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(I) Like A Ninja

Disclosure: Ninja sent me a Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System to try out and keep. They didn’t insist that I write about it but obviously hoped I would. And here we are.


A couple of years ago, I got a juicer. It was a big joke around here (but not really “funny ha ha”: the other kind…*waves to Jim*) because I had wanted it so badly but then once I got it, it sat unused for months. When I finally used it, I discovered that perhaps I hadn’t made the right choice. It was bulky, not the most attractive small appliance, and the worst part? It was such a pain to clean. Like I CAN’T EVEN. That bad. I think I’ve used it four times in two years.

For all of the other minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months, it has been sitting in the cabinet under my kitchen island, taking up valuable space. I did the math:

Fresh Juice < The Annoyance of Clean Up
Not to mention the amount of money you have to spend on fresh fruits and veggies to get the tiniest amount of juice.

And then also? I decided I’m more a fan of blended things like smoothies. I can make a great smoothie with plain yogurt and some fruit (even frozen fruit). Add some greens? Bonus nutrition. So the juicer and its mess? I decided it was not my jam.

Fast forward—from whenever we were—to this past summer at the BlogHer conference in New York City. I was hanging out at the SheKnows booth in the expo because they had these really awesome white couches that looked like a comfy alternative to the conference room where our team was working. I had my laptop open and was tapping away at the keys like a boss when one of the Ninja reps walked up to ask me something, probably because I looked super official. We hit it off right away, chatting for a little while and then—fast forward again, to a couple months later—she asked if I’d like to try their newest Nutri Ninja system. YES PLEASE!

Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System

Here’s the important information about The Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System:
* Nutrient & vitamin extraction AND high performance all in one machine
* Next generation Auto-iQ™ Smooth Boost™ Technology that takes drink customization to a whole new level
* Features 1100-watt motor base
* Includes two 24-ounce Nutri Ninja Tritan Cups with two Sip & Seal Lids, 24-ounce stainless steel Nutri Ninja Cup, 40-ounce blend & prep bowl with dough/chopping blade, 48-ounce XL multi-serve Nutri Ninja, and a 30 recipe inspiration guide
* Additional attachment available for purchase is the first-ever coffee & spice grinder blender attachment
* Available at major retailers nationwide, starting at $129.99 MSRP

Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System

Here’s the additional important information that pertains to me personally:
* It is attractive!
* It is not bulky (in fact, it’s downright sleek)!
* It looks great on my countertop, and once I get rid of that old juicer I’ll have some cabinet space!
* It is so easy to clean, partially due to the individual cups: blend and go! (Also? Dishwasher safe!)
* This appliance does a different kind of juicing, so if I decide I want some juice, I make juice! From the website: Nutri Ninja® Cups can blend whole fruits, vegetables, greens, seeds & stems into nutrient-rich beverages in seconds! Traditional juicers provide little juice and remove the pulp which contains the healthy fiber, whereas the Nutri Ninja™ Cups provides complete juicing with the benefits of entire fruits and vegetables, not just the juice. These juices are bursting with health-boosting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace elements and plant nutrients!

Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System

I’ve been making those fruit and yogurt smoothies (with some flax seed thrown in) for breakfast and I can’t say enough how I adore the ease of this machine. I love blending everything in the same cup I can just stick a straw in and carry with me. I haven’t even delved into all of the other uses yet, but I’m looking forward to trying out some new recipes with it this holiday season!

You can follow Ninja on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And then if you don’t have one, perhaps you should put it on your wish list. The holidays are coming, you know!

Still counts.

Still counts.


To Market, To (Farmer’s) Market

Yesterday I wrote about my love of taking pictures of Chicago buildings. Apparently I adore capturing lots of things that don’t move because another favorite photo walk for me is one through a good farmer’s market.

I think farmer’s markets are beautiful. The way that the vendors deliberately display their goods so the people walking through can hardly resist is a real art form. They work so hard on it and I feel terrible passing through only taking pictures. In fact, these days I usually avoid farmer’s markets unless I have cash on me to make small purchases as I go, to make up for the fact that I’m walking around with a camera or phone in front of my face.

The best farmer’s market I’ve ever seen was in 2010, at Union Square in New York City. I was with my friend Sweet Sue and we walked around for more than an hour just snapping away. The colors were DAZZLING and it was a beautiful summer day. Two of my favorite pictures from that day:

Union Square Farmer's Market

Union Square Farmer's Market

I’ve been hoping to find a market as gorgeous as that one but haven’t yet. The one in my little suburb is nice, but small. A favorite shot from there:

Blueberry Muffins at the Naperville Farmer's Market

(Adorable, right?)

