Summer is finally here, and we all have a long bucket-list of activities we want to enjoy this season. Our advice? Skip anything that involves waiting in line and stick to the classics. Opt for ol’ faithful, and spend the day at the beach, soaking up the sun and catching up on some reading. Or, with a stocked picnic basket and blanket in hand, take your lazy Sunday from the house to the park. Or why not invite over a group of friends to indulge in a little luxury, and host a Hamptons-themed clambake? Just because your apartment doesn’t back onto a private beach, doesn’t mean you can’t drink Veuve till dawn dressed in all white.

For your perusal, a handpicked Pinterest worthy selection of all the essentials you need to take along on an ordinary summer outing.

First and foremost: pick a cute bikini. This Michael Kors Hammered-Hardware Bikini, a classic in black, will stand the test of time, and will keep tan lines to a pleasant minimum with its bandeau-style top.

There is nothing less on trend then clunky rubber flip flops, but then, you don’t want to ruin your designer sandals with multiple visits to the beach — salt water is not leather’s friend. Step up your casual wear this summer with Havaianas, and splurge on a pair of Missoni Slim sandals — durable enough for the beach, stylish enough to be worn just about anywhere.

While the idea of owning a Louis Vuitton’s Damier Classique beach towel is nice, spending hundreds on something that sits in dirt when it isn’t being used to clean out the inside of your ears, isn’t. Go for fun, bright, and under a C-note: try out Trina Turk’s Mirage Print beach towel, available in pink and blue.

You can never go wrong with a pop of colour this time of year. Beauty junkies can have fun in the sun with Del Sol’s colour changing nail polish. Choose from multiple shades that instantly change from one colour to another, depending on the light. Colour-shifting hasn’t been this fun since hypercolour shirts.

Before heading to the beach, make sure those legs are smooth and hair free. Bic Soleil Bella disposable razors are perfect for quick touchups.

Sunscreen is hands down the most important thing you’ll need for a day at the beach. Trust Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion, a long lasting lightweight formula that will keep you protected all day. This lotion’s small bottle makes it easy to toss into your overstuffed beach bag.

Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Our pick this season are Rayban’s Original Wayfarer Blocks for their multi-coloured design and classic fit. Every summer is an Endless Summer in these.

Keep hydrated when out in the heat by keeping the H2O flowing, especially if piña coladas are going down extra easy. Water Bobbles are stylish, reusable bottles that filter water as you drink. Just fill with tap water, throw it in your bag, and keep the thirst away.

If you’re planning to go out directly from the beach, you’ll want to throw on something easy, while not anything that could be mistaken for a cover up. H&M’s printed blouses are light and flowy, the perfect match for bright coloured shorts and a night out — one that might just end back at the beach come midnight.

Now that you’ve got all your beach essentials, you’re going to need a handsome (in aesthetic and size!) bag to put them all in. No matter what the trends on the runway, a straw beach bag is always in fashion. Try J.Crew’s Farmers Market Tote for a bag that will see you through many years of tans.

Keep that tousled beach bounce through to the end of your picnic with Marc Anthony’s Dream Waves Beach Spray. For added charm, wrap a thin braid around the crown of your head for a soft sweet look.

When temperatures reach scorching heights, it’s time to replace that heavy foundation with a tinted moisturizer. Joe Fresh’s Sheer Tint is a saviour when the sun is in melting mode. Its lightweight formula (complete with SPF) and subtle hint of color (just enough to even out skin tone) gives every girl the natural finish summer demands.

A cute summer dress is a staple item in every girl’s wardrobe. The simple floral pattern combined with the elegant vintage cut of the Mix and Intermingle dress from Mod Cloth, makes the transition from picnic to drinks out, as easy as retouching one’s lipstick.

There are as many fedoras out there to choose from, as there are mosquitoes on a hot summer’s night. For a quality product Lilliput Hats’ Fedora Nina is an investment in style that strays from the pack.

It’s not just your plates and picnic blanket that look best matched, get matchy matchy with your nails and pout this summer with Butter London’s new Lippy Collection. These long-wearing lip glosses are available in an array of colours, each with its perfect pair found in the label’s famous nail lacquers.

Snuggle up with a date on these hand-stitched throws by Jeanette Farrier. The five layers of recycled cotton sari fabric comprising a blanket, is so cozy you’ll want one to sit on, and one to bring in case your afternoon picnic turns into an evening of stargazing.

