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Tag Archives: summer
As I write this, I’m trying to figure out how to position my laptop so that it doesn’t burn my already tender legs. I’m red from my hairline down my chest, around my bikini line and down the front of my legs. I’m damp all over because this cottage lacks air conditioning, even though I’m in nothing but a bikini. I’m trying to type in between chewing on a strawberry popsicle. Yes, I’m on vacation, and it feels so good.
Living lightly is never far from my mind, but it has weighed especially heavy on me while I’ve been here at Macatawa Bay in Michigan, right off of Lake Michigan. Evidence abounds of global warming. The lake is low this year because of pitiful snowfall this winter, leading to a pitiful snowpack and a pitiful amount of freshwater running down the rivers to the Great Lakes.
Crazy A, who’s hosting me and other friends here, says when she was young jeans and a sweater were standard, even in the summer. Now the sun is high and hot in the washed out sky. It feels like we’re at the Outer Banks, instead of at a latitude of 42 degrees. Yesterday it was exactly 100 degrees, excluding the humidity. That’s only near record highs, but it still doesn’t feel right.
We talk about all this and tsk tsk climate deniers, but it doesn’t stop us or the residents of Macatawa from frolicking on the waters, and I’m not talking about in canoes. On the Fourth of July we took her motor boat to watch fireworks, which is the best way to watch them. You’re on your own boat, away from the crowds, and the fireworks are practically on top of you.
And Thursday the four of us dropped Crazy A’s motorboat in the water and took it to pump $200 worth of fuel inside of it. That boat is thirsty, but $200 seemed like a lot. ”Why is it so expensive?” I asked the typically hot guy who was pumping it for us (All guys who do these summer resort jobs are tan, muscled and so great to look at). “We have to pay a lot in insurance to pump it over the water like this. Spilling it would cause a lot of environmental damage–more than spilling it on the ground. Then they can just scoop out that ground that is effected,” he told me. “But here it’s just in the water.”
So do I feel awesome about using this much gas cruising around in a small boat? No. But seriously, what am I going to do, say no? Yeah, just imagine that: “Sorry guys, I’m going to stay at the cabin since I don’t believe in using gas.” I might as well have just not come. When it’s 100 degrees outside, the best way to stay cool is to get out on the water with a breeze, only a step away from jumping in. And if my friends go, I am going.
We motored the boat slowly out the channel, past Big Red lighthouse (and also past a boat called “Moisture Missile,” seriously? You named your boat that??) and once we were into the waters of Lake Michigan, gunned it, flying over the waters along the coast until we found a spot where no one could see us but the sun, dropped anchor, stripped down to our bikini bottoms and dove into the clear, agate waters.
In between swims, we drank Summer Shandies, a local lemonade flavored beer, and lounged on the deck reading. I tried to position myself strategically, since the front of my body is so burned.
Non-Toxic Sunscreen: Effective or Just Annoying?
Before I left New York, I bought the least toxic sunscreen out there according to Good Guide: Badger Sport. A drawback is that it has the consistency of a soft clay, and leaves my skin white. So my friends have been calling it my “geisha paint” and “hippie clay.” I wouldn’t mind if it was effective–I’m now proud when it comes to protecting my skin. But despite never seeming to come off (it’s still in the crease of my elbow 24 hours after I put it on) I’ve been getting burned.
I might switch back to regular sunscreen today and see if I’m getting burned because I’m using nontoxic sunscreen, or because I’m am a super-white chick who hasn’t been in the sun for a year.
The Dune From Hell
After some time bobbing on the waves, Crazy A kicked the boat into gear again and we sidled up to an almost empty beach. It’s so far from any roads that it is almost only accessible by boat and very in shape people who are crazy enough to walk all the way down the beach. “So only rich people can get here?” I asked. “Well, even poor people have boats here, so no,” Crazy A told me. “Some people don’t even have cars in their driveways, just boats. They just tow their boats to the dock themselves.”
Our plan for this beach was to climb the dune that rises steeply up from the water. Crazy A has been doing this since she was a kid, and said it’s hard, but fun. You gotta get your exercise somehow, right? She threw four Shandies in her backpack cooler to drink at the top and we waded to the beach.
