Monday, October 26, 2015

Infinity Dreams Award: Traverse City/Leelanau County Edition (With lots of pictures!)

I was nominated for the Infinity Dreams Award about three weeks ago (so I'm actually doing okay here) by the lovely fellow author Tracey Dyck @ Adventure Awaits. Make sure you check out her blog for writing tips, book talk, interviews, and more! Thanks Tracey!

Anyhow, I have been incredibly busy (distressing car trouble, lots of work, and then a spontaneous trip to Traverse City with friends for the weekend), so I haven't been online at all. I also haven't had much time to read. So it is high time I got around to one of these fabulous awards. And naturally, I am breaking the rules.

But just in case you were curious, these are the established rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself. Eleven random facts and pics from my trip
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them. Nah. But I'll put down some questions!

So here we go:

Well, here is Random Fact #1 : I have lived in Michigan for most of my life. And yet I've never done the whole M-22 scenic drive up the northwest coast.

The mouth of the Platte River in Benzie County
I was the driver, so I didn't get many pictures. But we did stop to stretch our legs along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. It was misty and rainy, but it was actually pretty warm here.
We were trying to see the Manitou Islands through the fog. Instead, we disrupted some fishermen (sorry!) and skipped rocks.

Random Fact # 2: I used to live Cedar, Michigan (near Traverse City), in the glorious paradise known as Leelanau County. 

Full of hills, lakes, forests, wineries, cute little towns, and vistas so gorgeous they'll steal your breath, Leelanau County is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It was rainy, windy, and colder here, but that didn't stop us! (Us = My sister Grace, and my friends Emily and Olivia). In fact, gloomy Leelanau County just reminds me of The Perilous Gard and fairies! It's very hilly, so there are always these enchanted-looking misty forest patches. Unfortunately, I didn't really get any pictures - because I was driving!!

 We stopped for coffee in Glen Arbor. Leelanau Coffee was a favorite place to visit when I lived farther north. They roast all their own coffee, and have the only blueberry coffee I have ever approved of. After this, we stopped at a historic cemetery that looked lovely from the road.

Random Fact #3: I love exploring cemeteries

This may or may not surprise you. They're usually beautiful, peaceful places, where you can almost feel the age and history. Sometimes I'll make gravestone rubbings of the best designs (if I have crayons and paper handy).

Random Fact # 4: One of my favorite places in Leelanau County is Fishtown (in Leland).

What is Fishtown? Well, exactly what it sounds like: a real historical fishing village that has been maintained by a nonprofit, and is full of local history and quaint shops. And if it is raining, it just feels (and smells!) more authentic. And yes, there is still a lot of great fishing in Leland :)

Random Fact #5: Though I like (mainly red) wine and have been over 21 for a few years, I've never been on a wine tour!

Northern Michigan is known for its many fabulous wines and wineries. And though I've been to a lot of the wineries, it's usually too crowded for me!! Still, we managed to wander around Black Star Farms, see some more sights, and try some hard ciders at Tandem Ciders.

Random Fact #6: I love horses. And they generally seem to like me.

She really liked my shirt. I have no idea why.

Random Fact #7: Traverse City Library has a great selection, and it's beautiful.

Okay, so these are really random. But I have an emotional attachment to this library (and it's great manga/anime selection . . .). So many good memories. And I found 9 awesome used books to buy while I was here! (They were mainly books I've read before, but I didn't own them yet).

Random Fact #8: Grand Traverse Bay is as wonderful as they say it is.

Random Fact #9: North Peak Brewing Company has great food and craft beer, and my favorite root beer, but don't try to eat there on Saturday night (at least, not this time of year)!

The very reasonably priced flight/sampler is great if you can't make up your mind (me!)
Obviously, we made it in to eat some delicious things like: BBQ Boar Pizza (seriously), Lamb Burger wraps, and Spicy Sausage Chili. But we went Sunday afternoon after church.

Random Fact #10: The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a must-see (and it's where I took my senior portrait).

