Lifestyle Favorites | July 2016

Did July zoom by in the blink of an eye for anyone else?  I can’t believe it’s favorites time already!  This is one of my favorite posts to put together.  I’m excited to share some of my favorite things from the past month with you, ranging from clothing, accessories, and beauty items to home goods, multi-media picks, and food.

All image sources that are not originally my own photos are from the links provided below.  Please be advised that some of the links provided are affiliate links and I do receive a small commission if you make a purchase using those links.  This does not cost you any extra when you make a purchase.  I very much appreciate your support of this blog in doing so!

lifestyle favorites july 2016

Clothes & Accessories

❊ Boden Jersey Maxi Dress – I’m short and curvy, which doesn’t translate well in most maxi dresses, so when I find one that fits and looks even halfway decent, I get super excited.  Well, stop the presses, because I found a winner and I’ve been living in it in this summer heat!  I’ve never ordered anything from Boden before, but decided to give it a go when I happened to have a site-wide coupon and was buying some things for my baby (their baby clothes are too, too cute, btw).  I’ve all but lived in it since it arrived.  It’s made from a mid-weight jersey material that isn’t stifling but still manages to be flowy and keep a shape rather than cling awkwardly like some lighter weight jersey fabrics do.  I also love the blue and black pattern.  I might just have to splurge on a second dress in another print!

❊ Birkenstock Granada Soft Footbed Sandals – I love, love, love my Birkenstock Arizona sandals and live in them all summer long.  I was walking around a local department store with CC a few weeks ago trying to escape the heat when I saw this beautiful cut-out version of the basic same sandals.  Love them!  These are the soft footbed model that are super cushy and comfy to wear.  I love Birkenstocks for the great arch support they provide.  I sized up for these because they run more narrow and they fit perfectly!


❊ Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture Shampoo – I’ve been a Pantene kind of gal for the past year or so, which I still love but I do like to switch my shampoos up every once in awhile and try something new.  I picked up this shampoo for fine hair on a whim during a recent Ulta shopping trip with very low expectations.  From the first time I used it, I noticed a real difference in the texture and appearance of my hair.  Not only does it make my hair super shiny and soft, but it smells amazing!  I will be repurchasing this one for sure.

❊ Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque – This is an oldie but goodie favorite that I have used and loved for many years now.  I used to only apply it once a week in the way that it’s intended as a moisturizing hair mask, but in recent months I’ve been using it as my daily conditioner.  I apply the tiniest bit just to the very tip of my hair, which is all I really need for conditioner.  It helps keep my now longer hair looking fresh and damage free at the ends.

Home Goods

❊ Braun Multi Quick Hand Blender – I’ve been using our hand blender a lot this past month as I’ve recently started CC on solids.  Using it more frequently got me thinking how much of a kitchen staple it has been for us over the past 10+ years.  It’s not only perfect for making baby food purees, but also great for homemade soups, sauces, and smoothies.  My husband Don even uses it to mince garlic, herbs, etc.  I think it’s an underestimated kitchen staple and definitely a longtime favorite in our house.


❊ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 – Kimmy Schmidt is back!  We’re all caught up once again.  Don and I weren’t terribly enthused after the first episode as it was kind of slow, but by the second one the show picked back up to how we remembered enjoying the first season and kept up the momentum through the end.  It’s a funny, all fluff kind of show, which is just the right thing to watch sometimes, you know?  I can’t wait to see what wacky adventures Kimmy is thrown into next year!

❊ Apple Music – I’m not a huge music buff, by any means.  I tend to listen to an album on repeat for weeks or months on end until I get sick of it and then move onto something else.  I signed up for Apple Music a few months ago when they were offering a 30 day free trial (I believe they still are), figuring I’d cancel after the month was up, but I actually found myself using the program a lot more than I expected.  It’s a music streaming service that gives you unlimited access to an incredibly diverse library of music.  I love it!  I simply type in whatever I’m thinking of and I can get the song and/or album instantly.  I think it’s a good deal for $10 a month.  I find myself listening to a greater variety of music now that I have the app.

Tasty Treats

❊ Power Crunch Protein Energy Bars – I. Am. Obsessed.  I picked one of these bad boys up randomly on a Trader Joe’s shopping trip a few weeks ago because I like to try different snack bars when I come across them.  I had no idea that it’s basically a big cookie!  A big cookie with a whopping 13 grams of protein!  Sold!!  I’ve pretty much had one every day since.  My favorite flavors are peanut butter fudge and peanut butter creme.  It’s the perfect three o’clock pick me up when my sweet tooth comes a calling.

