Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leap Day = Heart Health Fair

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, so it's never too early to learn the signs and symptoms of this terrible disease, and to get your heart checked.

If you live in Southeast Michigan, you're in luck: the Sister to Sister National Women's Heart Health Fair is being held tomorrow, February 29, at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

A free, informative, and engaging event for women, the Sister to Sister Heart Health Fair features lifestyle presentations, cutting-edge information on medical issues and complimentary heart-health screenings. In addition, participants of this special one-day event will have the opportunity to talk with medical, lifestyle, nutrition and fitness experts, experience cooking and fitness demonstrations, learn stress-reduction techniques, and enjoy vendors, raffles, and giveaways.

Sponsored locally by GM, the Detroit Medical Center, National City, Compuware and Humana, this heart healthy event runs from 8:30 - 6 pm in the GM Wintergarten inside the Renaissance Center.

Since its founding in 2000, Sister to Sister has impacted the lives of thousands of women by providing life-saving screenings and educational resources.

To date, the non-profit has screened more than 50,000 women for heart disease risk factors and accomplished the following:

  • 80% of women screened at our fairs have recognized for the first time that they are at risk for heart disease;

  • More than 50% of the women screened have learned that they have two or more risk factors for heart disease;

  • Nearly 75% of the women found to be at risk reported seeing their doctor as a follow-up to the screening;

  • Women found to be at high risk for heart attack have been sent directly to the hospital for life-saving treatments.
For more information on Sister to Sister, click here.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Detroit: It's Worth It Exhibit

A few weeks ago, I posted on Detroit Synergy Group's (DSG) newest project, Detroit: It's Worth It. The photos are in, so I wanted to do a quick follow-up and announce the details of the exhibition.

More than 120 photographs will make up the program, which takes place at the Lofts of Merchants Row (in the former Mark England de Mode space) from 6-10 pm on Friday, February 29.

Photographs were solicited from the public in January. The only condition was that submitted images show the beauty and singularity of Detroit.

"Watching the photos come in, it's been fascinating to see what it is that makes Detroit worth it to people," said Christi Carpenter, project lead.

"We received stunning shots of local landmarks, but also intimate images that show personal connections to the city. The beauty and variety of the photos reveals a city that rewards exploration rather than a judgment based on initial impressions."

All are invited to Detroit: It's Worth It. The one-night-only program opens at 6, with live music and refreshments beginning at 8. Visit DSG on the Web for more information.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

ASB Comes to the D

I don't know about you, but I didn't spend any of my college spring break vacations volunteering. There is a special group of 60 individuals from across the country that are doing just that this week in Detroit as part of an awesome and inspiring program, United Way Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2008.

The students began arriving in metro Detroit on Friday evening. On Saturday, they rolled up their sleeves to assist a number of local service organizations, whom they will serve through Saturday, March 1. Local ASB sites and activities include:

Motor City Blight Busters: Volunteers will help by cleaning up parks, painting and rebuilding neighborhoods, removing graffiti and renovating and constructing houses in Detroit.

Vista Maria: Volunteers will help paint several wings of the residential facility, plus assist with beautification of the grounds and client projects.

Detroit Habitat for Humanity: Volunteers will build small house components for future house construction and assist with neighborhood cleanup where the houses are constructed.

Lighthouse PATH: Volunteers will assist with interior/exterior beautification projects including painting, sorting and organizing and working with clients that live in the facility.

Franklin Wright Settlements: Volunteers will paint the facility and assist with interior beautification projects.

Ray West Memorial Ramp Project: Volunteers will build accessible ramps for physically challenged individuals in southeastern Michigan.

Participants of past ASB events often become dedicated to community engagement. In a survey following ASB 2007, 84 percent of participants reported being more likely to volunteer in their communities after their ASB experience. Within three months of the event, 40 percent of them had already followed through on that pledge.

