The Cruising Duo

The Cruising Duo

Erin dragged her dad Brad into Detroit last weekend. She wanted to check out the small shop scene around the city. “We’re just cruising, Dad,” she would enthusiastically shout out to try and keep her father’s walking momentum up.

Erin is currently living between New York and LA, but she thinks now might be the right time to move back to her native Michigan. She wants to open a vintage store in Detroit and fill it with delicious sounding things.

Brad lives out in Livonia, but actually worked in downtown Detroit at Blue Cross/Blue Shield over the course of three decades.

Shabby Chic Karen

Shabby Chic Karen

Karen has owned Shabby Chic in Eastern Market for 16 years now. Her shop is one of those places you walk into and instantly want to move in. Style meets homeliness. The smell of a scented candle greeted us as we came in from the cold, making the whole experience even more delightful. The boutique sold everything from cushions, to carefully selected cards and ties. My favorite discovery was a pile of t-shirts which read “Detroit, the Paris of the Midwest.”

Beautiful Karen was surprisingly reluctant to have her photo taken.

Gill’s Paint Job

Gill's Paint Jon

Talk about having a paint job to do.

I think graffiti, murals and random messages tagged onto abandoned houses are some of my favorite things about Detroit. The city can feel quite empty when you are walking around and animated walls keep me smiling. Sometimes they even give me a sense of connection.

I took this picture on the way home from buying some ginger snap cookies this morning. Gill, the small figure on the left, is executing a master update of one of Eastern Market’s biggest facades. Vito and Will who are overseeing the process, were lurking in between cars, nearby. Funding for the update is coming all the way from the federal department of housing and urban development, they said.

Vito was walking around with a picture of what the original mural from 1970 looked like. He said they were going to go back to its original features, which were more cartoonish. Business pal Will nodded, but corrected Vito on the date.

“The original mural was done in 1969,” Will said.

“1970,” Vito retorted.

Scott and the Spelt Bread

Scott and the Spelt Bread

Scott doesn’t just have an excellent beard. Scott also sells delicious bread. He sometimes eats it too. He got very excited when I took an interest in his spelt bread.

“The best way to have it is with melted cheese and fried up onions.” He paused before adding: “well that might be just me. I’m a bit different.”

Best Treats for Dakota

Best Treats for Dakota

This is Jay with his new puppy Dakota. Dakota is a Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd-(and I think) Chow mix. The cutest thing.

Alfie and I ran into them as we were exiting my local pet store. I wondered whether they lived in the neighborhood. Jay said they lived close, but explained it wasn’t so much about living locally, as much as chasing down the best treats.

“We found some treats we really like here,” he said, “so we decided to take the car and come and get some more.”

The Ladies with the Sunglasses

The Ladies with the Sunglasses

I guess there was some mutual appreciation going on at the market earlier today. I was heading towards the honeycrisp apples when these two ladies stopped me. They asked whether I might pose for a picture. Jackpot, I thought: that must mean I get to take a picture of them too.

Krystal, in the amazing orange dress, is from Detroit and Jennifer, on her right, was in from New York. They were on the job for local bicycle company Shinola.

Kim and the Croissant

Kim and the Croissant

Kim gave me some much needed Detroit friendliness yesterday as I returned from a three and a half hour bike ride.

I didn’t exactly choose to go on such a long ride, except that my new friend Detavio suggested I meet him in Southfield, just outside of the city, and I thought riding out there would be a cool experience.

Let’s just say Detroit is not used to bikes yet. Potholes, screams to get off the road, car honks and even an encounter with a policeman for unwitting trespassing.

By the time I got home and tumbled into Milano Bakery, I was what my friend Sara would describe as a hot mess.

Kim laughed at my accent and laughed even harder when I asked her where she was from. “Why I’m from here, from Detroit.”

She told me Milano Bakery had been around for years, even if Eastern Market was a relatively new location. “It was out on Six Mile,” she said. “I remember hearing about it as a little girl.”