Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Still Playing Catching Up: From APRIL!

Ok, it's time to back this thang' up.  Back, back to early April. This post has been sitting in drafts, waiting for some words to be added for months. So here's what went down:

1.)  I was contacted about taking part in a feature on Wallpaper for Detroit Home Magazine. One of the editors had been through our house when they were on the fundraising House Tour that we were in  last September. She remembered my wallpapers and asked if the paper in my kitchen and I could be part of this article. They were going to also speak with two other people about their wallpaper choices.

It wasn't an easy decision. On the one hand, I was flattered and felt excited, but on the other hand, the thought of having my picture and words in a magazine that reaches an estimated 170,000 readers, had me suddenly feeling shy. Actually, after the renovation, we were approached by a larger magazine and the Detroit Free Press for some stories on renovating our home. (Mostly because it is historic I suppose, and because it went from vacant to livable and it's in an odd spot, right downtown.) We turned down a couple of opportunities because of privacy. Some privacy can be good. The author of the Detroit Home article on wallpaper wanted to publish How Bourgeois's web address in the magazine. I declined because of "local" privacy. Do I regret that now? Maybe. It definitely would have upped my readership! But...it's ok. 

Once I opened up the Detroit Free Press, only to shockingly find A PICTURE OF OUR HOUSE on the front cover! WHAAAAAAAT????  It was advertising the house tour. That was a little eerie. You'd think somebody would have let us know? And then, another time, I started getting emails and phone calls from friends who recognized that the editor in chief of Hour Detroit Magazine, was talking about OUR HOUSE in her "letter from the editor".  I had no idea!

So, annnnnnnywayyyyy, as laughable as it is (We have a blog, I know), we're also a bit shy when it comes to putting things out locally. After a lot of thinking though, I realized that I had to do it. This was a big chance, I couldn't pass everything up.

So, in a bit of a hurry, I cleaned the house, ran out to find some outfits that "echoed" my floral wallpaper, and got my hair did!  Look how dark my ends are compared to my white hair. Ugh.  This is my hair after having a clear gloss put on it. It helped a bit.

Then the photographer showed up and our kitchen looked like this:

 He was a very nice guy, but incredibly, the whole thing took HOURS. I mean HOURS. Four hours. It was an interesting process, and I got to stand on a stool . At one point, I felt beyond idiotic. Listen, Detroit Home is kind of this really nice magazine that can be a bit hoity toity and designer-y. Nothing wrong with designer-y, but I am the exact opposite of hoity toity and designer-y.  My motto - have fun, be happy, do  whatever works for YOU.  So as I was standing there all done up and being photographed with my fancy wallpaper, in an article that I knew was also going to feature an uber-rich teenager with her uber expensive paper and additionally an uber-designer with her uber-pricy wallpaper. I just.....felt....non-authentic. They had me posing, and then it hit me: Hey! I can turn this into a fun cliche'! So, I mentioned to the photographer: " daaaaaaaahling , I have the purrrrrrfect accessory for my wallpaperrrrrr." And that's when I got Willow the designer Himalayan cat (who, by the way came to us as a stray.)
And just like that, by acting like a total ham, Willow and I are now in Detroit Home magazine on the title page of the article, and it says in LARGE letters right next to us:  "THIS IS HOW I ROLL".
I want you all to know, I DID NOT say that. OK!

I knew that the issue would be out in early June, but if we're being honest, I have been totally dreading it. I didn't want to see how fat and ugly I look, and I didn't want to read the foolish sounding things I knew I must have said. A friend emailed me when she came across the article, and I knew that it was time to face my fears and actually check it out. You can see a digital version HERE. if you want.
 I was shocked to find that not only am I on page 17,  looking like a  round ball of blurghhhhhh, but they also used a scrunchie faced portrait of me in the table of contents on page 12!  AAAAAaaaarughhhhh. My worst fears come true. I only have myself to blame..... :(  
I think it's normal to want only the best pictures of yourself in magazines though. Wouldn't you?

Ok, but I'm glad that I did it, AND it was such an interesting experience all around. From working with the editor, the interview, the photography. All a neat adventure.

2.) Noah was so patient, such a good boy during the photo shoot. I took him out for a snack afterwards.

3.) What was this? Oh yeah, it was "healthy" crockpot Mac N' Cheese. Don't do it! Or at least don't do it with gluten-free pasta, it became a mush!

4.) We were soooooo happy to welcome in some days with warmer temps in late March/ early April. This is Noah taking the bike out for a spin for the first time this year. Bye snow!

5.) My friend Kellie got me hooked on a new-ish gaming app called 4 Pics 1 Word. I love, love, LOVE it! Each round, you are given four pictures that relate in some manner, and then you need to figure out the word that the photos relate to, using some of the letters provided. Many levels are easy, but then you have a dozy like this one! I was stuck for a couple of days and could only come up with....er..........how I was feeling.........

It was so annoying. Can you figure out what the answer is? Scroll down to the end of the post to find out!

6.) Here is a picture of a soufflé that I made. It was such a long time ago, but I believe this was the time that I prepared a sweet potato soufflé because I had a bunch that I wanted to use up.