They also remain committed to ASB. This year, 27 percent of last year’s participants are returning. U of M-Dearborn student Adam Harris participated in ASB in 2007 in Louisiana and is serving as a team leader in Detroit this year. “I was really gratified to see the students from all over the country come together to provide a service during their Spring Break,” said Harris. “So leading into this year I wanted to bring that same energy and enthusiasm to my community as well.”

Lead sponsors for United Way ASB are Deloitte and FedEx. Promotional partners include Cheap Tickets and MTV. Locally, U of M-Dearborn is providing housing for the volunteers; Kroger and Panera Bread are providing food; and Enterprise is providing transportation.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is led by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through its annual Campaign and is a leader in convening partners to impact local residents each year by increasing economic self-sufficiency, protecting children and youth at risk, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Watermark Offers High-End Living on the Detroit Riverfront

A few weeks ago, I took a few minutes out of my day to check out The Watermark Detroit sales office in downtown Detroit.

All I can say is: wow. Dave Bing et al spared no expense on the Watermark model, which aims to give prospective buyers a taste of what life at this luxurious, $60 million waterfront community would be like.

Featuring cool touch-screen computers that allow you to play around with different floor plans, plus a beautifully-decorated, life-size condominium unit, The Watermark Welcome Center and Luxe Model, as its being called, is worth a visit even if you are only entertaining a possible move to Detroit's ever-transforming riverfront.

And transformed is what it will be when this project comes to fruition. Featuring 112 luxury condominiums ranging from 1,388 - 3,600+ square feet, the Watermark is set to take the east riverfront to a whole new level.

A gated community located just steps from the Detroit RiverWalk, the Watermark Detroit features 34 unique floor plans based on three main home styles: the nine-story contemporary Tower Residences, which offer a metropolitan feel with spectacular river views; the Marina Homes, which feature patios overlooking Tri-Centennial State Park, and are designed to be reminiscent of sea-side homes; and the City Homes, along Atwater Street, characterized by urban design and private garages.

All homes will have dramatic viewing terraces or patios, open floor plans and state-of-the-art gourmet kitchens. Modern design is echoed in every detail, from glass-enclosed showers to floor-to-ceiling windows. Units start at $300,000 and run upwards of $1 million.

The expected completion date of Detroit's newest and most luxurious residential riverfront project is the fall of 2009.

Welcome Center hours are Tuesday-Friday 11 am-5 pm, Saturday 11 am-3pm, and Sunday and Monday by appointment. The site is located at 2122 Atwater Street in Detroit, between Chene Park and Tri-Centennial State Park Marina.

For more information, visit The Watermark Detroit on the Web or call 313.852.7000.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Harbor House Joins Detroit Restaurant Scene

Residents and visitors of downtown Detroit have a new choice for lunch and dinner out, thanks to the opening of Harbor House.

A casual dining spot with a focus on seafood, Harbor House also offers chicken, ribs and burgers.
The restaurant features a 50-foot mahogany bar, as well as smoking and non-smoking areas. It is located where the Cock 'n' Bull used to be, at 440 Clinton Street.

Harbor House is open Monday - Thursday 11 am-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-2 am, and Sunday 3-11 pm. It is the second Harbor House location in metro Detroit; the first, on Groesbeck in Clinton Township, has been open for 35 years.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Detroit-Inspired Valentine's Gift #4

Still need a Valentine's day present for your sweetie? Given that tomorrow is the big day, you're running out of time.

But if you live or work in Detroit, you're in luck: with the convenience of the many stores centrally located at the Renaissance Center, shopping for presents just got a whole lot easier.

Packed with unique gift ideas for all ages and budgets, the shops at the RenCen are the ideal destination to find the perfect something for that special someone this Valentine’s Day.

Here are a few of my top picks from this unique and convenient Detroit venue:

Pure Detroit: Your gal or female friend is sure to love one of Motor City Handbags' sassy seatbelt purses, which run from $104 for a bag and $75 for a wallet. Other favorite show-your-Detroit-pride picks include a Detroit Love T-Shirt for $20, an “I Heart Detroit” mug for $7.99 and a Cadillac seatbelt for $22.

