I know by now you’ve figured out I wasn’t doing my traditional yearly countdown.  There was so much going on and I wanted to handle this special time of year in a new way.  So, I decided to make an extra long post and bring you up to speed at one time.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you prefer the other way.  These are in no particular order but these are the moment that stands out in 2017. Let’s get it started.

Moving to 7732 – After a rocky and moldy ending (literally) in my old apartment, we were relocated to another unit on the complex. As you noticed through this blog and pictures on Instagram, I invested a lot of time into making that place feel like home. So when I moved over here, I didn’t even have the energy. We’ve been here since March and I still haven’t got this place organized. Let’s add that I truly thought I would be moving into the home I purchased this year but you all know what happened there. It’s a better apartment. Larger. Better views of the Detroit River. The neighbors are priceless. However, over the last half of the year, I’ve been living in a constant MAJOR construction site. They’re completely overhauling this property. This includes digging to install gas lines to offer residents forced and central air. Well, the majority of this smelly work is taking place right outside my windows and the smell is sickening. Now, the query on my brain is – do I wait for them to finish or move on to another place? I have time to think but I truly need to weigh out my options.


Year of Music – Oh, I saw some great acts this year starting with Thundercat. Chene Park offered up a few artists I couldn’t pass on. I didn’t hit the road as much this year for music but I had to see Chris Brown in Chicago. My cousin even got me out the house to see Xscape. Solange, Tyler the Creator, Boney James, Roy Ayers, Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Chante Moore and my jazz festival crew. In addition to those people, I saw a true legend this year – Patti Labelle. Outside of the live shows, I discovered a crew of new artists that I have every intention of seeing live – Smino, Moodchild, H.E.R, Daniel Caesar, and a few others.  My ears and heart were pleased. I didn’t make it to Paisley Park but I’ll get there in the new year.  My SeatGeek and StubHub notifications are loaded and I’m sure I’ll get around a little more in the new year.

AVMs – on Dec. 6, I called 911 to assist me because somehow the entire right side of my body went numb and I couldn’t get it to do what I commanded. As the dispatcher listened to my request for help, she asked, “why do you feel you’re having a stroke?” My response lacked no candor, ‘Bitch, because I’ve already had one. Help me.’ That was the best I could give her. The EMTs arrived and I dropped another B bomb. By the time I arrived at the local hell of emergency rooms, all my faculties were functioning. Afraid of a repeat battle with aphasia, I kept talking and reading everything. After a few hours and some rushed tests, they came back and said it was a TIA. Oh yeah, I thought, ‘fuck this I’m outta here’ and signed myself out. Then, my friend, Reggie appeared only to walk me back to the emergency room. (You never know how blessed you are until you look into the faces of your friends. My friends are unmatched. All of them are true blue. That’s only because they know the type friend I am.) As we sat there, catching up, laughing, trying to see if this nurse was worth him shooting his shot lol and talking about life, I appreciated him a little more. We were only planning to go out that night, I guess we did. Ha! He had done God’s work. I stayed in that hell hole until Friday. While I was there they diagnosed me as having another small stroke/TIA/vasoconstriction/AVMs. The reason it wasn’t a stroke is that I have no residual deficiencies. This TIA business was still up in the air but they presented 2 additional causes. These grabbed my attention and I needed to get to Dr. Miller at Henry Ford to confirm. I was active in a situation where I did NOT trust the people who had my life in their hands. After styling on them for one week in comfortable pajamas, twisting my hair daily, cleansing and moisturizing my face (thanks to Tamika) and laying on my satin pillowcase, I walked out calling my neurologist. He made room for me and I’m going to take all these findings over to him. I’ll let him tell me what our next steps are. One thing I know for sure, I’m going to live.

