The September List – 2017

Fall weather has finally kicked in, after a four-day heatwave with temps in the high 80s. I loved it. What I usually do to get these lists started is look at the photos I’ve taken for the month. Basically this month I’ve taken photos of flowers, which I’ve already shared with you. Soooo….I’m fresh out of ideas. This should be interesting.

1)  I told you about my new camera, but let’s go into detail. It’s a Sony a6000 with an E 50mm/1.8 oss lens, whatever that means. I trusted my friend’s photographer friend’s recommendation and just went with it. At first, it was very frustrating, not knowing all of the hundreds of different options. And I still don’t know them, but I’ve figured out how to at least take a decent photo with some tweaking of shutter speeds and aperture and all of that.

2)  I also bought the Adobe Elements photo editing program that I’ve been playing around with. It’s definitely more intuitive than Photoshop, but is going to take some figuring out, but I am hopeful.

3)  My dahlia garden is in full bloom, having loved the burst of sunshine we got last week. The best light is early evening, which is when this photo was taken.

4)  One of my last great summer homemade meals was this fettucine dish with peas, spinach, parmesan cheese and cream. The only thing that would have made it better is more cream and bacon.

5)  So now I am in charge of my work’s Instagram account. So I feel like I’m constantly taking and editing photos, which is great but also not great, because it leaves me with less time to take the photos I want to take. Thankfully, the other staff and teachers take loads of photos, so I need to rely on them more for images and just edit them.

6)  Over the summer I made some tweaks to my office, since I was going to be spending a lot more time there due to my increased hours. I took out two of the three desks and replaced one with a standing table. I keep forgetting to take an “After” photo, but here’s the before.

I did a LOT of spraying and wiping and vacuuming, you’d think there was a homeless person was living behind that desk. I managed to get some of the dust out, but since it’s an old building, some of it just will not budge.

7)  I still have a few vegetables in my little raised bed in our backyard. The chard is still looking good and there’s a little bit of kale. And a few carrots are hanging around, but no one cares to pick them because we all know they are super small and somewhat bitter, although very carrot-y tasting.

8)  I planted some of the nasturtium seeds from Shirley’s visitation. One in my stone bunny planter and the others near my vegetables. I’ve never planted them before and they grew easily, even with my neglected care.

9)  I replanted the hydrangea Shirley gifted me and I was SO nervous that it wouldn’t take well to its new and shadier surroundings. But I remember her telling me that one of the ways to learn about plants is to just try it. And if they die, then you try again, so I knew it wouldn’t upset her if moving it turned out to be a mistake.

It dropped a lot of leaves in the first month and for a while I thought I was going go lose the plant, and then in the last month or so, it decided to live, and even blossom. It still looks sparse, and this photo was taken when it was really cold outside, so the leaves are tight and look shriveled, but I’m hoping next year it will come back strong.

10)  My girlfriend hosted her annual mom’s back to school night, complete with champagne, donuts, craft cocktails and other fancy treats. I loved summer so much, but there is a giddy feeling that comes over me when the kids go back to school. Not as giddy as in past years, because this year it also means me heading into work vs. staying in my pjs and working from home, but exciting nonetheless.

11)  Our youngest turned six this month. It was the first birthday where I didn’t make the cake or cupcakes. I didn’t feel in the least bit bad about buying a store-bought cake, but I did sort of like the bragging rights of always making my kids’ cakes. Ah well. Local restaurant Marais did a really nice job on the two cakes (couldn’t decide between coconut and chocolate, so of course had to get both). They were a pretty penny, but so much tastier than another bakery would have done.

12) I can’t believe I made it to number 12! Just finished my third Tana French book, Broken Harbor. It was sooooo good. The ending got a little drawn out, but since the rest of the book was so great, I’m only taking off a half star for that. If you love crime fiction, you must give her a try.

