Oh well hello again, it’s Friday!
Last summer we bought a little A-frame cabin in the mountain valley above the city where I grew up. This valley is my happy place. As a kid, it’s where I’d look up at the fluttering aspens in summer’s late afternoon glow as my mom tried to get us out of the pool that overlooked the golf course that overlooked the lake that sat in the valley and anchored three different ski resorts. In my later years, the memory of that view and this valley is where my head and heart would go whenever I visualized my escape from reality. To this day, the calm and warmth it filled me with still brings me happiness.
So when we randomly happened upon this little A-frame, there was no way we could pass it by. It was kismet! It was meant to happen! The couple we bought this little chalet from lived in it for 45 years, well into their nineties, and lovingly developed the property into a tree-filled, tulip and oriental poppy-popping, flower-filled wonderland with paths to wander and sing-song birds to feed and listen to, and a little squirrel named Buster I’m trying to befriend. We were more than happy to take over Bill and Donna’s vision as stewards of the land.
Now, it’s this little chunk of heaven that’s my happy place. It’s where we work in the garden from dawn to dusk (side by side with my dear old Dad who is the BEST gardener in the whole world), break out the charcoal grill and heat up the old electric stove for cooking all the good stuff (like my grilled BBQ chicken and my husband’s fave spaghetti pasta salad), make renovations (because it’s been 45 years and as mentioned, old electric stove), and dream the big dreams—because that’s what makes life worth living for.
But the best part? Our little chalet is only an hour’s drive from our front door but feels like a world away.
This past year I think we all learned that getting away from the daily grind doesn’t mean you have to board a plane or take a 10-hour car ride to do so. If you haven’t yet, and you have the means to do so, take some time this weekend to plan a mini-vacation in your own town or nearby destination that’s drivable by an hour or two. You might be surprised at just how much you can discover about the area around you that you didn’t even know was there, and maybe you’ll find your new happy place, too.
But before you head out, let’s dig into this week’s Friday Faves.
Just in case you were wondering: This is why we close our eyes when we sneeze.
This NYC floating swimming pool will clean 600,000 gallons of polluted water a day. Now that’s thinking!
10 important things you’ll miss if you’re too busy doing it all.
These food containers won’t let you forget to eat your leftovers. I need them for my husband.
Who knew 75% of the menu is under 500 calories? –> The healthiest menu options at Taco Bell.
I have to try this chicken sandwich.
Marry me chicken … does it work? :)
Sourdough with olives. SAY IT WITH ME!
This blended iced mocha is one of my daughter’s summer staples.
Oh yes she did: Fried Oreos.
Go veg one night this week with this kung pao cauliflower.
These spicy shrimp look SO frigging good.
This Asian noodle salad has my fingerprints all over it.
If you’re vying for a boozy summer sip, you gotta try this.
These are my husband’s dream enchiladas.
This is one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes I need to make at home.
Picked up my Pride flag, built my flag-pole, and I’m proudly flying high.
Here’s how to make a DIY flag pole:
- Cut 6-7′ length of PVC pipe
- Measure where top and bottom grommets are on flag, mark on PVC, then drill through pipe
- Use fingernail polish remover or paint thinner to wipe off the stuff printed on the PVC pipe (thanks to my husband for that idea)
- Attach the flag to the pole with zip ties
- Add a PVC cap to the top of the pole to finish it off
- Stick a 4′ piece of rebar in the ground then put the flag pole over the rebar
- Wave your pride high!
Instagram-marketed purchases strike again! I’m such a sucker, and bought:
- My friend shared her fave water shoes on her IG stories (she has lots of great camping ideas) and because I’ve been looking for some and I like so many of her suggestions, I ordered them straight away.
- This flowy sundress is going to be my last summer purchase. My shopping habit has got to stop.
- Okay, I’ll stop after this jumpsuit arrives. For sure. No more. Frigging Instagram. It’s too easy.
My daughter is crazy for this gemstone so I ordered this for her as a surviving school surprise.
The hummingbirds are loving their new feeder.
How to have a drama-free Mercury in retrograde. Good luck with that.
And finally, try adding this simple motto to your life.
That’s it for this week. I hope you all have a fab weekend and make some plans to get out and get away—close by!
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