#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 »

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 »

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 »

weekend haps

DIY outdoor table with built in cooler trays ✔️

We managed to refinish all of our outdoor furniture (two Adirondack chairs, one side table) and we rebuilt our outdoor table with built in cooler trays over the weekend too; it was so nice to sit outside and enjoy our backyard with friends on Memorial Day! Our garden is all planted and I’m loving all the flowers in pots – I mean…just look at these sunny yellow zinnias and roses. And we really enjoyed dinner and drinks at Salt Springs Brewery in Saline on Friday; the building is over 100 years old and was a former church – the stained glass windows are beautiful and the food and drinks were delicious.

our yard/garden 5/29/16

yellow zinnia

by Valerie | 05.31.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Holidaze | No Comments »

#yardworkishardwork

#yardworkishardwork

Some of the highlights of last week for me were enjoying gelato/sorbet with friends, more (dairy-free for me) frozen yogurt with Ryan (they don’t know our names yet at Orange Leaf, so I can rest easy for now I think), meeting this adorable Australian Shepherd puppy, all the great things Ryan and I accomplished after two days of yard work at our house (#yardworkishardwork), and flowers…always flowers – this week it was peonies, lilacs, and lily of the valley; we planted zinnias, yellow roses (my Granddaddy would have loved them), peonies, alstroemeria, dahlias, and marigolds in our yard/garden for the summer.

Our weekend projects included: painting and cleaning our AC unit in the backyard – no more rust and now it almost looks like new, filling our garden boxes and pots with flowers and vegetables, planting two peonies in our side yard and finishing bed with stone border and mulch, raising and replacing two more stone borders in our yard, more mulch, weeding, mowing, cutting down a tree, organizing and cleaning our garage… Whew, I’m ready for a nap! I’ll leave you with this – just a little Paul Simon and my Melody to make you smile.

peony perfection

sorbet + sunny day = 😊

⬇️

by Valerie | 05.23.16 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

commencement

#commencement

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 »

puppy love

puppy 💗

Because this Tuesday was my Monday and who doesn’t appreciate some adorable puppy love… Thanks to Erin for sharing her adorable puppy, Bella, with us for a few minutes! puppy 💗

by Valerie | 12.01.15 | For Funsies | 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 »

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 »

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