Dining Al Fresco

I love to dine al fresco. Partly because I enjoy the outdoors and partly because I sound fancy when I speak Italian. (Al fresco means outside in Italian.) But there would be no al fresco at our place until I cleaned up our balcony.

Out table in particular was screaming for TLC.

So one night while JT was working late, I went shopping, determined to get this space in shape. After a few “quick” stops to Home Goods and Home Depot, and then a Skype session in the middle of World Market with my mom for styling advice,  I was armed to DIY and decorate.

I followed this tutorial to revive our table and chairs. I also scrubbed every surface to remove all of the pollen that had caked itself onto our balcony.

I only added a few items for some color and ambiance, but it has made a huge difference. The lanterns with candlelight at night are awesome. We’ve already had a few dinners and late night cocktails outside.

It’s amazing what a difference a little elbow grease and some pretty accents can do. It also doesn’t hurt that our apartment complex is having a “beautify your balcony” contest in a few days. That contest may or may not have influenced me to do this sooner than I would have… Thank you to my mom for “online shopping” with me and to my husband for hanging everything. I don’t need to win the contest to be happy about our updated balcony, it turned out great!

(You know I’m lying. I do need to win.)

Save Their Date

Not only have I been bestowed the honor of standing next to my sister on her big day, but I have unofficially dubbed myself co-wedding planner. Obviously the other half of that title belongs to our mom.

We take our wedding planner title very seriously. I can’t give you any details about the bridal shower (My dad recently asked me if I’m more excited about this than my sister – the answer is yes) or bachelorette party (I don’t even have words for this…) because B (my sister) reads my blog.

What I can share is that in six months, our very own B & G will be saying “I do” and here’s how they announced their engagement:

I was lucky enough to be the photographer on set, the visual editor of the photos, and the designer who helped create the vision these two had.

Do you love them?! Even though I helped with this, they get all the credit for being good sports. I took about 200 pictures and my mom and made them do about 50 different poses. They just smiled and went with it.

I can’t believe my sister is getting married already. Not because I think she’s too young. (I got married at the same age.) And definitely not because they aren’t ready. (They have been together for 6 years!) But when this is over, I won’t have any more weddings to help plan.

Anyone have an opening for wedding planner? I’m available September 30.


Home Sweet Home

Even though Virginia is now home, we still have a soft spot for our hometowns where our families still live. So when I started seeing home state art pop up all over Pinterest, I had to make something for our apartment.

I didn’t pin this, but my inspiration came from this picture, found here.


I’ve had this idea saved for months, but never got around to making it until now. What do you think? The photo quality isn’t great because I left my camera at work, so these are from my phone. I was too excited not to share this right away.

I LOVE it. It replaced a watercolor painting I had in that frame that had no significance to us. Now we have a little reminder of where we came from.

And if you think it’s a coincidence that PA is on top, it’s not. ;)

Hot Crayons

I’ve been jonesin’ to DIY something lately. I’ve noticed out in Blogland that a lot of you are sick of the heat. Well let’s take advantage of our crafty desires and the last few weeks of hot weather to melt some crayons.

I saw this on Craftgawker.com. If you haven’t been to that site, just go to The Gawkerverse. It will change your life.

So Suzi, at Unsimple Living, took the Pinterest Challenge showcased on YHL and Bower Power (2 of the 4 awesome ladies to partake). She found this melted crayon art and took on the project with her mom. It is adorable and a perfect punch of creative color to jazz up any space. I need this for my office/guest room! And the method? So easy.

It’s the only time I’ve ever read advice to leave something in a hot car to melt. Finally, a purpose! Usually melting anything that isn’t edible is a bad idea. This really makes me want to melt crayons. And maybe swirl them together. Finger painting melted crayons? They are non-toxic, so it can’t be bad, can it? One step at a time.

Check out Suzi’s crayon art. I hope I get the motivation to do the same and without making such a mess that it can be showcased in our place. Now I just have to find where I put my box of crayons…