Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Friday

This is my current mantra. I love the work and responsibilities I have at my new job but there are certain aspects that are very challenging. It's been a struggle at times and this week, more so than others. Consequently, I'm regularly reminding myself to focus on the good. It's also all about perspective and given the devastating stories we all read about in the news and others experience first hand, I can't help but be grateful for my good fortune. 

It's another busy weekend. I'll get to see my former co-workers too which is particularly needed. Tonight Mr. B is coming for a BBQ. Tomorrow I'm joining Granny for an all-day Black Catholic Women's Conference. In the evening, Danny and I are going on a double-date with Chris and Emily at one of the new restaurants downtown. If the weather agrees I'd like to get up early to walk Kensington again with Cara, it was beautiful last week. Then I have an afternoon lunch planned with my Levinland ladies. In the evening, I'll endure another episode of Once Upon A Time with Gina. Good times all around.

Photo Source: Pinterest

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Downstairs Decor

As previously noted, after two years at our townhouse we're entering our next stage of decorating. I'm actually really glad we waited because I feel more confident about my style. Since we are renting, I'm conscientious about our purchases. I try not to spend too much money and with the exception of paint, we can take everything with us.

Aside from our beautiful blue hallway, my favorite change has been to the kitchen. With the help of IKEA, we created additional counter space and the increased functionality. It was a super simple project, we put two shelving units together and placed a piece of plywood across it (Home Depot cut it to size). We haven't even glued it down yet because it stays put as is. I'm sure the Kurig helps, which is great because I probably would have gotten rid of it if we didn't have all this new space. I'm normally leery of open storage; however, this is a great way to hide the microwave (another item that was on the chopping block), and provide ease of access to the food processor and our everyday casual dining set. Since these items are big or bland, it doesn't look messy and that is what I wanted most.

The floating shelf adds some character and additional storage. Danny doesn't provide much input in decor but he did want to hang some of his photographs. We picked out some of our favorite Detroit pictures and hung them in floating frames. The wicker basket is a laundry basket that was given to us and is now used for recycling and a purse shelf. 

The dining room has seen gradual change over the years. We found a beautiful and solid dining table on Craig's List. Later I bought fabric chairs to match. All dining rooms need a pendant or chandelier as far as I'm concerned, and this light was an absolute steal. It was exactly what I wanted and I love it. 

I hated our blinds since the vents always made them rattle. The curtains add a pop of color and silence. Lindsey was a BIG help in this area because it never occurred to me to purchase four sets of curtains (in this case eight since I have white on the outside to help with light). Since our new pendant is dimmer than the old light, we desperately needed a lamp. Another exactly-what-I-wanted find from Target keeps us from living in a cave and offers a little display space and character. It's also stable enough for our children's play area. I never loved the wording on our wall collage and welcomed the excuse to replace it. I used gold spray paint on the black frames and literally flipped the matting to use the white side. A simple fix, for a nice change. Finally, Danny rearranged the furniture and it's amazing how such a seemingly small change can make a place feel so different. It reminded me why I was obsessed with rearranging my bedroom furniture as a kid.

Shelving Units: IKEA $18.99, $24.99
Plywood: Home Depot 
Floating Shelf: IKEA $14.99
Picture Frames: Micheals $9.99, $14.99
Old English D Candle: Green Toe Gardens $7.50
Pewabic Tile: Pewabic Pottery $24

Dining Room
Dining Chairs: Target $169.99
Pendant: Target $39.99

Living Room
Curtains: IKEA $24.99
Curtain Rod: Target $19.49
Floor Lamp: Target $59.99

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

King Lear

Danny is a pretty good sport when it comes to activities that interest me; however, when I learned Shakespeare in Detroit's performance of King Lear was over three hours long I knew I was pushing it. To avoid a potential fight, I decided to dump him and take Lindsey on a date night. She loves Shakespeare and a Detroit adventure sounded right for a busy mom.

SiD performs at Marygrove College's theater and it was my first visit to the campus. We were stunned to see how gorgeous the architecture is. Marygrove is beautiful old world, surrounded but a challenged new world. We didn't have an opportunity to explore but it's definitely on my to-do list.

On to the evening's main event...

I'll admit I have never been a Shakespeare fan. I don't understand Old English and I see too much folly in his stories to like them. That said, I have great respect for art and culture and I value appreciating things I might not fully understand. It's for that reason I wanted to see King Lear even if I had no idea what the story was about and couldn't understand 75% of the dialog.  Fortunately, the language barrier didn't matter because the actors' emotional performance spoke volumes.

SiD casting for King Lear is fantastic. The play has a large number of character but SiD only has a cast of about a dozen actors; therefore, some people had to play double duty. These talented women and men do such a good job, they give all the characters their own identity and the audience knows exactly who is who at all time. As previously noted the play is long; however, the actors bring a high level of emotion to the play from start to finish.

Last month I spoke with costume designer Cal Schwartz and it led me to pay extra attention to the wardrobe. The characters in this world of King Lear wear grunge attire and it perfectly fits the dark mood of the tragedy. Cal integrated different fashion elements that tied all the characters together, at the same time he gave each house a unique look. This helped give the characters identifying qualities while tying the show together as one story. The visual fit the story so perfectly, I can honestly say seeing King Lear in tights wouldn't feel right.

Unfortunately, Shakespeare in Detroit didn't meet their fundraising goal and there won't be a summer performance this year; however, King Lear has two more performances this weekend. If you have time, I think it's worth it. Tickets are available here

Monday, April 13, 2015


I try to stay away from the controversial but this is a personal blog and I am beyond thrilled by Hillary's announcement that she's running for president. As previously noted, my passion for elections has seriously waned since 2008. I was very active on her last campaign and was amply rewarded with separate professional photos with her and Bill. This time around I need no pictures, simply a win. Hillary Clinton is intelligent, level-headed, experienced and more than capable of turning things around. I would say with confidence that she'd have more knowledge about the White House and Congress than any former incoming president.

Equally important to me these days, is that she's a woman. I will have many arguments with people in the next couple years that a woman can't be president. The thought appalls me and I will consequently fight hard on the issue. For anyone with doubts reading this think about the women in your life and tell me she isn't the person who gets the job done. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Friday!

I often mention my Levinland peeps but my LCCers are equally as important and part of my life. I worked at the Livonia public library from 16 to 21 and the folks there have seen me at my lowest points and most dramatic (teenage years are rough). After all this time I still talk to, visit and see many of the people I worked with (in fact, one person I see every single day). I'm grateful for these relationships and the support I've received from them over the years. Aside from great friendships, the other fun thing about working at the library was the epic adventures and crazy stories. I'll be catching up on the latest in library lore with Kat and Jack tonight and can't wait. We've been WAY overdue for a hangout session.

After dinner, I'm heading downtown with Danny, Mom and B for some more casino nights - Danny's considering Greektown this time. Tomorrow I will be working on the house. There is a lot of spring cleaning to be done and I also want to finish decorating our bedroom. In the evening, I'm having a girl's night with Lindsey and we're going to see Shakespeare In Detroit's King Lear. I'm excited, especially since I don't know the story - shameful I know. Sunday I'm meeting Cara at Kensington for an 8 mile walk. The exercise and girl time is very much needed. OUAT is back after a short hiatus and Gina will come over to watch some cringe-worthy television - and drink wine.

UPDATE: Season 5 of Game of Thrones starts Sunday! We will be watching that too.

P.S. Have you heard that Shakespeare's a fraud?

Photo Source: Kat's Facebook