Even if you don’t technically have a summer break like you did when you were a kid (being an adult is hard!), there’s still a feeling of extra freedom and carefree fun during the summer months that makes you just want to Do. It. All. Going on a beach vacation? Duh. Having a summer fling? Easy. Achieving your health goals? No problem. But then the first day of fall rolls around, and you realize you didn’t take advantage of pool days and rooftop bars as much as you’d hoped.
While 2020 is drastically different than years past, this summer can still be your season; the season where you regularly get to enjoy the weather, have just as much fun as you have relaxation time, and make the most of every day from the first day of June until the last day of August (because is that too much to ask from our summers!? Cue “Fabulous” by Sharpay Evans). Grab your cut-off shorts, throw on some SPF, and get ready to check items off of our 2020 Summer Bucket List to achieve your best summer ever.
Tie-dye a white tank or sweatshorts
Sure, tie-dye might be a summer go-to activity since you were dying your camp T-shirt back in the day, but in 2020, tie-dye is not only fun, it’s trendy. Order some inexpensive white staples and use this guide to tie-dye a few key pieces you’ll want to wear (and Instagram) all season long. If you’re ready to step-up your fashion game, combine two 2020 trends by tie-dying high-waist sweatshorts or a ribbed tank, which are currently wardrobe essentials for style stars and celebs.
Perfect a boozy lemonade
Who doesn’t crave lemonade when the weather hits 80 degrees? This summer, make a version that’s a little more adult (and more delicious). This isn’t the kind of lemonade you sold at your stand when you were a kid, but it’s certainly the kind you’re going to want to have over and over again. Follow one of these recipes, or simply add your alcohol of choice to a favorite lemonade recipe, and experiment with refreshing flavors of the season by adding watermelon, berries, or mint (all about those health benefits). If lemonade is not your thing, try one of these other delicious cocktail recipes for summer. Tequila soda, who!?
Freshen up your home
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but let me introduce you to summer cleaning (AKA turning your home into the warm-weather oasis you deserve). Update your decor by trading darker home accents with more colorful accessories, add a colorful print or two to the wall, and make minor upgrades with of-the-moment trends you’re obsessing over on Instagram. FYI, you don’t need to replace decor to make your home feel more summery. Minor changes like fresh flowers in vases or citrus oil in a diffuser can make all the difference.
DIY your own “beach vacation”
Can’t make it to the beach this year? Don’t get your bikini bottoms in a twist! Instead, recreate a dream vacay from the comfort of your own home (it’s the ultimate staycation: summer edition). If you have a backyard, set up a baby pool or lawn chair and umbrella. Make yourself a piña colada, play some tropical music, and read through the stack of books you’ve been dying to get to for months. Even if you don’t have access to a backyard, grab your SPF and head to your balcony or rooftop for some fun in the sun that will transport you to the beaches of Hawaii or the Bahamas (next best thing, right?).
Try out a no-heat hairstyle
One of the best parts of summer is that everything is effortless. We can get away with easy sundresses and wearing less makeup (which is for the best since my foundation sweats off in a matter of seconds). But your hair also goes through hell during summertime; greasy sunscreens, chlorine or saltwater, and washing more often than usual does not necessarily provide the healthiest concoction for your beloved locks. Save your hair and try out a no-heat hairstyle that will not only be healthier but will help you achieve that I-woke-up-like-this look that is a signature of the season.
Host your own wine tasting
So you can’t take a trip to Napa Valley or spend a day at your favorite local winery? No problem! Have your own wine tasting with your roommate, significant other, or your whole summer squad. Try selecting a few different bottles in a variety of reds, whites, and rosés, or stick to one kind of wine and sample from various regions. Get outside on a picnic bench or patio to enjoy the weather, and try food and wine pairings if you want to get real fancy (or fall back on a classic cheeseboard–it’s always a crowd-pleaser).
