This is one of the most delightful Sunday afternoons I've had in a really long time. It's been so rainy lately, that I've been working my walking schedule around getting poured on. Yesterday morning I decided to get up at sunrise to get a couple of miles in before my Sunday got away from from me. As the sun rose, I immediately knew that it was going to be the perfect day for a picnic - not too hot, humid or cold and rainy. I headed to my usual morning routine and planned an afternoon at the park.
First, I thought about how was I going to tote enough goodies to last all afternoon? Well, of course, using a picnic basket. You may have seen this here for my Halloween costume as Little Red Riding Hood - but it was not intentionally purchased for Halloween. I sourced a few similar options here on a previous inspiration board.
I love the Spring and Fall since the weather is actually endurable then, and picked it up at a vintage shop a while back. This was it's true first picnic use. I recommend going with a basket capable of carrying enough weight for all of the essentials like blankets, food, beverages and a few books. The other item I thought would be helpful was a tote - see a few options in this post. I carried my sheet and threw my keys, wallet and cell in there. Also, it would be good to bag up trash and throw in until you make it to a garbage can.
Plan a menu
I knew I would want a few snacks, so I opted to bring some healthy choices. Although I know eat mostly vegan (read about how to go vegan here), I do splurge on goat cheese and occasionally fresh salmon every now and again. Nothing is better than a good spread on a sweet afternoon in the sun. I also opted for delicious organic blood orange sparkling soda and some water to stay hydrated. I've been walking a lot lately, and I wanted to make sure I replenished my body with healthy fluids.
When you are planning a picnic it's a good idea to go with items that travel easily. I also recommend bringing along appropriate cutlery and dishes. I opted for mason jars, red straws, wooden cutting boards, and a couple of small plates. It was simple, but tasty! For the snack portion, I added gluten-free rosemary crackers, cherry tomatoes and the biggest green grapes I've seen in a long time. I kept my snacking light, but made sure the palette was satisfying for the appetite.
Now, what to do with the entire afternoon? As much as I love scouring Instagram and Pinterest... I decided I needed to feed my soul a little more nourishment. I brought along one of the most inspiring books I've ever read and my notebook to jot thoughts down.
Enjoying the people go by was also entertainment in itself. So many Sundays here in Texas are devoted to BBQ and Football. It was really nice to get out and just feel the soft wind run through my hair. It's also a great place to take a nap (more about that in a minute). If you do decide to bring along your cell phone, enjoy some shade so you can view your screen properly.
Take some time to use this as a place of reflection. Our lives get so busy with kids, work, extra curricular activities, working out and entertaining. Whether you take a friend, loved one or go by yourself - use the time outdoors to really soak up being in the moment. After all, you put forth enough effort to get everything together and tote it across a field or park - enjoy! If it's comfy enough, just dose off for a brief minute or two.
Anyone who has ever tried to go to a restaurant with me will find out quickly that I love a pleasant atmosphere. Maybe it's because of my degree in Interior Design (funny how I sell software now though...), but I sure do love aesthetics. Creating a pleasant atmosphere is more than just a color scheme. You have to think about texture, color, comfort, and even scent. It's about creating an entire experience. Location is key, I went at about 3pm in the afternoon, that way I could find a shady spot to rest under.
I brought along a large gray sheet for the base of the picnic. Then, I layered a soft piece of red flannel on top. Since the sheet was the same color as dirt, I figured it would protect my clothing and nicer blankets and pillows. That's another tip - bring some cushions! If it isn't comfy, you won't want to stay very long. I bundled two small throw pillows together with a piece of ribbon to keep them together and make it easy to tote up the hill. I also packed a heavier soft chenille blanket I've had for years from The Pottery Barn. I love the texture and color of that throw so much! It's seen a lot of wear over the years and still looks like it just came off the shelf.
Finally, you gotta have some flowers. Babies breath are so inexpensive, but really add a something special. I put them in a mug I found from the dollar store and they added a little extra touch to the experience. You are almost creating an outdoor little room for your afternoon. To stow away everything, simply roll your blankets and sheets to fit them tightly into your basket or tote.
Last, but not least - let's talk about what to wear. I decided to go with a relaxed look for my picnic. I wanted to wear a blouse that was roomy, but still polished looking. Thanks to A Pair & A Spare's tutorial here, I was able to quickly whip up a top this morning. Seriously, the whole project took less than 30 minutes to make. Now that's my kind of DIY! The original shirt I cut it from was from Target in the men's section. A floppy felt hat kept the sun out of my face and leggings made it comfy to lounge around.
I've really been into scarves lately and it was time to bust out a red handkerchief. You can buy these for a dollar or two and wear in your hair as a bow, as a neckerchief or tie one on your tote. They are classic and come in an array of colors at most craft stores. I recently bought a pink one (so watch for upcoming posts incorporating one). For footwear, I opted for simple ballet flats since I knew I would be barefoot most of the afternoon. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it covers enough for you to sit indian-style and the blankets add layers for warmth if you start to get cooler.