It’s that time of year when suddenly the office feels like it’s half empty, you’re finally getting to work in time to snag a decent parking spot, and it seems like all of Instagram is in Positano.
Yep it’s summer time! The season of gloriously long lazy days. Or scrambling to come up with enough activities to keep the kids busy all afternoon. Or holding down the fort while the whole exec team is out-of-office on various annual resort stays.
Whether it’s your favorite season, or three months to get through asap, there’s no denying it’s a great time of year to branch out and try new things, just for the fun of it.
So we’ve got a round up of 7 fabulous summer projects for you to do solo or w/friends that’ll have you glowing in mind, body, and spirit.
1. Celebrate with a cool summer dessert
In the summer, suddenly warm cookies fresh from the oven don’t have the same appeal as they do on cozy cold days.
So head in a refreshing direction with something light, cool, and fresh.
These not only taste great but look amazing and would be the perfect showstopper at any summer soiree. Plus you can watch and follow along as Josh and Angela (you might recognize her as Angela from The Office) prep them in their Youtube video.
Nothing says pool party like popsicles, and this recipe is so healthy you can feel great about freezing a batch for the family - no diet cheats necessary.
It’s a retro classic that’s as good now as it was back in the 80s. Perfect for a summer birthday or barbeque celebration, this cake adds festive color and delicious, surprisingly cool flavor.
2. Dip your toes into a new workout routine
Summer is when most of the country is outside soaking up sun, hiking, surfing, swimming, and running. But even if you’re more of an A/C addict, you can burn some extra calories and get more limber this summer.
Visit Blogilates.com for a huge variety of workouts to choose from. You can pick your ability level and the zone you want to target. There are even specially designed workouts for an “Apartment-Friendly Warmup”, “Pup Pilates” you can do with your dog, low-key relaxing workouts filmed at the beach. And if you’re someone who thrives on planning ahead, you can download one of several challenge calendars and complete the workouts.
3. Do your nails w/ a Dipwell kit & try a new technique
Summer is the perfect time to slow down and give yourself a little pampering, and what better way than with a gorgeous dip manicure that will last through chlorine, sunbathing, long sweaty days at the state fair, and long nights of sticky smore making.
DipWell kits make it easy to recreate salon quality acrylic dip nails whether you’re at home, listening to the waves from the kitchen table at a beach cottage, or holed up in a remote cabin.
Experiment with adding French Tips, or try out a bright, summery neon shade.
4.Read something to nourish your mind
Summer reading lists are usually filled with light beach-read novels. And we’re always down for a good mystery or romance.
But what about exploring a different genre this year?
Reads we’ve got our eye on:
Becoming Michelle Obama by Michelle Obama
Political biographies might not spring to the top of our fun reading list for summer vacation, but this one breaks the mold. Obama tells her life story through vivid vignets that make her seem relatable. Reviewers rave that this book is so inspiring, they’re reading it through a second time!
The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You by Lydia Fenet
Lydia Fenet is a top-rated charity auctioneer at Christie’s. Which might not seem super relevant to most of us. But the challenges she faces on stage at fancy galas are surprisingly similar to those we all face at work - no matter our career path.
There are so many gems of practical advice in this book, on everything from negotiating salaries, to dealing with public rejection, thinking on your feet and staying diplomatic under pressure. It’s an easy, quick read that will leave you feeling, well, empowered!
The Latte Factor by David Bach
Don’t let the “finance” tag scare you away - this book is anything but blah. And before you start hating on the author for taking away your half-caf almond milk flat white, know that the book isn’t gonna tell you to skip fancy coffee. Instead, it lays out some tried-and-true principles that you can implement now… so your finances are in better shape tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.
David Bach learned about smart money management from his grandmother, and when he realized that a lot of women her age didn’t have the same savvy, he made it his mission in life to equip women with the know-how and confidence to make smart financial decisions.
5. Chillax with a cooling DIY facemask
Frose may be a delicious way to beat the heat, but sometimes you need a method that doesn’t involve calories. Did you know you can whip up a facemask that not only nourishes, but helps cool overheated complexions? Here are a few of our favorite recipes:
This mask is ideal for after-sun soothing. And it only requires two ingredients! It can’t get any simpler than that.
This mask gets its soothing power and elegant scent from rose water, but honey and yogurt join forces to nourish and moisturize.
Watermelon doesn’t just taste delicious - it happens to be packed with complexion-boosting vitamins and nutrients. So go ahead and lather it on. Just save some to soak with vodka later.
6. Try on a new hair color
Summer is a time for fun and experimentation. If you’ve been wanting to try a new shade on for size, now’s the perfect time to do it. And you don’t have to commit to full permanent hair dye. Here are three methods you can use to add a bit of color at home this summer.
Go Blonde with Lemon Juice & Sun
For decades, teenagers have been lightening their locks with this technique, and it still works! Is it the best for your hair? Debatable. And if you’re picky about the outcome, you’re better off finding a stylist who will apply the perfect tone. But if you just want a subtle change, then turn your favorite deck lounger into an effortless salon. See here for the best application technique for avoiding over-drying your hair (plus a bunch of other ideas for getting highlights).
Get Pink Vibes with Kool-Aid
At-home pantry concoctions aren’t just for going lighter, you can add a pop of bold, red, blue, or purple with your childhood fruit punch. Who knew? Get a step-by-step tutorial here. And as moms are discovering, setting up a Kool-Aid hair salon for the day is a great way to spend an afternoon at home with kids.
Henna Isn’t Just Red Anymore
You can use Henna to achieve gorgeously rich shades of brown when the henna is mixed with indigo. And of course, traditional henna leans towards a reddish brown auburn. Be sure to check your labels when purchasing henna - body art henna is the highest quality, and typically preferred for dying hair. And… for those of us with a few “premature” grays, bonus points: henna covers them beautifully when applied generously to the roots.
7. Bring your crafty side out of hibernation
Get Knotted up in Macrame
French Twist has super easy to follow tutorials for forming basic knots. Follow Pretty Handy Girl’s instructions for an easy wall hanging as your first project.
Add to Your Jewelry Collection
Delicate gold coins add elegance to this beachy seashell choker you can make after a stroll along the shore and a quick trip to the craft store. Add a bold statement to any outfit with earrings you’ve crafted yourself, with easy-to-follow directions here. Get ready to start accepting compliments.
Make Your Own Rules
Play your own games this summer with DIY board games and choose colors that match your decor). Take the fun outside with custom cornhole boards - these instructions even offer tips to help you keep score.
Even if it feels like these lazy hot days are speeding by, Laura Vanderkam’s research shows that scheduling fun activities (instead of vegging w/Netflix) can actually make time feel slower, and of course, create more meaningful memories. So make the most of these months with a few DIY projects and make it a summer to remember.
Written by Anna Bradshaw