Tuesday, June 27, 2017

creatures, treasures, and stately homes

It's no wonder it takes us so long to get projects done around the house...when Brian has a once-in-awhile Saturday off, we take off on a little day trip! If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know we love going to Evanston, a large, culturally-rich city right by Chicago. We not only love this city because of all the many cool shops and restaurants, but we also enjoy eyeballing the beautiful homes and relaxing in the park by Lake Michigan. Not to mention, Brian grew up in Evanston, so a little piece of his heart is still there.

We walked around at an outdoor art fair for awhile, then visited some favorite shops. One was a pet shop, where this lop-eared bunny was freely hopping around. He was up for adoption, but we passed. Been there, done that with a rabbit as a pet. They're sweet and fun, but very messy. Which also equals a lot of work.

He was one chill bunny!

I found Betty the turtle under the heat lamps. Usually, she's wandering the pet store, too. Though I stay out of her way. I'm not fond of turtles. I'm a little bit afraid of them.

The resident cat, Will was taking a snooze.

In the cages, they had a breed of rat called dumbo-eared rats - obvious reason. I think they're adorable! We had rats as pets twice when our boys were growing up. They are actually sweet and friendly, like attention, and can be trained to do tricks. They don't bite like hamsters and gerbils either. (We tried those as pets, too.) Unfortunately, they don't live long (only a couple of years; three at the most) and are prone to tumors.

Saw these shoes in the window of a shoe store. I love cats, but I think this is a little much! Though if I were a teenager or in my early 20's, I'd think about it. 

Another stop: the independent bookstore. This is the cookbook section, and there's even another shelf behind where I was standing.

And, of course, a trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without a stop at our favorite vintage shop, Secret Treasures. I came home with three small treasures - this pretty tea towel, which I'm using on my kitchen table...

and which Monkey and Clementine immediately approved of.

I also found this small, covered butterprint Pyrex dish, which matched my two butterprint bowls.

Last, but not least, I couldn't believe I found a Gregg shorthand book. Who remembers learning - and using - shorthand? Taking dictation? I do. I hated it. I took classes in community college, then used it only a couple of times at work. However, it did come in handy for writing private thoughts in my diary, especially when I knew my sister was snooping. ;-)

On our way to the lake, I had Brian pull over so we stroll the sidewalk and take photos of some of the beautiful houses. If you like house eye candy as much as I do, click here for a previous blog post where I featured some more gorgeous Evanston houses and gardens. I'll let the photos do the talking...

The iron gate on the house was amazing.

An apartment building, not a house, but I thought these balcony flowers were so pretty. 

At last, we made it to the lake. Lake Michigan. Or "The Michigan Ocean", as Brian jokingly calls it. The water was so calm and endlessly beautiful.

Sometimes, projects can wait.


  1. Projects can definitely wait! Good for you. It's important to just get away and do something fun and relaxing sometimes. I've been trying really hard lately to remember that myself. I loved seeing everything you saw on your trip. I'm with you on rabbits - cute but I don't need one. I take my kids to pet stores to get their fix of looking at soft, fuzzy creatures. We had a dog until he died five years ago but I haven't felt the urge to replace him. Maybe someday but probably not. I love your tea towel, it would be perfect in my strawberry-themed kitchen. I'll troll Etsy and see if I can find anything somewhat similar and then we can be Tea Towel Twins. :)

  2. I really enjoy day trips, Mel. Sounds like you had a great time. Unfortunately, if we have a weekend away from the lake I'm playing catch up here. Lake Michigan looks gorgeous!

    I love looking at old homes and beautiful landscaping...so many ideas and so irresistible. We are right in the middle of the new porch, driveway and sidewalk...wow, what a mess but it's looking so good. I'll be lining up landscapers to work with on a new plan for sod and shrubs, etc. Very exciting and thankfully, all the work is going on outside!

    Jane x

  3. Oh my goodness Melanie, those houses are gorgeous!! Such fabulous architectural details! Why oh why can't houses be built like that anymore??

    I took Gregg Shorthand too, and actually got pretty good at it. I think I still remember a few strokes...now you've got me thinking lol.

    The bunny spread out cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh :)


  4. I love reading about your trips! You have inspired us to take more of them. We are tired of putting the house first, we want to go and do...and I have done the rabbit thing too. Super cute, tons of work!!

  5. What a lovely day trip! You're right, projects can wait, they'll always be there for us. I wish we had places like this to visit in our area, with the big old houses and a huge lake. The architecture is so beautiful there in the midwest.

  6. What a fun day! I think it's important to do little day trips, yes projects can wait! I never took shorthand but think that is very cool to find one of the books. I never get tired of the sweet pics of your kitties! Hugs!

  7. This is where we are in life too. Taking long, medium, short and day trips. I have poured over a house all of my life and I am just so ready to spend my time going and doing. Family, garden, travel. I enjoyed this so much Melanie.

  8. Hello Sweet Melanie, what a fun post . . . I enjoyed every single word and picture. Love the tea towel and the tour of stately homes was amazing. Then the cherry on top . . . that gorgeous photo of Lake Michigan, it reminds me of home :)
    Thank you.
    Have a sweet day.
    Connie :)

  9. I can't believe how gorgeous those homes are, Melanie! I think I'd love to go for a stroll around that lovely town, also. Love your new treasures!

  10. Yes, those projects sure can wait. Enjoy yourself. I've pretty much stopped shopping. I don't have room for anything else. Love the kitties!

  11. Melanie,
    I had just spent an hour looking at apartments in Evanston on Trulia. I was born in Evanston, too. I love this post and it was certainly timely! ~Ginene

  12. I love seeing your day trips to Evanston...it looks like a beautiful town, and your stops always look like fun!

  13. Thanks for all the photos especially the animals! The MI Ocean is a great name for it.

  14. Looks like a truly awesome day! That bunny is such a tiny fluffy baby, I want him. More of a dog gal than a cat lady but those shoes are really cute!

  15. What a wonderful day. Mr 20 had two rats when he was growing up. They made great pest but you are right about the tumors. One actually died on his lap on the way to the vet. Those are gorgeous homes.

  16. what a fun post with so much variety :) To me these are the best kind :)

  17. Those homes! So beautiful...

    Your shorthand story about writing it in your diary cracked me up. I wish I would have known how to use it myself ;)

    I'm glad you had such a good time :)


  18. Those houses are all so amazing! Thank you to your husband for pulling over and to you for taking pictures!

  19. We've gotten into the habit of filling our weekends with home projects. We do enjoy doing these things together, but we really should go off and "play" now and then like you guys do. You know I'd never be able to resist the draw of Lake Michigan if I lived that close!


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