Quest Reviews Went To Empire, Michigan

Posted September 2, 2017 by Ellen in Real Quest / 1 Comment

Ellen: Surprise, readers! Sierra and I are on vacation. Together! (Along with Karan, Sierra’s German Shepherd, and four foster kittens.) It was a packed car. But once we made it to Nancy’s Garden Home, our Airbnb, it was all worth it.

Our view from Nancy’s Garden Home in Empire, MI

Sierra: I convinced Ellen to visit my favorite place in Michigan — the Sleeping Bear Dunes. I used to come here every year to camp with my dojo friends.

The cumulative amount of sand discovered on our person upon leaving the dunes

Ellen: What is a dojo? …What? I need a refresher.

Sierra: I used to do martial arts, and our training location was called a dojo. So I just call my martial arts friends, my dojo friends.

Ellen: Got it. I think part of being really good friends, but also being really recent friends, is that you’re in this rush to share all the places and people that are important to you, with the other person. So it means a lot that Sierra wanted us to go to a place that she loves a lot.

Sierra: There is always an adjustment period when you go from being online friends to being in-person friends. I think the biggest shock for me was realizing HOW EARLY Ellen goes to bed. I’m a night owl.

Ellen: It’s true. I don’t hold it against Sierra that she’s a night-rider at all. It’s just lame that our awake hours don’t line up as perfectly as we’d like. Like, in my ideal vacation-world, we’d pass out and then arise in perfect tandem so that we’d spend every minute together. But then, we’re both introverts and need some alone time to recharge our batteries.

How much wine did we consume on our trip you ask? Just enough for Karan to get all judgy on us…
The more you pet him, the less judgy he gets.

Sierra: Besides wandering around the dunes, my favorite moments have to be when we read aloud to each other. Ellen introduced me to the historical romance novelist, Tessa Dare. SO GOOD. Listening to Ellen read it out aloud was absolutely hilarious.

Ellen: The reading aloud thing started when we were spending the sunrise on a high, lonely dune, and Sierra wanted to read her kindle up there. I was tired, hungry, cranky, and bored, so I tentatively asked for a compromise. I was like, “Sierra, will you do me a huge favor? Will you read out loud to me?” And she was all, “Duh, girl.” And it was awesome. Taking turns reading aloud with a friend is my new favorite thing. Although I have a problem that once I get going with my voices and accents and dramatic narration, I don’t want to stop.

Flooping on the sand after our long trek up Pyramid Point! Also, pre-boobs read aloud session

Sierra: I did tell Ellen to bring a book when we went to that dune. :P. We were at Pyramid Point, which is one of the most beautiful spots. You get a clear view of the Lake and the woods that surround you. It was beyond words. Though reading a romance novel out loud in that setting was kind of awkward. I CAN’T READ OUT LOUD ABOUT BOOBS.

We climbed a dune for this!

Ellen: And I can. I can read aloud about nipples and not dissolve into a giggle-guts. It’s a superpower.

What I was looking at while giggling about nipples. NOT FOR ALL THE TITS IN COVENT GARDEN

Ellen: Also, you know who can’t read aloud? Or speak a human language? Sierra’s dog. I mean, I like the dude, but he’s the competition. I appreciate that Karan has been an emotional bastion for Sierra for all of his furry, little life and I’m a new girl on the scene, but COME ON. I have opposable thumbs and I can cook really well. Why is this not a shutout? I’m stuck in a war of attrition for the status of Sierra’s bestie with a canine.

Karan’s first foray into the water! He made it in… eventually.

Sierra: Oh God. I made the mistake of greeting my dog with “Hi, Bestie!” when we got home from one of our trips. And the competition began. Ellen is a Slytherin. So that should explain a lot.

Ahem, my besties duking it out.

Ellen: Karan does a few nice things for me.

