Tag Archives: summer

Summertime: Action, Adventure, Amazement!

9 Jun

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I tend to spend a lot of my time planning out the future, maybe it’s the Capricorn in me. Conveniently enough, it’s summer, the time for big dreams and huge plans.  After all, I spend months brainstorming summer plans (just look at my most popular post today, Mid-Summer Check-Up)!

Moving around and seeing new things inspire me: they feed my ambitions, drive my writing hand and push me to do and see more.

What I’m Seeing…

+Northern California! I’m going to Suisun City for a family reunion and I am SUPER excited – I’ve never been to California before. I look forward to basking in the sunshine, frolicking on the beach and touring the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factory. Don’t ask which one I expect enjoy the most.

+Orlando, Florida – Where I’m going act a touristy mess. (I have my limits though. No fannypacks.) I’m going with my family to Orlando. I would love to go to Disney World, but it’s expensive, especially if you want to see all of the parks. (though if I were to have to go to ONE, which one does everyone suggest? Just in case.) I am, however, going to Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Expect copious amounts of butterbeer, which probably isn’t the best plan, considering I love rollercoasters.

+Seeing the Savage Beauty exhibit in NYC. I have never been this excited for an exhibition in my life. It is totally worth an eight-hour pilgrimage. Plus, I’ve never been to the Met before. Of course, being me, I am already searching Yelp for where I plan on eating.

+The Hesselbein Leadership Summit – Frances Hesselbein is a force of nature. I can’t wait to bask in her knowledge and meet amazing, driven people from the around the world. Pittsburgh, here I come…back?

What I [should be – will be] Doing…

I want to do a ton of things. I haven’t ever written these down, but the inimitable Alexandra Franzen inspired me with her strong words and naked ambition. So why not?

+I want to be a renaissance woman, with skills in all kinds of trades, from scuba, to sewing, to kung-fu to cooking.

+I want to surround myself with electric, fantastic, brilliant people.

+I want to luxuriate in romance, passion, cuddling and great sex

+I want to continue pushing my body to its limits – more running, jumping and climbing.

+I want to continue trying new things, even things as simple as jumping into dancing water or riding a bicycle in a dress

+I want to connect to The Source – by remaining humble, mindful and meditative.

 

 

What do you want to accomplish this summer?

xoxo, Tara

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Mid-Summer Check-Up – 42 Fun Activities to Give Your Vacation a Boost

7 Jun

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So! For all of you that are school-aged and on your summer vacation, we’re partway through! Depending on where you attend school, your summer may actually be just starting. For those of us who have been on break, are you still amped for summer or is the enthusiasm starting to die down? Are you still chock full of ideas or are you finding yourself spending your days vegging on the couch watching awful daytime television? For the people who are just starting their vacation, do you have anything planned or have you only gotten as far as “get a job”, “sleep in” and “ice cream for breakfast”? Here are over 40 ideas to help you get started or keep your summer going strong!

Simple Fun

♥ Have a picnic – fresh fruit is in season! Get some sparkling cider, get some fruit and lay out in the sunshine on a checkered blanket. Cheese, egg sandwiches and the like are purely optional!

♥ Get a bottle of bubbles from a dollar store and make rainbows!

♥ Find a children’s playground and indulge yourself on the swings (& monkey bars could be a great arm workout – just sayin’)

♥ Get some soda pop, bubble gum and a stack of two dollar comic books.

♥ Have a fashion show with some of your closest friends – and document it with photos!

♥ Flirt with someone – same-sex, opposite sex, ten years older, whatever. It’s all good, (somewhat) clean fun.

♥ Get some sexy underwear – I am partial to Frederick’s, personally – and spend some quality alone time with yourself. Bonus points if you indulge in decadent lotion and other forms of self-pampering.

