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The Atlanta-based host shares her tips for picking music for your party
When hosting a gathering, adding a musical element in the background helps to make your guests feel comfortable. It’s also super easy to do — simply plug in your iPod into some speakers, turn on your iTunes on your computer, or even tune your TV to Pandora.
When constructing your party soundtrack(s), you should consider who your guests are and what kind of setting you want to create. Here are some of Joseph’s party favorites:
• Hosting an Italian Feast? Play a selection of classic Italian songs like Dean Martin's Mambo Italiano or Piero Umiliani's Crepuscolo sul mare. For something upbeat, put on some contemporary Italian music from artists like Eros Ramazzotti.
• Hosting a cocktail party? Stick with lounge-y music like Ultra-Lounge's Vol. 9 Cha-Cha de Amor.
• If you're hosting a themed party, let the theme guide your choice. For example, if you're hosting a Mad Men-themed Bridal Shower, put on timeless classics like Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra.
What are your party soundtrack favorites? Share them below!
A Lighter Take on Grilled Steak
CHAR AWAY Grilling romaine draws out its natural sweetness and also gives it a nice smoky edge.
PRODUCE HAS ALWAYS exerted a strong pull on Caroline Glover. She left behind a plum sous-chef position in Manhattan to work on farms and learn just how much effort goes into raising excellent vegetables. Now she’s back in the kitchen at her own restaurant, Annette, in Aurora, Colo., still rhapsodizing over the veg.
“I love how meaty and vegetal romaine becomes on the grill,” Ms. Glover said of this recipe, her first Slow Food Fast contribution. Tossed in a roasted-shallot dressing, charred romaine brings finesse to a simple grilled steak. “It has a femininity to it,” she said of the dish as a whole. “It’s lighter and more delicate.”
Though the dressing contains no dairy, the emulsion of roasted shallots, olive oil, mustard and lemon juice is remarkably creamy. A tapenade of olives, mint, parsley and lemon zest provides some briny, herbal bite to balance the rich meat.
“I think a lot about how people feel after they eat,” Ms. Glover said. “With this you get the satisfaction of steak without feeling weighed down.”
Annette Joseph’s Playlist Picks - Recipes
Looking for your next beach read? Italy is my Boyfriend by Annette Joseph should be at the top of your list! The book chronicles Annette’s decades-long love affair with the country, from early trips with her young children, to house hunting along the Italian Riviera, to renovating a crumbling fortress in the mountains of Tuscany.
Annette, a top stylist and expert on entertaining and cooking, lets her sense of humor shine in this memoir. With each page, you feel like you’re right alongside her on each adventure — breathlessly zipping along winding Italian roads in a tiny Fiat, house hunting with questionable realtors, designing a dream home, and laughing at the absurdity of difficult houseguests. (After all, when you live in Italy, everyone wants to come visit!) It’s escapism at its finest a way to get a memorable Italian vacation in the summer of 2020. In a recent chat, Annette told us a bit more about the book:
You make many comparisons to living in Italy being like a passionate love affair: exciting, at times tumultuous or sad, yet all together rewarding. At what point did you realize the similarities and know it was the angle for your story?
When people asked “why Italy?” I would always say Italy was like a boyfriend. It was my go-to answer. Because there are so many emotions involved and sometimes a love affair has all of these same emotions, it was a natural way to think about living in another country. It was not logical it was emotional.
You wrote much of the book from La Fortezza, the home you ended up buying and renovating in Italy. Was it surreal to remember so many adventures and mishaps from the home that you ended up with?
La Fortezza, is a place that I find incredible peace. It felt very natural to finally write my book there. It felt like a full circle experience on so many levels.
Even with the ups and downs, we’re sure many people who read your book may want to follow in your footsteps and pursue a life in Italy. What would you tell them?
I always tell people the same thing, it took us 10 years of spending every summer in Italy for months at a time. It is important that you spend loads of time in Italy, living there for weeks and months before making the investment of time and money buying and renovating a property. Vacationing and living in a foreign country are very different.
Though the pandemic has upended travel, will you be in Italy again soon? Do you have plans for your workshops to resume?
I am going mid August. Our workshops will resume in 2021, hopefully. We are watching the pandemic situation closely. Italy also needs to open to the US which has not happened as of right now.
You’re working on another book and again, Italy is the star. What can you tell us about it?
Part of the reason I am returning in August is to start work on my next book, due out Fall 2021: La Fortezza Cookbook. We will be shooting the summer and fall chapters. I am working with the famous English food photographer, David Loftus. I am so excited to finally be able to start shooting it. We are working with an Italian team, chef and prop stylist Barbara Pederzini.