Rocket Love – After 4 years, the relationship I thought was going to mature into spending the rest of my life with Gino S., is over. Yep, that’s his name. I kept that real close, lol. himThis is the main reason I’ve gone missing over the last part of 2017. I don’t even have the energy to type it out. Bottomline: The feeling he had was that I was spying on him for the UAW or someone more powerful.  He’s being psychologically manipulated and I’m helping them do this to him. He doesn’t trust anything I say or even being around me. Trust me, I’m still confused but hey – maybe entering the institution of marriage – isn’t in the cards for me.  I still believe in love but at this point, I’m not sure if I even want to go through this again. This one hurt more than any other. The reason for this is because I’ve done none of what he believes and I truly felt I had found my best friend and life partner in this man. I stayed single for so long and when I opened myself up again, BAM I got hit. Understand this is the one thing I was protecting myself from and it still happened. Feel free to listen.  There is more but I just wanted to share a piece. My truth is all that matters to me.  Something that I’m not aware of happened (mental health issues) and he needed to push me away.

Book Author Ambitions – This year I decided to write a book. After writing this blog for 5 years and putting this idea on the back burner, I’m finally going to dedicate some time to finish it. If you follow me on Facebook, you can find out the title. I can promise you – it won’t be a short story. 🙂

New Assignment – In June, one of the best bosses I’ve ever had transitioned to the next chapter in his professional life. We truly had a great working relationship and you all know how much I enjoy stability but I had to accept this. His transition spearheaded mine and that included me moving away from everything I was familiar with except my parking garage. Lol, that had to remain the same. I may have started kicking and screaming. Moreover, this was my opportunity to show my worth on the team. Display that I had grown from the time I had joined the company. I had become more proficient and knowledgeable in the role. More importantly, this showed me they trusted me to transition seamlessly and learn about the new business organization I would be supporting. What I didn’t know was, this was only the beginning. At the end of November, I was informed I would be supporting our newest Senior Executive Leader. Wow! As word got around, the congratulatory messages and visits came and none was more surprising than that from Captain Stadwick. I still call him boss and always feel like I represent him and Rebecca. That’s the type of person I am – I just don’t want to disappoint the people that believe/support me. My new director seems nice and I’m sure we’ll build a great working relationship. Do I see you on the horizon STABILITY!? 🙂

Kid Graduating – I’m still excited about that kid graduating. He’s sincere about getting a degree. I think my sermons about making a life for yourself got through to him. With one img_4230semester under his belt, he’s still excited about school. We’ve experienced some bumpy roads but it was time for me to let him go & grow.  He’s becoming his own man and there’s not much I can do for him at this point.  He needs to work those things out for himself. I’m a little nervous about some military conversations he’s been having with some soldiers. I mean who would want their child to be in the military with a leader like 45. I’m not putting that guy’s name in my post but feel free to figure out who I’m talking about. Him graduating was certainly a major highlight of my life.

Lance – Y’all remember when I 1st start talking about getting a new car. I still love Cole but it was time for me to move on. After talking to our Technical Assistance Team, I settled on the CTS. Let me just tell you – I really love all the bells and whistles included in this vehicle. Eff all that – I love this car as a whole. The connectivity is unmatched. I haven’t even had it one year but I know I’ll be a repeat customer. It’s perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong there’s a vehicle from each of our brands that fit me. Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Yukon Denali. This Cadillac just spoke to me. Now, to try out the manual features when the weather breaks and only God knows when that’ll happen around Detroit. Lance

This hair – I still have my edges, more silver strands and it’s getting thicker. My plan is to wear wigs for the entirety of 2018. In addition, I will be doing chebe, hair supplements and deep conditioning on a regular basis. Some essential hair care practices were neglected throughout the year. My goal is APL by the end of 2018. I believe I can do it. So many stresses that were buried in my mind have eradicated themselves or I’ve made a pact to not allow them to drain me anymore. My complete health is important to me and that includes my hair. It may not be billowing curls like Tracey Ellis Ross but it’s all mine. I heart my hair, still.

My favorite Asian – On a quick getaway to Battle Creek, Michigan, I bumped into an Asian store owner. I’ll be the 1st to tell you, I only remember 25% of what he said. The thing that will remain with me until I die is something he said about time. “To waste time is to waste your life.” Even one minute is waste…. I share this message with you, don’t waste one moment of your life.

LIVE…. I’ll see you in 2018 with more smiles. 🙂

grand-traverse

So when your Beau asks, ” do you wanna go to Traverse City next weekend?” Some of you may be jumping for joy. I was kinda in unfamiliar territory – I’m the planner and I didn’t have a hand in this at all.  I had never ventured into the northernmost parts of Michigan. This was going to be an adventure and I was willing to take it with him.  My hair was done, a bag was packed and we were on our way to a place we’d never been before.

