High Ropes – Summer Edition

This past weekend I managed to convince a lot of my coworkers to come with us to the High Ropes Course in West Bloomfield. December of last year, there was a buy two get one free tickets deal for the holidays. I had so much fun on my birthday last year, that I figured I’d be able to convince at least two people to come with me – especially for 33% off the ticket price. Katrina and Pat had gone with me to the Howell Nature Center for their high ropes course and so didn’t get to experience the wonderful slew of courses at the Adventure Park so we decided on a weekend to go when Katrina was still in town.

As the weeks passed, I mentioned it to a few of my coworkers and the response was extremely positive. Soon seven of my coworkers had joined including my boss! I was pumped.

The day came and it had been forecast to rain all week on Saturday, but as we drew nearer to the actual day the forecast grew more favorable. It was going to be sweltering though, 80°F when we arrived and about 92° by the time we were to finish. We gathered and went through a quick tutorial for the people that hadn’t been there before.

We had to go on a yellow, green, or blue course before we were supposed to go on a black diamond course. So we started with a green to get everyone accustomed to the park.

After the first course, everyone started splitting into the courses they felt more comfortable in. Matt, Gage, Tim, Katrina, and Ian went on the Blue “Riptide” course. Dan and Scott decided to beat the lines/wait and went on the blue “Waterfall” course. I had been on that one previously so I stuck with the Riptide. Pat went on a green course, and I believe Luke did as well. I managed to convince Sarah and Ellen to come with us on Riptide. Sarah was displeased about halfway through but I was so proud of her, she made it ALL the way through and didn’t take the escape near the end. The final drop was a bit of a struggle though.

We had set our sights on the black diamond next, but the staff member said if we had planned at all to do the double black diamond course we should do it first. It required a lot of upper body strength which made me a little nervous. But as I went through the course I was pretty surprised at how capable I was. Turns out I need to probably work on my triceps now. Dan, Matt, Gage, myself, Katrina, Ian, and Ellen decided to try to tackle this challenge. Scott and Tim headed to the black diamond while Pat continued to conquer the green and yellow courses with Sarah. Luke ended up on a blue course I think. Pictures became more sparse as I was focused heavily on the elements and only really took pictures when I was resting.

After everyone finished, we decided to spend the last 10 min of our ticket time to do a quick green as a “cooldown”. Matt and Gage went on to do the black diamond, the rest of us did yellows and greens.

I was disappointed that I forgot to get a good group picture. But I can’t wait to go back! It was so much fun. I’m going in July with my cousin Nathan during the twilight runs when they light up the park. I am very excited!



South Higgins Lake Camping Trip 2016


South Higgins Lake is probably one of my favorite places to camp in Michigan. The water is super clear and the lake is beautiful. The Au Sable is very close by, and depending on which livery you go to, you can canoe differing branches of the river – and depending on where you start, you are given various difficulty levels to navigate. My goal is to go at least once a year. This year, since I’m working for a new company I’ve made some new friends! I was happy to have a couple of my co-workers tag along this trip.

Traditional Del Taco pre-road trip/camping stop!

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As is become customary with pretty much any road trip I take with friends now, we always start with dinner at Del Taco. It is becoming an honored tradition for my friend group, and one that I enjoy immensely. We left Friday night after work and so we did not arrive at the campsite until 9:30/10:00 PM when the sun was low on the horizon. Ian had never gone camping before, so it was very satisfying to watch him learn how to set up a tent and be in wonderment at all the new experiences he was getting. Kyle brought a fridge. First time camping with a mini-fridge, it was pretty convenient but at the same time I was pretty flabbergasted that a fridge was brought. Kudos.

Been cooking a midnight snack

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In the morning Ben cooked us up a bunch of eggs, some brats, and bacon. I believe there was also salmon. It was a pretty unconventional breakfast. After people had ate their fill, I took my inflatable paddle board out to experiment with. I’ve never done Stand-up paddleboarding before, but Sarah had – she told me to start kneeling and stand up if I felt comfortable. Amanda stood on the board and I asked her opinion of it compared to a hard board since she had also gone paddleboarding before; she commented on how it was pretty comparable. Eventually about half our group went out to the lake and had some fun. I let people try out the paddleboard, and there was a water fight that started. I got embroiled in it so the pictures become a bit sparse. The water was cold, but once you were in it was easy to get accustomed to.