The Santa Fe farmer’s market was pretty good and I got one of my favorite shots ever ever ever (in this post) of a person, but still lifes? Here:

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

And then, most recently, I hit up the farmer’s market in Memphis.

Memphis Farmer's Market

Memphis Farmer's Market

Much like I realize my best writing voice is in either personal narrative or non-fiction business writing as opposed to fiction, I know that my best pictures are of things, not people, about 80% of the time. I’ve captured some great people pictures over the last few years and will continue to practice that kind of photography, but I rather like the stuff that sits still.

NaBloPoMo 2015


Buildings Don’t Move.

Pictures of Chicago buildings. I’ve got ’em.

Every single time I go downtown for something—an event, a meet-up, business, a simple errand, whatever—I take photos. Sometimes I bring my camera but usually I’m snapping with my phone. I love the architecture. I love the building materials. I love the juxtaposition of certain buildings against others. I love the bright blue sky against the neutral stone and brick. I love when I can get seasonal pictures. I love when I can get the sun hitting the buildings in a certain way. I love it all.

I have my favorite subjects, including (but not limited to) Marina City, the Wrigley Building, and Sears (No-I-Won’t-Call-It-Willis) Tower. These buildings, as you might guess, don’t ever move. Ever!
Still, I have hundreds of pictures of each one.

It reminds me of when I spent two weeks at OSRUI Camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in the summer after fifth grade. Back then, there were no digital cameras. We had to shoot with film and never had the advantage of seeing what pictures we took and how good they were; it was a total guessing game.

After camp was over my mom took all of my film in for developing and when we looked at the pictures together, she was slightly annoyed that she spent a gazillion dollars (my exaggeration of her sentiment) because there were SO MANY PICTURES OF THE BUILDINGS. You know, the buildings that don’t move. Ever.

I took pictures of those buildings from the front, the side, and the back. I took pictures from all different angles. I took pictures while standing, kneeling, and sitting on the ground. I had those buildings COVERED.

Not much has changed. I have more Chicago building pictures than anyone needs. The difference is that I know when I’m shooting that I probably already have that angle, that side. I’m taking hundreds of pictures over time on purpose. What I’m looking for is a different perspective, a picture so brilliant that will make me “ooh” and “aah” at my own work because “How did I never get THAT shot before?”

Last night, I got one. It’s not the best or most striking picture of the Wrigley Building, but it’s interesting to me. I know I’ve never taken a picture standing in that spot at that time of evening.

Wrigley Building Chicago

What am I going to do with these hundreds of pictures? Probably just insert a few of them in blog posts here and there, and eventually frame some of the more special ones. They capture my favorite parts of my favorite city, though, and that in itself includes them in my most treasured possessions.

NaBloPoMo 2015


NaBloPoMo 2015: Jumpstart!

Let's do this.

Let’s do this.

It’s that time of year again! November is National Blog Posting Month, in which many of us attempt to publish a post every single day. There are prizes to be won when you sign up (by November 5!) on the BlogHer site, but for me the real prize is bringing myself back to regular writing on this blog, which I miss desperately much of the time.

It’s gotten harder for me to write blog posts over the past couple of years for two main reasons. The first one is because I am so busy in other areas of my life. My work with LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER and BlogHer fill much of my time. The other reason is because my boys, who I wrote about approximately half the time back in the day, are grown now. I write about them very selectively these days because many of their stories aren’t mine to tell.

So for me, while others “dread” NaBloPoMo and the pressures that come with daily posting, November is a gift. I’m going to do my best to complete all thirty days of posting, even if some posts consist of just one picture with a couple of descriptive sentences. I’ve got a calendar reminder to post every day (because these days if it’s not on my calendar it doesn’t happen!), and I’m ready to go. Happy NaBloPoMo! Who else is in?


Netflix #StreamTeam Does Halloween!

Netflix Stream Team

I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and will be happily sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. (Okay, that’s an understatement. I should say CONSTANTLY. We use Netflix CONSTANTLY.) This post is sponsored by Netflix, of course!

Halloween is finally here, after what seems like months of build-up. I personally love checking out my Facebook news feed to see what all the little kids are wearing these days, for class parties and trick-or-treating. Although I’m well known for my failure to decorate my house for the holidays, Halloween was always a fun time around here with D and J. They always came up with great costume ideas, and for years they participated in the Cub Scout Halloween Cake Bake, an event where the boys were tasked with creating a Halloween-themed cake completely on their own, from mixing and baking to decorating.

