Episode #94: Summer Bucket List

Hello, hello. Welcome to the first week of summer episodes. Emma is off on maternity leave (welcome, baby Oscar!!!) and this week, Laura is filling in. We’re chatting about everything on our summer to-do lists!

You can stream the episode here on the blog or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayTuneInPocket Casts, and Stitcher. You can find the podcast posts archive here.

And, as always, a big thanks to our sponsors this week! Be sure to check out the offers from Agility, Bev, Issuu and Magic Spoon! And if you’re ever looking for a sponsor code, you can find them all on this page.

Show notes: 

Here’s Laura’s favorite inflatable pool—it’s really easy to blow up!

-Here’s a link to the floating pool tray.

-Here’s a link to my wrinkle-free table cloth that I love.

Food tents!

-Here’s a link to Laura’s fanny pack.

-Here’s a link to the blow up screen and projector. I can’t decide how much we would use it! If you have one, please share your review.

Sidewalk chalk!

-Here’s a link to a summertime bucket list you can download and print.

-Linking a piña colada recipe (and here are 20 of our favorite summer treats!)

-Here’s all the tips to create your own backyard movie night!

-Here’s the pizza oven we splurged on and here’s a $500 option that I’ve heard great things about.

-By the way, I promise to write a FULL pizza oven post once we get a little more experience. We’re still learning and trying new recipes.

-Our hotline number is 417-893-0011, and if you don’t want to leave a message you can email us at podcast AT abeautifulmess DOT com

-We would LOVE to hear your favorite summertime traditions and activities!

Thank you so much for your support!

Miss an episode? Get caught up!

Episode 94 Transcript

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast. This week, we’re chatting about our summer bucket list. I’m trying really hard to become a summer person, but I think most of you know that I’m a hardcore fall person. So this is a bit challenging for me. This week, Laura is joining us and she is here to give me summer lessons because she is a real summer lady. This is also Emma’s first week off for her maternity leave. So I wanted to quickly just tell you what to expect from our schedule. I toyed with the idea of taking the summer off, but decided to keep it going. So the summer’s going to be a little bit weird, but I think very fun. Laura will be with us frequently. Keely will be with us in a few weeks. My mom’s going to come in for an episode. Jeremy’s going to do an episode. It’s going to be really different. But I think really fun. And a lot of the subjects that we’re covering are familiar subjects like so there will be some comfort and some sense of normalcy. OK, Laura, so you are a real summer person.

Laura: Like a REAL summer person. I basically wait all year for a summer. I love Christmas. Once Christmas is over, I’m done with winter, so I just wait for summer all year long.

Elsie: I think this is going to be the perfect episode for us to do together because I’ve always been a fall person my whole life. I basically like sleep through summer and there was lots of summers of my life, I’m ashamed to say, where I didn’t wear a swimsuit at all like at all, one time. But now that we have a swimming pool and we have little kids, I feel like it’s my time to try. So I’m trying.

Laura: It’s surprising because you love to travel, though, and I feel like summer is like prime travel time, though. Right?

Elsie: That’s true. There’s always a swimsuit at a hotel. Tell us a little bit like. So you’ve always loved summer. What are the things that you most look forward to?

Laura: Well, I’m a pool person, so unless you’re on vacation or at a fancy hotel somewhere, I mean, that’s when you get to the pool, right? So we live for the pool. We were always going to the pool growing up. It’s just the weather, too. I hate being cold. I’m not like a cold person, so I want to be warm all the time. So summer is great for that. We also love to have our house like on the warmer side, which if your personal loves your house at like sixty degrees like a meat locker, you’ll hate my house because we love to be warm. So having like all the windows and doors open in the summer and when it’s like warm in the spring and fall, that’s kind of the best thing. So for me, like sitting outside with a drink with a magazine on a lounge chair, that is just kind of like ultimate lounge living, if you ask me. (laughs)

Elsie: I love that I’m trying to channel my inner Laura. So, OK, in this episode, we’re going to talk about our summer to-do list. I sometimes call it bucket list. Some people don’t like it when I say bucket list because they think it means dying…

Laura: (laughs)

Elsie: But I just mean bucket list as in before summer’s over…

Laura: Before summer kicks the bucket, right?

Elsie: Yeah. So, yeah, just to clarify, no one’s dying. It’s just a summer to-do list. (laughs) But I like the term bucket list for some reason and I just can’t stop using it. So OK, I thought we would go back and forth and kind of share three things on our list and talk about how to make the most of summer. I’ll be the person that gives the pep talk for the people who feel like you’re not a summer person like me. So my first one is swimming. So I made a goal this year to say yes, when my kids ask to swim, which is like every day and it’s a big goal. So I stocked up on swimsuits. I have a whole drawer of mom swimsuits ready to go and my mom swimsuit I mean, a swimsuit where they can’t, like, expose your breast with one grab. (laughs) That’s all. That’s all I mean by that.

