Summer Essentials


Without even consciously realizing it, I think I’ve developed an unofficial checklist of items I make my way through each summer. I was reflecting on it when I was brainstorming ideas for this post (which is another link up that Meg and I are hosting at The B Bar — you can see all the participating blogs at the end!), only to realize that without fail, there are a few things I’ve done every summer as an adult. It’s like clockwork — the calendar hits June, and the urge strikes to check each of these items off my list. To get real with you for a sec, I think it’s partially because early to mid-summer is actually a very personal time for me. My dad passed away in mid-July when I was 9, about two weeks before my birthday. So I think I always feel like mid-June to mid-July is a time for a little more self-care, before my birthday arrives and usually brings me out of any doldrums.

But all that being said, summer is still such a wonderful time of year for me, and I always try to make the most of it with a few different traditions. Here’s what’s on my summer essentials checklist (read on; I’d love to know what’s on yours!): 

summer essentials

1. Buy a new bag. Like I said, when reflecting on ideas for this post, I realized this has become somewhat of an unofficial tradition. Every summer for the last several years, I have bought a new bag of some description in the summertime. Last year it was my beloved Sézane Calvin tote in camel; this year, I used some store credits to splurge on the Loeffler Randall Mini Rider Bag. Can you believe I actually didn’t own a miniature crossbody before this bag? It’s been such a relief — as breezy as summer, really — to sling this puppy over my shoulder and go.

2. Make a crumble. I am not one to usually bake or make a ton of desserts at home, only because I will then eat the entire thing in one sitting. Withholding=willpower in my case, believe me. In summer though, I can’t resist the beautiful stone fruits and colorful, juicy berries, and inevitably always make a crumble or two (and always, always served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). You can see a recipe for a crumble I made last year right here. I live for simple pleasures like this in the summer.

3. Get a massage. This falls under that self-care thing. I always seem to do spa treatments in the summertime. And tell me if this is you too: you go and get the best deep tissue massage ever, promise yourself you should really do it more often because it feels so good and really makes you feel like you’re taking care of yourself, only to not get another massage for like 10 months or a year, if not longer. Right? That’s totally me. But the time is nigh, and I suspect I’ll be booking a deep tissue or Thai massage very soon.

4. Plan Thanksgiving. Okay, this is a really bizarre summer essential that is specific to Joe and me. We love Thanksgiving; it’s probably our favorite holiday of the year. Usually around July, we start brainstorming what we want to make for the holiday, just because it’s fun to get excited and daydream about it as summer slips into fall. We’ve celebrated at home for many years now, and are on a schedule where every other year, we have a traditional meal with all the classics. In the off-years, we make something that sounds really delicious and indulgent (past years have included things like homemade gyros, lasagnas, fried chicken, and of course, mac and cheese). This year is a traditional year, and I think we’re back on the turducken train. Want to come by for leftovers (or is it too short of notice?)?

5. Buy a new dress. But of course! There’s nothing better than the ease of throwing on a shift dress or maxi in warm summer months. This year, I bought this t-shirt maxi (with pockets!) in the heather black color, which I still need to get taken up for length, and I also bought a shift dress from Maison Scotch, pictured above. It’s the first thing I’d ever bought from them. I absolutely love it with a scarf (for SF evenings) and a pair of comfortable gladiator sandals.

6. Decorate with gladiolus. Not only are these the flower of my birth month, but they always remind me of visits to my grandmother’s house in the summertime. When I was a little girl, my parents would send me to her house in Houston for very long stays — sometimes even a month. She had this huge, low profile glass coffee table in her living room, and in the summer, it was always decorated with a giant vase of towering gladioli. I adore how stately and festive these feel, and I usually buy them in red and white for maximum effect. I just think they’re so beautiful and chic as a dining or coffee table centerpiece.

What about you? What have you found is essential to your sanity each summer? Is it going back to a beloved place? Treating yourself to some retail therapy? Planning a big vacation? I’d love to know.

And, here are what 50 other bloggers said were their summer essentials:



  1. 6.18.15
    carrie said:

    That berry crumble looks delicious! And, I am in desperate need of a massage… I feel guilty getting one, but every so often it’s absolutely necessary. xo

  2. 6.18.15
    Nan said:

    What a fun post theme, I can’t wait to check out post from some other bloggers. Love the unplanned tradition of investing in a new bag each summer. I have been eyeing Loeffler Randall’s Rider bags..but I am just not sure. Have you been happy with it so far?

  3. 6.18.15
    Cathleen said:

    I completely agree on the Withholding=willpower thing! I just avoid having those things in my house, or I’ll eat them. I can resist buy/making things, so that’s my willpower. I like the idea of planning Thanksgiving months in advance. I like to plan super early. It gives me something to look forward to and to really research too. I enjoyed your list!

  4. 6.18.15

    I literally thought I might be the only human being concerned about Thanksgiving in July(!!!) I was so excited when I read this. I make my menu, gather all my recipes, and brainstorm on a new, special cocktail for our guests each summer. I love your untraditional tradition of switching things up every other year- sounds like so much foodie fun! I’ll have to give it a try.


  5. 6.18.15
    Kelly said:

    It’s funny when you say it, the way we are programmed to respond to summer is like clockwork. I’m the same, I always need new summer dresses, a new bathing suit, and I NEEED to go to this one beach my parents used to take me to all the time as a kid.

  6. 6.18.15

    I need that bag! Massage- check! I have one scheduled for tomorrow, cant wait. Your website is amazing!

  7. 6.18.15
    Robyn said:

    I love this post! I completely agree that summer is a time for self-care. I’d LOVE to get a massage right now, but with a student budget a mani-pedi should suffice!

  8. 6.18.15
    Iris said:

    My summertime essential activities are going to festivals and parades. Two favourites are K-Days (a carnival/expo) and Heritage Festival (lots of pavilions each representing a different country-lots of food and entertainment).

  9. 6.21.15
    jamie said:

    I agree with you in all of them! especially the massage! Love posts like these and it’s a great list

    xx Jamie| Love Peace and Shimmer


  10. 6.21.15

    Summer always has me craving fruity desserts!

  11. 6.24.15
    Erica said:

    Ooh, what a fun tradition to invest in a new bag each summer. What a great idea!

  12. 6.27.15
    Allison said:

    You’re the only person in the linkup that mentioned flowers! I certainly have my summer favorites as well- geraniums, snapdragons, hydrangeas, sunflowers… I get so excited when these blooms are finally in season!

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