We spent the weekend decorating our home for the holidays; we picked up our fresh evergreen wreath from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, stopped by Downtown Home & Garden for some amaryllis bulbs and enjoyed their Annual Christmas Party, and put up our tree and decorations at home. Maddy wasn’t sure what to think of our spinner ornaments on the tree at first (see video here and here), but she seems to have gotten used to them now…lol. As Lucy says, “You know, deck them halls and all that stuff…”
I traveled to Boston, MA for work last week; a visit to “Beantown” was a first for me and it did not disappoint! I had a little time to see some of the city and treated myself to a stroll through Boston Common, Public Garden, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere’s home. The Liberty Hotel is an amazing space for drinks, and it has such an interesting history. I saw lots of Patriots merchandise all over Boston while I was there, of course, because we can’t ignore the fact that yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday…or, more importantly to me, Puppy Bowl XIII; Melody took a nap through the Kitty Halftime Show and I particularly liked the fact that they featured three special needs puppies this year.
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 had a fun, busy, Christmasy weekend. We kicked off our weekend with some Midnight Madness fun in downtown Ann Arbor to finish up our Christmas shopping and we stopped into the Old German for a drink and to share their delicious, baked soft pretzels with spicy mustard and cheddar fondue. Downtown Home and Garden had a petting zoo for the weekend, complete with alpaca, goats, sheep, a donkey, and a zebu. The zebu had the best eyelashes! I wanted to get a good picture of the zebu, but it didn’t want to pose for me – oh well, you know how zebus can be. We hosted a holiday brunch at our home on Sunday and really enjoyed having everyone over and sharing such delicious food with friends; Ezra (who shares my love for strawberries – in fact, I’m pretty sure he loves them even more than I do) even showed me the proper way to patty-cake – thanks, Ezra! During our brunch, the snow started to fall outside (it really was perfect timing) and 3 different groups of friends at the brunch were heading directly from our place to pick out their Christmas trees.
Our sweet dog, Melody, gets 4 out of 4 stars when it comes to being cute and generally sweet and good-tempered. However, she has many strange fears and she seems to be adding new ones to her list as she gets older (her getting older is something I don’t want to think about, of course – we love her and have enjoyed her company for the past 12 years now and I can’t imagine not having her in our lives). She is afraid of water (she hates baths and don’t even try to get her into a pool, river, stream, lake, ocean, etc.), cords/cables in general (she won’t even step over them if they’re laying flat on the floor), she has developed a strange fear of her own water bowl, and she doesn’t like to come into our kitchen (maybe because that’s where her water bowl is?) or the basement, etc.
I am not afraid of heights in general, but something about a tall flight of stairs frightens me a little (says the person who has ridden roller coasters and stepped out onto the glass overlook at the Chicago Skydeck at 103 stories and 1,353 feet in the air); I don’t think it’s so much the height itself but more the feeling of possibly being unstable at that height that scares me – luckily this is a fear that hasn’t gotten the best of me as I can and do still take the stairs. What are your fears and how do you overcome them?
Happy Summer Solstice 2013! The weather has been pleasant this June in Michigan and our hottest days of summer are still to come of course. Because I love dogs and summer is pretty great too, here are some images for your viewing pleasure…
We were able to get back home to Texas to visit family last week, which was wonderful! We stopped at some delicious restaurants and fun attractions along our way (Chuy’s, Rudy’s BBQ, Dr. Pepper Museum, etc.) and we had some fun with taking these photos…