Summer 2016 Approaching…

Howdy gang,

Happy spring! Hope everyone is enjoying life. I love logging in after my hiatus every September-~May to see new likes, comments, and followers (welcome!!)

The 2016 Summer Goal list is coming soon! I already have some ideas stirring in my head!

Thanks,

Samantha

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“Enjoy, Relax, Stay Awhile”

#1: Go to the Cape Cod Lavender Farm

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Lavender has always been one of my favorite scents and flavors. It’s lovely, don’t you agree?

I also really like the name/word “lavender”. For about a year it’s been on my baby name list  I’ve really liked it.

It should also be noted that my Sim had a daughter who I named Lavender and she was a very successful athlete. It’s just a great smell/flavor/name/word/flower.

This goal was the first one I put on my list because I had been wanting to go here for a while. I also wanted to scope it out as a potential wedding venue (no, I’m not engaged or even currently seeing someone).

Two Thursdays ago, I realized that the next day (Friday) would be my last day of summer. Upset that I had nothing to do, I texted my buddy Miranda, who I hadn’t seen in a while, and asked her if she wanted to go on a little adventure. Without hesitation, she agreed and asked only one question: Where?

I gave her two options:

  1. The Paper House in Rockport.
  2. The Cape Cod Lavender Farm in Harwich.

Miranda chose the Cape Cod Lavender Farm.


When I road trip, I go all out. I want different weird stops on the way. So, Miranda and I stopped at a bunch of different and weird stops, including the world’s largest milk bottle, and eventually found our way to Harwich, MA.

I drove up this little dirt road only to find a couple walking down it, towards us. I had to put my driving school objective “back up in a straight line” to use. We eventually parked at the end of a cul-de-sac. The couple approached us and told us that we could indeed drive down the little dirt road and park more towards the farm. But, at that point we were ready to walk around after the drive.

Little dirt road that is, indeed, okay to drive on.

Little dirt road that is, indeed, okay to drive on.

After the nice walk up the road, we found the cutest little lavender farm you ever did see.

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We saw some lavender bushes but they didn’t look very purple. We went into the little house (above) and roamed around the small store. The woman there told us that the lavender was picked in July and right before they pick it is when it’s the prettiest and purple-st.

We walked around the farm a little more and found more bushes

So not purple...

So not purple…

and then did a BABY hike and found a fairy castle that I thought was cute but I think Miranda thought it was dumb.

FARIES BE HERE.

FAIRIES BE HERE.

We went back into the store and I bought a postcard, some dried lavender (that I have since put in my classroom), and lavender lip balm.

The most important part of the lavender farm is the cat that was laying on the table.

I think her name is Big Mama.

I think her name is Big Mama.

Miranda and I were ever so slightly disappointed in the fact that the farm wasn’t in bloom. If you go, make sure you go before they harvest in July.

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But, I did have a fun, smelly time with a fun, smelly friend. Like I said, I hadn’t hung out with Miranda in a while so it was nice to catch up with a mini road trip to a pretty place.

Plus now my classroom smells delightful.

Sorry that post was kind of short, Nick and I are going to Walmart.

Thanks,

Samantha

NOTE: Shoutout to Miranda who took these great pictures!

Raise the Roost

#24: Blog at The Roost

Photo on 7-17-15 at 1.39 PM

This will be my shortest entry yet.

Who: Mel and Samantha (Alex was with us earlier, too).

Where: The Roost in downtown Northampton.

When: A few weeks ago. On a Saturday?

Why: Why not? I always wanted to be that person blogging in public.

How: Wifi.

What: The Proof.

“And That’s Pretty Much It”

8. Meet Eric Striffler 

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So I’ve been doing the summer goals list for 7 years. This goal was easily the most difficult. Why? Eric Striffler is a *~celebrity~*.

