. monthly favourites – july 2014 .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on August 1, 2014

Is anyone else super excited over the fact that it’s finally August?! :D

I say finally because, as much as I enjoy summer, I’m not the biggest fan of July. Too hot, maybe? Too sunny? Too energetic? Whatever the case may be, I’m always happy to see August roll around because it means we’re one step closer to fall, which is by far my favourite season of the year. Seriously. I’m getting excited just thinking about the changing leaves, chunky sweaters, and comfort foods that I’ll be able to enjoy in a few months. Eeeee! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here… It’s only the first day of August, which means two things: 1) there’s still plenty of summer left for all your summer-lovers, and 2) it’s time to recap July –monthly favourites style…

July Favourites

Food-Faves

I’m not even going to try to beat around the bush here — July was all about the cereal

Cereal Collage

I tried, you guys… I really did. I managed to cage the cereal monster for a little while, but all it took was one trip to Vegas [where I had no access to hotel room coffee maker oatmeal] to unleash the beast. Since then, I’ve been enjoying cereal daily… usually multiple times.

What can I say? I’ve pretty much given up trying to fight it at this point. I try to stick to whole grain cereals without too much added sugar, and I actually find that they make really satisfying snacks, and even meals, when prepped right (read: loaded with add-ins). Some current favourites include:

Cereal Collection

One Degree Veganic Sprouted Brown Rice Cereal – Like a healthier version of Rice Krispies. I love the simple ingredients label ( just brown rice, coconut palm sugar, salt, and vitamin E), and that the company takes so much care in the sourcing of it’s ingredients.

Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Crunch – Like a slightly healthier version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Sugar is sugar, but this cereal is good for my soul.

Barbara’s Morning Oat Crunch – Like a slightly healthier version of Quaker Oat Squares (are we noticing a trend here?). Love the crunch of these and the slight hint of molasses.

Kashi Cinnamon Harvest – Like a slightly healthier version of Mini Wheats :lol: Love the simple ingredients (just whole grain wheat, cane juice, cinnamon, and natural flavours), and the texture of these guys. So perfect with milk.

Okay, so every one of these cereals are “slightly healthier versions” of some of my favourite classics, but if you take a look at the ingredients label of those classics, most of them contain artificial flavours and preservatives — not really something I want to be putting in my body if I can avoid it… which I can with these subs.

As for blog recipes… I’ve gotta say that I kind of surprised myself. I tend to get a little lax with blogging in the summer so I didn’t think I’d manage to bust out as many recipes this month, but lo and behold… I still ended the month with a pretty decent sized collection!

Cookies-n-Cream-Cheesecake-Dip

Lightened Up Cheesecake Dip {Two Ways}

Banana-Bread-Mug-Cake

Banana Bread Mug Cake

Almond-Butter-Protein-Granola6

Vanilla Almond Butter Protein Granola

Almond-Joy-Oatmeal-Cookies

Almond Joy Oatmeal Cookies

Blueberry-Muffin-Breakfast-Bake4

Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Bake

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Bars
Cocoa Banana Nut Popsicles 
 

Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bars || Cocoa Banana Nut Popsicles || for Savory Style.

Beauty-Faves

I’ve only got a couple of beauty products to share with you guys this month, but they’re ones that I basically haven’t been able to live without over the past 31 days.

First up, Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails nail strengthener…

Hard As Nails

I mentioned this in my Currently post at the beginning of July, and it’s pretty much been on my nails for 90% of the month.

I’ll admit that I was super skeptical when I first picked it up about this one and didn’t expect much, but the price was right so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. You guys… it’s done wonders for my nails. I wouldn’t say that I had bad nails to begin with, but this has made them so much stronger and less likely to chip or break. Plus I feel like my nails have started growing a lot faster too. Definitely worth picking up! And as an added bonus, it’s clear so you don’t have to worry about annoying chips. A huge shoutout to Meghan for recommending this to me!

Next up, Batiste dry shampoo in Dark and Deep Brown

Batiste Dry Shampoo

I use dry shampoo on pretty much a daily basis, even when my hair is clean. The reason being that I have really fine hair, and I find that dry shampoo gives me a little more texture and volume without weighing my hair down. Winning! The only thing I’m not a fan of is the fact that it can often leave a white cast on my dark brown hair, making it look a little on the dull side. Not the case with this one! It has a hint of colour and comes out brown instead of white, giving me the volume/freshness I want without the grey.

Odd-Faves

If you’ve been reading Spoons for at least a couple of weeks, this next one shouldn’t come as a surprise…

Under the Never Sky

The Under the Never Sky series — I’m obsessed.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

It took me a while to get into the first book since it kind of had a sci-fi feel to it, but once I did, I was hooked big time — so much so that I ended up running out to the bookstore at 9:30 PM on a few occasions just to pick up the next book in the series. What did I like about it… let’s see.

