4 Fun Picks for Summer

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Here are a few fun picks for your summer enjoyment: one to consume, one to wear, one to listen to and one to spruce up your creativity while also adding to the serenity and healing in your life.

Wines from Lakewood Vineyards

Several years ago, we went on an incredible journey through the Finger Lakes, testing out some of the regions wines, restaurants and nature activities.

Given that we stem from the Adirondacks, we have a soft spot for upstate New York, so were thrilled to be able to review some of the wines from a vineyard in the Finger Lakes. (Be sure to read our Finger Lakes Travel Guide as well as our Finger Lakes Foodie Guide).

Lakewood Vineyards has 7 decades and 3 generations of grape-growing experience, so they’re well established and have won countless awards over the years as well.  Their vineyard spans across 80 acres and offers 14 grape varieties.

They offer different styles of wines, but all varietal wines from the vinifera family of grapes. They are also wines that some define as “fighting varietals,” suggesting they are produced in many regions of the world.

Their wines are very fruit-forward in style making them a great choice for summer.  Let’s take a look at some of the wines we sampled, all paired with meals of course.

We love Chardonnay especially during the warmer months so had to give it a try. Remember that California Chardonnays tend to differ from other Chards around the world and even in the United States because of climate and soil, which affects the taste of all wines.

Their Chard is indeed fermented & aged in oak, just like many Napa and Sonoma Chards are, but despite its buttery and creamy finish, you can taste the fruit a bit more than the wines we typically get in from northern California.  We paired theirs with chicken and salad dishes.

Then comes their Riesling which unlike the Austrian and German are a bit dryer — its a lovely balance between dry and sweet in fact, and goes well with cheese, crackers and grapes. 

Their 2019 Vignoles is apparently the result of hybridization done in 1929 — this tiny golden-colored grape is a cross between Pinot Noir and a Seibel hybrid and makes a perfect pairing with warm spices like curry and cumin. We paired this a swordfish one evening under the stars — combine this with a little side relish of pineapple, veggies and a salad and it makes for a perfect summer evening.

Equally exquisite is their 2017 Pinot Noir, which offers velvety layers of cherry, plum and toast — oh so smooth and elegant. We opted for this Pinot for one late May evening with a grilled chicken and asparagus dish — do delish!

Their Cabernet Franc is a classic Bordeaux variety, and it does so well in the Finger Lakes region because Cabernet Franc loves a cooler climate region. It’s a great wine to enjoy with a nice steak or smoked cheeses.

For more about Lakewood Vineyards and wines as well as how to order, be sure to visit their website.

Swim & Lounge with Voda Swim

We fell in love the latest styles from Voda Swim, which is the brainchild of international model and designer Yulia Drummond. They are known for something referred to as the “Envy Push Up Swimwear”, which was created to ‘redefine push up swimwear.’

Needless to say, their swimware styles have a way of flattering the body. The design itself was inspired by Yulia’s inability to find a bikini that flattered her small bust. With that in mind, we found that some of the styles were a bit too small (on top) if you have a larger bust, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options within their line if that’s the case.

We were thrilled to have the opportunity to review some of their swimsuits this season.

Take a look at this fabulous Envy Push Up Bandeau One Piece, which is our favorite of the collection. We love this piece for anyone who is looking for a great slimming option — this fully coverage and classic cut swimsuit has a fully lined tummy tuck lining at the waist and ties at the back.

Although the materials are imported, they are made in the United States and include Nylon, XtraLife Lycra Lining, Polyester, Spandex Power Lining and Spandex.  In addition to the above vibrant, fun pink, it comes in black, a purple/blue color and red.

Their Azure Envy Push Up Cutout Top and button combo comes in eight different color options (3 different print styles) and five different solo colors. This is a great option for those seeking a bit extra coverage and I’d also argue that it’s a great option if you’re over 40, as it securely hides some of the extra lines we tend to get later on in life. It ties at the neck and back and has non-removable push up padding.

We went for their light to medium blue as the color exudes fun, swim and sun all wrapped into one.

Want something a little more sophisticated and elegant? Try their Envy Push Up Texture One Piece, which comes in a deep rich navy blue, stunning aubergine and classic black. One of the things we love about this elegant suit is its ribbed detailing which is not only super comfy but its incredibly chic as well. And, the colors are rich and gorgeous. 