I will close by saying that being a working mom with three jobs (I’m not even kidding, I am still doing payroll for my husband, freelance writing on my day off and on the weekends, and working for the school) is completely nuts. Nevermind that we don’t have a cleaning lady like everyone else in town so add that to the list of thing to do on my “off” hours, which is so dumb b/c I’m never off the clock, really.

However, I remain insanely grateful, even guilty, for being able to do all these great things like buy cakes and drink champagne and work in an office with million-dollar views and complain about cleaning my five bathrooms in my beautiful house that is still standing. Have been thinking a lot about all the tragedy around the world, and it’s even making its way into my dreams. Sending good wishes to all of you this crisp fall day. Happy October!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

The November List – 2015

IMG_3357 (1024x1024)

I am scrambling to put things together for the list this month. November came and went in a flash. Here goes….

1)  It seems like as soon as the cold weather came through, we got the decorating bug again. We got dining room furniture (finally!) which took forever to pick out.

IMG_3431 (768x1024)

Our table had to be  just the right size and it  had to extend to just the right size for larger gatherings. And it had to not be too formal (my request) or too rustic (husband’s request), but in the end we did go with a distressed one because it fit (lucky me).

My husband got the final say in the chairs (although I picked the color) because we went with my choice for the kitchen/family room (see below) last year.

IMG_9246 (1024x1024)

They are a bit formal for me BUT I have to say I really, really like them. I almost went with a light plum with the color instead of mustard, but that was more of a risk and I’m not much of a risk-taker when it comes to decor.

2) We also bought a bar…

IMG_3685 (844x1024)

…which we’ve been wanting for a long time. My husband has taken a liking to scotch (which is very Grosse Pointe of him). I love the concept of drinking scotch or whiskey –  the different bottles and the square ice cubes and the cool glassware. But unfortunately I don’t love the taste.

And yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A lot of these photos were taken just today because like I mentioned, I am behind on everything.

3)  Which brings me to my next decorating obsession: trays (see the round one on the bar?).

IMG_3688tray (1024x991)

I bought a tray for the living room, for the powder room, for the master bathroom. How have I gone my whole life without trays?!

4)  We replaced house number plaque that the former owners put up, with Heath Ceramics house numbers. It was quite the project. The old plaque was stuck there with tons of epoxy, which my husband spent all day taking off with various tools, electric and non. They are gorgeous.

BlurredHouseNumber (950x1024)

5)  Now our maroon front door looks extra out of place. Our painter was here yesterday (I know, I know. Separate post) and I asked him what he thought. He said he would definitely paint the sidelights (new vocab word for me) the trim color and not make it the same color as the door. I’d never thought of that and it seems like a great idea to me.

Here’s an example of painted and unpainted (not my house, obviously). What do you think?

Here’s our actual door (I can’t even talk about the doormat/rug right now so don’t ask).

IMG_3660 (768x1024)

6)  I’m hosted book group last night and I loved the book, but I can’t tell you what it was because I’m giving it as a Christmas gift. So I give you this book instead.

themagicians

it’s the first in a trilogy. I’m on the third one. It’s a great read if you like light fantasy (elements of magic, but not too crazy). I guess you could say it is Harry Potter-esque, but it is also very different. More grown up (which doesn’t necessarily mean better. I did love Harry Potter). The second was just okay, but I am getting into the third book. Hopefully the ending will not disappoint.

7)  We got our first snow of the season on the 21st.

IMG_3562 (835x1024)IMG_3569IMG_3577 (1024x768)

Our littlest ran outside as soon as it started to fall (if you look closely you can see snowflakes in her hair). It didn’t start sticking until evening and we didn’t get a whole lot, but there was enough to play in for a day or two and make a small snowman.

8)  I finally saw a show at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.

FoxTheatre

Photo via OlympiaEntertainment.com

The girls and I were invited to go see “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with another mom and two other girls. The girls were just adorable and the theatre is beautiful. We had a suite, which was extra awesome.