Annette Joseph’s Playlist Picks - Recipes
*Article originally published in December 2017.
Italophile, master photo stylist, and entertaining expert, Annette Joseph, has written a second book (Cocktail Italiano: the Definitive Guide to Aperitivo: Drinks, Nibbles, and Tales of the Italian Riviera) to inspire us to join in on Italian-style, pre-dinner libations and edibles. In it she not only shares her recipes, but also her favorite spots, anecdotes and tips related to her time spent in Italy. On the 12 th of January she’ll be hosting an event at AmericasMart that we are definitely not going to miss. We asked her a few questions to get a little taste of what’s to come!
You are based in Atlanta but have a close connection with Italy. Could you share with us what that connection is?
We have lived in Italy every summer for over 20 years. We have had houses there for 15years. 2 years ago we bought a 12 th century fortress that we are currently finishing renovations on. I hold creative workshops and retreats at our new location in Tuscany all summer and into the fall.
What is it about Italy that you think is so attractive? Any lessons to be learned by us Americans?
It’s a completely different point of view: Italians enjoy life and put family before work. It truly is a place of La Dolce Vita.
Your book that is just coming out, Cocktail Italiano: the Definitive Guide to Aperitivo: Drinks, Nibbles, and Tales of the Italian Riviera, is about the Italian art of the aperitivo, the pre-dinner cocktail. Can you explain to us what a true Italian aperitivo is like?
It is the ritual of enjoying cocktails and nibbles before dinner, usually from 6-8pm. It literally means to “open the stomach” preparing for the dinner hour, which in Italy is much later than in the US, usually from 9pm up to even midnight!
What are some of your favorite places to have an aperitivo?
My book is filled with my favorites places, it is literally a guide book of the best places to enjoy aperitivo on the Italian Riviera. So, I would have to say my favorite place to enjoy aperitivo would be on the Italian Riviera.
Which are some of your favorite Italian cocktails?
Aperol Spritz would be on top of my list, but I also love a Negroni, and of course I love a nice crisp Gin and Tonic.
Besides being a celebrated author, you are also a top food and entertaining stylist. What is something about Italian meals and the Italian way of setting a table that you love?
Italians love food, cooking and entertaining, they do it effortlessly it’s something that I adore about the Italian culture. Their table settings are very sophisticated and I love the mix of old precious heirlooms and amazing modern design. A style like no other, it’s incredible and swoon worthy.
You’ll be hosting an event this January at AmericasMart on everything you need to know on styling and executing an unforgettable Aperitivo. Could you share with us what to expect? Is there something in particular you’ll be focusing on?
We will be talking everything Italy – food, style and lifestyle – and I also will be sharing why I wrote my book, and how living in Italy has inspired my entertaining style over the years. Of course we will be enjoying cocktails and nibbles from my book. It’s going to be fun!
Since Atlanta and AmericasMart are so intertwined, what do you love about your hometown of Atlanta?
I think that Atlanta has grown into a great city full of wonderful restaurants and lovely cocktail bars. Entertaining is something that Southerners understand and have always enjoyed. There are some very fine hosts in this city.
For those of us who’d like to get a head start on an aperitivo, check out our slideshow for a cocktail and small bites recipe.
For Olive Tapenade:
In a food processor, combine the olives, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice and pulse for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in the feta cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Slice the baguette diagonally into 3/4"-thick slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush each slice on both sides with the olive oil and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Arrange the crostini on a platter along with a bowl or jar containing the olive tapenade.
Note: The olive tapenade may be made the day before the party and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve. The crostini may be baked in the morning and stored in a large zip-top bag at room temperature until you are ready to serve.
5 Gary’s Award-Winning Coconut Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
Bake a simple yellow cake according to instructions on the box. Set aside to cool.
Toast coconut in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
To make the icing: In a standing mixer, combine whipped cream and sour cream with 1 cup coconut, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Frost cake, sprinkle remaining cup of coconut on cake for garnish, and serve.
Shop the Show: Kitchen Comforts
This summer, a curated group of leading lifestyle voices -- our Shop the Show alumni -- will steer us toward the most inspiring, functional and beautiful finds for today’s new, home-oriented lifestyles from brands you can shop at Atlanta Market. Join us and our alumni as we explore the summer’s top trends for all aspects of home life.
For many, the kitchen is the true heart of the home. Gathering together to create and share favorite foods offers a welcome sense of comfort and connection. As we choose to dine in more than ever before, a well-stocked kitchen deserves its place in the home spotlight. Our Shop the Show culinary tastemakers dish on their essential tools and kitchen must-haves to create confident chefs and comfortable kitchens, plus their favorite style tips for setting beautiful tables!
