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Friday, June 30, 2017

A Pep Talk for Your July.

What was your favorite part of summer when you were younger and summers actually meant something different? The relaxing? The go-go-going? Having friends over? Neighborhood BBQs? Whatever your answer, make time for that in July. 

Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) months come and go and life rushes by. But every now and then, you can see a month coming, stop, look it in the face, and say, hey, I'm gonna have a really freaking good month. 

So do that this month!  Decide to have a good month. Decide to do that thing you've really been wanting to do or go that place you've really been wanting to go. Decide to give up sleep for travel, or decide to say no to things so you can get more sleep. Decide to cherish every second of snuggles with your newborn baby or to go visit your out of town friends. Decide to spend every free moment you have soaking up the sunshine or decide to finally write that book. Decide to go on a road trip or to finally organize your closet. Decide to cut those toxic people out of your life or decide to start taking care of your body. Decide to live July to the absolute fullest in a way that will make you the happiest. 

You know what would make next month the greatest for you. So do it. 

Decide that July is going to be a good, good month. 

That's what I'm going to do. 

What would make July the best month for you? 
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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What June Taught Me.

Make your own freaking sunshine. I wish I meant this literally, because it's still raining every single day here, but alas, I mean it figuratively. Sometimes, if you're having a bad day/week/month you can just wait on circumstances to change, or you can count on someone else to make you happy. And sometimes, you can make your own freaking happiness. 

Having a bad day? Watch your favorite movie. Go swimming. Deep clean your house, if that's what relaxes you (and then come over here because I want some of that). Ignore the dishes piling up and go out with a friend. This month taught me that sometimes, I'm the only thing that I can control in a situation. So if I'm having a bad week and I don't do anything about it, well, I can really only blame myself. 

Your people are so important. Take care of them. Friendships are so precious, and true friendships are really rare. So take care of them. Check in on your people. Have FaceTime dates. Go out for dinner, or invite them over. When you're overwhelmed, sometimes friendships can be the first thing to go because it feels like so much effort when you feel like you're just barely surviving yourself. 1) It's worth it, and 2) It doesn't have to be so much effort. Sure, it's fun to go out for shopping and coffee and happy hour. But real friendship also sometimes looks like sending a text and saying, I'm not cleaning my house for you, but I'm gonna eat dinner and watch this movie if you wanna join me. 

Friendships look different in each season of life, but you can always take care of them. 

you need these sunglasses. they're $11 and seem way nicer than they are! 

It's the little things. If you didn't see my Instagram story, I'll give you an abbreviated version: I tried to go to church on Sunday and put Jack in the nursery, and it did not go well. At all. On the way home, I really wanted a cold brew coffee. So I drove the opposite direction from my house, navigated the worst parking lot ever, sat in a forever long drive-thru, and got cold brew coffee. And it was absolutely worth it. $3 and some horrid traffic later, and my mood was better. I may not get to go to church, but I can treat myself with iced coffee and go to the pool. Sometimes the big things get decided for you, so take advantage of the little things and make yourself happy. 

What did this month teach you?
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Catching Up.

Lots of little things that aren't necessarily worthy of their own blog posts happen all the time. Sometimes, enough of these happen that I just sit down with a hot cup of coffee (okay, I'm on my second as we speak. To be honest, not too far from my third) and tell you about all of them and call it a day. We have arrived at such a day, my friends. 

Summer is here, but it's been raining for approximately 234,329,439 days now. As someone who takes their toddler to the pool almost every day, this is kind of a bummer. 

Sometimes I actually think about the things we have today and it blows my mind. Like, I have a phone that, if I'm missing a friend, I can simply press a button and see their face in real time. That is amazing. My best friend lives in Georgia and a few nights ago I facetimed her while she was shopping for her new house. We're in totally different states, but able to pick out home decor in Target together. Technology is the best. 

Last week there was a fancy event that I went to with my friend Sam. We got ready together and took a million and four (I'm totally not exaggerating numbers today, can you tell?) pictures and it was so much fun. It really reminded me that it's so nice to make a big effort and celebrate every now and then. I'm all about take-out and Netflix on the weekends, but it's nice to go all out every now and then. 

