Backyard Summer Soiree

via Domino

I have no yard. I borrow my friends yards or force them to throw the parties I want to have. I have been wanting to host a dinner party forever. So when the image above landed in my inbox at the start of the summer and knew I had to have this party. I sent the picture to Dr. K who sent it to her roommate, S, who agreed that this was a party that needed to happen. So we sat down over a bottle of wine one night an planned.

It was to be a bohemian summer party. Something whimsical and relaxed, but still requiring people to dress up. We wanted to make everything ourselves and we wanted it to not cost an arm and leg. This being the case, we knew we couldn’t feed all of our friends, so we went through the painful task of figuring out a guest list. We figured 12 to 16 people total would be all we could handle. In the end, the best way to decide  was to invite people who knew all three of us and mostly knew each other in some way.

Paperless Post

Once the list was settled, we started looking the menu and decor. Dr. K took over the food for the most part, and I defaulted to the decorations and drinks. S was our go between helping make decisions. We got a couple sheets of plywood and cinder blocks to make our low table. We found some lovely table cloths and rugs to sit on with pillows. Untitled
Around the yard, we strung up twinkle lights that extended down the table top. I found some lovely air plant containers to hang from the trees with candles in them instead and I strung up some lamp shades in the largest tree.
At the bar, I used the suitcase side table my sister made me and a large flower arrangement.
UntitledWe had mason jars with candles and flowers all over. By the time we finished decorating, S declared that it looked like someone should get married back there.

For the menu, we planned things that would be able to be completed ahead or would need little prep. I had a few whole chickens in the freezer, thank you mom and dad, so we decided to roast them with veggies. We had grilled asparagus and a huge salad as well. For appetizers, there was my favorite avocado dip, brie baked with honey, olives, and chips with salsa. Dessert was a yummy chocolate cake and for the non chocolate people a rhubarb and strawberry pie. Untitled
I made the most wonderful Summer Sangria ever, recipe below.  It was a bit deadly, most people did not realize how much alcohol was in it, but it was so good. Everyone loved it.

Final prep, getting the dang candles to stay lite- via S

Everyone did a great job of dressing up for the party and we were so excited. We did have to send some pictures and explain a time or two what exactly “bohemian fancy” is. Basically we wanted fancy hippy, not dirty hippy.   Untitled
The ladies
Some of the boys via Erin
Untitledlast two images via Erin

They all did well. We had a cocktail hour before we actually sat down to dinner and everyone who didn’t know each other was introduced. Dinner was delicious and no one had trouble sitting on the ground. We were not sure if people were going to hang around after dessert or not. A few people left, but most hung around and the music eventually changed and we had a little dance party in the backyard. It was so much fun. I was so happy with how everything turned out after prepping all day for it and throughout the week before. We were up until 3 AM and maybe not quite ready for bed even then. Untitleds
Even the dogs had to get in on the fun- Via S

Now I need to come up with another awesome party idea and you need to try this sangria!

Summer Sangira
Make 24 servings

  • 12 oranges
  • 12 limes
  • 8 lemons
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 20 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 4 cups vodka
  • 2 cups Limoncello (I had to use little bottles, so I think we ended up with a tiny bit less)
  • 4 bottles of Prosecco, chilled
  • Juice 8 oranges, 8 limes and 4 lemons to measure approximately 2 cups of juice. Combine the citrus juices and the sugar in a saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool.
  • Thinly slice the remaining oranges, limes and lemons.
  • In a large pitcher, combine citrus slices, raspberries, vodka and Limoncello and stir.
  • Top with Prosecco; stir gently.
  • When ready to serve, gently add ice and stir again.


Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fifty-two]

Sunday post

If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would be the perfect day for it. Fall has finally found us in Montana and it has been cold and rainy most of the week. The first fall trip to Norris happened last Sunday. I went on a hike that morning and the hot springs were wonderful that evening, even though it was a bit warm out. We were hoping to see the eclipse and blood moon, but clouds blocked it the whole time. I am resisting the fall and turning on my heat, but boots and sweaters are out.

