We enjoyed a cold, but sunny afternoon in downtown A2 on Saturday – before heading home, we stopped by the heated tent on the patio of The Beer Grotto; watching the bubbles rise in our sunshine-lit glasses underneath the outdoor heater was a most relaxing way to spend a cold Saturday. Look at the bubbles…you’re getting very sleepy… Speaking of getting sleepy, my body still thinks it’s an hour earlier after the time change which made our lack of blue skies here today (we’re expecting several inches of snow and it’s been snowing all morning) even tougher to brave. I’m looking forward to more sunshine and bubbles in my future; that and if only I could always enter a room like this!
Last week we celebrated Pączki Day, enjoyed tasting our homemade bitters (which we bottled) in some delicious cocktails, played a new (to us) board game with friends – Acquire, I met a sweet dog at a local flower shop, made it to a movie at the theater, and we had breakfast at one of our favorite spots in town on Sunday. What’s up with this weird weather though?
We’ve had such odd winter weather this year in Michigan (record highs) and I think this cartoon sums it up pretty well; it was 57 with thunderstorms last Tuesday and 28 and snowing last Friday, for example. I don’t want to complain about the mild weather we’ve had, but it has definitely been abnormal. And here we are in March already with daylight saving time beginning this coming Sunday. I’m hoping it doesn’t get too cold again as the plants are confused; the trees are budding and the spring bulbs have already started to sprout up from ground. The late winter/early spring flowers are beautiful (crocus, snowdrops, etc.), they’re so dainty and delicate – a welcome sign of spring, and I’ve already seen robins darting around the yard; it’s always exciting to see the seasons begin to change!
For all you lovers out there and lovers of love, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! I treated myself to two new, gorgeous orchid plants (English Gardens has them on sale through tomorrow – buy one, get one 50% off) and we visited the VLNTNSDY MRKT 5 in Detroit on Saturday, where I picked up some Sfumato Fragrances, a JKM Soy Candle, and some Warda Pâtisserie treats. We also had the pleasure of visiting friends, where we got to sample Wolf Moon Mixers…just look at this beautiful bowl of punch in the photo below! With Valentine’s Day in mind, here a few fun things for you to check out:
- pot & box’s valentine’s arrangement: the Abigail
- Antique roses…swoon…
- Best Last Minute (Free!) Valentines
- Superstore Valentine’s Day
- Romantic movies on Netflix
- Looking for some holiday-appropriate tunes?
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…
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.
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.
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!
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:
- You’re going to need something to put those flowers in – I suggest some lovely porcelain from my friend Abigail Murray (vase and votive pictured in photo above)!
- Valentine’s Gifts by Compartés (I know it’s pricey, but isn’t this this most beautiful box of chocolates you’ve ever seen?)
- Heartstagram by Framebridge
- Sending You My Love
- Sweetheart Tea Towel
- I found the cutest collar with candy hearts on it for Melody at Dogma Catmantoo!
- How about some puppy love?
We enjoyed a fun weekend full of holiday activities, like Midnight Madness in downtown Ann Arbor which had us stopping in many of our favorite, local shops to pick up Christmas gifts, a visit to the lovely Abigail Murray studio for an open house (I walked away with some gifts from here too and I couldn’t resist buying something for myself while I was there), admiring the painted shop windows, we decorated the tree (more on that to come soon), hours were spent on designing this year’s most excellent holiday card (more on that to come soon too), celebrating the first night of Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, and at my house you could hear Christmas music and Christmas movies playing all weekend long (yes, A Very Murray Christmas was delightful).
We haven’t made it to Thanksgiving yet, but it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Ann Arbor; we had 9-10 inches of snow here yesterday and everything is covered in a blanket of sparkling white, fresh-fallen snow. We haven’t put up our Christmas tree yet, as we always wait until after Thanksgiving at our house to do that, but we did visit the Farmer’s Market yesterday and pick out a gorgeous, fresh fir and boxwood wreath and hang it on our front door – not only does it look nice, it smells wonderful too! I did put a few things around the house in preparation for Christmas, like this really cute, red yarn pom pom garland from a local store, Found, in Kerrytown. And my Christmas cactus is blooming!