Let’s Get Together
We’re spending more time than ever before in our kitchens, so now is the moment to embrace all the little things that make family cooking time fun and memorable. Each of our Shop the Show alumni has their own list of cooking must-haves that make their kitchen truly their own. A great set of knives tops nearly everyone’s list, along with quality cookware and a good cutting board. Design blogger Chris Marcum of Chris Loves Julia recommends keeping a citrus squeezer in the kitchen, to add a splash of citrus flavor to almost anything while cooking. Also, he says, “a multipurpose flat wooden spatula has replaced just about all of my wooden spoons. I have 5 of these in a crock on my counter, and I use several every time I cook.”
Well-stocked shelves full of essential utensils and beautiful serving pieces are an ideal starting point, while fun tabletop accessories are a great way to let creativity shine and get the whole family involved. “Don’t just have tacos for dinner,” says lifestyle blogger Landyn Hutchinson of Living with Landyn, “have a fiesta! Get your kids involved, have them create menus or set the table for the themed dinner.”
In Tiffani Thiessen’s home, the kitchen is also the heart of family life. “Dinner time has always been a place where we come together,” she says, “whether it’s the meal prep before or just sitting around the table together to enjoy the meal as a family.” Little extras that make the kitchen welcoming and family friendly will be a top priority for many in the coming seasons, including display-worthy cutting boards, small cups and bowls for meal prep, and anything sized for little hands that allows children to join in cooking.
For Kelsey Nixon, the kitchen is always the first place she looks when seeking a creative boost, and she finds there has never been a better time to try new recipes with her loved ones. “While eating and cooking with wholesome ingredients is something we all can strive for,” she says, “what I’ve learned is that the most healing aspect of food is sharing it with those that you love. The act of sitting down and breaking bread with your family is far more important than the individual recipes that make up your table.”
“I would say as soon as you can have people gather together, gather outside in the yard. Don’t forget the flickering tea lights when the sun starts to go down!” - Monika Hibbs
Gathering at Home
Whether they’re laying out the dinner table for a family of four, hosting friends for a long-awaited happy hour or just creating a beautiful meal for one, all our Shop the Show alumni sang the praises of setting a beautiful table. “I love to entertain,” says Landyn Hutchinson, “and I can’t wait for the day I can have my girlfriends over for a cheese board and a glass of wine.” A few of her entertaining staples always include a beautiful cheese tray from Bloomingville and wine glasses and a pitcher (“Perfect for a margarita batch!”).
“I love table linens,” enthuses Annette Joseph, “I use them even for just the two of us right now. It’s like putting on a dress these days and some makeup in quarantine, it makes things special.” Kelsey Nixon also loves a well-dressed table, saying, “beautiful linens set the framework to showcase beautiful dishes and serveware. Even for weeknight meals I like to pull out placemats to easily pull a table together.” Lifestyle blogger Monika Hibbs, author of Gather at Home, likes to go one step further and head outdoors with guests, adding that “there is something so special about hosting an effortless meal outside for your loved ones.” Her go-to picks for dining al fresco include “an outdoor table setting that won’t break, some fun place mats, a statement tablecloth. and of course a fabulous umbrella!”
At Tiffani Thiessen’s house, setting the table often needs to be easy and quick, but still beautiful. Most of the time, she says, “our decor is flowers from our garden.” Liz Marie Galvan also encourages people to take inspiration from the outdoors, clipping fresh flowers or budding branches for a breath of fresh air at the table. “Get creative,” she says, “and bring the season to your table, whatever season that may be.” Vases, pitchers and other glassware to contain this fresh floral frenzy can take a table from drab to chic in seconds. The simple comforts of family and friends, combined with food prepared with love and a table set with an eye for beauty, can truly feed the soul.
“I believe that we eat with our eyes first and so setting a beautiful table is always a priority for me that is super satisfying.” - Kelsey Nixon
Need some inspiration to stock your shelves? Here are a few of the kitchen must-haves that our Shop the Show alumni can’t do without:
- - Our pizza oven and barbecue grill
- Everyday staples of great cookware, good set of knives and an organized kitchen
- . And my dishwasher. Ha!
- Good set of knives
- Cast iron skillet and a Dutch oven
- Nonstick pans
- Digital thermometer
- Wire “spider” strainer is a must
- Parchment paper
- A classic set of knives is a must
- Beautiful dinnerware like the Lastra collection from Vietri she purchased at her last visit to Atlanta Market
- A large etuHOME cutting board that can double as a serving board
- I also love my Now Designs baking dishes and a solid cookware set
- Some favorites from Robinson Home are the collapsible silicone strainers from Squish, the Zing Jar Opener and Pivot Trivet -- I love them all!