Now that the boys are grown (23 and 20! Yikes!), they make their own Halloween plans. Sometimes I help out, like that time with Ryan Gosling’s jacket. Sometimes I just get pictures, like last year when D went to a party as Tom Cruise in “Risky Business”. I’d share it here but when he sent me the picture I promised cross-my-heart-pinky-swear that I wouldn’t post it on social media. What I WILL say is that his imitation, right down to his open-mouthed, toothy grin, was SPOT-ON.

Anyway, this year Jim and I will just be doing our routine evening of handing out candy to the adorable neighborhood children until Jim gets to the point where he’s sick of the dog barking and sick of one of us having to get up and open the door. At that point, after a few rounds of giving out triple-the-normal-amount of candy to each kid to decrease our supply, he makes a huge statement about how HALLOWEEN IS OVER and then closes the front door and turns off the lights. That’s when we’ll grab a handful of whatever candy is left and head to the family room where we just might watch a movie on Netflix.

But no scary Halloween movies! We’re not about that.

Luckily, there are LOTS of other types of movies streaming on Netflix that we can watch without having a mini-heart attack on the couch, and without creating nightmares for the foreseeable future. Stuff we’ve watched recently that might be on the encore list?

Moonrise Kingdom: This quirky drama follows the frantic search that ensues in a small New England town when two twelve-year-olds fall in love and run away together.

Dave Attell: Road Work: A veteran NYC comic performs in venues from New Orleans to Philadelphia, as unique special cuts from shows provide a unique look at his tour.

Silver Linings Playbook: After a stint in a mental hospital, Pat moves in with his parents and tries to win back his wife, until he meets a woman who is as unstable as he is.

Okay, okay…I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about what Netflix has to offer for you fans of all that is intense and scary. They have A LOT. In fact, you can browse genres and find a category right now called “Halloween Favorites”. It includes everything from wet-your-pants scary to kid-friendly cartoons. TV fans can find episodes of “The Walking Dead”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “American Horror Story”, and “Supernatural”. Movie fans can stream things like “Silence of the Lambs”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Children of the Corn” (Shudder!), “Rosemary’s Baby”, and “The Awakening”. Have fun with those, horror fans!

While you’re checking those out, I’m going to rinse out my brain with a repeat viewing of “Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day”.



Today is my eighth blogoversary and while I don’t have the time to write what I consider a “proper post”, I really didn’t want to get to midnight without saying something here. I mean, eight years is pretty good!

Thanks to the Facebook “On This Day” app, I was reminded of the post I wrote two years ago.

(Wait, apparently I didn’t feel the need to write something last year for Year Seven? Okay, that’s weird.)

ANYWAY, two years ago I made a really cool list of the experiences I’ve been afforded as a result of blogging. The year before, I wrote about some of the knowledge I’ve gained since I started this blog.

Overall though, the most valuable benefit that has come to me since I started Suburban Scrawl is, by far, you. The people I have met (either strictly online or online AND in real life) are what I’m most thankful for. If it weren’t for Suburban Scrawl I never would have met some of the very best friends I’ve ever had in my life. I wouldn’t have been able to count myself as a member of little social circles that overlap with bigger social circles. I’ve found my crazy (nothing personal) tribe through this blog: my chosen friends, my chosen community. I’m a lucky girl.

I’m not naming names because it never, ever fails: I ALWAYS forget people. (Believe me, I’m blessed. I have literally been inspired by hundreds of you since eight years ago today.) Go to my sort-of-out-of-date Blogroll to check out just a few of the Influencers who have influenced me.

And then give yourself a hug until I see you in person next and can do it myself. I am thankful beyond words for you. YES, YOU.

Thanks for reading. XOXOXO


Epic Road Trip: Check!

I just drove in from New Jersey and boy, are my arms tired!

Ba dum bump!

Wait, that’s wrong. That’s an airplane joke.

My arms aren’t tired at all because I didn’t fly to New Jersey. Also, I’m not a bird.
Maybe I’m breaking that down a little more than necessary.
Maybe you’re clicking awaaaay….WAIT!

Over the past few years, my fondness for road trips has grown immensely. There’s something about being totally in control of where I’m going, when and why I’m stopping, and all kinds of other things.

When I was planning my third annual fall visit to see my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh and the rest of her (our!) family, it occurred to me that perhaps I should try driving instead of flying. We’re “only” about fourteen hours apart by car.

