July 21, 2011

How to Stay Cool in a Heat Wave

We’re on day five of super hot summer days here in New York, and we have yet to see the worst of it. I’m so scared about the crazy heat wave coming this weekend, you’d think it was the apocalypse. To mitigate my fear of what’s coming, I’m keeping a pretty glass carafe of water in the fridge (fancy!), my Wednesday night swimming lessons couldn’t have had better timing, and there may be a trip to Rockaway Beach in the weekend cards. Still, I’m a wimp. So while I hope this list might offer you a gem or two, it is mostly to keep me from freaking out. How have you been cooling off this summer?

  1. Daytime trips to the movies: If you haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet, take the next blisteringly hot afternoon as a sign from Melissa McCarthy that you could be laughing really, really hard in powerful air-conditioning. Plus: fountain soda!
  2. A picnic at the beach: Sand in your sandwich! Greasy sunscreen! Summer reading! And then, a dip in the water. Heaven.
  3. Slurpees from 7-11: Pull the lever on a Slurpee machine (put your cup’s top on first for the neatest execution) are you’re nine again.
  4. Icy cocktails: Also, if you can find it, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. So delicious.
  5. Homemade lemonade: Here are 21 different recipes to suit your fancy. But I’m loyal to this one.
  6. Find an open fire hydrant: And if you’re really enterprising (and brave) fill up an empty trash can and dunk yourself in it like I saw a kid doing the other day on a street corner. My heart kind of went out to him (I mean, it was a trash can), but I admired his spunk.
  7. A dip in the pool: Why are people so against public pools? Us city folk have no other option, and really, what’s so scary? Besides, I like to think I look very fetching in my required swim cap and goggles. (Oh, if this were true.)
  8. A bowl of ice water in front of a fan: I always think of that episode of SATC where Carrie’s perched in a chair, drinking iced tea and reading a magazine in front of a fan when Aleksandr Petrovsky calls for the first time.
  9. Close the curtains and turn on the TV: There’s something decadently subversive about staying inside on hot, sunny days. Have a marathon (may I suggest Party Down?) or watch cold, wintery movies (Think Dr. Zhivago).
  10. Cucumber ice water: Cooling, and you feel like you’re at a spa. Double whammy.
  11. Kiddie pools: Got a backyard? Then you really need to set up a kiddie pool. And then you need to invite over your friends who don’t have backyards.
  12. Cool baths: When no one invites me to their kiddie pool and the Y feels too far away, I like to just run a cool bath. A little too desperate and depression-era? Not when you bring a delicious beverage and a stack of magazines in with you.
  13. Root beer floats: Or a straight up beer float.
  14. Refrigerate your face products: Masks, sprays, toner, eye cream––it all feels better cold.
  15. Cold Watermelon: Quintessential.
  16. Ice cream: Practically medicinal.
  17. Homemade frozen yogurt: A friend of mine insists it’s easier than you think (and suggests adding a little vodka to keep it from getting an icy consistency. Kinda genius.)
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  • Heather: Sarah, I am amazed that a little heat has you so ‘wimpyfied’ since you grew up in Dallas, ha ha!! We are frying down here in the South(Oklahoma that is) and have been for some time now with no end for awhile. Thanks for the ‘cool’ ideas. 🙂6 years ago

  • Kristina Strain: My favorite movie to watch when it’s cold: Fargo. Stay cool, my friend. Sunday will be here soon (I hope!).6 years ago

  • Betsy: I would urge you to try watermelon wine. Chunk seedless watermelon into a blender, add white wine and whirl!6 years ago

  • Martie: Beer Float? Girl, you’re hard core! 🙂6 years ago

  • Heather, The thing about the south is that they believe in a/c. Powerful a/c. It’s not the same up here!

    Kristina, Fargo is a brilliant idea!

    Betsy, Holy wow, that sounds good! Lovely idea.

    Martie, I had one at a friend’s house once and they were CRAZY good, and I don’t even care for lambic!6 years ago

  • Cadi: These are all great ideas to deploy, you have a listing of my favorite here! I have to ask, though: does that sign behind your ice cream cone say Cinnamon & Peanut Butter milkshakes??? If so that sounds A-mazing….

