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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beauty queen treatments that won't break the bank

If you had one beauty wish what would it be?

How about hair that remembers what the stylist did. Like one of those memory foam mattresses, it springs back after you take a shower. No bags under the eyes and how about no wrinkles anywhere? Any one of these would be nice, but when it comes to looking our best most of us (who do not have a makeup artist on the payroll) are on our own.

Even then it is easy to spend a fortune on manicures, pedicures, hair style appointments and bubble bath.

What's a person to do?
Below are a few ideas on beauty treatments that can be done at home.
  • Consider DIY manicures. Instead of shelling out money every month for a manicure put some of it toward supplies you can use to do your own nails. This would include a bowl (for soaking), moisturizing lotion or cream, a scrub or foot file, cuticle remover, nail polish remover, cotton swabs and some cool-looking nail polish. Once you have a manicure set clean your nails, then file or cut them into shape. Now let those fingers soak in a bowl of warm water for about 3 minutes; toe nails are going to need more time. While the skin is soft, push those cuticles back and trim any excess. Then apply the moisturizer. If you're doing a pedicure this would be a good time to scrub the ball and heel of your foot to remove dead skin. Now pull out your polish and go to work: apply one base coat, two coats of color and if you really want them to shine, a final top coat. What you spend on tools up front will save you money in the end.
  • Don’t neglect your hair. A recent survey conducted by AskMen.com found that one in three men admitted to being put off by their wife or girlfriend's dandruff issues. Of the men surveyed 95 percent also said they would like their mate's help when choosing a product that will rid them of their own dandruff issues. Among those recommended were multitask products such as Suave Scalp Solutions, as they fight flakes but also leave the hair looking shiny and manageable instead of frizzy.
  • Budget your beauty needs. Visiting a spa or salon and having a professional take care of one's beauty needs is good for the psyche but bad for the budget. So, consider spreading things out. Look at calendar and put a star next to dates where only a professional look will do. Now fill in a few of the days in between with beauty treatments you can do for yourself. Fill a hot tub with oil beads or go online and find a recipe for a homemade mud mask or scrub. If you’re considering ingredients for your own exfoliating scrub: red raspberries contain loads of Vitamin C (great for a healthy glow) and honey is known to be good as a moisturizer and to guard against acne.
  • Rent a spa! Knowing how busy everyone is these days, fitness centers and community recreation centers offer day passes for non-members. Clinton Township’s Metro Family Fitness, for example, has a sauna and pool. For $15 you can use both. But instead of going alone, invite a couple of close friends to join you. Create a game plan, like meeting for coffee and riding together. Then hit the pool, the sauna and top the morning off with a healthy lunch.  
TODAY'S MUSE
If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library? -- Lily Tomlin

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dads are connecting with their family through technology

Photo courtesy of Family Features
Everyone is a geek these days.
So it's not surprising that a survey titled "Confessions of a Geek Dad," conducted by Answers Research on behalf of Cisco Home Networking Business, found that 72 percent of the geek dads surveyed were more excited about teaching kids how to use tech tools than the traditional workbench tools their fathers taught them how to use. The dads also said they spend more time doing activities with their kids than their fathers did with them.
The other difference is tech tool school is always in session in the home (93 percent of geek dads in the survey said they assist their kids with their tech toys). Topics cover everything from how to use the latest video games and phone apps to playing it safe online.
"These statistics help describe a new generation of dads who've grown up with an ongoing evolution of new technologies and now use tech to connect with their family," said Cat Schwartz, tech expert and blogger. "These dads aren't just tech-savvy; they know how to translate that knowledge and excitement into fun and memorable traditions with their kids."
It's not as hard as you think. Regardless of whether you're a geek dad or not, Schwartz offers the following tips for creating new family traditions with tech in the home:
* Surprise packages: If you ordered a new computer, involve the entire family in the set-up process. From opening the box to assembling all of the parts, allowing everyone to follow along helps them understand how to use the product. Then they can fix it, too. This would be a good time to talk about the features and guidelines when using the device.
* With technology comes responsibilities: "In my home, we reward our kids with a phone at age 12 for their safety. We put rules into place as to how minutes will be earned and when they carry and use it," said Schwartz. "Also, we sync all of our phones to our wireless network to connect from while at home, so we save minutes in our data plan."
* Be crafty with the technology: Use the gadgets to introduce the family to new crafts and traditions. How about making a funny video to send to grandma and grandpa? Remember the magic mirrors you used to see at the circus that could make you as small as a leprechaun or as tall as a giant? Now there are apps that will do the same to a photo online. I wouldn't be surprised if there was an app for changing your voice.
"At least once a year, we take a family photo that we send to loved ones. With today's digital cameras and imagery editing tools, we can digitally add images of family members unable to be with us," Schwartz said, adding it's a fun way of bringing everyone together when we're miles apart.
"One of the best things about technology is that there is a continual stream of new and exciting innovations," Schwartz said. So families can explore something new and unique every year.
 
