My July Favorites

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This is the start of my monthly blog series featuring my favorite things from that month. I got the idea from Dance Moms' Chloe Lukasiak, who's made YouTube videos where she shares her favorite things from that month.

It's pretty simple and easy, plus it's fun and a bit different from my other blog posts. So in these monthly blog posts, I'm just going to talk about and show up to 10 things I discovered or was really into that month. What I like about this blog series is there's a wide range of things I could share, from books to movies to clothes or even food. So here are my July 2017 favorites:

Love Her Wild by Atticus

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I first discovered this book when the non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms (if you're a frequent reader of my blog, you've probably seen its name a bunch of times already) tweeted about the book and how for every pre-order of it, $1 would be donated to TWLOHA. I'd never heard of the book or its author before, but I always check out the books that donate to TWLOHA.

So I looked it up on Amazon and was interested right away. I'm not super into poetry, but I do enjoy it. And I was especially intrigued by Love Her Wild. I pre-ordered it and got it on the release day. I started reading it the day of. Since it's a poetry book, it's easy to read quickly, but it's so good, the words and so beautiful, and I loved it so much that I didn't want to devour it and read it all in one day. So I took my time with it, really trying to savor the words.

The book is actually divided into three sections: love, her, and wild. What a clever idea considering the book title! I adored the way the book was divided and really loved quite a few poems from each section. I kind of want to buy another copy to highlight, bookmark, and write all over so I can easily find my favorite poems and stuff.

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

This is a book I found on Goodreads after my sister marked it as 'to-read.' Our taste in books is pretty similar when it comes to novels, so I took a look at it for myself. The synopsis on its Goodread page was interesting enough for me to add to my own 'to-read' shelf but didn't think it'd be anything special.

I was wrong.

First, let me start by saying I don't really know how to critique or review a book well. I'm much more of a grammar person. In the one creative writing class I took, I struggled to give the effective feedback that would help someone write a better story. So anyway, this is just my opinion of the book.

180 Seconds is about a college student named Allison who is pretty isolated at school. She was in foster care until she was 16 when a man adopted her, which she doesn't really understand. So at school, she's very much about studying and just going to class. Her one and only friend ― her best friend ― was also raised in the foster care system but goes to UCLA while she attends a school in New England. One day she gets sucked into participating in a social experiment that absolutely changes her life.

I'll stop the synopsis there because I don't want to give too much away, but when a book makes me want to cry so many times that I lose track, it's safe to say I love the book. I connected to Allison's character so much even though I wasn't a foster kid. But just in terms of personality and her emotions throughout the book, I connected to her so much.

Also, I got this book on Amazon Prime day, so I got it for cheaper than it normally is.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

I'd never read a book about OCD before, so I didn't know what to expect of this book. I also admit I didn't (and still don't) know that much about OCD, so that added to my lack of expectations for this book.

Samantha McAllister is a high school student who's known to be part of the "popular girls." She has OCD (more obsessive than compulsive) but hides it from her friends. One day she makes a new friend, someone who definitely wouldn't be approved by her popular friends, so this new friend just becomes another secret she's hiding. Her new friend helps Samantha find this hidden poetry club at school, which changes her life ― and herself.

About 70% of the way into the book, I didn't think it was anything special. It just seemed like a pretty good read but not amazing or anything. Nothing about it put it over the top. But then a very big plot twist came near the end of the book which blew my mind and made the book so good!

I definitely learned about OCD and more about mental health and illness in general from the book, and it showed that people with OCD aren't just neat freaks who need everything to be straight and perfect. None of that is necessarily true, and it's a much more complicated illness than that. Also, I appreciated that I didn't feel like Tamara Ireland Stone wasn't shoving Samantha's OCD down my throat. Stone made sure the reader never forgot about Samantha's illness but wasn't overwhelming about it.

Thief - Ansel Elgort

If you read or saw my post from earlier this week, then you know this song is on my summer playlist and has been blasting in my house a lot. In fact, for a few days in July, it was the only song I listened to.

