what to do this summer

Photo: Joyce Lee

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15. Nice Ice, Baby

To add subtly fragrant notes to a cool glass of water or a champagne flute, freeze edible blooms—including violets, nasturtiums, calendulas, and roses—in an ice cube tray (preferably silicone, to avoid fractured florals). For the freshest flowers, go to your local farmers' market or your grocery store's produce section and avoid anything that's been sprayed with pesticides. Prefer a flora-free cocktail? A tray of chilly petals can beautify any ice bucket. Cheers!

16. Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Night

Illustration: Kate Francis, Brown Bird Design

Until drive-ins stage a comeback, make do with a simple DIY theater.

  • Pick a projector with at least 2,000 lumens to match the brilliance of an LCD screen, says Dan Nuxoll of New York's Rooftop Films, which runs an outdoor movie series.
  • Choose a neutral backdrop and skip surround sound. Dark colors and textures can distort your image, while speakers placed by the screen will enhance listening quality.
  • Provide proper seating. Floor pillows look charming, but your back will ache after the first hour. Home style expert Emily Henderson suggests beach chairs. Add some throws, and you're good to go.

17. Stargaze

Linger a little longer on a clear, warm night and look up. Jacqueline Faherty, astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, says the three easiest constellations to spot are Lyra, Aquila, and Cygnus. For mid-latitude observers, which means anyone in the contiguous U.S., they'll be straight overhead.