Archive for the ‘Anything Goes’ Category

Rain is a good thing

Last weekend I was able to enjoy a weekend away in Wisconsin with a great group of wonderful friends, some old…some new.

As a Michigander at heart, I do not have much experience with Wisconsin summers. It actually feels like a far away land to me…when my friend threw out the idea of a weekend of camping in Wisconsin, I had to do a double take, thinking about how much driving that will be on my Jeep ( Henry). Then reality sets in that I live in Chicago…and the state line to Wisconsin is only an hour to the West of me.  

And the additional reality sets in that I am wilderness woman at heart so even if the idea was to drive to California to go camping…I would probably be in.


Now, one word that would sum up Labor day weekend 2011 in the midwest….RAIN!

Yes, I am a camper at heart but it is a solid fact that Camping + Rain typically does not equal fun….however an important lesson was learned over this past weekend…Anything can be fun when you’re wearing a party poncho.

The mud, the leaking tent, the damp clothes, three people sleeping inside of a jeep, minimal camping gear, mosquitos, pit toilets, crazy drunks living in a permanent residence just one campsite away quickly brought many elements into our camping weekend. There was talk 8 hours in of packing up shop and taking that quick drive back to the city just two hours away to the comfort of roofs and feather mattresses. That was, until the party poncho’s went on…

This whole weekend gave me clarity in a few areas, clarity of why I do many of the things I do…because of the story that comes from it. As we all know, sometimes life turns out really bad, sometimes the rain starts pouring and all you want to do is give up and take OFF! Your figurative leaking tent has no rain tarp in sight. Yet those moments could be the moments that inspire you to grow. That’s what I want to be all about – living a good story, and doing things that make life worthwhile, not mundane.  I want to be daily making the decision to really live life, not just roll through it in comfort and routine.

So this weekend….we put the party ponchos on. We had a 6 pack of Smirnoff ICE that provided glorious moments of commandery. We befriended a psycho who got to experience an ol fashioned revival around a campfire, and we took a stand for dancing in the rain, even when it’s not the image you typically have of fun…


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You Can Hope round 2….

little August friend

 Its Sept 2nd….which means 2 things 1) Summer is ending soon & 2)You Can Hope is back!!!

I am so excited to jump back on this bandwagon and be a writer. It was great to rest and see where my passion was…I learned that I truly missed divulging all of my feelings in a public manner. It was a loss to my life in August, a good loss, but a loss none the less. But now I’m back, and ready to take the blogging world by storm! Watch out…Here come the feelings!

Exciting changes are happening in ‘You Can Hope’ world! The biggest one being, I’m going to make a little blogging box and put myself right in the middle of it. I chatted with some bloggers and read up a bit on the highs and lows and learned that its helpful for the writer and the reader to have categories for your blog- such as ‘Sneak Peek Sundays’-to keep coming back to and filling up with writing gems…So, wait for it, here is the exclusive unveiling of the new categories that you can be privy too (insert dramatic yet suspenseful music)…

 A new category that I am a bit nervous about will be posts under ‘Living Life near the Brine’. This of course is playing off of my interesting childhood where I grew up in the beautiful, small town of Imlay City, Michigan….housing one of the biggest Vlasic pickle factories you can find in the USA. I’m fairly convinced my family and upbringing is not exactly what you would call ‘typical’. There are many quirks about me that are probably due to the interesting childhood that I experienced. Here we go…stories that should probably stay in the vault are coming out strong!


A way for me to pretend that people are interested in my life and enjoy hearing about the random lists that occupy my brain.




I know people so much funnier and smarter than me. They should definitely occupy some space on ‘You Can Hope’. Guest blogs will probably be the most popular category(said in a victim mentality voice)… I’m going to be soliciting for some words from  friends each month…but if you have words that you would love to share with our little blog community please jump on the boat with me!



And of course ‘Sneak Peek Sundays’ will not stop as I’m working on making this book a reality.

