Monday, December 30, 2013

Smell the Roses

David and I are headed to Pasadena with some of our favorite people to cheer on our Michigan State Spartans in the Rose Bowl! We are thrilled to be apart of the action and it's also the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl so it's sure to be a memorable trip. 

We are renting a house in Venice and I'll be sharing some of our trip highlights when we get back! 

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Image via


Friday, December 20, 2013

Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail

We took a break from wrapping presents to indulge in a hot treat. I have never had Hot Buttered Rum but have heard it was a wonderful holiday beverage and since we had all the ingredients on hand, Dave whipped up a quick batch for us. It turned out delicious & warmed us right up. We will be keeping this mix on hand for the next week or two as guests come over to visit. 

This was the recipe we followed from Emeril, maybe start off easy on the rum and add more as you see fit :-)

I hate that it gets dark outside so early, all of my pictures have not been turning out so great.. oh well, I'm still going to share with hopes that you don't mind too much!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Shop Local: Rail & Anchor - Royal Oak


The other day, Dave and I had lunch at one of our favorite places, Cafe Muse in Downtown Royal Oak, and stopped to do some shopping on the way.  This was the first time I walked past Rail & Anchor and the items I could see from the window got me really excited to go inside.

We walked in to find a charming store full of unique & trendy pieces displayed in the loveliest way.

I loved this display table of succulents and air plants. Perfectly set up to create a unique gift!

Air plants do not need soil to grow, just soak in water once a week or mist twice a week and they will do well. These are great to put in a vintage bowl, on top of a stack of books or anywhere really.

I think I might need go back for one of these brass urchins.

There was a beautiful apothecary section with lotions, soaps & candles. Would make some great hostess gifts!

We picked up a couple of gifts and they offered to wrap them in rustic kraft paper with our choice of color thread...I love when I don't have to wrap gifts!! I meant to snap a few pics of our purchases but haven't done it yet so I will share soon. I appreciate the small local businesses, especially ones this well curated & reasonably priced. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of shopping here in the future!

How's your holiday shopping going?? 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Detroit: Campus Martius Park & Grand Trunk Pub

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was nice to have a couple days off of work but we definitely stayed busy! We live about 20 minutes north of Detroit and try to get down as often as possible, especially when there is an event going on. Detroit gets a bad rap but it's visits like these that make me love it more and more. 

This year celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the tree lighting and Holiday Marketplace at Campus Martius Park located in the heart of Detroit. The 60 ft tree lights up every day at 5pm.

We stopped by the Holiday Marketplace to shop at local vendors and picked up some goodies including some Sweet Potato Pie from Crème Detroitpolis.

We grabbed some pretzels from Different Twist Pretzel and delicious pierogis from People's Pierogi Collective to enjoy in the heated Beer Garden.

We stopped in for a drink at one of my favorite restaurant/bars in Detroit, Grand Trunk Pub. It was originally a jewelery store built in 1879,  turned into a ticketing station for the Grand Trunk Railway in 1911,  then changed into a bar in 1935 and has been open since.

 There is amazing architectural details including a vaulted ceiling and beautiful woodwork.

Vintage tin sign for Detroit born company, Vernor's Ginger Ale.

The food has always been really good at Grand Trunk and you just can't beat this atmosphere.. I love it!

There is also an outdoor skating rink at Campus Martius Park and there is always a lot of people out and about, such a lovely way to end a holiday weekend.

If you have a couple of hours to spend, I highly recommend visiting downtown Detroit - always something going on!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Source for Good, Free Art

Good art can be hard to find. A lot of the stuff in stores is just not great and there is some decent art on Etsy but that can be pricey. I came across this website, Vintage Printable, which houses thousands (millions?) of copyright free images. These are usually older images scanned in at a high resolution and says right on the website they are "images in the public domain believed to be free to use without restriction in the US." Find some images you like, make sure they are high resolution (good clarity for printing) and print either at home, in a store (CVS, Walgreens, Costco) or order online (Snapfish, Shutterfly).