Not your typical breakfast food.

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Canoeing was slated for 12:30 PM and we were going on a different branch than last year’s trip. We spent a good 4-5 hours on the river. People were prepared with super soakers this year, and water fights dominated the first part of the trip. After we broke for lunch, everyone was a lot more into the drift and drink aspect of cabrewing. We met a lot of other people on the river, and Amanda had set up her own little Jello Shot barter economy. Near the end, Pat, Chase, Adam, Ian, Katrina, and my canoe’s would just stay interlinked as we navigated the last mile of the river. We had a wonderful inebriated time.

Ben cooked dinner upon on return and it was quite the feast. There were roughly 6 courses, and we didn’t even cook all the food he brought.

Dinner time!!

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As the sun set, it started to rain. Most people retreated to their tents. A couple of us braved the storm, and to stay warm we played with fire. At about 2 AM we retired for the night.

We packed up the next day and said goodbye to the campground as we headed home. It was decided we would go to Frankenmuth and have some beers at the brewery. Was a fun time, and Ian got to go to a fair number of new places since moving here.

Not bad for a weekend that cost $62 for canoes, food, campsites, and alcohol.


Memorial Day Weekend BBQ

Getting ready for the BBQ!

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It’s been a long time since I had a party. Seemed like a good time to cook and have friends over!

It was really great to see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a while. Hosting a party is always a little hectic though so I regret not being able to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked. But I’m pretty sure everyone was full by the end of the encounter so I’m pleased about that.

I’m not a great griller, so I counted this as my “practice BBQ”. Luckily, some of my friends that came over were experienced grillers and I got some good tips from them. In addition I was able to learn some better technique.

It was also a great time to show people the Vive, and see their reactions to virtual reality. It was a lot of fun.

The night ended with a fire, drinks, and great conversation. I hope to have people over again soon!



The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In my 30 years of existence, I’ve never been to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. With the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the last decade, I decided I needed to remedy this.


It happened to be my cousin Tiffany’s birthday the day we’d be at Harry Potter world and I hadn’t seen her or hung out with her in a couple years. I sent her an e-mail asking when her finals ended and if she had any plans for her birthday. She incredulously asked why, and I said Pat and I were going to Harry Potter World and asked if she was interested. She was. Despite her usual stoicism I could tell she was excited, and with that we finalized plans for our Harry Potter world weekend trip.

The next morning we arrived at Universal via Uber and began to take in the sights. We met up with our friend Chase in Diagon Alley at roughly 9:30 AM, well after we had acquired our wands. Diagon Alley was so well done, everything in the park was so immersive and it was hard not to just sit around and hang out there all day taking in the sights. The children buying robes and wands, others drinking butterbeer; it really was like we had left the muggle world.

We had acquired wands at Ollivander’s that were interactive and spent a lot of time casting spells. I was impressed that you had to actually do the wand motions to get the interactive spots to work. Definitely worth the extra $8 that we spent. Unfortunately they did not have an 13.75″ Apple wand with Phoenix core, as chosen for me at Pottermore. Instead I settled for Luna Lovegood’s wand, Tiffany chose Fleur Delacoeur’s, and Pat was able to purchase the wand that chose him on Pottermore (Willow).

We walked around and went on most of the rides. Chase managed to goad me onto the Dragon Challenge and it was so much fun! Pat was getting over his anxiety about coasters, and except for the Dragon Challenge he went on all the rides and had a phenomenal time. Even Tiffany who was not a big fan of coasters, managed to go on a majority of the rides.

We did venture out of the wizarding world to check out the Spiderman ride and the Stormforce Accelerator where Chase and I spun that teacup with all our might.

I think one of the coolest things about the wizarding world was the staff. They were all in character and when asked questions about batteries and the like they would inform guests that those were muggle inventions and that they were not present in the wizarding world, all the while still managing to answer your question. I remember in Borges and Burke’s there was a cast member that was creeping a small kid out and asking about his light-up shoes and if he had cast a spell on them. It was great, the dad was cracking up.

