Monday, June 1, 2015

seize the day

 Last Friday when I wrote my blog post, I said that it looked like a day trip would be in order for Saturday. That morning, woke to unusual weather for this time of year - in the 40'sF and raining - so we weren't sure about the day trip. My aunt, who was going with us, basically said we should "seize the day" and not let weather stop us. The more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. An acquaintance of mine passed away just a few days ago and it was another one of those reminders that life is too short to sit at home just because of some bad weather. Get out there and do stuff and have fun! But, I digress.

 Off we went. First stop was the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes). Brian and I had been there in April 2014, but Auntie had never been. We got out of the car in the parking lot and the cold lake-driven wind and rain hit us like bullets. We pulled our hoods up over our heads as we were squealing and ran  (ha! who am I kidding?!) walked quickly into the building. I had forgotten my camera, so all these photos were taken with my phone, but I think they turned out pretty decently.

The lobby area of The Domes had a Japanese Floral Display going on. The next three photos are my favorite arrangements. From afar, I didn't think I liked this type of flower art, but then once I started taking the time to really look at each one, I found the beauty in the design, color, and different textures.

 We then went into the desert dome...

 Like last time, I found the desert dome the most fascinating one...I guess because the plants are so different from anything you see in the Midwest. The desert dome features plants from the American Southwest, Africa, South America, Magagascar and Mexico.

Now you know.

 I was especially drawn to the desert plants that had bright flowers. They don't even look real! 
 It looks like someone took tissue paper flowers and glued them on the stark desert plants to give them more pizzazz.

 Heading into the tropical dome...

and sharing some of the beauty. This dome, which is like a rainforest, houses over 1200 species of tropical plants.

 After spending a couple of hours in the Domes, it was then 2:00 and we were more than ready for lunch. We went to Cempazuchi - our favorite mexican restaurant. Brian and I first heard of this restaurant on the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They serve authentic mexican food; not "tex-mex". Same with the mixes at this place. Their margarita of the day was Blood Orange. Yes, please! Even though I was still cold and my hair was flat from the rain, one sip of this most-delicious-margarita-I've-ever-had put a smile on my face.

This was the dish my aunt ordered: Arracheras en Chile - which is grilled skirt steak in chile sauce, potatoes, and grilled cebollitas (scallions). It was served with steamed julienned vegetables. Auntie said it was some of the best food she's ever eaten.

 After lunch, we walked to an Italian market (we bought olives, fresh bruschetta and crostini), ventured into a little vintage shop called Dragonfly, and then happened upon a coffee shop called Brewed Cafe. I love independent, charming coffee shops. And my latte was delicious.

 Local art for sale lined the coffee shop walls...

and a mural graced the ceiling.

 Brian found a spot to relax on the cool, vintage sofa...

 while auntie found a handmade pottery mug.

 We capped off the evening by watching our beloved Chicago Blackhawks win game seven of the Western Conference against the Anaheim Ducks. Which means...the Blackhawks are going to the Stanley Cup playoffs! Exciting stuff for us hockey fans. Game one of the playoffs starts Wednesday night.

 If you stuck with me for this long post - thank you. 
Hope your week is off to a great start!


  1. What an amazing day! Love all that you saw and shared with your aunt. Yes the weather crappy-even for us in Wisconsin, but what can you do? I think we all carried on! Love the pic of your with your delightful drink! Delish!

    Jane x

  2. Steve would be right there with you with a blood orange margarita.

    I am glad you "seized the day" because the flowers are beautiful.

  3. Your aunt was so right when she said seize the day! And your day hotted up when you went into the dessert and left the cold and rain behind. What a fun day!

    Hugs from Holland,

  4. What a lot of gorgeous plants. Seeing the crown of thorns reminds me of an antique shop in Belvidere, Funderburg's. Once years ago when we were there, they had a crown of thorns plant. My mother remarked about it. The owner had picked it up on his travels and gave my mom a piece of it. I don't think hers has survived, but it was a nice gesture. If you've never been to Funderburg's, you might check it out some time, especially if you like stained glass.

  5. Melanie, you not only seized the day you flat out squeezed it! What a fun trip. I love gardens like that, so interesting! My Dad loved Catcus so we had lots around growing up. You look so happy and I'm glad you had a fun day!


  6. Good for you, Melanie. It looks like you had a wonderful day! I would really enjoy the domes; indoor gardens are so interesting and you can enjoy them in any weather. I wonder if you would enjoy New Mexican food? It's very different from Tex Mex, more like the authentic Mexican food you had. I love that photo of you, you look very happy. :)

  7. Hi Melanie :)

    What great day you had. I can tell by that big smile on your sweet face :) Or was that the tequila? lol

    Speaking of, I had no idea that much work into making it. Very interesting stuff.

    I'm glad all of you got out and seized the day :)


  8. Looks and sounds like a fun day!! It sure beat staying at home, right?


  9. It looks as though you seized the day in spectacular fashion!!! Well done all of you!!! xx

  10. Oh! Don't you just LOVE those domes? I haven't been in a while but need to go with the grandgirls again. Looks like you had a wonderful day and seized and enjoyed every moment of it. xo Diana

  11. Looks like a great day. My family is rooting for the Blackhawks to win. Even though they are an American team, we remind ourselves that a good chunk of the team are Canadian :). We have given up hope that Toronto will ever win in our lifetime(my husband was born the year they last won and he is nearing 50!!).

  12. Your day looks like fun. Glad that you didn't hesitate to go. You look pretty happy.

  13. Melanie,
    This was a fantastic day and you look so happy and beautiful! I enjoyed the tour you shared with us and found all of the large variety of plants so interesting. You can imagine how living in Texas, "Texmex," is about all we eat and although it is very yummy- a change of pace would be welcomed!

  14. Dear Sweet Melanie, I love tagging along with you on your adventures. What a great place to go on a cold and rainy day . . . all the flowers and cactus and the warm temperature inside the dome, had to make you forget about the rain for a while. I love that you get out and explore your own backyard, so to speak. Too many people think that they have to travel thousands of miles away from home to find adventures. One day when you are old and sitting in your rocking chair, you will have no regret as to not living your life to the fullest. I love that about you:)
    Have a wonderful week.
    Connie :)

  15. Hey Melanie,

    What interesting flower displays! Your dining experience at the Mexican restaurant sounds scrumptious; there's nothing like authentic cuisine. I love the fact that the restaurant exhibited local artists' work, making it accessible to the public.

    Have a lovely day!


  16. This looks like such a fun day trip..well worth braving the rain! " Seize the day" is a great motto to live by!

  17. It looks like you had a really nice day. Those flowers were quite unique! Glad your auntie found the mug too. Go Blackhawks!

  18. I loved seeing your pictures of the desert dome... so different from Brittany!

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