Putting the Val in Valentine’s Day

Sunday at home

For all you lovers out there and lovers of love, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! I treated myself to two new, gorgeous orchid plants (English Gardens has them on sale through tomorrow – buy one, get one 50% off) and we visited the VLNTNSDY MRKT 5 in Detroit on Saturday, where I picked up some Sfumato Fragrances, a JKM Soy Candle, and some Warda Pâtisserie treats. We also had the pleasure of visiting friends, where we got to sample Wolf Moon Mixers…just look at this beautiful bowl of punch in the photo below! With Valentine’s Day in mind, here a few fun things for you to check out:

punch

by Valerie | 02.13.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

beantown & puppy bowl XIII

Boston

I traveled to Boston, MA for work last week; a visit to “Beantown” was a first for me and it did not disappoint! I had a little time to see some of the city and treated myself to a stroll through Boston Common, Public Garden, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere’s home. The Liberty Hotel is an amazing space for drinks, and it has such an interesting history. I saw lots of Patriots merchandise all over Boston while I was there, of course, because we can’t ignore the fact that yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday…or, more importantly to me, Puppy Bowl XIII; Melody took a nap through the Kitty Halftime Show and I particularly liked the fact that they featured three special needs puppies this year.

Melody is napping during the #PuppyBowl Kitty Halftime Show

by Valerie | 02.06.17 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

you oughta know bitter

fog

Fog, rain, more fog, dog naps (in our house, they will always be dog – rather than cat – naps), and homemade bitters (more on that below) – this was what our weekend was made of; that and a nice dinner out with friends one evening, at which point I saw one those signs posted at the bar that says you have to have been born in a specific year (currently 1996) in order to legally drink which caused me to settle into a momentary state of depression… 1996? I’m not even going to say why that year is of significance to me, but I didn’t like how it made me very aware of my age.

About those homemade bitters, we’re very excited to try our hand at making our own for use in some delicious cocktails at home, and we used this very nice Christmas gift our dear friend gave us to make our first attempt at doing that over the weekend! We used their recipes and ingredients provided with the kit, and added a few of our own ingredients to the mixes; we’re also attempting to make our own lavender tincture (inspired by a former Ann Arbor Distilling Company cocktail called a Rise & Shine). We’ll see how they turn out in about a month, when they will supposedly be ready, I’m crossing my fingers.

homemade bitters

homemade bitters

my little love bug

by Valerie | 01.23.17 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

MLK Luncheon

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”” – “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.

You can view the University of Michigan’s MLK Symposium Keynote here, with Amy Goodman and Issa Rae (pictured above), which closed with a performance from the Syncopated Ladies (pictured above).

by Valerie | 01.17.17 | Holidaze | No Comments »

anniversary weekend

celebrating our 16th anniversary today

We celebrated our 16th anniversary over the weekend and enjoyed a delicious dinner out at Mikette, yummy “bananniversary” cake, lovely flowers, and this amazing latte made especially for me by my sweetie!

anniversary weekend latte love

happy bananniversary

anniversary flowers

by Valerie | 01.16.17 | For Funsies | No Comments »

smoky, black-eyed pea veggie soup

smoky black eyed pea veggie soup with rice

We were a little late in eating our New Year’s Day black-eyed peas this year, but we remedied that for dinner last night; adding them to our soup made for a delicious and warming meal on a cold January night. Below are the ingredients and the recipe and you can watch us make it in this quick, time-lapse video here.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (we used chipotle infused)
  • 2-3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 3 medium/smallish sweet potatoes large diced
  • 4 oz (2/3 a 6 oz can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 jar of red salsa
  • 1 12 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups of veggie stock (depending on how much broth you like)
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot heat up the oilve oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic; cook until onion is slightly transparent. Add the bell peppers. Once everything starts to sweat a bit (or the peppers have started to become tender) add the smoked paprika. Cook for about another minute or so. Add the sweet potatoes and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato past salsa and fire roasted tomatoes and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the veggie stock, bring to boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the black eyed peas and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by itself or over some rice for a delicious, hearty meal.

by Valerie | 01.09.17 | Recipes | No Comments »

it’s a Stones & snowfall kind of day

Frosted window panes

It’s cold here today…really cold, with a high of 16 and it felt like 3 when we woke up this morning. This song just feels right to me today; it’s a Stones and snowfall kind of day – take a look at this and this.

