The Rose Parade and Picnic in the Park

Back at it again after a busy weekend!  This past Sunday we celebrated the Rose Festival and attended the picnic in the park, this is a local tradition that started 59 years ago!  The Rose is our official flower, and the rose festival is a Spring/Summer event that celebrates all of the wonderful things that Jackson has to offer.  Jackson MI, is known for its abundant and beautiful parks, lakes and waterways,  recreational resources and of course roses.

A little more history for you… For decades, Ella Sharp Park, community and residential gardens have cultivated the rose.  In 1931, the rose was chosen as the official flower of Jackson and we became known as “The Rose City”.

Ella Sharp Rose Garden

In 1958,  The Jackson County Rose Festival was inaugurated with The Jackson County Rose Parade, followed by The Jackson County Rose Queen Pageant in 1960.  The Parade is a celebration for local organizations to honor and reward individuals and groups. The Parade allows schools, scouting troops, churches, civic organizations and businesses to promote a positive image of themselves and the Jackson area. The Rose Parade is one of the largest in Michigan with over 100 entries each year.Over the years, various Rose Festival events complement the Parade and Pageant including the Picnic in the park event featuring a good old fashioned pie eating contest!

Rose Parade Jackson MI              Pie eating contest 1962

The event has not changed much since it inception, the route changed slightly for a couple of years and reverted back to the original location in honor of the 50th anniversary. However the picnic in park, and pie eating contest have held strong and still take place today!


So why the history lesson, well… our daughter Brianna was in the parade this year as Miss Teen JTV, proudly driven down the parade route with her Mentor Celia Napoletano, by none other that her very proud Dad, and big brother. It was truly an honor for one of our kids to be a part of such a wonderful community event.

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How bout a pageant update! 

So last time I updated on the pageant world we had just gotten our head shots back and we’re preparing for Gala…

Gala is an evening dinner event for the girls, their families, and the sponsors. It is at this event that the ladies are paired with their sponsors for the pageant. It is a very exciting night for the girls. As a reminder our daughter Brianna is one of the top ten contestants competing for the title of Miss Jackson County Teen USA. She has a very good friend, Celia Napoletano, who is competing for the title of Miss Jackson County Rose Queen. These pageants are part of the Miss USA competition and if they win they will move on to the state level competition for their respective age groups.

Brianna and Celia have grown up together in the pageant circuit, and they were both so badly wanting to be paired with the same sponsor. As each teen contestant is paired with a Miss contestant as a mentor through sponsorship….Hopefully I’ve connected all the dots here lol.

Gala did not disappoint! Celia is now Miss JTV and so of course Brianna is now Miss Teen JTV!

I am so immensely proud of these two! And I know they will do a great job representing JTV, owned and operated by Bart and Karen Hawley.

Since the gala, the contestants participated in a sash making party. Preparing hand made sashes to display during the Rose parade this coming weekend.

And…We went shopping for gowns!!! My favorite part lol!

She did choose a favorite but I’m not letting cat out of the bag just yet. Stay tuned! Up next her appearance tomorrow on JTV, and the Rose Parade!

The fun stuff

Let’s delve into what we do for a living just a bit more. My husband started a lawn and landscape company 10yrs ago, and four years ago we expanded it and added a retail garden center.Last season we added a butterfly house attraction at the garden center.

The butterfly house has been a fantastic addition. I love it because it brings pure joy to so many people. I’ve spent the last two days with our mobile house out in our community and seeing all the fun the kids have had with our butterflies this weekend makes me so happy.

Between our local Earth Day celebration, and the Fairy Festival we entertained over 500 people this weekend! This season is shaping up to be a great one, I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

Time for Head Shots! 

As I mentioned a few posts ago, Brianna is a participant in a local pageant coming up in August, and leading up to the big night there are a few events that she will be a part of. Today was the first step! Time for Head shots!

But first…Let’s take a selfie…

Head shots are important as they will be used as your first impression, and an introduction to a lot of people. Both those who come to watch the pageant as they are presented in the program book, but also to the judges!

It’s important to look professional, approachable, and natural. Light makeup, easy hair, super simple.