Laura: Secure! Secure swimsuits.

Elsie: They still kind of can, but it takes a little more effort, you know?

Laura: Right. (laughs)

Elsie: Yeah, because, yeah, certain swimsuits. It’s like your kid can like, basically, like swim beside you and your swimsuit comes off like it’s just like too much with little kids. I learned that lesson. So anyway, I stocked up on those stocked up on pool floats, pool toys. Did I tell you when we moved in our realtor Daniel left us the whole living room full of pool floats.

Laura: That’s amazing.

Elsie: It was like the sweetest, cutest gift.

Laura: I’ve the right the ride on ones, right? The giant swans and stuff?

Elsie: Yeah. The big ones! Yeah. And I was like, oh my gosh. He was here for hours blowing these up because, you know, it’s like not fast. Even with the pump.

Laura: Yeah no, even with the pump. It depends on the nozzle size. But yeah, I’m like an expert at pool toys now and blowing up and which ones are like the good ones and which ones are the tough ones. So like if you have a multi-layer pool to blow up with all the tiny little vents for each layer, it’s going to take forever. But if you get where it’s all one layer, giant vent. It’s like a third of the time, it’s super fast.

Elsie: Ok, I’m volunteering you to make a miniature pool float round up in the show notes today to just show, like, a few of the ones that, you know are easy, because I think that that’s a thing that most people want, you know?

Laura: Well, yeah.

Elsie: Cute is great, but easy is important, right?

Laura: Yeah, definitely. (laughs)

Elsie: Ok, the last thing I got (laughs) to sort of like increase my swimming quality of life is I got a ridiculous floating pool tray. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Laura: For like snacks?

Elsie: Yes. (laughs)

Laura: Wow!

Elsie: It’s like, a silly thing from Instagram. I saw it in some pictures of like, you know, like travel bloggers. They always have like a floating tray of fruit, you know?

Laura: Is this for food or drinks or both?

Elsie: It can be — it’s just like kind of like a rattan tray that some plastic basically and it floats.

Laura: OK.

Elsie: So it’s — that’s all it is. It’s just a big tray. And we used it yesterday and I put in it like chips and dip and then some cookies. And what was the other thing? Some watermelon. Yeah.

Laura: And that stayed dry? I just picture like a bowl of like soggy goldfish from the kids and splashing.

Elsie: The chips became a nightmare because the kids were really eating them. And I think that that’s just like a matter of personal choice. Like if you did just bowls of fruit and watermelon, like nothing would really happen to it. It would just get a little bit of pool water on it and like somewhat gross, but not, you know, not a soggy…

Laura: Not mushy.

Elsie: Yeah. But like this morning when I went to, like, empty the bowl of, like, the remaining chips into the trash can, it, like, didn’t just come out. It was like stuck in there like jelly kind of vibe. So yeah, it’s a little gross, but I think you just have to choose and like know the number of people and like how like how much can this sustain. Like a big difference between Jeremy and I using it or adults and like our kids.

Laura: Right. Yeah. Well are you — am I picturing you using this while swimming or is this you’re sitting on your steps?

Elsie: Yes.

Laura: Wow. Wow. Swimming… that takes talent.

Elsie: It was kind of just floating in the shallow end for a while and yeah. Then I got sick of it. I just put it on the side. But anyway, that is all the things I’m trying. I really — I think for me most importantly, is just to like sort of let go and just like put on a swimsuit, even if I didn’t shave whatever. I just like, let it be and just like go out there and swim.

Laura: I saw something on Instagram the other day, like one of those little quotes, you know, in like a cute font or whatever. But it was just saying about kids. And I know sometimes you feel like with swimming and kids, you have to kind of like get your pool look together just any time you go swimming. But the quote was just something to the effect of like, kids don’t care what you look like in your swimsuit, they just care that you get in the pool. And I think that’s like so good to remember because sometimes you’re just like, oh, I don’t feel like being in a swimsuit today or like, you know, you just start feeling cute that day. You know, I feel like sitting out in a swimsuit, but like, they don’t care. They’re kids. They just want to splash around in the water. So that’s all they need from you.

Elsie: I think it’s for me, it’s like sort of like a habit that I feel like once I get into it and create the habit, it’ll be good. But getting into it was like a little tough. Tell us your first thing on your to do list.

Laura: Ok, mine is similar but different. It’s swimming…in a public pool.

Elsie: Oh!

