Well, hello summer! The last few weeks have been crazy, but in a good way!
In June I started a new job! I work from home now and write for luxury marketing publication, Luxury Daily. The subject matter is super interesting, and it’s fulfilling to finally be using my journalism degree. I have a lot to learn, which is exciting, but everyday I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
June also marked eight years since I started Shades of Sarah. This space has gone through a few evolutions and more than a few hiatuses over the last few years, but we’re still here. It’s crazy how many things have changed since I first signed up for a WordPress account. I had just finished my freshman year at Fordham, and now I’ve lived in Philly for half a decade. I’ve moved, changed jobs, made new friends, adopted dogs and this blog has been a constant. My blog is one of the first things people ask me about when I haven’t seen them in awhile, and it’s nice to have something I do just for me. Of course, I do appreciate anyone who has ever read my blog over the years! You guys are the ones who encourage me and make it more fun.
Anyway, onto the outfit! Summer in Philly is my favorite — there is so much to do and the whole city comes alive. It also gets hot, so I need to get creative with my wardrobe. This outfit felt very me, so I thought it was perfect to mark my 8 year anniversary! The crochet crop top and the earrings are a little bohemian, but the polka dot skirt is feminine and classic. The glitter sandals? They’re just fun, and comfortable enough that I can walk in them for blocks.
Oh! And I almost forgot about the sunglasses. I love them, and I love the trendy vibe they add to my outfits. Also, it’s always important to protect your eyes from the sun!! (Anyone else notice the guys on Queer Eye never wear sunglasses? It drives me crazy!)
Anyone else have a summer outfit that feels very them? I want to hear about it!
Crop Top: Forever 21 (similar)
Skirt: Dress altered to be a skirt (similar)
Bag: Thrifted (similar)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Sunglasses: Foster Grant (similar)
Remember when I went to Gettysburg last summer? I almost forgot, until my friend Nancy asked me for suggestions! What I do remember is that Gettysburg is an easy drive from Philadelphia, and the perfect weekend escape from city life. It’s also an incredibly dog-friendly area, which is a major bonus when you’re traveling with 120+ lb of dogs. (Highly recommend.)
Where To Stay
I suggest checking out local Airbnb options (here is my referral code). Gettysburg is an interesting mix of tourist areas and rural country hills. You can definitely find a chain hotel to stay at, if that’s your travel style. Airbnbs offer you some more space, and as someone who has always lived in the suburbs or city, more of a cultural experience. What I’m saying is, YOU CAN STAY ON A FARM. Which is exactly what Melissa and I did.
Our Airbnb was a dream. There were chickens, horses, farm dogs and goats. One of the highlights was bottle feeding two baby goats. We brought our own snacks and wine, and drank on the porch and looked at the stars. This is such a city girl cliche, but OMG there are so many stars. The next morning, we drank our coffee and tea on the porch and took in all of the sounds of ~nature~. Definitely a more relaxing soundtrack than city buses.
What To Do
I couldn’t go to Gettysburg and not visit the battlefields. (Fun fact: I was an American studies major.) Gettysburg National Park is overwhelming in scope. There are a lot of audio tour options and bus tour options, but since we were traveling with Zamboni and Arya, we chose to walk. We mostly walked around Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. (Dogs are allowed on the grounds, but not indoors or inside the cemeteries.) You could spend a whole day walking around Gettysburg National Park and not see everything. Everything is very spread out, and, tragically, it puts history in perspective.
For a more traditional hike, our Airbnb host recommended Pine Grove Furnace State Park, close by in Gardners, PA. We ran out of time for this, but it looked awesome.
What To Eat & Drink
Melissa and I were pleasantly surprised to learn that Adams County is home to several winerys and cideries (it’s actually nicknamed Apple County)! We wrapped up our day at Hauser Estate Winery, which has beautiful views. In addition to their own wines, they also make Jack’s Hard Cider! My favorite drink was a crisp cider sangria, which was perfect for summer. We also had fried apple dumplings to snack on! Hauser Estate also has dog-friendly outdoor seating, although the pups were too wiped out to join us.