♥ Get a squirt gun – perfect for sudden cool downs or an impromptu water fight

♥ Zone out with a sleep mask and a pair of headphones

♥ Pick a bright, summery color and paint your fingers and toes

Be Creative

♥ Go to your local video store and check out a movie you’ve never seen – maybe in a different language. Watch it and dissect it like a snooty critic.

♥ Make morning smoothies, tailoring a personalized recipe for whatever health issue you may have.

♥ Make a mix CD filled with songs from your childhood – for me, it would be *NSYNC, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, Robyn, B*Witched, S Club 7 and the like. Make yourself some childhood snacks (PB&J and Kool-Aid, anyone?) and savor your youth.

♥ Purchase a basket of hanging flowers and work at keeping them flourishing and happy

♥ Take a pair of ill-fitting jeans and turn them into shorts

♥ Check a cookbook or crafting book out of the library and try something out

Get Out

♥ Find the neighborhood swimming pool and take a dip

♥ Take a walk in the park – bonus points if you leave your iPod at home and take in nature’s soundtrack

♥ Practice guerrilla gardening and spruce up your local pavement

♥ Find a museum you’ve never been to, even if you aren’t necessarily interested in the subject. Many of them have discount days!

♥ Look out for the tourist attractions in your very own city – you never know what to do in your own backyard

♥ Stop by a flea market and buy jangly bracelets, gigantic rings and statement necklaces.

♥ Make some lemonade and spread out in a pair of cute underwear under a strong fan

♥ Relax with a tall glass of ice water (with lime or lemon on the side) and a great book

♥ Throw yourself a personal party to celebrate your radiance and fabulousness. Make yourself a card and/or a cake. Get candles too! Maybe even a present!

♥ Gather up some friends, buy a map and get your show on the road

Help Out

♥ Clean out your closet and sell your clothing on Ebay or at the local consignment store. If it doesn’t sell, donate it to the local Goodwill.

♥ Help the elderly with basic chores and learning basic skills.

♥ Offer your services on Craigslist or freelance gigs

♥ Carpool with a friend and save on the gas!

♥ Skip the gym membership and take a run outside – make sure to have the proper sun precautions though!

♥ Volunteer at your local library and help children read

♥ Make a heightened commitment to going green

Learn Something New

♥ Take a short-term class at the local community college and learn a skill

♥ Visit videojug and learn skills like sewing, makeup application, home upkeep and gardening

♥ Learn to do a cartwheel, handstand or a split! (All of those are on my personal list)

♥ Plant some vegetables and foster a greater appreciation for where your foods come from

♥ Take an art class – I took a pottery wheel class and it was incredibly fun

♥ Learn the dance from your favorite music video. (Bad Romance, maybe?)

♥ Make some choices that put you out of your comfort zone, like a zany haircut, a new experience or different food

♥ Learn how to spell your name in a different script

♥ Attend a cultural event for a culture you are at least somewhat unfamiliar with and learn something new

Do you have any ideas? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo,

Tara

ps – don’t forget to nominate me for a Black Weblog Award. For more info, click here.

I’m Walking on Sunshine – How to Get Ready for the Summer!

5 May

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Even though summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, the warming spring weather is providing plenty of clues for what’s to come. For those of us who are still in school (or work for a school), summer vacation is either already here or coming soon! While all the seasons have their positive traits, I adore summer due to the fantastic weather and the ability to kick back and relax. Even if you don’t have an official summer vacation, you can still enjoy many of the benefits of the season – and here’s how!

Get Your Supplies

Even though there is a tendency to rush into summer head-first – I can still pleasantly remember how giddy I was in elementary school as I rode that yellow bus back home on the last day of school – freeze! There are some things you need first, before you immerse yourself in summer madness.

