Let’s Have a Picnic: The Must-Pack Essentials

The sun is out, the temps are high, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in the midst of a lush, green park. But first, some picnic essentials to make sure your afternoon stays just as sunny as the weather.

1. Pack a big-enough blanket.
Sure, you could sit your tush right on the soft grass, but if you missed the forecast (or were asleep when it rained last night), those pale pink shorts aren’t going to handle wet grass. Stay dry by toting along a blanket (or get crafty and make your own) that can seat you, your friends, and the requisite spread of goodies.

2. Don’t forget the utensils.
You can’t go wrong with a Picnic at Ascot basket, which I consider the urbanite’s version of a handwoven picnic basket. They’re perfect for storing food and wine, while keeping all the utensils (and glasses) handy.

3. Stock up on bite-sized treats.
Head to your local gourmet food shop for fancy cheeses, crackers, and snacks that are fun (and easy) to eat with your hands. Feel like making your own snacks? These three Pinterest picnic recipes are just begging for a try.

4. Bring toys for the little ones (or the dog, or yourself).
If you’re bringing along the kids, make sure there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Whether it’s a Frisbee, coloring books, or even a bone for the pup, you’ll all be happy for a few hours longer. (Just as long as a stray Frisbee doesn’t hit an innocent bystander.)

5. Keep the SPF handy.
Even when it’s cloudy you can still get a sunburn, and if you’re as pale as I am, you’ve probably learned that lesson pretty quickly. Protect yourself from the elements with a swipe of your favorite sunblock – I’m a huge fan of Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock (in a heavy-duty SPF 70) because it really does dry quickly and stay sheer.

Want more picnic inspiration? This Pinterest board has plenty of celebration-worthy scenes to make any picnic a sure-fire hit.

- By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer

What’s on your picnic list? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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July 18, 2012