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…



dreamy dahlias

foggy September morning

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

birthdays and blooms

make a wish

Yesterday we celebrated Ryan’s birthday with a delicious dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse on the patio, and this sweet little cupcake (from Cupcake Station) pictured above.

And right now we are enjoying the most glorious season that is peony season in Michigan – loads of beautiful blooms everywhere; I missed the peony plant sale last Saturday, but I am still hoping to get myself to the Nichols Arboretum Peony Gardens soon before they are past their peak blooming period. I was thrilled to see that one of the peony plants in our yard was blooming as of yesterday too and cut this dark pink peony to enjoy on our kitchen table! Also, from our yard, are these yellow roses and blooming thyme and chives.

peony, roses, thyme, & chives from my garden 😊


by Valerie | 06.07.16 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »



Last weekend was commencement weekend at UM and the photo above was my view on Friday at the Ross School Commencement ceremonies at Hill Auditorium. As a “townie” (or local Ann Arborite), this means that as students leave for the summer everything is a little less crowded, parking is easier to find, and – hopefully – we’re able to slow down just a little and enjoy the more relaxed pace of the summer months. I love my job, I love my (work) team, and I’m happy to call Ann Arbor home!

Dream team! #commencement

by Valerie | 05.02.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Work | No Comments »

weekend haps


We had a great weekend and beautiful weather here in A2; we finally visited the Ann Arbor Distilling Company for some fantastic cocktails (the “rise & shine” was my personal favorite) and an impromptu tour of the space, enjoyed getting together with friends, tackled some yard work and gave our metal patio chairs a fresh coat of “field green” paint, had my first hamburger on the grill at home this year, and saw the new season of Game of Thrones premiere on Sunday night (I couldn’t resist getting this cake in honor of the premiere – “Winter is coming”). We’ll be re-making our patio table from last summer soon (see post on that here), as some of the wood didn’t weather well, and I’m looking forward to fun times spent outdoors this spring and summer!



fresh coat for summer!

by Valerie | 04.25.16 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

weekend haps

easy like a Sunday morning

Last week brought us snow, sleet, rain, and funny memes like this and this; I heard this on the radio which made me laugh, “March, in like a lion. April, in like a fiercer lion.” While the weather was “weathering” (as Ryan likes to say) all day yesterday, I must admit that having a lazy day at home while the rain/sleet/snow fell outside was just what I needed. Yes, that is a fire in my fireplace in the photo above – and yes, it is April in Michigan. All the more reason to enjoy these beautiful blooms in my photo below; mums, roses, and iris to brighten up my kitchen!


by Valerie | 04.11.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »


snow day

Outside: Winter Storm Petros is blowing through the area and has been doing so since yesterday morning. The world is a lovely blanket of white and the snow is still falling…

Inside: We stopped at the grocery store on the way home yesterday to pick up fresh bread, soup, beer, chocolate cake, and some lovely mini daffodils. It may be winter outside, but I’ve got a little spring inside where it’s warm and cozy. Speaking of cozy, look at this little little sweetie all curled up by my feet. Also, I can’t get enough of this blanket!

my buddy & me

a little spring for this winter day #apartmenttherapy

by Valerie | 02.25.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Putting the Val in Valentine’s Day

getting ready for our movie night in with the drive in by Compartes (milk chocolate + popcorn) #comparteschocolatier #compartes #abigailmurraystudio

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day and, as always, I am looking forward to this wonderful holiday that celebrates love and all things love! I’m a holiday person in general; I love them all – Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc. But a holiday that celebrates love and often involves flowers and chocolate and declarations of love in many forms…now that is something special! Of course, you don’t need a holiday to celebrate love or to buy yourself or a loved one chocolate or flowers, but it certainly can’t hurt. And, speaking of chocolate…we recently discovered our love for Compartés – it is REALLY good chocolate, it comes in lots of really interesting flavor combinations, and…bonus…the packaging is beautiful; if you believe that you eat with your eyes first, this certainly fits the bill. We’ve found it locally at Plum Market, but you can also buy it online. Here are some other fun Valentine’s Day treats:

by Valerie | 02.08.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

drift and blow


I was pleased to see these big, beautiful snowflakes falling outside this afternoon; it really is such a lovely sight to see! Watching the snow drift and blow outside, listening to this, dreaming of snuggling up by my fireplace when I get home with my loves by my side (Ryan and Melody)… I’ve used this quote before, but I love it so much I have to share it again: “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’ And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in green, and dance about – whenever the wind blows.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

by Valerie | 01.28.16 | Around town, For Funsies | No Comments »

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