50 ways to have your best summer ever
1. Make room next to your Sherlock poster
If you’ve seen Tom Hiddleston in this summer’s steamy hit The Night Manager, we’re no doubt preaching to the #hiddlesbum converted. If not: He’s basically 2016’s answer to Benedict Cumberbatch. Hiddleston is a dreamy, brainy Brit who’s racking up leading-man roles in everything from the recent musical biopic I Saw the Light (he sings! Swoon…) to next year’s King Kong origin story, Kong: Skull Island. There are rumours that he’s also slated to be the next Bond, which makes sense – this man is dangerously sexy.
2. Brush up on your vocab
Here’s what all the cool kids are saying this summer. (And, yes, “damn, Daniel” is definitely over.)
This year’s “on fleek.” Example: Your eyebrows are totally snatched.
A modifier that adds emphasis to an adjective. Example: Prince Harry holding that toddler is adorable-boots.
Obsessively loving/borderline stalking a celeb. Example: See our Tom Hiddleston brief.
3. Get in the game
Vans has teamed up with Nintendo for the ultimate nostalgic collection. Everything from sneakers to backpacks gets the video-game treatment, with graphics inspired by Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda. Bonus points go to these Princess Peach kicks (from $30, vans.ca).
4. Go under the needle
Want people to think you have a mysterious past? Get a blackout tattoo. Originally designed as an aesthetically pleasing way of camouflaging unwanted old tattoos (like, say, a dolphin jumping over Chinese characters that translate to Live Laugh Outhouse), these solid blocks of opaque colour are this summer’s edgy yet elegant way to get inked.
5. Remember this name
So why did Madonna tap a 19-year-old to be the first-ever fashion director of her clothing line, Material Girl? Well, it may have something to do with the fact that the Guam native is besties with Kylie Jenner and has four million Instagram followers and a debut album about to drop. It’s Princess Pia Mia’s material world; we’re just living in it.
6. Grab a little screen time
Bad news for Sex and the City fans: Sarah Jessica Parker’s big return to HBO this summer is also basically a big nail in the coffin for Carrie Bradshaw. Parker’s much-anticipated new series, Divorce, is, well, about the end of a long marriage and the messy, sad and sometimes darkly funny things that go along with that. The good news is that it’s from the mind of Sharon Horgan, the bitingly real, very hilarious writer behind Catastrophe and Pulling. That also means it should (fingers crossed) be a cosmo-free zone.
7. Decorate Artfully
For the second instalment of its three-part collaboration with European fashion designers, IKEA teamed up with Antwerp-based avant-garde menswear designer Walter Van Beirendonck. The fruits of this effort include bright, quirky and borderline-outlandish ceramics and textiles. It’s time to reinvent your surroundings.
8. Never stop never stopping
…is the subtitle of Andy Samberg’s new movie, Popstar. This can also work to describe the seemingly limitless payroll his delusional rap impresario character supports, which includes a publicist, a bagpiper, a wolf trainer and, of course, a unicorn handler. Judd Apatow is involved, which means this is probably going to be the movie you and your friends will be quoting all summer.
9. Colour it in
Now you can add your own touch to YSL’s iconic creations thanks to the Yves Saint Laurent colouring book. Let your imagination run wild as you trace over the designer’s original sketches. It’s the perfect remedy for being stuck inside on a rainy summer day.
10. Join the pack
Time to get familiar with a few phrases: “Grubber kicking,” “counter-rucking” and “hospital pass” are a good start if you’re planning on taking in a game or two of Toronto’s brand-new rugby team, the Wolfpack, which is actually the only non-European professional rugger squad. Come for the well-muscled players; stay for the nail-biting action.
11. Brighten up
2015’s It prod, cushion compact foundation, now comes as a stain and is set to be the next big beauty trend. Lacôme Cushion Blush Subtil in Splash Coral ($45, lancome.ca); THEFACESHOP Hydro Cushion Blush in Coral ($15, the faceshop.ca); Lise Watier Beauty Cushion Blusher Liquid Blush-to-Go ($34, at drugstores and mass-market retailers)
12. Relax to the max
You’re too busy and important to get a facial that isn’t as high performing as you are. Try the My Blend Facial Treatment at the Ritz Carlton, Toronto (spamyblendtoronto.com), a custom face fixer that uses a variety of anti-aging boosters and techniques. This high-tech approach includes a mix of icy-cold cryotherapy to tone, vibration technology to drain puffiness (a.k.a. evidence of the night before) and an infrared-LED-light treatment to give skin new life. A sleep-inducing hand, foot and shoulder massage also comes as standard, so you can tick “napping” off your lengthy to-do list.
