Labor Day Weekend Recap

This past weekend was amazing. I’m sad to see it go! I decided to kick things off on Friday by going for a run after work. I meant to go straight from work but completely flaked Friday morning and forgot to bring my running clothes to work to change into. Woops! It was really nice running through my neighborhood though and seeing everyone out and about, getting ready for the weekend.

IMG_20140829_184931It’s views like this that made me fall in love with (and want to move to) this neighborhood in the first place. I just love all the trees and the houses are so cute and full of character. It makes for a very enjoyable run. After my run I cleaned up and headed into Albany to see Casablanca outside the Capitol Building.

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I have wanted to see Casablanca for literally years, so I was super excited to go. On top of that, watching the movie outside was a really fun experience. I brought mini pretzels and animal crackers (I can’t go anywhere without snacks), but there were a couple of food trucks there as well. I definitely want to go to more outside movies next year!

IMG_20140830_095448Saturday was another great day. It started off with a Stand-up Paddle Boarding class through L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Adventures. I was both very excited and very nervous about this class. The concept of stand-up paddle boarding looked awesome and like a bunch of fun, but I wasn’t sure how easy it would be and was convinced I was going to fall off the board and into the water. Well – I didn’t fall (I did wobble a couple of times and sat down once, but didn’t fall) and it really was amazingly fun! I didn’t want the class to end; I could have stayed out on the water all day.

IMG_20140830_113518After paddle boarding I did some things around my house before heading out to a friend’s surprise birthday party. It was such a fun night and the my friend was definitely surprised (since his wife planned this party months ahead of his actual birthday)!

IMG_20140831_225652Sunday I got my craft on and broke out the chalkboard paint for the first time ever! I bought this for some presents I was making for Christmas last year, but wound up using pre-made labels instead. It’s been sitting around my house since then and I finally used it! I can’t share what the project was just yet, but it was a fun thing to do and I’ll be back with that later.

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I had a couple of things I wanted to pick up Sunday evening so I headed out to do some errands. On my way home I was driving along the Mohawk River and saw this amazingly beautiful sunset! I actually turned my car around and drove back so I could capture it and this picture doesn’t even do it justice! The colors were phenomenal and seeing the whole thing reflected in the river was just awesome. I could have stood there until it was dark and just watched all the colors change…but since my car was pulled off the main road with my hazards on, I decided against that. It was definitely something special though – pretty much every car that drove by also pulled over to capture the moment.

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Monday was the perfect cap to the fun weekend. I had a lazy morning, did some things around my house, and then popped up to Lake George for the rest of the day. I hadn’t been up there once this summer and since it is one of my all-time favorite places ever, and it was a gorgeous day, I decided to abandon the rest of my to-do list and just go. I’m so happy that I did – the weather was perfect and it was exactly the best way to end the weekend.

Did you have a good Labor Day weekend? What did you do? Things around the house? One last vacation of the summer? Prep for kids going back to school?

Labor Day Roundup

To make up for my lack of posts last week I’m adding a bonus one this week! And what better way than to celebrate the three day weekend! Who’s excited?! I am, that’s for sure.

Let’s start with food, because what kind of holiday weekend would this be without it! Most people have their favorite recipe for hot dogs and hamburgers so I wanted to share some different recipes to go with those standbys.

Things to Eat

1. Grilled Pizza (from here) – I love grilled pizza. It’s one of my top favorite things of the summer and I usually request it for my birthday dinner. There’s just something SO good about the grilled crust loaded with {grilled} veggies. Yum.
2. Grilled Pizza #2 (from here) – I couldn’t decide which recipe I liked better, so I included both!
3. Grilled S’mores Pizza (from here) – Maybe if you don’t have room for a dinner pizza, you could shoot for this grilled s’mores dessert pizza. I have to try this sometime. It looks amazing.
4. S’mores Toppings Bar (from here) – I’m always looking for ideas to switch things up so when I came across this post I was in heaven! With options like strawberries, toasted coconut, chocolate graham crackers, and cookies and cream chocolate bars, just to name a few, how can you go wrong!? I will do this at some point in my life and it will be legend {wait for it} dairy #BarneyStinson
5. Spicy Chicken Kebabs with Lemon Potatoes (from here) – These sounded like a really interesting twist on regular kebabs and could infuse some global flavors into your cookout.
6. Warm Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta (from here) – Here’s a delicious recipe to use up some of those last summer tomatoes!
7. Soft Pretzel Rolls (from here) – With the pretzel bun craze everywhere here’s a recipe so you can make your own! I definitely want to try these.
8. Tuscan House Italian Pasta Salad (from here) – A little different twist on the traditional pasta salad. I love all the colors!
9. Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw (from here) – I always see the broccoli slaw in the grocery store and am really happy I found this mayo-free recipe! It’ll keep longer outside and sounds light and refreshing.

