Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Lovin’

As a California girl at heart, it’s no surprise that summer is my favorite time of the year. And while the putridly humid summers here in DC have nothing on SoCal weather, I still eagerly await the season each year and feel an undeniable pang of sadness when it departs by Labor Day – way too early in my West Coast opinion!

Here, five uniquely summertime treats that always make me smile.


All the fixin's for a tasty gazpacho! Image Source:

I definitely know it’s summertime when I can order a cool bowl of gazpacho at La Tasca or Fireflies, two of my favorite restaurants here in Alexandria, our hometown just outside the city. Both recipes are slightly different – the Fireflies version a bit spicier and thicker – yet they're each ever so tasty in their own way!  


Two of my favorite things -- wine & cheese.

Nothing says summer quite like heading out to the Virginia countryside for a relaxing afternoon on the patio at Vintage Ridge Vineyards, our favorite winery in the area. Whether I’m sipping a glass of their sweetly refreshing Summer Night or their silky smooth Syrah, what really sets Vintage Ridge apart is the inclusion of tasting platters to pair with each wine. From my very first visit, they had me at crostini with gourmet cheese.


I'll take beach running any day. Image Source: 

Two years ago, I lost over 25 pounds in a desire to live a healthier life, as well as look and feel my best at my wedding. But with each winter’s chill, the pounds start to creep back on, since try as I might, working out indoors just doesn’t give me the same rush as running or even just strolling outdoors on a warm summer’s evening. Though, as luck would have it, the intense heat this time around is throwing a wrench into my plans, too!


Seaside in St. Maarten. 

While California is undoubtedly closer to my favorite tropical locale of all-time – Hawaii – being on the East Coast offers tons of fun and affordable options for trips to the Caribbean, whether cruising or hunkering down at a beachside resort. So far, we’ve cruised to Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama, and just got back from a fabulous trip to St. Maarten, which I’ll share details about over the next few weeks. Though we definitely enjoy traveling to warm places during the fall and winter, there's no argument that the low-season summer prices simply can’t be beat!  


Gold trim adds the perfect touch. Image Source: LOFT

You didn’t think I’d end this post without paying homage to my favorite footwear, did you? Last but certainly not least, warm summer days are the perfect (and practically only) time to enjoy slipping my manicured toes into flip-flops, of which I have dozens. From my bejeweled beauties to my cheap poolside kicks, I love ‘em all!

What’s summertime like in your area, and how do you make the most of the season? 


  1. Wow, I didn't know Virgina had good wineries! I keep hearing that the east coast wines aren't very I'm tempted to try some.

    I'm actually looking forward to fall, or "second summer." Before we moved to the east coast, we were talking with a friend of my BIL's on a visit here. He grew up in Puget Sound Washington, near me, lived for several years in NorCal, and then moved to NC. We asked him how he could stand the heat and humidity, and he spun it like this: The spring is great, not too hot, lots of animals out, it's "first summer." Then, actual summer arrives, and it's lame and you stay inside all the time, but after that, you've got fall, where it cools down, you can go hiking again, eat lunch outside, and it's basically a "second summer!"

    So I will definitely be making the most out of fall this year, not summer! :)

  2. I love food and wine, too!

    Summer in Nebraska is HOT. It is humid, too. When you leave a bag of chips out it doesn't get stale; it gets soggy. True.
    There are usually lots of big thunderstorms, some threatening tornadic action. When I moved there in 2002 it was August as well and my first reaction was "where are all the children?!" There were no kids anywhere to be seen.
    It's too hot to be outside!

  3. Living in the DC Metro area, we take for granted all the great things to do. And so many of the events in DC are free (movies on the lawn, jazz in the garden, music concerts)... I really need to take better advantage! And i have visited a few wineries and they are so close and so much fun to visit! Definitely a lot of fun stuff to do to keep the summer days interesting!

  4. That wine and cheese meal looks delicious! I am a "fall" girl myself, but used to be a die-hard summer lover. That was when I was living in the East Bay and near Sacramento, where summer means hot, hot, hot temps. Here in SF, summer is more like winter because the city is shrouded in fog for most of the day. But September and October are gorgeous - I can't wait! Congrats on losing 25 pounds - I'd love to do the same. You are an inspiration :)

  5. food and wine = the best lol. i'm so glad to leave summer though. here in texas it's been in the 100's for over like 30 days now or something (maybe its 40 now). it's been awful and i'm ready for cool fall (and the ability to wear tights again!). i think it also has to do with the fact that i'm just ready for the wedding! lol

  6. When I moved to Southern California I was surprised when no one went wild on Memorial and Labor day. I learned quickly that when summer weather occurs randomly in January, there's no need for a big party to say Hello and Good-bye to summer. Northern California has proven to be a bit more seasonal which I appreciate but there's nothing like a good East Coast BBQ with your friends and your flip-flops!

  7. a cheese platter and some wine is such a perfect way to end a day. hope you have a good weekend :)

  8. ooh those gold sandals are too fun and how I'd love some gazpacho now!
    It's summer all year round here so I just try to find more interesting places to visit in the area!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  9. Love those gold flipflops! Summer is def one of my fav seasons, bbqs, block parties, fun in the pool and at the beach. I get to see friends and family more in the summer and go on vacation...who doesnt love that! I cant wait to hear more about your trips!


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