Profile-The GR Guide
"I lived in Chicago for almost five years and it made me really appreciate things I overlooked about Michigan...Being back in Grand Rapids has really made me appreciate being closer to my family and seeing my nephew on a weekly basis."
One of the most common suggestions that I found when developing a blog was to connect with other bloggers. In that spirit, I emailed Sara Visser, creator of The GR Guide to see if we could grab coffee sometime. I have admired her blog for awhile and refer to it often.
She graciously agreed and we met up at Lantern for a chat. She was so sweet and patiently answered my rambling questions about writing, social media, and all that connects with the crazy blogosphere.
Sara is beautiful combo of fierce boss babe, sweet spirit, and fashionista. You can see all of that come together in her blog which continues to be such a connected resource for those who live in, visit, and love Grand Rapids.
What is the inspiration behind the GR Guide? What was the impetus for it's creation?
The idea for The GR Guide was born while I was living in Chicago. I grew up here in Grand Rapids but moved to Chicago after college to pursue a job in advertising and fashion. During my trips back to GR I quickly realized there was so much growth and exciting things happening in this city. I started the blog Project Soiree in Chicago and fell in love with the “blogging experience” and thought a blog that focused on the happenings around Grand Rapids and the incredible local businesses could be a valuable tool for locals and tourists.
Now that you are back 'home' what is your favorite thing about Michigan? What do you miss most about Chicago?
I lived in Chicago for almost five years and it made me really appreciate things I overlooked about Michigan. My favorite thing about Michigan are the beaches. National Geographic just named Sleeping Bear Dunes one of the best beaches in the world and I would totally agree. Being back in Grand Rapids has really made me appreciate being closer to my family and seeing my nephew on a weekly basis. I’m not gonna lie I still miss Chicago for the energy of the city, fabulous restaurants and shopping at Whole Foods (fingers crossed we get one in Grand Rapids). I try to go back and visit friends and some of my favorite spots every couple of months.
What can readers of The GR Guide expect on a weekly basis?
Readers can always expect to see the 411 in the 616 on The GR Guide each Monday morning. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on these posts and readers have really enjoyed seeing what’s going on in Grand Rapids during the week.
When you aren’t doing something blog related, what are you up to?
When I’m not writing The GR Guide I’m at my office (I work for a marketing agency), exercising at MVP Sports Clubs, taking my dog Wrigley for a walk, catching up with friends at one of my favorite restaurants (most likely Terra), or spending time with my family.
What has been the most rewarding part of your blog so far?
The most rewarding part about writing The GR Guide has been the positive feedback from readers and businesses in Grand Rapids. I’ve had people approach me on the street telling me how much they love The GR Guide for ideas on new places to check out and businesses emailing me thanking me for helping them promote an event or increase of followers on social media.
Lightning round! What is your current local favorite...
- Place for drinks: Gray Skies Distillery-best cocktails in Grand Rapids #cheers
- Place to shop: Rebel Reclaimed-I love their stationary and Michigan themed gifts
- Cup of coffee: MadCap-I’m obsessed with their nitro cold coffee
- Cultural experience: The Grand Rapids Art Museum-I’m passionate about art and I have really enjoyed their latest exhibitions
- Spot for brunch: Terra-Those who know me well know I love Terra. Their brunch is incredible (trust me)