Friday, March 13, 2015

The Basics // A Day in Detroit Link-Up

I've lived outside of Detroit ever since I can remember, and ever since slightly after I can remember, the city has had this draw for me.  Before I drove around Belle Isle or attended a Red Wings game or found out that the DIA is free sometimes, I'd ask to go to Detroit.  At the time, I had no idea what Detroit was other than the closest big city, but as I've gotten the chance to explore more, I've come to find that 8-year-old Allie's hunch that there was something really, really cool out there was spot on.  Here are some of my favorites.

Belle Isle | Belle Isle State Park sits in the middle of the Detroit River, right between the U.S. and Canada. It's home to an aquarium, a zoo, that monument down there, lots of woods, and a coast guard station.  The monument is pretty huge, and even though the fountain doesn't run anymore, it's pretty striking as you drive across the bridge to the island.

The Heidelberg Project | This may be my favorite Detroit thing, ever.  It's a block or two of houses in what I consider to be one of the sketchier areas of Detroit that's been designated as a place for artists to cover with art however they please.  The houses are painted with polka dots or covered with old records or stuffed animals and the vacant lots in between hold sculptures and cardboard cut outs.  Anyone can create whatever they want, and the result is eclectic and interesting and as diverse as Detroit's people.

John K. King Used and Rare Books | Old, hardcover, wall-to-wall books fill five stories of the building, which dates to the first half of the 20th century.  It sits right off of the freeway - in fact, John K. King was actually moved 600 ft to make room for road construction in 1949.  I could easily spend all day and my entire bank account forever and ever there.

Joe Louis Memorial and The Spirit of Detroit | Downtown Detroit is decked out in some cool art - a tribute to Joe Lewis (and, it's speculated, the Black Power movement) and the Spirit of Detroit, who gets dressed up when Detroit sports teams are winning.  

The Whitney | Old Detroit mansion turned fancy-shmancy restaurant.  Your meals comes with a tour of the house - pretty grounds, balcony views of the surrounding city, and old, ornate decorations.  (P.S., the food is also really good.)


Joe Louis Arena | It's where you go to watch hockey, mostly, but when the Wings are elsewhere the arena hosts concerts and speakers.  (Also: special guest appearance by my lovely cohost + the brains behind this linkup, Allison!) 

Riverfront | I'd never been to the Riverfront area of Detroit until a couple of months ago, and I've been missing out!  Maybe it's just me - I've been kind of fascinated with bodies of water since I freaked out over the waterfalls at Yosemite when I was 2.  There are cruise boats docked every so often and a walkway for exploring - my kind of place.  

Speaking of Detroit, today's March 13th, aka 3.13, aka 313 Day, aka Detroit Day because 313 starts just about every phone number in Detroit.  To celebrate, Allison and I are hosting a link up for our fellow Detroit area bloggers so that we can virtually explore the city and everything it has to offer!  We're excited to have some talented writers linking up with us - check them out!

Something Beautiful

An InLinkz Link-up

Did I miss anything?  What do you love about Detroit?  If you've never been, what about your own city? 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Calling All Detroit Bloggers! // (An Awesome Link Up Opportunity)

Hey, there!  Do you blog and either live in / near Detroit, Michigan or just have some reason to like Detroit, Michigan?  


Did you even read the title?

Thank you.  Now, what are you even still doing here? Jk, you can keep reading.  In fact, it's encouraged.  To be honest, I'm very glad you're here! I was just trying to be cool, which apparently entails not acting as excited as I actually am.  

Speaking of things that I'm too excited about, how 'bout that link up that Allison and I are hosting this Friday, March 13th?  That link up that you, someone who lives near Detroit, MI or has some other reason to care about and appreciate it, are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in?  That's happening, and I can't wait!

The link up's on March 13th because, in all-number form, March 13th is 3/13, AKA 313, AKA the first three digits of Detroit phone numbers.  AKA Detroit day, so we're celebrating Detroit by getting together a bunch of blog posts about things that make Detroit great.  Want to participate? Great!  We'd love to have you!  Here's how.  

1. Write a post about something you love about Detroit.  If you don't love anything about Detroit, it can be about something you like. For example, you could write about the Heidelberg Project

or Belle Isle

or Comerica Park.

I know, it feels like I just stole all of the ideas, but there are so, so many cool places in Detroit, not to mention the history and culture and all of that other good stuff.  There are a few topics left.  

 However, if you have only hatred towards the city, you don't get to participate because this is our link up and we can limit free speech if we want.  

2. Come back here on Friday morning and link up your link to that post!  (If you're new to link-ups, we can help you out with this part- email us at!) 

3. Read some of the other posts that are linked up.  We're not going to make rules about which posts you have to read or how many, because although we don't believe in free speech, we do believe in capitalism and we want you to read what you want to read.  Just please support some of your fellow Detroit bloggers and make friends!  (Also, the blog love has a way of coming back around, so clicking, reading, and commenting is totally worth it.)

4.  Make sure to mention the link-up in your post and link back to either Allison's blog or mine so that your readers can find all of the other posts and we can make A Day in Detroit a great big party!  

5. Add this button to your post to make it pretty and get into the A Day in Detroit spirit! (That's easiest to do by copying the code that appears below the button and pasting that to your post in HTML mode.)

Something Beautiful

That's it!  You're now ready to participate in A Day in Detroit this Friday.  Tell your blog friends and your in-real-life friends and your mom and your enemies so we can make 313 Day a pretty big deal! 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Jeffery Gives Me Wings // How to be a Great Wingman

This post was originally published on my former blog, (Un)cool*, and was called "Wings." 