“It sure been a cold, cold winter
My feet been draggin’ ‘cross the ground
And the fields has all been brown and fallow
And the springtime take a long way around”
– Winter by The Rolling Stones

Winter isn’t always easy, but it is often beautiful. #winterainteasy

by Valerie | 01.05.17 | For Funsies | No Comments »

Christmas & NYE 2016 + Texas road trip

Eastridge lights We drove (25+ hours one way) to and from El Paso, TX to spend our Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family this year. It was wonderful seeing all the sights (beautiful West Texas back roads, city lights of El Paso, Mission Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park area, etc.), spending time with family, meeting our adorable nephew (born 12/14/16), and enjoying the wonderful holiday season! As we drove to Texas, I made short little posts along the way and here they are:

  • Tackling a drive of 1,690 mi, 1 day, 1 hour, 3 minutes in 2 days
    Day 1, road trip report: Michigan – beautiful, snow-covered fields, very…very…very cold, saw a sign for a maple store that was “closed for the season”, added air to tires
  • Day 1, road trip report: Illinois – Springfield/home of Abraham Lincoln (made me think of the “drinkin with Lincoln” glass I bought Ryan for his birthday last year), moved on from regular Christmas music to punk Christmas music…to Jack White…to early 90’s rock (Ryan wouldn’t car karaoke to Mr. Big with me 😏)
  • Day 1, road trip report: Missouri – passed St. Louis gateway arch (we’ve passed it many times to/from TX, one day we’ll stop & visit), Eureka! (Missouri, that is 😉), music changed to Indie & then to The Strokes, Melody is still marathon-sleeping in the back seat & doing a great job so far, still see some light dusting of snow on the ground here & there
  • Day 1, road trip report: Oklahoma – just crossed the state line, can’t help but think of the musical (which, by the way, I love)…O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!!!, booked a room for the night in Oklahoma City & in just under 3 hours we’ll be there, the sunset was lovely, my butt is numb from sitting in this car for the last 12 hours…that is all…
  • Day 2, road trip report: Texas – “the stars at night are big & bright…” (👏👏👏👏), my home state, born & raised & lived here the first 26 years of my life, can’t wait to meet my nephew (1 week old today) & see family & be back in my college town (also where Ryan & I met & were married)…& then on to El Paso (to Ryan’s Mom & his childhood home 💗), enjoying this West Texas scenery (it’s been a while, West Texas…feeling all the feels), I really love the word “y’all”, Shiner Bock beer, tacos, & TexMex!
  • Day 2, road trip report: New Mexico – It’s dark now & I can’t see much so I’ll just report on my day… It’s been a great winter solstice; watched a gorgeous sunrise & sunset, met my 1 week old nephew, got to hug my brother & sister-in-law, saw some beautiful West Texas scenery, & now headed for my mother-in-law’s home. This is not a Holiday Inn Express ad, just the photo I took of the sunrise leaving our hotel this morning. #wintersolstice #wintersolstice2016
  • Day 2, road trip report: Texas (again, with New Mexico in between) – It’s always so nice to come home; the smells, the sights, the sounds…so familiar & like a dream. You can smell the rain & desert sage; Ryan keeps saying how much he loves the smell & I keep thinking about how much I love him. Nothing but love. 69 miles to El Paso & then we’re staying put for a week!

As we drove into Lubbock, I of course had to make a West Texas/Panhandle playlist and I still can’t stop laughing at this song.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and I wish you all a very happy New Year. You can view more photos from this last month, including our holiday road trip, here! Eastridge lights city lights San Jacinto Plaza Socorro Mission, Mission Trail US-180 E/US-62 E NYE 2016 NYE 2016 NYE 2016 super foggy morning drive home, holiday road trip coming to an end #roadtrip

by Valerie | 01.03.17 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Travel | No Comments »

snowfall

looking out my kitchen window this morning ❄❄❄

I cannot stop listening to this song; it’s winter, it’s almost Christmas, and you should listen to this while viewing these photos!

snowfall

snowfall

by Valerie | 12.19.16 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

do what you love/love what you do

#teamlove

I am lucky to work with a wonderful team, and I love what I do!

Untitled

by Valerie | 12.16.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Work | No Comments »

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