First and foremost, the characters — I adore Aria and Perry (as well as basically every other character in the book). Both are complex and experience a considerable amount of growth as the story progresses. Aria starts out as a sheltered, naive girl who turns into a complete badass as a result of a need to survive in a world where there are “a million ways to die.” Perry has a rough and stand-offish exterior at first, but is revealed to have one of the biggest and most compassionate hearts. And their relationship? Gah! Tugged at my heartstrings big time… mostly because of how they were constantly being tested and torn apart as a result of struggling with a selfish desire to be with one another, versus doing what’s “right” and what’s best for everyone. Shivers.

Second, I love how the book is written. It’s told from two different point of views, with each chapter going back and forth between Aria and Perry — kind of like in Allegiant. The thing that makes it different from Allegiant, and what actually makes it work, is that it’s told from a third person perspective, so you never feel like you’re getting lost trying to figure out whose head you’re in. The writing focuses on what’s going on around the characters rather than what they’re thinking/feeling, yet still manages to truly make you feel for them…

The  plot was fast-paced and interesting, there were a lot of twists and turns along the way, and the books made for an overall easy and relaxing read. I loved this series, and I’m honestly considering reading it again to see if I can pick up any small details that I may have missed the first time around.

Blog-Faves

Bellagio Fountains
Grand Canyon Skywalk

Despite the fact that I kind of went into lazy-summer-time-mode with the blog this month, July was actually a really great month for Spoons…

Here’s to an awesome August! :D

Signature

Tell me at least one awesome thing that happened in July!
Do you have a weakness for cereal? What’s your favourite kind?
Did you read any good books in July?

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiff @ Love, Sweat, & Beers August 1, 2014 at 6:20 am

I still want (no, neeeeed) to try that banana mug cake. By the time I finally restocked my banana supply, I was out of chocolate chips. Yeah, I guess I could make it without them… but…. no. ;) Happy Friday!
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2 Michele @ paleorunningmomma August 1, 2014 at 6:22 am

I feel exactly the same about August versus July. There’s something exciting about knowing fall is just around the corner! July just feels like dead heat to me, and “stuck” in the middle of summer. I’m not a hot weather girl!

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3 Khushboo August 1, 2014 at 6:35 am

July was a great month for you, girlie- here’s hoping August is even better! Totally jealous of your ceral stash! As boring as it sounds, my favorite cereal is bran flakes. I also have a weakness for Cinnamon Toast Crunch…especially the milk at the end! I am currently reading a book called Defending Jacob which is based on a murder trial. I am halfway through and loving it so far- very gripping!
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4 Annabella August 1, 2014 at 6:48 am

I have been trying to find a healthier replacement for my beloved Quaker oatmeal squares. Now I have to get my hands on some Barbara’s morning oat crunch. Thanks for the recommendation!!! Hope some day there will be a healthy replacement of honey bunches of oats :P
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5 Megan (The Lyons' Share) August 1, 2014 at 6:50 am

Congrats on a good month – YAY! Don’t even get me started on cereal … it is totally my kryptonite. I just love it soooo much and could eat it 24/7. I have also given up on trying to tame it, I just go for “healthier” versions like you :)
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6 Ella August 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

Awesome: Been riding more than ever and getting out to the barn 4x per week <3
Cereal: I've never liked cereal… granola (purely elizabeth or homemade) is my fave!
Books: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is the best book I've read in a LONG time!
I'm going to have to look in to that dry shampoo… sounds like a winner
http://www.youtube.com/sparklesandsuch26
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7 meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles August 1, 2014 at 7:01 am

I got myself back into reading and loved the book I read! Four Friend by Robyn Carr. Highly recommend. Now I need another book….I am not into cereal. Don’t hate me, I just don’t crave it like I used to.
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8 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables August 1, 2014 at 7:02 am

I need to get those books… I’m due for a new one! :) I just read Perfect..On Paper. Totally mindless and so so good!
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9 charlotte August 1, 2014 at 7:15 am

Wow congrats on all those Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins recipe repinning!!! thats amazing!! yay im happy :) july was good for me bc i took a trip out to california, and also im back in the blog world. I love it here, so im happy to be back :)
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10 Alysia @ Slim Sanity August 1, 2014 at 7:26 am

I do love cereal, but its usually more of a dessert for me!
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11 Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious August 1, 2014 at 7:46 am

I’m so excited it’s August. It means cooker weather is on the way! 115 is too hot. One good thing from July was seeing my Mom. Now hoping August will bring me back my fitness level and pre injury body.
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12 Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne August 1, 2014 at 7:52 am

I completely forgot about that blueberry breakfast muffin!! I probably have it pinned somewhere haha so I need to go look for it and finally try it out!
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13 Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness August 1, 2014 at 8:51 am

