Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Caribbean Summers with Amalie Howard

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It's time for another fantastic guest post. I'll keep it short and let things roll on their own. You're GOING to want to check out the giveaway tomorrow though. Just saying.

Amalie Howard, the extremely talented author of Bloodspell, is here to honor us with summertime memories! What I loved about this post is the way she writes it so vividly. I can almost imagine myself swinging in a hammock and staring over blue waters. I'm jealous....I admit it. 

Please enjoy the post below, and remember to check out Bloodspell.
(You can find my review here if you'd like to see how much I loved it.)


Ok, I feel like I need to caveat this post because I grew up on a Caribbean island so my summers were pretty awesome. If you’re imagining tropical island breezes, white sand beaches, and balmy nights sleeping in a hammock, you’re probably right on track. Growing up, we had close family friends who owned a beach house out on one of these tiny little islands off the Northwest coast of Trinidad. There were only six private houses on this island and you could only get there by boat. If you needed groceries, you had to boat back to the mainland. Once there, it was like a remote seaside paradise—pristine waters, secluded beaches and nonstop family fun. We called it “down-the-islands.” I learned to swim and dive there, I had my first boy crush there, and best of all, I was with my very best friend in the world every single day. We were like sisters, doing everything together. During those summers, reading in a hammock on the verandah was on of my favorite things to do, and if I wasn’t swimming or fishing or boating, I was reading. The staples of my overnight bag were swimsuits, a toothbrush and books, because that was all I needed. There’s something to be said about reading when you’re away from the hustle and bustle of everything—you can get so much more immersed in a book, especially if it’s a great story. I devoured them one after the other. I still remember reading a YA book about astral traveling, and my best friend and I trying desperately to cast our spirit selves out of our bodies for days. We were unsuccessful, if you were wondering. We had a blast together—putting on shows, plays and dances at night for our families, hiking along the rocks, diving for starfish, waterskiing (me rather unsuccessfully until I discovered wake-boarding that is). Summers to me meant celebrating family, enjoying the things I loved and building a lifetime of friendships.

Summers as an adult have changed a bit living in New York, but I still hold family strong. We go to the beach, we have barbeques, and we spend lots of time with wonderful family friends who live near to us. We also travel as much as we can—we spent last summer in Zurich and last winter in Australia (it was summer there). I want my kids to experience different cultures as much as possible! Although I no longer have the summer island paradise, I still make the effort to devote time to my kids and build memories of our own that hopefully, they too, will treasure one day. Our summers will be always be filled with outdoor fun and travel, and books will undoubtedly be a part of them—whether it’s reading one or two or three extra books at bedtime or sneaking in a story during a hot afternoon.

Favorite Summer Tradition: Weekend family bike rides to the beach!

Favorite Summer Activities: Swimming, barbeques, sports, and lots of laughter!

Favorite Summer Recipe: Steaks on the grill. Actually, this is a year-round staple for our family. My Australian husband has no qualms about grilling in two feet of snow on the back deck! And definitely homemade ice-cream! I invested in an ice-cream maker last summer, and we’ve made everything from plain vanilla to peanut butter & chocolate chip fudge swirl surprise. The, er, surprise was the mysterious gummy worms that somehow ended up in the mix. Can’t say the kids aren’t creative!


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