Photos by Stephanie Vasilliadisiadis
This summer will be my first summer off. Ever since middle school (yes, I was “working” in middle school), I have spent my summer with some type of job. This summer, I’m planning on enjoying the summer days and doing as many fun and adventurous things that I can do and have been wanting to do.
SHOP THE POST:
So today – with it being the end of my first week off and the only thing I have been doing is going to appointments I wasn’t able to make during the school year and sitting around and just doing nothing for the first time for awhile – I want to share with you my summer bucket list and challenge you to join me in completing some of these fun summer experiences along with me.
Learn a New Skill
For the past few years, there have been a number of things that I wanted to learn how to do. Recently, I really wanted to learn how to do calligraphy – which would have been so helpful during my wedding planning. So, why not try to learn something new this summer. I had received emails from Brit + Co about their calligraphy classes and I’ve also heard about another class set on Calligraphy.org.
So why not give it a try? I may try to learn calligraphy and help some of my upcoming brides with their stationary or just enjoy creating new things in the fun fonts I may be able to write.
Or sky is the limit. Maybe, I’ll learn a different skill – like horseback ride. Oh! That would be fun.
I did a lot of volunteer work as an undergraduate, but though my heart was there for the right reasons, I felt like it wasn’t truly volunteering since I had to do it as a party of my course requirements. So, I want to volunteer this summer and help my community.
I’m a really big fan of house flipping/building shows, and I’m also a sucker for Animal Cops. So, I would love to volunteer for a project that involves renovating or building a house such as with Habitat for Humanity.
Or volunteer at a local pet shelter or with the ASPCA.
Make an Entire Meal from Scratch
How often do we cook meals from complete scratch with fresh ingredients? I’ve done it only a few times and the times that I have done it, the meal made me feel amazing after eating it. (That meal was from my experience with HelloFresh – try it!)
But I want to head to the grocery store or a local market and buy fresh ingredients and make a meal from scratch without any instructions. I want to put faith into my cooking ability and think about how each of the ingredients function and how each flavor will connect to the next.
It’s a flavorful adventure and a complete risk, but it one that I am willing to take. And, well, make my husband take.
Complete a Reading Challenge
I’m an English teacher. But it is sad to say that I haven’t completed a book that I picked to read for pleasure since about 2013. I’ve been so busy reading assigned texts given in college and books that I need to re-read with my students to teach from it. I have books on my bookshelf that I purchased or have received as a gift that I have never even read. It’s sad when you think about it.
But this summer, I am not only going to just make sure to read a collection of my unread books, I’m going to challenge myself to complete a whole reading challenge.
The most recent one that I found that I would love to complete is the PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge. It’s filled with different genres of books that I have never even read before, and gives challenges that has books that you will never see coming. Such as one challenge being to ‘read a book suggested by a librarian’ – who can really guess what that book will be?
Go on an Unplanned Trip
I’ve heard that people have had the most amazing trips when they just wake up without a plan and go somewhere. That’s an adventure that I want to go. No-plan. Just driving and see where it takes you.
It’s the thrill of finding things that you never knew where there, and it makes you look at things differently – pay attention to more. And maybe even break away from technology.
Go to a Museum
The last time I went to a museum was when I went to London in 2013. It really has been that long. I’ve been near museum. I’ve made plans to even go to some. But something always happens, and I don’t go.
There are so many museums in Philadelphia, and the last time I went to one of those was when I was in grade school for a field trip. I live only a few hours away and have not gone.
The one main museum that I really want to go to this summer is the Philadelphia Art Museum. I was last there when I was in middle school, and of course, I had no appreciation for the art nor did I even know what was going on. My priority then was to goof off with my friends.
But now as an adult, I want to go there and be able to look at and appreciate the art. See new aspects of it that you can’t see online. No phone. No other technology. Just the art and my eyes.
Decorate or Re-Decorate a Room in My Home
My husband and I moved into our apartment around October. And when we moved in, our apartment looked like random rooms in a college apartment. Granted…we were only months out of college and didn’t have much, but I felt that my home wasn’t complete because it didn’t look like us.
Through our wedding journey, we received gifts that allowed us to start adding the essentials to our home and it allowed me to start buying decor. But even with little pieces added here and there, I don’t feel like our home is quite complete.
So, my plan this summer is to pick a room and make it a project. It’s time to fully complete one room instead of having bits and pieces put together in various rooms.
That means – Target, Etsy, Walmart + Home Goods….here I come!
