Summertime Oasis

by Laura M.

Our loyal reader Julia, posed this wonderful question to untapped: How can I creatively find a bright spot on the landscape when a) it’s cold and dreary outside, b) the post-holiday letdown has set in, and c) there’s no vacation in sight?

My immediate thought was: Let’s figure out a way to create a summertime oasis in your home. Something that will figuratively or literally add some sparkle to everyday life.

Once I settled on this idea, I thought about how one or all of the five senses could be used to achieve the oasis effect. So I tried to figure out what would simulate summer in terms of touch, sight, taste, sound and smell.

Images that come to mind when I think of summer are the beach, bonfires and paper lanterns. I haven’t experienced bonfires or lanterns in a beach setting, but I feel like I see them in commercials for blood pressure medication (and probably more than one episode of 90210). Anyway, in my search for said paper lanterns, I found these delightful tiki hut string lights from the store At Home:


You could also find similar lights or paper lanterns at World Market or Pier 1, I’m sure. Don’t they put you in the mood for summer?

For the sense of taste, I had to ask myself what foods/beverages remind me of summer. Lemonade, for sure. One of my absolute favorite summertime foods is gazpacho. Here’s Mom’s trusty recipe:


A sound closely tied to summer bliss is waves crashing to shore. I went to the Google Play store (Android gal here) and found a ton of free apps that play that sound:


Let’s face it: the smell of salt water is intoxicating. You can re-create this at home with a ocean-scented candle. I found this one at Kroger:


Here’s how things came together:



Bonfire: check

A delicious summertime beverage: check

Tiki huts: check

The smell of the ocean: check

And you’ll just have to imagine the app making the sounds of the waves.

By the way, you could also package all these items up and gift them to a friend. Summer in a box!

For work, I had a simpler solution.

My favorite summer place is my friend’s cabin in a tiny town in Maine called New Harbor. The cabin sits on the bay of a peninsula, with the back deck facing the water.

When I call up this oasis in my mind, I envision sitting on the deck, watching the sunset with my dear friends. So for my office oasis, I printed up an 8 x 10 and slapped it on my bulletin board:


Now all I have to do is cast my eyes 10 degrees to the left and I’m brought back to that peaceful place and reminded of my dear friends. BTW, Walgreen’s has a great app where you can upload your photo and order prints in a snap.

Other suggestions:

Maybe you have a hammock you could bring inside? Or maybe you have one of those stovetops that has a grill? By all means, fire up the barbie, mate! When it comes to touch, sand is the best representation of summer, am I right? I don’t know about buying 50 lbs. worth of sand (smallest quantity Home Depot sells it in), though. Feels like a big investment, even at a measly $3.97. But, hey – if you wanna go for it, grab that kiddie pool, stick it in your living room and fill it up with sand!

What are some ideas you have? Please post them in the comments!