9)  Earlier this year, I won a blow out party at the salon I go to, Chez Lou Lou (which hands down has given me the best haircuts ever, even compared to the six different hair stylists I had in San Francisco).

IMG_3555 (768x1024)I redeemed the prize this month. A handful of gals and I were treated to champagne, tea/scones and had our hair done. Then we went to the Yacht Club for dinner and walked around their Holiday Mart.

10) Speaking of Holiday Mart, it seems like every time I turn around I see a sign for a different Holiday Mart. The War Memorial, churches, libraries, clubs, you name it. I don’t think I went to (or heard of) one Holiday Mart in San Francisco. You either shop in your neighborhood or online.

11)  We raked leaves for the last time this past weekend (the last week for leaf collection by the city was this week).

IMG_3438 (1024x768)Our birch tree is still dropping leaves (you can see it in the pic), but all our other trees (except the evergreens, of course) are bare.

12)  We had a great thanksgiving with my husband’s side of the family.

FamilyThanksgivingWe started with appetizers and a champagne toast (for my husband’s birthday) at Uncle Jim’s and then went to the Yacht Club for our meal. There were 19 of us! One baby, five kids and 13 adults. It was my first time having Thanksgiving at a restaurant, but it was pretty nice and of course there is no prep or clean up, which is fantastic.

This post had a lot of “stuff” in it. Furniture, accessories, theatre tickets, holiday marts. I am grateful for all of it but I thank my lucky stars even more for the non-material things – a roof over my head, a safe neighborhood, healthy kids, a family who loves me. The list goes on and on.

Enjoy your December and I will see you back here soon with another post about paint!

Reflections of Fall

IMG_3289 (1024x1024)

IMG_3288 (1024x1024)

News of our first snow storm coming tomorrow gave me the push I needed to get my Fall photos up! We had a beautiful Fall (it’s not quite over, I realize that, but many trees are bare now). Not quite as amazing as last year and not because it’s no longer new. The colors just weren’t as lush, probably because the leaves were drier, is my guess?

IMG_3287 (1024x1024) IMG_3269 (1024x1024) IMG_3189 IMG_3316 (1024x1024) IMG_3476 (1024x1024) IMG_3460 IMG_3291 (1024x1024)

Fall always brings a great moodiness to it that makes for much more interesting photos. Summer is beautiful in its bright, fresh way, but Fall and Winter make my camera happy.

As we head into Thanksgiving, I am feeling extra grateful for the ease of my life and the beauty that I get to see every day in the Lake, the trees, the sky. I will never take for granted these simple joys of life. Wishing you all a very lovely Thanksgiving holiday.

The October List – 2015

IMG_32901)  The fall foliage this year is beautiful per usual (my per usual is one year’s worth), but the leaves haven’t been great for collecting. Most of the ones that have fallen are already wrinkling or crispy or have black spots on them. Although in the last few days I’ve seen fresher ones. I remain hopeful.

IMG_2996 (1024x896) IMG_2997 (1024x940) IMG_2999 (1024x878)IMG_3022 (1024x1014)2) Mums the word. In a big way. How should we decorate for Fall? I’ve got it – mums! In planters! Flanking the front door!
(To prove my point, the first three photos were taken on the same block!)

I’ve always been annoyed by mums. I have no idea why. They annoy me like carnations annoy me. I get that they are one of the only flowering plants around this time of year and seeing their pops of color around town is kind of nice, but it’s a trend I just can’t get behind. (I will probably be eating my words next Fall as I decide what color mums to buy for our porch).

3)  I turned 43. So that.

For my birthday, my husband bought me a new iPhone. I’m not a big tech person, so I don’t know about all the other upgraded features, but I was excited to try out the new camera. At first, I didn’t notice the difference, but after a couple days, I picked up my old phone and flipped through the photos and wow, huge difference.
IMG_3211 (1024x1024)4)  I bought these fabulous shoes as a present to myself. I was so thrilled to have them (I’d been on the waiting list for weeks) that I wore them to go run errands one afternoon. It felt very Real Housewives.