That dune was hot. Painfully hot. Our leisurely climb turned into a series of suicides, as we scampered as fast as we could until our feet couldn’t stand it anymore, then stopped and buried them in the sand to gain some measure of relief. Then, once we had caught our breath, we would scamper again. One friend gave up a third of the way up, and would show us her blisters later. But we kept going. We were going to reach the top, godamnit.
When we finally got there, we collapsed in the shade of a bush and pulled out our lemonade beers to drink. But A.D. had made the mistake of putting sunscreen on her face before leaving the boat. “Ow, ow, ow ow, that really hurts you guys,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “Don’t rub it,” Crazy A told her. “That will make it worse. Why don’t you pour some of the beer on your face to wash it off?” A.D. did so, and cried. “Holy shit! Worst advice ever!” and took off back down the hill to the fresh lake water with huge bounds. We watched her go. “That dune sucked,” I said to Crazy A. “Was it always this hot?”
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51058759" iframe="true" /]
“No way, man,” she said. “I’ve climbed that so many times and it’s never been like that.” We finished our beers and ran back down the dune to the lake to cool off. We climbed on the boat, made sure A.D.’s eyes were now OK, and broke into our stash of snacks from the Holland farmers market: hard goat cheeses, white fish spread on fresh bread, kettle corn, dried fruit, raspberries and cherries. (I’ve also been eating a nut butter for breakfast I got at the market called pepita. It’s got flax, pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds, plus cinnamon and allspice. It’s very sweet and yummy and includes all your omega-3s, but it is three times the price of almond butter.)
Air Conditioning Optional
As guilty as I feel about the fun I’m having on Crazy A’s motorboat, I think I might be evening out my global warming karma by staying in this cottage without air conditioning. Sounds awful, right? Except this hundred-year old cottage is so well shaded by trees and the dune behind it that it never gets over 80 inside. And when you’re at the beach and all you’re wearing is a bikini and a pair of Soffe shorts all day, it doesn’t matter if you get a little sweaty.
Fun With Alternative Energy
Yesterday we WASPed out and decided to go sailing instead. We’ve been joking that there should be a .gif of my reaction when I found out Crazy A has an account at the Macatawa Bay Yacht club. I was holding my purse at her car as everyone walked away empty handed. “How will we pay for our drinks?” I asked. “[Crazy A] has an account at the yacht club,” A.D. said. I dropped my purse in the car, slammed the door, wiped my hands and marched off toward the club. Hello free rum runners!
But drinks would be for later. This time we went straight the boat parking lot (I’m sure there’s a better name for it, but that’s what it is) and Crazy A set about getting a little sailboat ready, rigging it up, tying knots and hooking things up with the mastery of an old hand. Neither A.D., K or I knew how to sail (I went to sailing camp about 16 years ago and that’s it) so Anna basically gave us a lesson.
It was a perfect day for sailing: a light breeze, and not too many motorboats creating wakes since it was a weekday. No, you can’t lounge on a sailboat–unless it’s one of those huge pleasure cruise ones that comes with a crew–but it’s a great kind of fun. When you’re skipping over the water, leaning back to balance the boat with a rope in hand keeping the jib taught, it’s a fabulous feeling. And no gas required.
The first time you spend a summer holiday weekend in the city, you might greet its approach with disappointment and some malaise. After all, it seems like everyone has scattered to their respective beach houses, parents’ homes with backyard pools, and lake houses, while you’re stuck wandering across the concrete and asphalt jungle, fragrant with the kind of smells only 95 degree weather can provide.
But actually, holidays in the city can be an absolute joy. In fact, they are a gift. How? Let me explain:
This time last year, the Fourth of July conveniently created a three-day weekend. But I had no plans to flee. It was then I discovered the awesome fact about summer holidays in New York: Almost anyone with money and good taste has fled, leaving people like us a playground of half empty trendy restaurants, beer gardens with open benches, mini golf courses without lines and cocktail speakeasies that are all too happy to open the door and give you a seat.
So, if you’re staying in town this Fourth, I can’t guarantee it will be super empty. This is only one day off, after all, so not quite as many can get out of town. But if you are in town, I want to share with you a list of great places to go that might be more feasible than on a typical summer Saturday. (And make sure to keep your Labor Day weekend free!)
