Summertime blues? No way! Dive into these 14 ways to make the hot months sizzle with excitement.
1. Go haute and cool with skincare
This season’s best new skincare products bring your body the best from climes both hot and cold. Head to French Polynesia with the NARS Tahiti Bronze Collection, which is inspired by the spectacular vistas and flora of the Motu Tane island, located off the coast of Bora Bora. The Liquid Laguna Bronzer ($40) is the perfect highlighter to enhance a sophisticated, sun-kissed glow to cheekbones and forehead, and the Monoï Body Glow ($59) is a lightweight oil that gives skin a natural radiance. Available at www.narscosmetics.com and local Sephora stores. La Prairie of Switzerland is all about the thrill of the chill with its Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection, which harnesses the power of Alpine botanicals to combat environmental stresses and support skin resilience. The latest product in this exclusive collection, the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Transforming Cream ($195), is a light, oil-free cream with an SPF of 30 that color-corrects, refines and protects the face. Cellular Swiss Protective Veil Sunscreen ($185) boasts an SPF of 50 to shield skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays while also providing powerful antioxidant defense with a proprietary blend of Swiss Noble Edelweiss extracts and Swiss Glacier Water. Available at www.laprairie.com and Neiman Marcus Fort Worth, 2100 Green Oaks Road, Fort Worth, 817-738-3581. www.neimanmarcus.com.
2. Suit Yourself
There’s nothing basic about the one-piece swimsuits from Kopper & Zink, an Australian swimwear label that’s making waves with chic, strappy suits that are as flattering as they are fabulous. Founder Sally Burgess spent several years in New York City as a swimwear designer for major labels before returning to Sydney to launch her own label last year. While the Kopper & Zink line also offers a wide range of bikinis, Burgess believes that a one-piece suit can be even more dramatic than a two-piece, and these cutting-edge styles definitely go the distance. $220, www.kopperandzinkswimwear.com.
3. Pretend it’s a dry heat
Wrap yourself in luxury this summer with a colorful, cotton terry cloth beach towel from Hermès. At 35.4 inches by 59 inches, they’re generously sized, and their marvelous designs — incredibly detailed prints in a variety of colors that are similar in style to those adorning the silk scarves this French luxury firm is famous for — are sure to enliven your cabana chaise or yacht deck. $630, www.hermes.com.
4. Create a no-fly zone
The threat of Zika, West Nile virus and itchy mosquito bites can put a damper on outdoor activities until (sigh) the first freeze of the season — many, many months from now. Bug spray often contains chemicals, and citronella candles can’t be used in many public places. A handheld bug zapper, such as this one from Sur La Table, is a portable, eco-friendly way to kill them dead. It may look like an oversize fly swatter, but it’s actually a battery-powered killing machine for pesky flies, gnats, mosquitoes and other flying insects. Just pick it up, hold down the buttons until a red light indicates the net is activated, move it toward the insect and — zap! Keep it on your patio, throw it in your car, toss it in your picnic basket or tuck it into your suitcase if you’re traveling to a place with mosquito-related health alerts. $14.95, Sur La Table, 1151 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-416-6257; www.surlatable.com.
5. Float in luxury
No longer just for kids, luxury pool floats are the must-have accessory for anyone planning to put in time at the pool this summer. From whimsical white swans (a favorite of pop star Taylor Swift) to over-the-top, $6,000 Swarovski-encrusted unicorns, the luxury pool float market is booming with statement-making options to satisfy all tastes. To get your float on in style, check out B Kids’ selection of Sunnylife pool floats. The newly-opened children’s boutique is stocking (and quickly selling out of) the brand’s line of Instagram-worthy inflatables, which come in fun styles like a flamingo, whale, white swan and pineapple. The pool floats range in price from $60-$99. B Kids, 6323 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 151, 682-286-1588. http://bkidsboutique.com.