I’m so happy it is August too!! My birthday is in October so I can’t wait for the Fall season! Hahaha. Definitely summer was a cooking and baking season for you!! Bring on the yummy goodness!! I tried your blueberry muffins and they were over the moon. I experimented with different flavours i.e. strawberries, banana, peach, dates, etc!!
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14 Casey @ Casey the College Celiac August 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

This was a beyond tasty month in your blog! I still need to try your mug cakes – coming to my kitchen soon! This month has been pretty awesome. I visited (and am still visiting) family in Texas, which is pretty sweet (especially considering all the gluten free bakeries that I’ve found splattered around). As for cereal…not a huge fan unless I’m putting it in granola or on top of a smoothie. Then its THE BOMB!!
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15 Caitlin August 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

Aiiii I can’t wait till I’m done with my library books to get to these!! Sound sooo good and right up my alley as I wait for the last of our other favorite trilogy to come out :) I’m a cereal fiend, too, and have been on a kick of mixing cornflakes with something sweeter, which keeps my tummy a lot happier. Sugar overload has not gone well recently :(
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16 Hollie August 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

You had a ton of good recipes this month. I’m loving your blueberry oatmeal recipes. The photos are so pretty.

I always enjoy your beauty posts. They are super helpful. I haven’t tried the Sally Hanson strengthening stuff. I might have too!
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17 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

I go back and forth on cereal – sometimes I’m all over it, sometimes I could care less. Right now I’m loving it in my cottage cheese or yogurt bowls every night – I’ve got All Bran squares right now, but I’m craving some Mini Wheats.
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18 Erin @ The Almond Eater August 1, 2014 at 9:55 am

53k times?! Dannnnng girl–that’s awesome. I’m also excited for August and moving into my apartment and yeah.. a little part of me is excited for fall too :D
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19 Jordan @ The Blonde Vegan August 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

Yayyy, I love fall too and I so love that it’s right around the corner! I am so glad that you did this recap post, because I had a wild July and didn’t have a ton of blog-reading time on my plate. Now I have an excuse to go back and stalk all of your July recipes (umm, can you say banana bread mug cake?!?!). And I have been kind of a cereal fiend too… I think it has something to do with the summer and it being a tiny bit too hot for oats every morning!

Xox
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20 Cassie August 1, 2014 at 10:52 am

BATISTE IS MY FAVORITE. I use it every day. I got a blowout last Friday and she put in enough product to give my hair volume… except my hair has gotten insanely thick randomly in the past few months. I blame it on all the nut butter/salmon I eat! I was my hair once a week too, so that’s also why I love it haha.

I guess my trips to Portland were the best things to happen this month :) Also I read the Rum Diary and LOVED it! Now I’m reading the White Girl Problems sequel, Psychos lol.
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21 Davida @ The Healthy Maven August 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I immediately thought of you Cass when I saw Batiste ;)
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22 Jen @ pretty little grub August 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

July was a great month all around for me. And I LOVE the heat, so I don’t like seeing July come to an end. You had a great month of recipes, I want to make ALL of them!
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23 Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food August 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I just powered through the Hunger Games series in 4 days and loved it. It took me long enough to finally read them! I need to check your book out because now I’m itching to start a new one.
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24 Kat August 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Ive been without cereal for a while now, simply because I have ZERO self control around the stuff!! I mean I can literally have bowls of the stuff without a second thought. I miss it though…I’m thinking of hitting up Costco soon, because I get Kasha SO cheap there!
And your recipes were ON POINT this month girl!! Ive been waiting till I can have a get together or party to make that cheesecake dip. I’m thinking strawberries and graham crackers will make the perfect dippers :)
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25 Jess August 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I’m obsessed with your cheesecake dip recipe. I’ve been making it for breakfast and adding ground flax and blueberries.
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26 Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health August 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm

You have been on a roll with the recipes lately! So much goodness going on over here. Especially those banana oat greek yogurt muffins! ;)

I really like the Veganic rice cereal too. I love using it for energy balls with almond butter- yum!
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27 lindsay August 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

remind me to NEVER read you blog at 3pm.. when all i want is EVERYTHING you ever made!
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28 Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift August 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I’m not a huge cereal person, but I loooove grain salads. Could eat them (literally) all day. That banana mug cake caught my eye, though, and I may have to give that a shot!

Best book I’ve been reading is “Damn Few,” written by a retired Navy SEAL about the SEAL training program. Fascinating and inspiring!

Have a wonderful weekend! :)
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29 She Rocks Fitness August 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I just finished “The Circle” and it was disturbing, because it could happen in today’s society, which freaked me out…I started reading “Serena” which is supposed to be a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper…so far so good. :) I cannot remember the last time I had cereal…HAHA!
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30 Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy August 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I think your cookies and cream cheesecake dip is by far the best thing you’ve created this month!

