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Take a Look at the Stunning Craftsmanship Behind This Pop-Up Art Installation in DC

All photographs by Andrew Propp.

Originally published at Washingtonian.

The design masterminds who worked on Maketto, Bad Saint, and Erik Bruner-Yang’s Honeycomb Market have opened a pop-up art installation on Florida Ave. in Northeast DC. The installation, named “sortir de l’ombre” (or “out of the shadows”), was built by the design and build firm septcarrés to show off the beauty of simple, natural materials, and how light, lines, and space work together to create art.

“It’s unadulterated creativity,” said Criston Mize, the creative director at septcarrés. The installation, Mize says, “is just there to be there.”

From outside, the installation seems like an impossible maze. On the inside, the space opens up and reveals its simplicity. Two-by-four cuts of pine stack on top of one another, with very few nails strategically placed to offer additional support, and fluorescent light streams from the slatted pine walls. That’s it.

Mize says that the installation wasn’t originally meant to be seen from the inside: “We built this installation around the space. There are a lot of big, beautiful windows, so we thought it would be cool to have people’s perspective be from the outside looking in.”

The space septcarrés took over for this installation is provided by Indrit Bregasi of SQB Development, a real-estate development company that works on a variety of projects from homes to mixed-use spaces. Without Bregasi’s generosity and support, Mize says it could’ve taken much longer for the septcarrés team to do an art installation like sortir de l’ombre.

And with continued support from real-estate companies and landlords, Mize hopes septcarrés can do future installations around DC.

“I’d love to do more—we’d love to do more,” Mize said. “We want to be a part of the design culture here. ‘Made in DC’ is important. That’s important to us.”

The installation is viewable from the street 24/7, but Mize is also opening the space up to the public on January 16 and 23, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Once doors close on the 23rd, septcarrés will begin dismantling the installation.

Inside the art installation, it is very maze-like. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Aside from designing and building out restaurants in the area, septcarrés also designs custom furniture (the bench, below, is just one example of its home collection). The group is expanding outside of its Deanwood workshop and building a showroom and shopping space in Capitol Hill. The 7th Street shop will display its projects, designs, and available products. The showroom is nearly finished, and Mize says it will open late January, after sortir de l’ombre is taken down.

Sept Carres focuses on wood work. All of the benches, carts, and storage pieces throughout the art installation were created by Sept Carres. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

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Saving Appalachia

Saving Appalachia

Photograph by Ryan Weisser.

Photograph by Ryan Weisser.

A peculiar phenomenon is taking place in rural America.

After decades of people leaving their hometowns in search of better pay, safer work and urban conveniences, Millennials are beginning to move back to the mountains to save their communities from seemingly inevitable deterioration.

Continue reading.

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The Microbeads in Your Face Wash Are Killing the Planet. Here Are 15 Amazing Scrubs You and the Earth Will Love Better.

The Microbeads in Your Face Wash Are Killing the Planet. Here Are 15 Amazing Scrubs You and the Earth Will Love Better.

Face washes and exfoliants containing microbeads—those tiny beads that scrub off dirt, impurities, and dead skin cells—are no longer.

President Obama signed a bill on December 30 that bans the use of microbeads in products sold in the U.S. Those fantastic little beads that make our faces so fresh and clean are actually clogging up our waterways, which is not so fantastic for aquatic wildlife.

So how do we keep our faces clean without having a negative impact on our environment? With a bunch of natural and organic beauty brands popping up, and drugstore staples jumping on the all-natural bandwagon, it’s actually pretty easy to find a great scrub sans microbeads. Now finding the perfect scrub? That’s harder. Begin your search with our list of our favorite natural scrubs and exfoliants, and then check out this complete list of brands and products that say “no” to microbeads.

1. LUSH Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, $21.95 – $36.95

We’re big fans of LUSH for so many reasons, but aside from having fun product names and lovely-smelling soaps, lotions, and washes (this particular scrub is like taking a tropical vacation every time you wash you face), LUSH products are 100-percent handmade and you can see how their products get made.

2. Honey & Orange Facial Scrub, £11.20, ships to U.S.

Honey and orange make this natural scrub (using rice powder as an exfoliant) a sweet-smelling treat.

3. Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator, $44

Jojoba beads are a great alternative to microbeads if you’re having trouble imagining life without your go-to scrub. The beads are all-natural, and when mixed with oils like kukui oil, they smooth out and hydrate dry, dull skin.

4. Sodashi Enzyme Face Polish, $121

Sodashi’s scrub uses ground rice as an exfoliant and pomegranate fruit enzymes to help renew damaged skin cells, giving you fresh, glowing skin.

5. All Natural Soap Co. Minty Fresh Scrub; £4.25, ships to U.S.

If you’re more into simple soaps, this is the one to get. With only 10 natural ingredients, you know exactly what you’re putting on your face—and it’s pretty good stuff. If the poppy seeds (yes, poppy seeds) in this exfoliating soap are too harsh for your skin, the All Natural Soap Co. also makes this seaweed soap, which is recommended for extra-sensitive skin.

6. Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator, $16

Speaking of seaweed, this exfoliator from The Body Shop uses olive seed powder and seaweed to polish your face.

7. Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub, $28

Kiehl’s scrub formula includes Bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapples), a papaya enzyme, and sesame oil to provide gentle exfoliation, while still removing dead skin cells and everyday buildup.

8. Aster + Bay Dandelion Face Grains from Be Clean Shop, $30

See why this dandelion-based face scrub from Aster + Bay is WAY better than using unnatural microbeads.

This mix of dandelion grains, clay, oats, and dried flowers can be mixed with water or your favorite cleansing oil to create a gentle scrub that is easy on sensitive skin. You can even make the consistency a little thicker for an at-home clay mask.

9. Ali Mac Skincare Chamomile Face Polish; €28.95, ships to U.S

This face polish uses natural seed oils and shea butter to keep your skin smooth and hydrated, while using natural sugar to scrub about dirt and dry skin.

10. Living Nature Skin Revive Exfoliant, £27.50, ships to U.S.

Jojoba and Candelilla wax beads replace microbeads in this nourishing wash. Plus—it smells minty fresh.

11. Root Science Face Scrub, $49

Great for any skin type, Root Science’s facial exfoliant puts 22 natural ingredients to hard work. Different clays and natural exfoliants work to clean your pores and remove dead skin cells, and fruits and oils provide serious hydration and nutrients to your skin.

12. Essential Apothecary Alchemist Radiance Gentle Facial Scrub from E. Smith Mercantile, $19

This is the scrub you want to get if you have unbelievably sensitive skin. Essential Apothecary Alchemist doesn’t use any harsh abrasives like salt, sugar, or large grains—they use root powders and clay to remove dead skin cells without irritating your skin.

13. Green People Fruit Scrub Exfoliator, $23

A fresh and light scrub that has a sweet citrus scent (think a fresh-squeezed glass of orange juice on a hot, summer day) that uses apricot kernels to exfoliate skin. They also have a grapefruit and shea scrub for men.

14. St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub, $3.09 on Amazon

Tried and true, St. Ives is a go-to scrub when we don’t feel like spending $30 on face wash. If you’re prone to nasty breakouts, St. Ives’ formula uses salicylic acid and walnut shells to scrub away impurities and fight acne-causing oils. They also have gentler scrubs for blackheads and sensitive skin.

15. JĀSÖN Brightening Apricot Scrubble, $8.77 on Amazon

JĀSÖN’s apricot scrub is gentle enough to remove dirt from clogged pores on a daily basis, and it moisturizes your skin with natural oils.

Want to make your own natural beauty products? Try out these DIY scrubs and polishes that are unbelievably easy to make.

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10 Tasty Gluten-Free Pizza Recipes

10 Tasty Gluten-Free Pizza Recipes

Originally published at Washingtonian.

Butternut Squash Pizza via Contentedness Cooking

This seasonal vegan pie (shown above) uses abundant fall produce: squash and kale. You can pile the toppings on a layer of fresh tomato sauce and a homemade, gluten-free crust crust, and drizzle homemade cashew sauce on top.

Potato Kugel Pizza via Kveller

Photograph via Kveller.

This recipe is usually reserved for Passover, but we couldn’t resist the idea of crispy potatoes as a pizza crust, topped with mozzarella, cheddar, and goat cheeses.

Purple Potato and Romanesco Vegan Pizza via Steph in Thyme

Photograph via Steph in Thyme.

