Hey, hey and Happy Tuesday!
I have a feeling a lot of you are slowly easing back into the work week after a long, (hopefully) relaxing and fun holiday weekend. As am I.
I apologize for missing out on posting until this afternoon… I got a super last minute request to do a dancer appearance and jumped on it, so I’m just now getting back to the computer.
Anyways, back to the weekend… for not having any plans, Scott and I ended up making yesterday an eventful one by walking around Downtown Detroit and popping into one-of-a-kind spots!
Before we moved here, the two of us only had bad thoughts when anyone put those two words together. Downtown Detroit just doesn’t seem to be the safest place to wander, right? Over the past few months, our friends have been on a mission to help us realize that not everything in the D is terrifying.
And in fact, a lot of it is worth seeing.
Downtown is where we kicked off the weekend with friends, then also where we finished it as a decision all on our own. What I got as a result is a ton of photos and things to share, so I am going to do my best to recap it all in highlights!
Memorial Day Weekend 2014 Highlights
• dinner at Luxe in Birmingham
Birmingham might be my favorite area in the surrounding suburbs. It’s considered to be a very walkable community and always has things to do and see, including unique restaurants and weekend festivals.
We had dinner plans with our friends Alex and Alex (yes, a girl and a boy duo) Friday night at Luxe, a spot none of us had previously visited. We sat down quickly, thanks to call ahead seating and all noticed the cool character in the decorations right away.
Their menu had plenty to choose from, and it was hard for me to actually decide what to order. The four of us split a gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup entree for an appetizer which isn’t pictured. When I saw it, I lost all train of thought to document anything. Yum.
I ordered the Greek salad with shrimp for my entree and even had leftovers.
Everything was so tasty and fresh!
• dessert at Astoria Pastry in Downtown Detroit
We purposely saved room at the end of dinner to check out a new-to-us dessert place in Detroit.
Scott found Astoria Pastry after researching “the best desserts in Detroit” online, and when we got there I could see why the ratings were so high.
The selection of fresh bakery items was impressive and there was line was out the door!
After intently scanning the windows for a few minutes, I settled on the oreo cheesecake and Scott got some kind of strawberry shortcake. I meant to take a picture of it, but instead I got the outside of the box that took me back to how they tie their boxes at Mike’s Pastry in Boston!
As you can imagine, all of it was worth every single calorie.
• family trail running
Saturday was a typical one around our household. It started off with breakfast, several hours of studying, and projects around the house including a full cleaning by yours truly and several loads of laundry. Pretty glamorous stuff, ya’ll.
Scott spent most of his day in the garage, then detailing his car and before we knew it, the sun was setting. We wanted to get Roadie outside, so we planned a casual four mile jog through the trails to enjoy some fresh air.
I shared this on Instagram over the weekend, but I got the biggest kick out of these two.
They both kept racing to be in front the entire time, and per usual, I was huffing and puffing behind them just to keep up. (Competitive much?)
Even through the (what felt like) sprinting, I found some time to enjoy the scenery and soak up the beautiful sights along the trails.
Ahh! I’m so love with all of the green popping up!
• homemade meals
After we got in from our run, I put Scott in charge of dinner since I always take longer in the shower. It’s a girl thing.
I came downstairs to an almost finished dinner that I was proud of him for putting together!
He used pickling spice on the corn and green beans, seasoned the chicken in barbeque sauce, and we enjoyed dinner in front of Netflix.
Homemade dinner number two by Scott came Sunday night, with the embellishment of steamed kale on the side by me. He even used Amy’s Organic Spicy Chili to top it with. I had a little proud wife moment there.
Gah! I could face dive into sweet potatoes. I love them so, so much.
• Memorial Day Parade with HOOPER
Some of you might have seen me share this photo as well.
Sunday morning consisted of everything red, white, blue, and horse and proved once again that my summer job as HOOPER‘s assistant never proves to be boring.
I arrived with the furry guy to St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade right before 11 a.m. We had plenty of time to find our spot in line and decorate the HOOPER mobile in patriotic flair.
I had the task of creating an upbeat patriotic playlist to play while we strolled through the streets.
I also acquired the special task of driving that van (which is a real, retired ambulance) up and down the streets while waving and smiling to people. It was really fun!
• surprise slurpee bar
I stumbled upon a chicken and fruit salad from Red Olive before we started the parade and dove right into it after we finished.
Scott met me at the arena to pick me up and on our way home we both got the craving for slurpees. We stopped at the usual gas station by our house, but this time the slurpee section quadrupled in size and selection!
As Scott’s shirt suggests, it was pretty epic.
Cherry limeade and strawberry for this girl! Perfection.
• no-go on Chicago
With no plans for the next two days, we toyed with the idea of being spontaneous and going to see our friends in Chicago. You know, like that one time we decided to drive over for Christmas at the last minute.
Instead, we got a flat tire, thanks to a broken tire valve.
While washing the wheels, it completely blew off and took a good few minutes to find it again. We barely made it to an auto repair shop before it went completely flat.
I decided to include this as a “highlight” because… well… have you ever seen that happen before? Both Scott and I hadn’t. It was so weird.
