Here’s how to make your summer at home in Calgary more fun

I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to be spending more time outside this summer in Calgary. If this past period of quarantine taught me anything, it’s not to take for granted our daily life and freedoms. Instead of grumbling to get errands done, now I’m competing with The Huz to see who can pick up the wine, the take out and all those other little jobs we put off while staying safely at home.

A spot of shopping, some freshly cut flowers and an impromptu picnic is my favourite way to spend a summer day in Calgary (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

This post is presented in partnership with Country Hills Village Shopping Centre

Even though we’re in Phase Two and things have eased up a little bit, I’m still cautious. You just never know if you could be an asymptomatic carrier. So I’m being choosy about where I go and what services I resume (yes, grey hairs, I’m looking at you!).

That’s why I felt so happy heading back to Country Hills Village Shopping Centre. It felt like a breath of fresh air being back shopping and able to attend to wellness appointments. I also had the added comfort of parking outside, deliberately picking and choosing my stores as they all have separate outdoor entrances.

dog food aisle at pet store
Thank goodness we never ran out of dog food like our friends in the U.S. did. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good mall. Just not now. I’ve been and it feels weird. Far better, I think, to avoid indoor crowds. And if ever there was a time to support smaller, local businesses, now would be it. Here’s a look at how we can make the next few weeks more fun, while safely doing all the things that put our lives back on track.

shopping bag filled with flowers
Why be indoors, when you can be out? (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Summer in Calgary

One thing I look forward to doing every summer in Calgary is picnicking. This year I’m totally in the takeout camp. I’m too impatient for most restaurants, so I’ve been loving the ease of calling in or selecting my order online, then picking it up hot and fresh.

One of the best discoveries I’ve made in the last few months are the wings from Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria. I love my hot wings (not super hot, just medium), but Famoso takes them to a whole new level. They’re not fried, but rather roasted in their super hot 900ºF pizza oven. The result is a juicy morsel bound by oh-so crispy skin. Best is, you dunk it in their creamy parmesan dip. Swoon!

Add a thin crust pizza (it transports really well) and some apples like Opa’s pita and dip, calamari and greek salad and you’re good to go! 

Veuve Clicquot yellow bag
We call this the champagne walk (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

And what’s a picnic without a little bubbles? Boring, that’s what! Super Value Liquor has these amazing bottles of Veuve Clicquot that come in their own padded tote bag. I’m not one to pass up a gift with purchase when it’s this adorable. Not only is sparkling wine the perfect picnic sipper, it’s also great to keep on hand when you need a gift ASAP. I guess that’s my excuse for buying two bottles.

covid precautions
I love how local distillers have stepped up and we now have a ready supply of hand sanitizer. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Oh, they also sell hand sanitizer in what looks to me like vodka bottles. Something smart to keep on hand (not that I’m predicting a second wave), but it’s also super cute to gift to friends.

And I’m getting out on my bike more. Whenever I can ride around to my errands, appointments and socially distant friend gatherings, I do. Being on a bike, feeling the wind on your face just makes summer more fun.

summer in calgary
You never feel as virtuous as you do when biking to the shops. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Favourite summer buys

I’m not afraid to admit I love my shopping, but one thing I realized after not buying hardly anything – except for essential goods – is that I can get away with less. It’s quality over quantity for me now. I saw this adorable woven straw bag in Black Earth Floral Gallery and realized I haven’t bought one item of summer clothing or accessories at all this year. Time to rectify that situation!

purse trends 2020
It’s a purse! It’s a shopping bag! It’s the perfect summer tote! (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

And I couldn’t help buying this super sweet enamel pink mug that you see below. Not only does it look great on a picnic blanket, I’m sure to be the most stylish camper in any campground.

country hills village shopping centre
You don’t need the proper accoutrements to make your picnic special. But it never hurts… (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Something else I’ve been stoked to buy are hair products. During quarantine I thought it would be a good idea to use up all those hotel mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I did, but the task wasn’t as satisfying as I imagined. The time has come to treat myself with some proper product now that people besides my immediate family are seeing my hair.

diva salon and spa calgary
If it’s pink, sustainable and smells divine, she must be mine! (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

I was delighted to see that AVEDA’s new vegan nutriplenish line is being carried by Diva Salon and Spa. Not only is it ultra hydrating (read: perfect for harsh Calgary weather), but the icing on the cake is that nutriplenish’s packaging is pink and being AVEDA, it smells delicious. The #1 product to get, I’m told, is the nutriplenish multi-use hair oil. 

