Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pavarotti & Aeroplanes - Remembering the True YOU!

I've decided to try something a little different this time. This post was began a couple of months ago, in an attempt to simply record a childhood memory with a special message. Someday, when I'm old, and the details become even foggier, I'll be able to look back to How Bourgeois and re-remember the story I'm about to tell of the summer of 91'.  Or perhaps one day, Noah could read the blog and learn about his parents, which would be, in my humble opinion, pretty cool! Wouldn't you love to know your parents in their own words, from a time long ago? And even maybe, at some point, I will have a grandchild or two, and wouldn't it be just amazing if they could come and read all of this? I would have really enjoyed hearing more of my Grandma and Grandpa's stories through their words, pictures and videos.

So, without further ado........ a few simple, written snapshots of a most amazing summer. Once....upon...a....time.................................

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THIS  short, beautiful video follows two older Dutch women, as they over come fear and take their very first flight. It was incredibly moving and joyful to watch. It's difficult to forget the silence and the awe that one can only find while looking down upon the earth from an airplane's window. At least, that's how I feel. It's nice to see these women find that same transcendent experience. Their reactions are so genuine and pure. I hope it makes you cry and smile at the same time too! Like it did for me! :)


There were several instances over the weekend, one being this video, that brought up memories of a very poignant time in my life. A summer that I rarely think about these days. Each time that I was reminded over the weekend though, I told Noah a little more about that magic summer, but here I'd like to tell you the whole story - a short, little picture postcard of memories.

This is a story about the summer that I turned fourteen. It's not a very long story or a particularly exciting one, but the message is important for all of us - it's that we must never forget who we really Are!

It's so easy to fail to remember  the "me" that's deep inside of us. The me, that's hidden behind layers and years of experiences, opinions and things that we are told to believe about ourselves.  Both the good and  the bad.  Fourteen-year-old you, is usually quite close to the true you. The you at your core.

When we grow older and life entangles us and fear and doubt creep in, there's often hiding inside the younger you who was bold and fearless! Boundless and free from at least some of the endless, chattering ego mind that weighs down so many of us now.  Those snapshots of youthful intrepidity are golden, and remind us that we are mightier than we know!
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It was the summer of 1991, and I'd just turned 14.  My parents had been divorced for a few years, and my Mother was recently remarried. My father, newly returned to Michigan, from New York. He moved to the upper east side of Manhattan, for what turned out to be a one-year stint. He would call most days, but I refused to speak with him on the phone after he up and left for a new job. I was hurt. And I don't know if it was me and my refusal to talk on the phone, or the fact that his car was broken into twice in less than a year, but eventually, my father decided to moved back home.

Both of my parents were busy with their own lives, and both traveled for work. In fact, I believe this was the year that my Mother called my brother and I from Universal Studios to say that she taken the "Back to the Future" ride twice in a row, and that it was fantastic. We went back and forth between our parents' houses, but summer left long stretches of open time needing to be filled.

This was the first summer that I ever agreed to go to sleep away camp.  I was and I still am a homebody. Little wooden cabins without bathrooms did not appeal to me. Neither did mosquitoes, the dangers of ticks, overly sentimental renditions of Kumbaya and the Indigo Girls round' the camp fire. Not so much. But for whatever reason, I did finally agree, at the ripe old age of fourteen, to try Black River Horse Camp for Girls.

Here is their description from the website:

"Imagine going to the pasture to bring in your horse, grooming and saddling him, riding him through sunlit fields and wooded trails.

Then spending your afternoon jumping on the trampolines and having a picnic at the Outback. You can try your hand at tennis, camp crafts, boating on Lake Lorely, bottle feeding a new calf and/or baby goat. Also, wonderful farm food, swimming in the beautiful pool that is heated and shaped liked a horse head, girl talk in the bunk house after lights out and hikes along the wooded bank of the river."

This was a utopia. What girl would not want to permanently run away and live at Black River Horse Camp for Girls? What ADULT WOMAN would not want to run away and live at Black River for "rides in sunlit fields", "bottle feeding new calves" and "swimming in a horse head shaped pool"?

But for some reason, that summer, I lost my mind. At least for a week I did. When my Mother and stepfather dropped me off and then said their "goodbyes", I began to cry. I began to cry and basically didn't stop for an entire week. In fact, I was so distraught and full of doom, that, for the first and only time in my life, I could not bear to eat! (This is how you know things were bad.) The counselors and staff were so concerned. No amount of reasoning or cajoling or the usually distraction-worthy activities could break my dread and anxiety.