If we were having coffee we would talk about homecoming last weekend. I helped Chels with the parade on Saturday morning. Who knew it took so much to get people to line up? And how much they do not like to be told they need to move around a bit. In the afternoon, we won the game easily, to many people surprise. It was so hot. It felt like August, not almost October. We were dripping sweat, but we made it through. Untitled
the most random participant: a mobile port-a-potty and turds…
Untitled Untitled Untitled

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you how awesome it was to see my old friend Marc while he was in town with his wife. We figured out that we had not actually seen each other in nine years. Nine. That’s a bit crazy. This was the first time I was meeting his wife! We decided we will try to do better about staying in touch from here on out.

MV5BMTQ1MzE4MTE3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcyNDM3NTE@._V1__SX1617_SY873_ via
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would ask you if you have seen Amy. It’s a documentary on Amy Winehouse that is excellent and terribly sad. There is a lot of home video footage from when she was young  and just starting. There is also a lot of jumpy paparazzi video that made me feel rather motion sick by the end of it. Still it was a great film and you should see it if you haven’t yet.

Blitzed trapper at faultline north
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about the show I went at Faultline North.  It’s a newer music venue in town and Blitzen Trapper was playing Wednesday night. The band was good. The opener, The Domestics, were okay. Not my favorite, but others really liked them. The venue was not really designed, it doesn’t seem, for shows acoustically and it’s cash only. They have do have a bar onsite, but also cash only. The band may have been worth the ticket price, but the venue was not. Still I like the size of it and it was clean, so I’ll probably end up back there again, just pay more attention to the cost.

Sunday post
If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would talk about the excellent show by Rabbit Wilde at the Sacajewea Bar in Three Forks. They were so much fun. We were dancing around the entire night and had a great time. There were several older couples who were waltzing and jitterbugging too, which made me want to take lessons. It was amazing to watch. I would love to see them again and I will now add them to my spotify.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would talk about the opening of the Westin Element hotel in town. They had a grand opening with okay wine and food bites. It’s a lovely modern space inside, but the exterior is typical boring construction. The rooms are nice, I would stay there, especially since it is right downtown. Otherwise, it was nothing to exciting or special. Surprise? Not really. It was fun to have a random event to go to after work though.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would make you watch this video. I agree with him on a few and am guilty of a few. And I agree, Ice cream is an emergency!

I Saw a Bear [Hiking Deep Creek]

Deep Creek Hike

In the early evening of September 13th, I saw a bear and her cub. And this time it wasn’t in a car or from far away. It was about 20 feet away as they took off running from the trail we were hiking. It was awesome and a little scary and I finally saw a bear.

Dr.K and I decided we needed to get out and do something in the lovely warm weather and not let it go to waste. How many more days could there be like it? This is Montana after all. We got ourselves together and headed over to Livingston where we meet up with another friend.  He suggested we head up to the Deep Creek trail. It is less traveled that Pine Creek and we could go for as long as we like and turn around. The trail is pretty long and hooks into the greater trail system. We ended up hiking in about 2.5 to 3 miles before turning around. Since we started so late, we knew we wouldn’t go too far.

Deep Creek Hike

The trail is beautiful. There are wildflowers all over, even in the fall. The color was spectacular and kept changing. Because of a fire, you can see all the peaks around you as you hike in the valley just above the creek. We talked about how we will have to plan a longer trip up to one of those peaks next summer. We are out of time this year. We were hoping to see some mountain goats up on the rocks, but if they were there, we did not see them.

Deep Creek Hike

Instead, on our return trip, we saw a smaller black bear and her cub that we scared up, probably 1.5-2 miles from the trail head. At the start, someone who had just finished a long hike said he saw a large bear and her cubs this morning, so to be on the lookout. When we saw how small the mother was, we were a bit worried that we were seeing the two cubs and didn’t know where momma was and did not want to find out she was on the other side of us. After making a lot of noise and have the bear spray at the ready, we decided that what we saw was a momma and cub, not two cubs.  I didn’t get a picture because I was thinking, “oh crap, where are they running? Away, right?” After that we were on alert heading to the car, but didn’t see any more animals.

Deep Creek Hike

It was an awesome hike and so cool to see a bear that close when it was scared of us and not the other way around. Hopefully we will make it back up there for some cross country skiing this winter. If not, then for a longer hike taking us further in!

