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?

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?

Currently

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.

Currently

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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?

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Can you believe today is the last day of 2016? This has been simultaneously the longest and fastest year I’ve had yet.

Part of me is extremely happy to say goodbye to 2016 and the other part of me doesn’t want to let it go. I’m trying to focus on the former.

I do always look forward to a new year. An excuse for a clean slate.

I’m not a big fan of resolutions but I am of goals.

For 2017 mine are:

Read more feminist literature

I’m a big believer that the best way to fight ignorance is with knowledge. It’s important to read as much as you can, not to blindly accept others opinion but to hear the arguments and use your knowledge to form your own opinion.

When you think about it, nothing kills an ignorant argument quite like a well researched, thought-out, educated counter argument.

I’ll be documenting what I read on Good Reads. 

I'm FINALLY on Good Reads! Have any good book recommendations? http://bit.ly/2hX8bvk

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Spend more time in downtown Detroit

If you haven’t heard about all the wonderful things happening in Detroit, you should really look into it. Between shops, restaurants, bars, stadiums and the Q-Line, Detroit is the place to be.

If you don’t live in Michigan and you’re looking for a great trip this spring, think about Detroit!

Good morning from Detroit ✌🏼️

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Travel to visit my favorites

I’m lucky enough to have some pretty incredible people in my life. Unluckily, they’re spread all across the world.

2016 was a busy year and I didn’t have much chance to travel and see them. 2017 will change that.

"We're all stories in the end. . . "

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Tell me, do you believe in New Years resolutions? Goals? What are yours for 2017?

A very happy new year to all you out there reading this! I have big hopes for 2017 for all of us! I think it will be the best year yet, for all of us!

Winter Wool Coat Guide

I had absolutely nothing to blog about today. From being snowed in this weekend and then feeling rather under the weather this week, I had nothing for you.

But THEN I stumbled across a few pictures I had uploaded after hearing quite a few requests for my leopard coat.

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Now, I hate to be the one to break it to you but my coat is quite old and they don’t sell this particular one any more.

It’s one of a few Ann Taylor jackets I have and I can tell you those babies last forever! If you’re in the need for a good wool coat, check out their current collection here.

I do feel bad though that I can’t link to my coat, so I did a little online window shopping for you. Here are some of my favorites:

If you like pattern coats, check out this one and this one.

A classic look: here, here, and here.

For a pop of color on a grey winter day: try this or this.

If you like to cozy up with fur: here and here.

Or if you really want to treat yourself, give this one a peek. Is that not unbelievably gorgeous!

There really is nothing better in the winter than a great coat. It’s well worth the investment and the best excuse to treat-yo-self!

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Grab a holiday bag

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Throw on your power shoes (similar – I have these in bordeaux) and you’re ready to tackle anything the holidays throw your way!

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Tell me, which one of those jackets is your favorite or did you find one even better that I missed? Looking through all those, I can tell you Nordstrom is positively killing it in the wool coat department this year!

Not So Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that a week after getting our family Christmas tree, I finally decorated it. Well, sort of.

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My parents are hosting Christmas this year and my dad figured the best way for spreading Christmas cheer was not to sing loud for all to hear but to buy a Christmas tree that just about touches the top of our cathedral ceiling.

A 12 foot Christmas tree seems like a good idea, until you have to maneuver it into your house and then tackle the task of making sure it’s perfectly straight.

After finally wresting it into place, no one was in any hurry to go near it again to decorate. So, this weekend, when everyone was working, I figured I’d play Christmas elf and decorate it.

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Under strict supervision, of course.

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I finally got to unwrap all my packages from Bronner’s and made sure all my favorites were displayed right in front for everyone to admire.

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Everything was going well and good (apart from the huge amount of sap that got tangled in my hair, that I’m still having a hard time getting out. Any suggestions?) until I realized the hard way that, even on a stepstool, I can’t make myself 12 feet tall.

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So, there’s our Christmas tree. Needless to say it was a good laugh and someone much taller than me finally stepped in to finish it a few days later.

Anyone else ever have this problem? How does your tree look this year?

Thanksgiving

A little late in the game (as always) but in my opinion, it’s never a bad time to talk about the holidays.

Thanksgiving was almost an entire week ago, can you believe it? It seems like it was just yesterday.

I think one of the best things about Thanksgiving is how differently people spend the day. Some have big parties, others see family members they haven’t seen in a year, some travel, some stay host and others, like my family, keep it small and cozy.

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Every year, our day begins lounging around in bed, getting out just in time to watch the parade (flipping back and forth between New York and Detroit) and enjoy Tazo’s Joy tea (my absolute favorite) and homemade coffee cake.

We lounge around in pajamas, oohing and ahhing over the new floats, singing along to Christmas songs and not-so-secretly hoping Underdog will float away.

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Still full from breakfast, we start preparing dinner (the key to not eat everything when you’re still cooking. Not that I do that) and bring out box after box of Christmas decorations.

Once the potatoes are peeled, veggies are chopped and the turkey is snug in the oven, we pop a needle on a Christmas record. It’s time to dance. I mean, decorate.

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We started putting Christmas decorations up on Thanksgiving a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite traditions.

With all the craziness that the holiday season brings, it’s so nice to have a day to spend in pajamas, slippers and makeup free.

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When the house is fully aglow, we grab a cup of cheer and settle down with our feet up as the house began filling with the smells of garlic and turkey.

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While little gremlins feel the need to slow down the cooking processes to taste . . . for poison of course. It’s for the betterment of the family, really.

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I love Thanksgiving. The time from Thanksgiving to Christmas is my favorite of the entire year.

It’s the time to reflect on your life, both the good and the bad. To realize all the good you have, remember that the bad will pass and that everything that happens, both good and bad, has led you to where you are.

On Thanksgiving, no matter how bad a year has been, my family has always found something to be thankful for and for that, I’m thankful.