Hello. Welcome back to Live Free Creative podcast. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. You’re listening to Episode 149: Planning Your Summer.
My alternate title for this episode is Planting Your Summer. As you will hear, I’m going to use a little bit of a metaphor for planting a planter and planning your summertime so that it’s fantastic.
All of this brilliance comes to you, courtesy of a weekend trip. Dave and I were able to get away for a week weekend to Boston, Massachusetts, which is such a fantastic city. It’s beautiful in the spring, summer, and also hot and humid. And so is where we live in Richmond, Virginia. So that wasn’t especially uncomfortable for us.
We loved it. In fact, when Dave and I lived in Concord, New Hampshire, which is about an hour north of Boston, we spent a lot of time exploring Boston on the weekends. And it had been about 10 years since we went back. So it was really fun to get a chance to be there for a few days.
We were actually only in town for two nights, two days. Saw/did/ate everything that we wanted to. It was really relaxing, really fun, just like a good reminder that if you have a chance, or can create a chance, to get away with your partner, with your loved one, if you have kids, if you can leave them with someone trusted and reconnect for more than just a date night.
We love our date nights and having like a two day straight date night felt really fun. It had been a little while since we got away.
So one of the things that I really love about Boston in the spring is that it’s really good at planter boxes, particularly window boxes. There’s a couple of neighborhoods in Boston where there’s these tall old historic brownstones, all lined up next to each other.
And because there’s not a lot of yard in the front of some of these areas, Beacon Hill is one neighborhood I’m thinking of in the back bay that has little tiny front walks, but a lot of windows. They go above and beyond in these beautiful flower boxes, window boxes.
As we were exploring and wandering around, I was pointing out to Dave some of my favorite combinations and just ooh-ing and aah-ing over the architectural design of some of these flower boxes, how much thought and intention goes into making these really beautiful, thoughtful works of art in the window boxes and also in these small planters on people’s front porches and in these little tiny front yards.
And it reminded me of something that I learned years ago about how to put together a great planter. So I explained this to Dave, the theory of planting a beautiful planter box. And I want to share that with you in relationship to planning a fantastic summer, I’m going to share all of that.
I know that you’re riveted on the edge of your seats. Now I’m going to share all of that after a quick Peaks of the Week.
Peaks Of The Week
Today’s Peaks of the Week jumps back to the trip that I took previous to my Boston trip–which was my Austin trip. It was a quick girls’ weekend that I did with some of my very best friends in Austin, Texas.
And I realized as we went through the weekend, there were several things that I mentioned to my girlfriends that I just gushed about, that they were super interested and excited to learn about that they hadn’t before.
These are a couple of my very favorite products that–I think some of them I’ve shared about on the podcast before, but because they came up again in the context of like, “Oh my gosh, I love this. I can’t believe that you haven’t heard of this” or “…that you’re not using this. You’ve got to try it.”
I thought that I would share that with you as you are all my wonderful friends as well.
So they’re a little bit random, some makeup, some sunscreen, a menstrual cup. I want you to know some of the things that I love and have been using faithfully for a while. Some of these things for years, some more recently, but that I love.
And I want you to hear it from me. So let’s jump in.
As we’re heading into summer, I have shared this before on the podcast, but it may have been a couple of years ago. And as we’re heading into summertime, I thought that I should share it again. My very, very favorite sunscreen that I use particularly on my face is by a company called Supergoop.
(I don’t think it’s related to the Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop. I may be wrong about that.)
It’s called glow sunscreen and I will link it in the show notes at livefreecreative.co/podcast. This is the most incredible sheer 40 SPF that goes on and it feels like it turns into powder when it hits your skin. It is bizarre and it’s fantastic. It’s waterproof and sweat proof up to 80 minutes.
I first sampled it when Supergoop was just coming out with it a couple years ago in New York city at the–I got a little sample at like a little trade show situation and felt instantly in love with it.
It is a little bit of an investment, but it’s totally worth it. It works super well. And it lasts for a really long time. It goes really far. So you don’t have to use a lot of it. It’s just the best feeling. It’s the most incredible face sunscreen that you will experience.
