Happy Midsummer!

The longest day of the year has already come and gone, but now Midsummer is here! While many countries celebrate Midsummer, I most closely associate it with Sweden, where it is one of the year’s biggest — and most important — holidays. Skansen, an open-air museum that could (maybe) be compared to Colonial Williamsburg, has a huge Midsummer celebration, and the website provides lots of information on Midsummer activities and the holiday itself. Every year, the Consulate General of Sweden hosts a huge Midsummer Celebration in Battery Park. It’s reportedly the biggest Midsummer celebration outside Sweden, with an average of 4,000 people attending each year! I haven’t been, but I imagine fun is had by all, even if it gets dark by 10 p.m.

Last summer, I spent Midsummer in the Swedish archipelago, with my parents, my host family from when I studied abroad in Stockholm my junior year of college, and all of their friends. It was, and forever will be, one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and a pretty perfect way to spend a holiday where you eat and drink and sing snapsvisor and laugh until 4 in the morning. Part of what made is so wonderful was getting to spend it with my parents, my Swedish family, and old and new friends.

As you may know, the Nordic countries are rewarded in the summer for the few hours of daylight they get during the winter. Last year, I believe it got dark for about 45 minutes around 1 a.m., and it was fully light out again by 3 a.m. I think I made it until about 4:30 a.m., when I realized I just couldn’t stay awake any more. I believe I was up by 7:30, though.

Stay up late, eat some jordgubbstårta, spend time with your friends and family, be sure to find a maypole to dance around!

As they say in Swedish, Glad midsommar!

All photos taken by Taking of Toast.

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An Impulsive Scoop

As New York Magazine continues to tempt me with guides to decadent ice creams (also in sandwich form!) around the city, my impulse buy from this past Saturday starts to look even more worth it. I bought an ice cream maker! I had mulled it over for about a week, which I guess makes it slightly less of an impulse purchase. Plus, as the weather gets hotter, stickier, and more humid, the thought of homemade ice cream in a mere few hours was too hard to pass up.

For my first foray, I went for something simple in flavor, but with a fair number of steps: coffee ice cream (link via Cupcakes and Cashmere). It’s a little creamier than I prefer my ice cream to be, and the coffee beans may have been tempering for too long, but I think it turned out pretty okay for my first go. As you can see from the photo, I threw in a few chocolate chips.

Next, I think I will go for raspberry sorbet (one of my favorites). I can’t wait to try some David Lebovitz‘s ice cream recipes once I get more advanced. I’m already considering his espresso-caramel ice cream from The Sweet Life in Paris. His pear-caramel ice cream sounds pretty interesting, too! (I’m not even a big caramel fan; these recipes just happen to have caramel in common.)

Photo by Taking of Toast.

Adjustments

Finally! I’m really back! I must admit that laziness was one of the factors in my leaving this blog un-updated for so long. But maybe we could pretend it wasn’t laziness and that it’s tiredness instead? Because I got a job! About a month ago, I started my first real, grown-up, paying (!) job (let’s face it, it’s the paying part that makes it so official — plenty of my internships have been grown-up, and they’ve all been real). As I continue to adjust to a “real world” schedule, which means not getting to stay up as late as I want and sleeping in to whenever I please, I’ve found myself very tired. I wouldn’t say my job is exhausting; it’s not a job that requires any significant amount of physical or manual labor. I do walk/run up stairs a lot, but that doesn’t really count. I think it’s probably that I still try to push the bedtime boundary, going to bed about an hour later than I should. Who would have ever thought that at 23, bedtime would still be such an issue? Remember when 9 p.m. was a late bedtime? Oh, how times have changed. Anyway! I’m happy in my new job. I’m still adjusting, to many things, but I’m very grateful to have been hired. The job may not answer many questions about what path I want for myself, but it’s (more than) something, and I’m okay with that. (I’m less okay with the reality that I no longer have a 3-month summer vacation, but then I remind myself that I have a job, and that pretty much rids me of my right to whine about it!)

I think one way for me to make the updates here more frequent is to make them shorter. I think I may have set that as a goal when I first started it — “Don’t feel so much pressure to make a big post!” I said to myself. I really enjoy reading the blog A Cup of Jo, and the posts there are often short and sweet.

I kept telling myself (and others), “I won’t be posting about my outfits,” and I decided to try my best not to talk about clothes or accessories all the time, since so many other blogs already do that. But it’s okay to do that! I still won’t be doing daily outfit posts (my outfits are never that exciting), but if I want to talk about this cool scarf or that beautiful dress, then I should be able to! I’d to avoid all-out materialism on this blog, even if sometimes, all I want to do is talk about Whistles all day (man, that pound to dollar conversion really gets you!). So…yes. This is not to say, “Watch out! Lots and lots of clothes are coming!” But I guess it is to say, “Sometimes, I will talk about clothes.”

Also, I feel so awkward posting on a Saturday! It’s definitely unconventional for the blog world. But I said I would update this week, and I still believe it to be “this week,” so here I am. Thanks to everyone for sticking around with me and the blog!