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Eating Outside: The Ups, Downs, and

Workarounds

by Maria Gracia Join our newsletter to be notified when the newest monthly “A Sneak Peek of Maria’s Life” content is available. Summer officially arrives this month. I’ve seen a bunch of restaurants dragging their chairs and tables out of storage for outdoor seating. I really enjoy eating outside, except when I don’t. It’s kind of a love/hate thing, depending on the situation. In preparation for eating outdoors, I thought I’d share the ups, downs, and workarounds of eating outside. There are so many “ups” to outdoor dining. Here are just a few off the top of my head… 1. You get to breathe in the outdoor air. There is something special about eating outside, enjoying a meal. It’s an experience most of us long for in the summer. 2. Nature can be very soothing. Eating outside comes with the sights and sounds of nature. Maybe you see a tiny bird pecking away at some crumbs or your backdrop includes trees, flowers, and other beautiful colors of summer. 3. Some restaurants have very pretty outdoor settings. I particularly enjoy those that have large lights strung in the early evening. They add such lovely ambiance. 4. Sometimes you can combine eating outside with an active lifestyle. After a picnic, you might play some Frisbee or volleyball, or perhaps you'll be enticed to go for a walk. 5. It connects you with other humans. Very often, people eat outside in groups, either couples, families, or a group of friends. Many restaurant establishments provide outdoor seating when they can. While you're all enjoying your meal, you can people watch. 6. It provides a change of scenery. Let's face it. Most of us eat in the same spot (the table at home or our desk at work, perhaps) most days of our lives. It's nice to break away from that routine. Eating outdoors provides us with that change of scenery. 7. Eating indoors at a crowded restaurant and eating outdoors at a crowded restaurant are two different feelings. You'll be less likely to “feel crowded” when you're eating outdoors. As for the “downs” to eating outdoors, there are quiet a few as well. I’ve attempted to include a few “workarounds”: 1. Day bugs: I don't enjoy having to swat at a fly, a bee, or other pesky insect every 15 seconds. o Screened in areas: We'll often look for options where we can “eat outside” but are actually “inside” a screened in area with minimal flying insects. o Lids and covers: Use lids for food containers and beverage. This will mask food aromas and minimize the chances of bees diving into your food. o Don’t choose picnic spots near trash cans. Bees often swarm around them. o Give them their own meal. If you’re at home or in a park, about 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat, set out a bowl or cup with some maple syrup…a few yards away from your picnic. Hopefully they pursue this meal and leave yours alone. o Fly swatter. Don’t eat outside without a fly swatter. There’s nothing more annoying than swatting at flies with your clean hands…the ones you’re about to eat with. 2. Mosquitos...these are in a category of their own. They love me…unfortunately. Most of the time, if the mosquitos are out, I'm either covered head to toe in mosquito spray (which is really not pleasant if we're eating) or I'm eating indoors. o Use mosquito spray…the strong stuff. I hate chemicals, but I hate mosquitos more. Be sure you take a shower and wash it all off before you go to bed. o Display citronella torches. These tiki torches double as summer outdoor decor and mosquito deterrents. o Turn on fans. Mosquitos are naturally weak fliers. They love still air. Keep the air moving with fans. 3. The hot sun: While sunshine is always welcome in the summer, the scorching heat is usually not. Eating outdoors in the blazing sun can get very uncomfortable. o Seek shade. We try our best to get a table that's in the shade or that has an umbrella. o Bring the essentials. We always bring sunscreen, sun glasses, and caps/hat for protection. o Stay hydrated. Drink tons of water. Make water your drink of choice on hot summer days. 4. Dirty tables: Obviously restaurant tables that are outside are exposed to the elements, so they can get dusty and dirty quickly. o Bring wet wipes. If you are eating at an outdoor table, bring wet wipes and use as needed. o Wash and dry. If you are eating at home, always thoroughly wash and dry your outdoor table before eating on it. o Bring a tablecloth. If you are eating at a picnic table, consider bringing a tablecloth. 5. Rain: Isn't it super frustrating when you're eating outside and then, out of the blue, it decides to rain? o Reconsider. If it looks like it might rain, or the weather app says it will, reconsider taking the chance of eating outdoors. o Carry ponchos in your purse, or stow a few in your car. Having those disposable rain ponchos on hand can provide a bit of protection if you’re eating outside at a carnival or festival. o Choose a park shelter. If you’re eating in a park, choose a sheltered area whenever possible. It helps shield from the hot sun and the rain. 6. Table items blowing in the wind. A gentle breeze is usually very welcome in the summer. A breeze that’s just a bit harder can blow napkins, wrappers, and other light items away, sending you running after them. o Use cloth napkins. They don’t blow as easily. o Bring weights to hold down light items or keep them in a container. o Bring plate holders to give weight to paper plates. o Use tablecloth bungees to keep tablecloths from blowing off the table. 7. Less comfortable weather-proof seating. Outdoor seating can be hard and may not have any back support. o Bring seat cushions. These provide cushion and support and are great for when you’re eating at a park or in a baseball stadium. Leave them in the car if you eat out a lot. o Take your towel. Sitting on a towel is much more comfortable. This also helps prevent your legs from getting scorched if the seats are hot and you’re wearing shorts or a skirt. Back to A Sneak Peek into Maria’s Life Index
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Back to A Sneak Peek into Maria’s Life Index Maria Loves