Chris was MIA (working, always) for the first part of the night and other people were taking couples pictures, so I made it work with a date of my own.

To be honest, this is me anytime I'm around any dog ever, so it works. 

Jack is a night owl. I can no longer sleep past six (why?) so this is posing problems. And by problems, I mean I'm drinking entirely too much coffee and everyone I run into asks, "Are you okay? Are you sick?" No, Janet, just tired. Thanks for letting me know I look ill, though! Bright side, 
though, he sleeps in late. So I have a few hours in the morning to get work done before he wakes up. Which is maybe worth the caffeine jitters and sick-eyes comments. Jury is still out. 

That's all me and my tired/sick eyes have got today. Happy Monday! Hope it's the best. 
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Love Letter to Just Going.

It's no secret that wanderlust has hit me hard lately. Between my beach vacation last month and planning a girl's road trip next month, I want to go all of the places. 

I'm an introvert at my core. I need alone time to recharge. I love nights spent at home watching Netflix. I love curling up with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee. That's a good day to me. 
But I also love going and seeing and experiencing. 

There's something about waking up somewhere new. Having your coffee with a different view, whether that view is behind a foggy windshield as you groggily drive to your destination, or a sunrise from a hotel balcony. There's something about new sounds and new smells and new sights. There's something thrilling about walking through a town where no one knows you, where you can be anything you want to be. Where everything is an experience waiting to happen. 

If it all ends for me tomorrow, I'm not going to be sorry about the nights I spent snuggling with Jack, watching Pretty Little Liars or reading a good book. But I'm also not going to be sorry for days where I sacrificed sleep and money and maybe a little bit of my sanity in the name of adventure and experience. 

So cheers to going. Cheers to loading up your kid(s) and pet(s) in your car and making the drive to see family. Cheers to booking a red-eye and giving up sleep so you can spend a quick weekend with an old friend. Cheers to fancy vacations and nice meals at new restaurants. Cheers to gas station coffee and drive-thru tacos on cheap road trips. Cheers to new places, new people, new experiences. 

It will always be easier to stay at home, but that does not mean it's worth it. So go. Scrape the money together. Stay at the cutest hotels you can find. Go dip your toes in the ocean at a beach you've never been to. Take entirely too many pictures. Stay up too late. Seek out the best views and watch the sunrise in a new place. Life is short, live it well. 

Cheers to just going. 
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Uniform: Tees You (okay, I) Totally Need.

If you've seen me at all over the last few months, I've probably been wearing a slightly different version of the same exact thing: Cut-off shorts and a graphic tee.

One, because it is so (so, so, so) FREAKING HOT. Leggings aren't even an option here. Jeans? Do you want to die? 

Two, because there are SO MANY good (and insanely affordable) tees right now. It's super easy to throw on something cute/funny/snarky with a pair of shorts and look like you tried (we both know you didn't, but I won't tell).

I rounded some up for you (and me, because I need these) so you can also not sweat to death and be a little cute. You're welcome. 

The dream big shirt (the one that's 5.99!!) is maybe my favorite shirt right now. 

And the red jersey one is way cuter on than it looks in that picture.

And, of course, Target will always be queen of good t-shirts. So many good ones!

Happy shopping! xo
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Monday, June 19, 2017

On Being Proud of Yourself.

I'm going to tell you the silliest, smallest thing that happened to me a few weeks ago that's made me think about being proud of yourself. 

I was getting ready to meet a friend for breakfast and was about to do my makeup. I saw myself in the mirror and thought, "Wow, my skin looks super good with no makeup today!

And then, almost before that thought was even complete, I thought, "Okay, calm down, you don't look that good." 

Because, for some reason, it's just ingrained in me that being proud of yourself, even about something as silly and superficial as a good skin day, is wrong. It's haughty and stuck up and no one likes that.

That is crap. 

So I started paying attention to it. And it popped up almost daily. 

I'll put Jack to bed and think, "I killed it at this whole mom thing today" and then almost immediately, my thought will turn into, "Okay, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The house is falling apart and you kind of blew it on everything else so are you really killing it?

I'll do something well at work and think, "I'm awesome, I did such a great job at that" and then interrupt myself with, "No one else mentioned it, why are you congratulating yourself? Someone could probably do this better than you so shh.

