Memorial Day Weekend 2015

This weekend, Keegan and I lived it up!

We started the weekend off with a twist and a snap of our fingers at the Jacksonville Jazz Fest downtown! It was my first time being in downtown Jax, and it was my first jazz festival–both were very cool. There were different stages and venues set up throughout the downtown area featuring local and more well-known jazz artists.

One of the music venues was at Jacksonville Landings which is a right along the St. Johns River. Such a prime spot. There are restaurants, bars, shopping, you name it. We had a drink at Fionn MacCool’s Irish Restaurant and Pub. The drinks were great and the waiters wear kilts. What else could you want out of an Irish pub? (I’m reading Outlander right now and had a very difficult time not speaking in a Scottish accent. The MacKenzies! The MacCools! They would have been clansmen. I’m sure of it.)


Jacksonville Landing-what an appropriate Memorial Day picture

Then we went to American Grill to watch the artists play from the outdoor patio, and that place was not our fave. Service took forever, and Keegan’s bar stool was falling apart. Probably won’t be going back there, but Keegan and I got a laugh out of it!

Then we went to the heart of the fest, there were hundreds of people on walking around and sitting on blankets, soaking in the music from all of the talented artists. It was a very cool sight.


At the end of the night, we went to Bragan Field to see their Double A baseball team-the Jacksonville Suns! (My friend Abby calls Keegan and I “Brigan” and I literally typed the field name as “Brigan Field.” Whoops.)


This was a cool minor league stadium. The facility is fairly new and the grounds looked well kept. Even though our team was shut out, it was a beautiful night for a ball game!

On Sunday morning, we woke up early again and spent the whole day relaxing at Jacksonville Beach. As you know, I’m definitely a fan. It was hot and humid with some decent waves; my perfect kind of day. Keegan and I decided we are going to take surfing lessons in the next few weekends. Watch out for that!


You probably thought this was going to be an epic shot of us surfing. Not yet.

Mid-afternoon, we took a break from the sun to go to World of Beer, which is SUCH a cool bar. It kind of reminds of Hopcat, though Keegan would kill me for saying that. Nothing could possibly rival, honey!

We took advantage of their breakfast and bottomless Bloody Mary special.

Holy cow. Us-1. World of Beer-0.

The special is only $19, and a drink alone is $12. Give me some bottomless Zing Zang and Tito’s vodka, and call it a win! As their name suggests, they are known for their beer selection. They have 50 craft beers on tap, and over 500 bottles. Their diverse drink selection and open atmosphere will definitely have us back again!


After (obviously) Ubering it home, we relaxed, and Keegan brewed up a new batch of IPA. It’s fermenting in our office closet right now. Weird placement, but he thinks this batch will be great!

We had an awesome weekend getting to know our city better and I can’t wait to keep exploring!

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to do a Wordless Wednesday post every week, where the post is a picture instead of a blog. You know I will include some commentary, but let’s see how this goes.

Xoxo mi love from jax

Books I’m Reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’m only about 200 pages into the first book and already know I’m going to love the series. If you’ve read it-don’t spoil anything! My mom and Aunt Linda made me watch one episode with them, but it was the one where Jamie is in jail with Black Jack. AHHH. His hand! The nails! You are the most despicable, disgusting pathetic excuse for a man, Jonathen Randall! I could have puked.

Favorite New Florida Thing: The geckos. These things are everywhere, and I love them. They’re always jumping around from sidewalk to stick. From stick to grass. From grass rock. The little things have nothing to do, and they’re so entertaining. Much less reprehensible than Black Jack to say the least.

The Move

I need to preface this post by saying: we were so blessed at how easy our move was. Everything that could have gone well, did. We had no fiascos. No one stole our identities before we closed on the condo, and the Pod didn’t get run off the road sending all of our belongings into a blazing fire on the side of the highway (as my manager told me it might when preparing me for the “worst-case” scenario. Yeah thanks for that).

Here’s the move in a nutshell:

Saturday, April 11 the Pod was delivered to our apartment in GR, and the movers came. Somehow, two skinny little dudes organized our apartment and 3 years worth of junk into this shipping container. I’m talking everything from our couch and dressers to every single one of our wedding gifts. The container was packed full from floor to ceiling.

As soon as the movers were done, Keegan hit the road to drive to Jacksonville!

That week I lived as a nomad between my aunt’s and my best friend Abby’s (and her two adorable kittens. Seriously, add her on Snapchat and you’ll get the cutest little furball snaps all day).

On Saturday, April 18, I drove to my dad’s house, and he and I drove down to Florida together! At first I thought there was noooo way I would be able to mentally survive 18 straight hours locked in a car. The trip was actually one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. My dad and I talked for the majority of the car ride, and we spent some really great one on one time together. To no one’s surprise, we started a book on tape, too. (Kelly and Derek are so happy they weren’t there. When we used to road trip to DC or Chicago, I’d make them listen to books on tape with me, and they would literally try to kill me at rest stops.)

My dad and I made a stop in Charlotte, NC, to grab some food and sleep. We went downtown for dinner and found this awesome restaurant called Vapiano. They’re nationwide, and if you get the chance to dine there, do it. The chef prepares the food in front of you, and the walls are covered in quotes about wine, food, and Italy. Such a cool atmosphere.

My favorite quote on Vapiano's walls.

My favorite quote on Vapiano’s walls.

We woke up early the next morning to continue the second half of the trip. After nearly 1,200 miles, we arrived in Jacksonville!

A few hours before my dad and I arrived, Keegan had to take off for training in Chicago. But he had a welcome present for the two of us, and apparently now we are huge Gator fans:

I am not doing the Gator clap.

Oh, the Gator clap.

