What’s Up July
Hello! How are you doing this month? It has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at our house. We have had some really fun times this month, but also received some sad news that sent us all into a funk (read more below under the heading what I’m dreading). I hope you have had more highs than lows this month.
What We’re Eating This Month
We are continuing to try and put all the zucchini harvested from our garden to good use. This recipe for Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches served with this Spinach and Nectarine Salad was a favorite this month. The Trader Joes organic french rolls were the perfect size to make a satisfying sandwich that didn’t leave you stuffed I prefer to use balsamic glaze instead of balsamic vinegar on my sandwiches because the thicker consistency won’t saturate the roll, making it soggy. My kids were especially keen on the simple orange marmalade, shallot, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil mixture that dressed the nectarine salad.
I have been making a Steak Salad with Bacon and Crispy Potatoes salad for the past 8 years and just this month noticed that this Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad with Avocado was on the back of the torn out magazine page. I am irritated that it took me so long to notice this scrumptious salad. It is an especially easy to make if you have leftover grilled corn from the previous night’s dinner.
What I’m Loving
Body Glide For Her Anti Chafe Balm! I like to run a few times a week. However, I don’t like the fact that when I return home and take off my bra to shower, it takes off some of my skin as well. Different sports bra brands all leave the same results. A layer of vaseline helped, but I often would forget to apply it and it left me feeling greasy. A friend recommended I try Body Glide. I keep it next to my deodorant and just before a run I swipe both on. It goes on easily and doesn’t feel goopy. Best of all I am not left with an angry red welt after every every run! If you are a runner and suffer from any kind of chafing I would recommend giving Body Glide for Her Anti Chafe Balm a try.
What We’ve Been Up To
Our family drove down the California coast to spend a few days in Santa Barbara earlier this month. We chose Santa Barbara as our destination because it allowed us to explore an area of California that we weren’t as familiar with and offered a wide range of outdoor activities that we could safely enjoy while social distancing. On the way down we stopped in San Luis Obispo to nosh on Firestone Grill’s tasty trip-tip sandwiches, stretch our legs on Higuera Street (which is closed to traffic), and take a driving tour of the Cal Poly Campus.
We stayed at the Hotel Milo in Santa Barbara. It was right across from West Beach and walking distance to State Street and Stearns Wharf. Most of the hotel amenities were not being offered due to current COVID-19 restrictions, but we did still have use of the properties bikes to explore the area. I definitely missed having maid service while on vacation, but knowing that we were the only people that had access to our room over the course of our stay brought us extra peace of mind.
We spent our days at the beach, hiking in the nearby hills to Inspiration Point, exploring the grounds of UCSB, the Santa Barbara Mission and the Santa Barbara Courthouse, bike riding to Montecito and window shopping on State Street.
On our way home from Santa Barbara we took the long way. Our first stop was in Solvang to try ebelskiver and admire the quaint Danish architecture. We stopped again in Cambria at Firestone Grill’s sister location, the Main Street Grill, because our mouth’s were watering for another Tri-tip sandwich. After a short walk on Moonstone Beach, we took in the gorgeous views Highway 1 offers of the Big Sur coastline.
What I’m Dreading
Our best friends are moving to another state in August. Our families first met when our girls started preschool. The moms and kids became fast friends in the drop-off line. Not only were our girls the same age, but our toddler boys were too. A couple weeks later we introduced our husbands only to find out that they had been buddies back in high school. In the twelve years since, barely a week has gone by that we haven’t spent time together. We have sat next to each other at ballet recitals, shared a tent at swim meets, cheered together from the basketball bleachers and chatted on the soccer sidelines. We have seen every new Star Wars movie together, celebrated countless birthdays, last days of school, and elementary and middle school promotions side by side. I’ve lost count of the backyard BBQ’s, pizza nights and game nights that we have had together. They say that “Friendship Isn’t a Big Thing, It’s a Million Little Things”, and I could go on an on listing the special moments we have shared. We are all devastated to be saying goodbye the family that has long been my children’s emergency contact, our treasured confidantes and cohorts. I know our friendship isn’t ending, only evolving, but I am mourning the moments I had taken for granted we would share in the future. I know many of you have gone through or are going through similar experiences. I would love to hear some of efforts you have made to stay close from afar.