Of course, driving all that way by myself in one day wouldn’t really be the smartest decision, so I did a little bit of geographical research to figure out where I could stop overnight if I split the trip over two days each way. I was overjoyed to discover that Pittsburgh would be an easy stop because I mentored a LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER team there this past spring and perhaps they wanted to meet up? (They all did, but only one could, and we had a great dinner!)

As an added bonus, I discovered that Fallingwater, the masterpiece designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (my very favorite!), is located an hour south of Pittsburgh. Visiting Fallingwater has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.


Bucket list item checked off: Frank Lloyd Wright’s gorgeous masterpiece and architectural wonder, Fallingwater

Momo’s home in Columbus is ever-so-conveniently located on the route to/from New Jersey as well, so that was a no-brainer.

I had a blast. Everything about being on the road went smoothly and I got the extra enjoyment of being able to enjoy beautiful fall colors along the way, something that hadn’t occurred to me when I was planning the trip.

I love autumn.

I love autumn.

The scenery was so beautiful that I ended up making my trip longer by pulling over a few times just to snap some pictures. It was a massive internal struggle along the way: take the time to grab photos, or just GET THERE SOONER? I met myself halfway and made stops because YOLO.

I actually pulled over to take this picture in southwestern Pennsylvania. So glad I did.

I actually pulled over to take this picture (and a few others) in southwestern Pennsylvania. So glad I did.

What I found interesting, the more I thought about it, was that now that I’ve become a semi-regular road tripper (I just drove to Memphis and back1100 miles round trip–two weeks ago, remember?), nine hours in the car seems like only five hours. Or four. The miles fly by. I’m comfortable in the car. I do some of my best thinking in the car (and in a float tank, and in the shower, and while ironing). I can catch up with friends while I’m road tripping. I can–and did–take work calls in the car. In fact, it occurred to me on the way home yesterday that all I need is a secretary to ride shotgun and I’d be all set as far as working on the road goes.

While on my road trip I took a road trip: weekend in Cape May, New Jersey with Liz. HAPPY PLACE.

Not just a gratuitous beach picture. While on my road trip I took a road trip: weekend in Cape May, New Jersey with Liz. HAPPY PLACE.

While I worked, caught up with friends, and enjoyed the scenery on the road I also did a lot of thinking about how grateful I am to have the freedom to hit the road. In addition to just having the kind of life circumstances to be able to take off like I do (grown kids, flexible job, etc.) I am so thankful to have a husband who gives me wings. Best husband ever, seriously, and his knowing that this kind of thing makes me happy makes coming home even more of a pleasure at the end of my adventures. He is truly the best.

Wanted to buy these socks in Cape May, NJ but later realized that I don't need the reminder: I'm doing it.

Wanted to buy these socks in Cape May, NJ but later realized that I don’t need the reminder: I’m doing it.

It was a lot of driving, but totally worth it on all counts and I’d do it again. Round trip mileage was around 2500 (including the side trip to Cape May), which is actually about 500 miles longer than a one-way road trip to Los Angeles.

Which gives me an idea…

I'm going to be looking back on this trip and smiling for a long, long time.

I’m going to be looking back on this trip and smiling for a long, long time.


Go Float! (Part 2)

Disclosure: I am writing this post in exchange for flotation therapy at Anicca Float Club. As usual, all opinions are mine.

It was just a few weeks ago that I went to Anicca Float Club for my first “float”, a sensory deprivation experience that takes place in a tank containing salt-filled water, ten inches deep.

I loved it.

Anicca Float Club

Since then I’ve floated twice more, and I still love it. The post about my first experience includes a lot of the nuts and bolts about the experience. This time I wanted to write a little bit about how each float was different, or the same, and how I’ve progressed.

My first float was at noon, and I wanted to schedule the next two at different times to see if my body would react differently (Keep in mind that this is MY experience; everyone is unique and what might work for me may not work for you.). I scheduled my second float at 8:00 p.m., thinking that a pre-bedtime float would be awesome.

The float was a lovely break from the world, but it was my least favorite out of the three in that I didn’t “get into the zone” and fall asleep like I had done the first time. Upon reflection I wondered if, for me, evening floats aren’t quite as relaxing because my brain has been working hard for fourteen hours already and an hour isn’t long enough to let go of it all. That second float was really nice in the sense that since I knew what I was doing I wasn’t as obsessed with my breathing, and I did have “awake dreams”, which was kind of cool.

