Throwback Thursday: A Few Family Shots from an Old DC Trip

These were taken a few years ago, but it feels a lot longer than that! i was looking through my facebook albums and feeling a little nostalgic for a dc visit so i figured i’d share a few photos from a family trip my junior year of college. the album titles crack me up, and i only remember some of the references. (“We need nicholas cage for this” – pretty sure that was a quote from a museum day. “you have to be willing to get happy about nothing” – andy warhol. “kind of like a reflecting puddle” because the pool was basically dry. “girl you look just like britney spears, are you britney spears?” what a passerby exclaimed to me. “got so excited about the dinosaurs – i got hiccups. true life event at the museum of natural history.) it was a good family time full of museum hopping, yummy food, basketball, seeing old friends, shopping and just enjoying each other’s company. one night we hung out at the mall for a few hours, just taking photos and laughing. now those are some good memories!
We had just discovered tweeting. This is a sad technology picture.
My best friend!

basketball game!
E with this “free Jack” (24) sign. hahaha!

a little dry…
TREX!
I don’t have any answers for why I’m standing over there like a weirdo…
so random and awesome!

I see the moon and the moon sees me!
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Throwback Thursday: Hampstead Heath Edition

OK, I’m sure you get tired of hearing it because I know I get tired of the thoughts that are on repeat in my brain about one thousand and seventy-two times a day, but I have a basically constant “missing” feeling for Hampstead Heath. It’s one of my most favorite spots I’ve ever been, on this whole entire planet. One morning during our study abroad semester my friend Lizzi and I decided to go exploring. It turned into an all day affair. We hiked, and climbed trees. We took about nine million photos. She brought her “death packet” (this project for a class where you learn about grief and coping with death and in the process you’re supposed to plan the arrangements for your own funeral – morbid sounding, I know.) I brought homework, and a book of course. We spread out blankets by the pond and watched the ducks, and loads of people gallivanting. Later when we got lost traipsing through the woods, we waited quietly listening for the sounds of passing cars, and eventually made it back up near the street where we found an ice-cream cart! (Re-reading captions on Facebook I’m reminded that the man at the ice-cream cart sang “God Bless America!” when we ordered.) We explored more and eventually ended the afternoon with hot crepes. It’s honestly one of my favorite days, I can remember. Pictures don’t even do the vast expanse of greenery justice but I’ll share with you a few. Also, I think our album titles are pretty indicative of this location’s magical powers “The Wilderness with Ice Cream,” “Heavenly Hampstead Continued” and “700 Acres of Bliss.” (PS: my favorite leopard print 2 pound sunglasses from Primark that got crushed at a Blink 182 concert make an appearance in this post!)

Almost every single Saturday, without fail, I wake up and wish I could take a little jog in the park and a picnic to this breath-taking spot.

If I had a teleporting machine, it would probably be exhausted from the number of trips I’d take to this place.

Throwback Thursday: Fourth Edition

It’s already that time again! Doing these little throwback Thursday posts makes me realize how quickly the weeks seem to go by. Of course, the weekends always feel like they fly but these week days seem to have disappeared fast too. If this is the first time you’ve stumbled across one of my Throwback Thursday posts, they’re just a time I like to include some old photos from the past several years, usually featuring family and friends and occasionally some baby photos or an appearance of my awkward bangs stages. My parents are in the process of packing up my “childhood” home, so I’m sure at some point there will be a massive scanning session of old photos again which just means more material for these posts!

Now to what I’ve rounded up for you this week:

The classic Olan Mills sibling shot. Oh my.

If you’re curious, my brother operated at that high energy level the majority of our childhood. Hahahaha.(That’s at Universal, btw.)

Once upon a time I was domestic, y’all. I’m bringing it back…

Look at that – I could butter bread AND do the dishes 😉

This is why first grade was awesome. We had a PAJAMA PARTY at school! It was basically the coolest thing, ever.

Check it out – this included choreographed dances!

I know, so similar but the facial expressions are cracking me up.

Remember how I mentioned how he let us bury him in sand? Yeah, here ya go: Daytona beach. The 90s.

I don’t even remember how or why this photo got taken? I probably wanted my Safety Patrol post documented because I’m a super nerd like that. Looking at this I’m wondering to myself who the heck would listen to me about anything? Mostly I enjoyed that this was a prime people watching spot for the bus ramp. (5th grade.)

If you’re ever curious what I would look like with red hair – here’s your image. My BFFL JD (that I mention on the regular it seems, in this blog) and I circa tenth grade? at Theresa’s house. Definitely enjoyed a good phone chat with this one just last night, funny how some things don’t change…

Until next week…have a fabulous Thursday everyone! And if you’re curious I’ll probably end up posting a little Throwback Thursday song over on MegSays later.

