A monthly list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Happy July! We've had a drier than normal June (which means more watering, but lots of wonderful sunshine) so it's definitely feeling like summer here in the Pacific Northwest. I feel for those of you who've already been dealing with 100-degree weather and high humidity - thank goodness for air conditioning, right? I always think that the reason things were slower paced 50-70 years ago was just because the heat knocked the energy out of everyone and air conditioners were rare!
The dry weather has been a blessing for our foundation work, though - it's a lot easier to deal with digging dirt than wallowing in mud. We got our permit and the mason has been prepping for the foundation for the last three weeks - yay!! You'll definitely be hearing more about this as it moves along.
As for this month's good things list, I've got a couple places to share that we enjoyed on a recent visit to the Oregon Coast, some new things I bought you may be interested in, the books I read last month and a few things we watched. I hope you feel free to share any good things you're enjoying in the comments!
Visit to the Central Oregon Coast: Florence, Yachats, Newport
Living in the Eugene area means we can be to the coastal town of Florence in just an hour and a half. We haven't found many good places to stay there, though, so we often head up the coast to Yachats, a sweet little town almost exactly between Florence and Newport. I thought I'd share where we've stayed multiple times and the two new places to eat we found during our recent trip in case you're ever in the area - they were really good.
- Yachats, OR: The Silver Surf Motel. It's an older motel that's been updated (to a degree...) and is a basic motel with good prices, but it has a number of really good things going for it that make us continue to stay there. One is the fabulous sandy beach just a short path away from the motel. Another is a small indoor pool and hot tub which we usually have to ourselves when we stay during the week. The other bonus is that each room has a little kitchenette which helps to keep eating out costs down. Finally, the balconies have sidewalls for privacy, pretty views, and each room has one. Oh, and the lower 10 rooms all take dogs for an extra $10/night!
- Newport, OR: Ocean Blue at Gino's. We always like to get fish and chips at the coast and we were told by a friend that this restaurant in Newport's Historic Bayfront has some of the best. It did not disappoint. Brian got fish and chips and I got popcorn shrimp and chips and we shared some of each. The prices were good, the slaw was a vinaigrette based (yay!), and the potato "coins" were crisp (a major selling point for me). Plus, not too expensive!
- Florence, OR: Traveler's Cove. We discovered this by accident when the two other places we wanted to brunch/lunch at in Florence's Old Town were closed. It was a lucky accident, because we now have a wonderful memory of eating delicious food on a sheltered deck in the sunshine overlooking the river and beautiful bridge. I had a grilled salmon Caesar salad and Brian had a Caesar burger. They do specialize in Mexican food, too, which looked good. Great prices, service, and location.
I should add: that actually look and feel like curtains! I bought some blackout curtains for our bedroom when we moved in an they are stiff and weird feeling, almost like they're plastic coated. When I needed a set for the room our daughter was moving back into, I checked around a bit more and this set from Target had good reviews, the right color, and a good price.
And they are actually great blackout curtains that I can highly recommend! They look and feel like a nice pair of curtains while really keeping the light out. They are listed as Blackout Curtain Panel Tahoe Khaki 84" - PROJECT 62™ if you're looking for a nice set of inexpensive blackout curtains, too.
Pretty Floral Kimono
I ordered this kimono from Amazon and was pleasantly surprised to see when it came that the color they listed as "lavender-gray" is so pretty! It's a very light lavender that combined with the floral colors goes with well with so many colors I have - black, white, green, purple, pink. It's under $15, too, and is so nice to throw over a tank top in the summer - I love it!
I've been looking at purchasing Apple's Airpods for a few months now after reading some reviews and getting my corded earbuds caught on so many things (knobs in the kitchen - arrgh). But come on Apple, why the super high price? So I waited - and after my birthday in May I realized that between cash gifts and an Amazon gift card I had enough to purchase a pair.
And like all things Apple, they really are nice. The container is a charging 'station' that can hold about nine hours of charge. The airpods hold about 3, so you just slip them in their case to recharge a couple times before needing to recharge the case again. Pairing with both my phone and MacBook were super smooth and the sound quality is very good. I love not having a cord and they sit in my ears without even moving, let alone falling out. I've worn them for 3 hours straight when I was stripping a cabinet and I can say they are really comfortable - more than the regular Apple earbuds for sure.
