Hey y’all-it’s been awhile! As much as I love the creative outlet and community I’ve found through blogging, I needed to take a step back this summer. I felt like the Lord wanted me to prioritize getting re-acclimated to being back in the office, reconnecting with friends in-person, and enjoying vacations without feeling the pressure to create content. In the past, this really would have stressed me out. But this time around, I felt such great peace and freedom. Looking back on this summer, it was such a sweet season of healing, growth, and renewed hope in God and His promises.
It was totally unintentional for me to go nearly two months without publishing a new blog post. Now that I’m back I want to share my July and August 2021 Favorites combined into one post. If you’re new around here, it’s monthly tradition for me to share some of my favorite things from the previous month. I typically try to do this within the first week or so of each month. However, I’ve fallen out of sync with this schedule in recent months. So much so, that I’m two months late sharing my July 2021 Favorites. Even though they are a bit in the past at this point, I don’t want to skip over them totally. It’s also fun to look back on the blog and see things that I was loving at a certain point in time.
Thus, beforeI go full-force into fall content, here’s a look at my favorite things from the final 2/3 of summer. I’ve divided this up into July 2021 Favorites and August 2021 Favorites:
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July 2021 Favorites
Perfect Day S’Mores Trail Mix from Target
While roaming the aisles in Target this summer, I couldn’t resist grabbing this S’Mores Trail Mix by Perfect Day, one of Target’s store brands. It includes graham cracker bits, chocolate chunks, chocolate covered s’mores flavored marshmallows, mini dried marshmallows, and peanuts. Highly recommend!
Team USA Oreos
Between the 4th of July and the belated Tokyo 2020 Olympics, July 2021 was especially patriotic. To get in the spirit, I grabbed these Team USA Oreos at Target as well. They have double-stuffed red, white, and blue cream, plus bits of popping candy. The popping candy doesn’t add any distinct flavor to them, so they basically taste like double stuffed Oreos but with fireworks going off in your mouth. Talk about extra patriotic!
July 4th Beach Week
The highlight of my summer was spending nine days at the beach with my parents during the week of July 4th. I took the entire week off work, and was also there for the two surrounding weekends. This was the longest I had been completely unplugged from all things work-related since starting my current job at the beginning of 2014. It was so nice to have an extended break. I enjoyed lots of time relaxing on the beach with a book, and celebrating the July 4th holiday with a cookout on two different nights.
New Vera Bradley Disney Print: Sensational Six Paisley
Vera Bradley launched a new Disney print in mid-July 2021, Sensational Six Paisley. This is the first Vera Bradley Disney print that features Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, AND Daisy all in the same print! (As much as I love the Mickey’s Sweet Treats print from last year, I always felt bad that Daisy was left out!). I bought the Deluxe Lunch Bunch Bag, Minnie Mouse Ears, Notebook, and Sling Backpack in Sensational Six Paisley.
I use the Deluxe Lunch Bunch Bag to take snacks to work, and the mesh pocket on the side is the perfect size for my Lilly S’well bottle.
In addition, I couldn’t resist these precious Minnie Mouse ears in the Sensational Six Paisley pattern. They look cute on, and also look adorable on display. If you’re a Disney fan, they’re honestly a great collectors’ item, especially if you collect Minnie ears!
The Vera Bradley Sling Backpack in Sensational Six Paisley would be the perfect bag to take to the Disney parks. There’s ample space for all the essentials. The hidden zipper compartment that rests right against your body is perfect for a small wallet and ID holder. Then the two smaller compartments on the front are great for easy access to your phone and hand sanitizer. Until I make it back to the Disney Parks, I’m enjoying using it when I’m out and about around town!
I also got the Sensational Six Paisley notebook to add to my stash for when I fill up my current journal and need to start a new one!
You can check out all Vera Bradley Disney items here! Items are restocked periodically, so keep checking back if something you want is out of stock right now.
Sarah Flint Perfect Block Sandal 60 in Gold Nappa
I loved my Sarah Flint Perfect Block Sandal 60 in Sand Calf so much that I got the same style in Gold Nappa when I earned another Brand Ambassador reward! The Gold Nappa is absolutely stunning! While the Gold Nappa leather is gorgeous, it’s also more prone to scuffing, so I’ve decided that these are going to be special occasion shoes. They would be the perfect addition for any spring/summer wedding guest outfit! PS. From October 1-17, Sarah Flint will donate $50 from your purchase to Touch, the Black Breast Cancer Alliance if you shop via this link. Riki Fairley, a breast cancer survivor and a fellow Sarah Flint Brand Ambassador, founded this non-profit that drives collaborate efforts to eradicate Black Breast Cancer.
Girls’ Beach Weekend
Towards the end of July, I went to Wrightsville Beach, NC for a long weekend with my best friend. We enjoyed morning walks, views of the sound from the condo, relaxing time on the beach, quality time with her sister’s black lab, and dinner at three of our favorite local restaurants. We ate at Poe’s Tavern, PT’s Grille, and K. Bueno, and you can read more about them in this post. Since we didn’t get to have our traditional girls’ beach weekend in 2020, we were so happy to make up for it this year.
Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics
I am planning to do another post about my favorite moments from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, but for now wanted to mention that watching them was one of the highlights of my summer! Out of all the things that 2020 cancelled, the Tokyo Summer Olympics was one thing I was most disappointed about. The belated rendition of the Tokyo Games in 2021 definitely didn’t disappoint, and it was worth the wait.
Draper James Sara Pajamas in Blue & White Stripe
I’m obsessed with Draper James pajama sets, and had my eye on this darling blue & white striped PJ set ever since it came out. As soon as it went on sale in July, I bought it! Like all my other Draper James pajamas, it’s so soft and comfy!
