Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Know It's Summertime Because...

Remember how we dreamed about spring as we stared at those snow drifts? Ugh!  We strained to see just one sign.  Before we knew it, the many signs of spring started popping up everywhere.   

Yes, cherry blossoms bloomed.  The sun stayed out longer to play.  Ice cream cones dripped from a growing number of hands. And those chirping birds carried new serenades. Yes, they too were happy spring was finally here. 

Sadly, it's almost time to bid spring a fond adieu as summertime makes it official in just 11 days.  

Miracles and Blessings, Kiki here ...just in time to help you through this fun transition.  In this week's text-webisode -- We Know It's Summertime Because... we'll give you our top ten signs that summer is here.

10.  We Play More! 

Just like First Lady Michelle Obama, we hula hoop, swim, bike, play frisbee and fly kites more in the summertime.  Basically we play more. 

From shelovesglam.com - First Lady Michelle Obama showed off her hula hooping skills while encouraging kids to exercise and adopt a healthier lifestyle at the Healthy Kids Fair on The White House South Lawn.

9.  We Visit Our Favorite Disney Princesses at Disney World and Disney Land.

This summer, many of us will make our annual or first-time trips to see our favorite storybook princesses:  Ariel, Aurora, Jazmine, Tiana, Pocahontas, Mulan, the Rapunzels, Belle, Cinderella, Merida, and Snow White.

8. Sweet Barbeque Aroma Stays in the Air

I woke up last Saturday morning to the sweet smell of barbeque from my neighbor's patio at just a few minutes before 8 a.m.  She was already halfway through her barbeque feast for her "Girls Day Out!" annual barbeque.  And of course, my family didn't have to worry about lunch that day.  Her barbeque was delicious!  Thanks again, Charlotte!

7.  Every Weekend There's a Family Reunion 

Don't forget to smile for the camera!  From the Hawaii shores to the Key West.  Yellowstone Park to Bush Gardens -- families gather to enjoy each other and great food.

                                                       (Family Reunion - Cracker Barrel)

Three Tips to Help You Plan a Memorable Family Reunion 

1.  Always plan a year ahead.  Try not to skip a year, or you may have less family members, joining the festivities.  Plan plenty of activities.  You may want to break some of them down by generations.  But make sure everyone comes together at the picnic, banquet and Sunday breakfast.

2.  If yours is a destination reunion, find reasonable packages, so everyone can afford it.  Your family planning committee should also do fundraising events throughout the year to offset the costs. You can also raise money to add special surprises, taking it up a notch.   Remember, you're aiming for memorable.

3.  Include a brochure or booklet that records the family history and family tree, including the newest additions and home-goings.  Also, create a website so family members can stay up-to-date on the plans and email suggestions.  And most importantly, you'll want to videotape.  Find a family member who is proficient in this area if you want to save on costs.

6.  Ice Cream, Water-Ice (Snow Cones, Shave Ice), French Fries, Caramel Corn ...Boadwalk and Beach Food We Love

We know it's summertime because ...you'll eat more ice cream, water ice and caramel popcorn in the next three months than you've consumed all year. 

Where I live, you'll hear the delightful melody coming from trucks hawking Mister Softees, Jack & Jill and Good Humor on a daily basis.

You'll see a lot of these cones in Ocean City, New Jersey, Ocean City, Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  In fact, you'll find Kohr's soft serve ice cream on most boardwalks along the northeastern shores.

Along the Pacific shores, you'll find Ono (Delicious) Hawaiian shave ice at Matsumoto Shave Ice, a tourist and local favorite on the North Shore of Oahu, in Haleiwa, Hawai'i.  Whatever you do, don't call it shaved ice.  Locals call it shave ice and on the Big Island of Hawai'i -- ice shave.

What is this Ono shave ice?

It's made of shave ice of course, and local ingredients: guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit, li hing mui, papaya, lychee, kiwi fruit and mango syrups. Hawaiian shave ice is traditionally served in a conical paper inside a bright plastic cup with up to three flavors. 

Ask for an Hawaiian, you'll get pineapple, coconut and banana.  Ask for Tropical, expect guava, papaya and lilikoi. 

Crank up your shave ice on the delicious scale with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream and/or azuki beans on bottom of the cup.  Drizzle on condense milk on top called a snow cap, mochi balls (a Japanese rice cake) and li hing mui (salty dry plum) powder, which is salty and sweet.  It brings out the flavor of anything it's sprinkled on.   

Matsumoto's Azuki Special – Shave Ice with Mizore syrup, drizzled with condensed milk and mochi balls and tops a scoop of vanilla ice cream and azuki beans.

