Welcome to the latest installment of my monthly favorites.
As I touched base with last month, the first thing I’d like to say is that although our news and social media feeds have cycled through and gone back to normal content, Black lives still matter. Protests are still thriving, Black voices still deserve to be amplified, and what we’ve learned is a movement, not a moment.
In my own bubble, July was fantastic. Though I still find myself sighing and grumbling, “I need a vacation,” there have been plenty of moments where the life in front of my eyes felt almost too good to be true.
Living in Colorado is such a privilege. Accessing its beauty and getting into it, though, has been a learning curve. Chad and I are still navigating all of it, surely but slowly; this month was fantastic for exploring new spots and getting out feet wet with Colorado adventure.
We hiked, camped, and explored. We had a healthy balance of making plans ahead of time and deciding in the moment what was right for us. We spent a good amount of time relaxing in front of a screen (in all honesty, excellent television is our love language), and challenged ourselves to do more with our leftover energy. Wally came along, too.
I did things on my own as well. I’m still figuring out the early stages of owning my own business, and I’m loving the journey. I’ve gone for daily hour walks (one, because the sunshine energizes me, and two, because the aforementioned hiking has been hellish on my lungs and I can do better) and taken time just for myself. Though housework has suffered, my mental heath and well-being has improved and continued to soar.
There have been many moments of pause and reflection. For every laugh and joke and beer with our neighbors (another perk of the last month), there has been double the silence. Stillness on mountain trails, concentration in front of my laptop, wordless hand-holding.
My main takeaway: I’m grateful. I’m thankful for my husband, our small family, our loved ones, the challenges we’re able to face, and this place we call home.
And with that, here are my top picks for the month of July.
Best Watch: Hamilton
Well, I’m a Hamilton convert. I, like millions others, was finally able to watch the show on Disney Plus, and quickly fell in love. I have never had access to Broadway musicals, so I wasn’t sure if it would be my speed. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize the brilliance of the show, from start to finish. I love, love, love it.
And honestly, I’ve been streaming the soundtrack in the background as I work. It’s fabulous.
Mountain Escape: Grand Mesa
I’m a little new to this Colorado paradise, just an hour and change away from my front door. The Grand Mesa is a forest that has tons of lakes, trails, cabins, and even a ski resort. I’m hoping to spend much more time here, since it’s quite an oasis.
Album: Folklore by Taylor Swift
Oh man, oh man, oh man. This underground secret Swiftie nearly had a heart attack after receiving an email with the good news: a new Taylor Swift album, Folklore, was coming my way. A surprise album?! Only 11 months after Lover?! I’m already a huge fan of this low-key, ballad-heavy album with black-and-white, folksy tones and a new side to Taylor’s vocals. I’m beyond impressed with this new era. So far, my favorite song is “invisible string.”
Hike: Linkins Lake Trail
The Linkins Lake Trail is right off of Independence Pass. It’s gorgeous, quick, and a great workout. I highly recommend it!
Funny Mix-Up: Jesus-themed Door Mat
Chad and I are not religious; not even in the slightest. Though I have a Catholic upbringing, Chad can count the times he’s stepped foot in a church with half-hand of fingers. So, getting this Jesus-themed doormat in the mail was quite a hilarious surprise. Cute, but so not us. Lol.
Drink: Chad’s Margaritas
There were no less than three times this month that called for a stiff drink. (I’m not even exaggerating.) Chad, with his amazing bartending skills, came to the rescue with a margarita. I miss sipping these in a restaurant with chips and salsa, but I’ll always appreciate this act of love from my husband.
Adventure: Camping in the Rain
Chad and I finally went camping! It was a quick-but-fun trip to the mountains. We met up with some friends near Buena Vista, Colorado, after they hiked a 14-er (we’re not there yet, lol). It was rainy and there was a fire ban, but it was still a blast. Wally did an amazing job on his first camping trip!
Scenic Drive: 5 CO Passes
Whew, Chad and I have done a lot of driving this month. Mostly Chad though, as I’ve sat shotgun and enjoyed the views (thanks, honey!!). On our camping adventure, we ended up driving over five scenic Colorado passes: Independence Pass (near Aspen), Cottonwood Pass (by Buena Vista), Ohio Creek Pass (by Gunnison), Kebler Pass (by Crested Butte), and McClure Pass (back to Aspen). Lots of heights, curves, dirt roads, and incredible views.
Gardening Fail: Beautiful Weeds
Well, as any homeowner can attest, yard work is a lot of…work. Chad and I have drastically fallen behind, since we’ve decided to prioritize things inside our walls. Wellllll, a few of our weeds grew. And grew. And grew. After having them on the back of my mind for a few weeks, I ventured outside to finally pull them. To my surprise, they’d blossomed! We have giant (taller than me!) sunflower stalks growing. And for now, they’re staying.
July in Posts
This month, as usual, I had two posts per week. Here are the details if you’ve missed them.
- Colorow West Trail. We went for a hike in our backyard.
- How to prepare for a new puppy. Your guide for bringing home a pup to love.
- Short story: New Shoes. A fictional short story makes its debut.
- Wally photo dump. Our pup is growing!
- Beautiful summer day in the mountains. A day trip was just what my spirit needed.
- I’m doing better now. Things were bad, before they got better.
- Linkins Lake Trail We hiked! It was wonderful.
- Things I want to do this summer. I’ve got a bucket list about a mile long.
Treat: Ice Cream!
Ice cream is always a good idea (just ask my blogging buddy Bill). This month, I really lucked out when Chad agreed to grab some from a new shop that popped up in Glenwood Springs during the COVID shutdown. Sundae is a cute counter-service shop that has artisan ice cream. It’s thick, creamy, and delicious. I went with a chai flavor, while Chad enjoyed toasted coconut.
Exercise: Neighborhood Walks
I’ve had two primary fitness goals this month: get into better hiking shape, and try to tone up a bit before our family photos next month. To achieve these, I decided to take to the streets—wandering my town and neighborhood for an hour at a time, which typically ends up being around 3 miles.
On the Screen
We’ve spent a good chunk of time in front of the TV this month. Here are some of my favorite movies and series, in no particular order.
- What We Do in the Shadows
- The Magicians
- Best Seasons of the Bachelor
- Ford Vs. Ferrari
- Old Guard
- Indian Matchmaking
- The Last Dance
- Palm Springs
Here are a few of the items that I wound up purchasing this month, from camping supplies to tie-dye shorts.
- Razor blade
- Pup sleeping bag (lol)
- Faux eucalyptus
- Dry shampoo
- Coffee percolator
- Accordion hook hanger
- Stain and odor remover
Photo of the Month
Surprise: another fabulous Wally photo. You’re welcome. 😉
And that rounds out my July favorites! Thanks for tagging along on my pursuit of sunshine.