Culture, Sports & Outdoors
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Building the Perfect Picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic? When the weather gets warm and the grass gets green, there’s nothing better than filling a cooler full of food and drink and heading out for an afternoon at the park or the beach. But in order to make it a truly fabulous picnic, you’ll want to make sure you have the following five essentials.

1. The Basket

The mother of all picnic baskets (Photo: Wayfair)

Buccaneer’s Grill and BBQ Set, $160, is the mother of all picnic baskets. It not only chills your sodas and holds your food and supplies — it also turns into a grill! Now that’s hot.

If you’re more of “a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou” type, then you’ll love Picnic at Ascot’s Wine Carrier and Purse, $44. Pick a favorite bottle of spirits, tuck a baguette under your arm and let the party begin. The creators claim that this cute tote can also be used as an evening bag, which will come particularly in handy at those pricey bottle service establishments. Cheers.

2. The Blanket

Tuffo blanket in Earth Stripe (Photo:

This is the blanket you need for laying around in the out-of-doors (Tuffo, $39). It’s waterproof, comes with a carrying bag, is machine-washable and is offered in myriad colors and patterns. I like the ladybugs. They’re not only occasion appropriate, they’ll hide your inevitable stains, too.

3. The Burgers

Bobby Flay’s Miami Burger (Photo:

Our friends at Food Network can’t be beat when it comes to meat. Check out their best burger recipes, including the Miami burger, which is inspired by the Cuban sandwich, Bobby Flay’s cheesesteak burger with pickled hot peppers, and a recreation of In-N-Out Burger’s famous, off-the-menu cheeseburger (my personal favorite). They even have a righteous veggie burger for your meat-free friends. These 45 recipes will last you all summer long, as will the food baby you’ll be carrying if you overindulge.

Want to grill off the beaten path? Try some of these eccentric suggestions from, such as pizza, Pop-Tarts and even (and especially!) bacon. I love a grilled-bacon and arugula salad with some balsamic, crumbled blue cheese and maybe a dried fig or two. It’ll put the pig into your picnic, right where it belongs.

4. The Beverages

Oh, yes, sippy cups are for Chardonnay (Photo:

Think plastic can’t be classy? Oh, ye of little faith. Vino2Go’s genius, insulated Wine Sippy Cups, $13 each, are perfect for your picnic. They’re glass shaped, shatterproof and feature a handy, spill-free cap. Take a lesson from your kids: Sippy cups are cool, and keep you from getting stained if you get a bit sloppy.

If you want to up the glass factor, go for this 007-approved Manhattan Picnic Martini Tote, $160. Not for amateurs, it’ll leave you shaken, not stirred.

Or you can just keep it cheap and easy:  Whip up some cocktails at home, pack them in a Thermos, break out a few red Solo cups and sip away your workaday worries.

5. The Balls

Did you know you needed a portable corn hole set? You do! (Photo:

Add a little activity to your time outdoors by playing cornhole! This low-effort, any-age game will definitely draw a crowd (but hopefully not attract ants). The Day of Games Portable Foldable Cornhole Set, $78, comes with all you need to let the games begin, including two can coolers and a bottle-opener key chain. The only thing more fun than playing cornhole is saying cornhole.

Got a little more skill to show off? Bring this Complete Croquet Set by Trademark Games, $52, to your outdoor soiree. It comes in its own carrying case and with enough balls and mallets for six players. It promises hours of fun — and frustration — for all.

Filed under: Culture, Sports & Outdoors


Jody Jones

In her 20-year media career, Jody has held executive editorial and business roles at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Scripps Networks Interactive (Food Network; HGTV), Time, Inc., Discovery Communications and AOL. An avid marathoner and Pilates instructor, Jody also enjoys her roles as a PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids) and mother to her fabulous furry daughter (beagle/bulldog), Janey. Follow her on Twitter @JodyJ.


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