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Summertime Suggestions To Make Your Parties Great

Summertime Suggestions To Make Your Parties Great

Summer is a time for enjoying life outdoors. Here are some ideas to make your summer parties great again!

‘Tis the season for grilling

From a hibachi to a high-end Weber Summit stainless-steel, get outside and grill.

Marinate your meat in olive oil and fresh peppers. Rub your chicken in hanaheros or another spicy pepper. Just get adventurous with flavours. Throw fresh, seasonal produce on the grill. Throw everything on the grill! You can even grill peaches — an idea I found after stumbling upon a great summer BBQ checklist.

If you are like me, you are probably looking for an excuse to drink when you are behind the grill. I find BBQ recipes that call for bourbon so when the parental figures come around and give me looks of reproach, I can simply point to the recipe and get them off my back. Bourbon is a perfect ingredient for BBQ sauce (and for sipping while grilling!).

Get thee to a fire pit

When the night falls, the party doesn’t have to end. Find a fire pit to turn the day into a night party!

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A summer night around the fire pit is a night of conversation that usually turns into more engaging conversational territory. There’s something about a night around a fire that promotes a different sort of discourse. You can hide in the shadows, but when the campfire singing of inspirational tunes begins, well it’s hard not to join in — regardless of where you stand on the topic of conversation.

Glamp it out!

Bring out the camper and glam it up. Glamping is a hot thing right now.

Maybe you have vague plans to go camping this summer but you’re afraid the summer may slip by and that camper will stayed parked and inactive throughout the season. Some of the best plans — even in the summer — get buried under a full calendar of activities.

Bring your camper into focus and turn it into a party annex. Roll it out into a prominent place and deck it out with some fanciful personality. Make it a destination. You can even turn it into a bar for the adults during summer celebrations.

If you don’t end up camping again this summer (although the chances are probably higher if you bring it out), your glamping-in-place will enhance your summer parties.

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We are turning this:

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    Image source: Clinton Wilson

    Into something like this:

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    Glamper5

      Image source: MaryAnn Zimmerman

      Let your imagination run wild this summer. Get bold. Get crazy. That’s what the summer is all about.

      Outdoor markets

      Go to your local farmer’s markets to find the best seasonal produce to throw on the grill or to toss into a colorful salad. Summer is a busy time, and it’s probably easier just to follow routine and travel to the supermarket, but it is rewarding to know that you are supporting local growers. The interactions you’ll have with farmers and patrons of these markets is an experience unto itself. If you have kids, this is a great teaching moment to get them thinking about sustainability, GMOs, and buying organic.

      Outdoor festivals

      There are outdoor festivals in your area that you’ve probably thought about attending throughout the years but have never made it to. When Labor Day rolls around, you feel a pinch of regret that you never made it to the events you’d planned to attend. Don’t let 2016 be that summer.

      In most communities, there are great festivals or concerts (many of them free) offered in the summer. Challenge yourself and go out and see something you’ve never seen before.

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      Throw a neighborhood party

      You see your neighbors all of the time around the hood, but maybe you’ve never met most of them. Seize an opportunity this summer to get to know your neighbors by throwing an early evening party with light snacks and wine. Make some flyers and walk door to door to offer a personal invitation. Keep your invitations on hand so you can hand deliver them when you see the neighbors walking their dogs or going out to retrieve the mail.

      Turn your summer memories into prints

      By the end of the summer, you’ve probably amassed a heap of images on your phone, on Instagram, or on Facebook. Collect the best of them and print them in a photo book that you can display on your coffee table. Keep the memories of summer alive throughout the year!

      Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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