Episode #189: Favorite Summer Things (Deep Dive)

This week, we are talking about all things summer. Everything from our favorite activities, clothes, and food. Plus, we are deep diving into all the sparkling beverages.

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Show Notes:

Favorite Summer Activity with Your Family:

Emma – Going on a boat

Elsie – Firefly season

Check out our dip recipes here

Favorite Solo Summer Activity:

Emma – Pool day with no kids, getting frozen custard, and thrift shopping.

Elsie – Audiobook walks and alone time in the kitchen.

Favorite Summer Outfit:

Emma – Jumpsuits and well-fitting jeans with a Madewell T-shirt.

Elsie – Summer dresses and swimsuits

Favorite Summer Meal:

Emma – Hot dogs with Icelandic mustard

Elsie – Mediterranean quinoa salad

Check out Emma’s air fryer salmon recipe

Favorite Summer Side Dish:

Emma – Pasta salad

Elsie – Deviled eggs and cold potato salad

Check out 50+ easy BBQ side dishes

Favorite Summer Dessert:

Emma – No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies

Elsie – Ice cream

Favorite Summer Cocktails:

Sofia canned wine and Elsie’s virgin mojito

Listener question: 

From Kerry McLendon: Give us your personal guide to all the seltzers! 

Elsie’s Top Sparkling Waters: (from Episode #179: All Things Self-Care)

Emma’s Top Sparkling Waters:

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Episode 189 Transcript:

Emma: You’re listening to The Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen, and this week we are talking about all things summer. Everything from our favorite activities, clothes, and food. Plus we are deep diving into all things sparkling beverages by request. 

Elsie: Perfect. I love it. That’s amazing. So before we jump in, I thought I would talk a little bit about the Little Mermaid. 

Emma: We got a review.

Elsie: Yeah, a movie review, a kid’s movie review. 

Emma: They went without me. I was upset. No, not really, it was for Nova’s birthday, so it wasn’t really about me. 

Elsie: Well, I should have invited you. It was so cute. So yeah, for everyone who’s already seen it, I know you’re like nodding along and for everyone who hasn’t, I think it’s definitely worth it. It’s very fun. It’s very cute. It has, I think the live-action Disney movies can be a little bit of a hit or miss, a little bit of a controversial one. 

Emma: I’m trying to remember the last one I saw. It might have been Beauty and the Beast, which has been a while. 

Elsie: That’s been a while.

Emma: Yeah. So I’m like, what are the other ones that have come out? I can’t even think of ’em. 

Elsie: I’ve seen a lot of them on Disney Plus with my kid but not in depth. But yeah, this one, we watched the whole thing and it was over two hours long, which is a little bit, I thought long for a kid’s movie. But that would probably be the only thing I would say that’s in any way negative. The girl, Hailey Berry, who plays the Little Mermaid, was perfect, and I loved Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. I thought that was probably one of my favorite parts too. And Nova’s favorite part is that Ursula’s tentacles have glowing lights on them. She thought that was like the main thing about the movie that was better than the cartoon, which was so funny. She was very honed in on those lights. 

Emma: Is it all the same songs? 

Elsie: It’s all the same songs and there’s a couple of little extras and yeah, King Triton is still hot. It was great.

Emma: He’s very hot in the cartoon if you ask me. 

Elsie: I think it’s a defining moment in your life when you realize that King Triton is hotter than Prince Eric. 

Emma: Way hotter in the cartoon. I haven’t seen the live-action so I don’t wanna speak to those actors cause I don’t even know who plays either one. But yeah, I’m a grown-up now.

Elsie: Yep, exactly. Yeah, it’s def it was definitely fun. So anyway, yeah, I just had to talk about it because I don’t know. We don’t really see that many movies in the theater, so it did feel special, and Nova was immediate as we were walking out, she was like, when will it be on Disney Plus? She knows all about that. So she wants to watch it immediately. It was a thumbs-up from us. 

Emma: That’s cute. I feel like everyone who’s seen it, I’ve heard only really good things. I think the only thing I’ve heard that was mixed was it is kind of long and so people have taken their kids obviously, I feel like depending on the age. Some kids don’t sit still that long, so a little mixed bag on that I guess. But other than that, everyone’s like, it’s so good. It’s better, it’s fun. 

Elsie: Yeah, for sure. It’s definitely like an instant classic. It’ll probably do amazing on Disney Plus. And I heard a little gossip, I heard that they’re making a Hocus Pocus three. 

Emma: I’ve heard this. Is it true though?

Elsie: It’s true. 

Emma: Okay. 

Elsie: It’s confirmed, it’s true. I was a little surprised that they would do it again so soon after such a long wait. But I think it’s just because it was such a big success for streaming. So anyway, I think streaming is sort of like the future and the miniature future. 

Emma: It’s definitely changing things, for sure because I also feel like there’s kind of less stuff in the theaters. Which, I really like streaming, so I don’t wanna be like, so that’s a problem. But I do enjoy going to the movie theaters. I don’t go as much as before we had kids, but I do think it’s really fun. I haven’t taken Oscar yet, he’s not quite at the age where I feel like it’s gonna work out for us, he’s not there yet.