Floatation Tank

That night I slept pretty well. I woke up a few times like I normally do but I wasn’t wide awake and I found it easy to go back to sleep. So perhaps for me, the rewards of an evening float are reaped later!

My third float was at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It was heavenly. When I got into the tank I relaxed into the float immediately and actually focused on my breathing to try and zone myself out more quickly. Just when I felt like it wasn’t working, it did. I estimate that I had probably about thirty minutes of that in-and-out sleep zone and, in the last fifteen minutes of the float I was wide awake and feeling refreshed. I even came up with a great idea for work while I was in there, so I think I’m a fan of a weekend morning float.

I sat and chatted with co-owner Lindsay for about forty-five minutes after my float (they offer water and tea before you go home!) and left Anicca Float Club feeling happy, relaxed, and ready to enjoy the rest of my day.

Anicca Float Club

I highly recommend floating, you guys. If you happen to live in my area, go see Lindsay and Paul. They’ll take such good care of you. Also, coming this winter at Anicca Float Club: late-night, extended-time floats on the weekends. I can’t wait to try one of those!

Anicca Float Club is located in Naperville at 4S100 N. IL-59. They sell single floats, a three-pack for new floaters, and monthly “club” options.

Thanks again, Lindsay and Paul! I’ll see you again in a few weeks!


Dogs and Baseball Go Together

It seems like I’ve officially become one of “those” pet owners. You know, the ones who dress their dogs in clothing?

Well, I have. And I haven’t.

I mean, TECHNICALLY I just bought a shirt for my dog. This is the same dog who has a winter coat but to be honest, I’ve only put it on her less than ten times in four years. It’s not even like that counts as clothing.

So this shirt. It’s not what you think.

Earlier this week, Roxie had surgery to remove some lumps, common in older beagles. She’s fine, thank goodness.

Her incisions are on her back and shoulder, two places that deem a post-op collar useless. One of her favorite things in life is to roll around on the floor, which means we’ve had to keep an eagle eye on her because we don’t want her to, well, I won’t say but you can imagine the potential damage. The one on her shoulder is easily scratched with her hind leg.

Since I enjoy leaving my house, I needed to figure out a way to protect her from herself when I’m gone, and the coat was perfect. Actually, it would have been perfect if I could have found it. I tore this house apart yesterday and discovered everything but the coat. That’s why I headed to the store when Jim got home and could take over keeping an eye on her.

I felt completely silly shopping for dog clothes. There are some ridiculous outfits out there for our canine family members. Ridiculous, actually, with a capital R.

And then I found it: a baseball jersey for a certain team that happens to be my favorite, one that will hopefully win it all this year: the Chicago Cubs.

I posted a picture to Facebook, saying that I’d never live it down at home if I bought the jersey. (I live with a White Sox Fan and two non-baseball fans in general one of whom takes every opportunity to try and harsh my mellow on the Cubs, I might add. Luckily I still adore him.)

My Facebook friends came through with the encouragement I needed, and I further justified my purchase by noting that the Cubs jersey was only five dollars more than the other stupid dog ensembles. When I was at the checkout stand I felt like I needed to tell the cashier that I was buying the jersey for utilitarian purposes and not actually to show team spirit or to be “one of those” pet owners, but I effectively zipped my lips before those thoughts came tumbling out because I realized the cashier could have probably cared less and was just looking forward to getting through her last hour at work.

I’m happy to report that I put the jersey on Roxie this morning and as luck would have it, not only does it cover what I need it to cover but it’s also nice and snug on her so she’s not trying to take it off like she does when I dress her up for Halloween. (Oh dear. I AM one of those pet owners.)

Roxie jersey

Roxie jersey

Go Cubs!


How To Do Memphis In Three Days (If You’re Me)

Well Memphis, it’s been fun.

I think it’s safe to say that I used up every available moment enjoying what this city has to offer, except for the two hours yesterday afternoon when my back and the blister on my foot indicated that laying on my hotel room bed watching “Friends” would be a better option than sightseeing.

Memphis is incredible. It might be my new favorite town in Tennessee, and I lived in Knoxville for five years! (Shhh, sorry Knoxville.) There is no shortage of things to do (or places to eat), and if I had a few more days (and more travel money!) I could have easily filled them up with more fun.

I toured the legendary Sun Studio, the “birthplace of rock and roll”. It’s most famous for being the place where Elvis Presley launched his career but many, many other notable artists recorded there too, including U2 (swoon), who recorded several tracks off of their “Rattle and Hum” album. The tour was fantastically interesting and educational. As I’ve said about just about every Memphis experience, I’m so glad I went!

