Moving update and our empty house

Hi. 
My name is Sarah…I blog at this site called Thrifty Decor Chick. Remember that blog?  😂
I’m coming up for air — selling and moving has absolutely kicked my butt. It’s been emotionally and physically exhausting. But so far…I would do this process over again (I’d just start packing much sooner) for the end result — and it isn’t even done yet. 😉 That’s saying a LOT and if you’ve seen me and my harried look and blank stares over the past few weeks, shows you how excited I am for our new house. 
But. I’m going out on a limb here and doing what I hardly ever do…I’m going to say the "never" word. Barring unexpected life events, we are NEVER moving ever again. Mark my words. I’m putting them in writing on this day so it will be known. This shouldn’t be a problem, as I’ve never had the urge to move until I walked through our forever dream house a few months back. So I don’t see ever getting the bug again. 
But. Nevahhh
The last I talked with you we had just moved all of our furniture out of our house, and then two hours later got word that a house sale down the line fell through. Turns out we were staying put for awhile…just with no things. Ha! 
Many of you were confused by why a house four down the line would affect us. It’s simple really — each buyer had to sell to buy the next seller’s house. If one falls through we’re all affected. It left four families in limbo…but it did not last long! 
We have a very close friend who was getting married in Mexico last week and we’ve had it on our calendar for almost a year. Hence our early move out last week. So we moved out and the next day headed out of the country for a couple days of the beach and margaritas. It did not suck. We paused all of the prep to close on our house, including finalizing details with the lender, insurance rep and utilities. 
We got word on Thursday that the sales were back ON!! Wonderful news!! But the last day of our trip we were scrambling to get things finished. I was totally happy with that because I really needed the security of knowing our house was going to sell soon to get us in to our new one. 
So that’s the update — we closed on our house today (and close on the new one in a few days) and are now in a short term hotel for at least six weeks. Our friends moved into our house yesterday and we were in and out all day grabbing last minute stuff. We had SO many random things laying around! Two things I’ve learned — Lego sets are nearly impossible to move without total destruction and Nerf bullets breed like rabbits. Or at least it seems like it. 
Here’s the thing. I haven’t been that sad! I realized this morning it’s because of the simple fact that we will still be able to go see our house all the time…and get to see it loved. How lucky are we? Most people have to walk away from their home forever and never see it again. Ours is not goodbye but a see you soon. Even through all the stress and exhaustion that is not lost on me. We are so very fortunate and I still can’t believe it worked out like this. 
I went through the house taking photos of the rooms as I finished emptying them out. I did this to have them for myself, but many of you asked to see them as well. I have never been prouder of our home than when it was empty. Isn’t that funny? The character I have added to this home makes it shine without one lick of furniture or decor. It is a true, special beauty and I love it more now than I ever have. 
Here are the photos — enjoy! I link to each room reveal above the photos and below each photo I linked to ALL of my posts on each of these rooms so you can see the projects through the years. (These were all taken with my cell so the quality isn’t the best, sorry about that!)
DIY built in bookcases using kitchen cabinets

Turning a dining room into a library

White wainscoting on walls
(My friend is babysitting the plants while we’re in between.)
Gray and white kitchen cabinets

Window seat in kitchen
Kitchen with black chalkboard
DIY extended island in kitchen
You can see how I transformed this space and all of the projects here.
Gray fireplace with built ins

Board and batten on walls
This one is partly kitchen too. 😉 
DIY book nook closet
Office with built in double desk

Basement with built in cubbies and stone fireplace
basement kitchenette with shelves

That’s just a few of my favorite spaces in the house, and the ones I’m most proud of after everything was out. I forgot to grab one of our bedroom but it was so beautiful as well!

OK, I swear I’ll be back to a normal posting schedule very shortly! I’m hoping this week but I’ve learned not to promise. 😉 We still have another closing to finish up and I have to get our hotel space somewhat organized so we can stop tripping over each other (and the cats). I have some wonderful updates to share on the new house and will also be blogging about each room in our "old" (that’s weird to say!) home because I didn’t even share some of the final finished spaces.

But I WILL be blogging in a more normal fashion again and I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂 Thanks for your patience with me! This is going to be a fun new journey!

