Spring Weekend in February

Now, I don’t want to jinx anything but it has been *whispers* sunny and warm in Michigan for the last week.

In February.

January through March is the worst time of the year but it’s been between 40-60 degrees lately and the sun has been making an appearance, at least for a portion, of most days lately.

If you don’t live in the midwest, you won’t know how it feels waking up day after day to a dull, gray sky, low temps and bitter winds. To say it’s utterly miserable and depressing is a vast understatement.

Not recently though! This weekend it was in the 60s and the sun was constantly out – which worked perfectly for me. I took a much needed personal day and spent as much time outside, wearing sunnies and being unburdened by a heavy coat as I could!

Three days of waking up without an alarm clock to this face with nothing to do but roll out of bed and make breakfast and slowly enjoy a big mug of coffee.

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Saturday, we played in the yard and the Wolf got a much needed bath.

Is there anything better than a soft, clean pup?

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Completely exhausted, Lu dried off in the sun while I worked on some work (taking more study breaks than I’ll admit to go cuddle).

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Now, you know how much I love my Sunday mornings. Cuddles first and then coffee in bed while reading a good book. I live for mornings like these.

Being able to crack the window and let in some fresh air and hear the birds chirping was just icing on the cake.

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When we finally rolled out of bed, we harnessed up for a walk in the sun along the lake. Shedding jackets as we went and stopping here and there to point out our dream houses.

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The face of pure happiness.

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Completely exhausted, we came home. Lu to nap and me to get ready for this week’s midterms.

Studying isn’t half as bad when you can do it next to a window with the sun streaming in across your face.

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As much as I love sweater weather, this weekend gave me a taste for the summer and it cannot come soon enough!

Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari

My favorite part of the day is the morning. I wake up early, make breakfast and settle in at the table, reading, eating and enjoying a big mug of coffee. Everything’s quiet, the house is still and whatever craziness is in store for the day hasn’t happened yet.

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The past few weeks have been crazy so last week, I picked up Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance thinking I could use a little humor to start my days. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a huge Parks and Rec fan. I think Aziz is hysterical in the show and I couldn’t wait to read his book.

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I’ll admit, I didn’t read anything about the book before I bought it so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading it and quickly found out it was not a comedy book or hysterical memoir. It’s a sociological look at romance in the 21st century.

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Aziz teamed up with a sociologist from NYU and interviewed people from all over the world about their romantic lives and takes a look at statistical information from online dating sites and apps.

He talks about everything from the changes in dating from our grandparent’s generation where geographical proximity was key to today when dating apps open up the world to us to find our soulmates.

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He goes in depth about texting conversations, the history of online dating, what people look for in profiles and how picky we are and quick to judge others by the limited of information we initially share.

The most interesting chapter, I thought, was when he interviews people in other countries. The differences in dating in the U.S., Japan, Paris and Argentina are extreme.

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While it’s not the laugh until your belly hurts book I thought I was getting (don’t get me wrong, there are definitely funny parts – come on, it’s Aziz Ansari, you know there had to be) I still really enjoyed the book.

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I thought it was completely fascinating and well worth a read.

Tell me, have you read it? What did you think?

Galentine’s Day 2017

What’s Galentine’s Day?

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I love Galentine’s Day! I’m a firm believer in the importance of having strong women in our lives and a holiday that allows you to celebrate these women, what could be better?

If you don’t know what Galentine’s Day is, it was invented by Leslie Knope on Parks and Recs.

“Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

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A holiday that gives you an excuse to eat breakfast food and celebrate the women in your life who lift you up when you’re down, inspire you to do great things and challenge you to be the best you can be. Honestly, can you think of a better holiday?

Bittersweet at the Detroit Institute of Art

This weekend I was invited to a meet up at the Detroit Institute of Arts (you may remember it from this post) to view the Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate exhibit.

Can you think of anything more appealing?

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The exhibit is full of the most intricate and detailed tea and coffee pots and cups you’ve ever seen. Honestly, can you imagine having tea at a friends and she pull this out to pour you a strong cuppa?

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“From social revolutions that changed the way we drink our morning blends, to design revolutions that changed the objects that we drink from, step back in time to when gathering over a cup of your favorite hot beverage caused a stir that upended the world.

Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate is the first exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts to engage all five sense. In addition to seeing art, you can touch, hear, smell and even taste coffee- and tea-related beverages.”