Elsie: Yeah, I think like age three is a good age to start. 

Emma: Yeah. Something like that. Not this year. I’m not anticipating this year, unless there was some kind of special 30-minute thing that sometimes movie theaters do that, then maybe. Well, cool I’m glad you guys liked Little Mermaid. Did Marigold Go too? Did Goldie go? 

Elsie: She did, she loved it. 

Emma: What was her review? 

Elsie: So she ate almost an entire bowl of popcorn and she just sat there curled up in her chair and wouldn’t share with anyone and just loved it, and they were both kind of singing, which was fine, we weren’t too close to other people. And I think it’s like cute. Also, you know, the little kids, they’ll kind of narrate. So there were a lot of questions, loud questions. It’s just how it is though. I feel like, that’s better than like a rude teenager or something. Right? People can forgive it because it is what it’s. 

Emma: Well, I think you have to learn to be in a movie theater. Just like everything else in life. Like you don’t know, because when you’re at home you can ask questions throughout the entire movie. And it’s different when you’re at a movie theater and I think that’s just like a learning thing. I’m never annoyed when I see a little kid at a movie, plus it means I’m at a movie with four little kids. So it’s like, it’s fine. Who cares? It’s not a big deal. 

Elsie: So let’s talk about summer things. I love this topic. I think this will be nice. I’ve said this many times, but I’m trying to become a four-seasons person instead of just a fall person. So I do try like very much to get into summer and be as festive as I can and not to rush ahead, even though I definitely do rush ahead in my mind and in like my planning and maybe in my shopping a little bit, but I’m still trying to enjoy summer. Becoming like a pool person, so Emma and I have a pool pass together. I joined Emma’s pool this summer, which has been so fun and different, so I’m really happy about that. So let’s jump into your favorite summer activity with your family. I think that this is so sweet. The seasons of life, I remember before we had kids, all the things we used to do that felt, and we still do most of those, but like with little kids, obviously it’s like there are new ones. So my number one, it’s small, but I think it’s so significant, is firefly season. It’s not the whole summer, it’s like kind of just right now, like the beginning of summer, and as soon as it gets dark every night or when it’s sort of getting dark. The firefly starts going around the yard and we’ve been like getting our kids up out of bed and letting them come down and play. It’s just so, so, so sweet and magical and they can’t catch fireflies really so I catch them for them and give them to them, and yeah. It’s wonderful. 

Emma: Yeah, I feel a lot of nostalgia for fireflies. I feel like growing up that was like the magic of summer. It was just catching fireflies, putting ’em in a jar.

Elsie: And they don’t have them everywhere in the world. Is like a regional thing. So we did learn that. I learned that from the internet, one of the many things. We’ve learned from our blog readers and stuff. 

Emma: Yeah. It’s very Midwest. I think they have ’em in the south too, it kind of depends, I suppose. But yeah, I love them though. And yeah, Oscar, usually he is in bed before they’re really out but sometimes we’ll see a few as we’re wrapping up sandbox time or whatever, and he’ll be like, fIrefly, firefly because he knows what it is. 

Elsie: He’s talking now and it is so cute, his little words are so cute, little whisper voice. 

Emma: Yeah, fireflies are very fun. Have your girls been on a boat yet? 

Elsie: Not for a couple of years. So we are gonna do that for the 4th of July weekend. So I feel like it’s a nerve, a nerve-racking thing for parents. Do you feel that? It’s a little bit like if this doesn’t go well, I’m trapped, and if it goes well, great.

Emma: Yeah. Yeah. So here in the Ozarks, and there are other places all over the world that have lakes or I guess you can go on a boat in the ocean. I don’t know. It’s very different than a lake day. But here in the Ozarks, we have a lot of really good lakes, and being on a boat wasn’t something we ever did growing up. I remember doing it when I was in college. But Trey’s family is very, they don’t have a boat, but like you rent a boat, and you just hang out for most of the day on a boat, that’s essentially what it is. And if you don’t have kids with you, then you can have some adult beverages and chill out. And if you do have kids with you, then it’s different. You’re watching them and making sure they’re keeping their life jacket on and all those things. 

Elsie: Yeah I would also say the time of day you go makes a big difference. If you can go in the morning or you can go in the evening, even when the sun’s setting and that makes a big difference. But yeah, it’s a whole thing where there’s like snacks just for the boat. Why don’t you describe a couple of the boat snacks, because I feel like it’s, its own culture, a little.

Emma: Yeah. Well, much like a pool, all your beverages, you don’t want any glass on a boat because if you were to break it, that’s obviously not good under your feet. So there’s never really any glass on a boat. So lots of canned beverages. I drink tons of LaCroix and we’re gonna talk about sparkling beverages here shortly. But I drink tons of that kind of thing on a boat, but I’m really into dips. I’m like, let’s pack five different dips and there’s a bunch of different chip options and you just eat dips all day basically. My favorite one is called Love Dip, which is made up name, I’m pretty sure my sister-in-law Kat, although I don’t know, it’s like their family makes it. But it’s essentially just cream cheese and salsa, and you can add cayenne or a little bit of hot sauce to make it hotter. That’s basically what it is, and that might sound kind of gross, and I’ll be honest, it looks kind of gross as you’re making it because it’s like kind of pink. But then once you get it all mixed together, I don’t know, it’s delicious. It’s so good. But I could eat a whole container of loved dip by myself and I never make it except for boat days because it’s really not very good for you, it’s definitely like a party dip. 