*Please don't try to find it.  That blog saw me through my awkward years of blogging so I don't usually talk about it. 

Just so you know, I really wanted to name this post "Jeffery Gives Me Wings," but I'm trying this new thing where I use only one word to title my posts to be artsy or something.  Except don't expect that to last for long because it keeps me from doing things like naming this post , "Jeffery Gives Me Wings," which is kind of stupid because I really wanted to.

On the other hand, though, "Wings" kind of works because this post is about more than one kind of wing.  So I guess that makes the title also kind of punny, which is cool.

So, I had the most thrilling twenty minutes of my life today, but in order to fully understand the level of excitement that happened, we have to go back in time.

It's the year 2012, in the spring. Two freshman girls are walking along a gravel path, kicking up dust and chatting excitedly about what they're going to run, how fast they want to run it, how much they don't want to run it.  Suddenly, a flash of light knocks them right onto their butts.  Several moments later, when they have recovered their full vision, they are able to see the source of the light: Jeffery, sophomore.  Hurdler, distance runner, and an important component of sprint relays.  Basically, a champ.  Plus he's gorgeous, even at this early stage of male development.  And the two girls stalked him, using various internet entities and just by staring at him a lot at track meets, happily ever after until two years later, at another track meet, when the ice was broken by the best wingman ever to walk the earth. 

Today was the day that the wingman flew, guys.  And guess what? THE WINGMAN WAS ME!

It was not easy.  After it was determined that 1) today would be our last chance to talk to Jeffery and 2) I needed introduce him to my friend Megan*, I spent a good three hours (not even kidding) building up my courage  assessing the situation,  trying to decide when was the best time to chat him up. So, I walked by his school's tent probably four unnecessary times and spent like an hour more in his presence than I needed to.  That's okay.  Part of my research was to get advice from anyone who would listen about how to be a wingman. I had several strategies prepared, depending on the situation.

1. "Haaaaaave you met Megan?"

2.  Drop something near (or on) him, and then he'd have to pick it up and give it to me and then that would transition smoothly into me talking up Megan, introducing the two, and their imminent marriage.

3.  "Hey, don't tell her I told you this, but my friend thinks you're attractive.  You should go talk to her!"

When the moment finally came . . . oh, gosh, was it exciting! He ran the race right before mine, so we were in the infield, near the start/finish line, at the exact same time! So obviously those crazy fate ladies in Hercules were basically knitting Megan and Jeffery's strings together, wherever they are.  I took advantage of them and walked up to him and was literally all,

"Excuse me, can I talk to you for a minute?"

And surprisingly, he didn't run away! So I just kept going.  I pointed out Megan, making sure to point out her long hair and general hotness, and told him that she admired his hurdling skills (I thought that sounded less superficial than saying she thought he was pretty) and that he should talk to her because she would really like that.

AND HE DID! After her race, Jeffery, senior, walked up to his stalker of two years and GAVE HER A HUG, and I have never seen anything more beautiful.

So after that, I was on this high.  I should seriously wingman more often, because I was so extremely proud of myself and basically couldn't contain it.  And then after that, I ran my 800 race in my fastest time ever and I honestly think I owe it to Jeffery, hence the saying and would-be title, "Jeffery Gives Me Wings."  Get it?  It's kind of punny, because I was a wingman and I ran fast.


Any good wingman-ing/matchmaking stories? Tips for the future? (asking for a friend; obviously I don't need them.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's a Fine, Fine Life // Link-Up & Camp

Did I mention that I went to camp last weekend?  Because I did, and it was great. I'm sorry - sometimes I forget to communicate really important details like that with the people around me.  It's not that I didn't want you to know that I was going - that couldn't be further from the truth, because all I've wanted to do since arriving home on Sunday is to talk about what a great time I had.   I just forget sometimes.  Allow me to remember and bring you up to speed. 

Making the best time to camp meant rushing straight home from school on Friday, spending a frantic half hour packing as much as I could, and meeting my fellow camp goers in a church parking lot less than an hour later. We all piled into cars and vans and started the four hour drive to northwestish Michigan.  I spent the majority of the time sleeping, and it was wonderful because I needed it so badly.  School is hard.  

Making the best of our time at camp meant spending hours and hours and hours with cold, raw faces, racing down a snowy mountain on tubes made for doing just that. It meant early morning competitions and early morning hot chocolate to warm us, the spectators. 


It looked like new friends and old ones to encourage us in what we're all trying really hard to do.  

It was captured in jumping just because and feeling so happy and so, so at peace. 

Making the best of our time at camp saw relationships built or rebuilt, now friends grown closer or old friends brought back.  

It resulted in tie-dye shirts (and hands - mine are still a gross shade of green) and one step closer to a challenge completed.  

Most importantly, though, a weekend full of time used in the best way focused on the important things.  It focused in so tight that room wasn't left for things that don't matter - a great reminder to me as I'm constantly crowded by things to do and voices to hear.  Less isn't bad: simplicity, unoccupied moments - that leaves time and opportunity for the people and things that need it.  Emptiness creates a space for rest and joy where before there was busy, occupying, life-draining noise.  

Psalm 62:1,5 // It is surely true that I find my rest in God. He is the God who saves me . . . Yes, I must find my rest in God. He is the one who gives me hope. 


P.S. Keep an eye out for this:

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