Are they worth the price? I'm on the fence about that. It still seems a ridiculously high price for a set of earphones that you can't adjust the volume on (you have to use Siri or the phone). But I do have a fondness for Apple products and if you've got birthday money, this might be a fun treat. I know I'm enjoying mine. 🙂
You know when you buy something on a whim and when it comes you are totally surprised at the quality and quantity for the price? That's what happened with these Fineliner Pens. A blogger recommended them and they were under $10, so I bought them to use with my Flexible Planner. I liked that they were colorful but had fine lines - the medium point pens I have seem to take up too much room in the planner.
These really are a nice set of pens and I'm thrilled with them. The color is marked on both the top and the bottom, which is great for storage. The color options are terrific and they write smoothly and easily. And such a great deal!
I read another seven books in June - I must be on a roll! Actually, I think I've just gotten in the habit of picking up a book here and there as well as listening to books while I cook, garden, and do DIY projects rather than just music. I have so many book in my TBR list that I find myself wanting to get to them instead of podcasts or music (right now I'm in the middle of this book that I read at night and started listening to this during the day and this book in the morning).
Here are the four books that stood out to me the most:
The Weight of Glory, CS Lewis. This is a set of essays based on talks C.S. Lewis gave throughout his later life and there are many, many gems in here. Lots of quotes that I recognized like:
I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
I've got a goal to listen to all of his books in the mornings as I get ready - I find there are usually things I ponder on for the rest of the day.
Abigail Adams, Woody Holton. This was a long book, but one that I found really interesting. It's a straight-up biography, pulling information from letters and writings of the time. It's a fascinating portrait not only of Abigail, but of the revolution - how it started, the mess it was before victory, and the mess the union was for many years after as the founding fathers (and their wives) tried to keep it all together. If you like history like me, you will enjoy this I'm sure.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, Simon Winchester. Brian and I listened to this together in car trips, including going back and forth to the coast. We just both found it SO interesting - this little-known snippet of history and the tale it tells of the making of the first comprehensive English dictionary. It also made us want to find other Simon Winchester books to read - he really does a great job of pulling out historical details that move the book along.
My Dear Hamilton, Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I was so excited to see this in the Hoopla App (the BEST library app, hands-down - check if your library is a part of it, it's WAY better than Overdrive or Libby, there is NO waiting for books!) since I loved the authors previous book. And because...Hamilton. It did not disappoint! This is a novelization of the events we know of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton's life and it's a pretty amazing life. Like the last book, I appreciated the authors note at the end discussing how they came up with the story, what they kept and changed from history, what they inferred, and so on. I seriously cried at points in this book as she had to deal with death and heartache on huge levels. One day I'll probably read it again, it was that good.
I finished up watching the second season of The Crown (skipping episode 7 after hearing from a number of you and reading about it online - thank you). Both Brian and I still love Elementary and are working through their season since they didn't start until spring.
We also watched a couple of documentaries on Netflix: Evil Genius, a true-crime doc that isn't gory but is sure weird - along with both fascinating and sad like most of these things, The Eighties (only the first episode - it was kind of light fluff), and Wild Country. We only got through the first episode of that - it's bizarre and happened in our state, but I'm not sure we'll watch anymore of it. It's so sad to listen to these lost souls (even now all these years later) who were duped by this guy.
We watched just two movies, both on TV. Last Flag Flying is an Amazon original that stars Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburn, and Bryan Cranston as Vietnam veterans coming together again to bring Steve's Marine son's body home. It's a bit dark and sad, but with universal themes of love, loss, and friendship. Major language warning, though, with an R rating.
The other movie was this original romantic comedy on Netflix, Set It Up:
It's just pure fluff like these things usually are, but Lucy Liu is just great as usual and I liked the main leading lady here - she's very natural and likable (who I just learned is 80's actress Lea Thompson's daughter!). She and the lead have that fun dialog that makes a good rom-com. There are some suggestive lines (even in the trailer) and language (of course...), but no other explicit scenes with TV-14 rating.
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List! If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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