Elsie: Well, I like having foods where you only use the recipe for a certain occasion. So that it sort of locks in the memory. So I think that’s really cool. We’ll have to put a couple of dip recipes from our blogs. We have a lot of dip recipes, and they’re really good. 

Emma: But yeah, I like a lot of dips that are made with cream cheese or sour cream shredded cheese. There are just a bunch of different kinds, but love dips probably my top also guacamole is amazing. Any dip that’s not a hot dip, I like the layered taco type of dip, taco dip is so good. Anything that’s best served chilled, you should have that on the boat because it’s delicious. We always pack sandwiches and stuff too, but honestly, I’m in it for the dips. 

Elsie: That’s fun. So I joined Emma’s neighborhood pool for the summer because we are thinking of building a pool in our backyard, which possibly could be ready by next summer if we pulled the trigger soon. But we haven’t done that yet. And so it’s kind of like, I don’t know. I might stay at your pool for either one year or two years. So we’ve only been together one time so far, and it is so cute. My kids will just spend the entire time in the baby pool with Oscar, and they love it. They had no issues with it, even though one of them’s eight years old, they have no problems at all. They think it’s great. So, I think that’s really fun. And we were talking, Emma texted me and she was like, let’s have our own pool day where we just get a can of wine and read, and I was like, that sounds really, really nice. Yeah, if you can’t tell my life now living in Missouri is completely different. It’s like seeing my family every single day, which is the best.

Emma: Mostly me, I just show up. Like, hello we’re kinda bored.

Elsie: She shows up so much and I love it. It’s wonderful. So anyway, yeah, pool time. But I think for the pool, I don’t really make recipes. I just bring snacks and I have my little cooler pouch thing, and that’s that. 

Emma: One of my favorite things, we’ll have to do this when we have our adult day at the pool is I like to order Uber Eats to the pool, which you can do, and you type into the little comment box that’s like, just leave it on my front door or whatever. You just type in like pool and then your name gets called when your food arrives. Which is kind of dorky, but then you go get your food and it’s great. People mostly order pizza, but you can get in any Uber Eats that is in the area. 

Elsie: Okay. We definitely have to order.

Emma: It just feels so fancy to have food delivered to the pool.

Elsie: For sure. I love that. 

Emma: I’m easily impressed, I guess. 

Elsie: Okay. Do you have a favorite summer activity that’s a solo thing, like a me-time type of vibe? 

Emma: Yes. So we did already kind of talk about being at the pool as adults. Which is fun because you just get to sit, because you know anyone who has kids, especially little kids, I have a two-year-old.

Elsie: You don’t even get to read or do anything. You have to just keep your focus locked on them the entire time. 

Emma: I can’t even really drink a beverage. Not even an adult beverage, but just like water because I’m chasing him because if he falls in the kiddie pool, he may not get up. He is still at that age.

Elsie: He’s in the danger zone for sure. 

Emma: Yeah. So I just kind of hover around him, which is very cute because he’s adorable with his little hat on and it’s just fun. But it’s extremely different than being at the pool without your kids, where you can just relax and sit and not do anything, not watch anyone, not worry at all. So, yeah, definitely do that and I love reading. I will get in the pool for sure, but I mostly just sit on the side and read, because I just love reading in the sun because it’s different. Usually, I’m reading like in my bed at night, or something. So it just feels like a whole different vibe. So that, and then, this is not an outdoor thing, so I feel like it maybe doesn’t qualify for summer, but one of my favorite things to do in the summer, is to get some Andy’s frozen custard by myself and then pop into a thrift store.

Elsie: Oh, nice. That’s random and very specific, but it sounds nice, it sounds like a good combination. 

Emma: Yeah. It’s like double treats and some of the thrifts like don’t want you to carry food around, understandably but many of them don’t care. So as long as you don’t spill it. So yeah, that’s kind of my thing too, because we take Oscar to get ice cream, but I don’t feel like he really likes fruity stuff. So he’s more pineapple whip, which is something we have in my town. He’s more into fruity-type flavors, and I kind of like a chocolate thing. I’m more of a chocolate gal, that’s my treat. 

Elsie: That’s two very different categories. Okay, so my favorite solo activity is definitely the audiobook walks. I just love it now that I live in a walkable neighborhood with cute houses in every direction. That is kind of like, my whole personality is just taking walks and looking at the houses, and I love it, bringing me a lot of joy, but it’s starting to already get hot. So I feel like it has to be in the morning or like, later on, when the sun’s setting, but for me, it’s pretty much the morning, the walks. And then the other thing that I like to do by myself, this is also an audiobook thing, is just cooking and sort of like getting some alone time in the kitchen. So I do like food blogging and that’s fun too, but it’s not as relaxing as cooking for fun, right? So last weekend we had my parents over and we had a little get-together, and I got to spend the entire morning just cooking little side dishes and salads and stuff. And everyone left me alone and I was just listening to my audiobook. I was listening to Heartburn by Nora Ephron and it was so vibey. It was the best possible combination of sensory experiences. 