Purple potatoes and romanesco cauliflower might seem like daunting ingredients at the farmer’s market, but this vegan pie is simple to prepare. The earthy vegetables combine with vegan mozzarella cheese and béchamel sauce for a dish that’s pure comfort food (we could see adding real cheese and cream for a more decadent version). This recipe calls for Betty Crocker’s gluten-free pizza crust, you can also use any gluten-free crust recipe you like.

Polenta Pizza via Edible Perspective

Photograph via Edible Perspective.

This isn’t your traditional pizza crust, but it’s fun to make, filling, and particularly great for anyone who likes corn meal crusts. It’s also a good way to make use of leftover polenta; you could also save time by cooking the polenta in advance, and letting it set. When you’re ready for pizza, all you need to do is add toppings and wait 25 minutes for it to get golden brown and melty.

Breakfast Pizza with Gluten-Free Cauliflower Crust via Cooking Stoned

We’re all about breakfast pizza, especially when it’s somewhat healthy. If you stick to veggies and eggs for these trippy-looking pies, you can forget about the fact that you just ate pizza for breakfast.

The Ultimate Quinoa Pizza Crust via Simply Quinoa

Photograph by Alyssa/Simply Quinoa.

This quinoa-based pizza crust has only five ingredients, which can be easily blended together in a food processor. The recipe uses plain tomato sauce and goat cheese as toppings, but you can get creative and add whatever you want.

Zucchini Pizza Crust with Chipotle BBQ Bacon and Grilled Corn via Closet Cooking

Photograph via Closet Cooking.

This loaded zucchini pizza takes about 25 minutes to cook, has only 348 calories per serving, and includes bacon—the ultimate win-win situation.

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust via Blissful Basil

Photograph via Blissful Basil.

The best part of this sweet potato crust: no need to drain or squeeze out any excess liquid from your veggies, as the starch is very absorbant. This recipe uses artichokes and tomatoes as toppings, but we suggest trying a mix of barbecued chicken, kale, red onions, and smoky gouda, which pair well with the potato’s natural sweetness.

Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Fruit Pizza via Super Healthy Kids

Photograph via Super Healthy Kids.

Not only is this dessert pie super easy to whip up, it’s pretty good for you, too! The crust is made from almonds, dates, coconut oil, and cocoa powder, and the topping uses a little cream cheese and Greek yogurt for creaminess and protein. Decorate with your favorite fruits, and you’re all set to indulge.

Chocolate Cookie Pizza with Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Frosting via Food Faith Fitness

Photograph via Food Faith Fitness.

We know what you’re thinking: There’s no way something this decadent could be gluten free. Oh, but it is. This recipe uses oat flour, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and eggs for its chocolatey crust. For the topping, just mix together salted caramel peanut butter (yes, this exists) with Greek yogurt and chocolate chips.

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Meet the Local Student Who Helped Discover a New Human Species

Meet the Local Student Who Helped Discover a New Human Species

Originally published in Washingtonian.

Becca Peixotto is used to being in uncomfortable situations. She’s waded through swamps, climbed through caves, and wriggled her way through tight nooks and crannies to get to excavation sites and digs.

These field experiences as an archaeologist and an American University anthropology Master’s student are what helped Peixotto get selected to work with the Rising Star Expedition, where she and five others found 1,500 human fossils, leading to the discovery of a new human species called Homo naledi.

Peixotto, now a Ph.D. candidate at AU, shares her experience excavating the caves, how studying at AU prepared her for the excursion, and what this discovery means for women in science.

How did you come across the Rising Star Expedition?

I was taking a year off between doing my Masters and getting ready to start the Ph.D. program when the Rising Star Expedition happened. It was an ad on Facebook, of all things, looking for archaeologists with a particular skill set.

I thought that I had that skill set, so I applied—and much to my surprise—I got interviewed and selected. The project was with some really renowned paleoanthropologists at a university that is known for their paleoanthropological research, among many other things—it was really surprising.

How did AU prepare you for the type of work you were doing with the excavation team?

I did field school with Professor Dan Sayers in the Dismal Swamp at American and also volunteered a couple more years during field school, and I feel like that prepared me in a lot of ways to do the kind of work that was needed in the cave.

The Dismal Swamp is definitely an uncomfortable environment to work in. It’s a challenging environment physically and mentally—in a different way than the cave is—but to be able to demonstrate that I have good technical excavation skills to work in that type of environment was important.