Why is this a thing? 

I think a lot about how I want to raise my kid. And while I'm still pretty clueless on a lot of things, I know this: If every time Jack came to me to tell me he did something good, I responded with all the things he didn't do, or how he maybe did a good job, but he wasn't the best, eventually he would just stop coming to me. Eventually, he would just stop trying. I would never do that. I would want to celebrate the good he did do. So why can't I extend myself the same grace? 

I should. And so should you. 

You are amazing. No, you're not the best. There will always be someone somewhere in the world who is better at certain things than you are. Yes, you could be doing more. You could always be doing more. Sure, you'll probably always be behind on something. But so what? 

You are still amazing. And you should let yourself be proud of that. 

So next time being proud pops into your head, whether over something as simple as having a good hair day or as important as saving someone's life, keep it there. Shut up the voice that rushes up to interrupt you with anything but pride for yourself. 

Because you are amazing. And that is worth being proud of. 
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Friday, June 16, 2017

Easy Ways to Celebrate Your Life This Week.

Make your drinks fancy. And not just your cocktails (but by all means, go for it!). I'm talking about that essential-to-life drink that can get a little boring. Chugging glass after glass of plain water can seem repetitive so do yourself a favor and buy one of these silicone ice cube trays (this one is shaped like diamonds because you're fancy, duh). Make flavored ice cubes to pop in your water. My favorites are lime juice + mint and lemon juice + basil. Treat yo'self for staying hydrated. 

Have a facetime date with an out of town friend. I don't mean a quick spur-of-the-moment check-in (but those are great too!). I mean a date. Plan a time that works for both of you, grab some wine and cheese, and curl up and catch up. Friendships are worth investing in, and distance isn't that big of a detour anymore! Make time for the important ones. 

Create a "boring to-do's" playlist. Cleaning the house, responding to emails, and a handful of other tasks that I put off because of how boring they can be are instantly made better with a solid playlist. Plus, if you dance your way around cleaning, it burns more calories, so you're basically cleaning AND working out which means you definitely have your life together. You go, you responsible adult, you go. 
How are you celebrating life this week?
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why Hammock Beach is The Perfect Getaway.

Going somewhere new is always a risk, especially when you get such a limited amount of vacation. But when I found Hammock Beach Resort while looking at places to go in Florida, I decided we had to try it, even though it was new to me. It was right on the ocean, looked toddler-friendly, and the price was amazing. Here are a few reasons I think it's the perfect getaway, especially if you want to bring the whole family. 

Zero entry (beach entry) pools. I loved this for two reasons: One, Jack was obsessed with it. He would go in to about his knees and just splash forever. It made it easier to keep an eye on him and easier let him do what he wanted without having to be all the way in the water holding on to his float. Two, I loved that I didn't have to jump all the way in the pool just to cool off. I could just wade in holding my drink. Also, I really want my own pool like this now. 

On-site dining. They had several restaurants you could eat at without leaving the resort, which is sometimes exactly what you need after a long day in the sun on the beach or by the pool. Major bonus points that the outside dining was right by this big courtyard, so you can take turns letting your toddler run his energy out while the other adult enjoys a glass of wine (#teamwork). 

It's right on the beach. This is going to sound snobby, but I really hate going to the beach and staying somewhere that it's an event to actually get to the beach. Because who wants to ride a shuttle back to the hotel when you're wet and sandy and tired? No one. Here, the resort is right on the beach. Just a quick walk over, and once you're there, they'll set you up with chairs and towels and an umbrella. Which comes in handy if it's naptime, but you're not ready to leave. Exhibit A: 

There are three pools (and a lazy river!). There's a kid's pool (plenty of adults there too, it's just catered mostly to kids) with a roped off, shallow area and a big waterslide. There's an adults-only pool, which is super nice to have if you're not traveling with kids. And there's a beach pool for whoever wants to come. This one was the best-Jack got to play in the sand and in the pool, and I could see the ocean from my chair. Hello, heaven. 

Poolside service. There was constantly someone walking by asking if you needed anything. I loved that they didn't just have drinks by the pool, they had a full food menu, too. We ordered the nachos every single day because they were that good. One day, we stayed at the pool until dinner time and just ordered dinner poolside. I love eating outside, and I love being at a place where dinner can be flexible based on how your day is going. 

