Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

As it turns out, I’m the only person in my entire family who is bad at saving money. My parents and my sister are all pros at squirreling away cash for a rainy day (to the point of frugality), but I’m not that way at all. Maybe it’s because we grew up under my parents’ tightly budgeted regime that I decided to live more on the edge as an adult—whatever the case, I love treating myself and have succumbed to the fact that I will never live a rich or cozy banking lifestyle.

The very, very good news, though, is that my parents’ steadfast aversion to debt definitely engrained itself in my soul, so, aside from our home, you won’t find me financing a single thing. I may not be good at budgeting or saving, but the concept of financing a purchase just isn’t something that even crosses my mind (not that it’s a bad thing, of course—it’s just not for me personally).

Anyway, while I wish I could announce that I’ve decided to completely change my tune this season, I’m just not quite there yet with my saving habits. That said, one way I’ve tricked myself into saving money is playing musical decor in our home. Rather than running out to purchase something new at the drop of a hat like I used to, I’m taking much longer to fork over the cash. I’ll try every single lamp that we already have in our house before I’ll head to Target for a new one, and that’s exactly the story I wanted to share with you today, step by step, so that you can potentially learn to “accidentally” save some money in your own home goods budget—or at least try to, like I did.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Small

The focus of this little game was the table lamp in my made-over office. As I revealed in that post, I had actually already purchased a new lamp, but even after snapping those “final” photos, the fixture never felt quite right (I’ll explain why a little later on).

But, not wanting to pay $50 for a new lamp unless it was absolutely necessary, I decided to try other options from around the house—starting with this little white lamp from our living room. It was the right style (minimal), the right color (white), and the right proportions (slightly hefty around the middle), but it was just overall too small for the room. Snapping this picture above on my iPhone helped me see that sizing issue right away, so I moved on to the next option.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Tall

As I’m sure you’ll be able to tell immediately, this quirky yellow lamp was just too tall for the space. A fun idea, but just not right for the room. I did like the color though—the burnt yellow/orange tone picked up the same palette from the art, which made me wonder if an earth-toned lamp could do the trick. Just not this particular one.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Skinny

While the height of this small gray thrift store lamp felt right (just slightly taller than my computer screen), the shape left a bit to be desired. The thin neck of the lamp and slender outline of the base itself didn’t command enough attention.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Still Too Skinny (And Too Tall)

This one was also a little skinnier than I felt like the desktop needed, plus it was just a little too tall in comparison to the computer screen. I think it was at this point in the process of trying different lamps and snapping photos of them from the doorway that I realized the right lamp would be somewhere in-between the top of the computer screen and the bottom of the piece of art. One thing I did love about this lamp, though, was the fact that the brass base mimicked the print’s gold frame.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Invisible

This mid-century white table lamp above was the right height but not the right scale. I still craved something more rotund around the middle, plus I was starting to rethink my decision to look for a light-colored lamp having seen how much the too-tall yellow lamp and the too-skinny brass lamp popped against the white walls of my office. Time to keep looking.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Trendy

When last I left things, this pretty gray table lamp had temporarily won the race. I liked the height and the rounded shape of the gourd base, but when it came down to it, I just didn’t love it. The lamp checked all the right boxes, but it just felt like the expected, trendy choice, so after living with it for a week (and snapping these photos), I decided to return it and continue the hunt for the right, right lamp.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Too Wimpy

In a fit of desperation (I really didn’t want to have to buy a new lamp, guys…) I tried the lamp you see above from our bedroom, but it just felt lost on the desktop. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but for some reason I really wanted to find a lamp that was a true table lamp—not a traditional office task lamp. After snapping this photo, I promptly put it back beside the bed.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Winner

Ahh, that sweet sigh of relief. The final winning table lamp is the perfect blend of earth-toned color to make it pop off the white walls, the right rounded shape to give it heft, and the right height, putting it just below the art above my desk.

Although I grudgingly had to purchase this lamp new, I can safely say that I agonized over the decision and spent that money knowing in my heart that it was the right decision to make. It wasn’t instant gratification, and it wasn’t an impulse purchase. I spent over a week trying different options to finally decide that this one was worth the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to save money.