A four-hour road trip was ahead of us, that may seem scary to some but I was ok with it. I even went as far as to not bring a book with me to stay engaged.  As always, we talked and listened to music.  I was in more amazement of the scenery – I love nature.  The ride was so peaceful and for some odd reason unknown, he really knows how to pick the right music for any mood.  We were cruising down the road and he pointed over yonder to the right of me and said, “that’s where we’re staying.”  So far so good.  It was the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, very nice.

the-room

We walked in and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. The room was magnificent and the view was breathtaking.  I placed that bottle of champagne that had been weighing my purse down on the table and took in everything.  This man had done a good job. There was a small wrapped package that brought me great pause. ‘What was it?’ Oh, just chocolate covered strawberries to welcome me to my Mother’s Day weekend getaway.  I totally forgot it was Mother’s Day weekend.  My kid was so old and breathing down the neck of adulthood this event has just slid by me year after year. Another point for this man!

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We got out of this beautiful place to eat and see more of the local area.  I was lightweight overwhelmed with the whole thing.  I didn’t want to spend the weekend taking pictures of different things and places.  I really wanted to focus on the time we were having together. It was beautiful and just like that we were on our way back to our regularly scheduled programs. A million ideas went running through my mind over those four days and I had missed the main one.  He just wanted to do something nice for me for Mother’s Day. Needless to say, I saw a different side of him that weekend.

I was surprised by how much I like it.  We’re polar opposites when it comes to travel (he’s a lake and I’m an ocean, literally) but I’m sure this won’t be the last time I get to “Cherryland.” There’s a little place within me that’s designated this as “our place.” We’ve even considered some alternative destinations on future travel.  I’d love to be there during the warmer months to do a little star gazing. The next time he’s ready to go I won’t have any trepidation. Moreover, he’s proven himself to be trustworthy when making travel arrangements that include me.  🙂

We all have a bucket list and even if you don’t there are a few things you’ve identified that you have to do.  I’m just like you.  Over the past few days, I acknowledged the things I want to do as soon as he is he goes away to school.  It may be safe to say these are the things I want to do after he turns 18.  It may not be impressive to you but I wanted to share and document it for myself.  Lord knows I don’t need another list running around me.  🙂

1. Watch the sun rise (DAILY).

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In the summer of 2014, I moved right on the Detroit River.  Two years have passed and everybody has been trying to figure out why I’m not in my backyard more often.  I don’t even have the answer to that.  Sometimes when I’m on my way to work, I look at the sunrise in my rearview mirror and I’m amazed.  The sight fills my spirit with optimism.  In the future, I’d like to take the time, have a cup of tea and take it all in every day.

 

2. Discover USA via Amtrak

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Train travel is exciting to me.  It’s not as quick as planes, involved as a car or luxurious as a cruise ship.  It’s practical.  This mode of transportation takes you to a time when this was the fastest method known to man.  There’s a great percentage of this vast land that I haven’t seen.  I didn’t realize Amtrak serviced so many destinations on my list of places to see.  The fares are relatively cheap.  A round trip from Detroit to St. Louis was $162.00. Chicago is the central hub of all the activity.  So, the plan is to travel to Chicago every other month and journey into one of these foreign places to experience them.  I might not make it to the West coast via train but the other locations look rather exciting.

3. Travel to Europe

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My passport expires Feb 2018 and I still haven’t made it across the Atlantic Ocean.  This will come to an end next year.  I’m gifting myself a European vacation for my 18 years of parenthood.  You can call this a Pull Gift – you know the reverse of the Push Gift.  🙂  (The one I wear almost every day.)  I haven’t narrowed down the exact location but the contenders are:

