July was filled to the brim with good things: rest and relaxation, fun celebrations, lush summer landscapes, and local farm stands overflowing with deliciousness. The downside of all this goodness is it’s been a struggle to edit my Small Pleasures list into something manageable. So, after much deliberation, here are my top five (plus a bonus) little happinesses of the month. Enjoy!
July’s Small Pleasures
- Swimming in the ocean. From the first time my dad walked me into the breaking waves at Tower Road beach in Dewey, Delaware, I’ve nurtured an undying love for the ocean. I love it when it’s gentle, perfect for floating on my back with my eyes closed, losing myself in the gentle rocking. I love it, too, when it’s rough and churning with waves that boss me around and deliver tenfold on the promise of boisterous body surfing and boogie boarding. I even love how refreshed I feel when I mosey back to my beach chair, my skin tingling from the brisk salty water. I don’t live very close to the ocean so I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend in it during my trip to the Outer Banks at the beginning of July.
- Orange Creamsicle smoothies. In Corolla, North Carolina, there is a little café that serves up the best remedy for a hot day. Their Orange Creamsicle smoothie tastes exactly like the namesake popsicle and I indulged almost every day of my vacation. Yum!
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (audiobook narrated by George Newbern). The story of Ove, a crotchety older guy with a hidden heart of gold, is a delight as an audiobook. Through George Newbern’s narration, I grew to love Ove and the people who inhabited his world and I looked forward to washing the dishes or taking my walks just so I could spend more time with the whole bunch. Listening to this book was a very satisfying experience and my thoughts frequently wander back to Ove and his “family”.
- Peaches. Peaches are in season around here and they are delicious. We’ve been enjoying the sweet, juicy fruit by the basketful and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
- Walking at sunset. July has been a sizzler so Jay and I have started walking later in the evening to get away from the worst of the heat. The sunsets have been spectacular lately and the stillness of dusk has been soothing and restorative. It’s become a restful way to close the day.
- The Bonus Pick. This video by Mark Broussard and his daughters. Evie just cracks me up…
I hope your height-of-summer has been as delightful as mine. Now it’s time to wave good-bye to July and embrace the mellow last days of the season.
In my small corner of the world, July is the sweltering zenith of summer. Small pleasures abound this time of year: the smell of growing corn, the buzz of cicadas, the cool sweetness of watermelon, the willy-nilly flight of small bats at dusk, the delicious reprieve of air-conditioning. The list is endless but there are a few pleasures I’ve been especially thankful for this month.
Kan Jam. My competitive family is hooked on this fun Frisbee game and we’ve spent many sultry summer evenings playing together. Anything that entices my teenagers to hang with their dad and me is going to be at the top of my happy list. Prime family time and some exercise to boot – a perfect summer pleasure.
Fruit smoothies. About two years ago, I had a momentary lapse in good judgement and attempted The Fast Metabolism Diet. The diet was an abysmal failure overall but it introduced me to a simple, no-fuss, guilt-free recipe for fruit smoothies that is perfect for the summer. They are so refreshing AND are a healthy substitute for those Coke slushies I also adore.
4 day work week. Most faculty members at the local community college where I work have 9-month contracts. I have a 12-month contract because of my specific teaching and clinical responsibilities so I’m on campus all year. When summer rolls around, the college operates on a four day work week. This means I’ve been enjoying 3 day weekends with Fridays off all month. Do I need to explain how much I am enjoying this? I didn’t think so.
The Man in the High Castle mini-series. This Amazon original series is based on Philip K. Dick’s book by the same name, an alternative history/sci-fi tale set in a 1960’s United States after Japan and Nazi Germany have won WWII. The alternative history aspect has been fascinating but it is often dark and brutal – the Nazis and Japanese are still behaving as they did during the war. Even though we aren’t exactly sure what’s going on, the content is thought-provoking and addictive. My husband, youngest son and I have watched the entire first season this month. The second season is scheduled for sometime later this year and we can’t wait!
Ice cream from Pine View Dairy. One dip of peanut butter curl ice cream on a waffle cone, to be precise. I’ve been indulging far more often than is reasonable but, really, who could blame me?
I hope you’ve had the opportunity to indulge in small happinesses this month. Please tell me about them in the comments!
I love recognizing and indulging in small pleasures on a regular basis. They add a sense of happiness and contentment to my life. Summertime offers an inordinate amount of these delights (ice cream cones from Pine View Dairy, lightning bugs, eating al fresco at every opportunity, etc.) and I’ve been enjoying as many of them as I can.
My favorites of the summer so far:
- Strawberry spinach salad. June is strawberry season around here and I am all about those strawberries. My favorite way to eat them this year is in this beautiful spinach salad. I just can’t get enough of the sweet and tangy deliciousness.
- Baseball season. Youth baseball, that is. This is the last year my youngest son, Aaron, will play in the local youth league so I am trying to soak up as much of the experience as I can. The weather has been especially accommodating for evening baseball games and Aaron’s team is having a winning year. It’s an irresistible combination as a spectator/mom.
- Listening to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’ve recently gotten into audiobooks as an enticement to walk regularly or complete nasty chores. For most of June, I’ve listened to The Nightingale, A WWII story that focuses on the experiences of two very different sisters in Nazi occupied France. The narrator, Polly Stone, does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life and I’m transported to another, often sad and dark but ultimately hopeful, world.
- Summer reading lists. I love reading articles and blog posts about books and the summer reading lists are jam-packed with great suggestions. Considering my massive TBR pile, perusing lists of tempting books is rather counter-productive but I can’t seem to help myself. If you are wondering what book you should take with you to the pool, beach, or your next vacation these sites are good places to start: Modern Mrs. Darcy, The Bookbub Blog, and Popsugar.
- The front porch. My front porch is shaded for most of the day and secluded from the street by burning bush and holly. It is private and comfy and I have already whiled away many pleasant hours reading a good book, watching a thunderstorm roll in, or relaxing with my husband in the late evening after a long, busy day.
I hope you are taking time to enjoy the small pleasures of summer and of life. Please tell me about them in the comments!