Mother’s Day weekend

Happy Mother's Day

Pictured above are my mom (left) and Ryan’s mom (right, with Ryan); much love to our moms and all those who are mothers! We enjoyed a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend here in A2; sunshine and lovely weather had us out on our patio Friday night grilling hamburgers, we headed to see the Cranbrook Degree Show on Saturday and stopped at Griffin Claw Brewing Company for lunch and a beer (making it my 25th Michigan brewery visited), then took a stroll around the Matthaei Botanical Gardens where we saw an adorable family of geese, and ended our day with dinner at a friends’ home where I brought some fresh-cut white lilacs (from our yard), peonies, and a bottle of rosé to enjoy, and on Sunday we had a delicious brunch out, followed by purchasing and planting our summer garden. We’re growing many of our usual favorites in our garden this year, a variety of hot peppers (ghost pepper, poblano, mucho nacho jalapeño, and serrano), tomatoes (green zebra, Cherokee purple, Mr. Stripey, better boy, and roma), herbs (basil, chives, orange mint, oregano, and thyme), and flowers (Julia Child roses, XXL Hidalgo dahlia), but are growing some new things this year too – broccolini, zucchini, and Flashy Trout’s Back Lettuce. Happy gardening!

“May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends,
And many books, both true.”
― Abraham Cowley

Griffin Claw Brewing Co

mid-May patio perfection; peonies + white lilacs (from my yard) & rosé

2017 summer garden

2017 summer garden

by Valerie | 05.15.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

bloom

Melody Azalea

Tomorrow it will be one month since our sweet Melody passed; I miss her all the time and think of her often. This beautiful, white Azalea that my wonderful coworkers gave me in her memory is just beginning to bloom.

Melody Azalea

Melody Azalea

by Valerie | 05.04.17 | Around our home, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

spring has sprung

lilacs from our yard #diptyque #springhassprung

Happy May Day! Spring has most definitely sprung in A2 and the world is alive with color; dogwoods, magnolias, flowering pear, and all manner of flowering trees and plants are blooming, our lilacs are blooming in the backyard (pictured above), and there are robins everywhere you look. Last week was Commencement for the University and we are headed into summer already. I am looking forward to planting our garden in the coming weeks and enjoying the sunshine and flowers for as long as I can!

Spring in A2

spring has sprung

Spring in A2

by Valerie | 05.01.17 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

everything’s coming up roses…Lenten Rose, that is

Hellebores

It’s been an odd winter here in A2, with roller coaster weather, and while I don’t want to jinx it (I know, I know, there’s still a good chance it could snow through May)…it feels like we may be over that hump and truly headed into some real spring weather. I was thrilled to see our Hellebores, otherwise known as Lenten Rose, coming up and blooming when I took a peek in our side yard over the weekend. I’m happy to have more hours of daylight and flowers budding and blooming again!

We made the most of a cloudy, rainy weekend by taking a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art, where we enjoyed seeing the Kehinde Wiley exhibit (you can view my photos of the museum here), and spent our time at home enjoying a Buffy marathon (the series is only available on Netflix through March 31st – I don’t know how we’ll get through it all before then).

Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo Museum of Art

@toledomuseum

by Valerie | 03.27.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Travel | No Comments »

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 »

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