10 ways to pack the perfect picnic

Picnics are one of the best summer activities ever! There’s nothing more relaxing than laying on a soft blanket while the summer sun kisses your skin. Not to mention the fact that you’re surrounded by snacks! Now, that’s a dream come true.

However, picnics can be a little bit more complicated than just throwing down a blanket on the grass. To be truly comfortable, without overpacking, here are our 10 must-haves for the perfect picnic!

1. WATERPROOF BLANKET

picnic blanket

Having a picnic blanket is a MUST. It keeps the creepy crawlers away from you and your tasty snacks. Plus, it makes laying down way more comfortable!

Consider buying a picnic blanket with a waterproof underside. This will prevent your bottom and clothes from getting wet. Remember, having a comfortable picnic is key here. For major style points, try to snag a cute, colorful blanket!

Check out this Picnic Travel Rug from Skova .

Photo credit: Skova Collection

2. BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

bluetooth speaker

Music makes everything better. Consider bringing a portable Bluetooth speaker to crank up the tunes and play anything to your heart’s desire– whether that’s chill John Mayer tracks or ‘80’s love ballads.

Check out portable speakers from brands like Ultimate Ears and Bose.

Photo credit: NME

3. INSULATED BAG / COOLER

ICEMULE cooler

Depending on the type of food you are packing for your picnic, you might want to consider bringing an insulated bag or cooler. Although picnic baskets will give your picnic a classic, picturesque look, insulated bags are much more practical because they will keep your food fresh longer.

For example, ICEMULE’s insulated backpacks are cute, convenient, and easy to travel with.

Photo credit: Firefly Buys

4. FOOD & DRINK

food & drink

Would it really be a picnic without food and refreshments? This is the most important part of the packing list. Finger foods are your best bet– the less mess, the better! Cheese plates, sandwiches, fruits, chips, salsa, and guacamole are great food choices for a picnic. But don’t forget about the drinks!

Here are a few tea-infused drink recipes that will keep you cool and refreshed: Sparkling Berry Iced TeaLemon Lavender Chamomile Breeze, and Sunkissed Honey Basil Lemonade.

5. CORKSCREW & BOTTLE OPENER

corkscrew & bottle opener

You never know when these will come in handy. It’s so easy to buy a bottle of rosé and forget to bring something to open it with! So, if friends bring a bottle (we can only hope, right?), you’ll be prepared for anything.

Photo credit: West Elm

6. BUG REPELLENT

bug spray

Bug repellent is a must-have if you’re going to be outdoors. But there’s nothing worse than using sprays that leaves a lasting odor on your skin.

Try these sweet-scented insect repellent towelettes for a more pleasant, bug-free experience.

Photo credit: Avon

7. DISPOSABLE PAPER TOWLELS & PLATES

bug spray

Remember, convenience is key! And bringing disposable paper plates will minimize the mess of your picnic. We recommend bringing a paper towel roll rather than napkins, because they blow easily in the wind. This will leave you spending more time chasing your littered-napkins around the park rather than munching on your tasty snacks!

Side note: Get eco-friendly paper towels and plates if you’re trying to be environmentally conscious. 🙂 Plus, you can find these products at your local Whole Foods Market.

Photo credit: Seventh Generation

8. TRASHBAGS

trashbags

Picnics are fun, but the cleanup process is not. Lugging all your trash in your arms to a trash bin is no-go. We recommend reusing a shopping bag to make this process smoother and environmentally friendly!

Photo credit: Amazon

9. DESSERTS

Dessert is perhaps the most important part of the ideal picnic. Satisfy your sweet tooth with your favorite dessert! My go-to sweet treat is white chocolate macadamia cookies. Check out my Pinterest for some food inspiration.

And if you are need of a sweet treat to cool you down, grab a pint of Talenti! Try their chocolate chip cookie dough gelato that’s a nostalgic blend of child and adulthood.

Photo credit: Talenti

10. FRISBEES

frisbees

After all the food is gone and you have relaxed for a bit, it’s playtime! Be sure to pack any of your favorite outdoor games for some friendly competition. We recommend bringing something easy to carry. The less you have to carry to and from your car, the better! Frisbees are great for this because they are super lightweight and fun. Anyone down for a game of ultimate frisbee?

Photo credit: Tierischer Urlaub

We hope these tips help you have the perfect picnic day! If you try out any of these products, be sure to share a photo and tag us using #hugsnqueso

Emilee’s Christmas To-Do List

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Does somebody need a hug?

