30 Rad Things To Do This Summer

I’m graduating in just 15 days (ahhh!), and I know you guys are counting down to summer too, so I thought I’d share a rad list of fun things to do in Summer 2K16!

 

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  1. Throw an Outdoor Party

 

Spruce up your garden and throw an outdoor party this summer. Hang lanterns and streamersg from the trees. Light candles. Break out the BBQ or set up a buffet table. Invite your BFFs, family and neighbours and have fun. Dance until dawn in the moonlight!

 

  1. Surprise Your BFF

 

Surprise your best friend with unique and unusual gifts for no reason at all. Wrap them in something fun (newspaper, paper bags, etc)  and send them through the post. She’ll dig it, I promise.. And if you feel so inclined, totally feel free to send me anything from this site – because you know I’m cuckoo!

 

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  1. Blow Some Bubbles

 

It’s good to do childish things now and again (or all the time). And did you know that there are several health benefits associated with blowing bubbles? Pursing your lips and blowing focuses your breathing and is great for relaxation. It’s also good, squeaky clean fun.

 

  1. Go Camping

 

Throw your tent in the trunk, grab some friends and go camping. What’s better than sleeping under the stars? Light a campfire and make s’mores. And then tell me about your adventures!

 

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  1. Go to a Festival

 

Everyone should go to a festival at least once in their life. If not several times. Find the perfect event for you and immerse yourself in the whole experience, including Instagramming and Snapchatting the whole thing so that I can live vicariously through you. 

 

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  1. Go to a Fair

    Go to a fair with a group of friends. Not a great big theme park – a small county fair. Enjoy the rides, eat some cotton candy and win a prize. Help me relive my glory days of clogging at the state fair!

 

  1. Go the Beach

 

Even if you’re not going on a long summer vacation, visit the beach. Arrive early to choose the best umbrella spot. Pack a picnic lunch (or get pizza, pizza is always good) and a stack of books and stay all day. Play games, swim and build sandcastles – or just lay out and tan, or burn in my case. As the sun goes down set up a BBQ and roast some veggie burgers.

 

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  1. Pick Berries

 

Ride out to a farm and spend the day picking berries. Bring them home and make smoothies, pies and cakes. There’s nothing better than freshly picked fruit!

 

  1. Take a Nap in a Hammock

 

It’s not all about rushing around (although that can be fun too). Summer is a great time to relax and dream a little. Set up that Eno and force your cat into it with you.

 

  1. Stargaze

 

Drive out to the country away from the city lights – or just come visit my family’s house, there’s a cornfield on our street! Lie down on a blanket and stare at the stars. If you have a portable telescope, use it! Be amazed at the wonder of the universe. Try not to think about the possible children in the cornfield.

 

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  1. Take That Trip

 

Take that trip you’ve always been meaning to take. What’s holding you back? Just book it and go! Hopefully that trip involves you visiting me in Paris, because as of now I have 3 possible friends, one of which will be the child I’m nannying.  

 

  1. Go Paddle Boating or Canoeing

 

Take off your shoes and socks and roll up your pants. Paddle in a river or stream. Or dangle your feet off the edge of a boardwalk. Don’t forget to pack a towel and also sunscreen – don’t get stuck with the thigh sunburn I got last year.

 

  1. Go Sailing

 

Grab a bunch of friends and spend some time sailing. Drive out to a lake and spend the day there. Take a picnic lunch (or pizza) and a blanket and enjoy a lazy day. I’ve always wanted to sail in the Chesapeake Bay, please someone do this for me – take one for the team!

 

 

  1. Swim in a Lake

 

The pool is great but swimming in a lake is something else. Find a safe location and skip a near death experience like I had in a river a few years ago. Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic…but better safe than sorry!

 

  1. Cycle

 

Dust off your bicycle and go for a long ride. Get out of the city and into the countryside. Enjoy the country roads and fresh air. Apparently bikes are more popular in Europe, so I should probably learn how to turn while biking.

