I’ve always been fascinated with ancestry and I was thrilled to take the AncestryDNA test this last year and learn that I am officially 9% Irish myself. My third great grandmother, Jane Catherwood, was born in Derry, Cavan, Ireland and her family was from Northern Ireland. So, on this St. Patrick’s Day, I am of course wearing green and I will raise a glass and say “Sláinte” for my family and friends. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
We enjoyed a cold, but sunny afternoon in downtown A2 on Saturday – before heading home, we stopped by the heated tent on the patio of The Beer Grotto; watching the bubbles rise in our sunshine-lit glasses underneath the outdoor heater was a most relaxing way to spend a cold Saturday. Look at the bubbles…you’re getting very sleepy… Speaking of getting sleepy, my body still thinks it’s an hour earlier after the time change which made our lack of blue skies here today (we’re expecting several inches of snow and it’s been snowing all morning) even tougher to brave. I’m looking forward to more sunshine and bubbles in my future; that and if only I could always enter a room like this!
Last week we celebrated Pączki Day, enjoyed tasting our homemade bitters (which we bottled) in some delicious cocktails, played a new (to us) board game with friends – Acquire, I met a sweet dog at a local flower shop, made it to a movie at the theater, and we had breakfast at one of our favorite spots in town on Sunday. What’s up with this weird weather though?
We’ve had such odd winter weather this year in Michigan (record highs) and I think this cartoon sums it up pretty well; it was 57 with thunderstorms last Tuesday and 28 and snowing last Friday, for example. I don’t want to complain about the mild weather we’ve had, but it has definitely been abnormal. And here we are in March already with daylight saving time beginning this coming Sunday. I’m hoping it doesn’t get too cold again as the plants are confused; the trees are budding and the spring bulbs have already started to sprout up from ground. The late winter/early spring flowers are beautiful (crocus, snowdrops, etc.), they’re so dainty and delicate – a welcome sign of spring, and I’ve already seen robins darting around the yard; it’s always exciting to see the seasons begin to change!
We had a fun, long weekend in Rochester and Niagara Falls, NY! We made the trip as Ryan had scheduled a meeting with the wonderful folks at Virgin Wood Type in Rochester; they were all so kind, amazingly talented people, and they took the time to show us around their home/studio, the Flower City Arts Center (where you will find a very impressive collection of wood type!), as well as a visit to the man who manufactures their wood blocks too. I have such respect for the work they all do, the amount of time, effort, and care that goes into every single piece of finished product from them is amazing; just take a look at this, for example…wow!
While we were in Rochester, we also visited the George Eastman Museum, Ontario Beach Park/Lake Ontario, and enjoyed dining and drinks at La Casa, Genesee, Glen Edith, Open Face, Hedonist Chocolates, Iron Tug Brewing, Rohrbach Brewing, Good Luck Restaurant, and James Brown’s Place.
We spent our Saturday afternoon and evening in Niagara Falls; it was incredibly windy, cold, and it snowed there that evening into Sunday morning when we left – despite the weather (at one point, I described it as “hell snow” – it was so windy at times, I felt I had to hold on to something so that I wouldn’t blow away and the snow was coming down heavy and in pellets), we really enjoyed ourselves and the falls are quite the site to see! We took a hike around the falls area that afternoon, headed to Old Fort Niagara, then dinner, and then back to the falls at night to see them lit up. I enjoyed the fact that nothing was overly crowded and it almost felt as if we had the Old Fort to ourselves at times, given it was in the off-season.
If you’d like to see more photos from our trip, you can view them here.
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:
- pot & box’s valentine’s arrangement: the Abigail
- Antique roses…swoon…
- Best Last Minute (Free!) Valentines
- Superstore Valentine’s Day
- Romantic movies on Netflix
- Looking for some holiday-appropriate tunes?
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.
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.
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!
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
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!