Summer is here again. It is a time for fun and mischief, though for some it can prove a daunting and overwhelming time. As we get stuck in the routine of class and homework, it can be difficult to figure out what to do with our new surplus of time. I am one of those people who say, "Oh I can't wait for summer! We are going to [insert a million activities] and have so much fun!" only to have the season arrive and then not do much of anything. It can be very easy to spend all of your time at the mall, and while shopping is basically my favorite thing to do, there is a world out there! The world is full of possibilities that are just waiting to be discovered. Mallrats be damned, I will not live at the mall. Though, you can bet I will be shopping up a bit of storm at some point. This is all more of an advice piece to myself, because if I am actually publishing a post, I will need to follow my own tips, right? So here it is, my little guide to summer fun!
1. Figure things out! Decide if you are the type to plan things or are more apt to spontaneity. Determine what you want out of the season and the ways to achieve it. It is always helpful to sit down and make a list of goals, as dorky as it may sound. Make an outline of your plans, decide what is most likely to happen, and don't set expectations too high. Figure out if you want a jam-packed schedule or want to lay low and relax. Decide what activities fit your style and remember that things won't always work out exactly as planned. Only expect to have fun, no matter what happens. It is summer, after all, so leave your worries with school years past.
2. Plan a trip with your friends! Whether a small excursion to your local beach or campground, or a full-blown, cross state -- or country -- road trip, you are guaranteed to bond and fill your fun meter to its content. My crew loves driving down to the beach for a day, and I can't tell you how many road trips we have attempted to plan. I hope to make one happen this summer, but I know that even if it doesn't, we will do too many other fun activities to count. I also really dig camping. I am -- surprisingly and uncharacteristically -- an outdoorsy nature girl, and I love roughing it in the great outdoors. The possibilities are endless, so take a trip and have a little adventure.
3. Get down with the nightlife! This is the time to stay up all night and sleep until noon. Clubs are fun for most, but I really prefer outdoor evening soirées. Pool parties are a no-brainer -- that is, if you have one or know someone who does. If you aren't in possession of a small body of water you can always set up a giant slip and slide and just go crazy with it. Flashlight water balloon and water gun fights are incredibly fun and refreshing during balmy summer nights. If you aren't into water-fun, you can always have a cocktail party. Set a theme (masquerade, tropical, rock star, 80's -- anything you want!) or simply request cocktail attire and don't let anyone in if they aren't dressed accordingly. It's always exciting to see people dressed to the nines. Another cool thing to try is to have a Rock Band or Guitar Hero party. Have everyone come dressed in the rock star best! Despite the abundance of possibilities, my all-time favorite summer night activity would have to be the bonfire. They are so quintessentially summer, and you can really bond with friends this way. Make s'mores, sing songs, do a tribal dance. Whatever floats your boat!
4. Step up your ensembles! It is so easy to get stuck in the casual rut during the school year, but summer leaves you no excuse to get lazy with your attire. It's your free pass to get a little quirky and different. You can give yourself a complete overhaul or make a subtle change. The point is that you can be anyone, and you won't have classmates to question you. Trade your sneaks for heels and gladiators, denim of floaty frocks, and ponytail holders for flowers and butterflies. If you are in need of inspiration, there are a slew of incredible bloggers who have the best style I have ever seen. Invite some friends over and get decked out for a photo shoot. Go high-fashion with it and couturify yourselves. Don't forget the crazy make up! The point is to wear what you love with abandon and get down with your stylish self.
5. Be healthy! This is one tip that I seriously need to take. Summer is just chock-full of yummy, healthy snacks. Fruits abound, and there is nothing sweeter than some berries or a piece of melon on a scorching day. Take more walks in the sunny weather, go to the park and play frisbee, swim, play catch, run through the sprinklers. This season begs for activity, so just do it! Don't, however, forget to wear sunscreen! I am amazed at how many girls don't do this everyday. I was put in the habit from a very early age, so I really don't think about it. It just something I do, and it is imperative for us all to practice safe sun. Yes, a tan is cute, but it is not healthy. There are so many self-tanners out there today, and the wonders they work leave no excuse to tan in the sun. And nobody looks cute with a sunburn. Also, don't think you are off the hook if you have darker skin. The sun will still be just as damaging. Just slather on that white stuff, your skin will thank you.