13. Become one with the conditioner
If you’ve ever used at-home hair colour, you know the tiny tube of conditioner that comes in the box is the holy grail of hydrating products. Now Clairol is letting you buy it separately. The new box-free formula comes with histidine, which prevents the copper found in water from ruining your colour. Score. Clairol Nice’n Easy CC+ ColorSeal Conditioner for Beautiful Brunettes, Brilliant Blondes and Radiant Reds ($6 each, at drugstores and mass-market retailers)
14. Stop the clock
Meet the made-in-Iceland anti-aging secret that blew up every beauty editor’s DMs when it launched. Bioeffect EGF Serum and EGF Eye Serum ($220 and $128, at Holt Renfrew, holtrenfrew.com) contain barley seeds that have been pumped up with a collagen- and elastin-rich epidermal growth factor.
15. Criss-cross it
Consider a button-down worn backwards your new long-weekend uniform. Although this styling trick may call on the helping hands of a friend, feeling the summer breeze on unexpectedly exposed sin will make it worth the effort.
16. Catch an exhibit
Eleganza: Italian Fashion from 1945 to Today is on at Montreal’s McCord Museum until September 25. Take in pieces by Gucci, Pucci and Capucci (and those are just the ones that rhyme) as you experience the sartorial influence and glamour of the country that also gave us gelato and Fellini.
17. Wax Poetic
She’s the young poet quoted by Beyoncé throughout Lemonade. With lines like “My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude,” you’ll be making Warsan Shire a part of your morning mantras too.
18. Add the “Yo, Adrian” podcast to your listening schedule.
Helping to further cement TIFF’s increasingly relevant digital presence comes Yo, Adrian, a podcast about pop culture and film hosted by writers Kiva Reardon (founding editor of Cléo, a film and feminism journal) and Fariha Roísín (co-host, alongside Zeba Blay, of Two Brown Girls). Smart, interesting, thought-provoking and funny, the podcast’s 40-minute ventures feature guests, jokes and contrasting opinions as Roísín and Reardon tackle everything from intersectional feminism to sports films to Cillian Murphy’s bone structure—all while making it seem like you’re sitting there with them. A must-listen for fans of film (obviously) but also a perfect pick for anyone who is into compelling and entertaining cultural discussion – so, all of us.
19. Spritz Spritz Spritz
Hot summer nights pair well with this limited-edition woody-floral fragrance, a sexy blend of quince, freesia and vanilla bean. Michael Kors Midnight Shimmer Eau de Parfum Spray ($118 for 100 mL, michaelkors.ca)
20. Follow these Canadian funny women on Twitter
Amanda Brooke Perrin (@brookeperrin)
Fresh off recording her debut stand-up album, the Toronto-based (Calgary-bred) comedian is your go-to for big laughs and any/all Peter Dinklage appreciation.
Scaachi Koul (@Scaachi)
On top of her great long reads, the BuzzFeed staffer and author of the upcoming The Pursuit of Misery offers a realistic and refreshing take on gender, race and culture. Come for the thought provocation; stay for the tweets about her dad.
Sarah Hagi (@geekylonglegs)
A culture writer whose unique insights into movies, TV and music are rivalled only by her 140-character observations, Hagi has the frustrating tendency to say exactly what you’re thinking – only better.
21. Be absolutely fabulous
Have you seen the absurd, acerbic ’90s TV show Absolutely Fabulous? No? Then binge on that immediately and rejoin us when you’re finished. If you have, we need say no more than Edina and Patsy are back in the movie version and there’s a bloody Kate Moss cameo, darling.
22. Hit replay
When Kiiara’s EP quietly appeared earlier this year, critics freaked out, mainly because no one had ever heard anything quite like this 21-year-old before. Her jams are equal parts “Sorry”-era Bieber and “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”-era D’Angelo, with a Birdy-like fragility in the vocals. (Confused? Just listen to the track “Gold” and you’ll get it.) Fun fact: She did it all while working full-time at a hardware store.
23. Get it poppin’
Found: the record you’ll be playing at every house party you host this summer. Germany’s Bibi Bourelly is everything that is great about Europop – So shiny! So slick! – with a fingers-up swagger you’d expect from the songwriter behind RiRi’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.”
24. Find a Beach
Direct beach access is a big deal for Canadians looking for a summer vacay spot, says Sherlee Taylor, Booking.com’s regional manager for Canada. But just how do you find the best beach property? Taylor recently snagged her very own Vancouver Island seashore cottage rental using the site’s keyword tool to sort for properties with “beach walks.” Then, using the map tool, she zoomed in on the locations that interested her. As a final check, she considered the guest review scores. (The site boasts over 86 million guest experience reviews.) “The trick is to focus your search on the few things that matter most to you,” she says. But with thousands of kilometres of beaches in Canada alone, how do you narrow down the possibilities? Go to ELLECanada.com/travel and start with our insiders guide to Canada’s best beaches.
