Although it isn’t officially summer, we’re going to do a little flashback Friday and share some of our childhood summer memories.
Down down baby, down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby, I’ll never let you go
It’s been about six years since I spent a full summer in Charleston. But the heat, humidity and afternoon thunderstorms are everything but forgettable. As a child I spent many of my summer days at my grandmother’s house on James Island, less than five miles away from Folly Beach. One of my aunts lived there with her two children and served as my grandmother’s caretaker.
My parents worked and so I would be dropped off there along with another cousin. So the four of us – two boys and two girls — spent just about every summer together. We didn’t go to the beach. We spent the days outside tying one end of a rope to a tree, and jumping rope with the other end in my cousin’s hand or playing handclapping games. The boys off doing their own thing away from the house or hold up inside playing Nintendo. Sometimes they’d let us play, mainly the bonus rounds in Super Mario and we’d all take turns blowing into the cartridges when the games messed up. Nintendo later turned into Super Nintendo, which turned PlayStation.
Gramma gramma, sick in bed,
Called the doctor and the doctor said
When we were older My cousin and I would sneak into her brother’s room to play Tekken and Mortal Kombat – being careful to place his controllers back where we found them as not to get caught. That’s also where we would record songs of the radio on cassette tapes, being careful not to get the commercials at the beginning of the song.
Let’s get the rhythm of the head – ding dong
Let’s get the rhythm of the head – ding dong
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands – clap, clap
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands – clap, clap
My aunt gave us summer homework — I remember pages and pages of math problems — that we’d have to complete before going outside. And once you were outside you had to stay outside because 1) you couldn’t let the cool air out and 2) we smelled like “outdoors”.
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet – stomp, stomp
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet – stomp, stomp
At some point Monopoly became the group game. We were vicious and eager to bankrupt everyone. My favorite were the yellow properties. We only stopped for $5 Hot N Ready’s from Little Caesars and freeze pops.
Let’s get the rhythm of the – hot dog
Let’s get the rhythm of the – hot dog!
When the summer storms rolled in, my grandmother would make us sit in silence – in the dark. TVs were immediately turned off. Get too loud and you’d get popped with a switch.
Put it all together and what do you get?
Ding dong, clap clap, stomp stomp, hot dog!
Put it all backward and what do you get?
Hot dog, stomp stomp, clap clap, ding dong!
Walking to the corner store for chilly bears.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a chilly bear is basically frozen Kool-Aid. The most amazing frozen Kool-Aid you’ll ever taste. One of the only things better than enjoying a chilly bear after walking in the heat, is searching under the couch for enough change to buy one. They were 25 cents.
Swimming lessons at the community center.
My mom and aunts thought it would be a good idea for all of us to take swimming lessons together–all 15 of us. I still know how to swim, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. (Except for that one time we caused a mini riot when my cousin got in a fight.)
Playing Red Rover in the grass while visiting our “country” cousins.
Red Rover, Red Rover send Cec on over! When I was a little girl, visiting family in Florence, SC was my Disney World. We’d play a ton of games outside before the streetlights came on, but Red Rover was always the funniest.
What are some of your favorite childhood summer memories? Leave us a comment below!
“I’m just trying to live my best life” is something I started saying heavily before leaving for Hangout Fest. My friends and co-workers love it just as much as I do. It’s probably because some of our “best life” decisions are questionable. Either way summer is almost officially here, and the only life I want to live is my best one!
How to Live Your Best Life #AllSummer17
Be consciously selfish.
It’s okay to say no to things that don’t benefit or interest you. This doesn’t mean to ignore your loved ones to sip sangria at the pool– at least not everyday. If your family is as big as mine, your calendar is already 50% booked with events. Make sure to make time for the fun and/or productive things you want to do.
Wear the bathing suit.
I know first hand this is easier said than done, but I also know that self consciousness and the heat don’t mesh well together.
If you didn’t Snap about it, did it even happen? Yes. Yes it did. Nothing says summer like a good drink-in-the-air picture, but sometimes we forget to live in the moment. Not to mention that a break from the 24-hour news cycle is good for the soul. Being on your phone too much takes away from quality pool and/or nap time. (Please note that I love a good drink in a float picture just as much as the next person.)
