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July Highlights

Sunday, July 29, 2018
The end of my birthday month is almost here and the theme of the month has definitely been celebration! My birthday, my sister's birthday and two great friends' birthdays all happen this month, not to mention the pseudo-birthday (I guess?) of the whole dang country. Between all those milestones and a few other annual get-togethers, I've seen a whole lot of my friends and family -- enough to make it feel like winter holiday season in the middle of July. Let's start from the very beginning...

fourth of july independence day grilling vegetable kebobs tadiq jujeh kabab marinated tofu chicken veggie

First up, 4th of July festivities. Usually I spend this holiday with friends, but in some weirdly unspoken coincidence, we all opted to spend the day with our families instead. This year John, my sister, my brother-in-law and I headed to my parents house just outside of the city. We made tadig and jujeh kabab (tofu for us, chicken for everyone else), tons of grilled vegetables, zucchini brownies (I can't stop making them after talking about them here), and homemade peach ice cream. We capped the night off by watching fireworks from the top of a hill overlooking the entire city skyline. It was a very relaxing and restorative mid-week break.

children zoo lincoln tortoise brass brews at the zoo sculpture fun

Next we headed to the annual Brew at the Zoo event the local children's zoo hosts. My friends and I have been going for the last 4 years and it's always a fun time. We see animals, we try to avoid the inevitably less-than-good local cover band that plays and somehow one of us always ends up inside the brass tortoise. We extended the festivities this year beyond the 11pm event end time -- which is miraculous for us old people -- and ended up at a very small-town-aesthetic dive bar with incredibly cheap beers and some woman named Misty's (wearing a party hat, naturally) 50th birthday celebration. We took over the TouchTunes, forced everyone to listen to some 90s hiphop and then headed to the 24 hour Hi-way Diner next door to relive our high school hangout days. After some grilled cheese and fries and a very tipsy Uber home, we all vowed to never drink again.

Cut to the next day, John and I headed to Omaha for another annual 4th of July party that some college friends always throw. This year they're pregnant so it morphed into a diaper keg. I managed to stomach exactly one beer from one of my best friends that was back visiting from Wisconsin and brought some local brews with her. It was great to see people I hadn't seen in about a year, and even better to see my friend that was visiting. My stomach also thanked me for remaining sober at a party that's notoriously been a little rambunctious.

birthday celebration party food grill vegetables veggie kabob burger feast picnic outdoor deck

cucumber garden lemonade vodka drink juice dispenser jug summer alcohol

peaches grilled case baskeball pump birthday table celebration
A totally normal birthday party scene, right?
zucchini brownie cake frosting sprinkles jimmies birthday celebration

The next weekend began some joint birthday festivities. My long-time friend turned 30 two days before, my birthday was up next and then two more of us are turning 30 in August as well. When we all get together it's guaranteed there will be more food and drink than one group needs. This time we had homemade veggie burgers, burgers for the meat eaters, grilled veggies and and peaches, chips, guacamole, cheese, cherries, more zucchini brownies (I told you I had a problem) and a whole lot of homemade cucumber vodka lemonade. Even after stuffing ourselves with food we still managed to play badminton in the backyard and then walk to a nearby park and play Horse like we were 12 again. I am not good at basketball. One of my friends played on 7 teams in one season when we were kids. Spoiler alert: I lost.

joslyn art museum omaha deco building marble 1930s

modern love omaha restaurant menu vegan vegetarian food

modern love bowl mac and shews vegan empty omaha
Ate my mac and shews so fast I forgot to even take a picture
saddle creek breakfast club omaha brunch vegan banana bread french toast preserves syrup fruit strawberry

This weekend there have been even more birthday celebrations. I had dinner with my family to celebrate mine and my sister's birthdays. It was a low-key affair, but as always when I hang out at my parents' house, there was a ton of great homemade food. The next day John treated me to a little staycation in Omaha for my birthday. We visited the Joslyn Art Museum in the morning, grabbed bubble tea and wandered the shops at Midtown (Hutch was adorable) and then grabbed donuts at Bob's before I headed to a bridal shower at Corkscrew Wine & Cheese for a bit. After I was done stuffing my face with truffle oil popcorn, we checked into Hotel Deco for the night, rested up some and then had an amazing dinner at Modern Love. John had some mushroom stroganoff while I had the mac & shews and a blueberry basil sangria. We finished it off with some lemon strawberry shortcake with coconut whipped topping. 100% will be returning again, probably many, many times! The next morning we started off the day at Saddle Creek Breakfast Club where we had some amazing banana bread french toast, tofu and jackfruit rancheros and hashbrowns. The rest of the afternoon was chocked full of shopping -- basically moving our way from downtown Omaha back towards Lincoln with lots of stops along the way. We're finally home now and boy does it feel great to sit down.

All these celebrations have been great, but they've also left me a little short on me-time. One thing I've done this month to try to claim back a little time is to ditch the snooze button in the morning and replace those 15 minutes of half-sleep with some light morning yoga and meditation. It's made it a thousand times easier to get up in the morning and I actually feel like my morning routine isn't all about rushing out the door, but rather starting my day off in a centered and calm manner. We've even started making oatmeal each morning and sitting out on the front porch while we eat. Such a relaxing way to start each day!

After this busy, busy (but still very enjoyable) month I'm looking forward to a slower, lazier August. I hope everyone had a great month as well!
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