Woohoo, summer is here!
And being the fun-loving lady you are, having a great summer you’ll look back on with joy is high on your list.
Long sunny days, bright runny popsicles, and long road trips await!
But what if you can’t do all that?
Maybe you’re bogged down at work and can’t take a long weekend off. Or maybe trips away are too expensive for your budget right now.
I so get where you’re coming from, friend.
The summer is practically over for me — March to May in this part of the tropics, if you’re curious — but my day job’s busiest during those months. I also had less money saved up than I liked, so a long trip was not in the cards.
But I still had a simply special summer, and I was sad to see it end.
Because a summer spent well isn’t about wallpapering your Facebook profile with shots of trips to make your friends jealous. It’s not required to spend a lot of money to make things fun.
Instead, I found the essentials of a special summer were simpler than that. Minimalist, even.
3 Ingredients of A Special Summer
RELAXING "ME" TIME
Summer is for taking things slow. We give ourselves permission to be a bit lazier. Leaving the never-ending To Do list for a while doesn’t feel like a crime when sun shines into our windows.
HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Summer is more fun when we enjoy it with the people we love. Yeah, we can do that the rest of the year too, but summer’s usually when everyone’s more open to going outdoors and taking time off work.
So creating stories to tell with the awesome people around you? Summer’s the time for that.
Summer is when everything’s bright and pretty outside. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and the sand is calling too! Since the weather’s so nice, it’s the perfect time for celebrating what we often overlook: the nature around us.
And as minimalists, we definitely want to enjoy these simple things.
We’ve now talked about what makes an unforgettable and minimal summer. How can you have one when your schedule’s too busy and your bank account’s too low on funds?
6 Ways To Have A Simply Special Summer
1. HAVE MINI-RETREATS FOR YOURSELF.
No matter how busy you are, look for pockets of time you can block off for yourself. It could be as short as a lunch break or as long as a weekend afternoon.
Once you have those times set, prep for them and start getting excited. This time is just for you and you can spend it enjoying the simple moments!
If you’re not sure what to do, I’ve got some ideas for you:
- Set up a hammock in the garden and laze the afternoon away in it.
- Save a recipe for an easy summer dish. Pack it for lunch and people-watching on the nearest park bench.
- Make a nest of pillows and a blanket by your window and take a nap.
- Put together a playlist of happy songs to listen — and sing along *wink* — to in the car.
- Play with your dog in the sprinklers.
- Have a hot drink and journal what’s on your mind.
And a few resources around the internet to get you started:
Being kind is a win-win situation for everyone. It opens your eyes to how many good things you have in your life, and helps others too.
So why not spend the next few months volunteering in your area?
Summer’s a great time to find chances to volunteer. Maybe you’d like to lend a hand building houses, teaching kids, or taking care of people with disabilities. If problems like hunger and saving the environment make your heart heavy, there’s often a way to help out in your area.
Start finding places to volunteer at your local charity or church. These are also some great online resources:
3. START A NEW HOBBY JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO.
Is there something you want to do but never got around to?
Maybe there’s a creative thing you want to try or a class you want to join.
Don’t talk yourself out of it this time. Get the supplies you need together and start!
Some hobbies are expensive, true (which is why I shelved learning to scuba dive this year) but others are cheap to start.
These hobbies also don't have to be complicated. Start simple and small.
Like using paper to create lovely things.
My friend Allie committed to a #100daysproject where she’s painting little illustrations everyday this summer. I’m having so much fun seeing what she’s drawn up, and I’m sure she’s having even more fun making them.
All you’d need to do something like that is pencil, paper, and some simple art supplies.
It doesn’t even have to be about drawing pictures. You can fold origami animals out of art paper. Or draw beautiful letters and make fun quotes like those you see on Instagram.
YouTube’s a gold mine packed with info and tutorials that can help you start. Check a few of these out:
How To: Calligraphy • Easy and Inexpensive
Using needles to make cute stuff also might be a great project.
You can bring old clothes together and sew fun stuff from them. Or park yourself outside with balls of yarn and learn to knit or crochet.
Like I knit stuffed toys one summer to give as gifts later in the year. Plushies are fun to make too!
If creative hobbies aren’t your jam, you might want to join a sport outdoors.
Go jogging, swim at the local pool, play basketball with friends… You’ll enjoy the lovely weather, get fit, and have fun at the same time.
4. HOST A SUMMER DINNER.
Call your friends together for a simple summer party at your place. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here’s how to set it up in seven steps:
- Find a date when your awesome friends are free.
- Agree to make it a potluck (or split the bill on takeaway from your favorite chicken or pizza place).
- Set the table with simple dishes and cheery flowers.
- Pull out your favorite summer films.
- Bookmark some party games.
- Get a playlist of happy songs started.
And that’s it! I’ve found my favorite summer parties were less about things like decor and exotic food, and more about enjoying the company of the people in them.
So I toned down the extras in my own parties — or if I’m particularly lazy, get rid of them altogether — and we still had a great time.
Sharing my favorite inspiration for your summer parties:
The Essential Ingredients of An Inspired Gathering (My favorite food blog, by the way!)
5 Simple Tips For Throwing A Dinner Party After Work
An Alfresco Fête (Some really simple decor ideas on this one.)
5. TAKE A TRIP WITH FRIENDS.
You knew I was going to add road trips to this list, right?
One trick to traveling for fun on a budget is to go together with your buddies. You can save money by doing things like sharing a bigger room or getting group discounts on ticket fees.
And if you’re like me and can’t take a full weekend off over the summer? You can go on day trips instead and enjoy the mountains or the beach.
Yeah, it can be tiring traveling back and forth for just a day trip. But when you get close to your destination and start to notice that first salty seashore smell?
The trip and the memories you make will be worth the extra trouble.
6. EXPLORE CLOSE BY.
An exotic trip to somewhere with pineapples and inflatable flamingos seems to be the “in” thing on Instagram.
Looking at those dreamy shots is fun, but a faraway destination isn’t an essential for an amazing summer. Exploring is, but you can also explore close to where you live.
I don’t know about you, but I never seem to explore around my area much. Every week just whizzes by sometimes and I meet friends in the same favorite spots.
If you’re like me, summer’s your chance to take a longer ride to the other side of your city (or the neighboring ones).
So how can you find places to explore?
- Ask for friends’ comments on hangouts close to where they live. Chances are you’ve never been to a few of them before.
- Google events in your area like summer fairs, art exhibits, and outdoor concerts. A bonus is you’ll find a few discounted and free ones!
- Look through the local paper for activities to do. Check your community centre or the shopping malls too.
- Scroll through your social media accounts for fun-looking places around you. My friend Amanda shows how to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to find cool places to go!
By now, you probably have loads of ideas on making the rest of your summer special.
Get outside and have fun!