vacation bag proof

I used the Two Zip Hipster I made for our trip throughout our travels and it was perfect! I was able to carry the necessities with me but not be burdened with a heavy bag or a sore shoulder. Cross-body bags are great for travel, too, as it’s nearly impossible to set them down and forget them.

Two Zip Hipster (pattern by Dog Under My Desk) fits the Universal tour package binder perfectly

As it turned out, Universal gave us a little notebook with all our tickets and stuff inside, and it was as if this purse was designed to hold it. It could not have been a more perfect fit!

Two Zip Hipster (pattern by Dog Under My Desk) fits the Universal tour package binder perfectly

As you can see in the photo above, it fits inside with just enough room to zip the zipper above it. I do find it interesting that Universal still likes to give you a hundred little pieces of paper to manage, whereas I believe Disney now does everything on a wristband if you book a package (for our day trips they issued us a card that contained all our ticket, fast pass, and dessert reservation info). If you’re going to Universal and doing a package, I definitely recommend making this bag.

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a grand time

We recently went for a mini-vacation weekend in Grand Rapids. It’s not a long way from where we live, but we haven’t made the time to head over there in quite a while.

Grand Rapids Public Museum - Lego exhibit

We went in with a goal of visiting several museums and we met that goal! Our first was the Grand Rapids Public Museum, which had a special exhibit of LEGO buildings. There weren’t as many buildings as we’d hoped to see, but the ones in the exhibit were indeed impressive and, as you can see, on a pretty large scale.

why is Troi carrying a purse?

Having been through the standing exhibits in the not too distant past, we just visited a few highlights including their collection of American toys throughout history. This ST:TNG scene is terrific.

Karl is playing pinball. I am helping

In addition to cultural stuff, we also made time to experience a few recommendations from friends, including happy hour at the Pyramid Scheme. It’s a bar and performance venue with a pretty decent collection of pinball machines. Continuing my fangirl appreciation, I did the best on the ST:TNG machine and spent most of my time playing that. After this we walked over to HopCat for a delicious dinner and brews. Best of all, we were seated right away when we arrived and noticed that a large line formed practically moments later, so we super lucked out on that.

Andrea Kowch - Sojourn, 2011

The following day we went to the Grand Rapids Art Museum after an amazing breakfast at Sundance Grill and Bar. They offer Tex-Mex food that was SUPER delicious and the portions were huge. We definitely felt well-fueled for a day of walking around. The Art Museum was showing works from last year’s ArtPrize, which was cool since we didn’t make it over to see anything during last year’s competition. This painting is Sojourn by Andrea Kowch. There’s at least one Margaret Atwood novel in which a woman paints things that this made me think of – I may be thinking of descriptions from more than one story.

Elizabeth Brandt - BodyMap, 2012

The last couple of pieces we came to happened to be the thing I am most interested in: art quilts! This one is BodyMap by Elizabeth Brandt. The vibrant colors she used are really appealing and really highlight her construction. I like that she used different stitch techniques on different sections of the quilt.

Ann Loveless - Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore, 2013

This, Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore by Ann Loveless, was almost the last work we saw, and it was a great finale. It’s really four large pieces, framed and hung in a sequence that creates one visual whole. This was the first place people’s choice grand prize winner in last year’s ArtPrize competition.

Ann Loveless - Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore, 2013

The detail she put into this piece is really impressive.

Ann Loveless - Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore, 2013

I love the colors and how well she captures the look of a sunset.

selfie at Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids

We also visited Frederik Meijer Gardens for the first time. It was SUPER hot and muggy by the time we left, but we still quite enjoyed walking through the greenhouses and the grounds. There were a ton of weddings happening that day (I’m sure it’s a popular summer wedding spot) and I felt thankful that I wasn’t enduring the humidity in super dressy clothing.

Roxy Paine - Neuron, 2010

The outdoor pieces are really nicely arranged with walking paths and frequent benches that are placed so that you can appreciate whatever piece of sculpture is nearby. We didn’t take time to sit as the humidity was making us feel as though if we stopped, we’d never get started again. This piece, Neuron by Roxy Paine, was one of our favorites. There are lots more pics on my flickr of the various artworks we saw on this trip.

With a well-formed appetite after that exercise, we headed over to Founders for lunch. Sitting in the beer garden, we met some nice folks from downstate with whom we enjoyed our sandwiches and brews. Following that, we visited with some dear friends we haven’t seen in far too long, and of course we were having too much fun to remember to take any photos. We had dinner at Brewery Vivant, which was decadent and delicious – duck nachos! – and then listened to our pal Dan play dueling pianos at the BOB. It was a jam-packed weekend but totally fun and really refreshing. And almost everything was within walking distance of our hotel! We’re such homebodies a lot of the time, so it’s good to be reminded of how refreshing it can be to find some new surroundings every now and then.

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Walt Disney World: first night

Last weekend Karl and I embarked on a big vacation: a trip to Orlando, for my first-ever visit to Walt Disney World (he’s been before, though not in a decade). We hadn’t taken a vacation since about two and a half years ago, so we were well ready for some fun and relaxation. We flew AirTran from DTW to MCO and despite being seated in the very back row of the airplane, we were not noticeably uncomfortable.
Karl and Anne, embarking on the trip to DisneyWorld

We had gorgeous weather for our travels. Did you know that airlines now advertise everywhere?
Airtran DTW to MCO

Once we landed at the Orlando airport, we happily ignored baggage claim and headed straight to check in with Disney’s Magical Express.
Disney's Magical Express

This bus delivered us to the Disney property and we checked in at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.
Disney's All Star Sports Resort

We got settled in at our room and discovered that we were right next door to my sister and her hub, so we had adjoining rooms! Hooray!
Karl settling in at Disney's All Star Sports Resort

Susan and David are Disney pros, and acted as our vacation planners and WDW tour guides throughout our trip. It was fabulous not to have to think about things and to not feel overwhelmed or like we might miss out on something because of poor planning or not knowing well enough in advance.

Being such experts, S&D had made dinner reservations for our first dinner at Boma, one of their favorite restaurants. It’s located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is gorgeous and huge.
Animal Kingdom Lodge

The food was delicious! It was one of the most extensive buffets I’ve ever visited and we got to sample some of my favorite dishes from the trip, including a carrot and ginger soup that I could have eaten an entire pot of. It was difficult not to eat too much of any one thing.

It was an awesome start to an awesome vacation.
David and Susan

Karl and Anne

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