Tag Archives: Michigan

ArtPrize7 – what a wild ride it has been!


Have you ever been in a room where everyone else is just as excited or more to be right where you are? That’s what the ArtPrize awards party felt like!

Before the awards started the crowd was treated to the energy driven sound of Vox Vidorra (according to their website, the band’s name is a multilingual neologism and alliteration meaning ‘the voice of the life you’re meant to live’). Vox Vidorra played a funky blend of soul music that made us jump out of our seats and bust a move (the wine in my hand didn’t hurt either). The Civic Theatre was such a gorgeous setting for the award ceremony, the atmosphere was electric as the crowd buzzed while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Rick DeVos made a grand entrance and stunned the crowd with a mind blowing fact — kids that were 6th graders for the first Artprize were now seniors in high school.  Rick let audience think about that for a minute as he  reflected on how each and every participant, artist, volunteer, and community member played a part in impacting those kids’ outlook on the community and art in general.  He expressed how he has enjoyed how ArtPrize makes conversations happen – the buzz that happens around the “must see” pieces, what people like and don’t like.  He mentioned that finding a way to include all members of the community in artistic discourse is what Artprize is all about, and that they truly succeeded this year.

Continue reading ArtPrize7 – what a wild ride it has been!

Reception Welcomes Law Firm, Talcott Franklin P.C. to Grand Rapids l Acquisition of Jordan C. Hoyer Firm Celebrated



On Monday, June 22nd, SF joined a reception at City Flats Ballroom welcoming the new Grand Rapids law firm, Talcott Franklin P.C., formed by the recent acquisition of the Law Office of Jordan C. Hoyer, PLLC. Talcott Franklin P.C. is a national law firm, based in Dallas, Texas and its Grand Rapids office is the firm’s first expansion into Michigan.


Talcott Franklin P.C. is a national law firm known for its innovative strategies taking on the money center banks over the sophisticated investment vehicles that caused the financial crisis.

Attorney Talcott Franklin, author of the two leading treatises on financial crisis legislation and litigation, was interviewed during the reception by Attorney Curt Benson, co-host of the WOOD Radio program “The Lawyers” on 106.9 FM. The segment will be aired on “The Lawyers” on Sunday, June 28.





According to Talcott Franklin, “Despite the beginnings of economic recovery and the rebounding housing market, the deep-rooted structural failures of our mortgage system remain, and the potential looms for an even more cataclysmic financial crisis. We are tracking the warning signs of the next financial crisis.” Franklin’s comments offered specific insights to the connection of West Michigan to the national and international mortgage and investment markets.




Talcott Franklin P.C. is a national law firm known for its innovative strategies, which have been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal business section, Bloomberg, Reuters, and MSNBC. The firm specializes in deciphering and explaining complex transactions and has litigated some of the most high profile cases stemming from the financial crisis.

The firm has a unique business model, eschewing the traditional practice of relying on new law school graduates in favor of hiring seasoned attorneys who typically have worked in house or in government before joining the firm. Because the majority of the firm’s attorneys have been consumers of legal services, they understand that law is a service-oriented profession.

The Talcott Franklin P.C. Michigan office includes: Jordan C. Hoyer, Curt Benson and Derek Witte.



Spoonlickers Stands Apart from FroYo Crowd with its Unique Made-from-Scratch Toppings


GRAND RAPIDS – You walk into any frozen yogurt or ice cream shop anywhere and the toppings are all the same: prepackaged, processed, canned or bulk-purchased items full of additives and preservatives.

Spoonlickers Handcrafted Frozen Yogurt dares to be different.

At each of their three locations, co-owners and co-founders Dianna and David Darling insist upon fresh-baked, scratch-made and locally sourced toppings that customers won’t find anywhere else. It’s all part of the farm-to-table – or, perhaps, kitchen-to-spoon – concept the Darlings have brought to frozen desserts.

“It goes right from here to there – kitchen to spoon,” baker Alecia Fanning said of the Spoonlickers’ uncompromising approach to scratch-made toppings using the freshest ingredients. “A lot of people are a lot more conscious of it. I think people are more willing to pay a little extra for that if it’s homemade stuff, rather than if it was made in a factory or mass produced or came from a machine.

“I think the love goes into it,” she added. “They can tell it’s a much better product.”