TODAY'S MUSE
Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding -- Louis Gerstner.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day

AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown
It's Presidents Day -- and while officially associated with founding father George Washington – many people see it as a celebration for Lincoln, Roosevelt, and all the Americans who took the oath of office, and called the White House home.

As part of today's observance, residents in Washington's birthplace of Alexandria, Virginia will gather for a parade, visit open houses at historic sites, engage in the annual Cherry Challenge and kick up their heels at the Birthnight Banquet and Ball.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Lewis Bliss, 10, of Burke, Va., at right, dressed in a musicians outfit from the revolutionary war era, looks up at George Washington, portrayed by Dean Malissa, during Presidents Day activities at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate in Mount Vernon, Va., Feb. 20, 2012.

One amazing tribute to the life and times of Abraham Lincoln is the three-story sculpture "tower of books" pictured below. The work of art is comprised of more than 15,000 titles that have been written about America’s 16th president. They are part of an exhibit at the Ford's Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington, a new museum, located across from Ford's Theatre and next door to the house where Lincoln died, that opens just in time for President's Day.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Below is the list of Presidential Alumni and their hometowns:
*  1. George Washington, Westmoreland, Virginia
*  2. John Adams, Quincy Massachusetts
*  3. Thomas Jefferson, Shadwell, Virginia
*  4. James Madison, Port Conway, Virginia
*  5. James Monroe, Westmoreland County, Virginia
*  6. John Quincy Adams, Braintree, Massachusetts
*  7. Andrew Jackson, Lancaster County, South Carolina
*  8. Martin Van Buren, Kinderhook, New York
*  9. William Henry Harrison, Charles City County, Virginia
*  10. John Tyler, Charles City County, Virginia
*  11. James K. Polk, Pineville, North Carolina
*  12. Zachary Taylor, Barboursville, Virginia
*  13. Millard Fillmore, Moravia, New York
*  14. Franklin Pierce, Hillsborough, New Hamshire
*  15. James Buchanan, Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
*  16. Abraham Lincoln, Nolin Creek, Kentucky
*  17. Andrew Johnson, Raleigh, North Carolina
*  18. Ulysses S. Grant, Point Pleasant, Ohio
*  19. Rutherford B. Hayes, Delaware, Ohio
*  20. James Garfield, Moreland Hills, Ohio
*  21. Chester A. Arthur, Fairfield, Vermont
*  22. Grover Cleveland, Caldwell, New Jersey
*  23. Benjamin Harrison, North Bend, Ohio
*  24. Grover Cleveland, Caldwell, New Jersey
*  25. William McKinley, Niles, Ohio
*  26. Theodore Roosevelt, New York City, New York
*  27. William Howard Taft, Cincinnati, Ohio
*  28. Woodrow Wilson, Staunton, Virginia
*  29. Warren G. Harding, Blooming Grove, Ohio
*  30. Calvin Coolidge, Plymouth, Vermont
*  31. Herbert Hoover, West Branch, Iowa
*  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hyde Park, New York
*  33. Harry S. Truman, Lamar, Missouri
*  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Denison, Texas
*  35. John F. Kennedy, Brookline, Massachusetts
*  36. Lyndon B. Johnson, Stonewall, Texas
*  37. Richard M. Nixon, Yorba Linda, California
*  38. Gerald R. Ford, Omaha, Nebraska
*  39. James Carter, Plains, Georgia
*  40. Ronald Reagan, Tampico, Illinois
*  41. George H. W. Bush, Milton, Massachusetts
*  42. William J. Clinton, Hope, Arkansas
*  43. George W. Bush, New Haven, Connecticut
* 44. Barack Obama, Honolulu, Hawaii

In this Feb. 23, 1962 file photo below, astronaut John Glenn, left, and President John F. Kennedy, center, inspect the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule which Glenn rode in orbit. At right is Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Kennedy presented the Distinguished Service Medal to Glenn at Cape Canaveral, Fla. 

AP Photo
TODAY'S MUSE
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future -- John F. Kennedy

Friday, February 17, 2012

DAYTRIPPING: Events and activities the entire family might enjoy

Macomb Daily file photo of Habitat for Humanity build by Craig Gaffield.
What’s a family to do this weekend? Check out our listing of events and activities coming up in the Detroit area:

Helping Habitat for Humanity
VG’s shoppers are encouraged to make a donation to Macomb County Habitat for Humanity at the check-out during a special promotion that begins Feb. 19 and runs through March 10. Participating stories include VG’s at: 40832 Ryan, Sterling Heights, and 50820 Schoenherr in Shelby Township. Shoppers can purchase $1, $5 or $10 donations. As a thank-you, participants will receive four in-store coupons.

Unique show
Drum! At the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. Driven by youthful, enthusiastic energy, who combine the fiddling of "Riverdance" and the percussion of "Stomp" it is a unique evening of entertainment. Tickets: $29-$39, available online at www.dearborntheater.com For further information, call 313-943-2354.