Laura: Because growing up here, at least in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I don’t know where it’s like where everybody else is, but here everywhere has a pool. Like every borough, township, however they’re divided up, has like its own pool, like everybody has one. And so that’s what I was used to growing up, was we would kind of like pool hop from different ones. Like you probably have a membership like at your own township. Then you’d go visit that one because they have a bigger slide or they have diving boards or whatever. And then when we were in Springfield, Missouri, I realized like, oh, this is not a thing that everybody has. Like, there were almost no public pools to go to. And if you don’t have, like, a fancy, I don’t know, pool club or something like that, like just like a college kid, waitressing wanting to, like, go to the pool in the summer and there was like nowhere to go. And then in Nashville is the same thing. There’s almost like no public pools you can go to, like the Y, but I just really missed having, like, those public pools for, like, each township because that’s what we did growing up. And so here we have it. We’re like two minutes away from the one for our township. And it’s great. It has like water slides now and a splash park area for little kids with like like the walk-in area. You know, it’s real shallow and they have like three water slides. It’s very different from when I was a kid here. They did not have that. But so it’s like perfect and it feels very Stranger Things in like all the best ways, you know, when he’s like the pool. Yeah. Like it’s that feeling of like, being in the 80s and like everyone’s going to the pool and like that’s the thing to do and like all the moms are on their lounge chairs and all the kids are like, you know, splashing. And there’s like so much sunscreen and snack bars. Snack bars is also the best part too, you got to have, like, public pool with a snack bar.

Elsie: What are your pool snacks?

Laura: Soft pretzel, nacho dipping cheese. Definitely. If that’s available. Pool pizza is not always great, but I still feel like it’s a thing that you kind of have to do because it’s like the square pieces usually, and that’s like it’s own kind of pizza.

Elsie: I still have nightmares about the pizza from Skate Corral.

Laura: (laughs)

Elsie: So gross.

Laura: Yeah, skating places, not great pizza either. It’s not like their main thing that they do, but really it’s like, you know, the frozen stuff. So we would get like bomb pops growing up a lot.

Elsie: Nice!

Laura: We would get the — they have like chocolate banana versions of the bomb pops that are really, really good. So that kind of stuff like ice cream sundae…

Elsie: Magical.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah. Or the crunch bars. I love like the strawberry crunch bars and the chocolate crunch bars.

Elsie: I love it. OK, I’m going to steal some of these ideas from my pool weekend snacks. This is awesome!

Laura: Yeah, yeah definitely. But I’m trying to think what other like mom things I need for the pool. Like do I need like a visor to be like splashing around in the water…

Elsie: A sun hat for sure.

Laura: A sun hat. OK. That’s what I need.

Elsie: Yeah. I usually actually wear like a baseball cap in the pool because then if I like, forget and go underwater, it’s like, I don’t know, it’s just like really easy to dry.

Laura: Yeah. Yeah that’s true. I wish our pool allowed like the floaties for a little kids that couldn’t swim yet because she is like a really cute floaty that she like wears but that’s OK. We got, we got a teacher to swim anyways. Swim lessons so.

Elsie: Yeah.

Laura: What’s your second one, summer girl?

Elsie: My second one. (laughs) I’m such a summer person now. OK, eating meals outside. I love this. OK, so at our last home we didn’t have any porches you know. And you all know if you listen to a podcast, I love porches and we love maybe we didn’t have a front porch, wouldn’t have a back porch, we had front steps. So sometimes we would sit on our front steps and eat a popsicle and then we would put a picnic blanket in the yard and do a picnic. So anyway, at our new house, we have front porch and then our back porch area. You know, it’s like surrounding the pool and as a table and has a fire pit. So I really feel sort of like this, like huge amount of gratitude for the outdoor space. And I want to use it all the time. So, yeah, we’ve been eating outside a lot. I will link in the show notes my tablecloths. I found these awesome tablecloths from Amazon. They don’t wrinkle, they’re easy to wash. And then I just got two of them and I’m just like cycling them back and forth. I think all you really need is two if you want to have a tablecloth on all the time.

Laura: Do you always use tablecloths?

Elsie: I kind of l ike the vibe of it. Yeah. Like I kind of like the look and feel of it better. Although it doesn’t need it.

Laura: Well, yours is covered too.

Elsie: Yeah. That’s a big difference. True. And then we’ve been making s’mores so I have a few s’more suggestions. So in the top of our pantry. OK, so this is like a thing because my husband gets into it and eats the Reeses, so put it up as high and as hidden as you possibly can and just keep like a little basket of just like, you know, graham crackers. And then I personally don’t like graham crackers. So I like like thin like chocolate cookies or just like any thin cookie, like the really crispy ones.

