A roundup of what I’ve been up to and what I’ve been loving lately: summertime edition!
We visited the sunflower fields out in southeast Raleigh off the Neuse River Trail when they were in magnificent peak bloom! It was a fun evening date night after work and such a refreshing change of pace from our normal. I love driving in the country, and pulling up to the fields of bright sunflowers was glorious! We took a little walk, cpatured some pictures, and enjoyed the sunshine, birds chirping, and countryside views. (I even ran into a few girls who read my blog – so fun!) It was such a wonderful date night exploring a part of Raleigh we’d never seen before, as well as catching these happy flowers at peak bloom!
I finally had a free Saturday the other weekend, and we met up with one of my best friends (and bridesmaids!) and her adorable family at Cloer Family Vineyards, which I have found to be one of the very best vineyards in the area. It’s down in Apex, and it’s one of the few vineyards in the area. We all know how much I LOVE vineyards and wine tastings, and I definitely appreciated the wines throughout Virginia and Charlottesville for many years. I’ve found the Triangle to be sadly lacking in wineries, especially ones who don’t serve just muscadine wine (no thank you). But we discovered Cloer Family Vineyards a few months ago, and it’s become a favorite! Their staff is so friendly and helpful, we really enjoy their wine tastings, they have some great wines, and the ambiance and outdoor space is top notch. We met up with our friends for a wine tasting and then took glasses of wine and our own picnic outside. It was a glorious (and very hot!) day doing many of the things I love most: quality time and conversation with my husband and our friends, adorable kiddos, great wine, and all the picnic food. Definitely check it out if you’re local!
One of our favorite places to visit in Raleigh is the North Carolina Museum of Art. I love strolling through the extensive art museum, and during the summertime, we love going to outdoor movies here for only $6. Two weeks ago, we saw the newest Star Wars movie, and this weekend, we’re going to see La La Land – hooray! It’s one of the best summer activities; we bring plenty of blankets, bring desserts and homemade popcorn, and corral all of our friends to join us. Highly recommend!
We have a new favorite summer cocktail: the peach bourbon smash! We discovered it at Seasons 52 (more on that exciting experience soon!), were able to talk to the head chef and lead bartender, and learned how to make our own at home. I wouldn’t say either of us are huge bourbon drinkers, but we do have a Bulleit Bourbon on our bar cart, and we’ve put it to good use this summer. Simply shake peach nectar with bourbon and then top with a peach slice and mint. It’s unbelievably good and refreshing – and not too sweet!
I took home two mint julep cups of flowers + my white vase of hydrangeas from the wedding I did this past weekend, and these happy flowers sure are brightening our home this week! I put some of the flowers on my desk, where I spend a vast majority of my work day. They perk me up every time I look at them! And the hydrangeas have also lasted quite some time and are gracing our dining room table. There’s not much better than fresh flowers; that’s for sure.
We’ve had a couple fun pool afternoons lately! I’ve got some pretty fabulous friends with seriously adorable babies. I love, love, love that we have a pool, and we try to take advantage of it often. Sometimes we’ll grill dinner at the pool, sometimes we’ll have friends over for sangria and dessert, and sometimes a good dip is all we need. With this extreme heat we’ve had lately, pool time is a must and feels so refreshing!
We finally found another couple to play mixed doubles with! Despite the summertime heat, we are loving our bi-weekly tennis date with some friends. I’ve played tennis my whole life (started when I was 5), and it’s been so, so fun getting back into the habit of playing regularly, as we tend to do every summer. I can’t believe I get to be married to a guy who plays even better than I do, which is a great thing! Rob and I are also headed to the US Open in NYC in just over a month with my sister and brother-in-law… we’re so, so excited!
We cook more than I ever have (that’s for sure!), but we’ve had some fun dinner dates downtown this summer. Whiskey Kitchen has such a great atmosphere, fun al fresco dining, and a great drink menu. We’re thinking we may head here after church this Sunday, too! I’ve been working on a roundup of lots of our favorite local spots, and you can be sure Whiskey Kitchen graces the list. More on that soon!
We hosted a fairly impromptu dinner party two weekends ago with two other couples, and it was one of those perfect evenings with friends. We were supposed to do to jazz in the park and pack a picnic dinner, but a storm came through and we decided to have everyone over instead. One of our friends picked up steaks, the guys went out to grill, the girls drank wine and chatted, and then we sat down to a solid four hour long dinner. It was a night with effortless, interesting conversation, getting to know one another better (the two couples had never met before!), and really just one of those evenings that you look back upon and smile. We are so grateful to share life with such amazing people, and we love having friends over for lingering dinners!
My friend Emily and I started our Articles Club almost two years ago (crazy!), and you can read all about how to host articles club + what articles we’ve read over the years on Em’s blog. I love, love, love this monthly get together, and the group of ladies is fantastic. It’s been a very consistent group for the duration of the two years, and it’s been such a treat seeing everyone each month, catching up on life, and discussing the articles we’ve chosen. This week, Emily hosted us in her backyard, and we had a classic summer cookout: burgers and hot dogs, all the Southern cookout sides, homemade cookies, peach cobbler, and lemonade. We talk for a couple hours about life and about the articles, and it’s such a refreshing, enlightening, and fun evening!
More cute newborns! Can you tell that almost all of my friends have babies?! Good thing they’re all absolutely adorable and I love being around babies and toddlers! One of my very best friends (and bridesmaids!) came to town with her month-old daughter, so we were all able to get together and visit. I was able to travel to visit this family right after they had their baby girl, but it was so sweet to see them again just a couple weeks later. These girls are some of my best friends from college, and it’s hard to believe we’ve known each other for 12+ years now. They are the absolute greatest, and it’s such a joy to do life with each other. No matter what stage of life we’re in, they’re the biggest enouragement, role models, cheerleaders, and friends!
That was quick roundup of some snippets of life over the last couple weeks! I’ve been trying to soak up summertime and enjoy this season in between lots of weddings and work. August is a month free of weddings, which is a welcome little respite! I’m excited to continue savoring the season, making memories with my husband and our friends, and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.
How has your summer been going, and have you had any fun adventures lately? Do you have any travels coming up soon? I’d love to hear what your favorite parts of summertime are!