100th Blog Post & GIVEAWAY!

I thought I’d celebrate my 100th blog post (!!!) and the end of summer with a giveaway. It’s thanks to you readers that I continue to enjoy blogging about my various projects, so it’s high time for me to give back! I’ve been a bit MIA this summer between our trip to Greece and moving to a new apartment in Philly. All of our belongings have been in boxes for what feels like weeks now. I’m still trying to pin down my crafting supplies and baking ingredients. They’re here somewhere…

For this giveaway, I’ve teamed up with Sticky9 once again. I absolutely love this company. (Click here to see my last giveaway with them in January.) Their printed matte photos are high-quality, and who doesn’t like to physically hold pictures these days? It’s a rarity, and it’s a shame. I’ve combatted that by creating a DIY memory game using our photos from Greece.

My favorite part of this project is that you can use photos from any kind of life event, trip, or celebration. You can create the game for yourself, or give it to someone special. The photos could be of a special birthday, a newly engaged couple, a vacation, a beloved pet or child, you name it. Plus, this game is well-suited for most anyone–from a young child to a grandparent.

Anne and I have been loving our game because it brings back so many great memories. The supplies and game rules are simple, so let’s get to it.

DIY Photo Memory Game

Materials:

  • 13 unique photographs, each printed twice
  • 1 title photo to represent the game*

*Sticky9 Square Prints come in sets of 27. This is perfect: 13 photos (2x) + one extra for the title photo.

Rules (for two players):

  1. Turn all photos upside down on the floor. Scatter the pairs randomly to create either a grid (easier) or a collage (harder) of photos.
  2. The first player turns over two cards at random. If they don’t match, turn them back over for the second player’s turn. If they do match, put them to the side and play again. Continue your turn until you turn over two cards that do not match.
  3. Continue playing until no cards remain. The person with the most matched sets wins.
  4. Optional:  Play best of three to determine who will wash dishes after dinner, walk the dog early in the morning, or do the laundry next.

Like I said, this game is great for anyone. It can help children learn (especially if it’s pictures of them growing up), and it’s wonderful for adults and older adults to practice those working memory skills. Most importantly, it’s plain old fun!

One lucky winner will win a set of Sticky9 Square Prints to make their own DIY memory game. It’d be perfect for the next time you have friends over for drinks or host a game night. Help me celebrate my 100th post on Scissors & Sage, the end of summer, and YOU!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what photos you’d use for your memory game. Let me know! I’ll email the randomly-selected winner on Monday, September 21st.

Happy commenting!

PS) Can’t wait to find out if you’ve won?  Visit Sticky9 now to pick out your very own Square Prints or one of their other awesome products!

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Adventures in Greece & 10 Greek Tips

Good news: We found our next home! Phew. I am so excited to get to know a new neighborhood (East Passyunk!) and rearrange furniture to my heart’s content. It’s larger than our current apartment by about double, and it offers amenities we’ve never had before: Central air! Washer and dryer in unit! Second bedroom! DISHWASHER!

Until then, you can find me on the living room floor, purging old papers and slimming down craft supplies such as scrap paper and saved ribbons from gifts past. (It’s official. I’m a crafting hoarder.) Organizing my embroidery thread box was nearly the death of me, but now it looks GOOD. We’re also going to visit Anne’s family in Chicago for the next week! I think a Cubs game and a trip to the family farmhouse in Wisconsin will do us some good.

While we were in Greece, we took a lot of pictures, and below are some of my favorites. I hope that they give you a little flavor of our three weeks away. Our destinations included Athens and six Greek islands: Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Koufonisi, Santorini, and Crete. If you have any questions at all about my pictures (like where exactly they were taken), please leave a comment below! I’d be more than happy to give you specific details.

Also below you will find my “10 Tips for Traveling Greece.” I did a lot of research before leaving Philly about all kinds of Greek things. These ten tips are ones that I did not find elsewhere. If you are planning a trip to Greece (which you should REALLY do), I hope these recommendations help!

  1. Bring a sturdy pair of sunglasses. Athens and the Greek islands are incredibly bright–both from the intense sun and the white, reflective architecture.
  2. Pack shoes with traction. Many streets in Greece are made of marble, which is surprisingly slippery.
  3. The metro system in Athens is the most efficient I have ever experienced. Taking it to and from the airport, or to and from Piraeus (the main port in Athens) is very easy.
  4. It might be wise to book ferries for late morning/early afternoon. Early morning ferries require a very early start time, while ferries too late in the day will require you to navigate your next destination in the dark.
  5. The smaller the Euro bills, the better. Paying with bills over 10€ can be tricky at times. If you have 50s on you, break them in places like supermarkets or museums.
  6. Tipping about 8% in restaurants is normal and expected.
  7. Bring your own water bottle when eating out. It is much cheaper to purchase it from a corner store or supermarket than it is to purchase it at the restaurant.
  8. Bread is often an added expense at restaurants (0.50-2€/person). If you do not want/need bread, leave it on the table untouched and it shouldn’t be added to the bill. If you are gluten free/allergic, ask for them to not bring the bread as the host is seating you.
  9. That being said, dips do not come with bread/pita. So if you plan on ordering a dip, hold onto your bread because you will want every last piece of it. (The dips and hummus in Greece are unbelievably tasty.)
  10. Know that everything will work out. Prepare yourself, be organized, and pack as little as humanly possible. The less you need to lug up and down cobblestone streets the better. Bring Woolite to hand wash clothes, or find a local laundromat for a few Euros. Less luggage = happier traveler!

