Monthly Slice: July

I am writing this post from grey Monterey – it’s the first time in weeks that I’ve been able to get cozy in my sweatpants and spend some quality time with my own MacBook, not at work.

If you are at all in sync with the Gregorian calendar, you may have noticed that July ended a few weeks ago, and yet here I am still writing about it, because I stubbornly refuse to stop writing these monthly posts until I have a collection of twelve. I may have to rethink them next year though – my blogging time is limited and I would rather write more useful posts.

Highlights

July was awesome because Hugo’s parents came to visit from France! It was their first time on the west coast and they loved California. We showed them around San Francisco, spent a sweltering weekend in wine country, and took them down to foggy Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove. They were surprised by the Bay Area microclimates – drive twenty minutes east and the weather is completely different, for better or worse!

We visited Calistoga and St Helena, two tourist spots on the wine trail, but Healdsburg was my favorite. Exploring these little towns was the best part about visiting this region – wine tasting here can be pretty expensive. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather just pick up some bottles and have a DIY tasting with friends.

img_2875We had less than two days to show them around the Monterey area, where we’ve been living for most of the last year, but we came up with the perfect itinerary that hit almost all our favorite spots. (We went to three beaches in one day!)

There is always fresh, Instagrammable produce at my parents’ house. This turned into a delicious California dinner for Hugo’s parents. (There was even California cheese, which got the French stamp of approval.)

Our friends came to visit San Francisco on the one boiling hot day of the summer. We waited in a huge line to get ice cream from the Garden Creamery. It was so worth it.

img_2874

The company I interned at this summer encourages employees to take time off work to volunteer, and that’s how I ended up spending the day at City Slickers Farms in Oakland. Their mission is to educate community about urban farming and healthy food and to provide organic produce to West Oakland residents who wouldn’t otherwise have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I highly recommend dropping in to volunteer on a Thursday or supporting their organic market on Saturday!

The company also took all 300+ interns to Santa Cruz for the day… and I remembered that I hate roller coasters! Turns out I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m about to be flung to my death.

The sunset was nice though. Next time I’ll stay on the ground and take pictures.

Weekday happy hour at Uno Dos Tacos is my go-to because it goes all evening (none of this 6 pm cutoff nonsense). And they make a great margarita in those pretty blue-rimmed glasses.

My favorite thing about living in California is the coastal views. Hugo and I were driving back from Half Moon Bay and we just pulled over to watch the sunset. Pictures never do it justice.

Reading

I blazed through Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on marriage. She relates her personal story of reconciling with her aversion to marriage through musings and a thorough examination of the institution of marriage across couples and cultures. This all happens when her partner – yes, the one from Eat, Pray, Love – is threatened with deportation, and the only recourse to get married… the one thing they’ve vowed not to do.

Watching

Master of None. Did anyone else watch the second season?! The first episode takes place in Modena, and it made me want to fly to small town Italy and eat all the pasta. I like this show because it’s not afraid to depart from the main arc and tell a story from someone else’s perspective (while at the same time telling the oldest story on earth: Dev wants a girl he can’t have.)

Trader Joe’s July favorite

We tried the vanilla éclairs and they are pretty tasty! The choux pastry can’t compare to a fresh éclair in France (it’s a little chewy), but if you eat them before they defrost all the way, the filling tastes like ice cream. Yum.

Pinterest board of the month

In honor of summer, a board of refreshing cocktail recipes! (If you’re not into cocktails, I have a board just for smoothies.)

Full disclosure: I am way too lazy to make any cocktail with more than three ingredients, but I keep adding fruity drinks to this Pinterest board in the hopes that I will someday become the kind of person who makes her own simple syrup and ice cubes with flowers in them.

I have a little break before the semester starts and I’m looking forward to catching up on my blog reading – I’ve missed a lot over the last couple months. (I’m sorry, blogger friends!) Let’s see if I can write about August before we’re already halfway through September. Cheers to the last month of summer!

 

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8 thoughts on “Monthly Slice: July

  1. yay! such an exciting time to see your monthly slice! What an interesting place to volunteer for– how did you find (or even think of) such a place? Is it through your internship?

    1. Yes, it was organized by the manager of the team I was working on! People at the company organize volunteer events like that all the time, some are just a few hours, some area all day, and they even have big trips where you can go to another country to volunteer for a few weeks. City Slickers was such a cool place to volunteer! I love what they do. Hugo actually went on his own to volunteer in their garden the next week – it was like heaven for him 🙂

  2. My favorite margarita in DC is also served in similar blue-rimmed glasses! I thought this season on Master of None was a masterpiece! Like you said, I love that the show doesn’t stick to a regular narrative structure. Each episode is like a mini movie with its own style and genre, but they all work together to tell the same story. You should totally read Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance if you haven’t… it’s a fascinating (and funny!) look into some of the issues that have arisen along with modern dating: dating apps, texting, etc. Some of the Master of None episodes seem like they’re taken right out of that research!

    1. You’re so right, I should read Modern Romance! Thanks for the recommendation! I remember hearing about it but I never read it. I’ve just watched some of his standup and I noticed a lot of the same themes were present in the first season of Master of None. I loved the episode where they completely departed from the main characters and told the stories about the cab driver and the deaf girl (with no sound). I heard there might not be a season 3 but I hope they do end up continuing the series!

  3. I love the sound of that urban farm. There’s one up near Hackney that I’m hoping to visit while I’m in London – fingers crossed! (I can’t resist an opportunity to see cute farm animals and experience a chunk of countryside in the city. London needs more greenery…) This time of year seems to be prime time for TV recommendations to come flooding in – I think my to-be-watched list may just be getting a wee bit out of hand!

    1. Yes, there is so much TV, so little time! I have been too busy to watch anything at all for the last few weeks (I just fall in my bed at night and pass out, haha) but I have a list of things to watch!

      Have fun at the farm in Hackney if you go! Do you know what kinds of things they farm there? At the one in Oakland there was a chicken coop (they let us pick up the chickens but I was afraid of getting pecked) and apparently they plan to have goats in the future. I love the city but sometimes it’s really nice to get out into a green space 🙂

      1. That’s so true – the list of recommendations from colleagues, friends and bloggers just keeps mounting up! I’ll bring myself up to speed at some point, when the weather isn’t so good 🙂 (Not that it’s great at the moment, but at least it’s mostly dry!) I don’t blame you – aside from the potential for pecking, I’d be afraid of being pooped on. As far as I know, it’s mostly animals there, but it has a small veggie garden. There are a few other urban farms scattered across London, but the one in Hackney happens to be near a couple of other places I fancy checking out!

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