Wednesday, January 14, 2015

House Update: IKEA Hacks And My Inability To Let Go Of Christmas

Wading In Big Shoes-House Update
Around here, we're tearing up the house to make it our own. Okay, Brad is doing most of the cool stuff (building things, cutting holes into walls), but I assist where I can . . . like telling him when picture frames are crooked or level . . . or slapping paint samples onto the wall. Okay, that photo above was actually taken a couple of months ago, but to be fair--we are horrible at choosing paint colors and are still trying to decide between two very similar shades of turquoise. Teal. Green. Whatever that color is. Either way, I'm about to draw a paint chip out of hat because I've resolved to get rid of that hideous pink-tan color once and for all this weekend.

In other news, does anyone else still have their Christmas tree up? Because we got ours late in the season and were traveling during part of that time, I put a ban on throwing it out just yet. It might sound crazy, but the tree adds so much coziness to the living room when we're sitting around, drinking tea that tastes like Big Red gum and watching Downton Abbey on Sunday nights. Oh, did I tell you I'm drinking tea now? Not really, but I did on Sunday because I really just wanted to feel like Lady Rose.
Wading In Big Shoes-House Update
Our tree, still hanging out in the living room.
Got this ornament from my grandparents as a reminder that WE HAVE A HOUSE!Wading In Big Shoes-House Update
Some slightly more permanent decor is going up, too . . . slowly, but surely. Check out this awesome Detroit skyline print Brad got me for Christmas! I've had my eye on it for a couple of years, and now it's hanging on a wall in our sitting room. The colors are perfect, because they basically go with anything in the world. That's great for us, because I tend to think in individual (read: mismatched) pieces, not entire rooms (I'm aware that I need to work on that).Wading In Big Shoes-House Update
Another project that's in the works is a sweet set of "built-in" bookcases that Brad's putting together. It's an IKEA hack that should turn out to be pretty impressive-looking . . . and it won't require the ridiculous price tag that's typical of most built-ins. The photo above shows what the shelves look like right now. A lot still has to happen between now and the finished product, but I will be back with more updates. And no, that eagle is not staying there (unless you like the eagle, then let me know in the comments).

Another project on the agenda: we're collecting coffee sleeves from Michigan coffee shops to display in our kitchen. So far, we have one from MadCap Coffee (Grand Rapids) and a couple from Roasting Plant (Detroit). Next, I'm hoping to make a trip to Great Lakes Coffee. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

MIA: Holiday Highlights Edition

Hey, there! Long time, no see. As usual, early winter breaks into a bit of a chaos around here with the holiday season and readjusting to real life once the celebrations are over. Here are some highlights of our cold-weather season (hopefully it won't last half a year again!) so far:

We Prepped For Christmas At The Eastern Market
Eastern-Market-Winter-2 
Until this Christmas, I'd never had a real evergreen wreath to hang on my front door. Hearing nothing but good things about the Eastern Market's Holiday Market, I figured that a locally-made wreath would be the best place to start. And guess what? I love it (duh). It's still hanging on my front door, and somehow, the continual frigidness of the past few weeks has sustained its color.

We Figured Out Why Detroiters Love Sanders Chocolate
Sanders-Chocolate-3.2
Sanders--have you heard of this stuff? Sanders chocolate is all the rage in southeastern Michigan (and probably the rest of the world by now). Detroiters can't eat an ice cream sundae without this brand's iconic hot fudge. Well, I visited the source (factory) directly and I've gotta say . . . the fans are not crazy. Read more about my take on the candy company by clicking here.

We Hosted Our First House Party(!!!!!)
Christmas-Party-Candy
Thirty-five people in one house? Bring it! Turns out, the best way to host your first real party is to just jump in and invite the whole neighborhood (or in this case, the whole youth group). Brad put together some snazzy decorations, while I cranked out about 57 billion pounds of taco fixings. Throw in some fun games (courtesy of our fellow youth leaders), and it turned out awesome. Plus, Brad and I now get to eat leftover tacos for approximately the rest of our lives.

We Enjoyed Good Food and Entertainment at the Eagle Tavern Holiday Nights Dinner
Eagle-Tavern-Dinner-5
Holiday Nights is my absolute favorite event at Greenfield Village--but before this year, I'd never visited the Eagle Tavern Dinner! Of course, I had to remedy that mistake this year (You can read more about the event here).