You’ll be the 2nd to know where I’ve decided to go.  😉

4. Purchase a home in Detroit

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I’ve been renting for a couple of years now.  Let me tell you – I don’t like it at all.  The amount of money I’ve paid out in the last 2 years was enough to purchase a small bungalow in Detroit.  The jig is up next year.  This year I have been focused on resolving some concerns on my credit report and rehabilitating my credit score.  My hopes are to raise it enough that I will not need a special program to purchase.  The downtown Detroit market is booming.  This area is first on my list due to my 7-10 work commute.  Right now, I am unsure if I want a house or condo.  I’ll know what’s best for me when I get there.  This probably should’ve been number one but who’s judging me.  lol

My Area

5. Start an aquarium

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This originally said get a dog or start an aquarium.  Then I did a “what type of dog is best for you” quiz.  Let’s just say the results didn’t appeal to me.  So, the fish won.  I know owning a saltwater tank is hard work but I have a secret method.  My dad!  He’s the guru on aquatic life and starting aquariums.  The freedom of fish is very calming to me.  I would get a bird but I’m terrified of them.  The dog would have made a great companion but considering my work schedule and travel plans that might not be the best idea.  I’ll swim with the fish and allow my dad to teach me how to maintain it.

6. Start dream car project

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It’s hard to be from Michigan and not have muscle car dreams.  This is the ‘Motor City.’ Home of the Woodward Dream Cruise.  On my vision board you will see several old model vehicles and I plan to start that collection soon.  The 1st vehicle I have selected is the classic 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS.  I don’t want to trick it out.  My vision is to restore it to its showroom beauty.  I have found a forum to purchase from and gather parts.  In addition, I plan to do part of the work.  I bet you can guess what the exterior color will be.  #itsMyFav This will become my Friday/Saturday car.

7. Learn to play piano

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I’ve always wanted to purchase a piano.  Where’s the joy in owning a piano if you can’t play.  Over the next several years I will make this dream a reality.  I think you all know how important music is to me. Yes, I may not become Roberta Flack but I will enjoy the learning opportunity.

There may be more things I want to do with this newfound freedom.  This is just a quick list off the top of my head that I wanted to share with you.  Just a few things to encourage my happiness.  🙂

 

Taste of Chicago is the largest free open air taste fest in the United States.  Food has been a cornerstone in my immediate family since before I was alive.  I’ve been kinda down over the past few weeks.  So, when Shawn sent me an email from Amtrak to Chicago. I couldn’t refuse.  I’ll give you the play by play of the event and taste we experienced during our first trip to this event.

You can’t turn down a chance to go to Chicago or Toronto when you’re from Detroit.  A getaway with the packing is a bonus.  I called us an Über and we were on our way to the closet size Detroit station to board the train. The ride lasted longer than expected but we reached out to Amtrak Customer Support to discuss this foolishness.

Let me tell you, when we two get together it’s a wonderful combination of the practical bougie. We’ll hop on the bus, catch a cab, ride a train or walk if we can’t have valet. So our 1st stop out of Union Station was Starbucks for Mango Black Tea Lemonades. 🙂 From there we headed straight to Zara.  They were having a massive sale and we took full advantage of it.  My hunt for floral pants is officially over and I copped another leather piece for my closet.  From there we headed straight to Grant Park to try out the local food options.


Let me tell you there was so much food- there’s no way for you to taste everything in one visit.  There’s a million stations down the main walkway then there’s a right turn full of food as well.  It reminded me of the way the old festivals use to be in Detroit.  Food and people from everywhere.  We made a plan to share our taste portions and experience new things.  Don’t be mad at me if our taste buds don’t agree on a specific fare.  Here we go!!

Rattlesnake & Rabbit Sausage


This had to be the scariest thing I’ve ever ate because I told her to get the alligator sausage.  Thank God do the cheese on the sample that’s the only way I has it through this one.  I told everyone it was worm & squirrel sausage. ++


Missed Opportunity – Lobster on Board


The line told us this was the bomb but we certainly wanted to make the most of our time.  So when the guy from off the truck started talking to us without an offer to slide us a sample without the wait.  We dismissed his small talk and proceeded with our plan on this 88 degree day in the sun.  We walked past the famous Buckingham Fountain.


