Simple and Straightforward's Minimalist Summer Essentials List
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Simple + Straightforward is a weekly letter filled with essays, tips, and ideas to live life more simply and intentionally. This is a public post so feel free to share with friends and family you think would enjoy a dose of simplicity every Friday.
Apparently, it’s summer in much of the Northern Hemisphere right now.
I wouldn’t know because I’ve just landed back in the UK where it’s (a) rained and (b) not climbed over 64 degrees since I arrived a week ago. But I did just spend the last 7 weeks in Croatia AND did the good ol’ British thing of complaining about the heat there, so I won’t moan about the weather here (too much).
Bad British weather aside, it’s officially summer. So today is as good a day as any to talk about summer essentials, specifically the culture of the summer essentials list.
When I was a kid, I was fanatical about summer essential lists (hereafter known as SEL). I’d read Seventeen, Bliss and Mizz magazines and pour over their SELs, figuring it would be the “best summer ever” if only I could get my hands on Collection 2000’s must-have lilac lipstick (any Brits remember that trend? It must have been c. 1996).
I’m reliably informed that men were also subjected to the tyranny of the SEL, although perhaps to a lesser extent.
I get the attraction. There is something very appealing about a list filled with promises for the perfect execution of everyone’s favorite season.
Except, of course, these lists do anything but. Most of the time they’re sponsored content from big brands in a kind-of-but-not-really clever way to get you to buy more shit.
With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to come up with a Simple Living SEL - no purchases required - written in the cheesy style of those old magazines I loved so much.
We love that big glowing orb in the sky for its heat, light, and general summery-ness. What’s more, it’s free to enjoy this summer, and every summer going forth. That versatility is why we’re awarding it our Star Recommendation for 2022. Because what would summer be without the sun?!
A patch of grass
Whether it’s in your backyard, the local park, or on the side of the highway, a patch of grass never goes out of summer style. Sit on it, take a picnic on it, fall asleep on it, make out on it, let your kid destroy it, whatever you want to do, a patch of grass is guaranteed to be your best friend this summer.
We’re obsessed with flowers this year and their ability to grow pretty much anywhere. Whether you’re dotty for a daisy or barmy for a buttercup, you’re going to love your local park, riverbank, or hedgerow’s offering. You don’t even need to pick them, just gaze upon them and contemplate beauty, the meaning of life, what to cook for dinner, whatever you like!
Summer wouldn’t be summer without a good, healthy dose of good vibezzzz, courtesy of your very own brain. Get in the summer mood by sitting in the sun, slowing down, and remembering that you’re allowed to enjoy life!
Bodies of water
What would summer be without some swimming?! Our tip? Forgo the expensive swimsuit, sandals, and shades this year and dig out whatever worked for you last year. Head to the local swimming pool, beach, or river and dive down. The effect of gliding through cool waters is the same, regardless of what you wear.
Forget the summer of love, this year is the summer of friendship. Grab your mates, dress in whatever you can find (because it really doesn’t matter), and head outside for some summer fun. Invite them to cookouts. Let them sit on that great patch of grass you found. Take them to the beach. And don’t forget - the best summers are all about EXPERIENCES. And these are always better together.
That stuff that covers your body is your new number one summer fashion essential! It keeps your organs in place and you alive which means you can enjoy your summer to the fullest. What’s more, it doubles up nicely as a swimsuit (local laws permitting) which means your best swims are only a strip-down away.
You’re going to want to get a good healthy dose of time this summer. It could be taking a personal day, booking that well overdue week off work or choosing to sit outside over housework (even if it’s just for a minute). However you do it, carving out time to actually enjoy the summer months is a crucial component of any self-respecting Summer Essentials List.
Something to read this weekend
3 articles from my collection (paywall-free)
3 of the best pieces of content I’ve consumed this week
Youtube channel - Marc Rebillet
My brother turned me onto Marc this week and I’ve basically spent whole evenings watching his show. Marc’s a musician who “makes shit up” using a loop station in his living room in Canada. Apparently, he became super popular during lockdowns for his Sunday sessions, so as always, I’m somewhat behind the curve.
There is swearing, there is stripping (the dude always ends up in his boxers by the end) and there is excellent music.
Substack - Flow State
Now THIS is a super cool idea for a Substack. Flow State sends you a daily playlist designed to get you into flow states. The playlist hits at 3am PST so for many of you, it should be in your inbox by the time you start work.
I love this Subtack because I find it really hard to discover new music (and Spotify doesn’t make it easy), even more so when it comes to music I can listen to whilst I work.
Video - “Metric Paper”
If you’re in the mood for a headfuck cleverly masquerading as a cute animation, set aside eight minutes and watch Metric Paper.
It uses an A4 sheet of paper as a demonstration of both exponential shrinking (how many times do you have to fold an A4 sheet in half before you reach the smallest known object in the universe?) and exponential growth (how many times does it need to be doubled before you reach the edge of the universe?)
Thought-provoking stuff, best consumed when you need a bit of perspective in life.