The Rose Fellowship Finalist Summit


Last week I had the privilege to attend the first Rose Fellowship Finalist Summit. I found out just a couple weeks before that I had been selected. I was in a bit of shock, then super excited, then terrified. The intent of the summit was to bring together the finalist and the host organizations in one place before the final interview round. They wanted us to have the opportunity to network with each other since we all have a passion for community based design and could do wonderful things together. The hosts would have a chance to get to know us more before deciding on final interviewees. Like I said, exciting and terrifying all in one.

The summit was an all day event at the beautiful India House in Financial District. I was worried that there was going to be a sense of competition in the room since the 25 of us there are all hoping to land one of five spots this year. However, it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone was excited to be there an meet other people with similar interests in the design field. They made us business cards so that we could share our contact information easily with each other and anyone else that we wanted to be in touch with us.

After the welcome from Enterprise, the host organization representatives had four minutes to explain how they ended up where they are now. Then they sat down for a panel discussion about the fellowships. It was wonderful to hear how the landed in their various positions and how passionate they were about their jobs. After that we all had to give presentations.

The two weeks before I spent stressing out and trying to figure out what I was going to present  for my four minute, 12 slide pecha kucha. It had to get across what I was about in some way and why I deserved to be there. This was the first year they had done this summit, so I couldn’t even ask my friends what they did in the past. After talking it through and having some major help from some friends here, I ended up creating a presentation on how I ended up there and how Sturgis, my adopted hometown, had an impact on that path.

2015 JDunn Compressed Pecha Kucha

I was the fifth person to go. Luckily, I didn’t have to go first or last and got it out of the way quick. I managed to not stumble through it, I didn’t read my notes the entire time,  I don’t think I said “um,” and the timing with the slides was pretty good. After two years of not having to speak in public or in front of any audience, it was a bit of a shock to do it again. I’m so glad it went so smooth. Everyone had different approaches to the presentations and it was great to see what everyone is interested in or where they came from to get there.

After the presentations we had 10 minute speed interviews with our perspective host organizations. I applied for two projects so I met with both of them and they couldn’t have been more different. The one in South Dakota asked us to meet them for a drink in the down time before the evening social to talk more and get to know each other a bit better and asked us a couple serious questions in those 10 minutes. The upstate New York one was the exact opposite, much more relaxed, talking about the project a bit and what we had seen. I ended up asking him if he had any questions for me towards the end cause I didn’t want to have messed it up, the answer was, “nope.”

I did go meet the South Dakota crew for a drink and we discussed the project in more detail before heading over to the reception for the outgoing fellows. There I was able to meet up with my friend, Annie, who is a current fellow, meet her “classmates,” as well as the other current and many past fellows.  The outgoing fellows talked about their work over the past three years and then had a panel with their host organizations. It was so inspiring to see what they had done for their communities and how excited those places were to have them there.

The night ended at a bar with many of the finalist, fellows and Enterprise team hanging out. Many people would leave the next day, while I stayed through the weekend and hung out with my friends while showing Dr, K around the city.

It was kind of a surreal trip. To make it more surreal, on Monday I found out that I made it to the next round with the upstate New York organization. I will be heading back out to New York in less than three weeks for a real interview on site. My emotions are all over the place for various reasons and I cannot believe I made it this far. I cannot wait to see what happens at my interview or what comes of it.


In any case, I’ve met some really amazing people and I hope we really do use the network that Enterprise set up for us and great things come of it, even if we do not all end up as fellows.

6 Hours in Seattle

On my way home from San Francisco, I realized that my friends Kurt and Melissa were going to be in Seattle. Making my layover happen is Seattle was something I could easily do. So I booked my ticket to have a seven hour break between  flights and went in to the city to hang out with my friends for an afternoon.
P7198704The first of a couple Jenn-is-being-weird-in-pics-and-kurt-caught-it images in this post, with Melissa! Untitled First, can I just take a moment to comment on how lovely the flight from San Francisco to Seattle is? I had been on this flight before, so I made sure I had a window seat on the correct side of the plane to see the the coast. You pass so many beautiful peaks as you go, including Mount St Helens, Mount Hood and Mount Rainier. It’s beautiful. If you like that kind of thing anyway. Untitled
We met at Pike Place Market since it seemed the easiest. I arrived in the city a bit before them. It was hot, like 90 plus degrees hot, so I found a cute little bar to have a drink and read while I waited. When they arrived we went down to the Bayview Cafe for delicious crab cake burgers before heading out into the heat to explore.