It’s all about quality at Spoonlickers, with its signature chocolate ganache, butterscotch, homemade granola, scratch-made brownies, cookies, pumpkin pie, whoopie pies, cinnamon streusel crumble and marshmallow squares. It grinds the peanuts for its peanut-butter sauce. It toasts its own coconut.

No one in the industry comes close to that sort of freshness.

“A lot of people don’t do it, so, for us, it’s especially unique, just knowing a lot of what us bakers make is from scratch,” said Grace Tuttle, a junior supervisor at Spoonlickers who preceded Fanning as baker. “I think it is important to a lot of people. There is a difference in quality a lot of the time.

“It’s just about knowing that you’re eating something homemade or local products, it’s just different than getting it from wherever,” she said. “I’ve been to several of the frozen yogurt stores. I think when you go around and sample them, you can really tell the difference. I can immediately tell when I try other places that it’s a dry powder mixed with water.

“It’s a lot better here.”


The proof is in the pantry and refrigerator at Spoonlickers’ flagship Eastown store at 1551 Wealthy St. in Grand Rapids. Top-shelf ingredients, such as couverture chocolate and Nielsen Massey vanilla, go into making ganache and buttercream, respectively. Farm-fresh eggs, King flour milled in Lowell and Meijer brown sugar are examples of locally sourced items Spoonlickers’ baking staff uses.

All of the milk and cream used in production of its soft-serve frozen yogurt and baked goods comes from southwestern Michigan dairy farms, which results in a freshness its customers truly can taste.

No compromises. No cutting corners. Period.

“Everything we can buy locally, we do,” David Darling said. “All of the milk, all of the dairy for our yogurts and gelatos, it comes from southwest Michigan. People love the fact that we toast our own coconut.

“We have never wavered. The reason we do this is, because if we don’t, nobody else will,” he said. “It makes us different. It’s so much better because we control what’s going in (these toppings).”

For example, Spoonlickers uses only couverture chocolate for its ganache.

It has a higher percentage of cocoa butter than regular chocolate. Sure, it costs more, but the difference is quality is worth it.

“It’s the reason our ganache is as good as it is. We don’t cut any costs when it comes to the quality of ingredients,” David Darling insisted.

The objective is using the fewest ingredients of the highest quality to achieve unprecedented results.

It requires keeping a close watch on inventory, since many of the ingredients have a shorter shelf life than other packaged and processed FroYo and ice cream toppings at national chain stores.

The staff gets its fresh fruits, whenever possible, from Grand Rapids Downtown Market or Fulton Street Farmers Market.

“Sixty-five percent of what’s kept on the shelf is raw ingredient,” David Darling estimated.

The commitment to using the freshest and highest-quality ingredients is a reflection of what’s happening in the farm-to-table dining movement, as well as the craft beer and independently distilled spirits industries.

Earlier this year, the Darlings posted an item on the company website at www.spoonlickersgr.com that challenged the status quo when it comes to sacrificing freshness and quality for inferior mass-produced toppings. It sparked a profound dialogue and more than a thousand responses.

“I’m not sure all of our customers understand what we do and why we do it, but a lot of them do,” David Darling said. “It’s why they tell us, ‘You have to do our wedding, our children’s birthday parties and other events.’

“It really matters to people.”

It is a constant source of pride for the Spoonlickers’ kitchen staff.

Fanning, 27, a recent graduate of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, uses her own hands to make and bake everything from puppy chow to pie crusts.

“It definitely adds a lot more enjoyment to what you do, especially because they don’t cut any corners here. They’re using real ingredients, like real butter, not shortening. That makes it a lot more enjoyable,” she said.

“You just make sure it’s made right.”

Tuttle, 21, of Kentwood, said the same commitment goes into making larger cakes, which can be ordered for special occasions or purchased from the freezers located in all three Spoonlickers’ stores.




“I don’t know of any other frozen yogurt places that make homemade cakes. We make the batter, we freeze the yogurt, mold it all together, make our own frosting, make our own chocolate ganache for it, and decorate it all by hand,” said Tuttle, who’s pursuing a degree in food and beverage management at Grand Valley State University. ‘That takes a lot of time. There are a lot of local homemade products going into that cake.

“I think that’s pretty unique. I don’t know of other ice cream places that bake their own homemade cookies or homemade brownies,” she added. “I don’t know of anyone else that quite does that.”

David Darling refers to Fanning and Tuttle as the “rock stars” of the operation.

Both says they’re delighted to be part of a local business that does things the right way for the right reasons.