6. Shoot under the sea
Check out what’s below the surface without leaving the boat. The Aquabotix Hydroview Sport HD Camera allows you to view and document all your underwater adventures. Controlled via iPad or laptop, the easy-to-operate underwater vehicle can stream and record real-time video while capturing high-definition photos (it even creates its own Wi-Fi signal, and footage is easy to share, the company says). Set it to work before you cast a fishing pole to see what might be biting, or just enjoy watching sea creatures in their natural habitats. In addition to underwater exploration, the Hydroview Sport is great for searching for lost objects and inspecting underwater boat parts, the company says. $5,900, Frontgate, 888-263-9850, www.frontgate.com.
7. Pack a stylish beach read
Designer labels aren’t just for wearing — they’re also for reading! Dahling, don’t you know a great fashion-themed read is the most fabulous accessory? Here are a few of our favorites:
My Journey by Donna Karan is a candid and fast-paced biography by one of the biggest names in womenswear. It takes readers behind the scenes as this trailblazing designer (and working mother) goes from being fired from her first job to flying high in private jets with celebrities, all the while challenging stereotypes of women in business and striving to find balance and harmony in love, life and loss. Ballantine Books, $30.
In the Name of Gucci by Patricia Gucci combines memoir with fashion history in this tale of love, scandal, loyalty and betrayal anchored by a decades-long affair between the scion of the storied Italian fashion house, Aldo Gucci, and his mistress, Bruna, as told by their daughter, Patricia. Once considered the “guilt of Gucci” for having a child out of wedlock — illegal in 1960s Italy, Patricia eventually became her father’s sole universal heir following a family coup in a true story more fascinating than fiction. Crown Archetype, $28.
From Chanel to Reves: La Pausa and Its Collections at the Dallas Museum of Art by Olivier Meslay and Martha MacLeod chronicles the history of a remarkable home and an equally outstanding art collection that is now on permanent display at the DMA. It begins in the 1920s when the legendary Coco Chanel built a villa on the French Riviera — La Pausa — with her lover, the Duke of Westminster. Following his death in 1954, she sold the home and everything in it, to an American couple, Wendy and Emery Reves, who maintained its look but also added their private art collection, which included works by Van Gogh, Manet and Cézanne. When Emery died in 1983, Wendy donated the entire collection to the DMA with the proviso that it hang the pieces in rooms re-created to look like La Pausa, and the resulting five-room exhibition space has made the DMA a premier repository of Coco Chanel memorabilia. Giles, $15; available at the Dallas Museum of Art Museum Store, 1717 N. Harwood St., 214-922-1256. http://store.shopdma.org.
8. Hang ten and get wet
After spending your day under the hot summer sun, cool down the way surfer dudes do — with a refreshing rinse from Strand Boards’ Surfboard Showers. Handmade in Manhattan Beach, Calif., the totally cool outdoor showers are the perfect addition to any lake or beach house. Each 8-foot-long surfboard is made with high-quality copper plumbing and features both a head and foot rinse. For every surfboard shower sold, a percentage of the sale is donated to Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization. $1,799-$3,099; http://strandboards.com.
9. Get on a boat
Like Andy Samberg sings, we’d like to grab our swim trunks and our flippy floppies and be “on a boat” — all summer long. Good news: There’s an app and a website for that, and it’s like the Airbnb for watercraft. GetMyBoat is the largest boat rental and charter marketplace in the world. Just about anywhere you’re headed, you can browse listings for privately owned watercraft by boat type (from yachts to jet skis), features and amenities before you go. Then connect with owners and confirm reservations, arrange pay-by-the-day insurance, enjoy the vessel and leave a review. Got a boat that’s seldom used? Owners easily can list their watercraft with photos, description, pricing, availability and location. Insurance is arranged through a preferred provider. GetMyBoat launched in 2013 when the founders were sailing in the Atlantic Ocean and noticed an unusual number of boats idling in marinas. Now they’ve got 58,000 boats in 169 countries; recent searches turned up a sailboat in Charleston, S.C., for $200 per hour, a power boat for rent in Rogoznica, Croatia, for $802 per day and a sleep-aboard rental in Paris for $268 per night. Learn more, create and find listings at https://getmyboat.com.