In about 2006 I was super into Youtube. I would watch almost everything but I really liked watching clips from old Nickelodeon shows. Somehow, as I kept clicking on related videos, I came across a hilarious dub of an episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple. I showed it to my friends and to this day we still quote the video pretty regularly.

The person who created and uploaded this video was a Mr. Eric Stiffler. Since I liked his dub so much, I subscribed to him and continued to watch his videos for months, often leaving comments telling him I had a crush on him. He was a hot teen.

I migrated to Myspace (or is it MySpace?) and eventually found Eric on there as well. He had a music account and I would listen to his songs and message him every now and then. Once I messaged him and (jokingly) asked him to be my boyfriend and he actually responded back to me. I was amazed. He told me he was flattered but had a girlfriend. Despite this, I continued to occasionally go back to his Youtube channel and watch his videos.

For a period of time, (not sure when exactly, must have been around 2009-2012), I stopped going on Youtube to watch people I subscribed to. Eventually, I migrated to Twitter, and while not being much of a “tweeter”, I remember at one point thinking to myself, “Whatever happened to that hot Eric Striffler kid from Youtube?”. I searched for him on Twitter and found that he had somehow gotten hotter and that he was still making wonderful videos. He had his own channel but also was 1/3 of a podcast/talk show, Pretty Much It, and 1/3 of an improv show in New York City, Pity Applause. He was doing some big things. I remember feeling like, “Ou, I have a lot of catching up to do” with his videos.

So naturally, as I did in 2006, I would try to contact Eric. Instead of leaving comments on his Youtube channel or messaging his Myspace, now I could tweet to his Twitter. I would tweet random things to him, mostly asking him to put up the now private Legends of the Hidden Temple dub. To my surprise, Eric would actually respond to my tweets. For a while I was completely star struck when he would respond. From there, we would Facebook message and eventually Snapchat. He became one of my friends in a way. He even made the Legends of the Hidden Temple dub public again. <3333333333333333333 


I had told Eric that I had plans in the summer to go to New York City to go to MoMA and he gave me a list of his upcoming Pity Applause shows. I planned to go to the city on a Monday so Mary and I could check out one of his shows at night.

Moments before we went to the show,  Mary and I had discovered that both of our debit cards had shut off and we were 100% stressed out about not having any money in a strange and large city but despite this, we really enjoyed the show, even if this particular one was a little scary.

After the show, I officially met Mr. Eric Striffler. It was, for lack of a better word, magical. This was someone that I had been following on and off for like, almost 10 years.

We all went to a bar after the show and I was pleasantly surprised that along with talented and hilarious (which I already knew about), Eric is also extremely nice. He totally reassured Mary and I about our lack of money and even bought us beers. He was curious about what we had been up to during the afternoon.

[This is a total side note: Eric Striffler was not the only Internet celebrity I met that night. I messaged my pal, Michelle Joni, “the preschool mastermind” to meet us at the bar and she joined us!]

Me, in a fever dream, with Eric Striffler and Michelle Joni.

Me, in a fever dream, with Eric Striffler and Michelle Joni.

Mary and I talked with Eric all night and into the morning and I was so impressed with just how ambitious he is; I never knew how dedicated he is to his work until I really talked with him in person. He is not only an amazingly talented filmmaker, but also just a “WICKED GOOD GUY” as we would say in Massachusetts. And that’s pretty much it.

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I could honestly go on and on but I’ll stop here because I want you to click on all of Eric’s things HERE:

Facebook Page

Personal Youtube Channel

Pretty Much It Youtube Channel

Pity Applause Youtube Channel

TWITTERS:

@striffleric

@PrettyMuchIt

@PityApplause

Thanks,

Samantha

“Feet, What do I Need You For When I Have Wings to Fly?”

3. See a Frida Kahlo painting original in real life

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I can’t remember the first time I heard about Frida Kahlo or the first time I saw one of her paintings. I do, however, remember the first time I really became completely fascinated in her. I was a freshman at Greenfield Community College (it must have been 2009 or 2010) and I was taking a class called Film and Literature where we would study films, discuss them, read about them, and so on. We watched the movie Frida and I fell in love.

