When we moved to Alabama, I was so excited that we’d have a backyard. Coming from a big city, where it was starting to feel like we were living on top of our neighbors, I was excited for the extra space. Our first summer here, we hung out in the backyard a bit. Did some grilling, sat outside chatting with friends, even planted a few things. But the mosquitoes were pretty horrendous. In a true case of “the grass is always greener,” I started to miss our screened-in balcony in Miami.
But this summer we showed up with an action plan! We splurged on a pop-up tent (more like a pop-up gazebo…this thing is pretty huge) that offers a bit of protection from all the bugs. It’s proven to be the perfect place for eating dinner, reading a book on a lazy afternoon, and just CHILLING. We’ve even run an extension cord from our kitchen on a few occasions so we could hook up a box fan. Hello, GLAMPING!
Do you hang out outside in the summer? Do you have a porch, a stoop, or do you just head to the park? Let me know in the comments below.
Wherever you’re chilling, this drink would be the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing summer’s evening. Enjoy!
Ingredients – – 1 bottle of Prosecco – 1 cup Limoncello – 1 cup raspberries, muddled & for garnish – 2 lemons, for garnish
At the bottom of a wine glass, muddle approximately 4-5 raspberries.
Fill each glass half way with Prosecco, then fill the remainder of the way with Limoncello.
Garnish with fresh sliced lemon and raspberries before serving.
It’s mid-April as I write this, and for lots of us, now is the time to start thinking about an annual summer vacation. Yippee! It’s certainly an exciting prospect, with downtime from work, and the opportunity for some much needed R & R (either alone or with loved ones in tow). HOWEVER… for many, summer vacations induce anxiety. All manner of things can go wrong, and the idea of a “perfect” vacation is a lot to live up to.
Prep and plan as you might, your vacation may not go the way you expect it to…
The weather – torrential rain, wind, cold snaps – where was the sunshine you were hoping for?
Grumpy companions – you have taken them away for their holidays, but why do they insist on complaining all of the time?
Transportation – missed or cancelled flights, car breakdowns, other people getting in your way…if only there was an easier way to transport yourself around the world.
Sickness – you really should have learned the lingo before choosing from the menu!
Sound familiar? Don’t worry; these problems are common to all of us. So, while it is difficult to attain absolute perfection, there are things you can do to improve your chances:
Do your research before travelling. Find out what the weather is going to be like at certain times of the year in your preferred location, and make sure you read reviews online about airlines, hotels, food places, etc. The better informed you are, the more likely you are to enjoy each aspect of your getaway.
Choose a destination you will all enjoy. Assuming you aren’t travelling alone, consider the needs of those travelling with you. While you won’t please everybody all of the time, you can still make compromises so that everyone has a good time.
Read my top airport tips. I know, I know…Nothing irks me like that random dude in the security line who thinks because he flies twice a month for business he can start bossing everyone around. Everyone’s an expert, right? But if you’re planning on boarding a plane this year, give these tips a read!
Stick to your price range. You aren’t going to have a good time if you suddenly run out of money and find yourself with nothing to do, so budget carefully before jetting off somewhere. I think it helps to set a “before-you-go budget” (for flights, lodging, etc.) and a “spending budget” (your allowance while you’re there).
Think about your accommodation. Whether you choose a luxury hotel like the Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel or a youth hostel off the beaten track like Hostal El Momento in Granada, make this a priority. It has to be within your budget, appropriate to your needs, and within reach of the sights you want to see while you’re away. Double-check that you’re booked in before arrival as well, just in case of a mix-up!
Don’t try and do everything while you’re away. With so many things to see and do, you will burn yourself out if you try and tick off everything on your itinerary. So, plan for downtime, only visit the places you are desperate to see and leave the remainder for your next holiday.
Forget perfection. The higher your expectation, the more disappointment you will feel if something goes wrong. If you can go with the flow and enjoy the time you have, no matter the mishaps, the more enjoyable your holiday will be. I promise!
What do you think? Have I missed anything? Have you achieved the perfect vacation? TELL US YOUR SECRETS!
On Monday we talked about items to check off our bucket list THIS summer, but today I’d like to talk about things to do summer after summer. Stuff to look forward to all year; like a yearly road trip to camp in a state park with your cousins or an annual backyard barbecue held for the whole neighborhood. Do you have any summertime traditions like this?
Growing up, my family would pack up the mini-van each summer and head north to Lake Michigan. We’d rent a cottage within walking distance from the shore and head to the beach each day with an armload of sand toys, books, and floating rafts. I’ll always remember eating packed PB&J’s (with the added crunch of specks of sand) and plums from the Farmer’s Market. Maybe indulging in a few kolaches as a treat, made locally in a Swedish bakery. I would finish book after book, lounging sun-kissed and sprawling on the beach-themed furniture, trading dog-eared paperbacks at a used book store for new-to-me stories. Frequent evening trips to the ice cream parlor were a non-negotiable.
Now that I’m getting married in just a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how meaningful these types of traditions are. I’m eager to lean in to the rituals of my new, soon-to-be-official, tiny family.
The last two summers, Chet and I celebrated his birthday with a trip to the aquarium. (We walked across a rope bridge above a shark tank right after we got engaged!) And I love imagining what it will look like if this ritual carries on into the expanse of our years. Who knows if it will, but I can see our future selves fawning over sweet turtles and fish so colorful it’s hard to believe they’re real. And that’s pretty cool.
But the possibility of traditions not yet thought of is pretty cool, too.
What summertime traditions do you hold dear? I’m oh, so curious…and who knows? Maybe we’ll get some ideas!