Emma: Yeah. Tell people about it because you told me about it and you sold me on it. I was like, oh, I’m gonna listen to that right away. 

Elsie: Okay. So heartburn is, it’s pretty short, and it’s filled with recipes. So the main character in the book is a food writer. So there are recipes throughout the book and there’s this kind of famous recipe from, if anyone remembers this, like Olivia Wild Harry style salad dressing thing from last year. If you’re into your celebrity gossip, that recipe is in the book and it’s just a certain salad dressing recipe that’s supposed to make men love you or whatever. 

Emma: Oh, okay cool. I love it. 

Elsie: Yeah, it’s so cute, and it did sound like a good recipe. It sounded like a really mustardy vinaigrette, which sounds good. The thing that was most compelling about the audiobook is that it’s narrated by Meryl Streep, which she’s a really good audiobook narrator. I’ll have to look it up if she’s ever done any other ones because I’m sure she probably has.

Emma: I love her voice, it’s like a little bit lower. It’s wonderful. Very soothing. Yeah, I could see that being excellent. I’ve never heard an audiobook with her reading, but I could tell that would be really good.

Elsie: Yeah. And also I wanted to shout out, I tried last week Ina Garten’s summer pasta recipe, which is pretty much like what you make. You slice up cold tomatoes and you make a little sauce for them and then you just put your hot pasta after it’s drained into the tomato, so it’s like tomatoes are not cooked and the pasta and it’s just very garlicky. I made mine an extra garlicky dish with hot pasta and cold tomatoes and it’s perfect. It’s like wonderful for summer. 

Emma: Yeah. She’s top shelf. 

Elsie: Yes. We’re definitely in the like grandma era and it feels amazing. 

Emma: It feels so good. What about, let’s talk about summer outfits cause we are both a little bit of a uniform type person or I am for sure this.

Elsie: This is true. Okay. So disclaimer. I am not in my fashion era right now and I’m just not, but I’m kind of thinking about it, like I’ll go back to it at some point. But, so my main thing, I like to have summer dresses. I think summer dresses are the best. Emma and I both, like jumpsuits. So those are like the other easy outfit I usually wear. But other than that, the main thing that I feel like I really spend money on and enjoy buying during the summer is swimsuits because I love them, I like having lots of swimsuits. It’s like a collection. It’s like having sunglasses. 

Emma: You don’t have to wait for ’em to dry if you like to end up going back to back like in the same day or two days in a row. 

Elsie: It’s fine to have a swimsuit for every mood. It’s kinda like pajamas. It’s like, I’ll keep wearing these indefinitely so what’s the problem with it?

Emma: Yeah. Till they wear out, it’s like, yeah, why not? 

Elsie: And I have one kid who is obsessed with matching with me still. So I also am still into, like Riley and Crew makes the mommy and me swimsuits, and I’m still into that too. So I feel like that part of my life, it maybe won’t last forever, so I’m just like enjoying it right now.

Emma: Yeah. I love it when I see a family at the pool and they have those matching, it’s so cute. It’s just adorable. And it is kind of the summer Christmas pajamas. Like the other version of it. 

Elsie: It’s true. Oh my gosh. That’s a good point. Okay. What’s your favorite summer outfit? 

Emma: So, I still do my jumpsuits. One of my outfit formulas from Curated Closet is I just wear like, well-fitting jeans and I have four or five pairs. And this is all year round, by the way. And then I have these Madewell t-shirts, I’m wearing one right now as I sit across the Elsie. And I’ve been thinking though, I really need to find, basically, a tank top that I can buy in a bunch of colors because that’s what I have with these t-shirts is I have eight of these. 

Elsie: Madewell has good tank tops too. 

Emma: Well, I need to get something like that because my problem is my son wants to be outside anytime he’s awake. So if he’s awake, he wants to be outside. This is great because we can be this time of year, so he is a little obsessed with it. So I try to say yes as much as possible, which means I’m outside a lot, which is fun. But I’m definitely already getting a little bit of, what people call farmer’s tan, where it’s like your arm, your upper arm is like half tan and half not. So I’m like, I need more tank tops and I just need to wear tank tops every day because I’m gonna be outside every day. And then my other problem is I wear Birkenstock sandals most of the time with the two straps and I have a very strong Burke tan line already from this year, and it’s still early summer. So I’ve been trying to wear them, I bought these other Doc Martin sandals and I’m trying to wear them more. They have three straps, so it’s just different straps. So I’m just trying really hard to wear different shoes other than just my Burks constantly because I have such a tan line from them. It makes it look like I have like dirty feet. Trey sent me the other day, I took my shoe off and he was like, oh, were you outside? It looks like you guys got in the dirt because I’m playing with Oscar all the time. And I was like, nope that is just my tan line from my sandals. It will not wash off, it’s just what it looks like. It’s pretty bad, so I’m trying to slightly deviate, which is essentially like one different pair of sandals and tank tops in a bunch of different colors. So it’s like still the same formula but works with the tan lines. 