“Investing in good quality kitchen essentials is the first step in building confidence in the kitchen.”- Kelsey Nixon
Stay tuned for our upcoming Shop the Show Alumni at Home series and be sure to register for our summer Atlanta Market, August 13-18.
Annette Joseph’s Playlist Picks - Recipes
Table Talk with Annette Joseph
Annette Joseph is an expert on entertaining, cooking, and styling. She regularly appears on The Today Show and Martha Stewart Sirius Radio. Her recipes and party ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Epicurious, DesignSponge, MSN, The Huffington Post, Southern Living, and Woman’s World among others.
She now enjoys sharing the many ideas, tips and tricks she has gained as a nationally recognized photo stylist/producer specializing in lifestyle editorial images for magazines. With over 20 years experience, her expertise includes photo styling for interiors, food propping and special production projects.
Annette currently splits her time between Atlanta, Georgia and her home in Italy with her husband and 2 children.
What makes a wonderful party host?
Hosting a party is like conducting and orchestra, you need a great mix to make beautiful music. It’s very important to pick a group of guests that have some commonality, and enough differences to make conversations interesting.
Who do you think the most skilled and gracious party hosts are?
My friend Steve Mckenzie and his wife Jill, t hey are amazing warm people and they are natural hosts.
Karen Mooney, VP at Ballard Design is a fun host she does the best parties.
William Peace and his wife Malissa are chic hosts, and love great wine. They always make everyone feel comfortable and well taken care of.
Timothy Corrigan, my favorite bonvivant, lives large in France, his parties seem epic.
Yolanda Edwards founder of The Yolo Journal, loves a nice Negroni and a wood fired Pizza, a woman after my own heart + she’s a major Italiophile.
I had the pleasure of working for Gwyneth Paltrow 10 years ago and we have maintained a nice relationship, she’s and amazing cook, a great entertainer. Always easy and very California casual in the best possible way.
What is inspiring you right now?
Our new house in Italy inspires me these days. I do so much cooking and entertaining there, that inspires all the food drinks and table scapes are the common thread in everything I do in Italy and in the US.
What are your favorite entertaining pieces in your home?
I am a big fan of the farm table. I have been using all sorts of layer
ed table linens these days. I am obsessed with brass candles ticks and have started collecting vintage ones from flea markets all over Italy.
What is your home decor style?
Our homes are very “collected” my favorite magazine is World of Interiors so I am one for acquiring décor. I love textures so all of our homes are highly textured. I love patina, old stone, textured walls and tile, wood beams are always a part of the visuals. I also LOVE to repurpose so I have tons of objects that are repurposed in both houses.
My all time favorite repurpose project is the antique tin travel bath tub I used as a chandelier over the dining table at La Fortezza, our Italian home.
What are your current three favorite finds from the Freshly Set websites?
Who are your dream dinner party guests?
Living and Dead? I like this question
1. Pablo Picasso, loved wiener dogs like me.
2. Andy Warhol
3. Wes Anderson
4. Tina Fey
5. Chef Massimo Buttaro and his family
6. Anthony Bourdain
7. J ulia Child
8. Lady Gaga
What are your butler’s pantry staples?
In my book Picture Perfect Parties, Rizzoli NY, I actually offer a list of stylist staples for your panty, I call it a Party Panty .
Here’s the list: Building Your Party Pantry.
First off don’t buy a thing! I want you to look at what you own. Here are the basics you will need to create any party in this book. I want you to look at everything in your home, things in your living room and den, even the things in your bedroom and foyer or garage and yes of course the basement. I want you to shop your home for useable objects and items, think about repurposing and using things in a whole new way. Here’s what I would like you to look for.
1. 3 Baskets, wicker and or metal
2. 3 Trays or flat objects that are food safe and could be scrubbed and used to plate or gather food. I love white enamelware, I find mine online or at flea markets, 1 rectangle 1 square 1 round.
3. 12 Glasses, anything the more mismatched the better
4. 12 wine glasses both red and white 12 champagne coupes12 champagne flutes, these can be from a flea market, and mismatched
5. 2 Wood surfaces, like planking or old cutting boards, 1 rustic, 1 smooth
6. 4 Tile, old tiles can be used as platters for cheese or appetizers
7. 2 Chalkboards and old signs, anything that you could write on to use to write menus or
messages to your guests.
