Yeah, what this guy said.

Will ya do me a favor and read this article highlighting only a few of Detroit's gems?

And be sure to watch the video. I love my beautiful City!


Amateur Hour

Taking pictures has always been a hobby of mine.  I got my first real 35 mm camera from my Dad for my 13th birthday.  It was  Fuji with a novel panoramic setting that allowed you to take a picture of your whole softball team lined up shoulder to shoulder, and then to print that picture out in an awkward size that could never fit into a frame.  I thought it was the coolest thing.  I was so excited to have something a bit more permanent.  You know, instead of disposables.  (Remember those?)  I can still remember walking up to CVS to take my film in to get developed.  I was so excited, I could barely stand the week-long wait it took to get developed.  (Times were so much different then, huh?)  

I have had a point-and-shoot consistently since that time...that is, until 2011 when my favorite point-and-shoot of all time, the Casio Exilim, jumped out of my hand one day at a concert and fell to the floor, broken beyond repair.  I was seriously heart broken.  I tried to buy the exact same camera immediately, but to my dismay, it had been discontinued.  That turned out to not be the end of the world because I ended up getting an awesome DSLR instead

I have had that camera for about two and a half years now, and one would think I would by now have a good grasp on how to use it.  But I am embarrassed to say that I actually know very little about my camera, and I cannot even get aperture and shutter speed down.  That being said, the camera and shooting location take care of 80% of the work, so you don't have to be a pro (or know much at all) in order to take good pictures. 

At least, that's what I have tricked my friends into thinking.  A few of them have asked me to take pictures for them and I'd like to share them with you if you're interested. (Mostly because the cuteness of these children (and the beautiful couple below) must be shared with the public).  

Welcome to Amateur Photography Hour!

The Triplets

Remember when a bike club member was having triplets?  Well those babies are here and they are almost 2 years old!  I was asked to take their pictures for their first birthday and here are some keepers...

This is Palmer: 

And here's Declan: 

And his identical brother, Henry:

The boys love their mama!

And here is the beautiful family.

It would have been awesome to capture a smile from everyone, but Palmer had other plans for me.

The boys were so good!  A little milk break and ball-play helped them relax. 

I am looking forward to taking their 2 year old pics!

The Singlet

Next up is Baby Jude.

This photo shoot was a lot more challenging because we were indoors, so the lighting conditions were a challenge.  Plus, the subject was a mere 11 days old! and there was lots of peeing and pooping going on. And sweating (from me) due to the general anxiety that comes along with a newborn photo shoot.


Hopefully I will have the chance to do an outdoor Jude-shoot this Fall when he can be out in the elements.  

The Couple

And lastly, here are a few pics of one of my favorite couples in the world--Tom and Kate.  They compliment each other like Oreos and Milk--both excellent on their own, but even better together. 

They came into town and we couldn't think of a better thing to do than a photo shoot on Belle Isle.  It was bitterly cold this day, but because they were staying with us from out of town, we decided to just go for it. My fingers were numb, but it was well worth it. 

Tom and Kate live in different states and they told me they did not have many pictures together before these, so I was happy to capture this time for them.


I would love to do more people-photo shoots (as opposed to scenery), so if you'd like me to capture some memories for your family, please let me know.  I would love to do so!  (As long as you understand that I may be able to produce good shots, but certainly not professional ones). 


Wine Night

We were excited to attend Angelina's first Wine Night of 2014 a couple of weeks ago.  

We are regulars at these Wine Nights and may or may not have had withdrawals when Angelina took a break from them last year.  

Because of Al's scooter, they set us up a table for two right off to the side of the bar where the event takes place. 

It worked out very well.  We could hear the wine night host just fine, plus we had some privacy for our own conversation, which mainly focused on how much we love the feeling we get while being at Angelina.  The owners, Tom and Mike, are always so friendly and always make sure we are comfortable and doing well.  It always feels like Cheers there for us, which is never a bad thing. 

Here was the menu for the night (even though you probably can't read it).  

We started out with mussells, which were paired with a 2012 Pinot Grigio. 

So, I don't actually eat mussells.  Except, it just so happens that I eat anything that's put in front of my face at this place with no hesitation.  They were tasty...I ate them all with no problem. 

Then we had, from left to right, smoked salmon pastrami bruschetta with goat cheese, hard boiled eggs and chives, eggplant parmesan risotto and steak tip ravioli with shitake mushroom demi. This plate was paired with two Tuscan reds. 