(I even took detailed photos of the bathroom in a desperate attempt to convince my Mom never to send me back. I wanted bathroom empathy because not only were they COMMUNAL bathrooms, but the stalls had painted plywood doors! Plywood doors! A horse could accidentally come barreling through those lightweight doors!)


The staff had never seen anything like it I suppose. At night I'd have terrible nightmares of home, and wake up sobbing because my family and pets were so far away. During the day, it wasn't any better.
What the counselors and the rest of the staff didn't know, was that I was an already anxious kid, just sorting out a tumultuous divorce, remarriage, and new family situation. A kid who was delivered to camp by one parent, my Mom, who was about to leave the state, and that I was to be picked up by another parent, my Father, who I doubted even knew where the camp was located. (I was incredibly worried that he would A.) forget the correct day to pick me up and B.) would not be able to find the camp, which was an hour or two from home.)

BUT, probably more than any other reason that I was completely freaking out, was because at the end of camp, I was being taken to the airport TO FLY TO LONDON, ENGLAND BY MYSELF!
Which is the second part of the story you see. There were all kinds of fun reasons for a fourteen-year-old kid away from home for the first time to freak out, and they didn't all have to do with the communal bathrooms.

In the end though, everything worked out ok at Black River. Better then ok actually, it was a fabulous place. It really was heaven on earth in many ways. The horses and being in beautiful nature and the snack shop......

After the first week of freaking out, and crying and not eating, the staff agreed to call my Mother. Which I am thankful to them for making this exception. And also which, in turn, gave me a chance to CONFIRM that it WAS communicated to my Father which date I was to be picked-up and exactly where. I was also getting hungry after living on grapes and chocolate milk all week. The phone call helped me get my appetite back.

In fact, I was feeling so much better, that the second week, I went on to win an award for "camper with the best sense of humor." This was presumably after I wrote and preformed a skit in which I acted as a clumsy and accident prone dental hygienist. I still have that award today, a little painted totem pole. It is one of my most prized possessions.

On a side note, can I just stop for a brief moment to ask if anybody else has had the same, following issue? It's kind of making me nuts!  I'm having a really difficult time typing this post because half of my right hand and wrist are wrapped up in a dish cloth. I read online that other MacBook owners are having the same problem with the sharp edges on their laptops. Are you!?

I spent two consecutive days working online earlier in the week, typing for hours. My inner wrist lays along the hard edge of my laptop and the raised, sharp metal edge of my new raised lap desk. (Which now, as I the these words, am wondering if the metal desk is the cause. I could feel it hurting my wrist as my hand moved over the edges, but I had to keep going! I woke up with a faint bruise and realized that I have been injuring my wrist and need a solution. I researches and saw that you can buy foam strips for the sharp edges, but they cost money and I've read that they fall off. So, I decided to type wearing a dish towel wrapped around my wrist. It's working well. No pain, it's just difficult to type and looks dumb. Here, I'll take a picture of my invention.

HA! Look! It's my cleavage and my fleshy arm! (Hey, can we talk sometime about sorrow that is squishy arms in summertime?) Ignore the dish towel hand. The real story here is the fact that I accidentally (HONESTLY) just took a total cleavage shot. DOH!

And then her blog was never the same ...................................................


Back to horse camp.......

Here is one quick story worth sharing:

There were so many things to love about horse camp. Balancing Dixie cups full of horse poop on the brim of my beautiful, beloved, velvety riding helmet, the kind with the perfect satin bow stitched to the back, was not one of them. (It was an exercise in proper posture and form.)

But one thing that I DID love was grooming class!
On the first full day there, I feel asleep during morning quiet time, and none of the jerks in my cabin people bothered too wake me when it was time for our cabin to go "choose our horse for the next two weeks." Instead, I woke up on my own, all alone, and raced to the barn fifteen minutes late. It was then that I learned they were short a horse, and that, since I was last, I would not have a horse, but a llama. A LLAMA to groom. Which at the time was devastating. When you dream of combing a beautiful Palamino's coat, and braiding her mane and tail into intricate designs, a llama, it just doesn't cut it. Oh, and by the way, did you know that llamas spit?