8. Ribbon and string and yarn and twine and raffia and ribbon
9. Wrapping paper, it makes great table runners, or wrapping vases
10. Galvanized or enamel buckets, great for flowers, napkin rolls, breadsticks, or French bread 1 large 1 medium 1 small
11. Vases, garden pots
12. Bottles and jelly or mason jars, (I like to save jam jars and run them through the dishwasher) all sizes
13. 1 of each Small, medium and large Plates and platters
14. 3 of each Small, medium and large bowls
15. Metal containers, wood containers
16. 4 of each Small and medium wood crates or small fruit crates/baskets from the grocery
17. 3 yards of each Old pieces of Fabric, for runners and table cloths, burlap from the garden shed
18. Old napkins, and tablecloths, (I like to over dye old thread bare linens)
19. Mugs, tea cups
20. Muffin tins and old baking pans
21. 12 white dinner plates
22. 12 dessert plates
23. 12 appetizer plates
24. 10 Espresso cups
25. 10 Coffee cups
26. 12 white bowls for soup or dessert or salad
27. 12 white dessert plates
28. 12 knives, fork, spoons, dessert spoons, dessert forks
29. Small wooden servers, for jams, and spreads
30. Mismatched flatware for serving meats and condiments
31. 12 White and Natural Linen napkin * if you do not have these you should purchase them
32. Linen tablecloths, 1 white and 1 dark linen * if you do not have these you should purchase them
33. Cocktail shaker
34. 10 Martini glasses
35. novelty toothpicks
36. 2 white cake plates small and medium, 1 color cake plate
37. Pie server, ice cream scoop
38. 8 placemats, I only like placemats for breakfast or lunch or a very casual dinner. NOT parties.
Summer Bucket List Activities: 80 Fun Things to Do this Sunny Season
1. ✦ Go to an Amusement Park
2. ✧ Leap Off a Rope Swing
3. ✦ Pick Strawberries
4. ✦ Try a New Food
Have you ever tried raw oysters, escargot or frog’s legs? Maybe you have never had something as simple as sushi. Think of all the things you have yet to taste (for some fun ideas go to an Asian market!), then go out and try something new. You never know, you may stumble upon some delectable delicacies that you may never have heard of had you not been adventurous with your food. Don’t know what to try first? Check out the Weird Food Bucket List: 60 Strange Foods From Around the World or The Food List Challenge’s 100 Foods to Try Before You Die.
5. ✦ Attend an Outdoor Concert
In the United States, 40 to 50 million people attend outdoor concerts each year—it’s a top thing to do!. Find the perfect venue in your area, bring a lawn chair and spend a bucket list worthy evening listening to tunes. Unsure of where to see your show? Check out the 10 Outdoor Concert Venues Worth a Summer Road Trip.
6. ✦ Ride a Ferris Wheel
7. ✦ Attend a Parade
8. ✦ Have a Picnic
Pack a traditional wicker basket with your favorite picnic foods and enjoy the feast as well as the weather. Real Simple magazine can help you out with their Picnic Packing Checklist. If you want to set up an Instagrammable picnic, here’s a cute red checkered picnic basket.
9. ✦ Play on a Slip-n-Slide
10. ✦ Take a Road Trip
Pick a spot on the map, get in your car and just drive. There are very few activities in this world that are as fun-filled and as exhilarating as going on a road trip either solo or with your best friends.
Make a list of all the things you would like to do along the way and let the other chips fall where they may. Just go with it and have fun. The open road calls to all of us. One of my favorite road trips was Canada’s Cabot Trail!
11. ✦ Feed the Ducks
12. ✧ Grow an Herb Garden
Gardening can be a lot of fun and growing your own herbs is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle and teach the same to your kids. They will definitely have a blast digging in the soil and planting seeds, growing seedlings and watering them. You don’t need a lot of space and the vessel can be anything from a wooden crate to a mason jar to an old tire.
For an easy option, just buy an herb starter kit. Nature Blossom’s Sow & Grow makes it simple by giving you everything you need to grow five organic favorites: Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Cilantro. Or get creative with these top 30 low-budget garden pots & containers
13. ✦ Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Can you confidently say that you know your city in and out? If Frommer’s was to contract you to write a guide to your city, would you do it justice? Take the time to visit more than just your usual hangout places. There is more to life than hanging out at the bowling alley and the mall.
Be a tourist in your own city, go someplace new and you may be surprised by just how wonderful that old town can be. Most cities have free tours too. You could discover streets, shops, and landmarks that you never knew existed. You could also do the tour via segways, making it a little bit more fun.
14. ✦ Go to the Beach
15. ✧ Learn to Juggle
16. ✦ Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Take yourself to new heights and see what the world looks like from a birds-eye view. Better yet, make a champagne toast whilst flying high in the sky. If you are too afraid for the flight, then watch from the ground at a Hot Air Balloon Festival.
