I survived my first Canadian winter, so everything should effortlessly ease into summer! I grew up on a tropical island so a transition to summer here in Ottawa should just be easy peasy! I assumed that all I have to do is what I used to do back home, and you know what they say with people who assume? They make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”! My assumptions were wrong!
I assumed that it's just like my daily life in Phuket; no layering and just lazily spend the weekends on the beach or underwater. But oops! I'm in Ottawa and it is no tropical, it is a concrete jungle! YAY!
Is there a pristine beach close by that I can go sunbathing and swimming? Nope! Can I go scuba diving anytime to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? Nope! Hm, so why are people so excited here in the city when you cannot practically do summer stuff??? Am I an island girl or what??? But thankfully, my lovely city friends enlighten me with a three letter word answer.
The answer is surprisingly obvious (at least to the locals). It is hot, sticky and memorable. By the way, memorable can be something positive or negative. Any guess?
It is called BBQ! Yup, that's what city dwellers do in the sweaty summer right at the heart of the nation's capital. Of course, I had BBQs before but it nothing like here... Back home, BBQs look like this:
As compare to here:
Here, I realized it is an occasion and people dress up for it! You can actually Google BBQ outfits! And since it is a dress up occasion, it is essential to look good throughout. Meaning, staying fresh and nice whilst being outdoor under the sun, coupled it with the heat and smell of the BBQ plus drinking bottomless refills of booze. And to make it more challenging, do you ever notice that most BBQs involve standing up eating while using paper plates and 'pretend' utensils?
Hence, here's my practical survival guide to all the fashionistas out there and island babes in enjoying an outdoor BBQ party with style:
TIP ONE: Dress for it
Notice that I did not say dress up for it. Meaning you can still dress nicely but do not wear your favorite or expensive clothes. The chances are high it will get stained, plus the BBQ smell might rub into it. That goes the same with jewelry; nothing fancy. Remember you will be outdoor in a garden or patio so if your tiny pearl earrings drop or that dainty necklace suddenly decides to snap, it will like finding a needle in a hay stack.
TIP TWO: Can I wear white since it is summer?
This is a tough one because summer is all about whites and pastels! Sure, you can dress white or any light color of your choice, but at your own risk! Just be extra careful! I do wear white and pastels for BBQ days but I always bring my Tide ToGo just in case. They come in very handy, speaking from experience.
TIP THREE: Plates VS Bowls
Yes, I know I'm Asian and this is not why I'm recommending using a bowl. Bowls are practical and easier to hold when eating standing up. I also noticed that in some BBQ parties, you can sit down but no tables. You eat by placing your plate in your lap. Bowls are more balanced to use either standing or sitting, hence, less spillage!
TIP FOUR: Wipes and Face Mists
These are life savers! Even when I was in Asia, these two are essentials! Wipes are for those sticky hands when we dig into that yummy ribs, or when we play with our friends' kids or that cute dog, or when your make-up gradually melts due to humidity. And lastly, those times when someone had too many and spills their drink on your bag or phone, that wipe will save your stuff!
Face mist is for the heat, it just keeps you fresh and it doubles up as a wipe! When you run out of wipes, you can spray your mist to a tissue and then walla, you got a wipe!
TIP FIVE and the most important one: HAVE FUN!
Remember I said in the start that BBQs can be memorable. Yes it is fun but it can also be a disaster at times. But hey, this is what this tips are for and if it doesn't work, just consider it as a lessons learned. The important thing is it is a get together and you get to enjoy the beautiful weather with your friends and family!