Here it comes! In just over a month, it’ll “officially” be summer, but Mother Nature doesn’t usually wait till that day to go ahead and warm up. I’m already starting to get stoked on the season, and I’m remembering all the reasons I love it every year. Here are my 10 favorite things about summer coming up!
Summer produce. Heirloom tomatoes — need I say more? You might not be as big a fan as I am, but chances are there’s something at the supermarket that turns up fresher and cheaper come summertime. Tomatoes are just my personal favorite, but the oranges are better, the peppers — there’s a reason summer is associated with bright colors! It’s because the flavors of the season are so bright, and it makes me love going grocery shopping and eating light, bright meals.
Swimming. Duh. I grew up in the Sunshine State, and for that reason I find it nearly impossible to resist a body of water in the hottest months. I wear tons of sunscreen (like, SPF-a-million) but I love just being intoxicated by the heat of the sun and then jumping into cold water. I get a thrill from buying a new bathing suit every summer, and it always brings me back to my roots to take a day and play in the water.
Grilling out. My dad taught me how to build a charcoal fire when I was a kid, and to this day I’m the girl who surprises everyone by doing all the grilling. Last summer on the fourth of July I made sliders by the pool. Talk about a crowd pleaser. Everything tastes great grilled, and it’s a really healthy alternative to pan-frying. Try grilling fruit with your summer protein for some fun flavor combos.
Summer hair. I fret all winter about how to get my hair to look like it’s got some life to it. Then all my worries just wash away when the relentless sunshine just blends all my roots and my ends into one honey-colored hue. I can also let my natural texture run its course when the humidity kicks in; natural volume, natural color… it makes for effortless styles including some great summer braids!
Traveling. There’s the whole “summer vacation” idea, but I don’t need a whole week. Summertime just seems to be understood as the time when things just slow…down… so a long weekend can feel like a real getaway. You only need a few days away to appreciate the long, long days and the collective sense of calm that is summer.
Outdoor events. Here in Austin we have a lot of outdoor festivals, movie screenings, and evening parties that all combine the best things in life: food, fresh air, and cold beverages. Adding music to the mix, or just great friends, makes you realize anything is a good excuse to gather together and appreciate the effortlessness of warm weather. Sure, you might be sweating a little, but it’s better than chill and wind while you’re trying to enjoy yourself.
Summer duds. I am a sucker for sandals, skirts, tank tops and shorts. I have accumulated three pairs of J. Crew chino shorts in the last month in anticipation of the warm weather ahead, and I’m not stopping there. While some girls just love the layers of winter — and sure, they’re great — I get sick of bundling up! I’m so cold-natured that summer and sweating suit me much better than bundling up and shivering.
Cool sweet treats. You may know me (a thousand times over because I talk about it all the time) as the girl who can’t resist a frozen dessert. My favorites are: Shaved ice, frozen yogurt, mochi, Banana Babies, and creamsicles. I won’t refuse many things, though. I don’t mind standing in line to consume a pile of syrup’d ice in a cup; in fact it’s one of my favorite parts of summer. Cooling down on a hot day with a sweet treat just feels natural to me.
Empty streets. Here in Austin all the college kids clear out in the summer. That means at least two full months of freedom to travel on the drag (the strip where the university is) and around town without the congestion of 50,000 students. Not that I don’t like having them here — the university adds a youthful feeling to the city — but it’s nice to feel the settling of things in the summer, and then the renewed energy when they return in the fall.
Losing track of time. Summer is l-o-n-g. Summer days are long, too. Here, we have about 14 hours of sunshine for a few months in the summer. That means it’s already light when you wake up, you can run all your errands in the first half of the day, come home and take a nap, and wake up with 6 hours of sunlight to burn before it gets dark. It’s wild. But that’s why I love summer. I feel like I get tuckered out like a summer-camper so I sleep really well, but that the days are so long I have the ability to take my time. It’s harder to find enough to do to fill the daylight hours here than it is to just get stuff done. Those long, dog days of summer are brutally hot, but somehow I still regard them with fondness.
I’m a summer girl, for sure. I might not tan well, but I was born for warm weather, and I love how it makes me feel. Sunshine and activity makes me feel like my body is doing all the things it’s supposed to; getting hungry and thirsty and sweaty and tired. It’s how I feel most alive. While I love that Austin is taking its time getting hot this year, I don’t lament the coming heat. As long as there’s a cold drink or a body of water close by, it doesn’t bother me at all.
What are your favorite things about the summertime?