I love summer. I love heat, I love sunshine, I love seasonal berries and vegetables, I love not feeling like my hands and feet are those of a ninety-year-old woman’s. Despite – or perhaps because of – my propensity to schedule and organize everything to the minute throughout the school year, I love having lazy unscheduled days. I love writing ONE activity on my calendar: “afternoon swimming!” or “zoo?”. I love the fact that I’m still in my sweaty yoga clothes at 10:00 in the morning and the boys are in their pajamas some days until noon. Sure, around September I will somewhat willingly switch my sandals for boots and my tank tops for sweaters but for now? I’m soaking up every minute I can of this (strangely warm and glorious) summer.
It’s time for Nicole’s Favourite Things – the summer edition! Reminder: all products mentioned are not sponsored in any way. I am not in any way being compensated for this post – I just love these things and want to share!
Nicole’s Favourite Things – Summer Loving
At least once a week I like to take the boys to the local outdoor pool. What’s not to love? It’s a big sunny area with some shade, grass, and picnic tables. Ice cream sandwiches cost $2 and it’s a great meeting place for friends. My kids are at the age where they can swim and I can hang out and watch them. I love soaking up that Vitamin D but I don’t want to look like a) an Oompa Loompa, b) a leather purse, or c) an apple doll. I also have known people who have died from melanoma and so I cannot emphasize the importance of sun protection.
I’m going to get on my soapbox now and tell you that there is ONE way to safely apply sunscreen, and that is NOT at the pool when you have already been exposed to the sun. I am wagging my lecturing finger at you right now if you are someone who gets to the pool, hangs out for half an hour, notices skin pinking up, and THEN applies sunscreen. NO. DO NOT DO THAT. There is one way to do it and that is to apply it to your body after your shower: naked and in front of the mirror. I know! Who wants to stare at themselves naked and covered with sunscreen? No one, but it’s important. I am generally not a “spray” girl – I haven’t been a fan of aerosol sprays since 1988 when I realized that my Salon Selectives addiction and my penchant for vertical bangs were in part responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer – but I love these Neutrogena “Wet Skin” and “Beach Defense” sprays. I can spray my whole back and I don’t have to rely on anyone else to help me. This is how you get bikini ready – it has nothing to do with diet, in my opinion, and everything to do with getting sunscreen on your back by yourself. I only use the spray on my back; for the rest I love Hawaiian Tropic. It smells like vacation! For my face I like Ultra-Sheer Water Light, which doesn’t make my face all shiny and oily. DON’T FORGET TO REAPPLY. Also, if you’re reapplying, and it’s windy, don’t use a spray. The spray will get carried away in the wind and it will be ineffective. This seems obvious but based on the number of people I’ve seen applying spray in the wind, it needs to be said.
For the first time ever I bought a sun hat. It’s gigantic and ridiculous and makes me feel like I’m wearing a sombrero, but it keeps the sun off my face – who wants wrinkles? – and off my shoulders, which are usually the first thing to burn. I bought it at La Vie En Rose, from their Aqua collection. They have some great sales on right now, including on their beach cover-ups, so check it out!
Another benefit of wearing a giant hat? My processed hair doesn’t get over-dry and bleached by the sun.
The problem with Calgary is that it’s largely colourless for so much of the year. When it is finally, finally gardening season I go all out. I have something blooming all the time in my garden.
I’m not going to go all Adam Glassman on you and tell you what I think of shorts. You probably already know. But, as someone once said to me when I went on a diatribe about shorts, It’s not about style. It’s about practicality. It’s true that in the winter I don’t wear an ankle length puffy coat with gigantic Sorel boots because it’s stylish; I wear such items so I don’t die when I walk the dog or pick up the kids. But people, let me speak up in favour of the running skirt.
A running skirt is an amazingly cute little number that has shorts underneath. It is genius. Cool, comfortable, and no fear of wardrobe malfunctions.
Skirts are great too; I bought a couple of super-comfy ones on sale at Old Navy for about ten dollars.
My friend Julie told me about DoTerra essential oils, and while I wasn’t exactly skeptical – I love that crazy hippie stuff – I wasn’t over-the-moon excited either. I mean, I was happy to use lavender oil on my myriad mosquito bites and lemon oil to deodorize the bathroom, but it wasn’t totally life-changing. And then I tried the cleaning products. Dear reader, I am not exaggerating in the least when I say the DoTerra On Guard cleaner and oil have revolutionized my life. This is a discovery on par with green smoothies. It’s antiviral, antibacterial, and it is THE most powerful cleaner I’ve ever used, and that includes bleach-based products. I’m doing weird things like cleaning out my kitchen compost bin and the bathroom garbage can JUST so I can use this product, which smells like cinnamon and cloves. Now, you know I’m a vinegar-and-water kind of girl but to be honest, that always left my hardwood floors a bit streaky. I thought that was just the way it was with hardwood floors, and then I used a few drops of the On Guard oil in a spray bottle of water. My floors are amazing. All summer long the kids are leaving bare footprints on the floor and the dog is tracking in dirt with his “I walked through wet grass and then through the garden” paws. But this has CHANGED MY LIFE.
Cold Snacks and Drinks
A little self-promotion here: I have been making frozen treats for myself and the kids constantly this summer, and have been posting them over at Yummy Mummy Club. Click the photo to go to the recipe!
Also, you all know I’m a red wine girl. But sometimes it’s actually too hot for red wine. I know! I hardly know who I am anymore either. But I’ve been making cosmopolitans like nobody’s business lately, and the recipe will be up at Yummy Mummy Club next week! Stay tuned! In the meantime…
And now, dear reader, I turn it over to you – what are your favourite things about summer? Are you a summer lover or can you not wait until September? Tell me everything. xo