1. Any Trendy Restaurant That Doesn’t Take Reservations
You know the kind. The food (you’ve heard) is delicious. Not like you would know, since every time someone suggests going there, your group shows up and it’s an hour and a half wait. Places like The Breslin, The Meatball Shop, Frankies 457 and Diner in Brooklyn, and The Spotted Pig are infuriating for just this reason. But on summer holidays, you can show up and snag a seat for you and three friends, no problem–I’ve done it.
2. Novelty Summer Activities
It might have been easy to find a mini golf course in suburbia where you grew up. But not in NYC. That’s why when a half decent one opened–along with beach volleyball–on Pier 25, it became way too popular. Instead of waiting interminably for the group in front of you to move on to the next hole, show up early on a summer holiday and enjoy a measure of lazy solitude.
3. The Best Parks
While you’re at it, rent, borrow or bring out your own bike and take it all the places that are usually too crowded to enjoy. Central Park is a good place to start. Or try the bike path by the West Side Highway, ending with a cold beer at The Frying Pan on the water. If you want to get away from the air pollution and cars altogether, take the ferry out to Governors Island and take the bike path around the island, stopping for ice cream or a nap in a hammock. Or snag a deck chair on the High Line across from the water feature, where you can dip your toes when you get too hot and finish with a beer at either The Standard or the High Line’s own beer garden.
4. Rooftop Bars
During the summer everyone wants to get off the frying pan pavement and up high, where you can enjoy a breeze, a view and a fancy cocktail. Make it happen during a summer holiday. I’m partial to The Standard’s roof with its Astroturf and crepe shack, but the list of good rooftop bars is endless, like The Press Lounge at Ink 48 on the West Side, 230 Fifth, Top of the Strand, and The Delancey, just to get you started.
Alliteration. Copious references to summer. Delicious chillwave tracks that melt into one another like a scoops of ice cream on a hot day. These are the things that a perfect 2012 summer playlist is made of.
When my sister asked me to do her a “favor” and make her a playlist for her pool party this weekend. I was like, “Sure!” And when she said, “And, um, it needs to be long. Like, really long.” I was like, “No problemo, sister. I’ve got you covered.” Even better, she has no requests and trusts my judgement.
36 hours later I leaned back into my couch and surveyed the finished product: 9 hours of pool party perfection that will be popular everywhere from NYC to Annapolis. It starts with classic rock favorites, then goes into some fun 80′s rock tracks, then a few nostalgic 90s songs and old school hip-hop interspersed with 2011 and 2012 mashups, before dropping into current indie hits, then fading into some beachy chillwave right around dusk before jumping–around when everyone is ten beers deep–into cheesy pop hits that everyone loves to sing along to, before finally ending in excellent dance music.
My friend IMed me today at work saying he’s building a playlist for the Hamptons and did I have any recommendations. Setting aside the fact that he isn’t actually inviting me and is just asking for my song recos, I was like, “
I’m way too busy for this obviously, I’m not getting any work done for the next half hour. Hold on, here are twenty songs you should add.” Yeah. I love music.
I’ve shared the list on Spotify here:
However, there area bunch a tracks you can’t find on Spotify and have to download. Plus, not everyone has Spotify. So I’ve listed all the tracks for you below.
If the song title is linked, you need to listen to it/download it from SoundCloud to experience it. It’s worth it, I promise. The rest are available on Spotify and probably iTunes.
Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane
Joy to the World – Three Dog Night
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
California Girls – The Beach Boys
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
Take on Me – a-ha
Paradise City – Guns n Roses
Jump in the Line – Harry Belafonte
American Girl – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Song of the South – Alabama
Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
Your Love – The Outfield
Centerfold – J. Geils Band
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates
Black or White – Michael Jackson
Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Belinda Carlisle
Young Turks – Rod Stewart
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
Walking on Broken Glass – Annie Lennox
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Lovefool – The Cardigans
Summertime – Sublime
Summer Girls – LFO
Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow
Miami – Will Smith
Cold Beverage – G. Love & Special Sauce
Feel-Good Hip Hop and Mashups
Feels So Good – Mase
Keepin’ the Faith – De La Soul
Body Movin’ – Beastie Boys
Dutchie Courage – Star Slinger
Sunshine – Atmosphere
The Good Life – Chiddy Bang
Summertime – Will Smith
The Way You Move – Outkast
Candyman – Cornershop
Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature
Tupac – Do for Love – Vodka & Milk
Runnin (Philippians RMX) – The Pharcyde
History Town – Mos Dub
Midnight Life – The White Panda
Dancing With the DJ (Chiddy Bang) – The Knocks
God of Joy (Dionysus) – Anthem
Foreign Exchange Student – XV
Stage Dive – Sol
Current Indie Hits and Songs That Should Be Hits
New in Town – Little Boots
Around the Bend – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Kids – MGMT
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Now We Can See – The Thermals
Daylight – Matt & Kim
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Shuffle – Bombay Bicycle Club
Burn It All Down – VHS or Beta
Houdini – Foster the People
Don’t Stop – Foster the People
Bombay – El Guincho
Rain of Gold – Young Empires
Nobody Lost, Nobody Found – Cut Copy
Show Me – Mint Royale
Lights & Music – Cut Copy
Pumped up Kicks – Foster the People
Hearts on Fire – Cut Copy
Remixes and Mashups
Don’t Move – Phantogram
Flowers – Teeth
Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix) – Whitest Boy Alive
Sunshine (Justin Faust Remix) – Picture Book
Polish Girl – Neon Indian
Passion Pit – Sleepyhead Remix – Streetlab
Diet Mtn. Dew [the original, not album version] – Lana Del Rey
Breathe – Capital Cities ft Tupac Shakur
Chill(ish) Wave (Like, Not Strictly but Close)
Brooklyn Sunburn – Teen Daze
Just Another Day – Stori
License to Drive – Work Drugs
Lovers Carvings (Bruno Be & Eddie M Remix) – Bibio
Untitled – Interpol
Myth – Beachhouse
You Can Be the Boss – Lana Del Rey
Under the Kicks – Ellie Goulding vs Foster the People
I Wanna Go – Summer Heart
Fifteen – Goldroom
Luv Deluxe – Cinnamon Chasers
Too Young for Love – Superhumanoids
Learn to Fly – The Knocks
More Fun Remixes
We Found Love (Star Slinger Remix) – Rihanna
Hollywood Featuring Penguin Prison – RAC
The Night Out – Martin Solveig
Reasons ft. Andrew Allen (Kiely Rich Remix) – Project 46
Your Body – Gigamesh
FACT mix 327 – Disclosure
Paper Planes – M.I.A.
Gucci Gucci – Kreayshawn
We Found Love – Rihanna, Calvin Harris
Call me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
Last Friday Night – Katy Perry
Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
California Gurls – Katy Perry
Friday – Rebecca Black
Firework – Katy Perry
I’m on a Boat – The Lonely Island
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
TiK ToK – Ke$ha
You Make Me Feel – Cobra Starship
Blow – Ke$ha
Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
In the Dark – DEV
Memories – David Guetta, Kid Cudi
Give me Everything – Pitbull
Like a G6 – Far East Movement
We R Who We R – Ke$ha
Image credit: iamliam on Flickr
A crash of thunder jolted me awake, but I kept my eyes closed. The rain pelted the metal roof – loud, but soothing. I miss the sound of rain on the roof, you don’t hear that when you live in an apartment and have four floors above you. You don’t hear thunder in a corporate high rise, you just see the sideways rain if you happen to look over at the windows that are several cubicles away. And you think to yourself, well, look at that. That is something, before you hunch back over your computer.
A flicker of light penetrated my eyelids, and thunder broke apart in the sky again, not more than a mile away, from what I could tell. I snuggled further under the soft white sheets and linen comforter.
The low background rumbles came as persistently as waves crashing, punctuated by angry exclamations that sounded as if they were directed solely out our house. I opened my eyes to the dim morning light and watched the flickers of lightning across the sky. I checked my phone: 8:30 am.
I pulled back the covers and walked over the the wide bank of windows. The flowers beneath my window trembled under the onslaught of rain, and the pond out back was white with the splash and froth of excited droplets. It was so dim, that I walked to the door and flicked the light switch.
Nothing happened. I flicked it again, tried the other, then went back to the bed to try the lamp. Nope.
Slowly I thought through the full implications of no electricity. No lights for reading. No way to charge of my cell phone and laptop, both which were almost empty. We have well water, which gets pumped up to the house with electricity, so no washing my face, brushing my teeth, taking a shower, or even flushing the toilet.
