Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Take a minute to enjoy the winter winds.

Knock knock. Whose there? Winter.

In case you were still in denial/living under a rock/still holding on to the hope that there will be a beach day sometime soon...I have an awakening for you: Winter is no longer headed our way. Winter is here and it is not going anywhere.

So enjoy it. Breathe it in. Break out those scarves and long winter coats. Throw on some warm gloves and fashionable-yet-functional hats. Drag your skis and snow shoes out of storage.

We live in Traverse City. We are building relationships and raising families in a place where you can drive twenty minutes and arrive at a ski resort. Our streets are decked out with lighted trees and gorgeous store fronts.

I've almost lived here for a year now. I've experienced actual seasons (no offense, Florida...but you only have one season: summer.all.year.round). I've survived a busy season in the event planning world. So, now here I am: almost a year of Traverse City living later -- and I plan on enjoying every second of this winter.

So do yourself a favor. Take a minute to walk outside and look around. Take a deep breath or two and be grateful for everything that is surrounding you. If you're like me, you'll probably stand there and think to yourself, "Wow. How could anyone not want to live here?"

Maybe you won't have that same feeling of happiness when you embrace your surroundings, but at least you'll enjoy a breath of fresh air. What I'm really getting at is that the seasons are changing, the holiday season is upon us, and sometimes everyone needs a second to sit back and enjoy the things that they have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What Traverse City YPs are Thankful For

When you ask someone living in the Traverse City area what they're thankful for, you're likely to hear the following:

"My wonderful family."

"Being lucky enough to live in such a gorgeous and thriving place"
"To have a job that I enjoy"

While those are all valid and extremely important things to be thankful for (and believe me, none of us take them for granted -- I'm thankful for all of the above every single day), they're, to put it bluntly, expected. So, we reached out to some of our Young Professionals to offer some more personal and creative "things they're thankful for."

So, enjoy the following answers from your local Young Professionals while you spend time enjoying the things you're thankful for. 

"I’m thankful for when I’m transitioning my business for bigger and better things, that other businesses, non-profits, and friends I’ve met through work have offered to step up and help me pack and move KidzArt to our new location over their Christmas breaks. Taking time that normally goes to their family to help their community family. I’m so blessed to work with amazing organizations that believe in what I do and support me unconditionally."

-Kate Daggett, KidzArt

"I'm thankful that each day I get to make an impact on someone's life.  From helping people determine their dream job to giving people the encouragement to finish that last math requirement, I leave work everyday knowing I've made a difference."

-Shannon Owen, Northwestern Michigan College

"I am thankful to have a boss who not only taught me how to use my brakes when driving in snow(after I drifted us into the division of Grandview Parkway and Union...more than once), but also one who has taught me at least six ways to tie my scarves, let me know that I will probably freeze if I did not purchase outerwear that goes down to my knees, that Gobblers are the best turkey sandwich ever and who surprises me with gifts like obnoxious colored nail polish and Hello Kitty Make-up holders."

-Meaghan Jameson, Events North

'I’m thankful for the red-brick paved streets in the old town section of TC.  I just think it’s good character - If it were up to me, all the streets downtown would be brick."

-Warren Call, Huntington

"I am most thankful for three things (in no particular order):
1.       Mary’s Kitchen Port
2.       Frozen yogurt
3.       Meeting Allison Beers when I moved to Traverse City!"
-Kelly Schramski, Traverse City State Bank

"I'm thankful for Shorts microbrews. Where else can you find such unique, tasty concoctions with memorable hand-drawn labels and silly names to enjoy with loved ones during the holiday season?"
-Andrew Kohlmann, Signs Now

Well, there you have it! I hope that your Thanksgiving is wonderful and that you have some great things in your life to be thankful for (whether it be your job or your favorite microbrew)!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keeping it Local...Because You'd be Silly Not to do So.

One of my closest friends from Florida came to visit this past weekend and I was so excited to show her my new city. I wanted to make sure to take her places that only Traverse City offered...which was probably the easiest goal I've ever achieved.

The main reason that showing my friend the best of Traverse City was so simple was because local Traverse City businesses are fantastic. The businesses of traverse city offer such great products, food, drink, etc. that making sure to show off what we offer locally was a breeze.

We started off at Firefly on Friday night and had a wonderful dinner (and far too many pita chips), which included a lot of locally grown ingredients. We went back to my apartment and snacked on some Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. Tortilla chips...yes. I even keep it local at home.

Saturday began with some Higher Grounds coffee and a trip to the Commons. The commons did not disappoint - especially High Five Threads, which even had free (yes, you read that North Peak Siren on tap. Quality local goods...and local brews? We were sold.
We grabbed some so-delicious-that-I'm-still-thinking-about-it whitefish dip at Mackinaw Brew Co. before changing and driving over to The Jolly Pumpkin for dinner. The Jolly Pumpkin was beyond-words delicious. Where else can you get a side of truffle fries with your turkey sandwich topped with cherry pesto? Probably not many places...except for Traverse City.

Saturday night finished off with a trip to the new and improved Right Brain Brewery. If you have not taken a trip to their new location you need to go. right now. It has all of the charm of their last location, but with around four times the space. Plus, they always play the best music, not to mention have the most creative names for all of their beverages (who doesn't want to tell people that they had a wine called "The Betty White" the other day?!)

Sunday morning included a walk by the bay, a lot of touristy photos, and a brunch stop at Morsels, where my friend claimed that she had "the best breakfast sandwich in the world" and that her latte was "as close to perfection as humanly possible."

What I'm getting at is that we have such amazing locally owned businesses. It is really great to be able to allow our out of town guests to really experience what Traverse City has to offer...and that we get to enjoy these places on a daily basis.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Making Sure Your Voice is Heard.

I'll be honest, I was under the impression that as a 22 year old who was new to the Traverse City community, no one was really that interested in what I had to say.

For a few months, I kind of just kept my mouth shut (which, if you know me personally, you know is not an easy feat). I attended meetings, conferences, events and networking nights, but I tended to only speak when spoken to and stayed inside of my shell when it came to local issues or questions where I wasn't 100% sure I knew the answer.

In my mind, I was positive that not one of these local leaders or business professionals actually cared about the opinions of a young professional, especially one who did not have much (no, really...I hadn't even been out to the dunes at this point) experience with the area.

...then the Young Professionals asked me to write this blog. My first thought was What?! Who wants to hear about a girl who moved from Florida to Michigan and her adventures adjusting to snow and thoughts on Traverse City?"

Well,  I've been writing this blog for a few months now. I've been planted in Traverse City for 10 months. I've attended countless meetings, networking nights, events and conferences. I can even give someone directions on how to get to the dunes. Most importantly, I now realize that Traverse City cares a lot about what the Young Professionals in the town have to say.

I speak up in meetings and find my opinion on local issues and how to find solutions is actually valued. Local leaders are are listening to what the Young Professionals in the area have to say because they are interested and want to hear from us, not because they're simply being polite.

The Young Professionals program is continually changing for the better, and 2013 is going to bring a lot of improvements and involvement opportunities. Why? Because the YP's of Traverse City have a lot to offer, and Traverse City's leaders are taking notice.

So, if I could go back to the beginning of this year and tell myself one thing, it would be to speak up. We're lucky to live in a place where the opinions of Young Professionals matter, even if they are from 22 year old Florida transfers.