Spaghetti dinner
South Lake High School Drama Club hosts spaghetti dinner fundraiser, 4-7 p.m. Feb. 21, in the school cafeteria in St. Clair Shores. Tickets, $10 adults, $5 children and students, available at the door or in advance at 586-435-1400. Proceeds go to March 30-31 production of “The Wiz.”

Book sale
Special used book sale features children’s and large-print books, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 18, at Clinton-Macomb Library Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township. Proceeds go to library programs.


Tea Party
Oakland Mall’s kids’ club The Giggle Gang in cooperation with Broadway in Detroit hosts a benefit “Beauty and the Beast Tea Party,” 11 a.m., noon, 1, 5 and 6 p.m. Feb. 15, in the Troy mall’s Center Court. Free for Giggle Gang members, $3 for others; face painting $1. Reservations required and may be made at the Oakland Mall’s Information Center, 14 Mile and John R roads.
Vendor show
Relay for Life vendor show/fundraiser, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 25, at Fraser Lions Club, 34540 Utica Road. Products represented include Pampered Chef, Tupperwar, Tastefully Simple, Avon. Refreshments available. Proceeds to American Cancer Society/Relay for Life. For information, cward8110@wowway.com.

Metoparks event
Interpretive events at Wolcott Mill Historic Center, Ray Township, include “Maple Sweetness” harvest, 12:30 and 3 p.m. Feb. 25-26, $5 adults, $3 children. For registration and other activity information, 586-752-5932 or 800-477-3175.

Historical societies
Roseville Historical and Genealogical Society free program on the battle of “Bloody Run Creek,” 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21, at the library. Call 586-447-4560 or www.rosevillelibrary.org/rhgs.htm.
Greater Clinton Township Historical society presents lecture on “Detroit River Disasters and Great Lakes Losses: Maritime Mishaps Along Our Shores,” 7 p.m. March 12, at Clinton Macomb Public Library, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township. Call 586-286-9173 or clintontwphistory.org.

Birthday party
Washington Historical Museum hosts George Washington Birthday Party, 1-4 p.m. Feb. 19, at 58230 Van Dyke north of 26 Mile Road. Free event includes cherry desserts, viewing of museum exhibits and entries for George Washington art contest. Call 586-786-5304 or www.washhistsoc.org.
Benefit show
Laurette Designs presents Art, Fashion & Fun show, Feb. 17, at Empire Lounge, 52963 Van Dyke, Shelby Township, to benefit Turning Point shelter in Macomb County. Artist reception 8-10 p.m., admission $10; 9-11 p.m. art show; midnight “Sexy Angel Fashion Show” by Laurette Designs.
Dining Out
Troy Dining Out group schedule includes 7 p.m. Feb. 15, Olive Garden in Sterling Heights; CJ Brewery in Plymouth, 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18; Detroit River Walk & Lunch, 10 a.m. March 10, and Brio Tuscan Grill in Clinton Township, 5:30 p.m. March 17. For reservations and details, www.meetup.com/troy-dining-out.
Dance program
Detroit Dance Collective presents “Dances from the Heart,” 1-4 p.m. Feb. 12, at Leon & Lulu, 96 W. 14 Mile Road, Clawson. Tickets $25 at the door, $20 in advance at www.detroitdancecollective.org. Proceeds benefit DDC.

On stage
L’Anse Creuse High School production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” runs 7 p.m. Feb. 23-24, at the John R. Armstrong Performing Arts Center. Tickets $5.
“The Time Machine” continues 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through March 2, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $15 at www.gocomedy.net or 248-327-0575.
Box Theater stages “Spring Awakening,” 7 p.m. Feb. 11-12, 16-17, at the Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut, Mount Clemens. Tickets $25 reserved, $20 general admission, portion of sales goes to Turning Point shelter. Call 586-954-2311 or go to www.theboxtheater.com. Show contains adult themes and language.
Ridgedale Players present “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Feb. 17-March 4, at the playhouse, 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. For tickets, $17, $15 students and seniors, 248-988-7049 or www.ridgedaleplayers.com.
Grosse Pointe Theatre production of “Moonglow” opens with 8 p.m. gala Feb. 17 at Edsel & Eleanor Ford Visitors Center, 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores; performances continue 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 18-19, 24-26 and March 2-4. Gala tickets $50 to benefit Alzheimer’s Association, $15 for other performances. Call 313-881-4004.
Rosedale Community Players present “Deathtrap,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through Feb. 25, at Peace Lutheran Church, 17029 W. 13 Mile Road, Southfield. Call 313-532-4010 or go to www.rosedalecommunityplayers.com. RCP auditions for comedy “Moonlight and Magnolias,” 5 p.m. Feb. 19 and 7 p.m. Feb. 20, at Peace Lutheran Church, 17029 W. 13 Mile road, Southfield. Performance dates April 20-May 12. Call 248-258-5368 or www.rosedalecommunityplayers.com.
Comedy for a Cause
“Clean comedians” Anthony Griffith and Ron Pearson appear in Comedy for a Cause benefit for Promise Village Home for Children, doors open 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. Feb. 17, at Woodside Bible Church, 6600 Rochester Road, Troy. Freewill offering. Call 877-A-PROMISE or visit www.promisevillage.com.