So you heard it from me and I think other people have been talking about it recently and I’m like, I have been using it. I love it too. So you will want to try Supergoop sunscreen.
The next thing is Fleck makeup.
Friends, I’ve been using Flekk makeup pallets for at least two or three years. Especially as I’m getting back into being able to travel now that I’m fully vaccinated and I’m feeling like things are opening up a little bit here in the United States, especially.
I am so grateful for my daily makeup routine. It’s super simple, really beautiful feeling. I’m pretty minimal when it comes to makeup. And I love that Flekk creates this ability to bring my bronzer, blush, and eyeshadow palettes everywhere that I go.
So if you’re not familiar with Flekk, this makeup was developed by a makeup artist for women in particular who feel like they don’t know a lot about applying makeup, that they don’t feel like they’re really good at it, or know a lot about it, which is how I was growing up.
I didn’t really know. I didn’t wear eye shadow a lot because I would see these really complicated looking tutorials and think, “Oh my gosh, how am I ever going to figure that out? I don’t need all of that. I just need something simple.”
Flekk is like a paint by numbers for your face. Literally, you open up the pallet and it has a picture of an eye and shows you where to put, which of the colors that are in the palette. And also you can buy the brushes that go with it that are numbered. It’s like use the number one on the number one on your eye in this area.
I have noticed that my confidence with makeup has gone up significantly in the last couple of years. My ability to experiment a little bit is so fun. And I also just love how easy it is. It’s fantastic, really natural looking makeup. And I love how user-friendly it is.
They recently came out with a contouring palette that I especially love. I was always a little intimidated by the idea of contouring and that that’s not what this is. It’s not like you turn into a deer before you blend everything and look natural.
It’s just like very simple. Here’s where you apply a little bit of bronzer. Here’s a very natural looking blush. Here’s a little highlighter.
I love them. And I have a discount code that’s available at any time for anything you order on their website. It’s 20% off and it’s going to be in the show notes for you: LIVEFREE20 for 20% off
I’m a huge fan. And my girlfriends were like, “What is that? Wait, I’ve never seen that.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, yes, I don’t talk about it enough. I need to tell you more about it.” So there is the Flekk.
The last thing that I want to share today is a menstrual cup. Now I am just surprised when I hear that more people aren’t already using a menstrual cup instead of tampons and pads.
I started about a year ago, I think, and just thought that I was like the very end of the curve of this learning curve. I’ve absolutely been converted.
There are lots of different types and I’ve tried a couple of different types. And I have to say the one that I like the most for myself is called Saalt.
I was able to just find it at Target. I also know in talking to friends though, that they fit people’s bodies very differently. And so maybe you will have one that you like better.
I have a bloody buddy cup. I don’t love it as much for myself, but I know a lot of people really like it. There’s lots of different options.
The benefit though, of using a menstrual cup, there’s a lot. One of them is environmental, of course, that it’s reusable. So you’re not using and disposing of feminine products all the time.
Another one is that it doesn’t pose the same toxic shock syndrome risk that using tampons does.
Another one is that it lasts for up to 12 hours.
I’ve found it significantly more comfortable than using tampons.
I have also found that my cramps, and the discomfort of just my period in general, is a lot lower using menstrual cup.
So the one that I use I’ll make sure that it’s linked in the show notes and my very favorite resource for menstrual cups and all sorts of things in that arena, of course, is The Vagina Blog.
Episode 86 is one of our favorites. April Davis has been on the show talking about flowing with your seasons.
I also, in combination with the menstrual cup, really love period underwear. I have both Knix and Thinx, and I like both of them. I will link some of those in the show notes as well.
Just a real solid girls’ weekend resources show notes here today with your sunscreen, some makeup tips, and some ministration resources. You can find all of that in the show notes. That is my girls weekend peaks of the week.
Main Topic: Planning Your Summer
Okay. Now let’s hop back from Austin to Boston, where I was walking around the city with my sweetheart, talking to him about how beautiful all of these planters were.
I was reminded of an article that I read years ago, probably in something like Southern Living or Better Homes & Gardens that explained how to put together a great planter.