Every summer activity deserves its own soundtrack. Forget those clunky portable speakers; keep it compact and thematic with a Wooden Acorn Speaker by Motz. Its camouflaged casing makes it a park must, just watch out for the squirrels!

There’s no rule that says picnic plates have to be plastic and designed for the taste of a 6 year-old girl. Don’t buy another set of picnic plates you’ll have to ditch come September, invest in a set of Thomas Paul Scrimshaw Dessert Plates and use them for serving cherry pie at home, when not eating cold quiche off them in the park.

Keep away the picnic cooties with Bath and Body Works Anti Bacterial Sanitizing Hand Gel. The variety of scents to choose from will keep you from smelling like a hospital.

Little Red Riding Hood had it right with her picnic basket. We recommend staying traditional and passing on packing your tea sandwiches, cheese and wine in a tote bag, instead go for the nostalgia found in a classic like Williams Sonoma Wicker Picnic Basket. True to its suitcase style design, the basket is stocked with everything from porcelain plates to handblown wineglasses to a fleece blanket.

Transport the comfort of your living room to your backyard with this Bouquet Rug from Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie’s Magnolia Tablecloth to lay over top your patio table.

Serve up those delicious clams in an adorable set of bowls from Gleena. We like the flower design for its nod to summer’s pretties. Pair quirk with opulence, and pick up a set of Mottahedeh’s Cornflower Lace dinnerware. If you’re not already hitched, this is something you’ll want to add to your future list.

A crisp white ensemble goes hand-in-hand with summer’s fresh colour palette. Make your clambake an ode to the Hamptons, and specify an all-white dress code on the party invite to your clambake. This Twinkle Lace Dress by French Connection is a breathy outfit for a romantic summer soiree, especially when paired with these Steve Madden Tampaa Wedges.

If you’re the host, you’ll need a cute apron to keep the clam juice from staining your white dress while cooking. The Hot Mama Apron by Jen Rosie makes for a sweet choice with its embellishments and trim, as well as being a practical. Its terry cloth fabric allows it to double as a towel for wet hands.

Remember that this is no ordinary clambake we’re suggesting, one wants to keep up with the night’s theme, and stay as glamorous as possible, despite all the corn on the cob eating. For a subtle extra oomph of chic, try Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick in Sari D’Eau and Dior’s Riviera nail polish. Both have enough kick to them to grab attention, even under solar lights.

Summer’s repetition of sun, salt water, and more sun can leave skin dull and dry, and for some, even irritated. Not what you want before a party. Whether you’re looking to bring back the sheen to your golden tan or remedy temperature sensitive eczema, a few drops of Essence of Argan Oil each morning and evening is the secret. Results with this one are fast and addictive, after all, who doesn’t like the idea of dipping into the fountain of youth?

Though the sun may have already set by the time your clambake begins, it doesn’t mean your guests won’t have a thirst that needs to be quenched, or need a drink to sip on in between champagne at least. Ice-tea is the obvious (and most delicious) choice this time of year. Impress friends with something other than Twinings, up the caliber of your perfect ice-tea recipe (or try ours below) with Sloane Tea Company as its base.

Last in this list, but likely first on yours is the e-vite. Pingg has cards enough for any variety of summer parties, with artistic designs that range from hipster (vintage ice cream cones) to Laura Ashley lover (flowers upon flowers). And, for those thinking of timing their party with the Summer Games, the site also offers Olympic-inspired e-vites.

FILLER’s Spiked Lemongrass Ice Tea Recipe courtesy Chef Matthew Sullivan

(Serves 10)


1 tablespoon of Sloane Tea Company Jasmine Snow Dragon leaves

7 ounces vodka (we prefer Grey Goose)

2 lemons, zested & juiced

2 limes, zested & juiced

750 ml sparkling water

1 cup of white sugar

1/3 cup of chopped lemongrass

10 sprigs of mint

5 lemongrass sticks, cut in half length wise & grilled on high for 20 seconds a side

Simple Syrup

In a medium pot add sugar, 1 1/2 cup of water, tea leaves and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Strain and chill. Can be made 2-3 days in advance.

To Prepare Ice Tea

i. Combine lemon and lime juice and zest to sparkling water.

ii. Add vodka to taste.

iii. Add 1/3 cup of simple syrup to mixture, or more depending on preferred sweetness.

iv. Serve over ice and garnish with sprig of mint and lemongrass stick.


Matthew Sullivan is the chef and proprietor of Boxed, a roving pop-up restaurant in Toronto.