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Kladder Update: ArtPrize, Autumn & Travel

Natalie running wild and free at Fredrick Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, MI. 

Natalie running wild and free at Fredrick Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, MI. 

We eat so many apples in our household. We're talking Costco sized portions of apples. So, as you can imagine, fall harvest is an agreeable time for us Kladders. This weekend I made Pumpkin Apple Sauce (see recipe below) and despite the summer like temperatures outside, inside it smelled just like Fall. Over the next few weeks we'll take full advantage of Autumn by visiting as many of the orchards, pumpkin patches and cider houses as we can. Goodness I love Fall in Michigan.

But before we skip ahead to apple picking and hayrides, lets touch on ArtPrize. Each year the event seems to come and go at a quicker and quicker pace. Over the last couple of weeks I can't tell you how many times I've heard friends and family say, "We never made it down this year because..." and the list of things that got in the way vary. And we hear you, we've certainly got our list. But our commitment to ArtPrize is slightly unique: I moved to GR for a job with ArtPrize over 8 years ago (I now work at Steelcase) and plainly said, it's something Jeff and I (and now the kids) really enjoy doing together. So it shouldn't take you by surprise that we 'ArtPrized' 5 times this year despite me being out of town for one full week of work during the event. Proof that we do, indeed, love us some ArtPrize. 

I share all of that to say (and to give more meaning to) our opinion about the event this year: we were left wanting more. Is it just us, or was their less art? Is it just us, or were there less venues? Where was Site:Lab this year? Is it just us, or did we see that piece last year? Why isn't this venue packed right now?... it's Saturday afternoon.

This year in particular, there was a slew of opinion articles/blogs speaking to the 'formula' for winning the public vote at ArtPrize. Even the jurors mentioned it during their critical discourse during the final week: something big, a giant drawing or paining, something with a cause behind it... and so on. After 9 years of the same event, are the artists tipped off as to how to get the most votes and win the cash? We're not sure. We're certainly not experts. We're just lovers of the event. But to our friends who 'never made it down' to see the art this year... you didn't miss much. 

Sorry to be the Debbie Downer. Let me leave you on a high note regarding ArtPrize. If there was ever a true Cinderella of the event for 2017 her name would be Red Dirt Rug, which is kind of fitting... dirt rug... Cinderella. You get it. Red Dirt Rug was a time based piece that was installed at the WMU building by artist Rena Detrixhe. By laying out 200 gallons of sifted earth on the floor in a 300 x 480 rectangle and stamping hundreds of soles of shoes into the surface, she created what looked like an oriental rug. It was something we'd never seen before which is not a statement you hear often at ArtPrize these days. Red Dirt Rug did win both the public and juried award for the Time-Based category. Moving on... 

I traveled to Germany for work last month and you can read more about that HERE. I love traveling for work, especially when it means getting to visit Oktoberfest on my free time! Jeff didn't skip a beat while I was gone and upon my return home Natalie seemed more amped about her traditional German Cookie Necklace and Kinder Surprise Eggs than my arrival. Ah, well... she's two (the excuse I tell myself). 

Real life visual: 9pm return from Munich, Germany to Miss Natalie jazzed about her gift. 

Real life visual: 9pm return from Munich, Germany to Miss Natalie jazzed about her gift. 

These days Natalie is SUPER girlie. We're talking nails-painted, must-always-have-a-ponytail AND a bow-in-her-hair (even when she goes to bed) girlie. She loves all the jewelry and this past weekend I put a bath bomb in her tub for the first time and she was all giggles; it was adorable. The aftermath of glitter will likely remain for weeks to come. Sorry, Thomas. 

Bath bombs are the new bubbles! 

Bath bombs are the new bubbles! 

Thomas passed the 6 month marker two weeks ago - time. is. flying. He's such a happy guy with his 5 teeth, chubby cheeks and laid-back personality. He's easy to crack a smile and loves him some one-on-one attention. This weekend while shopping at Target with my Mom and the kids (Christmas is coming!) I picked up some adorable jeans and cords that make him look so grown up - whoever said dressing boys isn't fun was never introduced to the Cat & Jack brand. He's rolling and scooting and eating little bowls of real food. I've had to trim is hair twice with scissors which is hilarious to us because Natalie still hasn't had her hair cut yet. 

