Friday, February 29, 2008

Town Tour -- Laboring Over the Stove: A Working Definition of Detroit Cuisine

If I had $675 to spare, believe me, I would be the first to register for the American Table Culinary Tour of Detroit. After all, what better way to enjoy a couple of days than learning about a combo of food, history and Detroit?

The tour, which is coming to Detroit June 26-28, will focus on the culinary wonders that surround the city and America's Auto Industry. Some highlights of the 2-day tour include:

  • A coney dog showdown hosted by UAW V.P. Jimmy Settles;
  • Discussion of dugout eats by Curtis Granderson (my FAVORITE Tiger!);
  • "Houses of Worship" tour led by Detroit Free Press columnist/co-editor of The Detroit Almanac Bill McGraw (samples of pierogies, burrma and baklava will be noshed along the way);
  • Tour of the historic Germack Pistachio Company;
  • A presentation by Ari Weinzweig -- founder of Ann Arbor's famous Zingerman's Deli;
  • A shopping trip to Eastern Market led by Lois Johnson and Margaret Thomas, authors of Detroit's Eastern Market: A Farmers Market Shopping and Cooking Guide;
  • A breakfast at Avalon Bakery;
  • Picnic on Belle Isle;
  • Baking lessons where tourgoers can learn the art of making Mexican cakes, Middle Eastern pastries or Southern sweet potato pies;
  • Festivities will conclude at Cadieux CafĂ©, a featherbowling bar.

To view the itinerary (and drool over the mouth-watering descriptions), click onto this site:

Hope some foodie reporters out there cover this event hardcore so I can live vicariously through them. I can't wait to see what wonderful stories are written about what everyone is able to experience -- all in the yummy, cultural city of Detroit.

Thanks for choosing Detroit, American Table. Annnd, in 40=/- years when I retire, feel free to come back to Detroit so I can take the tour myself.

Last Day to Vote for Children's Hospital!

Please go vote here. We are just behind Houston. Let's show those Texans Detroit can show the love like no other!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cast your vote! The Detroit Zoo's zebra foal needs a name

Votes are in for the newest zebra addition to the Detroit Zoo family! They are: Bella, Chloe, Holly, Noel and Zahara.

Which name is the best fit for the little foal? Cast your vote here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Twitter Me

More of you people need to use Twitter! Feel free to "Twitter" me -- the name's metrogal84. Everyone can use more social networking in their lives!

Thought for the Day:
"Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time." - T.S. Eliot

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Improvisational Quilts of Susana Allen Hunter @ The Henry Ford

What goes into a quilt?
- Love.
- A lot of time.
- A lot of fabric.

Yes, all of these are true. But what is hidden among the array of fabric we see is a piece of the quilter's soul.

Prepare to see the soul poured into one woman's quilt collection at the brand new exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. called "Quilting Genius 2: The Improvisational Quilts of Susana Allen Hunter."

The exhibit features 30 creative quilts created by Susana from the "fabric" of her everyday life in Wilcox, Alabama -- one of the poorest counties in the nation.

Susana's quilts, dating from the 1930s - 70s, provide a feeling of life context to her experience as an African American female living in the Jim Crow rural south. In her inspiring designs, she incorporated pieces of her life -- rice sacks from food she consumed, feed sacks from the farm animals she took care of, jeans from old farm overalls and cotton that her and her family had hand-picked in the hot, southern sun. Every piece was reused or recycled and no fabric went to waste.

When I walked through the exhibit, I felt connected to Susane and got the vibe that quilting was her way to escape the harsh reality of being an African American female living in the racist/sexist south. It was through her creative outlet -- quilting -- that her mind was able to escape the confining and complex barriers of the era.

I believe through her quilting, Susane sends a message to all of us -- creativity can't be judged by material things. Sometimes it's the imperfections of art coupled with the soul and emotion poured into the piece that create true art and always out-measure any store bought item. Sometimes it's the lack of what we have that makes us artists -- after all, it's always those who can make something out of nothing that always ends up on top.

