Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wander {Wednesday} | Go Glamping!

(Top Left) We had this 3 drawer storage bin that we brought to keep batteries, plates, non-perishable foods.  (Top Right) We picked up these cute bird throw pillows that matched our decor.  They were made in the USA and had a Newport label, I obviously had to get them! ;)  From Home Goods.  (Bottom Right)  Flowers from Home Goods, Citronella Candles from Home Goods, and Stemless Glasses from Target.  (Bottom Left) Our tent had a closet, which I certainly utilized.  

Back in my Mindful Monday post and last weeks Wander Wednesday, I wrote about our recent trip to Rhode Island for my annual family reunion and how me and my closest 40 family (+/-) members cramp into a few cottages surrounding my Great Uncle's cottage on Aquidneck Island.  
It's out family tradition. :)

There are plenty of showers available, but bed space can be limited, so sometimes it is easier to just bring a tent and air mattress.  This was the first year I have ever "camped".  I figured if we were going to try it out, we might as well go all the way and make sure we were comfortable! 

In 10 Things to Bring Glamping, I outlined the main items we needed.  We actually bought many of the things on the list plus a few others we thought of while packing.  Great extras:  The throw rugs for for the entrance to the door, and our eye masks & ear plugs. 
(Sometimes you just aren't ready to get up with the birds!)

It rained once while we were there.  Everything stayed dry and it was a very comfortable space.  We LOVE this tent. The door had a set of poles to install that allowed it to swing open and just velcro shut for quick entrance/exit, but there is a full zipper to make sure it is bug proof. 

We bought our duvet set, solar lantern, and solar string lights from IKEA.

 The lights worked great!  I wasn't able to get a photo of that did them justice.  They lit up the whole tent and made it easy to get ready for bed at night.  One great thing about them is they had an on/off button, so we didn't need to sleep with them on.

Overall, our Glamping experience was great!  I think we will even try it out again sometime soon. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reflection {Friday} | Best time is NOW

{ This is one of my all time favorite quotes! }

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wander {Wednesday} | Rhode Island 2015

I didn't take very many photos during our trip to Rhode Island this year. 
 Instead I was just trying to soak it all and bask in the beauty and peace. 
I managed to snap a handful of good shots, which you can see below. 

Most of these photos are from our sunset sail on the Madeleine.  
The lovely evening out on the water was enhanced by wonderful staff 
and their liberal pours of champagne.  
Literally and figuratively, my glass was never empty. ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mindful {Monday} | A Tradition

Better late than never! I missed writing this post on Monday, because I was up in Rhode Island spending time with family.  Every year my family has been going to Rhode Island, to my Great Uncle Joe's cottage, in July for a massive family vacation/reunion.  And, when I say massive, I mean MASSIVE!

This week long family vacation consists of all of my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins from my Mother's side of the family. {She is one of 8 children}.  It's A LOT of people.  Then on the first Sunday of the trip all of my Mom's second cousins and their children... and their children, come for the big reunion.

It's so impossible to describe.  I don't feel like I can do this incredible event justice.  It's been held on this scale for at least 40 years and my Mom's family were making this same trip when they were kids.  It's a pilgrimage of sorts.

There are probably a hundred different traditions that are repeated each year from the stop into Flo's for lobster rolls and clam cakes, the after dinner Awful Awful's at Newport Creamery, and the evening storytelling sessions in the "Beer Tent".  Walks on the rocky beach searching for purple glass and other treasures, evening pictures on the white rock, in front of the Mount Hope Bridge, then heading out to Newport for dinner.  A new tradition of Tuesday Night Trivia at Aiden's Pub.  Touring the Vineyards with new additions each year as we each turn 21, early morning power walks, and usually one trip to the cliff walks. Mansions and shopping if it rains... and so many more that I can't even think of...

My family is incredibly special and precious to me.  I never forget, but being so far away from them, I don't get that weekly/monthly family-village dose of love that I remember getting to experience growing up in the same town as them. They are truly such a beautiful network of supportive, loving, funny, and amazing people.  They stick together through everything that life throws at them and the amount of effort that they put into each other is unlike anything I've ever seen.  I hope that our traditions continue for many years to come and that we keep adding more love and kindness to the mix with each generation that gets added to the craziness! :)  I can't imagine my life without all the memories and support that my big crazy family has provided.  I can't imagine any place that feels more like home than a week in Rhode Island surrounded by ocean, salt air, and the love of a big family.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

10 Things to Bring Glamping!

We have some summer trips coming up soon and although I am not a fan of roughing it, I think I could manage to "glamp" it.  Glamping = glamorous camping. ;)

(Click on any of the item icons to view shopping information.)

