10 Things on My 2021 Summer Bucket List

Summer days drifting away, but oh those summer nights.

If you’re like me, you live for the summer. It’s a time to slow down, enjoy the heat, and make the most of some ideal, sunny weather. For me, summer is super nostalgic, reminding me of all of the beach trips that I took as a kid or the long awaited outdoor barbecues and pool days I dreamt of during the school year. Although this year summer still looks a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to set aside ten summer bucket list items that I hope to check off in the coming months. Some of these items on my summer list are new, some are old, and some are plain necessities for having a complete summer. Add them to your own bucket list and check them off with me! Who knows what this summer has in store for us!

Shower in an Outdoor Shower

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There is nothing that screams summer more than an outdoor shower. In the summer, I try to do everything outside as much as possible- exercise, eat, read, you name it! Add showering outside to the list! Using an outdoor shower after the beach is just one of the little pleasures in life that I enjoy when the summer season rolls around. Although I don’t own one, I am making it a priority to track down an outdoor shower before the summer ends! Keep your eyes peeled!

Drive-In or Outdoor Movie 

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I have never been to a drive-in movie, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I have seen that this format of movie viewing has recently seen an uptick in popularity. I, for one, love seeing a movie in the theaters and miss the outing ever since in-person theaters closed down last year. Although it may take some online digging, I am definitely going to see if I can find a ticket!

New York Botanical Garden

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The New York Botanical Garden is just one of those places that takes you to a whole new world. I have seen plant species there that I have never seen or heard of in my entire life, which fascinates and intrigues me always. The beauty of the gardens is unparalleled and takes me to my happy place. The terrarium is by far my favorite destination in the garden; a wave of color, sights, and smells that truly makes for a unique experience with every visit. This summer the artist Yayoi Kusama has partnered with the garden to create a colorful, polka dot infused exhibition that I just can’t wait to see!

Picnic Lunch

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Having a picnic is something that I have wanted to do for a while now, yet need some pressure to make happen. I am hoping that adding it to this list will give me that much needed push. There’s just seems like something so precious about bringing a basket full of snacks, pouring a chilled drink, and sitting on a soft blanket in the park. Call me romantic… because you would be right.  

Day at the Beach 

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Along with every other person who is making a summer 2021 bucket list, I have placed on my list a day at the beach. Practically no summer of mine has gone by without me sticking my toes in the sand and I would hate to break tradition. For me, the beach puts a lot of life into perspective. It reminds me that the world is so much bigger than I am and puts my worries and troubles into appropriate scale. Being at the beach also reminds me of how beautiful nature is and how us humans don’t deserve it. But I am glad it is here for us to enjoy regardless. 

Museum Day 

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If you know anything about me, you know I love a museum. When the heat of summer gets too overwhelming, that’s when you know museum day has arrived. Museums have taught me so much about the world and can provide a respite from the hectic pace of everyday life. In a museum, you set the pace, you choose your own adventure, and find what interests you. Plus, it’s a great way to generate some dinner time discussion to talk about all you have seen! 

Visit a Vineyard

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Have I ever been to a vineyard before? No. Will I let another summer go by without having gone to one? Also, no. There just seems to be something so picturesque about spending a lazy day in nature, drinking wine, and strolling through the rows of grapes. An added sunset wouldn’t hurt the day and neither would a sun kissed, freckled, tan. 

Go Fruit Picking

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I love fruit and I love outdoor activities, so going fruit picking seemed like a natural fit. I once went blackberry picking in Maine and it was such a fun time that I am eager to give it a go again more locally. There is just something so satisfying about picking your own fruit from the Earth and seeing where your food is coming from. An added bonus, now you’ve got fruit for weeks once you’re done!

Find a Summer Hat

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There are hat people and there are people who don’t wear hats. I have always fallen into the latter category up until this summer. In the effort to spend as much time outside as possible, I find that a fine straw hat could be my new accessory of the season. It’s a step outside of my comfort zone, but I am willing to give it a go!

Get a Summer Manicure

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It has been a hot minute since I have gotten my nails done, something that I have waited to do until I became fully vaccinated. Now, the time has come for me to finally step into a nail salon and get some fun, summer inspired nails to brighten up my summer look! My nail beds are screaming for this bucket list item to be checked off, that’s for sure!

CEO Sit Down: Kathleen Sheppard on Tiller Swim

A company transforming the swimsuit industry one suit at a time.

Photos taken from Tiller’s Instagram

Finding a good bathing suit can be tough. Finding a sustainably made one can be even tougher. That is where Tiller Swim comes in. All of the swimsuits made by Tiller are made out of sustainable, fully regenerated nylon and are reversible. Yes- you are hearing me correctly- Tiller is giving you a sustainable, two for one deal on swimsuits in this summer’s most flattering styles. I sat down with CEO of Tiller Swim, Kathleen Sheppard to give you some exclusive insights as to how her company came to be and what the future has in store for all you Tiller fans.

Kathleen, tell us about yourself!