To Susane, the fabrics she chose for each quilt seem to symbolize hope for change and a desire to express herself. Her quilts are not just simply blankets for the purpose of warmth. To me, they each tell a story of her strife and longing to escape and make something that wasn't "pretty" in the first place, beautiful and purposeful.

The exhibit is truly something to see. I had chills thinking about the soul that had obviously gone into the amazing pieces. This lady was poor and down on her luck at times, but didn't let that stop her from using her mind to create something that helped her escape.

Check it out for yourself. The exhibit is going on now through April 27, 2008.

Caffeine Craze to Hit Metro Detroit with Biggby's Growth

Yay! Lansing-based Biggby Coffee (formerly Beaner's Coffee... and yes, that was a poor name choice) is doubling in locations (with many more to come in Metro Detroit) in the next two years, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press!

Believe me, Biggby is SO much tastier than Star-spend-a-lot-of-bucks. And, the best part is, you support a Michigan native when you stop by for a caffiene fix. Keep it as incestuous as possible people; Michigan needs our economic help.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Top Forward of the Day -- Hot Chocolate vs. Life

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired.
During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups-porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite -- telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:
"Notice that all the nice looking; expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each others cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate we have.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

And enjoy your hot chocolate!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Etsy: Awesome, Artsy Web Site

Cool Web find of the day:

For all your arsty, handmade needs -- from photography to jewelry to cute and unecassary thingamajigs. Check it.

P.S. There's about 800,000,000 things I want!

Follow up: check out the rad necklace I got on the site...I'm in love with trees, so this was perfect for me! Check out the designer the Jewelry Tree @

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy belated b-day Abe + hello Mich. log cabin adventurers

Since Abraham Lincoln's birthday was last week and today we are celebrating President's Day, I started researching a way to highlight America's favorite president a.k.a. "Honest Abe" and the amazing feats he accomplished during his presidency. Being A.D.D. when it comes to surfing the Internet, I found myself going off on a tangent and ended up discovering a unique blog about a couple who is building a log cabin on a lake in Gaylord, Mich.

And since Lincoln and log cabins seem to go together like PB&J, I decided to give the blog a shout-out.

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to live in a log cabin. Maybe it was from watching Little House on the Prairie or playing hours of Oregon Trail on an old school Mac, but there's always been something so peaceful about log cabins and this blog proves just that.

Being a new homeowner, I am fascinated with the hard work that goes along with builing a cabin. And, as always, gotta show a little mitten love. Our state is so gorgeous and full of beautiful nature that I know I take for granted everyday.

Perhaps one day, I'll build a log cabin on the lake.... but for now, I'll stick to the city and read about one couple's adventure here on the great world wide web.

Lovin' my newest tech treat

I'm not one to push products on my blog, but since I am in a field related to marketing and I know word of mouth is the best, I'm willing to give my thumbs up for a great product.

I am in love with my latest tech treat from Memorex. It's described as a "2.1 channel home speaker system for iPod® with integrated CD player and subwoofer," but I all I know/care to know is that the sound is superior, it has a wireless remote and it lights up blue and looks sweet. No worries on the blue light thing, it only uses 25 watts of LED light power, and I am sure to unplug it when it's not in use to save energy anways. =) The best part is it's compatible with ALL iPods, so it's great when friends come over. For a gal on a budget, I think it was $100 well spent.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Free Hug Campaign -- Creating peace, one hug at a time

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing in the world beats a hug -- even if it's from a complete stranger.
I was so excited today when I ran across an amazing video on YouTube about a guy who holds up a "free hug" sign in heavily-trafficked areas.

Intrigued, I went to the Web site the video told me to check out -- WOW. That's all I have to say... such a cool movement. Here's the powerful story of the creator, Australian Juan Mann, according to the site:

"I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown. Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me. So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words "Free Hugs" on both sides. And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling. Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven't compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time."

How flippin' touching is that? It's amazing to witness the impact of just a simple hug. I would totally be down for organizing a "free hug" day here is the Detroit area if anyone would like to join me!