10. Cool your brew
When the heat index is 105 degrees at the crack of dawn, the last thing anyone wants is scalding-hot coffee. A cuppa cold brew is a refreshing way to start a summer’s day. And have you checked your grocery-store shelves lately? Chilled, ready-to-drink coffees are hot right now. The best around comes from Chameleon Cold-Brew. The Austin-based company uses 100 percent organic, fair trade Arabica coffee and limestone-cured water from the Texas Hill Country in a proprietary, 16-hour brewing process. Going “lower and slower” than most cold-brew makers ensures maximum freshness, resulting in a smooth, less acidic coffee, the company says. Chameleon Cold-Brew concentrates can be stirred into milk or nut milk for a creamy morning latte, whirled into smoothies, frozen into popsicles or even poured into cocktails for a delicious java jolt. And new this summer, a Texas Pecan concentrate bottles one of the most iconic flavors of the Lone Star State. Find Chameleon Cold-Brew at better grocery stores; Texas Pecan is available only at H-E-B and Central Market stores ($9.99 for 32 ounces); www.chameleoncoldbrew.com.
11. Go to adult summer camp
Ever long for those halcyon days at summer camp, when you spent endless sunny days exploring the great outdoors and making arts and crafts? Now you can have that experience again, only much, much better thanks to the Belmond Villa San Michele, a five-star boutique hotel in Florence, Italy, that’s in a renovated 15th-century convent tucked into a verdant Tuscan hilltop. Already well-known for its cooking classes and grand planned excursions, the hotel is offering guests the chance to take clay modeling and marble-carving classes with Raffaello Romanelli, great-grandson of the famed sculptor, in the workshop where his family has created art for five generations. Hotel rates start at $646 per night; the class is $339 per person, www.belmond.com/villa-san-michele-florence/.
12. Book a splashy staycation
A fantastic resort with a world-class water park in its back yard? Yes, please. The Gaylord Texan Resort made a splash around Memorial Day when it opened a $5 million addition to its 5-year-old Paradise Springs outdoor water park. Among the new offerings are more rental cabanas, three new winding water slides, cool water features, more pool seating and a more kid-friendly pool area. In fact, the whole expansion was designed with little ones in mind, the Gaylord says. Guests can float down a 600-foot-long winding lazy river, lounge in a 6,000-square-foot family lagoon with a walk-in beach, dip into two horseshoe-shaped hot pools, play with kiddos in a toddler pool, play water basketball and ride a 27-foot water slide. Access to Paradise Springs is complimentary with a stay of at least one night at the Gaylord, and it is not open to the public. Rates and packages vary; for more information and to book, visit www.marriotthotels.com.
13. Float on Arctic ice
Beat the summer heat the ultimate way — with an Arctic cruise to Franz Josef Land with Poseidon Expeditions. Aboard one of Poseidon’s signature vessels, travelers will embark on a 14-day expedition that kicks off in Longyearbyen (located in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard) and moves across the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. Depending on seasonal sea ice conditions, scheduled stops may include Alexandra Land, Northbrook Island and other historic or wildlife-significant areas. To enhance the Arctic experience, guests can take advantage of Poseidon’s free photography program or opt for a $595 per person membership in Poseidon’s Sea Kayak Club. Led by qualified sea kayak guides, kayakers will get the chance to explore the rugged coastlines and uncharted waters of Franz Josef Land. Rates start at $7,295 per person. 347-801-2610, http://poseidonexpeditions.com.
14. Set a fancy table, al fresco
Have you noticed? Melamine dishes have gotten gorgeous. No longer do they look like tacky plastic plates just one step above paper or styrofoam. Take, for instance, the Swirl melamine dinnerware collection from Pottery Barn. Each piece looks like hand-painted and glazed Italian pottery, but it won’t break when it’s dropped on the patio. Mix and match the pretty colors — blue, turquoise and stone — to recall the colors of your last Caribbean vacation next to the swimming pool in your own back yard. Set of four dinner plates, salad plates and bowls, $30-$42; each piece, $6-$9. Pottery Barn, 1616 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, 817-332-5707, and 1440 Civic Place, Southlake, 817-251-0290; www.potterybarn.com.