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My name is Lisa and I'm a crafty girl with wanderlust working as an engineer by day. My blog chronicles projects in my home as well as pictures and stories from my travels.

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Entries in North America (104)

Sunday
Oct272013

Lately...

Things have been a little crazy for me lately. In a forty day span from mid-September to late-October I spent only fifteen days in Ann Arbor. Honestly, I am a bit exhausted and looking forward to being back home for a bit.

The traveling kicked off when Frank and I flew to New York for a few days. We ate some wonderful dinners at Blue Ribbon and Mission Chinese and had a decadent brunch at Norma's. We visited the Whitney Museum to see a wonderful Edward Hopper exhibit and then paid a somber visit to the 9/11 Memorial. We also snuck in some time to visit the Feast of San Gennaro and pick up spices at Kalustyan's. One of the big highlights was that we got to see my favorite play, The Glass Menagerie, being performed at the Booth Theater starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto. It was really quite amazing.

That Saturday we then drove to Connecticut to see Michigan play U Conn. It was an ugly football game but thankfully Michigan pulled out a win.

After being back home for two days I flew out to Japan for work. That weekend I had time for sightseeing and started my Saturday morning by going to the Osu Kannon flea market and picking up a few fun items.

I then took the Shinkansen south to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle. The main keep has been under restoration since April 2010 continuing through March 2015. I had previously visited the castle in September 2008 before the restoration began when I was living in Japan and my sister came to visit. I decided to visit the castle again so that I could see the restoration process. I also spent a little time at the nearby Japanese style garden, Koko-en.

On Sunday I spent the day in Kyoto. I was with my friend from work, Cassie, who had never been to Japan before so I took her to see a few lovely temples and shrines. We visited the gorgeous golden Kikaku-ji followed by the amazing rock garden at Ryoan-ji. We then visited the sand gardens at Ginkaku-ji and ended the day by visiting my favorite place in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha, to wander through the brilliant crimson torii.

After a long work week I was ready to head home that Friday. I went to the airport to see if I could get on the non-stop flight to Detroit, but unfortunately I was stuck with my connections through Honolulu and LA. I had some time before my flight so I headed to Arimatsu which is known for its special technique of tie-dying fabrics called shibori.

I finally got on my 8 pm flight and after a three hour layover in Honolulu (where I got breakfast at Nico's Pier 38 and wandered the airport gardens) and LA (where I grabbed dinner at Encounter in the Theme Building) I finally got home at 6 am on Saturday morning.

The following weekend Michigan was playing Penn State so off we drove to Happy Valley for the weekend. We had a fun day tailgating but lost the game in the fourth overtime.

After a week at home I was out in Arizona this week past week for work. It was very busy with long work days but I did get to see some friends who live in the area in the evening and satisfy my fix for In-N-Out Burger. Also, when driving to work one day my co-worker and I saw some hot air balloons and one even landed near the road we were on.

As you can imagine, not too much has happened on the home front with all this traveling going on. There are two items of note, however.

First, right before all of the traveling started all of the rough inspections for my bathroom and laundry were approved. Now I just need to get some time to start closing the walls up!

Second, the house paint was looking a little faded and there was some peeling that needed to get addressed so we hired a guy to paint the house. We are keeping the same basic color scheme but going with bolder, darker shades. Below is an example of the new paint on the left and the old paint on the right. It makes a world of difference and I can't wait until it is done.

Anyway, that's what I have been up to lately. I'm looking forward to some time at home to get going on finishing up the laundry and downstairs bathroom. On top of that I have a bunch of apples and sugar pumpkins that I bought yesterday that I plan on making into applesauce and pumpkin puree.  Have you been doing any traveling or working on any fun projects this fall?

Wednesday
Sep252013

Kalustyan's 

A few year's ago my friend, Sarah, visited me in Ann Arbor. Her friend and her friend's college friend (both Penn State alumni) happened to coming to Ann Arbor that very same weekend to watch Penn State play Michigan in football. Having a big house all to myself I invited them to also stay at my house and the four of us had a lot of fun making dinner together and hanging out.

Knowing that I love to cook, one of ladies, who was from New York, mentioned that next time I was in New York I should really go to Kalustyan's as she was sure that I would love it. Of course I went on my next trip to the city and ever since I've made it a tradition to stop there every time I am in New York.

Kalustyan's is a specialty food shop that has all sorts of wonderful goodies, especially from India and the Middle East. The narrow aisles are lined floor to ceiling with just about every dry good imaginable. On top of the wonderful selection the prices are really great as well.

The best part of Kastulyan's for me is the amazing selection of bulk spices sold by the bag. The store smells amazingly fragrant with all of the spice smells mingling together.

Frank likes Kastulyan's because it is the only place other than a few expensive online sites that he has been able to buy smoked paprika, which is a staple in his cooking. Just as an example of the extensive selection of spices, the picture below is only showing different types of paprika that Kastulyan's stocks.

Although we could have easily bought out the store, Frank and I settled on getting two large bags of smoked paprika, pickling spice and some chia seeds. I've never made anything with chia seeds before but I thought they would be fun to try.

Before leaving Frank and I headed upstairs for a stop at the deli. Along with olives and cheeses, they also have a selection of vegetarian and meat options that make a great lunch.

Frank and I shared a combination plate of chick peas, grape leaves, a samosa and kasseri cheese. We enjoyed our delicious food while sitting in the window overlooking Lexington Avenue.

The most surprising thing happened after we had paid for our spices and headed outside to hail a taxi. Although I have been to Kalustyan's several times I never noticed before that there was a New York Historical Society plaque outside providing a little background to the building.

It turns out that at that spot on September 20, 1881 Chester A. Arthur took the oath of office to become the 21st President of the United States after President James A. Garfield was assassinated. William Randolph Hearst (inspiration for the famous movie, Citizen Kane) also later lived in the building. Fabulous spices and some history, too!

If you are in New York and love to cook I would definitely recommend a stop at Kalustyan's located at 123 Lexington Avenue. At the time of this writing the hours are Mondays - Saturdays 10am-8pm, Sundays/Holidays 11am-7pm.

Tuesday
Aug272013

Picture of the Day: Longhorn at the Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth, Texas
8.31.2012 

Tuesday
Aug132013

Picture of the Day: View Out to Lake Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
7.20.2013 

Monday
Aug122013

Picture of the Day: View Along the Needles Lookout Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sequoia National Forest, California
6.2005 

Thursday
Aug082013

Picture of the Day: Sunset on Treasure Island

Treasure Island, Florida
12.30.2012 

Friday
Jul262013

Picture of the Day: Rainbow in the Mist of Montmorency Falls

Chute Montmorency
Quebec, Canada
9.06.2009

Wednesday
Jun192013

Picture of the Day: Seagulls at Sunset on Treasure Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure Island, Florida
12.30.2012 

Monday
May272013

Picture of the Day: Field of Stars at the WWII Memorial

National World War II Memorial
Washington D.C., United States
3.25.2005 

Tuesday
Apr232013

Picture of the Day: Ferry with Statue of Liberty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York, New York
10.30.2009