Getting My Paint On

One of the things I really wanted to do this year was to take some creative classes and subsequently get to know more people in my local community. I’ve been incredibly lucky; early on this year I discovered a lovely local shop called Miss Mandy’s that sells wonderful refinished furniture and local artwork. It is also home to my favorite tea shop All Things Tea. After having tea there a few times, I realized that the space also included The Backroom Studio. Every month local artisans teach classes that are appropriate for creatives of all skill levels. Last week I again took what has quickly become one of my favorite monthly installments, intuitive painting.

Intuitive painting is about coming, rolling your sleeves up, and playing. I’ve taken the class three times now, and every time it’s something different. The instructor Suzanne is a local artist, and her creative process is always evolving. Every class we are introduced to new techniques and products that she has been playing with. This class we went organic.

Paint4 Suzanne has been playing with a lot of floral themes lately in her own creative journey. She brought in some of her more recent pieces to show us. We’d all taken classes with her before, and since it was a smaller class, we quickly came to the unanimous decision that we wanted to skew our class along this new theme.Paint5We spent the first part of class picking out lots of different colors/types of acrylic paint and doodling abstract flowers on the newsprint and eventually on our canvases. Paint6 Paint1 The painting process was kind of interesting for me; normally I am all about deep rich colors, but the subject matter was really inspiring me to go with bold bright colors. There might have even been an neon accent or two.  Paint2
We topped the dried acrylic with tar gel and a matte medium that had tiny glass beads in it. Sounds a bit strange, but when it dries you get a lot of interesting shine and texture.Paint3The final product didn’t photograph as well as I would have liked, but in person I LOVE the shine and texture on the finished product. So much so that it isn’t hanging out in my office, it is currently propped up on the mantel in the living room. I haven’t quite found a permanent home for it yet, but for now I can run my hands over it and watch the light play over it whenever I want. I am excited to try some of the different techniques in my own at home painting.


Outdoor Shower

Ever since I encountered my first outdoor shower in Charleston last month, I have been rolling around the idea of building one of my very own. The process has progressed from considering to looking up kits online and creating a Pinterest board of ideas that I like. You know, big progress being made 🙂

S1 S3 S2 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8There are a lot of amazing ideas out there so right now I am just trying to figure out what my must haves/wants are. I know I definitely want walls on all sides and a curtain/door; my backyard is fenced in, but I want any guest staying with us to feel comfortable using it as well. I am also leaning towards wood as the primary building material, for convenience and aesthetic preference. We still have a long way to go, but I am hoping we might be able to get something together in the next year or so. I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted.

Images from here and here.


The Sentient Bean: Savannah

Another great place we discovered on our vegan friendly trip to Savannah was a charming coffee shop located right around the corner from where we were staying, The Sentient Bean.

S6 S4Located right on the edge of the famous Forsyth Park. This place was clearly a popular spot with the locals; they had everything from college students curing their hangovers to informal business meetings going on. All at mid morning on a Friday.S2 Obviously, we had checked out the website before walking over, so the menu wasn’t a huge surprise, but it had a number of great options for all sorts of dietary restrictions. Even better, they had lots of fresh baked goods that change from day to day. S3 S7 Since we were going to be doing a lot of walking in the sultry summer heat, we kept things pretty light: two large iced almond milk chais, a vegan burrito for her, and a egg & cheese croissant for me. Everything was incredible, and we were both a little disappointing that we were heading out of Savannah in a few hours since it meant we’d be gone before they started serving lunch.S1 S5I’ve been going to Savannah for years, and I love that no matter how much time I spend there are always new things to see and try out. Equally cool is how different it seems depending on who I am traveling with. One of my all time favorite places.


Thinking Inside the Box: Sun Basket

Andy and I really enjoyed our Blue Apron subscription last month, so much so that I decided to continue the meal delivery subscription theme a while longer. After doing some research on various options, one name kept popping up, Sun Basket. The service has received many wonderful reviews, and after the ups and downs of Blue Apron, I thought it would be nice to go with something that was supposed to be “sure” bet.

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The first thing that really impressed me was that my delivery was not only on time, it was waiting on me when I got home at 2:30!
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The box and its contents were in great shape, nothing dented or damaged, and all of the different items were still safely ensconced in their packages.
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The other thing I thought was pretty cool was that you can send your insulated packing material back to the company for re-use; they provide postage and everything.
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The other thing I though was pretty cool was that there was less superfluous packaging of ingredients. The waste generated by the meal prep was noticeably less.
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Grilled shrimp and corn with watermelon-feta salad
Our first meal was probably my favorite; the watermelon salad was incredible. My only criticism was that it was titled “Grilled” Shrimp and Corn, but the directions were to pan fry everything.
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Fresh corn and black bean tacos with Cotija cheese
The black bean and corn tacos were pretty good. Andy and I whipped this up together on Saturday afternoon. With a couple of tweaks, I could absolutely see us making this regularly. It was probably the easiest meal I’ve made from either meal service.
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Summer flatbreads with herbed Greek yogurt
I wasn’t too sure about the flatbreads when I initially saw the recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not one of my favorite recipes, but it was good, and I could see myself applying the concept to other meals in the future.
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All and all a pretty positive first experience. I am looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks will bring.


Friday Link Love

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Is it just me or has this week seemed especially long? There have been some really great moments: reconnecting with old friends, an impromptu date night, a painting class, etc., but I feel like it’s been at least two weeks worth of happenings. Crazy schedule aside, I am really looking forward to kicking back at home tonight. I may even work in a pre-dinner nap if time permits. With things being so busy, I feel like I haven’t gotten to spend a whole lot of time with Andy. Is it strange to miss someone you see everyday? As far as the rest of the weekend goes, I have another painting class tomorrow at 10:30, but everything else is still in the undefined blur of “what I need to do vs. what I want to do”. It’ll be interesting to see which side things land on. What is on deck for your weekend?

My inner bookworm really REALLY wants this teaspoon and this t-shirt.

I’ve always found changing my hair color empowering; it was interesting to learn that other people feel the exact opposite.

Andy and I don’t usually keep a ton of junk food around the house, but I am thinking this service might make it worthwhile.

These DIY personalized ring dishes are a really great idea for party favors or for craft night fun.

Tweets like this have me wondering: is it more fun to watch the Olympics or to talk about them?

If you like tree houses and African wildlife, this is the vacation spot for you.

Hilarious, but true. What Sex And The City would be like if it were set in 2016.

I became a pretty big fan of London Fogs while I was in Charleston; now I’ve found this recipe for London Fog Cupcakes… I think I might have to put these at the top of my baking list.