For dessert, we had showstopping truffles prepared by the one and only Raed (pronounced "ride"). We met Raed back in 2011 at the first ever wine night.  Raed had Alesandro at hello truffle.  It was love at first bite. Alessandro loved Raed's truffles so much he asked if he had any extras for sale.  Raed is so modest (even though he's a superstar pastry chef) and he was genuinely flattered with the compliment.  Alessandro left with a dozen truffles and a new best friend in Raed. 

This time around, Raed told us that when he heard we were going to be attending wine night (as if we've ever missed one), it was an easy decision for him to put truffles on the menu.  "I made them just for you," he told Al.  I almost had to ask them to get a room.  

The truffles were the bomb!  Check out that ooey-gooey center.  Not your average truffle by any means. 

To top it all off, we were treated with a few truffles to take home with us.

Go for the wine...leave feeling satisfied and loved. That's our Wine Night motto.


You know that saying, "People always want what they can't have?"

I was the victim of that saying today. 

Alessandro and I spent all Sunday hanging out together at home.  I made us pancakes and coffee for breakfast. Then made oatmeal squares so that we could have a good breakfast throughout the week.  Then I made brown rice and put together burrito bowls for lunches throughout the week. I spent a few hours preparing a batch of the most delicious dessert of all time--cajeta. And for dinner, I made salmon and brussels sprouts with a soy-ginger glaze.

When we sat down to eat dinner, he obliviously said these words, I kid you not:  "You never make muffins.  I just saw online that Julie made muffins, and it made me think, you should make muffins sometime.  Maybe a lemon poppy seed?"  

Yeah, you're right Alessandro.  I should really get on that.  [My actual response was different.]

Serenity now. 

Thanks Jules for showing me up! 


A Trip Down Memory Lane (And a Request For Your Dollars)

 Remember back in the day when Alessandro used to walk with a cane?  
He worked at the bank.  He drove and ran errands.  He made stew.  That man could get around.

And then the not-so-long-ago days when he switched over to a walker.

He used to use that bad boy to harass squirrels.
And then remember when he used to use a wheelchair for long distances and special events...    

...like playing the pan flute on the streets of Chicago.  (I should have set him up with a bucket to see if he could earn some donations).
There was even a point when he was utterly confused about his means of transportation! 
(You are welcome for photo-shopping shorts to this picture.  He was originally in his skivvies). 
Now, the days of canes and walkers are long gone and he is entirely dependent on one mobility device...his scooter.     

Dang, he makes the scooter look so cool!
Although we may have liked his cane days a bit better, having the scooter means he has a lot more independence, which allows him to go to Tiger games and Eastern Market whenever he dang-well pleases

When Alessandro first saw this story as I wrote it, he said, "You're forgetting a step.  What about the time when I could walk normally?"  "Oh yeah," I said.  "I don't really have many memories of that time."  He thought that was kind of sad, but I reminded him that I have a bad memory in general (my bff Dani can attest to that), so he shouldn't take it too personally. 
Alessandro and I met in the Summer of 2005 when we sold shoes together at the Sears and Roebuck.  He was dropping out of law school that summer, and I was about to start law school.  We were a match made in heaven.  I had a boyfriend at the time (I think) (see, there's my bad memory again), but I liked Alessandro right away.  I told my friend that Alessandro and I were going to get married one day.  (This was before he and I ever even went out on a date).  I'm way off topic now, let's get back on track...
My point is that I knew Al for only 2 years without MS and for nearly 7 years with MS.  So it's no surprise that our MS adventures take up more space in my brain than our non-MS adventures.
So here, in his soon-to-be 7th year with Multiple Sclerosis, he has just started treatment #5, the one we hope will stop the progression of his MS in its tracks.  And boy, what a progression it has been.

In order to stop the progression, we need your help in our fundraising efforts for Team Alessandro's Sixth Annual Walk MS event, which will take place on Sunday April 27, 2014 at Comerica Park. 

Here is how you can help us make a difference:
  1. Make a donation in any amount to my personal fundraising page: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/2014 
  2. Join Team Alessandro and make a self-pledge or begin fundraising on your own:  http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/6 
  3. Spread the word by forwarding this post on to those you know who may be willing to help.
Walk MS is one of the biggest annual fundraising events for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).  Money raised during this event is used to fund the research of new disease modifying drugs.  We had the opportunity to see this first hand at a recent event where we learned about ground-breaking research that was being conducted because of the funds raised by the NMSS.  And we have also directly benefited from the funds raised by the NMSS; the Michigan Chapter recently sponsored a hand-control driving evaluation for Alessandro in an amount upward of a few hundred dollars.  S(He did really well, the instructor even let him go on the freeway!)  So please know that your donations are helping Alessandro and others with MS in significant ways. 
Please let me know if you would like any other information.  I am happy to share.
Alessandro and I and our sweet nieces and nephews thank you for your generosity and support!