There are plenty of two piece options as well.  Truth be told, one of the things we love about this brand is their variety of both full coverage and skimpier styles to suit various body types (and ages).

The Envy Push Up technology is part of each swimsuit design and each piece features non-removable push up padding, with coverage options ranging from cheeky and Brazilian bikini bottoms to full coverage one-pieces. The top sizes range from 32AAA to 34DD, making it ideal for smaller busts, as well as naturally larger busts that require additional lift and support.

I would note here however that if you have a larger bust to order a size larger than you’d typically order for the top. You can order the tops and bottoms separately, so if you’re larger on top but smaller on the bottom, you can adjust your order accordingly.

For more information, be sure to visit their website for more options and how to order.

Ultimate Ears Speakers

We love the products from Ultimate Ears and looked at reviewed one of their speakers a couple of years ago. We just got in an update from Ultimate Ears to test out, which couldn’t have been more perfect timing for summer.

Their HYPERBOOM offers a very bold 360° sound in a totally waterproof, super rugged, portable speaker. My favorite of the bunch is their MEGABOOM. The beautiful thing about their brand is that they offer a wide variety of options to choose from depending on your needs, style, and of course, your choice of color.

The first MEGABOOM we reviewed had the charger at the bottom making it awkward to keep the speaker plugged in while using it. The newer MEGABOOM 3 has moved the charger to the side so you no longer have that hiccup. And, the sound is not just powerful, but the speakers are rugged and waterproof making them such a great speaker choice for summer.

We opted for the fun and playful blue, however it comes in purple, red and black.

MEGABOOM 3 features something called Spatial 360 degrees sound – because of its cylindrical design, you receive stereophonic audio that radiates evenly in all directions. The speaker also has a ‘thundering’ bass which is deeper than other speakers of its size.
Adventure enthusiasts and avid travelers will love its rugged design. Apparently the folks at Ultimate Ears put it through more than 25 rigorous durability tests including 1,000s of button pushes, tumbles, drop tests and more. They note that you can drop it, kick it, headbang with it, even spill your drink on it, and it is meant to withhold it all.

Now, we haven’t put the speaker through that degree of testing, however we did test it in a kayak where it did get tossed around quite a bit and of course, got wet.

With MEGABOOM 3, you can play, pause and skip tracks directly on the speaker to control any streaming music. What else is cool is that you can set up custom one-touch playlists for Spotify on Android, Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music and Deezer Premium.

* Compatible with Android phones and tablets OS 6 and above

You can also pair up to 8 Bluetooth enabled source devices (up to two source devices at the same time) and the mobile range of play is up to 45 meters (or 150 feet).

Ultimate Ears is a fun brand — they also offer more creative styles and patterns as well for the more creative minded among you.

For more information and how to order, visit their website.

Reiki Cards: Artistic Enjoyment or for Energy Healing

We loved discovering these creative and artsy Reiki cards by Emilie otherwise known by her shop name on Etsy: Emilie Healing.

Obviously if you’re a Reiki practitioner, these cards will have much more meaning for you and make it easy for you to access the symbols either from your wallet or you can even tuck them into your cell phone case.

These Reiki Symbols Cards are made of plastic with a nice coated finish and are sized 3.5 inches by 2 inches.

The kit includes 7 Reiki Symbols Cards with a cotton bag to store them. For the Reiki practitioners, the symbols include the main ones and a couple more: Cho Ku Rei, Sei He Ki, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (the long distant symbol), Dai Ko Myo, Raku, Shika Sei Ki and Shika So.

The reason I included them here in a gift guide for summer is because they’re so beautifully done that they’re inspiring for anyone who loves beautiful things that inspire creativity.

In other words, you could frame them or tape/glue them to a board for display. You could also put them out on a table as well with some crystals and gemstones. The symbols are healing and of course, largely designed to be used by Reiki healers who are attuned to the symbols for use with healing sessions, however just looking at them are healing in itself.

And, simply put: they’re stunning to look at — gazing into their beautiful relaxing and warm colors is enough to put your mind at ease.

Check out her Etsy store for more information including how to order.

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