Oh, the places we’ve “Bean”

Once upon a time, two kids fell in love. After a few years of dating, they got engaged. They had the most magical wedding ever with lots and lots of guests. And after living happily together for 19 years, they decided to celebrate with a trip to Chicago. This is the story of our little weekend get away.

I try not to make you guys think that my life is perfect. But this weekend came pretty darn close. The weather was sunny, warm (well, warm-ish) and it was an all around delightful weekend.

Ken found our place on airbnb.com. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend it. You rent accommodations from regular people all over the world. You can rent a whole house, a floor in a house, a room, a tiny house (some of these look enchanted) or even an artists’ flat (that’s what we did). We stayed in a house built in the 1880s in the Historic Pullman neighborhood in Chicago. George Pullman built the town and the row houses for the employees at his railroad car company. He charged them rent and even established behavioral standards that his employees had to meet in order to live in the area. After a depression in 1893 the demand for his rail cars declined and the company laid off many workers and changed many other employees to pay-per-piece work. Even though the company went through these cutbacks, rent was never reduced for employees. After Pullman’s death the state of Illinois told the Pullman company that they had to sell the town since it was operating outside the company’s charter. And within 10 years the company sold the houses to its occupants (seemed to me that was a long time coming). Since that time, the town has gone through many changes (including being absorbed into Chicago) and was almost demolished for an industrial park! The residents were responsible for saving their neighborhood and I’m so glad they did.

This is the outside of the house. Charming, isn’t it?

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The owner is an artist and you can see his touches all over the house. I could have stayed there for a month!IMG_1113 copy"IMG_1109IMG_1256 copy 2
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I love how he left the lath and plaster still visible inside the medicine cabinet.

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And then we were off to the city. We were walking distance to the train station and it was a short 15-20 minute ride and there we were. The city was in bloom all over the place. It was a perfect Spring day. Our first stops were Millennium Park and the Bean:

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And of course, we did our jump/levitation photos:

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We had lunch at one of our all time favorite places:

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After lunch, we walked all around the city, went to the top of the John Hancock building:"IMG_1216 Navy Pier, along Lake Michigan and to Lincoln Park to theeee best pizza place I’ve ever been to, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. It’s a tiny place in Lincoln Park that has the best only pizza pot pie I’ve ever had. Yes. Pizza.pot.pie. There’s the cutest little old man who doesn’t keep a host ledger. He remembers your face and comes to find you when your table is ready. Even if there are 10 other parties ahead of you he will remember your face. It’s amazing. If When you go, I suggest you get the Mediterranean bread, the chef salad (and try both the sour cream/garlic and sweet and sour poppy seed dressings) and the meat lover’s pizza pot pie. You will not be disappointed. After we had finished stuffing our faces, we decided that the walk to the train station was too far so we took a bus there instead. We’re such the city folk. Well, ok, maybe the real city folk don’t get excited about taking a train, bus and walking all over the city. But I can pretend.

It was the perfect day in such a great city. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. The next day we got up and drove to Oak Park. Can’t wait to tell you what we saw there!

Chasing fall

Do you ever feel like you just cannot wait for fall to arrive? Do you ever feel like you can’t wait for it to come to you so you decide to just go chase it down? That’s just what we did when my mom came to visit. On Saturday we went Up North to find fall. As it turns out, the best color was found off our beaten path. Is it that way with just us or do you find that happens to you as well? Our trip was originally only going to take us to the tunnel of trees on M119 (you can read about this beautiful drive here) but when we stopped for lunch about 1/2 way we changed our plans a little, thanks to hashtags and a very nice gentleman at Bear’s Den Pizzeria in Grayling, MI. If you’re looking for a yummy pizza with super friendly people, this is your place. All morning we had been joking about hashtags and how they’re getting out of control. (And if you know anything about my family, you know we beat that dead horse for hours and hours.) Before I go any further, if you haven’t seen Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake poke fun at the hashtagging phenomenon, then do yourself a favor and watch this:

Back to my story. I went to Instagram, put hashtags to work for me and happened upon a picture from Deadman’s Hill (for you Michiganders, this is near the Jordan River Valley). One of the employees heard that we were trying to find it and was so kind to come back with written directions. Talk about going above and beyond! After devouring the pizza, we were off! Here are some photos I snapped on our way…My mom has become quite the Instagrammer!
This is the view from the scenic overlook. Beautiful, isn’t it?I need your opinion. The overlook is situated on a hill. Should this photo stay as is and have a wonky fence and straight horizon…

OR should the fence be straightened and the horizon become crooked?
Which one looks better? Obviously, I think both are perfect since this hottie is in them. By the way, he has lost over 40 pounds this year and I think he looks simply looks amazing. 

After some more picture taking, we were back on the road.I’m pretty sure I could live here:It was a great day and I’m so glad my mom was able to see some color. Hopefully next year my dad can come along, too! And since it’s been a while, I made a movie of my mom’s visit.

