Summer Plans and Goals

Death by Chocolate

–One of my favorite, favorite things to do is go to an outdoor movie. I went to a few last year and absolutely loved it. You can pack a picnic basket full of treats, grab a few blankets and pillows, and enjoy a movie by moonlight.

–I’d plan to create a list of rooms that need attention in my home and go through each one and edit thoroughly. Quality over quantity.

–We have a small patio area with our grill in the backyard and I’d love to spend more time eating outside this summer. 

–While downtown Raleigh is full of unique and delicious restaurants, I’d like to explore the Durham food scene a little more. 

–I need to grill more corn. That’s our favorite way to eat corn on the cob!

–I want to spend more time working out outdoors. I really enjoy going to the gym, but there are so many trails for running near are home that I should use.

–I’d like to start reading again. I use to love reading but I haven’t gotten into a good book in a long time! I typically look for something off of the best sellers list, but nothing has caught my eye in awhile. 

Do you have any summer plans or goals?


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Jessica McCort says · 05.30.13

Oh, lots LOL. I’m currently reading -The Monsters of Templeton,- which is really good, and I also liked -Under the Tuscan Sun- and -The Glass Castle- as summer reads in the past. Good luck with all your plans:)!! Jess from The Owl’s Skull

Julie V says · 05.30.13

I grew up in Durham but now live in Cary and I must say the Durham food scene is definitely worth checking out! Love the area down by the court house, the ball park, bright leaf and the old ball park.

Jamie says · 05.30.13

{love your blog} We loved grilled corn on the cob, it’s a fave. at our house too. Have you ever tried grilled watermelon (cut an inch thick,, paint on a little extra virgin olive oil and grill). So yummy! That was one of our ‘to trys’ from last Summer!

Suzanne S. says · 05.30.13

I think it is such a great idea to write down plans or goals for the summer.
I need to clean out my closet and donate some things! 🙂
Suzanne from written by suzanne

LB says · 05.30.13

This is a great list! I’m so excited for outdoor movies 🙂

Ali says · 05.30.13

I love these very realistic, simple goals! I need to think about some simple goals. Mine are all HUGE 🙂

Brittany Schade says · 05.30.13

I just finished reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayer… Loved it!

Becky says · 05.30.13

That was my favorite book of 2012!!! AND I read “Unbroken” right before it, so it had some pretty stiff competition!

Paula Vaughan says · 05.30.13

A lot of the things you have on your list are similar to the things I have planned for this summer.

I love reading a good book. I have a Kobo Ereader but every now and then its nice to sit in my reading corner and curl up with a good book. I have been recently addicted to Colleen Hoovers novels. They are YA but honestly who cares. Check out her series ‘Slammed’. There are three books in the series, easy reads and not to long in length. Perfect if you want to get back into reading again.


giddy_kitty says · 05.30.13

You should try you rate books you’ve read in the past and it will suggest new books you might like. You can connect with your friends and get recommendatioms from them too.

Maggie B. says · 05.30.13

This is a great list. I love reading, and my favorite place to go on a hot summer day is the library – it’s air conditioned, and free! =)

Also, we are having our house appraised for a refi in a few weeks, so we’ve basically combined spring cleaning and the most horribly epic borderline hoarders house – a challenge to get as much done as possible before some stranger comes into our house and puts a price tag on it. Waaaa.

Rebecca says · 05.30.13

I love making lists of goals 🙂 If you’re looking for a good summer read, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is good. I’m reading it right now and have gotten seriously hooked on it!

Amy E says · 05.30.13

This was what I was going to recommend! So good! Very twisty and entertaining!

Merissa says · 05.31.13

Great books!! Dark Places, Sharp Objects are also great books by the same author!

Kayla Bradford says · 05.30.13

Oh man. I co-sign on the Gone Girl suggestion, Rebecca. Changed my life!!!

pretty little things says · 05.30.13

I love outdoor movies! In Hoboken where I live, they have “Movies Under the Stars” every Wednesday night in a park near the Hudson river with a beautiful view of the NYC skyline. And they show all newer movies…this summer’s lineup includes Silver Linings and Argo — doesn’t get any better than that! xo

Kayla Bradford says · 05.30.13

And if you like Gone Girl, “Before I Go to Sleep” by SJ Watson is also great.

