beauty & kindness in the everyday

serenity now

I always do my best to appreciate beauty in the everyday and to be kind to those around me; it’s all around us, if we just look… Like this late-afternoon light coming through the window in my den, and the beautiful shadows it casts, that fall on the wall where this piece of art hangs (which was a gift from a dear friend) in the video above; this gives me peace and makes me smile. Here’s a quote that really stood out to me today about beauty and kindness –

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

We leave you a tradition with a future.
The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete.
People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Your “good old days” are still ahead of you, may you have many of them.”
― Sam Levenson, In One Era & Out the Other

by Valerie | 11.11.16 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

fall, friends, and fun

fall afternoon in A2

We enjoyed a visit with friends from out of town and the most perfect fall weather this past weekend; I’m enjoying every last drop of this beautiful fall we’re having here in Michigan, when the light is warm and golden, and there’s a cool breeze in the air – this is my happy place! We took a stroll around downtown A2 and it was so beautiful, I felt like I should be writing a poem or a song or something to commemorate how unbelievably picturesque it was. Our Halloween candy jar is already almost empty (oops!) and I can’t stop taking photos of gorgeous fall leaves and seeing adorable posts of friends and friends’ children jumping into big piles of leaves and thinking I need to sit down and watch this some time soon (it’s tradition!). It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just two weeks from this Thursday and it will soon be Christmas before we know it…and then 2017!

💗

💗

by Valerie | 11.07.16 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

Halloween weekend

Trick or Treat

Halloween is almost here and with the holiday ahead in mind, here are some Halloween-themed goodies for your enjoyment:

DIY Halloween masks

by Valerie | 10.28.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Vegas, baby!

all the love ❤️

We traveled to Las Vegas last week to celebrate the wedding of our dear friends Monica and Adrian with them in Vegas (where they live). It was a beautiful wedding and so much fun to reconnect with so many old friends of Ryan’s from his hometown and high school, as well as to make some new friends in the process. We are so happy for you, Mo and Adrian, and are honored to have been included in your special day; hope to see you all again soon! While we were there, we made a point to tour the Neon museum and we had too much fun at the photo booth during the reception. You can view more photos from our trip here.

let them eat cake

Mo & Adrian's wedding

Neon Boneyard #neon

by Valerie | 10.18.16 | For Funsies, Travel | No Comments »

office love

office love #Framebridge

Now that we moved into our new (old) office, I’ve really enjoyed unpacking my things and sprucing up my work space; it’s nice to fill it with things I love, that make me smile, like photos, plants, and flowers. It is, after all, the place I spend most of my time at away from my actual home – so it’s important that I make it feel homey to me. I ordered this great print of Melody peeking out our front door from Framebridge, picked up a happy yellow lamp, and a few plants…and just look at this dahlia pictured below – wow! Speaking of work, the campus squirrels seem extra-squirrely this time of year too.

dahlia + seeded eucalyptus

by Valerie | 10.03.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Work | No Comments »

foggy mornings, flowers, and food

eating with an audience 😂

We are still cooking our Blue Apron meals and are getting better about skipping the weeks we’re not crazy about the menus for or that we know we’ll be too busy to cook much; you can view more photos of our meals here. Melody enjoys observing us cook and eat, as always, and it’s fun to have such a cute audience! Our local distillery, Ann Arbor Distilling Co., is now serving bourbon and rye and we enjoyed stopping by to sample the goods last week. The dahlias are just stunning this time of year and I love walking by our neighbor’s dahlia garden and seeing them all in full bloom! There’s something magical about a foggy morning that I can’t get enough of…

cheers

A2

dreamy dahlias

foggy September morning

by Valerie | 09.19.16 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | 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 »

staycation

Kuhnhenn

After having both been traveling separately for work, it was nice for Ryan and I to be home together last week and enjoy a much-needed, relaxing staycation. We filled our week with a nice visit with family in Frankenmuth, a visit to Cranbrook to see the Hippie Modernism show (which we loved!), several movies at the theater, and I was able to add several more Michigan brewery visits to my ever-growing list – which currently includes the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Ann Arbor Brewing Co/Corner Brewing
  • Arcadia Ales
  • Bells
  • Blue Tractor
  • Brewery Vivant
  • Dark Horse
  • Dragonmead
  • Founders
  • Frankenmuth Brewery
  • Glasshouse Brewing
  • Gonzo’s Big Dog
  • Grizzly Peak
  • Jolly Pumpkin
  • Kuhnhenn Brewing Co
  • Latitude 42
  • Mitten Brewing Co
  • North Peak
  • Oddside Ales
  • Perrin Brewing Co
  • Right Brain
  • Salt Springs Brewery
  • Tandem Cider
  • Wolverine Brewing Co

You can view photos from our staycation here.

Dragonmead

Cranbrook Hippie Modernism

by Valerie | 08.19.16 | Around our home, For Funsies | 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 »

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