This is the final installment of the Honeymoon Adventures. I appreciate the WWPD shoutout and comment from fashion blog star (pun intended) regarding my vacation wear, because I had fun with it and perhaps put forth more effort than usual. Food is always a good thing to document, as well. But here is another perspective that should not go untold.
"Are we there yet?"
"We'll guard the Travelodge room."
On the way to New Buffalo.
An entire extra bed for the Poppersteins & Memu!
"A penguin, like me! I'm cuter."
If we took a plane to Detroit and I took all the Poppersteins, I'm absolutely certain TSA would dismember all of them to see if I'm transporting drugs. Thankfully, you can take as many bags as you want and put whatever you want in them when you're just driving across state lines.
Down to the second to last installation of the Honeymoon Series. We arrived at the Marina Grand Resort later than we thought due to the rain, but just in time for check in. The weather was clear when we arrived, but hot and humid the whole time we were there, probably thanks to the passing rain. Here I am in the lobby. I think there was a wedding on the rooftop, and that someone left their Sprite on the log table next to me. Those are paintings of sweaters hanging on the wall, but that is a real dead tree behind me.
What would you do if you encountered this in a hotel lobby?
The Marina Grand website says that their interiors are inspired by Scandinavian and modern designs. We stayed in this room because there was nothing else available at the time we made reservations, so there was a whole bed for the Poppersteins (yes, you read that correctly). Indeed, everything is slick, but I wonder how long the chicness will last. I feel like it'll look really outdated in ten years. Anyway, it was a great room after spending two nights in a Travelodge room.
From top left, clockwise: goat cheese in marinara sauce with flatbread; my xoxoCILANTROxoxo and walnut pesto white(?)fish; Mordecai's salmon and mediocre mashed sweet potato; thick-ass lemon tart.
We ate at Bentwood Tavern, the restaurant connected to the resort. We were drinking beers when I heard someone talking about their seats being too close to the doors. The voice sounded incredibly familiar, even nostalgic. When I looked up, I saw none other than my sixth grade teacher, Ms. Ranalli! Who is no longer, but has a hyphenated name, I think. Anyway, yes, Ms. Ranalli as in the daughter of Ranalli's Pizza. She was vacationing with her family, and I got to see her kids. To this day, I think of her when I recall how I learned to write an expository essay, how I learned about ancient Greek cultures, and how kids can be cruel to teachers. BTW, she looked no different from her 1996 days. Amazing!
At night we took rented bicycles and rode to the beach nearby. It was both frightening and exhilarating at once. When we returned them, there was a fireworks show across the "harbor" right next to our room. Our view outside the windows basically looked like Diversey or Belmont harbor--a shit ton of docked boats.
When researching this general area, I came across a restaurant called Brewster's Italian Cafe. This excited me to no end. To me, Brewster is the pigeon in Animal Crossing who runs The Roost cafe below the museum. Brewster makes a good cup of coffee, and sometimes he puts a little pigeon milk in it. He doesn't like it when you let your coffee cool. Usually he's tight-lipped, but if you visit him frequently, he begins to open up. This is when your heart melts. Anyway, I was looking forward to this visit very much, which occurred the next day, regardless of how the food was. I have to say, I don't recall it being very memorable, and the portions were huge. But more importantly...BREWSTER'S CAFE!!!
We were going to the Warren State Dunes, but so was everyone else in the surrounding area. So we kept driving along whatever road we were on, and we came across CAPTAIN MIKE'S FUN PARK! Wow, what a creative name. But who is Captain Mike? I think his mom was running everything that day. It turned out to be quite entertaining. We took advantage of the batting cages, go-carts, and game room. In the extremely hot and humid game room, I won enough tickets for a childish bracelet, cheap plastic rings, and a deck of playing cards. The go-carts were awesome because I found $11 sitting by the brakes in my car. I stuck the money under my foot in my sandal, drove around the track as instructed, and took it out when I felt we were far enough away from the tracks. Hehe.
We then went to some smaller dunes that turned out to be exciting as well. We climbed the boardwalk thingie, and the view was nice, but a little smokey. I remember exchanging a few words with Mordecai about this, and we told ourselves it was someone's barbecue, specifically, CORN. It turned out to be a full fledged FIRE IN THE DUNES! The fire kept spreading, but it got boring so we started to play catch. Mordecai showed me how to properly grip a baseball to throw it. On top of running around, throwing and catching the ball, it was so hot, I thought I was going to melt.
We didn't start the fire...maybe the guy posing in the Speedo above my shoulder did.