But when life gives you llamas..........
So Dolly and I went like this for the next two weeks....Comb, get spit on, comb, get spit on, comb, get spit on.
She was a sweet girl.
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When I saw the video of the two Dutch women that I posted above, peering out the window of their plane, it reminded me of the summer of 1991, and what I feel was my particularly fearless trip to London. It is not everyday that a newly graduated 8th grader gets the chance at a solo trans-Atlantic flight and two week trip abroad.

One of my life-long best friends, Michelle, was in London visiting her father, step-mother and baby sister. Michelle's father had been transferred to England quite a few years prior, but in that time her parents had divorced and she and her sisters and mother moved back home. But, this made for summer-long trips to see her Dad. Which, sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. And so, one year I decided to go and visit Michelle for a couple of weeks, and take in the sights and sounds of London!

I remember this: Laura Ashley was very popular at the time, specifically, Laura Ashley rompers. HAhahaha. Remember those!? I wore a Laura Ashley romper on the flight out. (NOT paired with high-heels as seen below. Whaaaat???) And also, equally as ridiculous awesome, a floppy hat with the front brim pulled up. Like Blossom.



(Wait, I have found a verrrrry nice photo taken this same summer. (Oh man. I am going to regret sharing this.)  Note the highly sophisticated and gorgeous ensemble that I surely put together myself. The grown-up "essence" of a linen hat and fisherman's sweater thrown casually over my shoulders... In summer. Or the double layering of necklaces. I was sporting both a sentimental locket and a perfume bottle on a long, leather chord. Rad! And quite possibly, THE best part of this brilliant look, the neon green fanny pack worn in a non-ironic way. Because, fanny pack. Any now you know why I was called The Welcome to the Dollhouse girl for way too long......)


On the flight I had my Walkman and tapes of Cat Stevens, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jesus Jones. And OMG, DEEE-LITE.  I had no idea what to do in customs, how to reach the overhead bin, and I was frustrated that even at fourteen, I was still considered a "MINOR traveling alone." Because, DUH, I was actually a teenager!

I also remember, somehow, amazingly, being bumped up to first class on that flight! There were big, comfy, leather chairs, that I curled my legs up in and watched the Atlantic Ocean below while drifting off to sleep. I was offered ice cream, and woke up just as the sun was appearing over the horizon. Land ho! I had did it! The Beatles homeland! I have arrived!

When I landed, nobody was there to collect me. (There were delays with the trains.) So, I was led to the "Chidrens' Holding Pen" or so that is the name that I remember. And, I had to wear a pin, a big pin that identified me as "traveling alone." I was peeved, not because my friend and her step-mom weren't there, but because I was now basically an adult who was in the "Childrens' Holding Pen!"

Luckily, Michelle and her sweet step-mother arrived very quickly, and then we were off! I have a picture of us on the train from Gatwick to their flat in regent's Park. I had  sun-ined my dark brown hair to a crispy um.... toffee orange color, far any kind of natural shade. I felt cool.

What followed was two of the best weeks of my life. I wish I remembered them more. We traveled the city, just the two of us, hopping the tube. There was the prerequisite sight-seeing, but we also just bummed around like fourteen year old girls do!

(Unfortunately, back then, I was not much of a photographer. Most of the pictures that I took turned out like this....boring, tilted shots of building and things, mostly with my finger partially over the lens.)




I brought my Rollerblades, and Michelle's from home, and we skated around and around Regent's park. I'll never forget the stares that we received. Apparently, this was just before Rollerblades came to the UK. We must have looked odd. Also along the lines of looks, somebody said that they knew I had to be American when they saw me, and I asked "how?" And they said, because I had a tan! That boggled my mind. Wasn't it summer in the UK too?

We rode horses in Hyde Park and I almost cried, it was such a dream. The horses were so well behaved I thought, they listened to my every command with such ease. A quiet click of the tongue or tap with the stirrup. So civilized these horses were! So polite. The epitome of English riding I felt.

One day, we took a train out to Windsor Castle and to somewhere in the (relative) countryside, to Michelle's country club. There was a BEAUTIFUL green, rolling, manicured lawn that lead to a swimming pool like I've never seen. And something else that I had never seen until this point...... TOPLESS SUN BATHING WOMEN! It was difficult not to blush or stare or freak out and run away.  (Michelle and I had to walk out of a production of the Nut Cracker once because we could not for the life of us stop laughing at the men in tights. It was bad.)

I also made a pen pal at this country club. He had the sweetest British accent and told me that his father was the head of some football association. I had no idea which sport he was really talking about at the time. Football or soccer...???