Jump on the blog boat with me.  Follow this blog so you can know when the next juicy post goes up! Just put your email in the little box on the right side of the screen. VIP subscribers will probably get prizes of some sort…Let me think on this.

To end…I need a little help from you guys…what topics should definitely be a part of ‘You Can Hope’ for September?? And what should not be….

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The wedding of the century is officially over and my brother and sister-in-law are currently en-route headed back to the great state of Michigan.

The wedding was beautiful! I will never be able to mention that wedding without smiling from ear to ear. It was truly a moment where laughter would be the sound associated with the day. There was not a person in that tent that did not tangibly see the pain that the Prendergast’s have gone through, and the victory we are experiencing now.

I am finally un-packed from wedding week, returning the emails from work that will probably pile up on me until Summer is over, glued to facebook seeing if any new pics have been posted of the wedding weekend, trying to figure out how to get the ‘pure michigan’ guest bags to the appropriate owners (since I slacked on that job on the day of) and finding a place in my closet for my first navy blue bridesmaid dress.

I would be lying if the tagline always a bridesmaid, never a bride has never been associated with my name. It has been used….on a few too many occasions! And yes I can say with all too much certainty, that I probably will not wear any of these dresses again….but I can say with so much more certainty that I LOVE each one.

When Sarah asked me to stand up with her in her wedding I knew it wasn’t a question she was taking lightly ( and it especially was not because of my keen eye for wedding details). She was asking me to make a covenant with her. Greg and her were asking me to stand with them not only on their wedding day, but also in their life. This is a bit of an interesting situation because Greg is stuck with me. We’re blood.

And now, so is Sarah. She took  that ‘stuck with each other’ one step farther and asked me to support and encourage them through the duration of their marriage so they don’t become another divorce statistic. She was asking me to be her friend and her sister, through the good and the bad. By me saying ‘yes’ to being a bridesmaid, I was saying yes to being a ‘lifer’ with her until were rejoicing in heaven.

This was an insta yes. Just like it was an insta yes for Tara, Sarah, Sam, Steph, & Kelly.  Yes, I will probably be the Bride with 27 bridesmaids…but the thing is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m no-where near bride status. I’m still playing with the ‘girlfriend’ status question! I’m not in a place to be someones wife. To sign a covenant to step into a life them, whatever that means.

But I am in a place to live my  life with passion, attacking it and making a difference every chance I get. And the cool thing is, I see me saying yes to the girls I mentioned above, and they’ve said yes to me as well. They’ve said I’m walking with you through your dating drama, work challenges, and life as a whole. They’ve stepped into my life and have indirectly taken some of the sting of being single away, so I never have to think of myself as ‘alone’.  They have been and hopefully will continue to be those friends until that day when I take the ‘plunge’ and they sign up for the next part of being this crazy girls friend who is also a wife!

But for now, I’m enjoying my season of bridemaid-ing.

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I can’t sleep.

Chicago is under a hot spell…and my room feels like it  is next to the equator. Worst move ever to not turn on my AC when I went to bed. Problem solved but now I’m awake and its 2am.  Yikes.

So….where does my head go at 2am….where else but the love train.

I’ve been thinking about love and relationships alot lately. The month of June holds some significant ties to love in my life. Not necessarily my love life… But the fact that a few very important people in my life are celebrating the journey of marriage this month.

Last weekend, Janae & Bryan had a Chicago reception for their wedding, which actually happened back in Colorado a few months ago.

J's pumped about her love

In two weeks Greg and Sarah’s wedding will be here! I’m so excited about this fact. I feel like I’ve been talking about this wedding for months…well I guess I have.

Greg & Sarah pumped about love

And, of course the saga continues around me and dating…we’ll just leave it at that for now, and the wondering minds can ask me in person about my dating status…I mean come on…who wouldn’t want to date this face? 


So, I’ve been thinking, and have had a handful of conversations with close friends and fam around relationships. Is there actually a fairy tale out there waiting for me? A perfect man that is going to be as wonderful as my imaginary boyfriend has been the last 3 years….Will I just ‘know’ or will it take some detective work??