Sunblock – Essential, essential, and did I say essential? Everyone needs sunblock, regardless of age, race, ethnicity and what have you. While it’s recommended that you wear sunscreen on a daily basis (the sun doesn’t leave in the winter, although it may feel like it), the harsh UV rays present in the summer make sunblock especially important. (Note that this is not the same as sunscreen, which is more opaque and less effective) Studies have shown that the most effective way to use sunblock is to apply it 15-20 minutes before expected sun exposure, and to re-apply 15-20 minutes after. If you plan to stay outside for a while, re-apply two hours later. Afterwards, re-application is only necessary in cases such as heavy perspiration, swimming and rubbing/wiping. Also, make sure you use enough! The FDA advises that the average adult female (someone five foot four) uses about an ounce of sunblock on her body. Using less can cut sunblock effectiveness, so don’t skimp! It expires after a couple of years, anyway.

Drinking water – Don’t let yourself fall victim to dehydration! Most studies show that adults need about one to two liters of water daily to avoid dehydration, but you should plan to drink more if you are exercising or in an especially humid climate. To avoid using wasteful plastic water bottles, invest in a reusable water bottle. I have a Vapur and have also used a Nalgene with great results, but if you shop around, you can definitely find one that fits your size, design and budget preferences. While these bottles are more expensive initially than that disposable bottle, they’ll quickly pay for themselves depending on how often you normally drank bottled water.

Cover-ups – Make sure to get a chic pair of sunglasses and a nice hat to limit sun exposure, especially during the peak hours in the early to mid-afternoon. Sport a bucket hat only if necessary.

Plan it Out! (in moderation)

I am a compulsive planner sometimes. I like to think things out well in advance. While I haven’t gotten to the point of micro-managing my entire summer yet, it’s threatened to get there sometimes. Rather than doing that, keep in mind a list of things you wanted to do over the summer. One thing I’ve learned is to try to get a bit specific, so when you look to it for suggestions, you have a clear set of options in front of you. Unless it’s what you truly wanted, no one likes to be the person spending their summer days vegging in front of the TV or on the computer. The weather is a perfect opportunity to go outside and enjoy yourself, especially if you have a day job and your time is limited. Exceptions made for rain and movie dates.

Examples:

Day (or longer) trips: Are there any nearby sites you wanted to see in person? Any tourist spots that you think would be fun? I know for me, there are a few museums I’m trying to see again, as well as taking a trip to the Inner Harbor to visit the National Aquarium. If you’re stuck, try the hospitality website for your local city or township  – not only do they have the interesting spots to visit, but they can also keep you up to date on concerts, fairs, festivals and other short-term events that could be happening in your area. You never know what kinds of cool places could be in your hometown or close by. Best of all, many of these things (especially events) are often cheap or free.

Upkeep: Are you finally going to organize your bedroom? Clean out that closet? Rearrange some furniture? Awesome! Put that on your summer list. This, more than anything, is best served if you break it down into specific parts. Rather than say, “clean up my closet” – because let’s face it, that’s really vague – maybe start with, “Sort my clothing: Keep, Donate or Throw Out”.

Self Improvement: Summer is a great time to practice skills you are rusty on or would like to learn. Hopefully during this time I can finally learn how to knit and do basic sewing. If you have a local community college or community center, check to see if they offer any short-term classes in an area of your interest. My local CC has classes ranging from Tai  Chi to nature photography to salsa dancing. If that isn’t a feasible option for you, there’s always the internet! Some of my favorite sites include Wiki How and Video Jug.

Miscellaneous: Some things aren’t heavy-duty but can be kept in mind when you find yourself flipping channels with nothing to do. These are things like reading (or writing) a book, going on a picnic, seeing the latest summer blockbuster, going swimming or getting ice cream with friends.

Relax and Enjoy

This is what summer is for! Enjoy the nice weather before autumn comes and it gets chilly again. Indulge in a nice pedicure and show off your toes. Make sure to make every minute count, whether you spend it on a fabulous excursion or sleeping under a fan with a glass of lemonade nearby. Most importantly, have a great summer! (and take pictures!)

What are your summer time essentials? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo,

Tara