Actualize: Your summer. Squeeze every last drop of goodness from the season.


Ah, summer. As kids, we wait all year for summer vacation, but as adults, the season hits a little different. Longer days and more sunshine are great, but work commitments, unpredictable weather, travel delays, and bored kids underfoot can all make summer a tricky season. If you’re unable to take your dream vacation this summer, we’ve got you. Here’s how the team at Actualize is beating the heat and making the most of the dog days of summer:


“When weather and time allow, there’s nothing better than getting a day or two of camping in. I like to head up to the mountains so it’s a bit cooler. The best spots are near a river or lake — gives you a little bit more to do if you’re creative or like to fish. Usually means more wildlife though, so best to keep camp clean. 

Pro tip: Memory foam pillows WILL freeze at night — I have studied this on at least 5 occasions and can confirm with absolute certainty it happens every time and makes for a miserable night of “sleep.”

Also, don’t sleep on ski resorts in the summer. There are usually lots of fun trails and events, and they’re much more affordable to visit during the offseason.”

Kyle Senior, Account Manager

“When we go on family hikes, we’re always looking for ways to keep our young kids engaged without carrying a lot of extra gear. One of our favorite hacks is to let them use the The Cornell Lab Merlin app on my phone to identify the birds they hear. First, we guess what kind of bird we think it is and then we check it with the app. It’s a great way to keep the kids excited while also teaching them to listen and look around as we hike.”

Kathryn Smith, Writer

“My homemade remedy for mosquito bites: Add a little bit of water to some baking soda to create a paste and coat the bite, it’s magic relief.”

Sarah Diamond, Marketing Operations Manager

“My family has two things we like to roast over the campfire:

  1. Roasted Starbursts

You basically just unwrap a starburst, put it at the end of your roasting stick and put it in the fire until it bubbles. Then let it cool off for about a min and then enjoy! It will be crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle!

  1. Roasted Strawberries

This is for all the people who aren’t s’mores fans (myself included). Get yourself some marshmallow fluff and some strawberries. Dip the strawberries in the marshmallow fluff, put them on the end of your roasting stick, and into the fire it goes! Roast them to your preferred level of darkness and enjoy! Crispy and gooey marshmallow-ness and ripe strawberries are my favorite during a campout!”

RyAnne Wallencheck, Senior Account Manager

…or go jump in a lake (or river).

“One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to take a quick dip after work. Head to your local swim spot to take the edge off the hottest part of the day, cool down your core body temp, and add a bit of adventure between work and starting to make dinner. Here in Fort Collins, it’s a toss-up between a frigid dip in the Poudre River — where you wade up to your knees and  then have to convince yourself to dunk, or a slightly less cold — and deeper — trip to Horsetooth Reservoir.”

Emily Bedenkop, Senior Digital Account Manager

Keep it simple.

“I’m a big fan of simple things in summer, like picnic lunches at the park or an outdoor movie night with friends. If you don’t have a backyard projector, you can find a portable one that works with your phone. It’s always amazing how simply growing a mix of fresh summer herbs, such as basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint, can brighten a meal or drink. This fruit salad is great with fresh basil!”

Madison Bickler, Digital Account Manager

“Marinating chicken thighs in Ken’s Italian salad dressing is my no-fail for summer dinners and the secret to incredible grilled chicken for a crowd.”

Kathryn Smith, Writer

But make it sweet.

“I look forward to Palisade peach season in Colorado every summer. These peaches come from the Western Slope and put Georgia peaches to shame, if you ask me. I love to make peach crisp with the ol’ passed-down family recipe:

5 cups fresh peaches, cut up into chunks, sprinkle them with cinnamon (no need to remove skin)

For the topping, mix together:

1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup rolled oats

Take 1 stick of cold butter and grease a 9” square baking pan with it, then melt the rest of the stick in the microwave.

Pour the peaches into the greased pan, then spread the topping mixture evenly. Spoon the melted butter across the topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min.

Most people do butter pats…no…the secret is melting the butter and pouring it on. Soaks into the peaches more and crisps the top better.”

Jessica Emmett, Partner & Account Director

“When I get home from a day of hiking, I polish off the day with the simplest, best margarita you can make. Combine: 3 oz of agave tequila, 1.5 oz Cointreau, 1.5 oz of fresh lime juice, and then shake with plenty of ice, like your life depends on it.”

Kyle Senior, Account Manager

Take a vacation without ever leaving home.

“It’s amazing how sprucing up an outdoor patio with new pillows, a rug, or some string lights can turn an everyday space into a special summer oasis that’s perfect for sunset happy hours and dining alfresco.”

Madison Bickler, Digital Account Manager

“Summer is perfect for decorating. As I am starting out living on my own, and having an eye for design, I have a lot of DIY projects coming down the pipe! I had some high-end tables I am in love with (Like $2K a pop) and I was able to create two for under $200.”

Kelci Johnson, Account Coordinator

Here’s my list of cool books that won’t dampen your summertime buzz:

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker
You’ll finish this long, addictive novel surprisingly quickly. Always nice to feel smart and productive. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson
Not new anymore, but lots of material that takes us to fascinating settings and introduces memorable characters.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
You might look up and realize you’ve been reading for three hours straight about microbes or breathing.

How to Love the Universe by Stefan Klein 
A short read that will leave you with long thoughts. A great one to keep handy for quick inspiration.”

Erik Schmidt, Writer

“A go-to beach or poolside read: The Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling.”

Dillon McElwaine, Partner, Account Director & Director of Operations