Wildflower, Sage Brush, & Mountain Air

One of the many reasons why I love living in Wyoming is simply because summers here are the very best! There is no place like it- the fresh air, the abundant camp sites, and actually needing a campfire at night. There is something so peaceful laying out at night and looking up and seeing endless stars.

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There is something juvenile and freeing about spending a free Sunday- chasing waterfalls, smelling wildflowers, and exploring dirt roads. From the moment I can remember I’ve loved being in the mountains. I love camping. I love the feeling of being “lost” yet totally knowing where I am. Forgetting my to do lists and giving everything else a rest.

Last weekend I went up to the beautiful mountains for a 48 hour retreat of pure quiet and serenity. I’m a firm believer in what any person really needs is a little bit of mountain air to clear their mind.

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Now I don’t know about you- but the BEST part of the camping is the eating- s’mores, burgers, fresh coffee. I thought I would share with you my all time favorite meal while camping! I love it so much now that my parents know what’s my favorite it’s what I want while I’m out in the woods. Ha! I mean I’m sure you could make it at home on your grill- I have never personally done it but I’m sure it will be delicious either way!

Tin Foil Dinners 

This dinner is one of the easiest dinners you will ever prepare! It’s so easy your husband or your kids can do it. There is no wrong or right way to cook it!

 

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  1.  Prepare your work area- double up tin foil. This is where you are going to be assembling your dinner.
  2. Chop up any vegetables you want in your dinner I normally have carrots, cucumbers, green pepper, tomatoes, and avocado.
  3. Decide what meat you want- I had hamburger, steak, and bacon. You don’t have to precook the meat. When assembling your dinner- I normally put on the meat first and then moving onto veggies.
  4.  Add CHEESE! I normally use block cheese other than shredded cheese. I’ve used both cheddar and monterey jack cheese. Add spices- I use chives and dill.
  5.  Almost done! Add butter blocks or oil- both work well however; I rather use butter over oil. If you want to use oil I will say be careful with the oil. One time I added too much oil and having a stomach ache afterwards wasn’t the highlight of the trip! You don’t need a whole lot- it will help with it not being stuck to the tinfoil.
  6.  Drizzle lemon juice to enhance all the amazing flavors!
  7.  Roll up your dinner in your tin foil- make sure the coals are hot enough and then place the dinners onto the grill to cook. Normally I cook them for an hour. I will say while you ensemble your dinners don’t forget that everything will be grilled down. So if you think while you are creating your dinner if it’s too much you are probably on the right track.

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Once your dinner is fully cooked take off your dinner off the grill and carefully unfold your dinner. I normally dump my dinner onto a plate and stir it all up. And for extra seasoning add salt and pepper. And finally bon appetite!

What is your favorite Summer activity?

My Happy Place

I love gardens. Always have- probably always will. While I was on vacation in Arlington, Virginia five weeks ago. I got to go and explore historic mansions (I mean HELLO! Gorgeous) to accompany those beautiful homes the owners always accompanied it with beautiful and grand gardens.

I love stepping back into history in that kind of way- I’ve always felt like I was getting to walk where these people walked-right into their sanctuary. I think I’ve always had a love for being outside among the trees and flowers. I remember being a kid and playing under the shade of a beautiful tree and playing “hidden garden” in the lilac bushes.

I have no idea why rich people back in the day had big gardens and homes. But I find it amazing. My friend Marie and I were awestruck as we walked around the beautiful Dumbarton Oaks House and Garden in Georgetown, VA. As I was walking around them I instantly felt transported back into a simpler time. Felt like Jane Austen’s heroine- Elizabeth Bennett come to life! My heart was doing somersaults and there was a smile on my face for hours!

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon

verdure is the most perfect refreshment” -Jane Austen

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I mean can we just talk about how amazing this building looks? Can you believe in years gone by that this was a private resident? That these walls have seen families and dance parties and that this was someone’s home away from home. After a long day they came home to this!? Marie and I were joking back and forth- you have the East wing I have the west wing- perfect! As I explored this place more and more- I completely forgot I was almost smacked in the city. Not even a couple hours away was the hustle and bustle of traffic and people going to and from work. Yet- I felt so hidden away and relaxed.

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Dumbarton Oaks was Robert and Mildred Bliss’s country home in the now historical Georgetown District. In 1920 it was a “old fashioned home” standing in a neglected area of town. Just itching to become Mildred’s paradise. The duo bought the fifty-three-acre property.

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A year later Mildred and landscape gardener- Beatrix Farrand went to work to design the garden- from where the benches should go to where the plots of different types of gardens should be planted every little detail was carefully handled by the duo.

”  At Dumbarton Oaks you have created something very beautiful, very special both in the garden and inside the house. It will remain a monument to your taste, knowledge and understanding—a delight to all who visit it and a great resource to those who are fortunate enough to work there.” Robert Bliss to Mildred Bliss, 1940

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Since then other architects have worked on the gardens to improve the different functions. For more history on the beautiful gardens here. For a moment in a day I got to forget about being a twenty three year old in the twenty first century surrounded by the modern conveniences. I got to take my time and stroll through the rose gardens and smell every single one- I got to sit by the Lover’s Lane Pool.

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Marie and I were saying over and over- how the heck was this someone’s house!? Could you imagine you come home from work trying to find where someone is!? I now understand why people needed slaves! I was telling Marie- I have no idea where in this garden would be “my” spot. You know the one spot you go to. To help distress- to unwind to relax- to have a cup of tea and cuddle up reading Pride and Prejudice for the hundredth time. I’m sure my family all thought I was nuts. I was like a little kid in a candy shop- smiling from ear to ear as we explored a whole other section- just as beautiful as the last. Marie even joked with my family that they lost me for a couple of hours.

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I couldn’t help it! I was and still am so obsessed! I already want to go back- can you even imagine how it would look like in bloom! Oh my goodness! I would highly recommend! I firmly believe we all have a little kid still in us who love getting lost in trees and smelling the flowers and chasing waterfalls. I don’t thinking loosing your imaginations is a good thing. I was so flabbergasted by the beauty that was surrounding me I was having a hard time processing just how amazing this moment of time was! I will say wear comfortable shoes and just have fun! Allow yourself to get lost in time gone by- and enjoy the fruit of their labor. I can’t wait to plan my next trip. But for now- I will go off in make believe land to Pemberley where I can be Elizabeth Bennett all over again.

Thanks Dumbarton Oaks- for SUCH a swell time! Thanks for becoming my new happy place! You will always hold a special moment in my heart.