IMG_30675)  Sort of also for my birthday (I like to celebrate all month), I took a solo weekend trip to San Francisco. I am usually really freaked out about flying, but this time I was giddy when I got on the plane. Five hours all to myself. What a treat.

It was so nice to be surrounded by familiarity. The sights and sounds of the city, and the people who know me to my core. It felt like home.

6)  My friend Erin and I stopped by Baker Beach one day to kill time and she made me get out of the car (I didn’t want to). I surveyed the trail I used to run every weekend, the cold Pacific Ocean, the glorious Golden Gate Bridge and the homes of Seacliff perched above the water.

It was too much to take in and I quickly jumped back in the car. Next time I think I can handle it. And I’ll be sure to pack my running shoes (which I purposely left home this trip).

IMG_3098 (898x1024)7)  Artisanal toast has not yet made its way to Grosse Pointe. A woman whose kids went to preschool with my oldest was on the cusp of this trend eight years ago (NPR even wrote about it here). But, San Francisco being San Francisco, the $4.00 toast is so yesterday (and when I say toast, I mean a piece of toast with butter. For reals).

Enter the $7.00 avocado toast. Some come with an egg or soft cheese or other garnish. Mostly all of them have olive oil or citrus oil or insert fancy oil name drizzled on top. I split one with Erin. Ours came with poppy seeds (and ricotta). It was delicious. Was it $7.00 delicious? Of course not. I figured out the profit on this meal and it’s pretty darn high. I’m envisioning a food truck parked on Mack Avenue, selling dry cappuccinos done right and avocado toast. I’d keep it in business.

IMG_3131 IMG_31328)  I haven’t spent much time in Sausalito, so it was fun to spend a morning there with a friend who recently moved in to the cutest apartment that almost (I said almost!) makes me wish I were single again. On top of the quaint architecture, the apartment offers sweeping views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and Angel Island that are to die for. We walked down the hill to town and along the docks. I felt like a tourist (I was a tourist) – it was awesome.

IMG_3255 (1024x768)9)  When I told people I was co-chairing the Book Fair this year, they would look at me like I told them I was a heroin addict (I’d have said cocaine, but heroin is the new drug of choice, at least at the local high school. But I digress).

It really wasn’t that bad, especially since the other chair had done it before and knew exactly what we were supposed to do and when, etc.

Side note: our school’s Book Fair is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in the region. Pretty impressive.

IMG_3184 (1024x782)10)  I finally went to Seldon Standard, one of the most talked about restaurants that has opened in Detroit within the last year (and there are a lot).

There were lots of scotch choices (and my husband enjoyed the $25 a pop one. hope it was delicious), the service was great and the food was delicious. Even though the experience was superb, we still think Chartreuse’s food is the best we’ve had here so far.

11)  I’m in a book group – wahoo! I started it with a friend of mine who I don’t know very well, which was part of the point. To get a group of women together who might not otherwise hang out. We are 10 strong (which is kind of a lot for discussions, but we will make it work?) and picked a spooky first book for Halloween.

It was….entertaining and amusing. A light read in terms of character depth (not much) and plot (meh). But it was a page turner, so I’ll give her that. I may start a monthly “what I’m reading now” blog post or I may just include it in my monthly lists, but expect to see more book “reviews” in the future.

IMG_3303 (1024x1024) IMG_3286 (1024x753)12) The Grosse Pointes are all decked out for Halloween. Even this fairy garden has a ghoulish visitor.

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

The September List – 2015

IMG_2904September flew by. It was one of the craziest months I think we’ve had since moving to Grosse Pointe. Our oldest started first grade and our youngest (who turned four this month) is in preschool. Doctor appointments, school shopping, teacher meetings, lunches, homework. I am finally finding some kind of rhythm to the school day as we settle into Fall.

