It’s Grace here, typing away at my laptop at my kitchen counter at home. This is the first time I’ve been in Tampa since about four weeks ago, if you don’t count my 12-hour turnaround between New Orleans and Canada. And tomorrow, I head to Brevard, North Carolina via Asheville — which, by the way, is one of my absolute favorite cities. So I went from having absolutely nothing to do in June to actually having a little whiplash (which is an excellent feeling.)
Whenever I’ve been busy, I love to do a Day in the Life post — a compilation of what I’ve been reading, up to, posting, etc,. It’s a fun way to dig out a bit of my personality and also a bit of the lifestyle I so enjoy.
Additionally, if y’all would like me to do a coffeeshop post soon about some of the places I’ve loved lately, that’s something I’ve been strongly considering. Let me know in the comments, or via social media!
Without further ado, here’s been life lately.
Miss You by Kate Eberlen | Goodreads
Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes | Goodreads
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon | Goodreads
Just Kids by Patti Smith | Goodreads
Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton | Goodreads
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore | Goodreads
The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody | Goodreads
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi | Goodreads
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa | Goodreads
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman | Goodreads
Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke | Goodreads
Buckle up, because there are quite a few of them. As an additional note, I’ve made a goal to review every single book I read, which historically I’ve been rather bad at. This summer, I’ve also reorganized my release spreadsheets and contacted publishers about getting blog tours in order.
Since I’ve had a summer at home, I’ve mostly honed in on the question of what will make me less stressed out during the school year, because I have significantly more responsibilities then. My blog is one of my absolute favorite things, and I hate when it’s not updated, so if I go ahead and schedule a ton of content during the summer rather than leaving it up to my whims, it’ll make me feel a lot better. So far, I have reviews written that will last me through October. Now it’s just a matter of typing them and formatting them and all that jazz.
So, most of these you will see pop up on the blog pretty soon!
Because I’ve been gearing up for the fall, I haven’t had much ready to go in the past week or so on here. It’s doubly hard when I’m on off most of my devices for awhile. We have internet on the island, but a limited plan, and it’s slow in regards to uploading images and whatnot. More on that later! I recapped my weekend at ALA (still with photos to imbed), reviewed the fresh and a little too sweet Wildflower, picked my top five reads from ALA, and reviewed the indulgent and hilarious Royals.
My June was beyond boring, but July luckily made up for it. My pet project had been setting up my art website, for a more organized way of doing my calligraphy commissions — and a way to keep track of all the trends I love! Hopefully, that’ll be another visual outlet for me over the next year, and a way to showcase my progress.
After New Orleans, we embarked on our three-day, 26 hour car ride from Tampa to Ontario. As usual, it involved cranky hours, carsick dogs, and too much fast food. Finally though, we made it to paradise.
An average day-in-the-island-life involves getting up, making breakfast on some chipped plates, and drinking a coffee on the kitchen porch. Everyone reading and chatting quietly. Mornings go more slowly on the island, which is a privilege, because you really have nowhere to be until you go down to the lake.
Although it’s hard for me to peel myself off the porch (or the daybed) in favor of the beating hot sun, I’d ultimately be persuaded to go toss on a swimsuit and head down to the shore. We drag adirondack chairs to the middle of the grass, slather ourselves in sunscreen, and read/sunbathe the day away, only ducking up to make sandwiches or exchange a book. Usually, somebody would get in the water or plead to go wakeboarding and we’d cruise around the lake, attempting (failing) to coach them.
When the sunshine was over — or we were fed up with it — we’d all retire to the wraparound porch in the main house until we’d ultimately go shower and reconvene for happy hour. As my twin sister’s boyfriend Guthrie mentioned, “she said Canada is just a week of cheese plates.” Make dinner, eat way too late on another porch (we’re big porch people) when the sun was already going down. At night, we’d peel off to do our own thing — whether that be watching a show, working on a puzzle, making brownies — until we got sleepy, which was usually pretty early considering the sunshine and time in the water. Absolute bliss.
Other interludes included sunset cruises in the boat, kayaking around the island, playing corn hole (correction: my twin sister getting mad at me because of how bad I am at it), running on the mainland, or making day trips into Port Hope or Cobourg, nearby towns. When I picked up Rexx, we actually spent the day in Toronto — which I’d never done before, only traveled through. The city itself was a little overwhelming (so many possibilities, yet so little time!) but we wandered around the Distillery District and I tried oysters for the first time.
My brother was unable to come to the island this year, but we made up for it with other guests. This was my second year bringing somebody else to Black Island, and honestly such a privilege. It makes all the normal stuff that we love even better. I savored every second of the company, and we managed to cross off most of our Black Island bucket list.
One of the best parts of Black Island too is having such good food and drinks (also, we’re legal in Canada which is an added bonus! We taste-tested ciders and made cocktails way too fancy, sitting on the front steps as the sun went down to drink them.) Because I’ll have a kitchen next year at school — and I’ll be legal in the States — I’m trying to learn all these different recipes, because I’d ideally cook for myself more. We shall see.
Although I was bored out of my mind in June, July definitely made up for it. I read a ton of books that I’d wanted to get to, got some great quality time with the family, and got to spend my time in a creaky house with a great view. Black Island is my happy place, for sure.
Around this time is when I get really psyched in planning how best to go back to school. What I want to do most with my year. Writing non-stop. Sketching room designs, coordinating who-brings-what with roommates, all that jazz. I have about a month now before I go back to assist with our Appalachian trail pre-orientation for the first years, and now it’s time to figure out how best to end the summer.
Tomorrow, I turn around and head to Camp Illahee for my eleventh summer, to run a cabin of (probably) sixth graders. Definitely a different headspace — chaos — but so rewarding. Excited to be around some more pine trees, teaching archery or ceramics or whichever activity they assign me. I’m big on snail mail and extra-large t-shirts and dance parties in the dining hall.
Afterwards, I’ll likely be home, or trying to work out a trip in Georgia, or something fun. I’ll also be training for the Baltimore Running Festival half marathon in October, so that’ll occupy a bit of my time. And, of course, doing my usual reading and blogging.
For more updates on my adventures, I post most on my Instagram — what I’m reading or sipping or hiking or whatever. So feel free to give that a follow!