Get the Most out of Summer From A-Z

Every year around the 4th of July people start saying how summer is halfway over. I’m from Chicago, and for us summer is just getting started in mid-June, so this is always an unwelcome piece of “information” that I refuse to fully buy into. However, that being said, at least a month of summer has passed, so get a move on – here’s my summer to-do list from A-Z. Some are favorites that I do every year, and some are this years’ goals. Squeeze in as many as you can for your most memorable summer yet!

a – apple crisp

Nothing says summer more than a delicious apple crisp. Take a look at my favorite recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes and enjoy!

I would eat the heck out of this.

b – baseball game

Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a newbie to baseball, taking in a game with some friends or loved ones is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Plus, the excitement is infectious! Stock up on gear from your favorite team.

Target, $19.99

Fanatics, $29.99

MLB.com, $119.99

c – go canoeing/kayaking

Getting out on the water is a great way to spend time outdoors and try something new. If you want a set agenda, you can take historical tours of rivers and streams, or you can rent a boat and strike out on your own just like Lewis and Clark or Davy Crockett or whoever explored this way (obviously, I would benefit from several of these historical tours).

d – dance class

Sometimes, the heat gets to you. Sometimes, the rhythm gets you. What can you do but give in and take dance classes? You’ll be inside in a nice, air conditioned room and you can learn a fun new skill with all your friends. Check your local gyms to see what they’re offering.

e – egg salad

When you think picnic, don’t you assume there will be egg salad? It’s one of those summer staples that just seems wrong during the winter. Get your fill with one of these amazing recipes.

f – go fishing

Disclaimer: I went fishing once as a three-year-old and thought it was the most boring activity ever. However, as an adult, it seems so zen and relaxing! This is high on my to-do list this summer. My apologies to those of you who know about fishing if it’s not as relaxing as it seems.

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Ducket, $99.99

g – walk barefoot in the grass

Between the scent of the grass, the feel of the sun on my shoulders, and the bright green contrasting with the blue sky, walking barefoot in the grass is probably the most visceral summer activity to me. Take a walk by yourself and lose yourself in the moment.

h – go for a hike

So I’ve only ever been on a hike in a college geology class, and I thought it was so much fun! I’ve always wanted to go on a hike early in the morning and watch the sunrise somewhere. I’d do it for the selfie – kidding, kidding! (mostly)

i – ice cream

Why not make your own ice cream? It can be a fun activity to teach kids, or a great opportunity to show off your Martha Stewart skills. Plus, when the day is over, you’ll have a tasty treat!

Bed Bath & Beyond, $29.99

j – jump in a lake/pond

Have you ever heard that insult “oh, go jump in a lake”? It was one of my family’s favorites while I was growing up, but I never understood it. Jumping in a lake is so refreshing! Ideally, you can find a spot that’s not overcrowded with other swimmers so that you can really kick back and relax. Grab a noodle or a floatie and enjoy a great summer read.

k – klondike bar

What would I do for a Klondike bar? Um, a lot, and anyone who disagrees with me is either lying or has awful taste in frozen desserts.

Target, $3.77

l – catch lightning bugs at night

Summer nights have a special kind of magic when you’re a kid. The air is warm, no one has school in the morning, and the grownups are generally a little more lenient about staying outside to play late. I remember running around my friend’s yard trying to catch lightning bugs (fireflies) while the adults chatted over iced tea far away. Indulge your nostalgia and grab a jar. Just remember to punch holes in the lid and let them go at the end of the night.

m – see the summer movie blockbuster

So in general, I’m the worst when it comes to movies. I’ve never seen anything and my friends don’t miss an opportunity to make fun of me for this. However, this summer I saw Me Before You. Okay, if you want to spend your entire day crying, it’s the perfect movie for you. If not, for the love of God go see something – anything! – else instead. Try Finding Dory!

n – nap in a hammock

What could be more of a summer cliché than napping in a hammock under a clear blue sky? If that sounds like something up your alley, snap up one of these portable hammocks from Hammacher Schlemmer for just $99.95!

Hammacher Schlemmer, $99.95

o – outdoor barbecue

Whether it’s an intimate get-together or a block party, summer barbecues are always delicious. Get your barbecue game on point:

PartyAtLewis, $6.89

Brookstone, $49.99

Human, $29

Boscov’s, $7.99

p – day by the pool

This is the classic summer activity that’s perfect for anyone of any age. Grab a towel and some sunscreen and head out to the local community pool, or go to a fancy resort resort in your best coverup and heels with your hair done. Either way, bring a great book and some tunes and enjoy your hard-earned relaxation.

Saturdays NYC, $30

Charlotte Russe, $6.39

Quay, $50

q – quality time with family and friends

Any activity on this list will give you the opportunity to spend fantastic quality time with your family and friends. During summer, the weather is so beautiful that any outing can turn into an adventure. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by! Enjoy time outside and also enjoy the air conditioning with the people you love the most.

r – last-minute road trip

Imagine piling into the car with your best friends, unlimited Spotify, Diet Coke and your eyes on the open road ahead. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip, but something stops me. I guess I’m concerned that I’ll miss something important on the way and then I won’t have the Perfect Road Trip Experience and it won’t count. I’m rolling my eyes at myself too, don’t worry. But now, there are great sites that help you plan a fantastic road trip. You can add extra stops and research landmarks in the area, as well as sort by accommodation preferences and how you want your trip to last. Take a look at these great sites:

Furkot

Roadtrippers

My Scenic Drives

s – strappy sandals

So technically your spring shoe wardrobe will probably suffice for the summer, but that’s not fun. Grab a few pairs of strappy sandals and then strut your stuff. No matter what you’re doing, it will feel special if you do it in these babies.

Tory Burch, $346.50

Forever 21, $34.90

Steve Madden, $95.99

t – tanning

I think I’ve made myself quite clear about how I feel about tanning. It’s bad for your skin no matter what kind of skin you have, and I don’t think you should do it. That being said, you can get a great fake tan by going to a salon and booking a full body spray tan. If you’d like to get your glow on at home, I can never say enough good things about Jergens Natural Glow.

Jergens, $8.19

u – umbrella

This adorable umbrella will help you stay out of the sun while at the same time keeping you super fresh!

eBay, $18.99

v – vacation

What better time is there to get out of town than the summer? Take advantage of these amazing hotel deals. A great way to save some cash is to look in the opposite hemisphere – for example, if you’re from the US, check into South America and Australia. Their seasons are reverse, so the weather will be cooler and perfect for sight-seeing!

w – watermelon

I consider watermelon the unofficial Fruit of the Summer. No barbecue or picnic is complete without a slice (or 10) of this edible heaven.

x – explore new neighborhoods

Get outside and wander around. Drive to a different part of town, park, and just see what happens! Use a discovery app like Yelp or Urban Daddy to help you find the coolest spots. You’ll be navigating that new area like a pro in no time!

y – yoga outside

Whether you use an app on your phone or go to a pre-organized class outdoors, there’s something extra calming about doing yoga in nature. Grab a themed mat to match your surroundings! These eKO mats from Manduka are made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber. They provide a stable foundation for the most experienced yogi or the newest newbie.

Manduka eKO, $94

z – finally, catch up on some z’s!

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