Summer 2011: An Adventurous To-Do List!

Photographer unknown!

Summer is my favourite time of year. There’s nothing better! For a couple of years, while I was flying back & forth between America & New Zealand, I lived in perpetual summer, & it was wonderful… One day, I hope to make that a permanent part of my lifestyle!

I have a lot of goals this summer, but to keep it fun, I’ve added some frivolous things to my To Do list. As I go through them, I’ll report back! (Yes… I do plan on being busy!)

Summer 2011: An Adventurous To-Do List

Use a Diana or Holga camera obsessively!

My somewhat excessive use of Vignette (an amazing Android app) has ignited my passion to experiment with different film formats! In fact, I am so obsessed with Vignette that I have been using my phone to photograph everything. I picked up my Nikon yesterday… & it was dusty!

The good news is that just a few hours after I wrote the above paragraph, I walked into a store… & walked out with a Diana F+ Parisian! It is so sassy (& striped!). I raced home & bought some film on Amazon, then waited impatiently all weekend for it to arrive… I’m really excited about having a new way to document my adventures! Plus, there’s something wonderful about actually using film, not knowing how things will come out & having to wait to get it developed. A great escape from our insta-culture.

I’m using this gallery for inspiration. I can only hope my pictures are 1/100th as good! (Oh, & if you’re feeling similarly inspired, you can buy a standard Diana here!)

Bike love!

Become a bicycle-lover!

The wind in your hair as you whiz down the road at speed… What could be better, right? After falling in love with bicycles a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet & bought one which made my heart pound. Now the challenge is just in getting comfortable on it.

It’s true, riding bikes makes me nervous. It’s a known fact that riding in NYC is insane, & I am usually a person who is pretty doubtful of her own coordination. Both of these things could combine to make for an ugly situation, BUT I choose to be daring & take a risk! A life lived in fear is a life half-lived, isn’t that right?

I’ll be writing much more about my adventures in cycling — & in bicycle chic! — as time progresses. I’m excited just thinking about it!

Roller coaster!

Ride a roller coaster!

I love roller coasters! I have always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie like that. I’m going to L.A. in June with Nubby, Amy & Kevin, so maybe we will head back to Disneyland like last time. (Tower Of Terror is one of my favourite things on the entire planet!)

If not, it’s okay, because Six Flags Great Adventure is only an hour or so away from NYC! I’ve never been to Six Flags but their crazy Batman roller coaster looks amazing, & Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world, & the fastest in North America… Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn!

Water park!

Go to a water park!

It has truly been too long since I slithered speedily down a watery slide & plunged into a pool below. TOO LONG! There are no water parks in NYC — unsurprisingly — but just outside of the city are plenty of options for thrill-seekers & water babies alike.

Water Safari: Enchanted Forest looks preeeeeetty rad, Splish Splash has a 40 foot drop (!!!) IN THE DARK, & Tomahawk Lake looks like a super-cute, low-key weekend getaway. They even have picnic tables!

I think it would be so wonderful to spend a long, hot day at a water park, rocking my cutest bikini (turquoise & black stripes? Black & white polka-dots? Fluorescent pink? Who can choose?!), & screaming with delight as I splash around. Then there’s that wonderful time at the end of the day when you’re so exhausted you can barely stay awake, heading home with the last of the sunlight leaking in through the windows.

I vote YES to water parks this summer!


Learn to kickstart & ride a motorcycle!

Just ’cause it’s badass. Plus, there are plenty of grown men who cannot kickstart a bike, & it looks pretty awesome. I like having random skills under my belt!

I don’t know if I’d be keen to take a motorcycle out on the road in Manhattan, though. That is somehow even more terrifying than riding a bicycle… ! We’ll see how we go!


Climb trees!

It pains me to tell you that I don’t know when I last climbed a tree!

When I lived in Auckland, New Zealand, climbing a tree & sitting in it for several hours was one of my cures for a bad day. It’s pretty rad: no one bothers you, & you can just hang out & do your own thing until you’re ready to come down again.

