entertaining blitz.

We’re kind of in the middle of an entertaining blitz over here, which is good since priority #1 at the Good Ship is hospitality. We just had our friends Karen and Jon over for a little feast this weekend, and during the rest of this month I’m hosting a bridal shower for my sister, a baby shower for my friend Mia, and a bachelorette party for my sister. And the month after that, we’ll be on a wedding blitz. For all of these things, many preparations must be made.

The problem with moving into a much larger house is that you have all these grand ideas of entertaining frequently, but you have almost no seating. Certainly you can go out and buy a bunch of brand new furniture all at once and bring it home, but I’m of the mind that if you’re patient and you’re willing to wander frequently through antique malls, the right furniture will present itself. And so it has.

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For close to a year we’ve been awkwardly dragging in chairs from other rooms every time people want to sit down in the parlor, but recently I walked into this antique store that directly channels Miss Havisham and walked out with a couple of armchairs. The room looks much more complete now.

Of course many other things have been happening around here unrelated to armchairs. We had a delightful work outing where we rented out the Byrd for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and then had tacos and margaritas at Don’t Look Back. Kind of the perfect relaxing afternoon with coworkers.

Mom and Dad are world travelers, having been to Germany this summer. They loved it there. Mom even reconnected with her foreign exchange student from high school and they had a blast catching up. Dad took to his new iPad faster than most tweens would, and sent us many beautiful cathedral pics in realtime.

Many thanks for this summer go out to technology, for bothering with stuff so I don’t have to. I’ve discovered a few notable apps: Flipboard makes it way easier for me to keep up with the internet while I’m out and about instead of cobbling a vague idea of what’s going on together from a dozen different apps, Librivox Audiobooks allows me to listen to (free! public domain!) books when I’m out of podcasts, and Nike+ Running flawlessly tracks my runs, gives me audio feedback during my runs, and lets me see stats related to them. Seriously, the detail in these Nike+ reports. It’s ridiculous. I can see exactly where I’m slowing down and speeding up, how the incline fluctuates on my route, how many miles per week I’m running, how my workouts compare to others of my same age, etc. etc. Really useful for people like me who’ve been running in a vacuum and not really tracking any of this stuff.

Another pursuit this summer has been working through all my Pinterest recipes. I’ve just started at the bottom of my list and am making every recipe. If I get to a recipe and it doesn’t look feasible or it doesn’t turn out well, it gets deleted. I’d like to hone this board down to mostly favorites, so that I have a simple list of tried-and-true recipes to choose from instead of an intimidating sea of possibilities, but I can still add to it as new classics are discovered. Plus this enterprise forces me to make new stuff all the time and not get in a cooking rut.

Dan and I celebrated 5 years together at the end of July. I have a such a hard time believing it’s been 5 years. Crazy. So many adventures! So many still to come! In fact right now I feel like driving off somewhere with this guy, with a map and a picnic in tow. Alas, it is Thursday.

In other news, we have had about a million extremely violent thunderstorms during the past month or so, along with one of the hottest months on record in Virginia. The jungle-like conditions have killed most of my spices but the rosemary in the front yard is gargantuan, choking out all the plants nearby and threatening to break into the parlor window. I have other plans for it, though.

Also, since everything dies in the mega-shade of the backyard, I bought some monster (read: biggest I’ve ever laid eyes on) caladiums and planted them out there, and they’re triumphant. So from now on, only swamp-dwelling plants in the backyard. Okay. I can do that.

I’ve been very active on the adventuring front this month too. Dan and I visited Mid-Lothian Mines Park, and I also had the pleasure of a little urban exploration at Corner Minor last week. Decayed Richmond interviewed me for their documentary about the urban exploration movement in Richmond, and that was a lot of fun as well.

The thing I’m most excited about though is the Virginia Jaunts map I put together to make day trip planning a little easier. It’s packed with things to do all over the state, and it simplifies the process of figuring out what direction you feel like driving in and what stuff is located in that direction. I want to do a lot of things to improve it, but I can chip away at those things forever. My greatest hope is that others will find it useful and will be inspired to go adventuring more often. I know it does me good to see a mountain pass or a seashore or a vineyard every so often.

Despite all this activity, I’ve carved out some down time too. I’ve been working on bridesmaid fascinators for the past few nights while watching period pieces on Netflix Instant — paradise for this introvert. Tonight I’ll go supplies-shopping for the Downton Abbey-inspired bridal shower this weekend, and the flurry of activity begins again. Right now life is a mixture of sharing laughter, food, drink, and stories with a rotating cast of characters in our home, and curling up in bed with a book / Sophie / some episodes of Sherlock / Dan. So in other words, utter happiness.

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