Jeff was out all last weekend with friends for their annual Guys Golf Trip which is what allowed for Grandma time at Target Saturday morning. And after a busy couple weeks at the office, spending time with my Mom and the kids is just what the doctor ordered. We shopped for Christmas (I wasn't kidding earlier), picked up the essentials (and the nonessentials) and had lunch at Panera, who, by the way, took away the broth bowls from their menu! This likely happened forever ago which tells you how often I eat at Panera. 

With October fully upon us, we're looking forward to the start of the holiday season. We've got our Halloween costumes ready, plans for trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving gatherings are in the works and Christmas shopping is well underway. Enjoy the changing colors of our surroundings and take time to smooch your family extra today! 

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately... 

  • Bare Apple Chips - From Costco and eating them by the handful. Organic dried apples (only apples and nothing else!). 
  • Being Mary Jane, the TV show - Recently needed a new 'me' show to watch and started Being Mary Jane. Something to have on in the background while I fold laundry. High powered single female who's navigating work, family and love. Some mindless matter for you! 
  • Hands Free Pumping Bra - Real mom talk: I do not know why it took me this long... why!!!! If you haven't, try it. Life changing. 
Pumpkin Apple Sauce in progress! 

Pumpkin Apple Sauce in progress! 

PUMPKIN APPLE SAUCE

Place all ingredients in slow cooker on low for about 5-8 hours; stir occasionally; near end use mashed potato smasher to blend ingredients; I left mine slightly chunky to preference. 

  • 9-10 medium peeled/cored apples (of your choice)
  • 1 T cinnamon 
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1/2 C vanilla cashew milk (or water) 
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin 
  • 1 T vanilla 
  • 1/4 C maple syrup (or brown sugar) 

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Work Travel: Munich, Germany

New Town Hall in the center of Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. 

New Town Hall in the center of Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. 

I consider international travel a perk of my job. I joined Steelcase just over two years ago and I'm starting to run out of fingers to count the places I've gotten to travel. Last week I flew to Munich, Germany where Steelcase is putting the finishing touches on our brand new European headquarters. It's been nearly 3 years in the making and this month I coordinated a local video crew to capture it all as we cross the finish line.

View from the 5th floor at the Learning and Innovation Center, Steelcase. 

View from the 5th floor at the Learning and Innovation Center, Steelcase. 

In between work days, I got to see some of the city. The highlight was, without a doubt, Oktoberfest. Lucky me HAD to be in town during the world famous Oktoberfest and holy moly was it an experience. Sure I expected beer and pretzels but no one warned me just how massive the event really is. The tradition is over 200 years in the making and in most recent years over 1.8 million liters of beer is consumed by the more than 6 million people who attend. There are 14 major beer tents that can seat an average 6,000 people each. In addition to the mile long massive boulevard where the tents are constructed, there's also a section of the festival completely dedicated to carnival rides and games. Everywhere you look are people in traditional Bavarian attire wearing cookie necklaces, eating pretzels and singing in German. Needless to say, I was completely entertained.

I also spent some time in Marienplatz which is the city's center. Lining the pedestrian street that leads to the main square is storefront after storefront of everything you'd ever want or need and in the center you'll find the New Town Hall. City government meets there and it's where the office of the mayor is located. The second day we walked through the square we happened upon Angela Merkel, German chancellor, giving a speech. The square was packed with protestors waving flags and shouting into megaphones. We snapped a photo and got (bleep) outta there - the air felt pretty thick with tension which made me nervous. But the day before I went with two German co-workers who were kind enough to let me play tourist and I 100% used my selfie stick. 

Just around the corner is another Munich must see: Munich Frauenkirche which translates to The Cathedral of Our Dear Lady. It's another demanding piece of architecture and if we had more time I would have been interested to go up in the towers for the view of the city that surrounds it. 

The same night my co-workers took on the walking tour, we also stopped by the Jewish Museum, checked out the Open Market which doubles as the Christmas Market come December as well as walked through two of the 4 main arches to the city. It's was a huge advantage to have a local give the quick tour. I felt like I saw a lot in a little amount of time. 

