Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I Love Richmond

Simply put, I love Richmond.  I loved growing up here, and I love living here as an adult.  Sure, there are other places I've thought would be great to live (NYC, Boston, Southern Cali, Denver, Portland, and many more).  But... Richmond is home.  Even if I moved to one of the amazing previously mentioned locales for awhile, I'd be back.  Partly because my family is here (I can't live too far from them... it just doesn't work for me), but also because I love it! 

When Centsational Girl announced her "Favorite Things in My Town Party", I thought it would be a fun excuse to write about my beloved RVA (RIC if that's your preference).  Technically, we actually live outside of Richmond.  We lived in a house in the north side of the city after we got married and I L.O.V.E.D it.

I really wanted to stay within the city limits when we decided to buy, but after realizing our options were realllly limited (by our budget) and we found this great deal on our house... it just made sense to be in the county.  Luckily, we are just 10-12 minutes from downtown so it is not a huge sacrifice!

 Main Street Station

The very best thing about Richmond is its proximity to the beach and the mountains.  We can spend a day in Virginia Beach or go snowboarding at Wintergreen after just an hour & a half or so of driving.  It cannot be beat.  There are also two theme parks within an hour, and Washington D.C. and Baltimore are just about 2 hours away.  So many great day trips!

July 4th in D.C.

Richmond is truly rich in history, too.  There are a bazillion historical landmarks, not to mention an infinite amount of Civil War battlefields and landmarks (if that's your thing).

We have amazing museums (from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to the Poe Museum, to the Science Museum and 2 Children's Museums) and art galleries, too.  My favorite gallery is also my favorite place to buy gifts in Richmond, Quirk

I could do an entire post on art galleries in town, most of which participate in our First Fridays Art Walk.  Who doesn't love an excuse to spend Friday night downtown admiring local artists' work?

Another amazingly awesome thing about Richmond is the James River.

The river means so much to us... from rafting trips to kayaking; from lounging on river rocks to fishing along the banks; from running along the flood wall to hiking on the islands... you get the idea.  The James gives us gorgeous scenery and more recreation than any one person could ever fully appreciate.  We love to hike, bike, and go to concerts and special events on one of our islands.  We had fireworks by the river this year and they were phenomenal.

You are likely to be able to find some kind of festival almost every weekend.  Some of the best times I've had are at big events that attract Richmonders of all ages & backgrounds.  Whether it is at a music festival (like our Folk Festival) or a food/wine festival (we have lots of those) or an athletic event (our Monument Ave. 10K is one of the biggest races in the country)... there is just nothing like being in a huge crowd of Richmonders just loving and enjoying our city.

my friend Courtney & I running the Richmond Marathon

Richmond is an ideal place to live if you are a runner (or biker).  I have discovered some of my favorite spots in the city during a long run.  We have training teams for all the big races, and it's great to learn new routes through the city.  Local races like the Monument Ave. 10K and Richmond Marathon are so much fun because they bring SO many people together in our city.  

Clearly I could go on and on.  We have amazing shopping (Carytown is a fav. of many Richmonders... lots of fun local shops and eateries along Cary Street, as well as an awesome old theater, The Byrd).  You could spend an entire day just admiring the architecture of various buildings and houses... from our gothic old City Hall to the new Virginia Museum of Fine Arts addition to the gorgeous houses in Ginter Park and along Monument Avenue.

Another fun place to spend time is in Shockoe Bottom or Shockoe Slip, smack in the middle of downtown and close to the river.  You can walk along the old cobblestone streets (seen above in a photo from our engagement shoot).  There are phenomenal restaurants, the most amazing modern furniture store (LaDiff), and access to the Canal Walk.  You can also take a tour on a canal boat, which provides some history and great views as it glides down the canal and alongside the Holocaust Museum and all the old warehouses, which are now lofts.

So, in the interest of time I think I'll stop here.  Like I said though, I could obviously keep going.  There are so many great things about Richmond!

If you're ever here for an extended period of time, I would certainly recommend taking in a festival or two, walking along the river (maybe along the Canal Walk, Flood Wall, or on Belle Isle), checking out the VCU campus and Hollywood Cemetery, going to the VMFA or Science Museum or other museums, taking an art class at the Visual Arts Center, going to Maymont Park or Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, driving along Monument Avenue, shopping in Carytown, eating in Shockoe, and (if you're lucky enough to be here in December), taking a limo or driving yourself through part of our Tacky Light Tour.  The fun just never stops. :)

skyline pic from here, Quirk collage from here, river from here, 10K from here, footbridge here

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beach Bums

Well, my summer break is officially over as of tomorrow morning.  Can't wait to sit in a meeting from 8am-4pm! :)  I have quite a few things to blog about, including a painted piece of furniture, a new wall of frames, painted doors, and new window pelmets/valances in the office.  But... I'm not writing about those things tonight.  

We just spent the most relaxing week & a half in the Outer Banks and I'm still "gone to Carolina in my mind" (as the wonderful James Taylor would say).  

We crashed my parents' vacation for a few days at my cousin's amazing beach house, and my awesome older brother joined us there, too.  It was wonderful!  We then moved down the road a mile or so to spend a week with our good friends, Courtney & Eddie.   

It was amazing to spend 11 days at the beach (who doesn't love the beach?), especially with great company!  

I was very prepared to relax by the pool/on the beach and catch up on some reading.

I read all but one of those books, and enjoyed every one!  Tomorrow will be a bit of a rude awakening, but I'm sure I'll be back in the swing of things in no time.  Here's to hoping I can keep up with the blog as the school year begins!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tangly Dangly Earrings No More

For a long time, I had no interest in "dangly" earrings.  I'm not sure why (I think it drove my mom crazy), but I just didn't like the way they looked.  I would always wear the same silver ball posts.  I still wear those posts most days, actually.  

Times have changed, though, and now I am loving the look of fun dangly earrings.  As I've started to accumulate more pairs, I've just been sticking them haphazardly in my jewelry box.  No sense of organization, whatsoever.  Which drives me crazy.  When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew it was a perfect, easy solution to my problem!

There is an easy-to-follow tutorial here, which is exactly how I made mine.  My favorite tip from Amanda's tutorial is that by twisting two or three strands of picture wire together, you can also attach post earrings to the wire.  As you can see in my finished product below, I stuck in a pair of my fav. silver ball posts on the bottom row.

I plan to hang mine in our closet, along with a necklace holder whenever I get around to making one.  I recently pinned this one on my To Do board that is made from a towel bar and shower curtain hooks.  It is a likely candidate!  

When I hang the earring holder, Stephen said he has some molding that we can use behind the frame, since if we hang it flush against the wall, the earrings would be flattened and it would be tough to use.  I can't wait to fill it up with even more fun earrings! 
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