Penny Auction
Anchor Bay High School Family Penny Auction (raffle party), doors open 4 p.m., raffles 6 p.m., Feb. 25, prizes include tools, toys, games, clothes, household items, gift baskets. Food and beverages available, all at the high school’s South Commons, 6319 County Line Road, Fair Haven; proceeds to Junior ROTC program.

Ladies Night
Annual Ladies Night at Macomb Bike and Fitness, 6-9 p.m. Feb. 21, at 28411 Schoenherr, south of 12 Mile Road, Warren. Free event includes information on health and fitness, new products, bicycle rides, etc.; for reservations, 586-756-5400 or ride@macombbike.com.

Black History
“Celebrate Black History!” special events at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Feb. 11-12, 15-19 and 22-26, include “Minds on Freedom Show,” and musical, dramatic and interactive performances on weekends. For complete schedule, visit www.thehenryford.org.
Detroit Historical Society monthly film series presents “The Freedom Train,” 1 p.m. Feb. 11-12, at the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodard a Kirby. Movie free with museum admission $6 adults, $4 ages 60 and older, college students with ID, and ages 5-18; free ages 4 and younger. Call 313-833-1801.

Art projects
“Wit and FUNction” exhibit at Pewabic Pottery, 10125 E. Jefferson, Detroit, through March 18. Features “witty, amusing and functional pieces” from six artists. Call 313-626-2000 or go to www.pewabic.org.
Annual Members’ (Juried) Exhibition at Starkweather Arts Center, through Feb. 25, at the Center on Main Street north of 32 Mile Road in Romeo. Gallery open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For information, email info@starkweatherarts.com.
Grosse Pointe Artists Association “Urban Edge” exhibit through Feb. 25, at 16900 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe. Call 313-821-1848.

Detroit Zoo
Wild Winter weekends at Detroit Zoo, 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, Royal Oak, include African Adventure, Feb. 11-12, and Safari Social, March 10-11; all programs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For information, 248-5717 or www.detroitzoo.org.

Concert sounds
Warren Symphony Orchestra Continental Kaleidoscope Concert and Workshop, 3 p.m. Feb. 19, at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Performance features Greg Cunningham conducting and the Bernard Woma Ensemble. Tickets $23, with discounts for seniors and students, free for youth; visit www.warrensymphony.org. Pre-concert workshop at 1:30 p.m. for local students; ticketholders may observe.
Macomb Symphony Orchestra presents “America the Beautiful,” 3 p.m. March 4, at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Tickets $18 adults, $15 students, seniors and children, at Macomb Center box office or call 586-286-2222 or visit www.macombsymphony.org.
Matthew (Boogie Woogie Kid) Ball performs free Mardi Gras concert, 7 p.m. Feb. 18, at Hope United Church of Christ, 35127 Garfield, Clinton Township, 586-296-8760.
Rochester College Music Department concert featuring its a capella chorus and concert band, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, at the college theater, 800 W. Avon Road, Rochester Hills. Free, donations accepted. Call 248-218-2149 or email music@rc.edu.
Rackham Symphony Choir presents “Cool Night of Hot Jazz X3,” 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, at Andiamo Warren, 7096 14 Mile Road, west of Van Dyke. For tickets $70, call 313-4040222 www.rackhamchoir.org.
Madison Chorale performs “Love Concert,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11, at First Congregational Church of Royal Oak, 1314 Northwood Blvd. Admission $10 at the door. For details, www.madisonchorale.org or 248-229-4055.
Suzuki Royal Oak Institute of Music faculty concert, 5 p.m. Feb. 12, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 202 E. Fifth St. Free, donations accepted for special programs and institute activities. Call 248-561-7227.

Dance classes
*Beginner and beginner plus line dancing classes, 12:30-2 p.m. Thursdays at the Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden Road, off Mound Road between 13 and 14 Mile roads), Warren, $4 per person, countrycuzzins@wowway.com or call 586-777-7242.
*Line Dancing Classes, beginners 7 p.m., easy intermediate 7:40, couples 8:20, at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore, $5 per person. Call 586-445-5480 or 586-777-7242.
*Line and couples dancing for beginner to intermediate, starting in late January, in Utica, Shelby Township and Clinton Township, Danceduo@wideopenwest.com or 586-286-6002.
Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.

Art Center
Anton Art Center 2012 exhibits include Michigan Annual XXXVIII, through Feb. 24; “Where Are They Now?” Feb. 17-March 18; Macomb County K-6 Biennial, March 4-18; Macomb County Annual Secondary Student Show, April 1-22, and Macomb Community College Department of Continuing Education, Oct. 2-21, at 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Call 586-469-8666.

