It’s a Cruel Summer, So We’re Treating Ourselves to These Products

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Whether it's gadgets, decor, or furniture, in Hunker Recommends, our editors only put their stamp of approval on the very best.

This summer is shaping up to look a little different than years past. In place of road trips, vacations, and long weekends, we instead have a long summer of, well, hunkering down. That's why we decided to use this month's Hunker Recommends as an opportunity to share the one thing our editors are treating themselves to — because all it takes is one fun, gorgeous, or inspiring thing to make this summer a memorable one.

From experimental cookbooks and fire pits to puzzles and wall art, here are the items giving our team a little bit of well-deserved joy this summer.

Brightech Dimmable Outdoor String Lights, $79.99

"I am blessed to have a medium-sized concrete backyard patio, but it needs a lot of TLC! My first step in revamping is to get these dimmable string lights to create a beautiful ambiance. Now more than ever, I want my patio space to be somewhere I feel cozy no matter the season." — Branché Foston, Social Media Specialist, Influencers & Community

Solo Stove Yukon Fire Pit, starting at $499.99

"I just bought this fire pit and am still awaiting its arrival — but I've had my eye on it for a while and I suspect it's going to be a big hit. I bought the 30" model, which is retiring by the end of June. However, they have a new 27" version available for pre-order. Since my family and I will be spending our summer in the backyard, I thought it would be fun to set up a fire pit. What I love about this design is that it's wood-burning without a lot of smoke or campfire smell. It's a clean burn, which I think our neighbors will greatly appreciate. It's definitely a splurge, but can't you just imagine sitting around it, roasting marshmallows under the stars? I can." — Laurie Grossman, Director, Editorial Operations

Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou, $24.99

"I hit my quarantine cooking rut a few weeks ago, which really bums me out — summertime is my favorite time to cook and I like to make summer weekday evenings feel like a vacation by promptly pouring a cocktail, opening all the windows, and concentrating on a recipe that feels special. I came across this book of cajun recipes via the Instagram for New Orleans home goods boutique, Sunday Shop, and it feels like the right kind of challenging, with flavors direct from a Louisiana bayou. The first recipe on my list is Shrimp Boulettes." — Leonora Epstein, Senior Director

Gray Malin Italy Two-Sided Puzzle, $22.47

"Before the days of quarantine, I was planning an Italian vacay, but a global pandemic had other plans. And even though I won't be basking on the white sandy beaches of the Amalfi Coast anytime soon, that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy them from a distance. So, I treated myself to this double-sided Gray Malin puzzle showcasing beautiful images from Italy — it's almost as good as the real thing." — Ariane Moore, Design Editor

'Be Kind Art' Print by Loveis Wise, $35

"Anyone who knows me can verify I have an unhealthy obsession with florals. I only buy flowers once in a while but art prints like this gorgeous one by Loveis Wise help add some bursts of color to my space. This is currently on my gallery wall but I'm thinking of moving it near my desk as a reminder to practice some kindness this summer!" — Eva Recinos, Associate Editor

XFlated Watermelon Kiddie Pool, $37.99

"We love setting up this cute pool in our garden on hot summer days. It's big enough for our family of three to sit and splash around together to cool off. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to blow up and collapse." — Colette Dazé, Hunker House Manager

Effortless Composition Mango Wood Carved Bowl, $30

"I just can't stop collecting wood bowls and serving platters. I probably hoard them at this point. But this one from Effortless Composition is super special not just because it's gorg (seriously, the hand-carved textures and the light wood tones are a dream), but also because the company sources each unique decor piece from artisans of color. I can't wait to fill this mango wood bowl with all of my summer citruses and place it on my dining table." — Lowe Saddler, SEO Editor

Sicily Outdoor Melamine Dinnerware Collection, $7.95+

"My husband and I are celebrating our five-year anniversary next week, but instead of going out to a fancy Italian restaurant as we might typically do, we are turning our apartment balcony into a faux outdoor trattoria. We strung up solar-powered twinkle lights, charged up our Sonos Bluetooth speaker so that we can listen to our wedding playlist while we eat, and bought several melamine pieces from this pretty dinnerware collection to set the outdoor table." — Gina Goff, Director of Audience Development

Finer Studio DIY Painting Kit, $18.95

"Even though I moved into my new place almost six months ago, I embarrassingly still have a few empty walls in need of some art. (There's been a lot going on, okay?) Since I'm also at peak boredom, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by purchasing this gorg DIY print, plus another paint-by-numbers kit. I've spent a few evenings with a new hobby and in a few more days I'll have two new pieces of art to hang in my space — that's what we call a win-win." — Katie Maguire, Commerce Editor

Katie is the Commerce Editor at Hunker. She has previously been on staff at Shape Magazine, Well+Good, and PureWow, and has spent her life perfecting the art of online shopping.

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