Laura: Did you know they make chocolate graham crackers?

Elsie: They do make chocolate graham crackers.

Laura: Is that better or no?

Elsie: I think it’s better. Yeah. I just don’t like the flavor of graham crackers for some reason.

Laura: Honey, it’s honey flavor. Right?

Elsie: I don’t know what it is. I don’t hate honey or anything, but just something I don’t know. Yeah. Whatever, Graham. I mean s’mores are mostly for kids. Let’s just be honest. Like they’re not my favorite food or anything like. Yeah but they’re fun to make. They’re so fun and like nostalgic and our kids love it. Yeah. So anyway, you have your marshmallows. I like the square kind that they make now. Those are like perfect for s’mores and then a couple options for crackers and then a couple options for chocolate. So, you know, chocolate’s great. But then also I love the thin Reeses that they make now, like the really skinny ones…

Laura: I haven’t seen those!

Elsie: Those are good. They make a dark one and they make a white one and then a regular milk chocolate and then also, you know, the like white cookies and cream bars?

Laura: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re talking about. The Hershey’s? Yeah.

Elsie: Those are worth throwing in too because it’s just like a different kind of s’more so. OK, so eating meals outside. So also OK I wanted to mention. I got these little like net, have you ever got those little net things, it kind of looks like a little tent for your food.

Laura: I know what you’re talking about. Yeah, I’ve seen those at like barbecues or parties.

Elsie: I got a couple of those this year and it’s like genius. Like, I don’t know why I never had one in my whole life until now. But, you know, if you take like a dip outside or, you know, like anything, basically, it will keep the flies away, which is wonderful. So I will link those in the show notes. Anyway, I just think sitting outside, watching your kids play, eating outside, it’s just like such a feel-good thing. And it feels that’s probably one of my top things on my summer list.

Laura: Yeah. If your back porch doesn’t make you a summer person, I don’t know what will. Because that’s like the perfect summer hangout. (laughs)

Elsie: I can’t wait for you to come visit Laura! I’m like counting down the days. I cannot wait.

Laura: Aw, I can’t wait too.

Elsie: I feel like you’re the only person who’s going to care about my floating tray, so…

Laura: I will use it for sure while I’m on one of the giant floaties, I’ll reach over and just grab something off. (laughs)

Elsie: Let’s stop right there and take a quick break for this week’s sponsor:

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Elsie: OK, tell us your second list item.

Laura: My second one is: going to an amusement park!

Elsie: Ooh!

Laura: I get it. Some people are not amusement park people and they’re going to be like, no way, no thank you, not for me. That’s fine!

Elsie: Is it like a Six Flags type of situation?

Laura: It’s a smaller thing. So in Pittsburgh, they have something called Kennywood, like it’s been there forever. No, no, no. It’s like a for real amusement park, like big roller coasters, super-fast stuff, very big park. It’s just not like as giant as a Six Flags. It’s like a local kind of little bit smaller version.

Elsie: That sounds adorable.

Laura: Tons of great stuff and is where we went growing up. So it’s like incredibly nostalgic, super nostalgic. And if we get to go this year, this would be the first time we take Lola to what’s called kiddie land. It’s like, oh, the little kids stuff in the park. It’s like its own little section with all just like, you know, tiny stuff and like little trains going over hills and I don’t know, like a little dragon that spins you in the air or whatever they have there now. But she just gets like such a kick out of the smallest things, like her dad spinning her around, like with his arms. So I can’t imagine her being in like a real ride and thinking how amazing that is. And then, of course, all the best snacks. I basically only go places for the snacks ninety percent of the time. And it’s like amazing snacks. So you can get, like, all of the fun park stuff like fried Oreos and, you know, just everything basically fried, but then they have like their own special things, like something called a Walk Away Sundae that we always get, like, right before it’s closing…

Elsie: Okay describe the Sundae in detail.

Laura: Ok, so what it is, I don’t — have ever seen those ice cream cones that are like they’re not a circle at the top to hold ice cream, but they’re like a long rectangle. Have you ever seen this?

Elsie: No!

Laura: They look kind of like fancy with… Yeah so the opening is like a rectangle instead of it’s hard to picture a circle and then they take a rectangular block of ice cream. So think, if you like, had an ice cream sandwich and took the cookie part off, you’d be left with like a rectangle of ice cream. And they stick that in and then they dip it like in chocolate and nuts and cherries and like all of that good stuff. And it’s a walk-away sundae that you can walk with, I guess is why it’s called that. But they have like a special good night song that they play, like when they’re closing the park. And so I have, like, so many memories of like walking to our car. You’re like exhausted, you’re dirty, you’re sweaty from, like, running around all day. And you have like a walk-away Sundae and you hear the good night song and all the lights are on. There’s like the carousel. It’s like super magical. So, you know, it’s always like super crowded and crazy and like I said, hot. And you’re so tired. But it’s like all of the magical parts too. And I did a mom thing which is buying a fanny pack. (laughs).

