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Leftovers: July 2014 Edition

I’m just going to warn you up front, these summer leftover posts are going to be heavy on the books, because that’s what I’ve been using every spare minute I have to do. Okay, maybe not every spare minute. I’ve also been catching up on reruns of Brooklyn 99, which, by the way, may be my new favorite show (but don’t tell Parks and Rec or New Girl I said that). Other than that, I’ve got some funny and thought provoking Internet reads for you, the most disturbing/hilarious/confusing YouTube video I’ve ever seen, and a few pics from the month! Enjoy!

First things first. The books. Here’s my take on what I read this month:

What I read in July.jpg

What Alice Forgot– The premise is simple: A woman wakes up on the floor of a gym she doesn’t recognize, surrounded by friends she doesn’t know. She thinks she’s a 29 year old wife of a man she’s madly in love with and pregnant with her first child. In reality, she’s pushing 40, has three children, and is in the midst of a messy divorce. Good premise, huh?

It’s hard for me to describe what made this book so un-put-downable for me. I know it was partly that I saw a lot of myself in Alice (if I discovered that in 10 years I was a buff, gym-aholic that hated her husband, I’d have a lot of “Good heavens” moments too), but it was also that this book was so much deeper than the cheeky premise and chick-lit writing style would have you believe. I found myself thinking about how our circumstances shape who we become and also about what I hope my life will look like in 10 years. I was moved to tears at some points, and laughed out loud in others. I could blather on for days on this one, but suffice it to say this is my favorite book I’ve read so far this year.

Wonder– I picked this one up based on the recommendation of blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you aren’t following her yet, head on over and check out her blog. She has a great summer reading guide, and she’s an avid supporter of adults reading young adult fiction, which is what Wonder is. This book is told from the perspective of several middle schoolers, one of which is terribly disfigured. The book brought back vivid memories of my own middle school experience, which was awkward and mildly horrifying even without suffering from disfigurement. The book was an easy and quick read, but it was refreshing to get the perspective of a child. I left the book encouraged by the small bits of humanity and beauty that show up even at life’s most vicious age.

Parnassus on Wheels– A quick, quirky, unexpectedly amusing read perfect for polishing off in a single afternoon on the beach.

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World– This book reminded me a bit of Love Does. While not every bit of this captured me, it has caused me to think a lot more about my core values and what I want the core values of our family to be. It’s also a good starting place if you’re trying to figure out how to make decisions based more on your values and not on the prevailing culture.

My Favorite Reads from the Good Ol’ WWW:

This post from Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) breaking down a photo of herself taken in the mid 80s, when she was (poor soul) in the throes of extreme adolescent awkwardness. I went through a similar season in my middles school years, which might be why I found this so darn funny. Or it might just be because she described her hair as “a drunken poodle impregnating a mullet.” I die.

I’ve written before about my tendency to get so overwhelmed by the many issues facing our neighborhoods (country…world), that I just shut down and do nothing. Well, Jamie of The Very Worst Missionary actually gave this term a name: compassion fatigue, and some great tips for avoiding “cause guilt” (my word, not hers) and finding the freedom to joyfully and completely give yourself to the cause that stirs your soul. For more of my thoughts on this topic, you can also see my One Word post from last year.

What I Instagrammed vs. What Was Really Happening– A little self-deprecating poking-of-fun at our ability to gloss up our reality through Instagram. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty.

Stuff that Made Me Super Hungry:

Grilled Salmon Puttanesca from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Summer Veggie Burritos from The Law Student’s Wife

No Bake Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with Caramelized Peaches from The Food Charlatan

Blueberry and Lemon Thyme Hand Pies from A Local Choice

Spicy Sriracha Shrimp and Zucchini Lo Mein from Baker by Nature

Summer Dessert Tacos from Creme de la Crumb

The Weirdest YouTube Video Ever (You’ve been warned):

And a quick little photo collage of some of the highlights of the month. You can read my descriptions below.

july leftover collage.jpg

(Left column, Top to Bottom)

1. I had an absolute ball of a time at this year’s Food and Wine Conference in Orlando, FL. The resort was beautiful, the sessions informative, and the food tasty, but by far the best part was getting to meet some of the #SundaySupper family, including these four besties. Go visit Nancy, Lori, and Susan’s blogs. You’ll love them as much as I do!

2. We celebrated Fourth of July with ribs. As it should be.

3 and 4. I’ve known these two girls my whole life. If friends can make it through middle school together, they can make it through anything together, and that’s what we’ve done. This month we got to celebrate one of my friend’s upcoming wedding with a book themed bridal shower (hence the sangria bar and book page pendant).

5. I finally got to meet my newest nephew. He’s the coolest. I mean, look at that eyebrow!

Right Column (Top to Bottom)

6. Here’s the Mr. and I showing off our stars and stripes before the fireworks!

7. My family reunion is better than your family reunion. Proof: 8 foot table filled with pies. (And that was only half of the desserts).

8. We hit up the Ohio State Fair with my brother and sister in law and nephews. My older nephew enjoys pancakes, ice cream, and cheesecake on a stick. He’s my kind of kid.

9. Beignets with Mango and Salted Caramel Sauce from Explorer’s Club. Enough said.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to catch more tidbits of our every day happenings. And you can also susbcribe for my emails so you never miss a recipe from Neighborfood! Have a great August everyone!

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  • Erin@WellPlated August 2, 2014, 8:55 PM

    What a fun post! I love seeing what you have been up to behind the scenes. Thank you so much for including my burritos too!

  • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons August 4, 2014, 2:29 PM

    Your nephew is adorable, and that sangria bar looks like my kind of party! In short, if we magically traded places, Freaky Friday style, I wouldn’t complain.

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