Creativity: 3 Ways

There has been so much going on this summer and so many things I could blog about…so I’m going to do a quick recap of highlights. A lot of my highlights this summer have been connected to creativity – either my own or someone else’s.

So, here are 3 ways creativity has my summer more fun!

1. Escape the Room [in my apartment]

Noah is seriously clever. For my birthday a couple months ago, Noah gifted me a surprise activity of Escape the Room (see this post to see what Escape the Room is/when we first learned how much fun they are!). Noah set up the living room in our apartment with a bunch of clues, hidden keys, and even lock boxes! It was so fun and a very impressive endeavor.

Noah put his computer skills to use by having one of the “locked” parts of the room be his computer. I had to enter the right password to be given a clue:

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Noah also ordered this ridiculous “book” lock box from amazon:

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I found it on the shelf and thought…”when did we get this book I didn’t know we owned?”

But, lo and behold:

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It opened and had a clue inside! Noah and I take advantage of a “family” Amazon account, and he joked that he was worried my parents would think he was extremely paranoid if they had seen the purchase. Rest assured, it was used for entertainment and not secure storage of real valuables. 😉

The most exciting clue was a white piece of paper with a cut out suspiciously similar to the shape of South America. Wondering if there was a South America connection, I pulled out the game board to Pandemic (a board game that includes a board with a map of the world) and fitted the paper on top of the map:

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Sure enough, it fit! AND, the crown drawn on the paper pointed me to the last clue – King of New York, another board game Noah and I own. Inside King of New York were the keys that let me “escape the room” – I won. 🙂

Well done, Noah – I think he could go into business with make-your-own-Escape-Rooms!

2. Creative cooking!

One of my favorite activities is having people over for large, delicious holiday meals, and one of the reasons I love hosting so much is because it’s a chance to make a lot of creative dishes I wouldn’t normally cook during the week. Shortly before I left to work in California this summer, Noah and I had friends over for the Jewish holiday Shavuot (if you want to know what Shavuot is, see here). Shavuot is traditionally a dairy holiday – in contrast to other Jewish holidays where the custom is to have a meat meal. I took the opportunity to make two new dairy dishes: a cheesy pasta bake and an Israeli-style cheesecake with a breton crust and chocolate ganache.

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There was more to dinner than glorified mac-and-cheese and cheesecake, but those were definitely the highlights!

Noah has also continued his pizza magic, and he has agreed to let me “decorate” the pizzas on a few occasions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic margherita, but sometimes I also want a little pizazz. 🙂 Below are a spinach/goat cheese/cream pizza and a cheddar/sweet potato/yellow pepper. They were both delicious!

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3. Building Sandcastles!

During my time working at camp in California, I had the immense pleasure of getting to spend about a week with only the other staff members. Staff week = so.much.fun. Each year we do a different staff bonding activity, and the activity is always something unusual/boundary pushing. This year, we made sandcastles! Not just any sandcastles though; this was serious business.

We were met on the beach by Karch – the master builder behind Castles by Karch. He won the U.S. Sandcastle Open (yes, apparently that’s a thing), and now teaches people how to build super bomb sandcastles.

After we got to the beach and were introduced to Karch, we were divided into teams and then set to work on our castles! My group had a few set backs (read: collapsing castles) at the beginning, but we persevered and ended up getting high marks! 😉

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The other groups were also hard at work:

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Although the competition was fierce, we were all smiling at the end:

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Stay tuned for some posts about a trip to Glacier National Park soon!

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

I’ve waited a long time for the perfect chance to reappropriate this movie title, and I think the opportune time has finally come. I am en route home from 5 weeks working at camp in California, and I finally feel like I have the time to work a blog post about the event of the summer: my best friend’s wedding!

At the end of May, Noah and I went to New York for three glorious days to celebrate one of the greatest people (and a wonderful couple!). The wedding was held at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, and since I was in the wedding party, Noah and I stayed for two nights at the Club, making it super easy to get to all of the wedding-related activities.

We left to drive to NY during the late morning on Friday and arrived in the early afternoon. We checked into an adorable room with a very cute welcome note and goody bag:

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Between wedding guests and golfers, the parking lot was starting to fill up:

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Before too long it was time to head out to the lawn for the wedding rehearsal. Noah and I went over a little early to check out the beautiful views of the Club and golf course:

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Smilin’ 🙂

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Set-up of the grounds was underway and we went through the choreography of the ceremony pretty quickly:

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Next up…the real fun started with the rehearsal dinner!

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Dinner was fabulous: delicious food, a very sweet slide show that the father-of-the-groom put together, and many smiles.

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We got back to the Club pretty late and wedding preparations were scheduled to begin quite early the next morning, so I tried to go to sleep right away once back at the room.

I met up with the bride and other bridesmaids bright and early, and we headed to Vaza Salon to get our hair and makeup done.

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While we were waiting to get started, Becca (very thoughtfully) gave me a banana bread cake – it happened to also be my birthday. 😉 What a great friend. ❤

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Once the appointments started, we were all being shuttled through hair and makeup stations pretty quickly. Although we were there for hours, it honestly was a ton of fun and didn’t feel too tedious.

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They went bold for my lipstick…

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The cutest sisters in the world (giving me sister envy!!!):

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Eventually, our transformation at the salon was complete and it was time to head back to the Club for lunch and to change into our wedding clothes! Lunch was a buffet of fruit, mini-sandwiches, and assorted beverages (primarily, champagne).

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Dressing was an adventure unto itself:

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Once the wedding dress was out in the free world, the photographer went to work:

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And we all swooned over the beautiful bride:

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Stunning, right?!?!

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We laughed…

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We cried…

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We hydrated…

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And then it was show time! The ceremony itself was beautiful – everything went on without a hiccup and several family members and friends were involved with the ceremony in some capacity. It was truly beautiful, and I think everyone in attendance cried at least once.

After the ceremony, the reception was an event all its own…

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Noah and I sat at the bridal party table and were right across from the VIPs – best seats in the house. 😉

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I don’t have that many pictures from the reception because I was too busy dancing with extreme enthusiasm – but I managed to snap a few pics of the blueberry cake and dessert cupcakes!

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Wedding favors were fill-your-own candy jars. So cute!

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And like any good party…there was an after-party! Once the band (which was great, by the way) played their last song, all those who still had energy walked over to the bride’s parents’ house for more snacks, smores, and a night-time pool party:

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Yep. It was basically the best. day. ever.

Eventually, Noah and I walked home – exhausted! – to our room at the Club. In the morning we stopped by the bride’s parents’ house again for the after-after-party. There was a delicious smattering of salads and snacks:

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More pool time:

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And (the best part!)…a grilled cheese food truck:

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Wut. ?! Noah and I shared two types of grilled cheese – both were delicious and I was too busy eating to take pics. Needless to say, it was such a joy/blessing to be part of this wedding celebration. Love you, Becs!