Guest Post: Summer Favorites

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July 9, 2014 by cookingtofeel

Today I have a super fun post with some tips to make sure you have a flawless summer from Katie, of Inkspot. Enjoy!

Hi Everyone! I’m Katie, the quirky college student running Inkspot (, its Facebook ( ) and my twitter, LiteraryOdyssey (, and zoo keeper to the Wackadoodles.

Summer is finally here! It was a long, hard winter in my neck of the woods (we were piled high and deep in snow). Spring was slow to start with lots of rain and chilly days. Right around the beginning of June Mother Nature perked up and said: “Right, now’s about time for summer!” Thank goodness! We’re on a warm-trend with highs in the 80s and 90s, lots of sunshine, and no sign of stopping.

Warm, sunny days mean I’m breaking out my summer “faves” – those items I just cannot live without.

1. Lip Shimmers and U.V. Lip Balm.

Lip Shimmers and U.V. Lip Balm

It is no secret to my friends and family that I’m a health nut. Being fair-skinned and from a cancer-prone family, this nutsy-ness extends to everything – even my lips. Lips, hands, feet, and eyelids are among body parts most do not think to sun proof. But they’re just as prone to sun damage as everywhere else! When I’m out in the sun for a prolonged time – at the beach, in my garden, on a walk – I whip out my U.V. balm.

Lots of U.V. balms I have tried are really drying. They’re thick, chalky, and have turned my lips white. Kiss My Face’s U.V. Sports balm, however, is moisturizing and does not turn my lips white. Some days I wear it as my every-moment chapstick, while others I use it under my beloved lip shimmers.

Lips shimmers have become a quick addiction. Whenever I want color, the moisture of a chapstick, and don’t want to worry about linear and real lipstick, I come here. Since my lips dry out easily, I use them a lot. For example: I use them every day of classes (five days a week!). I only use lipstick for special events.

I wear the shimmers as-is or layer them to get the effect I want. Want to go for a natural, light look? I only use Burt’s Bees peony balm. Want to go for a bright, dark pop of color? Mad Gab’s balm all the way! What about for a soft medium? Swipe the light peony over the dark Mad Gab to soften the color. It works like a charm!

2. Bug’s Death Herbal Spray

Honest-to-goodness, that’s what it is called. A friend of mine is an Herbalist and her bug-spray concoction works so well that I don’t even giggle at the name. Look up a local herbalist. Go see them. Get some of their bug spray if they make one. (Just, make sure they use their product as much as they try to sell it!)  It works amazing and does not have the nasty chemicals in it that are potentially harmful to your health and the environment.

3. Sunscreen


I burn red as a cooked lobster. No joke. The barely-existing pigment in my skin forgot to tell my body “it’s okay to tan!” My body exists in two extremes: Casper or fire. As much as I did enjoy being a red head/red really is my color, I prefer Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Sunscreen is full of a lot of junk. Some scientists in Europe question if the chemicals in the sunscreen play as much of a role in cancer as the sun.

Again, health-nut here. I tend to follow the precautionary principle: if there is a shadow of a doubt, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’m constantly working to put healthier and healthier stuff on my skin – sunscreen included.

Here are my rules: if you don’t recognize what’s in it or cannot pronounce it, don’t buy it (it probably is not good for you; go to health food stores and check out their products; go for what has the least ingredients; check to see if the product is listed here ( with any red flags; and if all else fails buy baby sunscreen. Because of the babies’ sensitivities their products tend to have less stuff.

I personally love this Kiss My Face one right now because it is natural, a kids’ product, conveniently found at multiple locations, and has a high SPF. I also have sensitive skin and it hasn’t bothered it or made me break out – which is huge. After looking at Skin Deep® it is no surprise. The product is only a 2 (meaning low hazard)!  

4. A good book or my Acer (a tablet/e-reader).
Read-a-holic here. You never know when you’ll have a few spare moments to yourself – those are prime reading moments! Currently, I am working on Wishes Fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Yesterday I bought The Keeper of Secrets by Julie Thomas.  Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list!

5. Sunglasses.


I’ve got to keep my baby blues safe! $5 cheapo glasses just don’t cut it. The harsh U.V. rays are rough on retinas. It is important to give them the best care. I have two pairs of sunglasses. First are my sporty looking dark, dark black pair of shades ($20 from Walmart or Target) that are UVA/UVB broad spectrum. These are my “cheap” glasses that I am not afraid of losing and don’t feel so bad breaking if I’m at the beach with friends, biking, hiking, going crazy in the lake, or what have you.

Then there are the ones above: $60 UVA/UVB broad spectrum, polarized glasses from Cabela’s. While I really have my eyes on the necessary future buy of their $120 sea and ski sporting-worthy ones, these are kinder on my college budget, they work, and they’re stylish. Win-win-win!

I highly recommend checking out Cabela’s if you have one around you or any other sporting goods store for a decent pair of glasses. Additionally, I recommend having two pairs of sunglasses – that way if one breaks or is misplaced, you aren’t up a creak without a paddle. Always be prepared! When searching for a good pair of sunglasses, whatever price range you are looking in, you want UVA/UVB broad spectrum and polarized. If you have to pick only one, always go for the UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection!