Unfortunatly…I have a few things working against me in this quest to figure everything out around relationships.

1) I’ve been single for a LONG time….practice has not really happened around how to be in a relationship.

2) I’m not what you would call someone who’s dependent on others. I fall quite hard on the other side of Independent.

3) My dad really screwed my head up. As women we take alot of what male attention means in our life…by our dads…and what that relationship looks(ed) like. I hurt so much for girls who have not had a great relationship with their fathers. Or when one of the kids that I work with has a dad that is not being the father he needs to be. It absolutely breaks my heart.

I am pretty blessed when I think about the Dad I had. Clearly, I mean I’m writing frickin book about how much he means to me.

But…when I think back to what the interactions looked like with my dad, what male attention looked like as I grew up….I think about all the times my dad made me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the entire world. There was no one smarter, no one more awesome, then me in his eyes. He expressed that every way he could, but especially through words. And now, here I am 27. Looking for a man to do the exact same thing. Uh oh, am I screwed?!?!?

Is it a dealbreaker to find a guy who’s love language is not through words? Who won’t make me feel like I’m as awesome as my dad thinks I am?  

I’m really not sure. But I do know a few solid dealbreakers.

1) Someone who doesn’t love Jesus. DEALBREAKER.

2) Someone who thinks he has single handedly solved all the mysteries of our faith. DEALBREAKER.

3) Someone who thinks he looks awesome in Ed Hardy. DEALBREAKER.

4) Someone who wears tighter jeans then me. DEALBREAKER.

5) Someone who enjoys looking at bats at the zoo…or in real life. DEALBREAKER.

6)  Someone who I know is an undiagnosed adult with aspergers. DEALBREAKER.

7) Someone who does not love pure Michigan. DEALBREAKER.

8) Someone who doesn’t think my jokes are funny. DEALBREAKER.

9) Someone who you could easily see on any TLC show (Example, extreme couponing). DEALBREAKER.

10) A cat man. DEALBREAKER.


Ok…so, clearly I have alot on my mind. I need input on what your dealbreakers are….and wisdom from anyone who is in love…IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME!!!

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I’m back.

The blog hiatus has continued, because, well, I havent wanted to write.

I wish I had a better reason, but I just don’t. Time has been a very precious commodity in my life the last three months, and I have this trait of completely going after things that I love. And If I don’t want to do something, I just don’t do it until I absolutely have too. This is of course not  always a good thing, especially when it involves cleaning… So, lately I’ve lost some passion for taking time to write…but then I was roasted.

I’ve been roasted by this idea of things coming to an end, and questioning as they’ve ended, have they been done well or not. Case in point, my girl Oprah. Season finale of her incredible show happened yesterday. 25 years of TV done well, coming to an end. I know not everyone would agree with that last statement, but I love her. Guarantee Oprah is looking back on her 25 years, and she is confidently saying….this was done well. And now she will continue her trek with a new way to take over the world.

Many things in my life have been a bit in limbo the past three months and now  they have or soon will be coming to an end. 

One highlight of something that has recently come to an end was The Autism Speaks walk which  took place last Saturday.  When I look back on the last 27 years of my life, and think about some of the highlights, May 21st, 2011 will be one of those highlights.

This is an event that is finished, and we finished it well. For 5 hours straight I was humbled to the point of tears for many reasons.

Reason 1; being surrounded by 20,000 people all their to support the cause of finding resources and support for kids and adults on the Autistic spectrum. 

Reason 2; our team, consisting of 20 people (only 6 of them working directly with kids with Autism),  raised just under $2,000 for that cause. Unbelievable. 

Reason 3; I firmly believe that people who do great things, have a great team beside them. When you have people beside you believing in you, strengthening you, walking with you, you are a stronger person. Period. I was humbled beyond belief at my team that I saw next to me on Saturday. Many times you see your team that walks with you because something bad happens. You need people to lift you up, because you can’t without them, and they are there. This was a good day. There wasn’t a death, there wasn’t a big piece of devastating news. There was just a day, where people came together for a great cause, stood next to each other, and walked. I kept on looking around at this team beside me and couldn’t help but be inspired. My team is pure gold. And if they are behind me, I will do great things. I have no other options!

