#SWAAYthenarrative

7 Summer Must-Haves for Your Home

There's nothing that we all look forward to as much as the summer holidays. Most people are on holiday, children are off from school, we've said farewell to rainy days, and we can bring out our sundresses that were hidden in the back of our closets.

But, there are a few key items needed to ensure that your summer is truly the best it can be. With the onset of summer, we want to ensure that our homes reflect the warm and chilled out mood that we hope to get throughout our summers.

On that note, here are 7 must-have items that you need in your home this summer.

A Grill

Summer isn't complete without a barbecue party. So, one of the first appliances you should consider getting is a grill. Grills today are so much easier to use, easier to clean, and can be stored away safely. Just think of all the succulent steaks and burgers you can have on your patio with your family and friends.

Cooling down with some iced-tea as you smell the tasty food cooking. Just make sure you consider a grill that is compatible with the amount of room you have and do some research to find decent brands.

Air Coolers

Most people don't want to install air-conditioners (ACs) in their homes because when you live in a predominantly cold country, it seems like a waste of money and energy. However, there are alternatives to remaining cool in your home. There are window ACs that are installed inside a window, thus are more energy efficient.

Since summers in the UK seemingly only lasted for about 2 weeks, many were not too keen to spend a lot of money on an air cooler. But now, we are graced with a couple of hot months every year, and humidity is just part of the gig if you want to feel the heat. That is why, for the utmost comfort, the folks over at https://appliancereviewer.co.uk/best-cooling-fans/ suggest you review the best fans to cool you down this summer. Fans are a perfect option to tackle the heat because they don't use up a lot of electricity, they're very affordable, and they are portable.

Picnic Blanket

A comfortable picnic blanket with colorful patterns is going to represent summer in a big way. The best thing about this item is that it brings summer to you, no matter how little space you have.

Even if you have a rather small garden, or no garden at all, a picnic blanket can be placed anywhere you like and to get you and your family excited about the season.

Lounge Chairs

Modern sun loungers are fabricated with unique materials to ensure they don't get damp or tear. They are easy to clean and sustainable to withstand outdoor elements. During the summer months, we spend most of our time outside, which is why comfortable seating is a must.

Don't be afraid to purchase mismatched chairs; you want your garden to appear effortless to give off a relaxing ambiance. So, opt for swing chairs, swing couches, two-seater lounges, and sunbeds. Then, they'll all tie in together with a color palette of your choice, and you can decorate chairs with cushions to create a sleek and inviting look.

Beach Tent

A great way to spruce up your garden or balcony for the season is to buy a beach tent. This useful item is also practical as it protects you from the sun's heat. Whenever you need a little shade, just sit under there for 30 minutes and cool off.

Furthermore, you can purchase portable ones so you can take the tent with you wherever you go.

Solar Lanterns

Long summer nights make you want to sit outside with a nice beverage for hours on end. So, what better way to enhance the beauty of a summery night than to add pretty lighting? Solar lanterns are a great new addition to any home as they are energy-efficient, and you can hang them anywhere you deem necessary. Add a few twinkle lights for the ultimate garden makeover.

Ice-Cream Maker

Finding fun ways to cool down during the summer is easy when you have the one sought-after item that takes your summer vacation to new heights. Purchase an ice-cream maker and be endlessly adored by your whole family for bringing this gem into their lives. You'll be spending every afternoon with your children, trying out all the different flavors with big smiles on your faces.

These items are all easy to find and will undoubtedly improve your quality of life this summer. So, start up the grill, hand your kids an ice-cream as they play on the picnic blanket, and rest on a swinging lounge chair or under a beach tent. You've got your cooling fan to give you a gentle cool breeze and solar lights to brighten up the place when the sunsets. Now, that looks like summertime.

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.