IMG_2687havenotused (1024x1024)1)  When I was out trimming our dogwood, I looked down and saw this little nest. I think maybe the vibrations of the hedge trimmer made it fall out of the tree, but it had been long vacated anyway. I really wanted to take it inside for decoration because it was so perfect, but my fear of potential bugs and germs trumped that thought.

Beignetshavenotused2)  Went to Eastern Market and got beignets from the food truck for the first time. Oh MY. The guy in the truck was a little bossy, telling people exactly where to stand and getting grouchy if you stepped out of line to throw away your coffee (um, so sorry), but the deliciousness of the beignets made me think his crabbiness was actually kind of cool.

IMG_1805 (768x1024) IMG_2656 havenotused (768x1024)3)  There are several little pedestrian pathways in Grosse Pointe that I’ve come across on my runs/walks. At first I was afraid to go down them (would I be trespassing?), but after seeing a couple other folks use them, I decided it was okay  (although the second pic lies behind a wrought iron fence. Definitely private). Now I use them all the time, just because I can. And because it’s fun.

IMG_2734 (769x1024)IMG_2770 (768x1024)4)  The first time I witnessed the dinner napkin as guest towel was during my first visit to Grosse Pointe in 2006 (my husband then boyfriend brought me home to meet the family). I was part confused (am I really supposed to use this beautiful napkin just to dry my hands?), part flabbergasted (but the trees!) and part intrigued.

I didn’t realize it was a thing until I moved here and started seeing dinner napkins in people’s bathrooms! I’ve never seen this outside of Grosse Pointe (although Oklahoma friends, help me out? I don’t remember it, but maybe I just never noticed). And, now I’m thinking of getting some for our powder room downstairs for special occasions. IF I can justify the environmental impact (better to waste water on washing hand towels or better to kill a tree?  Hmmmm).

IMG_2906 (765x1024)5)  My husband and I went to a bowling clinic. And he bought a bowling ball. And I bought bowling shoes. So that.

IMG_2763 (869x1024)6)  Just when I thought it was safe to put away my garden supplies, I saw Shirley over the fence one day and of course she offered me more plants. She dug them up right then and there. They are called corydalis and are used a lot for ground cover. Hoping they will take root quickly and come back next Spring with pretty yellow flowers.

IMG_2945 (768x1024)7)  HOWEVER. I don’t even know why I bothered to plant them because the stupid squirrels have been digging them up EVERY DANG DAY in order to bury the acorns that have been falling by the hundreds each day. From our neighbor’s oak tree. That mostly hangs over our house. And no they won’t trim it because they love their trees so much (we offered to pay 50%). Sigh.

8)  Speaking of squirrels, another one died in our yard. My husband buried it in the exact spot where the girls like to dig. Really?!?

IMG_2970 (893x1024)9) Did I ever show you this? Our four-year-old likes to draw and color pictures for our dog. We tape them to a piece of cardboard near his dog bowls so he can enjoy them. It’s really cute.

hallIMG_2718 (768x1024)10)  We bought a new console table (and cute little succulents – yay!) to replace the bench that was in our entryway (which you can see in the second pic). Now if only we could find a rug to replace the maroon one that we inherited from the previous owners. I will say that the rug is very cushy and feels nice underfoot. Still…I can’t look at it very much longer.

IMG_2927 (1024x768)11)  This is what happens when you see the lunar eclipse and you only have your iPhone camera. Hahahaha. My husband and I sat outside by the fire with drinks (whiskey for him, bloody mary for me) and chatted and checked on the moon every now and then. It was pretty great.

IMG_2963 (1024x1024)12)  Fall is slowly making its way through the foliage. It’s definitely sweater weather now (okay, sweater weather for ME), and yesterday we turned the fireplace on for the first time since winter. I’ve said this before, but living with seasons makes life seem to go back that much more quickly.

Wishing everyone a wonderful October!