Elsie: Yes! I love a fanny pack.

Laura: Because I was like, what am I going to do. I’m not like I don’t really like having my phone in my pocket all the time. And it’s just, you know, when you go to like a super crowded place like amusement parks, you always have to be like careful of like where your stuff is. And so I bought a fanny pack to take to the amusement park. So I’ll probably wear it the traditional way. You can also wear it like slung…what’s that…cross body style as well?

Elsie: Yes.

Laura: So it’s versatile, but I’m actually excited to use it. And Lola’s been carrying it around the house all week. So I think she — I think she likes it too.

Elsie: Adorable.

Laura: Yeah. So we’re super excited about that. And I think my sister and her kids will be here when we go. So that’ll make it like extra special to go with family. And we’re really excited about that.

Elsie: That sounds magical. Yeah. I want to go.

Laura: It is. It is.

Elsie: So for my third one. For my third to do list item, it’s actually just like a thing I want to buy that I don’t know if I want to buy so you guys can tell me what you think, but I really, really want one of these like inflatable projector screens with a little projector so you can watch like an outdoor movie. But Jeremy thinks it’s silly. Jeremy thinks that we’re going to use it like one time and it’s, you know, wasteful…

Laura: It doesn’t go in the pool, right? It goes like on the ground.

Elsie: No, yeah, you could — it’s really like beside the pool. So I’ve seen people kind of put it like next to their pool and then you can watch a movie while you’re swimming. The problem is that this time of year, you know, it doesn’t get dark until pretty late and our kids are in bed by that time. So I feel like maybe I would use it the most in the fall. So I’m kind of on the fence, like I could have ordered one a long time ago. And I didn’t do it I even was like thinking, oh, I’m going to get this for Mother’s Day. And then I didn’t do it. So, yeah, I’m on the fence. If anyone has a strong like, yes or no, do it. Don’t do it. I also thought, I mean, we could just get a projector and like, do it like the side of the house. But I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe I should try that first. I don’t know.

Laura: Well, that’s still the same timing issue, though, with it being dark and your kids going to bed.

Elsie: It’s true. I think that’s really the main thing, is that this time of year, it’s too late for our kids. And like maybe in a couple of years when they’re a little bit older and staying up later, it’ll be different and maybe, you know. Like when we have a guest for the weekend, you know, then we could do it as an adult thing. But I’m just on the fence.

Laura: You might not use it as much until your kids are older. So you probably just have to think how much you would use it with, like just you and Jeremy or friends coming over. Because if the kids aren’t going to be up, you might not feel like setting it all up just for you and Jeremy.

Elsie: Yeah, it’s true. I’m going to give it some more thought. But yeah, I guess I probably shouldn’t put that as my to-do list item since I’m not sure if I want to do it. OK, I have a bonus one. I just saw — sidewalk chalk. OK, so I just love sidewalk chalk like I just love it and I love. OK, so our kids are like in their art zone now, like they can make art for hours. We do it every weekend. It’s like one of the things every Saturday and every Sunday, you know, and once they start getting a little bit bored then they start asking for it, which is awesome.

Laura: Wow. That’s great.

Elsie: Yeah. So I feel like I want to order one of those giant things of sidewalk chalk and do it like out in our cul de sac.

Laura: Yeah.

Elsie: So maybe I should just…

Laura: Do you know about all the variations?

Elsie: No, tell me.

Laura: So I believe that I’m not making this up — there’s like a spray version so you could have like stencils down and you spray?

Elsie: Yes. I saw a paint.

Laura: And I have done the paint with Lola and that was actually really fun. But you don’t actually use the sidewalk chalk. It just kind of looks like sidewalk chalk. It’s like baking soda or powder or something like that with like food dye. But she liked that a lot. That was really fun. Some of the colors aren’t super strong. So depending on, like how dark your cement is or your sidewalk, they might not show up as much. But it’s still it’s you know, they love painting on stuff because they think they’re not supposed to say whenever they’re allowed to paint on things it’s fun…

Elsie: It feels really nostalgic to me. I just I love sidewalk chalk. All right. What’s your third one?

Laura: Ok, so my third one is: explore our new/old city. So we moved back to my hometown this fall and we moved during Koed, which is an experience in itself for any of you who’ve done that. But we’ve basically been, you know, inside and at the grocery store and the hardware store since we’ve been renovating, and that’s like it. So now that things are starting to open up again and it’s warm outside, we can actually, like, go places in the city because it feels like we moved, but not really like it just feels like we moved to a different house. But it could have been anywhere because we haven’t gone anywhere.