He also hid little Jacksonville-themed sticky notes all over the place:

The state of Florida is the "i" in the bottom note--just in case you couldn't tell! I mean, I totally got it when I saw it....

The state of Florida is the “i” in the bottom note–just in case you couldn’t tell! I mean, I totally got it when I saw it….

Those notes kept popping up!

Those sweet notes kept popping up!

We stopped at the St. Johns Town Center for dinner, and I will have multiple posts dedicated to that. It is a giant outdoor shopping center with every restaurant, bar, retailer, and bargain retailer you could hope for in one location. We had a blast driving around!

dad and me

Looking like locals in our new t-shirts.

My dad flew out the next day, so it was just me with an air mattress, one folding chair, and some eggs in the fridge. That was literally everything we had in the condo. Ahh, the simple life.

The next few days were crazy busy:

  • Monday: TV and internet were hooked up so I could finally start working remotely.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: the painters came and painted the whole condo. It’s a very beachy, nautical feel, and we love it! (A New Leaf Painting-awesome! The place done in less than 2 days.)
  • Thursday: the movers came and unpacked that very full Pod. Up two flights of stairs. In 86 degree heat and high humidity. They hated me at the end. I bought them Dunkin Donuts so that counts for something. Right? (All My Sons did the move. I’d highly recommend them to Jacksonville people moving in.)
  • Thursday night: Keegan came home from training in Chicago! Yippee!
  • Friday to Monday: my mom and Tom flew into Jax to help us unpack!

Mom and Tom should consider starting an unpacking company. I’m serious when I say our 3 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 1400 square foot condo was completely cleaned, unpacked, and decorated after 3 days. All of the boxes! Done! I would sit crying on the kitchen floor and whining about where to put the serving bowls while my mom tried not to laugh and pulled me together.

Now here we are! Moved in and acclimating ourselves to our new Florida life.

Very soon post I’ll show you before and after pics of the condo!

Books I’m Reading: My dad and I started The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Don Thomason on the drive down. I just finished it, and it was pretty good. Sort of The DaVinci Codeesque. It starts out slow and the ending isn’t what I’d hoped for, but the detail to Renaissance history and how that drives the plot kept me satisfied.

I also recently finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and All the Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Rosie was a great read! Very light and funny. The sense of humor is similar to The Big Bang Theory. I would highly recommend it if you need a break from heavy topics. Lights is a WWII story, and it was very well written. Doerr uses very descriptive language and uses multiple narrators. Heavy topic but enjoyable novel.

Favorite New Florida Thing: So cliche, but right off the bat, the weather. It’s hot, sunny, and beautiful every single day. Even when part of the sky was it was thunder storming today, the other half was sunny. I’ve never before seen lighting and bright sunshine all through the same window.

Xoxo mi love from jax

Jacksonville Beach

It’s finally the end of the day! Now that we have Monday out of the way, let’s reflect on how awesome the weekend was.

Keegan and I spent all day Saturday at Jacksonville Beach. It was mid 80s, low humidity, sun was shining: basically what every Michigander dreams of during the dreary winter. Keegan and I basked in the glory of the sun with our shades on and our stresses off. As fate would have it, we woke up on Sunday looking like a pair of lobsters. Burned everywhere. As my sister said, “You got rid of your Michigan skin. Once that peels off you’ll have Florida skin and never get sunburned again!” I like your thinking, missy.

Nonetheless, we had a great time at the beach, and here are a few pics so you can pretend you were there, too!

Our first run along the ocean.

Our first run along the ocean.

At one point, the man on the left was buzzing around on a motorized scooter flying this titanic kite, which could very easily haven taken out a small group of first graders. That was a definite first for me.

At one point, the man on the left was buzzing around on a motorized scooter flying this titanic kite, which could very easily haven taken out a small group of first graders. That was a definite first for me.

Come on. This is too good to be true.

Come on. This is too good to be true.


Trying out a few brews at The Green Room.

Here we are back in heaven.

I’ll have a post up very soon about the craziness that was making the move to Jacksonville. Have a great night!

xoxo mi love from jax

Welcome to Jacksonville!

Well hello! I didn’t see you there. You must have just stumbled across my new blog: MI Jacksonville Life.

Last week, Keegan and I officially made the 1,139 mile from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Jacksonville, Florida. I thought I’d use this blog as a way to document this entirely new adventure outside of our “normal” and to keep in touch with family and friends back home so you can see our new normal.

Here’s a recap of why we made the move:

  • August 12, 1987: Sweet little Keegan Welsh was born in Cadillac, Michigan, where it snows 9 months out of the year. He quickly learns he is not a fan.
  • June 5, 2010: That sweet little Keegan grew into an extremely handsome man, met this silly girl named Brianna, asked me if I wanted to come over and watch the Tigers (duh), and we got married 4 years later.
  • 2011-2015: Keegan does insanely well at his role at W. W. Grainger and gets promoted a million times. He starts expanding his professional network throughout the US
  • Early February 2015: Keegan and I take literally 4 vacations in 2 weeks because we hate the lake effect snow for months on end, literally colder here than in Antarctica, white out driving and I’m probably going to run over that idiot driver going 3 mph on the highway kind of weather.
  • Early March 2015: Keegan interviews for a Manager of Territory Sales role in Jacksonville on Wednesday. Gets the offer on Thursday. We’re down in Jax next Friday to look at condos.
  • April 2015: We both make the drive from GR to Jax to begin our new life in Florida.

And that leads me to where I am now. Just a small town girl, living in a loooooo—oops. Sorry. That’s the local brew taking over. Two newlyweds starting a new, exciting chapter in our lives that I know will be filled with many fun adventures.

I’ll have more crazy stories about how we managed to make that move with less than 4 weeks in my next post.

xox mi love from jax