“I think it’s something we should talk about a lot more,” Tuttle said. “People hear ‘homemade’ and think that’s cool, but a lot of them don’t realize that what we’re actually making … they’re eating. That’s something really unique. I don’t know of any other frozen yogurt places or ice cream places that do that.”

Grand Rapids Triathlon – A look inside the mind of an athlete



ADA – The pain-and-pleasure addicts who push their minds, bodies and souls to their uppermost limits as triathletes are part of a unique brotherhood and sisterhood that no one else quite understands.

No one but them.

A lot of their friends and family can’t comprehend what possesses seemingly normal men and women to spend countless hours preparing to swim, run and bike long distances for no apparent reason – other than proving something to themselves about their mental and physical toughness and being able to tolerate pain.

The challenging sequence in a triathlon features:

  • An open-water swim of 750 meters to 1.2 miles.
  • A bicycle ride of anywhere from 12 to 56 miles.
  • And, finally, a road run ranging from 5K (3.1 miles) to the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles.

It’s the punishment that gives them so much pleasure.

“I just have a passion for it,” said Abby Geurink, 29, a professional triathlete from Hudsonville, who’ll be defending her women’s Sprint title in the third-annul Grand Rapids Triathlon on Sunday, June 9, in Ada and Cascade. “People wonder sometimes, ‘How is that really fun?’ I don’t expect everyone to understand.

“It’s a lot of character building for me. I’ve learned a lot about mental toughness competing in triathlons. I think we can get pretty obsessed. Definitely, there’s a little bit of obsession. I just think it’s hard not to get obsessed because you spend so much time in this sport preparing for these races and just pushing yourself.

“I spend 15 to 18 hours a week training. I like to challenge myself. It’s fun for me.”

It’s a passion – or perhaps an addiction, obsession or compulsion – shared by about 1,500 triathletes preparing to test themselves by swimming, biking and running to the point of exhaustion in what is fast becoming one of the preeminent races in the state of Michigan. The Grand Rapids Triathlon attracted 900 participants in its inaugural year, swelled to 1,200 last year and is approaching 1,500 this year.

The race is sponsored by Huntington Bank and Fox Motors.


Up for the personal challenge

It attracts all ages, shapes and sizes.

The ages of entrants last summer spanned from 13 to 78 and included several families, from fathers and sons and mothers and daughters to a grandmother-mother-daughter triumvirate that race co-director Andy Vidro exemplifies just how far-reaching the passion for the sport has become through the years.

Andy and Ann Vidro are the lead organizers of the Grand Rapids Triathlon.

“It’s fantastic to see the diversity of ages and sizes of people,” he said. “Everybody’s cheering for each other out there. Everybody’s pulling for everyone else to finish. The finish line is so inspiring. It’s not the first ones that finish that gets everyone so excited; it’s the last ones that finish that inspire us all.”


A pair of girlfriends from Jenison, Kat Gillespie, 24, and Maggie Thome, 25, are looking forward to participating in their first triathlon. Both plan to compete in Sprint Division, consisting of a .47-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride and 5K run. Both are equally determined to prove they’re prepared to meet the challenge.

“I just want to say I’ve done one and be part of an elite club,” said Thome, a social worker at Saint Mary’s Hospital. “The running and biking don’t scare me. I don’t like putting my face in the water, so I have to get over that. I need to swim more in open water, not a pool, but it’s been cold and I just got a wetsuit.”

Gillespie prodded her friend to tackle the intimidating task together.

“The personal challenge is what it’s all about,” said Gillespie, a social media specialist at Jemco Logics who has completed the Fifth Third River Bank Run. “The training motivates you to get up every day and work out. My parents think I’m nuts. They’ll ask me, ‘Why are you doing this?’ I’m doing it for the challenge.”

It’s ultimately why Geurink got involved in triathlons in the first place.

The former all-state swimmer from Grand Haven High School and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion from Calvin College had been a competitive athlete most of her life. Once she finished college, she just couldn’t turn off her competitive passion. She desperately needed an outlet for it.

Friends recommended she enter a triathlon. She got hooked right from the start.

“I remember that first one,” Geurink said of the 2003 Reeds Lake Triathlon in East Grand Rapids. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I had to borrow a bike. It had this big leather seat that chafed me. I couldn’t get it off the rack. There were a lot of little things I learned that first time, but I had fun.

“And I just keep coming back for more.”

