July Favorites

I’m freaking out that July is already pretty much over because I have to be back at school in 8 days (what the frick) and all the summer adventures are coming to a close really soon (insert crying emoji). But let’s not get too nostalgic, I have some stuff I want to share with you! These things have made July so, so enjoyable – and I hope you’ll check some of ’em out + dig them as much as I do! Here we go – July favorites:

1. Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely – $9.59

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 8.43.48 AM

This book was so encouraging and quick to read. It’s written like a good friend is telling you how they got through their darkest times, and how they look for lovely in the everyday (or as I like to call it, the “in-betweens of life”), with the help of Jesus. I’ve been able to look for lovely since finishing this book – and I hope you can, too!

2. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

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This. Stuff. Is. AMAZING. It makes my skin feel baby soft and has SPF 15 so it blocks UV rays AND it smells like summer because of the sunscreen scent. I’ll probably be using this stuff year-round.

3. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetoc Zeros, Person A

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

Edward Sharpe’s new album, PersonA, came out at the beginning of the summer – but I’m adding it to July because it’s been on so many of my Spotify playlists lately. They retain their psychedelic vibe that made them famous – but this album feels more mellow and sultry. Also Jade is not longer in the group (tears forever) but they still sound like the Edward Sharpe we know and love.

4. The Way Fam Podcast

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Screenshot from thewayfam.co

I’ve mentioned this family’s podcast before – but if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so! They discuss a wide range of topics weekly – from identity and faith, to camping/backpacking and minimalist living. If you’re looking for a good episode to start with, my favorite is episode 20, where they talk with one of their former college professors about identity formation and the effects of social media.

5. Alum Cave Bluff Trail – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This trail is the most beautiful I’ve ever done. It’s the best hike up to Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains, and you go across rivers, through caves, past fields and fields of blooming rhododendron, and pass little lookouts of the mountains up this 5mi trail. I did it with my mama and we were both stumped by God’s handiwork. Just do it. It’s only open Monday-Thursday, and I’d suggest going early in the AM to beat the traffic (and the human debris if you’re going to be taking photos!).

6. BodySpace App

A coworker told me about this app (it’s free!) and it has totally changed and empowered me in my workout regimen. You enter your physical data, and choose what your fitness goal is (weight loss, muscle gain, endurance, etc.) After that, you can choose and track your workout history – workouts are based on length (1 day to 3 week programs and beyond), and difficulty. One of the coolest features is that each workout has an example video – so no more looking awkward at the gym because you don’t know how to use a machine! This app is a game changer.

7. East Lansing, MI

My summer internship was at a non-profit in Lansing, MI. However, I needed to find ways to spend my time in this new city – so I started exploring. My favorite place by far came to be the Horticultural Gardens at Michigan State University in East Lansing. It was the perfect spot to cozy up with a book or some good music and enjoy the afternoon on a picnic blanket. The entry fee is $6 – but the views and atmosphere are priceless.

There you have it! Some of the things that have been rocking the socks off my July. I’d love to know that things/ideas/products you guys have been using this summer! And if you check any of these out, please let me know how you liked them. I can’t wait to share what I’ll love in August with ya.

till next time! -Niara


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