Summer Week 6: July Smiles


Hello blog friends! How are you? Hope all’s well with you. Come on in to my blog space, make yourself at home with a coffee or tea, hot or iced, and let’s chat.

Summer Week 6

Summer week 6, from July 26 to August 1 inclusive, was sunny and warm. The high temperatures ranged from 28C to 33C (82F to 91F). We had heat warning on Sunday and Monday, brief showers on Wednesday, and the rest of the week was beautiful.

I enjoyed plenty of outdoor time cycling and walking on the waterfront trail or in parks by the lake. The flowers in the gardens continue to be amazing. So many colours, shapes, textures, and lovely fragrance that keep bees and butterflies busy.

My new activity of the week was Stand Up Paddling (SUP). I did SUP for about three hours on Toronto islands with my small ‘social bubble’. We paddled and had so much fun. The water was calm and warm. I saw a great blue heron, dragonflies, Eastern kingbirds, pretty water lilies, idyllic sailboats, and more.


July Smiles

Since we’ve just finished July and are now at the beginning of August, I thought of summarizing my fun in July in simple numbers:

  • 1 stand up paddling trip
  • 2 movies (see titles below)
  • 4 blog posts
  • 6 digital concerts (see performers below)
  • 6 kayaking trips
  • 13 yoga sessions
  • 14 strengthening workouts
  • 15 books (see list below)
  • 24 cycling trips
  • 26 walks
  • 31 online French and Spanish sessions
  • 31 meditation sessions

The two movies were both based on true stories and great performances. I gave each movie 4 stars out of 5:

  • The Big Short (Christian Bale, Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling).
  • The Whole Wide World (Renée Zellweger and Vincent D’Onofrio).

The six concerts were performed beautifully by:

On the COVID-19 front, case numbers in Toronto have been on the downward trends so as of July 31, the City allows more businesses to re-open, now including indoor gyms, dine-in restaurants, and movie theatres that meet public health guidelines. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and people are advised to continue social distancing.

July Beach Reads

Glorious books and e-books! I was in the mood for reading and set a new personal best reading record in a month: 15 books. I enjoyed every single one of them, about half were e-books and the other half physical books. I re-read some of the chapters in each of the books. They were that good!

15 books read in July 2020

All of the authors were new to me, except Jenny Colgan and John Grisham. Although I read Neil Pasricha‘s articles and listened to him on TED Talks before, this was the first time I read one of his books. I’m glad to discover K.A. Tucker who lives in a small town outside of Toronto.

Most of the 15 books are contemporary romance, with adventures, suspense, or thriller twists. Most, not all, have happy endings. They transported me to faraway places such as Bora Bora, England, Israel, Italy, Scotland, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and various states in the USA.

I group the books into my Top 5 Picks, Next 5 Picks, and Last 5 Picks, based on how much I liked the story and the writing style. They are in alpha order by author’s last name below.

My Top 5 Picks:
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
  • Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
  • The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha.
  • The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker.
My Next 5 Picks:
  • The Place We Met by Isabelle Broom.
  • Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks.
  • Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman.
  • Burying Water by K. A. Tucker.
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker.
My Last 5 Picks:
  • The Cafe by The Sea by Jenny Colgan.
  • Gray Mountain by John Grisham.
  • The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo.
  • Be The Girl by K. A. Tucker.
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.


July was an enriching and fabulous month with fitness, family, friends, and fun while social distancing. I look forward to making the most of August.

How was your July? What are you reading? I’d love to hear your comments.

I link up here.

Copyright © 2020 – All rights reserved.

30 thoughts on “Summer Week 6: July Smiles

  1. Jill Weatherholt August 2, 2020 / 7:23 am

    It sounds like July was a great month, Natalie. The stand up paddling sounds like fun. Your photographs of the flowers are gorgeous…they make me smile. The month of July flew by in a blur. I’m looking forward to the month of August as that’s typically when our hummingbird action at the feeders gets crazy! Have a great week ahead.


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 8:58 am

      Hi Jill, I find stand up paddling fun and easier than kayaking. I love watching hummingbirds in action. You must be busy working and finishing your book in July for the August launch. I hope you have time for a summer break this month. Have a great week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill Weatherholt August 2, 2020 / 10:31 am

        Thanks, Natalie! That book is done…I have another due at the end of August. It’s a busy month! Your lovely photos help to ease the stress. ❤


        • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 10:35 am

          OMG, Jill, I’m in awe of your writing power. I can barely write up a weekly blog post. Glad I can help a tiny bit with my photos 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jill Weatherholt August 2, 2020 / 10:39 am

            LOL! You do a wonderful job with your blog posts. Writing happy endings help me to escape the craziness in the world. 🙂


  2. Joanne August 2, 2020 / 8:48 am

    I’ve been wanting to try stand up paddling but wasn’t sure I’d want to stand up the whole time we’re usually out kayaking.


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 9:03 am

      Joanne, No need to stand up the whole time. I alternated standing up with kneeling or sitting down paddling. When I want to relax, I just sit down on the board and let my feet hang on the sides of the board and dip them in the water.


  3. Retirement Reflections August 2, 2020 / 10:14 am

    Hi, Natalie – Your flower photography is stunning. You are very talented. Congratulations on a very full and active July. Your SUP sounds wonderful!


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 10:32 am

      OMG, Donna, you made me blush! I’m glad that you liked my flower photos. It’s the phone and luck with lighting, no talent there. SUP was fun and I love the Toronto islands.


