From the Golden to the Garden State

July and August have been crammed with loads of travel and loads of work, which means a long drought in blog posts. And now the fall is shaping up similarly, with probable trips to Vancouver, Arizona, Hawaii and Michigan on the horizon – I think Jeff and I wouldn’t know how to operate without trips to look forward to!

Jeff and his soccer teammates preparing for the big tourney

Jeff and his soccer teammates preparing for the big tourney

In mid-July, Jeff jetted off to San Diego for a men’s soccer tournament with his high school and college buddies. Jeff’s team bowed out of the tourney by the end of the first day, but he had an excellent time catching up with some of his closest friends – who even provided Jeff a custom Nike jersey so he wouldn’t have to wear our foe Puma’s logo like the rest of the team.

While Jeff soaked in the Cali sun, I was enjoying summertime in the Mitten State. I decided to head back to Michigan for the weekend to catch up with friends and family. It also happened to be Auburn Cornfest weekend – the 42nd edition of the rockin’ beer tent, carnival, softball competition, 5K race and more. The local fave Steel Wheels pumped out country tunes as I chatted with my best buds, sisters and a “This is Your Life”-like roster of old teachers, co-workers and schoolmates. Other weekend activities included an outdoor BBQ with my extended family, a requisite late-night gambling outing to Soaring Eagle Casino, a birthday party for my friend Vanessa’s son Thomas, and a trip to the charming German town Frankenmuth for an outdoor Neil Diamond impersonator concert. On Monday night, Jeff and I met at the Portland Airport, and looked forward to our next trip just 10 days away.

New Jersey! Every two years or so, either someone in my Michigan-based family gets married (I was the most recent in 2009) or someone in our big contingent of Jersey cousins gets married, and it always feels like a big family reunion. This time, my cousin Katie wed fiance Jack in a gorgeous ceremony and reception. Jeff and I flew in early Friday morning to meet the rest of my road-tripping family, and we had an awesome time staying at my cousins Helen and Bill’s house, visiting NYC with tour guides Joyce and Wayne, and clubbing at MTV Jersey Shore hangouts Karma and Bamboo ’til 4 a.m. with cousin Amber. (Alas, the show just wrapped taping a couple weeks before, so no cast member sightings.)

And my travel continues a mere four days later…London Olympics! More to come on that, of course. 🙂

The Motor City Soccer teammates (notice Jeff's lone Nike logo on his jersey)

The Motor City Soccer teammates (notice Jeff’s lone Nike logo on his jersey)

Pre-gaming at Auburn Hotel before the Cornfest

Pre-gaming at Auburn Hotel before the Cornfest

Birthday boy Jason, who turned 30 at the stroke of midnight (some may remember this hooligan from my wedding!)

Birthday boy Jason, who turned 30 at the stroke of midnight (some may remember this hooligan from my wedding!)

Love these girls! Sister Lori, Ashley and Jenny

Love these girls! Sister Lori, Ashley and Jenny

Hooting and hollering for Steel Wheels

Hooting and hollering for Steel Wheels

Welcome to Corn Vegas, aka the gambling tent at Cornfest

Welcome to Corn Vegas, aka the gambling tent at Cornfest

Thomas and mommy Vanessa getting ready to blow out some candles

Thomas and mommy Vanessa getting ready to blow out some candles

Quite the crowd at Frankenmuth's Sunday evening concert, Neil Diamond impersonator

Quite the crowd at Frankenmuth’s Sunday evening concert, Neil Diamond impersonator

The man, the myth, the impersonator, Neil Diamond

The man, the myth, the impersonator, Neil Diamond

Ava and Cory twirling on the dance floor

Ava and Cory twirling on the dance floor

My sweet nieces Ava and Macy sharing a fizzy drink

My sweet nieces Ava and Macy sharing a fizzy drink

The crew enjoying the lovely sounds of Neil Diamond guy

The crew enjoying the lovely sounds of the Neil Diamond guy

Waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin

Waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin

The adorable couple getting hitched

The adorable couple getting hitched

Katie and Jack's first dance

Katie and Jack’s first dance

The fam's all here!

The fam’s all here!

Shelly, me and Cali cousin Sara on the dance floor

Shelly, me and Cali cousin Sara on the dance floor

Beautiful details...

Beautiful details…

Redick family photo with Uncle Ron and Grandma as well

Redick family photo with Uncle Ron and Grandma as well

Amazing party...I didn't want it to end...

Amazing party…I didn’t want it to end…

Times Square!

Sensory overload! Times Square

Cory, Jeff, me, Lori, Kayley, Dave and Shel in the Big Apple

Cory, Jeff, me, Lori, Cailey, Dave and Shel in the Big Apple

Battery Park's temporary artwork, "The Sphere," salvaged from the World Trade Center site

Battery Park’s temporary artwork, “The Sphere,” salvaged from the World Trade Center site

New York City's tallest building: One World Trade Center, aka Freedom Tower

New York City’s tallest building: One World Trade Center, aka Freedom Tower

The lovely Brooklyn Bridge on a cloud-covered day in NYC

The lovely Brooklyn Bridge on a cloud-covered day in NYC

Shelly and Lori taking a breather at Karma nightclub in Seaside, New Jersey

Shelly and Lori taking a breather at Karma nightclub in Seaside, New Jersey

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