Life Update

Where has the time gone! My last post was over a month ago, I can’t even believe it.

I can now attest that “March Madness” is not a term exclusive to basketball. Combine that with school and other home responsibilities and that’s what’s been going on. So, within the time since my last post . . .

Flannels have been traded in for chambray shirts.

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The books I’ve been reading have been for school and have been awesome!

If you’re interested in history, you should absolute check out Penny Coleman’s book on Rosie the Riveter.

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It’s officially blossom time! I ran through a tunnel of bloomed trees the other day and I could not have had a bigger smile on my face.

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Our trees practically bloomed overnight thanks in large part to the massive amount of rain storms that have been rolling in.

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Fantastic for flowers, not so great when your Wolf needs a walk.

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I really can’t complain though. Just look at them!

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It’s also time to start eating outside. For me, there’s no better way to pass a summer evening than with a glass of wine in the sun.

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The Wolf is pretty happy about it all too.

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He loves to wake up and say good morning to his friends through the window.

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Baseball season is finally here. Baseball, Summer Shandy and pizza, it doesn’t get more summer than that!

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That’s about it! February to April is the most hectic and boring time of the year.

Not entirely winter, not yet spring. All anyone wants to do is curl up, wrapped in a blanket and hibernate until the blossoms appear.

May on the other hand is fantastic! It marks the start of early sunrises, late sunsets, summer breezes, long walks, cotton dresses, road trips, fresh fruit. It’s my favorite time of year and it’s right around the corner!

P.S. all photos are from my Instagram. If you haven’t checked it out, you should!

Michigan Blackout

If you live in the Midwest, you’ll know that a two weeks ago, a massive windstorm ripped it’s way through Michigan. It was reported to be the biggest weather event in DTE’s history.

Gusts reached over 60 mph resulting in over 800,000 people losing power, massive tree damage and over 4,000 down power lines.

To add insult to injury the day after the storm, temperatures rapidly decreased to the teens.

I remember as a kid thinking blackouts were exciting but this was an entirely different story.

The day of the storm, my house still had power. I came home from work the next day to it completely out, resulting in a frantic scramble for batteries and candles, all while trying to calm down two very nervous dogs.

As the night rolled in, you become engulfed in an impenetrable darkness. It feels like a think velvety black curtain has completely engulfed you – it’s extremely unnerving.

I settled in on the couch for the night, wrapped up in layers and piles of blankets, reading a book by flashlight until my eyes couldn’t take it anymore.

Late the following night, as the house was getting increasingly cold, with a pop of the speakers, the power came back on.

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I was incredibly lucky that I had such a short duration without power. Some people didn’t get power until days later and I can only imagine how cold their houses got.

Lesson learned as spring approaches bringing storms with it – always be sure to have a stack of fresh candles and batteries on hand!

The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson

My life has been pretty uneventful as of late, not that I’m complaining though. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than doing nothing on a chilly winter day.

I’ve been busy with school (midterms were a few weeks ago and now it’s time to hunker in preparation for final papers), it’s March madness (no, not THAT March Madness but equally if not more crazy) at work and then there’s the odds and ends of personal responsibilities at home.

I took a few days off work last week and, apart from walking Lupin, I didn’t leave the house. I changed from one pair of pajamas to another, reading adventure stories, watching movies (I finally got around to Iris and she is now my absolute obsession) and eating pizza. It. Was. Amazing.

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As much as I love a good adventure, I love a good do nothing day, or days if you’re in much need of a life break.

The point is, I took my time off and read and there was one book in particular I want to talk about: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson.

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It explores her relationship with her gender fluid partner, Harry Dodge and their life together, the birth of their son and their changing bodies – when Maggie becomes pregnant, Harry undergoes surgery.

It’s a book that makes you think about identity, liberation and considering what is radical or normal.

Fair warning, if you’re looking for an easy to read, feminist  book, this is not the one you should choose. I’m extremely glad I read it, it’s thought provoking and emotional. Her love of Harry can’t stay contained to the page and seems to fly off right to you, the reader.

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I wasn’t a huge fan of her writing style. At times I could get tripped up on what she was saying, especially at the points that were very academic and philosophical, so I had to go back to reread which, in the end, I don’t think was a bad thing because I ended up with a deeper understanding by taking my time and reading it more than once.

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One of the main purposes of reading is to see the world through different eyes and Maggie Nelson has given such a good honest look into her world, I recommend taking a peak into her world and giving The Argonauts a try.

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Have you read it? What do you think?

The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler

If you saw on a goodreads last week, I recently read The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

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The book kept popping up on my goodreads feed. People were commenting how much it impacted them, how fantastic it is and the like.

Before this, I heard about The Vagina Monologues, in an almost mythical way, as one of the key artistic pieces of feminism. It sounded powerful. It sounded intense. It sounded intimidating.

I dedicated this year to reading more feminist books to learn about issues talked about all the time, issues never talked about and subjects that society has told us to be uncomfortable about. I wanted to hear opinions that align with my own and opinions that differ.

I wanted to understand feminism, women’s rights and what it means to be a woman today in the most wholistic sense possible.

The Vagina Monologues, or what I’ve heard of it at least, made me uncomfortable.

It was exactly what I was looking for.

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I started the book on a lazy Sunday. Lounging around the house, elastic waistband clothes on, no makeup, smoothie in hand, sun streaming through the windows.

I finished it that day.

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I. Loved. It.

Yes, it can be intense. Yes, it can be intimidating. Yes, it certainly is powerful.

The monologues range from funny to heart breaking. From young girls to older women. From women of sexual assault to women giving birth.

I think the mythical feature that I talked about earlier comes from the fact that the play (Ensler toured around the country performing the play and it soon became a massive political movement) uses the word “vagina” on every page, multiple times. Not to mention it’s printed in large bold letters on the cover.

Vagina is a word that people don’t use. It almost feels taboo. Even more, people don’t talk about vaginas. It can be seen as shameful to do so. In response, Enlser began interviewing women about theirs and it soon became a revolution.

The monologues then went on to inspire the V-Day Movement to stop violence against women. If you get a newer copy of the play, there’s tons of information about it in the back.

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Honestly, I loved the Vagina Monologues. It’s a book that I think is so incredibly important and I would highly recommend it to everyone – both men and women.

I’m a big believer that discussing topics like this is the first step in bringing about change and, believe me, there’s no shortage of topics to discuss in The Vagina Monologues.

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Have you read TVM yet? What did you think and what was your favorite Monologue?

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?