Summer is, by far, my favorite season. I love that when the weather turns warmer, people come out of the woodwork and the city comes alive. Suddenly, there are kids playing outside, people walking their dogs, and we're able to relax on our porch with a glass of wine after work and watch neighbors stroll by. And while I love my job, it can be tough to reconcile the fact that I have to be indoors at least eight hours a day working, when where I want to be is outside under the 80 degree sun. But instead of sulking, I just make sure to maximize the time that I do have, after work, sure, but especially the weekends. Once work is through on Fridays I hit the ground running.
One of my favorite Friday evening activities is turning on the string lights in our backyard, grabbing a few friends, and sitting around our fire pit with drinks and the makings of s'mores. It's the best. S'mores are the best. We're lucky to live in an apartment with a porch and a backyard right now, with a friend who lives on the first floor, but even prior to this good summer situation, we have always made the most of what our places have had to offer. In our old Pittsburgh neighborhood, it was the tiny porch attached to our duplex, and back in Beverly it was the fire escape and flat roof of our building.
For early summer evenings spent outside, you can't go wrong with a maxi dress. Long enough to keep you covered if you're sitting on the ground (and to me, way more comfortable than jeans) I love that this particular floral number from Lulu's features a bit of a sexier top to balance out the volume of the skirt. To keep my feet dry and out of potential mud (and because I'm always absentmindedly kicking stones and charred bits of wood near the fire pit), I paired the dress with ankle boots instead of sandals, and -- as usual -- piled on the jewelry.
If you're looking for more ways to get outside on a Friday evening, check out a few more ideas below:
Find an outdoor show or make your own: For Pittsburghers looking for something different than their own backyards or a new place to gather with friends, there's Bayardstown Social Club (pictured above), a members-only social club that regularly features live performances. Check your city for similar outdoor event spaces, or, if you have a back yard, why not string up some lights, invite a few friends over, and convince a musically-inclined friend that your yard is the next big venue?
See a movie in the park: Most cities offer some kind of "Movie in the Park" come summertime. While in both Beverly and Pittsburgh, they were geared more towards children, it was still a great way to unwind and an excuse to sit under the stars (and who doesn't want to re-watch Indiana Jones or The Little Mermaid?). You could even ask around to see if anyone you know has access to a digital projector. When I worked in admissions, we'd use my portable projector for movie nights at home, just pin up a white sheet on a wall or the side of your house, and invite some friends over to watch a favorite summer movie (I recommend kicking things off with Wet Hot American Summer, for obvious reasons).
Go to the drive-in: While drive-ins are a rarity these days, there are still plenty left (especially in Pittsburgh, which is awesome). Grab some pillows, clear out the back of your car, and enjoy the summer's biggest blockbuster (or two) with a huge tub of concession stand popcorn.