As the world faces a sea of uncertainty and fear, the sun reminds us that it is, in fact, summer. A wicker basket full of memories, bite-sized sandwiches, and sweet tea awaits its delightful consumption. The overhead laughter of children fills your ears with pure joy. There is a gentle rustling of leaves from towering trees that have witnessed more human life than many in this current time. Picture an unwelcome family of ants marching its way over warm and bright sun rays. The bitter smell of freshly-cut grass drifts along as birds sing and dance. Find your new summer destination in a sun-drenched, socially distanced picnic.
I had the privilege of interviewing Chinyere Adogu, a recent college graduate, fashion content creator, and newfound stylish picnic connoisseur. Although picnics may not come to mind when one thinks of style, Chinyere’s aesthetic picnic displays serve as evidence that there is indeed an art to hosting a picnic. They not only function as a place to eat, drink, and relax, but her charming picnics act as a pandemic friendly backdrop to complement her impeccable fashion sense. Check out Chinyere’s Instagram to witness her picturesque picnic scenes and fashionable mask coordination for yourself.
Let’s get into how the fashionista throws the most stylish picnics that’ll make you excited to bask in the glorious sunshine again. Chinyere’s easy picnic tips will reinvigorate your joy for summer; you might even forget about the prospect of pesky mosquitoes.
Young Hot & Modern: Thank you for doing this story with us. We noticed your picnic posts on Instagram, and we’re curious about how it all comes together. What encouraged you to take part in a picnic with so many social distancing restrictions and rules in place?
Chinyere Adogu: I’ve always been a picnic person, so this isn’t new. Since the height of quarantine, when I started to feel locked up and cased in, I’ve been going on picnics almost once a week.
I did a picnic in the park, which was within walking distance from my house, with my sister and my best friend. I’m always with them. We found an open space and had a picnic there. After we did that, we realized it was nice, and we continued to go on picnics regularly.
I think picnics are the only thing people can do right now that’s fun and social. You really can’t go to a brunch or a party. Bike riding was my other option, but not everyone knows how to ride a bike. Hosting a picnic was a more realistic thing to do that brought people together without so much at risk.
YHM: What are your essential picnic items?
CA: There has to be rosé or any other wine, without a doubt. Speakers and good music are needed. I’m a snacker, so fruits are essential. Depending on how much I want to carry, I like to have pillows so that everyone can chill out and lean back. Of course, you need blankets.
YHM: How do you follow safety procedures at your picnics?
CA: You can’t host a picnic unless you’re with people you’ve been in contact with or people you trust. I hosted a picnic in Central Park with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Some were kind of scared, and others hadn’t left their homes yet at that time. Everyone wore their masks, and we were in an unoccupied area of the park. After a while, we saw people having a picnic about ten feet away from us. The first thing to do is to pick a spot that’s not overcrowded!
Although I think gloves are counterproductive, if it makes you comfortable, wear it! If you prefer not to remove your mask, keep it on. Sanitize everything. Another tip, use toothpicks for everything. If you want to share food, make sure it has a toothpick in it, or that everyone has their toothpicks ready. This ensures that no one will accidentally touch someone else’s food.
YHM: Who are the lucky people that get to join your outing?
CA: I host picnics with my friends; no strangers or new friends. I go with Nicole, who is my best friend, Britney, and Numi. I’m close to them. Regardless of the pandemic, I would have spent my summer with them anyway. We’d go on a girl’s trip, go out for brunch, or a party. I planned on having a more eventful summer with them, but things have changed.
It was my idea to host a picnic. I used PerfectPicnicNYC, a luxury picnic experience company, for one of my outings with my friends. They were surprised! It was a nice picnic. Everyone was like, “This is the height of our summer.”
YHM: Where are your favorite picnic locations?
CA: My favorite location is in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I like the big patch of green grass, no dogs are allowed, and the Brooklyn Bridge is a beautiful sight. When the sun comes through, it’s really nice out too. Central Park is also great, specifically, Central Park West, closer to 110th Street. I rarely see people on that side of the park. Those are my favorite two places to have a picnic, but the park near my house is small and intimate.
YHM: What is the ideal time to go on a picnic?
CA: The best time would be from 1 to 4 p.m. If you go on a weekday, you can avoid more people, especially Monday to Wednesday. This is also the best time in terms of maximum sunlight. If you want to watch the sunset, you can go between 6 to 8 p.m. Once the sun goes down, the mosquitoes come out, so I’m not a sunset kind of person.
YHM: What tips do you have for others looking to get outside and hang out with family and friends?
CA: First, make a plan! You can’t be spontaneous nowadays. Plan out the date, time, and how everyone is meeting-up so that everyone feels safe. Second, coordinate who’s doing what. I went to a picnic, and there was no blanket to sit on. Everyone assumed someone else would do it. Coordinate what will be needed: food, pillows, blankets, etc. Lastly, set a cap. No more than “ten” people are allowed. If ten people are coming and someone wants to bring a friend, then sorry! No, you can’t.
YHM: As a travel enthusiast, do you have any dream travel destinations that you would love to throw a picnic at post-quarantine?
CA: I think Bali is beautiful and I would love to throw a picnic there. Once in a while, I’ll go on a picnic on the beach. It would be so beautiful to have a picnic on the beach in Australia or the Bahamas. I heard the beaches in the Bahamas have a pretty blue sea and have flamingos on them.
YHM: Do you have any other dream travel destinations?
CA: I would like to go back to South Africa. I want to go to Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco. I wanted to travel throughout Africa this year.
YHM: Besides stylish socially-distanced picnics, I saw that you’ve recently graduated from college. Congratulations! How are you coping with the new normal?
CA: Honestly, it sucks. I’m an outdoor person. I like to move around and travel. My graduation was a big deal for me. Not being able to attend a graduation ceremony was a hard pill to swallow. But that’s life.
I’m planning for 2021 in hopes that things will go back to normal. Right now, I don’t think things will be better by the end of this summer because many people aren’t listening or doing what they need to do. Some states are going back into the red zones.
Again, I’m looking towards the future. I’m spending time on building my brand, working, and preparing myself for 2021. We have fewer distractions nowadays, so I think now is the best time to build something. People should focus on their goals and being social with their family and friends.
Chinyere’s chic socially distanced picnics make the most of our new normal, all while following safety precautions. Her positive, forward-thinking attitude and love for friendship continue to shine as bright as the sun during these tumultuous times. Let’s raise a glass to find joy in the simplest of things, whether that is through a picnic with loved ones or through the act of getting dressed up.