Don’t apologize for living the life you chose.
You’ve earned whatever you’re celebrating. What other people think of your idea of fun has nothing to do with you. Maybe your best life is washing your hair and reading a book–maybe it’s drinking wine out the bottle. If it makes you happy and isn’t harmful to yourself and others–DO IT. Worry about yourself fam.
Here are things I plan to check off my list to help live my best life this summer.
launch my summer arts camp.
This is the year I’m FINALLY beginning the journey of sprinkling art into the lives of Charleston’s youth. The 2-week camp launches in July, so stay tuned for more details!
Take a solo day trip.
A day to myself in a different city would be adventurous, even in a city I’ve visited before.
Attend (at least) 3 festivals
Hangout Fest is 1 out of the 3. Music Midtown is on my list, but I’d like to attend a food or culture related festival too.
How do you plan to live your best life this summer, and every other day of the year?
#WellActually summer livin’ hasn’t been easy for me since 2007. A carefree summer in middle and high school included 14 hours of sleep and eating every snack in the house. Repeat that same routine everyday until school was back in session. Those days came to an end when summer school, and working to support myself, slid into the equation. (I still squeezed in a few trips and/or music festivals.)
Here I am, Summer 2016 with a job (that’s full-time and not part-time like I applied for), 5 freelance clients, bridesmaid’s duties, planning/hosting my 10-year class reunion and a prospering blog. Oh, and I’m still trying to maintain a social life in 90+ degree weather.
This ain’t easy fam.
Don’t get it twisted, I’m very grateful for these projects. It was a very, very slow winter (and spring) for me. Yes, a four-day straight Netflix binge sounds glorious, but it wasn’t that great when I was unemployed and bored. However, I won’t pretend I’m not counting down the days until my schedule is open enough for me to meditate at sunrise, dance on the beach all day, take a nap and listen to music until the sun rises again.
Oh how the times have changed.
My Carefree Summer 2016 Ingredients: Silence: Queen of stillness, Oprah Confidence: My sister-in-slay, Gabi Fresh Music: The Blackbird herself, Nina Simone
For my carefree summer mood board, I chose pictures of women and quotes that give me all the vibes I need this season (and every other season). Hair goals, body goals, relationship goals, life goals. Yes, ALL the vibes.
Carefree Summer Mood Board
Nina Simone: NPR
Bae in bathing suit: GabiFresh
Flower crown/locs: Shinestruck
RiRi Williams/Iron Man: Mid-day
Flower headband/fro: Un-ruly
Lisa Bonet: WeHeartIt
What would be on your carefree summer mood board? What did a carefree summer used to look like for you?
This weekend a migraine and some bad storms robbed me of my motivation to complete my planned blog post (boozy Popsicle recipes). Don’t worry I’ve got some recipes pinned here for you. While drinking wasn’t high on my priority list this weekend, finding some cute seasonal crafts definitely made the list. Below are some awesome summer DIY projects that are perfect to complete when you’re not out at the pool or stuck in the office.
Go to a drive-in movie was on my summer bucket list, but now I want a backyard movie night.Tairalyn absolutely wins for the most epic move night ever.She used a queen size bed sheet, snacks and some creativity in this DIY to create an awesome movie experience.
The day I moved to Tallahassee, my Dad bought me a hot pink cactus from Lowe’s to brighten up my place. I eventually killed the cactus because I suck, but this bright and fun cacti garden reminds me of his sweet gesture and the joy it brought me. FYI, nearly all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. I had to look that up because I was going to call this a succulent garden. Science fail.
Target has some totes in their One Spot or Bullseye’s Playground (is that the new name) that would be perfect for this craft. Think about how cute your beach, please towel would look in a matching tote.
So wait Donni – you’re saying you’d rather stay in Atlanta than stroll down the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris.
No, always say yes to Paris. However, if you’re like me and passport stamps are necessarily in the cards for you right now, I’ve got some tips to help you plan an awesome summer staycation.
