Shutterfly Coupon for The Gallery Wall Project

To say that Groupon has some what fueled our social lives since moving to Chicago would be an understatement. We have gone golfing, enjoyed an amazing prohibition tour through the city (which deserves it’s own post) dined¬†out, and decorated our new place.

Imagine my glee when I discovered that Groupon now does coupons! I was so excited to see there was an offer from Shutterfly because I have wanted to develop some of my own photography to use on a gallery wall I am (pitifully) attempting to put together.

With a 45% off coupon, I was able to upload my photo to Shutterfly, edit it as needed, and five days later, I got my orange package in the mail with my fabulous canvas.

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So, we continue to piece together this “gallery” wall:

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It is a fun work in progress that can easily be shifted, but for right now, I kind of like the unconventional-ness of it ūüôā

Hope everyone is well, and I will have more next week. I am off to Long Beach to stay on the historic Queen Mary for a night!

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The Loss of a Genius

“You are not a mess. You are a feely person in a messy world”‘ ~Glennon Melton

I am heartbroken over the death of Robin Williams. This is one paradox of celebrity; the mourning of people we have never met as if they were close friends, but honestly, if there was an actor out there who felt like a friend, I think for many it would be Robin Williams. 

It is always a touchy subject when it comes to apparent suicide and depression, and many people have many opinions when it comes to the legitimacy of depression and the hopelessness that can lead to suicide. I don’t pretend to understand it myself. All I know is you can’t fully understand until you have been close to it.

The quote from Glennon Melton resonates with me, though. If I had a dollar for every time Paul or someone told me not to take things personally, because the world can affect me and make me feel like a mess, but I find solace in this quote and I hope it helps others feels better as well who may be struggling with any number of emotions.

“You are not a mess. You are a feely person in a messy world.”~Glennon Melton

Go out and feel!

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Cottage Week 2014

I once again must ask your forgiveness for my absence. Life has been busy! We have finally relocated to the Windy City, and I couldn’t be happier. I have been waiting do to an update until I got my new computer (after 8 years), so here we are, finally! But alas, you will have to wait just a bit longer for the Chicago adventure update.

I am spending my annual week at my cottage and have finally gotten around to doing something that has been 16 years on the “to-do” list. I just purchased a gravestone for my mother’s plot up here. She is “buried” (and I mean her ashes) at a plot in the Presque Isle Township Cemetery, but she has never had a gravestone. Each year I go to visit, I sit by a tree that is near to her plot (not remembering which location exactly is hers). Last year I discovered that her tree had been removed. As if I hadn’t felt ridiculous enough talking to a tree, now I get to just sit there and talk to grass; a generalized guess of where I think is the right spot.

Today, I finally walked into the local memorial store (I wanted to call it something fun like the Engraved Granite Boutique) and picked out a stone for her. It was a little daunting trying to pick something like that out, but I went with simple, basic info, and paid the nice man. In 30 days, Mom will finally have a stone and I (and my brother) will have a place to visit.

It is strange, but it feels like another piece of the puzzle to becoming “me” and taking charge of my life. Sort of “if you want something done, you have to do it yourself”. It just all fits back into my theory of it being your life and you can’t be afraid to take the reins and make things happen.

It is a little victory, but big or small, they all count.

If I am not back before, have a happy 4th of July! Sending you all love and well wishes of independence!

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72 Hours of Engaged Bliss and Already….

Type A Gemini twin and panic are setting in. (Side note: this will NOT be turning into a wedding blog, but you will be hearing about it on occasion.)

We are not concerning ourselves with a massive, go for broke, traditional wedding.. though those are beautiful.  We want something relaxed, laid back and all about our friends and family (not to mention we have two years to plan). I am noticing that even those have plenty of planning that goes into them and hundreds of things to think about.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by wonderful friends who have done this before and are willing to lend a hand, and I refuse to lose my sense of humor and focus on what a wedding is about in a pile of linen choices and flowers. BUT, I ask you, dear readers: To those who have been married before, what piece of advice would you go back and give your newly engaged self? 

Peace and blessings! Momma is headed out for a fabulous run tonight since training for the Chicago Marathon starts next week!

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You’re welcome

Is this Real Life?

Let’s just take it back to Friday when I had to drive to Chicago for an interview.

I was extremely excited about this position: PR for a start-up in Greek Town that produces premium, 100% natural, human-grade dog treats called Lincoln Bark.  The thought of doing PR for a start-up is a dream to me, especially a company like this with so much potential with a product I believe in!

