The first thing we are going to do is to get into the woods (or at least spend some time around trees!) Connecting with nature has so many benefits including sparking creative thought, inner peace, and de-stressing. Use the weekend, lunch, or after work to take a hike or walk a tree-lined path. Both are great ways to soak up some wilderness. Take in the shimmering sun through the trees, the sound of frogs and crickets, and the scents of summer. Pause for a moment to just remain quiet and still, if only for a minute. If you need some relaxation try this nature meditation from one of my favorite websites.  If you're looking to gain energy, pop in your ear buds and take a trail run with this summer soundtrack. 

Not sure where to go? I have included links to over 30 parks below. My favorites include the lotus blossoms at Glenwood Gardens (The Wetland Loop,) the overlook at Devou Park, and Buckeye Falls at Sharon Woods. Connecting with nature counts as self-care, be sure to give yourself that time this week. We are more productive and creative when we schedule in self-care. 

Cincinnati Parks

Great Parks of Hamilton County

Sierra Club Hiking Guide to the Tri-State


On your walk or hike, find a shade tree to stop for lunch, dinner, or breakfast. Pre-plan a date night, lunch with kiddos, or a solo feast. 

The Easy Peasy Version—pick up snacks, drinks, and food at your local deli. Try:
Carl’s Deli
Marx Bagels
Commonwealth Bistro

DIY Version—
I love orzo salads for picnics. They are easy to pack, and are hearty enough to serve as a main. You can pair this recipe with some cut fruit (add some finely chopped mint) for the perfect picnic. For drinks I like to pack Spindrift, or make a herbal iced tea. Want to take this to the next level? Send out an email inviting friends to the park one night as an impromptu potluck dinner. This recipe makes enough for a potluck as a side dish. If you're packing lunch for one or two, use the leftovers for a dinner by adding chicken breast sliced over the top. 

Orzo and Wild Rice Salad
1 1/2 cups orzo uncooked
3/4 cup wild rice uncooked
1 small orange bell pepper, chopped into small dice
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped into small dice
1 small red pepper, chopped into small dice
1 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp. Honey or agave
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup light olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
Pepper to taste 

Optional Extras
1/3 cup dried currants
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
Flat leaf parsley

Cook wild rice and orzo (separately and according to instructions on packages.) Drain well and allow to cool. After cooling combine all ingredients, except for the optional extras, in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl mix vinegars, garlic, honey, mustard, then whisk vigorously while slowly adding in oil to create and emulsion (OR just whip it all together in a ninja blender or with an immersion blender to emulsify.) Pour over rice/orzo mixture and stir well. Allow mixture to sit for at least one hour to overnight to give the salad time to soak up all the goodness and for the flavors to intermingle. Directly before serving add extras and any additional pepper. Pack in a weck jar or mason jar, attach spoons with rubber bands or twine. 


Take a photo of your hike, picnic, food prep—sky’s the limit. Using a photo from this week's activity—

1. Post the photo to Instagram. Think about filters and how you use them. Picking one filter to use for your channel (or no filters!) is a good way to keep your Instagram feed consistent. This will help tie together your overall visual brand. 

If you like using filters on Instagram, you can move them around to put your favorite ones closer to the beginning. All you do is press and hold down the filter you want to move, drag it to the spot you want, and drop it. You can also drag the ones you don't want to the center of the screen and delete them if you'd like.

2. After posting your photo, use the comment feature (the bubble icon under your photo) to comment on your own photo with hashtags. Try it by commenting with #instafunsummercamp. 

If you consistently use a set of hashtags, you can create a keyboard shortcut on your phone. This will allow you to set a word or an acronym (use something you wouldn’t normally use in a text or email!) that will be associated with a list of hashtags. For example— I assigned the code "CWB" for Commonwealth Bistro's posts and created this list of hashtags, #commonwealthbistro #621mainst #covingtonky #lovethecov #cincyfoodie. So, anytime I post to Instagram all I have to do is type “CWB” in the comments section of my photo and these hashtags will populate, saving me tons of time! Here is how to create a hashtag list shortcut on your phone:  

Using Your iPhone to Create Hashtag Shortcuts

  • Click on "Settings" on the main home screen
  • Click "General"
  • Click "Keyboard"
  • Click "Text Replacement" and the "+" button at the top
  • Enter your hashtags into the "Phrase" line
  • Enter your shortcut name in the "Shortcut" line and click "Save"
  • Open Instagram and select the photo you want to add the hashtags to
  • Type your hashtag shortcut into your caption or into a comment

Using Your Android to Create Hashtag Shortcuts

  • Open the "Settings" app
  • Scroll to the third group of options and tap "Language & Input"
  • Select "Keyboard"
  • Scroll to "Text Shortcuts" and tap it
  • Select "Add" in the top right corner of the screen
  • Type in a shortcut name
  • Type in your hashtags
  • Tap "Add" again
  • Open Instagram and select the photo you want to add the hashtags to
  • Type your hashtag shortcut into your caption or into a comment

Using Your Samsung Galaxy Create Hashtag Shortcuts

  • Under "Settings" tap “Language and input“
  • Tap “Samsung keyboard“
  • Tap “Text shortcuts“
  • Tap “ADD” on the top right
  • Shortcut: Add your own code or abbreviations
  • Expanded phrase: Actually meaning or full sentence of your shortcuts
  • Tap “ADD” to save
  • Add as many as you want
  • Open Instagram and select the photo you want to add the hashtags to
  • Type your hashtag shortcut into your caption or into a comment


Wondering why to use hashtags? Here'S a quick crash course: 

Hashtags make your content discoverable and put you in front of users you may have never successfully targeted.  When someone searches #workouts, it’s like telling Instagram to search its file cabinet for the “workouts” folder and show the latest posts containing that keyword. When you use hashtags in your posts, you let Instagram know to put your post in the appropriate folder in case anyone searches for it.

There are two major types of hashtags on Instagram:
The first is branded tags (like the #instafunsummercamp hashtag we are using for this class.) One benefit of branded hashtags, is they can be tied back directly to your company so you can measure engagement. 

The second type is community hashtags like the hashtag #workouts. The benefit of community hashtags is they can make your content more discoverable and build your audience. 

You can't go wrong with trying hashtags, so experiment!

Burns 0033.jpg

Have questions? All campers have access to me via email.  I am happy to answer anything for you. Follow me @wifeofthechef on Instagram so I can follow you back. Want some inspiration? Check out @adventuringwithlola on Instagram (bus pictured above.) 

Have a great week in the woods! I can't wait to see your photo on Instagram. #instafunsummercamp


Your Camp Counselor & Instagram Guide