Ah, summer. Most of us dream through the cold, winter months about sundresses, walking out the door without a coat, popsicles, late nights on patios, swimming pools, lightning bugs... Anything that sounds heavenly when the temperature reads below zero. Summer represents a time to be carefree; no school, no bedtime, no deadlines. However, nothing can stay perfect forever. July is over and we've had this freedom for more than two months now. That means that we're knee-deep in August, and ... boredom has set in.
Once the bulk of summer has passed, so can the novelty of the season. True, you can leave the house without a coat, but with a heat index of 115F, who wants to? You don't love summer any less - you just need to have some space. For those of you us who wouldn't mind hanging out inside (with the air conditioning) for a while, here are 18 fun ways to pass your time:
The first thing I thought of when I decided to create this list was guacamole, which may be because I just love it. I typically think of this as a summertime food! Guac is simple to make and, best of all, requires no heat! Perfect for a hot day, then. Here's how I make it! Buy three avocados, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, red onion, and cilantro. (And sometimes I cheat and buy a packet of extra-spicy guacamole powdered mix.) I learned how to tell if an avocado is ripe from one of Alton Brown's TV shows on Food Network: squeeze the fruit and if it feels kind of like you are squeezing the palm of your hand (some give, but not so squishy!), then you are good! I've also heard that if you can pull the little stem nub off the top easily, its ripe or close to.
Cut the avocados in half, scoop out and throw away the pits, and spoon all the insides into a dish.
- Pour in some olive oil (not a lot!) and a good amount of lemon juice, which will help keep the snack green, not brown.
- Start mashing! I use a fork for sure, but sometimes a paring knife to help cut down the bigger chunks right away.
- Chop up your red onion into little squares. It's up to you how much you want to put in - it depends on how chunky you want your guac. I usually use about half of a small onion for three avocados.
- Toss in the salt and red pepper pepper flakes to taste! At this point, you can add more lemon juice if it's not tangy enough. Add more olive oil if you want it more creamy.
- Last, finely chop up some cilantro and throw it in! And if you are like me, eat some cilantro all by itself, yum!
- Eat with tortilla chips, baby carrots, pita chips or bread, or a SPOON. That's my favorite way.
I have very vivid memories from my childhood of days when it was too hot to go outside. I remember sitting on the floor, using the coffee table as a desk, and playing paper dolls and coloring in My Little Pony color books with my mom. I thought it was so cool that my mom was doing what I liked to do! Now that I'm as old as my mom was then, I don't blame her! My equivalent as of late is Polyvore, of course! The digital paper doll. And think, it is never too late to start planning your autumn outfits. Here's one that I made, inspired by cotton candy and the My Little Pony I colored back in '89.
WATCH MAKEUP TUTORIALS
This is something I have most recently fallen in love with! Tired of same-old, same-old cat eye? Do you wear the same champagne-colored eye shadow every day, without fail? Search YouTube for makeup tutorials and be amazed at the inspiration you find. These girls are good! One that I just saw on Sugarpill's Facebook page: steampunk-inspired eyes. Way cool. If you get really inspired, film your own tutorial!
START A BOOK CLUB
With all the Harry Potter craziness lately, I've been really itching to read the books again. I haven't read them since Deathly Hallows came out in 2007! Wow, that was a long time ago. My best friend mentioned that she finally started watching the movies and someone suggested that she read the books. That got me to thinking - how fun would it be to read along with someone? Obviously, with jobs and other responsibilities, it might be a little slow going, but I think worth the extra effort. For light, summer reading, maybe skip War and Peace and go a little more on the Sookie Stackhouse level.
FIND A NEW SHOW ON NETFLIX
The ultimate way to relax inside on hot, humid days: totally veg out with an entire season of a show you've always meant to watch. I'm a sucker for hours-long TV marathons. I've spent many a time zoning out to X-Files or Dexter, but my most recent obsession? Parks and Recreation! Why didn't I watch this sooner?! Unfortunately, I finished the newest season and have to wait until September like everyone else. I hate cliffhangers, so when I have the opportunity to "Watch Next Episode" IMMEDIATELY? I feel drunk with power.
ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET
Don't be ashamed - you are not the only one who wants to organize your closet by color, cut, style, etc. Or wait... am I the only one? No. Go through your dressers and garment racks and really organize what you have. This is also the perfect time to purge what you cannot believe what's hiding back there! I recently found quite a few dresses in two-sizes-too-small that I finally got rid of. My reasoning? If I ever fit into that size again, I can celebrate by buying myself some brand new dressies!
TASTE TESTING PARTY
I love eating, no matter what the season is, and a fun way to pass the time is set up a taste testing party! You choose what to judge. Bloody Mary mix? Hummus? Microwave popcorn or gourmet cheese? Microwave popcorn WITH gourmet cheese?! Come up with a rating system and have everyone fill out note cards with their scores. For example: taste, packaging, smell, texture, overall presentation. After you finish, add up the totals and declare a winner!