Getting back into your health and wellness routine

I’d be really curious to know what your first appointment was when things opened back up. For me, it was off to the salon to get my greys banished and my split ends tidied up.

hair appointment covid
I may have been one of the first in line to get my roots and ends done. Sorry, not sorry. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

A close second was the chiropractor. I was more excited about getting an adjustment than I was about massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine or even a facial. There are all sorts of wellness opportunities at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre.

You could get your blood pumping at Rumble Boxing. Get an adjustment as I did (my C2 seems to not want to stay in place) at Country Hills Chiropractic & Wellness or book in for a massage there or at Country Hills Massage Therapy. You’ve got lots of options!

covid chiropractor appointment
You’d be amazed at what sitting around the house for three months can do to your health. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

And of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I felt reborn after getting mounds of dead skin sloughed off my feet during a much needed pedicure. But why stop there? You always get a deal with you do a mani-pedi combo at Mint Nails Spa & Lounge.

covid 19 manicure
I was initially worried getting a mani-pedi wouldn’t be as great it as it was, but even without the magazines, I appreciated the pampering more. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Now going back to your wellness practitioners is a bit different than you may be used to. While you can stroll around outside without a mask, you’ll likely be asked to wear one inside any spa or clinic. There’s hand sanitizer at the ready and appointments are spaced out so there aren’t a bunch of people in the waiting room.

The receptionist may whip out a nifty forehead thermometer to take your temperature and you’ll be asked a few questions to ensure the safety of everyone else in the clinic. All these extra steps take hardly any time – maybe an extra minute to your regular check in procedure, but it’s well worth it for the peace of mind.

covid 19 outdoor shopping
I know everyone hates the term ‘new normal,’ but getting out safely has made me feel so much less anxious. (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

So for me, the perfect Calgary summer all boils down to little treats, some me-time wellness treatments and getting outside. If I could have a picnic with friends every few weeks, jump on my bike every few days and get my body feeling back to normal, I’d be a happy camper.

best gift store in calgary
Weirdly, I’m spending less on myself and more on other people this summer. Surprise gifts make everyone happy! (Credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

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13 thoughts on “Here’s how to make your summer at home in Calgary more fun”

  1. We aren’t going inside much. Gardening, meeting a friend for a walk or a back yard drink, and camping. Next up is farmers markets as well as the produce from my backyard.

  2. Michelle Dickie

    While more places in Calgary have opened up, I am participating in outdoor events/attractions and ordering takeout. When I do go inside, I always wear a mask. We’ve now seen many examples around the world where there is a new spike in cases and I do not want to contribute to that here. If all it takes to help is the small inconvenience of wearing a mask, that is a very small ask! Was just thinking about Famoso the other day….. thanks for the chance to win!

  3. I’ve definitely prioritized spending more time outside and exploring our parks over indoor activities.

  4. We have been getting out on Calgary’s wonderful bike paths. Bring outside definitely makes life a little easier during these crazy times!

  5. MyAn Pacholkow

    I’m biking and walking around a lot more, to make up for the inactivity of working from home. There is no shortage of new eateries popping up and so we are looking forward to trying them out.

  6. As a family, we have been kept entertained by all the bike path’s in Calgary. The fun thing about our summer is that we are being a tourist in our own city. We are checking out lots of different tourist attractions that we haven’t been to. It is really cool to see your city in a different way.

  7. Lynette James

    I’m loving my deck and walking in some of the wonderful green spaces we have in Calgary

  8. I’m trying to visit new areas of the city / new places that I haven’t been before!

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