(Strawberry and Pina colada with Vanilla Ice Cream - Yelp)

5. Sunglasses' Sales Are Up

2014 high-end customer favorites at Neiman Marcus:  Ray Ban Aviators with Flash Lenses - $175, Prada Flower Square - $495 and Gucci Gradient Havana - $345.

(Ray Ban-left)                                 (Prada-right) 

For the rest of us ... Amazon's bestsellers are: P&P, Inc. American Flag - $1.75-$14.84, Zero UV Super Cateyes - $1.42-$12.97 and Ray Ban Aviator in a slightly different tint - $114.07-$331.76.

P&P Inc. American Flag Aviator Sunglasses -above left 

zeroUV® - Super Cateyes Vintage Inspired Fashion Mod Chic High Pointed Cat-Eye Sunglasses

Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator Sunglasses

4. Swimsuit Sales Are Up

Misses and Juniors rashguard swimwear have gain popularity in 2014. You'll see more on the beach and at aquatic centers. Victoria's Secret surprised us this season with their new rashguard and mock crop turtleneck swimwear that give more coverage for the modest.

Speedo Rashguard Swimwear         Nautica - $71.00 Amazon
$24.85-$30.60 Amazon


Speedo Women's Short Sleeve Endurance Lite UPF 50+ Rashguard

Nautica Women's South Port Tankini
Victoria's Secret

3. 2014 Blockbuster Summer Movies and
Hot Summer Reads

I won't recreate the wheel here.  I like Huffington Post's picks for 2014 Summer Adaptation Blockbusters.  They suggest you read the books first and so do I.  That's exactly what I plan to do with my choices.  So before I snack on popcorn, I'm enjoying a glass of lemonade with one of these page-turners.  

Here are my top three picks.  Stay tuned for my reviews in September. 

a. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (illustrated; gift edition) (Giver Quartet)

Movie:  In a society with no pain, sickness or war, and where everyone's assigned a specific role, young Jonas discovers that his "utopia" has exchanged feeling, love and sacrifice for perfection. The highly anticipated adaptation of this YA classic stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, and (yep, that's right) Taylor Swift.

b.  Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Expanded Edition: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment

I wish this down-to-earth, common sense, side-splitting relationship guide was published when I was in the dating pool.  It would've save me a lot of belly aches.

Movie -- Think Like a Man Too, starring a cast of today's hottest stars:  Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Jennifer Lewis...

c. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs

This book needs no discription, since Steve Jobs is the man who changed the way we live.  

Movie - I'm so glad to hear that Leonard DiCaprio will play him, a much better choice than Ashton Kutcher.  

2. Amusement Parks and Summer Carnivals

Here are three amusement parks you may not know that made the top 12 amusement parks' list in the country.

#4 King's Island in Mason Ohio

#7 Six Flags New England

#9 Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay

Drumroll please ...We Know it's Summertime Because...

1.  Everyone's at the Beach

Whether you swim, surf, snorkel, paddle board, or don't venture into the water at all -- chances are you'll hit a beach this summer even if you just soak up some sun. 

Here are the top three beaches in the world from Trip Advisor.

1.  Baia do Sancho

2.  Grace Bay

Three Top Beaches in the U.S. - U.S. News Travel

1. Maui, Hawai'i
U.S. News Travel suggests the burgundy-hued sands of Kaihalulu. And if you want to try your hand at surfing, visit Ho'okipa Beach.  I also recommend Kaanapali Beach and Kapalua Beach.

The above Napili Beach is beautiful, but narrow and can have a strong current.  But once you get past the shore break, you can experience calm snorkeling.  Get to Napili beach early before the crowds.   Kapalua beach is calmer than Napili, but has a little pull.  

2. The Big Island of Hawai'i

Hapuna, Kaunaoa or Kua Bay offer serene sands for your island retreat.  Hapuna is calm in the summer and rough in the winter months.  I know this firsthand.  I don't recommend body surfing at Hapuna beach in January or February.

3. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Here's another beautiful beach, but very populated.  If you want a beach locale with less people, rent a car and head up to the north shore, or to the Hawaii Kai Beaches or to Kailua.   

If you want action and to people watch, then stay on Waikiki.  Top hotels, resorts and restaurants line this popular beach.

A View from the Plane on Arrival

Back on the Mainland

Top 10 Boardwalk Beaches in the Country, 
According to the National Geographic

(Atlantic City Boardwalk)

1. Atlantic City, NJ
2. Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
3. Myrtle Beach, SC
4. Ocean City, MD
5. Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach, CA
6. Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Rehoboth, DE
7. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, CA
8. Sandwich Boardwalk, MA
9. Virginia Beach, VA
10. Wild Woods Boardwalk, NJ

I would be amiss if I didn't add, We Know It's Summertime Because ...the Straw Hats Come Out. Enjoy Your Summer!

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