One evening, Michelle's parents were going to take us to see Les Miserables!  I was feeling tired and jet lagged and Michelle told me that I had to try to stay awake. Which, of course I had to because, come on, Les Miserables in London!!! So, before leaving, Michelle and I walked to the corner store, purchased our goods, and proceeded to force-feed me an entire bag of Crunchies and Flake bars. And a lot of Coke -a- Cola. Our plan, (remember we were just fourteen) to pump me full of as much sugar and caffeine as possible, so that I could stay awake through the roughly three hour play. The only problem was, was that we had no concept of "sugar crash", and the last thing I remember is a lovely British girl in front of us asking her father for some "Straaaawburry" ice cream for intermission and thinking that it sounded so lovely how she said "strawberry", and then I passed out.
Oh, and I do remember some candies called "Minstrels" and laughing my head off because minstrel sounded like, oh, blush, MENSTRUAL and oh my gosh....

And one thing that I remember the most was that Pavarotti was giving a free concert in Hyde park to celebrate his thirty years in opera! There were more than 100,000 people there, including the beautiful Princess Diana. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the park for the concert on that rainy day. Instead, we were completely smashed into over-flowing subway cars in the tube. At one point, I was panicked by being nearly suffocated by the most tightly packed crowd I have ever been in! It was really scary.



Alas though, terrifying memories of being crushed in a crowd are far outweighed by the experience of shopping at Miss Selfridge, and of buying my first pair of Mary Jane style Doc Martins, and of shops that only sell socks, which I thought was sooooo cool. Oh! And the DREAM COME TRUE MOMENT of the trip....... having my picture taken while crossing ABBEY ROAD!!!!!!!!!
WOO HOO!!!! Life COMPLETE!!!! I need to find that photo. It's around here somewhere! It was one of the best moments of my teenage life! :)

So,  those were the memories of the summer of 1991. And the deeper point of this whole, winding practice in story telling, is that whenever your feel scared or overwhelmed, think back to a time when you were brave. When you were still untouched by too many "what if" scenarios in your head, still not notching all the opinions and expectations from the world around you.

That summer I left home for a ranch and traveled across an ocean on my own. Would I have the courage to do that today, all things considered? Probably not! I'd have every worry in my head knocking around..........my child, my husband, my home, my cats, the airplane, the communal bathroom, the homesickness, the money, the judgements, the on and on......

And this is why remembering who you REALLY are, can be such a beautiful and helpful thing!
In an ironic and timely coincidence, in the past eight days I have been invited to take a week-long cruise in Hawaii or Alaska, and was invited on a trans-Atlantic cross on the Queen Mary!
Hmmm......will I ever be as brave and adventurous as the old me.........????? ;)

Until next time my friends!!! Remember YOU and be as brave as  you can be!
With Lots of Love,
Lauren
xoxoxoxoxoxoox

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Recipes, Redecorating, Adventures Around Detroit and a Trip to the Salon

Hi friends!

I'm here, and I think about you and the blog everyday! Soon I'll be back to updating more often. I really will. I have so many blog posts in mind to write about, so more to come.  :)

These days we've been having fun and enjoying summer and getting to work on projects here and there.  And you know what I suddenly feel now? That......Summer is the best!

I have no idea what has turned my Grinch heart around regarding summer. It used to be that I'd gladly tell you how much I loved fall and winter, and loathed the hot and humid summer. This year though, for whatever reason, (perhaps the longest most POLAR VORTEX winter ever!) I am enjoying every minute of summer so far. Even the humid ones.

This is not to say that fall is not my most favorite season anymore. It is. But summer is now ok in my book.

Noah is two weeks into yet another camp year. It is his world. This will be his sixth year at this day camp, and his plans are to continue on until one day he can become a CIT - counselor in training and then a counselor! I love that.

It's funny to watch as Noah grows each year, how more and more important his "social life" at camp becomes. He now goes to science or photography or pool with this friend or that friend,  and his biggest stories are out all about the social goings ons, drama and all. Usually regarding pool toys or the intricate rules of the ball game, "Ga-ga."


Part of me misses him, and feels badly that he's at camp for most of the summer, but on the other hand, it was his choice and great desire to go all four sessions. Noah looks forward to camp more than most anything in life, so I'm happy for him.

