Fourth of July Recap

Leading up to the Fourth of July weekend I had very little in the way of plans. I had debated hosting a BBQ, had a couple of invites to go out-of-town, and had a list of things I could do around the house. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but everything came together right before the weekend. It was an awesome couple of days and the perfect mix of relaxation and activity, spending time with friends and getting things done on my own. For the Fourth itself I had a low-key day at home and mostly focused on prepping these delicious treats for the BBQ I headed to that evening: IMG_20140704_190221 I saw these dessert skewers on Pinterest a while ago (originally from here) and was SO excited to finally make them! Not only did they look festive but they tasted great and everybody loved them! I followed this recipe pretty directly but I’m sure there are a ton of delicious combinations out there! Pound cake with strawberries and chocolate marshmallows; angel food cake with pineapple and coconut; brownies and graham cracker coated marshmallows; there are a million possibilities. IMG_20140704_191654 In the evening I headed over to a friend’s house for said BBQ and it was so fun to just hang out and chat with everyone for a while. After dinner we went to a nearby parking lot where we could watch the Albany fireworks from across the river (along with some other random firework displays). It was a blast seeing so many fireworks and was a really great night. IMG_20140705_134711 On Saturday I spent the morning doing some stuff around the house and went for a bike ride along the Mohawk River. It was a gorgeous day and it felt so good to get out and be active for a while; especially considering that I spent my afternoon in the car headed to Maine for the remainder of the weekend! I got to Maine right before the fireworks started so I got to watch a couple different displays on the beach with my friends. IMG_20140705_214415 After the fireworks we went to the local arcade and played some Skee-Ball and various other games. I normally give away my tickets (since I don’t typically accumulate much and don’t need pencil erasers or stuffed animals) but this time I decided to cash them in for some pretty rad temporary tattoos. We meant to put them on that night but totally forgot so I’ve been carrying dinosaur and BFF Forever temporary tattoos in my wallet ever since. :-P2014 The next day I FINALLY got to cross something off my “to do” list that has been on there for a couple of years (yes, years) – fly a kite on the beach. The crazy thing is, when I agreed to visit my friends in Maine, I had no idea where they were staying. The beach that was right outside of their hotel was the exact beach I had in mind when I said I wanted to fly a kite on the beach. They were staying in Wells and I used to go up there with my family when I was a kid so I know the beach there very well (and love it). IMG_7067 First thing in the morning, we headed down to the beach and put our kites to good use. My kite – a turtle that I named Herbert – had a little difficulty at first; it kept “nose diving” into the sand rather than flying up in the sky. After several attempts it seemed to catch the right air current and stayed up in the air for a good period of time. IMG_7150I’m glad we did this early in the morning because there weren’t that many people on the beach. It gave us more free rein to run around and we didn’t have to worry as much when the kites bombed into the sand. IMG_7047 After a while we called it quits with the kites but I definitely want to do it again soon! I knew it would be fun but I really loved it! I felt like a kid again running after it, trying to get it to stay up in the air. It was such a great time. IMG_7095 The rest of the afternoon we spent just hanging out on the beach, reading books and magazines, and sticking our toes in the water (I stayed along the water’s edge since it was freezing but my friends are braver than I am and waded out into the waves several times). I’m so glad I decided to make the trip up there because it really was the best weekend. IMG_7203 And yes – I did stay pasty white the entire weekend, just the way I like it. ;)

What did you do on the 4th? Do you typically stay home? Host a BBQ? Go to a friend or family member’s? Do you travel? I think the 4th might be one of my favorite holidays – it has good food, good company, and fireworks. It’s pretty tough to compete with that.

Elephants, Trees, Fabric, Oh my!

I have lived in my house for almost four years now and during this time I haven’t had ANY artwork on the walls in my whole house! Not because I don’t want anything on the walls or couldn’t figure out what I wanted to put on them, but because everything has felt in flux and “under construction” since I moved in. I think as a result it has taken a really long time for my house to feel like my home. Things have finally calmed down a lot (not completely, but enough to feel more settled) so I decided its high time I get some stuff up on the walls! I put “Hang up art in my house” on my 30×30 list to help motivate me to get that done! I have lots of ideas about what I want to do in the various rooms and have already started to hang up some art, so let’s have a look around. Living room art In the living room I have Eyan, my Cardboard Safari elephant, and a shadow box with a cloth and white birch tree bark picture that my parents got in Alaska. Close up of Eyan and Birchwood frame I love them both and think they add a lot of character and texture. I’m still looking for/thinking of something else to go in that grouping but haven’t fully decided what I want yet. Three picture frame on distressed wood On the wall next to those two I’m planning to hang up the frame that my sister got me as a graduation present. I was really stuck about what I wanted on this wall for a long time. I didn’t want a grouping or loud image that would compete with the wall next to it. Originally I was thinking of taking down the built-ins because I didn’t know what to do with them or how to style/use them. During that phase I was sold on putting up postcard shelves à la Young House Love. But after playing around with things on the shelves of the built-ins, I realized I love them. Now that they’re staying, postcard shelves seem like too much. Then my sister sent me a beautiful frame with three places for pictures on distressed wood from Etsy when I graduated from grad school. I had put it on the oversized chair in the living room for safe keeping, and after seeing it against that wall, instantly realized I LOVED it there. I haven’t hung it up yet, but think it’ll look great once I do. I also have added some artwork on the wall in the dining room. I have some additional plans for this room as well but the frames that are up now are a great start. Dining Room Art These frames date back to when I lived in my apartment right after college. I didn’t have a lot of discretionary income and my mom mentioned seeing something on an HGTV show (I believe it was Design on a Dime) about taking cool fabric and putting it in a frame. Well I love fabric and it was an inexpensive way to decorate and add some color to my beige walls so I jumped on it! I still had those frames when I moved into my house and they lived in a box until about a month ago. The colors work perfectly with the paint in the dining room and I like how the staggered hanging of the frames gives the wall some visual interest. I still have some other things I want to put up in there like the scratch-off map my friend got me for Christmas, and some candle holders I’ve had for ages, so I’ll be sure to update you when that happens. Scratch Map What kinds of art do you like in your living or dining rooms? I think what I have so far is more quirky/eclectic but I like it that way. Do you prefer more traditional art? Store bought? From a gallery? Homemade?