Kitschdesigns

Traveling Again....

March 30, 2009 06:48 by ehouston

Last year I took a trip to Graceland in Memphis, TN and loved every touristy minute of it! 

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Swoooonnnnn.....                      Ah, leather and studs (three of them)!

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Me and my Mom on our way through the private plane, the Lisa Marie.  Unreal!

This year I am off to Chicago, mom and aunt in tow again.  We plan to see a show on Friday evening, go through the Frank Lloyd Wright home tour on Saturday and then the times in between and on Sunday will be filled with museums, galleries and eating as much good food as possible.  That is our favorite way to see every city- through our bellies!  I am getting VERY excited because it has been so long since I have visited the windy city and time is ticking down.  We leave next Friday- WHOOHOO!

We have had lots of suggestions for places to go and restaurants to enjoy, but we are always looking for more info....So, tell me what you know!

Kitsch Krafts


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Traveling- Richmond, VA

February 24, 2009 02:19 by ehouston

So, I just got back from a whirlwind tour of the Richmond, VA area.  The Mister is now working for a company based in that area and I came along for the introduction to the new company and great city.  It was a fun trip because it included lots of site seeing and I also got to visit with the Mister's peers and their extended families.  The tough part was that the company had us on such a stringent schedule that by the time Saturday rolled around we were completely worn out.  It was supposed to be our free day to explore the city completely on our own.  Instead we lounged around in the comfy hotel bed, watched television and occasionally hung out on the balcony overlooking some pretty cool old buildings.  We stayed at a little boutique style hotel, the Berkeley.  It was tiny, but well appointed and very cute.  I have already decided that the next time we visit I want to get more actual shopping time mixed in so I can really check out the Carytown district, as well as, spend some time touring the museums and estate homes. 

Section of funky shops in Carytown.  Image from FLICKR, Wahig.

We did eat at a couple of really wonderful restaurants, one is Sensi and the other is Mamma Zu's. 

Sensi stated it is an Italian chop house and had a variety of items making it a good place for a group with very different tastes.

The very unassuming Mamma Zu's had some of the best home-style Italian food I have ever eaten.  Very comparable to places I have been to in New York.  Plus, we went with a bunch of pure bred Italians and they agreed that this was the real deal.

Apparently Mamma Zu's is very difficult to get in to and will only take reservations for 8 or more.  Luckily we had gathered 10 folks for this night out and were able to get right in.  During our couple of hours there the line of waiting patrons stretched from the back of the little building, out the door and on to the street and did not let up for a minute the entire time we were there.  It was worth it, so I know why everyone was so patient. 

There is definitely a lot to do in Richmond and I would suggest it to anyone as a fun 3-4 day weekend getaway.  Although, I would also suggest going at a warmer time of year.  It got a bit chilly several evenings while we were there. 

Have fun exploring!

Kitsch Krafts


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We're Off to See the Wizard, the Wonderful.....oh, wait, that was another adventure....

November 26, 2008 07:25 by ehouston

Yep, we are packed and getting ready to head out for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This year we are going to the deep south to visit with the Mister's family and eat and eat and eat....  Although, we both dread and I mean DREAD the long drive down, we absolutely cannot wait to dig in to all the wonderful food.  His grandmother on one side used to own a restaurant and she can whip up the most delicious creations, sans a recipe, you have ever hoped to sink your teeth into.  Also, because of this restaurant experience she cannot cook anything without fat back or whole sticks of butter, and she has no concept of what would be normal proportions for a group of 10. 

Each year that we visit we gather around her large dining table, which is usually about to buckle under the weight of the restaurant-sized aluminum trays of casseroles and meats.  She will slave away cooking a whole ham, many (and I mean like 6) turkey's (both smoked and fried), broccoli casserole, squash casserole, chicken dressing, sweet potato casserole, sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, pickles of all kinds, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, field peas, butter beans......   The table is always so full of food that we all walk around getting a spoonful of this and that and then we have to either balance our plates on the little spaces on the edge of the table in between the trays or rush for a spot at the kitchenette or coffee table.  We wash it all down with sweet tea, as thick as molasses and sweeter than maple syrup. 

