12 Things to Look Forward to This Summer

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SUMMER LOVIN

(Sorry! It’s been stuck in my head on repeat, so I’m taking you down with me.)

It’s “spring” in Colorado, which means it’s either snowing or 70 degrees. With the overcast, 40-degree dreariness yesterday, I seem to have made up my mind (while the weather has not):

I’m ready for summer! Perhaps not for the sunburn, but I’m amped for these 12 warmer-month finds just around the corner… something many of us can look forward to!

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Photo cred: Shop Priceless

1. WEARING SUMMER ATTIRE

I think I confessed recently that, at present, I own… how many pairs of shorts? Zero.
I have no idea how I’ve survived life thus far. I think it’s because I was 30 pounds overweight and didn’t feel comfortable in shorts, but the time is now.

Cut-offs, high and low waists, fun prints—all the shorts will be happening! Also: white skinnies, summer dresses, fun sunglasses, tank tops, sandals, wedges… the style excitement is endless.

Farmers market, berries, to do in the summer

2. SHOPPING OUTDOORS

This might just be the most exciting thing on my list: Farmers’ markets in and around Denver start opening this weekend! I cannot wait to get my hands on fresh, organic, seasonal produce and other special local finds! Half of the fun is interacting with people who also appreciate good food—and meandering while a warm breeze caresses your skin.

It’s also primetime for garage sales and estate sales. I can’t think of a better Sunday morning than visiting the farmers’ market and then thrift-hunting for some neighborhood deals. I spent a lot of my childhood summers in Michigan doing both of these activities with my mom, so they hold a special, near-and-dear place in my heart. (Hi, Mom!)

Baby cows grazing on the farm, in the summer.jpg

3. SPOTTING CUTE ANIMALS

‘Tis the season of small, furry animals—my Achilles heel. Summer is the time to stroll the Denver Zoo when it’s not ungodly hot…although I usually leave distraught (I have mixed feelings about zoos).

Visiting baby animals and goats at the farm this summer.jpg

I have high hopes of visiting at least one farm this summer and unabashedly cuddling the baby goats, cows, lambs—and any other baby animals I can get my hands on. There are also songbirds in the trees and outside bedroom windows, which I (usually) love.

Flowers, galore! 12 THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS SUMMER | THE REAL LIFE farmers markets, wildflowers, fresh flowers, peonies

4. SCORING SUMMER FLOWERS

Here in the Columbine State, flowers are abloom on every corner—whether you’re visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens or just strolling through the suburbs. Fresh flowers are also a large part of my love for farmers’ markets. Peonies on my bedside table, sunflowers on my kitchen island, a tour of tulips on my long run, wildflowers on my drive to the mountains—flowers galore!

5. VISITING COOL WATERS

Water is a touchy subject here in Colorado; there’s not much of it. But summer is the ideal time, obviously, to go out of your way to find a nice dipping spot. Pools open up on or directly after Memorial Day weekend, for convenient city-sunbathing. And then there are the reservoirs, creeks, rivers, and lakes. To name a few here in Colorado:

  • Hatfield Reservoir and State Park
  • Grand Lake
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir at the Curecanti National Recreation Area
  • Medano Creek at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
  • Boulder Reservoir
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Photo cred: Helen Cathcart

6. EATING OUTSIDE

This combines my two favorite things: nice weather + food. Summer is the time for picnics at the park, backyard barbecues, food trucks, and outdoor seating at restaurants and bars. I also love the romance of a vine-covered trellis, corn on the cob, a farmhouse picnic table, red-and-white-checked linens, and stringed lights amidst weeping willows.

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Summer (along with autumn) is produce-picking season! If I’m lucky, I’ll find an opportunity to haul some berries home with juice-stained hands.

Hot dog and beer at a Colorado Rockies game at Denver Coors Field

…And it’s baseball season! I’ve got a newfound love for ball games, and the beer-and-hotdog thing falls into this category, as well.

Fruity drinks for summer

7. DRINKING COLD BEVERAGES

With seasonal fruit on hand from farms and markets, you’ll be armed with the perfect ammunition for breakfast smoothies, picnic lemonades, and refreshing evening cocktails. I cannot wait to try a boatload of fruity recipes and report back on my favorites.

Delicious cold ice: What to look forward to in the summer | THE REAL LIFE

I also have to mention ice cream if I’m talking about delicious cold things. Enough said.

8. EXPLORING NEW PLACES

Summer is about all-things-outdoorsy. There are so many diverse terrains here in Colorado: the mountains, the lakes, the farmland, the sand dunes, the big cities and small towns, all the national parks…

Wear shorts in the woods, what I look forward to in the summer

If you’re going to travel, summer’s the time to do it. It’s also the #2 reason I get excited about camping, since it doesn’t get too chilly at night. (The #1 reason is obviously s’mores and goes without saying, duh.)

Campfire.jpg

9. PLAYING WITH FIRE

This one sounds weird… but fire is a staple not only in the winter months. With s’mores hot on my mind: campfires and bonfires play a magical, almost-primal role in why summer is a wormhole back to our childhoods (or at least our childhood fantasies).

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Think of backyard tiki torches and fire pits, fireworks and sparklers for the Fourth of July, lit lanterns on restaurant patios.

THINGS TO DO IN THE SUMMER: Date night at the drive-in movie theater | THE REAL LIFE

Photo cred: oh, hello friend

10. WATCHING DRIVE-IN MOVIES

A summer night at the drive-in? What is this, Rydell High? 🙂

I haven’t been to a drive-in movie theater in Colorado yet, but there are a few seasonal spots that I mean to check out. Watching a flick from the tailgate or with the moonroof open is high up there on my summer bucket list.

It’s also time for summer blockbusters, so win-win. (And isn’t that photo adorable? It’s from the blogger behind oh, hello friend, who wrote a great piece about Date Night at the Drive-In.)

Enjoying the Colorado Rockies baseball game at Denver's Coors Field

11. GETTING SUMMER HOURS

I don’t mean to rub it in, but my employer offers summer hours on Fridays, where we can leave at 2:00 in the afternoon. This way, we hardworking magaziners can get an early start on our weekend mountain getaways and a leg up on westward traffic.

This might not be something everyone gets to look forward to, but I love getting summer hours enough to mention it here. Every extra minute of this glorious season adds up.

A Sunday long run in my weekend photo recap | THE REAL LIFE running, training, half marathon, speed, intervals

12. RUNNING IN EARLY-MORNING

Temperatures rise quickly in a Colorado summer… and I don’t do well running in the heat. In fact, I’d rather it be 30 degrees than 80 degrees if I’m exercising outdoors. This is where early-morning runs take the lead.

On the weekends, getting an early start to the day will reap plenty of rewards. Imagine getting your long run in before 10 am, and then having an abundance of time to peruse the farmers’ market or head to the reservoir to relax. Sigh.

Have I said that I can’t wait already? I can’t wait.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SUMMER?

 

 

8 thoughts on “12 Things to Look Forward to This Summer

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