 

  1. Go for a Hike

 

Plan your route and go for a hike. Choose somewhere you’ve never been before. Walk through fields and woods and enjoy being outside in nature, knowing that Trump can’t get to you there.

 

  1. Take a Road Trip

 

Road trips are always fun, especially when you choose the right travelling companions. Plan where you want to go but don’t be too rigid. Part of the fun is following those road signs and seeing where they take you. Take lots of tunes to listen to along the way, I suggest Taylor Swift.  

 

  1. Walk Barefoot in the Park

 

Remember the film with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford that my Grandma keeps asking me to watch? Take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot in the park. It’s freeing and exhilarating.

 

  1. Light Some Fireworks

 

Fireworks are not just for 4th July. Gather some friends and have a firework party. Light some sparklers and have fun.

 

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  1. Have a Film Night

 

Curl up on the couch and watch your favorite films. Make some popcorn and cry at the sad bits. A blanket and a tub of ice cream are useful and obligatory.

 

  1. Visit a New City

 

Visit a city you’ve never been to before. Drive or take the train and spend the day there. Enjoy the shops and restaurants. Eat lunch in a pavement cafe. I suggest NYC. Or Paris, definitely Paris.

 

  1. Go to a Museum

 

Check your local listings and visit a museum or art gallery. Keep a list of forthcoming exhibitions and events. Your local history museum could be more fun than you think – I got a great Instgram pic last time I visited mine.

 

  1. Play Some Sports

 

When was the last time you played some sports (my answer is seventh grade, fyi)? Choose something you like or something you would like to learn and go for it. Book a court etc. and have fun. Pick a friend who is less athletic than you and you’ll always look great playing any sport with them.

 

  1. Volunteer

 

Giving your time is always rewarding. Look for local community groups and projects that may need your help. Spend some time helping other people (or animals). If you want to go big, I suggest going to Asia and volunteering at a bear sanctuary.

 

  1. Learn a Language

 

Is there a language you’ve always wanted to learn? Enroll in a [French] course and make a start. Reward yourself with a visit to that country [France] once you have made good progress. It’s the best way to test your [French] skills. I am in no way biased towards France.

 

  1. Learn a New Skill

 

Learn something new. Enroll in an online course or book a place at your local community college. Learning new things broadens your horizons and allows you to meet new people.

 

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  1. Read Some Books

 

Make a list of those books you’ve always wanted to read and set time aside to read them. Bridget Jone’s Diary, Bossy Pants, and anything by Chelsea Handler are good places to start.

 

  1. Visit Your Library

 

Spend a couple of hours browsing your local library. Pick out some books and look at the information. There’s always something interesting to be found there. Who knows, you could purposefully run into a cute boy and fall in love in said library.

 

  1. Make Some Art

 

Forget any inhibitions and make some art. Take out your paints, glue and glitter and make something fun and creative! Don’t overthink it or try to make it perfect. Just go with your instincts. If your instincts say to draw a cat, your instincts are on the right track.

 

  1. Plan a Family Day

 

Plan a fun day for the whole family. Make some meals, plan some activities, or fire up the BBQ. Spend the day with the people closest to you. The next day you should plan on hiding in your room.

 

So those are some fun summer ideas for you all! Comment below and tell me what you’re doing this summer! Don’t forget to add me on Twitter and Instagram @CelinaTTolbert so we can keep in touch this summer!

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Red Keds in Red Hook

The saying goes, “If you don’t got nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Well apparently tween girls in Brooklyn do not follow this wise advice. Let’s be clear, I don’t follow this rule all the time either – but at least I don’t do it to your face on public transportation.

Last summer I bought a cute pair of red Keds before I flew to NYC for 3 months. I wore them on the plane and was excited to take on the city with my new shoes. I enjoyed wearing them in my favorite park and all over Manhattan. A few weeks into the summer, a friend suggested we check out a free music festival in Brooklyn. So, of course, I put on my red Keds and we boarded the subway. Somewhere along the line a group of preteen girls joined our car. This is where our story really begins.