I was always a big fan of art, my dad being an artist, and while I possess no artistic abilities, I do like to look at art and study it. As a child, I really like surrealism. I had a book called Dinner at Magritte’s and I learned a little about Magritte and Dali, the latter soon became one of my all time favorite artists. Many people would call Frida’s work surreal although she wouldn’t. Either way I immediately was attracted to her style.

Not only did Iike her art, I also really liked her. Granted, I didn’t know her on a personal level, but after watching the movie about her life, reading some of her words, and studying her paintings, I realized that her and I were similar in many ways. I got a weird feeling inside of me whenever I learned more about her, like we were somehow connected. I know that sounds weird but WHATEVER. Anyway.

After GCC, I went to UMass and took an art history class. Upon receiving the syllabus, I was really upset and puzzled to find there was no Mexican art to be taught that semester (at that time I was also really into Diego Rivera). I didn’t know how big schools like UMass worked, so I went up to the professor after a class and asked her why she wasn’t going to touch on Mexican art. She explained to me that there was a separate class at the university on Mexican art that I should take next semester. I was already sick of UMass on my first day there so I told her I had plans to transfer (which ended up being true), and she told me she would ask the Mexican art professor to come in and do a lecture. A few weeks later, he did, and I was so satisfied and grateful but also upset that I wouldn’t be taking anymore art history classes at UMass. But I moved on.

Years went by and Frida stayed close with me. I planned lessons at Westfield State that focused on her, I dressed up as her for Halloween (quite well I might add), and I taught a lesson about her during summer school. Children are always fascinated by her. Last school year, a group of second grade girls at my school did a report on her. Their teachers, knowing how much I love Frida, invited me in for the presentation, which was wonderful.

Two years ago my mom, my aunt, and I went to an exhibit in San Diego, California called The Complete Frida Kahlo, which featured 123 exact replicas of work. There was also jewelry, a replica of her bed, and clothes. That was when I realized that I really needed to see one of her works in person, not a replica, but the real thing. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few Rivera paintings and Dali paintings but I really wanted to see her.

I did some research and found that her closest piece to me was in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art. I had always wanted to go there. I went to the MET a few years ago but modern art always appealed to me more.

After some research on the museum, I invited my “ride or die chick” (is that what the censored version is called?), Mary, who is down for anything and, even though her favorite artist is Lisa Frank, was down to check out the museum with me.


Mary and I took a bus to New York City and immediately from the bus stop booked it (run-walking) to the MoMA. We got to the museum and Mary was lucky enough to remember to bring her college ID to get in for discount. I, on the other hand, forgot my ID but felt bad lying anyway that I was no longer a student. Oh well. I found out weeks later that the prices are in fact a suggested donation and we could have, if we brought it up to the cashiers, gotten in for free. For your health. I told the cashier that I was excited to see a Kahlo painting. Her response? “Yeah, we got a few of those”. So nonchalant!

Mary and I went floor by floor to the various exhibits and had respectable fun.

Mary is the TRUE art.

Mary is the TRUE art.

Me and a Dali

Me and a Dali

And then, we saw it!

"Fulang-Chang and I", 1937

“Fulang-Chang and I”, 1937

Frida painted this piece for her friend and also included a mirror that was to be placed next to the portrait, so when her friend looked in the mirror, Frida would be next to her.

Frida and I

Frida and I

Mary and Frida

Mary and Frida

I can’t really express how I felt about seeing this piece in person. In a word, it was emotional.

 

Despite what the cashier said, this was the only Kahlo painting on display at the time. My theory is thatother paintings that might have been there were on display at the Frida Kahlo garden exhibit in the Bronx. But what do I know?