Sorry, as a librarian, gotta link to this resource 🙂 Awesome for finding good reads by year:

Summer says · 05.30.13

Ha! My list would look pretty much exactly like yours, save for the Durham food scene because, well, I’m in Texas 🙂 I’ve had the reading itch alot lately too and we grilled our first ears of sweet corn for the season just last weekend…they were delish! I bought a new pair of running shoes last weekend and got back outside this week to start that up again…why do I always decide to start training in the summer? It’s the WORST!

Dorothy Wu says · 05.30.13

We should do an outdoor taco night!! 🙂 You can grill corn to go with tacos, right? And grapes. (Not grilled, of course.)

eatgreatbegreat says · 05.30.13

Great list of goals! Your list inspired me to make my own list of summer goals. My first one is to start running more!

My husband and I often eat outside during the summer months. It’s so nice to get out and enjoy our porch and the nice weather!

M2Mommy says · 05.30.13

My husband and I stopped in Durham last week to have dinner while on our way from Norfolk, VA to Asheville, NC. I have not been able to stop talking about what a cool/cute/fresh town it was! We ate at the Mellow Mushroom there. We had been to the MM in Asheville before and loved their uber delish pizza and pretzels. The Durham location was just as pleasing. There are so many restaurants and the like in the American Tobacco Campus. Catch a ball game while you’re down there 😉 This summer I am attempting a small garden and hope to have some juicy tomatoes and zuchinni… Hoping. Grilled corn is the way to go. I ALWAYS make Corn Butter – 1 stick softened butter, 1/4 cup grated parmesan and lots of fresh ground pepper to slather over ours. I would be in big trouble if there was no Corn Butter for our grilled corn lol!! Strawberry picking is also a yearly tradition. Happy summer Kate!

J.C. says · 05.30.13

Real Simple recently published a list compiled by authors of books that changed their lives. Some are classics, while others are a little more unconventional. Also, have you heard of goodreads? It generates recommendations based upon your personal preferences, and you can keep a list of books you’ve read as well as a “to-read” list. Super helful!

Becky says · 05.30.13

A couple more reading recommendations for you:

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

The new one from the Kite Runner guy just came out: And The Mountains Echoed. But if you haven’t read A Thousand Splendid Suns, put that on your list, too. One of my favorite books of all time.

Another good one I read quite a while ago was The Red Tent. If you like historical fiction, you would probably like that one.

Susie Davis says · 05.30.13

Oh, Kate. I stumbled on your blog a couple weeks back. Just love it.

I’m in process cleaning out rooms and closets. And squeezing in as much barn time as possible.

Happiest Summer!

E says · 05.30.13

Looks like a great summer list! I wish we had outdoor movies where I lived that would be so fun!

Not sure what kind of books you enjoy but a few good one’s I’ve read recently are Gone Girl, Where we belong, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, and Water for Elephants.

Rachael says · 05.30.13

Durham has AMAZING places to eat!!! I love it there, better than Raleigh.
Here are some places to try:
Vin Rouge- French , for a nicer meal out
Blu Seafood
Parker & Otis
Watt’s Grocery

The Grass Skirt Blog says · 05.30.13

I need to make a list like this for myself. 🙂 I’ve never grilled corn and definitely need to try it!

The Grass Skirt

Kerri Muffin says · 05.30.13

Reading and the list of rooms for attention are great, and also on my own list. Summer just seems like a time to get stuff done, doesn’t it?
Kerri at HollyMuffin

BREI says · 05.30.13

I love your list. And if you need book recommendations I could talk for days on that.

sarahdbate says · 05.30.13

Love Does by Bob Goff is a great book to read!

Caitlin Erin says · 05.30.13

I’m reading Love Does right now and it’s really great!

Jenn says · 05.30.13

I love summer too! We do a summer fun list every year in our house with our kids — it’s fun to come up with a list of things to do and then see how excited the boys get when they can cross something off!


thehighlandslife says · 05.30.13

I just read “Dancing on Broken Glass” and really loved it. A good, easy read. And “Gone Girl” is awesome.

Wasifa Ahmad says · 05.30.13

Loved reading the article! I am definitely gonna make some plans for summer too!

I have nominated you for a blog award.. CONGRATS!!
Check it out here:

dressesforjulie says · 05.30.13

this totally inspires me to do something summery! I’m more a fall/winter kind of girl, but summer can be great too 🙂

Trista says · 05.30.13

One of my favorite resources for finding new books is You enter the name and author of a book you enjoy and they give you recommendations based on that book.

