Yesterday marked the first day of Summer, the season of youth and freedom. The season that also happens to be my favorite time of the year. As a Summer baby, I feel like these next three months are when I thrive the most. For some reason, I feel extra motivated and, to an extent, unstoppable. Like I said before, it is the time for youth and freedom. Summer is the opportunity to do whatever you want. It is the time to be daring and try new experiences. The cold Winter air isn’t keeping you indoors and the dreary skies aren’t stifling your happiness. It’s the perfect time to carry out your plans, achieve your goals, and enjoy yourself. Don’t let another summer pass you by without taking full advantage of it. I know I definitely will be doing everything I can to make sure I don’t waste my Summer.
and summer nights.
I’ll love you the most
with all of my might.
You gave me freedom.
You gave me life.
You made me forget
all of my strife.
I could go anywhere
and do anything.
I could be me
You told me to be brave
and have fun.
You said that the good times
are never done.
You gifted me warmth
in a world so cold.
It’s because of you
that I know to be bold.
I thank you for the moments
money can’t buy.
I thank you for stopping my youth
from passing me by.
Oh, summer days
and summer nights!
You’re the times I love most.
Of our times together
I’ll always boast.
This summer has definitely been an exciting, busy one and I assure you that my style was never left behind in all the madness. I did quite a bit of traveling, made lifelong memories with my friends, and took advantage of the beautiful weather, but one of the things that was with me the entire way was my gold jewelry. The summertime is a season of sun kissed skin, bright skies, and being bold, so what other way to do that than with gold? For me, this August, gold toned jewelry was the fastest way to take an outfit to the next level. Whether it was a lion necklace, bangles, or hoop earrings, gold tones did the trick in bringing out some sangria lipstick or making a white tee pop.
Gold is often associated with being regal, goddess-like, and confident, so give your style the proper attention everyone deserves and indulge in gold. Trust me, there were plenty of times this past month where I felt like Rihanna or Rita Ora walking down the street. There is no better way to end the summer than with gold jewelry, but a tip of advice is don’t go overboard. If your outfit is already saying enough, then accent your look with gold studs or a simple gold ring. However, if your outfit needs to be spruced up, don’t be afraid to pair a chunky gold necklace with a few thin bangles. For a quick, casual look, throw on some gold earrings and a watch. Don’t put on every gold piece you own, but if you’re going to have fun with gold, then commit to it. Love it and embrace it!
Summer is officially here and, because it’s my favorite season of the year, I couldn’t be more excited. I always view summertime as a time of freedom, youth, and fun, so I definitely try to take advantage of the spontaneity of the season and I encourage you all to do the same. Take advantage of the sunny summer days, the warm summer nights, and the flexible summer schedules. Go to the beach. Go to an amusement park. Go for a walk. Go for an adventure. Do whatever you want, but just make sure to enjoy the nice weather and the freedom that summer brings. I’m definitely excited for my summer plans and the memories that will come from random moments with the people I love. The fact that I just graduated and will be turning 21 soon makes this summertime even sweeter for me. I can’t wait for the unforgettable memories and the nice tan I’ll be gaining this year. I wish you all the best during what I think is the best time of the year and I hope you all enjoy whatever the next three months have in store for you. Happy Summertime!
Summer is here and it’s about time the crop top gets its much deserved shine. This bad boy has been quietly making a comeback for the last year or so, but now is definitely its time. The crop top is perfect for the hot summer weather that is quickly approaching. You can stay cool, while looking trendy and cute at the same time. If you’re confident in your body, be brave enough to rock the crop top with some shorts or jeans. I think it’s a great look for a concert or even just a day at the beach. If you prefer a more conservative look, the crop top looks amazing paired with high waisted anything. You can even wear it over a tank top or a simple dress if you wanted to. I am fan of wearing the crop top with a pair of high waisted shorts or over my bathing suit for in between sunbathing and swimming. I’ve personally been amping up my crop top ammo for these summer months with styles that very from off the shoulder, tank style, and the infamous Dope shirt, but, at the end of the day, stock up one your favorite styles. Maybe you like patterns or maybe you like button up crop tops. As long as you love it! Point is, you need to make some room for at least one crop top somewhere in your closet.