    Another to add to your list (includes essences of numbers 4 and 16 above): In a blender, toss in a hearty scoop of good vanilla ice cream, a cup of ice cubes, a shot of Bailey’s, a shot of vodka, and a shot of Kahlua, and blend the whole business. Resist the urge to gulp it down and make two more rounds. One of my favorite summer milkshakes!6 years ago

  • Cadi, It does indeed! The folks at Mt Desert Ice Cream are geniuses, and that coffee with chocolate-covered espresso beans was the best coffee-flavor I’ve ever had. Your milkshake sounds crazy delish! (And dangerous!)6 years ago

  • Kate: The lightest clothing I can find, hairstyles that sweep all hair from my face and neck, jamming my bed pillow in the freezer for 5 min before bed, soaking my feet in ice water: these were my heat wave tricks prior to AC installation. Oh, and when all else failed, checking into a hotel for the night!6 years ago

  • Kate, I almost put the foot bath thing in but then I thought maybe I had made it up in a dream! Glad to hear that works. Also, the bed pillow idea is brilliant!6 years ago

  • meg w: we’re facing 36C (100F) here today, but the weather network says with the humidity it’s more like 49C (120F!!), so i got excited to read your blog post. then i clicked over to your lemonade recipe of choice, got SO excited, emailing my husband to demand there be lemons/lemon juice in the fridge by the time i get home so i can make it, and then forgot to finish reading the rest of your post! i’m glad i came back though… vodka in frozen yogurt? amazing 🙂6 years ago

  • Lisa: Sarah, I love every one of these! We are having quite the heat wave here in Virginia as well. So going to make some frozen yogurt today — thanks for the reminder — and yes yes yes, it IS easy! So easy! You don’t have to cook anything!6 years ago

  • Katie: These ideas are fabulous! A big YES to the ice cream, and I love the cool footbath and ice-water-in-front-of-fan ideas. (I’m currently rather thankful for the office a/c, though I usually hate it because I end up freezing.) Try not to melt, everyone!6 years ago

  • Cordelia: How about ice pops made from lemonade? And three fans? That’s how we’re doing it here. Much like you, we are considering a Rockaway jaunt but being redheaded and freckled, I’m still a little hesitant.6 years ago

  • Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School: sarah: i love all of these too! high heat + humidity = feeling like you are walking around in someone’s mouth. and they have a fever. blech!

    here in sacramento, we have a high dry heat and so it feels like walking around in a popcorn popper. the shade is barely cooler than the full sun, however the AC is so strong you need to bring a sweater every where you go.

    i would add going to a really quiet restorative yoga class. the body cools and the mind lets go of the “holy crap it’s hot panic button) and/or day tripping somewhere not hot.

    my favorite escape these days are the museums of san francisco: academy of sciences, deyoung, and moma (on monday).

    hope it cools off soon, just know you aren’t alone in the dreads of high heat.6 years ago

  • Lindy: I know this is not fancy but a spray water bottle with chilled water always helps me. I am from the deep south in a quaint little town right outside Charlotte ,NC and man is it hot.

    Thanks for this post , it gave me some new ideas!!!6 years ago

  • SarahJ: i went solo to see midnight in paris the other day. it was the perfect way to cool down and pretend i was on vacation. i would also ad trips to the mall. here in northern virginia, we do our best to move from one air conditioned thing to another (house to car to mall/market/et cetera). still, the air outside almost nocks you over. a friend introduced me to a Mexican snow cone stand in a gas station parking lot. $4 seems at once dear and a bargain for all the flavors they offer.6 years ago

  • Kathy: I absolutely love the cucumber water..I add a little lemon too! One thing that’s good about the heatwave is that it’s so hot, you don’t feel like eating! …maybe I’ll shed a few pounds this weekend6 years ago

  • Elizabeth: It looks like our heatwave may be subsiding as moving on out East. Fortunately in Wisconsin, you know the heat does not last. For the duration I stay in A/C when possible. I keep the house closed up during the day, blinds pulled to keep the sun out. I spend extra time at work and put off errands. We sleep downstairs if too hot upstairs and use fans to move around the cool air we do have at home. Garden has practically exploded…cleaned 10 pounds of green beans last night and have at least 10 pounds each of zucchini and cucumbers to work with. Tomatoes are getting red!6 years ago

  • El: Always chock full o’ great ideas, you are. You’re like a cool older sister. (No matter that I probably have a good 10 years on you.) I’m finding out where to get me some lemonkugal (whatever) shandy as we speak.6 years ago

  • EB: SO I shouldn’t mention that it’s 65* and breezy on the ocean here in SF huh? 😉 BTW throw a little rum in that coke slurpee for a perfect summertime treat.6 years ago

  • Rebecca: Move very, very slowly.. and don’t exercise. Really, why would you sweat more when you are already sweating so much?
    A friend told me that you can put your magic bag (the ones filled with rice that I generally heat up and put on my achy neck) in freezer! Must try that..

    Oh, and watermelon…6 years ago

  • Designing Diva: What great ideas! I’ve been making interesting herbal iced tea blends to drink on these hot days. I’ve also been known to stick my head in the freezer briefly to cool down! Love the idea of putting those rice-filled bags in the freezer… Must try that! And though this sounds strange and counterintuitive, I find that taking a hot bath with luxurious bath salts is actually quite refreshing – at least once you get out of the tub and air-dry. You actually feel really cool! I also like to put some of my products in the fridge for a nice little burst of cold on my skin.6 years ago

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