This post is a bit late because this road trip happened New Year’s weekend, but I still wanted to do it because we LOVED Detroit. Taking little impromptu day or overnight trips is one of our favorite ways to really disconnect from the stresses of everyday life and spend some quality time together as a family. We have done Pittsburgh a few times and Columbus, but this was our first venture to Detroit. I didn’t know what to expect really based on the reputation the city has, but being a Clevelander I know all about unfair reputations, so I was ready to give the Motor City the benefit of the doubt. And…it did not disappoint. We were there less than 24 hours total but we had a great time. We rented a beautiful Air B&B apartment in the hip little neighborhood of Corktown. Only downfall was sharing a full size bed with a 2 year old. I woke up once during the 3 hours of sleep I got with my head on the floor, no joke. We mostly ate and went to coffee shops, which is the best part of traveling anyway, right? Although we didn’t spend much time in the heart of Downtown it looked beautiful and clean. I would love to go back in the summer and walk around more. Detroit reminds me very of much of Cleveland like 10 years ago. The surrounding neighborhoods are starting to gentrify, but still have a way to go before they catch up to the growth we’ve seen from areas in Cleveland like Tremont, Ohio City, Gordon Square and so on. All in all, I definitely want to go back. It’s an easy drive and a great little get-a-way.
Where we ate:
Ottava Via (The truffle butter pasta is a MUST!)
Gold Cash Gold (This is the hip brunch place, but my food was meh. Maybe I just didn’t order well.)
Where we drank:
Astro Coffee (The wall murals and plant life will have you swooning.)
Anthology Coffee (The open bar concept is pretty neat. You can stand next to the barista while he makes your coffee.)
We didn’t drag our asses out to a Christmas tree farm, but we did drag them to our local Whole Foods to get one becuase Charlie said they looked “healthier” than the ones at Lowe’s, which is of course what Whole Foods wants you to think about everything they sell. I was pretty excited about this becuase we haven’t had a real tree in several years. I just really wanted Des to experience the whole buying and putting up a real tree thing, plus Charlie spends like 2 hours every year fiddling with the same strand of broken lights on the fake tree and I was over it. We spent a whole Sunday decorating the outside of the house (for the first time!) and the tree. This included 3 separate trips to Target becuase I got exactly half the lights we needed for everything. And while I love the look of classic white lights, if I was a 2.5 year old, I would want colors, so that’s what we did. You only have so many years with the excuse to be tacky. There’s plenty of time to be classy when you’re old.
Don’t judge our hideous front steps. We thought we could pressure wash the paint of the beautiful natural bricks and instead we made the steps crumble and sprayed lines in the concrete.
I have a shameful confession to get off my chest that you may want to sit down for. If given the choice, I don’t think I would want to be a stay at home mom. GASP. You horrible woman, how could you not want to spend every waking minute with your child, never missing a single smile or a bowel movement? Don’t get me wrong. If that’s your jam, than more power to you. I bow down, I really do. But for me it’s a really scary thought. When I became a mom, it was the best thing that every happened to me. But it completely turns your world upside down. You give everything to this tiny human and at the same time it can feel like you are losing little parts of yourself. As the matriarch of a household you’re often putting yourself last and taking care of everyone else. While the thought of my son being in daycare for 10 hours a day 5 days a week practically drowns me guilt, I know that it’s good for both of us.
Every person and every mom is different. For me, I need to have one foot in each world. I need to stay grounded to something outside of being a mom and a wife. That balance is what helps me to better mom and wife. It forces me to be hyper present for the mornings/nights and weekends that we’re together. It pushes me to make the most of our time. It’s easier to take a moody toddler or a melt down with a grain of salt when you’re not bitter about having to deal with it alone day in and day out. When he’s super clingy I’m flattered instead of annoyed. And I know he thrives at school. He’s learning and socializing without me having to feel of pressure of getting him to play group or music class or some other organized activity every day. I think it makes me a more relaxed mom too. Because our time is valuable, I find myself more likely to break the rules. It’s ok if he stays up a little later or its ok if we have a spontaneous ice cream outing even though I know I’ll pay for it 10 mins later with an epic sugar rush. I think these special moments are what will stick with him. I don’t think he’ll ever worry about what he missed out on while I was working.