There are three elements of a beautiful planter. One of them is thrill. One of them is fill. And one of them is spill.
If you close your eyes and imagine a planter box, like a garden box, or just a raised planter, a pot, you can think you want something that really draws your eye and that. Feels like a surprising element, maybe something that comes up high in the center or on the edge of the planter, that really is like a wow factor.
That’s your thrill. That’s going to be the main element. That’s really fun and exciting in the planter.
Then below it, you want to make sure that you’ve filled in the planter, so it doesn’t just have one random thing poking out of it. You want to fill it in so that there’s some volume just around the middle, filled with maybe some greenery or some more subtle plants and flowers that are all kind of the same-ish variety that kind of fill in the middle.
Then you want to make sure that your planter has something that’s spills down over the edge, something that’s able to drip out of the edges and add that really fun, life-like feeling to the planter.
I know that in Texas, I use sweet potato vine a lot. And here in Virginia, I’m using a lot of Creeping Jenny. At the start it just hangs over a little bit. And by the end of the summer, it’s like dripping down, spilling out of the planter, making it feel really full and beautiful.
So the thrill, the fill and the spill.
We were able to now imagine–Dave and I–walking down the Back Bay, looking at these houses and all the planters. Dave and I were able to identify, oh, look, that one has great thrill and has a great spill, but there isn’t really anything in the middle. There isn’t any fill.
Or we were able to say, oh yeah, this one has a really good fill, but there isn’t anything interesting other than, you know, it’s all kind of one plant, it’s all just a bunch of the same flower. And so it’s beautiful. It’s just not quite as interesting or fun as if it had the thrill and the spill happening.
It was so fun and funny to walk a walk along and be able to kind of identify the different planters and see why the ones that were the most beautiful and the most interesting were that way. Following this rule of thrill, fill, and spill.
For some reason, I kept thinking how this related to the summer that I’m planning with my family, for my kids.
It’s been summer-ish time for a couple of weeks. Now we’re just sort of getting into it though. We’re getting into the routine and the rhythm of having fun things going on. Having some go-to activities, trying to maintain some sort of a schedule so that we can keep chores done and make sure that the kids aren’t just spending all of their time playing video games or watching TV.
I kept thinking this feels like a recipe for a great summertime thrill, fill, and spill. So I want to explain how I am–in my own head–using this recipe for planting a beautiful planter to plan a really fun summer.
The first one of course is going to be thrill. Thrill is what we think about often when we think about planning our summertime, this is where those bucket lists come in.
And in fact, I have a great fun summer adventure bucket list of things available on my newsletter.
I just sent it out a couple of weeks ago, and if you’re not yet on my newsletter list and you’d like to receive fun updates from time to time and free downloads when I have them, you can sign up livefreecreative.co/podcast. Look for Episode 149, I will have the signup in there and I will send you this download. So it has, I don’t know, maybe 40 ideas or so of fun adventure type things that you can do.
These are not things that you’re going to do every day. Maybe not even every week. There are things that you want to plan for a fun, special time going to the zoo, or doing slip and slide, or making ice cream on the back patio.
Some of them are bigger types of activities. Some of them are smaller things. But they’re not things that you’re going to probably do in the regular routine of the summer. They are things that you’ll plan to have those big bumps, the big jumps of fun.
They’re the thrill. They’re the exciting thing that everyone looks forward to for a few days. And you don’t have to think of them as being back to back to back to back there. Something that will be exciting and fun. And also not constitute the bulk of your time or energy expenditure in the summer. That is the thrill.
Some of the things we have in our thrill for our summer are to have a lemonade stand. At some point, we’re going to go do a day floating in the river. We’ve planned an ice cream crawl for the city of Richmond that we’re going to go choose six or 10 of our favorite ice cream spots and get them back to back. It will probably be an ice cream for dinner, sort of a day where we’re going to eat. A scoop of ice cream from six or eight or 10 different spots all in a row and rate it as we go on a rating sheet.
Our thrill of the summer also includes a camping trip. It includes a trip to Harry Potter world for our middle son for his birthday. And to celebrate him finishing the Harry Potter series.