‘Now Showing’
Spirit of Women “Now Showing” programs Feb. 15 and March 21, at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Drive, include movies and popcorn, health tips, hors d’oeuvres and wine (cash bar) in Fries Ballroom starts at 6 p.m. with movie at 7. Admission $12 for each day. Sponsored by War Memorial, Beaumont Health System and Grosse Pointe Public Library. Advance registration required, 313-881-7511 or www.warmemorial.org.

Clothing swap
MacombCountyCafe Yahoo! Group clothing swap, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. third Wednesday quarterly, at the DAV Hall, 47326 Dequindre, Utica. Call 586-739-5267.


Fishing clubs
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester’s Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

Blind bowlers
Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.

Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this list.

TODAY'S MUSE
People who know how to employ themselves always find leisure moments, while those who do nothing are forever in a hurry -- Jean-Marie Roland

Monday, February 13, 2012

Think outside the heart-shaped box this Valentine’s Day

Metro Newspaper Services.
Love is like a pill for valor. Once consumed, we become super-people able to do that which we never dreamed possible or would never dare to do otherwise. 
 
So what are you planning for Valentine’s Day?

How about tackling one of those home improvement projects you never had the confidence to do? 

No time? Wrap a ribbon around the supplies needed to do the project such as a can of paint in her favorite color or a that table saw he's been talking about. 

After Valentine’s Day it will be a project that you can do together.

So you think you can't cook. That might be true on any other day but, now that you have the power, why not flex your culinary muscles a little? Give the family recipe a try or at least surprise him/her with a meal from their favorite restaurant.

Date nights do not always have to include dinner and a movie. Check your community calendar for events you both would enjoy. Consider something different. Visit the local recreation department in your area and sign up for something the two of you can take together. 

Write a poem and seal it with a heart of wax or roll into a scroll and tie with a ribbon. Draw your inspiration from poets such as Elizabeth Alexander, Walt Whitman and local favorite M.L. Liebler, who was recently awarded the Barnes & Noble/Poets & Writers 2010 Writers for Writers Award.

TODAY'S MUSE
I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel -- Audrey Hepburn.
 








Friday, February 10, 2012

Mortals can fly down the luge at Muskegon State Park

Anyone who loves Michigan's great outdoors usually looks forward to this time of year. However, the lack of snow and ice has melted most people's enthusiasm for winter. Still, if you are willing to make the drive, there's one very cool activity still going on.
The luge at Muskegon State Park.

It was designed by an Olympian but is open to mere mortals. That is its claim to fame. 

It was first constructed in 1984 but then redesigned by three-time Olympian Frank Masley in 1990. It features an 850-foot-long ice run, built into the side of a dune that drops about 70 feet and has eight curves. In the Olympics, sliders can reach speeds of 90 mph.
Not to worry. Mortals start on the luge run at 700 feet and the fastest they cruise is up to 30 mph. And just so you know, more injuries have occurred on the park's ice rink and ski trails than on the luge. 

"It's the most publicly accessible luge track in North America," said Jim Rudicil, executive director of the nonprofit Muskegon Sports Council. But folks who use the run sliders (as the sleds are called) must be at least 8 years old. This is because the sled weighs about 25 pounds and the sliders have to be able to carry it back up the hill, Rudicil said.


If you want to watch how it's really done, members of the Luge Club often are on hand to demonstrate what it's like to slide down from the top. What's nice is Muskegon State Park has developed a "learn to luge" program with reservations available through the Internet. During weekdays the luge run is open for school field trips. "We can teach you the sport in about 5 to 10 minutes, but we schedule sessions for two and half hours," Rudicil said. "The sessions do sell out quite often both Saturdays and Sundays, but there are still some spots available this season."

Michigan DNR luge photos by David Kenyon.
Groups also can attend on Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday are league nights. For those who want a lesson beforehand, the fee is $40.

"We develop youths to move on to Lake Placid or Salt Lake City," Rudicil said. Among those who have gone on to luge fame is five-time Olympian Mark Grimmette. "He carried the flag into the stadium representing the U.S. Olympic team at the last Winter Games."
It is at least a two hour drive for Macomb and Oakland county residents, but it’s a unique experience and there are additional amenities and activities including a winter lodge with full concessions, 12 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails (five of which are lighted, making it the longest lighted such trail in America) and two acres of ice-skating surfaces.



For conditions and more information, call 1-877-879-5843, ext. 2, or visit Muskegon Winter Sports Complex or www.michigan.gov/muskegon.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day dilemma: perfume or Coco's estate?

TopTenRealEsateDeals.com
A bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle would be nice for Valentine’s Day, but imagine being given the keys to Coco Chanel’s romantic estate, Villa La Pausa, in the south of France! OMG! The estate overlooks the Mediterranean and has more than 10,000 square feet of glorious living space.

Picture yourself sitting on the balcony chatting with the likes of Stravinsky and Picasso, Luchino Visconti and Somerset Maugham? When the literary agent and author Emery Reves (Anatomy of Peace) owned the estate guests included everyone from Sir Winston Churchill and the Duke of Windsor to Aristotle Onassis, Greta Garbo and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. 