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31 Yalanda @ Laugh Anyway August 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I’m loving this list! Especially the cereal. It’s about $7-10 a box now that I’ve moved so my cravings haven’t fully won over quite yet! And I know the feeling about needing the next book in the series. I’ve made a late night run to a neighboring town’s library to do just that!
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32 ellie @ fit for the soul August 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm

What an eventful month, girlie! And I seriously felt like, “Whattt??? How is lightened up cheesecake dip posible?!” It sounds so amazing and the cookie crumbs make it extra inviting….0_0 Ummm yep.

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33 Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily August 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Fall is my most favorite time of year as well, I can’t wait!!! And as a mom, August means only 1 more month until school starts. WOOHOOO!!!!!
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34 Chelsea August 1, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I am totally feeling you on being over July…
We’ve had a few crisp mornings this week and I can just taste fall!!!! :) :)
Also. I have a dry shampoo addiction, thanks to you ;)

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35 Arman @ thebigmansworld August 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

I legit went looking for cinnamon flavoured cereal today…no need to state the obvious that we have NOTHING. (Just like everything else in life).

You’ve had a killer month and I shall take credit for it. Because. Yes.
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36 Ginette @ Half To Be Happy August 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I have a weakness for cinnamon toast crunch too…

Best thing that happened in July was starting my half marathon training!
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37 JenB August 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I’ll have to check out the nail polish, still (always) attempting to grow my nails out.

Did you know there are two novellas that go along with the “Under The Never Sky” series? I think they are only available in digital format (I know you are still a physical book gal) … “Roar and Liv” which is considered “book .5″ as it actually happens before the first book, and then “Brooke” which is installment 2.5 … so anyway, just thought I’d mention them if you were interested. They are $2.99 for Kindle on Amazon, but I was lucky enough to snag them from my library (I love it when they carry these little novellas, as I’m never sure if I want to pay for them as they are short!)
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38 Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate August 1, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I love the one degree! I just recently discovered it (the chocolate one) and I’m in love.
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39 Kim @ FITsique August 2, 2014 at 5:56 am

Woohoo, you did have a great month! I am dreading that its August…whomp whomp. For me August means back to the books in a few short weeks when classes start and that’s never something to look forward to! I live for the few months that I can be stress free and happy!
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40 Tarah @ Seeds of Clarity August 2, 2014 at 7:09 am

So many great things with this post!! Going to have to hunt down that dark brown dry shampoo… I just finished Sharp Objects and it was such an easy read! I loved it. One cereal that I have been loving is Crunchy Flax cereal by Enjoy Life foods… its an excellent smoothie and yogurt topper, just the perfect crunch!

Have a fab weekend :)

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41 Laur August 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

One awesome thing in July… Hmm. Probably the two weeks my parents were away on vacation and I had the house to myself. LOL I missed my mom dearly, but it was so nice. I tend to have a weakness for ALL things, since I have an addictive sort of mind (which gets me in trouble). The best cereal (in my opinion) is Kashi Go Lean Crunch! I know you’ve said before, though, it isn’t one of your favorites.
I’ve been reading trashy magazines and beginning to study for the Actuarial Exams (yikes), but The Vacationers and Landline are on my radar for future books!

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42 Christine@ Apple of My Eye August 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

I’m the opposite. One step closer to Fall? No thank you! I’m a summer girl through and through haha. Then again, California doesn’t really have seasons :shock: . Have you ever tried Honey Bunches of Oats? Definitely my fav cereal by far <3. Also, so many great recipes from you this month! And the photography is gorgeous, like always.

Also, SO great about your muffins. I have to admit I'm a little jealous ;).

Have a great weekend, lovely!
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43 Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets August 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I am thrilled August is here, most likely because July melted into a pool of misery for me, and I’m so past ready for a fresh start. August here we come.

Hooray for Sally Hansen’s. I love that product (and the price tag) and use it pretty much all the time on my nails, which I think look pretty fabulous as a result. Thanks for the cred; very sweet of you.

Congratulations on the Pinterest and Buzzfeed stuff. That’s awesome and very much well deserved!!

Hope you’re enjoying your camping. :)

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44 Kelsey @ Ramblings of Change August 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I LOVE that dry shampoo – so amazing. And the dark color is awesome! Best thing about July was a lot of weekends off. I attended a beautiful wedding, celebrated my best friend’s bebe that is due in September, spent a few days in the Twin Cities, and even had a weekend with no plans! It was amazing!
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45 Lucie@FitSwissChick August 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm

My weekend spent in the Swiss Alps was probably my highlight in July….wait, no, moving in my new appartment!! I mean. moving sucked, but getting settled was wonderful.

You definitely hit the spot with so many delicious recipes in July. I wish I could fly over and taste test ALL of them while having endless chats with you love.
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