Ahh…summer. I dig it and I am going to miss it. But I am not letting go just yet.
I recently came back from a family beach trip. I was on a natural high and sad to see it go. I wanted desperately to hold on to my post-vacation glow.
That’s when I started thinking about this list.
Before we get started
If you have no interest in storytelling or context—i.e., hearing about my vacation—skip right to the “Real life tips.” Also, understand this is aspirational for me. These ideas are good ones, but I’ve not perfected them.
The truth: Some days I practically aspirate on all my aspirations. So how about we pick one or two to focus on at a time? We’re talking vacation vibes, not guilt trips.
OK, secure the cabin, and prepare for takeoff…
1. Rock your fun.
In the spirit of Rock Your Chores, my granddaughter proposed a “Rock Your Fun” list. She decided on the activities she absolutely wanted to do on vacation, and she and my teenage nieces made the lists. How cute are they? I can tell you, we rocked those lists.
Real life tip: Make a Rock Your Fun list at the beginning of each week. Give yourself a few happy things to look forward to. Ice cream shop, anyone?
Want to mix in some productivity too? Die Happy is the game for you.
2. Keep the TV off.
The kiddos took in a few shows when they needed downtime, and together we lol’d at the Russian cartoon Masha and the Bear while cuddled up on the couch. But I spent very little time that week watching any form of adult TV and I didn’t miss it.
Real life tip: Keep the remote, well, remote—and have more time to quietly relax and rewind. Put down your phone, and pick up a good book or magazine and pretend you’re in a beach chair. Ask the cabana boy to please bring you a cocktail. We're pretending, remember?
3. Get in a food groove.
We had a lot of people to feed at the beach, and the only way that was going to happen—without big ol’ servings of stress—was to have a plan. I loved knowing what exactly was for dinner and having all the ingredients purchased ahead of time.
To make it more fun and festive, we had themed nights like Mexican Monday, Southern BBQ and All American Night. Each day, we’d decide who was doing what—and we pitched in on cleanup. Plus, we ate dessert every night. Vacation, baby!
Real life tip: Take time to meal plan and get set for the week—and adopt themed nights to help reduce decision fatigue. And if you have a crew of more than you, plan together, cook together, clean together.
Side story: Once upon a time, my sister babysat our kids, who were in elementary and middle school at the time. My daughter still recalls how her Aunt Liz declared it “Make Your Own Dinner Night.” At least she made it sound fun.
4. Cue the tunes.
For years, my three nieces have joined us on vacation, which generally includes a long car ride. Originally, those trips were to see the Seattle Mariners—and “The Mariner’s Playlist’ was born. You should hear us “Roar” up I-90 to Katy Perry. We pull this playlist out anytime we hang out together and immediately it's a party.
Real life tip: Curate an upbeat soundtrack that puts you in a sunny mood. The RYC playlist is great for chores or an impromptu family dance party.
Side story, because I can’t help myself: On this most recent trip, my preschool grandson invented a dance move called “The Ice Cream Scoop” and I offered up “The Toaster.” I can also Floss like a boss.*
*Video evidence may disprove this claim.
5. Foot it.
We walked everywhere for a week…to the ocean (90 steps down and up), on the beach, to shops, through the woods, to the pub, to the park, between houses. In fact, I parked my car on a Friday and didn’t get back into it until the next Friday. It was glorious.
Real life tip: Find more opportunities and excuses to walk. I came home a re-energize walker, and Boomer is happy to report that the White Bathrobe of Disappointment is making fewer appearances.
6. Savor some self care or a long soak.
Along with themed dinners, we also snuck in a beauty night. We donned face masks that weren’t exactly beautiful, but were definitely good for bonding and belly laughs. Another evening, we sat in the hot tub under the stars and talked about all the fun we had that day.
Real life tip: Hide in the bathroom and treat yourself to luxurious skin care or a leisurely bath. My son-in-law teases my daughter about “working on her projects” when she escapes for some well-deserved home spa time. Call it projects if it makes you feel more productive. You’re a work of art.
7. Love on your people.
One of my favorite things about our family beach vacations is time with faces and hearts that I miss when we’re apart. But when it’s a big group, I can easily go into crazed caretaker mode, worrying about timelines and feeding everyone. This year, I wanted to have more meaningful moments to truly connect. Mission accomplished. I came home with a full heart.
Real life tip: Slow down and savor moments with those you cherish most. Let someone know you miss them and you’re thinking of them.
8. Challenge your body.
On the beach, I ran intervals with my nieces. They kicked my butt but I gave it my all. I also ziplined. Granted, it was on a playground, a foot off the ground and first graders were judging my form, but I didn’t let that hold me down. I had gravity for that.
Real life tip: Look for ways to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Run a block on your daily walk. Try the monkey bars. Make a workout date with a friend who is more fit than you. Say yes to something that feels a little scary.
Paddle boarding is on my 19 for 2019 list, so I need to get on it—quite literally.
9. See the wonder through a child’s eye.
The lovely beach town where we vacation has a gnome and fairy trail in the woods. People leave little, sometimes elaborate, shrines among the trees. The little ones were mesmerized.
Real life tip: Look for magical wonders in your world. Stop and watch a butterfly. Gaze at the clouds drifting by. Build little shrines in your neck of the woods.
Side story: My granddaughter seemed a little unsure about the wooded trail when we were headed out. To reassure her, I told her gnomes and fairies were just legends, like unicorns and Big Foot. Later that night, she said, “Gigi, are all fairies legend? Even the tooth fairy?” Crap! Epic grandma fail. “Oh no, honey, not the tooth fairy. She’s for real. For real, for real, for real.”
10. Dress with ease.
I know all you pumpkin spice and poncho people are hyped and horny for fall, but I love the simplicity of summer dressing. Throw on shorts and a tee or a sundress and you’re good to go. At the beach, I also rolled barefoot or in slip-on sneakers or flip-flops. No time to do my hair? Messy bun or baseball cap, it is!
Real life tip: Put together easy grab-and-go outfits for every season. Shop for simple, classic and comfy pieces. If something in your closet has the nerve to make you uncomfortable, let it go.
I wrote that last tip oh-so-boldly, but can I do it?? Or is Minimalist Margie mere legend too?
I am Margie Reece. I am here to help you rock your chores and have some fun doing it.