I did my fair share of camping as a kid, but now I like my amenities.  One of the most important things to me is having a cabin style tent, where the walls are not sloped.  Good ventilation is also key, as it helps keep condensation in the tent to a minimum.

Of course, no glamping experience would be complete without an air-mattress, sheets and blankets, decor, and a rug for the tent.  IKEA has some really great items that would be perfect for a great glamping experience.  I love the solar light string, which would be a lovely way to light up your camp area.

I will be picking up some of these items and preparing some other ideas for our planned glamping experience.   I'll be sure to post some pictures on how it turns out! :)

10 Things to Bring Glamping:

  1. Tent - You need a place to sleep, hangout, and stay out of the elements if some bad weather crops up.  My advice is to get a cabin style tent instead of a dome, this will ensure you have some headroom and can standup straight in most places.  Ideally, you want enough room to not feel claustrophobic and be able to move your table and chairs inside if need be...I really like this 8 person cabin style tent by Coleman.  It even has a 2'x2' closet!  Now that's what I'm talking about!
  2. Table and Chairs - Get something that will fold up and be easy to transport, like the IKEA set pictured above. 
  3. Lantern - Bring some citronella candles and a couple cute lanterns.  Better yet, make them a center piece for your table.  Hello, outdoor-chic romanic date!
  4. Air Mattress - This one is a glamping obvious.  I'm not sure I would be willing to go even camping without some sort of cushion/mat to sleep on.  Why not go all the way and get a raised bed height air mattress.  We have the Intex Raised Downy Airbed, Queen.
  5. Lovely Sheet Set - You need something to cover up your air mattress... might as well make it something cheerful and pretty.  I really like the pin-stripe IKEA sheets in yellow.  Bonus, if your sheets match your tent!
  6. Fabric Garland - To give your humble abode a festive feel, add some fabric banners.  They are small, light, and easy to pack and hangup.  Again, make them cheerfully bright.  
  7. Rug - For this item, be reasonable.  Bring something made for outdoor use and that if fairly thin and easy to pack.  A rug will come in handy for giving your glamping space a cozy feel.  When you step out of bed your feet will be happy  to touch a rug instead of the gritty tent floor. 
  8. Solar String Lights - This is truly my most favorite glamping find!  No need to plug in, just setup your solar receiver and at night your solar string will supply a nice ambiance. 
  9. Alarm Clock - Sometimes when you are packing up to get away, you don't want to know what time it is, and definitely not set an alarm... but this little clock is a nice one to have.  Find a multipurpose alarm clock.  The one pictured above is battery powered and has a thermometer, date/day, and timer function.
  10. Fan - This item is saving the best for last.  It is less frivolous than some of the above items, but definitely necessary if you'll be camping in the summer.  A nice breeze is a must at night.  Have a fan, or a few fans, running in your tent to help the air circulate and keep things from getting stuffy.  There are a few fans out there that would be perfect for camping and a couple I've seen that are made for tents.  I like this 10" Battery Operated one. 
If you have any other good glamping suggestions, please add them in the comments!  I'd love some more tips and tricks. :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

3 Things That Help "Type A" People De-stress

Every weekend for the past year, I've either been traveling or doing a house project. 
For the most part, I've been able to stay organized, keep on top of the laundry, cleaning, and other household chores, but there has been an ever growing pile of paperwork 
in our home office that was really starting to irritate me. 

As a self-confessed "Type A" personality, things such as clutter, messiness, asymmetry... they really irk me.  As I prioritize my time, I rationalize that the things I don't have time for right now, I will get to later... but after a while I realize that I haven't really been being laid back about it.  Actually, I've been moving all this clutter into a pile somewhere in the house where I don't have to look at it every day.  

I had a Monica's closet situation on my hands. 

Having a cluttered, messy, house really stresses me out.  
I always will make time to clean, but if I run out of time to organize (i.e. file paperwork, mail, etc.) then my coping mechanism is Hoard and Hide.  Hahaha. 

Above all else, more than exercise, sleep, food, or wine... these 3 things always help me de-stress.

