Summer Necessities and Basics #SummerBloggerChallenge

Since my summer basically consists of playing tennis, writing and reading, my necessities are pretty low. The basics I have in my bag every day and what I use at home are different because I don’t carry my laptop to the courts.  Both are integral parts to my summer. When I first got this prompt weeks ago as part of the #SummerBloggerChallenge my mindset was in a totally different place. I was carrying a bag with my wallet, camera and phone through Europe. Now, my bag is a tennis bag and its contents are quite different than what I typically carry on a daily basis.

My Tennis Bag Contents

My Tennis Bag Contents

A) My tennis racket. My racket has practically become an extension of my arm. I am playing six days a week for three hours at the most and one at the least. I am very active and rely on it.

B) Tennis balls. It’s always good to have a spare set of tennis balls in my bag. I might end up playing a match someone outside of the practices or lessons with the coaches.

C) A spare hat. It gets warm in the Cape. Having a hat in case of an emergency was a trick I learned last year. I rarely wear it but when the weather is brutal it is a great relief from the sun and the hot summer temperatures.

D) Sunscreen. I said it’s hot. I love the Neutrogena spray sunscreen. It is easy to put on and easy to carry. I have a face one also since my skin is pretty sensitive and I don’t think using a spray on my face would do it any good. It is a lifesaver when the sun is beating down on you. The last thing I want is to get sunburned.

E) Wristlet. My Vera Bradley wristlet comes everywhere with me. It has all the basics I would need in an emergency and my keys are attached so I won’t lose them when I move from the courts to the gym or between courts in the clinics.

F) Water bottle. Staying hydrated was always my downfall last year. Now that I have this water bottle from Pink by Victoria’s Secret, it has only been a problem once. They hold more than your regular Poland Spring water bottles, are reusable and it shows my personality.

G) Phone. This is where my entire life lives. I have all my tennis lessons on my ICal. Having it in immediate reach makes it easy when a scheduling question comes up or I need to reach someone about a time change. It also makes me feel better knowing I have a way to contact someone in the rare case I run into car trouble on the ride to or from the club.

My other necessities, which don’t usually go in my tennis bag are my computer so I can write and blog, whatever book I am reading and occasionally the external hard drive with my photos on it. These three things combined with my tennis bag keep me organized and define my summer so far.

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Friendly Reminders Thanks to Summer

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Since this summer has been pretty low key, I’ve had a lot of  free time on my hands. Thanks to this newfound freedom in my schedule, I am finally getting back into things I love to do but never have enough time for and expanding new  interests.  There are also some activities I do purely because they calm me down and happen to bring me back to my childhood.

I forgot how much Pinterest had to offer and the large amount of time you can spend on it.  Pinning and browsing has been a lot of fun. I keep finding cool teacher tips or useful things for my future classroom. I keep finding yummy looking gluten free and non-gluten free recipes. Now, when I click on a suggested board I can be on Pinterest for hours. It’s a bad cycle but the good thing is, I don’t have much else I need to do this summer. At some point I need to try starting another personal statement for graduate school but it’s only July 3rd. Writing for me is a breeze.

I discovered how much of a drag Facebook and technology is. If I have a choice, I usually end up reading, writing, doing something outside, or on Pinterest. I don’t really count Pinterest as technology because it taps into my creative side. I also haven’t been watching much TV.  The only show I am caught up on is Orange Is The New Black.

I am spending a lot of time reading blogs. I discovered a lot of blogs written by teachers (thanks Pinterest!) and the blogs I see from the Her Campus Bloggers are really fun reads. It is a cool way for me to see things differently and get a lot of topics thrown at me in a short time. Reading blogs fall under my summer reading category since I don’t consider it a distraction, but something that adds to my summer.

I have also been very gung-ho on reading. Since our trip to Europe, I have picked up multiple books and finished them at a fast pace. I have always been a fast reader. My most recent book I  read was “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. I was probably very late to the game, but I really want to see the movie. I have a strict rule of reading the book first and then watching the movie.

I really can’t complain so far about my summer. I’ve been playing tennis, relaxing and enjoying my time off to the fullest. I am very grateful that college summers start so early. I am expecting some shock once I start working and my summers get shorter. I will cross that bridge when I get to it, for now, I am going to enjoy.

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#100happydays

On the first day of summer, I started doing #100happydays. It exploded on my Instagram feed weeks ago and I wanted to see what it was all about. I had initially thought about starting it when we were traveling but decided to wait until I knew I would have time (and the ability) to constantly post pictures.

It seemed like a no-brainer for me. I love Instagram, taking pictures and posting them. This would be a breeze. All I had to do was post my usual summer pictures with a new hashtag? Sounded awesome to me. After 9 days, it has been. It makes me live in the moment and appreciate my life to the fullest. So far, my pictures have been taken with my phone while I’m relaxed and happy. Once or twice I woke up in the morning and think about what my picture could be for the day, but most of the time they are spontaneous and I love that.

I’m glad I started it on the first day of summer. It felt appropriate and I am usually in a much better mood come summer. I am working out more, totally relaxed and embracing what life has to offer. The real reason I started then was so I could have a bench mark for myself. I like starting things when they I am meant to. That is probably why I didn’t sign up to for #100happydays during our trip. It didn’t feel right. When the first day of summer came around, it did.

I am a strong believer in the idea that everything happens at a set time for a specific reason. I also believe that things don’t happen unless they are meant to. On that first day of summer something inside of me clicked and I signed up. So far, #100happydays is a total success. I will be posting the ten most recent images on my blog every ten days, so look out for my first ten tomorrow!

