Thursday, September 19, 2019

anniversary weekend

September 15, 1984 was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding.
We were so young...just 22 and 24. And we'd already been together for 2-1/2 years.

In celebration of 35 years of wedded bliss and aggravation, we headed a few hours north to St. Joseph, Michigan.

On the drive up, I saw a converted school bus that at first, freaked me out. Why did it have "Homemade in China" painted on it? And why were curtains in all the windows? I thought it was a cult bus or something. I Googled it and found quite the opposite. This is a family ~ wife, husband and five kids ~ that originally lived in China, and are now on a sabbatical road trip. You can read Christine's blog here: Christine Keegan or follow here on Instagram: Homemade in China. Such a fascinating family!

This was our second time going to St. Joseph; the first being in 2013. St. Joe is a small beach town nestled atop a bluff in southwest Michigan. One of their famous eateries is Silver Beach Pizza, not only known for their amazing pizza, but the building itself is an old train depot. Now being from the Chicago area and unquestionably having the best pizza in the US, we are pizza snobs. So for us to say this place has some of the best pizza we've ever had, is singing mighty high praises.

See how the side of the restaurant has windows that fully open? There's tables inside right by the open windows.

We were lucky enough to snag one of these tables by the open window. Pizza with a view! We decided to be adventurous and try the Harvest pizza and were so glad we did. It was one of the best pizzas we've ever had. The crust was brushed with olive oil and a little bit of brown sugar, then layered with butternut squash, krispy kale and bacon, and topped with mozzarella and gouda cheeses. Confession: we took our leftover pizza back to the hotel with us and put it in the mini fridge. Then we had it for breakfast the next morning. Tim asked later, "You ate that with coffee in the morning?" I told him yes, it was that good. 

After dinner, we walked to Whirlpool Compass Fountain which sprays water 35 feet into the air. How good would that feel to splash around in on a hot summer day?

Or a warm summer night?

We continued our walk down to the beach...

Here's beautiful Lake Michigan with the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse in the background. I took off my shoes and let the water splash up over my feet and lower legs...that water is cold!

Continuing on our walk, we checked out some of the beautiful houses along the lake...

The sun was starting to set so we climbed a long flight of stairs (50 of them...I counted as a diversion to my lungs about to burst and my heart beating out of my chest) to get to the top of the pavillion...

and witnessed the beautiful sunset over the lake.

As the sun was setting, the fountain was turned off and Taps was played over a speaker. It was like the whole town went silent while this was happening. Everyone stopped for just that one minute and stood in reverence while this miracle played out before our eyes. I love that something that happens every single day can still take your breath away, no matter how many times you see it.

We woke to perfect weather the next morning, and off we went. (After consuming leftover pizza in bed while watching Food Network. Don't judge.) St. Joe's has a beautiful farmers market on Saturday mornings. All the vendors were so friendly and happy to tell us about their produce. We packed our cooler with green beans, tomatoes, fennel, and a variety of peppers. We also bought canned pickled beets (Brian ate the entire jar in 24 hours) and pickled zucchini slices. We haven't tried those yet ~ the elderly woman who canned these vegetables told us she just made them, so they're better when they've sat for awhile.

When we were done at the farmers market, we walked around the downtown area, checking out all the stores. This store brought back a lot of memories of the five and dime stores we used to go into as kids. Anyone remember the Ben Franklin stores? It even smelled like a Ben Franklin store inside! No photos, but we also found a record store where Brian bought a couple of albums and I enjoyed a wine tasting from a local winery that had a storefront.

Thought this was rather interesting on the side of a building. I can only imagine how many adventurous young people have tried to get up there. Or drunk people.

We found a wonderful place for lunch (Mason Jar Cafe) where everything is homemade and farm-to-table. This vegetable quiche I had was more like a strata ~ and so dang good that I wish I had the recipe so I could recreate it at home. 

In the back of this restaurant, there's a huge artist space where different artists sell their work...

There was even a small used book nook. Of course, I had to check that out. I didn't find anything though.

Last stop before heading home: the beach. This time we climbed through the sand dunes. The sand felt so good and warm underneath our bare feet. Nature's pedicure for calluses! There were so many monarchs flying around the dunes, which I was happy to see. 

We walked down the pier to the lighthouse, but not on this side where all the water was splashing onto the pier. One would be swept right out into the deep water! We walked on the other side where it was safe to walk.

This seagull just sat on the railing and stared at me, even as I got closer to take a photo. Wasn't afraid of me at all. Hello, pretty bird!

On the way back towards the beach, we saw workers setting up an arbor and chairs for a wedding. What a perfect spot for saying, "I do" with the waves in the background, the dunes in the foreground, and the gorgeous blue sky overhead. I teased Brian and told him it was for a surprise for us; that we were renewing our vows. 💔

This is one of the newer houses right by the entrance to the dunes where we parked. At first I thought it was part of a resort. I always wonder with places like this, how much room do people need to live in? Unless you have like 15 kids or multiple families living under this one roof. 

