• The Mamas

Favorite Things: Summer "Top 10"

After a freezing cold winter, and a spring that never seemed to stop raining, I think it's safe to say that summer is on it's way!

Summer may not officially begin until the solstice on June 21, but that won't stop me from enjoying the beautiful warm weather by spending every chance I can outdoors.

If you're like me, (preparing for everything!), then you've already begun shopping around for summer necessities, for you and the kids- swimsuits, sandals, etc. Aside from the obvious aforementioned summer gear, here are my top 10 picks for making summer safe, fun, natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly!

1. Sunscreen

Ok, this might be an obvious pick for summer, but do you know what's in your sunscreen? Chances are, if you're purchasing it in the aisle of your local pharmacy or grocery store, it's filled with toxic chemicals. Our skin is the biggest organ, and it absorbs everything we put on it. Make sure you're using a sunscreen that has only the necessary ingredients for blocking the harmful rays of the sun, and none of the extra junk! My favorite for myself is this stick from MyChelle, I keep it in my purse and apply it to my face as needed. It goes on smooth, and rubs in easy. For my kids, I like this one from Badger Balm (my son loves the way it smells!)

My little squirrel wearing his Urban Baby Bonnet bucket hat

2. Hat

The best way to protect your face, neck and scalp is with a hat! While baseball hats are cute, they don't protect the back of your neck. Go with a sun hat, with a floppy brim. This applies to adults and kids alike! For myself, I like this one from Sunday Afternoons, it looks acceptable whether I'm at the beach, going for a hike in the woods, or in the backyard gardening. For my boys, I love the bucket hats from Urban Baby Bonnets. There are so many cute patterns, and come in a variety of sizes.

3. Herbal Salve

An all-purpose herbal salve is an essential all year long, but especially during the summer months! I love Mama's Kiss (made by Hazel & Thyme!), for everything from bug bites, to sunburns, to cuts and scrapes. There are so many uses of this herbal salve, it's a must have for this time of year.

4. Outdoor Blanket

Ok, this isn't technically a necessity, but if you spend enough time outside it's nice to have a dry, clean spot to sit to have a picnic, hang out on the beach, or enjoy a concert in the park. This outdoor blanket from Little Unicorn is my favorite (pictured above^^). Not only is it beautiful, it's functional too! It has a strap, exterior zip pocket, water resistant, and folds up neatly (I've had others that just fall apart when they get rolled up, but this one actually stays folded up!).

5. Basket

Ok, also not really a necessity, but look how cute this basket is! But seriously, this basket is perfect for a number of summer activities- it holds a ton of stuff, making it great to bring to the local farmer's market, take it on a picnic to the park, or to bring on a foraging adventure in the woods, or picking flowers in my backyard. Plus, it's made by hand, and fair trade.

6. Natural Deodorant

This is clearly a plug for the deodorant we make, and I'm not at all ashamed to admit it! I've seriously tried SO MANY "natural" and not-so-natural deodorants. They never worked. Or they worked for a little while, and then they wouldn't. We decided to make our own deodorant- Fresh Pits, and I seriously love it! We have 4 different scents (using essential oils only!), inspired by the elements, and they contain no harmful ingredients, no artificial fragrances, and no baking soda. Plus, it comes in a reusable glass roll-on bottle!

7. Reusable Containers

This one isn't exactly season-specific, as reusable containers are great year round. However, in the summer time I find myself going outside more, going on more hikes, going to the lake or the beach, and therefore eating on the go more often. That's where reusable containers come into play. While I'm at home, I almost always use glass, but when you're hiking with a couple of kids, you need something that won't shatter into a million pieces on a rock. My favorites are the ones from Lunchbots. We use the snack size the most often, as I can pack a variety of finger foods in each one. However they have a few different sizes and layouts that work for whatever you plan to bring with you for lunch.

8. Insulated Water Bottle

Summer is hot and it's important to stay hydrated! My favorite for myself is the 18 oz Vacuum Insulated Yeti, with the straw cap. I know- name brand, feels like I'm just going with the crowd... BUT it actually works, it keeps my water cool, and my favorite part is that it doesn't leak! Plus it can get knocked around in my bag, on a hike, wherever, and it still holds up. For my kids, I love the EcoVessel Frost Triple-Insulated Straw Top Bottle. It also doesn't leak, it's insulated to keep water cool, and comes in fun colors.

9. Wet Bag

I started using a wet bag when my babies were in cloth diapers, but I wish I had known about them sooner! They're great for so many purposes, even without kids. They're useful for holding wet bathing suits, or wet clothes, or for keeping things that might leak everywhere (like sunscreen, or toiletries when you're traveling). They also come in plenty of different sizes and patterns for different needs. It can even be used as a makeshift trash bag in the car or at a picnic! The best part is, they're machine washable.

10. Linen Clothes

This is a new one for me. I've been trying to slowly convert my wardrobe to more sustainable and natural options like wool, organic cotton, bamboo, etc. But this is the first year I've ventured into linen, and I'm so excited to test it out! Linen is perfect for the summer since it is airy and cooling, letting out the heat rather than trapping it next to your skin. There are many options at name brand companies, but also a lot of smaller handmade businesses like those on Etsy, make linen clothes. Check out this adorable dress!

So there you have it- my top pics for summer gear. What would you add to the list?


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