Summer has been in full swing for a while now and I am trying to soak up ever minute! My family had a wonderful trip to Europe and now I am back here ready to share this months 5 favorite things with you all! I hope perhaps you are reading this from somewhere fabulous- the beach, a campsite, or a café in a new city!
This month I have for you one of summers bests fruits- peach! Plus all things BARBIE, some great reading material as always, and how about a great list of summer sandals? Plus, as we are halfway through the year, I thought I would share a little ‘bucket list check in of mine with you. Not sure what that means? Just keep reading!
While we still have a few weeks left of summer to soak up and enjoy – time always flies and as a Denver family photographer who travels, it’s time to start booking my local fall photo sessions as well as planning for those I travel for on the East Coast. The Colorado fall calendar is open now so grab your family photo session spot now! And if you are on the East Coast, don’t wait to take my interest and date survey! You input means a lot to me.
Now, on the the 5 favorite things!
July Favorite #1: Barbie Mania!
All things pink
July’s first 5 favorite thing? Barbie! The Barbie craze is in full swing, and if you weren’t aware, well…where have you been!? Every store has their pink out front and every news outlet has a headline or two talking about the iconic doll!
I was fascinated to read who didn’t end up being one of the Kens (so sad!) and even interested to read who was initially slated to play Barbie several years ago before the movie changed directions and creative teams. If you have already seen the movie you know about Ryan Gosling’s musical chops, but here’s a little inside scoop about the song ‘Push’ by Matchbox Twenty being used.
If you are wanting a little more Barbie in your literary life, here are a few book recommendations that have that Barbie vibe. Maybe Barbie style is what you are after though, if so, check out these great finds. Personally I am loving the pink metallic shorts, the jelly slides and the heart sunglasses- what a look! But if it’s your home you want to turn into the Barbie dollhouse…take a peek at this list! And finally, if you just want a dose of fun- follow the ‘Barbie The Movie’ instagram account here, I canNOT get over Margot Robbie’s amazing outfits!
July Favorite #2: A summer of Peaches!
Ok so peaches are easily a 5 favorite thing! I mean what’s not to love?! Peach is such a versatile fruit and I feel like they are having a moment right now! They can be used for sweet or savory purposes, bit into directly, or used in alcoholic drinks, smoothies, breakfast bowls, desserts and ice creams, salads and even main dishes. Today I have a little of everything for you, but let’s start with some drinks.
I am a huge fan of Aperol and this delicious Frozen Aperol Peach Margarita was absolutely scrumptious when we served it for friends! Next I am eager to try this Frozen Peach Rosé Slushy and this Ginger Peach Sangria. I am also intrigued by this Peach Aperol Spritz. After all the classic Aperol Spritz is one of my all time fav’s. But I’d argue you’d still want to add some Prosecco to your glass! If you are in the mood for something refreshing, healthy and non-alcoholic try this Iced Peach Lemonade Matcha Latte or how about a Peach, Ginger & Mint Slushie?
There are so many ways to use peach to dress up a salad and I love how this Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad with Spicy Pepitas uses heat two ways! I made this Tomato, Peach & Burrata Salad for my boys last week and they couldn’t get enough of it, (neither could I!) the dressing is so flavorful. I am always in for a good Panzanella salad so I will definitely be trying this Peach Panzanella Salad with Buratta & Bacon soon. But if a chopped salad is more your style this Summer Chopped Tomato Peach Salad looks jam packed with flavor.
Finally- if you are wanting to make peach the star of your main course, try a Peach, Pesto and Balsamic Pizza! Or maybe something even heartier like this Pesto Peach Chicken in White Wine with Burrata. I hope by now you are ready to head out to your local farm stand, grab a bucket of peaches and get to cooking!
July Favorite # 3 : 2023 Bucket List Check-in!
Next on the 5 favorite things list – checking in on my annual bucket list! You can name it what you want. For some it’s New Years Resolutions, for others it’s Yearly Goals. I like to say Bucket List, simply because with resolutions and goals, if you don’t achieve or ‘resolve’ them, it feels like you failed. But with a bucket list, if you don’t check something off, you can just throw it in next year’s bucket! And these days I feel like positive thinking is the way to go.
So let’s look at whats on my list, what’s been checked off, and what’s still left to go.
1. All the business stuff
Ok, we’ll start off a little vague here, but we all have a checklist of sorts for our career, right? Bucket list items for this year on the ELP front were: to not overbook my fall, simplify my offerings, improve my SEO, continue my travel sessions, and increase my elopement bookings. Bucket List Item #1 One is yet to be seen, two I think I have achieved, three is a work in progress, as are four and five!
It’s often said that Americans ‘live to work’ while many other folks ‘work to live.’ I have come to find that to be true in many cases. Well, I don’t want to just live to work. Yuck! I have learned that taking time to rest, relax and rejuvenate is important. I’ve also found that exploring and learning about other countries and cultures is only to our benefit. This summer we went back to Italy and France, and also ventured out to some new spots. We went to Malta for the first time and to Barcelona, Spain, which was a first for Stefan. (It had been 20 years for me.) I’d say Vacation bucket list item: √
3. Yearly Photo Session
As a photographer myself, having my own family captured each year is super important to me. So much so that last year I actually booked TWO family sessions in the span of three months! As our kids grow , we’ll never get these years back, but at least we can look back on the photos! Thankfully I have been fortunate to have many incredibly talented and lovely photographers capture myself, Stefan and the boys over the years. This year was no exception, as we had Captured With Love take photos of us early one June morning in Rome! So, Bucket List Item #3: √
4. Photo Books
Going along with #3, I feel strongly that our photos shouldn’t sit in the black hole of our phones and computers. But, with as busy as my own life is (I am sure you can relate) it can take a while before there’s time to get around to putting any of the amazing photos we pay for, or even our cell phone shots, into print. Last year I finally got all our cell phone snaps grouped into yearly books from years 2015-2021 and made Chatbooks of them all. This year my bucket list item is to get 2022’s cell phone Chatbook done.