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Nevertheless, She Persisted: A Jewish Heroine of the Renaissance

Nevertheless, She Persisted, ed. Mindy KlaskyBack in the 1990s, when themed anthologies were all the rage, I heard about one that was right up my alley and open to submission: Ancient Enchantresses, to be edited by Kathleen M. Massie-Ferch and Martin H. Greenberg for DAW. The editors wanted historical fantasy featuring strong women characters and magic, as is clear from the title. As I cast about for a subject, I found myself more and more – excuse the pun – disenchanted with Western European historical characters. It seemed to me that the women of interest had been portrayed more than frequently enough, and I had little interest in Celtic mythology. When I lamented my lack of inspiration to a friend – not a fantasy writer, but the director of a pre-school at a Jewish community center – she suggested I take a look at Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers, by Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz (3rd ed, Biblio Press, 1988). Posthaste, I ordered a copy of the book and then pored through it. The chapters were short, more summations than in-depth histories. Although quite a few of them piqued my interest, only one suggested a story, that of Dona Gracia Nasi. The section began:

 

Unlike Benvenida Abrabanel, Beatrice de Luna belonged to a family that had chosen to become Marranos [unwilling converts to Catholicism – also known as conversos] so that they could remain in their home in Portugal. They had a successful business and a rich life. Beatrice was born in 1510, thirteen years after the expulsion of all practicing Portuguese Jews. Those remaining in Portugal worked hard to hide any Jewish allegiance from the world…

I devoured the section, all four pages of it, from Beatrice inheriting her husband’s share of an immense international commodities business to her flight from one country after another, the Inquisition hot on her heels, to her imprisonment in Venice, her transformation into Dona Gracia Nasi (her childhood Jewish name), to her eventually settling in Turkey at the invitation of the Sultan. But all this was so abbreviated as to be tantalizing without deep substance.

In the footnotes, however, I discovered that historian Cecil Roth had written an entire book about Gracia, The House of Nasi: Dona Gracia (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947). Although the book was out of print, I was able to borrow a copy from a local university library. Within those scholarly pages, I discovered a story as dramatic, tragic, and inspiring as anything out of Hollywood or New York.

I could have tried to tell Gracia’s entire story, but that would have meant either another abridged version or an extensive tome. I decided, therefore, to focus on a shorter period of her life: the flight from Antwerp (when Queen Marie of Burgundy, Regent of the Low Countries and sister to Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, schemed to marry off Gracia’s young daughter to one of her courtiers) to Venice. I’d visited Venice briefly during the time I lived in France (1991) and had vivid memories of the shadows under the bridges over the canals, the ancient plazas and towers, and the omnipresence of the sea. I wandered through the original ghetto, Il Ghetto, the old foundry district. I cut out an image from a tourist brochure of a person in the traditional Mardi Gras costume called bauta (including a white mask, tricorne hat, and a black tabarro, a short cloak) and pinned it on my bulletin board, hoping to find a story that would capture the sense of brooding menace. (As an aside, I’m not comfortable with clowns, either.) Armed with image, memory, and scholarly text, I embarked upon the tale.

“Unmasking the Ancient Light” is a tribute to the perseverance of a woman under extraordinary reversals and dangers. Life was perilous for European Jews in the Renaissance, as it had been in centuries earlier. Jews had been expelled from (among others) England (1290), France (1182, 1306, 1321, 1394), Spain (1492), and Portugal (1497). The series of expulsions forced Jewish communities to find safe (or safer) havens, in the Netherlands, Venice, and Islamic countries, such as the Ottoman Empire. They developed international systems of commerce and banking, as well as close familial and communities ties. Gracia’s family was no exception. From Spain (“convert, leave, or die!”) they relocated to Portugal, then to Antwerp, and so forth. While in Italy, Gracia dropped the pretense of a converso and began finding ways to support her fellow exiles, whether lending material aid to individuals to becoming a patron of the arts to creating a printing house to publish Jewish texts in Hebrew and also Spanish (the Ferrera Bible) for those unable to read the ancient languages.