We had dinner at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. A first for many of us. It was delicious. I of course told the server that it was Tiffany’s birthday and they pulled her up and in front of the restaurant they sang a ridiculous birthday song to her. Pat, Chase, and I were howling with laughter. We could’ve stayed in the park longer but we were all exhausted, and just ate and went back to the hotel. It was a fantastic day, albeit long. It didn’t seem that long until I hit the bed.

The next day we bided our time at Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney) until we had to leave for our plan. It was pretty hot, but we found the Indiana Jones bar (Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar) where we had a few drinks before we headed out. A stop to the lego store allowed me to purchase a new keychain, as the NinjaGo keychain minifig I had was worse for wear after 5 years of protecting my keys.

We arrived at the airport and said our farewells. It was a great weekend trip. Definitely worth the money, and I am considering other locations where a fly-away weekend trip would be affordable and fun. I hope to see Tiffany more too! I don’t get to spend enough time with some of my cousins.




37th International Bar-B-Q Festival

Every year, during the second weekend in May the International Bar-B-Q festival rolls around in Owensboro, Kentucky. Ever since Jimmy told us about it in 2011, we’ve gone the following years making it the 4th time we’ve attended the event. It also offers a great time to see and catch up with my second family in southern Indiana.

The first day we drove up we helped Zack and Lori shovel gravel and level out the driveway to remove the mud pit that normally forms after a rain.

Thursday was a day to relax before the BBQFest began on Friday and Saturday. After all the work, and some relaxing, we headed to a Japanese restaurant to have sushi! It was delicious.


Friday we did more graveling, before heading out to BBQFest. The food was delicious and affordable, for $4 a pulled pork sandwich, I ate a lot of food. We found these cigars that were aged in bourbon barrels and I thought they were very interesting. I don’t smoke cigars very often, usually just socially, but I was curious enough that I bought a little sampler pack to try. Zack got a Fireball Whiskey flavored one, and Dante bought a couple bourbon ones. We also found a tent that had delicious wine from a winery in Lousiville. Dante and I ended up buying 3 bottles each.

After sleeping in on Saturday, Jimmy, Dante, and I went to a Mediterranean restaurant in Newburgh. It was really delicious and the aethestic inside and out was nice.

We headed back to BBQ Fest afterwards before hanging out and playing video games/board games at Zack and Lori’s place.

As we were exiting, I remembered Zack saying something about a cupcake store around Owensboro. I went and investigated if they were still open. Sure enough, they were! I bought a dozen cupcakes and we enjoyed them that night and the next morning around the firepit.

As Sunday rolled around, we got ready to go. It’s always hard to leave after having so much fun with your friends and family but Dante and I started our 6 and a half hour trek home.

I can’t wait until next year’s BBQFest rolls around.



Nestorovski-North Wedding

This past weekend I flew to Houston for Dan’s wedding. I was really flattered to have been invited. As is oft the case, time and distance causes people to lose touch, but when Dan texted me out of nowhere with an invitation for his wedding I was really touched. Even after all this time he thought to invite me to share in this special moment of his life. So i booked a ticket and a hotel and a month later flew out to celebrate with him!

It was really fantastic to see some of the people from our dorm hall in Alice Lloyd that I haven’t seen in over 8 years now. During the ride over and the pre-ceremony time we caught up and it was great seeing where everyone is currently and has been since our days at UMich. The venue was gorgeous. There was a lot of attention to detail, and it shone through the entire event. The ceremony was just really beautiful and sweet. I’d write more about it all but I think the pictures will say more, so let’s start with some of the venue!

I of course took many selfies with my friends.

At 10:30 they brought out a bunch of Chicken-Honey biscuits from Whataburger. There were piles of em, but they were devoured by the end of the night.


The groom’s drink was called the Grinning groom. That was what I drank all night.


It’s Grey Goose on ice. Classic Dan.

When it was time to find our tables there were peaches laid out, and on the peaches were your name and your table. The peach was delicious too!

The various ceremony pictures I took. Also speeches, their bubble exit, cutting cake, etc.