So last week I asked a few blogger friends to share what makes a good summer, as well as what they are looking forward to this summer. I felt like a good, fun intro into summer was the way to bring it in this year.
So today Tif, Ti, Memory, Andi and I are sharing with you good people some of our favorite summertime traditions, vacations, foods, and more! Here we go!
-When you think about summer, what is the first image that comes to mind?
Tif: Long summer evenings, barbecues, and reading in the sun!
Ti: Me, sitting by a pool with a cold, refreshing drink. Books by my side, of course.
Memory: Greenery! I love all the lush grass and the trees with their bright green leaves.
Andi: Water! I live in Texas, and summer is so, soooo unbearably hot. We're talking 110+ degrees sometimes in the hottest parts of the year. There's nothing I love more than spending time in a pool. Any pool. To cool down.
Becca: Swimming, lemonade, the smell of fresh cut grass, and reading outside.
-What book(s) are at the top of your TBR pile this summer?
Ti: Wind / Pinball by Haruki Murakami
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (for a read along)
Nantucket by Nan Rossiter
Memory: I promised myself I could reread Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series for my birthday, so I'll definitely get to those. I'll also prioritize Robin Hobb's forthcoming novel, FOOL'S QUEST.
Andi: On the heavier side, I'm determined that this will be the summer I FINALLY read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. On the lighter side, it's also time I read the memoir. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen.
Becca: Besides review books, I'm really hoping to get to The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (reading 2nd book in trilogy now), as well as Torch Ginger (Lei Crime #2) by Toby Neal and Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea, which are all from my TBR pile(s).
-Where are you planning on going on vacation?
Tif: Camping in the mountains is the only thing that I have planned at the moment, but I am hoping for a little family vacation if the stars align.
Ti: We haven't been able to take a vacation for a few years now. The family business that my husband runs, doesn't allow for time off so we have no plans. However, we do plan to take some day trips to visit places we've never visited before, like The Getty Villa or MOCA.
Memory: Alas, I'm not sure I'll get a proper vacation this year. I may go down to Fargo, North Dakota for a day or two, just to look for cheap food.
Andi: My husband and I are terrible at planning and committing to a vacation. I think we're going to take a week off, take off driving, and probably end up in North Carolina to visit Heather. And hopefully you, Becca!
Becca: I'm going with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, mother, and other sister to the beach at the end of July. I'm excited because my sis, BIL, and niece live in California and I don't get to see them much. And, yes, Andi that would be awesome!!!
-If you took a second vacay and money were no object, where would you go?
Ti: I would probably visit Paris or take a cruise through the fjords of Norway.
Memory: I'd have a large-scale tour, baby! Assuming safety wasn't an issue, I'd start in Victoria, British Columbia, and work my way around the world with stops in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, Russia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, France, the UK, Spain, Egypt, Madagascar, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. Then I'd stop in to see New Orleans before I ended off in Las Vegas. It'd probably take me the entire summer, but it'd be so worth it.
Andi: Somewhere tropical. The more beach the better.
Becca: Italy. Specifically Florence. I've wanted to go for fifteen years but I just don't have the money for it.
-Would you bring the kids? The spouse? Friends? Just a solo trip?
Tif: My whole little family - husband and two kids! Unfortunately, the dog would stay home this time around.
Ti: I'd love to bring the family with me. My kids are now almost 17 and 12. Good ages for such a trip.
Memory: I almost always travel by myself, which is why safety can be an issue. Ideally, I'd meet up with local friends along the way! Like, Chris once promised me he'd show me where to get the best po'boys in New Orleans, and he may no longer remembering saying that but I'm determined to hold him to it. Po'boys are very important.
Andi: Spouse! Will definitely take the kiddo with us one day, but right now we're due for a real honeymoon.
Becca: I can't take John to the beach. He would get sunburn in .7 seconds he is so fair and ginger-headed. :) But I would definitely take him with me to Italy.
-What are your favorite barbecue/cookout foods?
Tif: Cheeseburgers, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, and watermelon!
