Sunday, January 25, 2015

Look Back at 2014

Another year just went by, so long 2014! It was rather a quiet year. We didn't travel much, didn't really do anything to make the year special. As I'm trying to make more plans for 2015, I surely am glad 2014 is over. Scrolling through my iphone's camera roll, gave me the best, and most accurate picture of last 12 months. Otherwise, I had really hard time to remember what we've done, since there wasn't too many memorable events. Or maybe I am just getting older, and don't remember anything anymore.

January and February was definitely really, really cold in Chicago. Everyone talked, tweeted, facebooked, instagramed about the polar vortex. All five great lakes were frozen shut. I have to say, it was probably the coldest I've ever experienced, but with enough layers of clothing, right boots, hats and gloves, it was doable. And not like we had a choice in saying, right? Lake Michigan looked really amazing, something I've never seen before.

[tired after new years shenanigans] 


[winter in it's finest]

 In March we did a quick weekend in Nashville, even 50's were a huge improvement from what we had in Chicago those days. My sister and her BF went with us. The drive went pretty fast, always does going there, it's the way back home that seemed long and exhausting. But I guess that is what happens after two long days of partying Nashville style. As usual, we stayed downtown, at the Renaissance on Commerce, a block away from Broadway Street, where all the action is, at least the touristy action we were going for. I thought of exploring East Nashville, but we run out of time. Maybe next time. Broadway was just perfect to scratch the live music itch, it always does the trick. Hopping from one Honky Tonk to the other, Jameson was flowing, live music was playing, just a perfect getaway from the cold everyday life in Chicago. My favorite thing about Nashville is that you can walk in to a bar on Broadway at 10 am, and there is a live band playing. 10 in the morning!!!
Nashville is changing though, as we've been going there for last 6 or 7 years, it's not hard to notice that it's becoming more of a "college kids party scene" versus what it used to be, just the casual place to go and listen to some good, ole country. Old bars are building up, making three-story-tall party central clubs, long lines to get in, tons of drunk kids that have no appreciation for the music. Nashville is becoming NashVegas. At least the Broadway Street, where all the old original Honky Tonks are. In my opinion, it's loosing it's character. Maybe next time we should explore East Nashville in hope to experience what we first loved abut Nashville. Live music, live old country music, with Merle and Hank, Willie and Johnny, and many more that helped shaped the music.


April - I am not completely sure, but by April, Chicago had thawed out a bit, and temperatures returned to more of a norm. I actually don't remember much about April of 2014. Was Easter that month?? Tim's mom was turning 70, so we decided to fly to Tampa for a few days, get some sun and celebrate the milestone birthday.

[beach in Venice, FL. day]

Beach, pool, good food, and good company made the few days fly by. I was so sun-hungry, that all I wanted to do is lay on the lounge chair, on the edge of the pool, and bake. It worked, we had a beautiful weather, just a bit of rain on the last day, I came back with a nice golden tan... feels good to have some color. Pale skin just doesn't look good on me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Love of Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Michigan, especially upper peninsula has become a perfect vacation destination for us. Between 7 and 9 hours away from Chicago, depending where we decide to stay, it’s just long enough to enjoy the road trip. The drive to Milwaukee goes by fast, stop at Trader Joe's, to stack up on food/drinks. We follow I-43 north to Green Bay, passing old red barns, cornfields and grain silos, peaceful sunsets, and occasional sightings of the Lake Michigan. As we enter US 41, this two lane unassuming highway, that’s when you realize you are completely somewhere else, somewhere when life slows down. Somewhere you forget about the life you left behind, and let the nature take over. Just for a few days… somewhere in upper peninsula Michigan.

It was love from the first sight. Back in 2008 or 2009, I remember it was the midst of the winter, we went up north to visit Tim’s brother and his wife. I have never seen this much snow in my life, it was like Christmas every day. So beautiful and magical, with  fresh coat of a new, fluffy snow every day, winter wonderland. The roads were white, the trees were white, everywhere you looked – was covered with a white pillow of freshly fallen snow.

And then for the first time I saw my other love, the grand, and majestic Lake Superior, in its winter glory. The water was deep dark blue color, it was getting dark outside, crescent moon was hanging perfectly in the sky. (and of course I had not have a camera with me) And the waives, giant rolls of dark water crushing against the rocky shore. I still remember the sound of the water, it was so loud, and yet so peaceful. That single, cold minute in time made me fall in love with nature, all over again. 

We've traveled to U.P. quite some since that trip, mostly in the winter, once in the summer, and just last October was the first time we've visited in the fall. Little later in the season that I would prefer, but maybe this year, we can make it there for the color change.

Photography from my Upper Peninsula Winter 2009 B&W Collection (Houghton & Keweenaw Peninsula).

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