Published August 1, 2017

C&G Newspapers

It was in the middle of an impassioned speech from her longtime boyfriend about the 2017 solar eclipse when Robin Udell, of Silver Spring, Maryland, thought about taking the next step in their relationship.

“So, he was talking about how cool the eclipse is, how awesome it is that it’s happening in our lifetime, and I thought, ‘OK. So let’s get married,’” said Udell, formerly of Ann Arbor.

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Published July 28, 2017

C&G Newspapers

The Haugh family makes it a point to limit screen time for their children.

But a few evenings each week, you’ll see all four of their faces glued to a smartphone screen. And that’s OK, said Wendee Haugh, of Southfield.

“Although we use the app for this, it doesn’t count because it’s a family activity that we can do together and be outside,” Haugh said of geocaching.

The outdoor activity utilizes a smartphone’s GPS to navigate a neighborhood in search of hidden treasures, or caches, stashed at certain coordinates.

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Published July 19, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Has your social media feed been packed with photos from everyone else’s summer vacation?

It’s not too late to have a memorable summertime getaway of your own, even if it’s just an overnight stay a few minutes away from your home.

The first step in planning your semi-staycation is deciding which type of experience you and your family would enjoy. Does the tranquility of the great outdoors spark your interest? Or would you rather explore the culture and history of a bustling city?

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Published July 12, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Jody Johnston doesn’t need your Wi-Fi. 

And please keep your cellphones and televisions too.

The Silver Lake State Park manager, who lives near the park in Mears — halfway between Muskegon and Ludington — just cares about getting back to the basics whenever he goes camping with his wife and his kids, ages 11 and 14.

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Published July 5, 2017

METRO DETROIT — There’s nothing better in the summertime than cooling off with a frozen treat.

Well, your dog happens to feel the same way.

But it’s tough to include Fido in summer sundae fun when ice cream doesn’t sit well with many dogs, according to Janet Platt, owner of Maestros Dog Haus in Bloomfield Hills and Ferndale.

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Published June 28, 2017

METRO DETROIT — It’s a trend that sort of combines art class with science class and math class, with a twist of comic book sci-fi.

Or it could be totally different from that. 

It’s all about what you make it.

It, of course, being the maker trend that’s been sweeping the nation for the past decade, with everything from 3-D printers to knitters to mechanical fire-breathing dragons — no, really. Makers and their wares are becoming popular enough that event planners and even municipal governments are taking notice.

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Published June 21, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Are you just itching to get outside and play in this gorgeous Michigan summer weather?

Or are you just itching?

It’s been a banner year so far for creepy crawlers, with nature centers and medical professionals alike reporting higher-than-normal rates of insect bites. 

That’s particularly true of ticks, which are not only notoriously stealthy but also potentially dangerous.

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Published June 14, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Telephones aren’t the only things that’ve changed since the nuclear age. Traditional family roles have evolved too, and that’s good news for dad.

More and more, the role of father is going well past provider into the realm of friend, nurturer, cheerleader and even hairstylist. The “manly” limitations that fathers adhered to in years past are long gone, according to Birmingham resident and PTA dad Rez Sazgari.

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Published June 7, 2017

METRO DETROIT — You know what pairs perfectly with just about any summertime meal? A side of fresh air.

It’s picnic season, and whether you’re looking to change up the family’s nightly dinner routine or plan a romantic afternoon lunch date, a blanket in the grass is always the best table in the house.

But not all picnic foods are created equal; some fare better in a wicker basket than others. 

For Royal Oak resident Nicole Hudson, the first rule of picnicking is keeping things easy. 

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Published May 31, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Spring cleaning.

It’s a fairly broad term that means everything from a little dusting and window washing to sore backs and blistered hands as years of junk is hauled out to the curb.

Clutter is a problem for many, and paring down our things is easier said than done. When garage sales don’t seem like an option, it’s time to look at other ways to shoo out the stuff.

When your clutter can make you a bit of cash, that’s always good news. 