Elsie: I feel that way also, like I don’t feel a connection to our new part of town, yet, really at all, because we just haven’t been enough places.

Laura: Right. It’s like, yeah, I’ve been to the Starbucks drive-through ten million times, besides that and my house, and the grocery and back and that’s it. So it’ll be great. I mean I haven’t done a lot like the kid stuff that’s in town because obviously, like I haven’t had kids until now living here. So I need to like, ask friends and look around. I’ve heard that like there’s a park nearby where they have like outdoor ballet free lessons for kids like in the park. And Lola, she would love that. Or like we have a great science center here and they have kind of like one of those, you know, kid floors with, like water tables and like all that stuff. You can go in and touch everything. So she’d probably love that. And we’ll have to see with covid. I don’t know how many like festivals they’re going to be doing this summer because usually they have a lot of like different festivals and outdoor things that they do. So we’ll see how many of those are open. But it really is just like we just have to get out there now and go places. And so I haven’t been to — there’s like one area called Shadyside that my family would go to a lot. I haven’t been there at all since we moved until…

Elsie: What do they have?

Laura: …this past week. They have a lot of little shops. They have our favorite one of our favorite brunch places called Pamela’s, which is like super famous here. I guess when President Obama was here, he had Pamela’s and I think he’s like had the owner go to the White House before to, like, make the pancakes because they’re like crispy edge crepe pancakes. They’re very different. They’re very good. So we just went there for the first time this week. That was like the first restaurant we’ve been back in. But I haven’t been over there since we moved and like we would go there all the time. So I just have to, like, get back in the groove of living here and see what’s around. And there’s like a French restaurant I want to go to on a date sometime. (laughs) So we have a list. We have a list. So we just got to like get get to all of them.

Elsie: Yeah, that I am excited for this summer. I feel like it is it’s going to be better than last summer. And so in the past we made these little downloads and one of them was like a summer bucket list. So I will resurrect that PDF and add that to the show notes so that if you guys want to, you can download it and print your own to-do list and like, fill it out. I find it super fun, so I like to just like fill it out and then keep it on my fridge. And then when the weekend comes around, I just like always have an idea there of like something fun, like, you know, just like a simple thing like going to a snow cone truck is something that you might not remember unless you, like, see it on the list. So, yeah, I think that that kind of thing. Yeah. Tis the season. It’s summer. It’s summer, bitches, and we’re going to have the best summer ever! Right?!

Laura: Let’s do it. Twenty twenty one!

Elsie: All right. Let’s take a quick pause for our sponsor break.

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Laura: I do. Yes. But you didn’t mention something very important in your porch area…

Elsie: The pizza oven?!

Laura: Yeah, yeah!

Elsie: OK, let’s just talk about it for one sec

Laura: Because one second.

Elsie: I don’t know what another episode will come up when this is relevant. All right. So I have first of all, I have a confession to make. So at Christmas time, I — if you were listening around that time, you probably heard me tell you I was ordering Jeremy this pizza oven. It wasn’t very expensive. I was really excited about it, so I ordered it. OK, this is like the biggest Christmas gift fail of my life, by the way. So he unwraps it on Christmas morning. And it is essentially just a metal disk that you put inside of a freaking barbecue grill to make it like have a, you know, a bigger spot and then you, like, supposedly, like, put your pizza in there and cook it. And so I was he was like, you know, obviously like sweet about it and acted like, he didn’t care and stuff. I was like furious because I was like…

Laura: Did you not see it?

Elsie: OK, so the so the listing was so deceiving because and I went back and like looked at it and I can kind of see how I should have read it better. But also I really felt like it wasn’t my fault, so. It was definitely my fault, by the way, it was, but like it was not a pizza oven, let’s just put it that way, it was definitely like a waste of a couple hundred dollars. It was way past the time I could return it because I, you know, got it, I think in like August or something. And then I put it, you know, hid it away for Christmas…

Laura: Because you were excited about it!

Elsie: Yeah. So anyway, I counted my losses and I ended up just ordering a pizza oven that our friend has because we had seen it in person. We knew it was like legit and it was definitely like more like fifteen hundred dollars. Sixteen hundred or something like that. Like it’s not an affordable, cheap thing like what I was talking about before. I will link in the show notes, I’ll link the one we got. I mean it’s obviously like a splurge, but it’s great and we love it. We’re doing it every Friday night as like our Friday night pizza night. And then sometimes, like this past weekend, since it was Memorial Day, we did it twice and it was so fun.