Reid’s actually has a tasting room in downtown Gettysburg too (400 Baltimore St.). Before we left Gettysburg, we visited downtown and ate lunch. Also, be aware that much of the town is actually closed on Sundays! We had lunch at One Lincoln, where we sat out on the patio with the dogs overlooking Lincoln Square and drank some Big Hill Cider. We didn’t visit any museums, but the Gettysburg Railroad Station is a very cool building.
I enjoyed my time in Gettysburg, and I would definitely go back in the future to visit more wineries and try a ghost tour. A trip to Gettysburg is also shockingly affordable compared to a big weekend in the city. You can read Melissa’s recap here.
Many, many moons ago, Julia tagged me in this post to answer 11 things about myself. Now that The Blog Connect is over (more on that later), I figured I might as well answer these questions (and share some photos from…last summer??). Better late than never! 😉 In case you are new-ish around here, these are the basics: my name is Sarah, I’m a Miami native living in the cold Northeast, I love all dogs (especially mine), and I’m accumulating plants at an alarming rate. Now, onto Julia’s questions!
What has blogging taught you?
Ugh, so much. There are skills that are actually practical: self-revision, photography, SEO. Mostly, I am grateful that blogging has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I interned at a lot of cool places in college, and my blog definitely set me apart from other applicants. Now, I’m on the board(?) planning committee(?) of PHLbloggers, and we just hosted our third Blog Connect Conference. A crazy amount of my friends in Philly, well, I met them through blogging. I’m not sure if starting a blog was my ~sliding doors~ moment, but it has definitely changed my life.
What was your favorite blog post to write?
The first one that comes to mind is when I got to visit the set of American Ninja Warrior! Outfit photos are fun, but I also really like writing about sports (like I did here and here).
What are some of your favorite blogs to read?
Lucky for you, I still have an entire page dedicated to my blogroll!
Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I’m coming up on five (!!!) years in Philadelphia, which is crazy. I did not expect to fall in love with Philly the way I have, but here we are. So what do I love about this city? I love the neighborhoods, the walkability, the food, the people, the history, the culture, the beer gardens, the weather from May through October. I decidedly do not like the Eagles or winter, but nothing and nowhere is perfect.
What was your college major?
I double-majored in communications and American studies (basically the study of American history and culture). While not always relevant, most of my classes were interesting.
What is your dream travel destination?
This is so dull, but London. I’ve always loved English history, and I still haven’t been! Also on my list are Prague, Montreal and Vancouver (again).
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had traveling?
Luckily, I’ve had mostly positive experiences traveling. My trip out West was great (even though I still have to finish blogging about it!). I’ve been blessed to go to Colombia and Costa Rica numerous times and learn more about my family history and heritage. One of the most meaningful experiences though? Probably my service trip to Esperanza in the Dominican Republic.
What is your favorite season?
In Philadelphia: summer. In Florida: winter. Basically, I aspire to enjoy my retirement as a snowbird.
What have you been reading lately?
The Internet? Is that not a legitimate answer? I did go on a tear of James Patterson books this winter in an attempt to clear out my bookcase.
What is the most meaningful souvenir you’ve gotten when traveling?
Such a good question! There are definitely some pieces of jewelry and clothing I’ve purchased while traveling that mean a lot to me. I also collect postcards, so those are always fun. Nothing beats personal photographs though.
What is one thing few people know about you?
This is so hard. I think I am a pretty open book, so nothing came to mind easily. Despite all my traveling, I’m actually petrified of planes and heights — but I think a good amount of people IRL know that about me. I also cannot ride a bike! I 100% used to know, but guess what, after ten years without riding a bike, you do, in fact, forget how. I wish I had some secret fun facts that make me sound less inept, but not today!
Jeans: Gap Factory
Necklace: InPink (RIP)
Woven Bag: Thrifted? Hand-me-down? No idea.