Here’s To Summer! #SummerBloggerChallenge

This summer, along with my usual blog posts, I will post some summer themed ones! I am joining a bunch of other amazing bloggers in the #SummerBloggerChallenge hosted by Charlotte, blogger for Velvet and Vinyls. I am very excited to share these amazing topics with you and I would definitely suggest checking out some of the other bloggers who are taking part in it!

Since today is the first official day of summer, I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish.  Aside from playing tennis, working out and really enjoying my summer, which I have already talked about a few times on here, there are other goals. Tennis and fitness are the big ones for me but by now they have become part of my routine. I started thinking about things I can do that are outside of my routine, unique or would push my comfortable limits.

  • Do some cool DIY projects. I have a whole list on Pinterest I haven’t had the time to do but this summer I really want to find the time. I think I still have two un-opened Darby Smart boxes and if my memory serves me right, they were both really awesome.
  • Finally sort through pictures. I have thousands of pictures from this past semester alone. Between my photography independent study and the trip we took at the end of May, there are so many pictures I need to sort through more carefully. I want to get some printed and put them on my walls. What better time than the summer?
  • Write more fiction. I feel like I beat a dead horse when I say this every summer. I love writing fiction but I can never bring myself to actually sit down and just write. Now that I am in the habit of sitting down to write for my blog, it might actually happen but I think I’ll still need to give myself that extra little push to generate fiction.
  • Make a travel scrapbook. Since we went to Japan, I have been collecting memorabilia from places we have travelled in the hopes of making this grand and awesome scrapbook of our trips. It’s not unreasonable. I discovered it is actually a lot of fun to scrapbook and I become very calm when doing it.  I am a little more motivated to do it this summer than I was in the past. Now I just need to research if there is an AC Moore or Michaels near me.
  • Detach from my devices.  This is always a major struggle for me, and a subject of a blog post in the near future. I really want to push myself to keep my devices away from me for a whole day and enjoy doing things that doesn’t involve my phone or computer. The scenery and life on the Cape is so calming and slow paced, but when I am on my phone I am the opposite. I want to challenge myself to see if I can get into the slow paced lifestyle, at least for one day.
  • Learn to love the beach (maybe). I have never been a fan of the beach. I don’t remember liking it as a child, and I really dislike it now. However, the beaches in Cape Cod are really beautiful. The sand is a perfect texture and it is usually slightly cooler with the breeze. I don’t know if it’s the sand on my wet feet or when it gets everywhere that bothers me most. I have never enjoyed going into the water, getting wet then relaxing on the sand, but I love walking at the beach and taking pictures.  I would like to learn to love it. Maybe this summer will be the year.
  • Read more. I always forget how much I love reading during the school year. As soon as I pick up the first book that is not required, I fall back in love with reading. I want to discover new books and spend time with them this summer. I want to read blogs and get into the habit of picking up a book for a little bit (even when I am totally swamped with work come the fall).
  • Start #100HappyDays. I have seen so many friends do it and I’ve been seriously meaning to for a while now. I feel like this is quickly becoming my go-to excuse but I couldn’t find the time to start it while I was traveling.  Starting on the first day of summer feels exceptionally appropriate and I can’t wait to see the impact it has on me as a person. It will probably also be the subject of many blog posts.
  • Start graduate school applications. I am always a fan of getting ahead on work. This next year is going to be a massive whirlwind of job applications, graduate school applications, interviews and more! Whatever I can start now will only help me come November when first deadlines are approaching.

I don’t think any of these goals are totally unattainable. I also have a feeling if I succeed in doing some of these I will ultimately avoid being on my device all the time. A lot of these are creatively geared and I love projects. One larger goal for this summer is to get my right brain working more than my left. Here’s to hoping and to a productive and creative summer!

embrace once in a lifetime sunsets like this...

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The Next and Final Destination

Now that we are back in Boston we are finally headed to our last and final destination, the Cape. I am very excited to get there and settle into one place for a while. There is something really beautiful about where we are located and how I spend my days. Being at the Cape means I can spend the time relaxing, playing tennis and working out. It will be a lot of fun once I get there.

All of the bags we ended up bringing, and there were a lot, went to the Cape earlier than me and my mom. I am excited to start this summer off already in shape. Usually, I end up taking a month to adjust to playing tennis and getting back into shape. Instead, since I’ve been working out and consistent with my exercise it will be a lot easier to jump into a routine. I have to keep reminding myself that waking up at 6:30 isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I have to be up that early for my tennis lessons.

Having time with just my mom and dad at the Cape and then alternating weekends with the whole family is a huge blessing. It can get hectic but the slow adjustment to the larger group will be a nice way to transition into what is going to be a great summer. My plans for this summer are the following: work on graduate school applications, swim, exercise, relax and write. All of these things have to get done and doing it when I am relaxed will make the quality of the things I do better. It’s just the way I work. I am also planning on getting sleep.

It is going to be a very busy upcoming school year. I can already see that and it’s June. I am sensing I am going to need to store up on sleep and put it in a box for next year. I think I am still a little sleep deprived from the large amount of traveling we did and the constant early wake-ups. The beauty of going to the Cape is I can unpack for more than a week and do the activities I love doing and find new ones. We have a grand plan of making a newsletter based off the one we got in Santorini. Thanks to that, we are finding a lot of cool new activities near our house we had never heard about.

What might be the best thing about being on the Cape instead of in Boston is the temperature difference. In Boston today it is in the 90’s and here it is only in the 80’s. While it is still arguably very warm, and the humidity doesn’t help with the temperature, it is a nice difference. I couldn’t feel the difference when I was on the court this morning and clearly it was warm because I have a new tan line from my top but it is all good. That is what summer is about: staying fit, being active, getting some sun and napping. A lot of napping.photo

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