Making the most of summer

Last year we had a summer of grand adventures. We went on multiple big trips and to a couple of beautiful weddings. There was hardly a weekend that we weren't on the go. It was incredible, but we were definitely exhausted by the time fall rolled around. 

Hiking in Vermont, July 2013

Hiking in Vermont, July 2013

This summer is a bit different. We have a couple of smaller trips planned, but other than that our schedule is pretty open. I figured this was a perfect time to set some relaxed goals and start a summer bucket list.

There's nothing too crazy or ambitious on my list, just 4 things to make the most of the summer. 

Read more

Summer is my favorite time of the year to read. There's something about the way a hot, humid day encourages long, lazy stretches with a good book. I've also gotten into a bad habit of being glued to my phone or computer at night, so I'm using this time of year as an excuse to unplug everyday.

I usually go for mysteries and just about anything historical, but this year I decided to go outside of my comfort zone. Here's my list so far (recommendations are welcome!) :

  • #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso - It's the story about how Sophia, Nasty Gal's CEO built her business--she started off as something of a misfit selling vintage clothing on e-bay--and what she learned along the way. I've heard so many raves about it that I don't know if I can wait for my hold to arrive at the library. The last time I checked I was near the bottom of a list of over 100 people vying for 10 copies. 
  • A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams - A summer-read set at a Rhode Island beach house in the 1930s. The Kirkus review called it "an elegant if somewhat old-fashioned delayed-gratification seaside romance." 

  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - Another beach read love story that follows characters over 50 years from the Ligurian coast of Italy to Scotland and Hollywood. They had me at Ligurian coast. 
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - A funny tale of Armageddon. . .which sounds strange enough to work. I've had this book on my shelf for a couple of years now. I figured it's time to actually give something in the fantasy world a go. 
  • Inferno by Dan Brown - This is my current read. A couple of months ago, I realized that a lot of people were coming to this site while searching for images of the cave and statue of Braccio di Bartolo in the Boboli Gardens. I was curious why such an old post would suddenly be getting a lot of traffic, so I searched a bit and discovered Dan Brown had written a book about Florence. My curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. 

Make things and get creative

This seems like a really vague goal, but I have a few top secret DIY projects on the horizon for our wedding. I was given some great advice to only chose a few things and make sure they are truly a labor of love. So far I've really enjoyed being creative, learning new skills, and making something that feels meaningful for us. 

Plan a honeymoon

I can't wait to start doing this. I have so many ideas of where we could possibly go. It's going to be fun diving into everything and we have so much to look forward to next year. 

Will it be Italy in 2015? Maybe all of the coins I've thrown in the Trevi are working their magic. 

Will it be Italy in 2015? Maybe all of the coins I've thrown in the Trevi are working their magic. 

Explore Ontario

Since we don't have any big vacations planned, I'm really excited for the chance to explore our own area more. We love doing day trips and have talked about wandering around our own city and discovering new restaurants. 

Here's a few of my ideas so far:

  • Tube the Elora Gorge
  • Wander Toronto neighborhoods - one of our favorite summer pastimes
  • Visit Toronto Island - I can't believe I've never been!)
  • Relax in High Park
  • Hike part of the Bruce Trail - There's a section in Collingwood that I've always been curious about.
  • Spend a weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • Antique in our favorite spots - I'm going to do a whole post about this later in the month
  • Another visit (or two) at least to Muskoka
  • Visit Ottawa in August - This was my Christmas gift from the wonderful women of my fiance's family

A rural Ontario summer sunset

So there you have it. My recipe for a relaxed but full summer. The theme seems to be unplugging more and enjoying all of the great sites that are right outside of our front door. 

Do you make summer bucket list or goals? How do you make the most out of your summer when you don't have any big vacation plans?