While things are cooking on the grill, or in between the hot dogs and s’mores there’s a wide variety of backyard games that look (and are) so fun! Soon (although hopefully not too soon!) there will be snow on the ground again, so enjoy these games while it’s still warm out.

Things to do

1. Ladder Ball (from here) – I love playing this game at family and friend gatherings. I have very little skill but so much faith in myself that I’m always convinced I’m going to win. It looks like it should be so easy…famous last words…
2. HUGE version of Kerplunk (from here) – I have never played this, but I mean, who wouldn’t want to! I loved the regular sized version of Kerplunk as a kid so I feel like you can’t really go wrong here.
3. Corn Hole (from here) – This is similar to ladder ball. I haven’t played this game much, but I feel like I should be better at it than I am. It’s still really fun though, until you get a ringer on the opposite team.
4. Hang out by an outside fire pit (from here) – um, yes. This is the best. Especially when accompanied by some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. Just sayin’
5. Outdoor Scrabble (from here) – To me this is like the outside chess boards – it looks awesome to play AND you’d probably get some exercise walking around the “board” to see what words you can make.

Relax by the water

Of course you could do none of these things and choose to relax on a beach, the ocean, a lake, or maybe in a hammock or Adirondack chair in your very own back yard, and soak up the last bits of summer. Whatever you do and however you choose to spend this holiday weekend, I hope you have a great one!

Put a Label On It

I mentioned yesterday that the last little thing I did in the closet was to add labels to the shelves and the hanging bar. I’ve noticed in the past, every time I go through the exercise of tidying up the closet, the first thing that slips is the “grouping” of my clothes. When I’m cleaning it up, I break out my clothes into categories like chunky sweaters, long sleeved T-shirts, tank tops, etc. I also like to have separate piles for things that I can wear to work versus casual clothes. This is a huge help for me when I’m getting ready (and it just looks nicer) but as time goes on, I forget which pile is what category, and wind up putting clothes back wherever I can. To fix this, I created labels to go along with the groups so I remember which clothes are where.

IMG_3606The supplies I used for this project actually changed a little bit over time, but here’s what I started with. I’ll make notes for the things I updated as I went along:

1. Jute twine
2. Random thin cardboard as a template for the hanging signs (I wound up using an empty juice carton instead of this template in the end)
3. A tag as the template for the shelf signs
4. A triangle ruler – I wanted to make sure that all my labels had right angles after I traced the templates so they didn’t look wonky
5. Hole punch (I wound up buying a single hole punch for this because my 3 hole punch couldn’t handle the thickness of the cardboard)
6. Scissors
7. Glue (I wound up using loops of tape instead of glue)
8. Leftover cardboard (from the IKEA bookshelf in this project)
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White and silver paint

Paint brush and pencil with old (dry) eraser
Cardstock
Paper cutter (I have this one – but if you don’t have one, scissors work just fine)

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I first went into my closet with some random scraps of cardboard (tags from shirts, labels from random packages) so I could visualize the sizes of the labels I wanted for each space. After picking out the right sizes, I counted the number of labels I needed (30 shelf size, 7 hanging size) and traced them all onto the cardboard. After cutting them all out I painted them with two coats of white craft paint. After those dried I went back and made polka dots on them with metallic silver paint using the dry eraser from an old pencil.

IMG_20140824_215919Once they were all painted, I punched holes in the tops of all the labels. My plan was to tie the labels onto the shelves and bar with jute twine for a cottage-y feel. Each hole is 1/2 inch in from both the top and the sides so they all look consistent. I also didn’t want to write straight on the labels themselves in case things change, so using card stock I cut out panels for each label where I could write in whatever I wanted to. That way if I decide to switch things up in the future, I can just peel off the panel and put a new one on without too much fuss.

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Aren’t they charming! I was very impressed with myself; they came out exactly how I wanted them to look. After getting them all done I ran into my closet and thought about what I wanted each one to say. For the shelves it was pretty straight forward since I had a label for pretty much every pile. For the hanging clothes I just wanted ones for the major groups so I would remember how I decided to organize things down the road.

Shirts label

This is an example of the one I have for all the hanging shirts in my closet. They are ordered by sleeve length (sleeveless to long sleeved) and within those groupings the shirts go from light to dark. This probably seems overly obsessive but as I mentioned before, it really helps when I’m getting dressed in the morning.

IMG_3625Here are the shelf labels. These just say what the pile is (in this case, “fancy tank tops”) so I remember how I wanted things when I’m putting clothes away.

I have had the labels on for a few days now but I find that they are a huge help when I’m putting together outfits. Not only can I now clearly see where the clothes are for the appropriate weather, but also breaking them out makes me think about new outfit combinations. Having that extra touch also makes me take the extra second to make sure any clothes I’m putting back are folded nicely so they don’t mess up the aesthetics of the closet.

Are you a label-er? I think the next space to benefit from some labels will be the kitchen cabinets and my pantry, or the linen closet. What kinds of finishing touches are you putting in your spaces? What are your tricks for keeping your closet(s) in order?