Mid-Summer Favorites

It’s the end of July, a turn of the earth reminding us that summer’s nearly over. Here in Boston, it’s a dire notion— the thought of an impending winter. The past month has been filled with beautiful weather and excursions galore, and I figured I’d share a bit of what I’ve loved over the weeks.

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Starting with media, let’s talk about television. I haven’t been watching much this month because most of my shows are in their off-season, but I finished Dan Harmon’s Community and loved every moment of it. Sure, it’s got its peaks and lows – ahem, season 4 – but the characters and the meticulously constructed plots are too charming to resist. I’ve even picked up certain mannerisms like Abed’s “Cool. Cool cool cool” and often get the theme song stuck in my head. Community is a kooky, amusingly self-aware universe, and I’d love to see a movie in the future.

A few days ago, I borrowed a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, which is one of my favorite books and something I’ve been meaning to re-read for a while now. I’m also working on Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness In My Mind, but Hemingway’s spare and striking prose pulls me in every time. I’ve always been inclined towards simple language, emptiness within words and sounds, and Hemingway is the master of this.

The only movie I’ve watched this month is Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which has been on the top of my list for years now. The campiness and exorbitant drama of the director is on full display in this cult classic, and its cartoon-like aura enthralled me. As for music, I’ve been listening to older favorites like Banks and Childish Gambino as well as more of Anderson .Paak, but the standout of July was discovering Dua Lipa, an English-Albanian queen, through one of my friends. I got really into empowering anthems by female artists a few months ago, and Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” has been on repeat all month.

Feral Audio

While cooking dinner, I put on podcasts to keep me company. In May, I ravenously consumed S-Town by This American Life, and recently I’ve been listening to Feral Audio’s My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. MFM is my current favorite podcast, covering one of my deepest fascinations and featuring my best-loved dynamic, a witty pair of female friends. Karen and Georgia trade repartee like no one’s listening. I love close friend pairs in the media— Troy and Abed in Community, Gaby and Allison in Youtube’s Just Between Us, the list goes on. Another podcast I’ve been frequenting is Crooked Media’s Pod Save America, a political, no-frills podcast that gets right into the heart of what’s really going on. Crooked Media does other podcasts along the same lines – Pod Save The People, Pod Save The World – but in today’s political climate, it’s important to me to stay on top of my country’s doings, and Pod Save America helps with this a great deal. All of these podcasts can be accessed for free online or through Apple Podcasts.

Speaking of cooking, I’ve been doing much more of it since I’ve moved into an apartment for the summer. Although I will unfortunately be living without a kitchen during the upcoming school year, I have absolutely loved making my own meals and trying out new recipes. Also, leaving social interactions by casually mentioning one’s need to meal prep feels better than you can imagine. My favorite recipe this month isn’t even a meal, rather, a dessert. I had chia seeds that I wanted to get creative with, so I whipped up this quick chia pudding from Wellness Mama. The ingredients are simple and the results are delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again soon.

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These three items are my favorite of the month, and though the season’s not quite over, they may be the best of my summer. On the left are the ASOS Asher Studded Ankle Boots in their Wide Fit variety, which I caught on sale and with a student discount. After watching Netflix’s Love, a show I’m still conflicted about today, I was entranced by the effortless style of its star, Mickey Dobbs (Gillian Jacobs), who wears studded boots much like these over and over. These boots are incredibly good quality for the price and very comfortable for stomping around the city. I’m completely in love. These two other items were also from ASOS, though not ASOS brand. Seeing Reformation’s Gwendalyn Top immediately inspired me to get a tie-strap white number, though I – being a destitute student – was hesitant to spend $98 on a little scrap of cloth, no matter how charming. Imagine my delight when stumbling on this Mango Crochet Ruffle Tank, which gives off a very similar dainty vibe for much less money. Finally, I decided to hop on the neck scarf bandwagon and got this Reclaimed Vintage Bandana (currently out of stock, but ASOS has many similar ones) as the perfect sassy topper to any of my many neutral outfits.

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As for makeup and skincare, I picked up this tea tree serum during Amazon’s Prime Day and haven’t put it down since. I use it after toner about every other day, and it leaves my skin happy and hydrated. No need for preventative Botox yet! Two lip colors I’ve loved this month are NYX Liquid Suede in Sandstorm, a beige nude, and Colourpop Lippie Stix in Ziggie, a warm rust. The formula on both of these are very long-lasting and pigmented, and these colors are great for the warm weather. I’ve also been liking Ofra’s Liquid Lipstick in Santa Ana, which is an incredible formula and a nice bright pop of color. In my last makeup post, I mentioned trying L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise, and although I thought it was too clumpy for a bit, I realized this issue is quickly remedied if the mascara is warmed before use. I typically sandwich it in my knee pit as I’m doing the rest of my makeup, and the results give length, volume, and hold a curl throughout the day. For the rest of my favorite July makeup, I like some shimmer in the heat to match my sweat, and Colourpop’s liner in Get Paid (a gorgeous rose gold) and elf’s Baked Blush in Pinktastic (definitely more of a highlighter than a blush) serve my needs at a guilt-free price.

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One of my goals for this month was to fill my weekends with as many worthwhile activities as possible, taking advantage of the pleasant weather while it lasts. As a result, much of my July has been going to places and looking at things, two of my favorite pastimes. For the first time, I finally attended a Red Sox game in Fenway Park, and it was fascinating getting to see and be a part of Boston’s fiercely self-obsessive crowd. Bostonians are nothing if not loyal, and the spirit of the ballpark felt so genuine, even to a non-sports-game-attending kid like me. On the other side of things, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is not only full of beautiful art but is itself an impressive structure. Imagining the woman herself arranging art around her home was delightful, and the museum is free for all BU students! Apart from human attractions, I also loved my visit to the Franklin Park Zoo. Directly prior to our zoo trip, I was feeling especially down, but somehow the animals and friendly environment of the park quickly perked me up. I’m not much of an animal or an outdoors person, but it’s been so unprecedentedly beautiful in Boston for the past few weeks that I can’t help but love being outside.

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Boston in the summertime is really a beautiful place. The brownstones look warm and inviting as the sun hits their bricks; the trees are still clothed in their green. My last favorite of the summer thus far is the Charles River, whether to stand and stare at while chatting for hours, or for kayaking and whacking at real lily pads. The Charles is so much more lovely when it isn’t trapped within itself, frozen and quiet. I’ll miss it when the summer ends.

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