 

This summer goal was really important to me because it was also a life goal. I’m extremely happy that I got to see this painting with Mary. Frida seemed to really care about her friends, as evidenced by the story behind Fulani-Chang and I and the fact that she gave many of her paintings to her friends. It only made sense that I saw her work with my dearest friend.

Thanks,

Samantha

“Skip, skip, skip to my Lou”

#13: Have a skipping squad meet in downtown Northampton

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I run a very tiny (but fun!) skipping club in Western Massachusetts called the Pioneer Valley Skipping Club (formally called Samantha’s Skipping Squad). I started it in late March and was totally inspired by Michelle Joni‘s skipping club. I read an article on her adult preschool and decided right then and there she was my role model: fun, carefree, young, and personable. I wanted to have a skipping club in my neck of the woods in hopes to bring some more smiles to the area.

I got in touch with Kim “Skipper” Corbin, founder of The Skipping Movement (the worldwide skipping movement!) and her and Michelle hooked me up with tips, skipping bumper stickers, and all sorts of support and love. Eventually, the Pioneer Valley Skipping Club was up and running!

Our first meet consisted of me, Amanda, and Alex and we skipped Nonotuck Park in Easthampton.

The second meet consisted of me, Nate, and Alex and we did a skipping mural tour of downtown Easthampton.

The third skipping meet was going to be the most public: Downtown Northampton.


For those readers who don’t know, downtown Northampton is energetic, odd, quirky, highly populated, bright, fun, and hip. There’s tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and very eccentric people. It’s home to President Calvin Coolidge, Smith College, and, more recently, The Poopy Guy. I thought having a skipping meet there would be perfect.

I picked up Alex, my most loyal skipper, and we started under the Thrones Market bridge and skipped right on Main Street.

We paused a moment to take a selfie on the corner of Main and Pleasant

We paused a moment to take a selfie on the corner of Main and Pleasant

Alex also took me to the archeological dig happening on the corner of Main and Bridge. So cool! Apparently a few weeks ago they dug up a cow’s head!?

It skip was very short, which was okay because we were both feeling crampy and sleepy. As usual, it was nice to catch up with Alex and hear about how her waterfall adventures are going (she has a similar bucket list, but consisting of New England waterfall visits!).

This was the only skip we’ve done where we didn’t get any weird looks, comments, or “woo!”s, probably because it was Northampton and every person we skipped past probably saw 4 weirder things that same day.

Either way, it was fun and I’m glad to say that I skipped Main Street in Northampton!

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More information on skipping:

Home of the worldwide skipping movement: iSkip

Kim “Skipper” Corbin’s Interview with me!: Interview 

Michelle Joni’s NYC Skipping Club Facebook: Skipping Club

Skipping Joy Facebook: Skipping Joy

My Western MA Skipping Club Facebook: Pioneer Valley Skipping Club

Thanks,

Samantha

“A Balanced Diet is Chocolate in Both Hands”

15. Go to Hershey Park 

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And by “Hershey Park”, I didn’t realize I meant “Hershey’s Chocolate World”.

For a really long time, I’ve been wanting to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania. I remember seeing in my 7th grade yearbook that the 8th graders went there for the 8th grade trip and it looked like so much fun. However, when I was in 8th grade, Hershey and all of its attractions were no longer included in the itinerary. Ugh.

So, I wanted to go this year. I think I wanted to go last year too but had a hard time finding someone to drive the 5.5 hours with me. But, my friend Mary is down for definitely anything so I was very pleased when she agreed to come with me this year. It wasn’t our first vacation, it wasn’t our first weekend trip, but it was going to be our first road trip. I was pumped.

I planned our road trip on the app Roadtrippers, which Mel and I used when going to Niagara Falls this past November. I realized that it was Hershey’s Chocolate World, not Hershey Park, that I wanted to go to. I also realized, after my recent trip to Six Flags, (read about that here) that amusement parks just aren’t for me anything. What I really wanted to do was be surrounded by chocolate.

