Here in the upper Midwest, we’ve completely bypassed the phenomenon known as “spring”. Just a few short weeks ago we were experiencing below freezing temps and blizzard-like conditions. Fast forward to present day, where it’s 90 degrees and the A.C. is on full blast. But I’m not complaining! Summer is my favorite season, and as long as I don’t have to wrap myself in a parka when leaving the apartment, I’m a happy camper.
Speaking of happy, a few friends and I have vowed to make 2013 the year of the best summer ever. We’re kickstarting the warmer months with a California getaway, and plan on carrying the momentum of ‘fun’ with us all the way through September. But experiencing the best summer ever doesn’t just happen…there’s planning involved!
(And by planning, I clearly mean shopping.)
Here’s my ten go-to items to help you kick off your very own best summer ever.
Who says you have to be rich to spend the summer chilling on the lake? This inflatable party island is affordable, easy to store, and doesn’t require gas! Ummm…sign me up, please?
*Yes, “boat thingy” is a technical term
If there’s one thing Scott knows about, it’s “scrizzle“. (And getting in fights with chihuahuas, but that’s an entirely different blog post.) Working in dermatology makes him a bona fide sunscreen expert, and this is his hands-down top pick. Bonus? It’s super lightweight and easy to apply while being fairly gentle on the wallet. Save your self from premature aging (not to mention skin cancer) and slather up!
Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays doesn’t mean resigning to a summer of pastiness. (Although the older I get, the more I’m finally starting appreciate the pale look.) This self-tanner is an investment, it’s easily the best product I’ve found, and a little bit goes a long way. Plus, it’s Giuliana Rancic’s favorite product–and let’s face it–that girl has a PhD in all things spray tan. St. Tropez sells a foam application mit, but I recommend picking up some cheap latex gloves instead. They’ll keep your hands from turning orange, and you can toss them when you’re done. Easy peasy!
4. Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack
Summer just isn’t summer without some delicious frozen dairy product. While I’ve been loyal to Ben & Jerry’s since college, I never ventured far from my two signature flavors — Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia. A friend recently suggested Late Night Snack (dreamed up by Jimmy Fallon!) and I’ve been hooked ever since. Four words: chocolate covered potato chips!
I’ll never forget the first summer Scott and I spent in Syracuse. I had just started graduate school, and he was earning minimum wage while working odd jobs on the side. We could barely pay rent on our converted motel room apartment, and it was clear that we were going to be doing summer on a major budget.
Late one evening, Scott returned from a night shift at his restaurant and was visibly on edge. “That’s it!” he exclaimed furiously, “I’m buying us roller blades!”
“Huh?” I responded with confusion and just an ounce of concern.
“I realize we have no money, and aren’t going to be able to do anything fun the summer…but I budgeted it out, and I think we can afford a new set of roller blades for each of us.”
“Okay,” I hesitated, “But why roller blades?”
“Whenever we’re bored, we’ll drive to the lake and roller blade around the park. That will be how we have fun this summer. These roller blades are going to be an investment.”
The following day, we each had a brand new pair of K2 roller blades. Just as Scott planned, we went out on them whenever we needed something to do. We must have skated 500 miles that summer–and saved at least that many dollars. But you know what? We still have those roller blades, and use them to this day. Going out for a skate on a nice afternoon continues to be one of our most loved summer traditions, and is a great way to burn off all that chocolate covered potato chip ice cream.
Imagine that. Roller blades really are a good investment.
I swear by this stuff. It’s perfect for that summer beachy look and requires absolutely zero effort. Anything that means I don’t have to spend thirty minutes blow drying my hair is a winner in my book.
Every summer I buy a cheap, straw fedora.
And every summer the cheap, straw fedora gets crushed and ruined in my suitcase or beach bag. It never fails.
(Sometimes, Scott and I resort to simultaneously wearing our matching fedoras at the airport, to avoid the inevitable luggage squishing.)
I love this Fedora from Nordstrom for its affordable price point, but also its solid construction. The cotton mesh material is practically un-squishable!
(Scott loves it because we’ll no longer be the douchey coordinated couple at Terminal D.)
These aviators just scream summer. The best part? They’re unisex!
(This totally convinced Scott to let me purchase them as we can share them between the two of us.)
(Obviously, I get first dibs.)
Never in a million years did I think I would actually enjoy whiskey.
I actually enjoy whiskey!
This honey-infused liquor has a sweet, warm taste and is divine on its own, or paired with cola, ginger ale or lemonade.
(Tip: Tastes even better when sipped from the Fiesta Island inflatable boat thingy.)
I just picked this up in Chelsea Blue, and am completely in love. It’s lightweight, comfy and universally flattering! It’s versatility means it looks casual cool with a rugged pair of jean shorts, and ready for a night on the town when paired with skinnys and heels. Pick this up in multiple colors…I promise it will be an integral part of your summer uniform.
That’s my list! Did I miss anything? I’m dying to know…what are your ultimate summer must-haves?
P.S. My latest article for Levo Leage, 7 Conference Call Commandments You Must Follow, is up today! I’d love it if you hopped on over to check it out!