And also, the program here at AU, the Masters program and of course the Ph.D. program, is quite rigorous in terms of theory and having a broad-base knowledge of anthropology as a core, field program. I focus on archaeology, but I also take classes and learn about the other fields, so having that kind of broad background and engaging in conversations and discussions with the faculty here, it gave me the confidence that I’d be able to work with the caliber of paleoanthropologists and scientists I would encounter at Rising Star.

What were your expectations going into the expedition?

All of the information before going to South Africa was really vague. There were some fossils and a hole in the ground in South Africa, and didn’t I want to come and help get them out? We didn’t really know what to expect.

Even Professor Berger, when he sent us down into the cave for the first time, was expecting us to find one partial skeleton that wouldn’t take too long to excavate. As it turned out, it wasn’t just one partial skeleton, it was up to a minimum of 15 individuals now—more fossils than any of us even thought were possible to find down there. None of us would have imagined we would be saying we found 1,500 fossil elements from 15 individuals down in that cave.

The team lays out fossils of H. naledi at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Evolutionary Studies Institute. The new species of human relative was discovered by a team led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand deep inside a cave located outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The find was announced bythe University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African National Research Foundation and published in the journal eLife. Photograph by Robert Clark/National Geographic.

And how did it feel to make that discovery?

I’m not sure that any of us really expected to encounter an entirely new species—it got quite exciting, pretty quickly!

Finding early hominid fossils is rare, in general, and certainly to find a fossil site with so many fossils is really special. It’s exciting for me to see all of these senior scientists—Professor Berger, John Hawks—and other people getting so excited about this find, as it was happening.

What was it like being down in the South African caves?

Being in the cave…it’s hard to describe.

When you’re back in the fossil chamber, if you turn off your light, it’s fully dark. There’s nothing to see if the artificial lights aren’t on. And one of the things that stood out to me was being able to look up and look around at how beautiful the cave was—it made for a pretty awesome office.

The “underground astronauts” (left to right): Becca Peixotto, Alia Gurtov, Elen Feuerriegel, Marina Elliott, K. Lindsay (Eaves) Hunter, and Hannah Morris. The team of scientists excavated the chamber where H. naledi, a new species of human relative, was discovered. The find was announced by the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African National Research Foundation and published in the journal eLife. Photograph by John Hawks.

Based on your experience with Rising Star Expedition [which had 6 women, including Peixotto, as the primary excavators) has the landscape for women in science changed, or is it in the process of changing?

There have been women doing science for a really, really long time. Some of them we hear about, and some of them get overshadowed in the history books by the men they were working with— for all kinds of reasons. It’s something we talked about while we were there. You know, how many women paleoanthropologists are there out there? And actually, there’s a lot of them. Maybe the profile of women in science is getting raised, maybe women are being recognized more for the work that they’re doing.

Something that I think catches people’s eye about Rising Star is that there were six women who were not only doing the excavation but were actually going into the caves, and that’s not something that everyone can or would be willing to do. And, out of everybody who applied, the six who were the most qualified all happened to be women. I think that’s pretty exciting to show other girls and young women who might be interested in science that there’s a lot of different ways to be involved in science, including the more adventurous aspects of it.

Do you think that size was at all a factor in there being 6 women in the excavation team? The Facebook ad says: “the person must be skinny and preferably small”—I’m curious whether or not there’s a relationship there.

Eighty percent of the applicants, out of about 60 people, were women. I think that says more about the amount of women who have the particular skill set and caving experience to do the kind of work the team needed.

It’s a tricky thing, with body image and the media; and yet, body size can matter. We had to fit through that 18-centimeter gap. You know, everyone on the team, we all are different shapes, different sizes, but we all have the caving skill sets and experience needed for this type of work. There were very experienced cavers with us, who were not able to get through that tiny gap, but we had the ability to pretzel ourselves to get through those tight spaces.

What would you say to a young woman trying to get into the science field today?

I think with social media, especially, that there are a lot of women who do science and are putting themselves out there as examples. They’re making themselves available to the public as scientists and intellectuals, and you can reach out to these women and ask them, “How did you get involved in the kind of science that I want to do? I want to be a marine biologist—what path did you take to become a marine biologist?”

Finding out who do I talk to, who can be my role models, who can I read about to learn more—this is certainly something that would have been difficult for me as a young girl interested in science.

