Summer in the City.

It may not have felt like summer for the past few days. In fact, it's felt quite the opposite. Winds paired with cold temperatures and rain. Sounds like the perfect start to summer, no? No matter how badly we Chicagoans want summer to come, Mother Nature always has a way to toying with our emotions and making us hold out, even if only for a while longer.

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Growing up, while in grade school, even high school and college for that matter, summers were an expectation. School was over. No more class. No more quizzes, papers or presentations. Summer was the time for us to let loose and enjoy the warm weather. Some of us were forced to take summer classes by our parents while others played at the park or pool with friends. But no matter what the summers entailed, we enjoyed that. Now that I am going on 28 (2 months away...wow), I still wish that I had my summers off. After all, it's a God-given right! Why shouldn't we have the summer months off? It's just cruel to make people work during the most wonderful time of the year. However, life goes on and we grow up and become adults. We are faced with responsibilities - jobs, bills, rent, doctors payments and groceries. Three months off in the middle of the year is simply a luxury that most cannot afford.

That doesn't mean we can't enjoy our summer in the city. So, as I've ridden the train home the past few evenings in the cool gloomy Chicago weather, I've had my fair share of time to think of what I want to do this year. Tommy Engstrom is not going to sit idly and let summer drift by. Instead, I have come up with a Summer 2015 Bucket List. Some of these items of small and trivial, others are a little more strenuous or daring. So, without further adieu, Tommy's Summer Bucket List:

  1. Read 1 book a month.
  2. Find Chicago's best margarita.
  3. Make new friends.
  4. Go to Big Star (embarrassed to admit that I have never been).
  5. Skydive.
  6. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour every day to devote to writing something other than content for Smak.
  7. Hang out with friends at the beach at least every other weekend.
  8. Catch up with high school friends that I never see, even though we live within miles of each other.
  9. Start every Sunday morning with a walk around my neighborhood.
  10. Go to the farmers market every weekend, even if just to walk around and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.

That's it for me. What about you all? What is on the docket for your summer? If you live in Chicago and want to help me tackle any of these Bucket List items, reach out to me. Happy Hump Day!

Tommy.

A Few of My Favorites - 07.11.14

Today's blog post is coming to you from Door County, Wisconsin. Vacation has officially begun!I've decided to share a few of my must-haves for a day on the water...

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1. Ray Ban Aviators: I have had these sunglasses since college and I use them just as much as I did the first day I got them. My only prerequisite for sunglasses? Make sure they are polarized! They will help keep that nasty summer sun glare out of your eyes.

2. Hawaiian Tropic: Let me tell you something about myself. I am Swedish, very Swedish. Which means that I have incredibly fair skin. If I go out in the sun without sunscreen on my skin will turn into a bright red crisp. I have to be sure to use sunscreen regularly otherwise I'd immediately turn into a lobster. Every time I smell this sunscreen I automatically think of summer.

3. Men's Health: If I'm not sleeping in the sun then you better believe I have something to read - a book or a magazine - anything to keep my attention will do. I love reading Men's Health. They have a good balance of workout tips, food suggestions, and even a few style tips here and there.

4. Bud Light Lime: I know, this is cheap beer. Usually I prefer a craft brew, but on a hot summer day there's nothing quite like an iced cold Bud Light Lime.

5. Eddie Bauer Outdoor Chair: I found this chair last summer and wouldn't want anything else when sitting in the sun. It's low to the ground and incredibly comfortable. The only downside? You can't lie on your stomach.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we will see you again Monday morning!