It helps that Geurink, part of the Tri4Him faith-based team from Dallas, has her husband’s support. He also is a triathlete. The couple trains together and takes its vacations around the triathlon schedule.

“If my husband wasn’t a supporter, it would be hard because you put so many hours into training. If you’re both into it, there’s just a level of understanding, which is important,” said Geurink, a speech language pathologist for Grand Haven Public Schools. “It really has sort of become our hobby.”




Members of the same tribe

A triathlon is one of the most unique accomplishments on life’s bucket list.

It’s not for everyone, but, for those inspired to pursue it, there is no greater natural high, according to Huntington Bank marketing director Michael Lindley, 59, of Grand Rapids, a dedicated triathlete.

“Once you get the triathlon bug, it becomes more of a lifestyle than a sport,” Lindley said. “Year-round, you are more more in tune with your nutrition and fitness. It’s also a tremendous personal challenge. You push yourself to continue to improve your swimming, biking and running – always trying to set a new personal best in your next race. Then there is the ultimate challenge of the 140.6-mile ‘Ironman’ race.

“I’ll be doing my first (Ironman Triathlon) in North Carolina in October.”

Lindley is at the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to pain-and-pleasure addiction. He’ll push himself to the far reaches of his mental and physical spirit by swimming 2.4 miles, then riding a bike 112 miles and, finally, going for a nice leisurely run at the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

What inspires him to keep pushing so hard?

It’s part challenge, part fitness and, perhaps most of all, fellowship. The minds and spirits of triathletes are so similar and tribe-like – much the same as marathoners – they take immense pleasure in talking about their pain while, at the same time, forming unflinching friendships that end up lasting a lifetime.

“Ultimately, a triathlon is just plain fun, even through all the training and pain,” Lindley insisted. “You never meet nicer, more supportive people than the morning of a triathlon. Everybody’s very supportive.”


Todd Lawrence, 24, of Grand Rapids, is addicted to the triathlete lifestyle.

“If you can do it, why not? Some people understand. I’d say 75 percent of people don’t understand why I do what I do. I get up at 5 a.m. and train three hours every day from 5 to 8 a.m., before going to school and work,” said Lawrence, a Grand Rapids Community College student and part-time Olive Garden server. “To me, it beats going out to the bar at night. I eat, sleep and drink triathlons.

“My goal is to become an elite triathlete or a professional.”

Mark Mochel, 43, of Grand Rapids, will compete at the longest distance in the Grand Rapids Triathlon. He is building toward his ultimate goal of entering an Ironman Triathlon, which doubles the full distance.

“I get up at 4 a.m. to train every morning. It’s not for everybody, but it’s my thing,” said the husband and father of two children ages 7 and 11. “I’ve actually grown to love that early morning time. You’re out there all by yourself, it’s so peaceful and I get to watch the sunrise.

“My dream is to do a full Ironman someday,” the vice president of professional services for Compliance Systems, Inc., added. “That takes a whole other level of training. I will do one someday. I’m just working my way up to it.”

Not everyone understands his obsession. But that’s all right.

“For me, it’s a personal journey. In the midst of a busy work life and a busy family life, I just wanted to do this for myself. I originally started doing this to get into shape. It’s something for me that helps keep me grounded in other parts of my life,” Mochel said. “It’s a fraternity of sorts. The only way to be a part of it is to do it.”

It is an almost indescribable passion – or perhaps an addiction, obsession, compulsion – shared by triathletes.

“I can’t really explain it to other people,” Mochel said. “It is part pleasure and part pain. It’s only me that can swim the strokes, push the pedals and run the steps. There’s something extremely fulfilling in crossing the finish line.”

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Triathlon, visit the website: http://www.grandrapidstriathlon.com
LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrandRapidsTriathlon

Allison Arnold: Graduating from childhood with high honors



Ernest Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under pressure.” If anyone exemplifies these words, it’s Allison Arnold.

To say Allison has achieved a lot in her 18 years on this planet is an understatement. The soon-to-be graduate of Grand Rapids Public School‘s City High School has done more before her first day on a college campus than many do in their lifetime…and she’s just getting started. She is an accomplished scholar, writer, intern extraordinaire, and activist who I am confident will spend her lifetime being a change-maker.