If you're within driving distance of Florida, I highly recommend giving this place a go. It's near St. Augustine, and we thought we'd spend at least a day exploring there, but the resort was so nice we couldn't bring ourselves to leave. I already know we'll be heading back soon. 

Where have you been/are you going this summer?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Iced Coffee, Please.

This crazy thing happens every year, where I get amnesia and forget just how hot Florida gets in the summer. I mean, it's warm all the time, but the summer...SO HOT. So if we were meeting up for coffee, chances are, I'd be chugging an iced one or two. Also, if we were having coffee. . . 

I'd tell you that I've been getting the strangest emails. Last week I got a very long, very well thought out email questioning why I photoshop my c-section scar out of my blog pictures. The email said I was telling people that if you've had a c-section, you aren't beautiful. 
...I have never had a c-section, so there's that. Plus, if I knew how to photoshop my body, my stomach would look a heck of a lot better than it does in my pictures. 

I'd tell you that a friend and I are considering a little East Coast road trip this summer. I'd ask you for all the recommendations! Sometimes travel seems exhausting and sometimes it seems rejuvenating, depending on the season. Right now the thought of getting out and seeing new places with an old friend sounds so refreshing. 

I'd tell you that being a mom has been really hard lately. I love being Jack's mom. I blog a lot about how he's truly been an easy baby, how I bring him everywhere with me, how I love life with him and he's my little BFF. And all of that is so true. But lately, it's been tough. It seems like every single second he is awake, he needs (or, thinks he needs) something from me. He's getting harder to take places, and while he's old enough to know he's upset about something, he isn't old enough to know how to say it, which results in a lot of loud emotions. 

This isn't me complaining, this is me being transparently real, as I've purposed to do on here. There are plenty of places that will only talk about the perfect, and my blog won't be one of them. I remind myself every day that he will never need me more than he does this day, and what a privilege it is to be that for a person. Being a mom has been so fulfilling for me, but it's not without its challenges, and I think both sides of it deserve to be talked about, you know? 

Catch me up...what's going on with you?
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Sharing Stories.

Over the weekend, I posted a few stories on Instagram along with this picture, sharing a little bit of backstory about the last decade or so. 

"11 years ago, we loaded up and moved to Florida to start a church. And by we, I mean my parents, my little brother, and me. Depending on who you are, that either sounds exciting or nightmarish. It's been a bit of both, to be honest. The last 11 years have been so good and so bad. I've watched both miracles and heartbreak happen, walked through hellish seasons and the most joyful seasons. I've met amazing people and watched friends I thought would be in my life forever turn into strangers who not-so-quietly whisper hateful things. It has been full of incredible experiences, incredible loneliness, incredible I-can't-believe-I-got-to-be-a-part-of-this moments. I have watched the desire to just love, simply love people for who they are turn into hope for so many.

I've had church with four people and church with hundreds. In our living room, in hotels, in middle school cafeterias. Tomorrow, somewhere around a thousand people will show up to hear my dad speak about hope. They might not know that this started with four terrified family members in a living room, but I will never forget.

I have learned so much-about myself, about church, about people. I'll say this: The most beautiful things start with someone(s) deciding to just go for it. If there's a dream in your heart, chase it. It might look nothing like you expected, but it'll be one heck of a ride. Happy 11 years, Coastline. It has been the privilege of my lifetime."

What was so cool to me was how instantly connected it made me to so many people. I got a lot of messages asking questions about it or just wanting to talk about it more, and it was so much fun to get to share this part of my story. 

Blogging is a lot of things. It's a way to write, a way to make money. But it's also a way to connect, to see other perspectives, to learn and grow. 

Sharing personal things can feel a bit vulnerable. It's easy to stay hidden, especially on the internet, only sharing the funny or the perfect or the on-trend thing. And I love all those things. When I get a selfie in good lighting, you know that's going on Instagram. I've spent entirely too long staging a coffee photo for a blog post. I love those things. But the personal side-your story, the things that have happened to you, the experiences you have...that's the only thing that only you have. 