The list of Gracia’s accomplishments could easily fill the word count of a piece of short fiction, but I wanted her story to be more than a list of the amazing things she had done. I wanted to capture the spirit of the woman – if not historically accurate, as is always the challenge with fantasy – but one that would speak to the hearts of readers as Gracia had spoken across the centuries to me. I focused, then, on her struggle to survive the political intrigues and animosities of her time while preserving and nourishing the spirit of her people. The magic, as it were. Here I found a second inspiration in various treatments of the feminine aspect of the divine and the equivalence of the Shekhinah, sometime called the Indwelling Spirit, with light, without getting too dogmatic or theological.

As a final note, since I dutifully returned Cecil Roth’s book to the university library, my husband presented me with a copy of The Woman Who Defied Kings: The Life and Times of Dona Gracia Nasi, A Jewish Leader During the Renaissance (Andree Aelion Brooks, Paragon House, 2002). If you want to know more about her, I recommend this highly accessible book (which has a ton of footnotes, for the historians among you).

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BVC Announces The Way You Look Tonight by Mindy Klasky

The Way You Look Tonight coverThe Way You Look Tonight
Harmony Springs 3
by Mindy Klasky

A May-December romance fans flames in a small town…

At the ripe old age of twenty-six, Anne Barton is content to live with her mother in her cozy childhood home, surrounded by stuffed animals and girlish dreams. But the owner of the Orchard Diner has a secret: when she was twelve she caused a horrific fire that brutally scarred her best friend.

Forty-four-year-old firefighter Will O’Hara knows he should campaign for the job of Harmony Springs Fire Chief. Doing so, though, would force him to overcome his blinding fear of public speaking.

When a charity stunt pits Anne against Will in the small town’s Mayor for a Day election, both candidates are pushed far outside their comfort zones. Anne must confront the crush she’s had on Will since the fireman rescued her from her nightmare inferno. And Will battles his own burning attraction, knowing Anne is young enough to be his daughter. If they keep playing with fire, someone is sure to get burned.

Read a sample online

Buy The Way You Look Tonight at BVC Ebookstore

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Modern Greece: Summer Villa in Corfu Updates Ancient Style with Minimalist Flair

What makes the architectural vernacular of Greece so unique and evocative? All of those curving corners, whitewashed surfaces, and vivid blue floors give its islands a dreamy vibe that’s perfectly offset by the glittering seas around them. Of course, there’s a practical reason for all that white pigment, too: reflecting the harsh sunlight to keep the buildings cool. Nonetheless, its unifying effect and iconic appearance have become so instantly recognizable that many can now tell when a building is located in Greece just by looking at a photo of it.

"House in Corfu" - 314 Architecture Studio "House in Corfu" - Arches

Architecture studio 314’s proposal for a residential renovation in Corfu may be as modern as they come, but it retains that distinctly “Greek” feeling thanks to its traditional color palette and rounded arches. Rising above the treetops of an olive grove at the edge of a cliff, the villa is infused with all the drama we’ve come to expect from the Hellenic Republic.

"House in Corfu" - 314 Architecture Studio

While many cliffside homes are designed to blend into their surrounding environments, seeming more like an extension of the landscape than an artificial construction, 314 went in a bolder direction with this summer residence, which catches the sunlight by day and glows from within by night.

"House in Corfu" - Aerial View

House in Corfu” takes full advantage of the setting, which offers panoramic views of the Ionio Pelagos. It elevates and offsets its main volumes in a stepped arrangement to create a series of porticos and terraces that look out onto the sea. 314’s design would replace an existing structure in the same location on a 64,500-square-foot plot, the home itself measuring just over 3,200 square feet. The architects aim to stick to the same footprint to avoid disturbing the nature that makes the site so special.

"House in Corfu" - Arches

Updating Corfu’s architectural vernacular for the 21st century is the studio’s main concern, and the highlight of their design is undoubtedly its incorporation of repetitive arches, as well as some openings in the roofs that allow full-sized trees to flourish. The flat, wide terraces formed by the home’s layout allow residents to take in extraordinarily clear views of the sky, which have earned the property the nickname of “The Midnight Stars.”