10 Reasons Why I Love

Being Organized

by Maria Gracia Join our newsletter to be notified when the newest “A Sneak Peek of Maria’s Life” content is available. Summer officially arrives this month. I’ve seen a bunch of restaurants dragging their chairs and tables out of storage for outdoor seating. I really enjoy eating outside, except when I don’t. It’s kind of a love/hate thing, depending on the situation. In preparation for eating outdoors, I thought I’d share the ups, downs, and workarounds of eating outside. There are so many “ups” to outdoor dining. Here are just a few off the top of my head… 1. You get to breathe in the outdoor air. There is something special about eating outside, enjoying a meal. It’s an experience most of us long for in the summer. 2. Nature can be very soothing.  Eating outside comes with the sights and sounds of nature. Maybe you see a tiny bird pecking away at some crumbs or your backdrop includes trees, flowers, and other beautiful colors of summer. 3. Some restaurants have very pretty outdoor settings. I particularly enjoy those that have large lights strung in the early evening. They add such lovely ambiance. 4. Sometimes you can combine eating outside with an active lifestyle. After a picnic, you might play some Frisbee or volleyball, or perhaps you'll be enticed to go for a walk. 5. It connects you with other humans. Very often, people eat outside in groups, either couples, families, or a group of friends. Many restaurant establishments provide outdoor seating when they can. While you're all enjoying your meal, you can people watch. 6. It provides a change of scenery.  Let's face it. Most of us eat in the same spot (the table at home or our desk at work, perhaps) most days of our lives. It's nice to break away from that routine. Eating outdoors provides us with that change of scenery. 7. Eating indoors at a crowded restaurant and eating outdoors at a crowded restaurant are two different feelings. You'll be less likely to “feel crowded” when you're eating outdoors. As for the “downs” to eating outdoors, there are quiet a few as well. I’ve attempted to include a few “workarounds”: 1. Day bugs: I don't enjoy having to swat at a fly, a bee, or other pesky insect every 15 seconds. o Screened in areas: We'll often look for options where we can “eat outside” but are actually “inside” a screened in area with minimal flying insects. o Lids and covers: Use lids for food containers and beverage. This will mask food aromas and minimize the chances of bees diving into your food. o Don’t choose picnic spots near trash cans. Bees often swarm around them. o Give them their own meal. If you’re at home or in a park, about 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat, set out a bowl or cup with some maple syrup…a few yards away from your picnic. Hopefully they pursue this meal and leave yours alone. o Fly swatter. Don’t eat outside without a fly swatter. There’s nothing more annoying than swatting at flies with your clean hands…the ones you’re about to eat with. 2. Mosquitos...these are in a category of their own. They love me…unfortunately. Most of the time, if the mosquitos are out, I'm either covered head to toe in mosquito spray (which is really not pleasant if we're eating) or I'm eating indoors. o Use mosquito spray…the strong stuff. I hate chemicals, but I hate mosquitos more. Be sure you take a shower and wash it all off before you go to bed. o Display citronella torches.  These tiki torches double as summer outdoor decor and mosquito deterrents. o Turn on fans. Mosquitos are naturally weak fliers. They love still air. Keep the air moving with fans. 3. The hot sun: While sunshine is always welcome in the summer, the scorching heat is usually not. Eating outdoors in the blazing sun can get very uncomfortable. o Seek shade. We try our best to get a table that's in the shade or that has an umbrella. o Bring the essentials. We always bring sunscreen, sun glasses, and caps/hat for protection. o Stay hydrated. Drink tons of water. Make water your drink of choice on hot summer days. 4. Dirty tables: Obviously restaurant tables that are outside are exposed to the elements, so they can get dusty and dirty quickly. o Bring wet wipes. If you are eating at an outdoor table, bring wet wipes and use as needed. o Wash and dry. If you are eating at home, always thoroughly wash and dry your outdoor table before eating on it. o Bring a tablecloth. If you are eating at a picnic table, consider bringing a tablecloth. 5. Rain: Isn't it super frustrating when you're eating outside and then, out of the blue, it decides to rain? o Reconsider. If it looks like it might rain, or the weather app says it will, reconsider taking the chance of eating outdoors. o Carry ponchos in your purse, or stow a few in your car. Having those disposable rain ponchos on hand can provide a bit of protection if you’re eating outside at a carnival or festival. o Choose a park shelter. If you’re eating in a park, choose a sheltered area whenever possible. It helps shield from the hot sun and the rain. 6. Table items blowing in the wind. A gentle breeze is usually very welcome in the summer. A breeze that’s just a bit harder can blow napkins, wrappers, and other light items away, sending you running after them. o Use cloth napkins. They don’t blow as easily. o Bring weights to hold down light items or keep them in a container. o Bring plate holders to give weight to paper plates. o Use tablecloth bungees to keep tablecloths from blowing off the table. 7. Less comfortable weather-proof seating. Outdoor seating can be hard and may not have any back support. Bring seat cushions. These provide cushion and support and are great for when you’re eating at a park or in a baseball stadium. Leave them in the car if you eat out a lot. Take your towel. Sitting on a towel is much more comfortable. This also helps prevent your legs from getting scorched if the seats are hot and you’re wearing shorts or a skirt. Back to A Sneak Peek into Maria’s Life Index
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