For dinner, we went to Timothy's at Gordon Beach Inn.
Conch fritters; cheddar mashed potato; a bunch of stuff, including chipotle sauce and mango over red snapper; a bunch of stuff, including berries, over...some other kind of fish.
We were originally going to stay at Gordon Beach Inn, where Timothy's is located, until we read reviews online about how the building was old, the walls thin, and the noise from Timothy's prevents anyone from being happy. I then discovered the Marina Grand online, and we jumped ship. But we heard good things about Timothy's, and I was curious about Gordon Beach Inn, so we went for dinner. Let's just say I preferred our room at the Marina Grand. The food was good, except that there was so much going on in the entrees. I think they strive for a wide range of fresh ingredients, but they also try to put every ingredient on earth into your dish, which only amounts to not a whole lot. But the cheddar mashed potatoes were ON POINT.
We left around noon the next day. Chicago is not too far away, so the drive wasn't bad. Before leaving, we had some burgers somewhere nearby, and I saw this motorcycle in the parking lot. It was hard to take a picture of it because of the sparkles, but it was a most awesome bike. Sometimes Oji looks like that, except he's not snarling; his teeth just get caught in his lip. I thought of those three-wolves-and-moon shirt that got popular for a minute, but concluded that this bike is so much better than all those shirts and Amazon reviews/stories online combined.
In addition to the Twins vs. Tigers game, we had some other adventures in Detroit. I loved Detroit and its surrounding suburbs and would go back any time in a heartbeat.
But I'll think twice about staying at Travelodge again. I appreciate their service because it's good, but I do not appreciate the stench of low-grade bathroom cleaner permeating the entire rented space. Also, the floor plan of this room and the motel rooms in "No Country For Old Men" are eerily similar. The only thing missing was a vent above the bathroom door where I could stuff a suitcase full of drug money and a detector thingie.
Mordecai is always searching for weird buildings and structures, and I knew we were not going to drive away from Detroit without looking at something that was not the GM headquarters building in downtown Detroit.
Apparently there is a townhouse complex designed by Mies van der Rohe in central Detroit. To get to it, we drove around some completely tore up neighborhood, spotted two tall Mies-esque condo buildings, and then noticed that there were some low, modern townhouses tucked away nearby that had "BY MIES VAN DER ROHE!!!" written all over them. I noticed the little playground that also looked like it was designed by Mies. Very simple, straightforward, and functional, if Mies' idea of having fun on bars was training to train like an Olympic gymnast. I definitely hurt myself climbing those bars. I need to stop pretending like I can still do tricks from grade school days.
After lunch at The Detroiter Bar, we searched baseball card shops and came up with Collectible Investments in none other than Royal Oaks, which is where we were staying.
I'd say the store had more toys and Yu-gi-oh-type things than sports-related stuff, but I walked away with a few things I couldn't get in Chicago very easily. Mordecai got some box of old cards that wasn't worth whatever he paid, but I think he was content nonetheless.
EOJ LIVES IN ROYAL OAKS, MICHIGAN!
We almost settled for a chain restaurant for coffee but came across the gem that is the Donut Cutter, not too far from Collectible Investments. I think it is a family-run establishment, and the interior looks like it's stuck in the late 80's, early 90's. I'm pretty sure that this is what Dunkin Donuts used to look like. The girl running the register and the other customers all knew each other by name and what was going on, generally, in each others' lives.
I had what I guess is the old fashioned donut, and Mordecai had a glazed donut. They were both good, but the glazed donut was fluffy and chewy and it made me regret my choice. I think I just like to eat what others are eating, but I swear, if there were such a thing as a donut-cloud, it'd be a glazed donut from the Donut Cutter in Royal Oaks!
The next day, it was pouring. But we escaped the storms by heading out west towards New Buffalo, Michigan, for our next destination. Along the way, we stopped at Big Boy.
When my parents went to get Oji, they stopped at a Big Boy and my mom bought the Big Boy figurine for me. So I felt kind of obligated to check it out. I had no idea it was an actual diner; I thought it was more like a McDonald's type of fast food restaurant. It was OK--I'd stop again for the novelty factor.
Took my pancakes with me on the road for some reason. Do you like my busted umbrella?
And then we were on our way to New Buffalo, where sun, heat, and humidity were waiting for us.
Re-cap of the Detroit Tigers portion of our honeymoon here.
The photo above is from the resort portion of our honeymoon. There is much to blog about, mostly regarding events, clothes, and...Carleton Popperstein. TBC.