"House in Corfu" - Interior

Roughly half of the ground floor is open to the air, providing transitional indoor/outdoor spaces that lead from common areas like the living room and kitchen out to the infinity edge swimming pool. Inside, an abundance of mirrored surfaces adds to the reflective qualities of the house’s white paint and textiles, multiplying the views of the surrounding nature.

"House in Corfu" - Interior "House in Corfu" - Interior

The upper level contains master and guest bedrooms, private areas which feel a little more cloistered and protected than the house’s common ones. The bedrooms enjoy the best views of the sunset every evening. Though it appears to cantilever off the side of the level beneath it, this upper floor is actually set into a grassy hillside, which might explain all of the mountain goats wandering through the renderings.

The architects explain that they used white cement plaster on the floors and walls to mimic the look of ancient stone and that the patio and swimming pool will be made from uncoated concrete. The curving ceilings, also evocative of traditional Greek architecture, come together in “intersections of domes and arches” for a soft and welcoming effect. There are no harsh contrasts or unnecessary details in this design that would detract from the home’s dramatic silhouette.

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10 LA Sweets Spots Serving Up Viral-Worthy Dessert Porn

 

Instagram Photo

Afters Ice Cream
PASADENA
Join the Anti Diet Diet Club at Afters, the ice cream shop that serves up scoops with a side of serious creativity. Known for its playful flavor creations, the mouthwatering batches of jasmine milk tea, cookie butter, and peanut butter s’mores can be ordered in a cup, cone, or “milky bun” (a sweet bread sandwich). But that’s not all that makes Afters Ice Cream, which has 14 Southern California locations, stand out—customers also have their choice of fun toppings, including mini cookies, Rice Krispies, and Fruit Loops.

 

Instagram Photo

B Sweet Dessert Bar
SAWTELLE
Originally started as a food truck, the brick-and-mortar on Sawtelle is a one-stop shop for brownies, root beer floats, pressed ice cream sandwiches, nitro cold brews and matchas, and ube everything. But without a doubt, B Sweet Dessert Bar’s top claim to fame is its bread pudding; the shop offers more than 40 varieties, 6 of which are offered on the weekly rotating menu. Favorites include banana chocolate, glazed donut, red velvet, circus animal, and salted caramel.

 

Instagram Photo

Birdies
DOWNTOWN LA
Sure, the name of this DTLA spot pays homage to its famous chicken sandwiches—but any sweet tooth knows the real stars of the show here are the donuts. Made from scratch in inventive flavors, including Cinnamon Toast crunch, lemon thyme pistachio, rock candy, galaxy, and rainbow, the edible works of art (somehow) taste as good as they look.

 

Instagram Photo

Chocolate Chair
KOREATOWN
No, Chocolate Chair customers aren’t smoking—they’re eating “Dragon’s Breath,” the Wilshire Center shop’s social media-famous treat. A set of liquid nitrogen-doused cereal bites, the dessert is served with a choice of sauces and is guaranteed to make you feel—and more importantly, look—like a fire-breathing dragon. While the dragon’s breath is the most popular menu item, Chocolate Chair also serves up traditional shaved ice creations, a macaron sundae, ice cream, and a full drink menu.

 

Instagram Photo

Cookie Good
SANTA MONICA
If you can dream it, Cookie Good can make it—after all, this is the place behind the viral Cheetos cookie. Inspired by nostalgic cereals, classic treats, and, as they say, anything that will make customers feel “cookie good,” cookie flavors include Apple Jacks, Cinnabun, yellow cake mix, ice cream sundae, and glazed donut. In addition to cookies, the shop bakes up a variety of brownies, including chocolate fluffernutter, Peeps, and rocky road, as well as cookie dough sandwiches. Yes, that’s two cookies or brownies stuffed with cookie dough.

 

Instagram Photo

FrankieLucy Bakeshop
SILVER LAKE
Caffeine and custard reign supreme at the sweet love child from the people behind Found Coffee and Crème Caramel LA. Opened in January 2017, the Filipino-inspired spot has quickly won over foodies and photographers with vegan horchatas, upside down pie, and meringue “unicorn poop.” Follow FrankieLucy Bakeshop on Instagram to catch holiday specials and be the first to know about new items.