I'm sorry, I can't find the recipe that I used, but there are many out there. I will link to one similar after the next photo. I can give you our go to soufflé recipe though. It's by Alton Brown and is a simple, crowd pleasing cheese soufflé. Even Noah loves it! Also, I usually add in a side of asparagus. I adore Alton Brown's roasted asparagus with lemon and nutmeg recipe, and it's SO easy!

Wait, why doesn't my sweet potato soufflé look like Martha's !!!!????

7.)  Here is willow just lounging. Sometimes after you renovate a home, or move into a new place, you have to live in it for a while to really understand what you like and don't like about it. I am in love with our cozy, little house, but one of my only complaints is that it can be cold and dark in some of the rooms during the winter months. While there is not much that I can do in the kitchen or the downstairs bath, short of knocking down walls, I realized that I am able to help the living room lighten up! So, last week I stripped the couch and the chair and the ottoman of their green slip covers. Sure enough, it instantly felt brighter. I think I'm going to head to Ikea for some lighter slip covers and pray that our cats don't dirty them up. I also think it might be time to take out the dark tables, and sadly trade this lovely red rug in from something a little lighter.

I hate change, but maybe it'll be good! More to come on that later!

8.) My Mother gave Jon a Shinola  journal.
Do you know Shinola? I think their story is amazing. You can read an entire version HERE from Forbe's . Basically, Shinola is a new company based in Detroit, that produces fine, handmade watches, bicycles, journals and leather products. They pride themselves on impeccable quality and thoughtful design. It's a big deal because Shinola is Detroit, a city full of hardship and decline, that is now getting a chance to reclaim their place as a town rooted in dignified manufacturing. Shinola hires people who might have once held a jobs on now closed automotive plants, and trains them in Swiss watch making. They say "Excellence in craft and pride in work".

Here is a video about their employees and the training process. It's really wonderful and inspiring.

And one more short video about Shinola's story and products.

9.) Here is Noah's cartoon character, "DNA DAN" in Jon's journal. I just liked him.

10.) Here are just a few more from this spring. It's a BIG deal in Michigan, when you can finally take your coat off and head outside! We took a bunch of walks around town, and Noah got to try out his favorite wall for balancing again. He just loves this wall.........

On this particular day, we also drained the mini-pool of all the collected snow water and muddy leaves. It was pretty gross. Of course, then it was a rainy spring, and the mini-pool has since been drained two more times! Right now the walls have cracks and it needs to be refinished once again.  :(
I have a feeling that the walls, which are made from a finish of quartz and cement, needs to be sand blasted out again and re-set. Boo.

11.) I think this is the one of the best pasta recipes that I have come across all year! It's Creamy Tomato Pasta, which isn't such a big deal in of itself, but this dish is homemade and fresh, and it tastes nothing like that from a can! It is DELICIOUS. Think half tomato sauce, half Alfredo.  You use a whole bunch of fresh tomatoes, it's lovely. IF you're in a hurry or want to save some money, you can use stewed tomatoes. Please try to look for them in glass containers or I suggest readily available Muir Glen Organics, as they use BPA free cans.

12.) Here I am in my latest crochet endeavor. It was a collaboration between Noah and I. He chose the yarn for himself, and when he petered out on making a giant chain, Noah requested that I make a hat for him, and here it is! The top portion was started with a magic circle and double crochet stitches in a round.  Then, once past the crown, I finished the hat with a shell stitch and a row of single crochet.

This morning I presented the finished product to Noah, who immediately loved it, and wanted to wear it to school. :)  
The only problem is, as you might have guessed, it's HUGE! The hat hung down over Noah's eyes, just like that guy in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids!

Dumb Donald DD

But Noah was like: "Mom, don't worry, I can still see right through the stitches. I can still wear it to school!"  In the end we decided that maybe I should just make him a smaller version, and Noah thought that perhaps the neon rainbow theme might be a bit jarring. We'll head back to the yarn shop this week and look around. It's fun to collaborate!

13.) And here is Hector playing Wii.

14.) And the award for most OMG and mind expanding goes to:  Vision of Humanity's Global Peace Index that was released today! It's a series of interactive maps of the world and of the US, that uses a number of metrics to measure peacefulness. Um yeah....Hi....so,  Iceland is the #1 most peaceful nation in the world and Ghana is #58.  America? ......... #100.  WOW.  Just wow. Take a look, play around with the maps, explore the variables. 
It's really cool stuff and will make you say: "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!?"

Photo: The Global Peace Index came out today. The index ranks nations on several different metrics for peacefulness. 

#1 Iceland, #58 Ghana, #100 U.S.A., #156 DR Congo --> http://ow.ly/lVwOT

* RIGHT! The answer to the 4 pics, 1 word puzzle  is "Right"! Well DUH! ;)


Loulou said...

An interesting epic post. That's so cool about your house being featured in a magazine. I'm off to check out the digital copy now.

Ps. Sorry I'm so behind on my reading but better late than never, right?! :)

Lauren said...

Thank you Loulou!!!! You are so kind. And believe me, as far as reading posts, compared to me, you are EARLY not late! ;)