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Amanda Blondeau, Northern Initiatives

Amanda Blondeau, Northern Initiatives
Small business is vital to Michigan’s economy. Amanda Blondeau from Northern Initiatives joins us to discuss why it’s so important, the work she does with businesses across Michigan, and how entrepreneurs can best succeed in starting their own venture.

We’re happy to be joined by Chief Strategy Officer Amanda Blondeau from Northern Initiatives — a nonprofit, Community Development Financial Institution. They work with businesses that can’t get access to traditional financing and provide them with coaching and support that small businesses don’t get from typical lenders.

According to the Small Business Administration, 49% of people in Michigan work for a small business. Of course, the past 18 months have placed a great strain on businesses across all sectors. Amanda shares her insight and experience as we discuss the importance of small business, Northern Initiatives’ new online learning portal for small businesses, and advice for entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture.

Learn more about Northern Initiatives and their online portal for small businesses.

Lavender Moscow Mule

Lavender Moscow Mule

Lavender Moscow Mule
The beauty of the mule is its adaptability. You can ask five different people their favorite type, and you’ll certainly get five different answers.

Our Lavender Moscow Mule uses ginger tea instead of the traditional ginger beer, providing a subtle, yet complex flavor. The taste of lavender is delicate — just pleasant enough to add interest to the drink while keeping it refreshing. And, of course, there’s the classic combination of lemon and ginger which, at the very least, provides the guise of being healthy.


  • 4 ½ cups water
  • 2 ginger tea bags
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 oz vodka
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp culinary lavender


  1. To make the lavender syrup, add ½ cup water, honey, and lavender to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and pour syrup through a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Bring the 4 cups of filtered water to a boil. Then transfer water to a large bowl (or keep it in the saucepan but remove it from the heat), and place the ginger tea bags into the water, letting it steep for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the ginger tea bags, then stir in the lemon juice. Transfer tea to a large pitcher, then pour in the simple syrup. Give everything a good stir, then place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, allowing it to cool down.
  4. Before serving: Add ice to a cup, along with 1 cup of the chilled lavender ginger tea and 2 oz. of vodka, and stir until combined.

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