Home Style Alternatives

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for easy, trendy, fast home decor pieces that hail from Target, Home Goods, and on the special occasion Anthropologie. While I still love these places as go to’s for new pieces or inspiration, I’m slowly trying to adopt a few new mindsets when it comes to furnishing our home.

First, I’m trying just not to buy things. We already have so many, and even more seem to surface after a massive purge to our local donation center. While I tend to not change much often, when the feeling to decorate arises, I’m trying to “shop my house”. Sometimes all it takes to refresh a space is simply swapping out items you already own, change their position on a shelf, or create a simple small moment with them somewhere else in your house.

My second mantra for decor in our home in 2020 is to tap into the unexpected. Whether this is a brass object such as an old shoe horn placed just so on a stack of hardcover books, a random collection of my daughters heart shaped rocks in an olive wood bowl, or even a jar of a sea glass. These items are plentiful in our home and create a more organic style story than something I picked up on a whim.

Heart shaped rock collection that now doubles as decor with meaning to our family.

My third self inflicted decor rule that I’m trying to abide by in 2020, is to shop small and ideally – local. Etsy is slowly becoming my go to for pieces that I feel like I want to add to our home. I realize that Etsy isn’t a new concept to most. I have utilized the app over the last seven years or so, but never seek it out as my go to for home pieces. Usually it was my place for bows and moccasins for the littles, and inspiration for gifts for loved ones. Lately, when I feel inspired to decorate I’ve been turning to the app more and more to see what unique versions exist that revival their main stream look alikes.

Found a local artist who sells prints of her paintings of Virginia countryside. Not only she is a small business and local, but her prints are of places near and dear to us.
A second print from this local artist who sells prints of her paintings of Virginia countryside. Not only she is a small business and local, but her prints are of places near and dear to us.

I’m not claiming to give up on shopping all together. Instead, I’m trying to seriously limit what comes in versus what goes out. I feel like these subtle changes to my shopping habits will lend themselves to a more sustainable style, not to mention one that is unique and true to us. If you’re interested in trying to do more of the same, I’ve rounded up a few pieces that support small businesses and will provide you a more unique take on current trends.

A fun take on the wooden bead garland trend. The Etsy shop, sweetharvestdesigns, is located in Ashburn, VA and sells a multitude of colors and garlands. I personally love the indigo shade for a moody pop.
If you are in the market for a unique piece that could serve has a center piece or console catch-all, check out CheahaAntiques from Oxford, AL. I personally love the gray version, and would put moss, a trio of glass vessels, or bouquets of dried flowers in.
These sweet miniature terra-cotta pitchers from WildBriarCo could serve as intensely holders, paint brush holders, kitchen herb planters, bud vases, or even on their own.
KJensenArt prints are my new favorite. So much so that I purchased two for our dining room. Her art depicts beautiful landscapes of Virginia, and the blue tones truly represent the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
BasketsInTexas is a great place for all things woven and functional. This sweet little garlic storage basket would add functionality and style to any kitchen or pantry.
For a fun, whimsical addition to your home, these face vases might just do the trick. Shipping from Los Angeles KimistyDesigns might be worth a look if you’re in the market.
These retro style vases are a modern optical illusion that would look fantastic in any style home. Shipping from Charlotte, NC Dashessential is a great Etsy shop to check out.
Brass candle holders from EveryGoldenDetail located in Los Angeles, CA. These beauties remind me of similar timeless pieces from Pottery Barn or Anthropologie.

Breweries with Babes

I am a fan of simple alliteration, but how many people do you think will hit this link in search of something else?! Oh well…

If you know us, patroning local breweries and wineries is our go to activity on the weekends. They are the perfect blend of “still cool enough to go out” but with the stipulation of nap time schedules. One of the biggest reasons we like to go to them is that we can get out of the house and our LO can run around and get energy out. Win win!

If you’re from around the DMV this list may be of interest to you – so bookmark this page for future reference!

The Farm Brewery at Broad Run

Where it is: 16015 John Marshall Hwy Broad Run, VA 20137

Why we love it: We love this spot for its picturesque landscape, delicious BBQ, good brews, and large, flat layout. In addition to the ideal landscape for LOs to run around there are chickens you can visit adjacent to the outdoor bar.

Attractions near by: Just across Rt. 66 from the brewery is a local flower farm that sells itself on pick your own seasonal varieties of tulips, sunflowers, and gladiolas. Check their website for the best times to visit.

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery

Where it is: 42245 Black Hops Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176

Why we love it: Vanish is the ideal spot for a day of family fun. While it is a bit of a drive for those coming from inside the Beltway, the amenities are worth it. In addition to great beer and plenty of food options, the space is large enough to accommodate groups who want to dance to the band or sit in a quieter location. For the children, there is a playground on site as well as an ice cream truck. If your family adventures include four legged children, don’t hesitate to bring them along as Vanish has a dog friendly picnic area.

Attractions near by: Since Vanish is a bit of a drive, make a day of it and take your time exploring the area. Stop in the downtown historic district of Leesburg for a bite to eat and some shopping. One of favorite spots to stop by is the secret garden at Shoes Cup and Cork. If you’re making it a parent’s night out and want something a bit fancier, make reservations at Lightfoot next door.