6. Go to a festival or concert! This is the time of year when these events are in full bloom, so take advantage of it! It is the perfect opportunity to dress up and have a good time. And just a note: you don't have to buy expensive tickets to see super-famous bands! There are tons of local bands everywhere, and they tend to have the most awesome performances. These shows are dirt-cheap to free, and so much fun. Intimate, laid back, and totally hip, it's a great way to support your local musicians, and to know about them before (that is if) they ever get famous. I can't wait for the day when my band, The Blue Hour, starts to play gigs. Music and summer together make beautiful, well, music!
7. Become a cuisine connoisseur! Get a group of friends and venture to the hottest restaurants in your area. It is great to experience new things together, and summer leaves plenty of time to spread your palette and discover the wonderful flavors of the world. You can even learn to cook, if you want, and cater your own dinner parties. I am personally a very domesticated girl, and the kitchen is where I feel the most at home. I used to love to whip up concoctions with my friends and pretend we were on our own little cooking show. A fun foody-party theme: The idea here is Iron Chef. Get a bunch of friends together and form two or three teams, pick a few judges, and select a secret ingredient. If you have never seen Iron Chef, the point is to make as many dishes as you can in certain amount of time with the secret ingredient. It's great to see what people come up with. If this is too much activity for you, simply try to master the grill on your own. There is no ability more valuable for summer than this one. Throw a barbecue or picnic to test your skills.
8. Get a job! I could personally use one right now. Find a place you really like, whether it be in retail or an office. Bookstores are great places to work. You meet people with similar interests and are surrounded by books! If reading isn't your thing, try out retail. You can try major stores, or, for the more cultured types, a vintage store. First dibs and the hottest new item is beyond awesome, and hello? Discount! Waiting tables can really help one to rake in the money. Not only are you paid a regular wage, but you get tips on top of it all. Don't get a job unless you think you will really enjoy it. You will only be miserable during the time that is supposed to be enjoyable, and that is just no fun for anyone. If you are lucky enough not to need a job, move on to the next tip.
9. Take up a hobby! We should always strive to improve ourselves, and there is guaranteed to be a class, team, or activity out there to suit your needs. Become a yoga master at your local gym, take a dance class, improve your artistic skills, learn to play an instrument, train for a marathon, join a team. There are so many things to do, it's insane! If there is something you have alway wanted to try, just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Hobbies can open your life to a new world and help you to meet amazing people who share your passions. Don't be shy, just get out there and try it out.
10. Reconnect with friends! Many people think that summer can cause friends to grow apart, but I believe in the converse: summer is the perfect opportunity to get together with those you may have lost touch with during the busy school year. I know there are people who I used to be incredibly close to, but have almost completely lost touch with because we have been preoccupied with our own separate lives. It, however, has nothing to do with not liking each other or anything of the sort. It is that we have simply had no time to get together. This season is ideal for rekindling those friendships. Do any of the things on this list, invite them to your parties, make an effort to get together. It is so important to make the first step. Waiting around never got anyone what they wanted, so call them up, send a message or a text, whatever. The point is to make contact and make an effort. You won't regret it!
The best advice I can give you is don't let yourself get bored. There are so many things this world has to offer, and it is all at your fingertips. Don't get lazy! Get off the couch, away from the television or computer, and make memories. Take a camera everywhere and scrapbook you adventures when summer ends. You will always have that little treasure to look back on. I really love video scrapbooks. Film your friends every chance you get and compile the footage into a little fun movie of your summer.
So what are your plans? Who are you making them with? What are you looking forward to? No matter what happens, remember to have fun, laugh, and live. You know I will ;)