late summer in nw michigan

We spent about a week and half in beautiful Lake Ann, MI; one of us was there to work, and the other was just along for the ride (and the gorgeous scenery!), and Maddy…well, Maddy was there to be Maddy! We enjoyed a few day trips to Traverse City, including catching a Traverse City Film Festival midnight showing of Anna and the Apocalypse at the State Theater, and spent a few hours at Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was wonderful to get away for a bit, listen to the sound of the loons calling out, sit around a campfire (s’mores!),…and with views like this, what’s not to love?

sunset #puremichigan #sunset

Lake Ann, MI

Lake Ann, MI #puremichigan

happy hiking pup #bordercolliemix #bordercollie

Sleeping Bear Dunes

#traversecityfilmfestival #tcff

You can view photos from our trip here.

by Valerie | 08.13.18 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy, Travel | No Comments »

“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.”

tasted our first homemade homebrew today, an amber ale that were calling “primero uno” #homebrewing #homebrew #adventuresinhomebrewing #beer

“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.” – Charlie Papazian

We have successfully brewed our first homebrew beer; it’s an Amber that we’ve decided to call “Pimero Uno”! Is it the best Amber I’ve tasted? Of course not. But, it’s definitely drinkable and we learned a lot from brewing it ourselves so the next batch of beer, whatever style we decide to make, should be even better and I count that as a win. I must also acknowledge all the resources out there that helped us to get as far as we have; there are many great resources online (like the American Homebrewers Association), locally (like Adventures in Homebrewing, where we took an “Intro to Homebrewing Class” yesterday), and of course books you can purchase (like Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen). Here are some photos/videos I took of our homebrew process along the way…

tasted our first homemade homebrew today, an amber ale that were calling “primero uno” #homebrewing #homebrew #adventuresinhomebrewing #beer

Cheers and more to come on our adventures in homebrewing soon!

by Valerie | 07.16.18 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

summertime

summertime patio eats #hotdogsandfrenchfries #patioeats

“Summertime” brings to mind so many wonderful things, like…this…and this…and “I carried a watermelon.”

Being the native Texan that I am, I am all-too-familiar with hot summer weather (or “super summer” as my Mom likes to call it)…where they have days on end of 100+ temps and little to no rain. While we haven’t officially hit 100 degrees here in SE Michigan (and typically don’t, thank goodness!), it has been in the upper 90s lately with a heat index of 100+ and combined with the high humidity it’s felt sweltering to me.

There are many things to love about the summer (for Ryan, the hot weather is one of them)… all that sunshine and so many hours of daylight, lightning bugs/fireflies, the food (fresh watermelon, popsicles, ice cream, everything on the grill, etc.), patio dining, cold drinks, and I convinced Ryan that we needed a kiddie pool to dip our toes into on especially hot days while enjoying our backyard! Hope you’re enjoying your summer and all the season has to offer.

#sundayfunday #tongueout #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

by Valerie | 07.02.18 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

from “C-land” to “The D”

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame #clevelandrocks

We enjoyed a visit to Cleveland last week, including some time spent at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Cleveland Botanical Gardens; it was pretty amazing to see Kurt Cobain’s guitar, Prince’s gloves, handwritten lyrics, personal items, etc. from too many impressive musicians to count, and so much more at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Botanical Gardens were a beautiful, incredibly peaceful way to wrap up our trip to the city. You can view more photos from our Cleveland trip here.

Cleveland Botanical Gardens

And last Friday, we had a great time in Detroit with drinks at Punch Bowl Social followed by Detroit Demo Day where 15 companies from across the region pitched in front of a live audience for a share of over $1 million as a part of the second annual Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day; we were thrilled to see EMU alumnus Matt Tait and Tait Design Co. win $200K to grow their business – a surprise performance by Common at the end was the cherry on top!

#detroitdemoday

by Valerie | 06.26.18 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

you are amazing, you are super

you are super / amazing #youaresuper #amazing #sidewalkchalk

I noticed, on a recent walk in my neighborhood, some very nice words written in chalk on the sidewalk – “you”…”are”…”amazing” and “you are super”. While these words weren’t meant for me specifically, they were there nonetheless and reading them brought a smile to my face. This was a reminder to me that words really do matter and kindness does make a difference.

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” – Dalai Lama

you are super / amazing #youaresuper #amazing #sidewalkchalk

by Valerie | 06.15.18 | For Funsies | No Comments »

Memorial Day weekend

this #pearlbeer bottle opener belonged to my Mema & Granddaddy - my Granddaddy fought for our country in WWII, thank you to all who have served #memorialday

The Pearl Beer bottle opener pictured above belonged to my Mema and Granddaddy. In March of 1942, my Granddaddy enlisted in the U.S. Army; on June 6, 1944, he – along with the brave soldiers of the 4th and 90th Division – stormed Utah Beach in Normandy, France. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead, Five Bronze Stars for five major battles, three Overseas Bars and the French Legion of Honor Medal in addition to several other commendations. He lived to be 94 years old and I am so honored to have known him and to call him family. Thank you to all who have served.