Laura: That’s a very summer thing.

Elsie: Yeah. I feel like the pizza oven and the swimming pool — that will make me a summer person. If that can’t do it, nothing can, right?

Laura: Exactly. Exactly. You can have a wood-fired pizza next to your pool in your backyard. You’re just not going to be a summer person. This is your best go, I think.

Elsie: Yes. OK, so we have time to do a couple of listener questions from our brand new hotline. We love getting your messages. We’re having so much fun getting these messages. I will be sure to include the number in this week’s show notes if you want to call in and leave us a message. All right. So question one is,

Caller 1: Hi, Elsie Emma. I’m such a big fan of the pod. My question is, I am still living in my first apartment that I’ve had, like, just for me without any roommates. And I’ve been here for like three years and my style of décor is kind of just like things I’ve collected over the years, like I wouldn’t even say her name. It’s just like kind of everywhere. How do you, like, go about figuring out your taste? How do you cull down the stuff you have into, like, a cohesive, nice collection? Because I’m worried. I still look like I’m I’m a college kid, which is not the vibe.

Elsie: I love this question. So Laura and I have both been in that apartment to first home transition and yeah, finding your style takes time. So we have an upcoming episode where we talk about that the whole episode. So definitely be looking out for that. But just off the top of my head, the tips that I would say are to start narrowing down your color scheme. So, like, look at your room and think about like, which colors are you happy with and which ones stand out in a bad way. And maybe there’s a way to change that a little bit. Like maybe there’s some easy things, like recovering a chair or painting a piece of furniture or switching out an artwork for something fresh. What would you say, Laura?

Laura: Yeah, I mean, along that lines, just kind of Marie Kondo-ing everything and saying, like, does this spark joy for me or is this just kind of like I don’t know why this is here, but my aunt gave it to me five years ago and it just is kind of still leftover. I mean, I think that’s a good way to go too and even just making like a quick Pinterest board, like when you start pinning things, you’ll see like, oh, I tend to be gravitating towards this style or that style. If you’re a person that doesn’t get overwhelmed too easily, you could even go to a place that has like everything like a flea market or…that has just like a lot of different styles and see what you gravitate towards. Because if you notice, like, oh, I seem to always kind of go towards like a mid-century booth or a booth that is more, you know, this style that that would give you some idea of like when you have a choice and you can choose and it’s not just in your house. So it’s here like, what are you walking towards when you see a bunch of stuff?

Elsie: That is a great piece of advice. Yeah, I think finding like the things in your home that are like your favorite things and kind of building off of those is a great place to start as well.

Laura: Yeah, absolutely.

Elsie: Well, OK, do look out for our upcoming episode where we talk about how to develop your style and make a mood board, because that is going to be lots of fun. And I definitely think making a mood board is…it’s life changing. You’re going to love it. OK, we have time for one more question.

Caller 2: Hi, Elsie and Emma. I love your podcast so much. It’s the best part of my Monday every week. I listen before work and it’s the best thing to get me out of bed on Monday mornings. So we just bought our first house in Ontario and we love it so much. But I’m struggling with perfectionism in decorating. We can’t afford to buy all the new furniture that we want. We kind of have a mismatch of all of our hand-me-downs. And it makes me want to do nothing because I can’t get it perfect the way I really want it. So I wanted to hear your tips on that. Thanks so much. Bye.

Elsie: Oh, this is such a relatable question, I think we’ve all been there and Laura is a real, true perfectionist so she can give you some perfectionist advice. I’m not, thank God, because I think being a perfectionist sounds really, really hard.

Laura: It is hard. (laughs)

Elsie: Yes. So I would just say to find the things that you can do to start with, you know, even a list of three or four small home projects, like three or four areas in your home where you’re like, I could paint that, I could add a shelf there, I could do an art wall there. Like three or four small things that are doable for you now that you can spend a month or two doing could make a big difference in how you feel about your home. I am in a place where we have been pushing back our remodel and I think it’s going to be about two more years before we really remodel our home, which is fine. Like it’s a great home. But there’s things like I can’t stay focused on what’s not done. The best thing for me to do right now is to be like, OK, when what can I do, like on this empty wall, you know, like so I’m just like really, like, focusing my mind on the things that I can do right now. I think that that is helpful. What would you say, Laura?