 Formerly the State Hospital, the main building and outbuildings are in an ongoing restoration process. There are cute shops below, and the grounds are amazing!! It's a wonderful example of re-purposing old buildings with amazing architecture. If you ever get the chance, you have to see it.

Grace is providing a sense of scale here.

Random Fact #11: Traverse City is a lot more than the National Cherry Festival

Chances are, if you've heard of TC, it was the cherries. Granted, there are a ton of wonderful cherries, but that's a limited time of year. From wine tours, to Grand Traverse County's more Faye-looking sister county (Leelanau!), to cute shops and indie bookstores, to sand dunes, to amazing food and beer, there is A TON to do up north. If you ever have the good fortune to visit, you will be well rewarded for exploring!

If you'd like to see more pictures (of this trip, books, and other random adventures), you can follow me on Instagram: @booklass13

Okay, now that I've been the unofficial up north travel salesperson, we'll get back to the Infinity Dreams Award itself (did you forget that it was the point of this extra-long post?)

Well, Tracey had 11 questions for me, and here they are (with my answers):

1. Describe the most recent dream you can remember having.

You don't want to know.

2. "To infinity and beyond!" Who's your favorite Toy Story character? 

Hard question! I love Toy Story. But it's probably both Buzz and Woody - because they aren't as good alone!

3. If Iron Man and Captain America were pitted against each other (not that hard to imagine), who would you root for?

Easy question (and since this does happen in Civil War, I guess I'm all set). Captain America all the way. In the comics, I totally agree with the good Captain.

4. What are your top three favorite things about autumn?

1. The smells - so distinct! 2. The colors. 3. Harvest time and all it entails (pumpkins, apples, Halloween, hayrides, etc).

5. When's your prime time: morning, midday, or late at night?

It changes day to day (and depends on how much sleep I've had). I tend to be more productive in the morning, but get more writing done late at night.

6. You've been handed the leash of an emperor's pet tiger--quick, what do you do with it?

Keep it for my very own pet! A pet tiger is a childhood dream of mine.

7. Do you have any pre-writing 'rituals' or habits? 

First I turn three times clockwise while reciting my name . . . just kidding! In reality, I always make sure I have a good, steaming cup of tea or coffee and my headphones close by. That's it!

8. Favorite song artist?

NO IDEA. I love music, and so many different artists/types of music! If I flick on my Ipod, the most common types of music are movie soundtracks and Pop/Punk. My current favorite musical discovery is the indie pop/punk band Smallpools. They're happy and a little goofy and fun to drive or write to.

One of my all-time favorite bands that no one seems to have heard of is The Click Five:

Some of my other favorite bands/artists are Nine Lashes, The Hush Sound, The Green Children, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Sir James Galway (flute), Within Temptation, Bastille, Kansas, Josh Groban, Epica, Apocalyptica, The Zac Brown Band, Red, Enya, . . . okay, I'll stop, because I could fill up two pages with this!

9. Name a real-life hero of yours.

10. What's your goal(s) in blogging?

To make friends, write about books and other fun things, practice writing for an audience, and promote my books (and other people's books!)

11. Name a literary/film couple you shipped that ended up sinking.

This is hard because the whole "shipping" lingo didn't exist when I was younger, and I never really cared about/became invested in romances. Or I just predicted who would end up together and was correct! Probably the closest answer is Aerin and Luthe from Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown. It was obvious that staying on the mountain with Luthe would have been purely selfish, and that Aerin's people needed her more - but it's not very satisfying, you know? It's beautiful, and unselfish, and responsible, and practical, and it isn't romantic at all. So although I love the end of the book, it still makes me sad.

And if you made it to the utter end - congratulations! Have some virtual pie and consider answering these five questions in the comments! :)

1. What is your favorite kind of pie?
2. Have you ever been to Michigan?
3. How do you feel about cemeteries?
4. What is one of your favorite places to visit in your home state?
5. Are you more of an indoors or outdoors person?