Week 29: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties – Detroit Edition

The Christmas season is upon us with it all of the busyness and social commitments that come along with it! Unfortunately for me, it means I don’t have a lot of time to concentrate on tackling my list so this week’s post will be short and sweet! For those who might want a refresher, here is my original bucket-list.

This week, I’ve maintained my Duolingo streak of 837 days. I’m still attending French classes at Alliance de Francais of Detroit. Because I am planning to spend a lot of February and part of March in Florida, my instructor suggested I take a private class with him remotely so I can advance more quickly. I think that will be an excellent idea and may even afford me a bit more flexibility. I will miss the classroom setting and my classmates though.

I just finished Isaac Mizrahi’s book “I.M. A memoir.” He is just one year younger than I am and hearing about his ascension through the 70’s and 80’s was a stroll down memory lane. He mentions Studio 54 and celebrities from that era. As a Jewish gay man, he had a lot to share about the difficulties he faced when there was far less tolerance of those with a different sexual orientation and his fear through the height of the AIDS epidemic. It was an interesting read and I topped it off with listening to his interview on one of my favorite author’s podcast, “Happier with Gretchen Ruben.” If you are interested, here is his interview. Now I want to watch the documentary on him, “Unzipped” filmed as he put together his 1994 runway collection. I have unwittingly been doing a deep dive into the business of fashion lately and the book was a nice complement to the Masterclass with Ann Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue and artistic director of Conde Naste. I am still really enjoying the Masterclass series. I finished Anna Wintour’s class and have now started watching Bobbi Brown’s masterclass on make-up.

In regard to reading, I’ve finished I.M. and am currently reading “The Oysterville Sewing Circle” book #68 of of my new goal of reading 75 books before the year ends, which may be overly ambitious. I am using the app Overdrive for this one and will need to complete it in a timely manner to prevent it from disappearing before I’m finished with it.

We didn’t visit any new restaurants this week but I have to give a shout out to The Shinola Hotel. We stayed there the evening before Thanksgiving and it really was wonderful. The evening didn’t start out awesome as the roads were mostly closed in anticipation of the Turkey Trot the next morning and the Thanksgiving Day parade. The evening rapidly got better when our room was upgraded to a suite. It had a distinct mid century vibe and even had a beautiful Shinola turntable in the room with several albums, including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and John Coltrane. I loved the robes that were hanging in the closet. They looked like a boxing robe with Detroit written on the back! After dropping off our luggage, we had dinner at Parc. It was a short walk from our hotel and it’s my favorite restaurant in Detroit which is even more magical this time of year. It sits in the shadow of the beautiful Christmas tree which glimmers through the restaurant windows. You can also see the skating rink and the trees all aglow in white lights. The food is amazing and they also carry my original favorite wine, Grand Traverse Riesling. The evening was perfect! In the morning, we ordered room service and sat and watched the runners go by dressed as everything from Santa Claus to the Grinch and everything in between. Once the race was over, the parade began. It was cozy sitting at the window with a wool blanket on my lap and a hot cup of coffee in my hand. This just might be the start of a lovely tradition. The best part is it was just a short walk to Ford Field to watch my girls cheer on the sidelines at the Lions football game and perform in the half time show. Then on to my parents where we all enjoyed a yummy Thanksgiving meal lovingly prepared by my mom, just as she has every year for as long as I can remember. One difference is that now my young nieces are grown with children of their own. It’s a tradition I wouldn’t change for the world!

Check out that awesome turntable!
Love the robes!
Dining and “bar area”
I somehow didn’t grab a photo with the running Santas or the dinosaur or any of the other crazy costumes that were out there! It made the race very entertaining!
Room service!

I also have to give a shout out to The Caucus Club, where I brought my husband and family to celebrate an early birthday for my husband Mike this past weekend. The Caucus Club is really a throw back to the rat pack era, complete with a piano player and fun fact, which I may have mentioned before, it’s reportedly where Barbra Streisand got her start! It was so nice to have our Samantha, Jenna and Kristianth all together to celebrate Mike’s 60th birthday. He is an amazing husband, father and human being and I am lucky that I’m the one he’s sharing his life with. It’s been an eventful week and my heart is full to bursting.