25. Kick it old school
Follow Chloe’s lead and make a delicate gold anklet your summertime sidekick. Yes, they’re back.
26. Pour yourself a butterbeer
It’s not entirely accurate to call this the lost eighth Harry Potter book – it’s technically a script for a play being performed in London this July – but it was written by J.K. Rowling and is about the boy wizard, who is 19 years older and teams up with his own son. We’ll take it.
27. Never get caught in the rain
Sudden showers are all well and good in Nicholas Sparks movies, but they’re awful in real life. Enter the Oombrella, a smart umbrella that means you will never again get caught in a pop-up rainstorm. It has a built-in weather station that can track the conditions directly around you. Bonus: It has a feature that will buzz your phone if you leave home without it…or leave it on the bus. ($115, oombrella.me/indiegogo)
28. Watch this space
Last year, Cameron Dallas was a Vine star you had to get your nine-year-old cousin to explain to you. This year, the Teen Choice Award winner has a movie career (he’s in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising), a rabid fan base and, oh, he just landed a gig as the face of Calvin Klein Jeans.
29. Stay hydrated
New designer waters promise to do everything from detox the bod to help you sleep. Flow ($25 for 12, at mass-market retailers) has a high pH meant to offset an acidic diet; Dream Water ($4, at mass-market retailers) features anti-sheep-counting mela-tonin; Dirty Lemon Detox ($87.47 for six; order via text message: +1-587-801-1993) contains lemon and activated charcoal to absorb toxins; and Thirsty Buddha All Natural Coconut Water ($2.79, at supermarkets) is an anti-inflammatory version of the celebrity-fave hydrator.
30. Up (literally) your selfie game
Like the love child of a drone, a smartwatch and a selfie stick, the Roam-e ($507, the-iot-group.myshopify.com) is the logical next step in our collective narcissism: This gizmo flies through the air and uses facial-recignition tech to capture all of your #bestlife moments from above. You’ll never struggle to fit the entire squad into one shot again.
31. Don’t take the elevator
If the Thompson Toronto hotel’s rooftop pool patio gets too hot to handle, head downstairs to the new Lobby Bar. Snag a shady spot on the Wellington Street patio and cool off with The Great Wave – a lemonade-beer cocktail that will have you chillin’ in a flash.
32. Decide whether you’re a Betty or a Veronica
In a long-overdue reboot (and hopefully one where, you know, the storyline is about more than just their relationship with the same guy), Archie Comics’ Betty and Veronica are back! May we suggest the following for legendary illustrator Adam Hughes to work with for the first volume, which drops in July? Betty and Veronica both own thriving start-ups in Riverdale, the new Silicon Valley, and host a podcast encouraging young female entrepreneurs. Neither has spoken to Archie since high school.
33. Stop squinting
Swatch’s new customizable line of sunglasses features interchangeable frames and arms that pop off and click into place to create over 200 colourful combinations. Here’s to never getting bored with your sunnies again (from $100, shop.swatch.ca).
34. Never blow-dry the same way again
The humble hair dryer has gotten a high-tech makeover. After four years in development and 600 prototypes, the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($500, at dysoncanada.ca) is going to blow away the competition. Here’s why: 1) It’s quiet, so you can still hear Lemonade streaming while you style. 2. The airflow is powerful but controlled (like Beyoncé, come to think of it), so it only goes where you want it when you want it. 3. Your blowout is pain-free: The attachments never get hot, so no more first-degree burns as you try to pull off the diffuser, and the dryer is lightweight, so you can save your arm workout for the gym.
35. Live in the past
The Tumblr “pop culture died in 2009” celebrates something we have secretly suspected all along: Celebrity gossip just isn’t what it used to be when Paris, Lindsay and the Simpson sisters reigned over the grocery-checkout aisle. Prepare to lose hours to this wormhole of forgotten tabloid news items, reported like we’re back in 2003. Juicy track pants and wide-streak highlights will enhance your scrolling experience.
36. Play with your food
For those days when your Instagram feed is taking itself too seriously, we present @tasteofstreep. They are absurdly amazing collages of Meryl (“the Streep”) posing with edible items that are probably making some deep comment about the state of celebrity culture, but we just think they are super-pretty. Also: Meryl!
37. Snap that
MTV Cribs is back but with a twist: The early-’00s smash, which took us inside the OTT homes of everyone from Mariah to Snoop, will be taking over your Snapchat with 60-second instalments of celebrity bathrooms, bedrooms and so, so many cars.
38. Put it on the map
As the local art and architecture scenes mature – the opening of the Dubai Design District last spring created an official nucleus for the up-and-coming creative class—a new generation of Middle Eastern fashion designers is taking root. Labels to remember are Fatema Fardan, House of Nomad and Taller Marmo, a finalist alongside Tanya Taylor at this year’s International Woolmark Prize in New York.