If joining the past was a matter of wishes I would wish for a hearty chat with Princess Grace, Churchill, and Picasso. Afterward, I would take a little drive on the Grand Corniche to Monte Carlo or the walled town of Eze.


TopTenRealEsateDeals.com
On Fridays it is the outdoor market in Ventimigelia that attracts the crowds that purchase their wine and cheese for an afternoon picnic at the sea. And is there anywhere more romantic than Nice or sweeter than a warm chocolate filled croissant from Monsieur Petite’s on the waterfront in Vellefranche?I think not.




But alas, a bottle of perfume is $105. Coco’s estate is $50 million-plus.

Still one can aspire to such dreams, which is why TopTenRealEstateDeals.com presents its annual Valentine’s Day top ten list of most romantic homes for sale. It’s interesting to review and you never know when the right buyer might happen along.

TopTenRealEsateDeals.com

Also on the top ten list and a little closer to home is Katherine Hepburn's family estate on the New England coast. This 8,368 square foot beauty is selling for $28,000,000.




One of six bedrooms in the Hepburn estate with a beautiful view of the sea. 





Now make your way into the kitchen and cook up a batch of blueberry crepes.








This year’s Valentine's Day listing of homes span the country from a romantic New York penthouse and 1852 Mississippi historic inn with Civil War ties, to the Tammy Wynette and George Jones Florida love nest, said Terry Walsh, project coordinator for the Top Ten site.








William Pitt Sotheby International Realty video.

VIEW FULL LIST OF TOP TEN MOST ROMANTIC HOMES

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Interesting things you might not know about Queen Elizabeth II

Yesterday's kick-off to Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year had many people wondering more about the life of the long-reigning monarch. Here is a partial list of trivia that is known about her majesty the queen:

Associated Press file photo.
Long live the queen!
When news of George VI's death swept the world on Feb. 6, 1952, it was the Privy Council of Canada -- headed then by prime minister Louis St. Laurent -- that rushed to be first among the
commonwealth nations to proclaim "with one voice and consent of tongue and heart" its "constant obedience" to the king's 25-year-old daughter, the new queen: "Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada."
The headline in the Globe and Mail, "Canada First to Proclaim Princess Elizabeth as Queen," trumpeted the accomplishment. The Toronto Star likewise crowed that "Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen of Canada before she was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom."


Dame Agatha Christie
Mystery fan
The queen was particularly fond of crime thrillers by Agatha Christie. In 1971, Christie was made a dame for her contribution to the country as a writer. In England, the title dame is equivalent to that of "Sir" as in Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, who were honored for their musical and humanitarian contributions.

Royal riches
Forbes magazine estimated the queen's net worth to be $450 million. Among her riches is the historic collection of jewels owned personally by the monarch known as the Queen's Jewels (or the King's Jewels, when the monarch is male). Although the distinction is vague, these pieces, some of which date back to the 16th century, are separate from the British Crown Jewels. Of her many tiaras is the Vladimir Tiara, which has large cabochon emeralds. Queen Elizabeth II inherited it directly from her grandmother. She wore this tiara for several official photographs.

Chocolate biscuit cake.
Sweet tooth
According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, chocolate biscuit cake is "her majesty the queen's favorite afternoon teacake by far." It also was Prince William's favorite. "I used to prepare it for both of them when they had tea together. The queen would request the cake in the menu book for Sunday tea when she knew her grandson would be joining her from Eton," wrote the Royal Chef, http://www.theroyalchef.com/2011/03/prince-williams-wedding-cake/

Dog lover
The queen was given her first corgi as a gift for her 18th birthday in 1944. She named it Susan. Since then, she has owned more than 30 corgis. After one of the Queen's corgis mated with a dachshund named Pipkin, the world was introduced to a new breed of dog known as the "dorgi."

Associated Press file photo.
Royal etiquette
In anticipation of the royal wedding and the opportunity to meet Prince William and his bride along the parade route, many little girls enrolled in special schools to learn how to properly greet a prince or princess. Americans do not have to curtsy in the presence of the queen. However, as with Brits, anyone who addresses the queen for the first time should refer to her as "Her Majesty," then as "ma'am."

What to give a queen?
Queen Elizabeth has received everything from a feather cape and snail shells to a jaguar and sloths. Most recently, Queen Elizabeth was given an early gift from Canada to mark the 60th anniversary of her time on the throne: a diamond, gold and platinum brooch featuring a maple leaf encrusted with 60 individual diamonds, a gold cannon and a stylized crown set with a sapphire, emeralds and rubies.

Still of Helen Mirren in "The Queen."
Hollywood's queen
In the 2007 film "The Queen," actress Helen Mirren worn jewelry that was based on actual jewels owned by Elizabeth II, including her trademark 2 or 3 strands of pearls, Queen Victoria's bow brooch (worn at Diana's funeral), and Queen Mary's button earrings (the large pearl earrings each topped by a tiny diamond.)