There’s also this great website called Trowel Blazers that profiles women throughout history who do science that involves a trowel—geologists, archaeologists, paleoanthropologists—and I think that website to me is really inspiring to see women all the way back to the Victorian era working in science.

What’s next?

My ultimate goal is to teach at a college or university—I really enjoy teaching and facilitating the process of students learning about the world around them, particularly from an anthropological perspective. Anthropology is a really great way to look at the world around you holistically.

All images are from the October issue of National Geographic.

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9 Ways to Seamlessly Transition Your Wardrobe From Summer to Fall Fashion

9 Ways to Seamlessly Transition Your Wardrobe From Summer to Fall Fashion

Photograph by Jen Eun.

Photograph by Jen Eun.

Originally published at Washingtonian.

Going from summer to fall tends to be tricky. The weather goes back and forth between sweltering hot days and chilly mornings, and your office still feels like a walk-in freezer. Add in the fact that fashion rules are increasingly being broken, and you’re left standing in front of your closet perplexed as how to put together an outfit that “works.”

Julien Garman from It’s Julien breaks it down for us. She goes over how to mix summer and fall color palettes, how to rock new fall trends, and how to make your pretty summer staples last through the season.

Yes, you can wear a chunky fall sweater when it’s 80-degrees outside.

Just style it differently. Instead of layering it over a shirt or dress, go a little old-school and tie it around your waist. “This simple styling trick goes a long way,” Garman says. “It adds a bit of interest and texture to any outfit, while giving you a convenient way to keep warmer during these cooler evenings we’ve been having lately.”

Skeptical on whether or not you can rock the look? Buzzfeed has ideas on how to tie, twist, and tuck sweaters, and still look cute.

Know how to mix pastels and darker fall colors.

Cuero & Mor bag. Photograph via ItsJulien.com.

Cuero & Mor bag. Photograph via ItsJulien.com.

Think about using similar tones when mixing pastels and darker colors: light blues with navy, creams with orange or brown. “One of my favorite combos are burgundy and blush. I have three blush-colored bags (only one black handbag, mind you), so I’m thrilled to see this color combo come to life this fall,” Garman says. “Camels and creams are also going to be a big hit—think a camel suede skirt with a creamy white, fuzzy sweater or victorian lace blouse.”

Get an extra wear out of your favorite summer clothes.

Garman wearing an Alice+Olivia dress. Photograph by Jen Eun.

Garman wearing an Alice+Olivia dress. Photograph by Jen Eun.

Don’t pack up your favorite summer clothes just yet! A military jacket (Garman loves this one) can turn a delicate, lightweight, or floral dress into a fall must-have. As it gets colder, you can also add tights (these are great for winter) and a nice pair of boots.

Also keep your silk blouses, dresses, and scarves hanging around. “The key to making [silk clothes] work into fall and winter is gravitating towards darker shades,” Garman says. Use jackets, scarves, and boots to add more texture (and warmth!) to your look.

Go bolder with your jewelry.

Delicate jewelry looks nice all-year long, but with heavier textures and more layers, simple chains and studs can be a little too subtle. Garman suggests pairing statement necklaces with bulky sweaters and jackets so your jewelry has the chance to stand out.

Her current statement jewelry obsession? Sophie Blake. “She’s a local designer and I seem to pick up something new every time I visit her shop in Mosaic District,” Garman says.

Sport bolder lip colors.

Pendant from Sophie Blake. Photograph by Jen Eun.

Pendant from Sophie Blake. Photograph by Jen Eun.

“Lipsticks are a game changer,” Garman says. “I’m totally in love with the new collaboration line between local beauty vlogger, Claire Ashley and Makeup Meltdown. The three shades basically cover the perfect lip colors for fall.”

Fringe is here to stay.

At first, Garman was skeptical of fringe’s lifespan, but the summer festival trend gets a more put-together look this fall. “People usually associate fringe with festivals, but there are so many sophisticated takes on the trend,” Garman says.

For example, Garman would mix a chunky knit peplum fringed sweater with skinny jeans for a date night look, or pair a fringed, tan suede pencil skirt with a light, silky blouse for spending the day in DC. The perfect way to bring a little summer flair into fall.

Always style your hair before topping off your look with a hat.