Anyways, the lovely folks at Wal-Mart were very helpful and fixed it for us in under a half hour.
• Downtown Detroit
As you already know, we decided to rain check our trip to Chicago and spent Memorial Day in Detroit instead.
We are still considerably new to the area and have a lot to still discover, so we took the afternoon to do so. In the safe areas, of course.
(Oh hey, Pistons.)
We started walking towards a big music festival that took place over the entire weekend on the river front. Along the way, we found a lot of cool places to hang and artsy pieces to see.
(Remember that City Beach?)
Perfect monuments and buildings to see on Memorial Day.
Detroit River Front with Canada right across the water!
The Princess Riverboat we will come back to ride.
The Movement Music Festival.
And new places to chill out and enjoy the weather outside.
Not really what you were expecting, right? Us either!
• Coney Island restaurant showdown
Before we moved up here, both Scott and I had no idea what Detroit is really known for besides Motown and automobiles.
One of the biggest things is Coney Island restaurants, with the most famous duo being the first one ever (American Coney Island) and Lafayette Coney Island located right next door to each other. Literally.
American Coney Island was the first restaurant, and after a family brawl, a second coney island restaurant was born… right next door. There is a friendly rivalry going on between the both of them to this day, which has allowed both businesses to flourish with popularity.
After finding this out, we did what any one of you would do and put them both to the test.
The plan was for Scott to get a coney dog and fries at each place, and I would have a bite or two along with a more stomach sensitive choice.
I chose to try out American Coney first. I loved the diner atmosphere and everyone was really nice!
We ordered one coney dog, which is a hot dog smothered in homemade chili, mustard, and onions and a side of fries for Scott.
Then a Greek salad for me.
The master plan was for both of us to split everything, and I ended up taking more than my fair share of bites.
Upon checkout, the guys behind the grill were really friendly and wanted to know everything about us. They seem very interested in their customers and hold true to a mom and pop type of feel.
Next up was Lafayette Coney Island. We were content, but not overly full when we got there are were greeted by a charming older fellow and ice waters as soon as we sat down.
This place is considerably smaller, and looked older, like they haven’t done much to renovate. Sometimes that’s just all part of the atmosphere. It seems to me as though they wanted to be the exact opposite look of their neighbors!
We ordered the same meal as before, one coney dog (prepared the same way) and a side of fries.
The verdict? We liked both for different reasons.
Hot dog wise, Scott preferred Lafayette. Chili wise, we both preferred American. Fries wise, they came out even. I was partial in the coney dog department because any type of hot dog is out of the norm for me! I guess it’s all a matter of personal opinion.
Definitely a cool thing to do downtown if you’re hungry!
• celebrity house sightings
As we walked down to our car, we got the idea to look at some of the houses and well known neighborhoods in the Detroit area. For those of you who haven’t heard, there is a crazy auction currently happening that are starting bids for abandoned houses for as low as $1,000!
Granted, most of the houses up for sale will need thousands of dollars of work put into them right away to get them up to code, but still. $1,000? Yowza!
Just for fun, we headed over to the area and found a few. They weren’t all that bad, and the architecture and details of a few were really neat.
We started thinking about it for a quick second… then realized it probably wouldn’t be in our best interest to start a project like that right now. Plus, the area of town isn’t the most ideal. But hey, if renovation and living a little bit on the edge sounds like your bag, check it out!
After wandering around those neighborhoods, Scott got the itch to look up a couple of famous houses just to drive by and see. First up was Kid Rock’s!
I didn’t grab any photos, because even though it might be public information, I don’t feel right sharing the details. Just know it’s beautiful!
Next up was Eminem’s. As much as I fought it, Scott finally convinced me that driving by his old, now burned down house off of 8-mile was a good idea.
Umm…. please, for the love, don’t do it. It was interesting to see where it all started for him, but I was scared out of my mind when we had to slow down on the street leading up to it.
On the other hand, we came to find out that the popular rapper still lives in Michigan and now resides closer than we thought. A grand total of seven miles from us!
We didn’t stop to take photos, but I did capture the beauty on this private road leading up to it.
There was a ginormous mansion right before his house, which a lot of people mistake for being his property. We knew which was one was his, however, when we got to end of the road and saw a ton of security cameras. Uhh… see ya!
I snapped this photo of the stream on the way out from the road, which interestingly enough runs pretty close to us as well!
Who would have thought?
• Yates Cider Mill ice cream
On our way home from Eminem’s, (<- ha, like we are buds or something) we passed Yates Cider Mill and forgot that they stay open through the summer to sell ice cream!
I absolutely love cider mills and have written about this one a few times.
As much as we were tempted by the cider mill doughnut sundaes, Scott ordered a PB&J sundae and I ordered the cider creme slush.
Just so you know, cider slush + vanilla custard = cider creme slush. I died.
It might have been my favorite part of the entire weekend!
And with that, I am going to wrap all of this Memorial Day Weekend shenanigans up! Phew!
I originally planned to post this in the morning and check back in with the third session of SMASH talk, but I guess that will just have to wait until the morning. Have a great rest of your day and I’ll see you then!
Question of the Day
What was your favorite part about the weekend?