1. DO MORE THAN SLEEP.
Now by all means get some rest and enjoy sleeping in. You can even forbid the use of alarms during your staycation, but do more than sleep. You’ll want to look back and see that something – more than rest- came out of your staycation.
2. Set a budget, but splurge a little.
Maybe the reason you’re choosing to staycation is to save some coins – I get it. While you may be able to find some awesome local events that are free, be prepared to shell out some money for tickets, parking and food. Just because you aren’t off in a new, exciting city or country doesn’t mean you can’t splurge a little. Consider spending a little on an in-town bed and breakfast or a local resort. Look into any community theater or touring Broadway productions. See what summer concerts may be stopping in or near your city. Whatever you decide – set a budget and stick to it.
3. SAY NO TO SOCIAL MEDIA.
Unplug. Unplug. Unplug. Think about banning the use of your phone during certain hours of the day. I am usually glued to my phone, so I know how easy it is to ignore this one. But enjoy the time and the experiences you’re having. Check messages only when you want to. Remember :”not at all” is always an option.
4. Unleash your inner tourist.
A few weeks ago, my mom and two of my aunts came to visit me. Showing them around, reminded me how much there really is to do and see in Atlanta. Think about all the places you likely visited when you first moved to your city and have largely ignored them since: zoos, aquariums, museums, observatories, planetariums, historic home tours. Many of these places also usually have special exhibits or cool events – be a tourist for a day or two and check a few of them out. If you’ve got a major sporting team in your city, consider a stadium tour — or just gorge on hot dogs and beer at a game. If you’re planning some events for kids, don’t rule out regional amusement parks and places that have bowling, miniature golf, go karts, or laser tag.
5. Transform your space.
Yes, you may be staying at home, but switch up. Play music that transports you to a new location. Perhaps you may want to create a vacation soundtrack. Burn a tropical candle and put some fresh flowers out that will create your island getaway vibe. Just because you’re sitting in your living room – doesn’t mean that you need to feel like you’re in your living room.
6. Bring the amenities to you.
When you travel there are certain amenities that can come along with it. Determine what your favorite amenity is and try to make it happen at home. Buy a fluffy white robe that you can walk around in. Head over to World Market for some yummy international chocolates and leave a piece on your pillow. Turn a room into your very own home spa.
7. Treat yourself to some “vacation meals”.
I don’t know about you but my favorite part of vacations is eating out. So during your staycation order takeout or cook yourself something that is special – maybe try something you normally wouldn’t. Do Chicago style pizza one night, Italian the next, Hawaiian BBQ, and finish of with Thai. Take a tour of some of the places you want to visit through the meal on your plate.
8. Take in some nature.
I think I’ve said this before, but by nature, I’m not a nature-person. (Did you just laugh? Good – mission accomplished.) However, when vacationing and staycationing, I encourage you to take in some sort of nature. Take a stroll through your local botanical garden, go hiking or biking, visit a state park. Seeing your city through the lenses of these settings can be really eye-opening.
9. Turn some pages.
That stack of magazines that’s been piling up on your bookshelf or that book someone got you for Christmas — crack them open. Sit in your home spa you created or head over to the pool and read, read, read.
10. Day drink.
Yeah, I said it. By the way, I also encourage night drinking. Head over to your local brewery or look into any wine-tasting or winery tours that may be available. Wherever you live, you probably have your usual go-to spot when it comes to grabbing a drink. AVOID that place. Live like a tourist – ask a stranger what they suggest or choose a place based on Yelp reviews alone. Use your staycation to explore hidden gems in your city.
The best part about a staycation is that you can’t really do it wrong. Whether you’re doing this solo, making this an couple’s adventure, or planning activities with little ones, take the opportunity to fall in love with your city again (or for the first time). You might find yourself appreciating and discovering new things to love about home.
Have you taken a staycation? If so, do you have any tips? If not, how’s it sounding after reading my tips? Leave a comment below!
P.S. Happy 4th of July to everyone!! Stay safe and enjoy!!