6. “Nude” nail polish.

Summer is full of color. The trees are bright and vibrant. Flowers are in full-bloom. My summer wardrobe really reflects that color – it is everywhere. My closet is filled with bright colors, both bold and subtle patterns, and flowing, vibrant tops. I love to scream summer.

I also love nail polish.

I do not love constantly removing nail polish to repaint. (In fact, I often try to avoid nail polish remover and just let the color fade in all of its chipped, poor-fashion-choice glory.)

My lazy solution is the one color that goes with absolutely anything and everything: nude. It’s the easiest color ever. I put it on once and never have to worry about changing it to match an outfit. (The nail polish is a permanent staple in my pocket book all summer.)  It doesn’t matter on the brand; I’ll use any nude so long as it is fairly chip resistant. I have bounced around between OPI and L’Oréal, both of which are great nail polishes. Recently, as I make the switch to more natural products, I have discovered that Mineral Fusion has a line of nail polishes as well.

7. Cute, comfortable sandals.

Cute, Comfortable Sandals

Is there a bargain shopper’s equivalent to AA? After growing up attending yard sales, thrift shops, clearance aisles, and shopping armed with coupons, the idea of spending full price on anything can be physically painful. I have about, oh, 20 pairs of shoes easily. Most of them, like my clothing, were bargain finds. Spending $5 for brand new, normally $70 shoes? Gimme, gimme!

But let’s be honest: I only wear about 10 of those pairs regularly. Some of them have 101 rules for where and when to wear them.  Girls out there, you know what I’m talking about! “I love these. They’re perfect! So long as I am only on my feet for an hour, in January, wearing that blue skirt, on a cliff in the Mojave Desert, I can wear these all the time!” Um. Okay.

The fact is…I love shoes. I love cute shoes – and lots of them. Most of them, however, do not feel good on me feet for extended periods of time. My closet is full of adorable shoes that I can only wear in specific circumstances for specified amounts of time.  Painstakingly I have come to realize that quality and functionality over-power quantity.

Currently I own three pairs of great shoes. These aren’t shoes you find at Walmart, Khols, or Target (much to my dismay). You have to go to a store that specifically sells shoes that are good for your feet. (Maine has Lamey Wellehan ( ), for instance.) And they are not cheap! But they are well worth the buy. I have this pair of Vionic Orthaheel ( ) flip flops (equipped with adequate padding and important arch support) and two pairs of Dansko ( sandals, one for fun/functional wear and a roman-style sandal for summer dresses (the Dansko’s are also equipped with padding and an arch).

8. A special season-specific pocketbook.
One day I walked into Walmart and bought three pocketbooks of the same style in each color they had: denim, tan, and white. (Each for only $10!) During the summer the white is my go-to pocketbook because it is so light and bright. The denim, the darkest, is usually my winter and fall pocketbook. The tan is usually my spring one. It’s important to go with the flow of the seasons!

9. My canteen.


Usually I use my glass one, but when I’m out and about during the summer – especially on long, hot days – nothing compares to this metal Eco Vessel ( ). It is insulated so it keeps my water as cool as when I put it in, regardless of how long I have left it in the sun. (I have left it on the front seat of my car in the blazing heat all day and returned to find it barely even room temperature) The product is BPA and phthalate free. Plus, it has the option to be used with or without the filter it comes with. As someone who hikes, I love this! The filter is good for many, many types of microbes. Additionally, I’ve used it when I am in the city, to filter out the chemicals in city water! (My country, well-water raised girl is showing, isn’t it?)

10. At least three country stations programed on my car radio.

There is nothing better than driving with the windows down, blasting the radio, and screaming singing along to your favorite country song.

11. Special 4th of July t-shirt
I love to celebrate. I also love themed t-shirts. (I know, I know, major fashion violation!)

Special 4th of July T-Shirt

But I especially love this t-shirt because the pup on it reminds me of one of my furbabies, Peaches.

Special 4th of July T-Shirt

(Apologies for the awful picture…I’ve been sick and, believe me, you’d rather see blurry lines and wind tossed hair than that. Plus, Peaches is all cute and perky. Cuteness conquers all, yes?)

12.  The local Drive-in Theater’s schedule.
Multiple times a month during the summer my friends and I will spontaneously text each other about the Drive-in. We make spur-of-the-moment plans, rush to pick each other up, split the cost between us (much, much cheaper than going to a regular theater and only seeing one movie!), and laugh and talk the whole way through. When we leave, we blast the music and scream (ridiculously) along to keep awake (or because we’ve had too much sugar).

I have got to have the schedule on me! You just cannot miss times like that.

13. The Anywhere blanket

The Anywhere Blanket

A Christmas Tree Shop find a few years ago, this blanket has become my best friend. Any old blanket stuck in the back of your car will do. You never know when out-of-no-where picnics, camp fires, fireworks, or beach days will arise – it’s always best to be prepared. I personally love this guy because it is its own carrying case. When I am not using it, the large blanket folds down and zips up to form this:

The Anywhere Blanket

Compact, portable, water-resistant, and comfortable!

14. Mandatory state-themed jewelry.  

And because I live in Maine…Lobster Earrings!

Lobster Earrings

What are some of your summer favorites?

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