Site Tip:
Use the links at the bottom of each category page, then right click to open your image in a new tab. Click on the image and zoom in, then right click to save to your computer. This will ensure you have the highest resolution (largest size). Before printing, I like to open in PicMonkey to make sure the size & shape is what I want.

Here are some of my favorites:

Black background botanical prints
here and here

There are a lot of animal images to choose from, I like these bears:
here and here

Get a little weird with a portrait of a random woman
1. woman green mountains
2. woman in gray
3. florence, headcrown
4. girl with flowers

I like the combination of photographs, paintings, drawings, and botanical images available. It takes a little while to search through but worth it to find some great art!

Illustration: Palace women hunting here

Eiffel Tower circa 1910 here

Let me know your favorite images!

**Update: I just came across this site and had to share as well: Shorpy Historical Photo Archives
Can search by location or subject and the images are AMAZING resolution. Check it out. Love the Detroit ones.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving Tablescape via

Over the weekend we hosted a brunch for family and I wanted to dress up the table a little extra special. I printed out some of these Laurel Wreath designs to use as name place cards. While it's not necessary to have assigned seats, I think it's a nice way to acknowledge our guests and it's fun to feel a little fancy.

Thanksgiving Tablescape via

I picked up a few bundles of berries from Trader Joe's in shades of red, snipped the extra stem off and tied with twine to the napkin roll. This couldn't have been easier and adds a little color to this simple setting. 

Thanksgiving Tablescape via

The banded plates are the Gibson Platinum collection from Bed, Bath, & Beyond.The chargers I picked up a few years ago at Hobby Lobby, I think they still have them because I see them every year. The table runner is from Marshall's. I found most of the centerpiece items at thrift stores. Normally they are scattered around the house but bringing them together makes for a nice arrangement. I also used a small block of the wet green floral foam to help hold the hydrangeas in place, worked perfectly!
Thanksgiving Tablescape via

I made a couple of quiches using this always successful recipe, these Cranberry Scones, and this Cinnamon French Toast Casserole. We also had a tasty ham, spinach salad and fruit. The perfect combination for a hearty brunch.
So happy it's a short week, I'm ready to sleep in a few extra days and hopefully make some progress on our current renovation project.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Free Printable Laurel Wreath + How to Make Your Own

The design of the Laurel Wreath, or sometimes called an Olive Wreath, is classic and perfect for the holidays. I wanted to whip up some place setting name cards for the Thanksgiving brunch we are hosting this weekend but was having trouble finding a usable image of a laurel wreath. I use PicMonkey to edit my photos and they offer some overlays with wreaths currently being one of them. 

Here are the How-To Steps if you want to make your own wreath (pick your color, size, design, etc) using PicMonkey. 

1. First thing you will want to do is open up an image to create a blank slate. This can be any image since we will essentially just be adding a white box over it to cover. 

2. Select the Butterfly Icon which are the Overlays. 

3. Choose either the rectangle or square image. 

4. Choose your background color, I wanted white.

5. Enlarge Overlay to cover the entire picture

6. Merge the overlay to the photo.

7. Save this to your computer, I like to call it blankimage.jpg to use in the future

Now you are ready to create your wreath

8. Click on the Snowflake Icon (Themes) & Winterland

9. Choose the 'Wreathery' tab

The Basic options are free but the Royal ones you need to pay for the monthly access to PicMonkey. I actually like the Basic ones better, at least for the traditional Laurel Wreath design I had in mind.

10. Click on your favorite wreath and it will be added to your blank image

11. Re-size the wreath and change the color as desired. I like to make it pretty big so it will not lose clarity no matter the size of the project.


12. Save - I prefer to make one at a time and then save them as JPG file so they can later be easily added to a word document for formatting & printing as needed.

I've made up a few different ones if you want to right click on the image and save to your computer:

free printable laurel wreath

free printable laurel wreath

I'm so glad I found these on PicMonkey. Easy to create and endless options! Have fun creating & crafting - let me know if you have any questions and I can try to help!