Bon Bons Candy and Godiva Chocolatier:
This store has it all, from an extensive collection of Godiva® chocolates to sweet treats fit for the bedroom. A great choice is the chocolate Loverboy or Lovergirl -- a man or woman made of delicious dark chocolate! These delectable treats will fulfill your every desire, plus they’re sweet and won't ever cheat. At just $9.95 each, the price is sweet, too.

Pangborn Design Collection
: Designed by Detroit’s own Dominic Pangborn, the vivid-colored scarves and ties at this RenCen shop are a great gift for the man who likes to stand out in a crowd. Created from 100 percent silk and are available in an array of eye-catching colors and patterns, Pangborn's catchy creations range from $65-$85.

Cherylynn’s Gold Crown Hallmark
: Cherylynn’s Hallmark turns traditional items like mugs and baseballs into heart-warming gifts for the coffee or baseball aficionado in your life. Grey’s Anatomy's “McDreamy” is the inspiration behind the catchy pink and red words etched on the McHottie and McSteamy mugs, which run for $7.50 each. And what Detroit Tigers fan wouldn’t appreciate an “MVP of My Heart” baseball ($10) to remind him just how special he is? Other options here include candles, stuffed animals, crystal and specialty jewelry. Whatever you do, make sure to get a Valentine's Day card for your sweetie while you're here, too.

None of those gifts suit your fancy? Other options at the Shops at the RenCen include Ashley's Flowers (Level 1, Tower 100 or in the Millender Center), Costa D'Oro Jewelers (Level 2, Millender Center) and Scentsations Fragrance & Crystal Boutique (Level A, GM Wintergarten).

Through February 14, the Ren Cen shops are offering free wrapping at the Gift Wrapping Station, located in the GM Wintergarden. When turned into the station, a single Ren Cen Shop receipt of at least $25 entitles you to a box of Godiva Chocolates.

The Shops at the Ren Cen are open daily from 10 am - 6 pm.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Detroit-Inspired Valentine's Gift #3

Still trying to come up with a cool Detroit Valentine's Day gift? Here's one for all you married folks: surprise your spouse by renewing your vows, and then taking in the global smash hit, Mamma Mia! It all happens on February 14 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit's New Center area.

Based on the songs of ABBA, this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship focuses on a daughter's quest to uncover the identity of her father on the eve of her wedding night.

Renew your vows and you'll be entered into a drawing to win a second honeymoon, which includes a one-night stay and breakfast at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, dinner for two at Mario's in Detroit and a ladies' diamond anniversary band.

To sign up to renew your vows before the 8 pm V-Day performance, call 248-651-4858.

Mamma Mia! opens at the Fisher Theatre tonight and runs through Sunday, February 24. Tickets range from $26.50 - $66.50 and can be purchased online here.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Winter Blast hits the D this weekend

It's cold in Michigan, and there's no denying or escaping it. So why not embrace it?

Do just that this weekend at Winter Blast, Downtown Detroit's free, three-day winter festival.

With the usual hip, cool activities (free ice skating, a 200-foot snow slide, dog sledding and snowboarding exhibitions and more) around Campus Martius Park, this year's Winter Blast will also feature:

  • Taste of the D: a mini-taste festival with 20 Detroit restaurants like Opus One and Sizz'l-n-Spice;
  • Dine in the D: a discount dining program that will help you save 15-25% off your bill at 60 Detroit restaurants all weekend. Click here for the mandatory discount coupon and a list of participating restaurants.
  • Spend the Night in the City, featuring special hotel rates at downtown's MGM Grand Detroit, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Holiday Inn Express on Washington Boulevard and the Hilton Garden Inn in Harmonie Park.