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

This story may sound a little bit backward, but I wanted to share the honest truth about my spending habits and how I’ve worked hard to curb them in favor of loving what we already have. In case you’re in the process of attempting to save money, maybe this trick could help you save a few extra dollars in the long run! Before purchasing something new, try rearranging pieces from around your house to see if you have something that already works. Snapping a quick photo on your phone can help point out things that you might not pick up on with the naked eye, so be sure to do that extra step, too.

So, what do you think? Did I make the right choice, or was there a lamp from the bunch that you thought fit just right? Of course, it’s all subjective and I am head over heels for my new lamp, but the process is still a fun one to look back on, and I’d love to know your thoughts. So fire away in the comments below!

Try This Trick Before Buying A New Lamp

P.S. Have you given my call for a big favor some thought…? Pretty please!?

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*This post was made possible by La-Z-Boy

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Well, folks…We’re nearing the end of the La-Z-Boy Design Dash room makeover contest, and I just wanted to ask one last time for your quick vote! You all have been so incredibly sweet and supportive of this entire project, and it was such a thrill to have had the chance to work on it. Even if we don’t end up taking home the prize, it still has been a wonderful experience that I would totally do all over again.

The contest, where you can vote for your favorite room in the makeover series, ends this Sunday, June 25, so I’d love to invite you to cast your vote between now and the end of the week. You can enter once every day, so feel free to make it part of your morning routine until Sunday—I know I will be! And in case you forgot, you get a little something out of it, too. One voter will win $15,000 in La-Z-Boy furniture to inspire your own made-over space, so this could just be the beginning for one of you…

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Click back here to see a mood board we initially considered for our space before we were able to hit the showroom floor, and you can hear more about our experience at the Dash itself here (including lots of behind the scenes photos and videos!) here.

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.comBehind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Thank you all so much again for the outpouring of love for our room, and here’s that link to vote just onnnne last time. Even if you don’t vote for our space, I hope you take a second to pop over and see the other rooms in the contest. Every single space turned out beautifully (I think my favorite aside from our own was Cassity’s), so be sure to check those out for even more design inspiration. The winner will be announced July 19, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

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A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

I don’t entertain all that often, so on the rare occasion that I do host a group of people, I like to keep things simple. First of all, I cut down on tabletop styling time and effort by having a collection of neutral party supplies stored at-the-ready in our china hutch. Things like linen napkins (even mismatched napkins work as long as they are neutral colors!), white serving dishes in all shapes and sizes, and pretty coordinating vases that I can fill with clippings from the yard for a last-minute free centerpiece.

The second thing I do to keep things simple when entertaining is having an arsenal of super easy recipes on hand that I can make in a matter of minutes to feed a crowd. Today’s recipe for a 5-minute fruit salad honey drizzle is my new favorite, especially now that summer is almost upon us.

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

I know this next statement is such a cliche, but the concept for this recipe (if you can even call it a recipe) truly couldn’t be easier. All you need to recreate it is 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 of honey. That’s right—it’s really just an easy alternative to your go-to simple syrup! Just combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork until smooth, then pour over your pre-chopped fruit salad.

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

I love that you can control the texture of the drizzle (add more honey if you want it thicker, or less if you want it thinner), and that you can skip sugar. I always try to pick up 100 percent pure honey whenever possible, and love to choose locally sourced honey when I have time to. Going organic is another priority for our household when we head to Fresh Market or Trader Joes.

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

If you want to up the flavor ante just a bit, try adding a few tablespoons of lime juice to the drizzle, or you can make a honey ginger simple syrup for iced coffee or cold brew using fresh ginger over a little heat on the stove.

I experimented with our own simple honey drizzle over chopped fruit for John’s lunches, and it was a hit. We both really love the way this drizzle adds just a subtle hint of extra flavor, and made the fruit in our salad feel a little more special in comparison to plain cut produce. We plan to reuse the idea for gatherings and packed lunches all summer long, and if you do the same, make sure to tell us what you think in the comments below!

A Recipe For 5-Minute Fruit Salad Honey Drizzle

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!

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Everything You Need To Fill Your Open Shelves | dreamgreendiy.com

Happy Monday! I probably shouldn’t admit this, but Mondays are actually my favorite day of the week. The day offers a nice, fresh start, there’s less pressure since I have plenty of days to get my projects for that week done before Saturday rolls around, and Monday tends to be my lightest email day of the week.