So just a little Monday reminder to tell your story. However much or little of it that you want to share. Whether you think it sounds important or not at all. Because it's something that's all yours. And nothing connect people like sharing something like that. 

Your story makes you special. It makes you strong. It makes you different. It makes you tough. It makes you compassionate. It makes you all of the things that you are. 

So when you're ready, share some of your story. I, for one, would love to hear it. 
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Friday, June 9, 2017

3 Things You Need to Know About.

This bathing suit top. I wore it in most pictures from my vacation and got more questions about it than anything I've ever posted. And for good reason-it's the best top I've ever owned.

It used to (and still kind of does) bother me when people lable things as "mom" things. Like, "mom-friendly bathing suits for the summer." What is that? I mean, I wear crop tops and overalls and bikinis and mermaid shirts, so clearly I don't pay attention to this. But I will say...there's something to be said for a bikini you look adorable in and can also bend down to chase your toddler in without being worried it's gonna snap right off. This one is perfect.

Stress relief bubble bath. This stuff is magic. It smells amazing and I can actually feel it relaxes me as I smell it. It's the perfect way to end a long day.

Sarah Dessen has a new book! If you've been around me any amount of time, you know that YA lit is my favorite and that Sarah Dessen is my favorite author ever. I love her. I cannot wait to read her newest book.

Happy weekend! Tell me what I need to know about! 

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Things I Believe in This Week.

Making your own happiness. There's a lot to be said about waking up and deciding to be happy. There's a lot to be said for being in the midst of a bad day or a bad month or a bad year and just saying, "screw it, I'm going to be happy anyway." Make your own happiness, friends. Buy that coffee you love, facetime the friends who make you happy, watch the movie that always makes you laugh. Get outside, take a deep breath, and be happy. 

Trips. All of the trips. Sometimes my view is, Life is short, I should skip being responsible and watch tv in my pjs (because, balance). But right now, it's more, Life is short, let's go all of the places. After seeing how much fun Jack had on vacation, I want to take him adventuring everywhere. I want to go on girl's trips. I want to visit family. Give me allllll the trips. (I blame summer for this one). 

Taking care of your body. I'm two weeks into the Love Sweat Fitness meal plan + exercise guide and am truly amazed at how much better I feel when I take care of myself. You would think I would just learn this lesson already, but nope, here we are, still amazed like I'm just learning this for the first time. 

Sure, I could really go for chips and queso and margaritas, and I've wanted to skip the workouts more than once. But physically, I feel so good. And that's one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself. 

Looking at the bright side. There's a time to wallow and a time to force yourself to look at all the good things. This week, I'm all about those good things. Almost everything in life has a bright side, and focusing on it makes every other not-so-bright-side seem less important. 

What do you believe in this week?

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Monday, June 5, 2017

You Are Never Too Much.

Let's talk about a voice that we've all heard from time to time.

The voice that's there when you cry at a cheesy movie and feel the need to clear your throat and wipe your face really fast, or when you're really feeling yourself in a selfie but are embarassed to post it because you don't want to come off as conceited. It's the little nagging feeling that makes you wish you could go home and change when you see that your outfit is more colorful/dressier/different than everyone else's. The voice comes in many different forms and says many different things, but the overall message is always the same:

I am too much. 

Let's just clear this up real quick. You are not too much. You are never too much. 

There are a lot of things in life worth devoting your precious time and energy to thinking about and working through and figuring out. Wondering if you are too much is not one of them. Because, plain and simple: You are not too much. Ever. For any reason. It doesn't matter the circumstances. You could shave your head and tattoo a picture of your dog on your face and walk around with 80's dance music playing at all times and if that is what being true to yourself really looks like for you, then you are not too much. 

That massive crush you have on your coworker that makes you blush and stutter when they speak to you? Not too much. 

The way your body has gotten thinner/bigger/bulkier/saggier/wider over the years? Not too much. 

The way you secretly love top 40 pop music? Not too much. 

The way you love yelling for your team at sports bars? Not too much. 

The way you love starbucks and pink lipstick and things called basic? Not too much. 

The way you spend entirely too long putting on makeup just so you can take a good picture for your blog? Not too much. 