I live near so many parks that there is really no excuse for staying on the ground all the time!


Stay awake all night & watch the stars!

Being an adult is a drag. Before you know it, you’re locked into some monotonous schedule & going to bed around midnight. Quelle yawn!

I remember back in the olden days, when I was crazy & irresponsible… I used to stay up all night ALL the time! Nowadays, I can’t even tell you the last time I did that. Maybe when I was on a plane to Paris & I couldn’t sleep!

Regardless, staying up all night is a fantastic, time-honoured tradition which I have abandoned. Chalk it up to maturity, overly vigorous workouts or just being an OLD BORE… Whatever the case, I’ve had enough! This summer I WILL stay up all night… & it will be fantastic!


Have a picnic!

People — generally — do not have enough picnics. Last year, Nubby & I threw the Virgo Birthday Extravaganza, which was picnic-esque, but I feel like in order for it to really be a PICNIC, you have to sit on the ground. (Am I wrong?) Anyway, picnics are something which can easily get away from you — the idea is always there, but somehow it just gets delayed again & again.

It’s so simple, all you need is a blanket & some nosh. In fact, here’s a really, really, really old article I wrote on the subject: How To Have A Great Picnic!


Catch (& let go of!) fireflies!

Fireflies are amazing, & before I lived in America, I had never seen them before. I’d seen them in animated movies, but didn’t believe they were real! Imagine my surprise when I saw my first one in Tompkins Square Park on a hot summer night in 2010! They are so incredible. (Did you know you can talk to fireflies?)

Last year, I was amazed & bamboozled watching Mike cup them in his hands, & to see their little lights flickering on & off. This year, I want to do it myself! Yay!

Drive in

See a feature at a drive-in movie theatre!

I have NEVER been to a drive-in movie. They’re a very American phenomenon, & I’m pretty sure there’s never been a drive-in in New Zealand! Anyway, Grease pretty massively influenced my life as a child, & it bestowed upon me — as well as a love for diners, boys in motorcycle jackets, 50’s fashion & breaking into song — a major desire to attend a drive-in.

Thankfully, websites like exist, & incredibly, it appears that there are HEAPS of drive-ins within NY state! New York magazine also has a list of drive-ins near New York City, which is very helpful for people like me with little to no knowledge of American geography! The Warwick Drive-In is my pick! They’re even showing Thor!

Dress up!

Make an effort to dress up!

Honesty time: Sometimes I walk the dogs in my trackpants. It is so not cute or sexy. It makes me feel like I am letting the side down! That’s the problem with trackpants… They’re creeping & insidious. You buy them to work out in, & then you get home & they’re just soooOOOooOOoOOooo comfortable that who would want to take them off? Before long, you’re wearing Uggs to fancy dinners & chewing gum even in your sleep. It’s an ugly scene.

I’ve already started on this resolution, but I’m definitely making more of an effort in my everyday life. Just wearing a simple skirt makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER than a pair of trackpants! Yuck! Fanciness forever!

Botanical Gardens!

Go to the botanical gardens!

Everyone always thinks of NYC as being this crazy concrete jungle, with a total lack of nature. It’s so untrue! I mean, sure, there are a lot of buildings, & people are crammed in on top of one another, but the streets are actually lined with trees… & we have some of the loveliest gardens, parks & public spaces in the country.

In addition to our world famous parks — oh, you may have heard of this one, Central Park?! — we have the New York Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden & the Queens Botanical Garden, all free, huge & bursting with wonder. There are always events going on: the NYBG is opening an 11 acre azalea garden this weekend, & it’s Wildflower Week at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Getting out of the house & into the oxygen is so important. My goal this summer is to go & DO THAT, instead of staring at Twitter!


Go on a roadtrip!

I am SO EXCITED to actually do this… My best girl from Australia is visiting the U.S.A., so we’re going to meet in Miami (which I am totally rapturous about!), spend a few days there, then roadtrip around!

