cushion in the budget for unforeseen road blocks, and the same must be done when moving.  Items might break (make sure your moving company has insurance and TAKE PICTURES when it happens, don't wait), the weather might not cooperate (make sure you have plastic on carpet) and you most likely won't unpack everything the day you move.  Don't worry.  Give yourself a break.  Moving into a new home, no matter what size or what the circumstance, should be seen as an adventure.