Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer Wrap-Up

Well, it's finally here: the end of summer. After probably the longest summer vacation of my life, I'm heading back to school for the fall. I'm super excited to go back to Sarah Lawrence, but I'm also sad about the summer ending. So much stuff happened and I feel like I need to recap it in some way... what an interesting transition into today's post!

I've decided to make Top Five lists to try and recap my summer experience. If you've been keeping up with the blog, you'll probably remember a lot of these, but even if not, I hope it'll be interesting. I'm going to have plenty of lists so I'll include stuff you might be able to relate to as the average reader.

Five Best Memories of the Summer

1. Chapter One Young Writers Conference 
Every summer that I've attended Chapter One Con, it's been the highlight of my summer. Seeing my online writing friends and so many inspirational, educational talks from successful published young writers obviously makes the #1 spot.
2. Completing Camp NaNoWriMo with the second draft of my novel.
Working on The Wishmaker is probably the best part of my life right now (besides my friends and family). I'm glad that I got so much work done on my revisions this summer, especially with the help of Camp NaNo.
3. My sister Shir returning from her cross-country trip.
My younger sister Shir went on a trip with her camp across the country for six weeks this summer. She had tons of fun and got to see so much cool stuff (and brought me back plenty of gifts, which was nice). But my whole family missed her so much when she was gone. Shir coming back was really great.
4. The pizza tour of New York.
Pizza. I mean... that's all you need to really know here. Also, cool historical fun facts and walking around New York with friends. But mostly... pizza!
5. The Harry Potter themed tour of the Met.
I love art history, and I love Harry Potter, so naturally this makes the top five list. The tour guide was amazing, the experience was really fun, and touring the Met is always good. I loved getting the art historical angle on my favorite book series.

Five Worst Moments of the Summer (not including tragedies and traumas... I wouldn't want to make light of a truly bad experience by including it in a fun post)

1. The sand-pocalypse
While I absolutely loved visiting one of my Internet friends at her beach house in Ocean City, I did not love being attacked by sand. Admittedly, I probably could have gone without wearing regular clothes to sit down in the ocean. But I guess I underestimated the ocean's capability to force sand into every pore of my body.
2. Disaster storycraft
Some of you know that I run the storycraft at the library. I usually love it, but one week I decided to make a cupcake craft involving dipping Styrofoam balls in paint. Not a good idea. It would have been bad enough if it had just been three-year-olds making a mess with paint, but add the conniptions of the parents over any mess being made... Pretty disastrous.
3. Having hope for ice cream... but no
This moment is actually a few moments. I think we can all relate to this experience: somebody says something like, "let's get ice cream!" or "maybe later we can even get ice cream" and then the day goes on and you realize, the ice cream did not happen. Worst disaster imaginable.
4. A certain OUAT plot twist
This show is so stupid, and I hate it. But I love it and I watched the whole thing in a little over a week. I don't want to spoil what the plot twist was, for those who haven't seen it yet, but let me just say, the plot twist was wickedly stupid.
5. The Panera Bread not arriving at Ch1Con
Ch1Con was pretty great, as aforementioned. But on the morning of the conference, we were supposed to get Panera bagels. They had ordered the bagels online, only to find out at the last minute that the Panera Bread place they ordered from had closed down!!! I had to eat cookies for breakfast instead. INSTEAD OF PANERA BREAD

Five Most Quintessential Summer Experiences I Had This Summer

1. Going to the beach and boardwalk at Ocean City
I got to go visit one of my best Internet friends in Ocean City, along with our other friend Julia. Going to the beach is probably the most summery thing ever. I almost never do go to the beach, because of... sand, but it was fun to go this summer. I also got to go to the boardwalk for the first time since I was a tiny child, and got funnel cake, which is pretty boardwalk-y of an experience.
2. Picking peaches in my backyard
My dad planted peach trees in our backyard years ago. For the past few summers, we've gotten to reap the benefits. Or, well, we haven't. The squirrels and chipmunks did. But this summer we managed to snag a few. Summer is pretty summed up with the taste of ripe peaches picked right off the tree in the warm sunlight.
3. Reliving summers of my childhood with Rachel
My best friend, Rachel, and I decided to recreate "play dates" of our childhood, which was my mom's brilliant idea. We sprayed each other with the hose in the backyard, played with bubbles, colored in coloring books, and ate animal crackers. It was very fun and captured the childlike spirit of summer.
4. Working at the library
What's more college-summer quintessential than a summer job? Technically, this was just me temporarily returning to the job I had all throughout high school, but it was fun. I ran the storycraft for kids and (occasionally) shelved books. The lack of air conditioning for most of the summer really gave a summer-y feeling.
5. The street fair in Chicago
The day before Ch1Con, Rachel and I arrived in Chicago and on our way to visit the Art Institute, we passed a street fair. There were plenty of lovely stalls, selling scarves, jewelry, perfumes, clothes, and my personal favorite, alpaca wool. (It's so soft!) We ended up both buying some beautiful jewelry there.