Laura: Yeah, I mean, my brain is absolutely that perfectionist, wants everything perfect immediately. I’m also very impatient. So when you’re an impatient perfectionist, it’s it’s a little bit crazy sometimes in my brain. So I think the phase one makeover here is really important because when you can’t get all the way to like a ten and you want to be at a ten, that’s really frustrating. But having that phase one where you do make a change in the room and it feels like, OK, like label it as phase one in your brain so your brain knows that, like, you still have things you want to do, that’s fine. It’s not totally done. That’s fine. But this is phase one and you have your goals and you’re making like one big step forward. The other thing, because you can really get stuck in that place of like this is not what I want. This is not what I want. And, like, just focus on all the things that are wrong all the time. But I think it’s really helpful because this is your home to zoom out, just zoom out, step back and say like instead of, oh, this is the living room and I hate that I hate that. And this is wrong. Just be thinking things like this is the room where I spend time with my family. This is where I play with my daughter. This is where I watch Netflix with my husband and we, you know, veg out. We sit by the fire, whatever. We — you’re still creating memories in the space. It’s still your home. It’s still all those important things of being your home. It’s just not visually exactly what you want yet. And that’s OK. But I think taking that time to zoom back and think about really the important stuff that’s happening in the room is also helpful to kind of put things into perspective.

Elsie: I love that with all my heart. That is the best advice.

Laura: (laughs) It’s not always easy to do, you know, for like this type of brain if we have the same brain, which it sounds like we do, but I think that really is helpful.

Elsie: Yeah. Most people have something about their house that they want to change, you know, whether they’re planning to or if they know that they’re not going to change it, they’re still going to be things that aren’t perfect to you or that you want to do down the road or whatever. I think figuring out ways to be happy, like fully happy and fully enjoying your space at the beginning, middle and end is really important. Don’t waste any years being, like, sad and depressed about your house. Start with the three projects and maybe you’ll feel like a little bit of momentum building. I think that I think that that might work. Yeah.

Laura: And you can’t wait til your house is perfect to like, make memories. That’s not that’s not a thing you don’t want to do that. Make your plans. So enjoy what you have, love what is and you’ll get there.

Elsie: OK, let’s all do a group hug and thank you so much for listening. It means a lot to us. We see you sharing the podcast on Instagram. Please share our podcast with your friends who also enjoy podcasts. That is the number one best way that we can keep growing. So thank you so much for supporting us and we’ll see you back next week.

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  • I have to say that I am LOVING these podcast episodes with guests. Both Laura and Keely have been fantastic and I love them both! I was curious how I would feel, because the sister dynamic resonates with me so much (as I am quite close to my sister). But – three cheers! My fav podcast as always!

  • Do you have links to the mom bathing suits that you like? I have a drawer full of J Crew bikinis that I’ve had for years and that I love, but it just occurred to me that they might not hold up to my toddler.

    • Most of my good one pieces are from J.Crew, Anthropologie amd Aerie. XOXO!

  • This is the one we have and we love it! Easy to set up with the inflatable screen:https://totalhomedecor.com/product/build-your-own-outdoor-theater/

  • Definitely get the inflatable screen, if not now, at some point. We have had a ton of outdoor parties with ours, and I know you’ll love the idea of showing Halloween movies for a party or trick or treaters….we do that every year for our youth group. So if not now….it will be a great investment for later years. Just a fun thing to do to watch a movie outside. And I love the idea of a “Flick and Float” poolside movie as the bedtimes get later. 🙂

  • Loved hearing from Laura (and Keely!). I have fond memories going on a road trip with my family from MD to Kennywood & Knoebels (also in PA). They are such fun, old-fashioned amusement parks. I love wooden roller coasters.

    One of our COVID-friendly activities last year (that I’m hoping we continue this year) was outdoor movies projected in our friend’s backyard. We just used a projector and sheet hung on the side of the house. It is super fun, but that was with all adults. Maybe just keep an eye out for a sale and then you might have it in time for fall.

  • Just wanted to suggest to anyone having issues with bathing suits/summer body image: rashguards! There are sooo many swim short and rashguard options out there now that I’ve decided I’m never wearing a swimsuit ever, ever again. I have shorts that just look like workout/bike shorts and several sporty tops with elbow sleeves. If covering up might make you feel better about being in the water this summer I recommend it, it doesn’t have to look dowdy or like a 1920s swimsuit, mostly it looks like you should have a surfboard. I also haven’t burned my shoulders once since switching!

  • Elsie, I’m glad you decided to do the pod over the summer, I look forward to it every week! It was fun hearing Laura’s voice!

    Personally, I’d LOVE to see a blog entry with an outdoor movie night theme/party. Even if you only use it once or twice a year until the girls are older it’d make great content. What lawn accessories would you choose (blankets, chairs etc)? What kind of treats would you serve? I bet you could make it something special.

    (I know since you guys batch edit you are probably done with summer blog entries, but maybe next year! )

  • LOVE Kennywood! Haha I love Laura talking about all the things she did growing up in PA because I grew up there too! So fun!!

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