Summer Essentials and Favorites

Summer essentials – Maybe these are wants more than NEEDS,
but below you’ll find everything we love for summer.
From the best natural sunscreens to an awesome popsicle mold…we’ve got you covered!

Everything you need for an amazing summer. The best popsicle mold, the best mineral sunscreen, summer reading ideas, effortless summer looks and more!

We had our first real-deal pool day last weekend, and we’re solidly into the 90-100 degree temperatures. School gets out next week, so for this month’s favorites post, I thought I’d share some of my summer essentials.

We’ve been doing some testing for a few months to share which are our favorite products. I feel really confident recommending these things, whether you’re my sister or a stranger. Without further ado…

The BEST mineral sunscreen. Great coverage, easy to rub in... it's the best!

1. A good mineral sunscreen.

My big goals when it comes to sunscreen are 1) eco-friendly ingredients, 2) doesn’t smell bad, and 3) doesn’t require a 60-minute full-body massage to rub it in. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My favorite is Honest Company sunscreen and sunscreen stick. I love this company, their mission, and products. We use their sunscreen and love it. The stick makes applying sunscreen to tiny moving faces SO much easier, and the sunscreen rubs in really well. (Their spray sunscreen is fabulous, too, but spray sunscreens aren’t recommended for kids because of the inhalation risk.)

In a close second place is Babyganics. They smell remarkably good, rub in pretty darn well, and are easy to find at places like Target, Amazon, and even some grocery stores. They make sunscreen, spray sunscreen, and sunscreen sticks. We’ve tried all of them, and I’ve been very impressed. The only reason I’d place them second instead of first is that if you over apply the sunscreen, it gets a tacky feel on your skin.

As far as safety and effectiveness go, the Environmental Wellness Group (EWG) is my go-to resource for that sort of thing. They put out an annual sunscreen report each year evaluating dozens of sunscreens. I highly recommend checking out your sunscreen here. Many of the popular sunscreens (No-Ad, Banana Boat, Coppertone, even Neutrogena, etc.) are among the lowest scoring sunscreens in effectiveness and safety. 

Everyone needs a good pair of summer sandals. These are my faves!

2. A good pair of sandals. 

I live in sandals for 8-10 months of the year, so I’m constantly in the middle of sandal rotation. I usually have a pair or two of inexpensive (but cute!) sandals that I can wear out, and one “good” pair that will last a long time. I just retired my last good pair of sandals after three years, so it was time for a new good pair.

This year, my inexpensive sandals are these (in coral) and these (in camel) from Forever 21 (order online and spare yourself a trip to the store–yeesh), and my “good” pair is this lovely gold pair from Sole Society. They go with almost everything and add a little pop of shine and glam that makes me really happy.

What is summer without a good book?

3. A good book.

Summer is the best time to read! I love to read a lighter things during the summer, but I also usually tuck in something a bit more substantial (like a classic or Jane Austen book or something nonfiction) in there, too.

I’ve shared a few good summer reads before, but some favorites in the last few months are:

Great products for a low-maintenance summer look

4. A quick low-maintenance look.

Something quick you can wear for errands (or to the splash pad). A few of my favorites…

Everyone asks me what my favorite popsicle mold is. These are the best ones!

5. A good popsicle mold.

Summer treat of choice at our house? Popsicles. We have smoothie popsicles on repeat, made from healthy ingredients (no refined sugars or dyes). They’re absolutely delicious, plus you can eat them for breakfast and not feel bad about it.

Our go-to popsicle mold is this one by Norpro. I like that it has a lid that holds the sticks in place for you (it’s the worst to open the freezer door a few hours later only to discover that all your sticks have moved around). It holds 10 popsicles, which is perfect for a batch of these Strawberry Watermelon Popsicles.

Our other favorite mold is this one. It’s fantastic for smaller batches or single popsicles made from leftover smoothies or juice. I like that it comes with a stand for holding all the popsicle molds together, or you can just use one (each mold has a clip on lid/reusable stick).

We constantly have both popsicle molds in rotation.

Take on a summer project! Whether it's taking a class, making something, or watching all of Anne of Green Gables

5. A good project.

I’m not talking about homework. Just something that’s creative or inspiring or fulfilling. You’ll know what that is. A few ideas…

My favorite bright nail color. Perfect for summer!

7. A good nail polish. 

Well, if you’re going to wear sandals and spend your time at the pool or splash pad all summer, you may as well enjoy having cute toenails (or fingernails) to look at while you’re at it. I love happy and bright colors for summer. My favorite bright polish is Essie’s Enuf is Enuf. It’s one of those colors that really looks good on all skin colors, dark to light, warm to cool. It’s punchy and bright while still looking classic and put together. I top it off with Sally Hansen gel topcoat to help it last.

A little peace of mind at the pool goes a long way. The best floaties and ear plugs for little ones!

8. A good amount of peace of mind.

I can’t say enough good things about puddle jumper floaties. I’ve mentioned them several times, but they’re THE BEST floaties on the market, in my opinion. They hold your child upright, so they don’t get stuck upside down (which has happened before for us with life jackets). They give your child the ability to practice kicking, reaching, and swimming with freedom for them and peace of mind for you.

They’re the only reason I was able to take two kids to the pool by myself last year (when Milo was 2 and Sophie was still not water safe or good at listening to me). We’re working on swimming skills for both kids, but I also love knowing I can tuck Milo into floaties while I’m practicing with Sophie and vice versa. Can’t recommend them enough.

The other thing I’ll mention is a pair of these ear plugs. They’re recommended for kids who get frequent ear infections (or have ear tubes). That’s not a problem for us, but we love them for Sophie who is working through sensory issues when it comes to water in/on/around her ears. You do need to buy size-specific plugs for them to work, but once you’ve got the right size, they’re fabulous. We ordered a sizing set (one ear plug of each size) from the manufacturer, then ordered a pair in the right size (xs for Sophie) from Amazon.

From the best popsicle mold to the best natural sunscreens, we've got your summer essentials covered!

What are YOUR summer essentials? 
Any book recommendations or favorites this season? 

Shout it out in the comments!

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  1. EWG has an amazing app called Healthy Living that allows you to scan products and it gives them a score. I have been using it a ton lately!

  2. So happy to see that you’re an LM Montgomery fan! I own every book she has ever written and I love the movies! My friend and I got to see Megan Follows play Juliet on stage at they Stratford Theatre years ago and she autographed my ticket with my blue eyeliner 🙂 Have you read anything by Sophie Kinsella? She’s my favourite author -the books are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. The audiobooks are fabulous too. Thanks for your suggestions! Have a great day Emily!

    1. LM Montgomery for LIFE! I love everything I’ve ever read of hers. She’s just so great. I haven’t read Sophie Kinsella yet, but I want to now! Thank you for the suggestions!!!

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