Ti: I love salmon on the grill but no one else does in my family so when we grill, it's usually steaks. I do love a good hamburger too. One of the things I like most is grilled fruit, like peaches! Served warm with a drizzle of honey and topped with really good vanilla ice cream? Oh man. Can't beat that.
Memory: I lovelovelove a good burger. The patty's gotta be 100% beef (preferably from Alberta), topped with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo or aioli, and a grilled pineapple round. Mmmmm. When pineapple isn't available, I'll settle for avocado. Bleu cheese is also one of my favourite burger additions.
Andi: Grilled corn, steak, chicken teriyaki kabobs, and maybe some grilled peaches with homemade whipped cream.
Becca: Grilled burgers or steak, grilled veggies (especially zucchini and squash!) and corn on the cob, potato salad, and watermelon or homemade ice cream for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about this!
-What is your go-to summer drink? Lemonade? Iced tea? Ice water? Smoothies? Beer? Pina Colada?
Tif: Lemonade or ice water.
Ti: Mint julep.
Memory: I drink soooooo much water. Lemonade is another big favourite.
Andi: Ice water is my everyday go-to, but I love indulging in something fruity...with alcohol. Margaritas and daiquiris are right up my alley.
Becca: I love a good smoothie and a great smoothie place just opened up by me so I imagine lots of visits there this summer. I'm also a sucker for lemonade. I love a good ice cold beer in the summer, too.
-What book are you looking forward to coming out this summer?
Ti: I mentioned it above but I am crazy excited for Haruki Murakami's Wind / Pinball. I have a review copy, but it comes out in August.
Memory: I'm super excited for THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS by Jo Walton, FOOL'S QUEST by Robin Hobb, and LAIR OF DREAMS by Libba Bray.
Andi: The Marvels by Bryan Selznick. His work is always so gorgeous. I can't wait!
Becca: Run You Down by Julia Dahl, which comes out the end of this month. It's the sequel to Invisible City, which I can't get out of my head.
-Do you have any particular blogging plans for summer?
Tif: My initial goal is to get caught up, then just to stay caught up while I have fun in the sun!
Ti: Not really. Except the Atlas Shrugged read along I am hosting in July and August.
Memory: I want to take more outdoor pictures for my weekly Murchie Plus Books feature. Murchie, my dog, looooooves the outdoors, and I hope he'll be a little more amenable to having his picture taken if I cater to his interests at the same time!
Andi: Try to blog regularly. I fell out of the habit during the extremely busy school year, so this is my moment!
Becca: My main focus is going to be on writing reviews. I am perpetually behind. Other than that, I just want to relax and go with the flow!
-Do you wear makeup during the summer or go more natural?
Tif: I don't actually wear a lot of makeup, but I do wear less during the summer. I would rather spend the time playing and/or reading than applying makeup!
Ti: I always wear a little make-up but mostly to even out my skin tone. The only gotta-have item regardless of season is lipstick or colored gloss. I look so washed out without the right shade of lip color.
Memory: I never wear very much makeup, and that usually stays the same in summer. I'm slightly more aware of whether I'm wearing lip gloss or lipstick because it gets pretty windy here and blowing hair + lipgloss = terribleness.
Andi: I tend to wear lighter makeup in the summer. Give me some CC cream, something natural on the eyes, and a beautiful flush of color on the cheeks. I'm a sucker for blush.
Becca: I don't wear makeup I'd say 75% of the time, BUT now that I am feeling better and not bedridden or even housebound, I've been getting into it more. I've really been getting into lipsticks and nail polish a lot. Not that nail polish is makeup, per se.
-Favorite summer weather outfit?
Tif: Capris, tshirt/tank top, and sandals.
Ti: Cropped jeans, a Gap t-shirt and flip flops.
Memory: I like dresses because they're cool and they make it look like I made an effort, but I really just pulled a single garment over my head.
Andi: Give me cropped pants or Bermuda shorts, a flowing floral top, and a lightweight cardigan any day. Don't forget the sandals!
Becca: Flip-flops/sandals or sneakers, shorts, and a t-shirt usually. I'd like to wear more sundresses, though, so I'm going to look for some this summer.