Sun Studio Memphis

During the tour I got to hold the actual microphone Elvis used.

Sun Studio Elvis' Microphone

Speaking of music, I also took the Gibson Guitar Factory Tour. I was terribly disappointed that they didn’t allow photographs for security reasons, because I was hoping to be able to show J what the factory looked like. I’ll have to bring him back because it was one of the best factory tours I’ve ever been on. It was cool to see thousands of guitars in every stage of formation, and now that I’ve seen the work and care put into these quality musical instruments I’ll never question why they’re so expensive again. A couple of things I learned at Gibson:

1. “Sunburst” is their most popular finish, followed by Cherry Red and then Ebony.
2. While it takes about a week to complete each guitar from nothing, the factory workers finish about sixty-four of them each day.
3. At the last station after the electronics are installed, a quality check is done on every guitar, and it’s either pass or fail. About four percent fail due to things as small as a blemish on the finish, and failed instruments are stripped of parts that can be saved and then the rest DESTROYED. (oh my gosh, ack.)

I got this great picture of two guitars in the gift shop…

Gibson guitars

The best view of Memphis can be found at the Lookout in the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid. No, I’m not kidding.

Memphis Bass Pro Shops Pyramid

I wasn’t too excited about visiting a Bass Pro Shops because I’m no sportswoman but I have to say, the store was incredible. I actually browsed after visiting the Lookout.

The elevator up is a free-standing one, right in the middle of the pyramid. At the top there are two observation decks and a restaurant/bar.

Memphis Pyramid elevator

Mississippi River Memphis

I briefly visited the Memphis Farmer’s Market. I didn’t come away with anything other than pictures but it was still fun.

Memphis Farmer's Market

Memphis Farmer's Market

I visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel. I can’t recommend this enough (to everyone) and wish I had been able to spend more time there. Ninety minutes was not nearly enough. I took pictures in color and black and white but wanted to share the black and white ones because the colorful ones of the outside were a little too colorful for what is sacred ground in our nation’s history.

Lorraine Motel

National Civil Rights Museum

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I enjoyed the brief spectacle of the Peabody Hotel ducks: every day at 11:00 am they come out of the elevator and walk (run!) up the red carpet to the lobby fountain, where they stay and swim until 5:00 pm when they go back to their quarters. It’s a Memphis tradition.

Peabody Memphis Ducks

This Duckmaster is only the fifth one since the tradition started almost 90 years ago.

Peabody Memphis Duckmaster

The National Ornamental Metal Museum was fascinating and I found a bench I’d love to have. (It wasn’t for sale and I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to afford it if it had been.)

Memphis Metal Museum Bench

Exploring the South Main area, I came across a beautiful sign for what used to be the Frank James Hotel. I couldn’t find much information on it when I returned to my room but will be researching it soon.

Frank James Hotel Memphis

Just like all great trips, I’m sad to be leaving but happy to be going home. I did a lot of reflecting in the land of the Delta Blues, and had an important revelation. I mentioned in my last post that I kept alternating between being thrilled to be a solo explorer and wishing that I had someone with me. What I realized is, I’m never really alone. I “saw” my friends and family everywhere I turned. Sometimes I took pictures of things that reminded me of loved ones and sometimes I picked up souvenirs that I thought would be appreciated by someone in particular. I shared my experiences not only online by by text and phone call. New memories reminded me of older memories, and to sum it up I am just so lucky to have a wide network of loved ones who can travel virtually with me when they can’t actually be by my side. I’m counting my blessings again and again, which is one of my favorite (and highly recommended) habits.

A couple of you, including my mom (hi mom!), asked me to make a list of the places I enjoyed in Memphis for future reference. So, here’s what I did in the three full days I spent in Memphis, in no particular order (and much of it on foot, from my downtown hotel).

*deep breath*

National Civil Rights Museum
Gibson Guitar Factory Tour
B.B. Kings Blues Club
Club 152
Memphis Farmer’s Market
Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma/West Elm Outlets
Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken (okay twice)
Gibson’s Donuts
Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies
Sun Studio
Charles Vergos’ Rendezvouz
Love Pop Soda Shop
Ghost River Brewing
Peabody Hotel Ducks
Bass Pro Shops Pyramid
National Ornamental Metal Museum
Silky O’Sullivan’s
Beale Street
A. Schwab
Tater Red’s Lucky Mojos and Voodoo Healings
South Main

Thanks again, Memphis. I’ll be back.