Elsie: Yeah, you should definitely get a bunch of tank tops. That sounds like a good idea. 

Emma: Yeah, I should. 

Elsie: The feet thing, I just kind of think like, who cares? 

Emma: It is what it is. 

Elsie: Yeah. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Emma: I just don’t love it when I have my shoes off, I’m like, oh man. I think part of it is I really like my feet. I think they’re cute. It’s a feature that I like.

Elsie: You actually do have really cute feet. 

Emma: Thank you. I’m like, man, I wish this tan line wasn’t, because I kind of like my feet. I like painting my toenails. I don’t know. Some people like their feet, and some people don’t. I think it’s a pretty polarizing thing. Like hands, some people are like, I love my hands, some people are like, ugh. 

Elsie: Yeah, I think you tan so much better than me, I just realized that for the first time. 

Emma: Do you burn?

Elsie: My skin doesn’t really get tan. 

Emma: Do you ever get sunburns though?

Elsie: Yeah. If I don’t wear sunscreen, I never do that, but yeah.

Emma: Yeah. I burn pretty easily and I will like cake on the sunscreen. 

Elsie: I just stay pale forever at all times, so I just spray tan only.

Emma: I burn and tan, even though I look like a ghost on pool days, I’m like trying so hard not to get sun. If I’m out there for more than 30 minutes, I’m gonna get burned or tanned something’s gonna happen. Well, let’s talk about food, moving on from clothes. So favorite summer meals. We’re gonna go through meals and side dishes and desserts. So let’s start with meals. 

Elsie: Okay. So mine is, I make this Mediterranean quinoa salad at least one or two times every week, I make it all the time. I love it. My kids love it. It’s just always in my fridge. 

Emma: Did you make it last weekend? 

Elsie: Yes. It’s the one you tried. 

Emma: Is it the recipe on the blog yet? You should put it on there so I could make it because Trey really liked it. He was like, who made that salad?

Elsie: Nice. I love it. I like love quinoa. Anyways, so I make that salad a lot and we just eat it, just in the fridge we eat it, but I also think it’s really good to put salmon on it. So I make Emma’s air fryer salmon recipe pretty often except for I dice mine up. So I think it makes a really good sort of just, I don’t know, just like adding a protein makes it into a complete salad or whatever. So, yeah, I like to make a lot of recipes with tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer. That’s my main favorite thing, and my kids also, love cucumbers. We all just eat sliced cucumbers with sea salt all the time. So, yeah that’s my summer meal. 

Emma: My favorite is more of a junk food item. So I’m glad you had something kind of healthy. 

Elsie: Well, I wanna hear yours. 

Emma: Mine is essential, I love eating hotdogs. 

Elsie: I love hot dogs too. 

Emma: I love hot dogs, but I never buy them. It’s only like a cookout thing because I don’t think they’re very good for you, I guess I’ve never really thought about it, but I assume they’re not, I don’t even know if that’s true. I don’t think it’s something that I should be eating every day, me personally. So, I don’t, by not buying them all the time, but I love them at a cookout because they just are so much better on a grill, and my all-time favorite topping is I will buy this Icelandic mustard. I dunno if you’ve ever had it, we keep it in our fridge. It’s kind of like honey mustard. So I’ll link it in the show notes. I only know one place you can buy it and it takes a long time to ship. 

Elsie: I went to a hot dog stand with you in Iceland, where they had the pictures of Bill Clinton stuff, remember? It was like so cute.

Emma: Yeah. It started after we had gone to Iceland because I was like, this hotdog topping is amazing. And so I had to buy the mustard.

Elsie: They should do a hotdog world tour. 

Emma: Oh, I would love to. Oh, sign me up now. And then I’ll also put, so the Icelandic mustard, which if you can’t find it or don’t wanna bother with it, then you can try honey mustard, similar. 

Elsie: What makes it special? 

Emma: It’s like a sweet brown. It’s not even really mustard. I don’t know what all is in it, but I think the closest thing in the US that I could think of would be honey mustard. So I’m like, wow, you could try honey mustard. I think it would still be good. 

Elsie: Chick-Fil-A sauce, basically. 

Emma: Yeah. It’s kind of like a Chick-fil-A sauce, but to me, it’s like very specific to Iceland because I just haven’t had that exact flavor. I’m like, oh yeah, it’s exactly like this. I’m like, I can’t really find it. So anyway, that and then french fried onions, because in Iceland they put these kinds of crunchy onions on it and it’s not exactly french fried onions like you buy here in the US and the canisters and do like green bean casserole, but it’s similar enough that it works for me. So that’s like my all-time favorite top total garbage food, love it though. And then the other thing I’ll do sometimes is I make this broccoli slaw and I put that on a hotdog or a hamburger, and I just like the crunch alongside meat, but it’s kind of like, slaw, so it’s like mayonnaise and it’s super like shredded, chopped up broccoli. It’s really good. And that’s my favorite, but I don’t have it very often, but when I do, I’m in heaven. 