Leslie Tally says · 05.30.13

Love your summer goals. I wrote about mine here:

I love your list, though. I’ve never grilled corn, but I thin that would be delish! Will have to add that one to my list. 🙂 As always, love your blog!

allbygrace777 says · 05.30.13

love love love summer lounging on my white wicker whilst reading a good novel. nothing better to do on a sunny day. my goal is to relax this summer and enjoy my kids being home. <3

McKenna Lou says · 05.30.13

I have never been to an outdoor movie but I have always wanted to go. xx. McKenna Lou

Sara says · 05.30.13

Durham has tons of great places to eat!! I lived there this summer and miss is so much. I highly suggest you check out Nana Taco. It’s a local Chipotle like place near Duke with AMAZING food. I love the gazpacho and the chicken quesadilla – the chicken is shredded and marinated, not just chunks of tasteless meat!

Stefani Wiley says · 05.30.13

I love reading Kristin Hannah books… easy to read and so easy to get caught up in the charectors….Ive been known to bawl in some as well. Great escapes.

Lar says · 05.30.13

Watt’s Grocery. Seriously. Delicious! Durham has a lot of good places to eat!

hellofreckle says · 05.30.13

I used to work in Durham, and I went to a restaurant downtown called Rue Cler – it was a French Breakfast/Brunch type place, and I really liked it! Worth checking out!

Julianne says · 05.30.13

Great list. Totally doable. Grilling corn should be on all our lists! Looking for a good read you say? I just finished Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist. It’s a must read. So good, so relatable, and really, really timely.

Amy says · 05.30.13

Check out a book by Susan Gregg Gilmore called Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. It’s a good summer read!

Andrea Worley says · 05.30.13

love outdoor movies too! hoping to go to some this summer as well.

Elizabeth @ Southern Color says · 05.30.13

During the summer I go through so many books, mostly because I spend a decent amount of time at the pool 😉 So of my faves are: The Light Between Oceans, Here I Go Again, and Silver Linings Playbook.

The Diva says · 05.30.13

Oh Kate, REVOLUTION in Durham. Best restaurant in the triangle! This is coming from a foodie from Philly!

Jodie says · 05.30.13

Gone Girl was a very interesting read. For something a little lighter, I really enjoyed “Something Borrowed” and “Something Blue” by Emily Giffen. Here’s to a great Summer!

Bretty says · 05.30.13

You should read ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. They are on my all time favorite list. I think that every girl should read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’.
Or you could go more classic, like ‘The Good Earth’ (I promise, it’s a good one) or
(this sounds like an odd suggestions, but trust me, it’s awesome) ‘The Virgin Suicides’.

Kelly Sharp says · 05.30.13

Did you see where Khaleed Hosseini has a new book out???

Patrice says · 05.30.13

I plan to sit and read in front of the fans and a/c all summer. I usually have four books going at one time. I love biographies and Steve Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson was fascinating. I will never look at an apple product the same again after learning all the factors that went into their development. I just finished The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. For fiction I am reading Tessa Harris’ The Anatomist’s Apprentice, a historical mystery about early forensics. Also Tana French does a contemporary series set in Ireland. She is a brilliant writer.

A Modern Commonplace Book says · 05.30.13

We just went to an outdoor movie! And, I realized how I need to do it EVERY SUMMER!


Mandy says · 05.30.13

I just discovered your blog, and I am loving it so far! These are some great goals. Thank you for sharing.

I like your idea to go through and edit your rooms. I definitely believe in quality over quantity as well. One trick that I do is to keep a “Goodwill” bag in my closet at all times. That way if I stumble across something that I no longer love / is not useful / no longer wear, it goes straight into the bag. When the bag fills up I take it to goodwill.

I also love to read. Last summer, my husband gave me a set of Jane Austen novels, and I spent the whole summer reading them. They were great. I’m currently reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving. They are not currently on the best sellers list, but they are classics!

Kate says · 05.30.13

thats a great idea (the goodwill bag) I may start doing that!

Jodi Cobb says · 05.30.13

Did you like The Hunger Games? If you did, try the Divergent series. Great books along the same dystopia young adult genre.

Caitlin Erin says · 05.30.13

The Divergent series is super quick and addicting! I agree – great read!

Kelly Stokes says · 05.30.13

Living in Texas, summer has been my least favorite season because of the heat ever since I quit enjoying “summers off” as a student. Last summer, I decided to quit moping and being miserable in the heat and ENJOY summer for a change! With 3 kids, it made me feel like a kid again! We swam in the moonlight, watched and chased fireflies, stayed up late watching movies, went on long walks/adventures, played in the sprinkler and ate dinner on the back patio. I am actually excited about this summer!!