Clean out your pantry and fridge
Thanks to the warm weather and sunshine, you’re probably craving lighter meals like salads and smoothies more than usual (leave it to summer to actually make us want to eat our veggies!). Upgrade your kitchen by cleaning out the pantry and fridge; toss anything that’s past its expiration date, donate processed foods, and make a grocery list with ingredients to try some favorite summer recipes. Replace processed and expired groceries with fresher, seasonal options. Stock up on fresh, local fruits and veggies (bonus points if they’re from your local farmer’s market!), and focus on the produce in season (like watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes, oranges, and avocados).
Spend a day totally tech-free
One of the best parts of summer is that there is so much to do that’s not watching Netflix or staring at your computer screen. For at least one day, commit to going tech-free. Go on a hike or a bike ride, or just read a book and do some painting. No matter how you choose to spend your tech-free time, put down your phone, close your laptop, and turn off the TV to enjoy the day without screens. If you want a bigger challenge, consider going on a social media break for an entire week, or limiting your Netflix to one half-hour show a day, max (I know, it seems impossible not to binge when you’re watching Outer Banks).
Grow your own produce
Even if you don’t think of your thumb as green, this season is the perfect time to start growing herbs or vegetables. Growing produce is healthier for you, better for the earth, easier on your wallet, and feels so empowering. If you have a yard and the space, start with basics like tomatoes and lettuce (easy-to-grow summer produce). Get a gardening tool set, a watering can (that will look pretty sitting out for easy access), some outdoor planters, and get to work! If you’re in an apartment or just don’t have the space outdoors, grow fresh herbs on a windowsill or using an indoor smart garden.
Have a movie marathon with one common theme: summer
Whether your idea of “summer” is beach flicks (Aquamarine and Baywatch), nostalgic high school movies (Grease and Now and Then), or films that make you feel like you’re back in summer camp (like The Parent Trap, or Dirty Dancing for a sexier and more grown-up version of camp), put together a movie marathon of your favorite films that feel like summer.
Another fun summer theme is travel, like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Mamma Mia!, or Eat, Pray, Love, to take a trip around the world from the comfort of your couch. In the mood for romance? The Last Song, Call Me By Your Name, or any of the Mary-Kate-and-Ashley-on-an-island movies have got your back. To host your own backyard movie night, all you’ll need is a good projector, a white sheet (or garage door), and some homemade popcorn.
Switch out your bed linens
In the winter, you want your bedding to feel cozy and warm, but in the summertime, you’ll want to climb into light, cool sheets at the end of the day. Stow away the chunky knits, big cozy blankets, and faux furs that got you through the colder months, and replace with lighter quilts and breathable fabrics (like a lightweight duvet and linen sheets). Changing the textures of pillows, throws, sheets, etc. can transform how airy and fresh your bedroom feels. PS, need bed styling tips? Click here!
Make your grocery shopping more sustainable
We could all be a little better with our sustainable practices, and summer is the perfect time to start. With all the fresh food available (always dreaming of watermelon these days) and extra time spent in nature (the beach counts, right?), rethink what you can do to live greener for the earth. One of the easiest ways to do this is to switch to greener grocery supplies and food storage. Not only are there reusable products that seamlessly replace plastic bags or plastic wrap, but they look good in your kitchen too. Take home produce from Whole Foods or the farmer’s market with a net string bag and store food in reusable pouches and canisters instead of Ziploc bags.
Venmo a friend you miss $5 for an iced coffee on you
We think of summer as feeling carefree, but the reality is that we don’t always feel as happy-go-lucky as summer songs would have us believe (“Don’t Worry About a Thing” is an iconic song, but feels pretty unrealistic, right?). To spread a little extra love and happiness this season, consider Venmoing a friend you haven’t seen in a while for an iced coffee, or send the healthcare worker in your life a thoughtful gift or text to let them know you appreciate them. It’s such a simple gesture but goes a long way in how both of you feel.