Touristing to Cranbrook

Remember when I was posting regularly and I had a series called “Touristing“? If you don’t, I’ll refresh your memory: Basically I found sights around my own town that I had never seen or visited. It was a nice way to see my city (that I didn’t love) with fresh eyes. I was thinking I should pick up this series again now that we live in Michigan and everything is new. 

The weather today was heavenly. Like…magical. Sunny. Bright. Warm. Blue skies. Refreshing. It was definitely an outdoor day. Earlier this week we decided that we would venture outside this weekend. After being indoors for the past few months, it was time to attack the outdoors! 

We decided to check off Cranbrook from our list of things to see since the name has come up on more than one occasion from friends. Currently, the grounds is home to a boarding school, an art museum, Academy of Art, a science center and the founder’s house and gardens. Here are a couple of facts that might help you win the next game of Trivial Pursuit: the Eames brothers are graduates of the Cranbrook Art Institute (oh, how I would love to have a house filled with Eames furniture!) and Leonard Bernstein wrote portions of The West Side Story while staying on the grounds. Given that it’s early spring, the scenery really wasn’t anything too exciting. Trees were still bare, grass was still brown, fountains remained off and even one of the waterfalls was still frozen. But it was glorious to be out and about. I thought ahead and brought my camera but regretfully left my memory card at home. Mind you, this was not the first time I’ve done this. When will I learn? Oh well, that’s why God invented the iPhone. 

Here are a few photos from our day: 

This is a man after my own heart. Not for the car decor, but for the travel. I’m sure whoever owns this car is full of stories. The rare self-portrait. It’s acceptable when a cutie in the photograph draws attention away from me. 

I saw these rocks all lined up and had this video in my head. It didn’t turn out like I hoped it would; I’m thinking a tripod would have come in handy. I’ll have to remember that next time.

I can’t imagine how pretty this is in the summer or at the height of spring:Now that it’s officially spring, what have you been doing? And where are some other places in the Metro Detroit Area that we should put on our Touristing list? 

Happy (snowy) New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year’s. We were all recovering from a cold last night so it was an early night for us. Grab a warm drink and let me tell you what’s been happening here the last week.

We’ve gotten snow and lots of it!

It started Christmas Eve. Just like a movie, it started on our way to the Christmas Eve service at church. This is what it looked like when we got back:

We got a break on Christmas day but it started up again the day after Christmas. It was amazing (says the Floridiots)!

There’s a rumor that I may or may not know how to make a snow angel. Ah’em…The following photo is for my Florida friends’ benefit. I’m sure you northerners are all too familiar with images like these:Jackson is still shirtless most days. And if he’s not watching the snow from inside…then he’s outside playing in it.The two of us built our very first snowman of the year. Ethan was under the weather so he decided to skip the very cold activity.

We’ve been pretty busy these days. Here’s what we were up to today:

 

Tree shopping and chopping

These are obviously from a few weeks ago. Our tree is now in our living room complete with all the lights and decorations. This year we decided to cut our own tree and I’d like to make this a tradition. It was pretty chilly that day – perfect for Christmas tree shopping/chopping. 

There was still some snow/ice on the ground from a few days earlier. Jackson liked blowing it off the leaves:Found the perfect one (and in our budget):

My Paul Bunyan:Do you cut your own tree? Or are you a firm believer in the artificial ones? 

Dusting…but not the housecleaning kind

We had a little snow the other day. Not much to stick around; just a dusting. Jackson actually got ready for school early so that he could play outside. Early, folks. That’s something that never happens. Ever. 

There’s a park right down the street from us. I braved the winds to see how this little bit of snow changed the view: We’re hoping to get some more for Christmas but I think that’s just wishful thinking. Who knows, maybe Santa will be nice to us this year. How’s the weather in your backyard? 

“Get your booties on ’cause it’s coooold outside!”

(Can you name that movie quote?)

Hey guys! I’m fresh off a visit with my family and revved up to start blogging again! We had 10 people in our little house and it was…amazing! People everywhere! Food everywhere! Jackets and stuff everywhere! I loved every minute of it. Here are a couple of pictures from their visit. I didn’t lug my camera around so you’ll have to settle for iPhone photos. (I’m on Instagram as #shortlong if you care to follow me there, too.) We took them to Frankenmuth and my boys showed Molly how to roll down a hill. I think she might still need some practice:

It was so cold that Ethan and I shared a scarf for a little bit:(Yes, I’m short. Be nice & tell me you imagined me as someone who was 5′ 5″, m’kay?)

While they were here, we also checked out the cider mill:We took them to the Tiger Stadium:Rode the Detroit People Mover: 

Then the day after they left (of course), we got a little surprise:

It’s been chilly around these parts. Jackson has left his mark:How has the weather been in your neck of the woods? It’s so funny to me that we’re all bundled up with scarves, hats and gloves and it’s still not winter yet! That’s just crazy for this Florida girl!