Five Best Museums I Went To (Besides the Met, which is obvious)

1. The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst
I cannot stress to you how awesome this museum was. It's literally just Emily Dickinson's house, as well as her brother's house next door. They're still working on restorations, since it only became a museum a few years ago. But it's absolutely AMAZING. I would recommend it to anyone, even if you're not into poetry.
2. The Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan
I went to this museum recently, so it was during the Alice in Wonderland exhibit, which is really cool. They also had an interesting art installation, an exhibit on portraiture, and an exhibit on English printing. But they have different exhibits all the time. The part I especially liked was J.P. Morgan's original library and study. It's any book lover's dream. Really stunning.
3. The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia
This was one of the most diverse and largest collections of art I've ever seen. The rooms were basically packed with paintings, sculptures, and artifacts from all time periods and cultures. There were a lot of works from artists that I really like, such as Matisse, Manet, and Chirico. But there were also plenty of artists I'd never heard of, which was great. My favorite part was the unique way Barnes arranged his collection. I would recommend that anyone go check it out.
4. The Montclair Art Museum in Montclair
It's a small museum, but the collections are fantastic. They had wonderful exhibits full of fascinating art. I particularly enjoyed the room of Native American art, because of the amount of information and backstories provided on each piece. I also loved their collection of landscapes by local artist George Iness. It's a great museum to visit if you're in the area.
5. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst
The best part of this museum was probably their art studio. It's considered to be for kids, but all ages are allowed to explore their creativity there with the unique craft supplies and fun ideas. Besides the crafts, I thought the exhibits were interesting and I liked visiting the picture book library.

Five Best Small Moments of the Summer

1. Dancing during an open-air concert in Lexington
During a visit to Lexington, Massachusetts to see where the Revolutionary War started, my family came across a wind-instrument concert in a local park. It wasn't a big deal, because it's a very small town, so it was casual and fun. I had fun dancing in my bare feet on the lawn with my parents.
2. Funnel cake on the boardwalk with my friends
During the visit to Ocean City, my friends and I got a funnel cake on the boardwalk. It was pretty late, so it was so dark that you couldn't tell the difference between the night sky and the black ocean waters. But on the boardwalk, everything was lit up and everyone walked by in sundresses and with little kids running and groups of teenagers laughing. Meanwhile, we ate a delicious fried funnel cake on a bench and talked about books or whatever.
3. Basking in the fresh water of the Lexington reservoir
Also during the trip to Lexington, we came across the reservoir, which was a nice, secluded place to swim. I didn't swim so much as I just basked in the water. I also found snail shells, which was super cool.
4. Seeing centuries-old gravestones in the local cemetery
The Battle Green of Lexington wasn't the only Revolutionary War landmark I saw this summer. In my very hometown, Revolutionary War veterans are buried near the church. Rachel and I went to go see their graves after getting pizza one day. It was so surreal and lovely to see the places where they, and many others from that time period, were laid to rest.
5. Watching the sun rise over the Empire State Building
Going to the airport ridiculously early in the morning doesn't have too many bright sides, but it is beautiful to watch the sun rise out of the big glass windows while waiting for your flight to board. Especially when you get a dramatic view of the New York skyline silhouetted over the red rising sun.

And finally...

Five Best Blog Posts of the Summer (from my blog)

1. The Essence of Summer
2. The Ultimate List of Ways to Waste Time on the Internet
3. Summer: A Little Scrapbook in Art
4. Ten Things that Happen on Young Writers' Forums
5. The Beautiful Places I Want to Go (...for novel research)

Thank you so much for reading! I really hope I get more consistent with posting once I have a more rigid schedule. I'll be sure to update you once I get to school,


  1. This is an awesome post idea. :) I'd totes steal it, but my summers are very boring.

    1. It doesn't have to be summer experiences. You can do winter lists or holiday ones (maybe compare this year's to holidays in the past). Or make lists about Ch1Con (best 5 meals, top 3 presentation, best 5 moments, worst 5 moments, whatever.)
      Just remember to give credit to Ariel if you use the idea. In our tradition, our sages have said "If you quote a person and give them credit, you are contributing to the salvation of the world."

  2. Bel, so glad you had a full summer of enjoyable experiences. Does Shir know she made the top 5 of best things this summer?