Who knows what next summer will look like? Perhaps we'll once again pack into pools and dominate the beaches. I hope for the health and well-being of everyone, and once that comes to fruition, everything else will slowly fall into place. Until then, we need to enjoy the irony of Labor Day: celebrate labor by not laboring! 

Now more than ever, we need to treat ourselves. We got through a Covid-19 summer without many of the friends and family we normally see. Pools were closed and vacations were canceled. We couldn't hide away from the heat index in movie theaters to the tune of tacky summer blockbusters. But we did it. With a little bit of grumbling and a truckload of creativity, we did it!

Now let's celebrate this milestone properly, before we are pummeled by pumpkin spice. Let's start with cocktails!

It's still warm and our herb gardens spilleth over, so why not sip a refreshing gimlet? Gin has herbal notes, and you can give it a summer twist with muddled basil and cucumber. Shake the gin and muddled basil-cucumber mix with lemonade, lime juice and ice until chilled. Strain over ice, then garnish with a fresh basil leaf - Thai basil, if you know what's good for you!

One of my favorite things about summertime are the thunderstorms. I sit on the front porch swing, sip something cool and hope that the lighting borders frightening. The perfect cocktail for this is a dark 'n stormy. Just mix iced ginger beer with dark rum, and add a squeeze of lime. It's a little sweet, a little spicy and 100% summer. 

The pandemic and all its restrictions have been a perfect excuse to splurge a bit. Pools closed? Rent someone's private pool by the hour via Swimply. I found a spot in Virginia just 16 miles away from me! Don't forget to pack these chic stemless wine cups - they won't break, they have lids to ward off bugs and they stay cool in the sun!

Perhaps your splurge should involve open waters. If you miss the beach but fear how packed they'll be for Labor Day Weekend, rent a boat. If you aren't a skilled or even licensed boater, simply rent a pontoon. It's a floating raft with a mild engine, and handles well. You'll have room to spread out and tan, picnic or go fishing. And boating in general is perfect for social distancing. 

More than anything, take the time to relax, and give yourself some grace. Sleep in, watch a classic film, moisturize, and grill all of the meats. This is the quiet before the fall. 

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