Mary and I’s trip from Easthampton, MA to Hershey, PA consisted of the following stops:

  1. Tom Thumb’s Grave (Fairfield, CT)
  2. World’s Largest Lightbulb (Edison, NJ)
  3. Crayola Experience (Easton, PA)
  4. Roadside America Miniature Village (Shartlesville, PA)
  5. Kristy’s Whistle Stop (Enola, PA)
  6. Hershey’s Chocolate World (Hershey, PA)

But this blog is about my summer goals, and since not all of those stops were on my summer goals list, I’m not going to go into detail on each of them (except the last one). We had so much fun at each of these though; I would expect nothing less traveling with Mary.

We spent Wednesday driving and stopping at stops 1-5. After the Whistle Stop, we checked into our hotel and chilled out with chocolate strawberry face masks and got some sleep for Hershey’s Chocolate World the next day.


THE NEXT DAY

We got up early for Chocolate World so we would arrive basically as soon as the doors open (9 AM). Driving through Hershey was adorable in itself; Kisses lamp posts, street names like Cocoa Drive, etc.

Finally, we arrived.

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And at the doors, “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka was playing. It was so adorable and I was totally thrilled. Even from the outside it was everything I wanted.

The first thing we did, after taking pictures with a Twizzler girl and exploring a little, was go on the factory tour, which we were stoked to learn was free. We were even more excited to see that the tour was also a ride.

Us sitting in our little ride seat. Cart? What's it called? Buggy?

Us sitting in our little ride seat. Cart? What’s it called? Buggy?

The ride/tour had a lot of singing cows in it that told you how the chocolate is made.

The ride/tour had a lot of singing cows in it that told you how the chocolate is made.

After the tour, we bought tickets to two different activities: Create your Own Chocolate Bar and Chocolate Tasting Experience. The woman at the desk booked both of these right after the other so we would be done after 3 hours of being there and not have to pay for parking! Sweet. Literally. While we waiting for our event to start, we went shopping.

You're gonna love this Hershey's presents: bucket hats

You’re gonna love this Hershey’s presents: bucket hats

Our first event was the Chocolate Tasting Experience. We went into the big dark room and the tour guide (?) told us all about how to taste chocolate using all of your senses and that different people taste different things. There was also a short video that was both cute and annoying. We got 4 different chocolates to try and compare. Then, on a fancy iPad, we got to choose from a flavor wheel which flavors we tasted in the chocolate.

My work station. Bag (with different kinds of chocolate), water (to cleanse the palette), cacoa to try.

My work station. Bag (with different kinds of chocolate), water (to cleanse the palette), cacoa to try.

A wheel of flavor. Mary and I kept saying we were tasting things that definitely we're included in the chocolate. Mushroom was our favorite.

A wheel of flavor. Mary and I kept saying we were tasting things that definitely we’re included in the chocolate. Mushroom was our favorite.

After our tasting event, we ran over to the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar arena. We had too much fun during this.

First of all, you get to wear an apron and hairnet, even though you don't touch chocolate at all.

First of all, you get to wear an apron and hairnet, even though you don’t touch chocolate at all.

Then, again, you use a fancy iPad to select what kind of chocolate you want and what you want to be inside of it. Then, you go over to the production line to watch it be made.

Mary F with her chocolate bar in the back!

Mary F with her chocolate bar in the back!

Lucy and Ethel

Lucy and Ethel

Then, you got to design your label.

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I actually tried a bite of my chocolate bar today and along with looking really pretty it also tasted good (if I do say so myself).

We later did some more shopping and then we were back on the road.

Hershey’s Chocolate World was hella fun. We were almost always laughing at something or showing employees our glitter tattoos from Crayola Experience. If you ever get a chance, go! And make your own chocolate bar! And eat it!

Awesome friend, awesome road trip! We’re already planning our next one!

Thanks,

Samantha