It’s the little things in life that make us extra happy. In the spirit of celebrating the small details, we’ve rounded up our top 10 summer essentials under $30; each of these will be in heavy rotation for picnics, beach trips, outdoor dinners, and general summer merriment. Take the savings and buy yourself a soft serve ice cream cone. With sprinkles.
1. Outdoor net food cover: A genius picnic saver, this net has weighted corners to keep it from flying away. Never suffer a spoiled, ant-ridden picnic again.
2. Ice pack: Cold drinks are our go-to antidote to summer heat. Instead of a chemical-laden ice pack, we use this stainless steel version that comes filled with distilled water.
3. Recycled paper bird napkins: You should never shy away from finger food, especially the deliciously messy kind. (Think crab feasts and funnel cake.) Just make sure to have a napkin handy. This set is nicely absorbant and better-looking than anything we've found yet.
4. Rosemary lemon & basil lemon caramels: We asked Chocolate Twist, one of our favorite candy makers, to surprise us with something sweet -- they delivered with these herb-infused citrusy caramels.
5. Sea letterpress coasters: Thick, sturdy, and just what we want for outdoor drinking.
6. Mini wood bowls: These tiny (and very adorable) bowls elicit more compliments than anything else in our kitchen. They're perfect for salt and spices, or little things like ice cream toppings.
8. Southern tea: This blend combines the fruity flavors of papaya, peach, and pineapple with hibiscus, lemon balm, and rosehips. It's more interesting than anything we've tried, but light enough that you can sip it all afternoon. All you need is a good book, a front porch swing, and a cold glass.
9. Compostable dinnerware: Do you want to wash dishes every time you eat lunch outside? We don’t either. Our solution is to use compostable plates that are nice-looking enough for parties and sturdier than paper. Made from fallen leaves and water, they're an excellent conversation piece, too.
10. Grilling planks: It’s almost July…your grill is waiting. Charcoal is nice and a gas grill is handy, but for maximum flavor, grill your food on wooden planks to infuse the smokiness of cedar, maple, or alder wood into your meat.
We want to know: What are your summer essentials?
Photos by James Ransom