SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMER!!!
Everyone loves the summer! It’s that special time of year when families begin making plans to get outside for all types of adventures and explorations! Being that we are living within Northern Ontario, we know (more than most!) how important it is to get out and enjoy as much of the sun as possible – while we still can! ? ? ? ? ? ?
Do you have a favourite summer activity? One thing the warm sun and clear skies always take me back to are my earliest camping memories…
? CAMPING ⛺️
Are there any fellow campers reading along today? Whether you refer to it as camp, the cabin, or the cottage, getting outside and becoming one with nature is a rejuvenating experience for any human being. In fact, there are several reasons why you should be spending more time within the splendour of nature, such as:
- Vegetation-rich nature improves vitality
- You are less likely to be depressed if you are near green space
- Exposure to plants and parks boosts immunity
- Sunlight is beneficial!
- Spending time in nature boosts our happiness
- Communing with nature can double as spiritual practice
- Nature inspires our creativity
- Spending time in nature improves memory and cognitive function
For a little more detail regarding the bullet points above, please have a look into 8 Reasons Why You Need to Spend More Time in Nature.
Specifically, in regards to the point regarding memory and cognitive function, perhaps, this is the reason why so many great recollections keep coming back to my mind around this time of year!
I have extremely fond memories of traveling out to Connaught to visit the Kettle Lakes Provincial Park.
We used to always marvel at how, at one time, this little village of Connaught operated as one of the original trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The original trading area was known as the Frederick House outpost.
Thinking about these big stalwarts standing by their posts in the colours of the traditional point blanket, it truly felt as if we had descended upon a place full of magic and wonder! What stories they must have had! Also, can you believe that the aforementioned point blanket is still in fashion after more than three CENTURIES!?! These things are never going to go out of style!
Like I said, the memories are flooding back! To the point where I’m getting a little bit off-track!
It’s tough to think back on these times without recalling our big blue tent. Boy, do we have fond memories of getting into our tent, zipping ourselves up in our sleeping bags, and staying up all night with laughs and silly stories.
Speaking of stories, there’s nothing quite like hearing a scary story while sitting around the campfire, is there? As you can tell, we all had pretty active imaginations back then so it was especially spooky to be sitting in the middle of the woods with the wind howling and us being fully outside of our typical element. When I think back to those times, I swear, I still get a taste of those homemade s’mores on the back of my tongue! ?
If you’re looking for some story-time inspiration, S.E. Schlosser retells a great little tale fit for the little ones…
Once there was an old woman who went out in the woods to dig up some roots to cook for dinner. She spotted something funny sticking out of the leaves and dug around until she uncovered a great big hairy toe. There was some good meat on that toe which would make a real tasty dinner, so the old woman put it in her basket and took it home.
When she got back to her cottage, the old woman boiled up a kettle-full of hairy toe soup, which she ate for dinner that night. It was the best meal she’d had in weeks! The old woman went to bed that night with a full stomach and a big smile.
Along about midnight, a cold wind started blowing in the tops of the trees around the old woman’s house. A large black cloud crept over the moon and from the woods a hollow voice rumbled: “Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!” Inside the house, the old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up over her ears.
From the woods there came a stomp-stomp-stomping noise as the wind whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the forest, a hollow voice said: “Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!” Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A stomp, stomp, stomping sound came from the garden path outside the cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice howled: “Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!” Inside the house, the old woman snapped awake. Her whole body shook with fright as she listened to the angry howling in her garden. Jumping out of bed, she ran to the door and barred it. Once the cottage was secure, she lay back down to sleep.
Suddenly, the front door of the cottage burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and sending it flying into the corners of the room. There came the stomp, stomp, stomping noise of giant feet walking up the stairs. Peeping out from under the covers, the old woman saw a massive figure filling her doorway. It said: “Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!”
The old woman sat bolt upright in terror and shouted: “I ATE your hairy toe!”
“Yes, you did,” the giant figure said very gently as it advanced into the room.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman again. The only clue to her disappearance was a giant footprint a neighbour found pressed deep into the loose soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint was missing the left big toe.
Another thing our family LOVED to do in the summer was to sit around the campfire in order to roast s’mores above the open flames! As far as I’m concerned, my mother created the s’more! And the s’more most people know today is a corrupt version of our original classic!
The way we made our s’mores was a process. Wait, scratch that, it was more like a religious ritual! One where our family secrets would double as sacred and forbidden knowledge that was only to be passed down to future generations within our lineage.
Well, fret no more! For the first time ever, I am going to share with you how to enjoy the QOAS, aka the QUEEN OF ALL S’MORES!
The first step was always the most important: finding the perfect stick. It couldn’t be too long, nor too short. It couldn’t be too flimsy. The stick had to be on par with the way Goldilocks most enjoys her porridge – JUUUUUUUST RIIIIGHTTTT!