The photographer in this case a friendly acquaintance who does a great job by the way! Will give a little guidance but it’s really up to the girls to provide the image they want to portray. They were all given the same dress code. Black tank top, blue jeans, and tennis shoes.

Side note…Brianna is VERY picky…She tried on 8 tank tops before choosing this one.

The end result will be spectacular! I can’t wait to see more!

Next up is the Gala, where she will be given her sponsor sash, and meet her Rose Candidate mentor. I’ll post more soon! Thanks!!

Time for an update! 

I haven’t abandoned my blog I promise! It’s been a crazy couple weeks preparing things at the garden center for another busy season! We’re starting to receive regular deliveries of new Spring products and once the fickle Michigan weather calms down we expect a fantastic kick off!

I love getting all the fresh product in, but my favorite thing to receive…The Flowers! I got my first shipment in today and now I feel like it’s finally here! Spring is upon us and I can get excited about it again!

April and May are so busy you might not here from me very often but I promise to document my adventures as things calm down again! Talk to you soon!


Today our daughter Brianna kicked off pageant season with an introductional meeting at one of the local high schools. The aim of this meeting was to provide the rules, meet and greet the director and her assistants, as well as the other candidates. They were given a list of upcoming event dates as well. It looks like we’re off to a great start!

Brianna is not new to the pageant scene, she was in her first pageant at age five! Taking a top ten title in the little miss sunshine pageant! She was so little and so cute!!

This led to many other pageant opportunities and she always had a blast! She won most photogenic a year later…

And won her first title Miss Junior Jackson County the year after that!

She continued on for a another couple seasons before taking a quick break.

Now we’re at a whole new level of competition. We’re playing for more than crowns and trophies. She is now participating for real scholarship money and the opportunity to represent Jackson County at the State level competition! It’s so exciting to watch how she has grown since starting these so many years ago! Good luck baby girl on your road to the crown! Next up head shots, I’ll post more on this soon! We love you, Bri!!

A quick get away…

As Spring fast approaches we’re scrambling to get our feet under us at the garden center. Confirming staff returning and bringing in new help where needed…placing orders…Cleaning greenhouses…The hectic busy season will be here before we know it!

So when offered an opportunity to take a few days in sunny Florida with family how could we say no!

So we packed up and drove down to Miramar Beach FL on Sunday morning bright an early. It’s a 15hour drive through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama before arriving in our final destination where Andy’s Mom and Dad were waiting to greet us!

We only intended to spend a couple days before heading back and it turned out to be a much needed restful break. We spent the first day relaxing, watching a couple movies, and touring the grounds of the Hidden Dunes Condo Community. It is such a pretty area! Even if the weather was a little gray that first day, we enjoyed every relaxing minute.

Day two we went out for a bit of shopping and exploring, we visited a fantastic antique shop one of my favorite passed times! A nice dinner out and just laughing and having a great time with our family. And a quick trip to the beach with Andy and Brianna. There is really nothing better.

As Spring break season rolls in I hope all of our friends and family find time to sit back and smell the roses for a minute. You’ll be surprised how much good a quick trip can do for you! I’m ready for Spring bring it on!!

The finale! So How did Spirit Airlines Do?!

I gently reminded our friends at Spirit Airlines that they’re self imposed 30 day deadline was approaching for resolution of my baggage claim, and that I wanted an update as to how they intended to finalize the matter.

I had sent my request to my baggage resolution specialist Jessica and received a prompt response back from Sean. Sean stated that Jessica was out of the office and that he would be happy to submit my request to close out the claim and would notify me of my settlement as soon as possible.

Then a miracle happened! Within a few hours…yes hours not days…I got another email from Sean. With pretty great news! Just a recap…Spirit Airlines lost my bag on it’s way to a nonstop flight from Detroit to Las Vegas on January 20th. I went my entire 4 day trip without my luggage. You can read more about this adventure in my two prior posts, linked here.
My original requested reimbursement was just over $1400.00. So what did they do? Glad you asked! My reimbursed amount…drumroll…$1341.97! Plus reimbursement of $42.00 for both my baggage fees and my husband’s baggage fees for the trip, plus $7.71 for my certified mail fee, PLUS two $100 flight vouchers!

