labor day weekend

early September sky

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need more holiday time after my holiday weekend… We had a very productive Labor Day weekend: cleaned out our garage, moved a very heavy, solid wood, vintage typewriter desk up the basement stairs (the same one the former owner left for us because it was too heavy and too big to move up the stairs – now I know why…) and then back down the stairs again (because even after we removed the door from the frame it still wouldn’t fit through), then disassembled the desk, moved it back up the stairs once more and got it outside where we reassembled it and placed in on our curb with a “free” sign – luckily, less then 24 hours later, someone picked it up. We also managed to move all our basement items, which had a temporary home in our guestroom, back downstairs and reorganize our basement and that resulted in half our office filling up with piles of things to donate; it feels really good to clean up and clean out and start to prepare for fall. Now if we can just find time to tackle the growing list of projects we still have left… We enjoyed watching Texas Tech win on Saturday, several longs walks in the sun with Melody, Ryan managed to squeeze in a couple bike rides, fried green tomatoes with house-made hot sauce and dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse followed by a movie at the theater, really tasty pancakes on Sunday morning at home, and we found some fun stuff at a few estate sales as well. Melody took advantage of football Saturday by taking a nice long nap too. Go Red Raiders!

Zingermans fried green tomatoes with house made hot sauce makes me ridiculously happysleepy pup

by Valerie | 09.08.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

camping trip

Camping Trip 8/2015We took a camping trip over the weekend and visited Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio; the scenery was nice, the company was great (first time camping with Melody and we had friends join us too), and the weather even cooperated. I did really enjoy most of the hiking and my personal favorite spot we hiked into was Ash Cave (you can view a short video I took here). And then there was the part where I crawled on all fours up the “stairs” (more like well-placed rocks with no railing along a cliff), ate “breadsticks” (hot dog buns with garlic butter and melted cheese) and pizza out of the back of our car in a parking lot, witnessed some very questionable fashion choices (the mullet to end all mullets is out there…I know, because I saw it in Ohio), and saw a man driving down the highway with his left leg dangling out the side of his Jeep as if that was how everyone drives a Jeep…totally normal…nothing to see here… My co-worker shared this with me this morning, which had me laughing so hard I almost cried. You can view more photos from our trip here. Camping Trip 8/2015

Camping Trip 8/2015Camping Trip 8/2015

by Valerie | 08.31.15 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

c’mon get happy

Cheese!When I’m feeling a bit down or my day just isn’t going how I’d like it to, there are a few things that are sure to cheer me up – my dog, Melody, always makes me smile, a nice walk in the sunshine helps, and I bought myself this cute little succulent and planted it in a pot with gold polka dots. Are you humming this to yourself yet? What makes you happy? This sweet pup always makes me smile!

Sometimes, when my day is just not going like I want it to, a new succulent in a cute little pot with gold polkadots is all I need to cheer me up.

by Valerie | 07.31.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

summer sun

yellooo!We’ve had a fairly rainy, cool summer so far – which is why, when it turned out to be such a beautiful weekend with sunshine and temperatures in the 80s, we took advantage of the sunny weather by enjoying dinner and drinks outside and taking a walk around downtown. Enjoying a sunny, summer patio is a thing of beauty! Sunny Saturday

It was good that we enjoyed a bit of the outdoors on Friday and Saturday as we spent just about all day Sunday working on our house; Ryan managed to get 4 coats of paint on the underside of the basement stairs, as well as one more coat of clear poly on the treads, so that’s done – now we just need to paint the risers and the stringers and we can check that project off our list.

We were happy to see tomatoes and peppers growing in our garden too; I’m looking forward to enjoying them later in the season when they’re ready to pick – we’ve already been able to use some of our herbs and lettuce from the garden and Melody always enjoys time outside on the patio. It’s hard to believe that we’re already in mid-July and summer will be over before we know it; here’s to many more warm summer days and firefly-lit summer nights.


by Valerie | 07.13.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

fun on the 4th & weekend haps

Happy 4th!

We enjoyed a fun holiday weekend at home this year – complete with the wonderful company of friends on the 4th, a game of Horse at our neighborhood park, bag toss in the yard, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, apple pie, and sparklers!

arrangement 7/3/15

Melody was ready for the holiday in her red and white striped collar and 4th of July bandana – and I like to think that the hot dog cookie we gave her tasted extra special because she ate it on the 4th. After all the excitement, she was a ready for a nap. I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!

