Summer

Get Ready for Spring & Summer with Upcoming Free Workshop!

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In February, I had the pleasure of presenting an interactive session on designing for small spaces in conjunction with the DC Public Library. With more than 20 in attendance and positive feedback, I am excited to share that I'll be returning to the Petworth Library in May...this time with a superstar of landscape design!

Edamarie Mattei and I met more than 10 years ago by chance in a tennis class, and we connected over the sport, our shared alma mater (Georgetown University) and our interests in potentially pursuing careers beyond our current (at the time) lines of work in education and media, respectively. Since then Edamarie has built a thriving landscape design company, Backyard Bounty

That brings us to today as we both run our own businesses and decided why not tackle the topic of entertaining during warm weather months from both our areas of expertise! We hope you'll join us on May 15th:

Indoor & Outdoor Entertaining: Making Your Spaces Function & Flow
Tuesday, May 15 | 7-8:30pm
Petworth Library (4200 Kansas Avenue NW) | Lower Level Meeting Room

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

Millions of Peaches...

Now that I've implanted that iconic 90's song in your head (you're welcome and apologies), I figured I'd take a detour from the normal post topics spanning real estate and interior decorating to talk peaches.

I recently had a chance to take a road trip to visit a dear friend in St. Louis, and we crossed back into Illinois to spend the morning at Eckert's Orchard in Belleville to pick peaches...lots of peaches. I'm a big fan of the fruit, so I have been revisiting some of my favorite recipes and trying some new ones (including one combining the sweet summer fruit with my renewed obsession with crepes).

Follow the links below for recipes, and feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments!

Peach Oatmeal Muffins
This recipe came courtesy of a friend and former colleague thanks to her post on Facebook. To lighten the recipe, you can swap Greek yogurt for the sour cream.

Balsamic Grilled Peaches
I first made these a few years ago for a birthday BBQ and they are easy and a hit when served with vanilla ice cream. Bobby Flay also has a savory version with prosciutto that I haven't tried but sounds divine!

Bourbon Peach Slushes
We made this on as we grilled out for the 4th of July with a few modifications (used fresh peaches and added more ice since we hadn't already sliced and frozen our fresh peaches). You can also sub whisky if that's what you have around/prefer!

Peaches & Cream Crepe Cake
Working through my crate o' peaches, I just made this yesterday and it turned out great. If you're comfortable making crepes and plan ahead, it's easy. I was a bit worried I overcooked the pastry cream, but it came out amazingly well. Also note that this gets better with a little more time in the fridge, so it's a great one to make ahead for an event.

 

Also, for those in the DC area, peach season is under way at several farms in Maryland and Virginia that make a great day trip. Pick one and pick some!

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

7 Tips for Enjoying the 4th of July in DC

It's hard to think of a better place to spend the 4th of July than Washington, DC. Decorating the front porch this morning with some seasonal red, white & blue (including these burlap stars from Pottery Barn that are on sale now), made me realize that there are so many layers to spending the holiday in DC than just taking in fireworks on the Mall.

So, here are a few observations and tips (in no particular order) - whether you live in DC or are just visiting:

  1. The Mall isn't the only place to be. While you definitely should experience the 4th on the Mall at least once, it can take up most of your day and means arriving early, fighting crowds, etc. You might want to consider other prime viewing locations in DC, such as the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Petworth. The hilltop location provides great viewing and the sixth annual celebration features food, drinks, music and kids can even fish in the Soldiers Home pond! (Curbed has more recommendations, as well).
     
  2. Fireworks aren't just for the 4th. You may have already seen fireworks stands pop up in your neighborhood and DC's residents love to celebrate well before (and sometimes after) the holiday has passed. While most often you'll hear smaller fireworks, don't be surprised if neighbors bring in larger scale fireworks (legal or not) and create impromptu displays. If you have a dog that isn't a fan of fireworks, plan ahead with the remedy that works best for them - from a ThunderShirt and mood music to natural and prescription medications. 
     
  3. Plan ahead. Whether you are hosting family and friends for the holiday or just a BBQ/get-together, run your errands early to avoid lines and picked over aisles. Of note, during a Target run yesterday, I found some great party favors and decor, but I am pretty sure they won't last long. 
     
  4. Get to know your neighbors. Okay, so this is general advice for any person in any community, but the 4th of July is a great time to introduce yourself to and spend time with your neighbors. Maybe you can host an impromptu popsicle party for the block on your porch (Firecracker® popsicles are my favorite) or you can set up a sprinkler in the yard or along the sidewalk for the kids to cool off in. Invite neighbors with fliers or through your local listserv or through Nextdoor.
     
  5. Check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year, the Smithsonian is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Folklife Festival. As always, it's a free event held on the Mall and featuring music, food, shopping, special presentations and more. The Festival runs from June 29 – July 4 and July 6-9, so hit it up before the 4th to beat the crowds (as much as possible).
     
  6. Beat the heat at one of DC's pools. DC's Department of Parks and Recreation oversees 18 outdoor pools throughout the city. As a DC resident, admission is free...and non-residents can purchase affordable passes online (available for the day, month or longer). Arrive early to get a prime spot/lounger!
     
  7. Visit a new-to-you restaurant or bar. While much of the activity will be downtown, take advantage of the holiday to explore neighborhoods further away from the bustle (ehem, Petworth)...they'll appreciate the business, you'll avoid the crowds and you may discover a new favorite haunt!

However you choose to spend it, I hope you have a fabulous 4th of July holiday! And if you have any tips and recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Amber Harris is the owner of At Home DC, an interior decorator and a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties working with clients in DC, Maryland and Virginia.