17. ✦ Nap in a Hammock
18. ✦ Make Tie-Dye T- Shirts
Do you have a bunch of white T’s you would like to breathe some life into? Why not make tye-die T-shirts this summer? Again, this is something that the entire family can get into and enjoy as you all try to outdo each other with your various brands of creativity. This Tie-dye Kit will make it much easier for you!
19. ✦ Run Through Sprinklers
20. ✦ Go Wine Tasting
21. ✧ Learn to Fly Fish
This may be a challenging bucket list goal, but what could be a more serene thing to do than casting a line into the river? Besides, you get to wear really cool pants.
22. ✦ Go Whitewater Rafting
Take a thrilling ride down the river in an inflatable raft, hitting rapids along the way. Whitewater Rafting is considered an extreme sport, so be careful when choosing this as one of you Summer Bucket List ideas.
23. ✦ Do a Cannonball into a Body of Water
24. ✦ Go to a Baseball Game
25. ✦ Go 24 Hours without Internet, Radio or Television
Now, I know, this is a tall order. We use the internet for everything nowadays. But think about it. When was the last time you went for two hours without your phone? Try going 24 hours without internet, radio or TV. Go camping sit and read a good book talk to your friends and family or use the time to complete some of the ideas on this summer bucket list.
Soon enough you will wish you had these quiet and peaceful moments more often.
26. ✧ Have a Water Balloon Fight
While we all love to feel the sun in our faces, sometimes the heat of summer can get a little too…toasty! On those days, very few things even come close to feeling as good as having a cold shower, but the next best thing is to have a water balloon fight.
Fill up dozens of these latex fun makers and target your favorite friends, while trying to stay the driest of the bunch. If winning the fight is just as important as having fun, research techniques on How to Survive a Water Balloon Fight.
27. ✦ Ride a Big Water Slide
28. ✦ Do a Random Act of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are some of the most fulfilling and most humane and human things you could ever do. Especially when it is done for a complete stranger.
- Donate some food
- Pay the bridge toll for the person behind you
- Go to an animal orphanage and help out for the day
- Feed someone’s parking meter.
The possibilities are endless. The best way to approach this is to look at your local community and see what it is they need the most. Or check out my post for ideas: 75 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas: Examples of Kind Things to Do.
29. ✧ Play Disc Golf
30. ✧ Have the Ultimate BBQ
Good food, good company, cold beers and warm outdoor weather, what more could you ask for in this world? Having an Ultimate BBQ is one of the best ways to while away a boring Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Everyone has their own specific style when it comes to BBQ’s so do not let anyone tell you anything about what you like. You go right ahead and grill that meat the best way you know how. Enjoy!
31. ✦ Watch Fireflies
32. ✦ Go Waterskiing
33. ✧ Run a Themed 5k
Themed 5k marathons are a wonderful way to not only bring the community together for a common course, but to also show off your extreme levels of fitness and fun loving nature. Make sure the theme is something fun, like a mud run (check Active’s 5k Race Finder for ideas). It’d be a bonus if running the 5k was to support a local organization.
34. ✧ Host a Bonfire
A bonfire can add incredible ambiance to any party, especially on a warm Summer night. So, invite your friends, load up your cooler with beverages, bring lots of wood and a radio to play your favorite tunes.
35. ✧ Make Sangria
There is nothing like a refreshing glass of Sangria to quench your thirst on a hot Summer day. One of my favorite recipes is the Plum and Nectarine Sangria from William-Sonoma.
36. ✦ Paddle a Canoe
37. ✧ Make a Summer Playlist
38. ✦ Go to a Farmer’s Market
Enjoy strolling through the Summer farmer’s market while gathering fresh and local ingredients for your dinner. Take your bounty home and try making a delicious Farmers’ Market Salad loaded with veggies.
39. ✦ Sleep in a Cabin
40. ✦ Read a NYT Best Seller
If you are an avid reader, then those warm summer evenings make for some of the best times to just sit by your porch and read a New York Times Best Seller. This list is considered one of the most reliable when it comes to suggesting excellent books in the United States. Whether you are looking for fiction, non-fiction, auto-biographies or even a children’s book for those bed time stories, you will find it here.
You could give ‘The Thief’ by J.R Ward a try. Although, I must warn you, this is the 16th book in the thrilling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. So if you do not want to be so hooked that you simply must read the other 15, maybe you should try something else. Like ‘Shoot First’ by Stuart Woods or go non-fiction and read ‘Russian Roulette’ by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.