Another great stop nearby, is The Old Lucketts antique store. Get lost in all of the antique and restoration treasures, perusing inside and out. Don’t forget to check out their Design House and snap a family photo by their seasonal mural.

2 Silos

Where it is: 9925 Discovery Blvd, Manassas, VA 20109

Why we love it: 2 Silos is one of the areas newer breweries. Settled in Manassas, 2 Silos boasts a fantastic location for a day of family fun. With food choices of BBQ, pizza, and empanadas – you’d be hard pressed to not be satisfied. Recently Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot from Clifton opened up a on-site shop located right next to the playground. While their menu isn’t quite as expansive as their home store, they did have child friendly AND adult friendly treats. If you’re looking for entertainment, check out the HUGE stage with various local music acts.

Attractions near by: If you are interested in earning your keep or simply enjoy buffing up on your history, take a short drive over to the Manassas National Battlefield Park. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, try checking out two of the areas nearby museums: Freedom Museum and the Manassas Museum

Quattro Goombas

Where it is: 22860 Monroe–Madison Memorial HWY, Aldie, VA, 20105

Why we love it: Quattro Goombas is a great spot to go if you are a house divided on beer and wine preferences. Their grounds house BOTH a brewery and a winery – so you really can’t go wrong. In addition to great libations, you can feast on delicious Sicilian style pizza; and quench your thirst with one of their famous wine slushees. The grounds are expansive and flat, which are ideal for LOs to run around and get some fresh air. 

Attractions near by: Close to Quattro Goombas, is the small historic town of Aldie, VA. With a variety of historic markers, the mill museum, and more – the history buff in you will be satisfied. If you are interested in local fares, check out the food trucks and farmer’s stands at Gilbert’s Corner Market


Where it is: 42615 Trade West Drive Suite 100, Dulles, Virginia 20166

Why we love it: In a land of wineries as far as the eye can see, Solace is Loudoun County’s largest brewery. While indoor space makes up most of Solace Brewing Company’s property, they encourage family time as they have a designated area for patrons with children. If the picnic tables are free outside, take your LO out to see if they can spot any of the planes from nearby Dulles airport. While the brewery does not have a consistent food source on site, they do have a rotation of delicious food trucks everyday. Plan your visit ahead by checking their website for when the trucks are coming.

Attractions near by: Solace is located in an industrial park area. While this makes it a bit further from lots of attractions, you will find lots to do if you are willing to drive a bit. Aldie, Middleburg, and Brambleton are just some of the towns worth exploring. If you are interested in exploring one of NOVA’s parks, check out Mt. Zion. After all the fun and excitement, stop by The Burger Shack in Chantilly. Their sliders and milkshakes are worth it!

Dirt Farm Brewing

Where it is: 18701 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, VA 20135

Why we love it: Dirt Farm is a far drive from the Metropolitan area. However, the view is BREATHTAKING. While the grounds are settled on top of a hill, and not too conducive for small children to run around, a quick beer and slice of their house made pizza pair perfectly with the endless beauty of the Virginia countryside. 

Attractions near by: If you prefer to sip wine, drive next door to the Bluemont Vineyard. If you bring your children with you, be sure to save plenty of time for a country life experience at Great Country Farms across the street. With a variety of pick-your-own produce, country store, hay rides, slides, animals, and more – children of all ages will have a good time. 

Barrel Oak Winery

Where it is: Barrel Oak Winery, LLC  3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144

Why we love it: Barrel Oak Winery is a great place to visit for adults, families, and even four legged friends. Similar to Quattro Goombas, Barrel Oak serves both the beer and wine crowds. The grounds are expansive, but hilly. If you plan on allowing your children to “explore” be sure to keep an eye on them. If you are hungry while you visit, be sure to check out their house made pizza. 

Attractions near by: One of our favorite things to do when we head out to Delaplane, is to venture out to one of the many orchards nearby. Hartland, Stribling, and Hollin Farms, are just a few that support the local agriculture of our area. If you are interested in a BBQ dining experience (and the best apple cider donuts around), then drive a bit further down Rt. 66 to Linden, VA and check out The Apple House

While these are merely a few of the many breweries in this area, they are tried and true by us! If you are in search of some ideas of things to do with you friends and family – check them out! Cheers!

Summer Pesto Pasta Salad

I love cooking, and I especially love cooking during the summer months. Something about the plentiful fruits and veggies, helps create a palette of delectable tastes that can be combined in a multitude of ways. What is also great about cooking in the summer is that with the heat, appetites seems to crave refreshing and light tasting fares, so those fresh fruits and veggies really lend themselves to that very idea.

Two of my very favorite dishes in the summer are grilled chicken and pasta salad. Not only can they compliment one another really well, but they also can be done in so many ways that you won’t get tired of serving them. They are versatile as well, serving as a side or even as your main dish. One of my favorite ways to serve these up, is through a pesto pasta salad. It’s easy, it’s quick, and tastes amazing. Enjoy!

While I made mine with diced grilled chicken, I left it out of the recipe above for a more vegetarian friendly version.