On the other hand, Fridays are my least favorite. I have until 5PM to get everything on my list done before calling it quits for the weekend, and I swear everyone waits until 4PM on Friday afternoon to send me their “urgent” email requests. It stresses me out just thinking about Friday…So, instead, I’ll simply bask in the slow-paced glory of this Monday morning.

  1. Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home by Rebecca Atwood ($22.02)
  2. Potted Faux Ball Cactus Plant in Pot ($37.99)
  3. Table Lamp ($21.75)
  4. Solid Wood Wall Frame ($23.99)
  5. Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life, by Erin Gates ($19.91)
  6. 3 Piece Canister Set ($35.99)
  7. Retro Alarm Clock ($14.45)
  8. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, by Emily Henderson ($18.39)
  9. Recycled Glass Bud Vase ($43.99)
  10. Diptyque ‘Baies’ Scented Candle 2.4 oz ($34)
  11. Succulents in Wooden Pot ($58.99)
  12. Hettie 3 Piece Vase Set ($35.99)

One thing in particular that I’ve got on my to-do list for the week is a home tour photo shoot. I’m so excited to be teaming up with local photographer, Carrie Coleman, to document all of the changes we’ve made to our home since last year’s tour. You’d probably think that not enough has changed since last June to warrant a new shoot, but I think you’ll be surprised to see all of the differences from room to room.

With a looming photo shoot in just a few days time, I’ve been running like a mad woman around our house, making sure that everything (and I mean everything) is styled to perfection. In case you’re working on styling your own surfaces, the list above features a few of the top picks I always keep around for styling emergencies—because, yes, those moments totally exist! I can’t wait to share more about the tour next month, but in the meantime, be sure to follow along with me on Instagram for behind the scenes peeks and to weigh in with your own styling ideas as I work on each room in turn.

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.

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Phase 1 Of Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover | dreamgreendiy.com

Oh, the downstairs bathroom…This room is thankfully a bit of an afterthought since it’s tucked away on the bottom level of our home. It’s rarely used by guests, so I’ve just lived with it for the almost-two years that we’ve called this 1960s ranch “home.”

That said, my patience has officially run out, and I’ve got big plans to turn this space into a room that I don’t mind directing our guests toward. John and I are actually hosting a mini family reunion (my dad’s side) here at the house in late July, so my plan is to have this dated room fit for showing off come party time next month. Can I pull it off? That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve made at least a few small bits of progress in the last couple of weeks, which has me feeling more confident.

Mid-Century Modern House Tour | Dream Green DIY

Phase 1 Of Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover | dreamgreendiy.com

The first thing to get updated was the light over the vanity. The original fixture featured an old on/off toggle switch, forcing us to look for the same style fixture in the process of replacing it. There isn’t a built-in wall switch for the light, so if we installed a traditional fixture, it would have been permanently lit once the power was switched back on post-install.

Turns out that toggle type lighting is harder to find than you’d think, though! Most of the fixtures I unearthed on my Google searches were astronomically expensive, but then I found a UK-based Etsy seller who offered beautiful modern light fixtures with a toggle switch option.

Phase 1 Of Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover | dreamgreendiy.com

Spark & Bell totally saved my butt on this one, and after finding a couple of fixtures that I just couldn’t choose between (seen here and here), I reached out to the shop owner to see if a custom option was possible. Spoiler alert: it was possible, and the finished light is everything I had hoped for and more.

Phase 1 Of Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover | dreamgreendiy.com

Resources: Cotton Wall Hanging (similar), Round MirrorGrasscloth Wallpaper (similar), Soap DispenserCustom Light FixtureVintage rug via eBay seller anatoliandecorBath TowelBoxes with lidsBrass Drawer PullsHanging Planter Vase

I’m still playing around with different accents and finishing touches, but my ultimate plan is to work around the bulk of the room’s existing layout (for now, anyway) and finishes, but update the smaller details—things like the mirror, art, hardware, rug and linens—every weekend now through July.

I actually really love the original grasscloth wallpaper in the room, so I think I’ll try working around that for “Phase 1” of this makeover. As for “Phase 2”? We’ll eventually update the countertop to stone, add a new modern faucet, and rip out the old shower stall and retile it to span the entire back half of the room (like this).

What do you think? Do you guys have a room in your home that you’re embarrassed to send people to? I’m hopeful that these high impact, small scale changes I have planned can happen quickly and on budget. Stay tuned.

Phase 1 Of Our Downstairs Bathroom Makeover | dreamgreendiy.com

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!

