Category Archives: Summer Bucket List

Update on My Summer Bucket List

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So, my Summer Bucket List. It feels like just last week I was writing up the list and anxiously anticipating the summer months ahead. Now here we are in the middle of September and I’m already Googling new cognac boots and spending too much money on fall scented candles from Bath and Body Works.

This summer went far from planned. To start, we moved. We had started looking at some new little nest options but weren’t planning on moving until later this season. However, we fell in love with an apartment and it was priced appropriately. In this area those two factors mean ACT NOW. So we did. While we accomplished some things on the Bucket List, many got left behind or forgotten altogether. Despite that, it truly was an amazing summer. We traveled, we “cheers-ed”, we laughed, we lived in the moment, and we were certainly never bored.

Here’s the rundown on our list:

– Read 8 books between Memorial Day and Labor Day

So, I didn’t make it to eight. I think I read five? When I created the list I anticipated reading much more on my vacations to Cape Cod and Europe than I actually did. Aside from travel time in the car or planes, I hardly read at all on those trips, which is actually probably a good sign. I will say that by creating a book list I really made it a point to pick up the titles I wanted to read. The list helped put the reading process back into my daily routine (even if I was only reading a few pages before bed), and that was ultimately the point. I definitely plan to create a fall reading list to share later this month.

– Go to Six Flags

Yep, we didn’t make it. We truly had no free weekends, and with all the other awesome things we were doing it never even crossed our minds.

– Attend at least one outdoor concert

Woo! We can actually cross this one off the list. Early in the summer we saw that Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson were going to be performing at Wolf Trap and we scooped up tickets and blocked out the evening on our calendar. Wolf Trap is a really fun and unique concert venue with a rustic vibe. They allow everyone to bring in their own blankets, picnic baskets, and alcohol, so we packed up nibbles and a bottle of wine and had a really perfect summer date night.

– Try three new restaurants in our area

I know we had to have done this, but I’m having trouble remembering what restaurants we frequented all summer. Crepes, BBQ, and lots of fresh seafood were all part of our summer diets, and we made it a point to try out new spots when we went out. While not at all in our area, the best meal we ate this season was hands-down at Barbecoa in London.

– Visit two new local Farmer’s Markets

I made it to the Annapolis market (meh), but so far I still haven’t gotten to Fell’s Point for theirs. Free Saturday mornings were at a premium. It is still on my list to get to though, and fall markets are sometimes even better than summer!

– Go to Sandy Point State Park

Nope, didn’t make it. Like Six Flags, it never even crossed our minds. Maybe next year!

– Visit a local winery

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to an actual winery. I did get to a few wine festivals and tried lots of new local wines – even finding some new favorites and go-tos. Boordy still has some events happening this fall, and I’m going to keep this goal for the coming season.

– Make homemade doughnuts

In the midst of travel and moving this never happened. For a couple of weeks there I was doing minimal cooking, let alone baking. Now that my pots and pans are unpacked and I’ve gotten the hang of my new gas stove (love it!) I may give this a go.

– Have a picnic outside on a blanket

We did this a few times, but as mentioned above, my favorite picnic was definitely at the Gavin/Matt concert.

– Make caprese salad using basil and tomatoes from my own plants

So the neighborhood we lived in before we moved in August was pretty residential and had deer. Lots and lots of deer. When my first few tomatoes started to appear back in June the deer swept in and ate my plant down to a stump. It is just finally recovering and has a few lone green tomatoes sprouting, but I have low hopes. We have much better outdoor space at our new apartment and I can’t wait to start fresh in the spring.

– Craft something

I think I crafted a few things over the last few months, but I honestly can’t remember. I did finally get around to staining an unfinished wood crate over Labor Day weekend. We used it as part of our wedding reception decor, and I’ve been meaning to stain it for two years now. Inspired by my new outdoor patio space and a three day weekend, I set about staining it and turning it into a small bookshelf/side table. I love the end result and the bit of personality it adds to our primarily Ikea-furnished living space.

– Buy a piece of artwork while traveling

Unfortunately, this never happened. We never saw anything that really struck us that we loved enough to haul around. We do plan to go through some photos and hopefully get some great prints from our travels to add to a gallery wall that is on our to-do list.

So, we didn’t do all that well at crossing things off the list, but so is life. What was something on your summer bucket list that you never got to? Or, what was something fun and unexpected you did this season? xx

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Across the Pond & Back: Photos from London & St Andrews

We’ve officially been back from Europe for two weeks. It feels like a lifetime. We had an amazing time – filled with laughter, good friends, bubbly, and glow sticks. I’ll start getting back into some regular posting around here in the coming days, but for now, I’m going to stay in a state of wanderlust and reminisce.

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Week in Photos: Cape Cod

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Seven Ways to Make July Great

SunflowersIt’s July! Can you believe it? Here are seven small ways you can make the month great.

1. Treat yourself (or someone else!) to flowers

The power of a $5 bouquet of flowers is highly underrated. Treat yourself to a fun bouquet from the Farmer’s Market, or check out the seasonal selection at your local supermarket. I scored the prettiest trio of pink peonies a couple of weeks ago for less than four bucks, and I smiled every time I walked by them the rest of the week.

2. Play with sparklers

July is the month of fireworks, and sparklers are the perfect way to celebrate. Pick up a basic box and (safely) enjoy. Bonus points if you can snap a Pinterest-worthy photo with friends.

