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31 days of Summer


31 days of summer
There's still plenty of sunshine left! To help you squeeze every last bit of joy out of each delightful day, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel, star of 500 Days of Summer, shares her secrets for finding summer fun.

By Zooey Deschanel
From the August 2009 Issue

Zooey Deschanel considers herself a summer person. She fell under the spell of the season as a kid at camp in upstate New York. "It was classic," says the 29-year-old. "Swimming and sailing and ice cream and sing-alongs!"
Life got a little more complicated once she became a bona fide movie star with Almost Famous in 2000, but she's still happiest doing simple things that bring back the joy she felt during those carefree camp days or at home running through sprinklers with her sister, Emily (star of the TV show Bones). "I like the feeling of summer—it's lighter somehow," she says.
Although Deschanel is busy this month promoting her latest film, 500 Days of Summer (nice coincidence, right?); working on the second album by her band, She & Him; and planning her wedding to Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, she's eager to make the most of the season. "You can't force fun," she says, "but you can set up situations where fun will happen to you."
Need some ideas? Exclusively for SELF, Deschanel made a list of her favorite summertime activities. Try one every day and your days in the sun will be sweeter than ever. —Erin Bried
1. Sprawl in the grass for a little bit.(Make sure you've applied sunblock. See #2.) Grass can be hazardous to light-colored clothing. My suggestion is to put on an all-green outfit and roll down a hill.

2. Use baby sunscreen instead of adult; it smells like summer.My mother always made my sister, Emily, and me wear Coppertone Water Babies sunscreen—my whole family is really fair-skinned—and I still love the smell.
3. Read a mystery novel in a hammock.I really wish I had a hammock. I am on a five-year hammock plan, so hopefully as I enter my 30s I can finally achieve this goal. Until then, I will read and reread Raymond Chandler's The Lady in the Lake on my sofa, wishing I were hanging in a rope cradle attached precariously to a tree branch.
4. Get one of those tiny fans from the drugstore.
5. Whip up some summer soup.Here's a recipe for Green Summer Soup. It's the easiest thing ever.
6. Run around in the sprinklers.If you don't have a yard to do that in, find a friend who does. My sister and I used to do this as kids, usually with a Slip 'n Slide involved. I like the idea of doing it again, but it's probably going to remain a sweet memory. I think the last time I did it, my sister hit me with the garden hose and knocked me clean out.
7. Wear a bonnet or a straw hat.This makes me think of my mother, who wears hats.
8. Have a picnic with friends.Nothing's better than a picnic. Next time you have one, try a quinoa salad. Mix cooked quinoa with slivered almonds, chopped dried apricots and currants and a raspberry vinaigrette.


9. Check out a book from your local library.I once borrowed a book from the library in high school and forgot to return it, but when I finally did, the fee was still a bargain. Libraries are cheaper than bookstores and better organized. I enjoy the environment, even if I don't like being shushed.
10. Eat some heirloom tomatoesI like all the varieties. With salt.
11. Do an everyday task in double the time it normally takes.To tell the truth, I usually take twice as long as everyone else to do things like clean out my closet or write my story for SELF, and I want company!
12. Make jam out of a summer fruit, like strawberries.Recipe: My Mother's Strawberry Jam
13. Go to a state or county fair.They're usually cheesy and weird and have terrible rides that lack safety precautions. And the food is terrifying. But other than that, fairs are fantastic and kind of hilarious.
14. Encourage the men around you to wear a boater hat.Not everyone's a hat person, but it can't hurt to try!
15. Play a board game.My favorites are Balderdash, Cranium and Monopoly, all of which require a little creativity.
16. See an outdoor concert or performance.I love Brian Wilson, so seeing him last summer at the Hollywood Bowl, which is such a classic venue, is a great memory for me.
17. Hit the bleachers for a nighttime baseball game.I'm a big Dodgers fan. I go to games all the time—I like to pack dinner, usually something salady that's healthier than ballpark food.
18. Get overheated and then cool your forehead with a cold soda pop can.This is a trick I learned living in an apartment in L.A. with no air-conditioning. It's not really a trick. Actually the best trick is to get air-conditioning. Next best? You can cool yourself off a bit by standing in front of an open freezer door.
19. Play a game of tag.What do you mean, Do I win? Of course I win.
20. Have a sing-along.In a large group, your choices are limited because the more people you get in a room, the fewer songs everyone knows. Unless you are all members of a particular fan club, stick with classics. You can never go wrong with The Beatles or Motown—most people know quite a few of those hits.
21. Set out in a sailboat.My dad and I rented boats a lot when I was a kid. It was fun—well, it was more my dad's idea of fun!
22. Head to a revival movie theater for a classic you've never seen.If you don't like it, nap.
23. Dine alfresco.My parents have a patio at their house that's just right for outdoor dining. They have a lot of meals outside, so it's nice to go there to eat. Also, they cook meals together, which I think is really cute.

24. Watch an old-school musicalLike The Band Wagon or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
25. Brunch.Since this is a meal that is essentially an excuse to get up late and eat whatever you want, eat whatever you want.
26. Spice chickpeas and roast them in the oven until they are crunchy.Recipe: Spicy Chickpeas
27. Let your hair air-dry.I always let my hair dry pretty naturally. It's really long, so I wouldn't be out of the house until noon if I blew it dry.
28. Ride a Ferris wheel.
29. Play a casual game of kickball.I was unaware that kickball was having "a moment." I like it because it's easy to set up (pillows and a ball) for a day at the park with your friends. If you happen to have any aggression you want to get out, you can channel it into your game.
30. Mix up a vegan chocolate treat.Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Mix
31. Make a playlist of summer songs.Certain types of music just make me so happy. Here's my personal top-five summer-fun list:"My Baby Just Cares for Me," Nina Simone"Summer Dreaming," Harmony Grass"Wouldn't It Be Nice?" Beach Boys"Everybody Loves a Lover," The Shirelles "Tell Her No," The Zombies

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