I graduated from Babson College where I concentrated in entrepreneurship and marketing. After graduating, I started working in advertising for a Boston-based media company, while simultaneously beginning the early stages of Tiller. After dabbling with brand ideas for a couple of years in school, I began more seriously planning for launch once I began working full-time and ultimately launched Tiller in April 2019 with a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve since moved to Los Angeles, California, where I still work full-time in media while running Tiller.

What was the inspiration behind Tiller Swim?

I grew up by the water, spending the majority of my time sailing and swimming competitively, and ultimately teaching and coaching both, so I’ve always had an affinity for spending time in and around the ocean. Since my time in water was spent doing activities in a swimsuit, I wanted to create swimwear that was high quality, versatile, comfortable, and actually good looking (easier said than done!). Once I started designing the suits and looking into production, I couldn’t help but be disgusted with the woes of the fashion industry. Not only are people working in fashion being exploited for their labor in horribly unsafe working conditions and barely making enough money to survive, but the fashion industry is one of the top contributors to waste and pollution. It wasn’t even a choice for me to center Tiller around sustainability- it was definitely an obligation. Tiller now prioritizes the treatment of people and the planet in everything that we do and plan to continue innovating our processes and partnerships now and in the future.

What has been the biggest challenge in starting your company?

The biggest challenge is that there’s absolutely no playbook for starting and running a company (especially right out of school!)- every brand or organization is 100% unique and no two experiences are alike. Because of this, any advice and “how to’s” need to be taken with a grain of salt, something that may work for someone else may not work for Tiller (and vice versa)! With that said, running a one-man show with no previous experience is so rewarding and every experience is a learning opportunity.

There are tons of other women’s swimsuit companies that pop up on the marketplace every day. What makes Tiller Swim stand out?

Tiller currently uses recycled materials in our swimsuits, which is something that is still overlooked by many other swimwear brands to this day. Some people have a tainted image of recycled clothing, but our fabrics will definitely change your mind about any preconceptions- they are super high quality and buttery soft but hold their shape to be the most flattering. Additionally, almost all of Tiller’s suits are reversible, which allows for multiple ways of wearing each piece, ultimately extending the life of all of our products.

What was the motivation behind creating suits out of sustainable ECONYL® thread and that are reversible?

Ultimately the best way to be a sustainable consumer is to not be a consumer at all, but we’re helping to be the next best thing. ECONYL® thread is fully regenerated nylon that has been broken down to its original state. It is created from things like abandoned fishing nets, post-consumer goods, industrial carpeting and plastic bottles, so it’s allowing for fewer resources to be used in the creation of our fabrics while simultaneously cleaning up landfills and oceans. As for the reversible designs, this is our way of extending the life and usability of each piece. Looking for a staple suit? We’ve got you covered- the first side is a solid timeless color. Trying to stand out and be completely unique? Also got you here- the second side is a unique and fun print! Best of both worlds.

Is it hard to find manufacturers and partners that align with your mission of sustainability and giving back?

It is extremely hard to find people to work with that align with sustainability and being conscious members of the industry. With that said, awareness of sustainable productions and operations is on the rise and it seems that production facilities and partners are waking up to this huge realization that change starts with us and it starts like…right now.

What is your advice for consumers who are looking to make more informed and sustainable decisions in purchasing?

Do the research and start with the small steps! In the beginning, it feels impossible to start living more consciously, but once you know what to look for it gets easier. Transparency is a huge tell of sustainability so reach out to brands and ask questions (FAQs, email, Instagram DM, any form of communication works!). If a brand is willing to share how and where a piece was made and what it is made from, that’s a great start. Some have a “Sustainability” or “Transparency” section of their site which can really help as well. Breaking it down even further, you should learn what fabrics are good and bad. Main rules: natural fibers are the best for clothing and recycled or repurposed for swimwear and activewear. If you can’t abide by those two rules, then really think about how the piece you’re buying will serve you. Ask yourself:

  1. Is this good quality/will it last me a long time?
  2. Will it serve a purpose that something I already own would not?
  3. Would I be able to resell it once it no longer serves me?
  4. Was it made in a responsible manner (i.e. sustainable, good treatment of workers, etc)

If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you’re just buying something to buy something. This is usually a good indication that you should keep moving honey!

What does the future of Tiller Swim look like?

The main initiative we’re focusing on is shifting to using biodegradable fabrics (and no it will not biodegrade on your body). This is something that we’re passionate about to reduce our footprint and negative impact even more, so look out for that in 2021! Additionally, we’ll be expanding into some other product lines later in 2020 (i,e. clothing, accessories, upcycled pieces) to give you a reason to shop with us all year round.

And, just for fun, what is your favorite suit that Tiller sells?

Oof, this is a tough one! I’m pretty obsessed with the new Topanga Top & Surfside Bottom in Sky & Swirl reversible, but my tried & true go-to is definitely the Laguna Top & Lido Bottom (really in any color, it’s so flattering and just the perfect swimsuit!).

Laguna Top and Lido Bottom (left), Topanga Top and Surfside Bottom (right)