Kelly Walker says · 05.30.13

Read Gone Girl. It is awesome!

Shannon says · 05.30.13

I recommend anything from Emily Giffin, her books are so light and happy endings! While they don’t have an order you should start with Something Borrowed, then Something Blue. I love that she mentions past characters in other books so you can think back on them also. Have a great summer!

jmichelconley says · 05.30.13

One of the best places I’ve been to in Durham is Geer Street Garden. It’s in downtown and had amazing food, amazing staff, and an awesome atmosphere! Here’s a link to their website:

Try them out!

Laura says · 05.31.13

I was just going to post the same recommendation!!! “the Pile” fries are to DIE for (fries, fried chicken and gravy to name a few of the ingredients…”

Nana Taco is good too! Yummy taco’s and the pinto beans are delish!

spanishkitchenette says · 05.30.13

If you havent been reading lately I recommend starting by an “easy” and fun book like one by Marian Keye’s, for eaxample, and then keep getting into deeeper ones.

....... says · 05.30.13

great goals for summer! the last time I was at an outdoor movie was in florida but that was a drive in type of thing it was so much fun and back to basics kind of! thanks for sharing your list makes me want to write my own! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @

Magistra says · 05.30.13

kate! your blog has changed my everyday life….hair, makeup…beautiful! thank you for putting together such worthy and excellent things. I MUST recommend The Secret Keeper by kate Morton: endearing characters and an engaging storyline that keeps you guessing until the VERY end!

Lisa says · 05.30.13

My town does outdoor movie Fridays during the summer. I can’t get over the mosquitos. While it is a fairly romantic idea, I’ll stay itch free at home. 😉

Hannah Elise says · 05.30.13

Have you ever read “Edenbrooke” by Julianne Donaldson? I just read that book a month or so ago and loved it. I also loved “Interrupted” and “Chasing Jupiter” by Rachel Coker 🙂

Life Around The Loop says · 05.30.13

I love summer time! Your list is wonderful! Our state park puts on sunset movies throughout the summer for families. Its a blast!

Samantha @

Melissa Ruth says · 05.30.13

“Because he loves me”, by Elise Fitzpatrick is a life changing book. I cant recommend it highly enough!!

Sandy Farmer says · 05.30.13

I love goal setting! I see you’ve already gotten TONS of book recommendations. I don’t know which genre you prefer–I know you said you usually just read off the Best Seller list, but that’s a wide variety! I have a book blog, Somewhere Only We Know if you’re interested in checking it out. Maybe you might find something there.

I also mentioned The Small Things Blog in a post I did this week. You can see it here if you’re interested!

Good luck with your goals!

Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

Ally Eaton says · 05.30.13

Kate, I recommend trying Parker and Otis. They have the best pimento cheese sandwich! I order mine with bacon and tomato and it is delicious! The sandwich also comes with slaw, I didn’t even like slaw until I tried theirs! The atmosphere is wonderful with indoor and outdoor seating. They have a gift shop with tons of bbq sauces, jellies, wines, baby gifts, and cookbooks. Along with all of that they have a coffee shop with cake and cupcakes! While your there be sure to go into morgan imports, they have all kinds of cute gifts. Another place I recommend is The Parlor. They have true homemade ice-cream with unique flavors like maple walnut (my favorite) and girl scout thin mint! And when ever I go, there is always a line outside of the door! I just love downtown durham, it really makes you appreciate North Carolina.

Kelly Sharp says · 05.30.13

You should read anything by Khaleed Hosseini. If you haven’t read The Kite Runner, that’s a great one to start with. He just released a new book, And the Mountains Echoed, that I can’t wait to read 🙂

Beauty Banter Blog says · 05.30.13

Idk about goals but I really want some of that delicious looking drink!! I’d love it if you could check out my blog! It would even be fun for a really popular blogger like you to do a contest and choose a winner to feature on your blog!! Just a thought 🙂

-Maddy @

Gemma Chew says · 05.30.13

Your list is so inspirational, definitely going to be taking some ideas from you! Loved reading everyone’s book recommendations – I’ve put them on my reading list!


gemma @

Dancegir92 says · 05.31.13

Kate, you need to try deep frying your corn on the cob!! It is so so good. You have to try at least once!

