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Summer's Spirits

Summer is by far my favorite season. Living in Chicago, that's a no-brainer. Our time to soak it up is limited, so I'm in good company when I say I live hard during this season. This picture of, yes, a pink beer pretty much sums up this summer for me. Living hard is relative, I know, but this little pink drink on ice lifted my summer spirit and I haven't made my way down since.

I discovered Paletas, a guava beer brewed by Chicago's own Five Rabbits Brewery, at La Sirena Clandestina, a small Brazilian spot on West Fulton Market in Chicago. The server sold me when she said "it's best served on ice." Maybe it was the fact that Mark and I were sitting outside on a warm weekday night. Or that there was classic rock streaming through some guy's open apartment window. Or, that La Sirena reminded us of places in Portland we just visited. But it all felt so summer and I felt my spirit buoy higher.

That was my intention for Summer 2015. To feel lifted. It wasn't enough to just want it, I had to make it happen. So, I cleared my schedule, eliminated doing things out of guilt, made sure I made space for myself every day and spent as much time outside as I could. I wanted to be in this season, not just busy my way through it like I had many summers before. I said yes to the things that kept me feeling lifted and no to the things that could tug me down. In essence, I let my spirit move me.

I spent a lot of time with friends and family, took long walks with my dogs, played at the beach, dined at new places, planted a garden in my backyard, hiked in the mountains, cooked cleanly, listened to lots of music, chilled on my patio, and kept trying new things to drink!

Some of my other favorite seasonal sessionables (brewed with less alcohol) were the cucumber, lime and mint Goose Island 312 Urban Radler I had at my new local lodge, Bangers & Lace in Evanston, and Stiegl's Grapefruit Radler (thanks Yvette!). I also tried watermelon and berry beers too. Some can taste like a shrub, a drinking vinegar, and others are just too sweet. My Paletas was perfect, but sadly it's run dry until next year. If that's the universe trying to tell me that it's time to wrap up my summer shenanigans too, then I'm choosing to ignore it.

Instead I plan on keeping summer alive by continuing to feed my spirit. To do that well, I need to quiet the noise around me to hear what my heart is saying. When I feel a pang or heaviness in my chest, chances are I'm about to do something I really don't want to do. While some obligation is part of life, my goal is to find balance so that I don't end up desperately seeking summer by next June. So, while I must say "so long" to my summer shandies, I'm committed to doing more things that make my heart skip a beat to lift my spirit and create the sensation of summer yearlong.

If you're local and interested in making the most of the calendar's end of summer, consider joining me at two upcoming events...

Until then, check out our fresh summer posts for recipes ideas, all of which I make at home while piping my own music through my open windows.

Lastly, wherever you live, if you're looking to detox from too many summer spirits, join my online 7-Day Detox on 9/28. Save the date or sign up now!

Wishing you all a spirit-lifting, extended summer!

With much gratitude...

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