So my total reimbursement (providing that I take advantage of the flight vouchers) is actually just over $1500. More than what I had originally asked for! I also wanted to mention that the issue with my $68 jacket was resolved with reimbursement of the minimum $49.99 for not having an original receipt.

I think the lesson in this is a couple of things. #1 Shit happens, roll with it try not to let it ruin a good time. #2 Companies create processes like these to get people to give up before they ever start, so be persistent! #3 when checking bags create a list of items in the bag in case you need it later, this tip would have helped me tremendously!

Spirit Airlines, you did it! You provided me with the happy ending that I think all of humanity needed! And I hope when someone loses their luggage they google the issue and find this story instead of the nightmares that I found lol! Well done, although a lengthy process that could probably be improved, I am satisfied with the outcome!
I see a shopping spree coming in my near future!

I’m basically a hero…

So as you know we own a garden center and unfortunately an environment like this is prone to uninvited guests now and then..namely the occasional mouse.

I have a few traps set in areas that we know they can get into. Most of the time in my office area which sits alongside an outside wall of the building so this makes sense.

This morning while doing some cleaning I heard the trap go off in the office. My heart immediately sinks because I’m a super softy. But I decide to be brave and go throw the presumed dead mouse away. I open the door, and out it runs…with the trap attached!!!

I go running after it, yelling things like “oh gosh! Oh no! Just sit still! Let me help you!”

I finally catch him the trap is hooked on his little skull…I feel so bad that I remove the trap and take him outside to free him the entire time apologizing to the little thing….

What in the world is happening in my life….my bleeding heart can’t take this kind of stuff lol!

A little baggage update

Thought I’d provide a baggage claim update… As you may know I recently (January 20th) travelled to Las Vegas with my husband and my luggage didn’t make the trip. More than that though it seems to have made the ultimate trip because Spirit Airlines us still unable to locate my bag.

I went through the lengthy process of completing the list baggage claim form with an itemized list of my belongings that were in the bag. Not including items not covered for reimbursement per Spirit Airlines policy. Those items included cosmetics, and electronics (a.k.a. my curling iron). Which as you may know are costly items. Once completing my list I had to have it notarized…yes notarized…and mailed it out with my receipts via certified mail. I received confirmation that they received my claim on Feb 2nd 2017. Per their policy they have 30 days from receipt of the claim to remedy the problem.

About 2 weeks after receiving my claim I got an email from Jessica. Jessica is now in charge of my case an she assures me she is working diligently to find my bag…ok…it’s only been missing now for three weeks! Good luck with that Jennifer!

A couple days later, Jessica contacted me again regarding my claim. I had listed a few items on my claim that were valued at more than $50. So she needs original receipts for those items. I don’t have original receipts for those things as I had owned them for about one year now.
One of the items was a faux suede jacket. I purchased it at a local Maurice’s store and it was one of my favorites. So I sent Jennifer a message with a picture of me wearing the jacket and a picture of the jacket with the listed price from the store website.

I even offered in my response that as I did not have the original receipt I would accept the minimum allowed reimbursement of $50.

Her response…”I’m sorry but per our company policy this is not enough to justify reimbursement. Without the original receipt we won’t be able to provide reimbursement for these items.”

My response…”No compensation at all seems a little ridiculous. I have a number of items that were in that bag that aren’t listed as part of your policy for example cosmetics, curling irons, and other clothing items that I’m sure I’m not accurately remembering going off my memory. But my shape wear and that jacket were definitely in there, and worth more than the $50 maximum for items without receipt. I feel that considering I don’t keep receipts on such things for more than a month or two compensating me at the minimum rate is something that Spirit Airlines should definitely compensate me for. Especially since this entire ordeal completely ruined my entire trip!”

Jessica’s response to my response: “Hi Courtney,I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately, I am unable to change the policy. We are still tracing your luggage and I will continue to update you.”

And my response: “If not properly compensated I may be forced to take legal action against Spirit Airlines. Thank you.”

And that’s where we are! It’s been 4 more days and no more information. I’ll continue to wait until we’ve met the thirty day resolution timeline. But, so far not very impressed. Hopefully Spirit Airlines provides me with a happy ending to this story. What are your thoughts?