39. Subscribe to the Dolly Mail
Newsletters are back and a million times better than the ones that circulated when our parents were in middle school. Why? Mainly because, this time around, they’re personal. Now, rooted in honesty, great writing and emotional vulnerability, they read like personal emails and offer subscribers insight into the author’s experiences and realizations. Enter Dolly Alderton. This U.K. columnist’s weekly newsletter, The Dolly Mail, features not only essays written about and by Alderton (which would be worth subscribing to in its own right) but also guest essayists, recipes and shopping tips. It’s arguably the digital equivalent to hanging out at your best friend’s house, rifling through her closet and coming away with new-found understanding about dating, work or simply existing in the world. Plus, its illustrations are lovely.
40. Give your athleisure wardrobe an upgrade
Riccardo Tisci’s first clothing collab with Nike (he designed shoes for the brand in a past collab) is an haute-couture-worthy blend of pieces and patterns inspired by the Givenchy creative director’s hometown (Taranto, Italy), Nike’s state of origin (Oregon) and Summer Olympics host Rio de Janeiro. But the pieces have also been tested to make sure they can withstand the most hard-core workout.
41. Feel the burn
New York-via-Berlin punk label Ottolinger is hot – literally. That’s because the brand’s designers, Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, like to set their clothes on fire to create distinct patterns and textures, ushering in a new underground-couture movement.
42. Treat yo self
Who needs a summer romance when you can send yourself 25 of Ecuador’s finest roses packaged in a super-chic hat box? (From $149, Landeau, givelandeau.ca)
43. Make a rainbow connection
How crazy can summer-festival food get? Take a bite out of this Day-Glo blueberry, kiwi and strawberry grilled cheese from the Calgary Stampede (July 8 to 17) to find out. Glow Sticks not required!
44. Wear your heart hands on your sleeve
No words necessary. (Metal pins, $16.57 each, Coucou Suzette, coucousuzette.com)
45. Don’t grow your followers
You with the 39 Instagram followers, rejoice! We are now in the time of the “micro-influencer,” which basically means that brands have twigged to the fact that just because someone has 1.2 million followers doesn’t mean he or she necessarily has a devoted audience advertisers can speak to. Instead, it’s all about people who may have smaller, nicher numbers – but dang it if their followers don’t listen when their micro-influencer of choice tells them to do something.
46. Use your brain
The roster of talent creating “brain sculptures” for a new Canadian installation is A-list ++: Kim Kardashian (and North West!), Muse’s Matt Bellamy and Michael Buble are just a few of the stars supporting The Brain Project, which is staging 100 pieces of custom celebrity art around Toronto this summer to raise support for research into brain aging and health.
47. Take a whiff
We’re officially living in the future: Movies now have smell-o-vision. Cineplex is rolling out 4DX this summer, which is a majorly enhanced viewing experience that incorporates not only scent but also wind, water and bubbles (!) into this year’s blockbusters. The seats will apparently also “tickle” you, so keep your wits about you when you’re at that midnight Ghostbusters screening.
48. Cheer on your country
The Olympic Games are in Rio this summer! Here are three of Canada’s great hopes for gold: diver Jennifer Abel, gymnast Ellie Black and boxer Mandy Bujold.
49. Accessorize like a Coppola
When it first launched in 2009, the SC bag created by Sofia Coppola for Louis Vuitton earned a spot in the pantheon of iconic carryalls. This July, the SC returns in lighthearted new hues like poppy red and sky blue and with a new perforated texture. Are you ready for the sequel? ($5,250, louisvuitton.com)
50. Instant update: Do these six things to bring your summer game into 2016
So 2015: Cold brew
So hot right now: Nitro coffee
The technique, which was pioneered in Japan, makes really, really, really cold coffee. (Nitrogen gas
So 2015: Mesca
So hot right now: Sotol
A similar agave-based tequila from Mexico but, like, harder to find and so much cooler.
So 2015: Face contour
So hot right now: Leg contouring
Which is the lower-limb “I’m Gisele-level toned” equivalent of cheekbone sculpting. Try: A coat of Say Hello to Sexy Legs Tinted Glow Gel ($50) all over, Illuminating Fluid ($45) down the centre of your legs and a swipe of Contour Stick ($28) along calf and thigh muscles (all at Sephora, sephora.ca).
So 2015: James Bay
So hot right now: Isaac Gracie
We’re predicting that this year’s soulful troubadour will have the surprise hit of the summer. (Our money is on “Last Words.”)
So 2015: Duck face
So hot right now: T. Rex hands
(See every selfie Kylie Jenner has ever posted.)
So 2015: Bicycling
So hot right now: Scooters
Particularly in Vancouver, where Saturna Green Systems is piloting a scooter-sharing program: For just $15 a month, you can whip around the city on any of the 100 available rides.