As a cool New Yorker, I never considered talking to strangers on the subway – I’m not trying to get robbed. Or stabbed, because my friend back home heard that was a thing. Anyways, the girls chatted for a while, and then the head of this tween gaggle starts talking louder – and she starts talking about my shoes. She continues to talk to her friends about my shoes, so I proceed to stare at her with a blank expression. I’d dealt with bullies before, but never in the form of strangers in an enclosed space.

As the girl and her friends continued to laugh, I slowly raise my hand to wave at them and smile. The head tween says something like “Oh no she didn’t” and her friend proceeds to apologize for head tween, laughing and joking that “She got problems.” Just at this moment, it’s our stop, so we exit as I tell them to have a nice day, feeling confident that they won’t chase me off the train.

 

The moral of this story is: tweens in Brooklyn will notice your footwear, and your Keds will soon wear out. However, while your Keds are breathing, you should wear them in Brooklyn just to give tweens conversation pieces.

The Thrill of The Chase

I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.

I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).

I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.

I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.

 

A German on The Jersey Turnpike

In 2014 I spent the summer working at a camp in New York with staff from all over the world. The camp was about two hours from NYC and was structured so that all staff got a week off in the middle of the summer. Basically they forced us off camp for a week with nowhere to go, so we made the best of it and chose to live it up during our week without evil children. I had made a few really great friends, so a few of us made random last minute plans for the week, starting with a few days in NYC. I planned the week trip with my best friend from Germany, let’s call her Elsa. Our other friend, let’s call her Candy, planned to be with us for the first half of the trip.

So Candy drove us from camp to the city where we had booked a hotel on the edge of Brooklyn (with free parking!) just a few hours ago. We’re great planners. Anyways, we had fun being tourists in the city and hanging on our roof at night looking at Manhattan. We left after two nights for Philadelphia, with our friend Oliver joining this leg of the trip. We were going to drive Candy’s car to the house of someone I connected with on Couchsurfing. However, Candy was a bit under the weather and really needed to sleep in the car. I didn’t have a license, and Oliver only had a NY limited permit. That left Elsa, who had a German license but had never driven in America before. Elsa was very hesitant, as she had only been in the US for a month and was a bit frazzled from being with demon children during that time. But after a bit of convincing, Elsa agreed because Candy was already falling asleep.

So Candy took a nap in the front seat while Oliver and I squeezed into the back among all of the luggage, promising Elsa we’d help her navigate. She was nervous but we promised she’d only have to drive on this one road – The Jersey Turnpike. I mean, we were a bit nervous as well, but we knew the worst outcome would end with us not returning to camp, and in our hearts we accepted that and left it up to fate. Somewhere in Jersey the GPS voice lulled me to sleep, and I was only vaguely conscious when we stopped at a toll. I woke up and Candy soon followed. However, we had unknowingly lied to Elsa, as we made her navigate the way into Philly so we could eat lunch. The lunch was meh. Candy took over driving in Philly and to DC later on. Elsa may or may not have been permanently scarred by this event.

We all lived through this experience and “Elsa” and I are planning to meet up this summer. But no worries, she’ll be taking the train, not driving.

I’m Back! / Summer in NYC!!!!!!

Hey Guys! I haven’t posted in so long, life has been crazy and I’ve been lazy. I have been writing, but it’s either in my draft folder or published elsewhere…mostly in my drafts. I’ve been really into poetry lately, so I have a bunch of poems I hope to publish somewhere, sometime.

Anyways here’s my big news – I’m going to be in NYC all summer! Last summer I worked at a camp and got to spend a week in NYC on a break. So this summer I decided I didn’t want to work at a camp and I wanted to work in a big city. I think it’s fate that I got this amazing job at a dance school! I’ll be living and breathing NYC all summer! I am beyond psyched and had some ideas for what to do, but I also want your input! Do you know of anything I should absolutely do this summer? Do you have a #nycdare for me? Ask me to do anything, even if it seems to crazy! I’ll do my best to do them all and document the summer through blogging and/or vlogging! I already have quite a few ideas, but I really want your ideas!!!

