Labor Day Weekend

Wreck 'em Tech!!!

Hope you all enjoyed a fun and exciting, as well as restful and relaxing, Labor Day Weekend! Ours consisted of college football (Melody is pictured above supporting our team…although we weren’t happy to find that the channel they were airing the Texas Tech game on here was showing a Tigers game instead and we couldn’t see the game live on TV until almost the end of the 3rd quarter; my brother says we can fix that by moving to Lubbock!), yard work, movies at home, and some delicious cooking. We used our garden peppers to make hot sauce and pickled jalapenos and Ryan made some delicious guacamole with one of our garden habanero peppers and this Blue Apron meal (pictured below) for dinner last night – yum! It’s official, summer is over and there are signs of fall everywhere – football, mums, Oktoberfest beer, etc. – although you wouldn’t think it given the summer-like weather we’re experiencing today in Ann Arbor. Here’s to changing seasons and guacamole…always guacamole!

Summer Vegetable & Queso Tostadas with Fairy Tale Eggplants #blueapron

by Valerie | 09.06.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

LA to Chicago & then back home

The Getty

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting Los Angeles and Chicago for work; I was lucky enough to have a bit of free time while there to enjoy a stroll through the Getty Museum and Rodeo Drive in LA (walked right by the hotel from Pretty Woman!), and then some vintage store shopping and delicious food (pizza at Lou Malanti’s, doughnuts here, brunch here, and I loved the tacos here) in Chicago. It’s nice to be home now; I took advantage of the cooler temperatures this morning to do a bit of gardening and was thrilled to be able to pull 2 red bell peppers, a handful of serrano and jalapeño peppers, and some tomatoes too – as well as a good bunch of basil. Looking forward to the week ahead and enjoying what’s left of the summer.

Chicago style with Sheila!

little goat

Tacos!!!

LAX to ORD

garden harvest #grewitmyself

by Valerie | 07.31.16 | For Funsies, Garden, Travel | No Comments »

summer fun & on the road again

NY state of mind

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for me – at the office, we packed up everything to move into our new space while at the same time packing for Ross on the Road events we’re traveling for in seven cities from Tuesday, July 19th (in Boston) through Thursday, July 28th (in Chicago); in the process, I’ve been lucky enough to see some really beautiful event spaces, like the Ascent Lounge in New York and the First Amendment Lounge at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. In NY, I made a point to stop by Junior’s and pick up some black and white cookies to take home (I can’t resist, they’re so good!) and in DC I was sure to take a stroll by The White House of course. Next week, I’m headed to Los Angeles and Chicago and looking forward to it.

In Ann Arbor, we had Art Fair this week…which always brings our hottest summer temperatures and thunderstorms; Ryan and I enjoyed strolling around downtown and seeing the sights yesterday. It’s always so good to come home! Speaking of home, I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is an amazing cook – I’ve been craving some delicious pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil so Ryan was kind enough to cook that up for me when I returned home from DC on Friday, yum! Our garden is doing great; we pulled a whole bowl full of fresh tomatoes from our garden box just yesterday and our peppers, onions, and herbs seem to be enjoying the summer weather too.

pasta with garden tomatoes, garden basil, & farmers market pesto

garden tomatoes & sun tea #grewitmyself

by Valerie | 07.24.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Travel, Work | No Comments »

birthdays and blooms

make a wish

Yesterday we celebrated Ryan’s birthday with a delicious dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse on the patio, and this sweet little cupcake (from Cupcake Station) pictured above.

And right now we are enjoying the most glorious season that is peony season in Michigan – loads of beautiful blooms everywhere; I missed the peony plant sale last Saturday, but I am still hoping to get myself to the Nichols Arboretum Peony Gardens soon before they are past their peak blooming period. I was thrilled to see that one of the peony plants in our yard was blooming as of yesterday too and cut this dark pink peony to enjoy on our kitchen table! Also, from our yard, are these yellow roses and blooming thyme and chives.

peony, roses, thyme, & chives from my garden 😊

peony

by Valerie | 06.07.16 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

weekend haps

DIY outdoor table with built in cooler trays ✔️

We managed to refinish all of our outdoor furniture (two Adirondack chairs, one side table) and we rebuilt our outdoor table with built in cooler trays over the weekend too; it was so nice to sit outside and enjoy our backyard with friends on Memorial Day! Our garden is all planted and I’m loving all the flowers in pots – I mean…just look at these sunny yellow zinnias and roses. And we really enjoyed dinner and drinks at Salt Springs Brewery in Saline on Friday; the building is over 100 years old and was a former church – the stained glass windows are beautiful and the food and drinks were delicious.

