It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I know I sound like a broken record because that’s my favorite catch phrase to use every year at this time. It’s typically reserved for the season of Santa… but I think Jack Skellington would approve of adopting it for this magical time of year, too!

The many shades of Aspen tree leaves. "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." - Anne of Green Gables

The fall season is a time of major change for many, including here in northern Michigan. The fall colors are really beginning to glow and the tourist season has noticeably passed. John and I went into Charlevoix last night to get paint for our office makeover (yay! and more on that later!) — what a difference a month makes. When we took friends into town for dinner last month, the streets were packed, the stores were busy, the marina was hoppin’ and there was a wait at almost every restaurant. Last night, we strolled the streets with only a handful of others. Most of the boats are gone from the marina and many of the stores are closed by 6pm. Although the tourist season is wonderful for the local economy, we both had to admit… it was pretty great to not have to fight large crowds to enjoy one of our favorite little local eateries.

I recently downloaded the TimeHop app after encouragement from my sister — have you tried this app yet? It’s pretty fun! Today, it surprised me with photos of the 4×4/hiking adventure that John and I took three years ago today in Colorado. Three years ago! We moved to Colorado in 2009 and added an autumn Aspen tree-adventure to our bucket list right away. In the fall of 2011, we were both (newly) officially full time employees of our own business. We were feeling grand! And, we noticed that we finally had time to start checking things off our Colorado bucket list. It was both a refreshing and eye-opening realization — and one that we still reflect on this time of year: our previous jobs had been sucking the life out of us much more than we had realized. We previously had THE time to tackle our bucket list but we were engaging more in coping mechanisms just to get through each day. This cycle of work-cope-work-cope consumed so much of our mental and physical selves, little room was left for actual, purposeful fun. I know many of you can relate to this. John and I are often asked about going into business for ourselves. I’m always honest with people: it was a big leap. Yep, it was scary. But it was also exhilarating! And still is, all these years later. Yep, we work a lot. We work much more than we did when we worked for other companies. But we can work from anywhere with a WiFi signal – anywhere! I like John’s take on it: We don’t have a lot of freedom, but we do have a lot of flexibility. Work never really stops when you own your own business. We never ‘punch out.’  But we’re both totally okay with that because we LOVE what we do. And we both know how lucky we are for it. #EverydayImHustlin

#ThrowbackThursday: our autumn Aspen tree 4x4/hiking adventure in Colorado, circa 2011.

One of the main reasons we decided to move back to Michigan from Colorado was to be closer to loved ones. This past weekend, things seemed to come full circle for us. We were able to spend four days straight catching up with several old friends — it was pretty awesome! It was also a great way to kick off autumn — welcoming the colder season with warm hearts.

Speaking of work… it seems so appropriate in this season of change that our new office demolition is almost complete! We’ll finish painting today, and the flooring will be installed on Friday. We worked with fellow local business owner (and fellow Bernese Mountain Dog-parent), Corey, of Harbor Flooring here in Elk Rapids. What a fun guy! He recently sent us a sneak peek of the carpet and can I just say… it’s saaaaaahhhweeeet! We can’t wait to make this very physical change — we know it will make a big difference for our business. I’m excited to put together a before-and-after blog post when the dust settles (literally!) We’ll also be finalizing our website overhaul shortly after, and we’re excited to be collaborating with some of our über talented friends on the design and development!

I’ve mentioned my love of mix tapes before, and almost every month, my best pen pal friend, Trina, and I make each other hand-crafted playlists to enjoy. Although we don’t exchange cassette tapes for our boom boxes, complete with little doodles and scribbly attempts to pack all the song titles onto the never-big-enough labels, our digital versions are still made with the same loving care as the real deal. This month’s playlist is extra long and extra good. I take my fall playlists seriously — the tunes have to make me feel warm and fuzzy (like my cold-weather socks and Costco blanket), be a bit spooky (given than Halloween is my absolute favorite time of year evah!) but not include literal-Monster Mash-Halloween songs, and mix in some pep — dark fall days require some pick-me-up jams. I was thrilled to see that Spotify added a TON of awesome Halloween-season fun, like the original 1940’s and 50’s radio broadcasts of Scary Stories! On this year’s mix tape, you’ll find the original 1944 broadcast of Frankenstein, the song from this year’s American Horror Story: Freak Show promos by Melanie Martinez, a couple spooky-stellar cover songs like Nouela’s Black Hole Sun, Lorde’s brand new song Yellow Flicker Beat from the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack, fun new tracks with oh-so-appropriate titles like Gooey by Glass Animals and Cherry Licorice by The Felice Brothers, and so much more!

We hope you’ll enjoy this year’s Halloween ’14 Mix Tape: Creep On Creepin’ On…

Any tracks you would add? Drop us a line and let us know! – Emily

One of my very favorite quotes, especially for this time of year! - Emily