Jewish Museum in Munich, Germany. 

Jewish Museum in Munich, Germany. 

While in town I stayed at the Ruby Lilly Hotel which is just one block from our new office and walking distance from anything you'd want to see including Oktoberfest, Marienplatz and (if you wear comfortable shoes) the English Garden. The Ruby Lilly is a boutique hotel with an interesting style - think trendy hipster meets modern room decor. The lobby has no check in desk, but instead you use the touch screens at the bar to get your room key which pops out of an ATM-like hole underneath the bar top. The walls are decorated with random items and they've got quite the selection of mixed cocktails. The rooms are very clean, comfortable, simple... and bonus, it's one block away from Lowenbraukeller, one of the major brew houses in the city. 

I was in town for 7 days and had the chance to observe a bit of the culture there - I swear, should have been an anthropologist because this stuff fascinates me. Here are a few of the things I found interesting about Munich and the folks that live there: 

  • The Bike Culture is extremely strong there. Pretty much everyone owns a bike which is a no brainer with the incredible bike lanes that run everywhere in the city. If I had more time I would have taken one of the bike tours to see more. 
  • Credit cards aren't a thing there. Everyone uses cash. I got caught a few time needing cash that I didn't have. 
  • Germans are serious about their sweets, which for those of you who know me well... put me deep in sugar dept. They have a social hour tradition that revolves around coffee and cake, um, yes please. 
  • Audis and BMWs are EVERYWHERE! Both brands are German and their headquarters are both located there. Even their cabs are all BMWs. 
  • Overall, Germans are very straight forward and not initially 'warm' in nature.

It's likely I'll return to Munich with Jeff sometime in the future for leisure and when we do, I look forward to spending more time exploring the city. In the meantime, check out more of our travels on Our Travel page. Auf Wiedersehen! 

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Review: The Dailey Method Eastown

All my beautiful friends who came out for the Ambassador Class hosted in July. 

All my beautiful friends who came out for the Ambassador Class hosted in July. 

Earlier this summer I hosted a free class for friends at the newly opened Dailey Method studio in Eastown. Offering both Barre and Cycling classes, the Dailey Method was founded in San Fransisco by founder Jill Dailey who was seeking a way to transform lives through fitness. Jill was an earlier trainee of the Lotte Berke method in NYC, which focuses on micro movements and stretching. 

Now, 17 years, 63 studios and 3 continents later... we now have a Dailey Method Studio in our very own backyard. Almost literally, it's three blocks from our house. 

I sat down with Jaime Centilli, owner of the studio in Eastown, for coffee last winter just after her and her husband relocated here from California. She had just signed the paperwork to take over the old Striders space on the corner of Wealthy and Norwood. Over our piping hot cup of joe, she gave me a rundown of her plans for the fitness center. At the time, I was 7 months pregnant with Thomas so it probably goes without saying that hitting the gym was not at the top of my priority list. However, despite my round figure, she asked if I would be interested in becoming an ambassador for the studio. In exchange for hosting a free class for friends and helping to spread the word about the grand opening I would get a months worth of classes for free. 

It seemed like an excellent deal to me and I told her to, "Count me in!" I hosted my class for friends in July and I'm completely embarrassed to say that I have not yet cashed in on my free classes. Long story short, summer really got away from me. We took a vacation, I broke my toe (I swear it's true) and I went out of town for work. I share all of my excuses to say this: Jamie has set up the best possible opportunity for me (and for you!) to get back to the gym. I may work. I may have two young kids. But her studio is walking distance from my front door. She's provided childcare, ON SITE! And she's given me the gift of free classes for having hosted one event there...  which means this: my excuses are terrible! and I owe it to myself to cash in on this phenomenal Eastown/neighborhood perk. 

So for real, I'm signing up... just as soon as I'm back from my work trip next week. I swear! And I think you should too. There is a new client special that is 4 weeks of unlimited classes for $79. For all other pricing and a full class schedule, visit their homepage. Lets get in shape just in time for sweater weather, eh?! 

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