life imitates art

life imitates art

life imitates art

by Valerie | 06.27.17 | For Funsies, Marvelous Maddy | No Comments »

Mother’s Day weekend

Happy Mother's Day

Pictured above are my mom (left) and Ryan’s mom (right, with Ryan); much love to our moms and all those who are mothers! We enjoyed a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend here in A2; sunshine and lovely weather had us out on our patio Friday night grilling hamburgers, we headed to see the Cranbrook Degree Show on Saturday and stopped at Griffin Claw Brewing Company for lunch and a beer (making it my 25th Michigan brewery visited), then took a stroll around the Matthaei Botanical Gardens where we saw an adorable family of geese, and ended our day with dinner at a friends’ home where I brought some fresh-cut white lilacs (from our yard), peonies, and a bottle of rosé to enjoy, and on Sunday we had a delicious brunch out, followed by purchasing and planting our summer garden. We’re growing many of our usual favorites in our garden this year, a variety of hot peppers (ghost pepper, poblano, mucho nacho jalapeño, and serrano), tomatoes (green zebra, Cherokee purple, Mr. Stripey, better boy, and roma), herbs (basil, chives, orange mint, oregano, and thyme), and flowers (Julia Child roses, XXL Hidalgo dahlia), but are growing some new things this year too – broccolini, zucchini, and Flashy Trout’s Back Lettuce. Happy gardening!

“May I a small house and large garden have;
And a few friends,
And many books, both true.”
― Abraham Cowley

Griffin Claw Brewing Co

mid-May patio perfection; peonies + white lilacs (from my yard) & rosé

2017 summer garden

2017 summer garden

by Valerie | 05.15.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

everything’s coming up roses…Lenten Rose, that is

Hellebores

It’s been an odd winter here in A2, with roller coaster weather, and while I don’t want to jinx it (I know, I know, there’s still a good chance it could snow through May)…it feels like we may be over that hump and truly headed into some real spring weather. I was thrilled to see our Hellebores, otherwise known as Lenten Rose, coming up and blooming when I took a peek in our side yard over the weekend. I’m happy to have more hours of daylight and flowers budding and blooming again!

We made the most of a cloudy, rainy weekend by taking a trip to the Toledo Museum of Art, where we enjoyed seeing the Kehinde Wiley exhibit (you can view my photos of the museum here), and spent our time at home enjoying a Buffy marathon (the series is only available on Netflix through March 31st – I don’t know how we’ll get through it all before then).

Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo Museum of Art

@toledomuseum

by Valerie | 03.27.17 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Travel | No Comments »

#GivingTuesday and gifting goodness

Present

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.

Melody

by Valerie | 11.29.16 | For Funsies, Holidaze, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

perfect portraits

Cheney, by Tanya Spolans

My parents’ dog, Cheney, recently passed away and we asked our friend Tanya to do a portrait of him for them; I knew she was talented…but wow…it turned out even more beautiful than I could have imagined (it was hard for me not to burst into tears when she gave it to me)! After we saw what she’d done with the portrait of Cheney, we had to ask her to do one of Melody too. They are both so amazingly beautiful and really capture both Cheney’s and Melody’s spirits I think. If you noticed, Melody’s tag here reads “Meldoy” which was intentional and is a funny story; Ryan and I once misspelled her name, “Meldoy”, on her dog tag and she wore it on her collar like that for years – it wasn’t until we moved and re-made her a tag with our new address that we realized what we’d done and we will never stop laughing about that!

These will be treasured always by our family – thank you, Tanya! You should check out her shop on Etsy here; she really is a wizard with watercolor.

Melody by Tanya Spolans

by Valerie | 11.21.16 | For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | 2 Comments »

you’re a hottie

Ryan: What should I draw? Me: Draw a dancing hot dog, like in the old school intermissions at movies. Ryan: I'm gonna draw a hot dog taking a selfie & it'll say "you're a hottie". ... Ryan: How do you make duck lips? Me: (laughs) Like this... :camer

I’m just going to leave this right here… Risograph demo by my amazingly talented husband, Ryan Molloy!

by Valerie | 11.16.16 | For Funsies, Work | 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 »

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 »

weekend haps

basement stairsI’m so excited to say that we’ve now completed our basement stair beautification project…at least that’s what I’m going to call it. The red oak wood stain on the treads and Benjamin Moore super white paint really made a big difference; I’d say they have come a long way from this to this and this. I was so happy about it, when we finished painting yesterday, that I kept saying we had “sexy stairs”. Now, hopefully in the next couple months, we can finish having work done to our basement, get all the walls painted white, and say goodbye to the mint chocolate chip green color that’s currently in the space. We managed to make it to the Art Fair last weekend, picked our first four ripe tomatoes from the garden, and I cut some hosta leaves and hydrangea from our yard as well to enjoy inside – enjoying the summer weather and our summer garden/yard! (bowl and vase by Abigail Murray) first 4 ripe garden tomatoes of the season (bowl by @abigailmurraystudio)!

hosta & hydrangea from our yard & vase by @abigailmurraystudio

garden goodies & vase/bowl by @abigailmurraystudio

by Valerie | 07.20.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

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