Friday, February 3, 2012

Be a cut above and help Habitat for Humanity


“Haircuts for Habitat" is an opportunity to spoil yourself for others.

The fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity will be hosted by a variety of hair salons throughout Macomb County, Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For the cost of a donation, patrons get a new-do - just in time for Valentine's Day.

"Proceeds will benefit Macomb County Habitat for Humanity as we further our mission and continue to build/rehabilitate houses in partnership with hard working families," said Nicole White, marketing and public relations manager for Macomb County Habitat for Humanity. "The participating salons are: Vibe Hair Studio, Shear Trends, Cheryl's Hair Network, Halina's Hair Salon, Andrew Marke Salon, and Gina's Salon & Spa."

For further information visit: Macomb County Habitat for Humanity

DAYTRIPPING
Looking for something to do? Check out our list of family-friendly events going on in the Detroit area:
Valentine Dance
Fraser First Booster Club hosts Valentine Dance, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, at Zuccaro’s Banquet hall, 20400 S. Nunneley, Clinton Township. Dinner 7:30 p.m.; $30 tickets include open bar, meal, auctions, raffles. For tickets, 586-296-1690 or at Fraser Activity Center, 34935 Hidden Pine Drive.

Metoparks events
Interpretive events at Wolcott Mill Historic Center, Ray Township, include “Sounds of Music,” 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 4, making music with simple instruments for ages 6-10 years, $4; “Colors & Shapes” Valentine-theme projects, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 11, $5 per child; “Maple Sweetness” harvest, 12:30 and 3 p.m. Feb. 25-26, $5 adults, $3 children. For registration and other activity information, 586-752-5932 or 800-477-3175.
At Lake St. Clair Metropark, “Coyotes, Foxes & Wolves in Michigan, 1 p.m. Feb. 5, $3 per person; Winter Search Party – Looking for Insects,” 1 p.m. Feb. 11, $3 per person; Preschool Nature Club – The Valentine Bears,” 1 p.m. Feb. 12, ages 3-6, $3 per child. For registration and other program information, call 586-463-4332.

‘Knit Michigan’
Annual ‘Knit Michigan’ Fiber Focused Fundraising Event, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 4, at Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills. Early bird 9 a.m. admission $15 provides access to the Market that includes 13 different Michigan yarn stores; general admission $10 at 10 a.m. Event benefits five Michigan cancer charities; visit www.knitmichigan.org.

On stage
Stagecrafters presents “Kiss of the Spider Women: The Musical,” Thursday through Sunday through Feb. 12, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. Advance tickets $18 and $20; call 248-541-6430 or go to www.stagecrafters.org. Any available tickets $2 more at box office one hour before play.
Broadway Onstage live theatre presents comic mystery “Cahoots,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. select Sundays through Feb. 11, at 21517 Kelly Road at Toepfer, Eastpointe. Opening night tickets $14, all other performances $16; call 586-771-6333.
Box Theater stages “Spring Awakening,” 7 p.m. Feb. 10-12, 16-17, at the Emerald Theatre, 31 N. Walnut, Mount Clemens. Tickets $25 reserved, $20 general admission, portion of sales goes to Turning Point shelter. Call 586-954-2311 or go to www.theboxtheater.com. Show contains adult themes and language.
Rosedale Community Players present “Deathtrap,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through Feb. 25, at Peace Lutheran Chruch, 17029 W. 13 Mile Road, Southfield. Call 313-532-4010 or go to www.rosedalecommunityplayers.com.
Theater audition
Junior Actors of Ridgedale auditions for “Cinderella’s Glass Slipper,” 2-4 p.m. Feb. 4, at the theater, 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. Performance dates March 24-25. For details, call 248-969-7718 or visit www.ridgedaleplyers.com.
Comedy for a Cause
“Clean comedians” Anthony Griffith and Ron Pearson appear in Comedy for a Cause benefit for Promise Village Home for Children, doors open 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. Feb. 17, at Woodside Bible Church, 6600 Rochester Road, Troy. Free-will offering. Call 877-A-PROMISE or visit www.promisevillage.com.


Old time movie
The Redford Theatre will present, “Charade,” starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Walter Mathau, Feb. 3-4. The 1963 film, featuring a blend of suspense, romance and humor, features a young woman searches for stolen money that her late husband’s enemies also want to find. Tickets: $4. The theatre is located at 17360 Lahser Rd. (corner of Grand River and Lahser) Detroit. For show times and further information visit: http://redfordtheatre.com/

Penny Auction
Anchor Bay High school Family Penny Auction (raffle party), doors open 4 p.m., raffles 6 p.m., Feb. 25, prizes include tools, toys, games, clothes, household items, gift baskets. Food and beverages available, all at the high school’s South Commons, 6319 County Line Road, Fair Haven; proceeds to Junior ROTC program.