“Mia dear, wake up,” whispered a sweet sounding voice over top of me.
I opened my eyes and the sunset on the horizon was no longer visible. I could not see any beach houses and Tony no longer embraced me in his arms. Instead, I awoke to Janice leaning over me. Her large baby blue eyes peered down at me, while her pin straight black hair sharply framed her face. Her vibrant red lips held back, waiting to see if another gentle alarm would be needed. Since my first day in Paris, Janice had stuck by my side and had helped me with nearly every aspect of my life to the point where she became my assistant. It was thanks to her that I was on time to anything and prepared for everything.
I laid on the chase for a moment more, processing, within seconds, all that was around me. To my left against the wall was a large mirror surrounded by lights that was the source of any brightness in sight. A vanity table and bench sat just in front of it, anticipating my arrival with an array of make-up for me to choose from. In the far corner of the room stood a wardrobe that was not even fully shut due to the overflow of embroidered corset-like tops and perfectly shaped tutus. Hanging on the back of the door, directly ahead, was a schedule of the show, including everything from wardrobe changes and intermission to every stage direction.
My eyes blinked in confusion and a bit of grogginess, so Janice’s lips took the cue to a second warning, “Darling, if you don’t wake up soon you won’t be ready in time for your performance.”
I, then, came to the realization that everything I felt a few moments ago was just a memory from the past that came to life in only my dreams. In reality, I was backstage in my dressing room and I had a show in fifteen minutes that I hadn’t even begun to get dressed for.
I left Long Island for Europe just after my summer with Tony to study ballet and pursue a career as a true ballerina. I never spoke to Tony after our short time together, though I recently began seeing his photos in publications all over Europe. I saw everything from his modern photos to pictures that I recognized of the beach that saw our love flourish. I always noticed them and I always saved them, keeping them tucked away to avoid too much nostalgia.
Although throughout the few years that had passed I had entertained a few prospects, they never felt as rich and pure as my love with Tony. I was sure it would be a while till I got that feeling back, but now I could only be happy for Tony. He was doing what he loved as was I. Upon graduating from the academy, I began to get offers on roles in the latest ballet productions. My most recent job was as the lead in “Giselle,” a revival Paris had been waiting for.
As I got up, I looked to my side and noticed a bouquet of white irises, my favorite flowers, sitting on the vanity. Ever since I had begun performing in real productions, I received one bouquet each night of a show. There was never a note, leaving no hint as to who they were from. Although I couldn’t be sure, those flowers always brought me back to that summer with Tony. I could smell the garden on the side of my parents’ beach house and I could feel Tony delicately placing a freshly picked white iris into my hand. Since that day, the white iris was my preferred flower without a doubt.
As usual, I admired the flowers, softly touching the edge of each petal and taking in the subtle scent that filled the air. They were perfect as always, though this time the bouquet was not the same as its past brothers. This time the bouquet carried a note. I quickly opened the small, gold envelope and it read “I told you so” and nothing else. An array of fantasies and ideas rapidly took over my thoughts and I was left in utter confusion. What did this mean? Were they from Tony? Had he been my secret admirer this whole time? How could they be from Tony? Did he even still remember me?
But, suddenly, a tender reminder from Janice swiftly interrupted my solitary interrogation, “Ten minutes, my dear.”
I was then forced to forget my deepest wishes and I came back to reality. I changed into my costume, stretched as much as I could, and before I knew it I was center stage dancing out my excitement. The music soon ended and the curtains were closing before my eyes. That’s how it always happened. My performance came and left, faster than a snapshot. At least, that’s how I always felt it happened. The wardrobe changes, the applause, the rush all became a blur during and after each performance.
Once my mind began to think clearly again, I was back in my dressing room, recollecting my energy, when I heard Janice’s voice again.
