I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve never taken time off.
I’ve had a job since I was legally able to work – at 14, I hauled chairs and umbrellas at a beach club every summer; by the time I was 21 I had worked my way up to a senior waitress position. Two weeks after graduating college, I moved to NYC, and I’ve not stopped working since.
So, for the first time in 14 years, I took a summer break! After my big intro grad class ended, my plans for the month extended as far as naps, bad TV, and getting as much sun as humanly possible. Just kidding… my plans extended as far as very specific house projects, bad TV, and learning a bunch of new recipes for the fall. Plus the sun part!
Here’s a quick review of my Summer Checklist, and how my projects went…
1. Learn 5 new recipes to work into my rotation.
Easy! I actually wanted to learn one new recipe a week this year, and have kept on target. I tried these 5 this summer and they came out GREAT.
– Skillet Chicken with Bacon, Shallots, & White Wine Sauce – check back in a few days for my new go-to dinner
– Quinoa Pizza Bites
– Venezuelan Pulled Pork Arepas
– Zucchini Noodle Carbonara – a recipe I’m hoping to soon post to the blog, because it’s a gluten-free fan favorite
– Chicken, Bacon, & Spinach Risotto – a recipe I also haven’t blogged but I absolutely loved when I made it. I followed this exact recipe posted by Create.Craft.Love.
2. Reorganize and redecorate our bedroom.
This was a biggie. Since my official move-in in March, I’ve been working on getting the house together to mix in all of my things with all of Mike’s and his family’s. Keeping everything organized and making sure everyone’s favorites stayed on display has been fun and challenging, but my favorite part of this process has been our bedroom.
Check out how I transformed Mike’s childhood walnut dresser into a new nautical piece using just chalk paint and some new hardware!
We love sunglasses – and we also constantly scratch them due to poor storage. Check out this 10-Minute DIY Sunglasses Hanger I made this August.
4. Work on a craft project with Casey.
The first three blog posts I wrote for Sunshine from Scratch were about a fun DIY project I did with Mike’s little sister, Casey, who stayed with us on Mondays and Tuesdays all summer. Check out the recipes for our scrubs below:
Strawberry Sugar Scrub
Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub
Calming Lavender Sugar Scrub
5. Learn to play tennis.
Check! I don’t have any photos of me tearing up the courts just yet, but I took a set of lessons this summer that really helped me improve my game. I have really enjoyed learning this sport, and once marathon season is over, hope to get more involved playing tennis locally.
6. Read for pleasure.
Also check! I got one book in before I had to start my “summer reading” book for grad school. The book was the first in a mystery series recommended to me by a friend who always suggests books I love. This was a good one…. murder in a tiny, quaint Canadian town outside of Montreal. Buy it on Amazon here.
7. Spend at least one day a week at the beach.
Mostly, yes. We live in Northern RI on a small peninsula, surrounded by a cove and Greenwich Bay. I was able to get my toes in the sand most days of the week there. Where I’m from, in Southern Rhode Island, the beaches are much different! Luckily, I managed to jump in the Atlantic at East Beach, my favorite RI beach, once a week or so after my classes ended this summer.
The obvious check in the box on my list. I’ve been working hard on getting this blog up and running, taking photos, thinking of great content, and scheduling posts to go out at least twice a week. I can’t wait to keep working on this blog, and to share my projects, travels, and recipes with you!
9. Upcycle my childhood dresser.
This one was AWESOME. The blog post is coming soon. I took a chest of drawers I got from Pier 1 in high school that traveled with me to college and to all 6 apartments I lived in in NYC, and turned it into an outdoor buffet with a nautical theme and a waterproof cooler drawer.
Here’s a teaser…
10. Paint our porch.
The one thing on my checklist I did NOT get to was painting our farmer’s porch. This is a project I’ll be featuring as I go when we tackle it this fall! We’ve begun powerwashing, and I’ve chosen colors. I’m excited to get going on this, and I have some great plans! Stay tuned…