– Buddy the Elf

hug
Emilee hugging and spreading Christmas cheer

Christmas is absolutely my favorite holiday of the year. I mean, come on, it’s dubbed “the most wonderful time of the year.” I celebrate hard. So, if you would like some fun, unique Christmas ideas to celebrate the season too, here’s my list. Enjoy!

-Emilee Hall (HALLiday master)

★San Marcos Sights and Sounds

For over 30 years, San Marcos has had a Christmas festival based in the town plaza, Sights and Sounds is, basically, a little Christmas Carnival. There’s a Ferris wheel, games, vendors, ice skating. There’s even a petting zoo. If you love Christmas lights as much as I do, go check it out!

Sights-and-Sounds-of-Christmas-in-San-Marcos-TX
Photo credit: smtxphotos.com

 

★Ice Skate

I will say that if you want the full AUSTIN, TEXAS, CHRISTMAS experience, I urge you to ice skate on top of the Whole Foods in downtown Austin. Maybe, while you are there, just get a little wild and pick up some organic hot chocolate too. 😉

ice skate
Ice skating with my friend, Jessica, on top of Whole Foods like every Austinite should.

 

★Create a unique gingerbread house

If you want to stick to the “traditional” gingerbread house, go for it! But, if you’re looking for a unique approach, try building a gingerbread beach house or log cabin! Maybe try to make a cookie replica of your own house. Get creative, you don’t have to even use gingerbread. But Emilee, not using gingerbread defeats the purpose of building a gingerbread house, right? Maybe so, but who cares! It’s Christmas! Do what you want. Here is a log cabin version that I did myself. Not too bad, huh?

gingerbread
Log Cabin Gingerbread house… minus the gingerbread. The exterior is made up of jumbo pretzel sticks and icing.

 

★Listen to the Michael Bublé Christmas Album in its entirety

I imagine that when celebrities/famous musicians make a Christmas album, it’s kinda like “Okay, we are out of ideas and need to make some money. Oh, wait! I know what we can do! Let’s sing Jingle Bell Rock!” Whether that’s the case or not, I get down to some Christmas music. Hands down, one of the best Christmas albums ever to be made is Bublé’s “Christmas.” He’s a modern-day Sinatra. So I suggest that you download the album on your music streaming app, or buy the album/vinyl.

Crank that bad boy up and jam out in the car. You’re welcome.

 

★Weird gift wrapping

Get creative with your wrapping! Especially if it’s a gift for someone you really love. For example, my step-dad can play just about any instrument, so I decorated his gift with music notes. Another example was my friend who was really into cars; I got a toy car and taped it onto the gift. Then I drew a road.

gifts2

 

 

★Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park

This is a holiday festival in Austin. Previously, I mentioned San Marcos Sights and Sounds. This reminds me a bit of that.  Grab your mittens and your BFFs while y’all stroll through this city-wide celebration.

 

 

 

 

★Drink hot chocolate at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

This place has some great coffee, a spectacular view, and AWESOME CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Sit back, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and the light show.

Address: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

mozarts

★Decorate a tree by the Austin 360 bridge

There I was, driving on the Austin 360 bridge around early December when I noticed something odd but charming. Random trees on both sides of the roads were decorated in eclectic fashions. After asking Austinites and doing a quick session of rapid googling, I discovered this is an Austin Christmas tradition. It’s simple, pick a tree, decorate it however your heart desires, and when Christmas is over, go back to your tree to remove your decor.  You won’t be fined for decorating the tree on the side of the road because there are no tree policies. However, please be respectful and to the community and trees.

02_Xmas_trees

★Binge on Christmas Movies

Nothing is better than cuddling up on the couch with your family, a significant other, friends, pets or just yourself and watching Christmas movies.

Here are my top favorites:

  • Elf (2003)
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  • The Santa Clause (1994)

If you’re trying to be “naughty,” you can play drinking games to your favorite Christmas movies.

elf

 

 

★Go to a tree farm to pick out a tree.

Sure, anyone can go to the store a pick out an artificial tree, but you see, the real fun and excitement come from going to a tree farm to purchase your tree. It smells like nature, and when people visit your house, they will be impressed. Maybe. I’m not sure, but it will impress me, Emilee. Do not forget to keep your tree watered or… well… It might catch on fire. That just might ruin Christmas.

tree
My Family Tree (2017)

 

★Epic Christmas Party

This is if you’re feeling EXTRA festive. Have a Christmas party. I’m talkin’, spiked hot chocolate, ugly sweaters, some guy dressed up as the Grinch, and a little Christmas movie trivia. For the finale, White Elephant gift exchange. For more ideas, I really would really suggest using Pinterest. Also, all pets at the party should have to dress up too. Yeah, that should be a rule.

Daisy
My dog, Daisy (2016).