Brooke says · 05.31.13

I would recommend Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. True story that is amazing and anguishing at the same time about a young Olympian turned WW II soldier. I can’t say enough about it.

Laura Mack says · 05.31.13

Great goals! My list is a lot of little projects around the house like painting, making new curtains for a few windows(I already ordered fabric and I’m excited to see how the colors and patterns will change the look of my house) and cleaning out closets. I got in to reading again after my mother-in-law got me a Kindle paper white this past Christmas….LOVE IT!! I’ve read through a lot of the comments on here and might try out a few of those book titles. I mainly like to read “self help” “motivation” type of books. My first Kindle purchase was Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure. It was very motivating and I loved the connection she made between God and food. Thanks for sharing your summer goals! Your ideas always get me motivated as well 🙂

Rachel says · 05.31.13

I read the book “The Night Circus,” last summer and it was pretty great. It’s a little sci-fi for some people (the two main characters can do real magic) but it is truly a great story. It’s sort of a mix of Water for Elephants with Timetraveler’s wife combined with The Prestige. (Oddly, all three of these books are now movies…)

Night Circus is written by Erin Morgenstern

Heather from The Pink Lab says · 05.31.13

Fun post! I live in Hawaii and still have yet to do sooo many things. I’m very adventurous so most of my goals include exploring new sites and water sports. I have a kazillion diy projects floating around in my head that are also on the list! 🙂

Massab says · 05.31.13

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Courtney Webber says · 05.31.13

I was recently recommended the book Remembering Love by Francine Rivers. It’s a fictional story based off of the story of Hosea in the Bible. I have started reading it and it is amazing! You should check it out 🙂

Jessica W says · 05.31.13

I LOVE grilled corn. I really need to go to a drive-in movie, I’ve never been!

I’ve been reading Palisades Park, about a family during the 1930s who work at an amusement park. It’s a really beautiful little book, and a good summer read!

We Are Oceans | beauty, food, & lifestyle blog

Katie Nate says · 05.31.13

I haven’t commented before, but I love your blog!

My husband and I are in the process of “waiting” to be matched for an adoption, so a lot of what we are doing this summer revolves around getting the house ready…

I hope to get a few rooms in our home “under control,” too! We attempted to paint when we moved in and quickly found out that we are NOT painters. I want to call in a professional to fix the three rooms we attempted, as well as the one room that we’ve left alone.

We need to have a garage sale too. I’m not a pack-rat at all, but for some reason I’m dreading going through things to get rid of…

Don’t forget to enjoy your summer!

Morgan says · 05.31.13

Kate, you just HAVE to read “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (not to sound bossy or anything, but it is that good). It is technically a young adult novel, but I don’t know how anyone could not love it. It’s been a bestseller basically since it came out. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It is the perfect summer read for anyone. Seriously–anybody would Love this book!

Beth Hardy says · 06.02.13

I really enjoyed the new book, Orphan Train the Novel.

Lynne Nelson-Berg says · 06.02.13

I have read two books lately ( both Christian – one more obvious than the other ) both recommended by friends. The first is called Pearl in the sand by Tessa Afshar. This book is set in the old testament and it spoke to me in so many ways. The writing is enticing and once I started I couldn’t put it down. Those sorts of books are not my normal choices but I can honestly say that I loved it. The second book is called Submerged by Dani Pettery. A very easy ready fictional novel with some danger, a good story line and a bit of sweet romance.

Lauren says · 06.02.13

I’m about 20 minutes south of Raleigh area and trying out the Raleigh AND Durham food scenes is so on my list. I actually go to quite a few Bulls games each summer, and I always default to the Mellow Mushroom (affectionately referred to as ‘The Shroom’ in my house) before. It’s a fav. (And, I always get the same thing. I’m a creature of habit.)

When you’re thinking about summer movies, don’t forget about the ones at Koka Booth-

Katie Cameron says · 06.03.13

Yes, come eat your way through Durham! I’ll second the Parker & Otis and Geer Street Garden recommendations. Try out Bull City Burger as well!

Trisha Joy Carrillo says · 06.03.13

That’s a good idea to create summer goals! Thanks for sharing yours 🙂

Roger Richard says · 06.04.13

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Laura says · 06.12.13

Good book recommendation: The Secret Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I could not put it down. My mom loved it too.

Carrie says · 07.29.13

Really an awesome tips for making good mood in summer. Blogger-online

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