“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” –Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Few outings bring me more joy than a proper picnic. The word alone conjures core memories: bouncing back and forth between my parents on the back lawn, getting engaged on the Santa Barbara coast, reciting Shakespeare with friends in Central Park every summer. A picnic isn’t just eating outside on a blanket; it’s an occasion. A chance to spend time with nice people, wear a frilly dress or seersucker shorts, enjoy little sandwiches and fresh fruit, see if you can still do cartwheels. It’s a rare opportunity to turn away from technology and look into blue skies, face warm breezes, and feel the grass under your feet. Heaven.
Sadly, not all picnics are dreamy. Picnicking accoutrements often generate a great deal of waste from the likes of disposable plates, glasses, cutlery, tablecloths, and napkins, not too mention leftovers. But Bluedot Living is here to help, with a list of attractive, thoughtfully made items that will help you picnic like a pro for years to come.
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Vintage Picnic Baskets on Etsy
When it comes to packing for a picnic, a cooler with good ergonomics might make the most sense, but a vintage picnic basket definitely has the most style. We also love the romance involved in wondering: Who had your basket before you, and what did that picnic-goer put in it?
Nomadix Towels and Picnic Blankets
Towel, blanket, and gear company Nomadix has a slogan we just love: “Own less. Do More.” This Climate Neutral Certified, 1% for the Planet member makes all of its textiles from recycled plastic. It diverted nearly 17,000,000 plastic water bottles from landfills in 2022 alone.
Food52, a Brooklyn-based digital media company, was founded in 2009 to share the absolute best version of any given recipe each week. It’s grown into a formidable food site, community of food enthusiasts, and e-commerce platform with a selection of gorgeous goods for home and kitchen.
Tarhong Planta Outdoor Dinnerware
At first take, we thought that Tarhong’s super chic Planta dishes had to be ceramic. Then we read “lightweight” and “shatterproof” and thought they must be melamine. And then we realized that it’s even better — they’re mostly made from plant-based materials, including bamboo powder and cornstarch.
Blue Dot marketplace editor Elizabeth tries to shop local whenever possible, but loves ordering from Thrive Market, a subscription-based, carbon-neutral online grocer and Certified B Corporation. Thrive’s “well-designed site and in-depth filters really let me shop my values,” she says, making it easy to find, say, cruelty-free, biodegradable cleaning products.
Christy Dawn Dresses
Christy Dawn’s dreamy, “farm-to-closet” dresses have many fans here at Bluedot. One editor enthuses that “their easy-breezy, super feminine clothes just make you feel like a girl.” The signature, vintage style comes not just from the sketchbook, but from the dress-making process as well.
Birkenstock, the German footwear company that will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2024, has done a remarkable job of keeping up with the times. Birkenstock offers an astounding array of options, including vegan leathers. We love the way we can always depend on these long-lasting sandals.
Boisson Alcohol-Free Beverages
Over the last few years, Americans have been drinking less. Boisson, a retailer with the motto “The Glass Half Full,” has emerged to help non-drinkers, the sober-curious, and everyone else find something new. The store offers a wide variety of low-ABV and alcohol-free beverages that still feel decidedly adult.