The best thing about hanging out with her is that we have very similar agendas: great hotels, vintage shopping, weird kitschy diners, sunshine & shoe shops! She insists that we must visit Cracker Barrel (I’ve never been), as well as take a ghost tour in St. Augustine. I’m SO in! I can’t wait to see her again!


Become awesome at the trapeze!

The more time I spend in the air, hanging from a bar, the better I feel about life. It’s true!

I have been loving my trapeze lessons more than you could imagine. It’s so much fun & it really engages a different part of your brain. When you’re up there, there’s no time for logic — you have to listen to the commands from below, & just do them. When you stop thinking about it, you’re amazed by what you can do.

I’m learning an average of two tricks per lesson at this point, with no intention of stopping! I want to go flying on Trapeze School New York’s outdoor rig next!


Fire a gun!

I am not really a gun girl. I never grew up with guns, & my first time seeing one in the flesh was when I came to NYC & they were attached to every cop. It kind of freaked me out, to be honest. The police in New Zealand don’t have guns, though some rural officers will keep a shotgun in the car, in case there’s like… a wild boar attack, or something!

But I like the idea of knowing how to shoot a gun, & being a good shot in general. You never know, right? Plus, it’s cool to be able to do unexpected things. Most people would not look at me & think, ‘Now, there’s a lady who knows how to handle a pistol’. That’s what appeals to me most!

Always learning...

Attend retreats & courses!

Retreats & courses appeal to me in so many ways. Firstly, there’s the “escape” portion. I have a Sagittarius Moon, so travel is always going to be a huge, magnificent, life-enhancing part of my world. Secondly, they help to quench my insatiable curiousity about the world. I love to learn new things, & a course is a wonderful way to do that.

I attended Veronica Varlow’s Danger Dame School of Deadly Charms on Sunday, & I absolutely loved it. It was magnificent, & it put me a little bit out of my comfort zone, & I came away from it feeling so reinvigorated!

On Thursday, I’m going to Danielle LaPorte & Marie Forleo’s Selling Your Soul, which I just know is going to be off the hook. I can’t wait!

Also on my retreat wishlist are Redvolution: Unleashing the Red Hot & Holy Feminine with Sera Beak (LOVE!) & Surf & Bikini Boot Camp in Hawaii. Yes! Please!

Madonna Inn!

Stay at the Madonna Inn!

The Madonna Inn is the stuff of legend. Built in 1958 & located in San Luis Obispo, it has been an ever-evolving project, with more rooms being built all the time. It now has 110 hotel rooms available, each uniquely decorated. There is a room for every possible eventuality; you can take your pick from waterfall showers, psychedelic carpet & wild floral bedspreads.

I mean… will you just look at the rooms?! I am particularly obsessed with Vous, room 169.

Oh, & I didn’t even mention the best bit… They have a Barbie pink steakhouse. It’s simply fantastic. LET’S GO! (Bring your camera!)

Jazz Age Lawn Party!

Go to the Jazz Age Lawn Party!

I’ve been meaning to go to the Jazz Age Lawn Party for years — & in fact, even just to get out to Governor’s Island — but when I read Shilo’s post about the party, I knew that THIS year was going to be the year I did it!

1920’s & 1930’s style is not so much my bag, but I have more 1950’s dresses than I know what to do with! I want to wear a fabulous dress & a big hat, take a picnic & a blanket, & have a dance. I think these are modest, sane goals, don’t you?

Meditation & magic!

Make more time for meditation & magic!

Enough said!

Images: Futurowoman, Let’s Explode, Lewisham Phil, Cuba Gallery, Cereal-Killer72, Masahiro Miyasaka, Kate Pulley, Disney Mike, Steven Klein, & Instant Satisfaction.

What are your goals for the summer (or winter)? Be sure to write them down somewhere prominent, so you see them all the time!

I’m planning to cross mine off during the next few months, & I’ll let you know how I get on!