41. ✦ Ride a Roller Coaster
42. ✦ Go to a Drive-in Movie
If you are looking for a unique and cheap date night, how about going to a drive-in movie? They may be more difficult to find these days, but they are a whole lot of fun when you do. Look at the Drive-In Movie Website to locate the nearest one.
43. ✦ Watch the Sunset
44. ✦ Watch Fireworks
45. ✦ Go Skinny Dipping
46. ✦ Make S’mores
If you haven’t had these yet, drop everything you are doing and go make some—s’mores are absolutely divine. As the perfect campfire treat, making S’mores is something that the whole family can get into and thoroughly enjoy.
Allow me to elaborate: The best kind of S’more, the ones I like most, go a little something like this – You take a fire-roasted marshmallow, sandwich that with a layer of your favorite chocolate and then cover it all up with two pieces of graham cracker.
This recipe should help to get you started on the right foot. This treat has been a campfire staple long before most of us here were even born. The very first recorded s’mores recipe was published in 1927 in ‘Tramping and Trailing With the Girl Scouts’, a Girl Scouts handbook. So you are in good company. And if the traditional style doesn’t do it for you pick a unique one from the 12 Creative S’mores ideas.
47. ✦ Get a Pedicure
48. ✦ Sleep Under the Stars
If you are lucky enough to travel the world, then try to sleep under the stars in the Northern Hemisphere. The Northern Lights are a spectacle that you will never forget. But if Sweden is too far, then maybe you can make a good go of it right in your backyard? On those warm summer evenings, get a bunch of your friends and just camp outdoors sleeping under the stars.
49. ✦ Fly a Kite
Flying a kite is a relaxing way to spend a Summer day that has a bit of wind kick to it. If you haven’t previously had any luck getting your kite in the air, wikiHow can tell you How to Fly a Kite in 8 Steps. And if you need a kite, this octopus kite is so cute!
50. ✦ Watch the Sunrise
51. ✧ Spend the Entire Day Barefoot
This may not be such a great idea if you are walking across hot concrete, but it would be fabulous and freeing if you were spending the day at the beach or in a soft grass field.
52. ✦ Walk Barefoot in the Sand
Sinking your barefoot toes in the warm sand is the perfect way to spend a warm day.
53. ✦ Go Backpacking with a Friend
You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced wilderness and gone backpacking. Grab an adventurous friend or two and take on Mother Nature. You can do something as simple as visit the local park or the neighboring county. Or plan a few day trek, and check “sleep under the stars” off your summer bucket list at the same time.
54. ✦ Make Ice Cream
Instead of going to the grocery store to buy your favorite ice cream flavor, set up shop and make some at home. If ice cream seems too complicated, try making fun flavored popsicles, like Blueberry Vanilla Yogurt. Yum!
Here is the ice cream maker and popsicle molds that I use for my sweet summer treats.
55. ✦ Bake a Fruit Pie from Scratch
56. ✧ Brew Your Own Beer
Speaking of mojitos, how about you brew your own beer? Brewing your own beer is not that difficult. You will just need a starter kit and some excellent advice, but once you get it right, you may never set foot in a bar again.
57. ✦ Go Star Gazing
58. ✦ Porch Sit for the Afternoon
59. ✦ Make a Sand Castle
You really can’t avoid the beach with that much success during summer. Since you will be headed that way anyway, why not put your creativity to good use while you show off that killer bikini body? Building a sand castle is much tougher than it looks, especially if you are going for the ‘uber-elaborate’ kind. Doing this with your loved ones is a wonderful way to spend some time together, get an enviable tan and maybe even have a mojito while you are at it.
60. ✧ Get a Tattoo
61. ✦ Go Bowling
62. ✦ Learn to Surf
This is a bit more challenging than most of the things to do on this Summer Bucket List Ideas, but you can enjoy the warm weather while also learning how to catch a wave. You can find fun, beginning surfing lessons near just about every surf beach.
63. ✦ Skip Stones in a Lake
64. ✦ Take a Boat Ride
65. ✧ Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts can be exhausting if you are playing with strangers or someone you do not know that well. Luckily, I have my husband with me and we enjoy driving each other crazy trying to find new ways to outwit each other. You could do the same with the people you love and have a good old time.
66. ✦ Visit a Historical Site
67. ✧ Attend Burning Man
Burning Man encapsulates everything fun and exciting about summer. It combines the desert heat, amazing creativity, wonderful musical revelations and a huge group of people who want nothing else but to have a wild, wonderful time out in the middle of nowhere. At Burning Man you can be yourself, have unbridled fun and you can definitely party all night and try to sleep all day. Just like you used to when you were younger.