  1. When I go to the bathroom, he follows me, ostensibly to make sure I don’t fall in the toilet.
  2. When I swam pretty far into Lake Michigan, he seemed kind of concerned.
  3. Sometimes he comes over to see me on the couch and breathes doggie breath into my face, which smells, but I know it means he likes me.
  4. He’s nice to Sierra’s foster kittens, and that pleases me, because interspecies cooperation is adorable.
  5. He understands Malayalam commands, and that makes him Indian, which is cool.
  6. His pointy ears make him look like Batman.
Sierra and her… casual acquaintance. Definitely not her bestie.

But let’s get real. Karan is a dog and a huge crybaby. I am an adult woman. This shouldn’t even be a contest, guys.

Sierra: I LOVE THEM BOTH. But heaven help me if I accidentally address Karan as ‘bestie’ in her presence ever again. We also had another one of my friends, Rachel, join us at our cabin. She is also a blogger! Rachel is one of the friends I went to BookCon with. Luckily, there haven’t been any showdowns between the two of them. I FINALLY UNDERSTAND HOW A YA HEROINE FEELS LIKE.

Say hi to Rachel!

Sierra: It is NOT exciting to have people fight over you. Maybe a little… Just a smidge. NOT AT ALL.

Ellen: I am in a bit of a reading slump right now. The most fun I’ve had reading on this vacation has been Tessa Dare, out loud with mah bestie, Sierra. But, I tried to get into an ARC of Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints, and felt overly picky and irritable about every little thing. The fact that there was no juicy hook bummed me out. I may also have been pissy because it was a physical ARC, and God help me, I have completely transitioned to ebooks now. I require brightly-lit screens and swipe-able pages, else I turn into a whiny, little baby.

This book is too heavy. Wah!

I have to turn the page now. Wah!

There’s a shadow over this paragraph. Wah!

But I haven’t even been drawn to my kindle on this trip, either. I’d rather play Yo-Kai Watch on my 3DS or shoot the shit with Sierra on the couch. I don’t feel the need to get lost in another world, because I’m really enjoying the one I’m in right now.

To sleep or to read. That is the battle.

Sierra: I’ve been in an overall reading slump too! Romance novels seem the easiest to get through because it immediately absorbs you into their world and it feels like the least amount of work. But I am getting bored with the genre, so the introduction to Tessa Dare was a godsend. I think I’m ready to transition back into fantasy though. I picked up All The Crooked Saints after Ellen deemed it unworthy. I made it to 40-some pages before I fell asleep on the beach. No regrets. I do plan on finishing it up though. Ellen is right about there not being a ‘juicy hook’. You just sort of have to trudge along until you like it. And I have no clue about what is going on. The only thing that is giving me faith is that our friend, Rachel, really enjoyed it. You can read her review HERE.

Ellen’s beach read that she read most of but would not finish…

Ellen: I guess the point of this post is just let our friends and readers know that Sierra and I are actually super good friends, just over a year from our co-blogging anniversary. And just because we come and go from this blog, it doesn’t mean we aren’t in near constant contact. Going forward, I’d like for us to communicate that more in our blog posts.

Ellen gets weirdly excited about long green beans. Nipples and green beans… whatever floats your boat, girl.


Ellen: What?! YES!!! TAKE THAT, DOG!

The personification of our bestie relationship as depicted by Chomper and Petrie
A trip to remember. Full of sand, petty bestie brawls and excellent food.
I can make sandcastles too! TAKE THAT KIDS. *falls asleep two mins later from sheer exhaustion*
These rocks were hella painful on our feet, but so gorgeous!
*sigh* This little fucker (Petrie) learned to climb his pen
More of Lake Michigan and its beautiful beaches
Ellen bitterly trailing behind Karan
Those little dots in the far distance… those are people climbing up the dune. Dem crazies.
Sexy Ellen whipping her hair back and forth.
Ellen says just leave Karan behind and frolic with me! I’m only slightly kidding 😉
The water was lava and it was burning our skin. That is our yearly dojo mantra for braving the cold Lake Michigan.
Ellen searching for rocks for her mermaid! She gave up at the boobs.
Ducky! If you haven’t noticed, my kittens are named after Land Before Time characters.


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