“My dear, don’t bother changing. You’re needed on stage again.”
“Why?” I asked with confusion masking my face.
“Oh, I haven’t the slightest idea, but, by the looks of it, it’s only more good news for you,” she quickly responded with a sneaky smile over her lips.
As I walked back on stage, I could see the audience giving me a standing ovation through the blinding spotlights of the theatre. I smiled and waved out of common courtesy. On the stage, there was a man, Harold Grulier to be exact, the owner of the extraordinary venue. From what I could see, the burly, blonde man was holding a plaque and some roses. There was also a photographer just to his right with his face hidden behind every flash.
I stood next to Mr. Grulier with a combination of excitement, anticipation, and even hesitation. I had no idea what this was all about, but I only wanted to get back to my newest bouquet of white irises and the mysterious golden note. Harold began to speak in his deep, soothing voice. I continued to smile and from time to time looked around out of pure boredom.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you all and speak to you of Mia Cartagena, the talented young dancer who has entertained us all. Not long ago, she was unknown to perhaps all who stand before me, but in a matter…” he began.
As I zoned out from Mr. Grulier’s speech, it was then that I saw him. I looked straight into his glistening green eyes and it was unmistakably him. The photographer standing on stage was my Tony, whom I had lost track of so long ago. My eyes traveled across his face and skin, examining his similarities and differences. He looked the same, yet very different. I could look into his eyes and still see my teenaged companion, but I could take one glance and tell that he was a man. His jaw was much more defined, his stare much stronger, and his frame had grown with muscle, but I could still see his pure smirk and bashful blink through his definite transformations.
Tony moved toward me without saying a word. For a brief moment, I thought he was going to take a picture, but instead he slipped an envelope into my hands that hung at my sides. Confused, I accepted it, but did not dare to open it on stage. I barely even looked down to see the white paper closing. Tony stepped back and I was hurt that, after so much time, all I got was a silent envelope. So many fantasies and dreams had been shattered by a reality that didn’t even resemble the closeness that the summer of 1903 was filled with. Shortly after, Mr. Grulier gave me my plaque and I said my thanks. I rushed back to my dressing room as I noticed Tony taking the opposite wing exit. I had no interest in being in the spotlight any longer.
In my dressing room, I closed my door and clutched the envelope close to my chest. I observed the envelope and it simply said my name, Mia. Inside there was a note that said: “I told you that you would make it as a prima ballerina. I promised that I would never forget you just as I promised myself to never forget that summer. I hope you liked the flowers. I remembered they were your favorites.” There was also something else in the envelope. I took it out and there I was. It was a picture of me dancing on the beach. He had taken it the very same day I had just dreamt about.
By this point, my eyes were misty and my chest was pounding. I felt like my heart had somehow doubled in weight as I leaned my head down into my body. I could see the picture and the note. I could feel the paper, but there was still doubt in my mind. I’m not sure what exactly I was feeling, but I know I was overwhelmed. Perhaps, I was just so happy to know that I was not the only one who lingered on such distant memories. Perhaps, I bawled out of anger, wondering what took him so long. The only fact I was sure of is that I soon heard a hesitant, but firm, knock on my door.
I opened it to find Tony standing right in front of me. His eyes, a few inches above mine, were on the verge of tears, his hands trembled, and his lips longed for the strength to say something. We were both in awe. Within a few moments, we both reacted and took part in a long-awaited embrace, which followed with a kiss that I wish could’ve lasted an eternity.
I looked into his eyes and all I could utter was, “I loved the flowers.”
He stared back with a grin on his face and responded, “I’m glad you did.”
“Smile for the camera, Mia,” he said, standing above me and laughing the whole way.
“Oh, alright, but only because you’re excited about your new camera,” I responded, sweeping my long brown hair to one side for the so-called candid picture. “You know, when you become a famous photographer you better not forget that I was your first model.”