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Celebrating Christmas with family is always the highlight of winter for me. If I had to change one thing though, it would be to not enter the holiday season already exhausted. This was an eye-opener for me and a lesson to keep my eyes on what's most important during the Christmas season (hint: it's not making sure you've completed your shopping list before Christmas Eve!).

Currently: It's Cold Again!
Deja vu, guys. The winter boots are out, and I've started carrying extra shoes (indoor/outdoor) with me to work every day. In reality, it feels like winter never really left last year . . . instead, it took a little break to help us get a hold on things (and maybe to get some fresh air and sunshine before we all went completely mad).

Anyway, I've been using this "opportunity" to preoccupy myself with lots of indoor activities: Writing for the Awesome Mitten, visiting Pewabic Pottery (new post arriving tomorrow on www.awesomemitten.com!), buying cool stuff on Etsy, and watching Brad tear up lots of things in our house to make them look even better (pictures to come). Long story short: we're really re-establishing our lifelong relationship with IKEA these days.

So . . . what have you guys been up to? And what would you like to see me write about next? Tell me in the comments below!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Ford Field VIP Tour

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

You guys. Guess who got a tour of Ford Field?

*Looks around*

Oh . . . that's me!

It all came about through a work-sponsored event . . . and while I expected some free food and a walk-through of some secret rooms (nice, but not the biggest "wow," right?), this tour was a lot cooler.

You ready? Let's take a little tour . . . right here, right now.
Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Hanging out with Roary the Lion during lunch (in a private suite!)
The tour begin in some part of the building that I normally would never be allowed in, on some floor I wouldn't normally step out of the elevator onto. Our group was escorted to the press area, where we saw the same view of the field that's usually reserved for journalists ("more important" writers/reporters get to sit near the 50 yard line, while other--we'll call them "less experienced"--observers tend to find their tables on the far ends, closer to the 10-yard lines). At each station was a chair, personal phone (for calling editors, etc.), and placard holder for easy seat identification on game day.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Down the hall, we passed by locked rooms where instant replay review, local radio, and other top-secret stuff happens on game day. We weren't allowed in these areas, but that didn't stop us from peeking inside the windows. Then, it was on to the Press Room, which we learned was much smaller in person than it appears to be on TV. My favorite part, though (other than posing for a quick photo on the platform) was discovering the prop Gatorade bottle that was velcroed to the podium. Sponsorships--gotta love 'em!

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Top: Outside and inside look at the Lions Radio Network room.
Bottom: Press Room podium and secret product placement discovery.

Lowe Campbell Ewald | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Fun Fact: Ad Agency Lowe Campbell Ewald (formerly headquartered in Warren) now calls Ford Field its home. Housed inside the indoor venue, LCE is encompassed in its own separate structure in a part of Ford Field that used to be the warehouse for Hudson's Department Store.

Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

On to the main attraction! Traveling to the basement (at least, I think it was the basement), we got to snoop around both the visitors' and the Lions' locker rooms! Surprisingly, "locker room" is synonymous with "giant play room surrounded by grownup-sized cubby-holes for storing chairs" when you visit Ford Field. Each "cubby" features a player's name on game day, with players like Matt Stafford scooping up prime spots near the front of the room.

Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
Detroit Lions Locker Room | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]
*Note: Because it wasn't game day, the name placards above the chairs feature visitors' names, not players' names.
 photo ford-field-tour-20_zpsa02ae56c.jpg

Then, we walked through a tunnel. A long, creepy, dimly-lit tunnel that's wide enough for limos, SUV's, and whatever else top-name athletes and celebrities feel like showing up in when they arrive for games/concerts/etc. Which leads me to what was at the end of the tunnel:

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Ta. Da.

Ford Field is cool to look at from the stadium seats, but it's even cooler when you're standing on the freshly-painted, artificial turf. Pics or it didn't happen.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

I quickly learned how amazing it must be for every Lions player that gets to run out on that field on game day. I think it's pretty safe to say I'll never be an NFL quarterback, but a field of this magnitude speaks a universal language: it's all a stage. And if you've got a stage of your own, never forget to stand back and soak it all in.

Detroit Lions | Ford Field VIP Tour [Wading in Big Shoes]

Want to see Ford Field the way the Lions do? Click here to schedule your own VIP tour and experience this Detroit landmark up close and personal!
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