July 2014

July. proper noun. According to me, one of the best months of the year for its sunshine and summertime vibe.


July, which is one of my favorite months of the year, is over. I don’t know quite what to do with this. Other than link up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into and share the things I’ve loved this month.


Attachments and Fangirl, both by Rainbow Rowell. I discovered Rainbow Rowell when one of my friends recommended Eleanor and Park to me last winter, and I adore her. I devoured both of these books. They’re the perfect summer reads: romance-y but deeper than the typical boy-meets-girl, witty, surprising, and buckets of fun. (Warning: They’re PG-13 for language, but they’re never creepy or explicit with the romance part. I would recommend them to my mom without embarrassment.)

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I try to read one classic every summer, and this was my pick for 2014. It’s a fascinating look at guilt and condemnation that is still relevant, even though our world is a bit less uptight than Puritan New England. It also reads faster than most classics. After wading through Les Miserables last summer, I appreciate that.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Barry. This book reminded me of my grandpa sitting in a rocking chair and telling stories, in the best way possible. Jayber Crow is the story of a small-town barber and Port William, the community where he lives. He lives a small, ordinary life, but his observations about the community and his philosophical insights are striking and beautiful.


Listening to:

“Classic” by MKTO. This is my jam right now. It’s poppy and adorable. And I would love to be called “old-school chic,” though the sloppy state of my summer wardrobe (think athletic shorts and flip-flops) makes this unlikely.

Ellie Holcomb. She sounds like fireflies at dusk and iced tea in Mason jars and hope.

 Scotty McCreery. I don’t like driving with the windows down, even on sunny July afternoons. (I know, I’m a horrible country girl.) But if I did, Scotty’s crooning would make the perfect soundtrack.



More Numb3rs with the family. (But I’ve discovered that I can only watch one episode per night, or I have dreams that people are breaking into our house and that Charlie will be creating algorithms to solve mysteries about my life. Yes, my family mocks me for this.)

Tried-and-true movies. I’ve been spending most of my movie-watching energy on flicks I’ve already watched and loved. Like You’ve Got Mail – I could watch this movie on repeat. And The Princess Bride, the one movie with princess in the title that even my brothers don’t complain (much) about watching.


Randomly Loving:

This video. I’ve always been a Colbie Caillat fan, but this video made me love her for more than her California-girl vibe. Watch the video, and read the fascinating story behind the song here.

This article scientifically proves that you should fall in love with me. Okay, not just with me, but with people like me who read a lot.

I make lots of snarky comments about selfies. But even I approve of them if they look like this.

Word nerds, have I got a video for you. I fully intent to use this video on my future English students.

 This article, which is just the encouragement that I need to keep whacking away at my keyboard. It reminds me to show up, to make art in the imperfect circumstances that are dumped on me, and to be real.

Prairie sunsets. City skylines just can’t compete with the wide-open sky of the boondocks.

An unfiltered pic my dad took this summer. It's like the Lion King.

An unfiltered pic my dad took this summer. It’s like the Lion King.


Keeping Busy With:

Sneaking as many moments at the lake as possible. Because duh.

Tough girls go tubing with their brothers.

Tough girls go tubing with their brothers.

No makeup, messy hair, boating in the sunset. This is my happy place.

No makeup, messy hair, boating in the sunset. This is my happy place.

Procrastinating on the scholarly paper I needed to write after going on trip to China. Yes, I know this was in June. Yes, I know I’ve had all summer. Yes, I did turn it in at 11:03 p.m. the night before it was due. I do think cross-cultural communication is interesting, but procrastination habits die hard, even in the summer. Especially in the summer.

Turning 21. I skipped the whole 21-shots-at-a-wild-party routine and ate really delicious flourless chocolate cake with my family instead.


Heading to the county fair to drink 4-H stand milkshakes and admire the shaggy cows, which my brother affectionately calls yaks.

Spending all day, every day at the pool teaching swimming lessons and lifeguarding. But now I am done for the summer. Done. After going into the pool every single day for a lot of weeks, I am heading back to the Cities, where I will wear real clothes again. It’s very strange.

My mom happened to be at the pool on my last day. Don't worry, we didn't take our eyes off the pool for long!

My mom happened to be at the pool with a camera on my last day. Don’t worry, we didn’t take our eyes off the pool for long!

Writing…not much. Last summer, I was a weekly-posting machine and I thrived on it. This summer, not so much. I have a few messy drafts hiding in my computer, but words were slow to spark this month. Maybe I’m getting too perfectionist-y (again), or maybe my emotional and mental energy have been elsewhere (like in reading Rainbow Rowell books?). Whatever the cause, I’m trying to make peace with it.


What are you loving this month?


2 thoughts on “July 2014

    • I think Eleanor & Park is my favorite of the 3 books, so you’re in for a treat! And there is almost no better combination than Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks – they’re just classic 🙂

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