  4. Gary A Wilson August 2, 2020 / 11:56 am

    Hi Natalie,

    Wow – what a list of accomplishments. I thought i had a great July until I read about yours.

    My story blog had it’s best month ever of folks reading my story collection and among them was my newest piece of fiction, which, at 3000 words, is also the longest essay in my collection to date. I’m trying to keep the word count down because it helps me write tight and not ramble.

    But I love the story that resulted. If you’re up for a complex and thoughtful tale with a multiple surprise endings, I’d love to hear your opinion of:

    To your question: what am I reading? I’m actually reading the 3rd novel of a series from one of the members of our coffee share group. Thomas Fenske is about to release volume 4 of his first series and so far they have been wonderful. Here’s the link to his Coffee Share for this week where you can begin to check him and his work out.

    I hope you continue this trajectory of experiencing so much of life around you. Oh, and yes, please continue to keep that camera handy. I love your photos.



    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 1:25 pm

      Congrats, Gary, on your newest piece of fiction and readership. Thanks for the links to your story and Thomas Fenske. So many stories or books to read and so little time. Have a good week ahead!


  5. Sagittarius Viking August 2, 2020 / 12:15 pm

    Such sweet beautiful summer photos. It made me smile reading about all the wonderful summer activities you’ve been enjoying! Wonderful!


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 1:32 pm

      Thank you, Maria, for your nice comment. Glad you liked my photos and that my post made you smile. Life is here for us to enjoy while it lasts so I try to make the most of it.


  6. Ally Bean August 2, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    Once again you did so much! Thanks for the movie suggestions. I don’t watch many movies, usually because I can’t find even one that sounds interesting. Your flower are perfectly July-ish.


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 1:38 pm

      Ally, sometimes I can’t find a movie that I want to watch either. I aim to watch 3 movies per month, and only watched two in July.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy August 2, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    Your July certainly sounds more productive than mine! I like your idea of cataloging the end of the month my counting up all you’ve done. I may try that for August. “Where the Crawdads Sing” was one of my favorite Book Club reads. Thanks for posting your other reads. It will give me some ideas of what to read next. Enjoy your week!


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 1:43 pm

      Nancy, keeping track of my numbers is super easy. Give it a go for August and see what happens. Hope you find some good reads. Have a wonderful week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lydia C. Lee August 2, 2020 / 5:17 pm

    I loved The Big Short. Great movie – tho a little depressing. We humans continually make a mess of things with our greed…


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 7:53 pm

      Yes, sometimes we need to see the bad and the ugly to love the good more.


  9. Jennifer Jones August 2, 2020 / 6:10 pm

    I love your summer photos Natalie. They cheer up a dreamers wintry day here


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 7:55 pm

      Glad you liked my photos, Jennifer. Summer is beautiful here. I take many photos as I know they’ll cheer me up when winter comes.


  10. dprastka August 2, 2020 / 6:25 pm

    What a beautiful butterfly! 🦋 and all your flower photos make me SMILE! 🙂 You had a busy, fulfilling month and it’s inspiring how you get so much out of your days. I’ve never done stand up paddling, sounds like FUN! Thank you for sharing July with us and I can’t believe it’s August! ❤️❤️❤️


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 7:58 pm

      Diana, I can’t believe it’s August either. I had a lot of fun with stand up paddling and love my time on Toronto islands.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jo August 2, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    A great wrap-up. I think I must be the only person on earth who hasn’t read Crawdads…I really must rectify that. Great images of nature and stand up paddling – I am impressed, that takes serious core strength!


    • Natalie August 2, 2020 / 8:03 pm

      I found stand up paddling easier than kayaking because I can stand up or sit down or kneel on the board and paddle. It’s not so easy to do those movements in a kayak while being in a lake. Both are fun. I’d love to know your thoughts after you read Crawdads.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Erica/Erika August 2, 2020 / 9:34 pm

    You likely hear this often, Natalie, how your posts are like a breath of fresh air. You had a fun event filled July. I recognize some of the books on your list and some are new to me. Lots around here this past July. I visited some of my family in the Lower Mainland, stayed outside on our lawn chairs and slept in our camper. It felt safe and good. Thank you for sharing an enjoyable post!


    • Natalie August 3, 2020 / 8:05 am

      Hi Erica/ Erika, Sounds like you had a very good July with family visits and time outside to relax. I’ve been meeting my sister outdoors and keeping my social bubble small while this covid-19 virus is still around. I hope you have a fun August with lots of light, love, and laughter.


  13. Sanch @ Sanch Writes August 3, 2020 / 1:44 am

    Sounds like a wonderful July Natalie! The weather looks amazing. I love SUP though I don’t do it often enough! Those are some great reads. I’ve been eyeing Beach Read on bookstagram a fair bit and have been hearing good things about it. Must get my hands on it! 15 books is epic! I thought I did well this month reading 11 🙂 Hope August is fantastic for you!


    • Natalie August 3, 2020 / 8:10 am

      Hi Sanch, The weather has been pretty good this summer so I spend a lot of time outside while keeping a safe distance from other people. I’ll go see your book list soon as I’m always on the lookout for good books to read. Have a wonderful week ahead!


  14. trentpmcd August 3, 2020 / 8:36 am

    Sounds like a great month! i hope your August is just as good 🙂


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