 

Instagram Photo

MILK
FAIRFAX and SILVER LAKE
From Drumsticks to dipped ice cream bars, chocolate croissant bread pudding, and malt shakes, there are a lot of reasons to love this ice cream parlor and bake shop. At the top of that list are the signature macaron ice cream sandwiches, offered in red velvet, grasshopper, and Thai tea (and more!); customers also have the option of building their own combination of macaron and ice cream.

 

Instagram Photo

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
HIGHLAND PARK and LARCHMONT
Few bakeries do Instagram as well as Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, the OG purveyor of dessert porn with two locations in LA. The San Francisco transplant and creator of the “cruffin” churns out fresh-baked pastries each morning, including the photo-ready dipped croissants, Kouign Amann, and stuffed donuts. The donut and cruffin flavors change regularly, with current options including apple tamarind jelly, smoked vanilla cream, and chocolate caramel.

 

Instagram Photo

Ridges Churro Bar
LOS ANGELES
The roaming home of the churro sundae, Ridges Churro Bar sells soft serve and churros in photo-ready flavors including salted caramel, Fruity Pebbles, cinnamon sugar, Nutella nut, and strawberry cheesecake. Sugar addicts can chase down this dessert shop on wheels by tracking location updates on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Instagram Photo

The Pie Hole
ARTS DISTRICT, HOLLYWOOD, PASADENA and GLENDALE
Whether you’re looking for a breakfast hand pie or slice of classic apple, The Pie Hole is the ultimate destination for those who appreciate the art of a perfect crust. Equally delicious and photogenic, the shop’s pies come in sweet and savory, and can be purchased in slices or whole; signature desserts include the cereal killer cheesecake, Earl Grey tea pie, and Mexican chocolate pie. Looking for the classics? Of course, The Pie Hole also offers key lime, strawberry rhubarb, and nostalgic apple crumble.

The post 10 LA Sweets Spots Serving Up Viral-Worthy Dessert Porn appeared first on Rally.

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Easy Faux Fishtail Braids

Hair tutorials often promise to be easy but are often far from it! I mean maybe it’s just relative, one person’s “easy” is another person’s “hard.” Or sometimes tutorial writers are big liars! I feel like the latter is true too often, so I try to make sure when I say something is easy, it literally is the easiest (see my flower braid tutorial). This one is no exception—pretty much if you can put your hair in pigtails, you can do this. If you’re feeling advanced, stick some flowers in it in the end.

Step one: Tie your hair off into two, low pigtails with small elastics.

Step two: Make a little hole in your hair above your elastic and pull your ponytail up and through that hole. This is also called a topsy-turvy ponytail and you might recognize it from middle school. Pull tight.

Step three: Repeat on the other side.

Step four: Tie an elastic an inch or two below your first elastic.

Step five: Split your hair right between your two elastics making a small hole and pull your ponytail up and through that hole. Pull tight.

Step five: Add another small elastic an inch or two below the second elastic. Repeat your topsy-turvy ponytail trick by making a hole between the two elastics and pulling your ponytail up and through that hole. Again pull tight.

Step six: Repeat on the other side of your head.

Step seven: Pancake your faux braids a bit for a messier look.That’s it! Easy as I said, right? It’s just ponytail, loop through, add a new ponytail, loop through, etc. The loops create a texture similar to a fishtail braid with half the effort of a real fishtail. If you have longer hair, you can do loads more loops, or with shorter hair just do one less. You can messy them up and make them as full as you like and add a few bits of wildflowers to hold on to that summer feeling! Cheers, Rebecca.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rebecca Stice. 

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Meet Me Anywhere! Announcing the 100-City* Side Hustle Tour

Hey, everyone!

Two big things today…

My new book, Side Hustle, comes out on September 19. As part of that process, I now have the first batch of cities for my fall tour ready to go. And because pre-orders for the book make a huge difference for authors, I also have a special offer for you.

Chris Vancouver

1. The first part of my fall tour schedule is now online!

I’m incredibly excited to announce that the first 30 cities of my Side Hustle tour are now finalized!

Well, mostly—we’re still working out a few scheduling things. But I didn’t want to keep you waiting any longer… the tour starts next month!