If you’d like to hear more about my favorites this month, check out this video:

It’s giveaway time!  As you may know, I’m a big Erin Condren fan.  With Back To School shopping season underway, I thought it would be fun to share the EC love with some of you.  The July 2016 Favorites Giveaway will run until Monday, August 8, 2016 at 6 PM CT.  The giveaway is open internationally.  All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.  FIVE winners will receive a $200 electronic gift card.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways).  I’ll contact the winners directly through email.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.

I would love to know what some of your July favorites were if you care to share.
Hope you’re having an awesome summer so far! 😎

* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *


68 thoughts on “Lifestyle Favorites | July 2016”

  1. I feel the same way about July–where did the time go?!
    I look forward to these lifestyle videos and love taking suggestions from you. Everything you have is awesome.

    Hope to win a gift card! EC has beautiful teacher planners and I would love one for this upcoming school year!

  2. Hi Jen, I believe you may have misspoken about Apple Music being a replacement for iTunes. I got a little worried so I checked with the experts in my house: the teenagers. LOL. They tell me that iTunes is not going anywhere. It is still the place for music, apps, games, movies etc. But Apple Music as a subscription service is separate from that. So no worries about iTunes been gone. You can still have both!

    Great video and blog post as usual! It was so sweet to hear Winnie run in at the beginning of the video! I’m glad you didn’t edit that out! Gotta love the sound of puppy paws!

    1. Oops, I’m sorry about that. I see that iTunes still exists as an app, but was replaced with Music on my computer. I guess that’s where I got confused. Sorry about that!

  3. Hi Jen, You look so happy. Being a mommy looks so great on you! I just had to share one or two of my favorites this month…the bare escentuals gen pure radiant lipstick. I am loving the Strip color. Also salmon on the grill with a crisp Caesar salad. Love your recipe for the salad on Pinterest. Thanks! I am planning to try the power crunch bars. Have a great rest of your summer in Utah! Safe travels!

  4. My latest favorites have been: Spinach Pie, Zucchini Fries and Portabellow Fries from Trader Joe’s- all really easy. I got interested in the fries since having them on the menu at Cheesecake Factory. While the ones at Cheesecake Factory are definitely better- I really do like the Trader Joe’s version- they need to be cooked long enough to be crispy. I might actually try to make them myself as there are lots of recipes online. On the make up front I am in love with the new Charlotte Tilbury Limited Edition Instant Look in a palette at Nordstrom. It was sold out when I just looked, but I would guess we will see more options in the future either at Nordstom, Bergdorf’s or her site as they are so well received. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale option was the second option after the first called “Nude” which was lighter in range.

  5. Hi Jen,
    I loved your July favorites!!! The beauty part was just for me😉 I battle with thin hair my whole life. And Pantene shampoo is the only one I use for the last 8 years😃 but the Thing Nr.1 for my hair is Loreal Total Repair Extreme masks (in the mini individual pink’ish tubes)❤ really recomend to try out. I can’t describe the feeling it gives every time.. its like a Oscars red carpet every time I wash my hair;) it lifts all the hair and gives an amazing glow and A LOT of volume!!
    Best wishes to you and your lovely family. Can’t wait for a new video😉

  6. Thanks Jen for sharing your faves…Here are a couple of mine for July…just because I actually had some! I’ve been loving these Puma’s (a ballet flat!): They are cute, comfortable, and casual/sporty, but just a little nicer than wearing a normal running shoe while out and about. Love it! Also – I finally tried out a Hydro Flask water bottle. I got it while on vacation (an outdoorsy vacation – hiking/kayaking/swimming/exploring) and it was a life saver! Kept my water ice cold all day in the hot sun! So refreshing. I’ll be so happy to have a nice cold bottle of water with me while I’m out and about all day running errands from now on too. No more stopping cause my water in a regular bottle got too hot!

    1. I second the Puma rec! I have a pair in gray & I wear them all the time. I’m a teacher & just might have to order myself a pair in another color for back to school.

  7. Jen! I live for the power crunch bars. My favorite is salted caramel. I can sometimes find cheap boxes on Amazon. Walmart also sells them in small boxes. Vitamin shoppe does great sales too 🙂

  8. Hey Jen I have a question about your favorite Zella Leggings you had in a past favorites and also recent Nordstrom anniversary sale video. Did you get them hemmed or keep them long with a little bunching in the ankles?

    1. I actually just let them bunch because I’m too lazy to hem them, LOL. I should bust out the sewing machine and just do it. It actually makes a big difference.