Elsie: I do like coleslaw on every kind of sandwich almost. 

Emma: So it’s like coleslaw, but with broccoli. 

Elsie: Nice. Okay. Favorite summer side dish. 

Emma: I wrote down air fried, everything. 

Elsie: That doesn’t count. That’s, too general. 

Emma: Well, I also definitely use my air fryer all winter too. But something about the summer, makes me feel like I’m like doing a good job not turning on my oven and making my house hot or using too much energy. Although the air fryer does still get hot, so I don’t know if that’s even true, but in my mind, it’s like less. But I air fry any vegetable. We’re kind of doing a series on the blog right now. So you’ll probably see a few more even before this podcast episode comes out because I’m trying to do the whole collection. Any side dish you want, they’ll all be on our blog eventually. So I’ve been working on that, and the other thing though is pasta salad. So now I’m gonna make your quinoa salad. And yeah, I do feel like if you put protein in it, then maybe it’s more of a meal. I don’t know. But I like pasta salad generally, and I think of it as like the summertime stir fry because it’s basically like some kind of carb, usually pasta. But you could use whatever kind of pasta you wanted and then like vegetables and some kind of sauce. And we have a couple of different pasta salad recipes on the blog. Elsie has a creamy one that’s really good. We also have this post that’s three different pasta salad dressings, and you can just use them to customize. Kinda like if you have whatever in your fridge, like I have a cucumber that’s almost gonna be getting all weird, then you can make pasta salad. And you can use any of these dressings on it. So yeah, pasta salad all summer long. 

Elsie: Nice. Okay. The food that I love is deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs. I think they’re the most amazing food, and one of my kids is obsessed with them. So that’s fun for me because anytime I make them, I know that we will eat them all. And the other thing I love that you just don’t see it anytime except for summer is cold potato salad. I have had a couple of times in my life like warm potato salad and that for me is not the thing.

Emma: Is that just mashed potatoes? I don’t get it. 

Elsie: It’s warm potato salad. I don’t know. I think I like it really cold and really mustardy. So that is my summer side dish. 

Emma: I love a cold potato salad. Good pick. What about summer desserts? Do you have any favorite summer desserts? 

Elsie: Yes. Mine is very simple. I just like ice cream. Ice cream is my favorite summer dessert by a mile. Honestly, I care a little bit, but not very much about every other summer dessert. 

Emma: Do you make ice cream or do you have favorite brands that you like, these are the grocery store brands that I love.

Elsie: I have not made ice cream ever, I don’t think, except for when we had the soft serve machine. I guess I did make a soft serve, but I’ve never made normal ice cream before. Like the way you have. I would love to, but no, I like Jenny’s brown butter almond brittle is the best flavor, and then out of Ben and Jerry’s my favorite flavor is the Stephen Colbert America Dream flavor. I think it’s really good. And then my other just general favorite flavor, if I have to just pick a random brand, is cookies and cream. So I feel like that’s just like always good and my kids really like the magic shell. Have you ever bought that, magic shell where it gets hard? 

Emma: Of course. 

Elsie: So that is very fun.

Emma: I feel like that’s a very like kid thing. I don’t know why because it’s really good. I like it as an adult. I also really like the milk bar. Like milk ice creams. 

Elsie: Yeah, milk bar, ice creams. Okay. Out of those ones, my favorite one is Corn Flake Cereal One. 

Emma: They don’t have that in our grocery store, I don’t think. Yeah. I think one time you had a bunch of them at your house and I got to try quite a few of ’em and they were all so good, but my favorite is probably the one with the cornflakes. And I don’t know why because it’s not like Cornflakes is my favorite cereal, but it’s such a good ice cream. 

Elsie: It’s crazy good. Yeah. If you ever see that one in a store, just immediately buy it and don’t think. 

Emma: I’ve sent them to people as a gift, like a birthday thing too because I just think it makes a great gift because they’re delicious.

Elsie: That’s nice. Jenny’s has shipping too, and I do think it’s one of the ultimate gifts you could send or receive. It’s just you don’t wanna get a box of Jenny’s. 

Emma: No. You definitely want that anytime. I also love ice cream, but probably my number one nostalgic summer, favorite summer dessert is no baked cookies, and there are lots of no baked cookies in the world. I guess I should say the no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies.

Elsie: You know that’s Jeremy’s favorite cookies. 

Emma: Really? So it is a gingerbread in the winter. No bakes cookies in the summer kind of guy. 

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: I love them. I think I associate them with our childhood because it was the main cookie we would make in the summer, because once the air conditioner was on, we weren’t supposed to use the oven, so we had to do no bake.

Elsie: Our dad had rules about the oven in the summer, like rules. 

Emma: Yeah. So we did a lot of no-bake recipes, which actually we have tons of really good no-bake recipes generally on our blog, and we definitely have no-bake cookies on the blog, a couple of versions in fact, cuz they’re so good. So yeah, it reminds me of my childhood, but I also really love them because I like oatmeal cookies. It’s one of my top, no raisins, but I like oatmeals because I like the texture of it when you’re chewing it. I just think it’s a really enjoyable experience. Toothsome, isn’t that what people say? 