If you’ve never been to one of my book events before, know that they are a lot of fun. Each stop is both interactive and introvert-friendly. You’ll learn something, we’ll have a chance to talk, and you’ll also meet a lot of other awesome people.

—> Check it out and sign up! 

I’ve been doing unconventional book tours for seven years now, and I love every part of it. Last year I finished the 30-city Born for This tour and thought, “When can I do this again??”

Peeps
I hope you’ll join me somewhere along the way for this one. Most stops are free, and everyone is welcome.

Sign up and tell your friends!

2. I’d love to send you a free report.

Ever since I started Side Hustle School on January 1, a lot of people have told me that their biggest challenge is finding the right idea. Well, every day on the show, I tell a story of someone who’s found an idea and turned it into a new source of income.

Still, sometimes you just need the ideas. I get it!

With that in mind, I’ve recently created a report featuring some of the best ideas from the show so far. It’s called “48 Hustle Ideas to Get You Started,” and it’s NOT for sale.

My new book, Side Hustle, comes out on September 19. If you pre-order it from any retailer (including Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but also your local bookstore), I’ll send you the report free.

—> Get the report here!


Tour

I feel very fortunate that I can write for a living and serve a global community of remarkable people. Much more is on the way!

Yours in hustling,

sig

Chris Guillebeau

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Podcast #332: What Is Your Authentic Self?

We live in a world that puts a premium on being “authentic” and “showing your true self.” 

But what exactly is your authentic and true self?

For example, is it your natural tendency to be a curmudgeon, or your concerted effort to be kind and generous? 

Which one is the “real” you?

My guest today has grappled with those questions for most of his career as a psychologist, with a focus on personality research. His name is Brian Little and he’s the author of Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being, as well as the recently published book, Who Are You, Really?

Today on the show, Brian and I have a fascinating discussion on the world of personality science that will leave you wondering who you really are. We begin our conversation discussing the various factors that influence our personalities, including genetics, social environments, and self-direction. Brian then digs into the debate on whether our personalities are set in stone or if they can change, even into old age. We then discuss whether personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs, actually tell you anything about your personality. 

We end our conversation discussing how simply changing environments can change our personalities, how we can willfully change them ourselves, and what the “real” you actually is.

You’re in for an enlightening existential conversation that also provides actionable insights on how you can live a more flourishing life.

Show Highlights

  • What exactly is personality, as defined by science?
  • The ancient history and study of personality
  • The interplay of nature and nurture when it comes to personality
  • What is a personal construct?
  • “Person” specialists vs. “thing” specialists, and how men and women differ here
  • Do personality tests actually tell us anything useful?
  • The Big Five personality traits — the O.C.E.A.N. acronym
  • The importance of conscientiousness
  • What are the benefits downsides of being neurotic?
  • Introversion vs extroversion
  • How situations and environments shape our personality, and how that differs from person to person
  • What are “free traits”?
  • Using free traits to help us with our core personal projects
  • Why acting out of character isn’t always a bad thing
  • Using “restorative niches” to recover from acting out of character
  • What authenticity really means when it comes to personality
  • The three forms of authenticity — biogenic, sociogenic, and idiogenic

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Me, Myself, and Us is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read. It provides so many insights into why we are the way we are, and really gets you thinking about what it means to be “you.” Also check out his new book, Who Are You, Really?, based on his popular TED talk.

Connect With Brian Little

Brian on Twitter

Brian’s website

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

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10 Things to Try Before Summer Ends

10 things to try before summer is gone on apartment 34

Even though thoughts of fall are creeping ever closer to the top of my mind (see yesterday’s post), I’m still not quite ready to give up on summer fun. There’s still so much I want to do. Here are 10 things I’d highly recommend trying before the season changes. Think you can cram it all in before Labor Day?!

Hit the beach (obvi)

Try something totally new – you just might find the secret to happiness.

Have you been waiting to try frosé? What are you waiting for?!

Serve it with the ultimate cheese board.

Travel somewhere near.

Travel somewhere far.

Throw a party outside.

Then throw another party.

Add a cool shirt to your wardrobe.

Hit the road, killer playlist in hand, no destination in mind.

 

What is still on your summer must-do list??

 

image by bembien via honestly wtf

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