Additionally, I want to get nicer Linen layflat books done (I don’t recommend Chatbooks for anything other than cellphone photos) for our family photo sessions from last year and this year. We had a backyard session with the amazing Kyla Fear, and Venice, Italy session with Luka Mario last year. Then this years Rome session. So, Bucket List Item #4: Net yet done!
I am a huge music fan, especially when it comes to live music! I love going to concerts and here in Denver we generally get a pretty good line-up of bands coming through. I’ve been able to see several shows this year and still have a few more to go. A few favorites have been Manëskin, Garbage, and seeing Royal Blood and MUSE at Stade de France in Paris! Plus, this fall we have tickets Aerosmith’s Farewell tour, which brings me back to my high school and college days when I would try to go to each show of theirs I could! Bucket List #5: √ and still in progress.
Main idea was to drastically improve the amount that I read. I think in 2022 I read about 3 books. Pretty sad. At the start of 2023 I set a goal of 25 books, and I am proud to say at the time of writing here at the end of July, I have finished 33 books. My new goal is 60. It’s been such a wonderful outlet for me and I only wish I started this level of commitment to reading sooner! Bucket List #5: √ and still in progress.
There are certainly a few more things on my list for the year but those are some of the highlights! I hope your year is chugging along nicely and you are feeling happy, accomplished and energized as we start to head into the second half! I’d love to know what is on your list!
July Favorite #4: What To Read
Reading is always one of my 5 favorite things! Here are a few of the favorites from what I’ve read the last 2 months. And please, as always, join me on Goodreads and let me know what you are reading too! It’s a great way to get book recommendations, read reviews, see what your friends are reading, and set a yearly goal. I have upped my goal twice this year from 20, to 30, to 60!
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller– I love greek Mythology, and generally enjoy creative retellings when they are done well. I think Madeline Miller is one of the best in the genre, and having already read Circe, I wanted to go back and read Song of Achilles. It did not disappoint. Beautifully written, romantic and bittersweet!
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang– This is a book that is almost painful to read in that ‘Oh no are you really going to do that?’ kind of way… but it’s SO good. For all of you reading this in the DC/MD/VA area, it’s fun to read knowing all the landmarks so personally. It’s a fascinating tale of theft and undeserved privilege.
A Heart that Works by Rob Delaney – This book is also painful to read, but in a totally different way. It deals explicitly with a real life loss of a child. However Rob Delaney is an immensely gifted and hilarious actor and writer and he brings you through his journey with humor and grace like no one else could. You will cry-laugh and laugh-cry.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – This book was recommended by a friend. I generally prefer words in print, but when I found out Tom Hanks did the audiobook narration I opted to listen to this one. It was a beautiful tale of siblings who stick together through a lifetime of familial turmoil and growth.
I also read Lone Woman by Victor LaValle, which I enjoyed, though didn’t quite realize the horror side of it when I began it. I really liked the Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry which was about a girl who disappeared in the Pied Piper mission in London during World War II. Just this weekend I finished a crime/murder mystery book called More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Guiterrez. I’d say it’s a 4/5 star book but I enjoyed the overall theme.
next on the list…
I still haven’t finished A History of Burning by Janika Oza. Not a great sign…it’s just so slow going, but out of principle I will finish it at some point. And I’ve started Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin which seems to be on everyones must read list, so we’ll see how it goes!
Once again – Friend me on Goodreads so I can follow along with what you are reading too!
July Favorite # 5: Summer’s Best Sandals
So many sandals, only two feet!
Shoes! The last of my 5 favorite things for this month. After walking around Europe in the heat for about 1 billion steps, I got a feel for the most comfortable sandals for happy feet! I brought 4 pairs of shoes with me – a pair of New Balance sneakers, and then 3 pairs of sandals. A pair of Jeffrey Campbell high heel wedge sandals- pretty, but literally never wore. (who was I kidding bring high heels?) The other two were rockstars.
My Arizona Birkenstocks in Metallic Copper are amazing. If you aren’t a Birkenstock convert I was a VERY slow to convert) then I suggest you try! These soft looking coral red pair are the next pair on my list. We already covered Barbie above- but if you need a little pink try these!
My other pair was a simple tan leather flat sandal from Aldo with ‘Pillow Walk’. They went with any outfit I wore which was crucial when packing for a trip. They held up really well over cobblestone streets, through weather, dirt, and everything! Plus, here’s an alternative style. For a little shimmer, I like these, those I can’t speak to comfort personally. I have heard good things though and have been eyeing these all summer!
If you need something dressier, I am excited to wear these gorgeous pink sandals from Sézane that Stefan gave me for my birthday! I also love these slimline silver sandals by Mango- they can compliment a variety of dressy looks!
What are you favorite sandals for summer?
Until Next Month…
I hope you overdose on peaches, go full Barbie, find the perfect sandals, discover a great beach read and are pleased with your own mid-year progress! If I can help with a fall family session in Colorado please head to the schedule here! And if you are interested in seeing me East side, let me know in the survey here! Until next month, share with some friends and go soak up the sun!
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