Monday, November 10, 2014

a full weekend

 Good Monday morning, friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
Brian and I usually go out to dinner on Friday nights, but we decided to break out
of our little box this time and try something different. When I got an email
from a garden nursery and flower shop saying that they were hosting a wine tasting,
  I thought that'd be a fun thing to do on a Friday night. Especially since it was free!

There were wines from Washington, Spain, France, and Italy. Snacks were set out
in various places, too. Their indoor shop and greenhouses were all decked out
for Christmas. We stayed long enough just to sample some wines and food and walk
around admiring all the decor, but then we left. It was very crowded - hundreds of people -
which becomes a bit overwhelming for introverts like us.

I saw a tree like this last year at Pottery Barn - decorated with woodland

On Saturday, we took a day trip to Evanston. You've heard me talk about this town
before ~ it's the town Brian grew up in, right by Chicago. We love to explore the unique
shops, try new restaurants, and take a walk down by the lake (Lake Michigan). This time
we didn't go down to the lake due to lack of time - plus, it was quite cold! We ate lunch
at a Thai restaurant called Zoba. I had Pad Thai - which was OK. I've had much better.
Brian had the Crazy Noodles with shrimp, beef, and chicken. We ate with forks. Neither
one of us know how to use chopsticks. Tim learned when he was a kid and is still good
at using them. He's tried to teach me, but I still can't get the hang of it.

We were walking around trying to determine where to go next and I pulled out my
phone and used Yelp to find "nearby places". I clicked on shopping and a bookstore
came up. You don't have to ask me twice whether I want to go to a bookstore! All we
had to do was follow the footprints down an alley. 

 Turn a corner and there's Bookends and Beginnings. This is a "new" store ~ they took
 over what used to be Bookman's Alley. Bookman's Alley was an Evanston presence for 
over 33 years. The owner was 85 years old and closed the store due to his age, health,
and competition from online stores. Interestingly enough, the owner and this bookstore
made a presence in Audrey Niffenegger's book, The Time Traveler's Wife. You can 
read the story here  if you're interested.

I love these old buildings that are bookstores: shelves filled floor to ceiling with books...

and long aisles with scattered Oriental rugs.

This is where I spent most of my time: in the cookbook section. I was excited to find
that they had a lot of used cookbooks (at good prices) mixed in with the new. I found
out through the owner that a local man whose wife had recently passed away, donated
her cookbook collection (over 600 cookbooks!) to this store. Part of the proceeds are
being donated to a local music program for children.

Brian found the local and Chicago section and settled right in...

 Of course, our trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without a visit to my favorite
vintage store, Secret TreasuresI found only one little treasure - which is fine since
I'm cutting down at bringing more "stuff" into my home.

This was my found treasure ~ a vintage nut grinder that still works!

 Another favorite store to browse in - Stumble and Relish.
 Even the little storefront is so inviting. This store is owned and operated
by a mother and daughter team. They have lots of unique gifts and beautiful
hand-crafted jewelry made by local artists.

Our last stop was Thee Fish Bowl pet shop to perhaps find a unique cat
toy for our kitties. The best part about going into this little store was being
able to see and pet the free-roaming animals. This is Will. He was so sweet.
I kneeled on the floor and petted and loved on him for awhile.

I don't know the name of this kitty, but I thought it was so beautiful, especially
with its golden eyes.

And this is Betty - the 70 lb. turtle from Africa. I'm kind of afraid of turtles, so I 
didn't touch her.

The weekend continued Sunday with my father-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law coming
to our house for a visit and us all going out for a meal. Father-in-law is in his early 80's and
 isn't doing too well, physically and mentally. I believe he has the beginning stages of
 dementia - and he knows it. So he wanted to talk to us about a few things before he
completely loses his memory. It's too bad he doesn't write some of these things down.

Well, that wraps up my weekend. Hope you found some time to have a little fun, too.


  1. What a wonderful weekend with your hubby, browsing, eating, leafing through books, shuffling through treasures, and looking into those jewels of eyes on that second kitty!!


  2. Sounds like the two of you have a nice weekend! I don't think I've ever been to Evanston. But love all the shops. You mentioned the one that's a consignment shop...good place to bring you treasures! Love those kittens I'm glad I wasn't there I would of bought one...and Mr. C would of killed me!

