Our Favorite Things – Summer Edition


Kathy here and today I’m channeling my inner Oprah (I LOVE OPRAH!) with our first-ever installment of “Our Favorite Things.” Just like Oprah, we’ll be periodically sharing with you some of our favorite things. Unlike Oprah, we won’t be giving these away (necessarily!) but we will be providing links for you to purchase them yourself. But know that we aren’t getting sponsored to share these products with you; we’re just moms who have an Amazon problem. 

Even though it’s August, if you’re in Lubbock it’s still summer till at least Halloween. So without further ado, my Top 10 Favorite Things for Summer:

Nalgene bottles last forever!

10. I pretty much can’t go anywhere without my Nalgene Water bottle. The one I carry every day is about 10 years old but it’s still going strong. It’s lived through trips to Disney, the lake, hiking, camping, airplanes (did you know? You can take an empty water bottle through airport security and then fill it up when you get through. Much cheaper than spending $6 on a single-use bottle!), and work meetings. It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. Mine is decorated with stickers from my travels because I like to be like the young cool kids, but you do you, boo.

9. Queen Helene Cocoa Butter lotion. It’s light enough to not make you feel slimy, but it works as well as more expensive brands. It’s heaven on a sunburn and it smells like summer. Plus you can get a bucket of it for cheap, cheap, cheap!

Buy this clutch! It goes with everything, you need it.

8. This clutch is my summer bestie. I hate carrying a giant purse, and I hate it even more in summer. This cute purse can be a clutch, wristlet, or crossbody and comes in lots of fun colors. It’s just the right size for your phone, keys, sunglasses, and credit card, it’s perfect for a quick outing to the park or shopping. Or you can detach the straps and use it as a wallet in your larger purse; its handy zipper and snap clasps make it super versatile. Despite its price, it holds up very well.

7. I am kind of a first-aid-kit-junkie (see also: my kid with a bleeding condition), so I love these Instant Cold Packs. My nurse friend turned me on to them when someone took a foul ball to the face at a baseball game a couple of years ago. They’re so handy to keep in your car for that boo-boo or a bug bite or to have around in case someone gets overheated or twists an ankle. (I’m not saying you could chill a beverage on the fly if needed, but I’m not NOT saying it also.) Just squeeze them and the chemicals mix together to create an instant ice pack.

6.  Summer brings out the worst in everyone’s skin, so we love this shea butter African Black Soap. It’s perfect for sensitive skin but since it’s so moisturizing, it’s great for everyone to use. I love the light, clean scent. Just read the Amazon review to find stories of lots of people with psoriasis and eczema who have found relief with this soap. Give it a try – I think you’ll like it!

5. I HATE getting sunburned and I’m a huge baby about it. I try to always be diligent about sunscreen on but every once in awhile you reapply it too late or just flat forget. If you or your kids do get sunburned, try applying an inexpensive sheet mask. They usually have soothing ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and collagen, and this fun pack has cute animal shapes. Keep them in the fridge for those hot days and they’ll take the ouch right out.

4. I can’t remember crap. The number of times I lose my keys in a day is frankly embarrassing, which is why I love my Tile. You can Tile your keys, your beach bag, your kid’s baseball glove, whatever it is that they keep losing. Then just ping the Tile from the app on your phone and voila – not lost anymore! You can also reverse it too, and use your Tile to find your phone – just in case you’re forgetful like me. Tile also shows you a handy map of where your item was last seen, so you can easily determine if your lost item is at grandma’s house or the daycare. I just got the notification the other day that my Tile was low on battery and I ordered a new one THAT DAY, I can’t live without it!

Blue Birkenstock sandals
Birks = Life

3. Three words: Birkenstocks. Are. Life. I have 3 pair but this one really is my favorite for summer. These shoes are so light and comfy, they’re perfect for the lake or the amusement park. Unlike the leather variety, it won’t hurt them to get wet (and you won’t walk around in soggy shoes all day). There are so many fun colors and they are so, so comfortable. Did I mention they’re comfortable? You have to get these shoes.

2. There are only about a million sunscreens on the market right now, and I pretty much have tried them all (see above where I HATE getting sunburned.) As far as an everyday, family-friendly workhorse sunscreen, my hands-down favorite is Ocean Potion. It smells like summer to me, and it’s coral reef-friendly. It doesn’t have some of the more worrisome chemicals in some sunscreens, but it does a great job keeping your family safe in the sun – and it’s safe for our fragile reefs. A must-have for a trip to the beach.

Crazy little thing called BugBiteThing

1. The thing I hate more than getting sunburned is getting bitten by mosquitos, and I’m one of those people the ‘skeeters can just sniff out from miles away. When I do get bitten I itch to the point of breaking the skin, and usually, they form giant whelps. On a whim, I ordered a BugBiteThing and it is a total game changer! It’s basically a glorified syringe that claims to “suck out the irritants left by bug bites.” That sounds super-gross but it doesn’t actually suck anything out of your skin; somehow it pulls the venom out of the surrounding tissues (but nothing actually gets sucked up into the device). It’s best when you first get a bug bite, but even if the bite is a few days old, it’s still highly effective at stopping the itch. It’s safe for babies and children and it’s completely chemical-free. Toss it in a backpack or bag and you’ll be itch-free all summer!