I needed to escape the city. That’s the only way to sum up July.

I found rest (and room to breathe) among trees and animals and (currently) mountains, so I took the opportunity to escape as much as I could throughout July. I hope you like trees and animals too, because you’ll see a lot of them here.

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Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Sophie is the first to greet me each morning when I stay with my friend/sister in my hometown. She either runs upstairs when she hears me open the door, or she wiggles over as soon as I walk downstairs.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

And visits to my hometown include lots of time spent with this little guy. He has quite the story. He was born on Good Friday and was doing well at first, but the next day he became really sick. They didn’t think he’d make it, but he pulled through and he’s doing so well today. As you can probably guess, he’s a little spitfire! And he’s the best. 💙 (My friend said when he first got sick she watched his mom lift up one of his ears and it flopped back down. 💔)

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

When she scratches him, he scratches his mama.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

No makeup, red-faced… this is such a glamorous picture of me. 😂 I was totally up for farm work while I was there, so I took the opportunity to clean stalls. I took a few of these shots and in one you can clearly see the wheelbarrow filled with horse poop behind me.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

After I cleaned stalls and my friend took the horses out for rides, we gave them baths. I sat down for a minute when she took the second back and he came running over and looked down at me, kinda like he was checking in on me.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

And then it was time for his bath, along with a sip of water.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Each night after a full day of work on the farm we sat down to watch a movie. We watched: Secretariat (loved this one), Aloha (thought this was so weird, but enjoyed it a lot and want to watch it again), and Hacksaw Ridge (really hard to watch, but amazing story).

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

On July 4th we pulled the canoe down and took it out to circle around the lake. And I’d like to point out that the middle picture shows that we initially put the canoe in the water correctly, however when we tried to figure out if we really had put it in right someone by the dock told us it should be the other way. So, we put it in the other way and… that wasn’t right. We literally paddled in circles around the lake, but we had a blast so that’s all that matters, right?

This is also the day my phone took a dip in the lake and I discovered that the iPhone 7 actually is somewhat waterproof. I mean, it wasn’t in the water long, but it took a quick swim and survived.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

No summer night is complete without s’mores.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Back in the city I finally got the tattoo I’ve been trying to get for months. Here he is telling me it’ll feel like a cat scratch.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

After I took the bandage off a friend asked what it looked like, so I snapped this and sent it off before I left my boss’s house. (My boss drove me and his wife went with me for moral support/picture-taking.)

She said I should write a blog post about my tattoo. I’m not sure if it’s really worth a blog post, since it’s so tiny, but let me know if you’d be interested. I also have a few ear piercings I’ve thought of writing a post about, so let me know if you’d be interested in that.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

She’s the best. Also, do you know how long I stood there trying to get her to look at me so that I could get a picture of my dog and my hibiscus?

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

There are a few birthdays in my family in July, so of course we celebrated those.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

My new favorite essential oil combo for diffusing. I’m working on a post on essential oils that I’m hoping to have up next week. I’m not a fanatic when it comes to oils, but I’ve been incorporating them into my daily routine more and more, so I wanted to talk about them from that perspective. Anyway, these two smell delicious. (PS – this is my diffuser and I absolutely love it!)

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

My dad and I went out for breakfast at Turtle Bread one morning. It was delicious and I highly recommend going if you’re in Minneapolis. It was one of the perks of spending a little bit of time in that city in July. (I was going to link to their website, but it wasn’t working when I pulled it up.)

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

My morning beverages: coffee, water, and a green smoothie.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

“Do I want to assist in the kitchen today or not?” – Little One

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

For a long time I felt stifled creatively, in part due to the environment I was in. My creative funk last year came from the realization that my creative pursuits were suffering because of it and that’s when I knew it was time to leave my job. I thought leaving would open up the creative gates and I’d be on a role with writing in no time. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to everyone else that it doesn’t work like that, and it was still hard to get back into writing. I’m really grateful that I had signed up for a writing class this summer, because it forced me to sit down weekly and write instead of avoiding it because of how hard it was. This was the day that I went to a coffee shop and wrote 1000 words for an assignment in about an hour. It felt like such an accomplishment, because until that day it had taken me at least a day to write the shortest assignment. And I had the desire to work on other projects I’ve had on the back-burner for far too long. Creative inspiration, it feels good to be friends with you again.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Homemade pizzas are the best pizzas. (Just don’t tell the pizza from June in Photos, because I love that one too!)

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

My city break was short-lived and my family gathered at my brother’s. I also had the chance to see one of my aunts and a cousin. I haven’t seen them for so long, so it was nice to catch up.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

It was also so nice to bring Little One along on this city break, even if she spent part of the night hiding out from my canine nephew, Tino. He wanted to play, but she wasn’t having any of it. I can’t say I blame her, he’s a jumpy puppy and she’s quite a bit smaller than him!

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

I saw some deer (mama and baby) while I was hanging out the deck, we had a nice night cap, and my sister-in-law gave me a tour of their property. It was a fun time!

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

And then it was back to see Miss Sophie and the horses, this time with my niece. She loves horses and had said that she’d enjoy a visit to see them.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

We met up with my childhood best friend and her children for swimming and dinner at Chili’s.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

My niece got to ride one of the horses and we took her out for lunch at Belts’, which is the best ice cream place ever.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Another perk to spending a little bit of time in Minneapolis: coffee at Misfit. Look them up if you visit Minneapolis and see where they are. This was the Cocoa’Matcha Latte, so espresso, matcha, and chocolate. And it was delicious.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

And then it was back to my hometown, where we had homemade ravioli. It was delicious.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

On the last day of the month we packed up some hay and some of the horses and went off on a little adventure.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

We brought along this little car essential oil diffuser. You basically put a few drops of oil on the felt pad and put the diffuser on a vent. I was skeptical when I first looked it up, but it actually works! I wouldn’t say you get a constant scent from it, like you would with a normal diffuser, but it was nice to have and when we turned on the car the next morning we could still smell the Lemongrass. Apparently these felt pads are washable, but this was the only time I’ve used it so far, so I haven’t tried washing it.

Trees and animals are good for the soul. July was filled with them. // dreams-etc.com

We stopped in Nebraska for the night at a place where we could board the horses in an actual pen and continued on our way the next day.

And the next day it was August, so this is where July ends.

What did you do in July? I’d love to hear and see pictures if you have any!