With heaviness in my heart, I reminisce about my times at my favorite Detroit jazz club. After moving to the Detroit area a few years ago, Cliff Bells instantly pulled me in with its allure and 1950s Art Deco. Now that we’re moving to Chicago next month, we won’t have the luxury of visiting every so often. I wish I could bring Cliff Bells with us, as selfish as that sounds…
Juan and I almost got married here.
Some of the better moments with my parents were shared over dinner and drinks here.
The best live music I’ve ever heard was played here.
Milestones were celebrated here.
Here, I laughed more than I’ve ever laughed in my life.
Here, I truly felt alive.
How can anywhere else compete with all that this jazz club has given me? Has given us?
I am beyond grateful for this incredible place, and hope to find something similar (not a replacement!) in Chicagoland 🥲
Whenever someone says, “You know what would help? Journaling,” I cringe. Turning something I love (writing) into a chore, a “must-do,” is really difficult for me to overcome. It reminds me of high school: I loved reading until the teachers told me what I had to read, how to interpret the literature, and how many chapters to complete by the next session…
I digress. But my point is that journaling can feel daunting and forced if it becomes something you have to do as opposed to something you want to accomplish.
Gratitude journaling, however, feels different to me. I simply reflect on people or moments that brought me joy a few days per week, then I’m done. It reminds me to focus on the positive and feel gratitude toward the people and situations that truly matter.
1. My former and new teams
I started a new position at a different company last week, and I’ve been emotional about it on many levels. My former teammates put together a touching “see you later” video for me, and it moved me to tears. Even through screens miles apart, I grew very close with my team-turned-friends and will miss them very much (I already do!). The same day, I received a welcome kit, a box of chocolates and a gorgeous bouquet of springtime flowers from my current teammates. I was moved on many levels last week, and am incredibly grateful for the lifelong friendships from my Asheville team, and the newfound relationships to be established on my Chicago team.
2. Midweek dinner and drinks with one of my best friends
Jaclyn and I always know how to have a great time, even on a Wednesday! We tend to work very different schedules, and we’re good about making time for each other regardless. Detroit is the perfect midway point for both of us, so we grabbed dinner at the Basement Burger Bar in Greektown. The two of us had a lot to share with each other, which led to us enjoying some Long Island Iced Teas on Old Shillelagh’s patio (a staple of late-night adventures!). Jaclyn and I have lived far away from each other before, and have continued to remain close and make time for each other despite the distance. Who knew a random college roommate would turn into a lifelong friend 🙂
3. Saturday brunch with Dani in Ann Arbor
As much as I love Detroit, Ann Arbor is my go-to place in Michigan. Dani and I enjoyed a lovely meal at Café Zola, followed by some spicy cocktails at Vinology. We met in 2018 when we worked on the same team, and become even closer ever since. The two of us are planning some summer/fall vacations together – I’m very excited to travel with her soon!
4. Getting the best seat in the house at Cliff Bells jazz club
If you know me, you know how much I love going out to eat at funky places, and how much I love live music. Detroit is known for its history with motown and jazz, and Cliff Bells is the prime place to experience both. Juan and I have been to Bells somewhere between five and ten times since moving to the Detroit area, and were finally placed at the booth closest to the band. The Rodney Whitaker Quartet performed on Saturday night and let me tell you: THIS was the show to have the best seats for. I can’t wait to go back!
5. Kayaking with Aniya in Bay City
Yesterday was full of adventure when my Little Sister and I went kayaking on one of the windiest days. We had no idea the weather would be as extreme as it was, but we were able to share some laughs and still enjoyed ourselves through the struggle of getting back to shore. The owners and employees at Float Paddle Center in Bay City were beyond kind and truly cared about our wellbeing during the storm; they called me while we were out on the water and took great care of us while we were soaking wet, getting out of the kayak we were sitting in for nearly three hours. Aniya high-fived me afterward, I hugged her and we headed home with the heat cranked all the way up in my car.
Not to sound negative, but life sucks sometimes. I’ve been on a rollercoaster with people and situations that life has thrown me, but focusing on what’s going right will hopefully help me overcome what is going wrong 🙂
We’re one month into the new year and 2020 has already proven to be a roller coaster. Despite being hit with a viral infection during the holidays and the flu last weekend, January was a fantastic month overall!
In early January, Juan was finally able to meet two of my closest friends from work, Zachary and Bethany. That might seem crazy, but I actually live two hours away from our headquarters. And THAT is the crazy part 🙂
The four of us went to the Purple Door Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan to celebrate Zachary’s birthday the fanciest way possible. The tea was nice and all, but we were still hungry and obviously needed to visit the Detroit Cookie Co. for the goods!
Après cookies à la mode, we walked around the Detroit Zoo to see the infamous Zoo Lights show. It was nice because I’ve never been to this festival with Juan, and it was awesome to have such a good evening with great friends.
Another cool thing I did in early January was visit Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for some upbeat, eclectic jazz music. The secret is out: I LOVE JAZZ!!! Seeing two unique bands perform – who have clearly been friends since they were in diapers – was a fun, ‘dance like no one’s watching’ experience. I highly recommend this bar if you’re ever in Toronto.
The jazz continued throughout the month as I recently bought an alto saxophone, which is an instrument I’ve wanted to play for over ten years! I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of it…
My inspiration grew even more because Juan and I treated my parents to a birthday dinner atCliff Bell’s, Detroit’s best jazz club (and one of my all-time favorite spots on earth!). The four of us had an unforgettable night together – we’re still talking about it as though it happened yesterday!
Aside from all the jazz music and Detroit shenanigans, I’ve also been blessed to have quality time with some of my best friends. I was able to see two of my best friends from college, KayLee and Madison, earlier in the month as well as one of my best friends from home, Danielle. I’ve been chatting it up while indulging in all the ice cream and tea lattes a gal could wish for.
Katy, who is three years younger than me and lives miles away, has been a sister to me for a very long time.
I’m not close with a lot of my extended family members (for reasons I won’t mention here), so having a third-cousin who is more like a sibling means the world to me. Every single time we reunite, we pick up right where we left off.
Words can’t express how much I love this lady! Katy, if you’re reading this, I’m blessed to know you and call you a friend and sister. Happy birthday!
We’ve had many amazing memories over the years, and we’re guaranteed to have many more 🙂