We had a wonderful time in St. Joseph but I was glad to get back to my humble home and my kitties.

Comfy House.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

not one but both bathrooms

In my last post, I left you with the "what to hang on my bathroom wall" dilemma.  A couple of people commented that the shelf needed some faux greenery or faux flowers. To be honest, I'm not into either. When I picture faux plants, I see an old lady's home, complete with floral pink couches and heavy drapes. On the other hand, I have seen faux flowers that bloggers have used in their homes that look really nice. So off I went to Michaels and Hobby Lobby in search of something that didn't look too plastic-y.

All I found that I liked was faux ivy. I got home and stuck it in a variety of bottles and vases, and all possibilities looked terrible. I think it was the mass of green in this room that doesn't have any green at all. My eyes were immediately drawn to the clump of faux ivy when I looked in the bathroom. Not something you want anyone's eyes drawn to.

Then I remembered I had a small faux plant in my decor stash in the basement. I found it and put it in the eyelash cup you see on the left and...voila! Not so much green that it's overwhelming. I also found a tall vase in my decor stash that has green stems, so I think the colors on this shelf now all blend nicely.

Oh ~ a couple of you mentioned that you or your hubby would knock the necklaces into the toilet! It's hard to tell in the photo, but there's no way that could happen. And I am a clumsy person. The necklaces are all the way back against the wall, not hanging towards the front of the toilet.

Another store I ran into was Home Goods, where I found this towel on the clearance rack. I think this new towel brightens up the bathroom, as well.

Other side of the sink...

 Now that one bathroom decorating dilemma was done, I moved onto the next bathroom ~ the main hallway bath. We had the bathroom painted (pretty much same color, just a little darker) back in the spring. At the time, I had three white floating shelves on the wall above the toilet. While I liked that look, I was tired of it and wanted something different.

This time, I went on a hunt at a couple of antique stores in a small town out in the country.

 So much cool stuff to look through...

This vintage plant stand (not the cage) almost came home with me. It was only $20. But I couldn't think where in my house I could put it.

After browsing around for a little bit, I finally found this shelf hanging on a wall. I hemmed and hawed and thought about it for the bathroom wall. Walked away and came back to it. Twice. Finally bit the bullet and bought it.

Here it is hung on the bathroom wall. I have been playing with the decor on it for a couple of days; I keep changing it up because nothing feels right. I like the shelf itself, but I'm wondering if a round or oval mirror might be better instead of this rectangular one. I'm also thinking of a new shower curtain. Sorry for the bad photos of this room but there's no window, so I have to turn the light on. This bathroom is obviously very small too, so it's hard to photograph.

A few hours after I wrote this post, but before I published it, I played around with the decor again. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. I think the space between the shelf and the top of the toilet needed something. At first, I had that picture you see on the shelf hanging where the heart wreath was. But it didn't look good there.

Will it stay this way? Probably not. 🤣

Thanks for hanging in there with all my bathroom re-decorating photos. I bought an architectural piece, too when I was at the antique shops. Now where to put that...

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

hello september ~ and what's on your bathroom wall?

Even though Labor Day has come and gone, there's fallen leaves on my porch, kids are back to school (they went back two weeks ago here!), and even some trees are already changing colors, I'm still clinging to every last bit of summer. I always feel sad at the first signs of fall ~ these fallen leaves, my perennials starting to fade, the lack of birdsong. 

But moving on to other things that have absolutely nothing to do with about a decorating dilemma? Is it just me or is it hard to figure out what to put on the wall above the toilet? We have two small bathrooms. This one is the master bathroom. Previously, I had two floral prints (one on top of the other) on this wall. I got tired of the prints, plus I wanted hooks for some of my necklaces. At first, I was going to hang a variety of hooks on the wall to the left. But I didn't want to deal with holes all over the wall. Then I started looking online for shelving displays. I found this one on Wayfair (not a sponsored post). I liked that it had a bar on the bottom where I could hang necklaces from hooks.

I wasn't sure about this shelving unit once it was hung on the wall. It was a lot bigger than I envisioned. It feels cheaply made. And I had no idea how to decorate it (besides the necklaces).

This is what I ended up with. The shelf is deep, so it requires decor with height. I used simple S-hooks to hang my necklaces from the bar.

Do I love it? No. Am I tolerating it? I guess so.

Here's what the bathroom looks like from the doorway. 

Funny thing is, I'm having the same decorating dilemma in the hallway bath. We had the bathroom repainted a few months ago and the wall above the toilet is still bare! We used to have three floating shelves on that wall and I want something different this time. I've looked on blogs, Pinterest, Houzz, stores online and in person. Nothing has jumped out at me but yet I'm frustrated with staring at a blank wall.

So, tell me ~ what's on your bathroom wall?