Have a Picture-Perfect Picnic in 5 Easy Steps

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An easy guide to planning the perfect picnic. (Summer’s not over yet!)

If you’re anything like me, you are trying to cram as much of summer into summer as you possibly can. And, in my humble California-brain opinion, nothing defines the season better than dining alfresco. Whenever my friends and I are trying to iron out our plans, I am usually (ok, always) the one that quickly offers up the idea of a picnic: “Yeahhh… so guys, I don’t know about you, but we should probably picnic again. But it’s cool… I’m up for whatever. I’m just saying… we might as well, right? …Picnic? …Guys?” Because my friends are the coolest and super nice to me they often oblige, and I am non-stop smiles and giggles for the next two hours.

Picnics come in all shapes and sizes and, honestly, friends, there is no one way to do it right. (Which also means that there is no real way to mess one up, either.) The best picnics seem to be the ones that are handled with a carefree attitude and positive energy. Hanging out with friends…on a blanket…eating your fave foods is supposed to be fun. Don’t worry about having a cute picnic basket, because you don’t need one. Not sure what to bring? Don’t fret — food is food and it doesn’t need to be packaged in cutesy DIY wrapping. Picnics are — and should be — the most mellow, fun and relaxing way to hang with friends (or solo), so let your stresses drift away. For a little extra love, here are 5 super simple things to keep in mind for your next picnic adventure.

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Location. I have been privy to picnics in the mountains, next to highways, on large boulders, in the backs of trucks, at the end of uphill hikes, and in tiny backyards. Translation: it doesn’t need to take place in a park or at some epic location. What I would suggest is that the space accommodate the amount of people coming. Large parks and beaches are perfect for big groups, whereas just a few people can fit pretty much anywhere.

Food. You can be as elaborate as you want to be when it comes to food. I like to pack a baguette, cheese, seasonal fruits and nuts and a bottle of wine. (I like to keep things simple.) However, pre-made mason jar pies, summer salads, and deli sandwiches are great choices, too! For large groups, I suggest taking the potluck route where each person attending be responsible for a particular dish.

Blanket. This is the only hard fast rule I have to picnicking. Bring a blanket.

Gear. I personally don’t think it’s a big deal if you don’t have the “right” picnicking gear. I had a proper picnic basket with matching essentials (plate, cups, silverware) for years, but currently don’t have a thing. And to be honest, I don’t miss it. Depending on what you pack, be sure to bring the appropriate tableware. But don’t forget cloth napkins, a cutting board, bottle opener, water, trash bags.

Games. What the heck is a picnic without games? Pack your favorite board games, cards, frisbee and book. Also, consider toting a camera and mobile speaker if you want music.

+Hey fellow picnic pals, what else should we add to this list?

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