Once we came across a suitable stick to use, next, we had to sharpen one of its ends down to a point. We knew we had to be careful because sometimes, the sticks would end up looking like javelins!
Now that we each had our chosen branch, the marshmallow would be applied to its end in order for us to hold it over the coals. However, we would NEVER begin to roast the marshmallows until the coals became RED HOT, and visibly so! ?
At that point, and only then, could we begin with applying the perfect golden-brown coating onto our marshmallows. Our sticks would need to be turned ever-so-slowly, ensuring that the marshmallows were never burnt, only souffléd!
After being carefully monitored, and with the marshmallow now having achieved the perfect hue, the next step involved taking two Ritz® crackers – yeah, i said it! – to sandwich the marshmallow in between. It was important to make sure that the marshmallow was sitting between the salted sides of the cracker. Trust me, it’s amazing and makes all the difference! GRAHAM CRACKERS, BEGONE!
You can also add a bit of chocolate spread or peanut butter to the crackers for an even more sinfully delicious treat!
Now that I think back on it, I believe we have been doing this on a consistent basis for more than 55 years. It actually blows my mind when I really reflect upon it! What do you think, though? Do you agree? Are we the S’MORE QUEENS?
? SWIMMING ?
Of course, no camping trip is complete without some swimming and we would always ensure that we were going to be doing a whole lot of it while we were out there! Back then, we would pretend we were mermaids and swim underwater for as long as we could! At that time, I truly believed that I could hold my breath underwater for an eternity. It felt so freeing to be able to wander aimlessly beneath the surface and feel those shiny sun rays stretching across my back!
I’ll tell you one thing, though – if we had some of the things back then that we do now, achieving and maintaining the actual mermaid “look” on the beach would have been more than possible! Thanks to the fabulous line of blinc beauty products, no longer does a girl have to worry about touchups or reapplications after a long day of splashing around in the sun. All of our blinc products are smudge proof and fade proof, ensuring that colours stay bright, vibrant, and in place from the start to the end of your day. Best of all, their entire line is water-resistant, if not entirely water-proof. This makes them the perfect accessory for those hot summer days on the beach, as well as when you’re heading out for another sweaty workout at the gym! Whether you’re choosing blinc for their eyeliners, mascaras, or enhancement products, they’re sure to inspire you with confidence from the beginning of your day all the way to the end!
Even if it rains, you’ll be taken care of! Back in my youth, when we’d be outside and the rain came lashing down around us, we would run and run through the grass, laughing as the raindrops beat upon our faces. We even used to wash our hair in the rain! Back then, if you were wearing even a hint of makeup, the rain would have your face looking like a Rorschach test!!! ?
Trust us: with blinc, we PROMISE you’ll NEVER end up looking like this:
Another thing about being out in the water during the summer is that wet skin can increase your chances of acquiring a sunburn. I think most of us who are spending a substantial amount of time outside have experienced a bad burn at one point or another. Bottom line: it’s not fun. A bad sunburn can be downright disabling. I have had burns so severe that I wasn’t even able to lift my arms above my head in the shower to wash my hair.
Did you know that up to 80% of the UV rays that can cause sun damage are able to penetrate through clouds? This means that your chances of catching a sunburn, even on a cloudy day, are actually quite high! Not to mention the fact that UV rays can also be reflected off of water and sand, meaning you can even get sunburned while sitting in the shade!
After spending so much of my life outdoors, I’ve really come to appreciate and respect the importance of skin care and I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to grow this passion into a full-fledged business! My expertise has been acquired through trial, error, and most importantly, experience – I refuse to sell or recommend a product unless I feel I can personally stand behind it. Having said that, what a blessing it would have been to have grown up with the Laboratoire Dr Renaud suncare line!
Dr Renaud‘s products have the ability to work miracles and keep you more comfortable than ever throughout the summer season! Whether you’re protecting yourself with one of their moisturizing creams or loose powders, you can feel confident in knowing that your skin will be kept healthy and preserved beneath the safeguard. What sets them apart from the competition? Dr Renaud products are anti-sand and sweat resistant so multiple applications are a rarity. Best of all, they will not only protect against the sun, their special formula works to prevent wrinkles while keeping your skin looking young, vibrant, and healthy! If that’s not enough, Dr Renaud allows you to protect against the sun without sacrificing your tan! You read that right!? THE FUTURE IS NOW! ?
Because we believe wholeheartedly in the (extreme!) importance of proper suncare, we are pleased to be offering a full 25% off of our ENTIRE Laboratoire Dr Renaud suncare line! Click the image below now to take advantage of these great deals while they last!!!
? ARTS & CRAFTS ?
