Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Summer Essentials-2010 version

Summer is within reach here in Chicago. Kids are playing baseball and soccer on Saturday mornings in the parks, pools are being cleaned and filled and dandelions are already changing from the yellow flower to a white ball full of wishes.

I spent yesterday getting my backyard deck ready for the summer season of barbecues, cocktail nights and dinner parties. On my large deck: new patio furniture, new citronella candles and hanging baskets full of ferns and herbs. My backyard is a beautiful oasis and I spend almost every minute of the summer gardening in my vegetable beds or lounging on my deck.

For this year here is my list of summer essentials:

A Good Book for Lounging in the Hammock. I am reading Wild Romance: A Victorian Story of a Marriage, a Trial and a Self-Made Woman by Chloe Schama. The true story of Theresa Longworth who married and then fought her aristocratic husband to acknowledge their marriage after he left her for another woman. This sassy Victorian woman became a world traveler and writer in an era when women weren't known for their independence or their brains.

Moisturizer with Sunscreen. Obviously a summer must. I use Aveeno Positively Ageless Moisturizer with 30 SPF. I love this product which absorbs quickly, is non greasy and has the loveliest smell.

Chilling Tunes. My music of the summer is Jamie Cullum and Amos Lee. Cool jazz mixed up with some pop and soul and you have the perfect chilling music. I love the music of Jamie Cullum so much I'm flying to Denver in July to see his concert at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Ya, he is THAT good. Now make a tour stop in Chicago please Jamie.

Farmers Markets and CSA's. Support local farmers and enjoy foods good for you and the environment. Looking for a market near you or interested in buying into a Community Supported Agriculture program, visit Local Harvest.

Ravinia For those of you in or near Chicago, Ravinia Festival the outdoor music park is a tradition as soon as the cicadas start buzzing. After years of lackluster musical acts, they finally booked a season worth getting excited about. I scored tickets to Sting and Sheryl Crow for under $30 each. Sure the parking is a nightmare, picnicking on the lawn might not be for everyone (so get pavilion seats) but most of the time it's worth the hassle to listen to great music on a warm starry Chicago night.

Reisenthal Bags. The perfect bags for the beach, hauling fresh produce home from the farmers market or carting books from the library to the house. I have the city shopper and it is my favorite summer bag.

Birkenstocks. Ya not just for tree huggers anymore. Absolutely the most comfortable shoes I own. Mine saved my feet last year with all the walking I did in Oxford. Worth every penny. Check out the collection here.

Hand Lotion. My hands look a little weathered by the end of the summer after months of gardening. The BEST hand lotion on the market in my opinion is Baume Du Jardinier Gardner's Hand Healer. I go through this stuff by the tube full. Love it.

Blackberry. I finally joined the crackberry cult. Disconnecting from my Blackberry for the summer...let's be honest, it's not gonna happen. On the boat, in my garden, I will be connected. Totally connected...everywhere. How did I ever live without?

What are YOUR summer essentials?


velosophie said...

When I think of summer, especially in the Midwest, I feel as if I have to imagine it dragging on for as long as a Russian classic. So, for this summer, I'm reading the Brothers Karamazov and have been delighting in its easy narrative flow. My hope is that a long, involved read like that mixes well with a summer that goes by utterly too fast. Other summer essentials include: a pre- and post-tuneup for the bicycle at Uptown Bikes in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood; plenty of Jack Johnson (the dude's coming out with a new album come June early); speaking of farmers markets - the best ratatouille recipe is still Julia Child's recipe; and, I disagree with Shannon. While I do like birkenstocks, I'd have to say that Teva makes a mush thong that is simply the softest mattress for feet ever presented to mankind. They make a damn fine walking sandal, too. :)

Shannon Distel Scanlan said...

Ryan, thanks for the add-ons to summer essentials. I might just have to buy me a pair of Teva's, try the ratatouille recipe and listen to some Jack Johnson. Our Chicago summer sounds pretty fine.