When we're home though, I try to make things relaxed and as easy-going as possible. There is nothing better than a sand and water toy that one has not seen for a year. Especially outside on the patio table on a perfect summer day. :)


Summer is also a great time for cooking and cooking with fresh ingredients! The most amazing, wonderful LIFE CHANGING this happen in the past two weeks.... Jon began going into work an hour earlier, and coming home an hour sooner! Now we've been cooking dinner together! It is really nice and takes half the time for prepping and cooking and cleaning up. I just love it so much. Here are four new recipes that we've tried that we both found to be simply delicious, fast and easy. I loved them so much, that I want to share.

I learned about this first recipe for a kind of "Greek Salad Quinoa" from the wonderful Alexandra of "Life on a Canadian Island." Please visit her blog if you have not already. I'm always fascinated by the fun adventures that she and her family have on Prince Edward Island. What a beautiful place to be! Truly, everything from trying a 30-day vegan workshop, to adventures in nature and homeschooling, and even growing out her gray hair. Alexandra does it all!

So, when she posted her take on this recipe on Instagram, I immediately knew that I had to try it! If I am remembering correctly........

First you make some quinoa. Then cut up and add a little red onion, scallions, cucumber and mint. After that, make a simple dressing of olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Salt and pepper as needed. Vegan and gluten free! Also, the versatility of this dish was great. I was able to use up some of our left over chickpeas and tomatoes. I just chopped them up and threw them in. Delicious!


The next recipe is for Curried Chickpeas by Sarah Carey over at Martha Stewart's Everyday Food's Youtube page. If you like Indian food, you will love this quick and easy "pantry curry." Really, there are so few ingredients, you're likely to have them all in your pantry!
I served mine with a little white rice and the new Trader Joe's Uttapam with Coconut Chutney. Oh my gosh, AMAZING! This meal was great. (Serve with some sliced mango too!)


Since I could not find a non-video, recipe version of this dish, (Although Martha Stewart had one with slightly different ingredients and amounts.) here is the Youtube video that I made this dish from. It's great.


Also enjoyed this week, but sadly without photos:


and


For the Huevos Rancheros - think the easiest, warm, comforting and delicious dinner possible. You just layer everything in one pan. Crisped tortillas layers with red enchilada sauce, black bean and shredded cheese. Then, you top everything with eggs and bake in the oven to warm the dish and poach the eggs. Next time, I decided to add some black olives to the mix. It was really a quick and great meal that can be made in minutes and has little clean up.

The Ginger- Scallion Noodles just might be Jon's favorite. We used healthy cooked buckwheat a.k.a. "Soba noodles" and tossed them in a light homemade ginger sauce. We also added some toasted sesame seeds and some garlic bean past to the sauce the second time around. This was truly "umami" with it's savory flavors. Amazing! Oh, and the crisp zucchini strips brought in just the right crunch. We all loved it.

The other thing that went on this week, was that we finally got around to giving our living room a little makeover. Our living room was the last room in the house to be decorated and brought up to speed with the feeling of the rest of the house. This is a small, 1860's American Vernacular house. Basically, a little, simple, old home that was built in town. So, it's not exactly farmhouse, but picture the same, simple style. 

Originally, we just put the furniture from our old home into this room, but it was dark and slightly contemporary looking, and it wasn't enough to really fill up the space. And because the room naturally didn't have a ton of light, added to the slightly cold and unfriendly furniture, we just never used the space! 

So, as a slightly belated birthday gift, I got the chance to makeover our living room. I can't tell you how excited I was. The thought of a welcoming, warm, USABLE room was such a great thing! And beyond that, I've been itching to make this space match the playful and soft and casual feel of the rest of the house.

I was motivated to get going when our friend whom we refer to as "The Colonel" for some reason, surprised me with  this most sweet birthday gift!  It's a tiny, antique secretary desk. Isn't it cute? Seeing how nice the warm wood looked in this room made me realize that something had to be done.


So, I sat in our living room and thought and thought and thought. I moved furniture around, made lists, looked through Pinterest and other magazines. I spent time on ebay and online at furniture stores, trying to come up with a plan. Willow even helped.


At first, I was determined to make this my first "historically accurate" reproduction room. I really really wanted some kind of late 1800's look. Quickly though, I realized that formal, small tufted couches and the like, they just wouldn't convey the welcoming, homey, comfortable feeling that we wanted and needed. Also, finding an antique couch and tables and chairs, it was kind of a wild goose chase. You have to find pieces that are in good condition that you can afford AND that are offered with delivery, or are within a certain distance of your home for local pick-up. Which, as you can guess, really narrows the field.

