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From the Editor ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
We're slowly making the transition to summertime living around here. Swapping over the last of the warm-weather clothes, working on a new seasonal menu rotation, planning out our annual niece-visit-palooza, spending more and more time in the garden, taking nearly every meal outdoors… all things we look forward to.
I love marking the seasons with intentional change. Variety is what keeps life fresh, our minds sharp, and our hearts excited for what's to come!
––––––––––––––––––––– Designing Your Summer
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I first heard the term "designing your summer” from the Happier Podcast where Gretchen and Elizabeth discussed the concept of becoming an adult, and summer no longer being inherently magical. Work carries on as it always does, everyday house responsibilities continue, yard work increases, and if you have children off school, you may feel suddenly thrust into the intensified role of head of the household food and entertainment committees! Gone are the carefree halcyon days of old.
However, summer IS still capable of holding some magic - we just have to be intentional about injecting it into our own everyday lives during this, the season of endless sun.
Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have been tossing around the topic and making a list of the things that bring us both warm-weather joy. We love dining outdoors and do so every chance we get. Breakfast on the back deck, happy hour on the front porch, entertaining in the pea gravel “courtyard”… Every Friday I give all of these areas a good wipe down so that they are primed and ready for any spur-of-the-moment use!
We are also avid boaters and have perfected ways to make it easier and more accessible for us to insert time on the water into our days. Even popping out for a quick dinner cruise instantly relaxes our souls. We keep a boat bag always packed and at the ready to grab and go. We've also compiled a list of easy boat-friendly meals and include 2-5 of them on our menu each week. We store the dogs' life vests in the car. These kinds of things make boating on a whim an actual reality vs. just having the fleeting thought, and then deciding it's too much effort to execute.
Both of us really enjoy entertaining, and in the past have had recurring themes that we would “rinse and repeat”. A few of our favorites have been: bonfire parties, weekend brunches, and cocktail hours. You perfect a menu and set up that you'll eventually be able to do with one hand tied behind your back, so the prep stress levels fall to nearly nothing. This year, I think we're leaning toward the brunch theme, but we're still in deliberations.
It's looking like the stars are aligning for us to jump back into the wonderful world of camping after a few years off. We are excitedly looking to purchase a camper and head back to the woods. As much as we love the international five-star hotel life, we equally love food cooked over an open fire at the local state park and the serenade of the forest to put you to sleep at night!
The last goal for my “designed summer” is to create a fun little asset for our neighborhood. Perhaps installing a Little Free Library? We had one at our old home, Ingleside, and it was so much fun being stewards! I'm also dreaming of creating enough garden space (read: putting up lots more fencing) to be able to stock a neighborhood flower stand next year. Which would you vote for?
What a delight it is to choose to surround ourselves with those things that bring us joy and peace. Plan it out. Get it on your calendar. Let's together make use of these languid days to create a bushel full of new memories and be able to look back on this as a “magical summer” for many years to come.
Food Prep –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
The topic that always gets the highest engagement when I post about it on social media is: food! Whether it's menu planning, prep, shopping for groceries, cocktail recipes, or quick and easy boat meal ideas, my online friends (including you!) are predictably invested in the topic.
Not long ago I watched this video by Camille Styles on simple weekend meal prepping that results in the building blocks for several different healthy, seasonal meals to enjoy throughout the week and I thought you all might enjoy her tips as much as I did!
 ––––––—––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Quote
“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawnmower is broken.”
— James Dent
In The Garden ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
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We're on the cusp of dahlia season here in zone 7b! In fact, I saw my very first bloom today. So excited for the profusion of petals they will provide for the rest of the summer and into fall. ♥
The sweet peas are going strong and filling our home with their delicate old-fashioned beauty and delicious, nostalgic fragrance. Forget-me-nots are still in their prime as well and I'm bringing them both in by the armload.
I love this time in the garden where growth is green and abundant but the oppressive heat (and the bugs/disease that come with it) has not yet settled in. Each day it seems that something new has budded or flowered or fruited or ripened! Opening the gate to peek inside is like a treasure trove of discovery that never gets old.
What's blooming in your flower bed right now?
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––– Comfort Food
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Strawberry Basil Cottage Cheese Bowl

I miiiiiiiiight be obsessed with this recipe. Strawberries are in season, my basil plants are taking off, and more mornings than not I seem to be craving this mouthwatering combination of herbs and fruit (a forever favorite pairing!), savory and sweet, creamy and crunchy…it's just divine.
Easy enough to whip up for yourself, but fancy enough to serve at a brunch. One bite, and your tastebuds will be singing!
This was developed by my friends over at Hangry in Love, and to get the full recipe I'll include a link below to their website so you can pin it for future reference. But if you're the throw-together-type (like me!), you can't go wrong just winging it. Here are the ingredients:
Cottage Cheese
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh Basil, I do a rough chiffonade
Slivered Almonds, toasted
Warm honey
Poppy Seeds and Lemon Zest for garnish, if you're feelin' fancy.
Favorite Things ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
I thought I'd share a few of my very favorite things for summer with you this issue. These are all things I own, love, use ALL the time, get constant compliments / questions about, and tell everyone I know just amazing they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Wishing you all a beautifully designed start to your summer! ♥

Be well,
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