There’s a few really fun things and exciting things that we’re going to do that we have planned. And they’re not things that are happening every single day. That is where the fill comes in. So we have the thrill, we have those things set aside. I like to write them down.
I like to write down not only a list, but also figure out where in our summer we want to put those, some things that require advanced planning. I know even coming out of COVID right now, a lot of things require some advanced ticketing. If you want to go to the zoo or to a museum, for example, maybe you need to buy tickets in advance. So some of those things require a little bit more planning.
And even if there’s just one or two of those fun thrills that make it feel like summer, you have something really exciting to look forward to. That’s kind of that burst.
Then the fill.
The fill are the things that you do every day or every week in your summer that are just sort of normal part of your routine.
I think it’s a really nice to have a routine in the summer, even if it’s more flexible and very different than your school year routine. I think it’s helpful for everyone to have sort of a baseline of what the days are going to look and feel like in my house.
That looks like some general guidelines regarding screen time.
One of them is that we don’t use screens until after lunch every day. So that means our mornings are outside playtime. They might be walks or bike rides. They might be reading books or drawing, playing games at breakfast. But the screens are reserved for after lunch.
Our fill looks like daily reading. My kids read all during the summer. Plum is still doing her Savvy Reading lessons (MIRANDA for 20% off 6m+ subscriptions) that are four days a week.
This looks like basic general household chores. My boys switch off doing the dishes, everyone washes and folds their own laundry and puts it away once a week. We have chores with our pets, especially now that we have chickens and kittens and the dog, everyone needs to be fed.
Everyone needs to get exercise or playtime.
I like having a minimal meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the summer. If you haven’t heard much about my minimum meal plan, you can listen to Episode 22, all about minimalist meal planning.
And I even have a little course, a very simple seven lesson course. It’s only $17 that provides you all of the worksheets and information and videos and audio that you need to get your family on track for a minimum meal plan.
I like to do it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the summer. That means on Mondays, my kids wake up, they wander down to the kitchen and they know that there are blueberry muffins in the cupboard for breakfast on Mondays.
I have it written down and posted on the fridge. They can look at it anytime.
My grocery list is the exact same during the summer every week. I take my meal plan and my list to trader Joe’s, I’m able to get everything so that we have the baseline ingredients for all of the meals we want. It just helps with keeping the energy and the budget on track.
My fill of the summer just feels simple. I have a little bit of a plan. If I want to deviate and be flexible from my own plan, I can. I can go to the farmer’s market and get all sorts of fun things for an unexpected picnic or for, you know, taking things to the pool.
And it’s totally okay if I don’t have a new, different, big creative idea, I already have a plan, I already have a baseline. So this is where the fill comes in. Having a baseline plan, a baseline schedule, a little bit of an outline. It doesn’t have to be rigid. It doesn’t have to be inflexible.
It can be something that you really enjoy. And in fact, I think that it’s a great idea to make sure that your fill or your baseline plan for your summer is things that you enjoy, that you’re not forcing yourself to get up earlier than you actually want to.
Think “What do I need to do?” and question that, “What should I do.”
Anytime I think should, that raises a red flag for me. I need to go back to the drawing board and say, “kay, do I want to do this? Why do I think I should do this or that?”
It is a really nice to have, in addition to all of those fun thrills–the bucket list items that are on the calendar–to know that the day to day has some rhythm has a little bit of basic rhythm.
I think it’s really important for kids to maintain some sort of responsibility in the summer, too. It’s really nice to say, “Hey, it’s your turn to do the dishes or to take out the garbage or to pick up your room” a couple times a week, just so that we all sort of stay in a little bit of a system.
This leaves the last category for planning a great summer. And this is the spill.
The spill for me feels like a thrill, but that is a go-to. So maybe this doesn’t fit very well in the metaphor of the planter. But the thing that came to mind when I thought about, I would like to have a spill in our summer, that is something that’s our go to fun activity. So it would be considered a thrill except for it’s something that we do over and over and over again.
Ours this summer is the pool.
And maybe for you it’s the same, or maybe for you, your spill is going on a certain hike or going to a certain playground, or just going to playgrounds in general.