There’s also no such thing as a good summer if it doesn’t include arts, crafts, and games! It is always so fun to look back on the times in our lives that were filled with innocence, where our minds were packed with wonder and awe, imagination was limitless, and just about anything seemed possible.
We’d climb trees and see who could get the highest, play hide and seek (or sometimes, if we had enough people, we’d get into a round of hunter/gatherer – remember that game???), or pretend we were rainforest warriors! To be honest, there were so many instances of us getting together to go out and roleplay in the bush, it would take forever to run through all of our activities!
One of the things I used to really love doing was sitting down at a picnic bench and spending my entire day on arts and crafts. Whether we were near the beach or just at the campground, there would always be an abundance of materials around to start creating things from. I would hunt for acorns, pinecones, shells, neat looking stones – just about anything that I could find that would double as a unique decorative item. ? ? ?
While we are always encouraging the kids out there to get outside and start thinking outside-the-box, thankfully, there are much easier ways of creating vacation mementos nowadays, and ones that won’t result in a bunch of gross bugs coming out of it once you’ve taken it home (this is something I remember happening to me on more than one occasion – ewwww! ?)
If your little ones are constantly putting their thinking caps on, why not encourage their creative talents with the My Magic Pillow of Sweet Dreams pillowcase painting kit? The included pillowcase is a standard-size, 200-thread count in white. Each cotton/polyester blend pillowcase features a unique black-line design that can be personalized and painted in to your liking! Included with the kit are six non-toxic coloured paints, a natural bristle wooden paintbrush, and a complete set of instructions. The included paints are transparent so you are free to paint outside of the lines without issue! Best of all, once the creative portion is complete, a hot iron is used to set the colours in, thereby ensuring that your custom design remains bright and vibrant over time, even after repeated washings!
For just over $20 each, you can grab a My Magic Pillow of Sweet Dreams kit to create lasting and tangible memories of your summer vacations. Winner of the coveted Neighbourhood Toy Stores Gold Award in Canada!
? SUMMER BEVVIES ?
Of course, no summer would be complete without a wide range of delicious beverages to cool ourselves down with!
Growing up with a mother who loved to be in the kitchen, I was always excited to sample all of her latest and greatest as they arrived. I took a lot of pride in being the official taste tester! The side-effect from this is that I have since developed a very diverse palette and am constantly in search of new and delicious food and drink!
Although, we are extremely excited about Bella Esthetics & Spa‘s venture into the world of e-commerce and online sales, we’d like to remind you that we are also continuing to offer and provide our esthetics and spa services to the population of Timmins and its surrounding areas. With the comfort of our clients being our ultimate priority when visiting our spa, we always have a new, healthy, and invigorating refreshment on offer for the day. I’d love for you to stop in and try one of my special concoctions! Here’s a taste (sorry for the pun!) of some of my most recent creations…
- Perrier water
- LOTS of ice cubes
- Additional fruits of your choice
- Let soak and enjoy!
As you can see, the drink is fairly simple but that doesn’t take away from its deliciousness whatsoever! You also have the option to swap out the original Perrier for a flavoured version, as we did here (the lime Perrier water adds a nice splash of contrast to the sweetness of the fruit).
For those looking to add a bit of spice to their drink, these thirst-quenchers also go extremely well with a shot of your vodka of choice!
- Spring water
- LOTS of ice cubes
- Cucumber slices
- Celery stalk
- Peppermint leaves
Another simple creation, but one that hydrates INSTANTLY, and faster than you may be willing to believe! This one just feels healthy and the combination of flavours immediately wake up your taste buds!
The key to these drinks is ensuring that you are using good water (try to avoid water straight from the tap whenever possible!) and that you have allowed the water to sit and soak for a few hours prior to consumption. Bonus points if you are incorporating organic fruits and veggies!
Water infusions are some of the most satisfying drinks to create, in my opinion. They’re quick, simple, and offer an overwhelming amount of health benefits – the possibilities are also endless!
You can choose from a variety of herbs (mint, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, etc.), spices (ginger, vanilla bean, cinnamon, etc.), fruit (berries – fresh or frozen, citrus fruits, apple, melon, etc.), vegetables (cucumber, celery, carrots, etc.), and/or edible flowers (roses, violets, lavender, etc.) to create your own special summer brews starting right now!
How about you?
Do you have any special foods or drinks that perfectly compliment the summer weather?
Are there any specific family vacation memories that you still look back upon with fondness?
How about new memories? Do you have any entertaining stories or anecdotes to share from trips you’ve taken with your own children?
Here at Bella Esthetics & Spa, we care about your physical health but we are also deeply passionate about positive mental well-being.
We hope you continue to return to our blog for frequent motivation, inspiration, and storytelling.
We would also love to hear from you so please leave us a comment below so we can continue to chat!