    1. Oh, I could easily be the crazy cat lady, lol. I want every cat I see when I go into pet shops or shelters.

  3. It sounds as though it was a great weekend. The bookshop is amazing isn't it and the other shops you visited look like great places too. It would have been very rude to turn down the free wine at the garden centre, so I am glad that you went there too! It is sad about your FIL, but I am sure that you will help him to find his way through these difficulties and that you will be there, make sure to take care of yourselves though as well as it can be very exhausting. Sending you all the best. xx

    1. It was indeed a great weekend! So far, my FIL has good of his daughters (my SIL) lives with him and helps care for him.

  4. Replies
    1. And I hope you can find one - glad you like mine!

  5. What a nice weekend, Melanie. I love seeing these little shops in other places, there is so much good, old stuff out there. And that bookstore, wow! You know I could spend all day long in there. The wine-tasting sounded like fun. I love seeing all the Christmas trees. I can't wait to put ours up, only a few more weeks!

    1. I could easily spend all day in that bookstore, too! If we lived closer, I certainly would. The Christmas trees were beautiful, but we don't put a big one up anymore. We have a couple of tabletop trees.

  6. What a fun time. I just love that name "Stumble and Relish" ...because it sounds so cute, and I think it would be awful hard to ever forget it! :)

    1. Isn't that the greatest name for a store? Here's what it says on their web site about the name: They love the little things to stumble on and savor…lovely artists, handmade goods, unique finds, vintage accents, home decor, stationery, beautiful design,..and they want to share them with you. Sweet things to relish in pure happiness, gifts to give & something to make you smile.

  7. Melanie, the wine tasting looks like a lot of fun and I always enjoy seeing how businesses decorate and display things for the holidays. The name of the book store is very creative and the store, itself, looks like my kind of place. I love books and magazines, even the smell of them, both new and old. The nut grinder is wonderful and how nice that you can actually use it! I really enjoyed your post and some of the foods you have pinned look very good! Have a beautiful weekend!

  8. That bookstore looks like a lovely one! It's hard to find an independent bookseller around here. They are few and far between. What a great venue for a wine tasting!

    1. They're hard to find around here, too. The closest one is 40 min. away.

  9. Always fun to catch up on your comings and goings, Melanie. Evanston sounds like a fun town to visit.
    Mary Alice

  10. This sounds like such a fun day! The shops look great, especially the bookstore...the entryway just beckons you in...

  11. You were really braving the elements, my dear...and I know it's colder by the lake! We went to a bookstore when we were in Evanston a few months ago but it was much smaller than this and I can't remember the name. I found a book written in 1908, a history of Devon, England. My friend, Mary, who I met up with in Asheville, is originally from Devon and I gifted her with this. It really was serendipity to be in that area of the shop, reach up randomly and pull it out! She loves it.

    Now about your hand. I saw it all bandaged up on FB. Did you hurt it or is it a sort of medical condition? Wow, you just got over the rotator problem.

    I've had the CTS for months so I modified my typing to make it comfier. With the cast...peck peck peck. I get so bored. I just try to keep up with emails and posts. I got the cast off this morning and the pain is terrible without the wrist support. It will heal soon. Believe me, I would rather type slow than watch TV!

    Take care!


    1. It's not my's my arm. It's lymphedema, but most likely primary lymphedema (rare). Secondary lymphedema is from an underlying cause such as breast cancer surgery or some kind of trauma to that side of the body. Since nothing has happened to me (all the drs and physical therapists say it has nothing to do with the rotator cuff tear), they're diagnosing it as primary. So I'm now going for manual drainage therapy and compression. I know what you mean about you'd rather be typing slow than watching TV - same here! I'm sorry your pain is so terrible.

  12. What a wonderful post. I'm also a creature of habit, but I'll admit, it is nice to do something different from time to time We have something else in common, I also love bookstores. I have no interest whatsoever in Kindles. I like the feel of the book in my hand. I like the sound the pages makes when I'm turning them. I love displaying a book that I've just finished reading either on my shelf of on my coffee table for my guests to read. Of course, I'm always anxious to tell them what happens in the story. I'm glad I found your blog. I enjoyed the visit. Have an amazing day... :)

    1. Thank you for your visit, Dee - and for such nice comments! I really appreciate it.

  13. You've got so many fun things to do in your area, Melanie! I need to get us out of the rut we're in and start getting out of the house soon as it warms up!
    Fabulous old book store! That's where I'd be, too.

    1. Yes, one good thing about living in the Chicago area (even though we're in the suburbs) is that there's such a variety of things to do and see.

  14. That sounds like the perfect weekend! I love browsing through books stores like that!

    1. Me, too! I wish we would've had more time to do so. We'll have to make another visit. :-)

  15. danke für die bilder und inspirationen!!! liebe grüße von angie aus deutschland

    1. You're welcome - and nice to meet you, Angie from Germany! :-)


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