      1. Jenn…I wear Lularoe leggings and don’t like them Longmont don’t know if this will work with zella… but I pull mine up to mid calf and them I fold the excess over that part …to the mid calf. Works like a charm and you can’t even tell!

  9. Excellent decision to turn off comments on YT! If I want to ask a question, or get more information, it’so nice to be able to do so, without scrolling through horrible comments left people whose only intention is to hurt. Hurrah for a positive place to leave a comment/ask a question without fear of being trolled.
    Loved the excited pitter patter of Winnie’s little feet as she raced to greet you after her sleepover.
    I have tried Pantene shampoos but really disliked them on my hair. Shampoo is a very individual choice. I am trying out a sulfate and paraben free shampoo called Kind Natured in ylang-ylang and sage, made from 97% natural ingredients,and I really like it.

  10. Hi Jen!! It’s me from Go Wild and Florida. Lol. Loved the You Tube video. I like how low the carbs were on the power bar. Good info for my husband’s snacks. I tried the s’mores Oreos based on your mention. Loved them. Just one pkg. ha ha. I have crazy curly frizzy hair so I’m always trying new products and techniques to tame it. Thanks for sharing all you do, and I’ve loved following your snap chat. I imagine it can at times feel intrusive and for that I’m sorry. I believe you’ve been so honest with your audience they just want more. Oops. Ha ha Happy August and CC now being 7 months. I’m sending my now 18 year old baby off to college in 2 weeks….don’t blink. I remember when he was hitting all the same milestones. Hugs to you.

  11. Love how Winnie just plopped herself right down, in frame and all! Like, yep, I know this routine! I have a much older Braun immersion blender that we received as a wedding gift, 23 years ago this month. Love it! We use it all the time. You can make the best homemade whipped cream with it in just seconds. One of our go to summer desserts with lots of fresh berries. Yum!

  12. I just watched your July 2016 favorites. Loved it!, going to try the Powercrunch Bars. I wanted to share with you a shampoo I found to be fantastic for my fine hair,Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose For Fine Hair, available at Ulta. Smells like roses (not overly rosey) but my hair feels very soft. I’ve been a Jen fan for a long time, sending big hugs.

  13. Thanks for recommending Episodes last month! I have been working through the series and I love it.

    I have seriously fine and limp hair as well…and I definitely agree about dry shampoo not working. I can’t do second day hair to save my life!

    1. Me neither and I tried for years. You gotta do what works for you! And I’m so glad you’re enjoying Episodes, too. Can’t wait for Season 5.

  14. Love my stick blender! I’ve worn several out and finally bought a vitamix for my smoothies. I think it was the frozen fruits and veggies that did them in 😉 but they are a great kitchen tool!!

  15. Hi Jen, I loved this months favourite! I am on the look out for new maxi dresses so I will have to check out their site. I also wanted to leave a link for a tutorial I saw on YouTube about recording your iPhone screen that looked pretty straightforward I am definitely in no way affiliated with her I just thought it might be helpful x

  16. Loved this video! August favorites will be here before we know it. I hope to see some Utah favs in there… (Maybe a milkshake or tea treat!) 😉

  17. Hi Jen! loved the video. I used the hand blender a lot to make baby food too.
    Have you tried the square bars? I get them at whole foods. My favorite one is the chocolate mint. Taste like dessert. 🙂

  18. Great video as usual. My fave as of late has been the sugar scrubs from Ulta. Shea butter is amazing on my dry skin. Loved seeing Winnie back in her spot 💕

  19. I LOVE my Birkenstock Arizona sandals, but am looking for something new and different. Thanks for posting about the Birkenstock Granada! I can’t wait to purchase a pair!

  20. I agree, July flew by! It’s hard to believe that my youngest moves into college in a couple weeks when I feel like she graduated just last week. Speaking of my youngest, she purchased the same Birks and loves them!Sounds like we have a similar body shape. I’m hourglass yet petite (5’4.25″) but I have a long torso. Sometimes it’s quite a challenge to find clothing.

  21. I love that your videos have the coordinating blog posts. Can’t wait to try out the new products.
    You look fabulous as always 🙂

  22. Hi. Love all your videos. I usually don’t comment but since tea and Target are two favorites I thought I would share.I have been addicted to having Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea from Target. It is made by Harney and Sons.Another tea I drink every night is called Serene Slumber by Lifestyle Awareness. It is a soothing Lavender tea. As I have gotten older my sleep has gotten lighter.(It definitely happened after having children.) This helps me fall asleep easier.This tea I order from Amazon.