I immediately fell in love with the owner, and we sat and chatted for two hours. She offered me the job on the spot, but it was only for two days a week. ¬†I didn’t think 1. that would be nearly enough time for me to accomplish what the company needs and 2. that wouldn’t be enough money for me to live on. ¬†This was a great opportunity though! ¬†She told me to think about it and talk it over with Paul.

Saturday morning I sat down to write her a thank you  note when my email dinged.  It was an email from her offering me the position again but for full-time! After a super quick chat with Paul, I accepted!  

We then got ready to head out to our “Preakness Stakes” themed going away party, hosted by our dear friends. ¬†All (well most) of our closest friends were gathering for one last soiree to give us a send-off. It was perfect!

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You can’t have a party without cheese…

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My handsome man!

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You also can’t have a party without puppies

About an hour and a half into the party, the hostess called everyone into the living room to give a toast. ¬†It was so great looking around at all of our closest friends and having them there with us… weird that they ALL had cameras, so I was feeling a little awkward. Then Paul said a few words telling our friends that they were our family and our home. Paul then said I had exciting news to share, so I told everyone about my job, I toasted to full-time employment and thought we were done when suddenly Paul said, “and there is one more thing”, and proceeded to drop to one knee and pull out a ring.

This is probably the part where you want to hear the sweet words he said and how I started to cry… but no, that would be too easy for us. ¬†Paul was immediately bombarded by the 3 golden retriever puppies that were in attendance, one which was trying to eat the ring. I blacked out and didn’t hear anything he said, but proceeded to flap my hands like a mad woman and call him an asshole because he had tricked me and said he wasn’t going to propose anytime soon.

Thank God I stopped my hands long enough and shut my mouth to hear him say, “will you spend the rest of your life with me?”, and I slid my puppy drool lubed ring on my finger and held on to a tiny shred of romance by hugging and kissing my fiance.¬†

How amazing to have all of our “people” there. It was a dream of mine to have our engagement happen like that and it was perfect. ¬†People really only remember the dog and the asshole comment, but it was perfectly us, and we got to spend the rest of the day with everyone celebrating.

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Dinner post going away/engagement party

There are better pictures that I can post later, but all I can say, in the most cliche way ever, is that I am the luckiest girl in the world!

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P.S. Holy shit, I’m a bride….

Adventures in Detroit!

Detroit gets a pretty bad rap from most of the nation, and most of Michigan; me included sometimes. 

Having grown up in a suburb of Detroit, I was fortunate enough to go to the Detroit Symphony, Tiger’s games, hockey games to cheer on the Red Wings, the Fox Theater and other little Detroit treasures. ¬†As an adult, though, short of the occasional Tiger’s game, I never go to Detroit, and I never really want to… Until I met my new co-worker Dana who lives in, and LOVES, Detroit.

She planned a Detroit day for Paul and me so that we could see Detroit through the eyes of a natives.

We started with coffee at her amazing loft which is right across the express way from Comerica Park and Ford Field and then made our way over to Eastern Market.

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Detroit skyline

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They had the most amazing flowers!

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I thought this couple selling bread was just too cute to not take a picture of.

We then headed across the street to grab brunch at this great little place: 

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They had so many great options and most everything is made from local goods, plus it is cafeteria style seating, so you can make some new friends. How many people would have guessed that there were places in Detroit to get a vegan waffle? 

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So good!

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Then we headed to Dana’s boyfriend’s building. ¬†It is a former Model-T dealership in Cork Town that he is renovating. ¬†The place just reeks of history and has the most amazing details! A tin ceiling, tiled floor, and two roof spaces for amazing views of Detroit.

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Ambassador Bridge from the roof top

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Michigan Central Station. It is abandoned now, but is still a gorgeous piece of architecture.

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The site of the old Tiger’s Stadium, now used as a park.

The second floor of his building is his living space, and is the coolest loft style space I have ever seen. So much potential!

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This doesn’t do it justice

We met a woman who rents a small retail space in the building and grew up in Cork Town. ¬†It was amazing to sit and listen to them talk about the history of Cork Town like when the Tigers won the World Series in ’84 and when people were bused into downtown Detroit when mental hospitals were closed around the state. ¬†You get a whole new appreciation for a city when you get to spend time with people who love it and are investing in it. ¬†

Our last stop in Detroit was Slow’s BBQ (for a vegetarian, I end up at a lot of BBQ places). ¬†It has a great reputation, and speaking only on behalf of the beer, service and mac n’ cheese, it was amazing.

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And one last look at Michigan Central Station:

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Detroit may get a bad rap, but there is tons to do in this city and lots of life thriving in it. ¬†It’s not out of the woods yet, but Detroit will have better days again.

(sorry for the terrible photos, I forgot my good camera at home)