Summer Self

I’ve spent a long time wondering if this is one of those “me” things, or does everyone have a summer self? Your summer self, is the bolder more spontaneous version of whoever you are for the other more lackluster, less adventurous seasons and months of the year. Your summer self acts upon those moments that take the “twenty seconds of courage” (yeah, I’m referring to We Bought a Zoo…what’s your point?)

Do you remember the feeling you get lying awake, restless, the night before the first day of school at the end of every summer? Sometimes, I imagined that crazy adventurous things would happen those last hours before my lids got too heavy and I fell asleep before it was time to start whatever “adventure” lay ahead of me for the following year. Those 180 days filled to the brim with not always equal parts laughter and tears, anxiety and carelessness. You know, I had visions of my crush tapping on my window, or that I’d see fireworks light up the sky, or an army of lightning bugs would illuminate the backyard. Obviously, I wasn’t a hard kid to amuse. Minutes and then hours would tick away, (I had a white digital clock sitting atop a book shelf behind my bed…) those red analog numbers just flashed in the dark, and opportunity slipped away second by second. But then you know I’d convince myself – this year would be exciting. Maybe we’d get a new foreign exchange student, or I’d get a boyfriend, or I’d write a book, or math wouldn’t suck anymore. Or I wouldn’t stress myself out about grades or be self-conscious. That I’d say yes more, and the year would be full of making a katrillion happy memories.

Fun memories were made, sure, but middle school and high school (and who are we kidding elementary school, too) are tough years. I’d like to think I know myself pretty well. I’d like to think there are things I can appreciate about myself, no matter how weird or quirky. I wasn’t one to set aside the things I believed in, to blend in. It just never felt worth it. But in the meantime, my after school adventures didn’t always add up to my night before school starts butterflies of anticipation dreams.

That’s where the “summer self” comes in. Somewhere a long the way, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I was convinced that those summer months free of class and  routine responsibility, didn’t count in the big equation. That it was the perfect time for taking risks, taking chances – whether it be getting stuck on the river in a lightning storm, and hitching a ride from an old lady, or matters of the heart – those summer months were the very time to test the waters, to push my limits, to experiment with resiliency. You know, how much could I throw myself through and still come out winning?

What’s a summer if it doesn’t involve staying up all night, sharing secrets, telling stories, laughing ’til tears trickle out the corners of your eyes? What’s a summer if it doesn’t involve riding with the windows down, singing at the top of your lungs, and hunting down ice cream at one am? What’s a summer if it’s not hiding out on the swing set, under lamp posts absorbing every second of every minute? Piggy back rides in the rain? Climbing trees, climbing fences. Running until you can’t catch your breath. Riding bikes so fast your feet slip off the pedals. Stealing kisses under the moonlight. Playing cards and board games, and making music and not turning on a television for days and days. What’s a summer if it’s not holding hands in the movie theater, or under the table at the restaurant the whole town eats dinner at? What’s a summer if it’s not lying awake giggling in a tent you pitched yourself as the rain pours down outside. What’s a summer if it’s not handfuls of fireflies and making wishes as your feet dangle from a tailgate by a bonfire? Roasting marshmallows, and squealing as you chase all your fears away. Beach days with salty hair, sunburned cheeks, and the perfect amount of exhaustion. Jumping in and out of waves, getting rescued from the ones that were a little bit too strong.

What’s a summer if it’s not wet blades of fresh-cut green grass sticking to the bottom of your bare feet, running through lawns across the neighborhood? The way the water rushes through your ears as you puff out your cheeks and hold your breath under warm water in heated swimming pools. Beer spilling from bottles as you race to catch up. Golf cart wheels spinning on some new mystery tour down unknown paths. Coffee in the cemetery as you try to picture where you’ll be in five years. But it doesn’t matter because if you’re a fraction as content as you are in this moment – life will be fine.

What’s a summer if it’s not that feeling of holding hands, slicked with rain and the way your slippery fingers intertwine as you fall into the damp earth doubled over with laughter? What’s a summer if it’s not lighting sparklers off at the end of the dock? Eyes glowing with happiness that rivals the brightness of those crackling sparks of light? What’s a summer if it’s not a love not scrawled in nervous hand writing tucked into a back pocket? What’s a summer if it’s not wearing the same thrift store finds for days on end?

What’s a summer if it’s not creating and destroying, picking up and hanging up, starting over and hanging on?

It’s all the very things that make your heart fill up immediately. You know that feeling? Like sunshine being poured from a Dixie cup through a pinhole in your welcome heart.

