July has been a jam-packed month around here.
The kids are all busy running in a million different directions, with sports, music, camps, mission trips, swimming. . . you name it. That means I’ve spent much of my time chauffeuring them around town!
We did manage to squeeze in lots of downtime and some vacation as well, though!
Today I’m sharing what I’ve been into and up to for the past month, and as always, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. So without further ado, here’s the good stuff!
What I’m Reading
To see all the books I read during the first half of July, check out my Quick Lit post here. Here’s what I’ve read since then (and keep in mind, I went to the beach. . . where reading is my favorite!).
The Sin of Certainty by Pete Enns
This was so good that it inspired me to write a blog post about it. You can read what I had to say by clicking here. Enns is fantastic. He’s a biblical scholar who writes in a humorous and accessible style and I always enjoy reading his books. This one’s chock full of important and timely wisdom and I highly recommend it. 5/5 stars
The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
The prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts, this one did not disappoint. If you like zombie apocalypse with emotional story lines and lovable characters — rather than just gore — you’ll find it in Carey’s books. There’s plenty of gore as well. . . but the story is at the heart of the book. An excellent read. 4/5 stars
The Memory Box by Eva Nesko Natiello
This book is a total trainwreck and I mean that in the best possible way. One reviewer on Amazon remarked that as you read it, you want to look away but you simply can’t. I agree. This one’s riveting and the end will make you go “whoa.” A page-turner and highly suspenseful psychological thriller. I took off a star because of a few loose ends and because the writing sometimes annoyed me. Still, this would make a great beach read! 4/5 stars
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
A self-help book billed as sort of an “anti-self-help” book, this one’s got some funny moments and some sage advice as well. While I enjoyed it, the book still seemed a little gimmicky to me. And don’t be surprised at all the F-bombs. . . clearly the title itself is a warning. It was a quick easy read, but nothing terribly new or earth-shattering. 3/5 stars
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
I have to admit, the first half of this book was a bit of a slog. I just couldn’t get into it, didn’t care for the characters, and the plot was dragging. Then I decided to listen to the rest of it on audio and it went much quicker for me that way. The pace really picks up during the second half. There were several twists I never saw coming, and I ended up really enjoying the book. 4/5 stars
The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
Weird, but so intriguing. The first half of this novel reads like a bit of a strange mystery or family tale, then it quickly plunges into full-on Neil Gaiman-like fantasy. It’s a thrilling ride and I devoured it in one day while vacationing at the beach. 4/5 stars
Bet Me by Jennifer Cruisie
Well, this was an unexpected delight! I’m not sure where I heard about this novel, but it was available at my library and I downloaded it to my Kindle for an easy beach vacation read. I couldn’t put it down! Don’t get me wrong — there is nothing of substance here. This is pure escapist, fluffy, rom-com, fairy-tale-ish romance. . . and it was so much fun to read! I laughed out loud several times and found myself grinning along throughout the entire book. You can bet I’ll be reading more of Cruisie’s lighthearted writing. 5/5 stars
Vanishing Grace by Phillip Yancey
I enjoy Yancey’s writing but this wasn’t my favorite book. In Vanishing Grace, Yancey talks about the mission of the church and why our world desperately needs the grace that the church can offer. He explores much of what the church is doing right and what it’s doing wrong. The writing was a little too textbook-ish for my taste, but there’s definitely a much-needed message here. . . even if it’s a bit dated. 3/5 stars
The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele
This is a quick and easy guide (hence the name) to the Enneagram personality types. If you’ve never read about the Enneagram before, this is probably an okay jumping off place. I enjoy personality-focused books, because they give me lots of insight into my sometimes weird personality and help me not feel quite so alone in my weirdness. 4/5 stars
What I Watched:
Well, it’s official. I’ve become Game of Thrones fan.
Out of boredom and the need for something to watch while folding laundry, I started with season one and never looked back. I’m still only in season 4 though, so no spoilers, please!!
But, wow. This show is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s got language, extreme violence, and plenty of sex and nudity. Still. . . wow. It’s excellent TV. And extremely addictive.
Where I Went:
My daughter and I traveled to San Antonio for a weekend so she could sing in the Texas Choral Directors Association honor choir. If you’ve never been to San Antonio, it’s a must-see. Although, I must say — in July it’s hot and crowded.
Then we turned around three days later and took the entire family to Orange Beach, Alabama for a quick vacation. The beach is my happy place and I’m glad my kids are finally old enough to (mostly) fend for themselves so I can just relax and read by the water.
What I Ate:
If you’re a regular reader you already know that I’m practically a professional dieter. I’ve tried everything. And despite all my valiant efforts, my mid-life weight gain stubbornly refuses to budge. This month I made some major changes to my diet and went back to (gasp!) eating bread. As crazy as it sounds, I did some research and found information on the old Weight Watchers plan (I’m talking 30 years old) and decided to try it.
The first time I ever went on Weight Watchers was in 1987 after my freshman year of college and it worked. My mom and I did the program together that summer, and we both lost weight.
So I ordered a super old Weight Watchers book and decided to try it again. And I lost two and a half pounds in the first week!
This is NOT the newer Weight Watchers point system. Instead, it’s based on the diabetic “exchange” program, so yes — it’s heavy on vegetables and healthy protein, low in fat and starchy carbs, but the key here is that it seems to be working and I’m thrilled. I did make some adjustments to the diet and am eating more protein than is recommended, because my trainer wants me to get in 100 grams daily.
That being said, what did I eat this month? I ate bread!!!!
I mean, I didn’t eat TONS of bread, but I did eat bread. And it was so delicious.
Other Stuff I Did:
I shopped the wildly popular Nordstrom sale. . . which is still going on through August 6th if you haven’t checked it out yet. Nordstrom always offers free shipping and free returns, so there’s truly no risk. They also have the best customer service department ever.
Here are a few of the things I bought this time, and I couldn’t be more excited:
This cozy hooded cardigan(affectionately referred to by Sheaffer Told Me To as “the blardigan”). I’m just gonna come right out and say it: you need this. Wearing it is like being wrapped in love and kitten fur and you will wear it all fall and winter, as well as indoors during the summer. I wore it every single day on my beach vacation. You can wear it at home over pajamas, or you can wear it out in public with jeans or whatever. It’s that versatile. And it’s the softest thing you’ll ever put on your body, guaranteed.
These Zella high-waisted leggings are my new favorite workout gear. The high waist keeps these from creeping down during my workout and I’m sold.
This Kendra Scott necklace is gorgeous. I ordered it in gold and I also ordered the matching earrings below. They are small and dainty and will be perfect for work.
I ordered these super comfy Caslon boyfriend jeans which fit great and will be perfect for casual Fridays and fall football games.
And finally, these stretchy gray skinny ankle jeans by Wit & Wisdom are super soft and stretchy and will be a great staple for my fall wardrobe. Although they are “skinny jeans,” I promise they do not hurt. I don’t believe in wearing painful clothing.
And that about sums it up for July. . . we’re now in full blown “back to school” mode over here, with lots of projects and shopping trips to check off our list before the dreaded first day! Have a great August! Oh, and let me know what you’ve been into and up to in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!