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.


Cranbrook Hippie Modernism

by Valerie | 08.19.16 | Around our home, For Funsies | 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 »

family fun


We enjoyed a fun 4th of July week with my parents who drove up to visit us from Texas this year; we visited the American Museum of Magic and Dark Horse Brewing Co in Marshall, MI, had dinner at Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo (my mouth is still watering over their fried green tomatoes…not to mention the delicious beer), saw the Beatles exhibit at Henry Ford Museum, and Ryan cooked up some delicious eats like waffles with homemade Michigan blueberry compote for breakfast and fajitas for dinner. We’re having fun with this new-to-us photo app, Prisma, which Ryan used to edit some of our photos from the 4th; you can view more photos from our time with my family here.


Henry Ford Museum - Beatles Exhibit

if it fits it sits

I have been enjoying listening to these song remakes lately, like 99 problems and No Diggity and Jolene (there are some fun ones listed here too); Johnny Cash can do no wrong. We’ve been taking lots of long walks all around town and throughout the local parks – the summer is flying by, but is definitely lovely here in Michigan!

Summertime in A2

by Valerie | 07.17.16 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | 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 »


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 »

Christmas time in A2 & Happy Hanukkah

Christmas time in A2

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). Happy Hanukkah

by Valerie | 12.07.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

winterWe 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! winter wreath 2015

winter wreath 2015pom pom garland

Christmas cactus

by Valerie | 11.22.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

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