68. ✧ Stand Under a Waterfall
Standing under a waterfall is a ritual purification practice to some Japanese, but for you it could just be a bit of warm weather fun.
69. ✦ Chase Down the Ice Cream Truck
70. ✦ Hike a New Trail
71. ✧ Build a Treehouse
72. ✦ Learn to Shoot a Bow & Arrow
Though archery is an easy sport to learn, it’s a hard one to master. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t give a shot at hitting the bulls-eye this Summer.
73. ✧ Compete in a Food Eating Competition
74. ✦ Volunteer
Volunteer your time and effort to make the world a better place. You don’t have to join ‘Greenpeace’, although that’s not such a bad idea, you can volunteer right in your own community.
Help the elderly, give blood, volunteer at the local soup kitchen or just make sure that your neighbor’s yard is well-kept. Give back to the society and you will be the better for it.
75. ✦ Go Somewhere You Have Never Been
Accomplishing this bucket list goal doesn’t mean that you have to travel to the ultimate location, just go somewhere you have never been. It could be something as simple as visiting a new park in your city or taking a day trip to a nearby town that you have been meaning to explore.
76. ✦ Create a Cocktail
Many foodies are also experimentalists, and becoming your own mixologist will test your skills. The best part about this bucket list goal is that you will have to do a lot of sampling before coming up with your own perfect harmony of flavors. Practice makes perfect!
In the heat of the Arizona Summer, I decided it was the perfect time to create my own refreshing cocktail. The funnest part? Testing all the different concoctions. In the end, my signature drink was a Lemon-Basil Fizz made with prosecco, coconut rum, raspberries, basil and lemon sorbet (see the video below). What will yours be?
77. ✦ Sip a Umbrella Cocktail by the Pool
78. ✧ Make Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Lemonade and summer go hand in hand like Christmas and Santa! You simply must have some when the sun is out. Squeezing your own lemonade allows you to add a bit of your own flair into the mix. Go wild and let your inner mixologist come out and play!
79. ✦ Get a Summer Hair Cut
80. ✦ Go Camping
This summer, when the sun comes out, get your backside out there and do something fun as well. That’s a bucket list order!
From Selena Gomez to St. Vincent, the Best Songs You Should Be Listening to Right Now
“Be Sweet,” by Japanese Breakfast
2021 is set to be a big year for Michelle Zauner, who releases indie pop music under the moniker Japanese Breakfast. This month, she released the first single from her third album, Jubilee, out June 4. “Be Sweet” is a celebratory synth-pop track about overcoming relationship insecurity in favor of compassion. On April 20, Zauner will release her first memoir, Crying in H Mart, a book about grief and searching for the tastes of her childhood.
“Pay Your Way In Pain,” by St. Vincent
St. Vincent’s sixth solo full-length album, Daddy’s Home, will usher in a new era for the genre-bending singer and guitarist, far from her leather-clad and pop-fueled 2017 record, Masseduction. The musician, whose real name is Annie Clark, embodies a bombshell starlet in a blonde wig on the album’s cover, as well as in the video for its first single, “Pay Your Way In Pain.” The music takes cues from 1970s funk like War and Parliament, as well as the cinematic rock vocals of David Bowie.
“Buscando Amor,” by Selena Gomez
The latest career milestone for singer and actor Selena Gomez is the release of her first Spanish-language EP, Revelación. With help from Puerto Rican producer Tainy and collaborations with Puerto Rican MC Myke Towers, singer Rauw Alejandro and DJ and producer DJ Snake, the EP fuses reggaeton, R&B and silky pop into a new, sensuous sound for Gomez. Her vocals are hazy on “Buscando Amor,” a bumping song about the singer’s confidence.
“Leave the Door Open,” by Silk Sonic
Two of the most soulful performers of the 21st century, pop superstar Bruno Mars and the more hip-hop adjacent Anderson .Paak, have joined forces as a throwback duo, calling themselves Silk Sonic. The outfit’s first song, “Leave the Door Open,” is a textbook example of a 1970s bedroom slow jam, as the group embodies the suaveness of Marvin Gaye and the funky sensuality of Earth, Wind & Fire. “Leave the Door Open” will appear on the duo’s first album.
“Thumbs,” by Lucy Dacus
Beginning in 2018, indie rock singer Lucy Dacus frequently performed an unreleased song called “Thumbs” at her live shows. The devastating song quickly became a fan favorite. One fan even created a Twitter account dedicated solely to pining for the song’s official release. This month, Dacus finally put out a studio version of the song on which her haunting vocals are backed by drawn-out synthesizers.