Bacon on a Stick – Bobak’s


There was no way I was walking pass this.  It was literally the thickest slice of bacon I had even seen on a stick.  Let’s not even talk about the fat! ;). This was a favorite of mine but we had so much more to try I had to keep my options open.  How could you NOT? ++++

Fried Cheese Ravioli – Punky’s

Absolutely delicious.  Everything was perfect from the sauce to the temperature of the ravioli.  They gave us a great portion to taste.  I may have to try this at home.  As you can see, we destroyed the appetizer before I remembered to take a picture.  It was that good! ++++


Papas BravasBruges Bros


You can tell by the sign and the black truck this was going to be serious.  One of my favorite foods covered in some things I had never considered pairing them with.  here’s a look.

This was an interestingly good pairing of flavors.  It reminded me of the Detroit favorite Chilli cheese fries with and additional twist. The chorizo was unexpected but very welcomed. ++++


The next stop blew me away.

 Seafood Ceviche – MAD

This may not be the best picture but I was overcome by the relief of the shaded area.  This ceviche was top-notch.  The right amount of squid, shrimp and veggies.  It was prepared just the way I like it. All I needed was a larger bowl of this and some chips. +++++


Malnati SaladLou Malnati’s 

So, tell me how we decide to take it light and get a salad after the ceviche only to end up with lettuce coupled with bad dressing.  I’ll tell you how – we stopped at Lou Malnati’s. This salad was horrid.  I love black olives and Parmesan cheese like any other person but it did NOT work on this salad.  We ended up throwing it away. ++


Mustard-Fried CatfishBJ’s Market & Bakery

OMG! The last few stations proved to be the worst so far.  The worm and squirrel sausage was moving up in the rankings. This was the worst. I couldn’t even finish it. At first bite, you can feel the southern inspiration then the mustard aftertaste hits you and the regret sets in.  I’ve never been a real fan of mustard.  I confessed my inability to finish that nugget and pitched it in the trash. +


 Fruit Popsicle – Mexicana

We had walked at least 4 miles in 85+ degree weather and struck out 3x.  A sure thing was the best thing we had going for us right now.  She chose watermelon and I got mango.  Scurrying to grab a piece of the shade we sat and ate while we cooled off.  There isn’t much to report about these other than they were very good.  No processed sugars or artificial flavors.  I’d buy one again. +++++


A walk through Millennium Park and we were back off to Union Station.  We saw 2 little ones in the fountain making wishes on other’s dimes, quarters and nickels. A young lady squat to pee in the same water and I was almost attacked by a bee.  On our way back, I got a picture of the sign that ushered us in and out of a great day.


The Taste of Chicago is an experience each person that has an opportunity should attend. We had a blast but will we be lacing up our shoes to hit it next year – not necessarily. This was a mutual understanding.  Now, if my beau asks me to go, I’ll have to oblige.

This was just what I needed to knock me out of the funk I was in.  For a short while, I was free from my worries. 🙂

I’m pretty organized.  Every morning I’m up early – running through the things I mentally noted that I needed to take care of.  Somehow, I manage to stop at least once a day to concentrate on what I was “suppose” to do.  On occasion, I remember whatever it is and other times it comes to me as I lay me head on the pillow.  I’m not proclaiming that I’m forgetful but I will acknowledge when change is needed.  I was determined to get my schedule in in check and become more productive.

I purchased a daily planner from target the beginning of the year.  Things were on track but I didn’t have enough space to write down what I needed.  So, I only used the monthly view pages, which allowed me to see when I was doing things.  I needed more!  A colleague (HA! – I said colleague) of mine had shown me her Day Designer Planner early this year and I never forgot it.  So I thought maybe this is something I need to invest in.  Needless to say, I kept going with my poor method and wasn’t maximizing my day.  In this new position, I realized that I had to get some order in my schedule.  I was on the hunt.  I liked the Day Designer but it wasn’t me.  I went to my homie, YouTube for answers.  Through a few comparison reviews and unboxings, I found the one for me in the eRiN Conderen brand.


Here it is!  Isn’t it lovely?  If you would like to hear the details of the order and features included, please follow me on Periscope @stoical127 for the live review.  Why I chose to go with this company?  I like the customization options because I don’t want to walk around with the same planner as everyone else. That’s just one of my quirks.  The colors were bright and changed throughout the year in the planner. There are motivation quotes, sufficient space to write and the little welcome pouch was a nice way to get you to try out other products.  So I ordered the planner after I finally decided how I was going to decorate my work space.  I decided on the Cynthia Rowley Floral office collection to breathe a little life into my cube of beige.