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Published May 24, 2017

METRO DETROIT — In December, Bloomfield Township resident Virginia Lee Smith will be 100 years old.

Closing in on such an impressive milestone means Smith moves a little slower than she used to, though she’s still moving just fine with a little help from a walker. And she’s not working full time at the library that employed her for decades and that she even helped to found, but she’s still there several times a week to help out as a volunteer.

Smith said she just can’t seem to let go of the things she’s passionate about.

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Published May 17, 2017

C&G Newspapers

METRO DETROIT — With the frost finally gone and the return of mild temperatures, many Michiganders participate in the annual ritual of “spring cleaning.” Heavy snow boots and jackets are stashed away, while items like pool toys, lawn furniture and golf clubs see the light of day for the first time in months.

With drivers, irons and putters in tow, many will head to their favorite local links. While some will play a weekend round with friends, others will enter leagues, an offering featured at many local courses.

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Published May 10, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Ask any mother, and she’ll be happy to tell you why her 10-year-old macaroni necklace is just as valuable to her as her diamond pendant.

The sentiment that comes along with a gift crafted with love isn’t lost on any parent. These days, though, with online retailers just a click away, many of us opt instead to buy a present and have it delivered to Mom’s doorstep. 

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Published May 3, 2017

METRO DETROIT — For so many, spring represents a season of renewal: budding flowers, the return of warm air and longer days.

As April the giraffe was more than happy to demonstrate, spring is also the season when many farms welcome new arrivals from expectant mamas.

“(Visitors) stop out (this time of year), often to see which newborns have arrived,” said Jennifer Hollenbeck, interpretive services manager for Huron-Clinton Metroparks. “Many babies have been born right before our visitors’ eyes.”

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Published April 26, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Um, how do we say this delicately?

Keep those darn flushable wipes away from your delicates and out of your toilet.

It might seem harsh, but local water commissioners are cracking down on the use of the flushable wipes that are clogging up local sewage pipes and racking up big money in cleanup costs for counties.

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Published April 19, 2017

METRO DETROIT — If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve probably heard some nasty stereotypes about millennials. The cohort born between 1980 and 2000 is often pegged as being lazy, narcissistic and entitled.

But there’s a good chance they’re also better at handling money than you.

That’s according to several financial experts who say that growing up during the Great Recession, which yielded a weak job market and a high-debt culture, has actually served millennials well when it comes to learning good spending and saving habits.

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Published April 12, 2017

METRO DETROIT — When was the last time you took a good look at the Milky Way?

If you’re reading this article in your newspaper at home, that means you likely live in Wayne, Macomb or Oakland counties, and the answer to the above question is: not recently.

That’s because southeast Michigan is bustling with people and commerce. Where there’s life, there’s light. The stars in the night sky get washed away by the glow of city life most evenings.

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Published April 5, 2017

METRO DETROIT — Theresa May, owner of Santosha Yoga in Chesterfield Township, tells her clients that stress impacts the body the same way frigid temperatures do. 

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Published March 29, 2017

METRO DETROIT — There’s something to be said for planning the perfect vacation for your family from start to finish: finding the cheapest flights, spending hours searching for a hotel that has a pool for the kids and a gym for Mom, and making sure the dates don’t overlap with pressing engagements back at home.

But after you’ve worked out every detail and wiped your brow from weeks of effort, can you even call it a vacation? There’s also something to be said for planning your holiday in a one-stop, all-inclusive format.

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Published March 22, 2017

METRO DETROIT — The first Friday of the Lenten season is always a fun excuse to go out and share some greasy fried fish with friends.

The second Friday in Lent is usually the same.

By the third Friday in Lent, many Christians get queasy at the mere sight of battered fish and french fries.

There’s got to be a better way to abstain from meat on Fridays without resorting to that heavy fish fry week after week. And plenty of chefs around metro Detroit are more than willing to accept the challenge to prepare new, out-of-the-Styrofoam-box entrees.

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