Born and raised in in Grand Rapids, Allison attended Huntington Woods Elementary through second grade and then St. Andrew’s Catholic School from third through eighth grade. Her writing career began with stories she wrote in Kindergarten. Her second grade teacher, Mrs. Bush, praised her for something she had written, and she was so proud that she hung it up in the house. But her “big break” came in the 8th grade when she won an essay contest sponsored by Sharpe Buick. By then, she had become more confident in her writing and developed a great passion for the written word.



When it came to choosing a high school, Allison was looking for a challenging curriculum and the opportunity to broaden her horizons. According to her mom, Chris, “We (Allison’s parents) decided that City High would be a good school for Allison, based on the academics, diversity of the student body, and rigorous curriculum. We wanted her to be in an environment that reflects the broad diversity of our community and world. It was very brave of Allison, being a ninth grader going into City. Many of the kids had established friendships so the social aspect was challenging, but has made her a stronger person in the long run.”

In ninth grade, Allison joined the Environmental Club, which helped her develop a passion for causes such as recycling and sustainability. In her junior year of high school, she won an honorable mention award for her essay for the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. This led to an internship at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), where she combines her desire to help the earth with her love of journalism to publish the WMEAC blog posts.

She is also an up-and-coming leader, having been chosen for some incredible opportunities including the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC), an annual event that brings together high school student leaders from throughout the country as National Youth Correspondents. In her sophomore year, she began helping out at the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College, where her mother serves as Director, and because of her work Mayor George Heartwell recognized her as one of his Champions for Diversity.

As part of the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s (MWF) Young Women for Change, Allison is learning to lead as a philanthropist. Young Women for Change is a group of high school girls who receive and evaluate grant proposals, determining which proposals fit their priorities; and fundraise so they can grant more requests for funds each year. Community activism and volunteerism are also a large part of their mission.

This past year in preparation for graduation, Allison has continued to expand her horizons by interning at WGVU. During her internship with The WGVU Morning Show, she greeted guests, assisted with show preparation, and learned the industry. Her mentor at WGVU, Shelley Irwin said, “It was my initial fortune to experience Allie in what she does best…following her passion of journalism! I have also witnessed Allie in front of several large audiences, sharing personal words of inspiration, moving the audience to tears. Allie is destined to follow her calling of motivating others to do their best.”

But all of these experiences, all of the amazing opportunities…it doesn’t mean that life has always been easy for Allison. She has had (more than) her fair share of frustrations and struggles as a young woman. In 2011, Allison was hospitalized for anorexia and depression. Striving for perfection, trying to solve all of the problems of the world, and attempting to be involved in every extracurricular activity available had taken her to a very dark place. Two years later, she is doing much better. That’s not to say she never has tough days, but Allison does not let it slow her down. In fact, she takes the time to talk to others about it because she wants to use her story to inspire others.

In 2012, Allison spoke at the MWF’s 25th Anniversary Luncheon, telling her story of a struggle with anxiety and an eating disorder. She gave a beautiful testimony, speaking with amazing grace and poise, and received a standing ovation from a room full of community leaders. Stacie Behler, Vice President of Public Affairs at Meijer, Inc., got to know Allison through the MWF, where Behler is a Board Member. “Allison was a wonderful ambassador and spokeswoman for the Michigan Women’s Foundation and its Young Women for Change programs. She spoke from the heart and shared her story with and inspired me and so many others to be mindful of the struggle young women may face with depression and anorexia. She is a strong, stellar role model that I am so proud of,” said Behler.

All of these experiences have helped prepare Allison for the next phase of her life—college. Starting this fall, she will move to Ann Arbor and become a University of Michigan Wolverine. She has been awarded the Grand Rapids Chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association’s scholarship; Latino Youth Scholarship; and the very prestigious Jean Fairfax Scholarship from the University of Michigan. The Fairfax Scholarship recognizes students with strong academic performance and a solid record of leadership, and will provide $40,000 towards her college education. She plans to study International Relations and Social Justice and Environmental Issues with a career in journalism and photography. She hopes to have a career at National Geographic one day.


Before she heads off to Ann Arbor, she will certainly be spending time at her favorite places in Grand Rapids – working out at The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse and the YMCA; eating at her favorite restaurants like Marie Catrib’sGroveBistro Bella VitaAmore Trattoria ItalianaMaggie’s Kitchen, and Speak EZ (she loves farm-to-table food and restaurants with a nostalgic atmosphere; and enjoying a good book in various coffee shops around town. You will also be seeing her all over West Michigan this summer as the newest member of the Stellafly team, as she will be interning as a writer. We’re beyond thrilled to have her join us and anticipate incredible things from this up and coming talent.

