Summer is officially here! Even at 30-years-old, I'm still mentally programed to think that summer starts in May when school closes and pools open, so it's a bit daunting to think that June is basically gone. Alas, we still have two glorious months to soak up the sun!
Here is my list of 25 ways to make the most of summer before school supplies hit the shelves. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments - I want to know! Unless, of course, you're just hibernating in the AC waiting for fall to come (in which case you should read tip number 24).
1. Have a burger. Don't you dare feel guilty about it.
2. Re-visit your childhood favorites. Even if you don't live in the same city you grew up, there are certain places that you can find anywhere. For me, it's a sno-cone stand (though I've yet to find a place in Austin that makes a mean Pink Dragon).
3. Try a new recipe. I tend to bake less in the summer and opt for things that are refreshing and simple. Which is why I pull out my blender often (as seen here and here). Need some more ideas? I'm pinning all kinds of summer recipes!
4. Learn a new skill. Summer was always a time to step away from formal education and learn something different. My mother taught me to sew in the summer months, and my dad taught me how to hit a softball. I love the idea of carrying on summer education into my adult years. This summer I'm looking forward to paddle-boarding, flexing my sewing muscles, and weaving.
5. Make 1+ nights/week a "no screen" night. Matty and I both have creative projects on our mind at all times (check out his here), so it's easy for us to have dinner, do some work, watch a movie, try to read a bit, then go to sleep. Currently we find it necessary because we're hard-working dreamers, man! But the nights where we close the computers are magical. They fill us up and break the routine.
6. Fall in love. With a place. With a hobby. With a book. With a person. This is the second summer I've ever spent in love with someone, and I think it's the perfect time to let your love grow a little deeper, a bit more adventurous, and focus on the fun. Recognize the glances, touches, and sweet moments - and let them mean something.
7. Find out what's happening in your city. Movies in the park, free summer shows, concerts, 5K's, festivals, etc. Many events are free but you have to plan for them! My favorite part of Austin summer is catching the free musical in Zilker Park - this year it's Hairspray and Matty will most likely have to put me in handcuffs to keep me from jumping on stage.
8. Find a drive-in. Two for one movies on outdoor screens are the jam.
9. Go for a late-night drive. Turn the music up and the windows down. Indulge in a Keith Urban song, while you're at it.
10. Walk the earth. The world is a beautiful place in the summertime. It's hot, yes, but many hiking trails are near watering holes! Not your thing? Take an evening walk with a friend or a loved one and talk. Let your conversations drift. I find some of the most inspiring conversations happen on quiet walks during sunset.
11. Get in the water. Find a local watering hole, host a pool party, get on a boat. What's summer without a splash?
12. Begin (and end!) a simple project. Let's really accomplish something! Make a pillow, ferment your own kombucha, write a short story. Tell me what projects you're tackling this summer!
13. Indulge in IMAX. Matty and I saw Jurassic World on opening day on IMAX 3D. I realize this is not for some people, but do you KNOW how fun it is to see a movie that is nothing but adventure and silliness with a room full of people who just want to sit back and be entertained? I was straight up giddy. Allow yourself to fully live in to these moments for no other reason than it's fun.
14. Pack a lunch. Picnics in the park are a summer staple. Contrary to popular belief (I once foiled Matty's picnic plans and insisted on pizza and ice cream instead...wups), I do love picnics. And this one offers some killer inspiration.
15. Skip work for a day. Take an unplanned week-day and drive past the office straight to your favorite coffee shop. Grab a book. Forget that e-mail is a thing and don't let someone else's urgent become your urgent.
16. Hit up the farmer's market. Forget grocery shopping and make a Saturday out of it! Buy directly from the farmer and create a meal based on what you find that day.
17. Or hit up a farm! Many farms are open for business in the summer, picking strawberries, blackberries, peaches, and more. Obviously I'm a fan of activities that are fun and also send you home with a bag full of fresh food.
18. Get a library card. This one makes my heart go pitter-patter. Summers as a kid were spent perusing the library shelves once a week, getting more than my fill of books and stories. I'll never forget the feeling of getting my New York Public Library Card, and my Brooklyn Public Library Card, and even my Fort Worth Public Library Card! I'm embarrassed to say I've lived in Austin for two years and I don't know where the library is, so I've got some work to do.
19. Zone out. Do nothing for a day. Read, watch a movie, write, sleep - just stop doing everything, and again, don't you dare feel guilty about it.
20. Make a weekly ice cream date. Many ice cream joints these days have punch cards, and what better time to fill them up? Even the smallest scoop can make for an unplanned adventure, a fun photo-op, and feed your sweet tooth. Matty and I enjoy seeking out locally-owned shops with creative and natural ingredients. Hello, dark chocolate olive oil ice cream!
21. Take a weekend trip. What's happening around you that's within a 1-3 hour drive? I find that's the sweet spot. Explore a small town (or a big one) without the time and chaos of too much travel.
22. Or take a staycation. Definitely on our list for the summer. We plan on booking one of Austin's boutique hotels and living it up in our own city!
23. Engage in nostalgia. I like to return to my younger self in summertime and I think that's true for everyone, to a degree. Listening to playlists I made years ago transports me back to summers I spent running around with friends, working summer jobs, reading in quiet corners, and above all, dreaming of what was to be. It's a time to refresh, to hope, and to begin.
24. Stop complaining about the heat. And the bugs. And the humidity. Or, if you must, know that you are never allowed to complain about cold.
25. Watch the sunset. The craziest thing about sunsets is that they're never the same. If you've seen one, you haven't seen them all. By the way, this is the perfect time to include numbers 6, 10, and 14.
And a bonus:
Be thankful. In every season. Don't forget to be thankful.
Share how you're making the most of your summer in the comments!