July Favorites and Currently

July has been a whirlwind! I know that there is still plenty of summer left in August, but for us July feels like the last summer month. Aaron starts work on August 1, and the kids start daycare and school pretty soon afterwards. Here are a few favorites from the month of July.

Hair Care as Self Care with Beauty Brands

My mom is a (now retired) hairstylist, so growing up I had the luxury of having my hair done as often as I liked. I went through the gamut of styles, from the shiver-inducing 80s perm to a failed attempt at the iconic "Rachel" 'do.

Once I became a mom, and both my time and access to a salon became more limited, taking care of my hair became more of an afterthought. I stopped taking the time to get it colored regularly, and I chose hairstyles based on maintenance level (hint: low) over anything else.

Lately though, I've been feeling the desire to step up my game when it comes to my hair. Self care has always been important to me, yet for the longest time I had a narrow definition for how I implement self care in my life. To me, self care was nourishing my mind and soul with books and podcasts, indulging in the occasional (okay, frequent) bowl of ice cream, and prioritizing sleep. However, I'm starting to see that self care can mean the fun stuff too, like trying out a new lipstick, going on a solo shopping trip, or even visiting the hair salon for a spruce-up. Many people already view that "fun stuff" as self-care, but for some reason I saw these things as indulgences rather than ways to care for myself.

I'm so glad I decided to shift my perspective, because my visit to Beauty Brands earlier this week for a cut and color felt like self care at its finest. First of all, the idea of going to a salon for an hour or two of pampering is gratifying enough, but from start to finish my visit felt perfectly tailored to me.

How to Layer in the Summer: Kimono with White Shorts

I hate to pooh-pooh simplicity, but does anyone else ever get bored with summer clothes? It's been full-on, blazing heat, forget spring, summer weather here since early May and I'm a little sick of it. If summer is your favorite and you kind of want to punch me right now, I get it, I do. But I want LAYERS. Give me a nice spring day where a denim jacket is required in the evening and I'm a happy gal. Unless I'm dressing specifically for the AC (see this post), I'm just not all that excited to get dressed anymore.

However, there is one summer-friendly layer that is helping me get out of my style rut, and that is the kimono. The one I have is made from very light, sheer material that adds no weight to this summer look. Yet, I feel like it adds SO MUCH to the outfit. White shorts and a gray tee on their own sum up my current feelings about summer clothes pretty well: sure, I like this outfit fine. It's fine. Yawn. But add the kimono and I have a LOOK. Why yes I did get dressed today, thank you very much. It may be all mental of course, but what isn't?

How do you keep your summer outfits interesting? Or do you think I'm crazy and love summer clothing because no layers are necessary? 

Floral Kimono: Olrain c/o Wikibuy | gray tee: Target (similar) | white denim shorts: Old Navy | earrings: Nickel and Suede | necklace: Target | sandals: Old Navy

In My Library Tote: June Children's Book Reviews and Recommendations

Since summer started, Jona and I have been making weekly trips to the library to attend the evening storytime. It's a fun way for us to spend time together, and Jona is like a kid in a candy store picking out new books to take home each week. So this month's list has a few titles that I may not have chosen, but ended up being hits for him.

{June children's books}

Floral Tie-Front Top with White Jeans

In May I decided to treat myself and try out Nordstrom's Trunk Club service, a clothing delivery service similar to Stitch Fix (see my review here). I ended up only keeping one item, this floral print tie-front top from Gibson. Fast forward a few months and I've rarely had a chance to wear it, as Kansas decided to skip over the month of spring completely.

It was in my closet staring at me over the weekend, begging to be worn. While I knew I'd be sweating when I ventured outside, I put it on for church on Sunday. Our sanctuary is notoriously cold, and I knew I would be thankful for the sleeves. Surrounded by women shivering in their sleeveless dresses, I found myself glad I'd decided to opt for more coverage.

Paired with white jeans and peep-toe sandals, this top works well for spring or (overly AC'd) summer. I also think this top will work well in the fall as well, with jeans and ankle boots. My feet start to sweat just thinking about that right now though.

Do you ever buy a piece you're super excited about, just to stow it away until weather cooperates, or you have the right occasion to wear it? 

Floral tie-front top: Gibson via Trunk Club | white jeans: Old Navy | peep-toe sandals: Universal Thread, Target

Family Vacation: Our Long Weekend in Dallas

Last month my family and I traveled to Dallas for a long weekend getaway. It's about an eight hour drive, which is a long time to be in the car with young kids, but still doable. We stopped to visit family on the way there to break up the trip, but the way back we did all in one long, long day.

I wish I had great ideas for entertaining children in the car for that length of time, but it was kind of a crap shoot keeping them happy. Two things did work well, however. Violet didn't care about this, but I put in an audiobook on CD for Jona, which, as I mentioned in my June Favorites post was Sideways Stories from Wayside School. He could have listened to that nonstop. The other thing we did was move their car seats right next to each other. On the way there, I found myself constantly turning around to hand Violet things she dropped (and therefore shouted about LOUDLY until I could grab them). On the way back, half of what she dropped ended up on Jona's lap and he could easily give it back to her. Plus I think they liked having each other nearby, especially since Violet is still rear-facing so this set-up makes it easier for them to see each other.

The car ride was only part (albeit the seemingly longest part) of our trip, so I'll move on to what we actually did in Dallas.

{where we stayed}

{testing out the hotel bed}

In My Library Tote: June Book Reviews and Recommendations

June was an excellent reading month for me. There wasn't a bad book in the bunch; in fact, there were several really good ones. The majority of this month's books came from Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide, and--for me at least--she truly does know how to pick 'em. Here are my June books.

{what I read in June}

Red White and Blue Summer Style for the Family

I took full advantage of the fact that Jona will still happily match Violet, and bought these coordinating red, white, and navy checkered outfits. The rest of the week he's all about the superhero or sports tee, but for church and other special occasions he knows that mom gets to pick. He started to complain about wearing this button up (the outrage!) until I told him Violet would be wearing the same pattern, and then he cooperated fully. Violet, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care much what she wears. She goes non-stop though, so getting her dressed is like wrestling a monkey.

I hadn't planned on taking blog photos of my casual look, but when I saw the kids together in their coordinating outfits, I had to make it happen. My look is less overtly patriotic--just navy and white, but still feels fun and summery. I picked up this top on a recent Target run and can't get enough of the cute sleeves. It's a little shorter than I'd prefer, but with higher-waist jeans or a skirt I like it.

If you have kids do you like dressing them alike or coordinating them with you? Did your parents do that to you as a child? 

On me: striped tee: Target | jeans: American Eagle | earrings: Nickel and Suede | gingham sneakers: Target
On the kids: all Old Navy

Currently: July

Happy July 4th to all, and happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I may not love the direction we're moving politically, and I may question the decision-making of our current administration, but I do feel very thankful to live where I do.

Since it's the first Wednesday of the month, I'm joining Anne and her co-host this month Shelly to share what I'm currently up to now that we've flipped the calendar to a new month.

{currently: july}

July Goals and June Wins

This year, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's book, I've been doing a Happiness Project, focusing on one important aspect of my life every month. Last month I focused on friendship, and July is all about money. The idea is that the months should build on one another and the habits formed in one month should continue into the next and so on. Each month I share my wins from the previous month, as well as goals that fit the theme of the current month.

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