Summer days may be long, but the season itself is woefully, tragically short. There are precious few Saturdays on which to grill, sunbathe, and summer up with abandon, so we rounded up 15 tips that will help you get the most out of each and every one of them, and avoid speed bumps like sunburn that feels like the devil himself has licked your back. Gross.
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1. Eat as soon as you get up
There’s general agreement among dieticians that eating within an hour of waking up is the best way to avoid feeling like crap because of low and unregulated insulin and blood sugar levels. Have something ready in your fridge to grab and devour, like some yogurt mixed with fruit and granola so you have the energy to throw together something really creative for your perfect hungryman Saturday break-feast.
2. Apply your sunscreen -- the right way
Nothing kills a summer Satur-day like a summer Satur-night when you transform into a were-lobster. The American Association of Dermatology says give your sunscreen 15 to 25 minutes before you leave the house to absorb into your skin and to double check that it hasn’t expired (the average bottle goes bad within a few years). Your summer Sunday will so thank your summer Saturday when it doesn’t have to lie around, doing nothing but groan in agony while covered in gooey aloe -- plus doing it before you get to wherever you’re going means you spend less time sitting around a beautiful pool or killer hiking path slathering yourself like a pig in mud.
3. Wherever you’re parking, turn your steering wheel 180 degrees
Instead of grabbing a steering wheel that feels about 180 degrees. This way you don't have to a) wait a lifetime for the wheel to cool down to grab it, or b) be the toughest guy and fight back the tears as you grasp the burning plastic. How is it even possible for materials to get that hot and not melt?
4. If you’re heading to the beach, take a bottle of baby powder
It helps get sand off much faster, so you can take the five minutes you’d normally spend flagellating yourself with a towel and put it towards beating the shoobies heading back from the beach.
5. Also, bring your bed to the beach or the park
No, not literally -- instead of a towel, bring a fitted sheet and prop up the inside corners with everyone’s stuff to weigh them down. It provides a neat little sand barrier and saves you time at the end of the day when you don’t have to shake the Sahara desert out of your stuff (although good luck folding it. No one knows how to fold a fitted sheet.) This also works for picnics, as the sides can act as a deterrent for any visiting ants -- not the fun kind that send you a cool fifty for your birthday.
6. If you're ditching nature for a movie...
Up your visual experience by upping your audio experience. Everyone pretty much knows to viciously fight for the seats about 2/3 back in a theater -- it's the best place to see the film, and closest to where the audio techs work to get the sound just right. If the theater still uses an older audio system (and many do), sitting just a little left or right of center will get you right in the sweet spot of the stereo effect -- which is great, because you didn't spend half a month's rent on tickets and concession food just to listen to your friends go "Wait, what did he say? I missed it after the third explosion!"
7. If generally departing from civilization, get a portable battery
This way you can selfie until the sun goes down, but still have some emergency charge in the event you sort of lose your friends in the mosh pit or need directions after getting super lost on a road trip. Carrying your charger’s a smart idea, but next generation, super-juiced external batteries like this one are even smarter, and allow you to carry up to eight full smartphone charges in your pocket. Never crouch, sadly tethered to an outlet until you can fiddle with your filters again. Now go forth and throw those elbows.
8. ...and get a mosquito bracelet
Bug spray is of course effective, but sticky, kind of smelly, and also easily forgotten. Throw a bug-repellant band on instead to keep the little buggers away. Your summer gets about fifty times more successful when you don’t have to stoop and scratch every five minutes because of the one time your forgot bug spray.
9. At the BBQ, clean your grill with an onion
Take a large onion, chop it in half, and turn up the heat. Rub the onion on the grate -- it’ll loosen grime, smell delicious, give a little onion kick to your meat, and provide slight bacterial disinfectant besides.
10. Spiral cut your hotdogs
It cooks them perfectly, and provides neat little pockets for condiments. Who says you can’t teach an old hotdog new tricks? Spiral cutting also ensures the meat cooks evenly to perfection, so you don’t have to waffle about making sure you’re not moments away from giving friends food poisoning.
11. Cook apps on the grill while that steak reaches perfection
Barbeque-flavored chips at a cookout? Uninspired. Throw some littleneck clams or avocado halves on the grill when you get started. The clams pop open when they’re ready, and the avocado needs just a little heat and some grill lines to become a perfectly palm-sized dip for chips. You’ll be the thoughtful, inventive chef who can conveniently prepare two courses in one place, at the same time.
12. If you're eating out, get the latest and greatest billing/tipping app
A long day on a patio with friends, and their friends' friends, and their roommates that you didn't actually invite, is a recipe for billing woes. Don't futz around with the calculator on your phone. Please. You can divvy up the bill fairly, including in international currencies, and work out the tip with the updated Tip Calculator that works out the split bill total based on how many people are paying, the percent you're tipping, as well as an option to round up or down so you aren't left fiddling with nickels and dimes. Get in, get out, get Steve off your back about dividing the bill fairly.
13. If you’re too sad and red to peel yourself off the couch…
…and drive to the store with your inflamed lobster claws, you can pick up food around the house to slather on your burns instead (also return to the sunscreen section of this article for tips on avoiding this agony next Saturday). A cold water soaked compress is always a quick ‘n easy way to go, and tea bags can help your sad crab eyelids -- soaked in cool water, the tannic acid in the tea can ease the pain.
14. When you want to wash the various sweat specimens from your skin…
…along with seaweed stench and hotdog condiments, do *not* grab the soap -- it dries and irritates the skin further, and you'll only increase the pain. Throw a cup of white or apple cider vinegar into a tub of cool water instead; it’s an astringent (like Domeboro’s powder) and soothes the burn. Take a tip, and quit making your sunburn even worse by aggravating it unnecessarily, so you can kick back at the end of the night instead of sadly reapplying MORE ALOE.
15. By the time you get back in the house after wringing the day for all it’s worth
Throw on a fan alongside your a/c. It helps circulate the cool air, and will be a little more effective than simply sitting directly in front of the a/c blasting it as high as humanly possible while eating ice cream. Although night ice cream in the a/c is still highly recommended as a hella way to nail your Saturday.