Go on a road trip (for the day)
When you think of your best summer moments, isn’t it always in a car with the windows down and the radio turned up? Picture this: you and your best friend, a wide-open road, the convertible top down, and heart-shaped sunglasses (Thelma & Louise style). Even if the convertible is unrealistic and you look much better in round frames than heart-shaped, you get the point: summer is meant for road trips. Even if you have nowhere to go, drive around your city and explore areas you’ve never been. After all, isn’t it all about the journey, not the destination (dropping some deep ish!)?
Have a picnic (at night)
A picnic is as synonymous with summer as ice cream cones or barbecues. But this season, have a picnic under the stars instead of during the day (romantic, no?). Grab your significant other or your BFFs and enjoy the warmer weather by spreading a picnic blanket in the backyard and having dinner or a bottle of wine outside. FYI, if it’s too cold at night or you don’t have a yard, laying a blanket on the living room floor and opening the windows counts too.
Make a summer playlist
The easiest way to feel summery in an instant? Playing the songs that bring you back to spring break in college or childhood days at the beach. Perhaps the classic “Island in the Sun” can transport you to a tropical vacation while you’re sitting at home, or “California Girls” makes you want to put on your bathing suit and sip some rosé. No matter your style, make a go-to playlist of all your favorite summer songs to listen to while you soak up the sun. If you’d rather check out one of our playlists, here’s what we listen to while sunbathing by the pool.
Find a bathing suit that makes you feel ~flawless~
If you’re anything like me, you only own two one-pieces that got you through college pool parties, AKA you desperately need more options but bathing suit shopping is the WOAT (that dressing room lighting, though!!). But a bathing suit is like the pair of jeans in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: as hard as it is to find, the perfect one is magical. Dedicate this season to finding that perfect suit for you by researching styles and fits. The perfect bathing suit for you is out there, I promise! To start your quest, check out our favorite suits of the season and our favorite accessories to go with them (we’ve got your back!).
DIY your own (healthy) popsicles
Your first popsicle of the season is a rite of passage; it means summer is officially here. I love a Firecracker popsicle as much as the next girl, but they’re super simple to DIY with ingredients that are actually good for you. Try one of our favorite recipes, or simply purée some fresh fruit and experiment with your favorite flavors like berries with greek yogurt and honey. You can also make a green juice popsicle by blending leafy greens, cucumber, ginger, and celery. Add mixtures in popsicle molds (like here or here) and freeze for six hours (bonus: if you stick one of these in a glass of Prosecco, we’d call you genius).
Add an outdoor workout into your routine
If you’re stuck in a rut because you take the same online workout class every day, add in some time outside. Bring your mat and your sun salutations to the park, or go for a walk instead of running on the treadmill. Summer is also a great time to try an outdoor workout you’ve never done before: go for a hike, try an outdoor class, or ask a friend to join your workout. Switching up your routine will keep you from getting bored, and what’s more energizing and motivating than a little extra sunlight? Don’t forget your SPF!
Join a bookclub (or start your own!)
Need a new beach read or looking to put together your comprehensive summer reading list? Get recs from your friends by joining or starting a book club to learn about great books you might not have heard of or thought to read yourself. Plus, you’ll be held accountable to turn Netflix off and open a book if you need a little extra motivation to read more. You can also find a lot of local or virtual book clubs to meet other people you’ve never met (new friends and new books? Yes please!). To start, check out the most anticipated books of this summer, books that will feel like a vacation (even from the comfort of your couch), and the best books our editors have ever read.
Update your skincare for the season
Imagine this: summer 2020 is officially in full force. Your skin has never looked better, you’ve got a glow even the lifeguards envy, and you’re not breaking out from all the sweat and sunscreen. Sounds too good to be true, right? Consider updating your skincare to include cooling ingredients, proper sun-care, and a killer faux tan for the summer glow of your dreams. Your skin has different needs in the summer than it has in the winter, so update your routine and check out our favorite products that will save your skin in the summertime.