J.Crew Factory Cover-Up
I had been wanting a tunic style cover-up, so when I saw this hot pink one from J.Crew Factory on clearance in July, I grabbed it! It got a lot of wear to the beach and pool during the second part of the summer!
Space Jam 2 McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys
Do any other 90’s kids have fond memories of getting the Space Jam soundtrack as one of their first-ever CDs? Or how about slow dances to “I Believe I Can Fly” at middle school dances? While I still haven’t seen the Space Jam 2 movie, I was excited to get a couple of these Space Jam 2 Happy Meal toys at McDonald’s this summer for the sake of nostalgia, particularly Sylvester and Daffy! I also need to rewatch the original Space Jam movie, since I haven’t seen it in forever. Michael Jordan will always be better than Lebron in my book!
August 2021 Favorites
Pura Vida Disney Collection
I discovered Pura Vida bracelets earlier this year when they had a cute panda charm bracelet. This summer, they launched a Disney collection featuring adorable Mickey & Minnie designs on jewelry. I got both the Mickey and the Minnie classic charm bracelets and the Minnie Mouse pendant necklace. In addition, I got a Minnie scrunchie that is pink with white polka dots and has a bow attached to it. The price points are reasonable. Plus it’s the perfect way to add some Disney magic to your everyday outfits. Of course, these pieces would also be a lovely addition to any outfit on a Disney vacation as well! The Pura Vida Disney Collection items go in and out of stock. So if you see something you really want, I recommend ordering it ASAP. But if something you want is out of stock, definitely check back periodically!
Vera Bradley Disney Collection Gifted Vera Tote
During August, Vera Bradley Kindly gifted me with a Vera Tote from their newest Disney collection. This particular Vera Tote is a variation of the Sensational Six Paisley. Rather than having the Sensational Six Paisley print all over the tote, this one is solid navy and has a Mickey & Minnie Mickey and Minnie paisley appliqué design on the front. The inside lining is in the Sensational Mickey Ditsy print, which is another new Disney print Vera Bradley released at same time to complement the Sensational Six Paisley print. There are multiple slip pockets on the inside of this tote to organize your stuff, plus a hidden slip pocket with a magnetic closure at the top of one side of the bag.
Vera Bradley Wide Lanyard in Sensational Mickey Ditsy
I wanted something small in the Sensational Mickey Ditsy Vera Bradley print, and this wide lanyard is perfect! The wider strap shows off just enough of the print, and the Mickey-shaped clip adds such a cute touch. I wear this with my nametag on Sundays when I’m on the greeter team at church.
Beautycounter Think Big All-In-One Mascara
For my first two years as a Beautycounter consultant, I specifically recommended a different brand of clean mascara to anyone who inquired. However, that all changed in August 2021 when Beautycounter launched a new & improved mascara formula. The Beautycounter Think Big All-in-One Mascara is now my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for a clean mascara. Plus, the luxe silver packaging makes it even better!
The Refectory Whipped Feta Dip
My bestie came and visited me for a night one weekend in August. Since it was right before her birthday, I told her to pick where we went for Saturday night dinner. She chose The Refectory, a local restaurant in Durham. I hadn’t been there in so long and the menu was different, so it was basically a completely new experience. The highlight was the charcuterie board we ordered as an appetizer. My favorite item on it was this amazing whipped feta dip!
Another Weekend Beach Trip
I also went back to the beach in mid-August for another long weekend trip with my parents, which included more of my favorite beach things! We actually all rode down there together. This was the first time in awhile we’ve all been on the same schedule and ridden together. I especially enjoyed the Chick-fil-a milkshake I had for dinner when we stopped on the trip down there.
Saladelia Sprinkled Cookie
When my bestie was in town, we also had Sunday lunch after church at Saladelia, a favorite Durham restaurant I hadn’t been to since pre-COVID. After enjoying my go-to meal of chickpea & feta salad, bow tie pasta salad, and Lebanese green beans, I got some bakery items to enjoy later. While getting my favorite cheesecake marble brownie, I couldn’t resist grabbing this fun sprinkled sugar cookie too! It was definitely delicious!
CookieAnn and Gelatoni from Disney’s Aulani Resort
Back in February, I ordered CookieAnn and StellaLou and some Duffy & Friends plush keychains over the phone from Disney’s Aulani Resort. At that time, they didn’t have any Gelatoni merchandise in stock. Luckily, I already had the standard size Gelatoni plush I ordered from ShopDisney a few years prior. However, when I found out this summer in a Duffy & Friends Facebook group that Aulani had Gelatoni merchandise back in stock, I called them again. This time I ordered a smaller Gelatoni plush in his Aloha outfit, as well as a smaller CookieAnn in her Aulani apron. Since my standard size CookieAnn plush is so cuddly and adorable, I wanted to add a smaller one better suited for travel to my collection!
College GameDay Returns
The last Saturday in August brought a bonus episode of ESPN College GameDay one week before the true start of football season. It’s always a treat each year when this favorite show of mine returns! In addition, it is nice that College GameDay has a more normal format this year. Crowds of fans with signs in the background are back. Also, Lee Corso is back on the main set. Even though ESPN got creative with the set-up streamed in from his home last year, it’s great to have him back with the crew this year!
In other news from the final part of Summer 2021, I finally bit the bullet and dove into dating apps for real after years of resisting them. For the sake of my privacy and that of guys I talk to or go out with, I won’t be sharing specific details on here or on social media. However, I will see that dating apps have been a pleasantly surprising positive experience thus far. I’m obviously praying for the day I’m able to delete them, but I’m definitely glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave them a shot!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this very belated update of things I enjoyed from Summer 2021, and stay tuned for fall content. I’m hoping to be more consistent with blog posts this fall.
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