I got these shoes at Payless today. They are apparently only available at certain Payless locations (in Chicago: Lincolnwood, Woodfield, Old Orchard, State Street, Michigan Avenue). I thought they'd be a part of the timeless Halford Collection, but Mordecai informs me that they're a part of the not-so-classic Cenobite Collection.
Summer is coming to an end. It's all downhill from here! Quick, paint your nails a coral orangish color now while it's still acceptable, before people think you're a Halloween nut.
So Mordecai and I got married a couple weekends ago. It was a fun and happy day, and I didn't feel too rushed or like things got too hectic. I was thinking that our wedding was good because it wasn't all about us being in the limelight, but more about the people who matter to us most and being able to have them all in one place. I thought I had an important thought there in my head, but then in Michigan (more on that for another post), I saw some of former Playmate Kendra Wilkinson's reality TV show and she said the exact same thing of her wedding. So much for my momentous thought of the day! Or perhaps I underestimate Kendra? In any case, I recommend enjoying your wedding if you have one, because there will probably never be such a happy occasion where so many good people convene in one place.
I have only a few pictures of my own of this day, so here is a recap of the wedding day from my perspective.
Mai and I got our hair did at Salon Moka, where I got my highlights. I have no idea how Masa-san got my hair to cooperate, but he made me look like an enka singer. I never felt so Japanese as I did on this day.
Masa-san and I match! Purple power.
From the time I got my hair did to the time I arrived at the venue, I felt like I was in Japan. My mom, grandma, Mai, and her mother all helped me get ready, so the only language spoken was Japanese; my grandma made rice balls, pickled vegetables, and had fruit on the table; Mai and her mother smoked Pianissimo cigarettes; and there was a lot of bowing once the woman who dressed me in my kimono finished her fine work. I thought I wouldn't be able to breathe with the obi, but I was totally able to move and even wiggle in my kimono. This is a testament to how well Ishikawa Sensei wrapped me up. I ended up wearing my kimono longer than I anticipated, and even ate some dinner in it.
Schedule-wise, everything went perfectly. Even this horrible traffic wasn't a problem. I sat in the front of the car and waved to a few people who realized that there was an oddly dressed lady in the CR-V next to them. Notice the mole on my face; very Ishikawa Sayuri-like, in my opinion.
The following is the only picture I have of the actual wedding. You'd think it might be of me and Mordecai, but there must be millions of those photos. Mordecai has three awesome cousins, and they all graciously flew out. Here I am with Sarah, who is also a newly wed.
Sarah! This picture is like the inversion of this one.
After dinner, I made a quick wardrobe change into a white Betsey Johnson dress. I forgot to wear my mom's pearls. I also forgot to eat the cake except for the morsel that Mordecai fed me. Mordecai saved some macaroons for me, and there were plenty of "Hotoda" cocktails (merely cranberry juice, oranage juice, vodka) consumed, so I was all good. I believe I acted a bit giddy, perhaps overly so, at various moments for the rest of the evening, but I'm told it seemed to be a combination of "Hotoda" cocktails and happiness. I guess that's forgivable. Oh, and my grandma danced! Haha.
Here are our cake toppers. Our cake provider, Mont Blanc Pastry (Arlington Heights), had only one penguin left, so we asked for, as the pastry chef said, "wan-chan," (translation: maybe "woofie"?), or the dog. Here is Sam's excellent recreation of the toppers.
Mordecai and I dropped his parents and sister off at the hotel, and my mom had taken my grandma, Mai, and her mom home. When Mordecai and I got back to our apartment, Mai and her mom had just arrived moments earlier, WITH MCDONALD'S!!! I had not been able to eat a whole lot at the wedding, so this was the most perfect way to cap off the night. Big Mac, fries, McDonald's Coke (somehow superior to other forms of Coke). Some may think that catered, gourmet food should trump Mickey D's, but first of all, that's just wrong (which isn't to say that McDonald's is better than gourmet food, either) and second, why not have both if you can?
Our caterers, John Moorehouse and staff, noticed that when Mai and I went up to get macaroons at the wedding after I changed, only three cassis and three green tea ones remained. The following Monday, my dad saw John, who gave my dad a little bag of two of each macaroon type for me! Oh-to-the-em-gee. The other flavors were raspberry and chocolate, which were the flavors of mousse in our cake.
I could not have asked for better weather, food, desserts, drinks, music, and above all, people, on that fine Saturday. Thank you to everyone who came and made the day as awesome as it was!