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The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday! I like it more than Christmas, Thanksgiving and my birthday combined. The problem however, is that the weather is usually miserable this time of year.

So, when we realized that there was a pretty good chance of rain on the 4th, Matt and I decided to buy a new patio set and have a “picnic” at home.

We aren’t ready to commit to a patio collection yet, because we haven’t finished the back yard, but we thought a small set would make our outdoor space  much more useable for now,  so we headed to Target.

They are currently having a sale on patio furniture, and from what I can tell, the prices are even better in the store than they are online.

Here is the set that we chose:

We were very impressed with the quality, and it matches the Pottery Barn Hampstead Teak Collection nicely, so we plan to add more pieces when we finish the landscaping in the back yard. (More on that later.)

We also stopped by home depot and picked up this fun friend.

What is that you ask?… A bug zapper? A light? A bird feeder?

No. It’s an outdoor wireless speaker… and boy does it have good sound!

If you’re interested – the company that makes it is called Acoustic Research and the main selling point for us was that we can hook it up to our Sonos system and control everything from our ipads… Lol we could even have a war between the ipads if we disagreed on a song. 🙂

To complete our evening, we selected the 2008 Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel and Matt made a motion using Roberts Rules of Order (of course!) to adopt it as the official 4th of July wine of the Wharton household. Umm… yes… We are MAJOR nerds. Don’t judge.

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If you’ve been reading for a while, you will probably  remember this chair which was purchased for the master bedroom a few months ago.

Well, it did go in the master bedroom for a while, but it never felt quite right there, so we’ve moved it downstairs next to the fireplace. 

… and we replaced it with this find from the Brass Armadillo.

 

Here’s the new chair in the room.

I think it goes with the bed frame quite nicely!

(By the way, you can expect a new bedding post shortly. The current mish-mash is mostly the result of poor planning and an over use of bleach.)

Well, it’s almost July and its so hot here that it seems like everything is wilting… especially me. Luckily however, my garden seems to be doing very well, and that always makes me smile.

I think the garden cover that we installed a few weeks ago has really helped. The area that we planted inis not very shady, so the extra UV protection really perked up my seedlings.

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… and now my seedlings are not seedlings anymore. They are full grown plants! Here’s how they look now:

Cabbage:

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Turnips:

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Jalapenos:

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Snap Peas:

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Cantaloupe:

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Zucchini:

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I have been collecting pictures of various entry doors for he past few days. This is the next project on our list…

We are just in the beginning stages of planning the project, but I do have a general idea of what I want. It has to be white, have sidelights and a transom with glass divisions that are similar to our french doors, and it needs to “feel safe.”

I haven’t decided which company to go with yet, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, I would love to hear them! I will say that were are very hesitant to go through Lowes again though. That’s where we purcharsed french doors, and they were extremely difficult about installation.

Here are some of the pictures I have collected so far.

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My favorite cocktail, hands down, is the Bloody Mary. I have tried several recipes at home, but all of them seemed to be lacking something… or in some cases, a lot of things. 

I had all but given up on a good at-home Bloody Mary until I found/adapted this recipe from Isa Chandra’s Vegan Brunch cookbook. You don’t even need the alcohol if you’d like to make it virgin!

My Favorite Bloody Mary

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces of vodka
  • 3/4 cup tomato vegetable juice
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard with horseradish (She uses regular horseradish here.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 sprays of liquid aminos (liquid smoke)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon tabasco (If you don’t like it spicy you will want to cut this down.)
  • A dash of pepper
  • A dash of pink salt (you can use kosher)
  • Salk of celery for garnish
  • One pickle wedge for garnish
  • 3 green olives with pimento for garnish

Directions:

Fill a drink shaker with ice and add all of the ingredients except for the salt, pepper and garnish. Give it a good shake. Fill a big glass with ice and a few dashes of pepper. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish. Sprinkle with a little pink salt and serve.

Last fall, I purchased a set of glass drop sconces with burlap shades to match the rest of our lighting from Pottery Barn.

The sconces matched our Celeste and Audrina chandeliers as well as the Francis sconce in our hallway… and I have plans to get the Hundi lantern for our entry way as soon as our front door has been replaced.

I can’t find the sconces on the Pottery Barn website anymore, but here is a picture of what they looked like in our room. 

Please ignore my poor bed making skills. It was done in a hurry, and I probably should have at least centered the pillows for the picture. 🙂

As you can see, the sconces were made to plug-in, and were not designed to be hard-wired, which was a source of constant frustration for me. I attempted to hide the tacky looking wires with these burlap covers.  (Also from Pottery Barn.)

The problem however, was that the chord covers kept slipping and they were impossible to keep straight.

So, I talked to my dad about the possibility of hard-wiring the sconces and hooking them up to the switch. He told me that he thought he could to it, and this was probably the ideal time because the bathroom on the other side of the wall is already still gutted. (See here.)

On Saturday, we made a trip to purchase the necessary materials and then got straight to work! The project took a few hours, and we did run into a few bumps along the way… In the end, we wound up tearing out two more walls in the guest bathroom in order to find a place to feed the wire, but when it came to the electrical work, we didn’t have any hiccups. Thank God! 

Now we are able to turn on the sconces with the flip of one switch, and I am much happier with the way they look as well.

Now, I suppose it’s time to start considering some artwork for above the bed. I’m thinking about this piece from Restoration Hardware. What do you think?

Well, I picked up my first Chow Locally Share bright and early on Saturday morning, and I was very impressed to say the least.

It was pre-washed and packaged nicely in this very cute and hefty wooden crate. I’m a little anal though, so I washed it all again.

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When you sign up for the CSA, you pay an additional $20 in your first week for the box. Each week, you bring your box back and you are given another with your next share. If you decide to discontinue your account, you have the option of returning the box and they will give you your full deposit back.

Here were the contents of this week’s share: 

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  • Carrots
  • Green Chard
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Spring Onions
  • Asian Melons (these made a very tasty snack!)
  • Mixed Zucchini
  • Mixed Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

They also included several recipes – many of which I was able to adapt to make vegan. So far, I have made squash gratin, kale and sun-dried tomato gemelli, green chard with tomatoes, and an adaptation of Whole Foods vegetarian paella using the squash and the carrots (pictured below.)

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Needless to say, I will certainly be continuing with Chow Locally!