When I asked her what else she hopes to do in life, travel is definitely on the list. Her favorite city is New York, and she hopes to visit Seattle, Los Angeles, and take a backpacking trip through Europe—she’d like to become fluent in Spanish and visit Spain. No matter where Allison ends up, her heart will belong to Grand Rapids. She loves how “everyone is connected,” and she is thankful for all the people here who have cared for and supported her.

Most of all, Allison will do the things that make her happy, because in her words, “If you can’t do something that makes you happy, don’t do it.”





Stellafly’s Sneak Peek – Grand Rapids Brewing Company



In December 1892, six Grand Rapids breweries consolidated their individual operations to form the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. 119 years later on this day, December 5th, GRBC finally returns home to downtown Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Brewing Company (GRBC) will be open to the public on Wednesday, but a few lucky folks had a chance to try it out a day early at a private event hosted by owners Mark and Michele Sellers. The Sellers’ company, BarFly Adventures, also owns several other restaurants in Grand Rapids, including HopCat, Stella’s Lounge and McFadden’s. This bar is a nod to the original GRBC, which closed on April 26, 1918 due to the Prohibition Act.

Walking into the GRBC on Tuesday night was a bit like taking a trip back in time. The designer, David Dodde, calls the newest addition to downtown, “an homage to Grand Rapids…a factory in the front, and a barn in the back.”

Dodde was just one of the many invited guests who came to Tuesday night’s celebration. Other guests included Mayor George HeartwellGrand Rapids City Commissioners Rosalynn Bliss and Ruth Kelly, Rapid Growth’s Jeff Hill, Benjamin Hunter, Ralston Bowles, The Winchester’s Paul Lee, DDA Executive Director Kris Larson and Dave Engbers and Jeremy Kosmicki and other locals.

There is even a Grand Rapids theme to the beer names—you can try The Fishladder, John Ball Brown, The Senator Lyons Stout, and there’s even a Rosalynn Bliss Blonde. The Silver Foam is their marquis beer, and is a reformulated version of the original GRBC’s famous brew.

There are several distinctive features throughout the restaurant. Much of the wood is reclaimed, there is recycled brick on the bar, and the hostess stand was at one point the foreman’s station at the Chris-Craft factory. The bar dons two bar areas including a copper-plated draft box and bar top. The back bar was built by Marc Wiegers from Greenwood Studio. Their sign was designed by local artisan, Dan Carlson of Carlson Design. The venue also offers up a beautiful private room available for parties of 50 or more. The private area can accommodate up to 90 people seated or 150 people standing. The GRBC is also the Midwest’s first all-organic brewery.

The GRBC officially opens its doors to the public at 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon, and they will literally be “rolling out the barrel” to kick things off, complete with an accordion player. That is also when the official Mug Club will be opening up for membership. For an annual fee of $65, you will receive a mug inscribed with your name and $1 off beers all the time, $2 off beers on Mondays (Mug Club Night), discount tickets to special events, and first chance at any special release bottles.

It’s not all about the beer, either. The menu is full of unique appetizers, main dishes, and even some sweet treats to wrap up your visit. Start off with the Pork Belly Lollipop or the Fried Pickles, then move on to a Cauliflower “Steak” Sandwich, and finish off your meal with a Drunken Elvis Cupcake. The menu was designed by Michigan native, Adam Watts. Adam moved to Grand Rapids from Boulder, CO in early November to join GRBC. Adam was born and raised in West Michigan. He graduated at the top of the class from the GRCC Secchia Institute of Culinary Arts. He set out to learn from the best chefs he could in order to expand his culinary palette. Since graduating from Secchia, he has cooked at Northern Michigan’s iconic Tapawingo, Edinburgh, Scotland’s Rhubarb at the Prestonfield Hotel, California’s Chateau du Sureau, Kalamazoo, MI’s Rustica, and Boulder, CO’s The Kitchen Cafe. Most recently, Adam was chef of Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar in Boulder.

Make it a priority to check out the Sellers‘ latest venture. As usual, you will not be disappointed!

Check out their website for more information: http://www.grbrewingcompany.com and, of course, LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GRBrewingCo


GR to NYC: A Designer’s Journey




At Thursday night’s Couture for a Cure, which benefited the Van Andel Institute, guests were treated to the premiere of New York designer Daniel Vosovic’s Spring and Summer 2013 collection. The Sparkly Stellafly had an opportunity to sit down with Vosovic on the eve of the show and talk to him about his journey from Grand Rapids to New York.