Elsie: What’s that mean? 

Emma: Mouthfeel. These are things that foodie people will say, I don’t know, and it’s kind of funny to me.

Elsie: For me, an oatmeal cookie is like squarely in the middle of the cookie category. 

Emma: It’s like take it or leave it is how you feel?

Elsie: Yes. It’s not great, but not bad. It’s in the middle. 

Emma: I feel like a lot of people feel that way about the no-bake cookies, the chocolate oatmeal ones. I feel like it’s either people’s favorite, like apparently me and Jeremy or they’re like, ah either way they’re fine. 

Elsie: Think no-bake cookies are crazy good. They’re like chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, that’s what they are. Yeah, they’re good. 

Emma: Yeah, they’re so good. 

Elsie: Fun. Well, that’s fun. That’s very different. 

Emma: You wanna do our listener question? 

Elsie: Yes. Let’s go for it. 

Emma: Okay. This is from Carrie McLendon. It’s from our email box, which is And she says, please do an episode about sparkling beverages. Non-alcoholic, alcoholic. The market is cray. There’s so much to discuss. How are we admittedly basic, very busy moms supposed to wade through all the choices without help? You’re doing very important work, give us your personal guide to all the seltzers. It’s almost summer for goodness sake. 

Elsie: Okay, so to begin the marketplace for, what are they called? Like hard seltzers. The marketplace for hard seltzers has gotten out of control because it’s butter finger flavored, lays potato chip flavored, like just any brand of any kind will put their name on a hard seltzer beverage. 

Emma: It’s like a Sonic brand. Like Sonic, the drive-in restaurant. 

Elsie: And when it first started the craze, I was like, wanted to try everything, like even the gross sounding ones because I thought, oh, this is funny, this cost silly. But now I’m just like the whole category sort of like, turns me off because it’s gotten so extreme. And okay, this is my truth. No one has to agree with me, but I kind of think that hard seltzers all taste the same. 

Emma: Yeah. I am in the same boat. I’m not a hard seltzer person and I don’t know, to me, I’m also like, sometimes they make me think like they’re kind of like a diet, alcohol, beverage, because they’re supposed to be lighter. 

Elsie: I think some people think they are. 

Emma: Yeah. They have fewer calories or something. I don’t really know. I’m kind of like, I’d rather just drink water or have some canned wine or a spritz, Aperol spritz or something. I’m the same way if we go to a dive bar, I don’t really want a vodka soda ever. I’m like, nah, I’m good on that. I will either have some, like a real drink to me, which is like something I want. Or I’m like, I’ll just drink water. I’m good. So I don’t know. Seltzers don’t really do it for me, but everyone loves them. 

Elsie: Yeah. I think I agree with this, the idea that alcohol kind of like shouldn’t be healthy. It doesn’t need to be healthy because it’s like alcohol is inherently unhealthy. Sort of like no matter how you spin it, it’s on the bad list, and it’s a limited food that you should only have a little bit. So, yeah, I’m the same, but, I have tried a lot of different ones. 

Emma: Some people, they legitimately like them, they think they taste good and stuff, and that’s cool. I just don’t.

Elsie: For me, I stay with canned cocktails more than seltzers. So there are ones, if they really have tequila in them and like juice and things like that, then for me, that’s my category where I can find something I like a little bit better. 

Emma: I also like those tiny cans, like the Sophia Sparkling wines.

Elsie: I love canned wine. I will never back down from that canned wine is, there’s nothing wrong with it. The Sophia cans are the perfect tiny, they’re so tiny. 

Emma: Yeah, it’s just like a little drink. 

Elsie: And the tiny straw that pops up. I mean like it doesn’t get better than that. Okay. So what I have down is for me, I have a lot of cold hard truths in this section. I’m talking about non-alcoholic. I guess this isn’t really the question, but I’m just gonna go with it. The non-alcoholic, liquor substitutes, faux liquor, all of those because we went through a phase where we tried all of them because my husband doesn’t drink. So we had a couple of years ago, a phase where we tried every single type. And for me, this is my cold hard truth. I kind of think they all taste the same too. Just get one or two of ’em and that’s it, but for me honestly, I just put a virgin or non-alcoholic mojito recipe on our blog. For me, you don’t even need them. I think that you can make most great mocktails without even having a liquor substitute. I think if you wanted to get fake wine or we call it kids wine in my house, non-alcoholic sparkling juices, and things like that. I think those are delightful. Yeah. I just kind of like felt that I didn’t have a use for the like, Spirits, the non-alcoholic spirits. 

Emma: Have you ever had, I don’t know if fake beer is the right word, but a beer that doesn’t have alcohol for the non-alcoholic beer? The ones that are meant to be light beers, like they’re not supposed to be like IPAs. They’re more light. I like those. And I think they taste relatively the same. And it’s probably because if I’m having a beer, it’s probably on the lake and I put like four limes in it. Oh, it’s mostly lime juice. If I do the same thing to a non-alcoholic beer, I really cannot tell the difference. I’m like, yeah, this tastes like very limey and cold, which is what I want. So those really work for me if I’m wanting something non-alcoholic, but yeah, I just like to put berries or mint leaves or something in sparkling water and I feel like that’s a great mocktail. 