After some very stiff competition, I went with my favorite shade of blue in navy surrounded by flowers and we know how much I love flowers.  In an upcoming post I’ll show you how I decorated everything.  There are still things to hang on the wall.  You all know decorating takes time.  It’s never as easy as HGTV will have you to believe.  Is it wrong for me to want a chic chair or should I hold of until I get my library?  😉  I’ll be looking forward to your feedback in the comments.

Other reasons why I went with this I like the layout. It allows me to break my day up into 3 sections that are important to me and provide room for changes.  I’m not taking about morning, noon and night.  My days consists of fitness, work and evenings.  I’ll have some pictures after I set it up for you to have a peek into my daily life.  Another unconventional criterion was the CEO‘s energy.  She put a face to and voice to the products.  I felt she understood what some of us busy people feel. We want to take care of everything but feel there’s NEVER enough time in a day.  Some people wouldn’t have cared that she made those YouTube videos but it mattered to me.

I’m in love and have picked up quite a few tips on how I can make planning fun and personal for me.  The cover is my very own (check my IG: @bmisunderstood) picture and the cover can be switched out with another.  This is awesome for me because I like to change things up from time to time and like the idea that I never have to lose my cover because it’s time for a new planner.

I’ll keep you updated on how everything progresses through the year and if this method works for me as well.  🙂

When they announced the “OTR: On The Run” tour with Beyoncé and Jay Z – The Carters, I was sure as the sun that I would be in attendance. The dates reflected NO Detroit stop! Say what!!! Never to be let down by a minor obstacle I researched my options. I could go to Toronto on the 9th of July or Chicago on the 24th. There was a no brainer about to happen in choosing the international venue. It was Rogers Centre and one of the only ones that did not have the weather disclaimer. Who wanted to travel to another city and possibly get hit with some bad weather? Definitely not me! The second part to the decision had everything to do with Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph & Johnny coming to the infamous Chene Park on the 25th. I wasn’t missing them for nothing. With my valid passport on standby as always I was ready!

The week came and I had not a clue what I was going to wear but comfort was key. Clad in my all-time favorite looks white tops, denim and a head full of twist for my semi finished hairstyle under a beanie, I was ready for the adventure! With Frankie & Tee-Tee in tow (Shawn & Cami and don’t act like you didn’t know I was Stoney from Set it off… Even though my kid tells people all the time “my momma fine like Frankie but she’ll set it off like Cleo!” Lol) we journeyed over the Ambassador Bridge and into Canada with one mission see the show! Due to some scheduling constraints, we were required to enjoy & hit the road as soon as it was over to high tail it back to Detroit. Arriving at Rogers Centre, fixing our makeup, hair and wardrobe in the confines of the vehicle all while the GPS screamed at us to make several circles to stay in traffic generated some well deserved laughs as we decided to take our on way! We were literally on the run.

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There’s only one thing I can say about this show – quite possibly the best damn concert I’ve ever attended. Due to the remaining shows I will not give up all the details but I will say, you’re going to enjoy yourselves if you go. I’ve only stood the entire time through one other concert and that was Prince! I never sat down. The ticket fee covered my entrance and a very expensive coat rack but am I complaining – UH NO! During a small portion of the performance, I ventured out in the empty halls to purchase souvenirs stress free and watch the people as they would take off running when they heard the beat dropped for their favorite songs. I stripped down to my tank top and rocked, bounced and winded my hips into the evening entranced by the music I loved.

 

 

In true Marlea fashion, my phone dies, limiting the number of pictures I can take. Frankie (Shawn) stepped right in and took a few good shots for me. While enjoying the playlist of hits and singing along, I realized these 2 artist have composed the soundtrack of my adult life! More than half my life includes their songs and feelings I’ve experienced, laughed at and danced to while having a good time.

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This was my 1st time seeing Beyoncé and I was very impressed and will be at her other shows in the future. If you’re waiting to see this show, you’ll be totally satisfied. If you haven’t decided, find a few extra coins in your couch, cup holder or piggy banks to make this happen. Sneaking back into Detroit in the whee hours of the morning through the tunnel with tired eyes, butts and limbs created no feelings of regret as we reflected on the show and kissed the sunrise goodnight.