Have a Spa Day with My Girls
Last month, my mom, sister and I thought about heading to the spa for a spa day, but didn’t go. I’ve never truly had a spa day where I’ve gone and just relaxed and had the whole spa treatment. I’ve had massages and, of course, I’ve had my nails done. But I’ve never been able to enjoy the time sipping mimosas in the spa and just chatting it up with friends. Then getting the massage and the facial.
I know there are places out there that do it. I’ve been to the Rittenhouse Spa in Philadelphia – and though I didn’t get the complete package, I saw it written in their menu. So it’s time to start saving up that spare change and straggling dollars sitting around ladies (yes, I’m speaking to my various friends that I know have read this far), we are heading to the spa this summer!
Attend a Professional (or Semi-Professional) Sporting Event
I have a little secret that I want to tell you…
I’ve never been to a professional sporting event. At least, not one that I was old enough to remember now. It’s not that I never wanted to go to one. I just have never been invited or had the opportunity to.
I would love to go to one and feel the energy in the room. Plus, it doesn’t give me the option to turn the channel when there are commercials. I have to watch the full thing all the way through and enjoy every moment of it!
Attend a Day Party
I want to party in the day time. I’ve seen so many friends going to day parties and in the past few years, I haven’t been to one. I want to enjoy the summer fun and party with my friends and just let loose.
Instead of just dancing the night away, let’s dance the day away!
Do a Wine Tour
Ok, so this one may not be as exciting as the rest. But why not, wine tours are fun. And yes, this isn’t a new thing for me, but some past experiences may have been great ones – plus the experience can change depending on who you go with.
I typically go on Groupon to check to see what are some of the new wineries popping up that are having events or are having a great deal for groups. Then I send it out to my friends and we make plans to go. And now that I’m in a new area, there are different wineries to explore.
Go on a Romantic Date
I’m a sucker for romance movies. When I’m home sick from work, the first thing I do is turn on Netflix and click on the romance category to watch a movie that I haven’t seen before. Or just one that I can’t get enough of.
Romance movies are bittersweet. The movies are wonderful to watch – they give you all the feels. But then when you are finished, you want those same moments to happen to you. But some of the time, it doesn’t.
I want to recreate a magical date moment from one of my favorite romance because I know it is possible to be done. I don’t have to go to France to have an amazing French style date – it is possible to bring France to PA.
All you have to be is a little creative!
Go Canoeing, Kayaking, or Do Another Type of “Rowing”
I’ve gone white water rafting before. It was an experience that I’ll remember, but I can’t say it was a completely positive one.
But I want to find a local lake and just do canoeing or kayaking with someone that I know I will have fun with (typically, that’s always my husband). I feel like on a nice, breezy day this summer, we can just head out to the lake and enjoy the sun and the ability to go to places like this and enjoy life.
To me, it sounds like a peaceful experience.
Explore a Major City
Now, I’m not saying that I need to travel to explore a major city. There is the option to just head to Philadelphia.
What I mean by exploring a major city is just grabbing a friend, no map, no use of the GPS, and just walk or bike. Head in whatever direction seems the best (and safest) and just find new things. You may find a new shop or a new favorite restaurant that you didn’t even know was in your own city.
Or if you go to a new city, you may end up finding something that only a few locals know about that is not a major tourist spot. I’ve found that the best places to go when I travel are not the ones that are major tourist locations, but the local hot spots.
Write a Book
I’ve already started writing a book. I began writing it during grad school and I am about 45,000 words away from being finished. I am getting closer to the climax.
I want to take this summer and finish the book, and then take the huge risk of sending it out to agents and see what the book does. If rejection comes, then it does. And maybe I’ll have to re-work the book. But that’s all apart of learning and experiencing.
J.K. Rowling is a big inspiration to me. Of course, I love Harry Potter but it’s her story that I love the most. The fact that she took all that rejection and still worked hard to get her book published and look where she is now.
Do a COMPLETE Cleanse / Detox
This one is going to take some down days.
For a COMPLETE detox, I don’t just mean getting one of those detox drinks and cleansing out your body, but I mean everything. I am talking about cleaning out my closet and getting rid of clothes that I don’t wear and are a little to college and not enough adult.
I want to throw out things that I’ve been hording for way to long. Do my spring cleaning. Cut out some bad habits – food wise and just general habit wise. Delete those numbers in my phone that I only keep because I need to know if that crazy person does call me.
Just a complete cleanse of everything in life.