It’s something that is your go-to fun activity. It doesn’t feel like a lot of work. It doesn’t feel like it requires a lot of planning. You didn’t have to do any advance preparation. It’s like the thing that you do for fun in the summer that you do as like your very easiest go-to activity.
Like I said, ours is the pool. We joined a local community pool and we’ve gone basically every day since we joined, unless we were doing something in particular, that was pre-planned that was our thrill of something. An exciting activity that was different.
Our spill of the summer is to go to the pool. And if we don’t have something else planned in advance and we want to do something fun, that feels summertime-ish, I love having a place that we go that is fun and interesting and easy.
So we have our fill, that is getting up and having our meals and doing some of our basic chores and reading and doing things at home sidewalk, chalk and playing Barbies.
And we have our spill. That’s going to the pool. When we don’t really have something else planned, that’s just our, that’s the thing we do.
And then every, so often we have our thrill. That’s taking the kids to a theme park or going to a special movie or doing an outdoor concert or doing something really different.
Between the thrill–those exciting bucket list items–and the fill–that’s our general everyday rhythms and systems–and the spill–that’s our go-to summertime location or activity, I feel like we have created this really complete interesting dynamic and still easy summertime fun.
I want to encourage you if you’re feeling like overwhelmed by the summer, or if you just don’t really have any. Plans yet things always go a little bit better with plans, even if you deviate from them or you’re flexible with them or you change them.
I always feel a little bit better prepared a little bit more like emotionally and, uh, I don’t know. Logistically prepared for life. When I have some sort of a plan again, even if you change them, it’s so great to put the effort into and the thought like it helps you be intentional about the way that you’re spending your time, your money, your energy.
So I want to encourage you to grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down these three categories right down the rail. Write down, fill and write down spill and then do a little bit of brainstorming. You probably, if you’re like me, you probably already have a bucket list of summertime adventures that you want to do.
All those thrilling things that sound so glamorous and fun. You know, going out and doing all those big summertime headliners. So your thrill category is probably already filled in, have you put some effort into what your fill is going to be? What your basic baseline summer schedule is going to look like?
What the day to day rhythm, how things are going to get. Done. When you’re buying groceries, how you’re handling, having all the kids home. Do they have activities? Do you have activities? Do you have time set aside for quiet? Do you have time set a time set aside for some regular self-care what are the chores situation look like?
Do you have any sort of a screen time plan or ambitions for the summer or not? Just giving a little bit of extra thought ahead of time to the baseline schedule and rhythm for your summer will be really helpful. And I love having it written down.
And then finally, what is your spill when you want just a really easy go-to summer activity.
Do you have one?
Do you have something that is just like the pack up and go sort of place to be, or the thing to do? Or does every single one of the summertime adventures that you’re going on feel like a big deal, like something you have to sort of prepare for or plan on paying for.
I just love the idea of knowing that we’re going to the pool, unless we have other plans. We have our baseline stuff that’s happening at home: walking the dog and working in the garden and getting our household duties done, and we’re going to the pool.
And if we have something else fun planned, if it’s our day that we’re going to go ride our bikes or go on a camping trip or go to a movie, then, we’re not going to the pool.
But other than that, we have our regular schedule–that’s our fill. We have our regular activity–that’s our spill. And every so often during the summer, we get to go and enjoy our thrill.
Hopefully this episode has given you some ideas as you’re heading into the summertime to have a really great summer where you have all of the fun, exciting activities that you want to do.
And you also have some sort of a daily rhythm and some go-to fun, adventures for your family, the thrill, the fill, and the spill.
And if you haven’t planted any planters yet, now you know the solution, the rule of three, for your raised planter beds and your window boxes.
As always, I want to thank you for being here.
If you haven’t yet taken a moment to subscribe to the show, make sure you do that so you don’t miss an episode.
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If you want to hang out with me this summer in real life, I have a grown-up summer camp happening in Idaho, July 28 through 31st. And there are a couple campsites left. I would love to see you there.
You can check out that information in the show notes.
I hope this episode has helped you feel great about planning a wonderful summer. I’ll chat with you next time. Bye bye.