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Let me know if you’re planning to go or already saw the show. 🙂

Detroiters know when you want to get away on quick notice you have 2 options – Canada or Chicago! That’s why it’s so important to have a passport or enhanced ID! At a moments notice you could be traveling through customs. These are quick trips that offer an escape from your everyday lives with zero to limited planning. When the plans began for Esha’s Burfday we opted for a quick trip to the Chi! We absolutely love Chicago for being everything we want at home and it’s close proximity to us.

In our efforts to make it stress free. We opted to take the Wolverine! That’s the name of the Amtrak liner that commutes from Pontiac to Chicago daily. One day of fashion, food and fun packed in our rapid excursion. As we laughed at the resemblance of the Detroit station and a hospital waiting room the conductor called for us to get ready to board. I won’t even mention the individuals scheduled to go with us that missed the train due to inexcusable factors. I’ll just continue with the story! We took our seats and within seconds we were on our way on a day trip. The train ride was great and I managed to ride all the way to the Windy City without gaining a passenger to sit ext to me.

 


Once we arrive, prepare to hit the streets hard and fast! We drop our bags! One of us finds a Starbucks and away we go to peruse all the merchants they have that Detroiters only gain access to via the Internet. Zara was the first! I’m in love with their effortless take on women’s fashion with a cutting edge. I fell in live with this dress! They say it’s a tunic – I say it’s a dress and I have the legs to prove it!

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It’s A Dress

After this store we journeyed into a few others. But after just completing a closet cleaning and creating a list I know the things I need to incorporate into my wardrobe. The saving grace for this dress was they did not have my size. If I think about it in a few weeks I may have to get it! God bless my “Any Shade of Blue” loving soul! I really need pastels. Nothing really moved me to the checkout, which encouraged me as I work on my financial discipline.

On a stop to nurture our near empty stomachs. We found Epic Burgers. In anticipation for the rest of the evening I ate small but it was enough to hold me.

 

 


I wanted to stop by the Garrett’s Popcorn to get my mom a mix as a thank you for carting the boy around in my absence. But the line was running concurrent with the curb toward the corner & I wasn’t for that foolishness. She’ll just get some from the popcorn place here in Detroit Good People Popcorn. I really love theirs anyway or you can call me a real Detroit girl! After one more stop, we hopped in our taxi back to the hotel to get dressed for our evening fun!

Picture 5 women, yes I said 5, sharing 2 mirrors, 1 shower and getting ready to go out on the town. If you have a picture, you’re probably still off. Call it organized chaos. One person flat ironing, one ironing, one showering, two applying makeup with the music going. Reminded me of my early days of adulthood when me and my friends would scurry around to get ready and leave from the same place. Dressed to the nines we headed to the Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. Upon our arrival, there was a slight delay due to the driver trying to juice us of a few more dollars – with his rude ass! We were treated to the signature garlic bread (which may possibly stop me from eating any other bread at restaurants). Yes! It’s that damn good! The manager offered celebratory drinks in awesome style for the party of our lady of honor. This was all before we even got a table to order our food. Once being seated in the upper level of the restaurant the great service never stopped. Maybe I just feel that way because they brought us another plate of that damn bread!

 

 

 

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During the course of the meal, I realized I wasn’t as young as I once was and the fatigue set in motion. I apologized to the birthday girl and the adult in me told them I could not go on. I needed rest. It wasn’t our plan to turn in so early but I was ready to call it quits. After the $300+ bill was paid without drama and the candle had been blown out on the cake, we ventured back to the room. They could’ve deserted me because after I washed my face and put on my pjs it was a done deal for the kid!

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Rock & Fortress

We were up early with the birds to catch our stressless ride back to Detroit. Boarding the car to procure optimal seating for more sleeping was essential and proved to work like a charm. I decided this year I may ramp up a few more points and take a few more trips this way. Our arrival wasn’t as humorous as the beginning of our journey but we were home.

Have you rode the train lately? Does this type of travel sound interesting to you as we create our summer plans?