Birthday Celebration at the Caucus Club
The crew at dinner
Our girls at Campus Martius
Love Detroit’s holiday vibe!

But my heart isn’t the only thing that’s bursting. As I’m sure you can surmise, with all these eating opportunities I’ve not managed to make it to my goal. However, I am happy to report that I am holding my own. I still use Noom daily, though I may have missed logging a meal or two here and there. I am back on track and determined not to gain any weight over the holidays. Wish me luck! I have done a few more workouts on the NordicTrack. I am at workout #59 of my 50 work out goal. I did the core yoga workout and a walk through the Balkans as well as an interval incline walk through Lake Tahoe.

I am still neck deep in organizing our photos but the end is at least in sight. I am strongly leaning towards removing photos from their photo albums and filing them all away using this storage system. I think I’ll need to run out and get a few more storage containers though.

Mike and I are heading to Florida sometime this week and I will update you then on our Florida house. On the plus side our pool is finally underway! However there is still no couch and one does not appear to be on the horizon. Surprisingly, they didn’t have enough fabric and had to order more. In fact, none of the remaining furniture is in yet. This is a lesson in patience. At least this time we will have dining room chairs and a couch in the den. I ordered a few lamps on Black Friday from Wayfair as they were very much on sale. They should be arriving while we are there. Our new backsplash is in and our wine refrigerator has been ordered. I will be so happy when it is all complete. We still need curtains for a few of the bedrooms, and we need to select art work and accessories which Mike and I hope to shop for while we are down there (fun!) I was hopeful it would be completely decorated and furnished before the end December, but sadly, it’s not looking like that will be the case.

That’s where I will leave you for now. I hope to have a little more to share about our Florida place next week. Until then, may you enjoy every minute of this busy, messy beautiful season!

Week 8: Farewell to My Fabulous 50’s

Summer on the lake. Backyard views.

Well I am eight weeks in and feeling pretty satisfied with my progress so far. The check marks are flying and the bucket-list items that require ongoing commitment are also doing well. As Mike was off this week, we had a little more time to accomplish some of the things on our summer wish list (and my bucket-list). Fun fact: I thought we were approaching the midway point of summer, so I googled it. And guess what? Summer is not half over until August 7th. We still have a lot of summer left! Doesn’t that make you feel better? So let’s get on with it, shall we?

The bathroom is rounding home plate. Tony, our contractor extraordinaire and jack of all trades came on Saturday to finish up. The last items needed will be a custom glass door, which is scheduled to be measured by Al, someone Tony recommended, on Tuesday. It also needs painting which I’ve lined up for Tuesday. I picked several paint colors and we narrowed it down to the top two contenders. We painted swatches on the wall and have decided to go with Sherwin Williams Seasalt. Did we make the right choice? Let me know what you think! The wainscoting will be Extra-white, also by Sherwin Williams. The last thing we need are all of the accessories, towels, wash cloths, waste baskets, artwork, i.e. the fun stuff! I’ll wait to share bathroom pictures though until the final product.

Unfortunately the true colors didn’t translate well. They are a bit lighter than this appears.

I also used my herb garden to prepare a dish this week, Skinny Teriakyi Pork Chops topped with a few chives from the garden. It’s from a recipe I printed off the internet a few years ago. It was yummy! I wish I could attribute the recipe to someone however, despite an exhaustive internet search, I couldn’t relocate this exact recipe, just variations of it. Here is the recipe:

Skinny Pineapple Teriakyi Pork Chops

20 oz can Pineapple Slices in 100% juice, (reserve 1/2 cup juice)