  23. Thanks for the video, Jen! I may just have to pull out our immersion blender that’s been sitting in the box back in the cupboard for about 5 years. Ha ha!
    My favorite this month has been the Republic of Tea’s hibiscus sangria iced tea. Can’t make it fast enough! So delicious and refreshing. My husband said it’s the best iced tea he’s ever had. 😊 Have a wonderful August!

  24. I love your video’s and blog, I have followed you for a few years now and love how you and your family have grown… Great Job xx

  25. Hi Jen, thank you for sharing great tips. Thanks to you I have discovered many excellent products, unfortunately I do not live in US so you cannot get any commission from products I oder. Sometimes it is difficult to get them in Europe, but most of them I can find on Amazon UK or DE. Last but not least thank you for your videos, that often make my day. Wish you and your family all the best

  26. Hey Jen,
    I really want to order that Boden Maxi! I am 5 4′—How tall are you & did you order Petite or regular? Thanks!

      1. Thx:) I just watched the video that said your height;) Sometimes I can only read the post and don’t have time to watch till later:)

  27. Hi Jen, always love your favorites. I have fine hair like you and I’ve been using the Pantene ever since you mentioned it as one of your favorites and it works great.
    I usually don’t comment but you talked about PIIT and I’d love to see a fitness favorites video from you as well as a video review on the PIIT program. You are such a great inspiration for me to workout regularly. Please make these videos 🙂
    Also good on you for turning off the comments on Youtube. No one wants to read all the hater comments.
    All the best from Munich, Germany!

  28. Enjoyed the vlog. Do you and CC listen to children music together? My daughter when she was a baby we listen to music alot. She is 17 now loves music she is in her school marching band. She plays the trombone.

  29. I was just watching your 2013 Halloween decorating video, and I would love to see an updated version of your holiday decor now that you have the baby! Like, if you’ll be doing things differently now that she’s in the house and what it will look like. Hope you’re having a wonderful day!!

  30. Thanks Jen, Loved your favourites, especially the maxi dress. Plus you reminded me that I have a hand blender!

  31. Hello Jen,
    I’ve just ordered the maxi dress and I’m waiting for it to arrive. I’m tall so it’s great it comes in different lengths too. I’m just hoping it arrives quickly as we’re off to Italy in a few days. When my children were little I bought a lot of Boden clothing for them. The 50’s style dresses for little girls are adorable. Also their nightwear is super soft and washes well. I like your new Birkenstocks too. Best wishes to you, Don and CC. Helen.

  32. Hi Jen! First thing, please forgive me if I write something wrong. I’m from Brazil and found your YouTube channel loooking for Forma Backpack reviews (here we don’t have much from Skip Hop and a friend is bringing it to me in a few days). I felt in love for your blog and how organized you are! I spend lots of time this past weekend watching your videos and reading your posts. Plus, I love to notice that I understand almost everything you talk. It’s my pleasure way to practice my “listening”. I have to thank you for the love you put in all this things. All the best for you! 😊

  33. Just had to tell you what a stylist told me one time about Pantene. He said it is just about the worst product you can use! Something about it building up in your hair worse than anything else. It will weight your hair down and make it limp and lifeless. He tried getting it out of my hair…I forgot how many times he washed it and used something to get it out. But he said it just wouldn’t come out! (Over time it eventually did) He said of course it’s best to use salon quality products, but if you’re going to use cheap products, just use Suave!!! Just wanted to share that as a former Pantene user!

  34. Hi Jen! This is a totally random question. I’m a longtime subbie and remember years ago you used a specific brand and/or type of pillow to sleep on. I remember you would travel with it? What is the name/brand of pillow? I’m in desperate need of a new pillow to alleviate neck issues. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  35. Perhaps you could include a ‘Cookie of the month’ because those s’mores Oreo cookies from last month were just divine!

    1. We’re still enjoying the last few packages 😉

      The BEST cookies are homemade & fresh out of the oven, tho, right?

  36. Hi Jen! You can also get free music up to 1 year if you’re an Amazon Prime member. I use it daily! Also, try the cookies and cream power crunch bar it’s to die for!

  37. I really appreciate your videos. BOOM all I have to say! -Jamie:) well, I have more to say. My home and life is a little prettier and a little neater and even a little safer since I found u on YouTube a few years ago:) Just thought I would pop over and let ya know! My family gets bomb stocking at Christmas since I found ya and that’s truth. Ahhh the morning feels. Have a nice day:D (lol you got a “boom” and a “bomb” reading that back)

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