Summer Resolutions: Socialize

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Have you noticed that everyone seems a little happier lately? A little more eager to celebrate any and every occasion? You can thank the sun. The summer heat brings out the best in people, socially speaking – it’s a meteorological fact. Take advantage of the trend by ditching your devices to spend some actual face time with friends. Your Instagram will thank you later.

If you’re searching for outdoor activities, start in your own backyard. Summer is chock-full of local fairs and festivals. Assemble a group and savor the unique qualities of the city you call home. Here in Santa Barbara, you can’t go wrong with our signature wine, food, and cultural events – and we never miss the annual Sandcastle Festival!

For an extra memorable gathering of your own, host an ice cream social. We recommend churning a homemade batch or two, to give it that homespun touch. For a recipe that’s guaranteed to please, check out The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Encourage your friends to bring their best toppings and favorite friends so you can meet, greet, and treat all at the same time.

Summer is also an ideal time to try your hand at a new, old, or long forgotten sport. Dodgeball, kickball, volleyball, and bocce are amongst the many leagues that pop up during this cheery season. Don’t worry about your athletic level – most leagues are more concerned with the post-game cocktails than the score. Speaking of summer cocktails, here’s one called the Porch Swing from one of our favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. It’s light, refreshing, and easy to make in large batches for the whole team.

When you’re on your feet socializing all day, you’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes or two. We like to wear our Brias during the day and keep a back-up pair of evening shoes in the car, like the super-elegant D’Alessios , just in case.

Pass the challenge to friends and family and start making plans with your socialize partner in crime. Then show us what you did by tagging #SummerResolutions on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

 


The Lookback for the week of June 23rd, 2014

filed in Culture, Inspiration

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In case you missed this week’s Summer Resolution to Live Alfresco, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite memories and inspirations for you to browse through.

·      From picnics, to stargazing and outdoor movie nights, we’ve got a lot of ideas on our Al Fresco Pinterest Board

·      The perfect culinary delight for the great outdoors? We’ve got a picnic-perfect recipe for you.

·      Take your pick from twenty-two summery, scenic picnic ideas from DESIGNED.

Ready for some rays? Share your outdoor adventures with us using #SummerResolutions to keep the spirit of summer alive (and outside!).


How-to Pack the Perfect Picnic

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The magic of a memorable picnic lies in the culinary selection. After all, Mother Nature’s already taken care of the decorations.

Start with a few easy ingredients that can be snacked on a la carte, turned into a light, summer salad, or stacked into a sandwich. Our go-to spread consists of well-documented crowd-pleasers: Arugula, sliced peaches, thinly sliced prosciutto, a thick wedge of brie, and few freshly baked baguettes.

Pack these delectables in a roomy basket, grab a large, lightweight blanket, and slip into your favorite sandals to be on your way. Our Brias are perfect for stretching out underneath a shady tree and watching the world, in a comfortable bliss.

To prep for our guests, we toss the peaches and greens in a bowl, slice the baguettes in half, and arrange the charcuterie and cheese on a cutting board, with a jar of honey on the side for a sweet spread of flavor. A quick vinaigrette can dress your salad, or even the sandwiches. See below for our favorite recipe.

Pro Tip: Bring a few candles along, so the fun can carry on well into the evening.

Vinaigrette Recipe:

2 tsp olive oil
1 . tsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 . tbsp. lemon juice
1 . tsp salt


Summer Resolutions: Live Alfresco

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Windows down. Music up. It doesn’t matter that the wind is making a mess out of our hair, that summer breeze just makes us happy. Let’s take advantage of the euphoric feeling that comes along with the warm weather by spending more time in it. Here are some of the ways we like to spend our summers outside.

Instead of a dinner party, host a picnic. Prepare simple sandwiches that sound fancy like fig and prosciutto or tuna niçoise. Tuck a few bottles of prosecco and a quilt into your basket, grab your Hedy wedges and a sundress, and find the best tree in the park. For a little extra magic, pack some empty mason jars. After sunset, hand them to your friends and see who can catch the most fireflies.

Stargazing is even more fun when you know what you’re looking at. Try downloading Star Chart. It’s a free app that uses your phone’s compass to find out which stars and planets are near you on a given night.

A garden adds character to any home and gives a good reason to spend more time outside. If you don’t have a secret green thumb, start with an herb garden. Some good herbs for beginners are rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, and parsley. They grow easily in most climates and will give you a good assortment of flavors to start sprucing up your meals and cocktails. If you’re nervous about getting started, visit your local home and garden store. In Santa Barbara, ours is Terra Sol. They’ll have specialists that can guide you through the process and help you work your way up to a bigger and tastier garden.

If you need a few more ideas, check out our Live Alfresco Pinterest board but if you’ve already got an idea, share it with us using #SummerResolutions to keep the spirit of summer alive (and outside!).

 


The Lookback For The Week Of June 16th, 2014

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In case you missed this week’s Summer Resolution to Explore, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite memories and inspiration for you to browse through.

·      See our Pinspiration for exploring this summer.

·       The Must-Eat Dishes, From Myanmar to Mexico City for the travelling Foodie.

·       Late Afternoon’s Liz takes a leaf out of our book and explores the vast wilderness of the Sierras.

·       You protect your hair and skin when you get outside, but what about your favorite suit? Learn how to care for yours here.

Inspired? Tag your wanderlust plans and ideas with #SummerResolutions on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to make this a summer to celebrate. And follow our Instagram and Twitter for more ideas.