-Afternoon thunderstorms - a bummer or a nice way to relax after a hot morning? What is your fave summer thunderstorm activity besides reading (too obvious!)?
Tif: A nice way to relax! Unfortunately, where I live now doesn't get a lot of afternoon thunderstorms like when I lived in the Midwest. I'm going to miss them! Other fave thunderstorm activities include watching movies, playing games, or taking naps!
Ti: We do get thunderstorms in California but not often and if we do, they don't last long. I would be THRILLED to get one. We are so dry. I'd sit by my patio slider, throw that puppy wide open and soak up the sounds (and smells)! It would be fun to watch a scary movie at the same time.
Memory: Definitely a happy thing. I love to open my window, close my eyes, and listen to the rain pelting down.
Andi: We're always begging for rain come summertime...except this year, which was one of the wettest on record! Eeek! But normally I take an afternoon thunderstorm as a welcome respite. Light a candle and hunker down with a book.
Becca: Depends on the day for me. Some days it feels nice and relaxing - I will sit on the porch and watch the rain fall or curl up and read a book. Other days I wish I could be outside doing something instead. Or I'm bummed because the rain has caused pain and I have to be in bed.
-Pretend you have mad skills: what three things would your ultimate sandcastle include?
Tif: A dragon, and a moat filled with mermaids!
Ti: Multiple levels with an elevator.
Memory: A waterfall, tiny people at every window, and a kraken.
Andi: The more turrets the better. A flock of mermaids (with attitudes...more like Sirens). A kickin' library. A girl can dream, right?
Becca: I would make it so there was a big open courtyard in the middle of the castle. There would be a large swimming pool there filled with mermaids (and mermen!) and a coral reef. There would be a huge library (of course) and I'd make tiny books for it and fill the shelves. And the tops of the castle walls would be sloped and curvy like hills.
-Who would you love to see at an outdoor concert?
Tif: This one is so hard because I love such a variety of music. If I had to choose just one at this very second, I would probably choose Maroon 5.
Ti: Sergio Mendes (Brazilian Jazz) or wait for it... Barry Manilow.
Memory: Flogging Molly. I'd love to see them full stop, but it'd be especially fun outdoors.
Andi: Only a really good band could make me leave the house during summertime for an outside concert. It might take a Dixie Chicks reunion tour.
Becca: John says Aerosmith puts on the best outdoor concert ever so I definitely would love to see them. I mean Steven Tyler can still rock it out even as a grandfather!
GAME OF 3's
Pool, ocean, or lake/river?
Ti: To look at? Ocean.
Becca: Ocean, but pool is a close second.
Movie theater, drive-in, or DVD/Streaming?
Tif: Movie theater
Ti: Blockbuster hits must be viewed in the theater, but usually I prefer DVD/streaming in the comfort of my family room.
Memory: Movie theatre
Andi: Movie theater!
Becca: I don't really care to go to the theater that much. I'd much rather watch from the comfort of my house where I can pause the movie to stretch.
Fantasy, historical, or contemporary fiction?
Ti: Contemporary fiction
Andi: Oooh, tough choice.
Becca: I read more contemporary in the summer for some reason, but fantasy will always be my fave.
Sneakers, sandals, or barefoot?
Ti: I kind of like sneakers
Andi: Barefoot indoors, sandals outside.
Becca: I love the easiness of sandals, but I move better in sneakers. Barefoot indoors always, but sometimes on the deck, too.
Dance in the rain, catch fireflies, or set off fireworks?
Tif: Dance in the rain
Ti: If we had rain, I'd dance in it
Memory: Set off fireworks
Becca: Dance in the rain
Go for a hike, go fishing, or go white water rafting?
Tif: Go for a hike.
Ti: Hike. I like the solitude.
Memory: Definitely hiking!
Becca: White-water rafting! I love the thrill of it. I go at least once every summer, but I'd do it once a week if I could!
That was fun, guys! Thanks for playing along with me!
What are your favorite things about summertime?