Summer fun kit!
Good morning! It’s August!
This is my favourite month of the year because it’s the month most likely to contain a heat wave in it, and I am my best self when it’s about 31 degrees with a humidex that makes it feel like 300. Seriously, I really love a scorching hot and muggy day. I’m generally a much nicer and more optimistic person when I’m sweating in the shade. There isn’t a lot of this kind of heat where I live, so when it does arrive, I try to make the most of it.
Also I love August because there are whole parts of Europe that stop working to take mandatory breaks from capitalism, and I like to place myself in that morphogenetic field to benefit from all of the rest and creative well-filling. I used to work at the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario, if you’re a non-Ontarian) and the people who tracked the shipments of French wine and spirits were always so frustrated in August, because nobody in France would answer the phone this month!
Every August, as I bundled up in layers and adjusted the space heater under my desk to counteract the office air-conditioning, I liked to think about all of the French wine reps leaning back in their chaise lounges in Provence saying, “Ah, zee wine shipments, zey will get there when zey get there.”
If I had the power to do some fictional world-building on our reality, I would make sure that everyone could stop what they’re doing and rest this month. While I don’t have that power, I do have some great recommendations to share — little things that might bring you rest, fun, delight, and creative well-filling this season, wherever this month finds you.
Here is a summer fun kit, with ingredients meant to soothe and delight. I hope there’s something in here that brings you joy, even if you can’t take the whole month off like a French wine rep.
Go slow, do more of what you love, stay hydrated, and I’ll see you soon.
SMOOTHIE OF PURE JOY
Inspired by my chef crush, Anna Jones, this is a recipe I’ve jammed with and hit upon as a favourite for summer mornings.
This recipe makes two smoothies.
1 banana (frozen is best)
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 tsp of ground vanilla beans (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
1/2 inch knob of raw ginger
1 raw carrot (you don’t even taste it, it’s just great for colour + nutrients)
1/2 lemon, peeled, with seeds removed
1-2 dates (depending on your taste)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup cold water
The key to this smoothie is the lemon, ginger, and vanilla — it just brightens and revs up the other ingredients deliciously. I swear, drinking this smoothie gives you a hot orange-pink aura.
THE BEST FOUNTAIN PEN INK
Ferris Wheel Ink collaborated with Wonder Pens to make Writing Desk — this has been my favourite ink for the past year. I thought it was a winter ink, but I just keep going back to it. Not only is the bottle elegant and sexy, like a bottle of perfume, the deep brown ink is tinged with a mossy, barely-there green, making it deliciously nuanced and subtle. It feels like a colour you cooked out of mushrooms, walnuts and cedar in an old pot on an open fire in the woods: natural and organic and rich.
A REALLY EXCELLENT PLANNER
After years of looking for a planner that had all the perfect elements for my life, including lay-flat design, areas with dotted lines AND blank lines AND a weekly spread but without all the useless faffery that Moleskines include, I found it. Writer, podcaster, and Story Intensive teacher Caroline Donahue introduced me to the Mark + Fold Diary, and my life has changed. This is a special order scenario for people who don’t live in Europe — but if you pre-order before the end of August, you get a little discount. Shipping overseas is pricey, so this is not a budget purchase. However, if you are like me, the texture of your planner paper can change the outcome of your whole day, so it becomes something that goes under the “WORTH IT” column.
I have three of these that I purchased at Fabriano in neon pink, yellow, and green. I couldn’t find a link to order mine online, so if you can’t find a Fabriano near you, you can try these. The neon crayon part is chunky, so grab a large pencil sharpener with your order. Satisfying in all ways: to look at, to hold in your hand, to sharpen, to write with. I go through my bullet journals with these every month or so to highlight notes from meetings I want to remember, quotes I’ve written out of books I love, and affirmations and learnings that come from our Centered Guest Mentor workshops. I also use them to colour-code my bullet journal index page, so I can find things at a glance.
YOGA WITH KASSANDRA
Ryan and I started doing Kassandra’s 10 minute morning yoga videos at the start of the pandemic, and we have graduated into daily followers. I really love her down to earth language, unpretentious surroundings, and Ottawa vibe. And you know, doing some deep stretches every morning really does make a difference. Try this series of 15 minute videos for every day of the week (with a matching meditation, if you’re into sitting meditation) — the 15 minute length feels just right.
Mary Lattimore recorded this lovely album a few years ago, and I keep coming back to it for morning reading and writing time. We listened to it in a recent Centered Co-writing session, and it brought us all into a creative trance.
A PODCAST FOR THE HAMMOCK
You might not know this, but I have a podcast! You can download episodes on Spotify or browse them on my website. Each season offers a collection of conversations and interviews with writers and thinkers to support your creative life.
Have a happy and healthy summer! Please tell me what resonates for you, and if you try any of this fun stuff, let me know!
Photo credit: Tara McMullen
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