My Summer Survival Guide

What’s in your beach or pool bag has the power to either make your trip with kids in-tow a breeze – or a hot fiasco that makes you start counting down the minutes until bedtime!  Granted my trips aren’t quite as taxing now that my kids are grade-school-age, but being prepared and packed with some key products definitely make for an easier summer outing no matter the ages.  Here are some of my essentials this summer. 


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Beach Bag Essentials

SUNBLOCK

 PHOTO by Countersun

PHOTO by Countersun

A dermatologist on an episode of a favorite podcast shared a simple explanation of the differences between sunscreen and sunblock, and while I know it is a bit dramatic to say this, but learning this knowledge was life-changing!

How did I not know this already?  

Needless to say, it completely changed how I buy sunscreen. Essentially, only a sunblock made with zinc or titanium oxide protects from ALL types of UV rays. Yes, these are the old-school ones that turn you white, BUT there are new formulations that don’t leave a thick white coating!  A few even come in spray form – something that’s essential for kids on-the-go.

Here are the two in my bag this summer – one more expensive and the other from Target: 


TINTED LIP BALM with SPF

 PHOTO by Neutrogena

PHOTO by Neutrogena

Once you get a slight sunburn on your lips, you’ll never forget to put something on them.

...TRUST ME!

This drugstore one is a favorite of mine because it has a slight tint and doesn't taste awful! 

  • NEUTROGENA REVITALIZING LIP BALM :: $6

TRAVEL SIZE COOLER

 PHOTO by IcePops

PHOTO by IcePops

This cosmetic bag-sized cooler keeps snacks cool, protects makeup from melting, and prevents your iPhone from overheating. Stick the frozen insert a special side compartment, and then store ANYthing that you need to keep cool without direct contact to water or ice. 


CUTE SWIMWEAR

 PHOTO by J.Crew

PHOTO by J.Crew

I personally prefer a one-piece bathing suit, but finding one that is stylish and not too frumpy can be difficult!  J.Crew, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom are my favorite places to shop for suits online. Nordstrom’s free shipping AND returns means I can order several sizes. They  also have a selection of J.Crew suits only sold by them, as well as higher end brands like Trina Turk that I can’t find locally.


THE PERFECT HAT

 PHOTO by J.Crew Factory

PHOTO by J.Crew Factory

Loading kids up for the pool sure isn’t going to slow aging, so I might as well try to halt wrinkles by getting some extra sun protection with a good hat!  You can find a cute one just about anywhere, but to me, Target wins!  You can't really beat their pricing anywhere! Here are a few I've been looking at buying. 


BEACH BAG

 PHOTO by Target

PHOTO by Target

A beach bag can make or break your trip, so finding a good one is important.  To me, finding a bag that is roomy enough for alllll of my stuff but also functional enough that I don't spend the entire afternoon looking for my car keys! Here are some I am really liking for summer!


EARBUDS

 PHOTO by JBL

PHOTO by JBL

I always thought something was wrong with my ears because I could never get any earbuds to stay in – until I discovered these designed for women’s ears.  A year later, I’m still in shock that I can run in these ear buds, and they stay put!!!  And now that my kids are a little older, earbuds are a beach bag-must for listening to podcasts, relaxing to music or drowning out fighting between children.


A GOOD BOOK

 PHOTO by Amazon

PHOTO by Amazon

I love a good Dateline episode and mystery, and this book is essentially as close to the show as you can get! In fact, the serial killer would probably still be on the loose if it wasn’t for author Michelle McNamara’s persistence in studying the case over the past three decades. Sadly, Michelle died before finishing the book and before seeing all her work pay off since the killer was caught last month, but her husband finished the book.  If you're into a good mystery, you'll love this.  

Not really into books?  Try a great podcast.  My favorite is listed below.


LEAK PROOF WATER BOTTLE

 PHOTO by Camelbak

PHOTO by Camelbak

Due to leaky water bottles in backpacks this past school year, I got to “donate” three new books to my son’s school library before we even got to the first report card. So this fall, I went on a search for the best leak-proof, sweat-resistant, kid-friendly bottle that wouldn’t soak bag contents, and this one is my absolute favorite.  It doesn't sweat.  It doesn't leak.  It’s the only one I’ll buy now, and the only one the kids are allowed to put in any bag or backpack. It's worth every. single. penny.


5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE

 PHOTO by Jose Cuervo

PHOTO by Jose Cuervo

Of course, a homemade skinny margarita is always my preference, but certain times call for convenience. This premixed rita (not the mix that you add your own tequila to) is closest to homemade than any other store-bought ones I’ve found. Add a splash of water or club soda to cut down on the sweetness a tad (which also gives you more to sip on for the same amount of calories and alcohol). One thing to note is that it does use an artificial sweetener, but my approach to all less healthy food and drink is “on occasion” and “in moderation”.


How do you survive summer?  What are you must-haves?