How to enjoy the best of the season all year long.
Bring Sleepaway Camp Home
For our family, the magic of summer is all wrapped up in the magic of summer camp. Children are completely unplugged from the rest of the world. The grown-ups around them are all unplugged, too. And in this day and age, that’s quite rare. So I find that it’s important to give kids the chance to see their parents unplugged throughout the year, whether it’s nights when you build a fire in the fire pit and sit around and tell stories and roast marshmallows or play charades on the porch together. Twinkling white lights are also pretty magical. We hang them everywhere at camp, and I put them up all over our house—on the deck, in my daughters’ reading nook—to remind us of summer.
Carter Breazeale is codirector of Alpine Camp for Boys in Mentone, Alabama. She lives in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
Eat a Big Breakfast
The luxury of a leisurely sit-down breakfast is something people associate with summertime. That’s why we serve breakfast all day. Half the people who come in order it no matter the hour. To sit on a patio in the sunshine and fresh air and enjoy hardwood-smoked, sugar-cured center-cut bacon is like a little vacation in and of itself. It feels special. Most of the time, we grab something in the morning to stay afloat, but in the summer, you slow down. So when summer’s over, I recommend a big breakfast in the late morning or even the middle of the day, hopefully outside. It’s an easy way to get that relaxed feeling back.
Jeff Melnik is the owner of the Summerland Beach Café in Summerland, California. He lives in Southern California.
Play for 10 Minutes
In summer, there’s this implicit permission to take a break. That’s partly because we remember childhood summers and time off from school. But it’s incredibly important to make that leisure time part of life throughout the year. I tell my clients—almost exclusively professional women—to find a happy photograph of themselves from childhood. Put it by your computer, and when you’re drowning in work and responsibilities or feeling depleted and uninspired, look at that photograph and let it remind you to be a kid again. If you’re honest with yourself, you can always spare 10 minutes a day. Walk to a nearby park and take off your shoes and be barefoot in the grass. Hop on a swing and see how high you can push yourself. A little play goes a long way toward being more productive at work and at home.
Nisha Moodley is a leadership coach in San Francisco.
Get Out the Watercolors
On cold, rainy days, my girls and I sit at the dining table and paint beach scenes. There’s something about watercolor specifically that has a summery feel to it. I did the same thing for my fabric designs; every motif was first a watercolor. Living and working in Florida, I design a lot of beach houses, and almost all our clients want their homes to look and feel like vacation year-round. Fabrics or accents in the colors of the Gulf of Mexico—that gorgeous emerald and jadeite green—and watercolor patterns do just that. Also, I’m not afraid to make a pineapple mojito in the dead of winter if I need to.
Erika Powell is the owner of Urban Grace Interiors and the designer of a new line, Erika M. Powell Textiles, out this month. She lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
First, I make sure to plant flowers in waves so there’s always something blooming—there’s never a pause, even when summer is over. I always have fairy candles in my garden because they can bloom into late October; even the first frost won’t kill them. Basil makes a good filler—it lasts until the first frost, too—and then my family uses it in pesto and tomato sauce that we freeze or can. So when I’m writing about summer on dark winter days in my chilly attic office, wearing my Charles Dickens gloves (the ones with the fingers cut out), I can conjure up those lovely, long days of summer.
Kristan Higgins is the author of 17 books, most of which are set in the summer. Her latest novel is On Second Thought. She lives in Durham, Connecticut.