Summers in South Florida

Stephanie Hill featuring Summers in South Florida on The Style Bungalow

Stephanie Hill featuring Summers in South Florida on The Style Bungalow

Summers in South Florida can have a bad rep. Right off the bat we’re hit with hurricane season we wished never came, the tropical downpours, humidity at its peak and did I mention the heat? You know, when the forecast says 85 degrees outside, but it really feels like 112 degrees. 

Yet, I can’t help but embrace every facet of this charming place because it’s home. I actually love how during the summer months the city is a lot quieter, beaches are pristine and the ocean is flat. Plus there’s a lot less traffic since many snowbirds and tourists have returned back to their respective states. 

However, when you insert a “reality check” we’re heading back into quarantine…again. What day is that now, 73839? So summer certainly feels very different to say the least. With gatherings limited and restrictions still in place, how do we embrace safety and that “summer” feeling this season? Here are a few ideas and experiences that I’ve had and hope will bring back little pleasures and create that sense of freedom again.

Takeout from your favorite restaurant…but make it an experience

My fiancé and I recently brought takeout to the beach one late afternoon along with old cards we found tucked behind his book shelf. I hadn’t played a card game in years, and yes I actually won against him (for once!), which made it extra fun since we’re both so competitive. 

At other times (reminds me of one of our first dates), we’d skip dinner and cut straight to the desserts (three to be exact!) taking it to a little bench by the Intracoastal or to our backyard. Since we both absolutely love space and all things astronomy, we’d open one of our stargazing apps (aka SkyView) to point at the sky in order to demystify what was directly in front of us (be it constellations, stars, planets…an incredible app). Naturally, we lost track of time discussing the beauty, details as we read them and our thoughts…occasionally seeing a shooting star on a clear night…I cherish moments like these.

Recreate refreshing cocktails at home

I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I got my bar cart

That’ll be a Paloma for me, please.”

It must have been early-June last year, when I traveled to the Yucatán (missing it so much right now) precisely during the hottest time of year, and muggy out. I remember we hadn’t eaten all day, so the hunger combined with the heat had us ordering everything in sight once we got to a restaurant including their “house cocktail” aka the country’s most popular tequila based cocktail, “Paloma.” Next thing I realized, what started out as one turned into three Paloma’s! 

And as I was pouring a glass of wine for my fiancé the other day, I realized we hadn’t had a Paloma since our last adventure in the Yucatán. Feeling nostalgic and bittersweet, we left for the grocery store and picked up the freshest ingredients we could find to recreate this favorite cocktail of ours…from home. Fresh grapefruit juice, bubbly soda water, tequila (vodka for him) and a pinch of lime…this crisp, citrus drink is a perfect summer drink, which sparked some wonderful memories and new stories.

Afternoon bike ride in town

My fiancé and I are no strangers to afternoon walks in the neighborhood, but after these soaring temperatures we’re opting for bike rides on the extra hot days. I love the versatility of having a bike because we can easily extend our route or reroute from the neighborhood to around town. Plus, there’s a basket in the front for my Brahmin handbag, which carries all my essentials (i.e. facemask, hand sanitizer, keys…as seen here). It’s no secret that Brahmin has become my go-to bag like this petite, leather bucket bag…even when I’m on a bike. Right now I’m using the Mini Amelia Rosario, its chic top handle crossbody allows me the option to strap it on comfortably while I’m cycling and then restyle it when I’m off. I love how smooth the bag feels! Its camel-brown leather and shape of this design is a complete classic; the spacious interior with various storage compartments makes Brahmin as stylish as it is functional for everyday activities…like our bike rides.

Fresh flowers

Always, always, always a good idea.

 I love how beautiful floral arrangements can do wonders (read more here)! As I mentioned in the latest “Life As I Know It” my letter from the editor series, I’ve been itching to take Willow Crossley’s Masterclass from CreateAcademy on floral styling. In anticipation of this, I’ve already started my search for vintage botanical vases from eBay and OfferUp. I’ve also begun following accounts like Tulipina, Juan Pablo Camara (our wedding floral designer), Nicolette Camille Floral and my local florist, Renny and Reed on Instagram for inspiration coupled with topics like “How To’s” on styling coffee tables and shelves to create vignettes at home…but that’s a topic for another time!

Take a mini road trip to a nearby town

One of my favorite locations in Florida is Islamorada (specifically the Moorings Village). 

It’s a three-hour drive from Miami making it the perfect mini road trip for us! No matter what, I love how I always feel a sense of ease and comfort from the sight of those tranquil, untouched sea of coconut palms planted in the white sandy beach. A grand, yet inviting scene that always makes my heart flutter a bit. The idea of slipping into a hammock and rocking away to the ocean waves, while palm shadows dance between the chapters of my current book…is something I’m certainly looking forward to experiencing again. 

Document these moments

Before the pandemic, I overlooked the beauty around me. I usually had my eyes fixed on my phone and my mind was consumed by an internal to-do list. Now that I’ve had more time to slow down, I’ve been challenged to look at life differently. On our daily walks I decided not to utilize my phone purely for texting, emailing and responding, instead I turned on “Airplane mode” and documented moments in front of me: flowers that were in bloom, puppies passing by in the neighborhood, dreamy historic homes and greeted locals (6 feet apart of course!) as we walked by. I’d like to think of this as a visual diary filled with memories to reflect back on.

Though summer 2020 is far from anything any of us have experienced, it doesn’t mean we can’t make it an imperfectly perfect one by embracing the uncertainties with our own creative activities and little comforts. I hope these ideas provide you with new perspective(s) that help bring back that “summer” feeling again… 

So grab your bag and get going — experience a bit of freedom regardless of the heat and unprecedented times!

Xo, Stephanie 

P.S.: Read more about my thoughts on “Fashion’s New Normalhere.

[Thank you Brahmin for sponsoring today’s post.] 

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