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Merveilleux Monday & a Fresh New Month {July}

The ‘Bouquet Garni,’ an herb bundle typically including thyme, bay leaves, sage, parsley, and peppercorns, is key in many traditional French recipes.  Image:  Krista Brackin Photography}

…and for me, fresh new year!!  Happy July!  I’m so very lucky to have spent a very happy 36th birthday on the first with my sweet beau.  We spent the day in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is beautiful and was the last stop of a two week vacation/road trip {pics to come!}.  We traveled through Texas and New Mexico and, while some parts were a little intense – like the oil fields! – it was mostly beautiful and diverse, and I had to take a second and look where my feet were planted every now and then – definitely places I never thought my east-coast self would ever see.  It was an awesome way to start another trip around the sun.  

I flew back to good old NJ {my summer spot} just in time for the fourth of July weekend, and spent it with family, including most of my favorite little ones – 7 out of 8 nieces and nephews!  It was crazy at times with all those kids running around, but it was the absolute best!  We had great beach days and everyone had such a blast.

Having a July 1 birthday does my OCD-planner-organizer heart good, being smack-dab in the middle of the year…a great time to review progress, evaluate where you are, start new goals or refresh old ones, or look back to see how far you’ve come.  I find myself usually doing a little bit of all of those, and this year I was a little more intentional about it as I set some ‘intentions’ for my year ahead.  I cut things way back and focused on just a few things, as I have a tendency to {with the best of intentions} take on WAY too much, then end up in a state of overwhelm and abandon things somewhere along the way.  

This year, I want to include in my life more ‘white space,’ meaning mainly that I’d like to allow myself more down time, more time not working, more time not being busy or with something ‘I really should do.’  This depends on me being super productive when I’m working and  sticking to my work schedule and not letting tasks bleed into this free time, and that’s up there in terms of focuses, too.  

I also want to be better at keeping up with the people in my life who I value – friends, family, colleagues {time together, phone calls, cards, emails, etc.} and reach out more often to new people.  I can be so hesitant for so many reasons, and I so deeply value the relationships and connections I have with people {I think of the people I love more often than they might know} – new and old, business and personal.  

I’m writing this all down and putting it out there as my little promise and ‘cross my heart’  to myself and everyone reading that I’ll give this my all.  As regimented as it might seem to make such a point to organize this goal and focuses stuff and write it down and share it, the motivation behind it is far from the crazy task-y self that comes forth sometimes {ahem…just ask Brian}.  It’s really simple – I like to intentionally state my goals so that I can do all the things that I’ve always wanted to do, and life the life that I want, full of the experiences I want to have.  Like most people, there’s so many things that I’d ‘love to do,’ and I’m just trying my darndest to make those dreams a reality.  

All birthday-happiness aside, is there a better month than July?!?  The ‘Saturday night of summer,’ with its hot days, summer nights, BBQs, drinks after the beach, getting together with friends, and summer vacations – it’s just the best!  Join me in making this July the most fun, most summer-y one yet!  

July brings us our Independence Day, which is my most favorite holiday, but it also has Bastille Day on the 14th, and for a Francophile like me, I’ll take any opportunity to celebrate all things French.  Look for some fun French posts this week as I share my trip to Paris and some other French favorites {and some yummy recipes with this bouquet garni!}!  Have a great week, friends!

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