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About 2 months ago we decided that in order to take full advantage of some free weekends we really needed to plan a few daycations.  I asked for recommendations on Facebook and got some awesome ideas!  We are water bugs by nature so we ended up selecting trips that were within 3 hours of home and mostly involved being near water.  It was a huge hit and I’m already brainstorming some fall trips. ;-)

NOTE: All photos taken with my iphone

Daycation #1 – Zen Tubing

We love tubing, and it was well worth the drive to Asheville for cooler temps on the water!  After 3 hours of relaxing down stream we drove into Asheville for an amazing meal at Juicy Lucy’s.

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Daycation #2 – Lake Lure

Lake Lure is frequently called the beach in the mountains, and that’s exactly how I’d describe it.  We swam, ate a picnic lunch and sat under our beach umbrella reading for about 3 hours.  It was total perfection after a long week.

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Daycation #3 – Grandfather Mountain

Neither of us had ever been to Grandfather Mountain, and we were pleasantly surprised!  For starters, it was 72 degrees up there! The cashier at the restaurant was apologizing to me for the overcast skies and I just couldn’t stop smiling.  She said, “Is this your first trip to Grandfather?” I said, “Yes ma’am, and we love it!” She said, “Really?” I said, “Yes, it’s like walking through butter at home right now so I’ll take overcast and 72 any day of the week!” She just about died laughing, gave me my change, and wished me a good day.  I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy (not a new observation), but if she felt 92 and humid everyday for 4 months I think she’d understand our excitement.

We had a great lunch, visited the animals, walked across the swinging bridge just before the rain started pouring down and then hunkered down at the fudge shop with coffee to wait on the storm to pass.  Any day that begins with cute animals and ends with fudge and coffee is a fantastic day in my opinion!

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Daycation #4 – Old Salem

To be totally honest, this daycation was mostly about the food.  We enjoyed the sights, and Chris loved the historical aspect, but we ate sugar cake and had a fantastic meal at The Tavern and that was totally the highlight of our day.  Everyone at The Tavern is dressed in period costumes and I wanted to scream, “There is a colonial woman on the wing. There is something they’re not telling us. She was out there churning butter. She was churning butter!” (If you have no idea what this quote is in reference to, I’m sorry). The cake, amazing. The lunch, amazing.  Well worth the drive to Winston just for that lunch on a Saturday.

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Daycation #5 – Carowinds/Boomerang Bay

We had some discount tickets that had to be used on 8/29, so we decided to hit up Boomerang Bay right as it opened.  The lines were non-existent and we rode slides 5 times in a row with no wait.  It was awesome! I won’t mention who cheated on the water slide races, but his name starts with Chris.  After riding the rides and eating food that was insanely overpriced, we spent an hour or so in the wave pool and lazy river.  A wonderful end to a great summer daycation series. Now here’s to an awesome fall!

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August was kind of all over the map for me in terms of reading.  Looking back over my list I can now see that what made total sense to me at the end of July was truly a compilation of total randomness.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to take huge shifts in genre between books and sometimes it’s not.  I ended up having to take a few days off between books in August just to make the transitions but it all worked out in the end because randomness was what my head really needed.  So let’s take a look at what the plan was for August…

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Red Rising #2)
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Take this Child by Calley Reed
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Murder in the Sentier by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #3)

I ended up adding Love you More by Jennifer Grant and pushing Aimee Leduc into September, but I really like how the month shook out.

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Book of the month goes to Golden Son by Pierce Brown. To say that this trilogy is intense would be a HUGE understatement.  It’s reminds me of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games and Ender’s Game all combined.  Seriously, it’s a wild ride. The 3rd book comes out early next year and I’m not sure I can wait that long!  Reading the reviews online I thought, “Hmm, I’m not really feeling dystopian Mars.” But once I got into it, man-oh-man.  Make time for this book, it won’t disappoint.

I did some serious procrastination on Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and finally dove in towards the end of the month. It’s gotten some pretty harsh reviews, and I can totally see why, but I can also see the brilliance of it.  It is most definitely not as brilliant as To Kill a Mockingbird, but unlike other reviewers I don’t see the Watchman Atticus as a totally different Atticus than the Mockingbird Atticus.  It’s just that we’re finally seeing him through the eyes of an adult instead of a child that idolizes him.  He’s human and he’s imperfect, but he’s also still the Daddy that raised her.  It’s a tough read, especially for those of us raised in the south, but in the end, I really enjoyed it and it does shed new light on Mockingbird so it’s worth a read.  Just keep an open mind. ;-)

On a completely unrelated note – Timehop reminded me that it’s been almost 2 years since I finished the All Souls Trilogy so I took a peek at Deb Harkness’ website to see if she had anything new coming out and even though the answer to that is no, she did have a cool playlist that she published for The Book of Life.  I have to say, she nailed it.  So if you’re missing Matthew and Diana like I am, check it out and enjoy. ;-)

I think September will be more randomness, and why not? So here we go…

Murder in the Sentier by Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #3)
Daily Love: Growing into Grace by Mastin Kipp
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (Books of Beginning Book #1)
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

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I ordered a set of square prints from Social Print Studio over a year ago.  I loved the size, the feel of the paper they were printed on, and the fact that they were actually printed and not just tucked safely away in a folder on my computer.  But I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  They’ve sat on the corner of my desk for over a year and then, 2 weeks ago, an idea smacked me right in the face while I was playing with a can of sample paint from Sherwin Williams.

You see, I’ve been on a mission lately to find the exact shade of greige that JoJo uses in all of her houses.  I’ve held swatch after swatch up on multiple walls in light throughout the day.  I felt like I’d found it, so I went to the store and got a sample can (which, BTW is huge).  Came home, put it on the wall and nope, too light.  But I had this huge can of sample paint, so I decided to paint the wall outside my office just because I could.  As I was removing the photo currently on the wall and painting the trim, I saw it – a wall covered in Instagram prints. Boom.  And just like that, I went back to my computer and ordered 96 more prints. ;-)

The goal for this wall is to be very organic and grow/change over time.  I want a living, breathing piece of art that shows us laughing, smiling and enjoying life.  And bonus – I now have about 120 smiling faces looking at me from this wall all day long. Once I got the photos up I felt like the wall needed something else so I decided to go with some big letters.  I narrowed them down to a few options and got the Hubs to vote for his favorite.  As a side note, I found a lady that sells these kinds of things on Etsy for about $50 – $80 unpainted, and I was able to make these for about $12 including paint so, YAY! They are cut from hardboard, which I had never used before but am now totally in love with, and spray painted with hammered pewter to look like metal letters. Hardboard – $5.94, paint – $6.50. Photos are hung with Loctite Fun-Tak mounting putty and the letters are hung with command velcro strips.  Overall it took me about 2 afternoons to cut, paint and hang everything, and I’m really loving how it turned out.

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