My 5 Favorite Backyard Summer Things!

As a Freelance Creative & Pastor, I look forward to spending a lot of time in my own backyard — working, relaxing, or just hanging out with friends and family. Here’s five fun things that are not terribly expensive and will keep the creativity and inspiration flowing!

Summer is officially here — in Michigan. I think we’ve crossed the threshold of “a chance of frost overnight.” I think. So, it’s barefoot, fire pit, backyard time — make the most of it with these.

1. iPad and BT Keyboard Combo

iPad 2 & Jelly Comb BT Keyboard

Since I spend a lot of time in Adobe, I will never live too far away from my Macbook Pro — but, I probably split my day between the MBP and my iPad. And, this Jelly Comb Wireless Keyboard is clicky, responsive, and light!

It can easily be used with Apple, Android, and Windows devices. Charge it with a micro-USB cable and you’re good to go. Hey, it even comes equipped with seven backlight color options for those super chill nights under the stars.

Jelly Comb Keyboard: $20
iPads vary by Model, GB

2. Polaroid Z2300 Digital Camera

My Polaroid Camera is always nearby

Having been a professional Photographer for more than half of my life, some sort of camera is always close at hand — and this little Polaroid Instant camera is one of my favorites, for sure. Point, snap, and print off the life of the party!

Yes, your iPhone or Nexus has a wicked lens — but this 10MP camera keeps up nicely, with a flash and a few filters to boot. It’s stylishly retro and, of course, sends your friends home with a actual printed pictures!

Polaroid Z2300 Instant Camera: $180 on sale right now.

3. Coleman LED Lantern

Coleman LED Lantern will light you up

Okay. A lantern doesn’t score any cool points. But, I spent way too many summers without one of these things — don’t be me.

Drop in four batteries and you’ll be lighting up the night with 700 Lumens of brightness. I am sure battery life varies, but I put new batteries in last Summer, and it’s still going strong right now. That’s a full year of use.

Coleman CPX Classic Lantern: $49 (on sale for $33)

4. Watercolor

Watercolor & Brushes keeping things fresh

There’s a million options to explore creativity and push through a mental block — but for me, Watercolor is the consistent winner. Painting, especially outside in the Summer, helps me think, write, or just relax better.

Give yourself permission to paint for the enjoyment of it. Grab a piece of scrap paper, cardboard, whatever — and freely get after it! Every once in a while, I even paint a keeper.

Currently, I’m using and loving Holbein watercolors. But, again, don’t get caught up in the choices of paint, brushes, and paper.

Watercolor: varies by Brand, Item: $5–$30

5. Pour Over Coffee Filter

The Bartelli Stainless Steel Pour Over Filter is on point

For those that could care less about coffee, you’ve already reached the end. But, for the purists and lovers of craft coffee out there, you’re welcome. Now, I dig the French Press, and I’ve used the Paper, Ceramic Filters, and Cold Press options, too. But, this Bartelli Pour Over paperless filter never fails to impress me.

Minimal. Stainless. Quality. When you’re in need of a pick-me-up instead of a Gin & Tonic, I recommend a Pour Over of your favorite coffee.

Bartelli Pour Over Filter: $60

Pairs well with a clean playlist. Which reminds me of this bonus:

Bonus: Bose Soundlink BT Speaker

Bose Soundlink Mini (Photo from

It goes without saying.

But, as far as BT Speakers go, I’ve not found a better one than the Bose Soundlink Mini. I take it everywhere — the backyard, the beach, the camp site. It only weighs 2.6 pounds, but packs a punch with deep bass, clear treble, and even has a speakerphone so you don’t drop a call. Bam.

Bose Soundlink Mini: $199