Ansel has a strong and unique voice that I enjoy listening to, and I like the song and its lyrics. If you want to know more about what I think of the song and/or want to see what else I've been listening to this summer, check out my What I'm Listening to: Summer 2017 post.

Taron Egerton (and Jeff Bridges) singing on Conan

I don't really know why the title of the video has Jeff Bridges's name first but it's mostly Taron singing in the video. Anyway, I love Taron Egerton. He's my favorite actor, and his voice is amazing. I could listen to him sing all day.

When this video came out, I played it every time it came up on my Tumblr dashboard because that's how much I love to hear Taron sing. Obviously I knew he was a good singer, but I'd never heard him sing anything from a musical before, so it was just different and amazed me because it didn't quite sound the same as the songs from Sing.

Can someone please cast Taron in a musical movie/show?!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle red band trailer

(AKA if you're not old/mature enough to watch R rated movies, you probably shouldn't watch this trailer.)

I believe this trailer was released the first day of Comic-Con, and it was one of the first things ― if not the first thing ― I watched when I woke up that day. (It was released early that morning, before 9 AM ET.)

Honestly, I didn't know what a red band trailer was before I watched this, but now it makes sense. You know how the trailers you see in movie theaters have that green slide with the rating of the movie and says something like "This is approved for viewing of all audiences"? This is not one of those trailers. That's what it's called a red band trailer. It's not approved for all audiences to see. It's a rated-R trailer for a rated-R movie.

Anyway, back to the actual trailer. It had quite a few of the same parts as the original trailer, but I enjoyed seeing all of the added action and scenes in this one. The fighting scene where Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Harry (Colin Firth) are shooting the villains with the umbrella and briefcase is awesome. And that last bit at the end where Eggsy says "That's very American." to Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum) is just hilarious.

Eva Igo

I first watched Eva dance in June in one of the first World of Dance episodes, but it probably wasn't until July where I really started to love her and her dancing. She's so strong and powerful with her dancing and is does a good job at using her face to aid in telling the story of her dance. She also has cool tricks that some people seem to really dislike, leading them to call her dance "gymnastics" or "rhythmic gymnastics" rather than dance, which really makes me upset. As a dance and gymnastics fan, I can very much vouch for the difference but appreciate that they can sort of overlap and borrow from each other.

In addition to her amazing dance skills, she's also just such a smart girl and doesn't let those people who think she isn't dancing get to her. Below is a quote of hers I hand-lettered that pertains to those comments of "That's gymnastics, not dance."

Also, I'm pumped Eva won the World of Dance junior division last night and is headed to the finale!

Choker cutout dress from Garage

This dress was in my Fourth of July haul post, but I just love it so much that I had to include it on here. I love the color, the style of the dress, and the fabric. Light pink, along with the choker cutout style, is very trendy right now. The dress itself is made out of a soft but light material that I really like. It's a great casual dress that is perfect for days when I don't want to dress super girly and want to go for more of an laid-back urban/street style vibe.

Pink and mint floral trapeze dress from Forever 21 

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I swear I've seen this dress at Forever 21 before this summer but don't remember it being only $15! So when I saw it two weekends ago, I had to get it. I don't have any dresses that color, and I just love the feel of it. It's perfect for spring and summer and has a sort of southern, preppy vibe without the outrageous price.

Raising Cane's chicken fingers

I love chicken fingers. As a picky eater, I especially appreciate them, and could eat them every week. I tried Raising Cane's for the first time two weekends ago and then had them again this past weekend. (I know this is in my July favorites, but it actually wasn't my idea to go two weekends in a row!)

The chicken fingers are nice, crispy, and juicy, and I love that their meals come with fries and bread because I love fries and bread. I wish there was a Raising Cane's closer to my house so chicken fingers were more accessible to me when I don't have any at home.

What did you discover and were really into this past July?

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