“I don’t know how I could, my lady,” he said extending one hand out to me and helping me up from the sandy shore. Once I was up, he continued, “Besides, I think it will be hard to forget the world’s next prima ballerina.”
“Oh don’t be so silly. I don’t appreciate you toying with my dreams, you know.” My eyes lingered into his green stare and I couldn’t help but smile as I bashfully looked down. With an unforced giggle and an excited skip ahead of him, I asked, “But since we’re talking about it, can you look at this routine I’ve been working on and tell me what you think?”
I began my dance to the music of the ocean and I could feel his eyes looking at me in admiration. The sun’s heat surrounded me, while the sand on the shore brushed on and off my feet. The wind and my movements moved harmoniously and, from the corner of my eye, I could see Tony snapping away with his new Kodak camera. I had always loved dance, but it wasn’t until I danced for Tony that I found a real purpose for it. He was an audience worth truly performing for.
Suddenly we heard, “Mia! Tony! Come eat dinner” coming from the distance. It was my mother indirectly attempting to put our beach date to an end before the sun went down. Obeying the far-away sounds, Tony and I grabbed our blanket and shoes and began our walk toward the luxurious beach house ahead.
It was the summer of 1903 and our families were on vacation in the Hamptons, where they owned a couple of beach houses. My family’s home was purely wooden with a complete deck and a silhouette that reached three stories high. Gardens surrounded the sides of our home that were overflowing with white irises, orange lilies, and yellow rose bushes. In front of my all white home, sat my father’s all black Mercedes. It was shiny as ever, simply waiting to be shown off.
Tony’s home was not much different from mine. The biggest difference was that his family garden included blue sailors and his home was painted a pale yellow as opposed to our white. Our summer homes were next door to each other, just a few yards apart, which can be credited for my inevitable first encounter with Tony.
I was on my way back from the rocks about a mile down the shore from my parents’ property and I was just shy of my fourteenth birthday. My skin was just starting to bronze as it was only early June and the sun hadn’t yet had a proper chance to transform my shade. The ocean breeze freed my long hair, letting it blow up and down, side to side. In one hand, I held my shoes that I refused to get dirty from the sticky grains of sand and, with my other hand, I held up the hem of my dress.
My mind was wandering, ever-changing like the ocean water, when I noticed a pale dark-haired boy knee-deep in the rising tide. He looked like he was no more than sixteen years old (he was actually fifteen, at the time) and was too entranced by his lens to notice the real world. He was taking pictures of the waves, the birds, the sunset, and anything else he saw. With one turn through his lens, he saw me looking back. He raised his head and smiled, for the first time, showing me his bright green eyes and his white grin. It took nothing more than this simple gaze and a bashful hello to let us know that the summer was ours.
Our families quickly became friends, as well, and we were soon having dinner at each others houses every night. One night, my mother cooked for my family and our guests, while, the next night, his mother prepared the evening meal for the two homes. With the friendship between our parents, puppy love for us became all the more difficult to avoid and we saw no reason to fight it.
Throughout the day, Tony would snap away, never missing a potentially good image that we shared, while I was incapable of skipping around, twirling through the wind, or swinging my arms up and down as the excitement of being with Tony overwhelmed me to the point of needing to release it through dance. We took advantage of the early mornings to walk along the desolate beach, afternoons were spent sitting on the rocks that were barely visible from our homes, and sunsets were exclusively reserved for our most intimate conversations.
During one of these sunset talks, I experienced my first kiss with Tony. His green eyes met my dark eyes that looked back. One arm wrapped around my body keeping me close, while the other gently brought my face closer to his until we became one. The cold, moist sand that we were sitting on didn’t even matter after I felt how warm and soft his touch was.
He was my best friend, my advisor, my critic, my support. He told me the truth about everything and I did the same for him. Everything he said or did included me. Every plan I made and emotion I felt was because of Tony. We understood each other to the point where words were no longer necessary; however, we were young and it was puppy love. It was my first any kind of love and it was such an innocently pure relationship that was impossible to replace. That summer Tony was my everything as I was his.