  1. Make highly organized, color coordinated, "To-do" lists - Making lists makes me feel like I have some sort of handle on everything going on around me.  It makes planning and tackling all the tasks/errands/projects a bit easier.  It helps me to remember everything that I have going on and also to better prioritize my time.  Getting things down onto paper helps free up your mind and the constant churning of reminding thoughts.  The color coordinated part might speak more about my girly-ness than actually being Type A...
  2. Clean - This is a big one for me.  We all have our little pet peeves and different levels of tolerance for mess.  My tolerance level is pretty low.  I can leave a dish here or there on the counter and come home to clean it later, but under no circumstances can I let stuff like that linger for more than a day without it really stressing me out.  When I can stay on top of cleaning, it really helps me feel more relaxed in my environment.
  3. Organize - Organization can sometimes get looked over for other immediate
    "to-do" items, but if I leave it for too long and build up a "Monica" closet, it starts to weigh on me. However, the level of satisfaction I get from clearing out a room, getting rid of things, filing paperwork, shredding old bills, etc... is the BEST feeling EVER.  Hahaha.  It might sound ridiculous, but it's like finishing a marathon.  I've always felt this way about organizing.  I remember being in middle school/high school and offering to organize other people's rooms for them: FOR FREE!  I thought it was fun.  I have other friends that feel the same way, so I know I'm not crazy.  Hahaha. 
Anyway, the reason I mention this in a Mindful Monday post is because I think these 3 things transcend the physical space around us. 

When you take the time to get organized, clean, and get rid of the junk in your physical space it can go a long way to also making you feel less stressed, and more organized and uncluttered internally. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Haint Blue

If you live in the South, you're probably already familiar with this timeless porch ceiling tradition.

If you are FROM the South, you might even know the reason behind the tradition.

If you are like me, you simply think the beautiful haint blues are a lovely addition to a porch no matter where you live.  I love when something feels personalized and has character.  

Here was some of my inspiration from a recent trip to Charleston, SC:

Living in a new build home feels stale sometimes. Since moving in, I have been on an endless quest to personalize, build character, and give life to this "standard" house of ours. 

While looking for the perfect blue color to paint our porch ceiling, I learned that these blue shades are referred to as "Haint" blue.  Apparently, the reason behind the blue porch ceilings is not just because it is pretty.  The belief that haints, or spirits, couldn't cross water led people to paint their porch ceilings blue, as a precaution from spirits entering your home.  

I also read something about it warding off mosquitos, which I can tell you is absolutely false. I came away from painting our ceiling with quite a few bites!  So that myth is busted. 

Every time we go to a home improvement store, I grab a handful of paint chips that I like, which means I have built up my own collection of assorted colors to draw inspiration from.  It just so happened that I had a chip in my collection that was a perfect haint blue.  
Blue Persuasion A56-2, by Olympic

It's a nice pastel and a little on the warm side of blue, which I like. I had enough left over that I decided to give our back door a makeover too! :)  

We also changed out the old light fixtures.  They were so gross and ugly.  The silly part though is that I spent all evening/night painting the ceiling, that by the time the lights were ready to be installed, it was dark out!  We looked like a couple of geniuses out there with a flash light trying to put them up. Moths kept hitting Paul in the face... haha.  Oh the smart things we do! 

I think the ceiling goes nicely with the new shutter color. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wander {Wednesday} Charleston

My first ever trip to Charleston, SC did not disappoint.  It was beyond charming!  I am a complete sucker for cobblestone, brick, and sweet little private gardens.  

I loved the "worn-in" character of the streets and buildings; it felt so warm and cozy.  
{The warm feeling might truly have been a by-product of the extreme humidity, but let's go with the cozy sounds better than SWEAT!}

We started out at the gardens of Magnolia Plantation and then headed into the historic sections of Charleston to check out the shops, parks, churches, and food.
{Check out the plantation garden photos.}

We killed some time, trying to stay dry, in the Market pavilions on Market Street.  
A massive thunderstorm struck us so suddenly, that there was above ankle deep rushing water stranding us in one of the pavilions.  It was actually quite the sight to see, but it looked pretty dirty and I really didn't want to walk through it.   

Paul saved the day by being the gentleman, 
taking off his shoes, and piggy-backing me to the dry sidewalk. :) 

Once to safety, we had some lunch at CRU Cafe.  If you are ever in Charleston, check it out!
The place is small and in an old house down by where all the horse drawn tours take off from. 
The food is described as "gourmet comfort food," and I would agree. 
{Seriously... it is a must.  Get the truffle fries! And, get the bread pudding for dessert... so good.}

After that we did more strolling, shopping, picture taking, and eating. 
It was perfection. 

I've linked the picture below to some of the charming sites we saw.

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