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!
We were thrilled to visit Flower House this weekend and it did not disappoint; it was amazing, beautiful, and inspiring – like Disneyland with flowers…only better! This video almost made me cry. P.S. Lisa Waud is awesome! The photo above are some stems we took home with us from Flower House. You can view more photos we took at Flower House here.
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)!
My week included a visit to Cornman Farms (I pet a goat [they name all of their goats there], picked some lavender, and did you know they host cocktail classes there once a month?…It was hard to leave when it was time to go!), an impromptu dinner date with Ryan at Sidetracks (we sat on the patio, right next to the train tracks, and watched a train speed by us), and this absolutely stunning antique hydrangea in the photo above (they’re only available for a very short time of the year here and I can’t get enough of them – they’re enormous and the color is amazing).
I’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)
I enjoyed a really great birthday weekend, full of celebration and fun activities, and thoughtful gifts and wishes from family and friends too – thank you all for making me feel so special! The Birthday Cake at Sava’s is pretty amazing…and it’s on their regular dessert menu so you can enjoy it anytime you visit (this could be good or bad, depending on how strong your willpower is). I don’t think I went a day from Thursday on last week without having some sort of delicious sweet treat – cake, cupcakes, pie, candy, etc. – even the salad I ordered for lunch on Friday had bacon toffee on it (and it was amazing).
We ended our fun weekend with a lovely Easter afternoon brunch (complete with egg dyeing), which Ryan made an excellent vegetarian hash for, followed by a tasty dinner of casarecce pasta with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. And there’s still a pile of Easter chocolates and candy on our kitchen table, a pretty spring-appropriate shade of nail polish, and some beautiful tulips, daffodils, and roses around our house for me to continue to enjoy. We had some rain/thunderstorms last week and I spied pots of pansies for sale around town over the weekend too – more sure signs of spring!