The way you roll out of bed and into the closest thing to pajamas and go to work with frizzy hair and no makeup? Not too much. 

You. Are. Not. Too. Much. 

You are you, in all of your imperfectly magical you-ness. 

So the next time that annoying little voice creeps in, telling you that you are too much, replace it with this thought: You are you. And that is both enough and not too much. 

Because if I, an anxiety-ridden, cares-way-too-much-about-what-people-think-of-me, introverted girl can tell myself that I am not too much, then can you. 

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Spending June: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Month.

1. Buy a few disposable cameras. Keep them around and develop your pictures when the summer is over. You get to capture some memories without the pressure of looking through your phone to see if you got an insta-worthy shot.

2. Play mini-golf.

3. Buy summer candles. I love making my house smell like the season. I'm linking some of Target's best summer smells. These candles are only $10, last forever, and (most importantly) smell like vacation. 

4. Go out for ice cream. Being an adult can be super stressful, but it also means you can skip dinner and just go eat ice cream instead. 

5. Visit a theme park. 

6. Buy fresh fruit at a farmer's market. Or from the people selling it out of their truck bed on the side of the road. I had the best watermelon ever yesterday and it came from this little old man in a cowboy hat just set up on the side of the road. Next time you see that, pull over and grab a watermelon! 

7. Spend some time on a hobby that you've neglected. I can sometimes get in the mindset of, "if it's not productive, it's not worth spending time on" and that's just not true. If you love painting for fun, it may not technically be productive. But it's something you love, so it's something worth doing. 

8. Try a new coffee (or creamer) flavor. 

9. Stock your house with s'mores supplies. A summer staple. Get some roasting sticks, while you're at it. We bought some and it's so fun to be able to make s'mores without really planning it out.

10. Reach out to someone you haven't talked to in awhile. Sure, sometimes people fall out of our life for a reason. But sometimes that reason is you both got busy and life just happened. Say hi to an old friend. 

11. Make an effort to make your life more ______.  You fill in the blank. Some people crave a calmer, more easy-going life. Some people crave an adventurous, spontaneous one. I go through phases where I want both at different times. Whatever you want right now, make an effort to make that happen this month. You deserve it. 

12. Do yoga. 

13. Challenge yourself to drink more water. I sing the praises of water all the time, but if there was ever a time to start drinking more of it, it would be summertime. I bought this cup and this cup and (most importantly) these straws and drinking enough water is a breeze. Get yourself a giant cup and hydrate. 

14. Make a list on your phone of free events happening in your town this summer. 

15. Invite someone over for a coffee date. 

16. Choose one thing about your job that you want to get better at. I did this a few months ago. I was having a frustrating time with one part of my job, so I looked up an online class. It has made my life so much easier. Don't wait for someone to ask you to get better, do it for yourself. 

17. Pour your favorite protein shake into popsicle molds and freeze it. 

18. Wake up early enough to drink your coffee while you watch the sunrise. 

19. Browse Amazon for cheap sunglasses. I bought these (the ones I'm wearing in this picture) for our vacation and am obsessed with them. Plus, they didn't cost so much that I'll cry when Jack eventually breaks them. 

20. Invite a friend to come visit you. Or go visit a friend. Sure, it costs money and takes planning, but it's always worth it!

21. Eat more meals at home. So you have more money for trips to see friends and weekend adventures!

22. Plan a contingency trip. Somewhere close enough to go if you get an unexpected free weekend.
23. Make homemade ice cream.

24. Revisit those New Year's goals. Next month will mark the year's halfway point and is a good place to start over if you need to. 

25. Get a good face mask. It's summer. It's hot. You're sweaty. Your skin suffers. Get a good face mask and treat yo'self a few times a week. These are some of my favorites. 

26. If you have a backyard, DIY your own firepit. We did this over the winter and it was way easier than I expected! Nightly s'mores, if you want. Does it get better?

27. Get touristy in your own city. Summer is the perfect time to play tourist. 

28. Make plans for the fourth of July. Throw a party, or crash someone else's party. 

29. Be lazy. Have a full day and night with no plans. Watch a movie, take a bath, read a book. No cooking or cleaning or errand running. 

30. Make a summer playlist. 

How will you be spending your month?
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