Summer Essentials- My New Faves

Ok. It is here. Summer. We never thought it would actually happen after Chiberia and the 30 (40?) degree temperature swings all “spring.” It has given me time, though, to cultivate my list of new summer must-haves, from fun in the sun superstars to rainy day reads. Enjoy, and I hope you find something that lands up on your must have list as well!


I have found that music definitely soothes the savage beast, or at least the cranky toddler and teething infant. I did a thorough search of all the Bluetooth speakers out there, because the speaker on my iPhone wasn’t cutting it. My criteria:

  • Waterproof
  • Can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ (or take a projectile throw from my kid and not crack)
  • Massive battery life
  • EASY to connect
  • Portable/compact
  • Doesn’t sound like it is playing music inside a tin can (ok, excellent speaker quality if you must get technical)

I found a speaker that meets all this AND MORE. I bought the Sport model for my husband for Father’s Day, but I gave it to him weeks early because, well…I wanted to use it. It is the Fugoo Bluetooth Speaker, and has won tons of award. And yes, that is drool.

It isn’t cheap, but with all the features, did you expect it to be? It is mud proof, snow proof, water proof and shock proof. It has a 40 hour battery life (seriously, I tested it), 360 sound, and can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water. I am almost tempted to just give it to my kids and see if they can screw it up, but I love it too much to try. It comes in three models- Style, Sport and Tough and starts at $199. I had a coupon code for 20% off but not sure if it is still valid: FP-D20.


My family is comprised of blue-eyed, blonde hair, fair-skinned people. Tanning is not particularly on our list for summer looks. I have become increasingly freaked out by the chemical spray sunscreens; the Consumer Reports article was particularly disturbing. I recently attended the #SoChicTravel event and was introduced to Sunology, an all natural mineral sunscreen. A little goes a long way, much more so than the cans of spray stuff that conk out after a couple of trips to the pool. Use this code (SAVE20) to get 20% off when you buy 2 and get Free Shipping; request a Free Sample here while supplies last! Charlotte (below) has it on her face; most mineral sunscreens make you look like Casper, but if you rub this one in, it is surprisingly more sheer. (Disclosure: I received a sample of this for review purpose, but all opinions are honest and my own)


Pre-kids, I used to wear perfume all the time. Apparently, something changed because perfume now smells horrible on me. Like, imagine the worst 1980s Avon perfume. I have switched to scented oils, and found an absolutely amazing scent that is perfect for summer. I was inspired by the Lemongrass Cotton Candy that Spin-Spun was spinning at an event recently. I smelled Lemongrass as soon as I walked into the room, and kept trying to find out who was wearing the scent. Turns out it was the cotton candy flavor! I ordered Lemongrass Coconut from Little Batch Apothecary. They have dozens of amazing scents, and come in the most adorable roller bottle for the ultimate way to smell good on the go. They are designed not to over-power like those ladies you get behind in the grocery store line and your eyes start to water, but to be “worn closely.” (My colorist stopped in the middle of my highlights to ask what I was wearing- she was in love with it!). The “carrier” (base) is coconut oil, so it is a very light product. $10 for a 10ml glass roller bottle- total score! I have one at my sink and one in my diaper bag.


Ok. I am usually a chic lit beach blanket romance with a comical twist sort of gal, but I HAD to download The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. As a parent, I really didn’t want to read a story about children who have cancer; it just hits too close to home with one of my greatest fears. The story is so incredibly well-written, humorous, poignant, and vivid. I am still at the beginning, and already fell in love with the main character. It is only $4.99 for Kindle right now, so grab it quick!

On the other hand, I am devastated to report that Emily Giffin’s new book The One & Only was a total miss for me. This was one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year (based upon the ungodly amount of PR…it was even included in my latest PopSugar Must Have Box!). Although her writing is solid, the plot line dragged, limping along and stopping completely at points. I couldn’t “see” the characters for some reason, and the main character’s wishy-washy decision making was just disheartening. I would love to hear your thoughts on this; I adore her other books and felt so let down!


At our house, we have a full size popcorn machine smack dab in our family room. We love popcorn that much. I was at Walgreens recently and spotted Black Pepper Skinny Pop. I thought, huh, that sounds kind of interesting…and then I went home and ate the whole family size bag for dinner. LOVE it, and I didn’t feel (too) guilty- 10g of fat for 4 cups (and yes, I realize that the mega bag is more than 4 cups).

One popcorn I love even MORE than this (if that is possible) is White Truffle Pipcorn. What is Pipcorn, you might ask? Mini popcorn. The problem? This stuff isn’t sold in any stores around me, and only about 3 in the Chicagoland area. BUT- you can buy it online in bulk and I promise you, it won’t disappoint.

What are your favorite summer finds so far?



  1. June 24, 2014 / 3:14 pm

    I have been putting off reading Emily Giffin's new book because the reviews have been so lackluster. Did you read her last book? I really didn't like that one either.

    • June 24, 2014 / 7:49 pm

      I missed Where We Belong, and Heart of the Matter wasn't my favorite, but I couldn't put down Something Borrowed and Something Blue!! I might take a pass on Where We Belong if you weren't a fan, you have excellent reading taste 🙂