Washington, DC & birthday fun!

Washington

I traveled to Washington, DC for work last week and was especially excited for the trip as I’d never visited Washington before; the highlight of the trip for me was definitely walking along the Tidal Basin where there were loads of cherry blossoms in full bloom everywhere, a close second was the Lincoln Memorial at night. And it was great to return home to Ryan and Melody and celebrate my birthday over the weekend with lots of delicious treats, gifts, and many well-wishes from friends and family! You can view more photos from my Washington trip here and photos of my birthday fun here.

birthday fun

birthday fun

by Valerie | 04.05.16 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

I’ll be home for Christmas

Christmas Eve 2015

We traveled back to my hometown (Gatesville, TX) for Christmas this year and loved spending it with family at my parents house; my Aunt Connie and Uncle Phil came down from Abilene and my brother and sister-in-law drove down from Lubbock too. We had so much fun seeing everyone, celebrating Clint’s birthday on Christmas Eve, eating lots of delicious food, playing games, and just relaxing. If you’d like to see more photos from our trip, you can view them here.

Christmas 2015

Couldn't have found a better birthday gift for my little brother...

Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas time in Gatesville, TX

by Valerie | 01.01.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

giving thanks

Thanksgiving 2015I have so much to be thankful for; we had the pleasure of spending our Thanksgiving holiday with family in Texas this year, as well as visiting our dear friends Jen and Walter and their family. We had our traditional giant mound of mashed potatoes, as well as other sides and desserts, and Steve and Deb were kind enough to make not one, but two turkeys for our feast – one brined and roasted and one fried. I have to say that I think my highlight of the day was when Tina so kindly fed Deb her cocktail so that she could continue to cook while she enjoyed her beverage – teamwork! We had so much fun playing games and visiting with family and friends and even had time to stop by a local brewery, Franconia Brewing Company, for a tour and tasting before we left. I hope you enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving filled with delicious treats and wonderful memories that you’ll hold dear for years to come! You can view more photos from our holiday weekend here. Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015Franconia Brewery

by Valerie | 12.01.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Travel | No Comments »

“Calms me down right away.”

Thanksgiving 2015

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds? Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues? Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? Paul Varjak: Sure. Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name! – from Breakfast at Tiffany’s Fun with Deb at Tiffany's

by Valerie | 12.01.15 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

windy city

Waldorf Astoria Chicago
I had a quick trip to Chicago and back in about 24 hours earlier this week and while I was there I had the pleasure of visiting the Waldorf Astoria Chicago – what a beautiful hotel; here are a few images, for your viewing pleasure…just look at that chandelier in the lobby! Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

by Valerie | 11.20.15 | Travel | No Comments »

Weekend Getaway and All Hallows’ Eve

Up North - October 2015We spent a really fun weekend in northern Michigan; we saw some beautiful sites and were pleased to see there was still plenty of amazing fall color. We visited Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm, where they not only have an impressive selection of antique apple varieties, but they also have one of the largest pop bottle collections on display; we chatted with one of the owners, who was so kind and friendly – she said her husband had gotten into growing antique apples because he used to play baseball in the orchards. When I asked her what her favorite apple was, she explained that they didn’t have it anymore as the tree had died after the hard winter they had, but we did take home her second favorite apple and a selection of a few others too. Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove FarmWe also stopped by the Gwen Frostic studio; such a charming little place and what beautiful paper products filled with images of flora and fauna! It was almost too perfect, as we were checking out a little chipmunk darted across the shop floor – to which the staff happily commented, “He lives here, he’s getting ready for the winter.” Before we left, we also made it to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, some beautiful hiking trails, Fishtown, and no trip to the area is complete without a stop for pasties and apple dumplings at Mr. Foisies

Up North - October 2015Up North - October 2015Fish TownUp North - October 2015Melody was happy to join us on our adventure too. And we enjoyed celebrating Halloween and making DIY masks during our weekend getaway as well. Up North - October 2015DIY Halloween masks

You can view more photos from our weekend here.

by Valerie | 11.02.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants, Travel | No Comments »

suddenly, it’s October

Oktoberfest

Suddenly, it’s October; it seems as though it snuck up on me somehow. Ryan did an artist talk at Savannah College of Art & Design this week and our friend, Lisa Waud, is doing this amazing project and was featured on Martha Stewart…hey, I know them! In other news, the fall weather is still really beautiful here and there’s definitely that cool, crisp, fall nip in the air; I’m just itching to turn on our fireplace for the first time this season and I might just have to do that over the weekend. I’m loving Oktoberfest this time of the year (Wolverine and Great Lakes make a good one!) and the amazing selection of antique apples here in Michigan too – we picked up an assorted bag of them at a local grocery store the other day. Finally, I wish you all a very happy college football weekend…unless you’re routing for Baylor, in which case I really hope you lose (go Red Raiders, wreck ’em Tech)! fall leaves

by Valerie | 10.02.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Travel | 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 »

So nice to be up North…

Up North - October 2014

We spent a fantastic, long weekend up in northwest Michigan in the Traverse City area. I honestly don’t think I can come up with the appropriate words to really describe how breathtakingly beautiful it was up there (especially with the fall color on display)! As you may already be aware, fall is my favorite season – so this weekend I was in my happy place…seeing the fall views all around me (so much color!), wearing sweaters and scarves, enjoying a warm fire (don’t forget the s’mores -we had those too), stopping at an apple orchard (more on that below), etc. I was like a kid in a candy store and it was great! Why can’t I stop using exclamation points…yep, fall does this to me, I can’t contain my excitement!!!

We spent some time hiking around where we stayed (Lake Ann, MI) and also enjoyed a hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes, we drove around and stopped in Leland, visited the L. Mawby and Big Little tasting rooms, made it out to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and did a bit of shopping and dinner in Traverse City too. The lakeshore colors are stunning and it was beautiful watching the waves crash along the shoreline.

We are lucky, here in Michigan, as there seems to be no shortage of apple orchards to visit and enjoy this time of year. I had the pleasure of visiting an orchard that was like none other I’ve been to before; one of the highlights for us was stumbling upon Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm where they grow and sell antique apple varieties. I was fascinated at how many varieties of apples they had available – most of which I’d never heard of or seen before. We picked up 3 small containers to take home of Sheepnose, Spitzenburg (supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite), and Ashmead’s Kernel apples; we ate Almata (these are pink on the inside) and Macoun apples on the spot, before we got back to the car. They also ship gift boxes and the woman who rang us up was the owner’s granddaughter – so charming and such an interesting stop along our way.

You can view more photos from our trip here.

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove Farm

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

Up North - October 2014

by Valerie | 10.20.14 | For Funsies, Travel | 1 Comment »

Deep in the heart of Texas

Sunset

We took a long 4th of July holiday and enjoyed a wonderful vacation/road trip to Texas to visit family and friends – had lots of fun, great food, and even better company during our trip! About 20 hours from our home to our final destination and then we turned around and drove back after about a week and a half – yes, that is a LONG time in the car, but we were able to bring Melody along with us which made it all worthwhile. I sometimes forget how much I miss it until I’m back there – the sky, the land, and most importantly the people we love. You can check out more photos from our trip here.

State line

Approaching storm

Fun on the 4th

Gatesville, TX

Gatesville, TX Courthouse

by Valerie | 07.09.14 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

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