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 »

baby love

Graham Clinton Talbott

Welcome to the world, Graham Clinton Talbott; my 6lb, 10oz, 21 inch-long nephew was born on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Congrats, Clint & Kayla – we are so happy for you and so excited to be his aunt and uncle!!!

by Valerie | 12.15.16 | For Funsies | No Comments »

dress up

"You know another reason why I love the holiday season? Because it's the time year the whole world dresses up in their 'Sunday best' - even the buildings."

“You know another reason why I love the holiday season? Because it’s the time year the whole world dresses up in their ‘Sunday best’ – even the buildings.”

by Valerie | 12.12.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Sunday snowstorm

snowfall slo-mo

We got ~10 inches of snow here in Ann Arbor yesterday, when winter storm Caly blew through, and it looks like we have more snow in the forecast later this week and next week too, along with temps dropping to highs in the teens later this week; winter seemed to take it’s time getting here this year, but it is without a doubt here now!

It really is beautiful, the fresh-fallen snow, and it was lovely to watch it fall all day long outside my window. When I looked out my window Sunday morning and saw a family, pulling a sled with their children inside it and a happy, black dog bouncing through the snow alongside them, it was almost like a scene from a movie – pure, winter wonderland perfection. We enjoyed a cozy Sunday at home, sitting by the fire and the glow of our Christmas tree lights, watching Christmas movies all day, made our first batch of chili for the winter, and even managed to take a nice long nap.

Sunday snowstorm sleepy sweetie

Sunday feels

by Valerie | 12.12.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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