Full circle, why I was roasted about writing. Sometimes, you can’t just do things you want to do. We were made to do great things. We are loved so purely, so that we can love others and change the world. Writing is something I’m called to do. This book….its going to happen. And yes, I don’t always want to do it, but I’ve got to step up.  So I’m going to try, because I know I have the an AMAZING group of people beside me that will help me stand when I can’t…and watch glee with me on just that typical Tuesday.

Go do big things. And be grateful for your team thats walking with you.

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I’m fairly convinced I sound like a broken record to my friends.

In the last three months, if you had a conversation with me asking something simple like “How are you?”, I’m sure my response has been an exaggerated…”BUSY!!!”

I guess you could say that I’m one that takes on alot, but that’s how I work best. My adult ADD can quickly get in the way of low key days….and I’m bored! So having a lot on my plate is how I enjoy to live…its when the line gets blurry between just right & overwhelmed that I have my challenges.

This spring, I can’t even see the line. The line is a dot to me(insert hilarious friends quote.)

So…I’m going to take this blog and have a bit of a ‘Brain Dump’ as my friend and fellow blogger Sarah Cunningham describes:

  • This weekend my mom and I are hosting my future sister’s wedding shower. Think Wedding Shower meets Double Dare meets Ladies who Lunch. I’m pretty sure people are going to walk away loving the thought of Greg & Sarah so much more…and thinking that was the best wedding shower EVER! Well, that’s the hope.


  • My family and I started a non-profit last year in memory of my dad. My dad loved seeing kids succeed. He was a constant educator, no matter if he was in his classroom or on the football field. He could be educating on the periodic table, or how to find happiness in this world. We took those passions and ran with them, creating the Greg Prendergast Memorial Foundation(GPMF). In the fall of 2010 we held a benefit raising money for our foundation. This past year we have been able to spread those funds in many ways! Supporting a school in Guinea-Bissau Africa, purchasing athletic shoes for Whittemore-Prescott, a small farming town in Michigan that has been very hit by Michigan’s economy, Supported the lapeer county organization “inspiring hearts for Autism” by contributing to a project beginning a lending library of books and materials about Autism and support that parents can borrow to learn more about the diagnosis and what to do, supported a mentoring organization that stems off of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lapeer, and finally we are giving away two scholarships to past students of my Dad this MONDAY! We had 8 essays come in, all wonderful! But, my Mom, Greg, Sarah, and I have chosen our finalists and Greg and I will give out those scholarships this Monday at Armadas Scholarship night. THANK YOU to everyone who gave at the benefit…your gifts have CLEARLY not gone unnoticed.


  • I would like to just say this person who would prefer to remain anonymous did something really wonderful for me. But that would be a lie. She doesn’t want to stay anonymous. She actually keeps count of how many times she’s mentioned on this blog, and comments every time. My roommate, Ashley Ganski, is pretty awesome. As I may have hinted around the end of March, I have renounced my birthday. March 31st is a very tough day for me. Yes it was the day I was born, but it was also the first day that I knew in heart and in my head that my dad was in heaven. The first day we did not have a funeral or burial to go to. The first day everything hit home. So I gave it up. I decided I no longer have a birthday. My roommate took this fact, and twists it into a whole little web of wonder. In march I did not get a gift from her, I just got a t-shirt with my name on the back of it, and Autism Speaks on the front. I was a bit confused, even though I love seeing my name in print, why this t-shirt was given to me. Ashley had gone on this little secret mission, finding a cause I am very passionate about, gathered up a bunch of friends, and created a team Michaja for the Autism Speaks walk next weekend in Chicago! She took two of my biggest passions, helping those with Autism and being with people I love and combined them into this mash up that will convene next weekend(not in March…brilliant!). I am so honored to have the friends that I have in my life. Autism speaks is a great organization that is really making changes in this population…if you can give, even $5 or $10 and support our team, that would mean so much! Click here to visit our team page. I’m so excited for next weekend…


