Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Packing, preparing and taking breaks in-between. This morning we went to Meli Cafe, which has all sorts of good things to eat including vegan breakfast options. Later on, we visited Waterfront Cafe next door to our apartment - it's such a lovely place to sit outside and have a lemonade while looking at the lake and clearing your cluttered mind.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I just absolutely love this. Kat and Luz are two of my oldest, dearest friends. It has been so wonderful to grow into adulthood with them. The top photo is from several years ago, when we were roommates and just becoming grown ups (I have no clue who the guy is). The bottom photo was from our last dinner for awhile (at this awesome place, The Handlebar) the other night. We have matured somewhat. I will miss them so very much, but know that they will always be big in my heart and life. It is such a huge gift to have best friends!

Friday, July 25, 2014

This is what our home is like right now.
Niall has been steady packing, but I have to start pulling my weight. 

I am inspired by tiny houses, so I aim to get rid of things. 
What a cute tiny house!

Easier said than done. I love the idea of minimal living, but it takes work to remember that as I hold an old journal or stuffed animal in my hands, feeling wistful.

Tiny houses can look pretty spacious inside!

What a sweet loft bed.

I really don't need all this stuff.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yesterday, I went to one of my favorite vegan spots, Amitabul, with one of my favorite people, Hiu. I think of this restaurant as such a special place - there's something so soothing about the atmosphere and food there. It's a comfortable place to curl up in a booth and spend awhile over a steaming meal, chatting with a dear friend all the while. I ate a big bowl of soup (with dumplings!) that looked something like this:
This will be my last date with Hiu there for a long while - I'm so glad we got to go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life feels like a whirlwind right now, so I'm slow to post on here. However, I had a little time to meander, chat, and eat ice cream with my lovely friend Kat on Sunday. We always talk about what's going on deep in our minds and hearts - I cherish that so much. 
I don't think either of us knew it, but it happened to be National Ice Cream Day! How appropriate. We went to George's Ice Cream & Sweets.
I had been wanting to visit this place for some time - they have vegan ice cream! I got a double scoop - Oreo cookie and Butter Pecan. It surely didn't disappoint.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Today marks the birthday of two incredibly strong and remarkable women in my life. They are very different - but,  are both healers, artists, and confidantes of mine. 
They both live in Gainesville and are doing beautiful things in  that community. 
One is my mama, Sunemaura. Here's a photo of us visiting the awesome Chicago Botanic Garden last year when she visited for my birthday:
She often makes me smile - I love how she looks at the world and has found so much peace. She is very wise.

The other is my dear friend, Corey. Here is us going to my prom, something like thirteen years ago:
Corey made these dresses for us. She's always been so creative, in so many ways. I'm so glad she's still big in my life.

These women inspire me on a regular basis - I am so grateful they were born.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Last year I bought marigolds at Home Depot. At the end of the season, my mama suggested that I take the dried-up, dead flowers and save them to plant them this season. I did so, putting them directly into my raised bed, not thinking much would come out of it. However, an abundance of flowers has, indeed, emerged and I'm so amazed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I am trying to create a playlist of road trip themed tunes. However, the only song I can come up with is Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again." I love this song, but I know there are more traveling songs out there.

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions to add to the list!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I feel like there should be a big drumroll for this. Niall and I are at home tonight, researching for our big couple month trip coming up next month! Here it is:
Sabbatical | My new trip on!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

There were goats at the conservatory this past week! Adorable.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We went to Detroit on the last day of our trip. A big part of it was a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. It was outstanding - and we met this incredibly passionate, full of knowledge, red-headed woman who worked there and absolutely loved her job. She told us all about the various artwork in the museum and I wanted to follow her around all day. 

I think the most brilliant piece they have in their collection is the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry mural. 

We also visited the Detroit Artists Market, which was a gallery with a great exhibit featuring photos from the city and this inspiring shop all with local wares.

We visited this old tavern/music venue with vegan goodies- PJ's Lager House. It had a New Orleans vibe, a couple of big dogs hanging out, and the doors wide open.

 Along with lots of broken-down, abandoned homes, there are big places like Michigan Central Station, once grand, now in pieces.

We also checked downtown out briefly - public art, the Detroit riverfront, and GM headquarters (which just had this oppressive, massive look to it). 

I had heard so much about urban blight in Detroit, so I was curious about what we would find there. It was such a brief stay, so there's no way to even start to fully understand the place, but I found a lot of hope amid the struggles.

Niall and my's second anniversary trip was one full of discovery and inspiration, just like this marriage has been for me. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The second day of our trip, we visited Ann Arbor, which is such a cute place. We visited the University of Michigan campus - lovely! - and I especially loved this Cube sculpture:
You can move the sculpture all about! I really have a fondness for interactive art.
There were also these adorable fairy doors we got to hunt for all over town.
It was my kind of town - filled with bookstores... 
and birds of all sorts...Gallup Park was pretty great.
Wave Field  was another public art piece we fell in love with.
Of course, we had to go check out the (free!) local botanical gardens. Even though it was raining a bit, it was well worth it. The children's garden, the super environmentally friendly model home, and the urban demonstration garden were highlights for sure. 

