I see people gathering. I see some of them, in masks, (scroll down deep for all my current favorite masks) trying their best to allow kids and adults alike a little physically distanced-outdoor-safe time with friends and family, for the sake of love and sanity. I see them on patios and porches, in parks and backyards. And I see beauty in it—I see beauty in the effort of it, and the mutual respect of it. It sounds simple: wear a mask, get outdoors, keep a reasonable distance from others. Yet so many really seem to be struggling with this right now.
Is it ideal? Nope. Different? Yup. Doable? Absolutely. It just takes a little effort, and in that effort, is where I see beauty and love, and the potential for fun.
I see people gathering — physically distanced — well, and I feel like we get a little wiser with each outing on which we venture. One evening, while walking my own masked kids through our local square, on our way to see an outdoor film installation on the facade of the Barnes, there was a fantastic Greatest Generation-Aged couple packing up their picnic. Just the two of them with their folding chairs, adult sippy cups, picnic blanket, and wagon in which to tote it all from our shared outdoor city space back to their high-rise building, tying their masks, as they were about to walk through shared space again, from their private little patch of public grass. They were so beautiful. It took everything I had to go against my own nature and not just go hug them, and to not pull down my mask and smile, nor walk over and chat. Instead, I glanced over, mask on (therefore they couldn’t see my smile) and just tilted my head and held up the love clap hand signal my kids learned in Zoom classes this spring. They yelled back, “OK, Mom.” They flashed the same love clap signal back to me and the kids from 20 feet away, and that tiny little human interaction was enough—in its moment.
With inspiration from those two beautiful humans and all our own lessons learned of late — through both success and failure — here are some of the fun and beautiful things we’ve seen recently, and also the ones that functionally seem to be lending toward safely physically distant gatherings — done better, done beautifully. Can you see me holding up to you my virtual Love Clap here?
BYO Everything: Gather At A Distance Shopping List
Outdoor Gathering: Drink
Anyone thirsty? We all obviously need to hydrate with water, and some of the adults might enjoy an adult beverage…and from what I hear, there’s a whole new generation of Quarantine Puppies among us, and they might be thirsty too! One thing we’ve all learned in wearing masks and leaving the house, is that straws help and masks make us super-thirsty! Travel cups with straws and other creative lids, ways to schlep the adult beverages in style, and doggie styles too!
Outdoor Gathering: Eat
I’m not sure about your family, but we sit for not so very long before we’re all hungry again. Why not just pack something yummy and take it with you in a cute basket or tote? Even if you are just walking around the corner to a neighbor or in your own parent’s backyard, you can still make it feel like you’re traveling a gorgeous Mediterranean coast (in a vintage convertible obviously), and just stopping on roadside vistas with fresh bread and cheese and wine along the way for a snack and scenic view. Same thing as going over to your neighbor’s patio, right?
Outdoor Gathering: Groove
A little light jazz in the background of a gathering, or your kids’ favorite playlist and a big old dance party in the street — whatever your jam, music is fun outside. Just include the neighbors so they don’t complain. Oh, and name that song, and pass the DJ are fun physically distant games to play with music too!
Outdoor Gathering: Play
Adults, largely, are happy to sit — in fact they earn it. Kids, I find, sit for a few seconds. And then they start with the “B” word, the dreaded, Mom, I’m bored. No you aren’t, I brought fun safe games for us to play. Try these!
Outdoor Gathering: Define Your Space W/ Picnic Blankets
For some, we just need a place to sit, or spread out snacks and games. For others, it’s important to mark space, at a social distance. Nothing politely says this is my space, like a blanket laid out. Here are a few of our favorites that travel well.
Outdoor Gathering: Take A Seat
If we’ve learned nothing in the past few months it’s that we love our Helinex Rockers. They are just so easy to pack. And come in a few stationary forms as well, if light, easily packable chairs are your thing, but for some crazy reason you don’t love to rock.
Outdoor Gathering: Mask-Up
It’s kinda the primary thing we can do in this social contract of living through Covid-19. Just do it. But do it well…I’m loving cotton soft masks these days, and bandanas in all the colors that slip down to my neck when not in use as if I’m very fashionable. And when I actually want to be very fashionable? I’m obsessed with these beauties. Oh, and no big deal, but LL Cool J’s daughter, Samaria Leah, she makes gorgeous denim masks, among many other denim amazing items — a few of them might be a ‘lil stretch for me, but most of them, I’m obsessed with, like these shorts. That was a super-fun jean not-so-shorts shopping distraction, but back to masks:
Get back to work, get back to adulting, and then make sure you schedule some down time, outside with your loves just to regroup, relax, and enjoy the summer evenings in the easiest going way possible.
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distraction via pretty visuals. xo, A