Check out reactions of the movement from people from all over the globe here.

P.S. The kick butt background song used in the video is "All The Same" by Sick Puppies.

Telepopmusik - Breathe

I love this song and this video is just too cute to not share!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Show the LOVE this Valentine's Day

Thanks to over-the-top commercialization, February 14 has become a day filled with chocolates, diamonds and flowers (not that I'm complaining). But, with all these material items, the question becomes do you really need to be in a relationship with someone to celebrate all the wonderful things about the day named for Saint Valentine? I think the answer is no.

To me, the day is simply about loving each other, in any/all forms. When you really think about it, love comes in so many different packages... Friend love. Pet love. Old and gray love. Gay love. Internet love. Love of country. Love for God. Parent-child love. All that matters today is that you show some LOVE!

Here's some cool media points I've come across today that cover the topic of love in a few different forms...

Cyber Love: Internet love really can happen. So many wonderful people meet their perfect match online, after all, the bar is no good for meeting people and with work consuming our lives, how else can you meet potential love interests? Read this article from NY Times magazine called "Cybercourting" and maybe you'll be willing to give cyber love a shot. The story is wonderfully written and sets the stage for love in the current day-in-age.

Pet Love: WXYZ, (channel 7 to you Detroiters), is hosting a telethon for the Michigan Humane Society today until 11 p.m. Personally, I think that was a genius marketing move on their part. So many people don't have a significant person in their life, but have nothing but love for their pet. So, instead of wasting money on pointless confections, you can donate to any amazing organization benefiting our furry friends!

Old-Fashioned 'Wrap Me In Your Arms and Whisper Sweet Nothings' Love: The Detroit Free Press ran an amazing story called "Lasting love has no secrets" which dishes some marriage advice from two adorable elderly couples. (I can only hope Jason and I are that blessed when we're that old!) Read it and prepare to be touched.

Parent-Child Love -- A Bond That Can't Be Broken: KHAS-TV out of Nebraska shows parent-child love in a segment about a couple who loves their daughter with cerebral palsy more than life itself -- even though she can't verbally communicate with them. It's truly beautiful to see how love can bring to light what matters most in life.

Believe me, if I could afford enough stamps to send a valentine to the world, I would. For now, do me a favor and show a little love today, no matter what the form.

Monday, February 11, 2008

MUSIC: If life had a soundtrack...

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Kudos to whoever originally made that statement.

When I am frustrated with life, I listen to good ole fashion rock n' roll. I scream out the lyrics and pump my fist or drum on the steering wheel, often causing stares when I am sitting in traffic.

There are days I have Jason on my mind and I turn on music with lyrics that reinforce my deep love for him. I belt out the song in my best voice, pretending he's there and I am really serenading him (...and yes, I do sing to him in real life too -- and he loves it ;).

Then there are times I just feel like rapping. I would never say I am good at it, after all, I am a white girl from the suburbs, but there's something poetic about rhyming that gets me jazzed for a long day of work.

No matter what is going on in my life, music is there for me. Music has moved me to tears, caused me to crowd surf at concerts, sing in choirs, karaoke to "Love Shack," change my clothing styles (Gwen Stefani, anyone?), make friends with perfect strangers and get over ex-boyfriends. It has caused my girls and I to dance to 80's music around the house like crazy people. Music brings my Church congregation together, uniting one voice for God. Music has been the backdrop to many Daddy-Daughter dances, family Christmas parties, birthday mix CD's for friends and topical conversations.

The list goes on and on of how music has played an integral role in my life thus far and helped me to have an epiphany today: Music just makes life interesting.

Since I am such a music nut, I was really excited when I came across a bulletin on my beloved friend Sarah's MySpace that asks people to make their own "life soundtrack." I copied it about a month ago, but haven't had the time to really think and plan it out and since I am constantly evolving as a person, the list I composed is fluid and will probably change tomorrow.