  • Cultural-venue discounts: in honor of Winter Blast, places like the Charles Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Historical Museum, New Detroit Science Center and Hilberry Theatre are offering discounts off of regular admission prices, and in some cases, two-for-one admission. The Fox Theatre is also offering discounts on Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music tickets for performances held during Blast weekend.
  • "Discover Detroit" tour: a free, hour-and-fifteen-minute tour to help you get to know Detroit and the recent developments that are making our city a better place. Meet in the Compuware lobby at 3pm on February 9 and 10 for this unique tour by local non-profit Inside Detroit.

  • Winter Blast Film Festival: new this year, celebrate Michigan filmmakers and films about Michigan at this free event, located in a heated tent at Campus Martius Park. Click here for film summaries, and a complete list of scheduled films and times.

  • Wine Tasting and After Party: enjoy specialty wine flights from South America, Italy and Australia at the First National Building's newest tenant, wine bar-Enoteca.
Besides all of that, don't miss the specially-lit, themed ice sculptures in the Quicken Loans Ice Garden or the marshmallow-roasting stations located just north of The Rink.

Not a fan of the cold? Luckily, there are plenty of places to warm-up at the festival, thanks to DTE Energy’s Comfort Zones. You’ll find heat every 150 feet on the Winter Blast site.

More than 450,000 guests are expected to attend the 2008 festival, which runs from Friday, February 8 to Sunday, February 10. For a complete schedule and listing of events, click here.

Head to Detroit and celebrate winter in Detroit with fun events and attractions!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's Paczki Day in the D

Some call it Mardi Gras. Others call it Fat Tuesday. Here in Detroit, it's affectionately known as Paczki Day.

It's nearing the end of the business day, but there's still time to stock up on those delicious, calorie-laden Polish delicacies known as paczkis.

Head to Hamtramck bakeries for the just-baked variety, or hit a grocery store for paczkis that were made and delivered earlier today.

What is there to do around town on Paczki Day? Plenty. Hamtramck Star has an excellent listing of all-day Paczki Day activities happening around the D, and Metromode has information on Hamtramck's Paczki Day Marathon, including a paczki-eating contest at Cardinal Mercier Knights of Columbus Hall at 5 pm. Check out After5 Detroit for the goods on how you can win $1000 at the Mardi Gras Masquerade Party this evening at Fishbones Rhythm Cafe in Greektown in Detroit.

What's a pazcki? Culinaria Eugenius explains it beautifully.

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Detroit-Inspired Valentine's Gift #2

Looking for a unique Valentine's gift that you can share with your sweetie?

Sign up for the Vegan Valentine's Class or the Valentine's Day Massage Class at the Detroit Evolution Laboratory.

On Saturday, February 9 Angela will take class participants step-by-step through a full vegan dinner meal, from appetizer to dessert. It's a great way to surprise your special valentine in your life with a romantic and delicious vegan dinner. Or, come to the class as a couple and re-create the beautiful meal together in the comfort of your own home. The Vegan Valentine's Class runs from 3-7 pm and is $50 per person. There are only three spots left, so register today by calling 313.316.1411 or emailing the Lab at

If you can't make it to the Vegan class, consider signing up for the Valentine's Day Massage Class, where -- for $100 per couple -- you'll share the power of touch with your partner in a fun, hands-on two-hour session. Lab-owners Gregg and Angela will spend about 30 minutes on massage techniques and health concerns, and will then guide you through a 40-minute full body session on your partner. Next, you'll get on the table and experience the same session. Sound like something you'd be interested in? This class is filling up quickly -- there's only room for two more couples -- so call or email the Lab asap to reserve your spot. The class runs from 7:30-9:30 pm on Thursday, February 14.

The Detroit Evolution Laboratory is a unique Eastern Market space dedicated to the health, joy and liberation of all Detroiters. My first lab experience was just last week when I tasted one of the best sandwiches I have ever had - Angela's B.L.A.T. It was so good that I haven't stopped talking about it since!

Food is just one part of the Lab, though; inside their historic space, Angela and Gregg offer yoga and cooking classes, massage sessions and free movie nights. Visit Detroit Evolution Laboratory on the Web for more information.

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