We also visited a yummy vegan eatery, Jazzie Veggie, for me and a cozy brewery, Arbor Brewing Company, for Niall.

Monday, July 7, 2014

When we were in Detroit, we went to visit The Heidelberg Project, which is an open-air art project consisting of discarded materials that spans at least two blocks.
It was incredible. I was full of inspiration and sadness afterwards. Inspiration because of this hope through art and expression, sadness because of the forgotten places, trash and abandoned, broken-down homes. 

I loved the sense of community present there. The artists were out, talking with people, engaged. Tyree Guyton is the main artist behind this project, and he was talking to folks, asking them to play on the Heidelberg Television (which I thought was the coolest thing ever).
When night fell, we went to Cass Cafe (we had to, given it's name also belongs to our favorite feline). Cass Cafe is delightful - a restaurant, bar, and gallery. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The first day after setting up camp, we went to Belle Isle in Detroit. It is this outstanding island park full of things to discover. The conservatory and aquarium were closed for the evening, which was a big bummer. There was a lone, mustached young man working ten minutes to closing when we arrived. He apologized, letting us know he was all by himself trying to close up in this big park and would get off so late if he let more people in.  
We sighed for a moment and contemplated sneaking in, but understood and still had such a lovely time walking about. 
We saw kids drinking beer and hanging out - they had a Pitbull mix sweet puppy that they were loving on. There was a tiny girl also there spending time with her family and fishing, so nervous about the dog she wouldn't attempt to pet him, despite everyone's coaxing.
There were jet-skiers having the time of their lives and lots of ducklings with their parents (in very different parts of the water, of course). Lots of big parties going on - old friends barbecuing and laughing, drivers blasting music out of their car windows rolled down. We noticed that these cars were pretty much all American-made. 
There was a gorgeous lighthouse that Niall had to stop and photograph at length.
I would love to go back to Belle Isle. I feel like we saw so much, but it was really only a glimpse. What a vibrant, varied place full of wonder. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I haven't talked with you much about Niall and my's recent anniversary trip to Michigan. It was fantastic. We left early - got Metropolis (the best!) coffee, Niall drove and I ate snacks the whole way. The open road makes my heart sing. 
On the way, we stopped for some duct tape. Our car has been falling apart a little bit (one day I went out to and there was a huge new dent on the bumper).  I was originally doubtful, but the tape really did the job for ol' Convie (our car got her name because her previous two people - my cousins Allison and Denise - called her Connie and Victoria, respectively).
We stayed at Wayne County Fairgrounds, because it is in between Ann Arbor and Detroit and we really wanted to visit both of those places. We were the only tent campers there, everyone else was in an RV (plus one semi-truck resting for the night).  Setting up camp didn't take too long, so we feel good about this routine that will be such a big part of our upcoming long trip.

I feel it's important to share here, as this is supposed to be a place to keep fond memories. There will be more shared tomorrow!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My weekend was so very lovely. I went to the bees, cleaned up the garden, got some important things done, spent time with some great people, and listened to classical music outside in the park (huddled under an umbrella with Niall). 

A major highlight was making pie with my work friend Michael. He bakes something every week from his Good Housekeeping cookbook and writes about it here: I had requested an invite to come over to his place to bake before my big departure. As mentioned here before, I'm quite fond of Michael and his blog. 
We set out to make a peach pie, but it turned into more of a tropical dessert. We added a mango and a bit of lime because we ran out of peaches and couldn't find the lemon juice - we ate our slices in the sweet park across the street from his apartment. It was heavenly. I had zoomed over with a head full of plans and figuring out how to fit everything in and I found peace when I arrived.
So good.
What a treat to see this butterfly!
Michael's downstairs neighbor has bees! He brought me to her interesting Styrofoam-like hive out back by a possible cherry tree. 
This yet-to-be-officially-named beauty kept us company, calling to the pigeons outside of the window with her trembling voice.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

To back up a little bit, as I mentioned almost two weeks ago, I recently went to a pollination festival at the lovely Tryon Farm in Michigan City, Indiana. One of the things this farm operates is the Tryon Farm Institute, which is an awesome non-profit all about education and the sustainable care of land and habitat diversity.
I went with my new sweet friend Callie, who I was excited to get to know better during this adventure.

We had the opportunity to wander and observe the bees in action, as well as sample and buy some honey. We stocked up on pollinator educational materials and went on an amazing, in-depth, exhausting native plant hike with some experts in Indiana natives. It was a really fun time, full of conversation and wonder, and I'm so glad we went. 
super inspiring poster about the powers of pollination

I dream of having a garden dedicated to the pollinators we rely upon

There were chickens!
and goats!
and more goats!
Of course, there were bees! I absolutely love the one in motion, above the frame