Elsie: Mojitos is one of the best ones, but where you just kind of don’t notice that it’s not there. There are quite a few bloody mary another one where you can just make it taste kind of exactly the same. 

Emma: Yeah. Anything with a lot of flavors. Sometimes I’ll get like a virgin pina colada if I’m a golden girl, and it tastes to me exactly the same. 

Elsie: Yeah. That’s a very good one. Okay. So as far as alcohol, my favorite thing to make is definitely mojitos and margaritas. Although I guess those aren’t all sparkling. I’m going off the course. Mojitos are sparkling. 

Emma: We’re medium answering her question, we’re doing our own thing. 

Elsie: Okay. And then for seltzers, I know you prepared your list. I shared my list in a previous episode, but the rough short notes are that I like anything that says cherry on the can. Anything that says orange cream, I have like a weird thing with orange vanilla, I really like those. And there’s this one brand that has a basil one and that was my ultimate. Okay, so say your list. 

Emma: Here are my top five sparkling waters. It is a LaCroix lemon Cello. That’s my number one all time. 

Elsie: Okay, that is a polarizing LaCroix flavor. I personally don’t like it. 

Emma: Trey does not like it either. But I love it, to me, it tastes almost a little bit creamy. Like a creamy lemon. 

Elsie: It’s like lemon cream for sure. 

Emma: Yeah. And it’s really good, but it’s still just sparkling water. There’s not really anything else in it, so it’s not actually creamy, but it’s really good in my opinion. But yeah, maybe it’s like coconut people can’t handle it. I don’t know. Number two, Waterloo grape. 

Elsie: Waterloo Grape is a classic. 

Emma: It’s just always there at the grocery store. So it’s a good, safe one, but it really is like my number two. I always like it. It has a lot of flavor. It’s very flavorful. And something about the grape I think just feels like a kid’s soda. Not that kid should even drink soda. I don’t know. But like, you know, grape soda is like a thing that’s like a nostalgic thing that I probably wouldn’t drink now, but clearly, I will drink the sparkling water version. So there you go. Bubbly cherry. I do think bubbly is oftentimes more flavorful than LaCroix. So they both have cherry, but I prefer the bubbly cherry, out of them if I have a choice. If they’re both at the grocery store, I’ll get the bubbly one, but I will take any cherry sparkling water just like Elsie. I love it. Have you had one, this is my number four. Have you had Liquid Death? Have you tried those? 

Elsie: I did, recently. After you kind of gave me the hard sell, I did get the Liquid Death, and the first time I brought it in we were watching tv, Jeremy was instantly like, what is that because he thought it was alcohol. I think that it looks, it looks like a beer the cans are so funny to me. I think Liquid Death is definitely going up to my top as well. It’s very good. 

Emma: Yeah. And they have different products, but as far as their sparkling waters go, my favorite is just the plain. But they have a bunch of fruit ones too. Like the lime is really good. I feel like I saw one that was mango and I was interested in that, but I honestly get the plain a lot. And what I love about them is they’re a bigger can. It’s kind of like a tall boy. So, In a way, I feel like once I open it, I’m like trying to drink it all before it goes flat. I feel like I’m drinking more water than I do with some of the other cans because it’s a bigger can. And then also, as you said, they kind of look like beer cans. So, A little trick we do is sometimes we will take that with us to a party and then I’ll just have one drink and then I’ll start drinking those, and I feel like nobody cares, but I feel like I’m still a part of the drinking crowd because I’m carrying this thing around that kind of looks like a beer. But it’s not. It’s just water and it’s delicious. 

Elsie: You can definitely use it for your imposter’s costume. I think that it’s very good though. Okay, but my one warning is the second time I went back to buy more, I accidentally bought a whole case and it was just like flat water in a can. They have just water that’s not carbonated, and then I had to drink just water out of cans and I was very sad 

about it.

Emma: Yeah. I don’t ever buy those ones, I don’t really want just plain water. I want the sparkles. I want the bubbles. 

Elsie: Okay. Well, that’s a good list. Are there any more? 

Emma: Number five is just key lime LaCroix because I like lime, but key lime is a little bit more interesting to me. 

Elsie: Agree. I agree with that.

Emma: So it’s another, Trey doesn’t really like that one, he’d rather just have lime, he loves grapefruit. That’s probably one of his tops, and I will drink it but it’s not really my flavor. So I feel like in our little fridge that houses all our sparkling waters, we have ones that are like, those ones are Emma’s. Those ones are Trays, grapefruit, different ones. 

Elsie: Totally. Yeah. We have that as well. That’s funny. Alright, thank you so much for listening this week. We’ll be back next week with our Comfort Rewatch episode of The Parent Trap 1998. It is one of our top favorite Nancy Myers movies. See you next week.


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