Photograph by Jen Eun.

Photograph by Jen Eun.

But I thought hats were to cover up a bad hair day? Yes, yes they are,” Garman says. “However, if you really want to avoid hat hair, styling before sporting is key.”

Garman says to make sure your hair is well-conditioned (she swears byIt’s a 10 and Drybar products), and use a heat-protectant and frizz-fighter when the air starts getting colder and dryer. She also uses a littleMoroccan oil to keep the ends of her hair from breaking and recommends using hat-filler so floppy hats don’t blow away on windy DC days.

Invest in some statement pieces for your wardrobe.

It’s great to have a closet full of basics and staples to carry you from season to season, but why not stand out a little? Garman’s noticing more and more statement pieces this fall—jeweled jackets, fun skirts, bags with some character—and says the best thing to do is look at the CPW (cost-per-wear) of a statement piece. “Finding a great statement piece you’ll wear over and over again is worth investing in,” Garman says.

Definitely try culottes.

Photograph by Jen Eun.

Photograph by Jen Eun.

“Look, I was hesitant at first too, but now I wear mine once a week,” Garman says. “They’re airy enough to keep you cool when it’s hot, and make the transition from day-to-night look effortless.”

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8 Ways to Decorate Mason Jars For a Beautiful, Light-Filled Window Display

8 Ways to Decorate Mason Jars For a Beautiful, Light-Filled Window Display

Originally published at Washingtonian.

This beautiful, color-filled art display that Julie Wolfe created has us inspired. Wolfe used chemicals and organic materials to create her light-filled display, but with these eight simple DIYs, you won’t have to break out any copper sulfate or methylene blue to make a lovely mason jar display at home.

Setting for Four has a super easy way to “tint” your mason jars.

Setting for Four has a super easy way to “tint” your mason jars.

A lot of DIY recipes for tinted mason jars call for paint and time (you have to bake the jars to let the paint tint the glass). For a much faster, and easier DIY, all you need is water and food coloring. Add some in-season flowers and line up your jars in a windowsill for a pretty window display that took zero effort.

Photograph via Disha Doshi.

Have a million photos you don’t know what to do with? Put them in a mason jar. The oil used in this DIY preserves your photos and gives them a cool vintage look.

Photograph via Lola Nova.

Impress your friends with this gorgeous DIY from Lola Nova. Scavenge Google images for pretty butterfly photos (or dragonflies), print them out on card stock, employ some sewing skills, and you have a whimsical display.

Sequins add texture to an otherwise boring mason jar. Place your finished product on a windowsill in direct sunlight and enjoy the sparkling light show! Or, if you’re in a vitamin-D deficient basement apartment, place a small tea light in the jar for a similar effect.

Photograph by Mary & Tim Vidra.

These mason jars are just as pretty as they are functional—the fruit and herbs inside work as a natural, DIY air freshener. If you don’t have citrus or fresh herbs and spices on hand, essential oils work just as well! Place near a window, on a bookshelf, or create a cool centerpiece on your dining room table.

Photograph by Lauren Joseph.

Sill Life’s Holley Simmons doesn’t use mason jars in her tutorial on making a terrarium at home—but it would be a beautiful addition to any windowsill garden. Instead of using large vases and pots, use mason jars to make mini gardens that are easy to maintain.

Photograph via Country Living.

Are you a canning and preserving pro? Stop hiding your fruits and veggies in your pantry and put them on display! You can be super crafty and create open shelves made out of old crates to store your jars.

In case you’re not already canning your fruits and veggies, Country Living also happens to have a simple 3-step guide.

Photograph via kidsplaybox.com.

This kids’ sensory activity turns out pretty cool. Much like Julie Wolfe’s art display, these mason jars are filled with organic materials (leaves, pine cones, wood) and not-so-organic materials (food coloring, glitter) to create a lovely fall-inspired craft.

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Maryland Parents Crowdfund Search for a Wheelchair-Accessible Home for Their Son

Originally published at Washingtonian.

Elizabeth and Dave Hammers’ Montgomery County apartment isn’t wheelchair-accessible. The corners are too tight and the doorways are narrow, which will make it difficult for their 14-year-old son, Jack, to move around freely in the wheelchair he is now confined to.