Happy 4th of July!


On Sunday, rather than taking a bike ride or heading to the park for some paddleboat fun, we decided to start working on our basement stairs; the old and ugly green carpet is gone and the treads are all sanded now, next step will be to stain, seal, and paint…more to come on that.

by Valerie | 07.06.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

weekend haps


Guess what we did on Friday afternoon last weekend? A whole lot of nothing, that’s what, and it was wonderful – we just sat out on our patio and enjoyed it; although Melody seemed skeptical about us removing her little patch of grass in this area, I think she’s coming around and warming up to it.

We got plenty of rain on Saturday afternoon and a bit on Sunday as well and in between rain storms we managed to pick up and put out most of our 17 bags of mulch, the rest of which we’ll surely get to this week. I also took the opportunity to cut some of our garden roses and put them in vases around the house; they smell pretty amazing!

Garden roses

Garden roses

And the award for cutest fist bump last week goes to little E – super baby fist bump power!

Little E has fist bump power

by Valerie | 06.01.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »


my home improvement hero!

It’s been quite an eventful week or so… Some friends of ours welcomed a new baby boy (congrats!), other friends/colleagues of ours announced they will be moving for other job opportunities out of state (you know who you are and you will be missed!), and…Ryan was able to successfully install a new garbage disposal on our kitchen sink – while this may not seem nearly as exciting or important compared to the other items in my list, it was a big deal to us (even the nice lady at the hardware store commented that plumbing jobs always take at least two trips – but ours only took one)! Change can be hard, it can be good, and it is definitely inevitable. And just look at these daffodils… How could you look at these cheery, yellow blooms and not smile?

coffee table tray 4/11/15


Last Saturday was National Pet Day and Melody spent it lounging around the house, getting pets, and laying in the sunshine as much as possible…which reminds me that it’s about time for us to switch out our glass insert for the screen insert on the door to the patio – looking forward to enjoying lots of sunshine, some fresh air, and open windows and doors again!

#mywestelm happy national pet day


by Valerie | 04.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

weekend haps

sunset 3/27/15

We enjoyed the Animated Films in Competition showing at the AAFF last Friday, as well as this lovely sunset view from the parking deck rooftop. My flowers of the week are pink roses, dark purple hellebores, and pink waxflower. And I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to these jelly beans…they’re really, really tasty!

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

And Melody strikes a classic pose…


by Valerie | 03.30.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

spring forward

Sunday morning breakfast view

Daylight Saving Time went into effect over the weekend and we were sure to “spring forward”. Speaking of spring…the weather finally seems to be heading in the right direction here as highs are moving up into the 40’s and 50’s, we’ve enjoyed some lovely sunshine, and the ice and snow are beginning to melt; I’m already looking forward to when we can begin planting our summer garden and spending some time outside again – I tend to hibernate and stay in as much as possible during the winter months, so spring is always a much-welcomed change. I was sure to take advantage of the tulip sale that Whole Foods had on Friday – 3 bunches of tulips for only $10 – so I bought myself 6 bunches of course…I can’t resist!

Melody is still enjoying eating the snow, no matter how much we tell her not to do that (you never know what may be in the snow) or how much we fill up her water bowl, but I’m hoping it will be gone before too long and we’ll start to see some grass and bulbs coming up for the spring soon. The sweet little grape muscari bulbs that I’ve got in a pot in our house are starting to flower. Sunny, late afternoon cocktails at our place looks like this. And Melody makes a good model, as always!

Tulip sale at Whole Foods - 3 bunches for $ I bought 6! 💐

heads up

action shot

by Valerie | 03.09.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

weekend haps

Baby shower fun!

We had the pleasure of co-hosting a beautiful baby shower for some friends of ours on Saturday; it was fun to visit with friends, the food was delicious (check out these vegan, gluten-free cake pops we made – which Ryan made these wooden stands for too!), and we even had the opportunity to get crafty by decorating onesies during the shower too. I wrapped up my weekend by napping on the floor with Melody by the fireplace – she’s a great napping buddy! Three cheers for babies, (napping) buddies, and for weekends!!!

Baby shower fun!

Baby shower fun!

Baby shower fun!

Napping buddy

by Valerie | 02.24.15 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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