Make it a Summer to Remember!
May 29, 2018
Well, shoot...we didn’t have much of a spring, did we? We went from desperately wanting a little warmth to the almost 100-degree temperatures this past weekend. Okay, bring on the Des Moines summer fun.
I am beginning to stand in awe of our town and just how much opportunity we have in front of us to make it a memorable summer full of new experiences and gatherings with family and friends.
Des Moines (and its surrounding communities) have something for everyone; biking, baseball, festivals, fine dining, live music, stunning parks and art displays. And sadly, I have taken a lot of it for granted. My mission?
Make Summer Fun a Priority
I know that this sounds terribly simple, but I have learned that if I don’t make this notion of having 'fun' a priority, I let time slip by and before you know it I will be blogging about fall boots. Summer will be gone, and I will be wondering why I didn't enjoy it more.
So what will I be doing to ensure I have a memorable summer?
Be open to new experiences
I am finding that our little town is quite surprising and ever-changing. I have been invited several times to go on a casual bike ride (with lots of stops along the way) with friends, and until last weekend I always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t go. I am not the RAGBRAI sort (July 22 to July 28) although this is one of the most memorable events that Iowa has to offer.
Last Sunday I decided to go hang out with the big kids (dedicated bikers) and see what all the fuss was about.
Our ride was focused on the downtown venues where we could sit outside and enjoy a cold beverage in between stops. I was amazed at how vibrant our downtown area had become. Gone are the old days of it feeling like a ghost town on the weekends. It was full of young and old alike out and about enjoying the day.
The landscape has changed more than I could imagine with new housing, parks, bridges, and restaurants. Wow. We even ventured to Birdland Marina (never been there before) where a new bike trail patio bar and live music venue has cropped up called Captain Roy’s.
A band was playing, drinks were served, and they have an assortment of Americana food to enjoy. I look forward to going back and listening to live music and taking in the beautiful scenery. I met some fabulous new friends, enjoyed the downtown vibe and discovered some new places that I know I will enjoy again. Whenever I am open to new experiences, it always pays off.
I also won’t be ignoring all the well-established things to do that Des Moines has to offer.
Revisit the classics
A few of the summer classics that always make summer fun are:
The Des Moines Arts Festival (June 22-24) (desmoinesartsfestival.org)
For nine years, this festival has been celebrated both locally and nationally as a phenomenal cultural experience. It is always inspiring to see the world through an artists eye, and it's a great way to see and reconnect with people that you may not have seen in years!
The Iowa Cubs (all summer long!)
I always get a nostalgic feel when I go to a baseball game. We thought this was such a good idea that K. Renee rented a skybox in early July for our entire team to gather outside of work. I'm definitely looking forward to this great American past time.
Blank Park Zoo Brew (Friday’s)
I love seeing the giraffes, rhinos, lions, tigers, and bears. And on Friday night’s rain or shine, the Blank Park Zoo has an adult only event with live music, beer and wine. Uhm, yes! Who wants to go with me?
The big kahuna, The Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market, is quite a glorious spectacle every Saturday morning with nearly 300 family farmers, bakers, artists and crafters from around the state. A summer must-do for sure. But what I didn’t know was that you can also hit a farmers market almost every evening during the week. Beaverdale has one on Tuesday, Waukee on Wednesday, Valley Junction on Thursday, and Grimes on Friday.
And of course,
Winefest 2018 (June 2 -9)
A fantastic excuse to indulge in eight days of wine-drinking and gourmet dining during this 16th annual event. A fashionable and fun affair.
Make a plan and put it on my calendar
Actually writing this blog has been great for planning a summer that will be as busy as I want it to be. There is no shortage of things to do. My problem has been waiting until the last minute to make plans...and when I do that, I generally end up doing nothing at all.
So I have my calendar out and have made a note of the unique things that really stand out. For example, there are live outdoor concerts almost every week this summer.
Camp Dodge has a summer concert series; there is Music Under the Stars, and of course Nitefall on the River at the Simon Estes Theatre. (Click on each for the upcoming schedule)
Coming up at Nitefall On The River is The Prince Experience, and I am sure it will be a joyful night of belting out all classic songs of the Purple Rain era. A bunch of middle-aged folks attempting to party like it’s 1999. Sounds fun to me!
Discover the things that sound interesting
I have also stumbled on a few things that just look darn interesting. There is a new event this summer called:
Out to Lunch
Every Wednesday this summer, you can enjoy food vendors and entertainment as part of the Out to Lunch series. There will be food trucks and vendors along with live music from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in various locations throughout Downtown DSM. ( to find out where to go you can visit: https://www.dsmpartnership.com/downtowndsmusa/experiencing-downtown/festivals-and-markets/out-to-lunch)
Another fun activity that caught my eye was:
Vino and Vinyasa
This is coming right up on June 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is part of the Winefest 2018 activities. Yoga and wine? Heck, yes. You will enjoy 45 minutes of Vinyasa yoga with Ben Spellman of Good Vibes Yoga. And after finding our inner peace, celebrate with a glass of wine and some healthy appetizer bites. How fun is that???
Despite all the amazing things to do, I am still a proud homebody. And one of the best parts of summer is going to a small gathering in someone's home. Instead of sitting around and waiting to get invited, I think its a lot more fun to...
Be the one to throw a memorable gathering at your home
It doesn’t have to be a ton of work when you have a few ideas and tips and tricks up your sleeve. Which is why our upcoming school of style event is wholly dedicated to this timely topic!
I think that there is nothing sweeter than going to a gathering where the host or hostess surprises us with the creative effort that they put into preparing for the event. It makes our guests feel special (and I find that to be extremely rewarding)!
Our 4th workshop is all about our easy, but ultimate summer outdoor entertaining and hosting tips that will surely impress your guests and help you create a memorable and fun evening with friends or family.
Have you ever wondered how to create those unique and beautiful floral arrangements that seem so effortless? We have a special guest that will be featured during the workshop, Pepper Harrow Farm (www.pepperharrowfarm.com).
Their team will lead a hands-on floral (optional) arranging activity. You can sit back watch how it is done (at no cost at all) or create your own arrangement to take home for a nominal charge of $15.
Our team will also demonstrate the art of creating the perfect charcuterie board. Once the board is complete, our guests will have a chance to taste and sip with our favorite summer cocktail.
We will top off this fun and interactive workshop with some of our favorite decor ideas for your outdoor entertaining space. It’s going to be a fun evening and a school of styling event you won’t want to miss!
Cheers to the start of a great summer!