Jack was born with campomelic dysplasia, a rare and fatal form of dwarfism, that has led to countless orthopedic surgeries, as well as multiple ear tube surgeries. Jack suffered a spinal stroke during his most recent surgery, which was meant to correct the tibia bone protruding out of his ankle so he could continue walking. The stroke, which cause is unknown, has left Jack paralyzed from the chest down and in spinal shock.

As Jack goes through physical therapy, his family is trying to figure out how to raise enough funds to move to a wheelchair-acccessible home in Montgomery County.

RELATED: Washingtonian’s 2009 story about Jack, “Little Boy, Big Dreams”

Dave Hammers created “For Jack’s Sake” on August 6, in hopes that he and his wife can crowdfund $100,000 before Jack returns home from National Rehabilitation Hospital. The Hammers originally planned on building a wheelchair-accessible ramp to their apartment building, but after much thought, Dave and Elizabeth agreed that if they aren’t able to raise enough funds, Elizabeth and Jack will live with Elizabeth’s parents until they can find enough to make a down payment on a home. As of Monday morning, the family had raised more than $30,000.

“We’ve had a lot of support so far, and I just want to say thank you,” said Dave Hammers. “It’s difficult to ask for help, but we have to be realistic about our situation. We really appreciate the support.”

Jack’s tentative release date from the rehabilitation hospital is September 11, and Dave says Jack is working really hard with physical therapy and he is optimistic things will get better. Stay updated about the Jack’s progress and learn more about the Hammers family on their gofundme page.

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What Happens If It Rains During DC’s Fourth of July Fireworks?

What Happens If It Rains During DC’s Fourth of July Fireworks?

Photograph by Flickr user erin_m.

Photograph by Flickr user erin_m.

Originally published at Washingtonian.

Fourth of July fireworks on the Fifth of July?

It could happen. There’s a 50 percent chance of rain on Saturday, with a thunderstorms and moderate wind possible. High winds, heavy rain, thunder, and lightning (sort of like what we had Tuesday night) could warrant a postponement to July 5 at 9:09 PM, National Park Service spokesperson Mike Litterst says.

RELATED: The best places to watch DC’s fireworks

The Park Service will post updates to Twitter and Facebook if the fireworks display is postponed. You can also find more information about planned Fourth of July events at nps.gov.

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New Service Will Help DC Millennials Find Dates in Real Life

New Service Will Help DC Millennials Find Dates in Real Life

The Offline Society DC team, from left to right: Chelsea Raab, Jonna Humphries and Rebecca Yarbrough. Photograph courtesy of Rebecca Yarbrough.

The Offline Society DC team, from left to right: Chelsea Raab, Jonna Humphries and Rebecca Yarbrough. Photograph courtesy of Rebecca Yarbrough.

Originally published at Washingtonian.

DC resident Rebecca Yarbrough and her former roommates, Meghan Benton and Liz Eggleston, wanted to offer twentysomethings looking for a connection something besides Tinder—something a lot more personal than a swipe to the left or right.

“People are fatigued with the online dating process,” Yarbrough said. “We noticed that it’s more efficient for people to meet someone in person.”

And so the idea for the Offline Society was born. Inspired by New York’s Spring Street Social Society, Yarbrough wants her Washington-based, in-real-life social society to bring DC’s great catches together in creative spaces and group outings.

“DC is unique because the people here are so transient,” Yarbrough said. “They’re people focused on their careers, they’re constantly moving—people we might miss out on knowing through online dating and apps.”

The Offline Society advertises bringing “curated groups” of “romantically unattached” people together for supper clubs, private music shows, boat parties, whiskey events—outings that are more than just weekend happy hours in Dupont Circle.

Questions—mainly about your social life and interests—in the online membership application help Yarbrough create these curated groups of people who have similar traits.

And, as the social group’s name suggests, the events will be completely offline—members will be asked to put their mobile devices in a box at the beginning of the event. “We don’t want phones to be a crutch for people,” Yarbrough said. “We want people to make in-person connections instead.”

The Offline Society’s opening event will be Thursday, June 18, from 7-10 p.m. The event location will be announced June 17. For more membership information, go to offlinesociety.com.

UPDATE: Offline Society’s opening event will be held at Mess Hall Culinary Incubator (703 Edgewood Street, NE) and are also partnering with the ridesharing app Split to offer free rides for attendees to and from the event. For more event details, go to offlinesociety.com.

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