The overwhelming mixture of possibility, of promise, of exhilaration – those moments that you swear your infinite. That these friends you’re spending these moments with – you’ll be bonded to for life.

So, I being this weird transient twenty-something that I am – am not the biggest fan of these summers stuck that don’t get the clear division they deserve between school months, and lack there of. There aren’t months by work and not working. There are days. There are weekends. But this whole summer self seems to ring true. There has to always be room for the summer self.

In case you’re wondering…the summer self makes appearances in other months of the year. You know, at birthdays, and holidays but summer is the perfect catalyst for the chaos that tips the scales between regular life, and something much more idealic and extraordinary.

Summer Solstice

Happy first official day of summer everyone! Living in Florida it kind of feels like summer starting around March sometimes, though I’ll admit we got what I considered a good few weeks of “real” spring this year. You know the kind with light breezes in the air and blooming flowers…though those flowers had gotten confused by the outrageously high temperatures back in January and started blooming crazy early.

Summer is made for days like this:

And taking naps in hammocks and drinking sweet tea while relaxing in rocking chairs, and running through freshly cut grass barefoot, catching fireflies in mason jars, sticky hands from melting ice-cream cones, staying up way too late laughing and sharing stories, adventures, road trips, singing at the top of your lungs at the concerts of your favorite bands, digging your toes into the muddy earth or cool grains of white sand, power outages from lightning storms, movie marathons, dozens of trips to the library, reading those stacks of books water-side (beach, pool, lake,) fireworks and festivals, making mixtapes and memories, exploring, swimming, thrifting and vinyl hunting, picnics at the park, long walks and runs through the neighborhood, driving with the windows rolled down, being spontaneous, creating things…

Even though I live in this weird “grown-up” world where summer doesn’t mean freedom from homework, I’m still captivated by the magic of the season. It always makes me feel like there’s endless possibility at my fingertips…

I leave you with one of my favorite literary quotes about summer in To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee:

“Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”

Top Ten Tuesday: SUMMER TBR

So, as I’ve stated before The Broke and the Bookish does her on “Top Ten Tuesday” posts, so mine is a little inspired by that. Last week’s was “Top Ten Beach Reads,” and today’s is supposed to be “Summer TBR.” I missed last week’s, though I’ll probably have a similar post soon!

Here are the books I plan on/hope to read this summer if I get my hands on them, (in no particular order!)

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
This is one several people’s reading lists for the summer. Matson’s debut novel Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was seriously an amazing novel, so I’ve been anticipating her next work. I know I should’ve pre-ordered this one, but I plan on devouring it as soon as I get my hands on it. The cover art is beautiful, and I really think this might be a perfect summer read. Set in the Pocono Mountains, Taylor’s family is spending one last summer at their lake house. I’m sure there will be a mix of all the best – romance, friendship, growing pains. I can’t wait!

 

   Being Friends with Boys by Tera Elan McVoy
McVoy actually went to high school in Tallahassee, which I think gets her tons of cool points  to begin with. She had some signed copies of her first book Pure, at the local Borders a few summers ago, so I fell for her writing then. I don’t think any of us will be disappointed by her fourth novel. Char’s always had guy friends, and not thought much of their “drama-free” friendships, until a new guy moves to town and her attraction to him kind of changes everything. Is it really ever easy “being friends with boys?”

 

  Off Balance by Dominque Moceanu
I didn’t find out about this memoir until I saw Moceanu on CNN yesterday. I was one of those kids who had a poster of her in my room from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (remember the “Dream Team”?) I’d bought at the book fair. Like a lot of child star athletes, she has a dark story but she wanted to share her story in hopes of helping others. I really can’t wait to read it! (Also, after I Tweeted about her yesterday she started following me on Twitter! Awesome!)

 

 

 

Ruthless by Sara Shepard
I have this one on hold at the library, so as soon as I get that e-mail I’ll go pick it up. I don’t even know what to expect after the creepy on-goings in Twisted, but the series is an easy read and since they’re thrillers they keep me on my toes! When it comes to Pretty Little Liars, I like to be surprised!

 

 

 

 

  Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker
First of all, isn’t this cover gorgeous? Yeah, I thought so too! Walker is one of the writers for the I Heart Daily Newsletters, which share really cool stuff. I read her novel Small Town Sinners last fall and enjoyed it, so I’m curious to check this one out as well. Also, it seems like it has a good summer feel at least from first impressions. Summer love and sailing? Count me in!