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The worst part of the exhibit of realizing that it’s considered rude to drink spilled tea. Who knew?

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We were heard that this was a sensory exhibit, where you got to sample different coffee and tea but were a little disappointed when we made our way through the exhibit, looking at coffee pot after coffee pot and at the end were offered just 2 shots of coffee.

One an Aztec recipe and one a French – both had a number of spices in them which gave it a strong kick, sure to jumpstart your day.


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The exhibit was beautiful and while a little disappointing on the tasting end, it is worth a visit for this gem alone:

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No wonder she’s close mouth smiling (I use that term loosely).

While there, it’s a perfect excuse to wander around the museum.

It’s one of my favorite in the world. Every time I visit I notice something different and revisiting my favorites is like seeing an old friend.

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This is the first time I visited the courtyard since watching Frida and I may have geeked out a little.

No matter how you feel about Diego Rivera, there’s no denying how incredible his work is.

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Right now, there’s an incredible installation by New York street artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon.

It’s a 400 lb, 20 ft tall installation titled Thalassa located in the museum lobby.

It’s beautiful and haunting. You could stand there and stare at it for hours. The colors are vibrant and even when you look away, you find your gaze turning right back.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly Sunday than wandering around a museum.

A great way to remind yourself of all the beauty in the world.

Life Update – The Little Things

I read a blog post this week that was short, sweet and simple: a life update. A post about what’s going on, what you’re thinking about, what you’re liking and so on.

I love that idea. I don’t know about you but I find myself going back frequently to old blog posts from a year ago. It’s funny how much life can change in a year and I love the reminder of where I was then (whether it was good or bad).

My posts tend to look at the big things going on (new recipes tried (yes, that is a big thing), travel, visiting friends, family, new places, wandering) but not so much the little things. So, it’s early February 2017 and here are the little things in my life.

My daily mantra (no, I’m not just saying that. It really is the saying that gets me through most days) and tea. Lots and lots of tea. Black tea during the day and detox or, my new favorite, Moroccan mint at night.

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School. A lot of reading. A lot of late nights. A lot of caffeine. Worth all of it.

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Winter indulgent snack: popcorn. Skinny Pop to be exact. Tell me, what’s better than a bowl of popcorn as you curl up on the couch with the wind howling and the snow falling outside?

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Currently reading Modern Romance (a post on this coming shortly), Fordlandia and Once in a Great City.

I recommend all of them. Fordlandia is about Henry Ford’s acquisition of land in the Amazon and what a huge failure the venture was.

Once in a Great City covers the very prime of Detroit right before it’s downfall. Motown, the Mustang, the Olympic Bid, organized crime, corruption, urban renewal. It’s an easy read and so fascinating!

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Also reading Prince Valiant every week. The best comic around, hands down.

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Loving late night puppy cuddles. I mean, come on. Look at that face. Who wouldn’t love that?

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Little things like good lipstick (MAC Candy Cane Lane and Are You Flirting With Me which I’m wearing in that first photo)

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My new iPad and marble case.

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Elephants. Nothing new here but any excuse to talk about them, I’ll take!

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Mahogany Coconut candle and shea butter hand cream. The stuff of every midwest winter dream.

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Looking forward to Galentines Day! The best holiday of the year!

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What’s inspiring me:

Videos from this year’s and last year’s Makers Conference.

Incredible discussions on Our Shared Shelf. A great place to have respectful conversations about books, feminism and society.

The Crown. I know there’s controversy about the show but I love it and Claire Foy is fabulous!

Sheryl Sandberg recognizing the importance of work life balance and the importance of family. Just when you think she can’t get any cooler, she proves you wrong.

Mari Copeny because what’s more inspiring than a young girl standing up for her rights.

I’ve found that when life gets to be overwhelming, it’s important to focus on the good, little things. A warm mug of coffee in the morning, a long walk, an absorbing book. So, these are mine currently. The little things that make life good right now.

I’d love to hear what yours are! What keeps you going on a bad day?


Sunday Snaps

You know those weeks when everything that could go wrong does and it gets to the point where even when you go to bed you dream about all the chaos going on? That was last week.

By the time Sunday rolled around, we tossed around ideas of what to do with no enthusiasm or effort. Movies? No. Shopping? No. Downtown? No. Staying in bed half the day only to roll out to eat popcorn and finally get a start on the Gilmore Girls revival? Yes!

It’s funny, in college there was nothing more I hated than a weekend where I just sat around. I was always trying to find something to do or somewhere to go.