So, that is where alot of my brain has been lately. Sneak Peek Sunday is going to be a good one, spoiler alert it will have something to do with the past holiday we just celebrated and, bonus…. it won’t be gloomy! YAAYY! Stay tuned…

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Project pretty

My brother is marrying one of my best friends on June 25th of this year. Sarah and Greg are really an incredible and unique couple who inspire me often. I am beyond pumped for their wedding and marriage!

In honor of this special day that is shortly approaching I have begun a certain mission that Ashley has aptly titled “Project Pretty”. Project Pretty has really taken its own form and I’m fairly confident by June 25th I will be a new person.

As a whole, the goal of this mission was to put a bit more effort into how I looked. Now, you could quickly call  me prideful and close this blog….but let me explain. I have a bit of a history of setting up fairly lofty goals for something….lets hypothetically say exercising, I would maybe set a  goal of exercising 5 times a week. And that goal slowly gets pushed farther and farther back until it never happens. Example….I get home from working with the kids around 7, all day planning on going for a run as soon as I walk in the door, but then I see how I haven’t cleaned my room yet, so then I begin to straighten up my room and now its 8pm and I haven’t talked to my mom yet, so then that conversation happens, knowing of course that I will run as soon as that’s over….but then Ashley comes home and she hasn’t seen the last episode of 30 rock yet….and then its 10pm, I’ve cracked open a bottle of wine and I’m laying on my couch. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Of course it makes sense, since I’ve had such great luck with working out that I shouldn’t just focus on one thing such as exercising, I should instead throw in eating healthy, updating my wardrobe, learning how to wear makeup…..I mean go big or go home! And with the biggest gasp coming from me…Project pretty was created! This  has taken many forms and I’m most likely on my way to becoming a whole new person. And let’s be honest…this project needed to happen! (self deprecating ZING!)

This project is so involved it needed levels…

Step 1. Makeup. All the beautiful people have makeup from the same brand, and know exactly what to do with it. Quick look at what my makeup usually looks like. I know I should wear mascara, and something to color my eyelids, I’ve heard of this thing called coverup….Enter Michaja…age 27.

Goal….to have a go-to make up brand and know how to use it. Ashley is a big fan of benefit and she always looks good, so Benefit became the brand of choice and now if someone asks me if I had some moisturizer they could borrow…I can answer YES!!!

Step 2. Floss and Whiten teeth. Thanks to a contact by Sarah Cilk, I now have professional teeth whitening services at my door and I have begun this new thing of  flossing regularly. Can’t say that has happened before!

Step 3. Eat healthy. Answer Magic bullet. Protein shake every morning. All the produce I could ever ask for in a great little can! It is literally the best thing ever. And I feel like I channel Sue Sylvester every morning.

Step 4. Work out. Answer comcast On demand. Did you know you could get a great work out through hip hop cardioke( yes its a fitness video with karaoke involved!)???SOLD!

Step 5. Clean my closet and dress ‘in style’. Answer C.Smith. Quick recommendation, when having a closet consult, make sure it’s with one of your closest friends or…c. smith. Christine was able to look at my closet and tell me sweetly “ki, half of your clothes are sentimental, we’ve got to make some changes.” So, we got rid of 5 bags of clothes and I went from looking like this…

To, well…I don’t know yet. We still have some shopping to do…but hopefully in 50 days I can have a project pretty part 2 with a before and after photo. For now I just have the before!

All this to say…I am a mess when it comes to anything around fashion, makeup, and overall looking good. But I’m attempting to take steps in the right direction (due to the inspiration of an incredible couple and the thought of having pictures up on Grove Ave for the next 50 years…) I’ll keep you in the loop…so far this has been a pretty hilarious journey!

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