Long, holiday weekends are heavenly…yet somehow, they never seem to be quite long enough; we thoroughly enjoyed ours and squeezed in a movie, lots of r&r, grilling, some more planting in our garden and yard (Bartzella Itoh Peony, Cascade Azalea, a few more herbs, and a mosquito plant), and – even with temps in the 90s here in May (that’s hot for MI in May!) – we spent a good amount of time outside enjoying our backyard patio space.

Speaking of things we enjoy…Ryan and I enjoy beer, I’ve been curious to try our hand at homebrewing, and we also enjoy a good DIY project on occasion – so we took the first step towards this and bought this book about it. We plan on reading up on it first and then we’ll see where that takes us; I’m excited at the possibility of creating our own homebrew, with a healthy dose of reality that this won’t be easy to do and will take a good deal of patience and practice to hopefully, eventually be successful at (fingers crossed!). My Dad shared with me that my Granddaddy once tried homebrewing and that it didn’t turn out that well for him – lol! I’m hopeful there will be more to come on this for us, stay tuned…

You can view more photos from our Memorial Day weekend here.

#gottowearshades #memorialdayweekend #bordercolliemix #bordercollie

by Valerie | 05.29.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

how does our garden grow?

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

We purchased and planted most of our summer garden on Mother’s Day and are looking forward to some delicious garden goodies over the summer months! We are growing some of our annual favorites, but always pick out some new and different varieties to try as well. Here’s what’s growing in our summer garden this year: basil, oregano, thyme, mint, parsley, chives, shallots, strawberries, a variety of peppers (jalapeño, habanero, etc.) and tomatoes (Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey, Black Krim, and Chello), red leaf lettuce, kale, marigolds, nasturtium, dianthus, lavender, and ketchup and mustard roses. We’ll be adding coleus and maybe a few other things to pots in the coming weeks too. We also planted a few hanging baskets and pots with pretty, trailing plants like sweet potato vine, etc. Happy gardening!

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

started our summer garden today #gardening #ourbackyard #mothersday

by Valerie | 05.15.18 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

beantown

Beantown: Day 1 #boston #whereveryougogoblue

We enjoyed a few days in lovely Boston, MA – a.k.a. “Beantown”! There were so many interesting sites to see – here are a few we made a point to stop at: SoWa Open Market, Freedom Trail, Boston Common and Public Garden, Bunker Hill Monument, The Mapparium, ICAHarpoon and Sam Adams breweries, Fenway Park, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Walking through and past all the historic neighborhoods and sites was a treat, and the weather was beautiful too; it’s a very walkable city, which is always a pleasure, and we found ourselves equally happy just roaming around the neighborhoods and getting a feel for the place. You can view additional photos and videos from our trip here.

Beantown: Day 2 #boston #freedomtrail

Beantown: Day 2 #boston #freedomtrail

Beantown: Day 3 #boston #HarpoonBrewery

Beantown: Day 3 #boston #SamAdamsBrewery

Beantown: Day 4 #boston #fenwaypark #redsox

Beantown: Day 4 #boston #GardnerMuseum

by Valerie | 05.10.18 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

spring sprung fun

after a very long winter, it suddenly feels like spring 🌼 #spring #springhassprung

EMU and UM have had their commencement ceremonies, the weather has FINALLY warmed, and we’ve had some windy, rainy days here in A2; the forsythia and hellebore are blooming in our yard, and while my lilacs are usually on their way out by now they are just starting to form flower buds and I’m looking forward to their intoxicating smell and beautiful color soon to come! We’re looking forward to a Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday (also Cinco de Mayo), among other fun celebrations, and a little bit of travel soon too. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m already planning out our garden beds and what we’ll want to plant for our summer garden in my mind. We’ve been enjoying more outside time with Maddy and nice walks in and around the area… Did I mention that it’s been a very long, cold winter? So happy to have the spring again!

#throwthefrisbee #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

Maddy is unaware of the concept of personal space when it comes to us and it’s both adorable and often times hilarious

morning wake up call by Maddy #boop #boopmynose #bordercollie #bordercolliemix

by Valerie | 05.04.18 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Girl Scout cookies, Easter weekend, birthday, & Dallas, TX

#happybirthdaytome #birthdaycake #cakesbyrubina @cakesbyrubina

It’s been a busy month already for me, and it’s only mid-April! We enjoyed a quiet Easter weekend at home, complete with chocolate bunny as is tradition for me, and just two days later I celebrated my birthday which included a delicious birthday cake. Speaking of sweets, those Girl Scout cookies seem to be everywhere I go lately and are oh so hard to resist…

This past week I enjoyed a quick trip (less than 48 hours!) for work to Dallas, TX where I was happy to connect with my Mom and a few dear family and friends in the area while I had a few moments to spare; I wish I’d have had longer to visit, but it was a wonderful trip for the time I had there. We’ve had such a long winter here (it was snowing when I boarded my plane for Dallas this week) so the 70+ degree temps and sunshine were especially appreciated when I got to Texas! I was happy to return to warmer weather in Michigan and seem to have brought the Texas spring weather with me – at least for a couple days. Maybe spring is finally sprung here in Michigan…maybe? You can view photos from my trip to Dallas here.

cookies ⬆️ #girlscoutcookies

Dallas y’all 💗

by Valerie | 04.13.18 | Around town, For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

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