Here are some of the things on my NYC Summer Bucket List: read in central park, take the subway by myself, explore Williamsburg, go to the Met, go to a fancy party, meet some celebs, do yoga in central park, go to Taylor Swift’s gym, go to a concert, get on TV somehow, audition for acting opportunities, perform on the street or at an open mic night.

So comment or message me with your #nycdare for me! Share with your friends (especially those who know NYC or just have crazy ideas!) and don’t be afraid to ask me something insane! Here’s to a crazy amazing summer filled with awesome adventures!

Celina’s Weird Travel Adventures – To and From NYC

There are many different ways to travel in these fifty nifty states. There are planes, buses, and trains. I have done all three in my travels to and from the Big Apple.

Before I was officially offered a job at a summer camp in upstate NY, I looked at flights. And I actually found a reasonably priced first class ticket. I have flown a decent amount in my life, but have never flown first class. I wanted to book it, but I had to wait until I was offered the job.

Well, literally the next day I was offered the job.

So, I went online to book my ticket…and, of course, it was gone.

I ended up flying with a really cheap company which I will not name. It pretty much sucked. I had to pay extra for everything. However, I got a window seat and the middle seat was empty, so I got to talk to the old lady in the aisle seat when I got bored of my music and magazines. She was a nice old lady visiting her daughter.

I loaned her a magazine because she was THAT nice.

That’s pretty much it for my trip to NYC. Oh, and by the way, Laguardia is very strangely shaped. It’s basically a long skinny line. And it’s old and dirty. But there are many nice people in vests that help you.

Now, my ride back was just cray. I had to leave camp early due to school, which forced me to make some weird travel arrangements. I was broke at the time because I was waiting for a paycheck, so my options were extremely limited. It was either a sketchy Chinatown bus or the more expensive train and bus combo. So I chose the bus.

And immediately regretted it.

I was so freaked out that I started asking the campers if they had ever been on one and whether I would die if I rode one. At one point I almost bought the train ticket, but then I stopped because, oh yeah, I’m poor. Even though I was sure that I would die all by myself in NYC traveling via bus, I decided to buck up and do it.

The day comes for me to leave camp. Luckily, my favorite Australian friend came with me (to ensure I wouldn’t die). We took a train to the city (which was pretty nice, but more expensive than I thought) and then took the subway to Chinatown. We proceeded to find somewhat good food and then Dunkin Donuts. Because who doesn’t love Dunkin, especially up North? We finally get to the bus station and wait. Finally, an elderly woman says my bus is leaving, so we all follow her as she runs and yells at us in a language that is not English. We all run across the street and miraculously don’t get hit by oncoming cars. We arrive at the bus, which is ready to go. I shove my suitcases in the luggage thing and say a teary goodbye (good day?) to my bestie from down under and head onto the bus. This nice old lady lets me have the window seat! There are so many nice old ladies in the world.

Anyhow, we drive for a bit and then stop for gas. I go get a drink and return. Then the nice old lady offers me fruit! Can you believe it? Strawberries AND grapes. Some might say it’s risky to take fruit from a stranger, but I was already on a sketchy bus, so what the hay! I couldn’t sleep the whole time, so I got to see the beautiful and boring countryside of Delaware and Maryland. Oh, and the ocean.

When we finally got to my destination, my family was waiting for me and freaking out because the area wasn’t the best in town. I laughed because of the sketchiness I had been through.

This is not a complaint post, because I do not regret traveling the way I did. However, if you have the funds, I’d say first class all the way. If not, Chinatown buses really aren’t that bad, even when there is a crying baby. Bring a good book and ride it out. Trains are also fun, and less expensive than planes for shorter distances. And budget airlines are okay if you either want to bring very little or are prepared to pay extra…lots of extra. So here’s to happy traveling! Stay tuned for more of my weird adventures!