All posts tagged michigan

  • 29th birthday

    I recently had a birthday. A 29th one, at that. It’s a little weird to think I am now the age I thought my mom was until I was 7 or 8, because you know, I believed every thing my mama told me (hi mom, love you). Cory and I celebrated the day of my birth with an overnight trip to Detroit, to spend hours and hours at the Detroit Institute of Arts and in typical Sponseller fashion, to stuff our faces with food. An overnight trip was much needed, since I’ve been feeling a bit burned out in the work department. Balancing my time and knowing when to say “no” to taking on additional projects is still something I’m clumsily fumbling my way through. There are certainly worse problems to have, but a brain break was much needed.

    First stop in Deh-twa was Motor City Brewing Works. Here’s Cory’s sausage pizza and beer because it was way more handsome than my artichoke pizza and cherry soda:

    motorcity brewing works

    Motor City Brewing Works is next to Nest and City Bird. I’m a sucker for cutesy home decor shops.

    You know, staying the night at someone else’s place always gets me excited about decorating my own apartment. Our move is only less than 2 months away now! Eep. We don’t have a new apartment lined up yet, but I’m totally gonna steal some ideas from this cute little studio. First up, definitely going to order a set of these Kikkerland maze coasters. And that floral chair too, if I can ever find it!

    detroit apartment

    Breakfast was at Midtown Zef’s, a new-ish coney island next to the historic Majestic Theater. I have a soft spot for coney islands because for most of my life, going to a restaurant meant going to a coney island. It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned that they’re primarily a Michigan thing. Coney islands serve up typical American fare like burgers and fries, but are usually owned by Greeks and Arabs so you’ll often find things like gyros (or pita sandwiches), spanakopita, baklava, and rice pudding on menus. Of course, they also serve coney dogs. Hot dogs topped with beanless chili, mustard, chopped onions, served in a bun. Anyway! As far as Midtown Zef’s goes, super cheap and tasty breakfast fare that serves up ridiculously huge portions.

    midtown zef's detroit

    We also stopped at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, which involved me making a fool of myself by spilling my coffee several times. I am not a graceful human. I also made a quick stop at The Peacock Room and picked up a new dress and jewelry. San Francisco’s Haight street used to be my go-to for shopping destination for clothing (I miss you, Ambiance!!) and Peacock Room hit the spot.

    Did a bit more walking around. Oh hello, Danish consulate. You’re somethin’ else. And for sale, too. Anyone wanna buy a mansion??

    detroit 2

    Then, finally! To the Detroit Institute of Arts.

    detroit 4

    Camel leg bones! Well, replicas of them. And a Portuguese man feeding a puppy, painted by Reza Abbasi in 1634, the last great master of the Persian miniature.

    bones and reza abbasi

    Officer of the Hussars by Kehinde Wiley. I want this on my wall.

    detroit 3

    In fleeting moments, I want to live in Detroit. No, not to buy a $1,000 dilapidated house and spend all my savings rehabbing it while fending off squatters. A downtown loft and a rooftop garden is more my style. There is a lot of beauty in Detroit and reminders of its former glory are everywhere. Then I walk down block after block, without ever passing another soul or cross the 6 lane Woodward Avenue and I realize that the Motor City is not an ideal place to live if you’re not interested in owning a car… and it doesn’t have the kind of population density I look for in a city. Oh well. Detroit is unlikely to ever be a place I call home, but I’ll always be excited to visit.


    Our visit was short, about 24 hours. By the end of of the trip, I was really missing my little booger. I think I’m strong enough to go a blog post without posting a photo of my cat. You’re spared this time.

  • so long, san francisco!

    The time has finally come! Cory and I have left the traditional workforce. We were fortunate to have jobs that allowed us to accumulate a considerable amount of savings. Those savings won’t stretch over the course of a couple years in San Francisco, which is why we packed our bags and beloved cat and hopped on a plane to Michigan. We have family in and near Michigan, so we’ve decided to live in Ann Arbor for a year, which is where I went to college. We’re not sure where we’ll move after a year in Ann Arbor, but the world is a big place and we have no intention of putting down roots in one particular place. In the coming months, I’ll go into more detail about what we will be working on – but if you know anything about our professional lives or interests, that should give you a hint. No, I’m not going to become a professional Corgi Cuddler. I wish.


    Our last weeks in San Francisco were a whirlwind of squeezing in visits to our favorite restaurants and exploring places we had never been, but mostly consisted of packing, donating, and selling scraps of our lives (and dignity) on craigslist. And why did we leave perfectly stable-ish (for the videogame industry, that is) jobs? Well, the short answer is the challenges presented to us at our respective jobs no longer satisfied us. I have no doubt that I could have left my job and found work at another company in San Francisco, doing something that aligned more with my passions and making a higher salary, but going the more complicated route of becoming my own boss and never having to “work for the weekend” again sounds like a much more intriguing challenge.


    We’re staying in my hometown Flint, Michigan until our lease in Ann Arbor begins at the end of the summer. Flint is the birthplace of General Motors, and never fully recovered after the auto industry began abandoning the city back in the 70s. In some ways, the city has improved since I left seven years ago – the Farmers’ Market continues to thrive, there are actually businesses opening downtown, and old buildings are being restored into lofts and apartments. But neighborhood murmurings of domestic abuse, dog fighting, crime, and drug addiction are never far away.


    After four years of living in San Francisco and working in a lucrative industry, I’ve been experiencing reverse culture shock in a lot of ways. While it’s been fun to rediscover my hometown, Flint is still a dreary place, and I’ll be relieved when we leave for our little studio apartment in Ann Arbor. That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying myself at all, though. Our computers are set up in a heavy traffic area part of the house, so I don’t expect to get much work done while we’re here. Luckily, I’ve been able to focus a lot of time on leisure activities I didn’t have much time for when I had an office job, like cooking, reading, teaching myself to knit, taking photos, DIY projects, and getting back into the swing of blogging about it all, of course. See you around more frequently! Well, if anyone is still out there after the death of Google Reader…