I had not been to Seattle since college, also known as a long time ago. I’d been there a couple times then, so I have seen the majority of tourist things and architectural buildings like the public library, but there is always something new. First stop was the pier and the giant Ferris wheel. We opted out of riding it, the line was too long, but the views along it were lovely and it is huge. UntitledIt was hot, so our next stop was a new distillery called Copperworks. They are just starting out, so we we only able to sample the gin, but I’m sure the whiskeys will be great too. The small samples were not quite enough so we went up through gum ally to the Alibi Room for a drink to cool down before continuing.

We discussed things we wanted to see with our remaining hours while sipping our beverages and landed on the Olympic Park. I had been wanting to see it since it was constructed and it wasn’t too far from where we were so we headed over.  It was a lovely place. As well designed as it appeared in all the pictures. The sculptures in the park were amazing as well. This was one of my favorite.
P7198772I don’t know what we are talking about, but the series of these was clear that I was yammering on and Melissa was finally like, ‘yeah sure, I get it.’

After the park we were over the heat again and headed to the Space Needle. We asked if we could go up for a drink, not to dine, but there was a wait too long, so we just went to a nearby cafe for one last drink and conversation before I had to head back to the airport. Untitled

It was so good to see the two of them and I can’t wait to see them again in a couple weeks! It’s amazing how much you can see in an afternoon, but I should go back to Seattle and spend a bit more time there again. It’s a good city.


Sunday Afternoon Coffee [fifty-one]

Yummy coffee and sandwich from Cafe Madeline

If we were having coffee this afternoon, it would be on top of the M. After a morning spent on planes, I needed to get out and do something active, so I headed to the M for a quick hike. I’ve been hiking the face, (much steeper, one-third the distance of the normal trail), a lot lately. I like that it never get easy.
Brooklyn Bridge

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would recap my trip to NYC that I just return from this morning. I was brought out for the Rose Fellowship Finalist Summit, more on that later. Dr. K (as I will now refer to Bozeman K since the original K is in Brooklyn!) met me out there Wednesday night and we spent the past three days running around the city. We stayed with my friend, K, in her new apartment. We were able to use Citi bike and see a lot. The highlights for me were seeing Avenue Q, the Met Rooftop, the Staten Island Ferry, playing shuffleboard. Dr. K had never been, so it was fun dragging her around and trying not to get her killed on a bike.
We killed it the whole night
At the Met
From the SI Ferry

If we were having coffee I’m sure we would talk about how it’s sad that summer is really ending. The last art walk happened for the summer. I’m kind of ready for winter, but it’s been such a lovely summer, I’m not quite ready to let it go…

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I loved being able to be in the city with Melissa to go dress shopping.  Most efficient bride ever, the fourth dress was the one. It was almost too easy. I also happened to find my bridesmaid dress thanks to K. Successful weekend as the maid of honor.


Beehive Basin

UntitledDue to small delays in construction, we were unable to move the furniture into one of our projects during the week. My boss was going to be out of town, so I said I could run up on a Saturday and get everything in place, it was only going to take a couple hours or so. But I also drug K with me with the promise of watching cute boys work while she read, the chance to try out some very expensive furniture before anyone else, amazing views and hiking afterwards. I’m not sure the boys came through, but the rest did and the hike to Beehive Basin was gorgeous. Untitled
We thought it was a more difficult hike than it actually is, at 5 to 6 miles round trip the elevation gain is only approximately 750 feet. When we arrived at the trail head, the parking lot was full and we were a bit apprehensive about doing it with so many people on the trail. In the end, it wasn’t difficult to pass the slow ones and a lot of people were coming down instead of heading up.

The trail is amazing through a series of meadows and a bit of wooded area. There were wildflowers everywhere. Untitled
K getting a picture of the flowers

You ascend on some switch backs for a bit at the start and then the trail mostly levels out, gaining elevation slowly.

By K

The end is at the lake at the top in a meadow where you are surrounded by the jagged mountains. You can climb some of these peaks, and it would be cool to figure out which ones you can climb or to see what other trails you can connect into around there. We just hung out by the lake and climbed up a hill/rock at the end of it.
Untitled// all the cars at the base, we had several moments when we were the only people visible at the lake. The views were amazing. I don’t know if I will ever tire of being on top of a mountain and being able to see for miles and miles and not able to see another human.

By K