Daniel spent most of his childhood living in East Grand Rapids, where he biked to Breton Village Mall whenever he could. His family later moved to Lowell, and he excelled as a competitive gymnast until he retired at 18 years old. He went to college to study architecture but found the program to be much too structured and too long for his taste. So, on a whim he decided to take a sewing course. As he learned to take a piece of fabric and turn it into an article of clothing, he began to think that fashion could be a career. However, he knew that he would have to make the move from Lowell to NYC to make this happen.

So Vosovic went to New York after talking with a cousin who lived there and was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). As Daniel began his time at FIT, he found it refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. He was accepted into an Italian exchange program and moved to Florence, where his entire outlook on design and fashion was changed with just one design lesson. They were given one piece of fabric cut into a specific shape and asked to design a dress, top, skirt, or whatever they chose with just that one piece of fabric. This forced him to think outside the box and challenge the traditional “rules” of clothing design.

Daniel returned to NYC and completed the 2-year program at FIT in just one year, and four days after graduating he was auditioning for Project Runway’s second season. This was his big break. He was 24-years old and his “first job” was showing his work in front of an audience of 3 ½-4 million people who were watching the show, and the judges on the show who were very influential in the fashion industry. He was selected as first-runner-up that season, and his first runway show during New York Fashion Week was attended by Vogue, Barney’s, and Bergdorf Goodman (just to name a few). His career had gone from 0 to 60 in just a matter of what seemed like minutes, a rarity for the fashion industry.

However, when Vosovic began to think about it, he realized that he was actually becoming more famous than his clothing. He stepped back and before pushing forward and creating another new line, Daniel decided he needed to go back and work for someone, get the nitty-gritty experience he had missed by going on the reality show. So, he began working in large companies as a third assistant and smaller companies as a creative director.

All of those experiences have made him what he is today—a hard-working, in-the-trenches, leader. As I watched him backstage on Thursday evening, I saw his nervousness turn to excitement as he saw the models lined up in his designs. It was evident that he has found his true calling in life and is a real-life example of what happens when you find your passion and pursue it.

When I asked him what his goals were now, he said he would like to be the next Ralph Lauren. He wants to create an experience with his fashion, and would love fashion to lead him to other things such as film and home design. I have no doubt that he will do all of that and more, and look forward to seeing what the future brings his way.

To learn more about Daniel Vosovic, visit his website: http://www.danielvosovicny.com
Daniel Vosovic on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Daniel-Vosovic/

The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery for their second annual Fall into Fabulous Health and Beauty Event




Last night we joined The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery for their second annual Fall into Fabulous Health and Beauty Event in its home office and lobby at the Women’s Health Center, 555 MidTowne St. NE, at the corner of Michigan Street and Union Avenue.

The event featured local businesses from around the area, as well as representatives from companies such as Allergan, LifeCell, Angiotech, Marena, Enaltus, Canfield Imaging and others. Special pricing on a variety of services and products from Bengtson Center were also offered, along with raffles and prizes. WOOD TV‘s Rachael Ruiz, Terri DeBoer and Jordan Carson were also there mingling with guests.

The Center’s injection specialist and transforMD skin care team was also on hand talking to guests about the latest and greatest surgical and non-surgical procedures for the breast, body and face including Ultherapy, CoolSculpting and new innovations in Liquid Facelifts. Special event guests included Brush Studio, Hot Mama, Design 1 Salon Spa, Aura Skincare & Cosmetics, Dr. Thomas Lambert and Age Management and Hormone Balance Center. Dr. Bradley Bengtson, a board-certified plastic surgeon, shared the latest and most innovative surgical and non-surgical products and procedures for the breast, body and face.

Bengtson Center is a supporter of the Campaign for Confidence benefitting local area families. Those that brought new or gently used winter coats received complimentary gifts. The coats benefited two area nonprofit organizations: Alpha Women’s Center and Baxter Community Center.

The Bengtson Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery is an all-inclusive haven for renewal, relaxation and rejuvenation. Patients can expect individualized service and care that echo the patient-centric focus from Dr. Bengtson and his team.

Bengston Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bengtsoncenter?fref=ts

Bengston Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery on the Web: http://www.bengtsoncenter.com