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  • Writer's pictureMary

The July List

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

The start of the season gives way to its fiery heart.

Patio pitcher and mug

We're staying put in New York City for the summer. My to-do list for July includes simple things that will ease the sweltering weeks as we enter the middle of the season.

For the most part, I want to take it easy.

I've been slowly building stock for year end, this time taking a longer, more relaxed approach to planning for the upcoming holiday season. I'm interested in exploration, skills building, and leaning way in on practice. The Mona Scoops that I made all at once in April both helped me build muscle memory for that particular form and resulted in a nice collection that's now sitting on my shelf, ready for their new homes.

This month, I'll make a batch of another one of my favorites, the Twiggy Spoon.

Other plans include:

Stay cool

Firstly, I want to stay comfortably cool without relying solely on air conditioning in the apartment. AC is not in short supply, and arguably too abundant at the office, but part of what I mean is that I want to become more comfortable sitting in ambient temperature that's a bit higher, finding other ways to cool my core.

For example, snacking on frozen blueberries (so good) by the handful really goes a long way. Drinking iced coffee and chilled, cold brewed chamomile tea. Stashing facial sprays and other beauty products in the fridge. Parking in the shade of trees. Finishing each shower with a few seconds of cold water.

Attempt to meal plan

Last month, we attended our first open house since searching for our current apartment. We've been here almost four years and are at the very beginning of the process to look for our next home: a house with a backyard and room to grow our family.

We've made building our savings a joint financial priority ever since we blended our finances. I'm not saying meal planning is going to buy me my next home, but the potential savings are definitely a benefit. Others include the time saved from not having to figure out dinner every night on the fly, the ability to try new recipes or revisit favorites with just a little forethought when grocery shopping, the mental space to make healthier choices, and the option to plan around ingredients we're eager to use up.

Shopping and planning for an entire week seems like... a lot. I'm going to dip a toe into this whole thing by planning only a day or two in advance. For example, tonight, while prepping my overnight oats and portioning out leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, I spent about 25 seconds thinking about what we currently have, what we could do with it, and then very quickly decided on something to make for dinner tomorrow. I even took the chicken down from the freezer to thaw overnight and in doing so saw that I'll need to pick up more protein the next time I go to the store.

My objectives are to cook more, to order in intentionally when we do, to use better-for-us ingredients, and to avoid buying lunch more than usual this month.

Make table accessories

In addition to a batch of Twiggy Spoons, which I'll make at home, this month I'd like to make table accessories to go with some of the serve ware I made in June. Specifically, candle holders and vases, and maybe even a lantern of some sort for a votive candle to sit in.

Pamper myself with little luxuries

... or standard grooming. Basically, I need a haircut. I have a hairdresser whom I trust, but he's in Flushing and going there can be inconvenient. He's also virtually always late for our appointments, mostly because he spends so long with each client and is constantly being pulled away to consult on hair coloring jobs (I think he's a beast colorist, but I don't have any plans to color my hair at the moment).

All this makes for an unintentional asceticism around getting haircuts, something I enjoy so much but for which I rarely make the time. I mean, getting my heavy, thick hair shampooed by someone else is one of the best things ever. I close my eyes and zone everything out. I even get annoyed sometimes when they ask me whether the water temperature is okay.

Three other little luxuries to schedule into this month are massages to help manage my lower back pain, at-home pedicures (and sometimes manicures when I feel up for having all that hard work ruined by the pottery wheel within 36 hours) on a regular basis, and opening the full sized Fresh Rose Face Mask my sister gifted me some time ago after seeing me milk the last dollops out of two deluxe sample jars. Perfect timing to reincorporate this into my beauty routine too; I have a clay mask, an AHA mask, a peel, and a retinol treatment, but would like something calming that doesn't try to do too much. With aloe and rosewater, this mask fits the bill.

Keep a bowl of lemons around

With their summery color and fresh scent, lemons always bring a little joy to my day whenever we have a few in the house. We use them in cooking often, and Kevin and I both enjoy a squeeze of it in our water. They make great props for product photos. They deodorize trash and help clean the sink. Why not keep a stash in a bowl at all times?

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