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Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

I’m the first to admit that baking isn’t really my thing. I can do it, but I just feel like I’d rather prioritize other projects (think: hanging new art in the bathroom, painting the sunroom, hitting the antique store to find the perfect vintage desk for my office). So, instead of spending an hour or two over measuring cups and canisters of flour and sugar, I tend to be a regular at the bakery section at our local grocery store.

The only problem with that mentality is that you do give up a certain level of control. I’m pretty stubborn about my aesthetic, and tend to want things to look a very certain way, so having to pick pre-baked cakes off the shelf at the grocery store is a struggle for me. Oftentimes, I just make it work and choose the simplest white-frosted cake I can find (unfortunately, it’s usually the most expensive of the bunch), but I recently had the idea to do a little bit of DIYing to a pre-baked cake in order to make it worthy of our next soiree.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

The idea was to pick up a clearance cake from the bakery, and then transform it into a Pinterest-worthy masterpiece using edible flowers. I ordered a 50-count box of pastel Viola blooms from this online shop, and then (not so) patiently waited for the flowers to arrive. After they did, I immediately tucked the flowers away in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible (they should last about a week if kept cold), and then hit the bakery in search of the perfect cake.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Although I’m sure many of you will think the original cake was cute as could be, it personally wasn’t really my style. The bright sprinkles and frosted peaks were a little too whimsical for me, but the $5 clearance price tag was perfect. So I whisked it home, and then set it on my work table to get it looking more like the pretty pastry I had in my mind.

The inspiration was a “naked cake” type look, with just subtle swipes of frosting around the edges, so I used a flat knife to remove most of the original frosting from the cake (which, don’t worry, didn’t go to waste as John scarfed it up quickly from the sidelines), and then stepped back to survey the results. Although a little bare looking on its own, the simplified silhouette was just what I was hoping for. Plus, I knew it wasn’t done yet.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

The final step was to decorate the now-naked cake with a handful of the pretty edible flowers I had ordered. In this case, less is more, but you really can’t mess it up. To create the look you see above and below, I gently pressed the flowers onto the cake form, allowing the light frosted finish to “grab” the petals and keep everything in place. I situated a few of the prettiest blooms on top, then added a small asymmetrical border around the bottom edge. There was no rhyme or reason to my design—I just kept adding the edible flowers until I felt like it looked done.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

I think the finished cake feels just a little more mature than the original, store-bought look. It’s the perfect semi-DIYed treat to serve at a girl’s night in or even Sunday morning brunch with friends. And to those of you wondering how a cake actually tastes with edible flowers, I can honestly say that it’s delicious. These particular Viola blooms added a super delicate crunch to the cake, and the sweet, herby flavor of the flowers themselves gave it a sort of fruit cake vibe. I think this new pastry process might just be my new brunch-time go-to.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

So, what do you think? I know it’s not for everyone. In fact, John thought I was nuts when I first explained the concept to him, but once it was done and he had a chance to try it for himself, he admitted that it was kind of a cool transformation.

The only thing I will say is that the edible flowers ended up costing a little more than I would have liked once shipping was factored in. So, I think if I did this again, I would try growing my own blooms for the project. The good news, though, is that I figured out several other ways to make the most of the leftover flowers (of which there were many), so stay tuned for more DIYs to offset this one later this month. I can’t wait to share!

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

Find out how to turn a clearance grocery store cake into a Pinterest-worthy naked cake with edible flowers.

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!

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*This post was sponsored by Duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Okay, so technically summer doesn’t officially commence for another week, but it sure feels like we’re ‘in the heat of things’ now. Our AC units have already been turned way up, we’re chugging fresh citrus-infused water daily, and outdoor activities have become the weekly norm.

Our fire pit, for example, has been working especially hard for our benefit as of late. Since kicking off a range of partnerships with the team over at Duraflame last year, we’ve become die-hard fans of the brands’ product line. Sure, it’s a professional collaboration, but that relationship has organically turned us into life-long users. Now every time we have a slightly overcast day, we race to the back yard to fire up our little DIY flagstone fire pit, and luckily, our stockpile of  Duraflame logs allows us to pull off these on-a-whim fire fancies whenever the mood strikes—in less than 10 minutes flat.

