Today’s post is a special one that I’ve never done before, and I’m excited to share it with you! Lisa of Shine your Light, Kris of Driven by Decor, Pam of Simple Details and Jennifer of Dimples and Tangles do a Five Favorite posts every month and they always ask a guest blogger to contribute. This month is all about Summer Essentials, and I was thrilled that they asked me to join them! Summer is definitely a favorite season of mine, and I love that I get a chance to share my favorite summer essentials with you.
Summer is a season that kind of necessitates “essentials,” I think. From a favorite beach towel to a favorite sunscreen, we all have things that help us get through, and enjoy, the season. And here are mine….
Straw Beach Bag/Handbag/Market Bag
I adore straw bags, so much so that I even wrote a whole post on them last year! Their casual vibe just suits how I’m feeling in the summer, and they’re practical, too. Because they are made from natural fibers they stretch quite a bit, so they hold an amazing amount of stuff. And the straw lets things like sand fall right through!
I have several straw bags, but my favorite mid-sized one is the one from J.Crew (they make it every year). It’s the perfect size, not too big and not too small, and it’s a great price! In the summer, I use it to carry fruit home from the farmer’s market, to bring wine and cheese to our annual concerts in the park, and even as a casual handbag.
My Favorite Sunscreen for the Face
I’m not particular about the sunscreen I put on the rest of my body, but I do have a preference when it comes to my face. This Neutrogena sunscreen is about the best I’ve found – and it’s not expensive. I’ve used some other pricier ones before, but I am not too crazy about spending $30 or more on a tube of sunscreen! Also, I live in Southern California and I’m outside most days, so I go through it way too fast to spend a lot. This sunscreen goes on dry, doesn’t make me shiny or make me break out, and of course, does the job of keeping me from getting burnt. All for the bargain price of about $8! I usually get the SPF 55, but it comes in everything from SPF 30 all the way up to 100.
Toddy Cold Brew System – Iced Coffee Maker
Okay, guys this is seriously the simplest product but I am in love with it! I bought my Toddy Cold Brew System a couple of years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. If you aren’t familiar with these, they make cold brew coffee by soaking the coffee grounds for 12-24 hours. By soaking the grounds with cold water, you produce a coffee that is actually smoother and lower in acid than regular coffee.
This makes a coffee “concentrate” that you can then refrigerate for up to two weeks. Then whenever you feel like it, you can pull it out to make an iced coffee. And if you’re wondering if it’s better than making your regular drip coffee and putting that in the fridge? I can only say a resounding “yes”!! This system is hands-down 100% better! And it lasts a long time. It’s also easy to use, easy to clean, and inexpensive. I make a batch every week and I can enjoy a delicious iced coffee on a hot afternoon simply by mixing it with milk – it’s heaven!
“Table in a Bag” – Low Portable Wood Table
This is also one of my all-time favorite summer items! I bought mine at Crate and Barrel about 12 years ago and it’s still going strong! We have a local park that does concerts in the summertime and it’s the perfect thing to bring to that. We pack it up, along with a couple of low beach chairs, and we have the perfect place to put our dinner, wine and cheese, or snacks. We’ve also brought it to the beach and some sporting events. It sets up and breaks down easily, and comes with it’s own carrying case with a shoulder strap. I really can’t say enough about this little table! I’ve bought it as a gift several times now and everyone always loves it. And it never fails that when we bring it to a picnic, at least one person will ask me where I purchased it! A definite summer essential for me!
My Favorite Packable Hat
A packable, crushable, always-stays-nice hat is a summer essential for me for sure. Whether I’m working in the garden, walking the dog, or taking it to the beach, I almost always have a straw hat with me. And I must admit, I’m not careful with them! I throw them in the back of the car, squish them in my beach bag, or pack them in a suitcase.
Because of this, I found that I was buying new hats pretty frequently as the straw was constantly breaking. But with this hat, that never happens. I can pack it and squish it without worry! To be honest, it isn’t cheap. It’s a bit of an investment, but I do think it’s worth it. I’ve only had mine a few years, but it still looks like new. And if I added up the less expensive hats I bought during the same period, I’m pretty sure I’d come out ahead. And in theory, I shouldn’t have to buy another one…ever! (I’ve linked both my hat, as well as some other less expensive ones. Any way you slice it, I think it’s nice to have a hat that will keep the sun off your face and you don’t have to worry about!)
So there you have it – my Five Favorite Summer Essentials! Hopefully you got some ideas for some new essentials for yourself, and let me know what your summer essentials are in the comments! I love to hear about new, fun things that will help make the season even better. Now I hope you’ll visit the four talented hosts of this series and see what great ideas they’re sharing as well!
*please note some affiliate links have been used for your convenience*