It might be my print journalism degree talking, but I have the biggest soft spot for buying piles of magazines at once. I love to get home, put them in a pile next to my bed, and read through them. I go page-by-page, reading the articles and looking at the design layout. What a geek, right? Buy a Real Simple and pick out a yummy supper to make the next day. Pick up a Nylon and find a new makeup product to try out. Read through a Cosmo and, well... decide what you want to try from those pages.
TRY A NEW HOBBY
I love new hobbies! I especially love making it a point to learn something new. That's how I started crocheting! Here are some ideas: crochet, knitting, painting ceramics, drawing, building model airplanes, maintaining a window-sill herb garden, learning magic tricks, creating balloon animals, making music videos, photography, rock polishing, taking care of new fish, making your own podcast, starting a blog (hey!) .. The list goes on!
HOLD A VIDEO GAME TOURNAMENT
Call up some of your best friends and put together a sweet video game tournament. Might I suggest Bomberman on Saturn? Time trials of Mario Kart on SNES? Otherwise, Bubble Bobble or Puyo Puyo would probably be my choices. Draw up a tournament match poster and fight to the finish. Run over to the closet thrift shop beforehand and fork over 75 cents on a sweet trophy for the winner. No matter that the statue shows a guy dunking a basketball! You can earn that bitch by defeating Rainbow Road backwards, son!
WINE BOTTLE CANDLE HOLDERS
This summer activity is a little more intense than, say, watching TV all afternoon, but I promise that it is awesome. DesignSponge.com has posted an awesome tutorial on how to do this! All you need is a glass cutter, candles, matches, ice cubes, sandpaper, and lots and lots of wine bottles. The pictures in this guide show how to use the top half of the bottle to hold pillar candles, but I've seen the opposite, too! Save the bottom half of the wine bottle and place a shorter, wider candle in it.
PLAN A TRIP
It may be an actual possibility or it might only be a fantasy, but either way, planning out the details of an awesome trip can be super fun. I have a weakness for buying travel guides from the bookstore, but they have come in handy when I actually do get to go on holiday. Use these guidebooks to map out an itinerary. First, plan what the intention of your vacation is: sightseeing, relaxation, educational, shopping, or party! Or .. all of the above! Choose your hotel, mode of transportation, places you for sure want to check out and restaurants you know that you can't miss. When the time comes for you to get the hell out of Dodge, you'll be prepared!
NOSTALGIA SHOP ON EBAY
The other day I got to thinking about makeup cases. I've been using a pouch that comes with Clinique's free gift with purchase for a while and it is just not cutting it. I want a big case that pulls out, has compartments, and can fit a lot. Then it struck me: Caboodles! I wanted a Caboodle! Where could I find one of these? Sure, there might be modern ones at a store, but I wanted the real deal. So I turned to eBay. While I was there, I also filled my wishlist with a Furby, a Tamagotchi, a sweet Care Bears bag, and a Rainbow Brite VHS tape.
Learning about Tarot cards was my big summer project last year. I saw one of those little boxes on a gondola by the registers at Barnes and Noble and grabbed it on impulse. It came with a full deck, miniature sized!, and a tiny book explaining the very basics of the Major and Minor Arcana. Within a week, my bookshelf contained half a dozen new books about reading the cards. It is really fun to study all the different meanings. (And, you can be your own fun party trick!)
FIND NEW PODCASTS
A big part of summer is road trips. For those of you who want to take a break from the tunes for a while (don't worry, you're not an awful person!), try some podcasts. One of my favorite things to do is to search through iTunes to see who shares the same interests as me. Some that I've found: Pokemon Podcast, YarnCraft, Retronauts, Savage Love, and a really sweet Tarot one, that I don't think airs anymore. Besides that, it gives me time to catch up on all the NPR shows I don't hear during the week: Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!, This American Life, Fresh Air, Radio Lab and the Sunday Puzzler. What do you listen to?
Yeah, yeah, it seems like everyone's done it. BUT, cave in and enjoy. What I love about this iOS app is the social aspect of it. Not only can you be vain and artsy at the same time, but you can search through tons of tags and location links to peek into different people's lives. I'm following about 20 people from Japan right now. (And one who is from Japan AND crochets!)
Here is another awesome time-passer to play with your friends, and it might be possible after you do some of that memory-lane shopping on eBay. The sets that come with instructions are great, but I've always been a fan of just creating what you want with no guide. You'll be amazed at how much it all comes flooding back -- building a tall as possible, searching the pile for the perfectly shaped piece, comparing castles and cars. Almost therapeutic, no?
DIY BEAUTY ROUTINES
Perfect summer memories of mine: lounging on a wicker chair on my parent's back porch, sipping some iced tea, and reading new issues of Seventeen and YM. I loved the homemade beauty products and tried them constantly. Need fresh, clean skin in the hot summer? Put a spray bottle of lemon water in the fridge! Cucumbers on eyes? I did it. Mud face masks? I did it. I had a tiny little notebook full of ideas that I read in these. Right now, the eggs in my fridge are thisclose to being my new hair conditioner. What homemade beauty treatments do you use? CollegeFashion.net has some really fun ideas at their site!
So, what do you do? Let me know in the comments the ways you battle cabin fever? I'm excited to hear!