All this to say that, sponsorship aside, we really couldn’t recommend their stuff more, and to inspire your own spontaneous fire pit fête, John and I spent a little extra time around the fire last week to come up with a list of activities to do around a summer campfire. Read on for our top five takeaways and please weigh in with your own ideas in the comments after the story!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

1. Roast Marshmallows

This one, of course, is a given, but don’t feel like you need to stop there. John and I keep skewers handy in a kitchen drawer by the front door so that we can grab those and our favorite fire pit foods whenever the weather allows for a campfire. We’ve cooked hot dogs, bacon, shrimp, pineapple, and even grilled cheese sandwiches over our flaming Campfire Roasting Logs, so feel free to get creative and go beyond the standard s’more. If you want to stick with marshmallows though, at least consider giving our recipe for Rice Krispie Treat S’mores a try!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

2. Host A Tasting

Our home is always stocked with wine and beer, and if your fridge sports the same type of inventory, a campfire gathering is the perfect time to host an impromptu tasting. Gather some friends over and ask them to bring a bottle of their favorite wine or a 6-pack of their go-to beer. Then allow everyone to try a taste while comparing notes around a roaring fire.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

3. Have A Jam Session

This one might sound a little cheesy, but summer is the perfect time to embrace the ‘cheese’ and pretend like you’re in a music video—so go old school and break out the acoustic guitar. There’s something extra magical about the sounds of a summer night accented by strumming guitar strings and murmurings around a crackling fire. Go ahead and act like you’re 16 again! We won’t tell.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

4. Exchange Ghost Stories

Another blast-from-the-past activity that’s practically required for a bonfire gathering, whether you’re young or old, is a round of ghost stories. Pull up a list of tales on your phone or tablet, and take story-telling turns around the fire. They don’t need to be long—even the short ones garner the desired effect. If reading isn’t your thing, pull up spooky YouTube clips instead, or go all out and set up a screen and projector outfitted with a full-length scary film for everyone’s viewing pleasure around a campfire.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5. Game Night Challenge

Instead of gathering around the same dining room table you have been for the past 12 years, go ahead and take things outside for your next family game night. Play charades while the audience kicks back in camp chairs around a low fire. Or allow the fire to be a backdrop for games like Taboo, The Mouth Game, or DIY giant Jenga.

Although you don’t really need an excuse to gather around a campfire (watching those curly, crackling flames is often all the activity I need!), the idea of building and maintaining a fire can seem like it just isn’t worth the effort. So start the season right with our list of fun motivators that will have you just going for it rather than giving in to those excuses. If all else fails, you’ll get a cool Boomerang out of it!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

P.S. For more inspiration, check out our breakdown of 5 precautions to take at your next fire pit party and my recipe for Rice Krispie Treat S’mores here.

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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Beaded Makeup Brush Holder | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading #ad

We are actually knee-deep in a couple of bathroom makeovers (more on that very, very soon), so things like sleek towel bars, pretty shower curtains, and modern fixtures are constantly catching my eye while we’re out shopping. Of course, I’m also scouring places like Pinterest and my favorite fellow DIY blogs for crafty project inspiration, too, and the latest project of my own to contribute is this DIY Beaded Makeup Brush Holder for Oriental Trading.

DIY Beaded Makeup Brush Holder | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading #ad

You probably don’t need me to tell you, but clever vanity storage is so important in bathrooms. There always seems to be something to stow away out of sight and out of mind (think: extra toilet paper rolls, first aid supplies, clean towels, etc.). Makeup, in particular, is where I typically go wrong. My supply is overflowing even though I can’t tell you the last time I intentionally went shopping for it. Extra eye liner, brushes, and the like just seem to be the type of things I must grab on a whim from end caps in the grocery store, so I’m always looking for ways to creatively stow it away.

Thus the inspiration for my simple and colorful beaded makeup brush holder. Hop over to the Oriental Trading blog for the full shopping list and tutorial, and then tell me below if you have any crafty bathroom storage solutions that you’ve put to good use in your own space.

DIY Beaded Makeup Brush Holder | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading #ad

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!

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Everything You Need For Your Date Night In | dreamgreendiy.com

Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to save more and set more aside for my retirement, which means that, ultimately, I have a little less to spend on things like weekly date nights. Instead of going to the movies or popping in to our favorite fancy restaurants, John and I have tried to think more intentionally about things we can do at home that translate into quality time.