Art projects
“Wit and FUNction” exhibit at Pewabic Pottery, 10125 E. Jefferson, Detroit, through March 18. Features “witty, amusing and functional pieces” from six artists. Call 313-626-2000 or go to www.pewabic.org.
Annual Members’ (Juried) Exhibition at Starkweather Arts Center, through Feb. 25, at the Center on Main Street north of 32 Mile Road in Romeo. Gallery open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For information, email info@starkweatherarts.com.
Mount Clemens Art Association meets 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6, for “Creative Direction” painting demonstration at 7 p.m., in lower level of Mount Clemens Public Library, 150 Cass Ave. Call 586-469-8781.
Grosse Pointe Artists Association “Urban Edge” exhibit through Feb. 25, at 16900 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe. Call 313-821-1848.

Free concert
Matthew (Boogie Woogie Kid) Ball performs free concert in honor of Black History Month, 2 p.m. Feb. 12, at Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township. Call 586-226-5020.

Go Comedy!
“The Time Machine” continues 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through March 2, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile road, Ferndale. Tickets $15 at www.gocomedy.net or 248-327-0575.

Detroit Zoo
Wild Winter weekends at Detroit Zoo, 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, Royal Oak, include African Adventure, Feb. 11-12, and Safari Social, March 10-11; all programs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For information, 248-5717 or www.detroitzoo.org.

Art Center
Anton Art Center 2012 exhibits include Michigan Annual XXXVIII, through Feb. 24; “Where Are They Now?” Feb. 17-March 18; Macomb County K-6 Biennial, March 4-18; Macomb County Annual Secondary Student Show, April 1-22, and Macomb Community College Department of Continuing Education, Oct. 2-21, at 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Call 586-469-8666.

‘Now Showing’
Spirit of Women “Now Showing” programs Feb. 15 and March 21, at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Drive, include movies and popcorn, health tips, hors d’oeuvres and wine (cash bar) in Fries Ballroom starts at 6 p.m. with movie at 7. Admission $12 for each day. Sponsored by War Memorial, Beaumont Health System and Grosse Pointe Public Library. Advance registration required, 313-881-7511 or www.warmemorial.org.

Clothing swap
MacombCountyCafe Yahoo! Group clothing swap, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. third Wednesday quarterly, at the DAV Hall, 47326 Dequindre, Utica. Call 586-739-5267.

Blind bowlers
Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.

Feature Editor Debbie Komar contributed to this list.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to enjoy flying solo on Valentine's Day


For many people Valentine's Day is not sweet but a bitter reminder of one's single status.
Yet, we all have to be alone at some point in our lives -- be it a job transfer or breakup. This Valentine's Day, instead of focusing on what other people are doing, focus on what you can do for yourself.
"Connect with the love that lives within you on Valentine's Day," said Debra Duneier, founder and president of http://ecochi.com/. Duneier, who also is a feng shui master practitioner, reminds us that love comes in many forms:

* The love of self
"Schedule a pedicure at a local salon," said Duneier. "The winter can be tough on your feet so soak, moisturize and sit back and enjoy the foot massage. Choose a red nail polish to attract passion in your life or a soft pink or mauve to attract a kind and gentle lover." There are guys who can appreciate a pedicure but perhaps a visit to the men's salon would be a better fit. Instead of trimming your own beard, find a shop that specializes in pampering men. Spend some money on yourself and get a new haircut.

* The love of Mother Earth
Any type of exercise is going to make you feel better about yourself. However, if you don't have a gym membership, just take a walk outdoors. "Open your arms to the heavens and feel the magnificence of the universe. Gather pine cones, acorns or stones and put them in a bowl-bringing nature indoors," Duneier said. Now celebrate the solitude and light a candle (healthy choices are bee's wax or soy) and grab the magazine or book that you purchased for yourself after the visit to the salon or play some calming music and just chill out (meditate as Duneier would say). Then jot down your thoughts in a personal journal.

* The love of giving
"Plan a gathering in your home," Duneier said. "Express your love with recipes that are a proven crowd pleaser. Most people would rather enjoy an old favorite than a new recipe. Comfort food such as mac 'n' cheese, hamburger sliders, coconut shrimp and chocolate chip cookies are sure to make everyone feel loved." 
What about cooking for a parent or an elderly family member who lost a spouse?

* The love of community
"Serve a meal at a local hospital or soup kitchen," Duneier said. "Share your big heart with those in need and the result is an unexpected gift to you."

* The love of worship, prayer and spirituality
"Studies have shown that people who have a place that they regularly visit for worship, prayer or spiritual practice have a feeling of belonging," Duneier said. "This sense of connectivity and fulfillment can improve one's health and leads to a happier and sometimes longer life." Besides, you never know who you might meet while you're there.

* The love of friends and family 
Laughter is good for the soul, too. Contact some family members who might not have anything going on and plan some activities such as charades. If an evening soiree cannot be arranged consider a lunch date with friends who are flying solo too!

If nothing else, treat yourself to a special purchase on Valentine's Day. It could be something as simple as your favorite magazine or video game or as elaborate as a new dress or Marshall amp. Because you rock!

TODAY'S MUSE
What a lovely surprise to discover how unlonely being alone can be -- Ellen Burstyn