Have a great week!

Picking Favorites: Recipes for Summer

Γεια σας! That means “hello” in Greek, and is pronounced “yassas.” I also learned how to say “cheers,” “good morning/evening,” “yes/no,” a couple of dog commands (random, I know), and other nifty things to get around Greece. It was a funny thing, traveling around a country where the alphabet is fundamentally different from English. Anne quickly became good at deciphering words letter by letter to find our way around. We felt like detectives!

It’s hard to believe that our long-awaited trip to Greece has come to an end–but what a trip it was! I’m not even sure I know where to begin, and my thoughts on the whole thing aren’t fully formed yet. I’ll say this: It was incredible. Beautiful beyond belief, really, and the people we met were so hospitable and kind. Life in Greece has a different pace to it than in the U.S., and we quickly fell into its slower rhythm. The food is healthy and locally grown, and the hot sun and salt water–oh, the salt water!–were nourishment for the soul.

Now back in Philly, I am trying to hold on tightly to some of these ways of life. I write my to-do lists on smaller pieces of paper; I buy fruits and veggies from the local market; I take a break in the afternoons. These things, for now, are keeping me relaxed and mindful. Next week, I’d like to share a few photos and stories from our trip with you, as well as some travel tips that I jotted down along the way–helpful hints that I didn’t know going into our trip.

Two things on the forefront: 1) I’m featuring a fun giveaway at the end of next month. Stay tuned for how you can enter! 2) Anne and I are in the process of looking for a new apartment in Philly. We’ve been talking about finding a new home for a few months now, and we’ll be making the move in about a month! Fingers crossed we find just the right spot for us to continue growing.

As I catch up on Martha Stewart Living and Bon Appetit, I’ve been inspired by all kinds of summer recipes. I’m a little behind the eight ball from being away (i.e. I’m just now reading about “Ten fun ideas for the Fourth!”), but now I can dive into seasonal dishes. Below are some that I’d like to give a try. Enjoy!

Recipes for Summer

Corn and Fregula with Halloumi (Greek!) Cheese from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme from Food & Wine (click here for the recipe)

Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad from Green Valley Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Beet Baba Ghanoush from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake from Smitten Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Iron Skillet Peach Crisp from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grapefruit-Jalepeno Margarita from Camille Styles (click here for the recipe)

Airplane Mode: We’re Going to Greece!

I’ve always liked this quotation from the Dalai Lama because you don’t have to travel halfway across the world to go some place you’ve never been before. “Travel” might take the form of visiting a new neighborhood in your very own city, or experiencing nature in a new way. Traveling is something that has always interested me. It stretches you in new ways, makes you think creatively, and, if done right, can be a very humbling experience.

For me and Anne, our trip to Greece is five weeks away. WHAT?! We have been looking forward to this since January. It’ll be our first time traveling abroad together, and I couldn’t be more excited! After what was a long year for me, exploring Greece with Anne for three weeks is going to feel incredible. I hope that it is just the rejuvenation I need.

As we plan and map out our trip, I’ve come across some really wonderful inspiration, both for Greece specifically and travel more generally. I thought I’d share some of that with you today. Are you traveling anywhere this summer? Tell me where in the comments below!

Greek Inspiration

A colorful fishing boat (source)

Santorini (source)

Gala Beach on Pano Koufonisi (source)

Fresh sardines and Greek salad on Antiparos (source)

Sunset in Santorini, and other helpful tips (source)

Delphi, one of the world’s greatest ruins (source)

Design*Sponge's Athens city guide

Design*Sponge’s Athens city guide (source)

A mix and match color scheme (source)

General Tips & Tricks

Learn how to best use your iPhone while abroad here.

Learn how to download offline Google maps here. Beware that offline Google maps expire after 30 days. Add this to your to-do list just before you leave!

These tips in Travel 101 are incredibly helpful for any kind of trip you plan on taking.

Rick Steves on the importance of packing lightly.

Here’s a great blog post on upping your travel photography game.

Suggested travel apps:

Before you leave:

  • Hold your mail and any current subscriptions.
  • Set up a self-watering wicking system for your houseplants.
  • Notify the bank of your upcoming travels.
  • Sign up for the smart traveler enrollment program (STEP).
  • Photocopy all travel documents (leave one copy in your luggage, and one copy with a family member at home).

This just skims the surface. What are your go-to travel tips and tricks? I’d love to find out more, so leave a comment below!