I've shared mine below and I suggest you all make one for yourself. It's so interesting to see what people choose as their songs -- there's SO many great songs out there to choose from! When I was selecting my songs, I was flooded with great emotions and memories from the past.

My Life -- Set To Music
  • Opening Credits: All These Things I've Done -- The Killers
  • Waking Up Scene: Ants Marching -- Dave Matthews Band
  • Car Driving Scene: Stick Shifts and Safety Belts -- Cake
  • High School Flashback Scene: Tiny Dancer -- Elton John
  • Nostalgic Scene: It'll All Work Out -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Bitter, Angry Scene: Headstrong --Trapt
  • Break-up Scene: Stay -- Lisa Loeb
  • Regret Scene: Colorblind -- Counting Crows
  • Nightclub/Bar Scene: Saturday Night -- Bay City Rollers
  • Fight/Action Scene: O Fortuna -- Carmina Burana, Carl Orff
  • Lawn Mowing Scene: Every Ghetto, Every City -- Lauryn Hill
  • Daydreaming Scene: Saturday In The Park -- Chicago
  • Sad, breakdown scene: Mad World -- Gary Jules
  • Death Scene: Ave Maria -- Pavarotti
  • Funeral Scene: The Wind -- Cat Stevens
  • Dreaming About Someone: You Are the Sunshine in My Life -- Stevie Wonder
  • Contemplation Scene: All I Need -- Air
  • Chase Scene: Devil Went Down To Georgia -- Charlie Daniels Band
  • Dance Party Scene: The Way You Move -- Outkast
  • Seduction Scene: Crazy -- Aerosmith
  • Happy Love Scene: Everything -- Michael Buble
  • Happy Friend Scene: We're Going To Be Friends -- The White Stripes
  • Falling Asleep Scene: What A Wonderful World -- Louis Armstrong
  • Closing Credits: Ecstasy -- Rusted Root

That's my soundtrack and it's funny how it ended up really being me in a nutshell -- thoughtful, eclectic and just plain random.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New green-inspired Jack Johnson album

I am super excited, the new Jack Johnson album, "Sleep Through the Static" is officially out. Check it out on Free Napster. Tune into the song "If I Had Eyes." I think that's my fave so far.

And the coolest part about the album is that it was recorded using 100% solar energy, printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and it also carries the 1% For The Planet logo, which is a global movement of companies that donate 1% of sales to environmental organizations. Talk about being green. Way to go, Jack! Hope it's a hit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dive into icy water and benefit Special Olympics Michigan

Non-profits around the state of Michigan put on many wonderful events/fundraisers to benefit their organizations throughout the year. With tough economic times, it's crucial these organizations create events that will not only make an impact financially, but will also draw attention to the organization.

One non-profit that has stolen my heart is Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI). Through an internship there, I was able to learn the ins-and-outs of this amazing organization and the wonderful people that benefit from its programming. One thing I tell friends looking to volunteer somewhere is that volunteering for the Special Olympic Summer/Winter Games is a great opportunity to make a difference and have an absolute blast doing so. I was so incredibly happy when I worked the summer games and was able to cheer on athletes and experience the beauty of their teamwork, passion for their sports and hear the encouraging words spoken among them.

One fantastic opportunity to help SOMI is coming up this weekend in Detroit. It's called the Polar Plunge and if I didn't have prior commitments, I would be there in a heartbeat!

It's called the Polar Plunge because law enforcement officers and volunteers literally plunge into icy water, many times dressed in full costume, all for the benefit of SOMI. Anyone is welcome to take the plunge, just as long as you make a minimum donation of $50 to SOMI. Interested jumpers can register online here. Each event kicks off with a parade of costumes and a competition for the most creative costume or the best jump into the water. A post-plunge party and awards ceremony follows.

Here's the dates/times for the metro Detroit area:
Feb. 9 - Detroit - Detroit Rowing Club - Registration at 11:00 a.m., parade of costumes and plunge at 12 p.m. and awards/post plunge party at 12:45

Feb. 16 - Ann Arbor - Gallup Park - Registration at 11:00 a.m., parade of costumes and plunge at 12 p.m. and awards/post-plunge party at 12:45 p.m.
Other plunges will be happening in 12 other cities around the state too.