I also considered furniture from our local, big furniture stores, and even a neat place called "Calico Corners", where you select your sofa or chair style and they will  upholster it in an array of fabrics. 
But....... I don't know, the high cost of furniture, it's just......just.....it's a lot! I feel like I can't commit and take the leap and invest just yet. Especially because I'm not 100% set on one, single look or style for what I  want in this room.

So, I just did what I usually do, head to my old stand-by, Ikea! I know that for most people, Ikea is either a love or a hate. I understand that for some, it's cheap furniture that is frustrating to put together and easily breaks. I think though, that in many ways, Ikea is brilliant and serves a purpose! Our couch might not be the comfiest on the block, but considering that we paid $549 for it twelve years ago in San Francisco, and that now it's in it's third slipcover evolution and is still in as good shape after a decade+, I'd say that's a deal! We have a second Ikea sofa in the family room, and whenever there's been a stain from a kid spilling, we simply wash the slipcover. If the cat tears the chair up, eventually we purchase a new cover. It works well for our type of home. Plus, for all the cheaply made, weird Ikea products, we've had some great ones too. Our bed and coffee table in the family room are both ten years old and holding strong. The little make-up table and stool in my room has been perfect as well! 

One day when I really know what I want, I'll save up and search out some more serious furniture, but for now, I'm so thankful and thrilled to have my new, Ikea re-do of this room. I felt really grateful and excited.

I came up with this rough concept after looking online. The plan was to keep our current rug, only because a new one in such a large size would cost an arm and a leg. We decided if the rug looks terrible with makeover, then we'll figure out some new floor covering. (So far, it looks ok enough. Not the best, but ok for now. I'd love something like a sisal rug in the future.)

The second part of my plan was to find  lighter color slipcovers for the sofa and oversized chair. The old covers were a much too dark green. I also needed to find a second armchair, two end tables and a coffee table to fill the space.

My biggest design aim though, was incorporate TEXTURE!  Because the furniture was in neutral tones, as are most of the room's accessories, I wanted to bring in interest by using different textures.

This is why I chose a woven wicker storage basket for the coffee table! A white plant stand in an unexpected shape holding  plants in differently textured pots for an end table. I threw a plaid, wool blanket over a check chair and was sure to combine glass, ceramic and silver accessories that each bring a different reflective quality to the room. 


I feel like the end product was a success! This room is far far from trendy or designer, but it reached my design goals to simply feel casual, cozy and light. 


(The red in our rug is really not this bright. It's the camera.)


I can't wait to have friends over to visit for coffee and cookies.


A little coffee table vignette......


I found freshly cut lavender at Trader Joe's today! It makes the whole room smell WONDERFUL! (And it chills out the cats.)






This is my new plant stand turned end table. I need to play around with it a little more, but it's great for flowers, books, whatever you'd like! There is a shelf on the bottom too. That's the thing about Ikea, you can virtually turn anything into anything.


All in all, Willow gives this room a two un-opposable thumbs up.


Hector does too. (They took turns trying out the new chair.)



Last weekend we took a short break from working around the house and headed downtown for a quick adventure. That's the great thing about Detroit, there's always something new to see or do or be amazed about. It's really that great, and I don't think too many people know that! 

See the tall building to the left? That's Broderick Tower. It was constructed from 1926 to 1928 and has 35 floors. Whenever I'm in Detroit and it comes into view, I'm filled with pride for my long time pal, codename: "Regor" and his group for all that they've done. Regor and twelve other people purchased this building in 2010. It was vacant and crumbling. They managed to plan for and renovate the entire building, and it now it stands as yet another  Detroit victory story! Today Broderick Tower has floor after floor of beautiful, new apartments, office space and retail. This weekend I even saw another restaurant set to open on the first floor.  Can you imagine a city where a 30-year-old could purchase part of a skyscraper? Detroit is such a one-of-a-kind place right now. So many places I look I see hope and young vitality. Creative, driven people in their 20's. 30's and beyond, trying to bring up this once mythic city. I love you Detroit!


One thing that we did this day was visit the area known as Campus Martius Park . Campus Martius is French for "Military Ground" and was named in 1788 when it was a drilling ground for the French Militia. We went to visit "the beach." They turned part of Campus Martius into a beach. Yeah, a BEACH! It's awesome! The beach is part of The Beach Bar and Grille. (Click on the link for more pictures.) Think different combinations of Asian sticky buns and beer. Actually, the buns bring back fond memories of my time in New York when our friend George got us into the fabulous and famed Momofuku Noodle Bar for sticky buns. I had the Shiitake bun and oh my gosh, it was the best thing I've EVER tasted! Thanks George!!!


I don't have many other pictures from this weekend, but here is a snap that I took before going over to The Rust Belt Market in Ferndale. The Rustbelt Market is a really cool collection of fine artist booths and vintage wares. I really enjoyed meeting Rena from The Divine Iguana on this trip. She makes BEAUTIFUL jewelry made from vintage ladies' watches. I fell in love with her necklaces and the moon and cat imagery that Rena incorporates.

But the real reason that we visited the market that day was for handcrafted gourmet ice pops from The Detroit Pop Shop!!!! Oh my goodness, can I just TRY to convey the deliciousness? I am such a fool to have only taken a taste that day. I felt at the time, although I wanted a Popsicle, that I had ingested too many sweets that afternoon already and really needed a coffee instead at the moment. I took a taste of Jon's Cantaloupe Mint pop......WOW! I had to pretend like I didn't want more tastes to keep myself from ruining his treat. It was SO GOOD. The crazy thing is, I knew that I was eating fresh cantaloupe, only it tasted BETTER than fresh cantaloupe. I need to go back ASAP! Noah tried an amazing looking, creamy Oreo pop that had a whole Oreo in the center! What other delicious flavors do they whip up you might ask? To name just a few.....Strawberry Balsamic, Watermelon Basil and Grapefruit Habanera. Awesome!

And to top off the happiness that is gourmet ice pops on a hot summer day, I met a new friend and the FIRST BLOG READER TO RECOGNIZE ME ON THE STREET! Hilde!
Hilde, you just made my day. My week!  Thank you so much for saying "hello." As funny as it sounds, I'll never ever  forget that moment of meeting my first reader in real life! And also, a big "HELLLLLO!!!!" to my reader friends (if I'm getting the story correct), from City Bird in Detroit. I love you guys City Bird, and Nest too! If I could, I'd stand all day in your shops eating ice pops, looking at your items and then buying them ALL! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo



And now, this wouldn't be How Bourgeois without another completely dorky wild bird interlude. Guess what new species I have spied in my yard recently? Ready? A BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD! WOOT!  Yep. You heard me right! Try to contain your amazement!

Oddly, female brown-headed cowbirds can lay up to THREE DOZEN eggs per summer. Whaaaaaat? And, even more strange, they do not build nests, rather they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and leave them to be raised by foster bird parents. Pretty interesting, huh? I have seen both male and female Brown-Headed Cowbirds in my yard by the way. 

I don't know what I think about their reproduction tactics, but the one thing that really has me thinking these days is WHY are they called COWbirds???


And last, but CERTAINLY not least! A hair note, for my gray-haired readers. (I know you love your hair updates.) Sooooo...... it has been about three months since my last hair trim and visit to the salon to see Lydia for a glaze.

My hair had been driving me nuts lately, mainly because of the scraggly ends, so I decided to go in for a little more blunt cut this time. Lydia put on my usual clear glaze on with just a touch of (don't laugh) purple to cut any brassy tones or yellowing. And, as always, I was left with 100 times softer, more shiny, less frizzy, less brassy hair.

Here is a picture of me a tad wild-eyed one morning, a few days after my salon visit. Noah had woken us up at 5:20am this morning because of a thunderstorm. He woke us up to suggest that we turn the house alarm off, just in case the thunder accidentally sets off the alarm. That kid, so responsible I tell you! At any rate, this is me doing my early morning "No! Really! I'm awake!" impression. I guess Lydia cut off about 3". I want to continue to grow my hair, but it's nice to sometimes have cleaned up ends.

Thank you so much as always for your amazingly kind and supportive comments to the blog, especially about my hair. Even though I might seem pretty comfortable in my own skin with having gray hair, once in a while, it can be really difficult too. I get stares sometimes, and I begin to feel  self conscious and odd-ball looking and longing to have my brown hair back. But what I am trying to say, is that from my heart, thank you for your encouragement and thoughtfulness in reaching out to me in your comments and email. Because of YOU GUYS, I've been able to keep going and hold my head up high! Rather than constantly feeling embarrassed and hiding my face away. So thanks!


Love you so much friends!
Until next time............
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo,
Lauren :)