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!
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 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.
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!
“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.”
Today is #GivingTuesday and we made a donation to our local Humane Society, which is something I always enjoy supporting. When we adopted our sweet dog, Melody, 15 years ago from a shelter in Austin, TX, they said she was a stray and she was so frightened and timid that she wouldn’t even walk on a leash…how far we’ve come! Melody continues to bring us joy and love every day and we are so lucky to have her in our lives. I hope that you will give in some way (your time, your talents, your donations, etc.) to a cause that is meaningful to you in honor of this day of giving!
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the past, and Hanukkah and Christmas fast-approaching, it’s got me thinking about all things gifting – on that note, here are a few items I recommend for holiday gifts, if you’re looking for ideas or a little inspiration:
- Make a donation to the preferred charity of your family or friends’ choice!
- Etsy’s gift guide
- Our friend, Tanya, does beautiful, custom watercolor portraits (more on that here) – you’ll find her on Etsy here.
- Our friend, Abigail, makes beautiful, handcrafted porcelain – check out her online shop here.
- We’ve been loving using Framebridge for our framing needs lately; they’re fast, affordable, shipping is free, and they handwrite gift notes with your order!
- Consumable gifts are always nice! Here are a few, Michigan-based ones to consider…
- King Orchards: Ever eaten a Michigan-grown, Honeycrisp apple? If yes, then you understand; if no, you should try one!
- Zingerman’s Mail Order: Ridiculously delicious, high-quality, mouth-watering ingredients and all things food – they’ve got mail-order gelato, breads, meats, cheeses, pantry items, sweets, etc. You can even order sandwich kits with everything you need to put one of their famous Reubens together, right in your own kitchen!
- Mawby: Pop the cork on some bubbly to celebrate the holidays – Michigan’s Mawby can help you with that! My personal favorite is the Blanc de Blancs, but they’ve got something for everyone from sweet to dry.
We spent yesterday afternoon decorating our home for Christmas, which always brings me joy; we’ve got our Farmer’s Market evergreen wreath on the door, our tree is up, and the Christmas Cactus my parents gave me several years ago is blooming again! I can’t help but think of this clip from Charlie Brown Christmas and smile…
What to do with all that leftover fresh cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, you ask? Whip up some delicious pancakes (this is the preferred pancake mix at our house) and top them with your leftover cranberry sauce (here’s one recipe)! And serving them up with a fresh apple cider mimosa can’t hurt either. Thanksgiving leftovers just keep getting better…
With Thanksgiving just three days away, Ryan and I are getting ready for a quiet, cozy, Thanksgiving at home this year, and we are looking forward to cooking some delicious food together; I always enjoy all the yummy eats, followed by decorating our home for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend! Below are some things that will be on our Thanksgiving table this year. What’s cooking in your home for the holiday?
Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Capers
Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Orange Liquor
Blackened Turkey Breast (prepared with a dry rub and grilled)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Herbs
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream
For some Turkey Day fun, you might enjoy taking a look at these:
- If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, you might enjoy this.
- Thanksgiving 2016: Top Netflix Titles to Watch
- Who doesn’t love a good parade?
- How To Make Ross’s Thanksgiving ‘Moist Maker’ Sandwich From Friends
- The perfect Thanksgiving music: 5 playlists to cook, eat and clean up by
- 11 Crazy-Easy Thanksgiving Cocktails
- Kristin Wiig’s SNL Thanksgiving Monologue
Now that the weather has turned here in Ann Arbor, and we had our first snowfall last weekend, it’s extra nice to curl up by our fireplace too. I wish you a warm Thanksgiving, full of love, friends and family, happy memories, and delicious treats!