If you can't make it this year, no worries. Next year, I think it's my turn to pay my dues and take the plunge! Who's with me?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Show the Love: Vote for Children's Hospital of Michigan

Colgate-Palmolive and Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation have teamed up this year to help children with Sickle Cell Disease and their families cope with the pain, fear and isolation of this terrible disease. By providing Fun Centers in hospitals, these children can forget about their illnesses for a moment and remember how to have fun.

This year, Detroit's own Children's Hospital of Michigan is one of the nominees up for getting a Fun Center – and they need our help!

Please go vote for them here. You can even vote everyday leading up to February 29th. What a difference you could make in the life of a terminally-ill child!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The dreaded C-word

The C-word. Probably the most dreaded word to come out of a family member's mouth -- CANCER.

I was taken aback yesterday when my Mom and I were browsing for wedding supplies at Michael's and she casually told me that she has a type of skin cancer called basel cell carcinoma. When she noticed my horrified stare back, she reassured me it was "not serious" and I have nothing to worry about. But, being a perpetual worrier, especially with my family's health, I freaked out on her. "What do you mean not serious? The doctor told you you have cancer! That is not a subject I take lightly!" She further explained how she had an appointment to get the spot removed and how lucky she was to catch it early on. In fact, she called it a blessing from God because she actually had gone to the doctor for another reason and due to her age (early 60's), he decided to look around a bit and that's how he stumbled across the suspicious spot on her back.

Being the web-savvy person I am, I wrote down the doctor's diagnoses right there in Michael's, knowing the moment I had a chance to do a little research, I would. (Praise God for the Internet!) I was able to figure out all I needed to. I learned skin cancer is divided into two major groups: non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer, and is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, 75 percent of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas (and most are due to exposure to sun). Additionally, Basal cell skin cancer almost never spreads. But, if left untreated, it may grow into surrounding areas and nearby tissues and bone.

Not the most encouraging words... after all, there's not a 100 percent cancer cure out there yet. I am confident my mom's doctor can rid her of the dreaded c-word. Nonetheless, it's a scary thing and it would mean a lot to me if you could keep her in your thoughts/prayers.

Today starts a new thought process for me. When I would come home from college with a bronze tan from fakin' and bakin', my Mom would tell me "You shouldn't do that -- I regret my teen years doing that now." She'd lecture me on wearing sunscreen in the booth and I would just shrug it off as Mom-bable. I thought, "So what if I start with a burn? It'll turn to a tan in a few days!"

Being a pale redhead, I should know better and try my best not to burn. With my mom's recent incident, I really have the fire in me now to protect my skin more than ever, especially because I've been so negligent in the past.

A golden tan may look good now, but a cancer-free future sounds like a much better option to me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sonic to debut in Michigan later this year!

Is anyone as excited I am to know that Sonic — “America’s Drive-In” — will be making its way into Michigan this year?

After years of tortuously mouth-watering commercials, it’s official; Sonic is creeping slowly into Michigan via Grand Rapids.

The chain has built its reputation across the nation as a great place for family fun — complete with carhops on roller-skates, chilidogs and a bazillion kinds of fruity slushes. Now, our great state gets to be a part of the all-American action!

And, it’s all starting to make marketing sense. Sonic commercials have been featured here for what feels like forever, but there’s not a single drive-in within sight. I don’t know if it has been the whole snow factor + drive-in combo that has scared franchisees away, but heck! We’re in Michigan, we’re used to being out in the cold and we love food. I know I personally have wanted to jump in my car on several occasions and drive south until Sonic was in sight. Now, I will only have drive two hours.

So dearest Sonic: Your next move must be to head to the eastside of the state. If you do, I promise to consume endless amounts of Cheesy Tater Tots and Cherry Limeade.

You can also check out this post at the fab Michigan Web site: