As I mentioned in this post, I am recapping my favorite things from the first parts of 2023 in seasonal posts instead of monthly posts. Today’s post is my Summer 2023 Favorites, which covers Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Keep reading for my favorite purchases, experiences, and simple joys from this period.
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Summer 2023 Favorite Purchases
Little Words Project x Crayola Just Peachy Bracelet
I bought this “Just Peachy” bracelet from the Little Words Project x Crayola collaboration in Summer 2023. The peach color is so pretty and goes with a lot of my outfits, and the little peach charm is adorable. Sadly the Crayola collaboration is sold out, but you can check out more finds from Little Words Project here.
Little Words Project Fearless Bracelet
When Little Words Project launched a Taylor Swift collection, I had to get this “Fearless” bracelet. I vividly remember purchasing my “Fearless” CD back when it first came out 15 years ago, and reading the album insert. In this insert, Taylor talks about her inspiration for the album and says that to her, “Fearless” doesn’t mean the absence of fear, but rather doing things regardless of fears! This is such a good life motto, and reminds me that doing hard things despite being scared is a mark of courage.
The Official Disney Parks Cookbook
During one of my beach trips this summer, I visited my favorite independent bookstore, Emerald Isle Books and Toys. I was excited to see that they had the The Official Disney Parks Cookbook, which was on my wish list. Although I don’t cook a ton, I am glad to have this cookbook in my collection since it features actual recipes for foods served in the Disney Parks (and other Disney vacation destinations). There are a few recipes that I would like to try in the near future, and some other recipes I would like to try one day when I have a larger kitchen plus more time and energy to cook.
While I was at Emerald Isle Books and Toys, I also picked up Pinnochio to add to my Little Golden Book collection, as well as a back-up copy of the Disney World 50th anniversary edition of Mickey’s Walt Disney World Adventure Little Golden Book (originally featured in this post).
The Babysitter’s Club Retro Set Collector’s Tin
I was obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club as a 90’s elementary school kid, so I’ve loved the recent resurgence in popularity boosted by the Netflix series a few years ago. Although I had numerous Babysitter’s Club books as a kid, I told my parents years ago that it was okay to donate them to the library. While I definitely don’t have the storage space for my very large childhood collection of Babysitter’s Club books, in retrospect I wish I had held on to a few of them. Therefore, this summer I was delighted to discover that Scholastic released a Babysitter’s Club Retro Set collector’s tin that contains Books 1-6 in the series. They have their original covers and are exactly like I remember!
Stoney Clover Lane Varsity Teddy Bear Patch
Stoney Clover Lane launched a Homecoming: Sophomore Year collection as a follow-up to last year’s Homecoming Collection. I love this adorable teddy bear with a Stoney Clover Lane varsity jacket that they designed to be the mascot of this collection. Since I missed out on the varsity teddy bear sticker last year, I’m they made a teddy bear patch this year and I was able to get one!
They also threw in this super cute varsity teddy bear postcard as a freebie with my order!
Stoney Clover Lane Bubblegum Scrunchie
When I made my Varsity Teddy Bear Patch purchase from Stoney Clover Lane, I also got the classic nylon scrunchie in bubblegum (a hot pink color) that I had been eyeing for awhile, since I was already paying for shipping. I now have this scrunchie in five different colors! It’s the perfect easy hair accessory. (Realized I haven’t taken a photo of this scrunchie and don’t have it with me currently. Will update this post with a photo of the bubblegum scrunchie as soon as I can!)
Beautycounter Statement Maker Satin Lipstick
Beautycounter reformulated their Color Intense Lipstick this year, and I tried it out this summer! The old Color Intense Lipstick was one of the first Beautycounter products I tried when I became a brand advocate over four years ago. The new formula is called the Statement Maker Satin Lipstick. It has the same long-lasting wear as the Color Intense Lipstick, but it comes in a thinner tube (which I like for precision application) and it has a vanilla flavor. (The Color Intense Lipstick had a peppermint flavor.) In addition, the Statement Maker Satin Lipstick is more lightweight than the old Color Intense formula (but without sacrificing pigment). So far I’ve only tried the Inspired (Pink Coral) shade, because I have a lot of lip color products I need to use up before buying a bunch of new colors.
Beautycounter lipstick is amazing because in addition to steering clear from over 1,800 harmful or questionable ingredients, Beautycounter triple tests all batches of color cosmetics to make sure they don’t contain unsafe trace amounts of heavy metals. Also, click here to learn how Beautycounter ethically sources the vanilla in their lipsticks and lip gloss.
Hello Kitty Cafe Truck Ringer Tee
This year the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck added an adorable ringer tee to their merchandise menu, and I was able to get it when the truck came to Durham in August! I need to take some better pictures of it, but you can at least see the design! I have some Lilly Pulitzer Luxletic skorts this will go with perfectly!
Beautycounter Mighty Plump Ceramide Water Cream
Beautycounter launched a new moisturizer this year, the Mighty Plump Ceramide Water Cream. I tried this for the first time during the summer, and have incorporated it into my morning skincare routine. It provides hydration, a plumping effect, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and improves elasticity.
Shelving Unit for Storage Shed
This summer I finally bought a shelving unit for the outdoor storage closet on my balcony so that I could organize it better. Previously it was a massive stack of boxes, and I couldn’t access anything near the bottom of the pile without unstacking them. Now I have it set up so that items that I don’t need regularly that are fine in a non-temperature-controlled environment aren’t taking up indoor storage space, but are still easily accessible if I need them. This shelf was also easy to put together all by myself.
American Girl x Jeni’s Waffle Cone Set
I had a hefty American Girl Rewards certificate that expired at the end of June, so I used it towards the American Girl x Jeni’s Waffle Cone Set. This set has two waffle cones, two waffle bowls, two ice cream cone scoops, two ice cream bowl scoops, a waffle cone maker, a flat waffle cone, two bowls, two spoons, and ice cream scoop, a waffle cone holder, and a doll cone holder. The ice cream in this set isn’t scented the way the ice cream in the Jeni’s waffle cone tote set is (see this post for more on that set). However, the flat waffle cone you can put in the waffle cone maker is scented! In addition, the waffle cone winds up and makes a dinging sound when it’s “done.” I love ice cream and doll-sized food, so this is a fun addition to my collection.
Summer 2023 Favorite Experiences
Memorial Day Beach Weekend
Summer 2023 kicked off with a Memorial Day Beach Weekend at Emerald Isle! The weather wasn’t great (unseasonably cool/windy/rainy). However, we still enjoyed some good food and drink, including this watermelon margarita at The Fish Hut. And then on Sunday afternoon of the weekend, the sun finally came out and it was warm enough for some beach time!
Welcome Clove & Paprika!
In June my parents adopted two kittens, Clove and Paprika. This was hands-down one of the biggest highlights of Summer 2023. Clove is the gray tabby, and Paprika is the tabico (tabby/calico) combo. They are sisters, and are part of a litter of five that was rescued by Kelly Foster Kittens shortly after they were born. The whole litter was given “spice” names by their foster mom, and so my parents kept the original names because they thought they were cute!
Although Clove and Paprika don’t live with me, I didn’t have any role in picking them out, and I won’t live with them for extended periods of time the way I did with Blizzard and Timex, I still love them so much! And since getting a cat that is completely my own simply isn’t the best fit for me right now for various reasons, I’m so thankful I have these two furry feline siblings to love!
Getting new pets after a loss is never a replacement for a deceased pet, but rather an opportunity to love a new pet with its own unique quirks and personalities. Passing along that love to new pets in need of a home is a great way to honor the memory of pets who have crossed the rainbow bridge. I know that Blizzard and Timex are looking down from kitty heaven happy that we have opened our hearts to another pair of feline friends. And by adopting Clove & Paprika, we have given Kelly Foster Kittens the space and resources to save more kittens. And what a great way to honor the two original kitties we adopted 19 years ago!
4th of July Beach Week
I spent the entire 4th of July week at the beach with my family, and fortunately we had much better beach weather than our Memorial Day Weekend trip! Highlights included lots of quality beach time, another trip to The Fish Hut, and Dairy Queen Blizzards.
Girls’ Beach Weekend
The third weekend in August my best friend and I had our annual girls’ beach weekend in Emerald Isle. We enjoyed beach time, breakfast at Yana’s Restaurant on the Swansboro waterfront, and dinner at our favorite restaurants, including The Trading Post (pictured below). Also, we went to Gaffer’s, a restaurant just down the road from my family’s beach house, for drinks and live music one night. I can hear the music at Gaffer’s from our house every Friday and Saturday night when I’m at the beach, but this was the first time I actually went there! It was really fun, and I will definitely be back!
Durham Bulls Game
My best friend also came to Durham for a girls’ weekend this summer, and one of the highlights of that weekend was going to a Durham Bulls Game with a couple of our other friends. I got to see Ripken the Bat Dog again (more about him in this post), and my bestie and I got a cute picture with Wool E. Bull.
A favorite summer pastime for weekends I’m in town, the weather is nice, and I don’t have other plans is pool time. Summer 2023 was no exception. I enjoyed a poolside frosted coffee at many of my Saturday pool days!
Carolina Inn High Tea
In June I enjoyed afternoon tea at The Carolina Inn with two amazing friends I’ve met through blogging- Courtney of @abyersguide and Beth of @rose_cullered_lens! Beth lives in High Point, and Courtney lived in Durham from August 2022 to August 2023 while her husband was completing a medical fellowship at Duke. I had previously met Beth in person once, and had hung out with Courtney multiple times during her year in Durham. This was Beth and Courtney’s first time meeting in person though. I’m so glad all three of us could get together before Courtney moved halfway across the country to Oklahoma!
I highly recommend high tea at The Carolina Inn for a girls’ afternoon out. You get to choose your tea flavor and get a whole pot. Plus you get an assortment of delicious sweet and savory snacks! One of my favorite things about high tea is that it gives me a good excuse to wear my Lilly Pulitzer sun hat that was a gift with purchase 10 years ago! Check out this post for more details about afternoon tea at The Carolina Inn, plus a couple of my other favorite places for high tea in North Carolina.
PS. Beth has a cool connection to one of my favorite teachers from high school. Check out this post for details!
Hello Kitty Cafe Truck in Durham
Another one of my favorite Summer 2023 experiences was seeing the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck again when it came to Southpoint Mall in Durham. This was my fourth time visiting the truck, and the photo opp never gets old. The only purchase I made was the ringer tee that I shared in the previous section of this post. I already have a lot of the merchandise on the menu! I need to write a blog post soon with tips and tricks for visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck now that I’m a veteran!
Labor Day Weekend at the Beach
Summer 2023 ended the same way it began-at the beach! Fortunately, the weather for this end-of-summer trip was much better than the beginning of summer trip. There was a tropical storm system that moved through right before Labor Day Weekend, and I ended up delaying my trip by one day because of it. But by Friday of Labor Day Weekend, the weather was great! I enjoyed soaking up some beach time with some great end-of-summer reads, as well as watching the kick-off to college football season (including watching the Real Carolina beat the imposters)!
Summer 2023 Simple Joys
Target Favorite Day Mini White Fudge-Dipped Sandwich Cookies with Sprinkles
I found a new Favorite Day brand treat at Target this summer, mini coated sandwich cookies. These are vanilla sandwich cookies with vanilla frosting with white fudge coating and sprinkles. I realized I don’t have a picture of these and don’t have a bag nearby to take one right now. But I will add a photo as soon as I’m able!
Thanks so much for reading my belated Summer 2023 Favorites! Now that I’ve caught up on a big chunk of my favorite things from the earlier months of 2023, I am going to go back to monthly favorites posts beginning with September 2023. I will have my September 2023 Favorites and October 2023 Favorites up before the end of November. Then in early December I will have my November 2023 Favorites posts up in a timely manner-yay!
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