Do I wish I could set my own hours or work half days or maybe have three-day weekends every week? Of course I do! But financially this is the way it has to be. But we’re both doing ok with our current circumstances. I know this because of the smile he gives me when he runs across the room and into my arms. I know it because of the snuggles he gives me before bed. I know it because I can already tell he’s turning out to be a happy, lovable, curious and hysterical human being. And thankfully my pride in that always overcomes whatever irrational guilt I’m feeling.
One of our special 1:1 weekend outings hiking in the metroparks:
We haven’t gone to a pumpkin patch yet, so I consider myself only a semi basic bitch with this post. We are pretty lucky to live 3 mins away from the metro parks. The Mastic Picnic Area is one of the best places to visit on a brisk fall day. The park is drenched with sunlight, there’s a playground, and the trail around the park has little beaten paths all along it that lead you down to the banks of the river. And if that doesn’t have photo opp written all over it, well…Fall is so short-lived here that I find myself panicking if we don’t get in a good handful of these mini adventures that give us the opportunity to breathe it all in and then hold our breaths for as long as we can.
I like to geek out on interior design so very much that I am often moved to pull room inspirations together even when it applies to me personally in absolutely NO way. I saw this rug on Urban Outfitter and I just loved it and instantly and thought it could make the perfect centerpiece for a girl’s nursery design. Just some imaginary girl, not mine. No baby. I repeat, no baby. I liked how the soft pinks are contrasted in the rug with grays and black. Pair it with clean lined furniture, geometric shapes and some animal accents, it makes for a girly, but modern room. Since I do enjoy working on these so much for no reason, I might as well start a little series to share them.
        
DAY 3: FREMONT
DO: Walk along the canal and see the houseboat rows that will make you feel like you’re in a different country, walk around and stop into the cute boutiques and vintage stores and visit the Fremont Bridge Troll.
EAT: Have lunch at Revel for some yum yum Korean fusion. DRINK: At Milstead and Co. for great coffee and a nice shaded patio. Go to Miir Flagship for a really cool space and delish pastries.
DAY 4: WEST SEATTLE
Ok, this was my favorite day of the trip for me. It’s probably because I took myself furthest out of my comfort zone by hopping onto a water taxi solo, eating lunch and spontaneously biking down the West Seattle coast. West Seattle has such a great beach vibe. It’s much more California then Washington, which was a nice little surprise.
DO: Take the water taxi over to West Seattle. It’s a short little trip, but its a fun way to get there. Rent a bike at the bike shack right off the water taxi (I named it that becuase I don’t remember the actual name, but they had Bob Marley playing and I loved it) and ride along the coast to Alki beach.
EAT: At Ma Kai. It’s also right off the water taxi dock and is a great cheap eats place to sit eat, have a beer and take in the city skyline on the opposite coast.
I always had a feeling that the Pacific NW was my spirit home and our trip to Seattle pretty much confirmed that indeed it is. A bustling metropolis on the water surrounded by islands, lush forests and mountains. It was perfection. And since we were there for a week, we really got to take it in beyond the obvious tourist stuff. It was our first time leaving Des ever. And guess what? He totally survived and had so much fun with Mimi that he barely noticed were gone. Charlie had all day training sessions for 4 of the 5 days to become tech certified for La Marzocco (espresso machines), so I got to explore on my own, which was new territory for me. It was amazing and surprisingly fulfilling to venture out alone, so I’m really glad I did. Each day was centered around little neighborhoods, so I’ll go ahead and share my highlights for each.
DAY 1: DOWNTOWN/ BAINBRIDGE ISLAND
DO: Go to Pike’s Place Market – its cliché, but its amazing and the views are great. Ps. you can basically get a wedding centerpiece of peonies here for $10. That’s what I pay for one peony at the grocery store. Then take the ferry to Bainbridge Island! Such a scenic and relaxing boat ride. Gawk at the mansions along the shoreline and then walk to the little downtown and grab a pastry and a beer. EAT: Brunch at The London Plane in Pioneer Square.
DAY 2: BALLARD
DO: Walk down to The Locks and through the lovely gardens. Peruse the vintage/record/book stores. EAT: Breakfast at The Fat Hen. OMG it’s so good and I want to live inside because it’s so damn cute. Also eat a banh mi at Monkey Bridge. It’s the best $8 lunch you will ever have. DRINK: The deconstructed latte at Slate Coffee Roasters. You will feel fancy. Walk the neighborhood around Slate too. The houses are adorable and Seattle has the craziest vegetation that I’m obsessed with. Pine trees next to palm trees. Flowers EVERYWHERE. I don’t know how its even a real place.