1/4 cup less sodium soy sauce

2 TBSP brown sugar

2 TBSP rice vinegar

1/4 tsp ground ginger

4 -40z boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat

1 tsp fresh chives, chopped

  1. In a small bowl prepare marinade. Whisk together pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar and ground ginger.
  2. Place pork chops in a large resealable bag and cover with marinade. Seal bag and place pork chops in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. If possible, turn bag every hour or so to evenly cover pork cops with marinade.
  3. Remove pork chops from bag. DO NOT DISCARD MARINADE.
  4. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for 15-17 minutes until sauce thickens, making sure to stir sauce frequently. After sauce has thickened, remove from heat and place in a small dish. You will use this marinade sauce while grilling pork chops and pineapple.
  5. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Place pork chops on grill and brush often with marinade sauce while cooking. Cook pork chops on each side for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Delicately add pineapple slices to grill and cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides.
  8. Let pork chops rest for 2-4 minus before serving.
  9. To serve, place a grilled pineapple on top of each pork chop and sprinkle with chives.

Serving size is 1 pork chop/1 pineapple slice, 268 calories

Skinny Teriakyi Pork Chops topped with garden chives and a side of my “special” coleslaw.

Yoga lakeside was ah-mazing! (bucket list item #50) Thanks to my sister-in-law Sharon and my niece Ashley, our instructors, for the excellent start to our day. Thanks also to Katherine for sharing her beautiful lake-front with us. Class started at 10:30am and it was H*O*T*. It felt like what I imagine hot yoga must feel like. Sweaty. Despite the heat, it was an amazing class. I know the heat seemed to improve my flexibility, but the best part for me was, as we were resting in savasana, a gentle cleansing rain came and cooled us off. Thank you Mother Nature!

Favorite way to do yoga: Outdoors with friends.

We tried a new restaurant, San Morello (bucket-list item #11). This little gem is located in the new Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit. We brought Mike’s stepmom, Louise, out to lunch there for her birthday. The atmosphere was lovely and everyone’s meals were delicious. We ordered 2 dips with bread for our starters: Sheep’s milk ricotta with hot honey and garlic and also Italian butter bean wild mushroom sott’aceto. Both were yummy though I especially liked the ricotta dip. Louise ordered a traditional breaded eggplant al forno, (Melanzane for you Italians out there.) I had a classic tomato, mozzarella, basil wood-fired pizza, and Mike ordered Tuna tartare as an entree. Our waitress was very good and I would absolutely go back. We opted to sit inside as it was extremely hot but they do offer patio seating and I’ll bet it’s lovely on a cool summer evening. Here is a link to their website if you want to check it out for yourself. https://www.sanmorello.com

San Morello. You can see the patio dining to the left.
Lunch with the birthday girl.

After lunch, we walked around the city a bit and discovered this cute little coffee shop, Madcap Coffee, next to The Brakeman. It had large windows that open in the summer, allowing you to place your order street-side. We ordered their summer blend, which we enjoyed before heading home.

Awaiting our coffee. Bonus: a good place to people-watch.

Newsflash on the wine front: I may have a contender here for new favorite wine. I gave the waitress at San Morello my likes and dislikes and, after conferring with the bartender, she suggested I try a white wine from central Italy, Verdicchio Classico Castelli di Jesi Felici 2017, Marche. It was $12 by the glass, and I was able to find it online from $14-$20 a bottle depending on the vendor. If you, like me, prefer less dry white wines, with crisp fruit notes, you might like this one. Currently, it is my top contender for new favorite wine!

Top contender so far for new favorite wine!

Bucket-list item #43 was a sunrise breakfast on the pontoon. Mission accomplished. We got up early on July 4th before the lake gets busy and had a lovely little sausage/egg/English muffin sandwich with fresh pineapple orange juice, and fruit. I hope we are able to do this a few more times this summer. What an awesome way to start the day!

Breakfast on the boat. Don’t mind if I do!

On Sunday, we had planned to tackle that bike ride to Lake Eerie but we decided to take a raincheck. Literally. Rain would have affected much of our ride and why make it unpleasant when we don’t have to?

As you can see, it was a busy week. Hope you all had a happy and safe July 4th. Until next week, happy trails!