 

 

 

 

  The Amanda Project Book 3: Shattered by Laurie Faria Stolarz
I was hooked from the beginning of The Amanda Project series (see book one, and two.) Who is Amanda Valentino? Where did she go? Why did she leave? Each story in this mystery series that progresses with input from readers, introduces clues to these questions but also leaves the audiences wondering more. (Sound familiar, PLL fans?) I’m behind the times and haven’t read this one yet, even though the fourth Unraveled is going to be released this month! I need to catch up! (Also, fun side note – I found out about these from I Heart Daily as well. They did a clue contest where I won a sticker and got a cool thing in the mail. Unfortunately, it got thrown out on accident by someone but that’s besides the point…)

 

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Two friends recommended this novel to me in a Facebook thread about Looking for Alaska. I know you guys are probably always surprised when I’m reading things that aren’t YA fiction, but look! This list has a non-fiction title, AND a “grown-up” book. I’ve seen both John Green and Sarah Dessen Tweet about this book (nothing but gushing positive words!) So, with all that being said this book is finally in my possession and I plan on reading it super soon!

 

  The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I picked this book up during a Scholastic Warehouse sale back in December. Don’t ask me how it’s been on my shelf for that long, but I’m kind of a book hoarder (though I try not to be!) Anyway, honestly we all know I can’t really resist a good dystopian novel, so I’m pretty sure summer is the perfect time for me to cross this one off my list. (Note – it’s part of a series. Let’s see if I end up wanting to read all of them?)

 

 

 

  Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
I just picked this book up yesterday in a sale at Goodwill, actually. Though I’m sure it would have been better had I read it when I first discovered it back in 2010, the summer after my own college graduation. I stumbled across a description after reading Prep and it seemed really fitting for that time in my life. Heck, even being employed I still have some of the same feelings from that summer, so maybe I’ll still relate. Anyway, now that I own it I’m thinking it’s near the top of my TBR summer list!

 

Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman
This one doesn’t actually come out until August, but that’s still summer so it’s making the cut! If you don’t read Emily’s blog yet, you totally should. The cool thing is that although the book will be similar to her blog, it’s not just a compilation of the same posts (I hate when that happens!) There will be tips, and how-tos on everything from home decor, baking, entertaining, make-up…really all kinds of stuff! She’s chic and fashionable, with exquisite taste that’s somehow the perfect combination of edgy, feminine, and classic. Plus, I’m sure the photographs will be gorgeous!

 

So there you have it! Is there anything you just can’t wait to read this summer? What’s on your list? Leave me a note!

Rainy Days and Mondays

I’m totally aware it’s now Thursday, (haha the irony of that is I almost typed “Wednesday,” which would just cancel out everything…) and my title is referring to Monday. Thankfully, it’s almost the weekend again but last weekend I ran away to the beach once again. Florida seemed to have a barrage of storms all over the state, so you got some rainy days wherever you were. My thoughts on this are that rainy days at the beach beat rainy days somewhere else so how could I complain? I needed a little escape from town again. There’s just times when I feel like I’m suffocating, and I need a little getaway. Really they were a relaxing few days though, spent reading (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Seriously…I’m Kidding,) watching The Tony Awards, some gymnastics, and a girl I went to college with anchoring the news. Ate some good food, went for a few walks on the beach…love that cold sand between my toes. Went for some morning runs that seriously spoiled me. It was so nice to just head out the door and go, no driving to the gym to hit a treadmill, and just miles and miles of flat paved land that didn’t kill my ankles. I met some friends of my family that they hadn’t seen in THIRTY years, that was some cool time. They were so kind and funny and had so many fascinating stories to share. We also wandered around a couple of the shops we never really check out, which had some cool beachy crafts and met an awesome photographer who shared some really touching stories that had me tearing up. Those interactions are always pretty cool. It really was a nice little break from things! Due to some unforeseen mysterious plague of sickness, I ended up coming back to town later than planned which has made this week go by even faster, which I can’t complain about either! Anyway, here are a few photos from the weekend I snapped on my phone:

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The Madewell Roadtrip Songs playlist I jammed out to on the ride over Friday night. If you haven’t checked it out, DO IT! There are some great bands featured on there I hadn’t listened to in a while.

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Few things beat a well made Mojito.

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Fried dill pickle chip I first thought looked like a heart, but after my friend Becka’s suggestion I can totally see a mockingjay. Thoughts?

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Black cloud, beachy mood swings.

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View from my Sunday morning run.

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The sunshine played peek-a-boo occasionally.

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Pina coladas are hard to beat, too 😉

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Great for afternoon happy hour snacks, and free wi-fi.

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Grammar police, but I like the sentiment.

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Purple drink…seriously.

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My mouth might be allll sweet teeth.

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