After gorging ourselves we lay around for about an hour and then we dig into the many cakes and pies she always has waiting on the sideboard.  There is the standard 10 layer (they are super thin, mini-layers) caramel cake, usually a chess pie, sometimes carrot cake with cream cheese icing and always sugar cookies and other candies.  What is really crazy about this feast is that there are usually around 10 people there total to eat it, sometimes we have up to 15.  So, once we have all succumbed to the Tryptophan and cannot get off the couch, out of the recliners or off the floor, she usually starts to call for back up eaters from around the neighborhood.  Everyone knows Miss Anne's cooking and they come out even if they have already had more then they thought was possible of their own mother's and grandmother's cooking.  She works to get all that food eaten because even though she cooks on a large scale she just has one regular sized refrigerator and cannot store all the leftovers.

It's strange that my mouth is starting to water now, but at the same time my tummy already hurts.  I cannot wait to dig in to the Food, Glorious Food!

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone and I hope you all have a safe one!

E


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The Longest, Hardest Week....

September 19, 2008 13:28 by ehouston

  What is it about the week after a vacation?  No matter how relaxing the vacation was, the week after seems to bring you back to soul-crushing reality so fast that you seriously start to rethink your path in life.  Then, finally the week settles down and you realize things are not so bad, you simply miss that little piece of heaven you were just immersed in the week before.  I have to say, that this has probably been one of the worst versions of that "week after" a vacation I have ever experienced.  It started with meetings, continued with more meetings and speaking engagements and ended with me sucking down a bottle of wine (or is that whine?) with my significant other by 5:00 PM on Friday.  Don't get me wrong, the week in St. Maarten that ended in 8 hours of flying in circles over a lightning storm at the Miami airport, only to miss our connector flight and end up spending an extra night of vacation at a hotel by the airport (which always sounds like "in a van down by the river" to me)-not so good.  The evening ended with eating almost everything on the room service menu at 12:00 am, that wasn't so great either.  There was also the extra day in Mexico because our flight was canceled early on our last morning, which we did not find out about until we showed up to check in for our flight.  That was also the moment in which the customer service lady boldly asked, "Didn't you know?".  My husband and I deliriously looked at each other and simultaneously thought, "Of course we knew the flight was canceled, we always get up in the morning, pack our bags, load up our golf clubs, lug them through a resort, pay an extravagant price to be taxied up the coast and then wait in line for 45 minutes when we know our flight was canceled.  Doesn't everyone do this on their vacation?"  Even those chaotic vacation endings did not take away from the fun we had experienced the week before or compare to the feeling of sadness I had this past week back at work.  All this to say, we had the most glorious week of do-nothing-unless-you-wanted-to vacation time at our family lake cottage that we could ever imagine and I sorely miss it!  So, the complaining will end now and the reminiscing will begin.

I will start by saying that any time you tell your co-workers you are going on vacation, etc, etc they inevitably ask, "So where are you headed off to?" and when you tell them Michigan their expression is priceless.  So, I had a lot of fun with that up until we left and I will further explain that my family has owned a cottage on a small lake right next to Lake Michigan since the early 1950's.  It is somewhat dated, wood paneled, funky, full of hand-me-down furniture and wonderful memories.  I will never be able to completely explain the feeling of anticipation I get when driving down the bumpy dirt road through the woods to discover the little gray, shake shingled cottage on the lake.  Or, the way the musty, sandy, watery scent of good times past forms a comforting embrace as you push open the back door that is never locked.  Only to walk across the kitchen, the dining area and out onto the little deck and gaze across the mirror-like surface of one of the clearest, prettiest lakes you can imagine. 

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I realized the picture I blogged just before our trip does not do this place any justice.  Especially after I was able to capture the sunset from our first night (pictured above).  The week we vacationed was the end of the summer and outside of this little lake world the bay cities were slowly closing down for the winter.  It was nice to walk the streets in brisk, but comfortable weather and to miss the crowds completely.  To peruse the tiny, kitschy shops with their T-shirts and good luck Petoskey stones.  Things have changed so much, not only since I lived there, but since all those summers while I was growing up, spent making the long drive to the cottage and then back home.  A lot of the same families are still living in the area, but there is also a new crowd, a younger crowd, that like me, have some kind of connection to this place that is almost ingrained, or instinctual.  We are drawn to this place and have to find a way back a often as possible. 