Now that I’m busier than I’ve ever been or maybe I’m just old but I can’t think of a better way to end a crazy week than lounging around with your favorite person, pushing responsibility aside and just enjoying the little things.

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A morning of puppy cuddles and enjoying the snow outside and the flowers inside.

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In the afternoon, pajamas were replaced with a mens sweater and slippers. The book replaced with Netflix. Popcorn was added as was more puppy cuddles.

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Does your dog sleep like this too? It honestly can’t be comfortable!

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We only had time for the first episode of the Gilmore Revival so no spoilers!

As the sun set, I got a little baking in (and more Netflix, let’s be honest).

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And, feeling recharged, hit the books until Lupin started tugging at my sleeve to go to bed.

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Only to find my new tulip fully in bloom. Nothing beats the winter blues quite like vibrant flowers!

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While it was no grand adventure, it was a great day and I had to share just a few snaps. Isn’t it nice to take a day to just slow down and enjoy the little things in life?

A Man Called Ove

There are some things in life that can’t be explained. No matter how hard you search for the right words, there are none. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings in the world.

It wasn’t until recently that someone said to me, those are things that aren’t meant to be explained, they’re meant to be felt. How true is that? One of the things I think are really meant to be felt is the feeling you get when a book touches your soul.

When you finish a book that has made you think, consumes you completely and you know life will never be the same again.

I just finished a book that did that for me: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

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The description on the back of the book is pretty vague so I don’t want to give you even the slightest spoiler. It’s a book about love, friendship, death and living. A book of unexpected relationships and the people who change your life .

I loved Ove. I loved Sonja. I loved Parvaneh. I loved the cat. I loved the daughters. I loved the silly Saab.

I would wake up early to get an extra chapter in, stretch my lunch breaks to the maximum, carry it around in my coat pocket so I didn’t miss any spare moments where I could dive back into Ove’s life.

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Remember when I wrote about the Little Paris Bookshelf and the literary apothecary who would prescribe the books people need?

Anyone who has ever felt alone, lost someone, counted on someone, formed unexpected friendships, loved animals, loved black coffee, felt a connection to a car. For anyone who has ever loved, lost, cried, laughed, cared for someone. Read this book. It starts a little slow but it’s worth it in the end.

I prescribe this book to you. Read it, come back and let me know what you think.

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The Music of the Night, Detroit

When I was a kid, my favorite story was one my mom told me of a ballerina at the opera house in Paris, a masked man with a disfigured face who fell in love with her and a terrific scene of a chandelier crashing down in the middle of the theater.

It wasn’t until college when I found out there was a movie of this story and then a few years later that I saw the play for the first time.

I realized she left a few important details out of the story (kidnapping, murder and deception, to name a few) but when I hear the first DUUUUUUN of that organ, I turn into a complete sobbing mess (like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman only more red faced and snotty). It’s my favorite story and I never miss a chance to experience it.

Especially if you can experience it in an Opera House.

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If you’ve never seen Phantom, you must at some point in your life.

The casts are always incredibly talented, the sets are beyond elaborate, every emotion on the spectrum is explored and a giant chandelier does actually drop, stopping just feet above the heads of those in the audience.

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It is my absolute favorite show and I never fail to leave the theater with tears in my eyes, entering the crowds on the street singing Music of the Night to myself.

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If you’ve never seen it and it’s not touring by you, take my advice and skip the theatrical movie (I’m totally with you that one should never pass up an opportunity to stare at Gerard Butler but trust me on this) and watch the live recording of the 25th anniversary production. You won’t be sorry.

Isn’t there something just so magical about a night at the theater. Tell me, what’s your favorite show? I’m always looking for new  ones to go to!




After having nothing but issues with PhotoBucket this morning, I decided to do a quick lazy life update than go another day without posting. Life has been . . . hectic!

I’ve traveled 2 places since Christmas – both of which were incredible!

Ready for the next adventure ✈️

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California is always a good idea (those mountains!) and New Orleans is a city like no other.

You can read my California posts here here here here and here and my New Orleans posts here here here and here

California strollin'

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Back to New Orleans on wandererandwolf.com

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As much as I love traveling, it’s exhausting! Especially when you have delayed flights and red eye flights.

This means my weekends here have been quite lazy.


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Plenty of time hanging with the pup and trying to stay healthy (doesn’t it seem like just everyone is getting sick this winter?).

