I had a few “resolutions” going into this year, but wasn’t too strict on how quickly I wanted to accomplish them or if I even wanted to give them a start and end date. To begin, I wanted to read a new book each month or at least attempt to.

I definitely made an effort toward this but I wasn’t completely successful. I purchased a ton of new books (because having the physical book is the only real way to read, no e-books for me please). I started with “I Am Malala” because I wanted something educational, cultural, and inspiring. I’m still working through the book (there is definitely a language barrier and mispronouncing words in my mind drives me crazy), but I really enjoy the writing. As I read through, Detroit comes to mind but in a totally different way than expected. I realize how minuscule some of our worries are here in the U.S. when in the Middle East, women and girls are still fighting for simple things like going to school. Really puts things into perspective and makes you realize how lucky you are.

Another one of my “resolutions” was to collect records. I recently became the lucky owner of a record player given to me by my grandparents and was extremely excited to start collecting records immediately. I went to a small record shop right across the street from my apartment building in Eastern Market to begin my collection. I’ve always been interested in jazz music and realized the best way to hear it is either live or through a record player, so that is where my collection began. I selected a few artists I’ve never heard of at random and of course, had to pick up a Frank Sinatra album (or two). I’m in the process of finding a receiver/amp to actually play the sound through, so I’ve chatted with a few owners from record stores to find some places that would sell those.

A third and ongoing “resolution” was to explore more bars and restaurants within Detroit, downtown and in the neighborhoods. Ever since starting Challenge Detroit, I’ve been a little far behind compared to the rest of the Fellows in exploring new places, but I think I’ve finally caught up in my own time. And plus, I was able to get some feedback and recommendations from the Fellows, which is always a plus. Some of my favorites to date include:

  • Cliff Bell’s – 2030 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48226: As I mentioned my love for jazz music earlier, this restaurant/bar offers a cozy, sensual atmosphere perfect for listening to live jazz musicians and enjoying delightful cuisine (they shoul
    d hire me as their spokesperson).
  • Cadieux Café – 4300 Cadieux Rd, Detroit, MI 48224: Being over 50% Belgian, this dive bar is one of my happiest places. Eating mussels and feather bowling on dirt lanes with Belgian knick-knacks covering the walls, you can say I’m one content girl when I’m here.
  • Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles – 19345 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI 48221: Nights go by where I dream of being at Kuzzo’s and consuming the best chicken and waffles EVER. If you have time to wait for a table, please go experience this unique, yet incredible feast.
  • Lafayette Coney Island – 118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226: Two coneys with everything and side of chili fries, please. Oh, and never ever go next door.
  • Green Dot Stables – 2200 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216: Sliders galore. And if you don’t try the mystery meat, you’re no fun.
  • Nancy Whiskey – 2644 Harrison St, Detroit, MI 48216: Despite the name, you don’t have to only drink whiskey here, but you should. With live blues bands and a glass of Crown on the rocks in hand, you can’t go wrong.
  • Two James Distillery – 2445 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216: When I’m feeling fancy and want to listen to some sultry jazz, I’ll pull up a chair around the circle bar at Two James and order me a beautifully handcrafted cocktail from their homemade spirits.

Those are just a few of the favs on my list after having seven months to explore Detroit. I’m sure there will be more to come. As you can see there is a definite theme going on here: music (specifically jazz), drinking/eating, and educating myself. Hopefully I can keep up the trend, it’s a good one.IMG_1209