Even though the shops were bundling up and getting ready to hunker down for the long winter, my absolutely favorite place was still in full swing.  That place is the tiny little small town bakery.  I remember going there as a very young child with my dad when he would drag me in to town to buy supplies at the little hardware store on Main St.  If I was good, which meant, I was patient while he placed his orders, or sifted through the itty-bitty drawers of nuts and bolts, he would take me to get a treat at the bakery.  I remember taking my time, looking through the glass case at every type of donut, smashing my face and greasy little kid fingers on the glass before finally making my selection.  And, every time I would come back to the same thing...the nutty crescents.  Cake donuts, glazed and then rolled in finely chopped peanuts.  Dunkin Donuts has a version, but the treats at this little, family-owned shop have always been far superior.  I was so scared that when I arrived they would no longer have my favorite donut and this trip would end in terrible tragedy (Yes, they are that delicious!).  It had been six years since I had been there and you just never know with little coastal beach towns what will still be there and what will have completely changed.  The last time I had saddled up to a stool at the curving, diner style bar was when I took my ailing father for what I believe was his last trip to the cottage before passing.  I remember talking with him on the way and reminiscing about all the fun times he had experienced here as a child with his parents, and as the head of our household.  I also clearly remember us both agreeing in unison that the bakery was our first stop when we finally decided to head in to town.  The reason the choice was unanimous was because we both had a secret love of those delightful peanutty donuts.

Well, after ten years of marriage (celebrated the week of our vacation) I managed to get the Mr. up to the cottage for his first trip and after six long years I was able to satisfy my donut fix.  It may seem silly, but some cravings just never go away and for some of us, no matter how many times we move, or places we live there is always some far off place, seemingly insignificant to everyone else that calls to us as home.

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Our little cottage in Heaven....

and the view from the front porch....

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Vacation Time!

September 5, 2008 15:42 by ehouston

We're heading up north for some time on the lake and we cannot wait!  It has been a busy, crazy summer and a little swimming, kayaking, golfing and shopping around town will do us some good.  I hope everyone has a great week and I cannot wait to read all the wonderful blog posts out there that I will be missing while I am away in "the land without internet".  I need to retire the mouse for a few days, so this is definitely a good thing. 

 Take care everyone!

;0)

Sunset on Lower Herring Lake by christopherhuffman.

This is a picture taken at the lake we will be heading out to enjoy, but I totally scammed this off of FLICKR.  I will share my own pics when I return.


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I'm going to Graceland, Graceland....Memphis, TN....

May 21, 2008 05:50 by ehouston

That’s right!  I am finally making the pilgrimage to Kitsch Mecca!  For years and years, I have wanted to see the place Elvis called home, no make that the place he called “Graceland”.  I am not exactly a big Elvis music fan, but his mystique has always fascinated me.  Having been to Memphis, TN several times in the past for business, you would like to think I would have made my way over to the ghett-o where his fabulous abode sits.  Unfortunately, I have yet to make that trek, but I am about to change all that this Memorial Day weekend.  Considering I am not the biggest Elvis music fan, I am however, the girl that always thought I would fly off to Las Vegas to get married by Elvis.  I just had this idea that a big wedding would be too much to take on and I am also a total spur of the moment type of gal.  So, even with planning ahead I always felt that the trip to Vegas and quick nuptials with an impersonator would be so much fun.  Alas, my husband to be had other plans and they included a nice sized wedding with all of our family and friends.  This is not something I regret at all and I still hear comments about how our wedding was one of the most fun times our friends have ever experienced.  Elvis, or no Elvis.

I am making a special scrapbook for this occasion and will be blogging the project after the trip.  More Kitsch Tackiness to come…..

Exhibit A: Really bad photo from our big day.  And, yes, among many colorful guests we did also have a moose at our Wedding.  ;0)

  

Exhibit A


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