I sighed and crawled back into bed and dozed, jumping awake at claps of thunder and falling back asleep to soft dreams, until the rain eased and the thunder and lighting moved slowly west. My grandmother woke me up, and we made do with some mouth wash before we lifted up the garage door by hand and took the car out on a little morning jaunt.
Luckily the gate to our property is battery powered, so it swung open to let us out. The gravel driveway is lined by such intense green. I took this green for granted when I lived here, and now it seems like such a luxury to have it right outside my door. I made a note to get out of the central air conditioned house at least a few times during the day and take a walk.
We passed Lou’s corner store, then the tiny Mayo post office, where the power company workers fiddled with the power lines.
We stopped at a gas station to get my grandmother her paper. Behind the counter was a familiar face. “You still work here!” I exclaimed to the guy at the counter. “You’ve worked here since I was in high school.” The day after big field hockey games, I would grab a copy of the Washington Post and eagerly leaf through the sports section to see if they had a picture of me or my stats, and he was always the one who sold me the paper. He smiled his crooked smile, and the manager grinned too. “He’s been working here since he’s been in high school.”
“How long is that?” I asked.
“Nine years,” the guy said. That was comforting to me, that some things stay the same. Everytime I come home there is another new ugly neighborhood cut into what used to be forest, full of McMansions. But this guy was still here at the Exxon, doing his thing with a smile. I left the money for the paper for the paper and went back out to the car.
Next was McDonald’s. Yes, yes, I know. My mom claimed that the smoothies there are just as good as anywhere else, with just fruit, yogurt, and ice, and she wanted us to pick up a couple. I considered this as we parked the car. Do I refuse to give McDonald’s any of my money, regardless of what I’m paying for? Or do I reward them for being willing to offer healthier, whole fruit options? I decided to give Mickey D’s the benefit of the doubt.
Well, I didn’t let them off the hook that easily. “Can you tell me what are in your smoothies?” I asked the girl at the counter.
“Um…” she seemed to be searching for the right words. “It’s got…yogurt… and, mmm, ice…and…wild berry.”
“Um, wildberry? What is that?”
She shrugged. I shrugged. I ordered three smoothies, and asked for some nutrition information. She pulled out a sheet from behind the counter, and I sipped my smoothie while I looked at it. The Wild Berry smoothie tasted pretty good, and had 330 calories. Of course, the sheet didn’t have the ingredients.
When we got home I tucked into a new book by Barbara Kingsolver until the lights all came back on. Then I booted up the computer and looked up the ingredients to the smoothie.
Wild Berry Fruit Blend
Strawberry puree, water, sugar, blackberry puree, blueberry puree, concentratedpineapple juice, concentrated apple juice, contains less than 1% of the following: cellulose powder, xanthan gum, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, pectin, citric acid.
Low Fat Yogurt
Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, fructose, corn starch, kosher gelatin. Contains active yogurt cultures.
Oh, that’s nice. This “healthy” smoothie has lots of sugar, artificial flavors, cellulose powder, corn starch… I should have known better than to trust McDonald’s. Oh well, you live and you learn, I guess.
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. I met my ex for a casual lunch, just to say hello. I haven’t seen him since we split up in April, and I wanted to see how he was. It was pleasant, sitting on the dock with Maryland crab quesadilla and a Baltimore beer.
After that I went to one of the many new farmers markets in Annapolis, picking up corn, tomatoes, watermelon, onions, and sunflowers. It was a rinky dink little market, with only two tents and bland offerings. No goat cheese, wine, duck, muffins and bread, mushrooms, jam, seafood, or any other beautiful and delicious foods available at Union Square in NYC. But you make do, right?
Maryland is always a lovely break from the city. The dark green and whirr of cicadas, the slower pace. It resets my clock a bit. When will I come back? I don’t know… but New York calls, so I must get back.
Bring a parasol to keep the hot sun at bay.
Invest in some dance classes before hand or show up before 12 to get a free one so you can take full advantage of the brass band
…Or just wing it.
Don’t wander too far away from the dance floor, you don’t want to miss the beautiful singing.
Red lipstick is key.
Accessories make the outfit.
Guys look hot in suspenders, hats, and bow ties.
Don’t be afraid to show off your best assets…
Bring some blankets on which to stretch out
Kids are more than welcome!
Peach is perfect.
Bring a camera so you can capture the beauty….