3. Enjoy a cocktail (or mocktail) outside

Whether on your porch, deck, or a restaurant patio, whip up a fun and fruity drink and enjoy the summer sun while pretending to be on vacation, if only for just an hour.

4. Take an evening walk

Taking an evening stroll around the neighborhood is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the warm weather. It’s a great time to disconnect from technology, decompress, and enjoy the sights and sounds of your community.

5. Challenge a friend to a round of mini-golf

A round of mini-golf with a friend or partner is guaranteed to be filled with competition, laughter, and if you’re as bad as me, a little humility. This is also a fun and fairly inexpensive weeknight activity, perfect for breaking up the monotony of the work week.

6. Paint your toes a bright color

Treat yourself to an at-home pedi and gussy up those toes with a bold color. I’m currently loving OPI’s “I Eat Mainely Lobster”.

7. Make homemade popsicles

Don’t have a fancy mold? No problem! Popsicle sticks, plastic wrap, and paper dixie cups will get the job done. Get creative with your flavors and add-ins, or check out this article from The Nest, which rounds up 10 easy and delicious recipes. The champagne raspberry pops sound awesome!

 

Looking for more ideas on ways to make the summer extra special? Check out my Summer Bucket List. What will you do to make July great? Anything you’re looking forward to this month? xx

Weekend in Photos

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Summer Reading List

 

Beach Reading

Last week I shared my Summer Bucket List – my quest to make the summer of 2014 just a little extra special. Topping my list was to read more, specifically, eight books between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here’s what I have planned:

1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – “The story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962…and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.” I’m about halfway through this and really enjoying it so far. Take me to Italy, please.

2. A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White – “A breathtaking story of three richly nuanced outcasts whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café as they realize they must give up everything they thought they knew to find a home at last.”

3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – “A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.”

4. The One & Only by Emily Giffin – “An extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.”

… Sidenote: I’m a huge Emily Giffin fan!

5. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg – “A moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together.”

6. The Vacationers by Emma Straub – “An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.”

7. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – “A compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.”

8. Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro – “One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2014, Cutting Teeth takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.”

Bonus Read: The Awakening by Kate Chopin – “Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle to reconcile her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century South.”

A classic, I read The Awakening when I was in high school and really felt a deep connection to it. I’m long overdue for a re-read, and I’m really interested to see how my emotions have changed about the book now that I’m older and (a little) wiser.

Any recommendations/reviews? What will you be reading this summer?

Summer Bucket List

With Memorial Day Weekend marking the unofficial start of summer, I found myself sipping my coffee Monday morning with a breeze blowing through the screen door, contemplating what the season would bring. J and I have some really wonderful summer plans ahead, including a day trip to NYC, a week in Cape Cod with his family, and a trip to England and Scotland. Even with our planned travels, I can’t help but feel the itch to make this summer one to remember. Behold, my summer bucket list.

-Read 8 books between Memorial Day and Labor Day

I love to read, but I have noticed myself picking up a book less and less over the last couple of years. I blame Netflix. There are 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so I have a little less than two weeks to get through each book. I’ll share my summer reading list in an upcoming post!

– Go to Six Flags

J and I live just a few miles away from Six Flags America here in Maryland, and we haven’t been. This summer it is!

– Attend at least one outdoor concert

There’s nothing better than sitting under the stars listening to live music. I need to scope out touring dates and see what my options are, but I hope to get to at least one outdoor concert, big or small.

– Try three new restaurants in our area

We are lucky to be surrounded by amazing food and restaurants, but we find ourselves heading back to old favorites. Between options in DC, Annapolis, and Baltimore, we should easily be able to check off some new spots by summer’s end and hopefully add a new favorite or two to the books.

– Visit two new local Farmer’s Markets

On the same note, there are Farmer’s Markets everywhere you turn around here during the warm weather months, but I tend to end up at the same ones. Two specifically on my list are the Annapolis Market by the water and the Fell’s Point Market in Baltimore.

– Go to Sandy Point State Park

Sandy Point State Park is a Maryland State Park located right before the Bay Bridge. It includes a sandy little beach on the Chesapeake Bay, as well as hiking and picnicking opportunities. We drive by it all the time, we just need to stop and make a day of it.

– Visit a local winery

There are tons of local wineries in the area, but the top of my list is Boordy Vineyards. Their Good Life Thursdays were on last year’s bucket list and I never made it, so I’m determined to get up there at least once this summer.

– Make homemade doughnuts

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated with the idea of making my own doughnuts, but I am, and it’s making the list. I hope you’re as excited to see how this turns out as I am.

– Have a picnic outside on a blanket

Easy enough, right?

– Make caprese salad using basil and tomatoes from my own plants

Urban gardening is tough, y’all. Currently I have three medium sized pots filled with basil, a tomato plant, and mint. So far, so good. I love coming home everyday to see how they’ve grown! The end goal is caprese and mojitos for everyone! BYOC – Bring your own chair. Our little nest has limited seating.

– Craft something

Anything will do. I’ll keep you posted.

– Buy a piece of artwork while traveling

Last but not least. As I mentioned above, we have some pretty stellar trips planned in the coming months, and I’d love to fall in love with a piece of artwork to add to our little space and help us remember the great summer of 2014 while we shiver during whatever polar vortex next winter has in store for us.

So there we have it! I imagine this will be a nice working document with some things added as we think of them, but if we accomplish all of this between now and Labor Day I’ll call it a win. What do you have planned? Anything on your summer bucket list?