"Let's go back to bed"

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Thoroughly enjoying the last day of vacation

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Health of the mind and the body. Both equally important in my opinion! Nothing is better for stress than a good yoga session, sweaty run or escape into someone else’s life.

Time to work off those beignets 💪🏼

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Plus a getting your sweat on allows you to be guilt free when enjoying the finer things in life.

Like this:

Bellinis make everything better

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Or this:

Still dreaming about last night's tiramisu 😍

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Currently I’m reading A Man Called Ove and just love it! I’ll post thoughts on it when I’m done.

Easy like Sunday morning

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I’m back in school too which is taking up a ton of time. I can’t say I ever knew what busy was until balancing working full time and going to school at night but let me tell you something, I love it!

First day of school photo. Never thought I'd be doing that again!

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In any extra spare time I have, you’ll more than likely find me sharing a jar of peanut butter with the wolf (who is loving the snow, by the way).

Peanut butter

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February I’ll be grounded and, hopefully, will work on one of my New Years resolutions of exploring more of my own backyard. I’d love a winter bucket list to go through though.

It’s so easy to fall into a a pattern of just spending your weekends on the couch, not putting on real pants. I need motivation to get out and do stuff. Any suggestions?

Rollin’ On The River, New Orleans

We woke up early on our last full day in New Orleans and dragged ourselves over to Cafe Beignet with the hopes of a big, delicious breakfast and even bigger cups of strong coffee.

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I made no secret of my love of Cafe du Monde so I have to tell you I loved Cafe Beiegnet just as much. Shaped like a tube stop with exposed brick walls, checked floor and palm painted ceiling, it’s something straight out of an avid Instagrammers dream.
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And the food! The omelets are french style, cooked to perfection. There’s no shortage of hot sauce and the chicory coffee is the perfect thing to make you forget you’re up early on vacation.

Did I mention I had grits for the first time? I was so scared after the scene in Secret Life of Bees but they’re pretty dull. Probably like oatmeal, you have to spice it up to enjoy it. What do you think? Do you like grits? Any good recipes?

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We left the restaurant and entered the thickest fog I’ve ever experienced.

You know that scene in Scooby Doo whenever they’re in thick fog and Scooby takes a knife and literally cuts it away? That’s the best way I can describe it.

The closer we got to the river, the denser it grew.

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The night before we purchased tickets (and dealt with the absolute worst customer service) to go on the Steamboat Creole Queen for a history tour.

As we boarded, we couldn’t see anything past the railing and had such reservations. What’s the point of a Riverboat tour if you can’t see anything?

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We had a very eccentric historian tour guide to entertain us as we stared out at a never ending wall of grey, sitting on wet benches with a cold wind making an absolute reck of our hair.

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Eventually the wind and rain got the best of us and we headed down into the lush cabin to warm up until we got to our stopping point.

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When we stepped off the plank onto solid land, the sun was putting up a vicious fight to come out.

We were immediately greeted with the sight of the most gorgeous pink mansion only to be told that that house has absolutely nothing to do with the Battle of New Orleans.

We were led to an empty field with a backdrop of a factory and listened to a very monotoned Park Ranger tell us about the battle. Well, that’s what we were suppose to do . . .

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We snuck away and did a bit of exploring on our own (reenacting movie scenes like the true adults we are) and by the time we boarded the boat again, the sun was out in full force.

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Completely famished (as always) after the tour, we headed over to the French Market for snacks and a spot of people watching.

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Enclosed on top and open air on the sides, I think there never is a time the Market isn’t crowded.

The front half is full of local produce, spices and food stalls where you can find everything from organic smoothies to freshly shucked oysters.

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The back half is the tourist trap. Every souvenir you could ever want is there in plenty as is every tourist in the city. The kind of place where you have to walk sideways through the walls of people jammed into narrow lanes just to get through.

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We spent the rest of the day strolling around the French Quarter and eating ice cream on the River Walk.

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We ended our night at an incredible restaurant (Muriel’s) but I have no photos for you. I was so swept up in being in this incredible city with one of my favorite people, the few pictures I took, I took hastily and they didn’t turn out which I’m fine with. It’s nice to live in the moment.

The next morning we rushed off to the airport to head home to opposite sides of the country, already planning our next trip.

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you must. If you’re afraid it won’t live up to your expectations, it will. It’s the most incredibly vibrant city I’ve ever been and I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list of must see places in your life.

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