Friday, July 15, 2011

summer survival, 2011 edition

I'll admit, summer isn't my favorite season.  It's the humidity.  And the bugs.  I grew up in Colorado where summers were hot, but dry like the desert.  We didn't have or need air conditioning.  But since I turned 18, I've been living in places that have very sticky summers.  (When we both lived in Queens, on especially miserable summer days, my friend Diane used to grab an iced coffee and go hang out in the air conditioned bank ATM lobby.  With a book to read.  I might have made part of that up.  Either way, I thought it was brilliant.)

I am usually yearning for autumn right about now.  However, this summer hasn't been too bad so far.  Perhaps it is because, after 20 years of humid summers, I have finally honed my survival skills to a nice, sharp, icepick-like point!  Here are a few of my tips. 

Iced coffee is my chosen summer fuel.  Truth be told, I'll drink it iced well into autumn.  Black, no sugar.  Lots of sweat on the glass.  Damn  you, Humidity--you foil me at every turn!  There is a really great recipe here from the New York Times for making cold-brewed iced coffee that my friend and fellow iced coffee lover Jessica turned me on to.  It makes excellent, non-bitter, strong iced coffee.  However, I have to admit I've been too lazy to use the recipe this summer and have just been tossing Andy's turbo strength pot-brewed coffee over ice.

This is my new love!  Dirty body wash.  Lush has this in their men's line, so I was a little worried the scent would be a bit cologne-y.  But I really wanted a minty body wash for summer.  And this stuff has sea salt and sodium bicarbonate in it, which is supposed to be good for those with hard water.  No worries on the scent: it's spearminty and lovely, with a little something extra (I almost think I can smell the salt) that makes it absolutely addictive.  Perfect for sweaty days. 

A 1940 photo of two gals floating in Lake Michigan (source: Two Barking Dogs).  Andy picked us up a pair of old school giant black inner tubes for floating in the lake this summer, and let me tell you:  so much nicer than those dopey foam noodles!

I have to thank Amy of Wildfell Hall/Vintage Seen for this recommendation.  Intelligence is a Canadian crime drama that I've been watching on Netflix.  It's perfect summer fare: compelling, action-packed, and, like the name, very intelligent.  Also, it stars Ian Tracey, who has one of the best faces on television.  It blows my mind that a great show like this is cancelled after only two seasons, yet Law and Order just goes on and on and on and on....  

We have several old electric fans--like this one from jerseyicecreamco on Etsy--around the house.  Andy likes to place them strategically around the house to suck the cooler air up from the basement, in lieu of turning on the central air.  (Not turning on the air conditioning is an obsession of Andy's and the source of occasional energetic debates here.)  It works surprisingly (if noisily) well.  However, the fan has another use that I am loving this summer--mosquito repellent.  I can sit on the deck at dusk with Andy and enjoy a cocktail, and as long as the fan is trained on me, the mosquitoes keep away.  Magical!  (And better smelling than DEET.)

And last but not least, my cocktail of the summer has been the pink gin & tonic.  Which is just a gin & tonic with a few drops of Angustura bitters added.  And I've decided I prefer it with lemon, but you can use lime.  So refreshing and delicious!



  1. Great suggestions! This summer has been hell in Kansas--definitely the hottest summer we've had in the time that I've lived here.

  2. I know what I'm watching next! I LOVE crime dramas! Iced coffee is so delish, I like mine black w/ no sugar too. :)

  3. i feel jealous of your summer---seattle is still hanging on to upper 60's, maybe 70 with clouds. bah! still drinking hot coffee over here!

    i love those vintage fans!

  4. Love how you stay cool, and I really love your gin & tonic glass.

  5. I could do with a cocktail right about now, it's the middle of July and the heavens have opened over here in Blighty! xx

  6. i'm a while off, but have you met the toddy?

    stays good for up to 2 weeks, can make it as strong or weak as you like, and is also good for hot coffee, and cold-brewed tea!!

    (i love your blog)


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