It has actually been a really fun challenge trying to come up with things to do at home versus out on the town. We’ve had picnic dinners in our living room, kicked off board game championships, instituted homemade pizza night, dabbled in wine tastings (with a $5-per-bottle limit, of course), snapped instant photos of our pets doing funny things for scrap-booking later on, made our own dairy-free ice cream, and watched countless movies in our PJs. Turns out that you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun, so I put together a list of the top 12 pieces we’ve added to our collection that can be used over and over again versus splurging on just one date night out.

  1. The Elements of Pizza, by Ken Forkish ($18)
  2. Picnic Blanket ($35)
  3. 3-pc Pizza Stone Set ($17.67)
  4. Set of 4 Red Wine Glasses ($36.17)
  5. Bluetooth speaker ($116)
  6. Men’s Camper Moccasin ($33.31)
  7. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote ($39.99)
  8. Knit Leggings ($19.99)
  9. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with Extra Freezer Bowl ($69.95)
  10. Instant Film Camera ($109.95)
  11. Textural hooded jacket ($79.50)
  12. 6-in-1 Game Set ($14.46)

If you’re looking for other 2-person games to play at home, another big favorite of ours is Spot it! There are tons of different versions of this fast-paced game to enjoy (including a water-proof option that you can take to the pool), and it can be played between two people or an entire family. Got any at-home date night ideas of your own? Shout them out below so that we can even more creative.

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.

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What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

One thing in particular that I’d like to prioritize from my summer to-do list this season is reading. I remember as a kid I would go to the library and check out 6-8 novels at once. Then I’d go home and read one chapter of each at a time, alternating from one to the next. I loved to read and I still love to read, but finding time for it is getting harder and harder as I take more on at work.

I hope to change things up in the next few months, though, so that reading can get back on my priorities list. Since I don’t travel very often, reading and watching movies is my way of escaping. Novels also have a way of inspiring me as a working creative, too.

So, in case you’re looking for reading inspiration and recommendations, I thought I’d offer a list of the top titles on my list. Some I’ve already read and plan to re-read, whereas others I’m just now getting into. Scroll on for the full list, plus a few of my thoughts on each.

What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

My Summer Reading List

  1. Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty: I’m halfway through this first book on my list, and am loving it. It’s a little darker than I expected, but on the other hand, a little more lighthearted than I expected it would be, too. Definitely one to try this summer.
  2. The Vacationers: A Novel, by Emma Straub: I honestly don’t know a whole lot about this one, but have seen it on one too many Instagrams feeds and blogger roundups not to include it. The book documents what comes to light during one American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.
  3. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins: I read The Girl on the Train earlier this year, and thought it was so captivating. It keeps you guessing until the very last page, and I think I might just pick it back up toward the end of the summer to see if I can spot any details I missed the first go around.
  4. The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman: I’m looking forward to rereading this novel as well. It’s a beautifully unexpected story about what happens on a remote island in Australia. The movie is worth a watch, too, if only for the stunning cinematography and locations. Also, Michael Fassbender. Duh.
  5. Words Without Music: A Memoir, by Philip Glass: I’m a big, big fan of Philip Glass as a composer, and can’t wait to learn a little bit more about the man behind the music in his memoir.
  6. Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey: If you’re looking for a sweet, witty, heartbreaking read to pass the time while lying on the beach this season, then Slightly South of Simple is for you. I motored through an advance copy several months ago, and loved every moment. This one will keep you guessing, too!
  7. Dragon Teeth: A Novel, by Michael Crichton: I adored everything that the late Michael Crichton put out before his death in 2008. I didn’t expect to ever have the chance to read another new book by him, but then I randomly saw his name on a book cover at Target and it stopped me in my tracks. This recently discovered novel is definitely on my list for summer.
  8. The Chemist, by Stephenie Meyer: I probably shouldn’t admit it now that I’m 31 years old, but I loved Twilight back in the day. I lost all sense of time and space while powering through the series, so I’m excited to see if The Chemist lives up to Twilight’s seductive appeal.

What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

Do you have any particular books on your own summer reading list? Any you plan to give another go, or maybe some newbies that are just waiting in your Amazon shopping cart for the right moment? Well, now’s the time, so let’s all plan to fill our bedside tables with stacks of good novels, ready to grab the moment a free hour shows its (delightful) face.

What's On My Summer Reading List | dreamgreendiy.com

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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