our yard/garden 5/29/16

yellow zinnia

by Valerie | 05.31.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

Holiday weekend

It's National Wine Day & I "might could" enjoy a glass of delicious, dry rosé from the south of France #nationalwineday #texasalphabet

Yesterday was National Wine Day; in honor of the day, I “might could” enjoy a glass of delicious, dry rosé from the South of France. #nationalwineday #texasalphabet

And on our kitchen table this week are these beautiful white lilacs from our backyard and some pretty peonies inside a vintage, blue Ball jar and an old extract bottle – one of my favorite times of the year for fresh flowers!

fleurs

I’m so looking forward to the long, holiday weekend ahead! Looking back at recent Memorial Day weekends of mine, I wanted to share this; this Friday, May 27th would have been my Granddaddy’s birthday and I am grateful to have such wonderful memories of him.

For some Memorial Day inspiration/fun, check out the following links:

by Valerie | 05.26.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

#yardworkishardwork

#yardworkishardwork

Some of the highlights of last week for me were enjoying gelato/sorbet with friends, more (dairy-free for me) frozen yogurt with Ryan (they don’t know our names yet at Orange Leaf, so I can rest easy for now I think), meeting this adorable Australian Shepherd puppy, all the great things Ryan and I accomplished after two days of yard work at our house (#yardworkishardwork), and flowers…always flowers – this week it was peonies, lilacs, and lily of the valley; we planted zinnias, yellow roses (my Granddaddy would have loved them), peonies, alstroemeria, dahlias, and marigolds in our yard/garden for the summer.

Our weekend projects included: painting and cleaning our AC unit in the backyard – no more rust and now it almost looks like new, filling our garden boxes and pots with flowers and vegetables, planting two peonies in our side yard and finishing bed with stone border and mulch, raising and replacing two more stone borders in our yard, more mulch, weeding, mowing, cutting down a tree, organizing and cleaning our garage… Whew, I’m ready for a nap! I’ll leave you with this – just a little Paul Simon and my Melody to make you smile.

peony perfection

sorbet + sunny day = 😊

⬇️

by Valerie | 05.23.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

weekend haps

Hello #westelm

It’s that magical time of year in A2 where the University has commenced with commencement, it’s really starting to feel like summer, and we planted most of our garden over the weekend too! We filled our pots and garden boxes with a variety of tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and herbs; I even treated myself to a beautiful yellow rose bush (Yellow Brick Road), which I hope will do well – I couldn’t help but think of my Granddaddy and smile when I saw the roses as he used to always grow them at his house. Our lilac bushes are blooming now too, which is always a treat for both the eyes and the nose; they smell fantastic! We enjoyed attending our neighbor’s Derby party on Saturday too; it was complete with delicious mint juleps and fantastic hats. And how about this gorgeous combination of purple parrot tulips, white freesia, and white lilacs – swoon… I made this photo collage for Mother’s Day with photos of my beautiful Mom. Bring on the gingham, patios, and sunshine!

The most gorgeous parrot tulip, freesia, lilac combo I've ever seen!

Bring on the gingham, patios, & sunshine! ☀️

by Valerie | 05.09.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

Easter brunch

Easter Brunch 2016

We enjoyed a delicious Easter brunch at home, complete with what has become our traditional Easter menu of frittata (we made this one with cilantro, roasted poblano pepper, bell pepper, and onion) and savory swirls (we made this batch with store-bought biscuit dough and used this to flavor the Upton’s Chorizo Seitan), as well as roasted asparagus with lemon zest, breakfast potatoes, and the cutest little petit fours we picked up at a local market here in town. The Lenten Rose/Hellebore in my yard is doing very well and I was delighted to be able to cut and bring in several blooms to enjoy in vases in our house. It was sunny and not too cold out, so we enjoyed a bit of time outside in our patio chairs listening to the birds sing. Wishing you all a very happy Easter Sunday!

Easter Brunch 2016b

Easter Brunch 2016a

Hellebores

by Valerie | 03.27.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze, Recipes | No Comments »

garden goodies

garden onions

We pulled all the onions from our garden, cleaned them up, and put them in a basket to use in cooking; I really love the color of these onion skins too – aren’t they lovely? And we found this pretty, gold-rimmed glass at an estate sale last week and I thought it looked quite nice filled with these dark red alstroemeria.

Speaking of cooking, Ryan used up most all of our garden tomatoes making a green zebra gazpacho (he used a version of this recipe, with a combination of green zebra and granny smith tomatoes we grew) and our garden peppers making hot sauce – yum, I’m looking forward to enjoying all of this!

by Valerie | 09.13.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

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