What I’m Excited About
You may remember that earlier this spring we replaced all of our outdoor lighting. This month we took it a step further and replaced the indoor lighting in our entryway and dining room as well. The new lighting is much cleaner and current look, but still possesses enough curves to compliment the French county style I love. The new light fixtures are the first step we have taken to update our outdated living room and dining room. I’m excited to keep you posted on our progress and hopefully share a big reveal before the end of the year.
Here is a sneak peek of our entryway before and after the new two tier chandelier was installed…
What I’m Watching
I’m a couple years late in watching this 2018 miniseries that a friend recently recommended to me. This drama is based on first hand accounts of one of the survivors and the FBI negotiator. Their story contradicts everything that was widely reported. It was one of those stories that even thought you are familiar with the outcome you continue to hope that there will be a different ending.
What I’m listening To
Coincidentally, two albums were released this month by the only two artists and groups that I have seen in concert multiple times.
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Chicks new album, Gaslighter. The Chicks first album in over a decade does not disappoint. My favorite newly released song is My Best Friend’s Weddings. This album gives listeners a very personal peak into the demise of Natalie Maines marriage.
Folklore by Taylor Swift was not on my radar until my daughter clued me in on the release. Surprisingly, we both agreed that Betty and Exile were our favorites after listening to the entire album together. My daughter shared a fun theory with me that Betty is named after the yet to be made public name of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s newest daughter because she uses the names of their other two daughters on this album. What do you think?
What I’m Reading
Before We Were Yours was my beach read in Santa Barbara. The book bounces between the story of a young girl and her siblings ripped away from their parents in 1939 and the present day life of a privileged daughter of a politician. I was much more engrossed by the first story which is based on true events. It inspired me to watch an old 60 Minutes clip and read articles about the real life scandal.
I met with a group of women over Zoom this month to discuss White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. It was a little intimidating to discuss race with women I had never met with the exception of the organizer. It feels ironic to even write that last sentence because one of the main points White Fragility makes is that we have avoided talking about racism for far too long. I had so many eye-opening moments during the course of this book. My most important take-away was that we need to stop looking at being a racist as being a label reserved for somebody else that we would not identify with. We are all guilty of being racist. I appreciated that Robin DeAngelo provided concrete blueprints towards the end of the book to help facilitate real life conversations dealing with race. The next book on my list to help educate myself further is So You Want To Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
I just finished The Lying Room by Nicci French. I love a good suspense novel and this one had me guessing from the get-go who done it? “Londonphiles” will especially enjoy traveling by bike through London with the main character Neve.
What I’m Wearing
These linen paperbag pants have been a vacation staple this summer. The linen is relaxed enough to wear with sandals and a tank during the day, and polished enough to continue wearing through a nice dinner out. The linen is lightweight, but keeps me comfortable if an evening breeze picks up. The paperboy style is flattering to hourglass shapes allowing a little extra room in the hips and thighs while accentuating a slimmer waist. These pants are currently on sale for $31.49. I have paired it with simple navy and white cotton tanks and this dark baltic ribbed square-neck sweater.
What I’m Doing This Weekend
We are headed back out on the lake one last time this summer before remote learning starts. My husband is determined to get my daughter up on the wakeboard. He has been sending her videos all week with little tips. She tried it once before at the end of a long day tubing and was so tired after her first three attempts that she decided to table it for another time. This weekend we are going to wakeboard right off the bat. Fingers crossed she is able to get up straight away.
What I’m looking Forward to Next Month
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This year’s sale looks a little different than in year’s past and I have a feeling that our purchases will look a little different this year as well…more loungewear, less work wear. What I know for sure is that mama needs of some new bras! This brand has been my go-to for many, many years. I’ve dabbled with other options, but I always reach for these first. They are pricier than those you find at lingerie chains, so I always wait for the #NSale when I know they will be marked down. To read about more of my Nordy’s Anniversary Sale Tips click here. Keep an eye on the blog for a post about my favorite sale items this year. Many of them make great gifts to tuck away if you want to get a early start on holiday shopping.
What Else Is New
We recently received official word from our school district that we will be starting the year with remote learning. Are you in a similar boat? I would love to put my teaching experience and organizational skills to work by bringing you posts that make learning from home easier on your family. Send me your questions and concerns and I’ll try and offer any tips that I have that can help.
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